Friday, October 30, 2009

Shades of Red in the Face


Shades of red. I love red. This photo would be drab without splashes of red, don't you think?

The other day I thought, Gee, my available cash balance before the end of the month paycheck is $180. Extra cash! What will I do with it? My hair needs a cut and color, I need fitness shoes, some new workout clothes, and I could stock up on food for the birds. It was as if someone clunked me on the head and warned: You need to pay that $140 speeding ticket. How could you possibly forget about THAT? Dammit! The officer gave me a break and wrote the ticket for 40 in a 35 when I was really traveling along at 49. I’m thankful. I’m also busted and red in the face about it.

This all happened a week ago on my way to the auto dealership to trade in the good old black Honda Accord I’ve had for two years. It’s a wonderful vehicle and I would recommend a Honda to everyone I know if their buttocks can deal with its fit into a plywood driver’s seat for an eight-hour drive. Good-bye Honda. There is a pattern to this madness here. We trade our cars before the original windshield wipers wear out. I prefer vehicles in white, black, or red. Classic.


Water hibiscus is a shade of pink but it'll do. I can’t keep my eyes off red. Ever.


Fits nicely in there with hula hoops that decorate the garage walls, doesn’t it? Michael found this gem for me in Barcelona Red Metallic.


Parked at the grocery store pond. Is that cute, or what? It’s a Venza - a new crossover from Toyota with cargo space in the back.

Ya’ll are thinking: Hmmm. That car... Mary’s in a mid-life crisis. She joined a fitness center, too, and man, she has it bad. Well, guess what, folks? Mary is well beyond her mid-life and has already owned and driven an impractical two-seater a long time ago, just before she turned forty. Forty... sa-WEET!

Gina thinks I’m funny. My daughter has been laughing at me before she could talk, twenty-seven years ago. I don’t think there’s anything that brings more joy to a mother than hearing your baby, toddler, or young child in fits of laughter at something you did or said.

Early eighties, in the kitchen together after dinnertime on a regular day, there was Gina in her high chair and I at the sink. My wild search for a missing lid to a Tupperware bowl (lids flying like Frisbees across the kitchen counter) kept me so busy that it took a minute or two before I heard her explosive giggles at me on my mission. A pretty one-year-old with huge blue eyes and thick, wavy, golden brown hair rested her head on her dinner plate of sweet peas, as the entertainment was just too much for her little self to handle. When I found a mirror she cackled louder at the sight of her own reddened funny face speckled with sweet peas. That’s a day I’ll always remember. One of many.


A few days ago I took her for a ride in my new, red car. I felt brave enough to comment, “Gina, I think people are looking at this car. Or, are they looking at me?” She threw her head back with a belly laugh and I joined her until we were red in the face.


I was thinking of Christy in that Ferrari...

We took a Hip Hop class and a Zumba class together this week. At the end of the classes, there is a very good cool down exercise when you bend at the waist with knees slightly bent and feel the floor with the palms of your hands. Hold it for five seconds and feel the cool music. It’s a welcomed, feel-good stretch but I teetered a bit when it was time to lunge – oh lawd, humpty might tumble and bounce and how embarrassing that would be. When I look around during that nice stretch, I see buttocks facing the moon, sweaty heads and hair and red faces …and then there was Gina with her upside-down ponytail across the way and our eyes met. I knew immediately why she was laughing so hard. It’s that damned gravity. My facial skin was being pulled towards the floor. The force was pulling my cheeks over my eyes! I felt a strong urge to stand upright, put my face back where it belonged, and I laughed out loud.

Moments in time. Sweet memories.


Oh, well. Not Christy - but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Some Things Never Change

Life was much different this spring and summer, unlike the others with time for leisure. When everything seems hurried, lost, and off balance, isn’t that when we yearn for the familiar?


Under the scorching sun, find some shade under the willows and cool yourself. I was there, with them.

I went to my most loved, familiar place, but not often enough - that
pond at Beaver Creek Road near the shopping plaza. I wonder how many of my blog posts center around this pond? Quite a few, I know.

In June I learned the resident beavers were relocated and replaced with several large snapping turtles. The “association” wanted it to be that way…

I worried about my spark bird.


