Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Marissa was never the type of girl to do things the way people expected her to.  Being unconventional and a little hyperactive did not seem irritating to her in the least, but it seemed to concern others.  Whether it was her inability to organize her life, her impulsive nature, or the ease with which she withdrew and suddenly returned, she wasn't sure, but one thing she was always sure of was that there was somewhere she needed to be, and she was not there.

It was a Thursday, a day that was, in the midst of the Midwestern summer, a joyful surprise.  The sky had taken on a dark, ominous tone, and with that cloud cover had come a cool, nearly chilly morning breeze, allowing the air conditioner to find a much needed respite.  Marissa threw open the windows and the flower-scented wind swirled impishly around her curtains, so instead of jumping up and going right to work that morning, she rewarded herself by lying on her big bed later than usual, propped up by half a dozen pillows, reading her latest book while the room cooled to a tolerable level.  Mother Nature even went so far as to force Marissa to pull the comforter up over her bare legs.

The birds seemed happier than they had been for awhile, too.  Doves cooed, cardinals chirped, and the little finches sang merrily while they ate breakfast on the feeders she kept filled for them all year-round.  

But even with all this pleasure surrounding her, the restless, impulsive woman could not quell the thought that something was missing, even today.  Marissa closed her book and stared out the window at the clouds and drifted back to sleep with one thought on her mind...blue. 

When she woke up, late for work and even more restless, Marissa threw a few pairs of shorts and a few t-shirts into a bag, jumped in the shower, and while brushing her teeth, dialed the number of her favorite airline.  "I'd like a one-way ticket to...anywhere with a blue ocean," she said into the phone, using the agent's moment to calculate and shop for her to spit and rinse, and she was still smiling and humming when the outrageous last-minute price was quoted to her, but not to be deterred, she jumped online and quickly transferred the money to cover the ticket price, and when all was said and done, a quick run to the nearest airport was undertaken.  

When she was tucked away into her ocean-view room with the windows thrown open, and the birds talking outside, the sea breeze swirling in around her, and the scent of the sea filling her senses, Marissa whispered..."Blue, that's what was missing today," as she stared at the crystalline water from her perch in the sky before running the few yards to put her feet in the warm salt water.  "Blue, blue, blue, blue, blue," she sang as she spun in a child's twirl, kicking up water, her laughter carried off on the wind toward her bedroom where there was no ocean, head back, eyes closed against the brilliant sun, and true contentment overtaking her soul.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Never being a very talented child, I spent the years when I wanted so badly to be in the prestigious group of kids in the grade school band, and as you probably have guessed by the title of this little story, as a percussionist.  In my mind, I was a drummer as talented as any drummer with any rock band at the time.  I would march on the football field, my body straight as an arrow, in perfect rhythm, with that cute little uniform and hat on, eyes straight ahead, taking great pride in my contribution to the music, especially when I had a great solo, smiling, everyone standing up and cheering and whistling!  I loved the cold wind during the winter games, when I could wear those fantastic-looking drummer's gloves with my uniform.  

But, as you have probably guessed from the title of this story, I could not quite make the cut to drummer.  As a matter of fact, the band director tried everything to allow me to have a place because he knew how important that uniform was to my tender psyche.  But when he handed me the triangle and asked me to audition for a place in the mostly-hidden stage band, I could tell by the look on his face that not only was I not talented enough to play the flute, the clarinet, the drums, the trumpet, the tambourine, or the oboe, I was not even good enough to play the triangle.  

By the time that audition was over, I decided enough was enough.  There was no place for me on that football field.  My attempts at cheerleading were a dismal failure, especially when it was discovered my gymnastic talent went no further than being able to do forward rolls.  My arms would not support my body in a handstand or even a cartwheel.  My stint at being the mascot was thwarted when someone grabbed my big mule head and threw me over onto my back on the sidelines, just to see how funny it would look, and it did look funny, I am sure.  

So now I am fifty-three.  I found my talents were pretty much confined to the classroom, so I became the best medical professional I could become, which has come in handy since I have a very accident prone nature.  Just tonight I tripped and landed hard on both knees and yes, I saw triangle-shaped strobes of light behind my eyelids as I sat there on my bloody and bruised knees and cried like a baby. I do not know if it was the pain that made me scream out, or the frustration that not only would I never be a cheerleader or a member of anyone's band, but I probably was not going to even be very good at mastering the role of little old lady with any sort of dignity.  

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The bird feeders were hung by my office window with care, and suddenly birds were everywhere!  I was so happy to be able to sit there and work and watch the antics of Fred, my favorite blue jay.  He is smaller than most of the others, and his tail is a bit crooked, almost like he fought a cat and won.  No wonder, if that was the case, he ruled the feeder!

