The Tale Of Getting Our Held Mail Upon Return From Vacay

I DID NOT START THIS.  I want to be clear on this point.

I inherited this feud from some women who used to live on this street when all the houses were new, and the street wasn’t finished yet.  Women who moved to the midwest from big sophisticated cities.

Women who had never dealt with a small town misogynistic resentful male postal clerk who grumbled loudly about doing his job, poorly.

For reasons never fully explained to me they hated him, and being who they were, they launched a letter-writing + email-sending campaign to get him fired.  They found the names of everyone in the U.S. Postal Service who might be influential enough to get this resentful male postal clerk axed from his job– and set about trying to make it so.

Their campaign, organized and relentless as it was, did not work.

THEN they moved away leaving me the only woman on this street who knows what they did– and still suffers for it because he remembers which part of our street was out to get him.

The block I live on.

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SO KNOWING WHAT I KNOW, I went over to our local post office branch to get our mail that had been held while we were on vacation.

As usual he was the only clerk working behind the counter and I had to stand in a long line.  No big deal.  Totally expected.

What I did not expect, however, was our resentful male postal clerk getting into a prolonged shouting match with a male customer who was trying to decide which box to use to send something somewhere.

Our resentful male postal clerk had strong opinions on what this customer guy should be doing– and the customer guy was. not. buying. it. at. all.

I found this tense conversation fascinating because this is my first experience with our resentful male postal clerk turning vicious on a man.

He’s branched out.  [pun intended]

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EVENTUALLY I GET TO THE COUNTER.  With a sense of foreboding I hand my driver’s license to our resentful male postal clerk, and I wait for the inevitable hateful glare.

The snarl.

The shout.

“Greenwood Street, huh?”

But this time, my gentle readers, I was ready.  I put on what might be my best dramatic performance ever, playing the part of a contrite suburbanite.  When he squinted his eyes and glared at me, I slouched, I looked down at the floor, and I hung my head in shame for living on the street that I do.

Oddly, this performance seemed to light a fire under his heretofore slow-moving butt and he went into the back of the post office branch to retrieve my mail.  Lickety-split-like.  Without whining.

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BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.  As if this story could get more exciting and amazing, when our resentful male postal clerk returned from the back with our mail, that included 31 catalogues + many letters, he had it in an official U.S. Post Office rectangular white plastic toter that he handed to me.

This is unprecedented.

Never before has this resentful male postal clerk NOT dumped all of our mail on the counter for me to grasp, as best I can, in my arms.  He has previously enjoyed making me look like a klutz as I scramble to not drop anything while skedaddling out of his post office branch.

But this time, he was, for him, in his own way, almost kind to me.

And I gotta tell ‘ya, I find this a bit disturbing.  It’s just not normal– like he’s playing some new game with me that I have yet to figure out.

On A Plantation In The Stableyard With A Camera [For The Win]

We’ve been on vacation.  To some interesting places.  That I promise to tell you about later.

But right now I’m too busy in real life to do much more here than share a few stableyard animal photos with you, my gentle readers.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Well if that’s the case, then here are 7000 words, plus a few more, for you.

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Water buffalo, very friendly, ready for a smooch.

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Mama pig snoozing with polka-dotted piglets.

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Sheep, with a bit of an attitude, lounging against front porch of house.

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Gray squirrel, technically not a farm animal, hanging out around the farm while eating a nut.

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Goat doing something goat-like, as goats are wont to do in pens on farms.

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Goose, northbound, waddling away from lady with camera while shaking south end tail feathers at her.

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Little lamb whose cuteness stole the whole farm show.

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All photos taken at Middleton Place, a National Historic Landmark, located near Charleston, SC.

Share Your World | Tulips A-Go-Go

Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog, and I answer them here on my blog.  

• Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

Yes, *sigh* back when I was a crazy, younger, athletically inclined woman who followed the crowd, I was a cyclist.  I did lots of 30+ mile bike rides for charities, and even once went so far as to go on a Backroads bike tour vacation.

