Aug 31

Bernice is amazing.

There are days when I make discoveries. Thankfully, this occurs more often than not. Some of the things I learned today:

“The squeaky wheel gets the oil”…… is a hugely misleading piece of jargon.

Oh yes. That squeaky wheel may initially receive a bit of grease to temporarily silence the creakiness. However, ultimately, the groaning wheel is the first one to fall right off the axle and send the whole apple cart right into the ditch.

Cleaning makes you live longer.
It was on the news this morning.  Soooooo….. I immediately started cleaning the refrigerator.  This is not a job for the faint of heart. Things go bad in there.  Real bad.   But I felt the eggs deserved a better place to live.

Cleaning, in general, is imperative, from time to time. Now for me…. it is necessary more often than not. I like things ship-shape, spic-and-span…a place for everything and everything in its place. I know there are plenty of people who think it doesn’t have to be done at all….

For some, it is a pain in the caboose. For others… therapeutic. And still others… a necessity. I’ll just say that Proctor and Gamble makes a mint off me.

There are amazing creatures in our midst.
Tonight we fed our fish in the big pond. And what to my wondering eyes appeared?  Bernice, the Bouncing Bass. It seems as though we have a trick fish in our farm pond. I think she believes she is a Sea World Fish or something.  Ol’ Bernice the Bass skimmed on her back right across the water… waving her little fins at us. Then at the very end, she leapt from the surface, into the air, and the splash… gone from site. Like Orca. It was great.  I cheered and jumped about.

I am thinking of constructing some bleachers out there… and  selling tickets.

You may be surprised at how crazy-full and spectacular my day was.  I truly hope yours was filled with just as many wondrous discoveries as mine.  I’m so excited by the things revealed today… I will surely…. never get to sleep tonight.

“Wondering’s healthy. Broadens the mind. Opens you up to all sorts of stray thoughts and possibilities.”
– Charles de Lint

Aug 30

They’re falling down. So don’t burn ’em.

Some words are more versatile than others.

For instance, take the word lawnmower. It, pretty much has one meaning that I know of, as a noun. You can’t really lawnmower someone.  Welll….   I guess you could, but that would be criminal.  No.  Lawnmower is a one-def word.

Now bridge is a different story. Tonight, I sat in on a game of Bridge. Cards….all 52 at once. (There was prolonged “passing” going on… of rampant proportions… not much bidding… but that story is for another night… the tale of the tricks and trumps.)

The card game is much different than the kind of bridge that crosses a body of water….such as a river.

And it goes on and on.

There can be a bridge in your mouth. Dental work bridge.
On a boat, a captain can stand on the bridge.
You have a bridge on your nose.
There are bridges on guitars and other stringed instruments.
You can use a bridge when you play pool.
A connection between two electrical circuits.

Or, you can bridge a “difference” between two people, or groups.

Bridge the gap.
Cross that bridge when you come to it.
Don’t burn your bridges.
That’s water under the bridge.

I am telling you, it is quite a word.

There are songs about bridges… over troubled water.

Books… Bridges of Madison County.
Movies… Mr. & Mrs. Bridge.

Famous Bridges…lots of them…

San Francisco.
Brooklyn.
London. That thing keeps falling down… and people keep singing about it.

But back to that game of Bridge tonight.  I just spectated.   Tough game.  You have to wear a suit, I think.  I felt pretty smart though.  There was a Dummy sitting in on every match.  People were tricking each other too.  They were using clubs on one another.  Not only that… they were high rollers.  Not dollars…..I think they were betting with diamonds….  it was the real deal I’ll tell you.  The real deal.

I really had to give them a hand.  And then I bid them farewell.

Aug 29

Nature’s Calling

Nature has a way of telling us things.

One of the images above is a No Trespassing Sign.
The other is a Welcome Mat.

No mistaking the difference between the two.

If people were as simple to read, the world would probably be a lot easier to navigate. But as it is…. sometimes we don’t really know what the other person is thinking.

I take things way too personally. Someone looks a little sideways, and I think they are directing the sideway-eyed-ness at ME!  Holy smokes… this is the truth.

“You think they are upset?  I wonder if they are mad at me…. OR do you suppose they have a problem with my Sock Monkey Hat?  It matches my handbag… right?  Oh……What could it be…..?”

This is when I am reminded to switch to decaf.

But, back to the photos…. and the signs that come to us in life.

When you get the thorns, try to remember to always… ALWAYS…. keep band-aids in your purse.

And when you get good smelling, sparkly, beautiful flowers… breathe it in… long and deep and full. Touch it.  See it if you can.  Yes.  Breathe it in.

(But the advice about keeping band-aids in your purse still holds.  You just never know.    You may be seconds away from sucking a bee right up your nose…)

Aug 28

The egg that had to wait.

