Friday, May 31, 2013

Missing spring and other random thoughts…

1)  I am feeling nostalgic for spring today, thus the explanation for the pics I posted.  On Wednesday this week it seemed perfectly spring-like with the temps in the mid-60s, but on Thursday, it abruptly turned into summer with 90 degree temps and humidity besides.  Having lived in New England for more than 30 years now, I should be used to this precipitous leap into summer, but it always seems to sideswipe me and I don’t like it.  I suppose you can tell that I’m not a summer person.

2)  I think that if you keep the lights off when it is really warm out, it seems cooler.  I do a lot of sitting around in the “dark” when the temps hit 90.

3)  I am in love with a gorilla and I am going to post a link here so you all can fall in love with her, too.  Her name is Gladys and she is a baby Western Lowland Gorilla who was abandoned by her actual mother and is being raised at the Cincinnati Zoo by humans who act as surrogates and wear gorilla vests.  Eventually, she will be put with a gorilla surrogate.  She is just about the most freakin’ adorable being on this earth.  She is now older than she was in this video but still just as precious.

4)  Speaking of zoos, my daughter Carrie and I got a chance when she was about 10 years old to do a behind the scenes zoo tour at the Worcester (Massachusetts) Science Center (now called the Ecotarium).  At that time, they had two polar bears and we got to go into their den.  What magnificent beings!!  We were separated from them by a metal grate so got to be pretty close.  While we were in the enclosure one of them growled and I just about jumped out of my skin.  What a voice!  That day is one of the fondest memories of my life.  It gave me a love and respect for polar bears that has never gone away.  Seeing creatures (human and otherwise) up close often has that effect on me.  I suppose I am fairly typical in that respect.
5)  Greg has been on a week-long motorcycle trip with a couple of friends.  They circumnavigated Lake Superior, I think.  I will have to clear up the details with him once he returns tomorrow.  I don’t want to go on a motorcycle, but I do want to circumnavigate Lake Superior.  So I am a bit envious.


Monday, May 27, 2013

The things you see along the way…

I mentioned yesterday that I took a daycation on Friday out to see my daughter Carrie who lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.  Our intention was to view an art exhibit at the Smith College Art Museum.  But when we got down to Smith, we saw that it was not a good idea because it was Alumnae Weekend and there were many, many Smithies around and no parking spaces.  

It was a pretty crappy day weatherwise, but we decided to take a nice leisurely drive in the country anyway and to end up at Whole Foods in Hadley – a real treat for me.   After all Whole Foods is sort of like a food museum, isn’t it?  So it wasn't too far off our original intention.

Well, here are a few things we saw along the way…

We ended up on a road that lead to a wildlife sanctuary, the name of which we never caught.  We were  alone out there on the dirt road when Carrie said, “What’s that in that tree?”  At first I thought it was a bird nest, but as we got closer, we saw that it was this grumpy looking being that didn’t look too happy that we woke him up:

That part of Massachusetts is full of beautiful old barns.  Here’s one of them.

Before we stopped at Whole Foods, we stopped for a dish of asparagus ice cream at Flayvors of Cook Farm in Hadley, Massachusetts.  I wish I lived closer to this place as they sell organic vegetables and humanely raised meats and raw milk.  I am not sure that I would drink raw milk but I have a good friend who swears by it.  The regulations on raw milk are pretty strict in Massachusetts but it is not illegal as it is in some states.  It is controversial to be sure.

After I dropped Carrie off and said good-bye, I was sitting in traffic when I spied this bumper sticker.  It made me chuckle out loud and I, of course, got my camera out.  Around here, you see a lot of “Ilovermont” bumper stickers, but this is the first variation of the bumper sticker I’ve ever seen, I think.

Then I headed for home.  By the way, I love Vermont!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday…

Here are today’s prompts:  Vacation, Food, Sound, Texture and Anything.  And here are my entries.

I haven’t been on a VACATION for a while, but this Friday I decided to go out to Northampton, Massachusetts, where my daughter lives for a “daycation.”  Our intentions were to go to the Smith College Art Museum to see an exhibit there, but unbeknownst to us, Friday started Alumnae Weekend there and the place was crawling with people.  We opted for a nice ride out into the country instead.

The weather wasn’t all that nice.  It was drizzly and cool.  So we didn’t get out of the car until we reached Flayvors of Cook Farm in Hadley to have a small dish of ice cream.  Well, it is asparagus season here in Massachusetts and they grow a lot of it in Hadley.  Asparagus is one of my favorite FOODs, but this is the first time I’ve ever tasted asparagus ice cream.  Two thumbs up!!

