Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Theme Thursday: Blue

Color Me BLUE!

Here are a few of my favorite blue things:


This photo reminds me of the wonderful days I spent (some years back now) on the Caravelle beach in Guadeloupe (French West Indies). Ahhhhh blue water, tropical breezes.... Sigh.



From the Caribbean we come back to the States to Clearwater Beach, Florida - where I spent the majority of my youth. Constant worry now that this wonderful beach will be ruined by the recent oil spill. From the warm blue of water and skies in Florida we go to.....


...the icy blues of the Arctic. I took this photo in the summer of 2000. The arctic is absolutely amazing. If you ever have the chance, do go.


Here are some favorite blue flowers. I love these lush, unashamed exhibitionists! The sheer big boldness - What's not to love?

I love the rich blue of my birthstone - the Blue Sapphire....


...and I love the softer, gentler blue of AngelSpouse's birthstone, the Aquamarine.

Next, are a couple of "blues" that I really miss:


Since our move to the West Coast, I really miss this darling little bluebird. When I lived "back east" I was constantly entertained by their shenanigans in the birdbath near the library in our house.


And I can't forget THIS favorite "blue thing" - Hill Street Blues! Oh my! We used to look forward to this every week way back when it was still "the thing". Absolutely loved it!



And here is another beautiful blue thing: Her name is Riki and she belongs to my best friend. Well, I guess you could say my best friend belongs to her!

But my very favorite blue things of all are these jewels here:


This is my darling aqua-eyed girl: Sylvie.

Priceless!


.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Itty-Bitty Town Police Report


It's time again for the Itty Bitty Town Police Report!


* A resident along the local hiking trail reported a subject on the trail yelling and screaming, June 17. Deputies were unable to locate the subject.


* Chainsaw noise was reported in the area of a local campground on June 16. Deputies located an intoxicated ex-logger and advised him of the complaint. The logger agreed not to make any more noise.

(Wow! That was easy. I want to be a deputy!)


* A resident in a nearby town called to report two bears in his front yard, June 13.

(Dang! I never see two bears in my front yard!)


* Deputies responded to a report of trespassing on private tidelands and theft of shellfish, on June 13.


* A dog and his owner were reported to have been contaminated June 7. The dog and animal owner were "deconned." The dog was taken to the shelter for safekeeping while the owner was shipped out for an evaluation.

(Uh huh...)


* Deputies took a report June 11, of a civil situation regarding tax returns being deposited into the wrong bank account.

(How come nobody ever deposits a tax return into MY bank account?)


* A man sleeping along the road caused deputies to stop for a welfare check on June 2. Deputies gave the man a courtesy ride to the next county.

(Ha! Take him to the next county! That's the ticket!)


* A chicken would not leave a property on a local road on June 2. The caller was advised to call Animal Rescue or relocate the chicken.


* A local man called the Sheriff's Office on May 28 to inform deputies that he was not going to pay a medical bill because he did not agree with the charges.

(Hey! I might try that next time, myself!)


* A man stabbed a basketball that children were playing with along a local street, May 29.

(Um....OK... You can draw your own conclusions on this one.)


* A professional panhandler was reported in the town on May 31. When contacted by deputies, the man explained that he was only obtaining enough money for one meal a day and he was not a professional. The man also said he was upset because the people in this town used to give him more handouts.


* The Sheriff's office assisted the U.S. Coast Guard with locating a possible missing helicopter, June 5. The helicopter was located.

(Aw, come ON! How do you lose a HELICOPTER, for pete's sake?)



And that's this week's Police Report.
Believe me....You CANNOT make this stuff up.....

.

Theme Thursday - Triangle



This will never work!

Impossible, can’t you see?

Love her—OR—Love me.



.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Remembering Little Shirley
























Well, Willow has gone and done it now. She has put up a post about her Shirley Temple doll and that prompted me to go digging in my stash of old photographs until I found this one (above) of myself at 5.

I think my mother must have liked Shirley Temple (left) - otherwise, how do you explain this? Believe me, there is not now - and never has been - a hair on my head that curled naturally. But I must get in a small brag for my mother. She made all my clothes and was very, very talented.

Thanks to Willow for the memory "poke".

Dang, I was cute! (Even if I do say so myself.)