In Aesop’s famous fable… the one about the bunny and turtle…. I would be the rabbit. I have what is classified as a Type A Personality. The other day, my nearest and dearest friend made this observation about me: “I would say Polly is a very patient person….. except in traffic.” I had to laugh out loud.

To me, this is only partially true. You see…..I don’t think I am a very patient person when it comes to A LOT of things. Traffic is only one of many. Many. But since we are right here on the subject, things that really bug me when I am driving a vehicle.

1. Anyone who does not pay attention to what they are doing while driving. This includes applying makeup, beating children in the back seat, and talking out the window while other cars are waiting behind.

2. Green Light Apathy. This is at epidemic levels. It encompasses anyone who does not hit that gosh darn gas pedal when the light turns green…. especially when a green left turn arrow is involved.

3. The list goes on… pretty much endlessly. But here is the biggest: TEXT MESSAGING WHILE DRIVING.  Just say no. Typing “Wht r u doing?” on your “smart” phone is FAR less important than the four lives of the people in the car in front of you. 4 real.

Enough about my inner road rage.

Another example of my missing patience: Today we went to a movie… the kind at a movie theater. The newspaper listing, the theater’s website, and the sign on the front of the building said “SHOW TIME 11:00; 2:45; 6:00. Now to me… this means that the show should start at the time posted… for example…. 11:00. Show. Time.  NOT PREVIEW TIME. Holy crap-a-doodle. We sat through 25 minutes of trailers.

I stood up at 17 minutes into the preview schematics and loudly polled the rest of the movie-goers…. “Is any one else here ready for the gosh darn movie to start?” Five of the six people in the theater were in agreement. One said… “Well…..in just a minute. I have to run to the john.” Yep. I was pretty p*ssed off too.  An usher came and asked me to step down from my seat. So I watched the rest of the previews in seething silence.

I understand that I am the one with the problem. I suffer from I.G.A. “Instant Gratification Affliction”   Mostly, I want things to happen right here and right now…. mostly. Or ten minutes ago.

These days… I seem to be slightly better. Breathing exercises, prayer, and mediation help.  But much of the time… not nearly fast enough.

I think this is because I am the youngest of seven children. It all started when I was an egg in the ovary, and the rest of the eggs kept bumping me out of the way…. which really explains a lot.  (I’m a little cracked, too.)

Aug 27

You blinked.

Whoever said “There is nothing new under the sun” had it all wrong.

Everything… every little thing… is new under the sun, the stars, and the moon.

Our world is in a constant state of change. Every second, of every moment, things are in a condition of transformation.

Molecules bump in to one another…. unremittingly.

Kids grow up.

The weather shifts from high to low, and back again.

Plants lose leaves. Caterpillars put on wings. And clouds move across the sky.

The gears turn in clicks beneath the face of the clock.

Glad hands wave hello. While still others… sweep long goodbyes.

Just now you took one more breathe, or blinked, or moved.

It may all feel very much the same. But I can assure you, it is not. All the world and everything in it… is somehow changing all the time.

Sometimes we like it. Sometimes… we do not. Never matter. It all keeps moving about.  It is all new. What it brings… we do not know.   And so it goes.

“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”

 
 
 

(End quote by anonymous)

Aug 26

I like to cast… and now I can.


Tonight’s piece isn’t funny. I may have talked about this subject before. If so, I do not apologize. It is worth revisiting whatever the case.

As I write this tonight, I am reminded that today is the anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Yes, ONLY since 1920…. have women had the Right to Vote in the United States of America. (It was ratified on August 18th, and declared in effect on the 26th.)

The voting for men started here much earlier. Much.

Oh, I know there are people out there that are saying right now… “Oh, get over it already.” Well…. I will get over it….. when things even up around here.

There are an incredible amount of people who are still discriminated against in the United States. For race, for religion (or lack there of), for sexuality, and as already mentioned… for being a certain sex. To put it mildly… this really irks me. (Okay, that was putting it WAY too mildly.) It makes me scratchy as all get out. Vexed. Beside myself. Infuriated. Outraged. Cranky.

There. I said it. (Sorry about the fervent language.)

The Nineteenth Amendment had its early beginnings way back in 1848 with the Declaration of Sentiments.  A few years later, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and countless others joined in the movement. Fifty years later… things finally got the okey-dokey from the men in the House and Congress. Rubber stamp hits paper. Good sound.

Susie B…..Bethy C….and the rest of the big thinkers…… you gals ROCK.  I believe these women, and the subsequent Suffragists who fought the hard fight for the right to vote….. were as strong as steel. They were smart, passionate, dedicated and determined. They had a vision. Strong. Strong. Strong. Because of them, I now have the privilege to cast a vote in a free nation.