There was the loud, tiny chickamouse, a yellow finch and a purple finch, the brightest red cardinals I have ever seen, and big, aggressive, beautiful blue jays, and two woodpeckers would even visit once in awhile and tap into the free food. 

I would think that sometimes they were watching me as intently as I was watching them.  As a matter of fact, I believe they were.  Maybe it was me behind the glass while they strolled the world on wing, stopping at the nearest drive-thru for some lunch and a sip out of the angel bath, who was the zoo animal there for their viewing pleasure.  Because a couple of nights ago, I moved the feeders out under the ash tree, stocked them with fresh food from Rural King, which they love, and the population has greatly diminished.  It was the pooping on my patio chairs that forced the change.  The morning after it was moved, a blue jay landed on the back of one of the chairs and sat there looking confused and unhappy.  He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders, his pretty blue wingtips out like hands, his eyes questioning..."Where the heck is the food?  What's happening to this city?  Tearing down everyone's favorite hangouts?  Even the pub down the street closed up yesterday."  And with one more woe-is-me look, off he flew, and I have not seen him again.

I have a hose.  The mess wasn't THAT outrageous.  I think a lot of times they actually held it while on the chair, otherwise, it would have been awful.  I am hoping that if I move it back, the zoo will open for them once more and they will buy their nice little maps at the gate and find me behind my glass, doing what humans do, pecking away behind a computer screen, and doing it proudly for the birds' pleasure!

Monday, June 21, 2010


You wandered into my life, unsure, so small,
Then you wandered out again, feeling ten feet tall.
Butterflies sang when  you were around
And everything I had lost was once again found.

Come home, hurry home, curl up with me
Beneath the big old ash tree
And bring your shattered heart for that
Would be the best place to start.  

Open your eyes with your head next to mine
Open your eyes don't try to play blind.
Bring your soul, and my soul will meet you,
Our souls alone, in love, one now, not two.

Play your guitar on the top of the world
And sing the hummingbirds back to my yard.
Fold your arms around me, hold me closer
Give me the time to decipher the poster

Of the hearts on a string drawn there
Of the souls taking wing by the pair.
And then stay with me here forever and a day.
I know what you would love to say...

Sing stay with me, keep me, protect me
We both know our kind of love isn't free.
Turn on the lights the colored pretty lights
And let's make a wish on a hot summer's night.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Hey!  What happened to my Theme Thursday post??

Don't worry...just follow this link!  xxoo  Happy TT!

Monday, June 14, 2010


I went on a road trip this past weekend.  I went home.  Imagine my surprise when I found myself wishing I could now go back and live in the little town I could not wait to get out of as a kid.  Everyone keeps telling me, "There's a perfectly good house sitting there empty, and I bet the owners would give you a good deal."  

For years I have wanted to knock on the door of the old house where I lived from birth to age eight when we moved to make it easier on my dad to go to work.  He worked in the oil fields and was making a pretty long commute everyday, so we packed up and went with him.  By this time I had a baby brother who I loved and adored.  So, this time, I did it.  I just walked up and knocked on the door and asked, "Do you mind if I take a few pictures just of the outside of this house?  It's where I was born."  And the granddaughter of the owner, after conferring with her ill grandmother, said, "Yes, that would be fine!  Just be careful of the dog out back...he's friendly but he has sharp nails."  

I really had no intentions of getting close enough to the dog to find out about his nails.  He did not act particularly friendly when he saw me approaching the back yard, and my heart beat a little faster when he started toward me, until I realized he was securely chained up.

I have to admit, the back yard seemed HUGE when I was little, but it seemed very tiny when I was looking at it.  A lot had changed and I found myself thinking about how much my life and my world really have changed in fifty-three short years.  I would venture to say that things have changed a minimum of one-hundred-six times, usually for the better, sometimes not, but as I looked at the little house, only the good memories poured out of my heart where they were stored and into my brain so I could think on them awhile.

We went to the heart of the matter, too, downtown, to take some shots of the courthouse, and while there we saw a window display that just screamed Small Town Midwest USA.  You can see in the reflection a gazebo.  That is where every year I would parade around to be judged on my Halloween costume.  Mom would work tirelessly to put together something she thought would win, and I never won.  The only reason I liked it was that everyone got a lot of candy for participating.
You really can go home again.  And sometimes you never ever want to leave. 

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


"Why are you walking away from me like that?" She asked with a little huff in her voice.  It did not seem quite right that she had broken her no-kissing-on-the-fifteenth-season rule only to be snubbed that way.

