Showing posts from December, 2021

Happy Holidays

 Gone for the Holidays.  See everyone next year.

By Request: Secret Service Man

  Run In Number One: I was in college and between classes with a couple hours to spare. Per my habit, I decided to walk down to the Memorial Union building which houses a campus food service area with large areas full of tables where I could get something to drink while hitting the books until my next class. As I got close, I saw a guy a few feet in front of me standing and looking right at me as I approached. Thinking nothing of it and assuming he was looking beyond me, I swerved a bit to my right only to have him swerve and step right in front of me. My attention caught, I looked up with a WTH look in my face. That is when he asked me what my business was in the Memorial Union today. I told him I was going to get something to drink and do some studying. He said no I wasn't and told me to leave. It was only then that I noticed the sunglasses and especially the ear peace hooked up to his ear. It was then that I remembered the campus newspaper from the day before saying President Cl

Missing From the Picture

 One more shot of the greenhouse from an angle I haven't taken before, from the comfort of the deck off the back of our house. The reason for me not taking a picture from this location until now can be explained by the vague circle like spot in the lower part of the picture. Until a couple days ago, a trampoline used to reside there. When my oldest reached jumping age, about the same time as her younger sister was born, my mom bought her a trampoline. It was one of those giant things about the size of a room with a mesh wall encircling it so stray children wouldn't go flying off of it. It was so big, for many years I had to go out to lift my daughter up onto it or off of it. With the configuration of our yard, there aren't very many flat spots to put such a huge affair and so I assembled it directly over our firepit. Less than a week later, a straight line derecho with 100 mph winds was forecasted as heading our way and so I drug it up to the deck and lashed it to the house

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Steve over at Shadows and Light posted a picture not to long ago of an airport scene that he had shot in which Google had imposed snow onto. It wasn't so bad that Google had artificially created snow but it was an indoor scene in an airport so was a bit out of place. But it made me look at what google has done to my photographs. I had three photos in which Google has created snow upon and while I remember taking one of those photos, I don't recall taking either of these. The top one looks like a tide pool along the gulf coast, a place I've visited many times in the past and I would probably take a picture of such an interesting sight but I have no idea what the bottom picture is about. Oil in a wok? I have a lot of pictures where the snow would blend in much better than these two pictures so it makes me wonder what sort of algorithm they used to choose these. Like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, I may never know the answer. 

A Double Funeral and a New Working Theory

 The inevitable (at least in my opinion) happened and two of the three jellyfish scrunched up their bells for the last time. The first one just disappeared and my daughter couldn't find him. He had gotten so small that we both theorized that he had gotten wedged into the filter media somewhere. He was pretty much written off at that point until the second one died. The bell shape part of it had grown so microscopic that it was nearly impossible to see. All that remained were four long legs and finally, the food stopped sticking to them and so there was no way for it to feed the microscopic stomachs in the bell that we couldn't see. I didn't rush my daughter to make any decisions but after a few days, the legs got stuck to the back wall and she deemed it dead.  On a side note, how one deems a jellyfish dead isn't as easy as I thought it might be. No pulses or mirrors in front of mouths to see if it still breaths. In fact, if all you can see is legs and those legs gently

A Big Blow

  Does a tree falling outside your bedroom window in the middle of a night make a noise? I'm not sure but if it did, I didn't hear it and was surprised when I looked outside and saw the above mess. With most of our leaves gone, the winds forecasted for the early morning hours really made an impact. Nothing to slow them down and I did hear the wind howling. Fortunately, it is in a part of the lawn that I don't mow anymore so there is no rush to have to clean it up but I reckon I will eventually just so I can get rid of all the debris.  Not shown are our two compost barrels that were sitting on a pad of cement behind our garage. My wife unfortunately emptied it right before last night so both were down at the bottom of the hill. One lid was on the opposite side of our house laying next to the street and the second lid is still missing in action. I walked around until I was chilled enough to have to go back inside to warm up without seeing it. Winds strong enough to blow a liv


