Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Now That's One Horny Pony!

So I'm sitting at Cirque du Soleil recently with the family, waiting for the show to start. We had just finished munching on some delightfully sweet pink cotton candy and the kids were having fun with the long white paper cone it had been wrapped around - and by fun I mean poking each other in the eye and bonking each other over the head.

But then it got better - suddenly my ears were filled with song. Here are the lyrics:

Horny pony. I'm a horny pony. Horny pony, la la la la la.

Or something very much like that.

It took me a minute to realize that a horny pony was a unicorn. The paper cone on the forehead gave it away. You know, a pony with a horn. I giggled for quite a few minutes at that one.


Monday, June 25, 2012

How's It Goin' Boys?

And for the last photo from our recent outing (I can hear you sighing in relief):

And in celebration of the end of this particular set of posts, I've written a silly haiku:

Leaning back so cool
A sultry pose for a tree
How's it goin' boys?


Friday, June 22, 2012

Baring Your Roots

And yet another picture from that outing:

A tree uprooted
Baring roots to wind and sky
Awesome to behold


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Spiny Little Spiders or Fairy Nests? You Decide!

During a recent outing we came across this sweet gum tree. I'd never seen one before and found the prickly little seed pods intriguing and fascinating. They littered the ground and hung from the trees like spiny little spiders.

Dark and dangerous
Like spiny thorny spiders
Seeds ensconced inside

A dark, spiny globe
Full of trails and darkened paths
Tiny fairy nest


Monday, June 18, 2012

I Can't Think of a Good Title For This One. Make Up Your Own.

  Here is the first of some pictures from a recent outing:

Encircling the ground
Roots wrapping and embracing
A hug for the earth

A magic circle
Roots, bark, earth, leaves, breeze and sun.
Why not dance within?


Friday, June 15, 2012

You're Not Going to Wear Those Out of the House, Are You?

Every once in a while I drag out my Sharpies again. Remember this posts from way back when? You can do amazing things with Sharpies if you have the time. Since I don't have the time I content myself with the decoration of my shoes. Colorful, fun, wild:

And yes, I do wear these out of the house. My husband pretends he doesn't notice. The kids love it. I beam proudly as the colors flash in the sunlight and blind everyone around me with their stunning beauty (or something like that).

If you decide to do this yourself, keep in mind that even though these are permanent markers, most of the colors will bleed when you get caught in the rain, wear them in the bath or splash in puddles. The black stays put, but the colors bleed into the white in a very pretty, but unexpected way.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Birds Have Knees, Right?

We have a fan in our bathroom. The vent is on the side of the house above the garage. Every year we get starlings nesting in it. We've never been able to block it off because it's very high on the roof above the garage. So even if we were to get a very long ladder, we would have to prop it on the slanted garage roof. No thanks! I suppose we may be able to get to it from inside - you know, dismantle the closet at the far end of the house and squeeze up into the tiny hole in the ceiling. Crawl the length of the house on the rafters without falling through the ceiling. Get to the vent at the end and somehow block things off from the birds, without breaking the fan/vent. Sounds like a good time. So we ignore it.

And every spring we hear the thunking each time the mother bird flies in. I think it's her knees banging into the house as she flies into the tight space. Birds have knees, don't they? Then of course there's the chirping. The excited, hey-Mom-is-back-with-bugs! Feed-me-feed-me-no-me-me-me type chirping. She'll stuff a bug in a mouth and fly off. Everything is quiet for about 40 seconds, then the cycle begins again. I try not to think too much about the nest and what's living in it, and crawling around, other than the baby birds.

Well, this year, one of the little fledgings apparently fell from the nest. We found it skittering around in the garage, all bones and half-grown feathers and tiny peeps. After a few attempts I managed to catch it and release it out in the yard. And then of course, as is the way of things, the neighborhood cat showed up. The one that likes to eat living things. So, I caught it again and found a slightly safer place for it. Then we had to leave. I'm sure that as soon as we drove away the neighborhood cat found it, played with it for a little while, then ate it. But I try not to think about it. I never did find a pile of feathers and bones so I can continue to deny it. I can tell myself that its mother continues to feed it and keep it happy until which time it will learn to fly to safety. That's right. Sure.