.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mumbletypeg: A Magpie Tale


Sadie walked down the town’s dusty main street wiping sweat from her forehead. It was hot. Hotter than the hinges of hell, Johnny Jacobs used to say before he got religion and didn’t swear anymore. Not even her light cotton sundress hanging loosely on her spare frame gave relief from the heat.


She passed the old clapboard church; now more gray than white. The organ was wailing away and the high-pitched off-key singing signaled that Mrs. Whittaker was at her post practicing for her usual Sunday assault on the good people of Morgansville just as she had done every Sunday for the past 40 years.


Two little girls were swinging on a tire swing in old Mr. Phillips yard next door. Sadie guessed maybe they were his granddaughters. They were both beyond dirty in their coveralls and bare feet. Sadie smiled at them.


She continued walking toward the old general store and wondering why on earth she had come back here even though she knew. Her hand, deep within her pocket, held the reason. She fingered the smooth-worn wooden handle as she walked, careful to keep the blade inside it.


What would Raymond say when she took it from her pocket and handed it to him? She remembered how she had coveted the thing because it had belonged to Raymond. And she remembered how she got it.


She had been watching the action one afternoon when Raymond and Johnny Jacobs and two or three other town boys were behind the feed store playing mumbletypeg and betting on the outcome – a serious sin in Morgansville. Raymond had proceeded to bankrupt each one in turn and had just wiped Johnny out of his entire fortune of three dollars and thirty-two cents when Preacher turned the corner and saw them.


Boys scattered in every direction imaginable. Johnny disappeared inside the feed store where his daddy worked and Raymond, without so much as a howdy-do, walked over to Sadie, put his arm around her waist, handed her the knife and told her to keep it for him as he ferried her – and himself – confidently away from the scene and out of Preacher's reach.


Sadie was smitten.


Then life happened. And now she was back, the knife in her hand and her hand deep in her pocket, walking determinedly toward the general store that had become Raymond’s after his aunt Nilla died.


She stopped at the screen door. My god. The place hadn’t changed a bit. She put her hand to her forehead and peered in. A couple of flies buzzed on the inside of the screen and made their escape as she opened the door and stepped in. A ceiling fan whirred and clicked overhead as though making a fuss would convince of its value in alleviating the heat.


“May I help you?” A woman of about thirty had come from the back room to assist her customer.


“I – I used to live here. I was a friend of Raymond’s.” Sadie clutched the knife nervously. “Does he still own the store? I mean…Is he here?”


The woman quietly returned to the back room for a moment and Sadie could hear her speaking to someone. “A friend of yours,” Sadie heard her say.


The woman emerged again, gently pushing a wheelchair in which sat Raymond; Sadie’s wonderful Raymond who could run faster than anyone in the county and who could melt your heart with his smile.


Only this Raymond didn’t smile. He just stared at nothing. Nothing at all.


Sadie was frozen in place. She wanted to run, but could not. She wanted to stay but should not. Would not. Oh, why had she come? Life happens! You can’t go home again. Ever.


She knelt in front of the wheelchair and took Raymond’s hand. “Ray? It’s Sadie.” She looked him in the eyes. He looked past her to somewhere only he knew. She opened his hand and laid the knife on his palm and then closed his fingers around it.


“I brought you something. Remember this?” She looked from the motionless Raymond to the woman who only shook her head.


Sadie stood and then walked to the door. She turned one last time and for just one split second she was sure she had seen Ray look back at her. She would believe he looked at her. She would believe he smiled.



-0-



(This is my first humble offering for the Magpie Tales. Go see others. You'll be glad you did.)


In Camera


Bunny-Napped!



Benny the Bunny has been in camera (in more ways than one) for the past week. Benny was bunny-napped here in Itty Bitty Town approximately a week ago. This unspeakable event made the front page of the Itty Bitty Town Newspaper where they spoke on and on about it.

It seems that Benny left a note upon his "leaving" that said he would be gone for a few days. He even signed the note himself! (Itty Bitty Town is not without its talent, I can tell you!)

This week, Benny made the front page once again - along with his photo - under the headline "Bunny Returns!" The bunny-napper had, apparently, groomed him to a fare-thee-well and, perhaps reluctantly, finally returned him to his hutch where he has since been receiving extra treats in addition to the day-old veggies he regularly receives from a nearby local market.

Meanwhile, for other news, we turn now to the:


* Five frames of Beehives - holding an estimated 10,000 honeybees were reported stolen from a local residence on the evening of June 11th. Officers said the owner, a 76-year-old man, said they were worth about $150. There were no suspects.


