Thursday, July 30, 2009

Observations from a lawn chair

It’s pretty peaceful at the campground where we are staying. The spaces are far enough apart to give us privacy, and we aren’t near the “transients” as they call the weekly/daily campers. Most of us in the area where we are stay for longer periods of time. We are situated across from a small pond that I’ve named Tranquility Pond, which is frequented by Canadian Geese, a Great Blue Heron, sandpipers, numerous bull frogs that lull us to sleep, and last year, an American bittern.

I love to sit outside under the shade of this great maple tree, and ideally, if there is a gentle wind, listen to the leaves rustling in the breeze.

The sparrows keep up a nice chatter in the nearby blue spruce trees and once in awhile I can hear the cows lowing from the pasture next to the campground. It is so peaceful and quiet out here and it’s where I do my best writing. And especially – there’s no TV blaring in the background. My husband loves the TV and has to have it on at all times. Me? Not so much. Don’t get me wrong – I love my programs. But I watch them in the evening. Thankfully I have the DVR. So in the daytime, when it’s not raining, I drag out the lap top and plunk in down on the picnic table, dig out the extension cord, plug it into the trailer and computer, and Wah-lah! There is my outdoor work station.

True, sometimes it’s hard to concentrate because I look over at the pond when the geese start honking, or I wave hello when someone drives by, but all in all, I pretty much stay to the task at hand.

Today I had to smile when I saw that someone (or something) had left a little present on our picnic table over night. Looks like we had a visitor! I haven’t seen too many squirrels in the area, even though there are an abundance of trees. I suppose it could have been a raccoon. Do raccoons eat nuts? I wonder?

I came out and sat in my lawn chair with my camera. The geese were right on the site next to us. Our neighbors have decided to take a little side trip so they are gone for a few days. That makes me happy because it’s really open now and I can observe the geese more. (Sorry, neighbor!)

The geese communicate both verbally and non-verbally. They nod up and down when they want to leave. The leader of the pack does this, and the rest of the group follow him. I don’t know if they are really emitting some kind of sound while doing this; if so it’s awfully quiet. I mean, the other geese can be feeding on the grass at that point and not even looking at the leader, but they know to follow him.

There is a large congregation of geese here. It seems that they can live peacefully together, IF THEY AREN’T TOO CLOSE. As soon as one family encroaches upon another family's “territory” this is what happens.

Here’s a family of sleeping geese. All is well. Momma goose is checking up on everyone.

Enter stage left. Another family.

This can only mean trouble.

Sure enough. A lot of hissing, a lot of elongated necks, and chasing one another.

The stronger family wins. The other geese leave the area.

Other families go and take a dip in the pond.

Some just snooze after a short swim.

Here’s one doing his morning stretches.

This one’s confused and thinks he’s a flamingo. Should I tell him or should you?

Some have an awful curiosity about the woman in the lawn chair with the camera in her hand.

I feel my heart start to palpitate, recalling an incident about 25 years ago when I was attacked by a gaggle of geese. I had run out of food and mummy and daddy geese were not happy with me. I ran blindly into a mud patch with 8 geese snapping at the calves of my legs and hissing at me. Yikes!

Here we have a mutual respect for each other. I stay away from them – they stay away from me. I hope to keep it that way. Luckily with my zoom lens I don’t have to get too close to those hissing, pooping, flying machines. But I do love them all the same.

Observations from behind the wheel - Part Two

My husband and I were driving around in Big Blue the other day.

Big Blue is our 1 ½ ton truck that sits high above the cars and other trucks on the road. I like driving the truck for two reasons:

1. It makes me feel powerful; and
2. I like the way men look at me when I’m behind the wheel. (Hey, I’m being honest!)

Have you seen those obscene testicles that hang from the hitch of some pickup trucks? They come in all different colors and sizes,(I guess depending on how "manly" one feels or how big the truck is.)

Flesh colored to make them look, um, real. Or perhaps a nice blue pair to match the truck.But then it could send a whole different meaning out there. These "Bumper Nuts" are outlawed in some states. They ARE pretty obnoxious.

