Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Little Green Frog

Cool, green, wet, silent.
Little green frog in the pond,
Soaking up the sun.

Golden eyes, slick skin
Diving through the lily pads
A frog in the pond


Monday, May 28, 2012

Pluck a Buttercup

  Do you remember picking buttercups when you were a kid? You'd hold them under your chin and if the reflecting color turned your chin yellow that meant you liked butter. Well, here's a cool article explaining why buttercups are so good at shining that yellow light on your chin:

Interesting. And buttercups are so happy. How can you not be happy when you hold that much yellow? They are bright, sunny and cheerful. I snapped a few pictures of buttercups recently and wrote a few haiku to go with them:

Pluck a buttercup
Mirror yellow on my chin
Yes, I like butter


Tiny yellow suns
I can hold them in my hands
Bright yellow beauty


Playful, yellow, fun
Buttercups sway in the breeze
Come and play with me.


Friday, May 25, 2012

I am! I am!

At Doodlebug's recent birthday party, swarming with 7 and 8 year old boys, I overheard an awesome conversation:

Boy 1: Who is Doodlebug's best buddy? Raise your hand!
Boy 2, Boy 3, Boy 4, Boy 5, Boy 6, Boy 7, Boy 8, Boy 9: Oh, I am. I am! [hands waving wildly in the air]

It was so cute to see my little Doodlebug being so adored!

There were also plenty of other conversations revolving around typical 8 year old boy topics like weapons, boogers, poop and various body parts generally not discussed in polite company.

A fun time was had by all.

And here's a picture of the cake. Doodlebug is rather fond of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and requested that his cake look like one. 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Meowing and Hissing Like a Snake That's Eaten a Cat

  Did I ever tell you about the time I was chased by a Bear? It was very exciting! And by exciting I mean, scary - downright terrifying!

Pshaw! you're saying! I know you are! I can hear it echoing around the walls of this blog like fleas hopping around in bear fur! You don't believe me!

Well, I was. I was chased by a black Bear. Bear was a black labrador who lived up the street from me. He was a very sweet, black labrador, who I got along with very well. That is, until I was mounted on a bicycle. I don't know what it was with that dog and bicycles, but I made the mistake of riding my bike past his house. He was in his yard and as soon as my bike whizzed by he took off after me like a shot! And it wasn't all wiggling tail and whining and pet-me-pet-me-pet-me. This was all foaming mouth, snarling, barking, ears back, I'm-going-to-eat-your-head, let-me-at-her. But I escaped and lived to tell the tale. Do you think it's a coincidence that I don't have a dog? My cat hardly ever chases me down the hall, meowing and hissing like a snake that's eaten a cat.

And speaking of run-ins with wildlife, did I ever tell you about the time I had a chipmunk climb up my pant leg. On the inside? That's a tale for another day.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Kudos to You, Mystery Bird!

When I was a kid, one day I found an empty bird's nest and brought it home. As I held it up to show my mother she casually mentioned that sometimes there are bugs in bird nests. And as the words escaped her mouth, the bugs began to show themselves. I shrieked and dropped the nest and when it hit the floor (and this memory may have grown and changed over the years) hundreds of thousands of squirmy little critters scattered in all directions as I danced and pranced trying to avoid them. They were those creepy, shiny-brown little lobster-shaped monsters that I referred to back then as penny-pinchers due to the little pinchers on the end of their front set of legs, but have heard referred to since as silverfish. In any case, ICK!

I was reminded of that the other day when Sweet Pea found a nest in a tree in the back yard. Fortunately, this one does not seem to be swarming with critters, but it is carefully encased in a bag nonetheless. A 20 pound concrete bag, covered in steel and welded shut. OK, that's what my mind was telling me to do as visions of squirmy critters rolled past at the back of my eyeballs, but really it's just a Ziplock back. It should be enough should a critter come wandering out. Unless those pincers are extra tough and manage to cut right through the flimsy plastic, letting out the swarm. No, no. don't think about it.

Let's talk instead about the nest. It is a Very Nice Nest. Whoever built it knew what she was doing! It is made of mud and sticks and bits of string. It's a nice size - a deep bowl shape and is filled with pine needles and leaves. Very cozy! I suspect it may have been robins, but it could just as easily have been sparrows, starlings or grackles. In any case, kudos to you mystery bird! (I hope she was done with it!)


