Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb"

I know that little saying is usually used for the month of March, but I figured it should be good for other times as well. So this time I’m applying it for the whole year of 2008.

January 1, 2008 came in like a lion, with very cold temperatures, strong winds, and 6 inches of snow so of course I’m expecting the year to go out like a lamb. (Yes, I believe all those little sayings, old wives tales, and even a few little ditties I made up myself)

But something seems to be very wrong this time. Roaring winds gusting up to 40 mph, weather advisory till late this afternoon scrolling across the bottom of the weather channel, 4-6 inches of snow expected, and the high temp. only expected to reach 21 deg. I don’t even want to think of the wind chill factor!

So what the heck happened? Where’s the mild temperatures, the sun, the peaceful end to the old year? I’ll tell you what happened!! Sometime during the year, the lion ate that cute little, tasty lamb. Gobbled him right up when he wandered a little too close. Stupid little lamb. Smart, smug, satisfied, stuffed old lion.

And so ends 2008. In like a lion, out like a lion.

Maybe we should change that original saying just a little bit. How about “in like a lion, out like a goat”. This little fellow is just as cute as a little lamb, and better yet, he looks like he might have a better chance of escaping a chance encounter with “the big hairy one”. And the weather would then do what it's supposed to!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Blue Skies Smiling At Me"

I used to sing that song to myself quite a bit, also sometimes out loud at the top of my lungs, just because it’s fun, ….but a word of caution here. If you don’t normally break into a loud song all of a sudden, better check around first to see that nobody is standing there with a cup of hot coffee in their hands. Ahhh, such fun memories.

Anyhow, I never really appreciate the words to that song until the month of December rolls around and we hardly ever see blue skies. I read somewhere that here in northeast Ohio, December is the cloudiest, gloomiest, dreariest month of the year. I may be wrong about that, (I doubt it), but on the slim chance that I am, I’m sure someone out there will be jumping at the chance to correct me in record time.

But today is not gloomy and cloudy.
Today it’s....

“Blue skies smiling at me”

“Nothing but blue skies do I see”.

Almost got blinded taking that first shot but...

Ain’t it grand!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Dreaded James Gang

You’ve heard of them. Jesse, his brother Frank, and the rest of the robbers, thieves, and thugs that rode from town to town robbing banks, trains, stagecoaches and generally causing mischief and mayhem and sometimes worse, wherever they went. The sight of the James gang appearing on the edge of town was enough to cause all others to tremble in fear, running to take refuge wherever they could until finally the gang were all caught and jailed or hanging from various trees.

The James gang is long gone of course, but over the years new gangs have always sprung up to take their place. And now it’s a gang of 8 or so swooping into neighborhoods, taking whatever strikes their fancy and claiming it as their own. A gang of thieves that uses coercion, intimidation and fear to get what they want, showing little or no regard for others or their property and scattering the residents into their hiding places to wait it out until the thugs have had their fill and decide to move on to greener, richer pastures.

Hearing rumors of this new gang and wanting to get proof of their raids, I lie in wait with my camera. Like all gangs, they can’t get along with each other and are not willing to share the spoils (no honor among thieves) but I did manage to get one picture of three of them in that nano-second when they weren’t fighting with each other. And if you’ve ever seen a picture of the James gang, you’ll remember that they are definitely not good looking, with their un-bathed bodies, dirty clothing, and ratty looking hats covering even rattier looking hair. But these modern day gang members are quite the opposite. All decked out in their finest colors when they decide to pillage, all wanting to look their best in case they get caught on film.

The Dreaded Jays Gang

Friday, December 19, 2008

Speaking Of Chocolate

Oh, c’mon, I know someone out there is talking about chocolate. If not talking about it, they’re thinking about it, or better yet, they’re eating it right now!! I mean someone other than me. I know for sure I’m not the only one that enjoys a nice little chocolate for breakfast.

So speaking of chocolate, first I’ll say that Hershey’s is one of my favorites. You know, the 8oz. super duper bar. The one I have on the night stand in case I need just a little taste before I go to sleep. Break off one or two squares. Okay, sometimes more than just one or two. I also have a fondness for Dove chocolate. Very creamy. But…….the very best, the absolute top of my list is the “TRIPLE FRENCH TRUFFLE” . (Yes, it deserves the capitals) This is the perfect chocolate.

A candy store not far from my house (too far to walk unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you’re looking at it) carries this creamy, smooth, melt in your mouth, piece of perfection. A store that my sister and I usually stop in after our little excursions. A store that I’ve been known to spend more in than the grocery store. Hey, this chocolate ain't cheap.

