Heebie-Jeebies Alert: Creepy Birds Here

GLANCING OUT INTO THE BACKYARD the other morning I saw these birds walking on the grass, wandering along the edge of the forest behind my house.


TO ME THESE HUGE BIRDS looked like gang members, in black leather jackets, up to no good, on the hunt for something.


HAVING MISTAKENLY IDENTIFIED BIRDS BEFORE [and having had approximately 3 gazillion + 27 people tell me I was wrong], I’m going to say that I don’t know what  gang these birds belong to kind of birds they are.


INSTEAD I’LL CONTINUE TO REFER to them as Creepy Birds, because they give me the heebie-jeebies and the name, you gotta admit, seems right. *shudder*

I Ask You: Where Are My Toad Lilies? Hmmm?

• I allowed myself to hope.

When it comes to gardening, I’m usually more cerebral than heartfelt.

I don’t assume that just because I plant something, it’ll thrive.  Instead, I focus on those plants that get with the program and grow.

Like this cute little tree in the concrete urn that I can see out the window from our study.


• But there’s something missing from this photo.

Around the base of this cute little tree there are supposed to be 5 toad lilies, which I bought last spring for an outrageous amount of money from an allegedly honest garden nursery catalogue [which I’m not linking to here because I don’t want to advertise for the company].

• I know that toad lilies can grow here.

Years ago, before the front planting beds were re-landscaped, there was a thriving toad lily in this exact location.

That’s why I planted them, right there, uniformly around the base of the concrete urn, anticipating autumnal beauty whilst gazing out my window.


• But do you, gentle readers, see any thriving toad lilies?

Or do you, like me, see one scraggly looking wisp of a plant, barely hanging onto life?

That, my friends, is what $60.00 will get you when you dare to believe the copy in a catalogue.  A catalogue that should be named: A Sucker Is Born Every Minute Garden & Nursery Store Catalogue For The Easily Gullible.

Because, really, that’s what the catalogue is all about.

Or so it would seem to me, Ms. Gullible.

No Whippy Frosting For Me, Please & Thank You

Welcome to Fun With Foibles, an ongoing series wherein I helpfully point out what is wrong with other people & things, while remaining quiet about my own failings. Today’s topic is…

Whippy Frosting

In case, somehow, you are unfamiliar with Whippy Frosting, it is a vile, faux-vanilla flavored concoction of Crisco, Cool Whip and Peeps, blended together, making what bakeries try to pass off as frosting for cakes.

Whippy frosting is an abomination against man and God.

In fact, while often omitted in modern translations of the Bible, everyone knows that on the eighth day God created cake.  And He said: Let there be butter cream frosting on all cakes. Henceforth and forevermore. Amen.   

[That would be “Fiat Yum” in the original translations.]

Yet some people, mostly heathens I’m assuming, continue to buy cakes with whippy frosting from the bakery– thereby encouraging the bakery to ignore God’s perfect creation, butter cream frosting, and to continue to make said sub-standard frosting.

And try to pass it off as edible.  WHICH. IT. IS. NOT.

So I urge you, gentle readers, as a favor to me, who asks so little of you, to not buy cakes with this stuff on it.  Maybe then, it’ll go away.

I can only hope.

A “Better Call Noah” Garden Update

DSCN5373This summer has been humid and wet– mold everywhere on the roses, on the tree trunks, on the sides of terra-cotta pots, on stones along the paths.

Perennial plants, such as cat mint, are so waterlogged that they’ve wilted, unable to spread their roots, trapped in clay soil that has formed its own kind of water-filled hole around them.

And then we have some potted annuals that are going out of their way to show-off their colors.  Like these petunias, for instance.  That have gotten leggy and dramatic, attempting to cover the entire deck.DSCN5355

On a weird note, unlike previous years in which squirrels took over our property, this year has brought us rabbits, snakes and one red fox.  The rabbits seem intent on eating all the weeds [yeah!], while the snakes lurk under bushes, near the front door.

Not happy about that.  Neither one of us is.

The red fox seems to be joyful as he jogs across our property.  Don’t know much about him, being a newcomer to the suburb ‘ya know, but from the skip in his step I can guess that this summer is his kind of weather.

~ ~ • ~ ~

On an encouraging note, I’m happy to report that two of my three my milkweed “experiments” are doing well.  The plants that I started from seed didn’t take, but the white milkweed, a sturdy plant that I purchased at the garden center, is growing 30″ tall in the back yard near the woods.

No flowers yet, but looking good.

DSCN5401The yellow milkweed, purchased at the same garden center, looked half-dead when I bought it.  Withered brown-tinged leaves.  Not so big.  But now, planted in full sunshine near the garage, it’s about a foot high and has pretty yellow flowers on it.

Just goes to show, don’t judge a potted plant by its leaves.  😉

I’m not certain but I think that we are beginning to get monarch butterflies here.  Zen-Den saw one when he was mowing out back– and I snapped this photo of a butterfly [moth?] when I was out front.DSCN5388

Usually by mid-summer I’ve glorious flowers, waiting in the sunshine to be photographed. But this year I have Noah on speed dial while my camera naps the days away.

Too soggy for photos of posies.

My Unhappy Story Of Flying Trapped Inside A MRI With Wings

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 6.52.46 AM
Seating chart for MRI with wings.

While on vacation last weekend, I spent one leg of my travels on a flight from hell, trapped inside a MRI with wings.  This would be a plane that is known to aviators as a Bombardier CRJ 200.

This airplane, while not the smallest one I’ve ever flown on, was the worst flying MRI I’ve experienced because– and I hope that I’m not going to get too technical here— THERE WAS NO AIR CONDITIONING AS WE WAITED AT THE GATE AND THEN ON THE TARMAC FOR TAKEOFF… ON A HOT SUMMER DAY… AT MIDDAY.