Friday, May 18, 2012

Garbage and Other Detritus - The Possibilities Are Endless

When I take a walk, I can't help but look around me. I mean, who doesn't. But do other people notice the little things that I notice? The interesting bits of metal in the gutters? The cool-shaped rocks flaking off the sidewalks? The discarded feathers and colorful leaves at the side of the road?

I'm sure many people do. But do those people put that stuff in their pockets and bring it home? How can they not? That rock would make an awesome cover for a tiny book! That feather would delight the kids! That piece of metal, well, I don't know what I would do with it, but it's so cool! The possibilities are endless.

However, there is a line I will not cross. You won't catch me rifling through your garbage or recycle bin, and if I find a rock, no matter how cool it is, that is too heavy to lift, I will leave it behind!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Origins Of The Food We Eat

When I was a young girl, like many young girls, I was into girl scouting. It was all fun and badges and crafts and giggling. And for a couple of summers in a row I went to girl scout camp for a week. An entire week away from home, in the woods, with a bunch of girls, camping, hiking, giggling, swimming, playing, giggling, eating toasted marshmallows and even, get this, hunting.

Yes! One year we got up in the morning and were told we had to hunt for our very own breakfast. Can you imagine? A large group of 10 year old suburban girls who don't know a parakeet from a hawk, or a rabbit from a fox, or a bowie knife from a bow and arrow, out in the woods, hunting for breakfast! Inconceivable!

And you would be right. This wasn't exactly like trapping a rabbit in a cleverly built trap, or tracking a deer by following prints and spoor and letting a perfectly aimed arrow loose to bring down a 12 point buck. This involved, as you can imagine, a lot of giggling, and . . .

wait for it . . .

wait for it . . .

Hunting for miniature boxes of cereal hidden in the bushes!

Classic! An awesome time that I still think about today. What a great way to teach us about nature and the origins of the food we eat. (That's sarcasm in case you missed it.)

If only the hunter-gatherers of forgotten yore had it so easy! If the cavemen could have quietly snuck up on a box of Frosted Flakes, or bashed in the side of a box of Fruit Loops with a carefully thrown rock, think how different things would be today.

On second thought. Don't think about it too hard.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wing Bits and Fairy Dust

I was talking a walk the other day and noticed there was an unusual amount of butterflies around. These were dark brown with orange markings, about 1.5 - 2 inch wings and they were all over the place! I started counting them, but lost count after a couple hundred thousand. If I were a different sort of person I would know exactly what sort of butterfly they were and what they were doing out in such numbers, but I'm n . . . wait a minute. I'm exactly that sort of person. Why haven't I looked this up? I have no idea. Laziness I expect.

But, like I said, I was walking and from down the road I could see a butterfly approaching. It was moving quickly in a straight line with only a little bit of butterfly bounce. As it zoomed in I got a little nervous, after all butterflies are large bugs with antennae and many legs, even if they are pretty. But, not wanting to look like a fool I refused to duck and dodge for a mere butterfly, despite it's homicidal and suicidal tendencies. I stood my ground. And then CRASH! Ooof! The kamikaze, dive-bombing butterfly slammed into my chest, exploding into nothing but wing bits and fairy dust.

OK, I made some of that up. Really, just prior to the grizzly ending the butterfly veered off crazily. Apparently they have some sort of echolocation abilities, like bats. Either that or they have terrible eyesight and quick reflexes. (ie, they don't actually see me until they are right on top of me, but are quick enough to veer off prior to impact.)

And this happened several times. I suspect I may have been invisible and didn't know it.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Awesomeness of My Mother

As I've probably mentioned before, I was a tomboy when I was young - always outside climbing trees, exploring the woods, doing gymnastics in the front yard, playing kickball and playing games that involved imaginary giant ants. I had a lot of fun.

Another thing that was fun, on those super hot summer days when the sun was beating down, the sweat was trickling and the cicadas were buzzing in the trees, was playing in the road. But not just for the sake of playing in the road. No! Because in the road there was tar!

Tar makes a fine patch for cracks in asphalt. It also makes a fine diversion on a hot day - when the sun heats up the tar and the air beneath it expands, creating bubbles. There is nothing better than pushing at the side of one of those tar bubbles with your toe until it bursts and scalding hot water spits out the far side. Endless entertainment. Even better if someone happened to be standing on the far side when said squirting occurred. If I concentrate I can still feel the hot water on my feet, smell the tarry smell and feel the sun beating down on my head and back.

