Tag Archives: nature

Zebras are Your Favorite ~ Letters from the Heart #atozchallenge

 

Dear Barbie

You wanted to take this last letter and celebrate the love of zebras!

These are some of the items found on your bookshelf.  Tall Cool ☺ne would be happy if you would dust them.

 

Cats can always be found hanging around in the office. There’s Chow Maine having a rest.

Oh you interrupted her when you took her picture.  Don’t mess with a cat when it’s sleeping.

 

Coffee time is always best in an extra large zebra cup!  Cheers!

 

This is a cross stitch made by your sister when she liked you. It hangs in your office next to your desk.  You wonder if she still does cross stitching.  She was very good at it.

 

Back in the day you used to call it “Buxton Chrome”!  Zebra Duck Tape ~ because almost anything can be fixed with duck tape…

 

Would you look at that? Another cat. Oh wait that’s not a cat, that’s a puppy.  Fernando, the transgender — he thinks she’s a puppy. 

 

You couldn’t bring yourself to tossing the cup away even though you can’t drink out of it now because of the crack. It makes a good pen holder (AKA clutter collector).  You hate that Starbucks got rid of the On-Line Store. 😦

 

More random pictures in the office. 

 

Very cool shower curtain.

 

Stuffed toys, or as Tall Cool ☺ne calls, the dust collectors.

 

Hats, well because they are fun to wear!

 

 

This is a wooden handmade zebra. One of the places you worked gave it to you.   That’s just a few of the random zebra items found around the office. It’s a fun hobby but you need another room if you are going to continue to “collect” stuff.  And you know who probably won’t go for that. Speaking of, here’s a song:

 

That’s it for the zebras and that’s it for the a-z blogging challenge.  Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the end of blogging survey.  And try to keep in touch with all of the cool people you reconnected with and made new friends with.   Until next time. 

Your constant and faithful,

 

 

Xavier


Do you know Xavier? Me either. This morning when I woke up he was in my head. I knew where he was, I knew everything about him. I knew so much about him, that when I made my sleepy-eyed way out to the coffee maker, I had it all planned in my mind how I would talk Tall Cool ☺ne  into getting us a little Xavier. A new pet was in store for me. I was going to research the web and find me a baby raccoon.

Like so many times before, I get up and start writing down the details of the dreams that keep me awake half the night, and I think they make so much sense. Like so many times before as I was writing it down, plotting my case, I realized just how crazy my idea was.

Xavier means absolutely nothing to me now. I cannot even begin to remember the thoughts that were on the tip of my mind when I first woke up this morning. Even though they were explicit in my dream, now they are gone.  Why the heck would I want to take on the responsibility of Xavier?

Why does that happen so often when we wake up in the morning? Those dreams we have are so vivid and real, be it good or bad.  When we are fully awake they fall just below the subconscious, gone, never to return. Xavier came to me in my dream so that I would have something for the challenge today.   Xavier was the question to the answer. That is all. Do you ever have the answer come to you in dream?





Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

ONE SKIP DAY




Hell found me!  As I fell into the depths of the cold salty Atlantic water I saw my whole fifteen year life flash before me.  I thought about my mother and what she would think.  I worried about my diary and what my sister would do with it when she found it.  I wondered what my friends Chris and Jackie were doing, and if they would try to save me.

The water swirled around me and everything turned black.  The salt tasted metallic in my mouth.  I kept sinking further into the depths of the water.  I didn’t realize the Penobscot was so deep, then suddenly I felt soft ground.  I pushed into the flats upward with my soaked sneakers and immediately began to ascend.  I wanted to take a breath.  I needed to take a breath.  When I slipped it was unexpected, and didn’t take a deep breath as one does before jumping in water.  I knew if I gasped for air that my lungs would be filled with water, and I would drown.  I couldn’t see the surface and my wet jeans and sweatshirt pulled me down.   I didn’t want to die.  I was too young to die.  I started making deals with God, as we do when things go wrong.  “Dear God, please don’t let me die.  Please, I promise I’ll never copy homework again.  I won’t be mean to my sister.  I promise I won’t skip anymore classes.  God, please, please, don’t let me drown.”

April showers bring May flowers, and they also bring warm, sunny afternoons, and the itching of spring fever; that equals to a whole bunch of trouble for a few high school kids. After five months of snow, and shoveling snow, and then more snow to shovel, when it reached 45 degrees, that was a celebrated welcome.  Basketball was over, and baseball hadn’t really got started so those late afternoon rides home on the activity bus were on temporary hiatus.  It was that awkward time of boredom in school, and typical teenage girls and boys look for things to dispel the monotony.   The three of us had been best friends since the fifth grade when I moved to town.  Based on my experience three friends are a recipe for disaster.  Two will get together and talk about the other one, and one will try to vie for another, and it normally turns into a mess.