Well, we’d have to get a REALLY big set of cajones to match the truck. But to be fair, I’d want a set of ta-ta’s to go on the grill to show that this is an equal opportunity truck. Anyhoo, I digress. Back to my story. So Jim was driving, which left me in the passenger seat and gave me the opportunity to peer into other people’s cars to see what they were doing. You know, a case of a “Peeping Pat”, if you will.

Let me clue you in America. People are NOT driving with their hands in the 10 and 2 o’clock positions. No siree Bob! My Driver’s Ed teacher, Elmo Hildebrand, (his real name), not to be confused with this person:

would be HORRIFIED. As a matter of fact, he would probably lick his finger and stick it in your ear, a trick he was known to do if he was not happy with the way you were driving. Yeah. A wet willy from a teacher.

I saw a woman who actually had her laptop propped up against her steering wheel and was typing on her lap. Granted, it was at a red light, but the fact that she continued to do so after the light turned green was downright scary. Can you imagine explaining to the insurance company the hospital claim of “removing a lap top from stomach”? I wonder if they have a code for that?

In the very next car was a young girl who was trying to light her cigarette. Now I know why insurance rates are lower for non-smokers. With one hand she flicked the lighter near the tip of the cigarette that was clasped tightly between her lips. Then she cast her eyes down and let go of the steering wheel to cup her hand around the flame, protecting it from the wind coming in from the open window. Now granted, this took a matter of about 3-5 seconds, but let’s get the whole picture. Here’s at least a one ton vehicle hurling down the road at 55 mph without anyone steering it. Or looking at the road for that matter. Yikes!

Farther down the road I saw a young woman driver sitting behind the wheel with one foot on the seat, knee bent, chatting away with her passenger, like she was sitting in her living room, and oh, by the way, she was driving, too. Ok, I admit that I was jealous that she could even sit like that behind the wheel. But how safe is it to drive that way?

You may have noticed that the above drivers were all women. But men were guilty too. Many were texting, or talking on the phone.

We spend so much time in our cars these days, they’ve become our home away from home. We eat in them, drink in them, do business in them by phone (or even by lap top!) We don’t even have to get out of our cars anymore. We have drive through fast food, banks, pharmacies, and cleaners. Now they added drive through liquor stores which seem a little ironic to me since you can get arrested for drunk driving, yet you can drive through a store to buy your booze.

In Las Vegas, they have a drive-through chapel where you can get married. Yep – ya don’t even have to undo your seat belt. How’s that for a shot gun wedding?

And some states have drive through funeral homes. The bodies are put on display at the drive through window. You just drive through and pay your respects, toot your horn and call it a day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Observations from behind the wheel

I was driving to my sister’s house the other day and do you know what I noticed? Nobody drives the speed limit any more. On highways. Except me. And my husband. Listen, I’m not proud of the fact that I’m going the speed limit. And apparently everybody zooming past isn’t either. But because Big Blue is a one and a half ton gas sucker-upper (not diesel), Jim is a fanatic conscientious driver when it comes to conserving gas. On a good day, when he’s driving, and we’re not pulling the trailer, AND the wind is behind us, we MAY get 9 miles to the gallon. MAYBE. He keeps a chart with our gas mileage (yeah, I know, I married a geek.) Every time I drive the truck, I screw up the gas mileage (snicker) because I tend to have a lead foot. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t speed through towns, etc. Only on the highways – for fear I’ll get run over. Of course, a semi would have to run me over, and even then I don’t know how much damage it would cause with our big truck. I just hate going slow when everyone else is speeding by us. I feel like I’m in a Flintstone car and my little feet are running as fast as they can but to no avail.

Sometimes when Jim is driving I feel like I want to jump out of my seat.

“What’s the hurry?" He asks. "We have all the time in the world.”

That’s true. He’s retired – I don’t work. We don’t have to be anywhere specifically.

