Black and White One – Mary and Spot

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I love the Hipstamatic application – I love the setup I use, anyway. I’ve never gotten around to playing with the dozens of other ways the app can be used. I know my favourite grouping of lens & film will always capture the image I see in my head.

I have too many good ones to share all at once – I’ve just realised this as I started uploading. I’ll only do a couple at a time.

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Taken inside a local pub.

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My good boy Spot on a sunny day.

A reminder: these photos are under my copyright and cannot be shared without permission and a link to the original source, this blog. Thanks! (don’t make me have to watermark the shit out of these, okay?)

Take a Deep Breath and Swallow

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A family of swallows made a nest under an overhang at work.

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They grow so fast! Last week all four babies took their first flights.

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Some were better at landing than others. The flying seemed easy for them – just not the landings.

One crashed into a box inside and knocked itself silly. Little birdie was handed to me, so I could make a rescue attempt. He was scared, but not shivering, so I thought there was a chance still. I took him outside and set him on a quiet curbstone to recover.

After about 10 minutes, I could see he had perked up but was still dangerously close to the ground. I went back out to check on him…

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He let me stoke the back of his neck, where birds like being petted best. But he still didn’t fly away, so I took the chance to get pictures with my iPhone.

I got one of the best shots I ever have taken!

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Cartoon Craziness Challenge – Build a Burger?

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Well, hell, I thought. That’s a tough one. Invent my own hamburger with anything on it? Sheeeeeit.

Once again, Mental Mama and The Indecicisive Eejit have given me food for thought and inspired a titch of creativity. I think this is their last cartoon challenge, however, and for that I’m a bit sad.

Back to Build a Burger. It seemed a difficult concept at first – but my Imagination Goop flowed rather quickly and gave me an Idea. Making the Idea into a work of art was harder. There’s a story, of course!

I recently have had an album on nearly constant rotation on the car CD player. It is by a little-known indie/grunge band called Sugartooth. They only released two albums, and I only have the first one. Back in 1997 a guy at work (who was quite married and practically begged me to let him into my pants – I did say no) gave me a copy. I forget his name (but not his face) and I will be forever in his debt for introducing me to Sugartooth’s music. One of my favourite lyrics inspired my crappy drawing – from a song called Black Queen, “I was hungry, so I ate all the words I could swallow.” Poetry does still show up in rock music. Yes, Sled – I know it isn’t your cuppa whiskey, but you might be surprised. Raucous, yes – but also emotional. I need emotion in my music.

On to the cartoon.

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I knew I could only fit a few words into my sandwich, so I picked four of my favourites. I love them for the way they sound, or they way they feel in my mouth, or the memories I have when I learned the word. ‘Vegetables’ is straight up juicy – it makes me salivate when I say it. ‘Ubiquitous’ is a memory of my father naming annoying children at the next table “ubiquitous” – with a long suffering sigh – and me loving the word but not having a clue what it meant. ‘Serendipity’ – you just have to love it. Luck. I think I read a book when I was a wee child and a dragon-ish Thing was called Serendipity. Also, it is something I’m short on and would gladly eat more of… Sanguine because it is a slippery word in my mind and also is important to me for a bit of fiction I was/am writing.

Hope you bothered to read all this, it was equally fun to do and significant for me to share.

Roses for Mama

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I bought myself a new rosebush recently – a peace rose. We had one in Florida, at the house where I did most of my growing up. Mom loved it. She wasn’t much of a gardener: the rose didn’t get a lot of attention and bloomed rarely. But when it did, she was ecstatic. I remember. I will never forget.

The 17th anniversary of my mother’s death is September 1. That year, 1997, it was also the Labor Day holiday – which meant exactly nothing to me at the time but makes it worse for me when they coincide again.

This post is for you, mom. I know you’d be thrilled with all of my beautiful flowers. But these roses are just for you, and I will think of you and smile with every new bloom.

