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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

The rain has stopped, the sun is out and I am on my dial-up, for a while at least. I have been kicked off twice, so I shall type fast. This morning I had a party line on my phone. Thank you SOOOOOO much AT&T, for this wonderful service.

I am working industriously on the book stuff. I have a printed manuscript and am passing it around the family for each to read and critique. It’s interesting the different things they each find.

Irritating Little Chihuahua has a new phobia. My mother purchased three recliners for her apartment and sent home the rocking love seat and reclining chair that she had to our house. We now have a leather couch, a sofa bed, a love seat, a huge old broken down recliner of my dad’s (I just can’t part with it) and my mother’s recliner. They are all in the frontroom although working their way to the dining room and it is mom’s chair that is half in and half out that is frightening the dog.

She seems alright with the chair being there and has even braved jumping up on the love seat. However, if anyone sets in mom’s recliner and reclines, feet up, the dog becomes a quivering mass of jello. She tries to hide behind my back, or forces herself into my arms, no matter what I am doing.

But, perhaps it is inherited. I hesitate to tell this story on myself, but what the heck. Last night, I woke up on the floor. Seriously! And, no I had not been drinking or doing any drugs. I do not remember falling out of bed. I just woke up on the floor, kind of under my table-matic, whatever it is that my computer sits on.

The worse part is, I sort of woke up and realized I was on the floor but that I could not get up. I believe I dozed off at that point and woke again and realized my arm was wet, so I reached up and moved my dumped water glass and went back to sleep again. I believe it was three tries before I got myself up off the floor. This morning, needless to say, I was really tired and slept late.

And, as if that was not enough, or maybe there is some connection, I dreamt that I was having a baby and that Severus Snape was the father.  (Sorry, all you not Harry Potter people, he is a great character, but I would not want to marry him.  Lupin maybe but not Severus.)   I was going to die after the baby was born and he was there, with his van, taking things to his house because he would be raising the baby. 

Okay, maybe I need to quit sleeping with my headphones on and listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at night.

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I grew up in northern Indiana and went to college and worked in Chicago for many years.  I have taken buses and trains to get where I was going since 1974.  I remember early South Shore train seats that were woven wicker and the windows opened because there was no air-conditioning.  Yes, grasshopper, I am ancient.

Master’s Daughter and I took the “new” South Shore train from the beginning of the line, in South Bend, to Chicago.  It was either, a two hour, one hour or three hour ride, depending on what time zone you were going to or from.  I believe in actuality, it took two hours.  They have air conditioning and bathrooms now.  And, during the day time, off rush hours, they have children; lots and lots of children.

But, first you had to park your car and put a dollar bill or change in the right slot of the box.  Okay, now we were a wee bit tired.  This is not rocket science and, between us, we have over eleven years of college.  We drove by the pay box, decided to park first (Yes, I know, that should have been obvious.) and then walked up to pay. 

sharon slot

After using another quarter to push the quarters in, Master’s Daughter pushed the last quarter in with a car key.  Then, we read the sign, “Use a key or the pusher attached by a cable to the box.”  OKAY, the rest of the trip should be a breeze, after learning about the pusher.  The result is the above laugh.

We were waiting with a group of people for the train to arrive, when a school bus pulled up.  The energy in that station raised by fourteen knots.  The elderly couple near us began to shake and we all headed for the door.  Frankly, I think the strategy should have been to let the children board the train and then walk to the other end for our seats.  We met someone, coming home that night, who was in the car with the children.  Apparently, it was not a pleasant ride.  Most notably mentioned was children playing in the bathroom.

And this is what we (and a sleeping chick at the Museum) looked like at the end of the day.

chicken sleep jpg

All the other chicks, in the incubator were sleeping laying down but this guy was standing up sound asleep.  My mother has done this a time or two also. 

Even so, Master’s Daughter and I have decided this “June girl’s retreat” really needs to be an annual event.  Last year, I went up for her Master’s Graduation.  This year it was for the Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.  We are now looking for something fun to do next year.

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Mr

The ground is saturated here, in Indiana.  This morning, on the local news, there was a picture of an SUV, in Indianapolis, being swept away by the rain.  It rolled and tumbled and was pretty much being demolished in the water that swept over the road.  Lesson:  Never drive over a road with swift water on it.  It is always deeper than you think.  Fortunately, the owner was saved before it started rolling.  But, it is wet, which also means I have no idea how much time I have on-line before I am kicked off.