Back home, we have huge azalea bushes in front of our house and this time of year, the bees are out in full force.  They make a great buzzing SOUND as they go about their work.

This is a piece of “driftwood” that I found in the woods near our house.  It’s not really driftwood, I don’t think, because I found it in the woods not by the ocean but I liked it and now it ornaments our front garden.  I think it has a great TEXTURE.

If there's ANYTHING I like, it's a dandelion.  They have really caught me this year.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Flat Pond Evening and five random questions…

Blueberry Island amid the pollen.

1)  What’s up with people putting stuffed animals in the back windows of their cars?  I don’t see that every day, but I see it enough to wonder if it’s a “thing” that I am just unaware of. 

2)  Here’s something I’ve been pondering lately.   Where do people stay when they travel long distances with horses?  We saw someone tooling down the road this week with a horse in tow and an Alabama license plate.  We live in Massachusetts.  That’s a pretty long way away from home if you are from Alabama.  I wonder where they would stop for the night along the way.  Some motels/hotels charge a fair amount to let you bring your dog along.  How much would they charge for a horse?  Of course, the horse wouldn’t be staying in the room but still…  What happens at night with the horse?  Inquiring minds want to know.
  And I know that someone out there knows the answer.

3)  How many of you are on Flickr and what do you think of the “new” Flickr?  While a terabyte of free space is something I can’t even fathom, it sounds like a good deal to me. Hey, I bet Walmart doesn’t even have that kind of deal.  I think that I’ll continue on as I have on Flickr and just try figure the new system out.  I actually like the looks of it.

4)  I want to know why sides have to be taken in the dog and cat debate.  Does loving one keep you from loving the other?  I think there are many of you out there like me who pretty much love them equally.  I think we should unite and put an end to the dog person/cat person argument.

5)  Have you ever read anything by Kate Atkinson?  I am a big fan.  I have read all her books (except for her short stories.  I don’t like short stories.   I’m not sure why.)  And I’m about half way through her latest book Life After Life.  This unusual book follows the life of Ursula Todd as she is born, dies, comes back to life and dies again in different ways…sort of like a British “Ground Hog Day” on a grander scale.  I am enjoying it a lot and would recommend it and her other books as well.  And, if you are a fan of the BBC, a few of her books have been made into a series call Case Histories.  Also, very good.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thinking of Moore, Oklahoma…

…and hoping that the people there can find something to be thankful for.  My heart goes out to them.

Thanks, Nancy.  I used your "scripted_4" texture when I processed this photo.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday…

Here are this week’s prompts:  Three, Hand(s), Fence, Cuddly and Sign.  And here are my entries for this week.

I went on the lookout for THREE things to photograph this week and for some reason these three stacked up cups just called out to me.

Our dog Olive, the pug, has one trick and one trick only.  That is that she can “slap five.”  We actually taught her to “fist bump” and to “give a high five” but, basically, those are just variations on a theme.  Here she is slapping Evan’s HAND five as she gets ready for her walk.  Well, she can dance, too, but that is no trick.  That just comes naturally to a pug.

A FENCE on Quaboag Pond in Brookfield, Massachusetts.

Olive, again.  She can actually be CUDDLY now and then when she is in the mood to be.

Don’t ask me why, but I like this vacuum SIGN.  Not that I like anything about vacuums or vacuuming but that’s kind of a cool store front and I like the wear on the vacuum sign.  Taken in Spencer, Massachusetts.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Green and white and 5 Random Thoughts…

1)  Spring green is the only way I can describe the way it looks outside my window.  Birds are singing and the sun is shining.  And the pollen is bearing down on me like a semi-truck. 

2)  Greg is off at a motorcycle rally for the weekend and I am holding down the fort.  Here are two things we don’t have in common:  motorcycles and photography.  I have absolutely no interest in two wheeled vehicles and I am pretty sure he doesn’t give a hoot about shutter speed.
  Maybe that is the secret to a long marriage.

3)  When Greg goes away for any length of time, Olive decides that his side of the bed is there for her to lounge around in and she makes the most of it.  That is, until it gets a little chilly.  This morning, she ended up under the covers leaning on me.  Dogs!

