5 PHOTOS, 5 STORIES – SPRING CLEANING – DAY 3

FIVE PHOTOS, FIVE STORIES CHALLENGE – DAY THREE

There is a challenge called Five Photos, Five Stories.  I secretly hoped to be asked to participate in it. Looked like it was right up my alley.  Sure enough, Cee at  Cee’s Photography Blog asked me to join!

I have been following Cee and participating in her challenges for a while.  If you aren’t familiar with her and her beautiful work, I invite you to visit her.

The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo (or more!)  each day for five consecutive days.

2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or nothing more than a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to you.

3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is supposed to be fun. It is not a command performance!

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What says “spring is in the air” better than a brand-new dust mop? Is this my glamorous movie life story? No, not unless it is a very dull movie.  We’ll save the glamorous me for some other day, when I discover where she has been hiding for all these years.

The snow was melting. The terrible winter was finally drawing to a close. Outside, the ice and snow were giving way to mud. No flowers had yet appeared, but suddenly, I realized how terribly dirty the house had become.

I was shocked. It hadn’t looked quite that bad last I looked. Maybe it was the light shining through the windows. Outlining the dust bunnies, dead leaves, cobwebs, and piles of dog hair.

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We made an excursion of it, going to Target to buy cleansers, dust mops … the stuff to fight back against the filth.

Yesterday, as I climbed the stairs to “our level” of the house, I realized all the work I did a week ago had disappeared. You’d never guess anyone had ever cleaned the place. I knew the dogs bring in dirt, but seriously … that was a lot of dirt.

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I mucked it out again. If only it would stay clean, just for a little while!


The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive day

2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.

3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!


I’ve gotten a lot of negative feedback asking others to participate in this. I don’t understand the problem since it’s what we do anyway. We post pictures and write about them or other things of which the pictures remind us. This doesn’t require a lot of writing, either. A paragraph will do.

I’m not going to ask anyone specific, but I hope some of you will volunteer. So many bloggers gripe about the Daily Prompt, I would think you’d be glad to have a choice of something else. Apparently not.

FIVE PHOTOS, FIVE STORIES – DAY TWO

FIVE PHOTOS, FIVE STORIES CHALLENGE – DAY TWO

There is a new challenge called Five Photos, Five Stories.  I secretly hoped to be asked to participate in it. Looked like it was right up my alley.  Sure enough, Cee at  Cee’s Photography Blog asked me to join!

I have been following Cee and participating in her challenges for a while.  If you aren’t familiar with her and her beautiful work, I invite you to visit her.

The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive day

2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.

3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!


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On the first warm sunny Sunday of 2015, Garry and I were at the park with our cameras. We were not alone. Drawn from our warm hidey-holes by the lure of sunshine and shirtsleeve temperatures, the park, and the river was full of people.

Playing frisbee and just sitting in the warm sunlight. With small children and dogs in tow, hauling picnic lunches and fishing reels, the Blackstone Valley emerged from the darkness.

I like shooting from the bridge. It offers the best view of the river and the park. There isn’t a lot of traffic on Route 98. Although people tend to drive faster than is entirely safe, I’ve never seen more than two or three cars on the road at the same time.

“How’s the water?” I called down to the kayakers paddling past.

“The strut holding up the bridge has rusted through. I was afraid it was going to fall on our heads,” they answered.

another bridge blackstone autumn

The little bridge in summer. You can see the struts under the bridge. The struts hold the road together. The one in the middle is broken.

It gave me pause. Maybe that is why a stop sign had mysteriously appeared at the bridge. It would force traffic to go slower over the bridge. It did feel shakier than it did a few weeks ago.

We waved at the paddlers as they continued down the river. Today, I was thinking about what the kayakers had said. I wondered if the engineers in Rhode Island know the support on the bridge is broken. Did the kayakers call anyone? I didn’t. How would they know?

Who to call? If it were Massachusetts, I’d call Town Hall. They’d send someone to inspect the bridge. It’s not our town, or in Massachusetts. I decided I’d try Rhode Island Department of Transportation, or whichever agency takes care of roads and bridges.