* A 2007 Lexus driven by a 59-year-old Phoenix woman collided with a 2005 Nissan pickup driven by a 30-year-old Westport, WA man. Officers say the Lexus was backing up and rammed the Nissan when it was still in its parking spot. The woman was cited for "unsafe backing" and released.

(Yeah! Unsafe backing! That's it!)


* Harrassment charges were brought against a 51-year-old local man. Angry at being discharged from the hospital against his will, the man reportedly phoned police and said he was at the nearby grocery store and intended to heave a brick through the store window. They arrived moments later to find him with brick in hand, window intact. He was arrested without incident and jailed.

(Sounds like the poor guy should have been taken back to the hospital)


* The local School of Massage reportedly incurred about $100 in damages sometime in the early morning hours of June 8, said police. The owner told them a bag of peat moss had been torn open and dragged across the parking lot and a box of strawberries had been strewn about as well. There were no suspects.

(Well, this town is known to have a few bandits running around loose. Could have been one of those if you are asking me.....)



That's my story....


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Home!

At last.
Just home.
Safe.
Tired.
Happy to be here.

AngelMay

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Getting Closer!

Getting closer and closer to home.

This morning, as soon as we began our drive I spied this little fellow:


Seems like he's more legs than anything else. He reminds me of the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz.

We had a really pleasant early drive on smooth, straight roads in a valley between mountains. Just the way I like it. Along the way I snapped pictures of snow-capped mountains in the distance...


...and what I call "peek-a-boo" mountains peeping over the tops of the lower, green hills:



And almost the whole morning we drove along the Clark Fork river:


This was reassuring to me because it meant we were DOWN. On the ground. At water level.


And we were not going to fall off a thousand foot drop.

We saw some interesting exposed rock:


And then.... we stopped at a rest area and saw this little guy:


Not certain what he is. I'm thinking maybe a ground squirrel, but we couldn't get near enough to them. They had rather short tails and legs. And when they decided to run - they were FAST!


I guess no AngelMay post would be complete without at least one critter sighting.

Another nice picture of that reassuring river...


....before we saw signs announcing "Chain-up Area" and I knew we were in trouble. Trucks "chain up" before a long steep climb...

Then we saw this:


...and the next thing I knew we were careening DOWN the other side of the hard climb with me in the passenger seat leaning left - as though that would somehow keep the RV from sliding to the right and off the highway into the tree-speared abyss below.

We lived through two of these downhill please-check-your-brakes and runaway-truck-exit nightmares before finally reaching Coeur D'Alene.

We are now parked. And if not for the Siren Song of home.... I might never un-park again. :)

At least we are back in the Pacific Time Zone. Hooray!

White-knuckled,

AngelMay

PS - No wifi in tomorrow's RV park so this is sign-off until we reach home.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Push West Continues

We began our drive this morning with me trying to take a photo of some kind of African-looking deer-like creature we believe was imported into the US (for reasons I would probably rather not know about). It's a beautiful little thing.

If I held even the most minute belief in astrology I would believe my stars and planets were just out of alignment. In an effort to capture these little creatures, I took photo after photo of blurry grass, blurry fence posts, blurry sky, blurry rocks, and blurry trees.

I finally got a long shot of a group of them grazing. I have cropped this photo in hopes that it will, at least, be somewhat viewable:


I think, however, that I didn't really get close enough for anyone to tell exactly what they are.

I must confess here and now that I was wrong about the red-winged blackbird. Even though they no longer lined our way along the roadside, I have still seen a few even at this elevation and they remain my favorite bird here in the west.

Billings, Montana is not very pretty. Sorry, Billings lovers. I have to call 'em as I see 'em. Billings (and surrounds) seems to be mostly oil refineries and railroad yards.

However, Sheridan, Wyoming (which we passed through yesterday) was a gorgeous-looking place... all tucked neatly into a little river valley between beautiful hills.

One thing I've noticed on my travels is this:


Throughout the USA, farms always seem the same. There are acres and acres of fertile fields surrounding a little clump of trees, in the midst of which you will find a neat, white farm house. Montana, it seems, is no exception.

Seems like it would be great living on a farm. Working on one, of course, is another story altogether.

Today, we saw Montana between Hardin and Butte. And (almost) everywhere you look - it's beautiful:




I wonder what it's like living amidst all this beauty...


It must be fantastic until the snow comes...