I’d love to tell you what airline I was on, but I’m not sure.  It was some pokey little airline, doing business under some obscure name, for some larger, formerly independent, airline recently acquired by some huge US airline.

In other words, the usual inane flying experience that I’ve come to know, pay exorbitant amounts of money for and loathe.

# # #

As fate would have it two things occurred simultaneously while I was on this flight from hell trapped inside a MRI with wings.

First of all, I had a hot flash.

To be clear, that would be my body spontaneously increasing its core temperature while I was sitting in the middle of the airplane, Seat 7C, where the ambient room temperature was close to 100ºF.

Trapped, I was.

And so far beyond toasty that I could barely keep conscious.  I could see my vision begin to tunnel– and I knew that I would faint, unless I thought of something fast.

So I shut my eyes, let my head droop and begin to remember how cold and bleak it was on our screened-in porch in February, when I’d step out there for a bit of fresh air, mid-afternoon, with my mug of hot tea.

Oddly enough this mental distraction kept me from passing out and it gave me an opportunity to decide that, if I lived to tell the story, I’d call out the airline on this unconscionable, unhealthy, inhumane, ridiculous, shameful, cheap-ass behavior.

Didn’t their mothers teach these airline PTB to not treat other human beings as chattel?  Hmmm?

# # #

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 6.55.13 AM
Actual MRI, similar to Bombardier CJR 200.

This would be the end of the story if it weren’t for the man next to me on the flying MRI with wings from hell who was an employee of one of the airlines that was part of the afore-mentioned cluster.

And he was taking notes.  Lots of them.

For real.

And he was telling me EVERYTHING that this flight crew was doing that was wrong, that was illegal according to FAA standards, and that was just plain stupid.

So despite being the most physically and emotionally uncomfortable I’ve been on an airplane in decades, I had the pleasure of knowing that this flight crew, a bunch of yahoos who really should be ashamed of themselves, were going to get in trouble.


It is because of this note-taking man that I can look back on this flight as a learning experience for the crew as well as for me.  To wit, I will never, ever in a hundred years set foot inside a Bombardier CRJ 200 again.

And if you know what’s good for you, you won’t either.

How To Make “Not Coffee” In The Morning

File this one under… MARITAL BLISS.

1)  DO NOT set up your electric coffee maker, which has a delayed brewing option, the night before you want your coffee.  Instead, go to kitchen in morning while still groggy and make coffee.

2)  TURN ON overhead lights in kitchen using dimmer switch to provide a minimum of light onto counter.  Pull machine out from under cabinet while confirming that brew basket, glass carafe and plastic lid appear to be in their proper places.

3)  PLACE PAPER filter into brew basket, measure water + ground coffee, then place each into its proper compartment within electric coffee maker.  Turn on machine and wait for brewed coffee to drip into glass carafe.

4)  HEAR BEEPS that tell you that your coffee is ready and with favorite mug in hand pour yourself some coffee from what seems to be an unusually light carafe.

5)  DO NOT stop to think about why this carafe is so light and that there might be a problem here as you take your first sip of coffee.

6)  SPIT OUT “not coffee” into sink as husband enters kitchen.  Describe foul “not coffee” beverage using colorful language, thereby piquing husband’s interest.

7)  TURN ON overhead lights in kitchen to full wattage while examining electric coffee maker from whence the “not coffee” came.  Snarl loudly and turn to husband who is trying to make quiet exit from kitchen.

8)  ACCUSE SPOUSE of incompetence while putting away clean dishes night before.  Mention that just laying plastic lid on top of carafe will not work.  Reinforce idea that securing plastic lid onto glass carafe is what allows coffee to flow from brew basket into carafe because lid pushes spring on bottom of brew basket open.

9)  NOTICE SPOUSE looking guilty and explaining that it’s all his fault.  Agree wholeheartedly while cleaning out sludge formed by coffee grounds and hot water trapped in brew basket.  Try to be angry with husband but decide that it’s not worth the effort.

10) DECREE THAT there is a new house rule.  Specifically, henceforth and ever after the glass coffee carafe will always have plastic lid secured on top of it before placing carafe into electric coffee maker… on penalty of no access to any TV remote control for a month.  Capiche?

A Bear Went Across The River To See Who He Could Court


There’s a WHAT? WHERE?  


• • •

They tell us that this rarely happens.  That’s what they say.

I mean, I’ve lived in southern Ohio for 25+ years and it’s a first.

Rather like the nighttime burglars who scared us into turning our lights on & speaking with one another.

Shocking, really.

Of course, the human miscreants have been nabbed.  Put in the hoosegow.  Sent away for bothering us here in suburbia.

• • •

But this fellow

is getting away with anything and everything that he can…

because the authorities don’t want to mess with him…

and because he’s cute.

Never underestimate cute.  Remember Smokey? And Yogi? And Fozzie?

But you have to wonder, did they manage to have 2 Twitter accounts: @ClermontCtyBear & @MiamiTwpBear?

• • •

Just observe him, they say.

He’s only looking for a mate. 

Bears are good swimmers, they tell us.

Isn’t it wonderful how he made it this far north into Ohio?

If you encounter him, they suggest that you do this:

“Speak in a firm voice and if necessary, raise your arms above your head and clap.”

• • •

Taking a differing point of view than the authorities, I am.

Waiting each day to learn that an 85 lbs male black bear has caught a ferry back to Kentucky and is looking for love in all the right places.

Hoping to go outside at night without fear.  Too much to ask?

Don’t care if it is.  Asking for it anyway.