This adventure in hell vacation started in New Bern, NC, and involved days of bike riding on dodgy, bermless country roads, littered with dead snakes and frogs.  Roads, filled with 18-wheeler lumber trucks zipping past us, spewing bits of pine bark and needles as they went by.  It was scary.

Throughout the tour we were on a strict time schedule to get to ferry-boats to go island to island along the NC Outer Banks, with the goal of getting to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?

However, this did not happen because a huge storm, the aftermath of a hurricane, disrupted the ferry service to Cape Hatteras.  Meaning that our last ferry-boat was abruptly cancelled, leaving us stuck one island short of Cape Hatteras, on Ocracoke Island.  In a dumpy motel.

So with torrential rain falling and nowhere to go, we abandoned the pretense of cycling, made note of Ocracoke’s famous ponies, and drank excessively in the one bar that was open while it stormed, all the while lamenting that we were never going to get to Cape Hatteras.

Which *sigh* was the whole point of the bike tour.

• Name one thing not many people know about you.

I will not wear the color orange, so keep all your sports fan gear away from me.

• What is your favorite flower?

Tulips. Graceful and colorful, with no excessive leaves to muddle up their lines or draw attention away from their colorful petals.

• Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)

While it’s true that I like things, and that if my life had gone in a different direction I might have become an interior designer, I feel that for me to list all the things that I want to have in my home would take hours.

Instead, I’ll leave you with the following quote by William Morris that summarizes how I’m learning to evaluate the things in my home: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

• Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to the cats featured in the YouTube video below.  They make me smile.  I’m beyond impressed by their focus and skill– and that any human being was able to get them to do what they’re doing.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to Zen-Den listening to S•Town podcast so that he and I can discuss it.  At length.  Produced by Serial and This American Life, S•Town is the most compelling investigative-journalistic-true-crime-ish story I’ve heard [or read] in years.  Think Southern Gothic genre.  The language is coarse.  The topics are mature.  And the story is so good… in a bad way.  Highly recommended.

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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A Rosy Sunday Morning Walk In An Amazing Park

DSCN7426Just because we were in Columbus OH overnight and just because I remembered going to this park when I was a child and just because it was a gorgeous clear summer morning, we went to the Park of Roses.

Located in Clintonville inside Whetstone Park, the Park of Roses is a 13 acre garden with 11,000 rose bushes, most of which were in bloom while we were there.

The park was as amazing + colorful + beautiful as I remembered it, but what I didn’t remember was that rose scent surrounds you everywhere you walk. All the time.

Below are a few photos that give you, my gentle readers, an idea of the scope of the park and the details of the park.  Did I mention it was amazing?

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P Is For Parsnips, Most Peculiar

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.56.48 AM “Fine words butter no parsnips.”

This is an old English proverb that means empty words or flattery achieve nothing.  The idea being that buttering food makes it taste better, but it’s still the same food.

I first remember hearing this proverb on an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Olivia d’Abo as Nicole Wallace played an accomplished grifter who was always one step ahead of Vincent D’Onofrio as Detective Robert Goren aka Bobby.  She tormented Bobby, the brainiac, like a cat with a mouse, and at one point while he was trying to find a way to put her in jail, she said the above saying.

The saying stuck with me, and is my only “real life” experience with this saying.

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{ SOMETHING TO DO FOR FUN }

If you’re a fan of vegetables and of Walt Disney World, you may remember that during the 1980s & 1990s there was The Kitchen Kabaret show at The Land Pavilion in Epcot.

The show was a hoot, complete silliness– with a memorable theme song.  Click HERE to listen to the “Veggie, Veggie, Fruit, Fruit”  song.  Click HERE to see some photos of the show.

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Trumped: In Which I Admit To Agreeing With The Donald On One Point

Earlier this week did you happen to see Rob Lowe as a guest on Conan?

[If not, I’ll wait here while you watch this clip of it.  Take your time.  No rush.]

