Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Eyes Have It

I love the pattern on this tree trunk, but this is about as close as I want to get to it. The vines have all been cut off at the bottom, but I don't want to gamble that they've been put out of commission. The furry nature of some of the vines indicates that they could be poison ivy, and that's not something I take lightly. Still, I do like the pattern and may try to do something with it in a quilt one day.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dog on High

Someone left this guy chillin' outside the gym a couple of weeks ago. I can't say that I think it's a good idea to leave a dog untethered on top of the cab of a pickup truck, even a parked one. This dog didn't seem to mind, though, so I let him be. I smiled, too, because he looked so much like Marburg, the wonderful dog we had for 14 years until he died two years ago.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

They're Cute, But Really?

Yes, if you write it, they might publish it. And yes, if you publish it, people might buy it. Meerkats are, indeed, cute, and actually somewhat resemble a group of imaginary animals I created about a quarter century ago, but really, a whole book on how to knit them?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Looking Back in Mourning

As I was driving home from the grocery store today, Harry Chapin and "Taxi" came on the radio. I was transported back to a morning almost 30 years ago when I was driving from my country cottage to the university and turned on the radio to hear the same song. I remember smiling and promising myself that should Harry Chapin ever give a concert anywhere even close to Charlottesville, I would go without hesitation, even alone if I had to. When the song ended, the DJ announced that their musical tribute to Harry Chapin, who had died in an auto accident the day before, was over. Rest in peace, Harry. I still miss you.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Intentional? Discuss!

This is a gift from a friend, not to mention my new favorite t-shirt. I've posted an essay challenge on Facebook concerning the intentionality of the typo. Intentional or not, with a typo or not, I love this shirt, card-carrying badass that I am.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dear Abby

Yes, I wrote to Abby this week not with a problem but with a solution. A woman wrote to her asking if loving to wrestle with her husband (wrestle as in wrestling not foreplay) was weird for a woman. I offered the suggestion of a martial arts class, judo in particular since it is a grappling art. I noted that I had started kendo at the age of 49 and karate at 53 and now, at 56, considered them to be my principal form of workout. We had two particularly physical karate classes this week, and I have the bruises to prove it. Sore? Yes, particularly the deep bruise on my right knee. Upset about it? Heck, no! Smiling, in fact, and quite energized.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Treading Water

Some days I swim ... figuratively. The water of the day parts and I move through it effortlessly, or I float atop it while marveling at the sky. Other days, like the last few, my legs must churn mightily just to keep my head up. I exit the water and dry myself off at the end of the day feeling as if I went nowhere and accomplished nothing. It is not the water's fault nor is it my own. It just is. At least there are no sharks.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Any Day Is a Good Day for a Cat Photo

Yesterday was my mother's 80th birthday. Both my parents made it to their 80s, and three of my four grandparents made it to their 90s. Assuming I got the right genes from them, I guess all I I need to do is watch out for motor vehicles and other "un-natural" causes of death. Happy birthday, and thanks, Mom!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Notoriety Starts with "No"

This is a wee little corner of the town I call home right now, just one little section of buildings as seen from the stairs of a parking garage. It could just as easily be Aurora, Colorado, which passed today into the same notoriety as Blacksburg, Virginia and Virginia Tech or Littleton, Colorado and Columbine High School. I would hate to see my safe little corner of the world become that frightening. Yes, shit happens, but I'd rather it happen elsewhere, thank you very much.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

So I Did Think about Posting Yesterday

As older son and I were cleaning handguns last night, it did cross my mind that I had not yet posted anything here. I thought about taking a photo of the dissembled guns and how I could note that I had finally become Ziva David without the accent or dark hair. But my hands were awash in solvent and oil, making me not want to pick up either of the nearby cameras. You'll just have to imagine it. As for not posting yesterday, perhaps I shall post twice today. My blog, my rules.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Oh, Deer!

This is the view outside my kitchen window a few moments ago. See the grey at the bottom of the photo? That's the sidewalk. At one point, Mama Deer was directly under the window; I could just barely see her butt if I looked straight down. Yes, they're eating some decorative plants, but that's the price of building a house and planting ornamentals on someone else's native terrain.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cracking Up: The Sequel

Remember the cracked mug from the blood services people? The sequel had good news and bad news. The good news was that I got the replacement mug in a timely fashion. The bad news was that it was cracked even more severely than the first one. My email-pal in customer services told me that the mugs are sent by a distributor, and they've had conversations about how they should be packed. She's going to have the distributor send her a mug so that, assuming it arrives to her intact, she can send it on to me. Stay tuned for the sequel squared.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lock and Load!

We went pistol shooting this morning, and my first shot with the revolver I got for my birthday was a bullseye. Most of the following shots were not quite as accurate, but I'm still pleased with how well I shot. Hello Kitty keyring? It holds the keys to my gun cases and trigger locks.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Kick Me!

Note the dark patch on the wall to the right of the hanging bag. It's padding, allowing me to practice kicking against an immovable object. I'm hoping that this will help me kick a target with my kicking foot in the proper position as well as to adjust the height to which I kick. Yeah, I need to work on my kicking, but I am nothing if not stubborn.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Does Size Matter?