For Chris, Jackie and I, it was different.  Chris wasn’t into the girlie things that Jackie and I talked about.  He just wanted to be our friend, and that was good enough for us.  We liked that Chris acted as our bodyguard per say, and he always let me copy his math homework.  He was wicked smart.    It is all different now with the technology and social media available to occupy a bored teen-ager.

Back in 1980 none of us owned a computer; let alone a smart phone.  Our parents would never have tolerated us playing video games or social media forums anyways.  We were lucky to have one color television in the house. If anyone had a cell phone it was one of those monstrosities that came in a bag and needed to have the magnet antennae plunked out on the roof, and then the power cord got plugged into the cigarette lighter.  If you were very lucky your parents owned a car that the cigarette lighter worked in, and maybe they let you borrow it with that ugly thing called a car phone.  Only some of the preppy kids, and most of the grease monkeys had their own cars.

The three of us were at the mercy of begging our parents, and more often than not they said ‘no’.  Needless to say, most of our entertainment was done by walking or taking our bikes.  Remember those things that you peddle, and your butt hurts from the uncomfortable seat?    Spring fever brought afternoons of cutting classes, and walking the sidewalks trying to stay hidden from friends of our parents who would share the fact that they had seen us on the street, when we should have been in school.  We were young, naïve.   We had no idea how lucky we were to be young and naïve. That was of course, until after the thirteenth skip day when our parents were notified by the principal that we were cutting classes.  Young people do stupid things, and we were very stupid.

The most significant, as well as the last adventure we took could have been the death of us, or at least, one of us.  The three of us decided to cut our “health” class! How ironic now that I reminisce about it!   We set out for a quest searching for anything that would be more exciting than sitting in Mr. King’s stinky armpit smelling class room listening to his monotonous voice talk about penises and vaginas.  Instead of walking the streets, taking the chance of being spied by a nosy adult, we decided to take the forbidden path just beyond the smoking area  behind Hampden Academy down to the Penobscot River.  We were going to hike out to the rocks, do some exploring and maybe find an electric eel in the small pools of water left behind from the tide going out.

The sun was shining and we shed our sweatshirts and tied them around our waists.  Jackie took her shoes off for a short time until one of the rocks cut her foot and she put the bloody thing back in her high top Nike sneakers.  We searched for cool looking shells with the shiny glitter of embossed quartzite, starfish, crabs and the coveted electric eel.  We made our way out across the rocks that went out deep into the smelly flats that were exposed from the tide being out. We were having a splendid afternoon, throwing rocks and mud at each other, talking about the upcoming spring dance and who we thought would go with who and who wouldn’t show up and who we’d like not to have show up.  

What we weren’t expecting was the tide to rush back in so quickly.  One of us couldn’t swim.  We had sneakers on and jeans and sweatshirts tied around our waists.  Not dressed for rock climbing by any means.  When the tide comes in on the Penobscot, the tide comes in fast.  It was scary for all three of us but mostly for me.

It was Chris, probably because he was the one who couldn’t swim, who first recognized the fact that our way into land was quickly disappearing.  The path out to the rocks that we originally took covered almost immediately with eighteen feet of cold, salty, stinky Atlantic Ocean.  We had to scale the rocks fast if we were going to get to land before there was no path back at all.  I remember slipping and sliding and cutting our hands on the sharp edges of rocks.  The rocks poked out of the dark murky water, some covered in green mossy seaweed while others appeared to be shards of shiny black glass.  The most treacherous were the rocks that appeared dry and safe to step on, but our weight triggered them to shift and move causing us to lose our balance more than once.    I screamed and as I slipped I heard Jackie and Chris both yell, “Barbie!”  The rest was inaudible because I slipped into the depths of the black water.  It seemed like a life time that I was under water.  It was cold and I could feel my muscles tightening up, and soon I wouldn’t be able to move at all.  Abruptly I surfaced and sucked in a huge breath of fresh air.  I gagged and spit and clawed my way to the edge.  Jackie and Chris dragged me back up on the edge of the rocks.  I was shaking from fear more so than the cold, but thankful to be alive.