Anyhow, the other day while sitting by the window, I see Betty come walking up the sidewalk heading toward my back door. Making one of my snap decisions and deciding not to try to dash upstairs and change out of my robe (yes, that one) before she covers the last 15 feet to the door, because after all this is my sister and she won’t say anything about it, I let her in. “Hey, hi, come on in”. “Hi. I see you’re still in your robe”. So much for sweet sisters…..but all is forgiven in an instant because she was a sister bearing gifts. A box of “TRIPLE FRENCH TRUFFLES”.

Not offering her any because #1. I knew she had her own stash in the car, #2. I’m a selfish little pig, and #3. I’m still thinking a little bit about the robe remark, I wait until she leaves before I take my first piece. AHHHHHHHHHH.

OH NO. How'd that happen? Where'd they all go? What am I going to do now?

Hey Betty. Whatcha doing? Want to come over for a cup of tea? And on your way, since you drive right by it………………….

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What Are The Odds?

Since it’s that time of year again/already, I thought I would tell a little tale about my oldest daughter and the Christmas gift.

One year while roaming around the shops searching for something she would like, I wandered into a bookstore. Although I knew she loved to read, I had never bought her a book since she was an adult, but I thought I would have a go at it and maybe come up with one she would like. I love books, too. I can spend a heck of a lot of time browsing around in a bookstore. And I can usually tell after reading the first few paragraphs or pages if it would be something I would like. Not always, (I have ended up with a few clunkers) but most of the time it does work. In fact I try to do that with these posts. Try to grab your attention at the beginning so you keep reading instead of sighing with boredom while moving on to someone else. Maybe I should go back to the top and start over with “It was a dark and stormy night…” but no, it’s too late now, you’re either going to keep reading or you’re not.

So there I was checking out all the books, seeing a lot that I would like but not quite sure if she would. After looking around for a while trying to find something really different and interesting, I ended up in the back of the store where the books were just in a pile on a table. No best sellers here. No authors that I had ever heard of. Books just scattered here and there. Books that nobody else was probably interested in, and there it was. A book about Dragons. It immediately caught my interest (“Flydragon”? ). I thumbed through and loved it. All about dragons, no photos (don’t know why) but lots of great colorful drawings, lots of fairy tale and dashing knights info, so much fun, what’s not to like?

After debating with myself for awhile, “would she, wouldn’t she” I decided to buy it pretty sure that she would like it but on the off chance that she didn’t, I would tell her she could give it back and I would get her something else. I mean I knew she wouldn’t sit there and say “I hate this book”, but would instead just smile and say thanks whether she meant it or not, and she could always give it back with some excuse like “Oh I love it but I don’t have any room left on the bookshelf”, or “Oh I already have this one”. ( Well, she wouldn’t try that one because she would know there would be no way I would ever believe that cockamamie excuse, although she did come up with some weird excuses when she was a kid that she thought I would fall for.)

So, it’s Christmas. After much eating and drinking (sodas) it was time to open the gifts. When she removed the wrapping from the book, she starting laughing. Really laughing. Okay, she liked it! That was a relief!! Then I opened the gift she had given me and I found out the real reason she was laughing. Yep, believe it or not, she had given me the exact… same…. book. Now the odds on that happening with a book about dragons by an author that neither one of us had ever heard of have to be astronomical to say the least. To this day, I don’t know if she liked it or not, but at least it still causes laughter.

I course I can’t end this post without a little picture of her for all the world to see…. maybe not the whole world but at least the 12 or so people that read this post….. well at least the 6 people (family) that made it all the way through to the end.

This was taken when she was about 2 1/2 years old, and although she has her little party skirt and hat on, she does not look too happy. Maybe because she found out we were just telling her a little story and there really wasn’t any party? And although she tells me that she reads and likes this blog, she has never once left a comment. If this post doesn’t bring forth a comment from her, then maybe she is just telling me a little story………….

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Up, Up, And Away

While meandering around in blogger land, I kept noticing all the different styles and templates that were popping up. I’ve wanted to put a picture on the top of my blog as so many others have done, but couldn’t figure out how to do it. I thought about asking one of you out there but I didn’t want to appear any dumber than I already do, so I nixed that. Then I thought of asking FD#2 because she has one on the top of her blog, but then I remembered my previous post “Go Away, Don’t Bother Me” and thought, well maybe not. I was on my own.