Since I hadn’t been to the pond in many weeks, I was anxious to know if Great Blue Heron was still getting its belly filled in that well-stocked pond.

Relief. I saw heron from afar...


As expected, heron was not amused to see me

and once again, I slowly and quietly followed,

forgetting about how hot it was that day.

Some things never change.


Once again, we played Peek-a-Boo.

Returning to Beaver Creek Road was a gift


just lower the shoulders


soak up the bird song

and giggle quietly at the heron


having lunch.


Red-winged Blackbirds sang to the heavens and raised families.


I was missing the Great White Egret when my nemesis bird landed before my eyes,


yelled loudly, flipped me the bird, and flew away in a second or two.

When I wanted to relax, he caused my blood pressure to spike, but that’s to be expected. He's a Belted Kingfisher. Ha. Ha.

Some things never change.


Have you seen a Green Heron dance?


I waited.

And waited.

And waited for the Green Heron neck extension.


I didn’t get the long red neck but I got this. Thanks, Green Heron.

All was well in my world

one day in July

when nature remained.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Amphibian Summer

…so I start off with a few summer birds. Ho Hum.


An American Goldfinch lands on a blooming Crepe Myrtle and I take a second look, every time.


Appreciate them and the color of a Brown Thrasher’s eyes!


A regal, young female Cardinal allowed me to stand before her. Soon, she’ll avoid very well.

Backyard birds learn that you’re borderline safe, especially if you cater to them the way I do. Catering at my house stops from early June through September. Occasionally I offer safflower seeds, nuts, thistle seed, and grapes. I let the birds live on bugs and berries while I fixate on hummingbirds, snakes, lizards, tadpoles, toads, bullfrogs, dragonflies, damselflies, and butterflies. Gosh, I love summer like a kid.


The hibiscus starts growing beneath the water surface in the spring and by July it has grown to over ten feet in height. Before I chopped five feet off the top, I had to tie it to the fence.


If I’m bored, I’ll lift a few pond rocks for excitement and I’m never disappointed. Five-line Skinks scatter in seconds. Actually, this one was found on the front of the house – not under a pond rock.

I know this is weird to a lot of people who know me or have never met me. Yeah, weird to lift rocks and everything else I talk about here today. It's perfectly fine. I think adults need to get smart with their children, show some initiative, and push their kids outdoors more often - away from their cell phones, computers, and televisions. These are kids who are often bored and unhealthy. Explore and walk with them. Is there child who would not be thrilled to learn about Green Tree Frogs? I'm just sayin'.


I formed an attachment to a tree frog this summer. Remember Sticky? Sticky was stuck to a red broomstick. It’s been about two weeks since I’ve seen Sticky on the back deck but I saw two baby Stickies here this week. A whole family of Stickies! Oh, damn. Is it Stickies or Stickys?

Bullfrogs. There’s something about their voices and their faces that tickle me. Oh, I laugh.


Bullfrog under cover – waiting for a grass skipper or (I hate to say it) hummingbird for dinner! They will eat ANYTHING.

There was once a very large bullfrog named Fergus. Please read about him in Paradise Lost, by Julie Zickefoose. I fell hard for that bullfrog - almost as hard as I fell for his story that Julie tells so wonderfully.


Above and behind the waterfall, back in the area shaded by Rosemary, there sits a small bullfrog, sometimes two, even today in cooler temps if the sun will ever shine again.


They sit upon a biological filter bag that floats up there in its container. See the back of its eyes?


That's Fergus.


To keep things simple, I named all the males Fergus. I think there are two of them and a female who remains unnamed.


Being the bullfrog stalker I am, I tiptoe closer... And lean forward on unsteady rock to focus through the grasses.


Fergus stares at me as I approach him, laughing all the way.


Ugh. It’s her. The Fruitcake Lady.

I love this photo

of a small bullfrog

in its eden of unlimited edibles,

all wet and cozy under the Rosemary.

Before Jack Frost.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Worth Mentioning


A Ruby-throated Hummingbird perched for a long time at the nectar feeder around dinnertime yesterday. A week earlier, there were occasionally more than two in combat about the nectar. I probably won’t see another until spring and yep, that’s the way it is.


