Friday, December 10, 2010

Invasion of a Wake of Buteo Buteo

Ok, Ok, I only know that by Googling . . .


We noticed a dozen or so buzzards circling last weekend. We did not think much of the comment a visitor made about a possible roost.

But by Sunday evening, when coming home from a different direction, there were hundreds of these bad boys and the idea of a roost in the area became more of a possibility. I have never seen anything like, and have not had my camera with me when the sky is full.

Then this morning, I saw a sign for an estate sale that I could not resist, so as I turned back into the neighborhood south of ours, I saw Buzzards again ...

 I really need a zoom lens for my camera... But there were trees all behind these homes, lined with these flying garbage disposals.  On some limbs would sit a vulture with his wings spread, soaking up the morning sun. A few were starting to venture out, looking for their next meal.

By the way, if ever a buzzard lands in your yard, leave it alone! 
We have heard their defense is to throw up on the encroaching threat.
That would not be a pleasant experience . . .  

I wonder what having the eaves of your home lined with buzzards
does for resale value and a quick sale?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Everything is Bigger in Texas...Except Bejing

Before any more time passes me by, I still want to talk about my Texas trip.

As I headed down the highway to Katy Texas, I made a right and traveled a ways through some dry, very flat land. I turned left and enetered the drive of a museum that was off the beaten path.

And I entered the Forbidden Gardens. I had been somewhat intriqued by the idea of a replica of Bejing in Texas! So since I was already in a new land, I traveled some more and into a faux Bejing scale.

I was early, not long after the opening for the day. As I started across the bridge above, I noticed movement off the side and in the water.  Turtles. Not that that is unique, but I noticed an awful lot of them. Swimming, not sunning, and swimming towards me. I stopped to watch, thinking I was wrong, but I was not. Those turtles swam up below me and looked right at me! THAT, is a first.

I crossed on over and entered the empty courtyard. The odor of age, mold, mildew greeted me first. I followed the sign to the gift shop to pay my fee. I had not really paid attention to that on the site where this hidden gem was mentioned, so the $10 fee seemed a little high, based on what I had encoutered so far. There by the register was a bowl of bags that looked like cat food. It was labeled "feed the fish $1." That tickled me - no wonder the turtles greeted the guest - they have been stealing the fish food apparently and want more!  I paid and was given a brochure and started my self guided tour.

Strange small museums are not really unusual to me. There is a small art museum in our town and  the other one has a train with many arrowheads displayed. It is not something we visit because every small town around this area seems to have a train on display and arrowheads come a dime a dozen in our neck of the woods. I have taken my kids to the telephone misery museum. Ok, misery by them, hilarious to me! No pictures from there, not allowed - might steal the technology.  There is a cotton museum somewhere nearby - it is still on the list to hit up, too.

But this museum made we wish I had my kids with me! I would have laughed at them and they would have risked their eyes getting stuck looking upward from all the eye rolls! But the origins of this site were sincere and I am sure in 1989, when it was established, it was fresh and bright and festive.

As I entered the replica of the Tomb of Qin I was greeted by horses and a carriage.

And behind them all the kings horses and all the kings men

All these statues were impressive. I read some about Emporor Qin. He gained the throne as a child, not beginning his rule until 21. At that time China had many languages, many currencies, many individual countries. Under his rule, they all came together as one country, one language and one currency. He was so successful, he wanted all to have the same thoughts as him too. After some time, his ego took him straight to that point - if you thought different than him, you lost your life, if you spoke against him, you lost your life. He also was eager to find a way to live forever, so as his servants looked for potions to help him keep his youth, he commissioned a group to begin making statues of all his men and horse to be placed in his tomb to protect him in his after life.

All these statues were created to show Texans and all that visit what was created so long ago.

As I looked around, having read about his need for power and to be right, I saw something different about the statues. Maybe they did not just represent the wear and tear from the Texas weather heaped upon them. Maybe ....

Some got tired and their friends let them lean on them ...

Some stepped where the Emporer did not wish for them to step...

And some must have spoken their own mind...

...different from the emporer

 Ok so that all was a stretch, but the need of $10 from visitors was apparent!
I left the tomb and walked past a small patch of bamboo, with Texas blue skies and pine trees dominating the sky, and headed to a large covered area.

 Behind a bush, the first of the replicas of Bejing...

A few inhabitants and trees blown down...

 And this behind the pavilian made me look around for Will Smith to step out - Wild West meets Bejing. Doesn't it have a Western Flair to it??

I always like to find at least one place off the beaten path when traveling, and I am glad I did not skip this. While in many spots it reminded me of toy houses that had been loved and played hard with and left to fend for itself, I could see the desire of someone to keep a part of their heritage available. A spot that should be visited by more so their roots are not lost and forgotten...