After searching all the help topics on blogger help, and coming up with nothing, I finally noticed the word “layout” on the dashboard. Thinking that sounded like something I needed, I went there and was on “page elements” and stared at it for awhile. Not seeing anything that said “click here to add a picture to the top of your blog” (I need things spelled out exactly) I finally saw the little word “edit” in all the different boxes. Hmmmm, is that what I want? Clicking on the “edit” in the title box, a new box popped up, “Configure Header” Whoo hoo, I was there. Well, not exactly right there but I was a lot closer than I had been before.

After much going back and forth to my picture file, adding, no not that one, deleting, adding, nope too big, deleting, adding, nope too small, deleting I finally came up with one I liked. Only then did I notice that there was also a preview button that I could have been using instead of going back and forth to the blog itself. What a time saver that would have been if I had noticed it sooner. Why don’t they put BIG, RED, FLASHING ARROWS with a loud BONG sound on things like that?

Being extremely proud of myself (no, it doesn’t take much) I then noticed the next tab that said “fonts and colors” and thought I would check it out since I was on a roll now. Heaven!! I was in heaven! All kinds of goodies to play around with!! BIG letters, small letters, black, white, blue, red, a multitude of different colors. I didn’t know what to change first, so of course I changed them all.

Later, (much later), I noticed the next tab that said “edit HTML”. Checked it out. Wow, what the heck is that? Nope, don’t even think about doing anything with that. Get out of this place before you really screw something up. Stop now while you’re still ahead.

I did notice the next tab after that though. “pick new template” I’ll have to check that one out later, I’ve had enough excitement for one day.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Go Away, Don't Bother Me

Sound familiar? Men say this to women, women say this to men. Parents say this to kids, kids say it to parents. Whoever is saying it at the time, it usually only means that you shouldn’t bother them for a short time. Men, while they’re watching the game. Women while they’re trying to get all the things done that nobody else is doing. Kids, when they reach a certain age, all the time period, unless they’re hungry. And when these kids get to be adults, although they might not say it out loud, you know they’re still thinking it.

But this guy says it all winter long. And he means it. Don’t bother me. Don’t come near me. Don’t even be in the same yard that I’m in. From October till April it’s “get away from me, I don’t want you anywhere near me, and don’t even think you’re going to land on that feeder when I’m around”.

And who’s he treating this way?

Yep, the love of his life. Well, summer life anyhow. The one that, come April, he’s wooing and cooing, telling her how pretty she is, giving her the food right out of his mouth, and trying to get all cozy and sweet with. Serenading her with songs of love and togetherness. Trying to show her how thoughtful he is by helping her build a strong nest. Zooming in to protect and defend her from another male who makes a mistake and comes within a hundred yards of her. Trying to make up for the nasty, selfish attitude that he had for all those months.

And wouldn’t you know, she falls for it every time. Or does she? Is she just pretending to forgive him for the way he treated her? I’ve seen her sitting on the feeder eating but still demanding that he feed her too. I’ve heard her when she’s sitting on the nest, letting out a squawk just so that he’ll come running…er flying over…to save her from some unseen danger. I’ve seen her taking a bath and preening her feathers while he frantically flies around trying to feed two squawking kids. So, did she really forgive him, or is she just thinking, “Ok buddy, it’s payback time”.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Okay, Okay. The Infamous Robe

For some perverse reason some of you made a point of wanting to see me in my “wear around the house all day when I’m not going outside robe”. Why any of you would ever want to see this is way beyond my comprehension. Some quirk in your nature? Some little hint of voyeurism perhaps? When you take a stroll through your neighborhood at night, do you hope everyone else has their drapes and blinds open and their lights on so that you can see inside? Oh…I do that. So there’s nothing wrong with that, but I don’t necessarily want to see them walking around in their robes, as some of you seem to want. That’s the difference between us.

So whatever the reasons that are lurking in your brains, I decided to do as you wish and take a photo of myself wearing “THE ROBE”. Keep in mind that since I couldn’t stretch my arm out in front of me far enough to get a shot of anything other than my nose, I had to take this picture while looking in the mirror. And since I couldn’t use the flash, it didn’t come out quite as clear as I would have liked. The shutter speed is a bit slower without the flash and I’m not known for having the steadiest of hands.

