As Our Summer Begins, A Dazzle Of Zebras

Last week was the unofficial beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere.  We were on staycation so we had to go to the zoo.

Had to, I tell you.

On the day we went to the zoo the weather was hazy and humid, drizzly, so most of my zoo photos weren’t amazeballs.  As I’d hoped they’d be.

In fact this photo of the zebras is the only one I kept from our visit. I kept it because it’s not half bad, from an artsy point of view, and because it lends itself to a good question of the day: how many zebras do you see in this photo?

I ask because I snapped the picture not realizing that there were three zebras standing together.  All I saw were two black and white zebra rumps.

That photographed beautifully.

Especially, I suppose, because the animals, known collectively as a dazzle, were standing still having a little nosh.

[Unlike the flamingoes who weren’t at their best, having been dipped in Pepto-Bismol then rolled in dirt, looking drab and confused by the weather.  Or the totally uncooperative gorilla who was a lovely shade of bricky orange, but wouldn’t stop moving for me to get a pic.]

Whatever.

Anyhoo, getting to a point here– I’m back from our staycation.

We had a nice time. We went to the zoo, and we went to an art festival, and we went to an English pub, and we did some much-needed pruning + weeding in the flower beds, and we read books.

Nothing too exciting happened.  Nothing too dull happened.  It was a staycation that was, to quote Goldilocks, just right.

And I do believe, if I might be paradoxical and pithy here, a perfect way to gear up for the summer… by slowing down. 😎

Plodding Like A Turtle, Staycating Like A Bean

Turtle, name unknown, taking an afternoon constitutional around the terrace.

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I SAW THIS TURTLE FRIEND WALKING along the top of the stone wall that forms one side of our lower terrace.  

I was up on the deck and looked down on him, so I leisurely went inside the house to get my camera.

One fact about turtles, they cannot outrun me.

I went down the deck steps to get to his level, then snapped a few photos of him.  He made no attempt to hide from me, proving that I am the most benign creature on earth.

Can’t even scare a turtle.

Me.

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WE’LL BE ON STAYCATION NEXT WEEK, so instead of dithering away here I’ll be busy doing the Memorial Day things [plus a bit more] in the real world.

But most importantly, my gentle readers, what will you be doing while I’m not here? Hmmm?  This is what concerns me.

Thus might I suggest that you take this survey about blogging? Don’t let the word “older” stop you. It’s for anyone who keeps a blog.

So, you know, that would be you.

Right?

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#ThursdayDoors | Visiting A Closed Trail Center On A Winter’s Day

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you the following door photos.

I took these photos on Saturday at the Little Miami Scenic River and Trail Center.  It’s part of the Little Miami Conservancy.

The Center is on a 78 mile long biking/hiking trail that starts in Springfield, OH [to the north], goes through 5 Ohio counties, and ends in Cincinnati, OH [to the south].

It being winter the Center was closed, but I did see a few cyclists riding on the trail.  And there were a few other people like me who were moseying around the trail– even though it was a bleak, boring day to be outside.  

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DOOR on the side of the brick building that is the Little Miami Scenic River and Trail Center.

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Look at these happy animals not drawn to scale, but featured nonetheless on this Little Miami Conservancy mural.

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DOOR on the front of the closed Center.

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Plaque commemorating the Lower Little Miami Scenic River: “To protect and enhance the river’s free-flowing character, water quality, & outstandingly remarkable values.” 

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Mural painted on a building next to the Little Miami Scenic River and Trail Center.  From what I can tell this mural has nothing to do with the Center, but considering that Valentine’s Day is almost here… let’s talk about love.

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Be The Light: Of Lost Sharks & Viable Solutions

INTRODUCTION:

You probably remember that I’ve joined We Are The World Blogfest, a yearlong monthly event.  

Again let me remind you that the purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, presenting these stories on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of October, I have an easily overlooked news story to share with you, my gentle readers & fellow #WATWB participants.

THE NEWS STORY:

On a beach in Australia a woman, Melissa Hatheier, 50, saw a stranded shark that seemed to be disoriented, swimming too close to the sandy beach, not out in the ocean.

She waded into the shallow water, dived on him, and grabbed the shark in such a was as to not hurt herself, while relocating him farther away from the beach.

That is, putting him back in the deeper part of the ocean where he belonged.

[Complete story with video: Australian Woman Picks Up Shark In Pool Rescue]

MY COMMENTARY:

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Do we not all love this woman?

[Did we not all immediately think of Mack the Knife when we read this article?]

Are we not inspired to be better people because of her?

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I’m going to say YES! to all three questions because this is a news story unlike any other that I’ve read lately.

I like that Hatheier saw a problem [shark in wrong place];  sized up the situation [I can capture this critter who is “kind of like a toddler”];  and then went on to solve the problem [put shark in better place].

Granted I’d be scared to try to hug a shark, but I say kudos to Melissa Hatheier for doing so.  And to any and all women out there who unceremoniously make their immediate world a safer place.

What could be more positive than that?

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15 Hours Without Electricity Because– Well, We Don’t Know Why

Think of this as a rambling “Dear Diary” post…

THE LONG WHINY PART

{ feel free to skip if muttering and complaining bother you }

Around 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning I was awakened from my slumber by the loud *click-clack-thunk-bunk* sounds of our machines, powered by electricity, turning themselves off.