We had company last night.  A dear friend, stopped by unanounced, on his way to Nashville, Tennessee and a Viet Nam Vets gathering.  We were so happy to see him and we ended up talking till late, so I am ready for a nap, and it is barely 10am. 

I had to show you a funny picture from Mr. Barlow’s blog.  I just love his blog.  He posts an interesting fact every day.  It’s like school, without the homework.  And, I love learning.  So, here’s a happy face for you, from Mr. Barlow’s Blog, The Theridion grallator, a spider from Hawaii.  And, it is also what I look like after a late night.

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I would have posted a new picture of my bag of worms problem but it has become traumatic enough that I am not going near that tree again.  Husband and youngest boy are set to go out to cut the four branches the bags are on and, I hate to say this as it is so cruel, but burn them.  The Internet advised stepping on them and that just doesn’t sound much more humane.

So, to decide the time of day when most of them are in their bag and not making a train track too and fro munching the tree, I have made a couple of treks out to the tree to see how active they are. 

When I let Irritating Little Chihuahua out the other night before bed, in the dark, I took my trusty flashlight to take a look.  I was fully expecting the critters, who are not supposed to like the colder weather, to be all fast asleep tucked in their bag.  I wanted to see how full it was.

Here is where I would love to show you a picture but I am so freaked out by these things that I was not going near that tree again.  The worms were all out of their nest, making repairs.  I only know this because Wikipedia told me that they do that.  What I saw was gazillions of wormy things crawling all over the outside of the bag. 

Now, I do not mind spiders, or just about any other bug or critter.  I’m not a girly-girl screamer.  I do not call for other people to smash things for me.  And, just about the only thing I smash is the black wasps, and their relatives, who make me swell up and stick a hypodermic needle in my leg.  I figure, it’s either them or me and so feel justified in smashing them.

So, the night that I saw these wormy things crawling all over their bag, outside of it, on my tree, I shivered, brought the dog in and went to bed.  I do seem to remember thinking to myself, “now that’s a nightmare waiting to happen.”  Little did I know.

About 1:00am, middle son arrives home and nearly silently went to bed.  I however, woke up, sort of, jumped out of bed, brushing imaginary worms off my arms and looked down at the floor, next to my bed, to hallucinate a bag of worms, complete with worms crawling all over the outside of it.  And, excuse my lack of punctuation skills on that sentence but I am not revisiting it to correct it.  I let out a yelp.  Middle EMT son calls me on the cell phone to check on me.  I ask him where he is, having no idea he has returned home.  He says he is downstairs.  I go back to bed.

Determined to:

  1. Stay away from the danged tree and it’s bags of worms
  2. Stay off the Melatonin
  3. Kill JCountry, youngest son, if he so much as brings one worm in the house or buys a bag of gummy worms, as he has promised to do, and put them beside my bed.

This is all so embarrassing and I may need to seek help for my Eastern Bag/Web/whatever worm fear.  Imagine this bag with a bazillion of those freaky little caterpillars crawling all over it in the dark.

worm bag

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Summer is officially here, along with the strange urge to pour poisons on your grass and kill things.  I suppose that some weed killers are not poisonous.  I have heard of pouring boiling water on stuff to get rid of it.  I had a joke here about just who you could get rid of but, from things I am hearing on the news, you do not make jokes that you do not want some idiot to actually do.  So, we’ll stick with plants.

dandelion

But, just look at this picture and tell me, “What’s not to love?”

These bright yellow flower heads brighten up any yard.  Didn’t you ever hold it under your chin to see if you liked butter?  I think that was why.  My chin was certainly yellow. 

How many hours did you spent, as a kid, blowing the fireworks style end-of-season head to watch the parachute seeds drifting slowly to earth?  Picture a chubby munchkin with pursed lips.  Do you want to take that joy away.

Dandelion means “lion’s tooth” in Old French.  This was due to the deeply toothed, lance shaped leaves, which are good for eating when they have just emerged from the ground. 

There is a whole world of information at Common Dandelion.  Where, I borrowed the above picture from, by the way, and thank you.

But, here is my favorite reason for loving dandelions.