And since I wanted to be squeaky clean for this event, I took a shower first and that is why the towel is wrapped around my wet hair. Also, just so you know, while I was taking a shower the curtain kept sliding down the wall. I have one of those spring tension rods and evidently the spring is sprung and the curtain kept sliding down, one time falling completely off and landing on the floor. That was fun. I’m just mentioning this part so you know the trouble I went through to get you this picture that you so desperately wanted to see.

Those of you who know me personally already know what I look like of course and will not be the least surprised by this picture. Those of you who think you know how I might look just by the tone of my blog (you know who you are), will probably not be surprised either. The rest of you….well, you’ll see.

With all that being said……..drum roll please

Everybody happy now?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Neighbor Comes a Calling

It’s been extra cold and very quiet around here the last few days. No snow to speak of (just some flurries) but colder than normal for this time of year. Don’t see anybody out and about except for a few hardy souls taking their dogs for their daily exercise walk. Or rather a run, trying to get back home and out of the instant face numbing wind as soon as possible. Days when it’s much easier and warmer to stay wrapped up in your robe. Is there really any need to change when you have no intention of going outside except to fill up the bird feeders and that's something that can be done in your robe if you quickly scurry in and out, checking first to see that no one else is around. I mean, there’s really no point in changing just for that, agreed? Fortunately those dog runners did bother to change out of their robes, although that might have been a bit more entertaining for us watchers if they hadn’t.

I did have one visitor come calling though. I didn’t hear the knocking on the door, but I did hear the scratching on the window. I don’t remember the one-sided conversation verbatim but it went something like this.

“Hi there. I’m your friendly furry neighbor who’s decided to pay you a visit. I know I look warm and fuzzy with my winter coat on, but it’s freezing out here. How about letting me in for a little while just till I get warm. We can have a nice little chat and maybe you can offer small refreshments.

How about if I move to this side without the screen. Can you see me better now?

Yoo Hoo!!….. Hellllloooo!! ….. Hey lady. Yes, you with the camera! I’m talking to you!! You do know that I can see you, right? You can’t very well pretend you’re not home this time, now can you?
If you don’t want to invite me in then how about handing some small treats out? What’s it gonna take to get a few peanuts out here? A little show of my acrobatic skills?

How about my Spiderman imitation?

Hey, this is a lot harder than it looks. Don't think so? You come out here and give it a try, and if you can do it, I'll give you the peanut!

Nothing?? Well jeeze lady, some fine neighbor you turned out to be. I’m sure you don’t treat all your other neighbors this way….. or do you? When you hear someone knocking on your door (or scratching on your window), do you always try to hide while peeking around the corner to see who it is, hoping they won’t see you because you’re still in your robe? Yes, I noticed that. Is that the reason you’re ignoring me? Are you embarrassed to let it be known that you’re still dressed like that at one o’clock in the afternoon? No problem, I’ll come back when you’re decent, if you’ll tell me when that might be. I mean, it will be sometime today, right? Right?”


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Laid Up For A Little While

Favorite daughter #4 will be stuck at home for a few weeks, which is no picnic anytime, anyplace, but if it has to happen, better in the Arizona sun instead of the Ohio snow. Or so she says. I did try to talk her into coming home for this event but she refused. (Funny that when I say her home I mean here, and when she says her home she means there.) But she does have a point. At least she will be able to pass the time in great weather, sitting in the sun by the pool, (also getting stung by bees and scorpions and other nasty things, instead of being here, being waited on hand and foot, being fed all her favorite foods, and being fussed over when she gets bored and cranky.) Okay, okay, so I’m a poor loser.

Anyhow… since she is usually very active she is going to be bored silly so she told me I will have to post something every day, so that she has something to read. Now this is no easy task for me. I’m lucky if I can think of anything to blog about twice a week let alone every day. And I’m not one of those people who thrive under pressure. It has the totally opposite effect on me. My mind is suddenly completely blank and empty. A vast wasteland of nothingness. Yes, more so than usual.

Any ideas I was mentally saving for future posts have completely disappeared from my head now that she told me I had a job to do. I warned her that if I couldn’t come up with anything else, I would have to start posting pictures. Pictures of her. And I would have to start telling stories about some of the things she did when she was growing up. She quickly suggested that I should post pictures and tell stories about her sisters instead. Much more to work with since they were the bad seeds, while she of course was the good one. (Her words girls, not mine, so if you’re thinking of picking a bone, direct it that-a-way and not this-a-way)

Oh good.… down, and since she probably won’t be reading this one for a few days yet, I only have a few more dozen to go. Piece of cake. But just in case, I am also open to suggestions. Help!!