But we did manage to keep it safe for a little while and got a few pictures of it besides. It was rather cute in an awkward, big-beaked, ratty-feathered kind of way. Snickers really liked it and even got to hold it for a little while.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Scared $h!tless (Having a Hissy $h!t)

I know, what an uncouth title. How vulgar. But really, very fitting. Our sweet little cat went poo in her litter box the other day. And apparently some of it stuck to her butt fur. She came clattering up the stairs, spinning and sliding across the kitchen floor, spitting and hissing. Apparently, something was chasing her. Something that was stuck to her butt fur and bouncing against her legs! "Meow! Get it off me! It's chasing me! What is it?!? It jumped on me when I was using the litter box! Help! Get it off! Meow!"

And if that wasn't bad enough, when we finally coaxed her out from behind the plants she was unceremoniously plunked into the sink, claws held down and had her butt fur rinsed! Oh, the indignity! When she finally got away from that we didn't see hide nor hair of her for several hours.

Poor cat. But you can relate, can't you? Don't we all have bad dreams about things crawling up out of the toilet drain when we're sitting there? Just imagine if something clamped itself onto your butt fur!

Note: Thanks to grandma for the second half of the title. Priceless!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Does Pinocchio Get Termites?

So, we visited the woods the other day - a park that has lots of trees, frogs, bogs, squirrels, chipmunks, turtles, a lake, boardwalks, paths and photo opportunities. At one point we found some huge trees that had grown up together and formed a nice space between the trunks about 3 feet up where we could stand for a picture.

Apparently I stood in the tree too long and was told: "Mom! Get out of there before you get termites!"

And that is an interesting situation to consider. Is that like ants in the pants? It doesn't sound good. I had a sudden empathy for Pinocchio. He probably doesn't have to worry about cancer, asthma, the common cold, diabetes and other diseases, but he does have to worry about dry rot, knots, wood borers and termites. It sounds very uncomfortable. But I suppose a little lemon oil, or maybe some Murpheys oil soap does wonders.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Muscles Have Memories

Based on the title of this post and the subject of a lot of my recent posts you may think this will be a rambling reminiscence of some point in my past where I fondly recount a memory about my favorite muscle. Well, you'd be wrong. (That's tomorrow's post.)

As you may know, I have an interest in martial arts. I'm currently taking karate classes with my family. Until recently, I was taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes. I've attended some seminars recently on American Kenpo and have had a little bit of training there as well. In addition, many years ago I was into Okinawan Goju Ryu. As part of the Goju Ryu we learned some weapons including a little bit of Arnis (sticks). There was an excellent instructor who had a lot of real life, practical experience and related training and taught us some great stuff!

Well, recently I attended an excellent seminar on Kali (stick fighting very similar to Arnis or Escrima). As part of the seminar we did some knife defense. And let me tell you, even after almost 20 years, my muscle memory was still there. Back in my Goju Ryu days we had spent some time doing drills against a knife attack. It was a lot of repetition - moving to avoid the knife, deflect it and get out of the way mainly. But as soon as we began working on this the other day in the class, I automatically moved the way we were taught years ago. I may not have remembered all the details, but my muscles did.

I ran into the same thing at a Kenpo seminar I went to in October where we did a little bit of defense against a stick. When the stick came down, my body instinctively moved the way I had been taught 20 years ago.

Granted, it wasn't the smooth, powerful, movements of a master or anything. Rather, it was shaky, what-am-I-doing, is-this-right, sort of movements, but the basics were there. The underlying instinctive movement that didn't require concentration (which allowed me to concentrate instead on other things, like - does my hair look OK? and What is that in that man's teeth?)

Muscles are amazing! And somewhat scary. I mean, my muscles have better memory than I do! I hope they don't remember the times I've abused them in the past! Now if only I could get them to remember all the katas I've forgotten from my Goju Ryu days. I would love to be able to do those again! And maybe, if I ask nicely, they can help me with my crossword puzzle.

Monday, June 4, 2012

That Tree Had a Feral Streak

When I was a kid I used to love to climb trees! We had three big maples in our yard and they were of three varying degrees of difficulty.

There was the 'Easy Tree' which had a lot of nicely placed branches for climbing. I could get high enough in that tree to see over the roof and get an awesome view of most of the neighborhood. It had good sitting branches and some great dropping branches (those that were perpendicular to the trunk and had no branches below them so you could hang by your hands and drop to the ground without crashing into other branches on the way down.) One of those dropping branches was just high enough that everytime I dropped from it I risked breaking a leg, but fortunately, never did.