When we reached the shore line the only way to level ground was up.  We climbed through rocks and pulled through trees and brushed past bushes and dug through sod.  We climbed and moaned and groaned the whole way.  Dry level ground never felt so good.   Jackie and Chris ended up with soaked feet, wet jeans and bloody hands.  I was grateful to be soaked but alive and safe.  Where we came off the rocky walls was a long ways from where we had begun our adventure.  The walk back through a field of prickly bushes was not especially a fun experience, and when the giant back yard dog chased us and the owner came out with a shot gun, we were even more anxious to make our way back to school.  We were lucky to catch the bus home to Winterport and luckier when our parents said we had to quit cutting school and stay in Mr. King’s classroom.  We were just thankful that we could quit trying to scale the banks of the Penobscot River in a pair of Nike’s on a skip day.

To be honest, it was a fun skip day….and some of it’s true!  Most of it is made up and names have been changed to protect the innocent! 

Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge.  This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with the epidemic going on right. Being quarantined means more people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new people.  Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings.  Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Juniper’s Candy


I’m a day late, and always a dollar short. But better late than never right?

Today is the perfect day for JESUS … HE IS RISEN. Happy Easter everyone!

I’ve often wondered what the little bluish berries are on the tree in our front yard. I never thought too much about them until recently. We have to plan our resources and use what we have accordingly. Here today, gone tomorrow right? In Maine there are weeds that make an excellent side dish to pork chops or chicken. My grandmother could make dandelion greens taste so good. And fiddleheads are my favorite weed treat.

I did a little research and found that the juniper berries are actually used to flavor pork, venison, rabbit and duck. I’m so excited about this and can’t wait to actually try them. I’m going to make some fig chutney and try them in that. I will be happy to share my recipe if it comes out good.

With the times we live in I implore you to take a look around in your yard. What resources are there that you never imagined using?  With the internet at our fingertips research is only a few clicks away. Do it now because like toilet paper, you never know when it might not be available.




Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with the epidemic going on right. Being quarantined means more people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new people. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Gift Giving

I tried to come up with something for G all weekend. Something clever, something meaningful. Something that would knock your socks off.  My muse was not kind over the weekend.  I was dwelling on some self-pity.  Something didn’t go my way, and I was overlooked for  something I did that I thought was outstanding! Don’t say you’ve never been there.  We want to be appreciated more for what we do.  We want to be recognized for who we are, not what we used to be.  We all go through it every now and again. (Slap me, I hate that!)

Early this morning I came across an article posted for the A-Z Challenge about looking to the future. My perspective completely turned around. Every day is a gift and every day we have the opportunity to return the gift in some way, shape, or form. Maybe it’s a simple smile at the drive through window when you pick up your coffee. What about carrying that bag of groceries out to that little old lady’s car? How about a love note in hubby’s lunch box?  A favorite candy bar tucked into your child’s backpack with an encouraging note.  There are so many ways to return the gift of air that we get to breathe each morning when we wake up, and it doesn’t have to cost a dime. It’s free. Smiles and hugs are free.  ☺♥☺

Today I’m dwelling on gift-giving. I’m looking for every opportunity to give some sort of gift even if it just a smile or a kind word. What gifts can you share?

Quadruped Quimby

Quimby

While planting in the yard I noticed a hole,
Remote and camouflaged, near a kobold knoll.
The dirt was pulled out in a small little mound
Deep inside for a quadruped, a home had been found
Never would have noticed this queer tiny friend
But the roses were blooming and I needed to tend
When I peered into the ground two eyes peered back
I feared for my life this tetrapod would attack
I ran for a shovel but only found a rake
To fill the hole in the ground for everyone’s sake
I ran from the shed after a swig from the flagon
I returned to the hole and there stood a small dragon
At first I was scared but then I could see
He was just as frightened, even more so than me
He promised he’d be kind and wouldn’t hurt a soul
If he could just live in that hole down below
With contemplation and thought I finally agreed
In the garden he could stay if on the bugs he would feed
He pledged no flowers but only insects he would dine
Now I only see Quimby when I drink of the wine.

Q

Two Lips

two lips

You got two lips? Use ’em!

We all like to think we make a difference in people’s lives. We want to be that person that gets the credit for what the next person did. You know what I’m talking about. We see it all the time on social media. Someone posts something and a ton of people comment on how great of an idea that is and you sit there reading through the comments, thinking to yourself, wow, they stole my idea and they’re taking the credit for it! Suck it up, cupcake! Shit happens, and there ain’t nothing new under the sun.

Every day I like to think I learn something new. New as in a lesson learned, not as in how to drive a skid steer. We take what we learn and we share with the people we care about, and the people we love. Sometimes those people we share with listen and sometimes they don’t, it’s all part of this game called life.

We have to remember none of us are perfect and we are all going to make mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn. If we aren’t making mistakes, we aren’t taking chances because without failure, no lesson is learned.

