Sunday, December 09, 2012

Stinkin' Cute


Her default character is calm, content, and happy but Bella became eerily quiet last winter.   She knew she was missing something or someone. 

Who or what, and why?


She was missing Chloe, her Licker Sister of eight years.  I know it’s true.  And my heart was breaking for Bella as she was home alone too often.


But I was tired of dog work and

physically and emotionally exhausted after Chloe’s cancer.  

Nine months later,

I saw a Boston Terrier face on Facebook that made me giggle and swoon.


People made comments and suggestions that "maybe this is the one, Mary Moore Ferracci"…and so on.  Uh, shut up!

Aggravated by it all, I resisted for one day or three until

I lost my mind one afternoon in August.

Without thinking about it too much for fear that I would become reasonable and rational, I made a hasty and impulsive phone call.

I want!  (Do I? Really?)

Good grief, we’re having a baby boy in two weeks.

Jelly Belly Honey Pot will have a lil’ eight-week-old bro.

He shall be named RUDY.


Boston Terriers garner a multitude of nicknames based on their looks and characteristics during their lives and Rudy is no exception.




Mama, I'm having an awesome day!

Happy Gilmore!

Bella is playing with a Boston Terrier for the first time in four years.


She's getting lean and strong.



I guess you could say Rudy is a blessing...


He gets on my last nerve a lot.


That’s when I tell him, “You remind me of Chloe, your late sister!”

On the day we brought him home, we knew. 


She is with us again, in the body of a sweet little man who is

a gentler version of Our Dear Chloe.


How can anyone be angry at a face like this one?

He's Stinkin' Cute!


For several weeks, I felt like a new mother – always distracted and craving a nap. 

After all,

I am too old to be raising a goofy toddler.



Rudy is a good little man at five-and-a-half months, packaged in fourteen pounds of energy and happiness.


For him, every minute of his life has been a delightful surprise.

We laugh every day.  Looking for a good time with a dog that is low-shedding and smells like line-dried fresh linens?  Try a Boston Terrier - preferably TWO.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sleeping Beauty


She paused for a long, cool drink,

hopped on a hot rock,


and closed her eyes

for a while.

The sun’s warmth

on a Spring afternoon,

the distant drone of a lawn mower,


and a waterfall’s pattern of endless rhythm behind her

bubbling and uninterrupted,

put the girl into a deep slumber.

Ah, but I understand.


I would not dare startle,

backing away

silently and slowly

I whispered


“Peace be still.”

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The Great Blue Heron Challenge


My Spark Bird is the Great Blue Heron. For years I sought to capture images like this. And today, I could publish an album of my best Great Blue Heron photographs.

I’ve recently had a change of heart.

My love/hate relationship began with this bird when I lived in Maryland. Rinsing dishes, bored, I glanced out back through the window and saw the giant standing on the edge my pond. To see this majestic bird only a few yards away will make most anyone gasp. The bird is stunning but not so stunning that I was unable to chase the son of a bitch out of the yard yelling and cursing all the way. That particular heron cleaned the goldfish from the Maryland pond three times.

“Get your fat bird ass out of here and break a leg, will ya?”

Great Blue Heron sat on my neighbor’s rooftop and laughed at me.

Smaller herons visited my Delaware pond but weren’t successful there. The owl decoy and aluminum pie plates clacking in the wind kept them away.

Here in North Carolina, I've raised six Koi since 2005. They grew from four to thirteen inches and probably now weigh a little more than two pounds each. A good friend described them as puppy dogs and she’s right. Always pleased to see me, wiggling in delight, I talk to them every day, even when they are stunned, cold, and lay at the bottom of the pond in the dead of winter. In six years, there have been no perpetrators until last Sunday.


The perp found us. Did I freak out? You betcha. But I did race for my camera to get this snapshot from inside the house before I ran out there and raised all kinds of hell. They’re so tall, lanky, and uncoordinated it’s laughable to watch them try to exit quickly. They really need a slow gallop on a runway for a few seconds before lift-off.

For me, it’s been hell week, and also for my neighbor who lost all of the Koi in his small water feature.


My husband sprang into action and created a tactical combat zone for the cocky, arrogant Great Blue Heron who sat on the hill with a yellow eye on us, waiting for the coast to clear.

Great Blue Heron did not care about decoys or scarecrows.

He did not care about dense fishing lines stretched across the pond surface.