What kind of forking shirt is this, I asked myself, emulating Eleanor Shellstrop from The Good Place as I used her creative vocabulary to express myself.

As one does.

Inside our house it was dark except for where the moon beamed in some light on the back of the house.  The front of the house, along with all of our neighbors’ houses, was dark.

Of course, having not recently fallen off the suburban homeowner turnip truck, I didn’t do a thing, except to look out a few windows, confirm that the whole neighborhood was without power, and then go back to sleep.

Next morning there was still no electricity anywhere on our street, so being the trooper that I am I got dressed and drove elsewhere to find us hot coffee.

[And what a sad bedraggled bunch of folks were we, the coffee fetchers, at the local Kroger Star$ kiosk.  Barely alert, yet focused on our mission to get the sustaining elixir of life for ourselves and our loved ones.]

THE DETAILED WHAT WE DID UNTIL WE GOT ELECTRICITY AGAIN PART 

{ probably want to skim over for context regarding the photos to come }

By 9:00 a.m. we still had no electricity, no idea why we didn’t have electricity, and our cell phones were almost without juice, so we did the only thing we could think of and went out to breakfast, at what turned out to be the world’s worst Bob Evans.

Humph.

Then, needing to charge our phones, we drove to the other side of somewhere to go to a garden nursery;  we like this garden nursery, but buying mums, which we did, was the secondary reason for our visit.  We required a long car ride to help our phones get going again.

Modern life, ain’t it grand?

Then, having called home to find that our answering machine wasn’t picking up, meaning no electricity, we decided to stop at a little new-to-us township park to wander around its flat paths and see what was there.

Short answer: kids and chairs.

Then, it being the middle of the afternoon on a day that wasn’t working out like I’d hoped, we went to the bar of a local restaurant that is known for chicken.  There we had delicious chicken sandwiches, watched some football, and drank beer.

Because… Saturday… in the fall… and bored.

THE 8 PRETTY PHOTOGRAPHS PART

{ make sure to look at these ‘cuz it was a clear day meant for snapping pics }

Pond at garden nursery.

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Geese on pond at garden nursery.

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Ducks avoiding geese on pond at garden nursery.

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Island in middle of pond at township park.

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Human beings gathered around play area beside pond at township park.

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Old stately home, available to rent for private events, beside pond at township park.

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Chairs waiting for guests beside old stately home, available to rent for private events, beside pond at township park.

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Farm with corn in the field across from pond at township park.

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9 Links For People Who Like Wordplay

… because information is FUN dammit.

Dear me, am I seeing a photo of a deer? Aye, it is a deer, my dear. Is the deer near here? No, from what I hear, the deer is not near here, my dear. 😁

 • • •

Need a laugh? Enjoy a generic millennial ad here.

But I don’t want to not say this word when I apologize.

Did you know that grok, like Jabberwocky, are examples of nonce words?

Miss Phryne Fisher’s 1920s Australian slang is here to help you increase your vocabulary.

There used to be more to the alphabet.

If you write headlines, how good are they? Find out here. [link revised 9/22]

The Oxford comma has an online dating profile that you can view here.

Looking for some petty phrases to use in your work emails? Click here.

According to this, your craft beer name is your grandfather’s job + a word you don’t fully understand.  My craft beer is: Salesman’s Milieu.

When A Bee Gets Buzzed, What Does It Mean?

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MY WEEK THUS FAR HAS BEEN A DOOZY, filled with broken things, unreliable people, and inconveniently rainy weather.  Nothing, despite my best efforts, has gone smoothly.

Exhausted after a trying day, I was sitting on our deck last night.  I had a glass of pinot noir on the table beside me, and was minding me own beeswax, so to speak.

A bee, like the one in the photo above, came out of nowhere and flew directly, seemingly intentionally, into my glass of wine, then proceeded to do the backstroke in the wine in the glass.

As much as this sounds like I’m making up this story, I’m being literal: a large, healthy bee, managed to ruin my glass of red wine, while having himself the best swim ever.

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IT WAS HILARIOUS TO WATCH HIM going around in circles inside the glass, of course.  However, at the same time, it was damned annoying because the wine wasn’t a cheap bottle of plonk– and I had to toss the contents of the glass, bee and all, over the side of the deck onto the grass below.

Zen-Den, gracious human being that he is, brought me another glass of wine from the bottle in the kitchen… and he handed me a paper cocktail napkin to use to cover the top of the glass while I continued to sit on the deck.

But me being me, an English major educated and encouraged to find the meaning in all things, I got lost in my head trying to figure out what it meant that a bee got buzzed, in a most dramatic way, right when I was trying to mellow out.

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THE BEST EXPLANATION I COULD COME UP WITH, based on Occam’s Razor‘s idea of simplicity + obviousness, was that the bee represented me this week, busy doing things, but not in ways that make me happy.

And that following the bee’s lead, I needed to speed up my wine consumption if I was to have as much fun and relaxation as this uninvited bee was having in my wine glass.

So, not being one to argue with Scientific Logic, or the Serendipitous Nature of the Universe, I drank my first glass of wine. Then sipped another one. And suddenly, as if it was all meant to be, everything seemed right within my world.