So now that we’re camping near my home, I tend to drive the truck a lot to visit my family and friends. I try to behave and drive the speed limit for Jim’s sake and for his precious little chart. But then it got me wondering. Are speed limits just suggestions? Because around here, nobody seems to be following them. If it’s 55 mph, people drive at least 70 mph. MINIMUM. Yeah. So then you come across us in the right lane at 55 mph. It’s not so bad if that’s the speed limit. Ok, we’re the only legal ones. It’s when the speed limit is 65 or 70 when it’s bad and we’re STILL doing 55 mph. C’mon, you say. Ten to fifteen BELOW the limit? I KNOW! Can’t you get a ticket for going TOO SLOW?

And now the latest things are the photo enforced stop lights. Can you say BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU?

It’s true that many people push the limit and go through the red light. And if you’ve ever gone through a yellow light and only to see it turn red in the intersection – have you ever contemplated whether you did the right thing? Then looked in the rear view mirror and seen three cars right on your tail? Yeah. You did the right thing. The past few weeks I’ve found myself in that very same predicament. I didn’t think I could stop the truck in time without having to slam on my brakes really hard. I wasn’t sure if it was a photo-enforced intersection, but if so I hope they can’t read lips because I was saying, “Shit! Shit! Shit!” as I flew through it.

Plus, have you noticed how quick lights change when you are trying to cross the street? It may flash 12 seconds and you have to scurry across several lanes. The other day I watched a poor old man with his walker try and cross 8 lanes of traffic. He walked so slowly, pushing along his walker with wheels. I prayed the light wouldn’t change while he was in the middle of the street. He made it to the median when the light changed. He conveniently had a seat in his walker, which he promptly sat down, and waited for the light to change again, before finishing the last four lanes. It was a little comical to see him sitting calmly amongst all the lanes of traffic. It reminded me of this.

I don’t know if construction is bad by you, but here the saying goes, “In Illinois there are two seasons – winter and construction.” Almost every road you travel has some kind of construction on it. As of July 1st, a new law was passed in Illinois. If you are caught speeding in a construction zone, (which is photo enforced) the first ticket will cost you $375.00. The second ticket will cost you $1,000 and comes with a 90-Day suspension. Drivers will also receive demerit points against their license, which allow insurance companies to raise Insurance rates. That's a pretty stiff fine. But it shouldn’t be a problem for us. We’ll be the ones you’ll be frustrated to be behind in that single lane. Honk your horn to say hello.

"Look , hon,", I'll say to Jim, "They’re waving hello. With their middle finger."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Atlantic Avenue Reunion

In my last post I talked about growing up on Atlantic Avenue with tons of kids, described some of the games we played, and the general camaraderie we felt among the neighbors. Well, 45 + years later, we had a reunion. My sister so kindly opened her lovely home to our friends from long ago. My siblings gathered in the driveway waiting in anticipation for the next person to arrive, with squeals of, “Oh! That’s so and so!” And we’d run up to them, hug, kiss, and cry! It’s true; sometimes we couldn't recognize the person, as I’m sure they felt the same about us. But as soon as they’d say their name, we’d laugh, hug, and yes, see some little resemblance of the kid we hung around with so long ago. Over 70 people attended last year, and our school principle from St. Beatrice, St. Francis, also came. It was funny – nobody talked about what they were doing now – it was nothing like a high school reunion. Nobody wanted to “prove” that they made it in this world. Everybody was just reminiscing. I’d hear catches of conversations of, “Remember when we...” or “I remember...” or “Who was the one that...” Some people stayed until way past midnight. All promised to mark their calendars for the next year’s reunion.

The Second Annual Atlantic Avenue Reunion was last weekend. We laughed, we cried. We reminisced, sang, and cheered. We ate, drank and were merry. We didn’t seem to see the added pounds, the bifocals, the gray hair, or lack of hair for that matter. What we saw were our buddies, our pals, our compadres from Atlantic Avenue. I felt like a kid again, especially when my brother’s friend, Mike, put my sister, Linda, in a head lock and called her Linda Shoelaces. (Our last name sounded somewhat close to that!) Nothing had changed. How fun to witness another family’s reunion – many of whom hadn’t seen each other in over three years! Mary was so clever to bring those T-shirts that she made for each of her siblings with their name on the front and home address and phone number on the back. My family is wracking their brains how to top that – and short of us all getting our names tattooed across our forehead, I don’t see how we can!