Thanks for letting me take you through this journey.

What off the beaten path unique sites are in your area?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another Reflection

 In keeping with previous Thanksgivings, we made the short 30 mile journey to the gathering place, a step back in time, no internet (but yes, running water and electricity).

Each year I walk around the pond above and at least once make a right down a path, a road I guess you could say.

 Each side dips down 10-12 feet where water once stood. Then I take a left on this path.  No house in site at this point. An occasional sound from a car heading down the highway not too very far off. Otherwise, just nature. How do you describe the crisp yellow leaf fluttering in the middle of a shrub entering into its winter sleep?

 This section of the farm has always been my favorite. When I first started joining the family out here, I told Will how great it would be to have a path, leading off this path, back through this swampy area, a cabin with a screened porch (gotta keep the skeeters away) and a black belly stove to keep you warm in the winter. A rocking chair. A shelf full of books. A comfy bed. That is all.  Well, some food I suppose...

 The water is dried up due to the drought, but even so, I think a little hideaway spot, back away from it all would be absolutely wonderful!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Roundabout, Feeder Roads and Chivalry Is Alive

I was able to join my husband on his business trip this past week.  The city? Houston Texas.

I have always wanted to go to San Antonio, but have not thought about any other part of Texas, not sure why not, but I haven't. So this was my first time in the Lone Star State.

While hubs sat through 8 hours of class a day, I played. I charged up and down the streets in the rental car - a Dodge Charger. I have to say, I enjoyed driving that car. Big difference from the ol' Montana mini van! And while finding my way around, I had another first experience: a Roundabout. We don't have those around here. And, beyond the laughter of feeling like Chevy Chase and his European vacation, I do not think I care for those. Someone's status on facebook, a couple weeks ago, was our town needed some roundabouts. Now that I have been on one, in the wrong lane, I have to wonder, why???? I could see this would just increase the number of accidents and folks expressing road rage. We live in a town, when someone realizes, at the last minute, they need to turn right at a particular light, and they are in the left lane, they just stop. They don't go around the block and come back. They stop until they can turn right from the left hand lane.

We have all heard it said how everything is bigger in Texas. The highways and interstates seemed bigger than Atlanta's. I can't figure out if they were or if there was just a little more space between lanes and brick walls and if there was a little of an optical illusion involved. The wide open parking lots or space off the highway's might have made them seem wider. I am not sure, but they have these wonderful feeder roads. Loved traveling along the highway but not having to get actually get on it for the few blocks I needed to go when I really didn't know where I was going.

Are you still with me? Bored of the Texas traffic report? Well chivalry is alive in Texas too! Stores, restaurants, museums - any spot to encounter others, chivalry and kindness was shown. Maybe I just happened to be in the right spots to make this statement, but I noticed it in driving too. The pace was different, but I noticed there seemed to be a working together flow to things. If you needed over, as soon as your turn signal went on, someone would move over or let you in. There was no riding your tail if you might be in the slower lane. They just passed, without looking at you with anger or frustration. There seemed to be a lack of power struggle on the roads and in the stores that I realize we have around here.

The three days were fun, full of new experiences and pleasant encounters and food and food and food.  And once I get pictures downloaded, I will have a post about Bejing...sorta.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

To The Laundromat We Go...

…when the washer is too small.

My perspective was a little skewed today. Grievances magnified to a mountain when actually just a mole hill. So as I was ready to sit and choose to do nothing this afternoon, my wise husband reminded me of a task I have wanted to get handled: a comforter and a sleeping bag washed. It had to go to the laundromat because my washer is not big enough for either of these items.

Loaded with the linens and two other errands I could run during the washin’ and the dryin’, I headed out. Two hours later I have a smile on my face and something accomplished.

I loaded the washer, put my quarterssssss (with a stutter) in the machine and hit start. Ssssssss (with a stutter) because inflation has occurred since last I used a laundry mat. After 20 quarters dropped into the machine, the timer said the wash would be finished in 16 minutes. So I headed around the corner to Lowes to grab a light bulb for my now dark freezer. How many Lowes employees does it take to figure out the one bulb needed is out of stock?

Four. I have never had such attention at Lowes before. All were pleasant and joking, but it was rather funny the number of those that were searching in this 10 foot stretch for that bulb.

I headed back to the laundromat to move items from the washin’ machine to the dryin’ machine. The machines timer is not exactly in check with actual time, so I got to sit for a few moments. I had noticed a gentleman there earlier, with his suitcase waiting for his clothes to finish. He was still there. As Andy Griffin’s medicare commercial came on, he scooted right up in front of the TV.