Sometimes these bubbles were so exciting that I just had to sit down in the road and check them out more closely. And as is the way with tomboys, sometimes they aren't too careful where they sit. I still remember those yellow shorts - the ones with the big splotch of tar on the leg.

And, either due to my own bad memory, or due to the awesomeness of my mother (I suspect the latter) I only remember my mother cleaning them, but not ripping me up one side and down the other for messing up my nice yellow shorts. She was (and still is) awesome like that. I try to do the same with my kids. After all, who cares if there is a stain on their shorts if said stain came from the simple pleasures of playing hard and honestly and without complaint on a hot summer day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Does it Have Thighs?

  Remember this recent post where I ranted about a tarantula with thighs? And how the men in the family chuckled and said things like "Thighs indeed!" and "Tarantula? Don't be ridiculous" and "It's not so big!"

Well, the other day while speaking with the hubster on the phone:

Hubster: What is that shadow? [He looks up]. Wow! That's a big spider!
Me: Does it have thighs?
Hubster: Wow! Yes, that thing has BICEPS!
Me: It's not in my shoes, is it? (I have a history of finding rather large spiders in my shoes.)

So, it is possible to impress a man with a large spider. You just have to catch him off guard.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Character, Fortitude and Incredibly Strong Shoulders

I was an art major in college for a couple of years. Why the heck I didn't stick with art and switched to business I will never know. But that isn't the point of this post. The point of this post is to reminisce about how incredibly tiring and hard on the shoulders and neck it is to be an art major.

As you may know, being an art major requires that you carry around some art supplies and some art work. And since an art major also needs to take non-art classes, you must also carry around a book bag consisting of about 140 pounds worth of text books.

It's also worth noting that where I went to college, the art classes were in the building farthest away from anything, across the campus, across some parking lots, across a road.

So, picture this, it's a cold and windy mid-winter day. Snow is flying at about 40 miles an hour. Art class is over and it's time to get to math. I pack my art supplies into my art box. I put on my heavy winter coat, my scarf, my mittens, my hat. I heave my 140 pounds of books over my shoulder (over one shoulder - I had to be cool). I pick up my art supply box in one hand. My other hand is reserved for my portfolio - an approximately 2 foot, by 3 foot leather-like suitcase for holding various art papers, art projects, drawings, paintings, etc. I heave that baby up and head out the door.

As soon as I step out into the wind, squinting as snow flakes sting my eyes and cheeks, my portfolio is almost yanked from my arms. The wind treats it like a sail as I struggle to maintain my grip. I slosh out into the snow. Despite the frigid temperatures, within minutes I'm soaked in sweat as I struggle to maintain control of the flapping portfolio. Of course, the book bag slips from my shoulder, but there is no getting it back into place.

My scarf comes loose, flapping in my face like a wild bird tethered to my neck. I slog across the slushy road, barely avoiding a shower from the cars flying past. I trudge through the parking lot as my arm threatens to pull free from the socket, my hands in a vice grip on the portfolio handle. My nose starts to drip forming icicles, my legs are frozen chunks, my feet are drenched, my hands - what hands? they are numb beyond feeling.

Finally I reach the shelter of the building and enter the warmth.

Aaahh! I will never forget those nice walks to and from the art building. They built character and fortitude. They built incredibly strong shoulders!


Monday, May 7, 2012

I've Heard the Stories

  The other day I ranted about what could happen if someone were to innocently put their rain hat on the wrong hook in the wrong kindergarten classroom. If I were that kindergartener (and I'm not saying I was) I would remember that day forever.

Another situation that I would think I should remember forever if it were to occur to me, would be being laughed at while on stage. Say a young child was performing lines at a school show and screwed it up. Say that the entire school and the audience consisting of every child in the class's parents, grandparents aunts, uncles, third cousins twice removed, neighbors and the entire country bordering us to the north were watching. And say that this huge audience burst out into hysterical laughter so much so that the child dropped to their knees on the stage and began to weep piteously.

That's the kind of thing that someone would remember, right? That would scar them for life? Cause them to fear public speaking? You'd think so.

However, something very like that happened to me when I was but a child. Apparently, while performing "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly" I said not only my line, but everyone's line. The audience burst out into laughter at my cute ineptitude. But do I remember it? Not at all.