Several families came with all their siblings and significant others. Since that’s how I tended to remember them (in one lump sum) it was nice to see all members. Of course, I was happy to see those who came singly representing their families too!

My sisters worked very hard on this reunion. Irving Park Road is the main road that runs through the town of Schiller Park, and they decided to research all the stores that were in place back in 1965 on that street. They met with a local historian, and we had a heck of a trivia contest with everyone yelling out what they thought was on the corner of such and such. It was a lot of fun. Also, there were trivia questions posted all over the walls outside of my sister’s house and the garage, which started even more trips down memory lane.

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Another great thing this year was that seven nuns from our old school, St. Beatrice, showed up at the reunion. Many people were so moved by this. And we couldn’t get over how young some of the nuns looked! We thought they were so old when they taught us! LOL! Remember, WAY BACK THEN, only their faces showed, not even their hair!

My twin sister, Pam, is very creative. She changed the words to, “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah” Here are the words:

Mine eyes have seen the fury of the nuns of Old St. Bea's
They trampled on our classroom jokes,
and brought us to our knees.
They taught us how to read and write,
and always first say please.
Those nuns kept marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory Hallelujah! Those Nuns kept marching on.

They stuck us in the corner on the days when we were bad.
The whole time in the corner we prayed they would
not tell our Dad.
They scorned us when we laughed in church,
which really made them mad.
Those Nuns kept marching on.

They sounded forth the big school bell which ended all our fun.
We knew the bell meant "come in now", and we had better run.
We lined up single file then and entered one by one.
Those Nunse kept marching on.

As years went by we realized these nuns from way back when,
would be the reason why we all turned out to be such gems.
The memories now we hold so dear are all because of them,
those nuns kept marching on.

The lessons that they taught us help transfigure you and me:
As they tried to make us holy, and the best that we could be,
We hope that you are proud of us,
Your class from Dear St. Bea's,
Our Nuns keep marching on.

Those good old days we've shared with you
have sadly come and gone,
If we've never really thanked you then,
we thank you now in song,
Your presence here has warmed our hearts
and made our bonds grow strong
Our Nuns keep marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our Nuns keep marching on!

She made up folders to look like “missellettes” from church and pasted the song inside. Then she bought a school bell like the one that was used at to call us back into school from recess. Once the nuns arrived at the party, Pam rang the school bell, and we all lined up single file and walked to the deck. Then we sang the songs to the nuns. Watch the video here. My twin sister is the red-haired woman standing down on the driveway. I’m up on the deck all the way to the right in the black sweater. My other sister is to the left with blond hair in the bright coral top. My brother is in black all the way to the left behind the curly hook thingy. Missing from the singing are my other brother and sister. My brother was taking pictures. I don't know what my sister's excuse was. Unless she's really in the picture but I can't see her because she's so short. The nuns are standing down by Pam to her right.

Several parents of the kids showed up, too. Again, they looked pretty good for their age. The oldest was Mrs. Maturno at 92 years old. Still very sharp.

The party lasted well into the night. Everybody hugged and promised to see each other next year. I don’t know how we can top this year’s party, but there’s talk of getting a DJ to play some oldies music and having a, “Name that Tune” contest. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Atlantic Avenue Gang

I grew up in the mid-fifties and sixties in a small town northwest of Chicago. It was a carefree time when we played outside all day and knew to be home when the streetlights came on. Sure we came home to eat, but basically my Mom didn’t know where we were at all times of the day. She knew we were safe. We rarely left the block. Why would we? There were over 50 kids on our block alone, Atlantic Avenue, ranging in all the ages of me and my five siblings.

There were no complaints that we were bored. We didn’t have video games or computers. We amused ourselves by drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. We’d play hopscotch, or “A” my name is Alice. We’d draw a large rectangle on the sidewalk and divide it evenly into squares. Then we would bounce a ball in each square and say, “A my name is Alice, my husband’s name is Aaron, we live in Alabama, and we make anchors.” “B my name is Barbara, my husband’s name is Bob,” etc, and keep bouncing the ball in each square until we’d either miss catching the ball or we couldn’t come up with something to fill in the blank. (We never COULD fill in the X!)