My attention was back to watching the timer as he walked back and started in front of me. He said something. Something loud. I thought he was addressing me so I said “excuse me.” Startled he said “oh, I’m sorry, I was talking to myself.” With a smile I said I understood. I had been there myself today. Wrong.

I forgot about laundry mats. One should be prepared for eccentrics of life. And with that the man sat down next to me and asked, “do you know about celebrities??”

Ummmm, not really. I don’t keep up with them.

He continued anyway. His out loud pondering had been a question of how Andy Griffin and Brad Paisley were related. I, have no idea. Then he proceeded with why he thought they were related. He left that thought and said he had just read today that Taylor Swift was not dating an older man. A real old man he said. Against better judgment I did just google this and the older man was all of 27 and apparently they are NOT dating any longer and nothing popped up about a new guy…

The man then spotted my shoes and asked where I got my shoes. Ok, so it is not that BIG of a strangeness, but ladies, when was the last time a man asked you where you got your shoes?

I can tell you the last time a man told me he LIKED my shoes – I was a secretary on the psych ward and a transvestite patient, that had partially amputated one of his legs, told me what great shoes I had on – that was when. So I stand by my feelings of men commenting on women’s shoes a little strange to me.

Back to today, he proceeded to tell me what great shoes Walmart has and then untied and pulled off his shoe to show me the built in Dr. Scholls heel pad. I wanted to laugh again. Only me…

I was saved from further conversation when CSI came back on the TV and he headed back to stand in front of the screen.

With clothes now dryin’ I headed to get a turn signal bulb. It was great. The auto store fella came out and replaced the blown one with a new one. No $65 service fee, just good ol’ fashioned niceness!

I returned to get my items from the laundromat and they were not quite dry. More quarters and a quick trip to the fabric store in the next parking lot. As I headed out of the laundromat, the gentleman had loaded up his suitcase and was out the door walking across the parking lot.

I noticed him again as I parked at the fabric store. He suddenly started running, suitcase in tow. I stopped for a second wondering why, and that is when I saw the bus. He struck a trot hollering and waving hoping they would see him. I noticed a lot of people getting off and quite a number waiting to get on the bus. I figured he would make, but if he was still there when I came out, I would, well maybe, offer him a ride. He was gone when I came out a few minutes later. And, I am sorry, I was glad. I am sure he was harmless, maybe, but I would have felt pulled, do I give him a ride? Or let him catch the next bus?

Now I am home. I had forgotten what it was like using a laundromat. The first four years, on my own, away from my parents, my Saturday mornings were spent at a laundromat. I did not mind at the time. It was a necessity. While I have not forgotten the convenience having those machines in my home – I had forgotten the entertainment value. I had forgotten the various lives you come in contact with and all that can be learned.

Today, the running of errands, the kindness of the auto parts store guy, the uniqueness of shoe man at the laundromat all came together to, as strange as it seems, put some perspective back into my day. Never underestimate the short, simple encounters during your day.

Hope you have an encounter that makes you laugh today too!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ABC Wednesday (a little early)- Pumpkin Preoccupation

Not just for halloween...  :)

Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater
Had a wife and couldn't keep her.
He put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well . . .

Pumpkin Pie Crunch Mix

1/4cup brown sugar
1tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4cup butter
2teaspoons vanilla
2cups Cinnamon Chex® cereal
2cups Wheat Chex® cereal
2cups Honey Nut Chex® cereal
8oz pecans

In small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In small microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on High about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in vanilla. In large microwavable bowl, mix all cereals and pecans. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until coated.

Microwave uncovered on High 5 minutes or until mixture begins to brown, stirring every minute. Spread on wax paper or a cookie sheet to cool. Store in airtight container.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Negotiator Strikes Again

I think I need to change The Man's blog nickname.

After the discussion regarding the knife and scouts, today we have a new creative offering.

The Man has wanted to dress as the grim reaper for a couple years now. I have always tried to turn the kids to less dark characters. But then again, I suppose Werewolves are rather dark and we had fun with that....

Anyway, I returned today from running errands and was met at the door by The Man.

After having hinted at the grim reaper several times over the past week, he searched while I was gone and found a large piece of black fabric of mine (how did he do that when he can't find his cell phone??).

He says it will take sewing, but he has come up with an idea....

The grim reaper on vacation!!

He would add a camera and vacation attire to the black cape.

Very creative again.

But once he saw I had a black cape we compromised and he is happily going to be the headless horseman.

Maybe "The Negotiator" would be a better blog nickname...


Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh Linus, They are all great pumpkins!

‎"Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere.

 He's gotta pick this one. He's got to.

I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one.

You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy.

Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see. "

 (Linus, It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown)
                                (did you see the shadow faces??)