But even in the midst of all this beauty, we should not forget .... this is still the USA and....


...where you find people, you will find a McDonald's.

You could also find:


Strip mining?

It's odd, but even though I suspect the light tan areas on this mountain are being strip-mined, I still find this photo strangely beautiful.

Later on, we start UP.


And UP


And UP.... until....


And then, after a hair-raising (for me) drive down - and down - and down, we finally see Butte:


It looks really nice from here. Up close, not so much.

And that's the way it is.... June 12th...Two Thousand Ten.

AngelMay

Friday, June 11, 2010

Westward Ho!

First thing this morning we stopped at a small gas station where there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever of life - except for the gas pumps themselves which woke up upon receiving a credit card. We pumped gas and cleaned bug-butter from the windshield without hearing a single human sound (other than our own).

Only birds were out and about, singing and chirping. I could handle this. It's so peaceful!

There was also one of those lit-up signs at the gas station that announce the current temperature -- in this case, 63 degrees! I felt like doing a happy dance. All that heat and humidity now seems to be behind us. Yes!

Then, we continued our trek West.

West of Wall, South Dakota you get into more mountainous terrain and begin climbing in elevation:


I think cows make lovely models, don't you? They are so placid and nice. They also look very striking against the vivid green of the grass.

In the western, more mountainous part of the state, you begin to notice more evidence of human habitation - which increases as you continue along. We speculated that it was probably due to the availability of water.


At the higher elevations, we also begin to see red rocks in the mountains:


However, my little red-wing blackbird friends were no longer my constant roadside companions once we went to elevation in the mountains. I missed them.

But we did encounter one very strange and noisy little bird just outside the Black Hills/Mt. Rushmore information center:


She did not run (or fly) as I approached, but she did make a huge racket. At first we thought she might be begging for food. But as I approached a little closer (not as close as the photo, of course, which was on zoom) she began to flutter her wings and spread her tail:


At this point I was not convinced that she wasn't a begging baby. But then, I stepped yet another step closer and she put on quite a show for me:


She moved out onto the sidewalk and pretended to be wounded. She flapped her wings oddly as though one was broken and she laid nearly on the concrete. At this point, I decided she was a mom with babies somewhere nearby and I backed away and apologized and told her she was a beautiful lady.

I'm still not sure what kind of bird she was. There were other birds there like her and we saw none of them fly. They just walked in little quick spurts - like some kind of water bird.

Also just outside the door of the Information Center were lilac bushes and Oh My! They nearly knocked you out with their heavenly scent:


Before crossing into Wyoming, I managed to find one very old-fashioned water tower:


It appears the local teenagers, having nothing better to do, gave this one a coat of graffiti.

We did, indeed, know the heat was behind us when we stopped for lunch in Wyoming and had to don jackets. Mountains are like that. Yep. They are.

All day we drove under angry-looking skies:


Even though it never actually rained, at one point there was mist which managed to goof up the focus on my camera and ruin the ONE good shot I had at Devil's Tower waaaaaay waaaaay off many miles in the distance:


Dang it! But not to worry, we are already talking about returning to Western South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana for a real sight-seeing trip (maybe next summer). Anyone want to make it a caravan? ;o)

Driving on through the Northeast corner of Wyoming, we discovered that the folks in Wyoming have their fingers in the black gooey stuff:


A lot of fingers in the black, gooey stuff, apparently. We saw many oil wells pumping away as we passed.

Still and all... Wyoming has some gorgeous countryside:


Even those angry clouds couldn't take away from the beauty of it:


We did manage to find a little humor however, in an old Water Tower that doesn't seem to "tower" at all:


It's just there on the hill, kind of resting on its ... er... laurels. ;o)
Perhaps it was already high enough to generate the pressure needed for the folks living below.

We also noticed these "pimple"-like mounds that dotted the high plains of Wyoming:


These strange mounds just rise up without explanation from the rather flat ground surrounding them. There were many of them at one point. They appear almost artificial and out of place in their surroundings. I'm still wondering what caused them.

I wanted to note, before we leave South Dakota and Wyoming, that the overwhelming majority of the dwellings we saw were manufactured. We speculated that it was probably much more cost-effective to have them made elsewhere and then brought in to these rather remote communities than to have them built on site.

And then, before we knew it:


We found ourselves in Montana, driving through the Crow Indian Reservation.


Beautiful, beautiful land.


That's my story....

AngelMay