How many loaves of bread would this zucchini yield? Half a dozen? More? Does a zucchini this big have the same taste and texture as a more traditionally sized one? Aren't there more important things to wonder about than this immense vegetable? Not while basking in the awe inspired by this giant, eh?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Straight from the Heart

One of my Facebook friends posted today about having to have her 17-year-old dog euthanized. My heart almost broke. Our human babies grow to be children and, eventually, adults, and much of our parental obligation becomes their own. Not so with our animal children who need us as much or more on the last day we have them as they did on the first. Needless to say, I've given my three animals an extra stroking or two today in honor of a Shiba Inu named Abby.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Just When Am I?

I think the big tree in the back yard is telling me it wants the hellish heat of late to give way to some autumn coolness. At least disposing of these downed leaves doesn't require raking; they'll get mangled and composted with the next lawn mowing. More things should be so simple.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I've been pondering points of view and how we perceive what we do or interpret what we perceive. Will this pondering lead to any grand philosophical breakthrough or statement? Probably not, but as ways to pass the time go, it's not a bad one.

Monday, July 9, 2012

More Cooling Off

I seem to be in finishing mode. Scully is lying on a grey mohair shawl I just finished. It will probably be a Christmas present for someone special. In honor of having finished two works-in-progress, I started something new. It will either be a table runner or a shawl. It might also be for me, but only time will tell.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

On the Level

I was reminded again today of a problem I've had much of my life, that of using the wrong standard by which to judge my own abilities at something. I look at the abilities of others, decide my abilities are not good enough, and get down on myself. The problem is that I look at others who are too far above me at the whatever something I'm working on instead of others who are an appropriate level above me. I may not have expressed that well, but it's my shortcoming to work on, not yours.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hot Outside? Think Cold!

It may be in the 100s Fahrenheit outside, but I'm thinking cold inside. The scarf sported by the handsome orangutan is the product of a knitting class I took in January and will be a Christmas present. Reverse psychology ... if it's hot, think cold. In that vein, I'm working on a zipper for an Icelandic cardigan.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Armed and Dangerous?

I was told recently that I have Michelle Obama arms. I take that as a compliment even as I think how out-of-shapeI think my arms are right now. For what it's worth, this is the first blog post I've done with Betsy, my tablet. She's named after my best friend in kindergarten.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cracking Up

The organization through which I donate blood or platelets gives me points for each donation. I recently redeemed some points to order this coffee mug, shown in the condition in which it arrived today. I sent the blood folks this photo, and a new mug will wing its way to me next week. No, this is nothing earthshaking, just good customer service. It made me smile and feel happy. Smiles and happies are good things.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dispatch from the Checkout Line

I was at Walmart this morning--I know, Walmart, but where else could I get both of the items I'm about to mention--and had unloaded my items onto the belt. Behind me in line was a mother with a boy and a girl in the five- to seven-year-old range. The conversation went something like this.

Little Girl: You're buying a lot of cat food. How many cats do you have?
Me: Two.
Little Girl: I have four, and a dog.
Me: I have a dog, too.
Little Boy: You're buying a lot of targets. What are they for?
Mother: People use those for shooting beebee or air-soft guns.
Little Boy: What kind do you have, beebee or air-soft?
Me: I have a real gun.
Mother: She has one that shoots bullets.
Little Boy: Will you let me use it?
Me: No, I can't.

Before I could explain that only his parent can legally let him use a gun, his mother says no, he wouldn't be able to use it.

Me: My two sons gave me the gun.
Little Boy: I'll get you a gun someday, Mom.

Spreading mayhem in the world one child in the checkout lane at a time. It's probably a good thing that I didn't respond to the "four cats" comment with "Four? That's how many guns I have."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Windmills of My Mind?

Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel ... Like a window on a lifetime, how I think or how I feel. Among the things I love to photograph are windows (from the outside or inside) and shadows (often my own). Usually, I can only shoot one or the other, but sometimes I get lucky.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Two things I never expected to have but do: guns and an Avon lady. The gun shown here is my fourth. If you've seen the movie The Rock, you know one of Nicolas Cage's great lines, "He's got all the guns now, sir." Around here, it's now, "She's got most of the guns now" because that's just the way it is after I opened this for my birthday this morning. What's more than a bit frightening is how much this looks like one of the toy guns I played cowboy with as a child. The Avon lady? Yeah, got a real one of those, too. We call each other "the other Jean." She helps me feel beautiful, which is not a bad thing for a gun owner to be.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

If I were in Canada today, I would celebrate with the local citizenry at one of the pancake breakfasts that always seem to happen on July 1. Instead, I'll do 56 kendo forms, one for each year of my life. I'll have dinner out with two-thirds of the men with whom I share a life; the other one-third will likely phone at some point. I may or may not open presents. I shall reflect on the six-month-old resolutions I have or haven't kept. I shall have at least one cat in my lap at some point and possibly the dog beside me. Throughout the day and year, I may or may not act my age. It's a new year, in my life at least, and one I hope to make noteworthy. Follow along if you like. The best is yet to come.