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Cartoon Craziness Challenge – a Thing, redux

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I’m cheating again. I actually do have an idea for a mythical being, based off the comments on my last blog post, but I’d have to be a hell of a lot drunker than I am now. SuperVagina – yeah, you’d have to be wasted to draw that!

I know, I know, it’s Friday and I should be celebrating it! But I’m just too exhausted. So – cheater’s version of the Challenge!

Here’s a Thing I drew a while back, instead of SuperV.

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A Draining Morning

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Do you ever have so much going on that you want to share that you shut down entirely and say nothing? That’s been me, lately. I don’t know where to start so I … haven’t started. But there’s one thing I want to talk about, and I’ve been holding off because I don’t want to accidentally offend anyone. I’ve been put in that position recently on the blog, and now I have to write with my tiptoes. As you can imagine, those contortions aren’t comfortable.

A not-funny thing happened, that led to something funny, that led to a not-funny thing. I feel a rant of sorts coming on…

There was a clog in our big outside drain pipe. It was my fault. So of course I should be the one to fix it.

I have a plumbing snake, but it was too short to reach the clog. Being creative and not willing to either give up or pay someone, I electrical-taped an old shower hose to the snake, as an extension. It was still too short! So I electrical-taped a new shower hose to the old shower hose that was taped to the snake. Good thing I keep things like two unused shower hoses, eh? You just never know when random junk around the house might come in handy! Hoarder? Naw, just prepared for any eventuality. I choose to believe that. Nahnahnah I can’t hear you, Socks…

In any case, in the process of being shoulder deep in a big drain pipe, I got shit-water on me. I got it on my arms, on my hands (despite the gloves I changed about nine times in the course of my work), on my pants, on my shirt, and on my FACE. Yeppers: Poo-soup, on my face.

That’s funny, to me. I rather deserved poop all over me: I caused the problem. How, I will not detail. It was an attempt to save myself work that backfired badly. If it got in my eyes or mouth – maybe not so funny!

What really isn’t funny: someone saw me doing the work and asked about it. After I explained I was told, ‘That’s a man’s job. You tell your husband I said so!’

It wasn’t even physically challenging, unless you count kneeling on concrete for ages (ow). I didn’t explain why it was me doing the job beyond the simple answer that I’m plain-old-better at this sort of job. Hubby and I each have our talents, and this is one of mine, such as it is. I can deal with poop-soup on my face and clothes way better than he, and I deal with the frustrations of how long it takes to clear a big clog more calmly, too.

This is not to say that I don’t have a horrible temper that rockets off into incandescent rage for what seems like no reason (to anyone but me). Plumbing issues aren’t one of the things that piss me off – I don’t know why (or why not).

But this wasn’t a “man’s job”: it was a dirty, smelly, disgusting job. I have never believed that just because I don’t have a penis, I should be automatically exempted from doing dirty, smelly, disgusting work. I’m pretty sure every mom out there would back me up on that. Also: every female pet owner, every female carer for an elderly person, every female doctor or nurse – I could go on. How much excreta of various kinds and from various species do women deal with on a daily basis? I can’t imagine just because it was flushed it means it is less icky, can you? Hell, at least I knew who pooped the poop – a stranger’s poo would likely make me gag.

I’m not angry at the person who made the comment – he didn’t give me time to think about and explain why it was sexist. To be honest, I doubt I would have bothered, because I feel the comment was sexist toward men, too. I’m just as tired of hearing that men should be the ones to do all the physical work as I am at hearing that women shouldn’t do any of it.

Has anyone else had a moment like this? What did you do or say? I think next time it happens, I’ll say a lot more in response, myself.

Tigridia Tuesday – Week 5

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Well, I was warned in the comments last week that if I looked away from my tiggies, I’d regret it. Of course I have still been taking daily photos over the last two weeks, I’ve just stopped flooding my followers with flowers of the same feathery form.

This week, something new grew!

We’ve all seen the pink ones:

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We’ve all seen light yellow ones:

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We’ve all seen bright yellow ones:

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We’ve all seen orangey-red ones:

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And we’ve all seen red-orangey ones.