There are still people around who think women are lesser people than men. Well…. just recently….. GOP candidate Michelle Bachman said that she was submissive to her husband. Hmmmmmm. Maybe that really works for her somehow.

Reading about the history of the 19th Amendment is highly interesting.  If you get a chance, Google it.  The dictionary is a pretty good read too.  Tonight… I looked up the word submissive. 

And that is all I have to say about that.

Tonight’s photo is of a big screw.

Aug 25

The name game. But why?

As far as I know, we don’t name our Earthquakes. One recently occurred, with an epicenter in Virginia, and a magnitude of 5.8. The people on the news just called it a “substantial earthquake”.

We don’t name our Tsunamis, our Blizzards, Forest Fires, or Tornados. “Tornado Timmy struck Topeka, Kansas today.” Sounds silly really.

So why do we name our Hurricanes? As it turns out, that is a bit of a technicality. We don’t name the Hurricane. We name the Tropical Storm.  (I say “WE” like I am somehow involved in the process.  I can assure you… I have no part in this.)  Anyway….. if the Tropical Storm carries sustaining winds over 74 m.p.h., it switches to a Hurricane, and it keeps the snappy name.

Why the hubbub? As it turns out, a Hurricane named Irene is heading up the eastern seaboard. Irene, Irene, Irene. She is pretty close to South Carolina. I have a lot of ties in the Palmetto State. Hence, I am not very fond of this Irene. But all the worrying in the world won’t make her go away.

One of the really scary things about Hurricanes… is they only have a single eye. I want to know what happened to the other one.  Do they wear a patch? If they use an eye patch, do they talk like pirates?  Most of them are out over the sea… after all.

So far this year, we have had a few Tropical Storms / Hurricanes. They politely go in alphabetical order. In 2011, there have then likes of Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey…. and now Irene.

Who the heck names these things anyhow?  I bet the guy sits in a control room somewhere, pocket-protector in place…. glasses as thick as coke bottles…. works a 12-hour-day and only takes pay for eight…. has a Pez dispenser collection at home… yep. I bet THAT is the guy.

I mean… Hurricane Gert? (Blizzard Nestor hit Milwaukee with a vengeance…. Forest Fire Walter swept through Southern California for the 4th day in a row….. I think this naming of the Hurricanes is somehow intrinsically all wrong.)

Next on this year’s Hurricane Name List is Jose.  And with only one eye… it is just begging me to ask the obvious.

“Jose, can you see?……     …..…   …. By the dawn’s early light…..”

 

….. Ahhhhhhh……   Good night Irene.  Goodnight.

Aug 24

Cheap Flights… but good ones.

Most nights, when I put this piece together, I have absolutely no idea what I am going to write. I review my daily images, get some hair-brained idea, and proceed to talk about it.

Well, today, I had a specific “thing” I wanted to shoot and compose. I thought it would be hilarious…. it all “came to me” this morning while eating my grits and eggs. I even spewed milk out of my nose just thinking about it.

So this evening, I was out setting up the shot…. really working on it. Timing the sunlight before it set… wanting to get it all just right for the photograph. Snapping away… absorbed and involved…. concentrating….

…. and what lands on the same rock where I am shooting? This little fella. (No!!! This can NOT be!  I had crossed my heart earlier in the week and promised myself that I would not post another bug here… at least until the next spring thaw.  Under no uncertain terms!)   But no… no… no… Mr. Buzz shows up right in front of my lens.  And there you have it… that is how it goes.

About the time you swear off chocolate ice-cream & peanut-butter-fudge-syrup with whipped cream on top… a colossal  “super-duper-triple-scoop” gets delivered right to your table by mistake.

So, instead of denying this gift of gifts… I accepted it… welcomed it. I quit doing what I had been focused on, and moved over to this. Old Super Fly sat and posed for me endlessly.  It was sort of like Christmas morning…. or Disney World. Maybe both.

I am not exactly sure what kind of a flying insect this is….  maybe a baby Dragonfly (who knows?) …. but I sure did love shooting him… in this most unexpected & favorable encounter.

What is my point?  Today I am thankful for all the beautiful gifts around me… great and small.  I was truly delighted with his arrival on that rock.  I am grateful for the big things… like the wonderful people in my life and this beautiful planet.  And, I appreciate the little wonders… like mystery bugs…. avocado sandwiches….  and deodorant.   And never, ever, leave out  mayonnaise. )

“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.” – A. Montagu

(That is why… when someone “SEIZES”…. people say “God Bless You”)

Aug 23

Wonderful France. Not the country.

Daughter of one.  I did not know her mother.  I did not know her as a puppy either.