He hardly looked at her, though, as he turned his early-summer fully-feathered back to her and moved away on the sidewalk.  Even the thought of waiting until the little kid got right up to him and then making that loud cooing noise and flapping wildly right in front of his face and scaring him into probably needing a clean diaper did not make Herschel happy.  He just kept bobbing his head and softly, mournfully cooing his love song.

Being a dove is no piece of cake.  There are all these mating rituals to consider.  Herschel cannot even imagine that any other species has it as tough as he does when it comes to wanting to get in some dovette's pants.  The only thing he knows to do, after fifteen years of courting this same dovette is try to gain her sympathy by bobbing and cooing, bobbing and cooing, and when he takes a moment to peek over his shoulder and turn a bright red eye on his girl to see how she is responding, he becomes even more despondent because not only does she not seem to care, but she seems to have found a delicacy that she appears to have no intention of sharing with her intended.  

Herschel waddles back over to her and suddenly pecks his beak against hers, and they blush.  But the honeymoon does not last for long when he asks her, "Your beak tastes particularly good today, may I ask what that was you were eating?"

The little female dove, as demurely as possibly in dove-speak says, "That was candy."  

"Oh," replied Herschel.  "I have never tasted anything quite as good as that!"

Finally, the rejected male dove, the very good-looking rejected male...no, wait, if he must say so himself, the very, VERY handsome, brave and good-looking male dove again turns his back and begins to waddle away, finally realizing that this is his last season and he has failed to win her over.  Herschel gets off a really good kid-scare and coos and chuckles to himself all the way down the sidewalk when he hears, "Herschel?"  

Bobbing and cooing, wondering if he should play it cool or rush to her side, Herschel turns and says, "Yes, Trudy?"  

Trudy bobs and coos her way toward him with something in her beak, something red and sticky-looking, something foreign, and when she reaches him she cranes her neck out to him and makes her offering.  Herschel taps Trudy's beak with his, and she pushes a piece of sugary, delicious candy into his beak, under his tongue, then steps back and shyly coos and bobs until Herschel puts out his handsome feathered wing and puts it over Trudy's sleek, slender shoulders, and off they go together, bobbing and cooing, to make a nest in the mansion willow tree across the street and raise their baby bobbers together.  

A piece of candy can solidify friendships when shared.  The bees know it, and even the birds know it.  Hopefully humans know it still, too. 

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


My cousin, Tracy, turned me on to a photo editing program called Gimp, last week, and I downloaded it and decided to give it a try.  

A few days ago I bought some white rubber lilies that float and change colors when they are in contact with the water.  Very cool, and the best part is, they were three for five bucks at Big Lots.  If you are not lucky enough to have a Big Lots store near you...well, you just do not know what the heck you're missing!  

Anyway, I took three of those cheap little things, and with no hope they would actually do anything, dropped them into my fountain on the patio.  Not only did they do something, but they did something so totally wicked cool, that now at night I go out there and drop them in, and bought three more that I drop into my birdbath, then I just sit there staring in wonder and amazement as they float around and change colors over and over.  And they're bright!  I have to rate the floating lilies as one of my smartest  purchases this year...so far.  It is only June, so who knows what else I'll dig up before the end of this year.

Anyway, I took about fifty photos when I realized just how photogenic and wicked cool they were, and I Gimped up one for you and thought I would share the results here.

Introducing, "Lilies In The Fountain," my first Gimped up photo ever.  I expect to have a show in the local gallery by the time I Gimp up a lot of other things!  You will all be invited...BYOB, Starving Artist in the house!


Sunday, June 06, 2010


It was not too long ago, at least it seems to me, that my brother, the neighborhood kids and I were playing loud, dangerous games of baseball in the back yard of my old homeplace in Fairfield, Illinois.  

When standing in that yard, I can almost hear the shouts and the laughter, the fights and the makeups that went on there.  

All things change, though.  Every curtain falls, every story has its end as Susan Cowsill sings in one of her songs from the album "Lighthouse," and yes, this is a disguised post to get you to order her album...

But really, I wanted you all to see where I came from, where I played and cried and where my soul still resides.

We are wanting to sell the house.  It has taken awhile after the deaths of our parents, to get to the point where we were ready, but we just had the inside repainted and are getting the shutters painted which should be ready to be hung back up this week, we have lovingly pruned, cut, mowed, dug, sweated and bled making the yard ready for the next people who will love our old house.  

The house sits on a quaint little lane with a beautiful yard.  The mimosa trees are in bloom, the lilies, the yucca plant, everything is teeming with life.  Now the house just needs an occupant to put their own personal touches on it to make it their own, so when we drive by, instead of feeling sadness, my brother and I might be able to see life there and feel gratitude and contentment.   We are now ready for that to happen.  

Following are some pictures I took while I was down there this past week.