Sometimes we’d play Red Light/Green Light, or Mother May I? Statue Maker was another favorite. One person would be the “Statue Maker” grabbing a kid’s hand, and twirl them real fast till they got dizzy then let go of their hand. The person would stop in a crazy position like a “statue” and stay there as long as they could without falling.

We loved to jump rope and had favorite jump rope songs like,

“Not last night but the night before”

Not last night but the night before
Twenty Six men came knocking at my door
I ran out, they ran in
Hit me on the head with a rolling pin
Asked them what they wanted
And this is what they said:

Turn around, touch the ground,
Do the splits

- OR -

“Down in the Valley”

Down in the valley
Where the green grass grows
There sat ______(girl's name)
Sweet as a rose
She sang, she sang
She sang so sweet
Along came ______(boy's name)
And kissed her cheek
How many kisses did she receive
{count until someone misses}

Reiland’s store was located on the corner and sold penny candy. You could buy all different flavors of bubble gum – sour apple, grape, sputnik (a light blue with sugar sparkles on the outside), sour cherry and hot dog shaped gum. You could buy pixie sticks, flying saucers, Pez, pumpkin seeds, red hots, any kind of candy bar, and Cracker Jacks. Who could forget buying a pretzel stick out of the round plastic container with the metal lid?

The majority of the kids attended the Catholic school across the street; the rest of the kids went to the public school on the corner. The nuns were strict, but fair, and I believe helped shape us to be upstanding citizens.

Time passes, as it does, and we all grew up. But I will never forget my childhood years on Atlantic Avenue. That era, and location, was a great place to raise kids.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Take Two Asprins and Call Me in the Morning

I went to see my doctor the other day for my 6 month check up. We have a pretty good rapport and I've been a patient of hers for over 15 years. She agreed to keep me on as a patient even though I sold my home and left the area. I come back to the area twice a year and check in with her, get blood work done, etc. It's a good relationship.

She never yells at me to lose weight, even though I know that would make her happy, and of course, be the greatest thing for me. So the morning of my doctor's appointment I go through a routine to weigh the least amount of weight.

1. Shower (Check)
2. Clean out ears (Check)
3. Cut toe nails (Check)
4. Clean out belly button (Check)
5. Take off all jewelry(including big rock of a
diamond ring) (Check)
6. I must be dreaming – diamond isn’t big, put back on (Check)
7. Weigh myself naked, holding breath (Check)
8. Weigh myself naked, breathing (Check)
9. Weigh myself naked, crying (Check)
10. Take the average of the 3 weights, divide by 2,
find perfect weight (Check)(Swear)
11. Decide the clothes I am wearing by weighing each article (Check)

Did I mention that I try to eat foods that will, um, "empty" me so I weigh less? Yeah. I can't skip breakfast, or I shouldn't because I'm diabetic, but it's crossed my mind.

Anyhoo, did you ever have a tic suddenly appear somewhere on you body? It's not bad when it's on your arm or something, but when it's on, say, YOUR FACE, it's not a good thing. I've had a tic under my left eye for a few days now. Have no idea why. At least if it were the eyelid, I'd look like I were winking at someone, like a Sarah Palin wannabe.

But, alas, the tic is underneath, so I look like a freakazoid. Luckily my glasses cover it up some, or maybe it magnifies it. Yikes! And,yes, my nose was whistling, too. Nice. So I'm looking like an escapee from a freak show at the circus.

The first thing they do to you when you enter the doctor's office is what? WEIGH YOU. The scale is usually in the hall for all the world to see. But what's this? The nurse is leading me directly to a room. Can it be that they just don't care what I weigh any more? I say a silent pray to Budda that this is true. The nurse points to the room and says the dreaded words, "I'm going to have to get your weight here, if you'll step on the scale." Dun,dun, dun.

"Can you wait while I take off my clothes?" I say half-kiddingly.