I've heard the stories from my mother, my sister and from every child in the class's parents, grandparents aunts, uncles, third cousins twice removed, neighbors and the entire country bordering us to the north. But do I have any recollection of it? Nope! Either I shrugged it off, or it scarred me so deeply I've walled off the memory somewhere deep within my troubled mind and only a very competent psychotherapist could dig the memory out from the deepest, darkest recesses of my mind. I think that's one I'd like to keep buried, thank you very much.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Disrupting the Very Foundations

  Everyone has one of those terrible moments they will remember for their entire life. I'm not talking about truly terrible things involving death and dismemberment, but "terrible" things that happen to us when we're children that usually involve being laughed at, wet pants or some sort of embarrasing situation that as you get older, you can laugh at. But it doesn't change the fact that YOU WILL NEVER FORGET IT!

Say for instance that you are a very shy kindergartener. You don't like school because it's just too many people, too much that's new and too many rules that you don't yet understand. And say that one rainy day you enter the classroom, carefully remove your yellow rain slicker and shiny new rain hat and put them carefully on your assigned hook.

Then, say for instance, that the wicked, slightly sadistic, overly-bossy, everything-must-be-in-its-place, orderly-to-the-point-of-insanity, kindergarten teacher comes up to you and yells at you for daring to have the audacity to put your rain hat on the wrong hook!

Oh no!

The wrong hook!

The entire building is going to collapse. The rain hat has upset the perfect balance of the coat hooks, which will undoubtedly skew the coat closet. The repercussions will be enormous! The vibrations of said imbalance will tilt the classroom, disrupting the very foundations of THE ENTIRE SCHOOL!

Everybody run!

Get out while you still can!

This innocent child has PUT HER RAIN HAT ON THE WRONG HOOK!

Yes, if something like that were to occur it could scar one for life.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Laughter Follows Me Wherever I Go

  Remember this post from way back where I talked about my pan pants -those awesomely warm, yet ridiculously funny looking pants that I would wear around the house? Well, speaking of ridiculous, not only do I own pan pants, but I also own a Couch Cozy!

Now, you know all about Snuggies, right? Everyone had a Snuggie a few years ago. Well, in my opinion Snuggies have some major failings. You can't walk around in a Snuggie - first it opens, exposing your back (hopefully clothed) to the cold air, then it falls right off. And those sleeves are way too big - flapping around and getting into stuff like soup, batter, dirt, flames, etc. A Snuggie is really only good if you're sitting still. And, as you may know, I rarely sit still. So a Snuggie is useless to me.

I tried one on one of the rare occasions when I was sitting on the couch watching TV and it involved an incredible amount of shifting and squirming trying to get it to stay put on my shoulders. After each squirm, I had to get my hands back under where it was warm. Then a shoulder would slip off. When I finally got it in place I froze - if I didn't shift so much as a millimeter, it would stay, right? But really, how long can I stay frozen in one position? It's only a matter of minutes before a cat, or a child, runs across my lap, sniffs my hair or body slams me, and then it's all Snuggie and hair and flailing limbs careening all over the couch. It's not pretty.

But a Couch Cozy is awesome! I have no idea where I got this thing or if the name is its official name, or something I made up. I've had it about 10 years now I guess. It's like a blanket sleeper, but different. The difference lies in the configuration of the legs. Where a blanket sleeper has two legs - like pants, a Couch Cozy is just a bag with sleeves and foot holes (sounds attractive, no?) It has elastic bands at the wrists and ankles and a zipper up the front. When I wear it I look like the biggest, craziest, flying squirrel you've ever seen. And did I  mention that it's bright red? Yes, it is! There is no missing me when I'm wearing my Couch Cozy.

Child: Have you seen Mom?
Father: Hmmm. I saw a big red flying squirrel in the kitchen, but I haven't seen your mother (at least not that I'm willing to admit). Check the basement.

Its fleece, so it's incredibly warm. After about five minutes with it on I usually tear it off (much to the relief of my family) panting and lamenting how hot it is! But even better, it's got to be the single most ridiculous thing I have ever worn in my life. I chuckle just thinking about it. I giggle whenever I see it hanging in the closet, I chortle when I touch the fuzzy fleeciness of it. I laugh as I slip my feet into the foot holes. I guffaw as I zip the zipper up to my neck. I roflmao when I catch sight of myself in the mirror with it on.

And for some unexplainable reason, when I wear it, laughter seems to follow me wherever I go.