 Donna W. said, " I would think he'd get in the house again however he entered originally." Crawling from the depth of some dream, I realized that the electric guitar rift from the intro to "Smoke On the Water" was playing loudly and really close to my head. What the heck? Why was somebody calling my cellphone at, I glance at the alarm clock, 2:30 in the morning? Then I noticed the caller ID said the person calling was my oldest daughter who should be in her room just around the corner. More confusion but I answer. It was my oldest daughter who wasn't in her room but in her younger sister's room along with my wife. I pat the bed behind me and ascertain that my wife was indeed not there. They have locked themselves in that room because apparently there was a bat in my oldest daughter's room. Two bats in the space of two weeks seemed like a bit much, especially since I can only recall one other bat in the preceding  decade. I suspect Donna W. may have

One Man's Wilderness

A while back on the long weekend over the Thanksgiving holiday, we decided to go on a local road trip and so I did a little google magic and found some places near my home turf that I had never heard about or seen. One was an apple orchard, another a creamery and a third was, I'm not sure how to describe it, a truck farm turned into a tourist destination, relatively speaking. It essentially was a hobby farm where the owners raised local produce and had seasonal activities to draw people in to buy said produce.  It turned out to be a beautiful day and we enjoyed our time spent at those places, all new to me. At the orchard, they had a barn with some goats and miniature ponies for the kids (and adults like me) to look at while the others were inside sampling the wares. Eventually my kids and I wandered into the barn where they had more pens, two of which contained animals that I can't identify. Anyone out there? A fancy bird and an albino kangaroo? But the highlight of the trip

Liberated From Earthly Toils

In the waning days of fall, I stopped down at a local dealer that sold lawnmowers and after negotiating a bit, bought a new lawnmower on order to be delivered sometime in February. Like everything, they were backordered but I didn't mind. Although water tight, I still don't have siding on my storage building for the lawnmower and the lawn had already been mowed for the last time this year by the company we hire, so there wasn't a need to get it any faster. But it showed up anyway, many months early as I was outside hanging up Christmas lights on one of the final warm days of the season. I ended up going over the entire lawn mulching leaves and getting a feel for it before parking it in the shed for the winter. It definitely will take some getting used to but I'm looking forward to spring and next year's lawn mowing season. When I put the above in my trunk, it always strikes me as very criminal feeling and so I always obey all traffic limits and signs... just in case


Earlier this fall to celebrate my wife's birthday, we drove to the urban jungle for an overnight stay and to visit some of her most desired places. In the evening however, we had some time to kill and after searching the local calendar, found a brass quartet playing in a church and decided to stop by. Although they were all very good musicians, the concert itself was unremarkable until for the finale, they decided to play a musical piece that I know very well. It brought tears quickly to my eyes but salve to my soul in a way. More on that later in this post. On the third anniversary of my mom's death, as I have done the previous two years, I opted to remember the occasion by doing something my mom loved to do and went for a hike along the river. My wife's schedule didn't allow her to get the time off this year and for reasons unknown to me, the local school system cancelled school a couple days early (in the leadup to the Thanksgiving holiday) so my two girls had time o

The Funeral That Still Isn't

  The above photo is a stock photo and not a picture I took of my daughter's moon jellyfish. She has really enjoyed raising her jellyfish and I must say, I've enjoyed learning about them too. Although it has been around five months, we've had our share of scares. My daughter monitors their water chemistry fairly often to keep it within the narrow bands they require and occasionally it has spiked causing fear and frequent water changes. But each time, my daughter is able to get things back in control and learn from the experience as to what caused the spike so not to repeat it.  Still, they have continued to shrink in size which isn't normal. My daughter increased their recommended feed to four times what she started out at and still they continued to shrink to just a fraction of their original size. Right now we aren't sure if it is the quality of the food or feeding method. If you overfeed jellyfish, they just excrete their undigested food into the water, I guess t