74-dandelion

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We are having our spring rains.  It is the time of year when we have to trench away from EMT’s room so the water doesn’t pour in, and when our phone lines become party lines.  Irritating Little Chihuahua does not like the rain. 

 

She used to hate the thunder and lightning, and then I got a bottle of Valerian and gave her a drop on her tongue whenever she started getting upset over the thunder.  Now, she just hates the Valerian and doesn’t shiver over the thunder.  But, she still hates the rain.

 

Now, if I hated the rain, I would not take any more time than I had to in it.  She will ask to go out, and then stand on the porch, while we hold the screen door open.  She will stare at the rain, weighing her options as to how many raindrops will soak her.  If the number is too high, she will turn around and go back in the house to hold it a bit longer.  Sometimes she will move up and test the rain with her nose.

 

If the nose test is positive, then the head goes out.  If she has to go really bad, she will then move forward and go outside.  Now, is the part I do not understand.  If it was me, I would zip out there, squat, go and zip back in.  But, she will start sniffing the air, and then sniffing the grass, and then moving over two feet and doing it all over again.

 

I mean, you dumb dog, it took fifteen minutes to get you out the door.  You hide under beds to avoid your bath.   You once fell in the pond and didn’t leave the house for three days.  I mean, you know those awful pond monsters are waiting to throw you in again.  So, what’s the deal with sniffing for ten minutes in the pouring rain?

 

And, while I am at it, what is the deal with sleeping with your eyes open?  We are talking about sound asleep snoring, with her eyes wide open.  That is just too creepy for words. 

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I just love Crazy Aunt Purl, although I am a little miffed lately because she has had to cut off comments and sometimes there is  something I just want to tell her or comment to her and I can’t and that is why, like Crazy Aunt Purl, I would like to stab someone repeatedly with a fork.  In my case, and I would not doubt she would like to also, the idiot who was stalking/harassing her.

I mean, I do not think that was the reason Crazy Aunt Purl wanted to stab someone repeatedly with a fork, but it would be a reason for me.

Scroll down to April 15, 2009, on Crazy Aunt Purl and read “Just another day in the neighborhood.”  I have lived in semi-rural neighborhoods, small city neighborhoods and rural neighborhoods, but I have never lived in a big city neighborhood. 

I have always thought that city living would be fun to do for a year or two though.  You know, get rid of the car and the insurance and the repairs, grab a bus when you want to go anywhere, spend Saturdays at a museum, Sundays at the park, just walk to the neighborhood night spot and listen to some jazz or blues.

I have however, lived in apartments where I could hear the next door man beating up his wife (yes, I called the police.  I do that kind of thing.), or I had to go next door and  hold the new baby because the 17 year old nervous mother had no idea what to do to calm him.  

Now, our neighbors are dogs and that is not a commentary on their personality.  It is their non-human companions I am talking about.  We rarely hear from the neighbors themselves, it is their dogs that we have to deal with.  No one seems to keep their pets in their yards and dogs wander all over.  They all travel through our yard.  This includes the two Chihuahua’s across the street to the two St. Bernard’s two doors down the road from us, who own their very own pet, a 9 pound dog that hangs with them.  And, they leave piles for our Irritating little Chihuahua to smell. I mean, if you came across a pile of poop as big as you are, well—–. 

In her city neighborhood, Crazy Aunt Purl has a loud mother with children who suffer from a rare form of selective deafness (probably from all that loud talking), and neighbors who cannot seem to learn to shut their car alarm off when they open their door. 

In my semi-rural neighborhood, I have automobile owners who think it is cool to hang Confederate flags on their car, wear shirts riped out on the side so everyone can verify they have armpit hair and blast out “Watermelon Crawl’ from their mammoth woofers.  Then there is the family whose young child screamed for two years straight.  I do not believe that child learned to talk until she was five.

But, the worse are those who have dogs who bark all night.  I mean, literally all night long.  Some live like a mile away and I have no idea how they sleep through it, but once in  a while I have a neighbor who shoots dogs.  No, it is not me.  But, you can only be sleep deprived for so long.  Last night the barking was coming from three directions.  I felt like I was in a 101 Dalmatian movie with a dog telegraph going on for an emergency.

By the way:  Crazy Aunt Purl  has a book out and it is hilarious.

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