Then there was the Wild Tree'. This one was a little more difficult to climb - not so user friendly. It didn't have quite as many nice sitting branches, no dropping branches and seemed to have more bugs. I swear the leaves were darker and the bark rougher even though it was a twin of the Easy Tree. Somehow that tree seemed just a bit 'wilder' than the other tree. We'd fully domesticated the Easy Tree, but this Medium Tree had a feral streak.

And the third tree was the Eating Tree. Not because it was a nice tree to sit in for a picnic, but rather because if you attempted to climb it, it would do it's best to chew you up and swallow you whole. This one was almost impossible to climb. It had no good branch to grip in order to get into the branches, just a single fat trunk branching off the main trunk. I remember trying to climb it and getting stuck. The tree actually ate my shoe and I had to be rescued by my father who was diligently mowing the lawn at the time. I'm sure he greatly appreciated the opportunity to take a break and pull my little butt out of that tree. But I'm grateful. If he hadn't rescued me I might have gone the way of my shoe, into the gaping maw of that tree, never to be seen again. Despite it's child-eating tendencies and disinclination to allow climbers, it seemed slightly less feral than the Wild Tree. Maybe it didn't have to be as defensive since there was really no way to get up into the branches to begin with and no one really tried.

I spent a lot of time in the Easy Tree and the Wild Tree. So much time that they became boring so I had to branch out (pun intended). I remember spending a day with a friend wandering around the neighborhood looking for other people's trees to climb. That was fun until I got my foot stuck in a neighbor's tree at the exact moment that a car pulled into the driveay. I managed to extricate myself before my face burned off in embarrassment and we slunk away, pretending we hadn't just got caught climbing their tree. After that we stuck to my trees.

But those trees are gone now, replaced by small, flowery, frou-frou trees that would buckle, bend and break at any attempt to climb them. As with most things in life, things change. Sigh. I miss those trees.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Prisoners Need Cards Too

Way back before the age of the dinosaurs email, there was thing called paper and pen. And sometime people had these things called 'pen pals'. This concept involved people separated by long distances who would write letters back and forth using paper and pens. Strange, no?

When I was young (10ish) I had a pen pal. I think we got connected through Girl Scouts somehow. But she lived in Australia and we sent letters and little doodads back and forth for a couple of years then eventually stopped. Then, when I was a young teenager I saw some flyers for pen pals at a greeting card display at the store. So I picked up a few and sent them off hoping to get some cool new pen pals.

Now, I don't know if the greeting card company was completely clueless or what, but I really think that what they did was just browse through the phone books of several other countries and randomly pick names. This is what I got:

  • A woman in England who had no idea how I had gotten her name and address. She didn't seem to mind and we sent a few letters back and forth, but it wasn't like she wanted a pen pal so things soon fizzled out.
  • A man in Switzerland who also had no idea how I had gotten his name and address. Likewise, he didn't seem to mind, but since he had no idea where I had popped up from it soon fizzled.
  • And the best of them all, a young 20-something guy from Australia. Seemed normal enough at first until I found out he was in prison! Yes, prison. He had 'mistakenly' killed his daughter, apparently in a fit of rage or something. Nice. Thank you very much greeting card company. Very responsible of you to match up a (too) young girl with strangers in other countries, completely at random, and for combing the prison systems for suitable pen pals. WTF! Needless to say, that pen pal was dropped like a hot rock. Wow!
To this day I am still baffled as to the point of that program. Did the card company think it was a good idea? I can see the executives sitting around a meeting:

Exec1: Why don't we do a pen pal program? People like pen pals.
Exec2: Great idea! We can put out flyers for people to request pen pals. Then they can send them our cards. We'll make lots of moolah!
Exec3: But how do we find the pen pals?
Exec2: Ah, just get some phone books and pick some names. We can assign them randomly. It doesn't matter. We just need to get people to send cards to someone!
Exec4: The only phone book I have from Australia is this prison directory.
Exec2: Who cares! Prisoners need cards too.
Exec3: Very true. And let's try to match the criminals up with children. That would be fun! See what other fun connections you can make.
Exec1: You guys rock! See to it!

Needless to say I dropped the idea of having a pen pal. And now, I don't even need one! I have you, loyal readers. I can blather on to my hearts content. And if there is no one out there reading this, well, I can pretend there is. Who will tell me different?