He probably wondered why humans think he’d mind stupid shiny pie plates.

He fished day and night, all week. I was very surprised to see him at the pond at 10pm and fly away into darkness.

Herons have to eat and I have a heron feeder in my back yard. I shouldn’t be so angry and wish to throw rocks.

Casualties are one smaller Koi taken away, two large goldfish swallowed, and one large Koi was cut and froze to death on the grassy outside edge of the pond because Heron had a problem. He’s unable to stuff a foot-long two-pounder down his throat. So instead, he tortured all of the Koi with jabs and scrapes and flung them around and out of the pond water for me to find.

My frustration grew and my heart was breaking.

I cried.


On Wednesday I came home from work to find this fat fella had been tossed. I brought a bag to carry him away but what I didn’t realize was that he was looking at me! I lifted him and saw him struggle to breathe so I quickly and gently lowered him into the water where he floated for an hour. I thought him dead and netted him but he would not have it! His mouth opened wide as if to scream, he struggled to be free of the net, and I joyously put him back where he belonged. He swam low, nudged his three pond mates, and I smiled.


Today, the Courageous Four are safely tucked in with a blanket pond net.

While I cried on that awful Wednesday afternoon I heard them. They landed not far from where I stood and have been back every day for their helping of Zick dough.

Three couples!



Banded lady!



Bluebirds of Happiness. My sunshine on a gloomy day.

Damn you, Great Blue Heron.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Photo Safari with a Vulture and the Law


All snug on the passenger seat, camera was charged and ready for my first Photo Safari in almost a year. Within ten minutes, I hit the brakes. A mirage, of sorts?

I didn’t leave the driver’s seat and let the car idle on a divided highway in a safe lane that served as a shoulder. While I snapped away, a Charlotte Mecklenburg police officer thought I was worth watching. Heh. He pulled in front of me slowly and made a California stop before a slow right turn, as an invitation for me to follow. I followed and stopped again on the wrong side of the tiny side street to get a snapshot of the most obnoxious male Belted Kingfisher I’ve ever met! CMPD officer parked his cruiser on the proper side of the road ahead of me, waiting for me to make another wrong move or to drive by to get my tag. Heh.


The cop completely ruined my outing. How could I concentrate on Hooded Mergansers while being stalked? I work with police officers and adore them. However, fuming and feeling more irritated than threatened, I left the scene and gave him no reason to run my tag. Truth is, I can’t break my habit of creating my own parking spaces in the wrong places but they are always safe, they work for me, and no one gets hurt. I see beautiful Hawks on dead tree limbs and wires! Illegal stopping? Maybe. Never illegal parking. On my way home, I mumbled something about cops, donuts, and too much spare time.

Later I returned to a designated parking spot and visited them on foot to find the whole freaky family of Black Vultures had moved the raccoon off the road. Vultures are awesome creatures that have an important job and do it well, although they’re more disgusting than I care to think about. I wish these were the lovely Turkey Vulture faces, for dear Lynne.


No apparent aggression. There are usually one or two guards. Then there is the vulture-style “changing of the guards” so everyone can eat.


“Uh, dudes and dudettes… lady approaching. Rev your reflux.”


It’s never a good idea to scare a Vulture. I backed up and thanked them for a great photo-shoot.

The safari ended in my back yard. The birds don’t know me or trust me like they did in recent years and scram as soon as I step one foot on the back deck.


Why bother repeating what I’ve already done? I have taken at least a dozen Male Cardinal photographs much better than this one.


I challenge myself. I want better, that's all.


Without a new, more sophisticated camera, my shots are boring me. So, why bother?


Ha! I don’t have the intellect or time for a more sophisticated camera. Excellent books I own on photography wait for me to read beyond the inside front covers. Will I ever leave the safe haven I’ve found in “auto” mode? I hope so.


It’s warm enough for them to dine, still. The weather today is all wrong.


I love gazing at my foot-long, nameless pets.



My favorite photo of 2011. A grasshopper.


Greet the most cooperative grasshopper in Charlotte, taken in August from my backyard beach chair. I’ll eventually frame this one.

Back to the law enforcement issue.


First responders are part of my biological family as well as my work-related family and I respect, admire, and give thanks to all of them. Perhaps this one CMPD officer thought I might need assistance. But come on!

Isn’t there enough criminal gumbo to police in Charlotte instead of stalking a blonde female in a red car who wants her Photo Safari mojo back?