[Okay, continuing on…]

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IN THE ABOVE INTERVIEW Conan reminds Rob Lowe that The Donald thinks that Rob Lowe is the most beautiful man he’s ever seen.

As much as I dislike The Donald, for many reasons, on this particular point I agree with him.

I’ve seen Rob Lowe in person. In an airport. Waiting for his wife [girlfriend?] to exit the Women’s Rest Room.

He smiled at me as I walked by, tipped his ball cap– and I swooned.

Yes, Rob Lowe is as incredibly handsome in person as he is on-screen. I’m talking really. good. looking.

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THANKS TO THE FOREGOING remembrance I got thinking about all the celebrities I’ve seen in person, usually in airports, occasionally at business events.

Or sometimes just out and about.

The following is a list of these celebrities, presented in no special order, intended to get you, my gentle readers, talking about famous people you’ve seen in real life.

Go on.  Tell all.

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MY LIST OF CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS

Rob Lowe [Movie + TV]

Paul O’Neill [MLB]

Phylicia Rashad [TV]

Richard Belzer [Comedian + TV]

James Cromwell [Movie]

Sela Ward [TV]

Peter Frampton [Music]

Big Show [WWE]

Joe Theismann [NFL]

Ann-Margaret [Movie + Stage]

Anthony Muñoz [NFL]

Carrot Top [Comedian]

Melanie Griffith [Movie]

Richard Chamberlain [TV + Stage]

Tim Russert [News + Author]

Tasha Tudor [Artist + Author]

Richard Dean Anderson [TV]

Don Budge [ATP]

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A Little Vacation: Went To Texas, Got Wet, Came Home

:: Late last week we went to Texas to visit Austin, TX, but our little extended weekend vacay took a different turn, and we ended up in Dallas, TX.

Perhaps you heard about Hurricane Patricia?

While both cities were soaked by this unprecedented storm, after getting to Texas, driving to Austin & finding ourselves in the moldiest suburban Hilton Garden Inn room ever, we reconsidered our plans & decided to focus on Dallas instead of messing around with Austin, which was more directly in the path of the storm.

And had unbelievably expensive hotel rooms.  [$200.00 per night for a downtown budget Motel 6 room. That’s without taxes. And, of course, no room service available in the place.]

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Photo of bleak wet world as seen from room window in Marriott Hotel at Legacy Town Center in Plano, TX, October 2015.

:: I’m glad that we made a change in our plans and chose to goof-off in Dallas, even though the whole region had the most amazingly consistent gray sky that I’ve ever seen.

A sky that some might be tempted to say was gloomy and foreboding.

A sky that seemed to hover over us as we drove around Dallas on about seventy hundred thousand different highways, toll roads, expressways + freeways, in the rain, while Siri told us how to reroute ourselves to avoid flash flooding.

:: So what did we do?  Activities that kept us dry, of course.

  • We visited the Dallas Museum of Art [fascinating American silver collection, Islamic art + Inca artifacts].
  • We visited the Museum of Geometric and MADI Art [art displayed partly in museum and partly in law firm that shares the building with the museum].
  • We drove to, but were unable to see, the Heritage Farmstead Museum in Plano, TX, because it was closed due to flooding.
  • Then, despite my dislike of malls, we went to NorthPark Center, an upscale 50-year-old mall, incredibly clean– and about as soulless as a mall can get.
  • Continuing on went to another mall, The Shops at Willow Bend, which for a mall wasn’t so bad. I guess.  Zen-Den bought a few shirts at Dillard’s, so not a total waste of time.

:: Do I have a conclusion?  Well, I don’t know. Sort of.

All I can tell you, gentle readers, is that I am not unfamiliar with vacations not going as planned.  I am nothing if not adaptable.  Meaning that while I didn’t return from our vacation rejuvenated by local cuisine, music and artsy-fartsy Austin stuff, I’m happy that I got to see a little bit of Dallas, TX.

Which is massive, affluent, with lots of new buildings, friendly people and, in my experience, incredibly wet.  😉