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But: what happens if these two mix? Red-orangey and light yellow:

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It seems that these two got together last year, *cue 1970′s style porno music* and they made a new bloom!

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My first hybrid!

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I love the stripes, don’t you? Like they were painted with a dry fan-brush.

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All of these are coming up on just one stem. I am pretty sure it is one of the new baby ones from seed I stuck in that pot.

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Pretty cool, eh? I wonder if it will grow true next year from seed, and I wonder if I am the only one to have it? I’m not going to Google it just yet and possibly ruin my fun.

I wonder what I should name it…

Cartoon Craziness Challenge – Memories of a Childhood Vacation

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I have a funny vacation memory! Yay! Well, it’s not exactly funny. It’s something that probably should not have happened – it shouldn’t have been possible and it wasn’t technically legal – but it did teach me that my dad’s word was as good as gold.

We lived on the Gulf Coast of Florida, so we went to the mountains in North Carolina a couple years in a row on holiday vacation (back then a ‘holiday’ to me was a real one like Christmas). We rented a cabin on the lower slope of a mountain, and just chilled out. I loved it – the people who ran the cabin rentals lived at the bottom and had goats and sheep and let me interact with them. There were rocks and trees and giddy little rivers, and panning for gemstones. The panning was most likely seeded with stones, but it was fun for me anyway. I still have a chunk of flaky mica I found all on my own, too.

I was, I’m going to guess, between 9 and 11. So we’ll say I was 10 when this occurred. Not sure if it was raining out or what, but we were all inside the cabin. I also don’t know who came up with the idea, but I’m assuming it was me: I bet my dad that I could hold my eyes open without blinking for one whole hour, if I could have one whole can of beer all to myself! I always did like beer…

Dad agreed and timed me and made sure I didn’t blink. I wouldn’t have cheated, either – I wanted to see if I could do it.

Of course my eyes welled up and streamed tears. But after a good while, they tapered off. They got used to it. My eyes felt dry, but I didn’t have the urge to blink anymore.

I made it the whole hour. Mom might have protested a bit, maybe, but dad didn’t hesitate and popped the top on a can just for me. I can’t remember if I managed to drink the entire can of beer, but I can guess that I was just as stubborn about finishing it as I was at winning it. I do recall a sense of satisfaction at being able to kick back with a beer of my own, with my family. Maybe I was just a happy drunk!

So here is my cartoon – and it sure did need that explanation or you wouldn’t have a clue what it is meant to be.

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Coastline, Downpatrick

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Part of what I love about the area around Downpatrick Head is that you can walk down to the shore and investigate all the tidal pools. It’s rock, so no sandy beach to play on, and I’d not swim there, either with the crashing waves.

Unfortunately I was there at a higher tide than last year, so I couldn’t walk out on the rocks half as far as I hoped. I was really worried I’d miss the sea-life I’d seen last time.

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I still got a little bit. Sea grass flowing in the current.

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The cracks in the rock surface were so very straight. I loved the miniature pools left in the hollows.

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Seagulls riding the updraft above us.

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I wonder what the broken bits are. Looks like fan coral, maybe? It was so pink compared to the stone and the blue of the mussels.

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But this – this is what I was seeking! Tiny little sea-anemones. Aren’t they lovely?

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I didn’t find a live starfish, or an empty urchin shell, like I did last year. But I was happy to see the anemones. They were only a tiny bit below the surface, and I have to admit I did tickle one to see what it felt like. Reminded me of the touch of a tarantula’s foot – sticky without leaving any goo behind on your finger. Like each waving arm grabbed on to me, and then decided I wasn’t food and let go.

I also learned a good lesson on photography – when taking pictures of something underwater, shadows are your friends! These would have been immensely clearer if I’d blocked the hazy sunshine with my body. I’m just so used to not doing that, I never even looked at the phone to see the results of my efforts. Next time!