The nurse doesn't even crack a smile. Oookay.

I obviously don't know when to shut up.

"Well, at least the scale is in the room. I always wanted to strip even when it was in the hallway!" I laugh. Nothing.

I at least take off my shoes because they've GOT to weigh 50 lbs, right? (I'm Italian - there's got to be cement in there somewhere.) I lumber over to the scale. Take a deep sigh. One foot. Step. Other foot. Step. At least the scale didn't say "TILT". Then the nurse says,"I want to take your height." She measures me at 5' 4 1/2 inches. It is official. I AM SHRINKING. So apparently those mirrors in the trailer that I think are defected because they look like circus mirrors are in fact for real.

I really AM short and fat. DAMN! I try to convince the nurse to write down my height as 6 ft tall so I'd be the right weight, but it's a no go.

My doctor finally comes in and asks me how I am doing.

"Well, doc," I whistle, my eye ticking, "it's like this." And I go on to explain my latest problem. But I don't seem to have her full attention. She's gazing outside to see if the circus came to town.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Whistle while you work?

Sure, whistling is cute when it comes from the lips of tiny Disney characters. But when it comes from a person's nose? Not so much. What makes a nose whistle? Is it caused from a stubborn boogar that won't come out? I blow and blow my nose, but the whistle stays put. According to Yahoo! Answers:
Any time you pass air over a constricted, or small enough opening, you're going to cause a whistling sound. Think of all the things that make that type sound and you'll find a spot where the air flow is forced through a smaller area making a whistling sound. That's what is happening in your nose.

So what that is saying is either my nostril has shrunk, or it is blocked up, right? Anyway, a whistling nose is an embarrassing condition. Remember as kids we could buy those little pieces of metal to stick in our mouth and every time we'd speak we'd whistle?

But without the danger of swallowing anything!When I have a whistle in my nose, I like to play a few songs for my family and have them try to guess what song it is, a "Name that tune" if you will. I usually just play "Jingle Bells" because it's pretty easy. Try it next time you have a whistle in your nose. You'll find yourself trying out all different songs.

Sometimes it's hard to tell who's nose is whistling at first. Wait, is that me? Or you? Deep down you're wishing it's the other person. THEN it's funny. YOU, uh, uh.

As mysteriously as the whistle appears, it then disappears and your day goes on as if it never happened. It's like we were musically gifted for an hour or so and then POOF! It's gone.

It's the only time I can whistle - too bad it's with my schnozz and not with my lips!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It Ain't Easy Being Me

“A question that sometimes drives me hazy:
am I or are the others crazy?”

Albert Einstein

We all have our idiosyncrasies. I just wonder if I have more than you. For starters, I don’t really like to touch door knobs, especially going into a restaurant. My husband, Jim, knows this, so he makes sure that he always gets the door for me. You can imagine the whole public restroom issue – I either keep a paper towel with me to open the bathroom door, pull my sleeve down, or my shirt UP, to open the door.

I have to sit in the exact middle seat in a row at the movie theater. I actually count the seats to be sure I am in the middle. Jim is very tolerant of this – he patiently stands behind me, holding the popcorn, waiting for me to plop my butt down so he knows where to sit.

I am forever checking things that I just put in my purse. For instance, I turn the truck off, throw the keys in my purse, zip up my purse, and then think, “Did I put the keys in my purse? I better check.” EVEN THOUGH I KNOW I JUST PUT THEM IN THERE. But lo and behold, I must open my purse, and be sure the keys are in there. The same goes with my debit card or any other credit card. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH ME? (Can you say obsessive/compulsive?)

You know when people use their napkin to wipe their teeth? Yikes! I can hardly even TYPE that let alone witness that! That is the same to me as hearing fingernails scrape on the blackboard. (Boy is THAT a blast from the past!) I hate it so much so that my dental hygienist and dentist know not to come near me with any kind of gauze or cotton near my mouth. They don’t want me freaking out. In fact, it is written on my chart! Probably right next to the caption “crazy lady”.