Think about what you can do to help someone today. Encourage them to take a chance. If you are reading this and thinking about doing the A-Z blogging challenge, I implore you to go for it. Take a chance. What do you have to lose? If you are reading this blog for encouragement at your walk in life, I am here to tell you to take that chance at whatever challenge lies before you. Every day we get to make a choice. It’s all in the attitude, you make that choice when you wake up in the morning. Good over bad every day. Make today count.

Until next time,
Cracker

Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds

House

The grass grows thick and the weeds sprout taller
“I want the lawn cut!” the landlady hollered.
When things were pretty, we did all we could,
She always commented about her soil being good.
It’s not just the soil that makes a garden grow,
The farmer that toils it, nursing each planted row.
She won’t give credit where credit is due,
She only sees dollar signs, such a shame, but true.
We treated this place as if it were our own
Now that we’re leaving she wants to pick a bone,
Take care of this, and get rid of all that,
She’s forgotten all about her own hazmat.
We’ll do all we can to leave the place nice,
It won’t be infested with roaches and mice
When we first moved in, this place was a joke,
General maintenance and upkeep made us broke

    house1
The hedges needed trimming and some creative cuts
Grass needed watering, and filled in the ruts
Paint on the house was chipping and flaked
Tons of pine straw needed to be raked.
The roof had a leak and screen door broke
The back porch in shambles this is no joke
“I’m quick with a fix,” he said with a drawl.
My man did it all; not just handsome, but tall
The hedges were trimmed up in unique fashion
Lawn mowed, watered, flourishing green with passion
Scrapped, taped and painted in just a few days
Replaced the roof metal without delays
Over and over we tried to buy this place
Didn’t want to sell it, she smooth-talked with grace
“Stay as long as you want, I won’t raise the rent,”
That was before her money was all spent.
afterhouse

 

With all the upgrades and hard work we‘ve done
Town took notice and higher taxes have begun.
She said the increase is only due to insurance,
This and our opportunities are a happy confluence
What she doesn’t understand is we are not deceived
Insurance doesn’t benefit us, as she’d have us believe
Adventures await us, over the road in a truck
She’ll take advantage of the next innocent shmuck.

Sunflower

007_wm

Burst of yellow petals,

Mindless green leaves

Seeds tucked away

For feathery thieves.

Tall and slender

It rises above

Towering over the garden

With motherly love.

Sunshine smile

Rises in a sky of blue

Perfecting the backyard panorama

Like no other floral will do.

Image

penobscot-river.jpg

Scaling the Walls of the Penobscot

 

Hell found me!  As I fell into the depths of the cold salty Atlantic water I saw my whole fifteen year life flash before me.  I thought about my mother and what she would think.  I worried about my diary and what my sister would do with it when she found it.  I wondered what my friends Chris and Jackie were doing, and if they would try to save me.

The water swirled around me and everything turned black.  The salt tasted metallic in my mouth.  I kept sinking further into the depths of the water.  I didn’t realize the Penobscot was so deep, then suddenly I felt soft ground.  I pushed into the flats upward with my soaked sneakers and immediately began to ascend.  I wanted to take a breath.  I needed to take a breath.  When I slipped it was unexpected, and didn’t take a deep breath as one does before jumping in water.  I knew if I gasped for air that my lungs would be filled with water, and I would drown.  I couldn’t see the surface and my wet jeans and sweatshirt pulled me down.   I didn’t want to die.  I was too young to die.  I started making deals with God, as we do when things go wrong.  “Dear God, please don’t let me die.  Please, I promise I’ll never copy homework again.  I won’t be mean to my sister.  I promise I won’t skip anymore classes.  God, please, please, don’t let me drown.”

April showers bring May flowers, and they also bring warm, sunny afternoons, and the itching of spring fever; that equals to a whole bunch of trouble for a few high school kids. After five months of snow, and shoveling snow, and then more snow to shovel, when it reached 45 degrees, that was a celebrated welcome.  Basketball was over, and baseball hadn’t really got started so those late afternoon rides home on the activity bus were on temporary hiatus.  It was that awkward time of boredom in school, and typical teenage girls and boys look for things to dispel the monotony.   The three of us had been best friends since the fifth grade when I moved to town.  Based on my experience three friends are a recipe for disaster.  Two will get together and talk about the other one, and one will try to vie for another, and it normally turns into a mess.

For Chris, Jackie and I, it was different.  Chris wasn’t into the girlie things that Jackie and I talked about.  He just wanted to be our friend, and that was good enough for us.  We liked that Chris acted as our bodyguard per say, and he always let me copy his math homework.  He was wicked smart.    It is all different now with the technology and social media available to occupy a bored teen-ager.