She is the mother of 13.  I was acquainted with her offspring.  Yes, for a brief eight or ten weeks I helped her to raise them.

Filled with loyalty to her humans.  Defender. Companion. Listener. Comedian. Athlete. Champion. Friend.

She is saintly to her sisters.  Those two little terriers boss her daily…. nip at her knees… bark at her toes.  Yet, she protects and looks after them.  Fearlessly.

Patient and kind.  Nice to cats.  Well mannered.

The Huntress of squirrels, raccoons, bunnies, and more.  (She has to take it out on someone after all….)

Snores. Burps. Yawns.  And more.   A Labrador Mix who does not care to swim.  Not even one little doggie paddle.

Here….. we truly have….. the definition of a good dog.

Frances.

Frances Eliza Rutledge.  Mutt Extraordinaire.

Now…. about her sisters….. the two terriers…..  I love them like crazy too.

“Things that upset a terrier may pass virtually unnoticed by a Great Dane” – S. Blanton

 

Aug 22

Fine feathered friends.

Every once in a while, I am really proud of one of my image “captures”…. unfortunately….. this isn’t one of my Quick-Draw-McGraw Moments.  It was a great shot of four Robins perched together.  You don’t see that very often… at all.   Unfortunately, with my camera, I am frequently a day late and a dollar short.  That is where photography is different from a lot of other mediums.  It is highly dependent on time (….unlike painting, or drawing).

But I like those red, red bobbin’ Robins, I’ll tell you. Nevertheless, they are quick and nimble travelers. They flew right off the handle. And then I snapped. Why, I do not know.

Tonight, I learned that the State Bird of Michigan is the Robin. The person who relayed this information (a Michiganite…. or is it Michiganian… Michiganoid… oh bother…..) ….the person was from Michigan. At any rate, they didn’t think it was a very good bird for the “Great Lake” State. They thought they should have a bird that stuck around all year long. Which one, I do not know.

As it turns out, the Robin is the birdish representative for Connecticut and Wisconsin as well.

In these parts, we are all quite familiar with the Cardinal. Seven states in all claim this mascot bird. Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Cardinal is the most popular bird for the aviary symbol. Most of the time, the male bird is depicted. Why? I do not know this either. In my opinion, the female Cardinal is much prettier.

I like the Cardinal well enough.. but it isn’t my favorite bird. I guess I am like that Michiganianiter.  If I could change Ohio’s bird…. I surely would.  My top three are The Roadrunner, Tweety Bird, and Foghorn Leghorn… in that order. I think Foghorn Leghorn would be a really good state bird for Ohio, despite his southern accent. You see….we have a lot of chickens in this neck of the woods.

Now that I think about it it… Daffy Duck would make a good bird for a lot of states.  So would the Loon.  And the Cuckoo… …. ….    This one, I DO know.    But I don’t want to ruffle any feathers… so I better keep my beak shut.

~~~~~~ ••• ~~~~~

In case you were wondering…. the Western Meadowlark gets finishes second in the Homecoming Queen Contest. Six states claim it: Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming. And the rest….

Baltimore Oriole – Maryland
Bluebird – Missouri
Bluebird – New York
Blue Hen Chicken – Delaware
Brown Thrasher – Georgia
Cactus Wren – Arizona
Common American Gull – Utah
California Valley Quail – California
Cardinal – Illinois
Cardinal – Indiana
Cardinal – Kentucky
Cardinal – North Carolina
Cardinal – Ohio
Cardinal – Virginia
Cardinal – West Virginia
Chickadee – Maine
Chickadee – Massachusetts
Common Loon – Minnesota
Eastern Brown Pelican – Louisiana
Eastern Goldfinch – Iowa
Eastern Goldfinch – New Jersey
Great Carolina Wren – South Carolina
Hermit Thrush – Vermont
Lark Bunting – Colorado
Mockingbird – Arkansas
Mockingbird – Florida
Mockingbird – Mississippi
Mockingbird – Tennessee
Mockingbird – Texas
Mountain Bluebird – Idaho
Mountain Bluebird – Nevada
Nene – Hawaii
Purple Finch – New Hampshire
Ring-necked Pheasant – South Dakota
Rhode Island Red – Rhode Island
Roadrunner – New Mexico
Robin – Connecticut
Robin – Michigan
Robin – Wisconsin
Ruffed Grouse – Pennsylvania
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – Oklahoma
Western Meadowlark – Kansas
Western Meadowlark – Montana
Western Meadowlark – North Dakota
Western Meadowlark – Nebraska
Western Meadowlark – Oregon
Western Meadowlark – Wyoming
Willow Goldfinch – Washington
Willow Ptarmigan – Alaska
Yellowhammer – Alabama