I have really good hearing. Too good, in fact. When I was little, my mom took me for a physical. The doctor told her that my hearing was so good that it would probably cause me to have a nervous breakdown when I got older! To give you an idea of just how good my hearing is…..I could hear my first husband BLINK. But he had really wet eyes. So, to me, it sounded like someone smacking their lips. Can you imagine living with someone like me? It ain’t easy. Jim likes to make noises. For no reason. He drinks a lot of pop. From a can. He likes to rub his finger along the top of the metal can. This makes me want to howl like a freaking coyote at the full moon. Or else he likes to “click” the can since the aluminum is so soft, by squeezing the can, then releasing. Squeeze. Release. Do you want to know what I want to do to his neck? Squeeze. Release. Squeeze. Release. Jim also loves to whistle. WHISTLE. Why? For what reason? This hurts my ears so much. He’ll whistle every so often and either I have to smack him or just give him the evil eye and he’ll shut up. But he has got me back. He went out and bought a psaltery. Oh. Yes. And right now it sounds like a cat in heat. I have blood dripping from my ears.

I live in a world of my own, but you're welcome to visit.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Home is where you park it

We have stayed nine weeks in Utica, IL, so we could be close to our daughter and son-in-law, and new granddaughter, Lily. It was time to leave. On Monday morning, Loco Louie, the crazy cardinal, came pecking at our window at 5:45 am. Then he flew to the top of our trailer and started pecking at the vent cover and sang his heart out. He was determined to wake us up. We just groaned, threw covers over our heads, and rolled over. Finally we awoke at a more decent hour and started our packing after breakfast. I was tempted to leave a note with our forwarding address attached to the tree next to the trailer so Loco Louie would know where to find us. We’ll be back in September on the same spot, so it will be interesting to see if he’ll come back to pester visit us. (To see a video of Loco Louie attacking our kitchen window, see the link here. A View from the Edge: Redbird, redbird what do you see?

I will miss seeing Lily. We really bonded during the times I babysat her. Lily is so laid back and content. She is such a good baby.

I always feel a little melancholy when we leave an area that we’ve stayed at for awhile, whether we have relatives near or not. Maybe it’s because we have no permanent home, so any length of time we stay put is “putting down our roots.” I enjoy the campground we are going to in Marengo, IL. It’s in the rural Midwest, with lots of farms and cows. Our site is right across from a small pond that I’ve named Tranquility Pond. You can read more about it here. A View from the Edge: Tranquility Pond

So it was only about a 1 ½ hour drive north to reach our destination. I was happy to see the moo-cows out grazing in the pasture next to the campground. The Canadian Geese were honking their protest as we pulled in. Their poop was everywhere. Yep, we were home!

As soon as I had a chance, I grabbed my camera and snapped some pictures. Here’s one of the geese obeying the speed limit.

I walked over to the pasture to say hello to my moo-cows to see if they remembered me. I’d like to think so. {SMILE} Read my past post about the moo-cows. A View from the Edge: Nuttin' but cows

Here’s one of my favorite with her long, white eyelashes.

There are four new calves this year. These two were very curious about the crazy lady with a strange black box in her hand. They followed me along the fence as I walked, with me yelling out, “Watch the fence! Watch the fence!” - Afraid that they’d get an electric shock by getting too close to the fence. I guess they’d learn real quickly not to do that again but, I’m a mom, what can I say?

I love the fence posts with barbed wire running along the pasture. The pine trees are huge on the campground side and are filled with tiny sparrows chirping away. It is almost deafening till I walk by – then there’s the sudden fluttering of wings and all the tiny birds fly to another tree.

I liked the cloud formation and the sun burst behind the large tree, with the cows resting in the shade beneath.

This old truck sits right in the middle of the pasture. I love the tall thistles growing all around the abandoned old girl.

I walked further down the road and smelled something really sweet. I spied these flowers/weeds. They smelled exactly like lilacs. I looked them up and found out that they were milkweed. They attract beetles (see below), butterflies, and bees.

Oops! I spy with my little eye……something I shouldn’t have. Is that Marvin Gaye I hear in the background singing, “Let’s get it on?”