Back in 1980 none of us owned a computer; let alone a smart phone.  (Our parents would never have tolerated us playing video games or social media forums anyways.)  We were lucky to have one color television in the house. If anyone had a cell phone it was one of those monstrosities that came in a bag and needed to have the magnet antennae plunked out on the roof, and then the power cord got plugged into the cigarette lighter.  If you were very lucky your parents owned a car that the cigarette lighter worked in, and maybe they let you borrow it with that ugly thing called a car phone.  Only some of the preppy kids, and most of the grease monkeys had their own cars.

The three of us were at the mercy of begging our parents ,and more often than not they said ‘no’.  Needless to say, most of our entertainment was done by walking or taking our bikes (you know those things that you peddle, and your butt hurts from the uncomfortable seat).     Spring fever brought afternoons of cutting classes, and walking the sidewalks trying to stay hidden from friends of our parents who would share the fact that they had seen us on the street, when we should have been in school.  We were young, naïve and we had no idea how lucky we were to be young and naïve, until after the thirteenth skip day when our parents were notified by the principal that we were cutting classes.  Young people do stupid things, and we were very stupid.

The most significant, as well as the last adventure we took could have been the death of us, or at least, one of us.  The three of us decided to cut our “health” class (how ironic now that I reminisce about it) and set out for a quest searching for anything that would be more exciting than sitting in Mr. Kings stinky armpit smelling class room listening to his monotonous voice talk about penises and vaginas.  Instead of walking the streets, taking the chance of being spied by a nosy adult, we decided to take the forbidden path just beyond the smoking area out behind Hampden Academy down to the Penobscot River.  We were going to hike out to the rocks, do some exploring and maybe find an electric eel in the small pools of water left behind from the tide going out.

The sun was shining and we shed our sweatshirts and tied them around our waists.   Jackie took her shoes off for a short time until one of the rocks cut her foot and she put the bloody thing back in her high top Nike sneakers.  We searched for cool looking shells with the shiny glitter of embossed quartzite, starfish, crabs and the coveted electric eel.  We made our way out across the rocks that went out deep into the smelly flats that were exposed from the tide being out. We were having a splendid afternoon, throwing rocks and mud at each other, talking about the upcoming spring dance and who we thought would go with who and who wouldn’t show up and who we’d like not to have show up.    What we weren’t expecting was the tide to rush back in so quickly.  One of us couldn’t swim.  We had sneakers on and jeans and sweatshirts tied around our waists.  Not dressed for rock climbing by any means.  When the tide comes in on the Penobscot, the tide comes in fast.  It was scary for all three of us but mostly for me.

It was Chris, probably because he was the one who couldn’t swim, who first recognized the fact that our way into land was quickly disappearing.  The path out to the rocks that we originally took covered almost immediately with eighteen feet of cold, salty, stinky Atlantic Ocean.  We had to scale the rocks fast if we were going to get to land before there was no path back at all.  I remember slipping and sliding and cutting our hands on the sharp edges of rocks.  The rocks poked out of the dark murky water, some covered in green mossy seaweed while others appeared to be shards of shiny black glass.  The most treacherous were the rocks that appeared dry and safe to step on, but our weight triggered them to shift and move causing us to lose our balance more than once.    I screamed and as I slipped I heard Jackie and Chris both yell, “Barbie!”  The rest was inaudible because I slipped into the depths of the black water.  It seemed like a life time that I was under water.  It was cold and I could feel my muscles tightening up, and soon I wouldn’t be able to move at all.  Abruptly I surfaced and sucked in a huge breath of fresh air.  I gagged and spit and clawed my way to the edge.  Jackie and Chris dragged me back up on the edge of the rocks.  I was shaking from fear more so than the cold, but thankful to be alive.

When we reached the shore line the only way to level ground was up.  We climbed through rocks and pulled through trees and brushed past bushes and dug through sod.  We climbed and moaned and groaned the whole way.  Dry level ground never felt so good.   Jackie and Chris ended up with soaked feet, wet jeans and bloody hands.  I was grateful to be soaked but alive and safe.  Where we came off the rocky walls was a long ways from where we had begun our adventure.  The walk back through a field of prickly bushes was not especially a fun experience, and when the giant back yard dog chased us and the owner came out with a shot gun, we were even more anxious to make our way back to school.  We were lucky to catch the bus home to Winterport and luckier when our parents said we had to quit cutting school and stay in Mr. King’s classroom.  We were just thankful that we could quit trying to scale the banks of the Penobscot River in a pair of Nike’s.