4)  I went to get a haircut yesterday but it seems my hair didn’t grow much since it was last cut.  So my hairdresser just trimmed it up a little around the ears and sent me on my merry way.  No charge.
  That was nice.

5)  I think this is so cool!  My daughter Carrie’s photo is one of the #FlickrFriday picks this week and is on the Flickr Blog. It’s the second photo, by the way.  Ironically, the subject is Glorious Morning and she would be the first to tell you that she is not a morning person.  Still, it’s a great photo and I am proud of her creativity.  Here’s the link:


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thinking large and melodious thoughts…

This is a photo of a piece of the large red maple that stands in our back yard. I love this tree.
  I love looking at its red leaves, its strong shadow and its powerful bearing.
  It is a giver of “large and melodious thoughts.”


Thanks, Nancy!  I used your Scripted_3 texture in processing this photo.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Happy Mother’s Day Scavenger Hunt…

Here are this week’s prompts:  Perspective, Golden, Bloom, Dark and Local.  And here are my efforts.

I decided to use this definition of PERSPECTIVE:  a state of existing in space before the eye.  We were down at our neighborhood beach on Friday and I asked our friend Bob to hold still while I took this picture.  Good guy that he is, he did what I asked.  In his sunglasses, I could see what existed in the space before Bob’s eyes.  I think that’s kind of cool.

This is a koi from a local restaurant Zorba’s where we go occasionally for lunch.  Now that the weather is nice, they open their pleasant outdoor area and you can sit next to this lovely koi pond.  I’m not a big fan of fish but I think these are very pretty.  He’s like an overgrown GOLD(EN) fish.

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.”  Most people consider the dandelion a weed, but I like its cheery yellow demeanor and love it when they turn to seed.  The dandelion is a BLOOM that I enjoy.

Here is one of the newest residents of our neighborhood.  His name is Maverick and he may be DARK but that doesn’t mean he isn’t sweet and friendly.  Welcome, Maverick!

We are so lucky that this scene is within a five minute walk from our front door.  This is LOCAL for us.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Apple blossoms, stone fences and random thoughts…

1)  I took a ride around town the other day even though it was threatening to rain because a friend told me how beautiful the apple blossoms were this year.  I think I got to them a little late, but they were still beautiful with their nice stone fences in front of them.

2)  The alarm clock that sits next to my side of the bed is five minutes slow.  This would not be such a big deal but it is one of those clocks that allegedly sets itself by the Atomic Clock so there is no way to change the time to make it right.  The alarm part of the clock stopped working before it started losing time.  The only real reason I keep it around is because the numbers are really nice and big letting me tell the “time” even without my glasses.  I just do the five minute mental math and am done with it.  Ironically, this silly clock falls back and springs forward as regularly as clockwork without any prompting from me.

3)  Speaking of time pieces, I can’t wear a watch.  There is something about my body chemistry that makes a watch slow down and eventually it dies prematurely.  I’ve given up.  But it has taught me a big life lesson.  And that is that I can’t control time.  It flows as it flows and it will stop when it wants to.

4)  We had a Red-bellied woodpecker at the feeder yesterday in all its glory.  What a beautiful bird!  But I think it has been misnamed as most of its red is on its head not on its belly.
  I want to suggest a new name for this bird.   How about Cool Fancy Woodpecker?

5)  I’m half way through the third Game of Thrones book.  It’s called A Storm of Swords.  It’s takes all my willpower not to lock myself in a room somewhere and finish it.  I am smitten.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Mind is Everything...

I believe this.
  So as much as I can, I try to think positive and grateful thoughts.
  It’s not always easy.
  Life is not always easy.
  But, to me, it is always best to look for the good in situations and in people.

Thanks again, Nancy.  I used your Sakura texture when I processed this photo.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday’s Scavenger Hunt…

Here are this week’s prompts:  Background, Spotted or Dots, Weather, Motion, Sweet.  And here’s what I have.

Here are beech leave in the foreground and the BACKGROUND.  I love these leaves this time of year.  They are like little pieces of stained glass hanging in the tree.

My glass gazing ball has a very SPOTTED look about it.

Here is the kind of WEATHER we’ve had for quite a few days now.  Clear, blue skies, temps in the 60s, not a drop of rain in sight.

A jet plane in MOTION.

Some SWEET fruit served at our annual Earth Day Pancake Breakfast that was this morning at the Brookfield Unitarian Universalist Church.  I know, I know…we’re kind of late but I think most of us think that it should be Earth Day every day.