All plumped up, they’re on their way. Now every time I walk out back onto the deck, the dreary quiet reminds me they're gone. Tiny avian noisemakers, they were.

In my last post where I was very bugged about stuff, I forgot to mention it was my third blogging anniversary. Truthfully, I didn’t remember it until it was three days passed. My blogging career started quietly and slowly, picked up speed first year, reached its peak in the second year, and let’s just say the third year had room for improvement.

A look back at archived posts this weekend had me thinking,

Did I really say that?

Oh, God, I said that.

Did I really think these photos were worth showing?

Did I ever proofread anything?

How do I continue to write about nothing, post after post after post?

My blog is like the Jerry Seinfeld show – the show about nothing. I remember writing most of my 479 posts and returning to some of them again on a brief tour of Mary’s View left me with a smile or a teary eye. A few of them made me laugh out loud. Again. Others were downright embarrassing. Overall, I think I’ve grown and improved a bit. A tad. Maybe.

Have you ever been afraid to click Publish because you weren’t certain your post was sane? A quirky post is a direct reflection of your character, you know. Did you ever worry that no one would get your point? What an adrenaline rush to click publish knowing the entire world might conclude you are a geniune fruitcake! The courage and thrill! That sick stomach feeling…

It’s been fulfilling, fun, and a privilege to meet and befriend so many like-minded, incredibly great people. I think you get me or at least I hope you do.

More backyard stuff is on the way.

Sunny days and chilly nights. Koi love it like this.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

What's Bugging Me


It bugs me that no one has seen my summer bug photos.


Along with a few other minor things that bug me lately, my summer bugs are here today.

It bugs me that I haven’t read “Pigeons” yet. Dear, sweet Susan gave this book to me because she knows pigeons bug the heck out of me.


In July, I placed the Pigeon book on the table in the sunroom.

I looked up and out into the yard as I placed it on the table.

I was being watched by


this Pigeon… Is that a sign? It was a weird coincidence that made me laugh out loud. Honestly, I thought, Go ahead and gorge on safflower seeds, fat ass, and invite all your cousins.

I’m continually bugged by devastation


and bulldozing around every corner.


Hummingbird Moths bugged me this summer. In total, I spent more than an hour and less than a day taking the best of the worst photographs of hummingbird moths… EVER. On the hottest day, under the hottest sun, I was persistent.


I’ve never had such trouble with hummingbird moths.


They were plentiful but they would not be still. I’m still bugged by it.

This summer, I was shocked to learn something new about myself. I’m still bugged by it.

Feeling physically over-confident and almost cocky, I planned to begin doing sit-ups and crunches like the police cadets do to bust the belly fat, while I watched HGTV in the evenings.
Flat on back. Knees bent upwards. Arms crossed over chest and hands on shoulders. I even dressed for the occasion. Deep breaths. On the count of three, nothing happened.

Eyes wide in disbelief, I laid on my back, staring at the ceiling. There was no pain, no movement. Something was missing. Like, my strength.
It was apparent that my core muscles left the building. I didn't even know they left... I wanted to raise the window and cry out, "Oh Lawd, the eggs dried up, now THIS!"

How long have they been gone? Two years? A decade? Hell, I don’t know.

I wanted a cigarette before the shock wore off. What a fool I am. No, I did not smoke a cigarette but I wanted to light one up again and lose fifteen pounds without trying.


So, I continue to wear out my walking shoes here along the road with iPod and hand weights – all to reshape my abdominal muscleless self. I can crunch now. My shape-up is progressing but I’m bugged about the work it takes. Twenty years ago I’d only need to dream of losing fifteen pounds and Poof! It’d Be Gone.


It bugs me that there are real people of all ages who jog up and down this hill in the neighborhood. I’ll take a brisk walk here in a month or two and hope for the best. Right now I prefer flat land.


I park next to this tree at work every day


and every day in August I’d stop and wonder what the bees were doing. They were busy at doing nothing much, or so it seemed. It bugs me that I never found out who they were or what they did on that same tree every day.

It bugs me to hurry so often.


Need I say more?


I can’t be bugged by a squirrel for long. Just can’t.


Thanks for the nice pose and visit, Common Whitetail Dragonfly guy.

You've been bugged, Andy Rooney style.