I looked it up. Found a contact number. A pleasant lady in customer service used Google Earth to find the bridge. I told her I had photographs and sent them to her. And in return, I got:

Good Afternoon Marilyn,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us and share this information with us; I have sent your comments and photos forward to our Bridge Engineering section. We do have work planned for this location in the near future and we are closely monitoring the condition of this location. I am sure they will find this information helpful.

Thank you again for taking the time to reach out to us.

Have a safe and lovely weekend.

Garry congratulated me on being a good citizen. I pointed out we drive over the bridge. It’s just down the road. I’m disinclined to go down with the bridge. He took my point.

I hope they fix it soon. It made me contemplate how battered our bridges are. They’ve been in rough shape for years. This past winter didn’t help the situation.

History has not shown the Commonwealth quick to repair damaged roads and bridges. I hope, right now, engineers all over New England are busy, busy, busy, fixing, fixing, fixing.


I’d like to invite Pat at CHRONICLES OF AN ANGLO SWISS to take up the torch. Pat, I think this is right up your alley! In fact, this is what you do and why I love your blog so much. You don’t have to, but I know you have been seeking inspiration. I hope this helps!

In view of all the negativity surround the Daily Prompt, one would hope that a new challenge might put a little life into our blogging. Anyone who would like to participate, you are cordially welcome. Feel free to jump in! It’s easy and fun. Most of us post pictures and write about them anyway, so it’s not out of line with our usual process.

FIVE PHOTOS, FIVE STORIES – THE CHALLENGE

FIVE PHOTOS, FIVE STORIES CHALLENGE

There is a new challenge called Five Photos, Five Stories.  And I secretly hoped to be asked to participate in it. Looked like it was right up my alley.  Sure enough, Cee at  Cee’s Photography Blog asked me to join!

I have been following Cee and participating in her challenges for a while.  If you aren’t familiar with her and her beautiful work, I invite you to visit her.

The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive day

2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.

3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!

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When you have had a lot of heart surgery or other heart-related issues, you develop a relationship with a cardiologist. You don’t get a choice about this. It’s a package deal. They fix your heart, you show up and let them check you out. Because I also have a pacemaker, they also tune me up.

They turn my pacemaker up, then lower it. They take a readout of everything that has happened to me since the last time I was there. The make adjustments, then tell me how much longer I’ve got before my battery needs changing. I’m battery-operated at least for the next 11 to 12 years. I’m not sure whether I find this information reassuring or icky. Maybe both?

It was, overall, an interesting day. When we drove into Boston around noon, nothing was blooming. Not a bush, a tree, a flower. When we began our drive back 3 hours later, the magnolias and dogwood were blooming, and I was cleared to not see the cardiologist for an entire year.

I got the thumbs up. Really. He gave me a thumbs up, said I am looking good, and asked the question we all want to hear: “Have you lost weight? You look thinner!”

I have lost a little bit, and I do look a lot better than I did — which would not be hard.

It was a pretty good day, as this kind of day goes. Traffic was no worse than normal, which means heavy but moving, mostly. We got to the Kenmore Square exit, and it had ceased to exist. The ramp was gone, and the entire area was in tatters. It’s good we used to live around there because they didn’t even have a detour sign up. We went to the Copley Square exit and backtracked through Back Bay and Kenmore, past Fenway Park (how glad we were no game in progress!) and finally, the hospital area.

Without a single wrong turn. Yay, US! Finally, at last, Beth Israel and the worst parking garage ever built. Despite the odds, we found a parking spot — a good one — on the first pass. The lab tech was waiting for me; the doctor was available. And we were out in an hour. Holy moley, it was a miracle.

While we were in Boston, spring arrived in New England. I wish I could have stopped and taken pictures of the blooming trees, but traffic was not cooperative, and the streets of Back Bay and Brookline are not park-and-stop friendly.

The picture was taken from the car window as we left the city via Route 9. Normally a terrible, crowded nightmare of a road that combines narrow lanes, lots of traffic, with limited access … it was pretty good yesterday.

Pretty good. And my battery won’t run out until at least 2026. Imagine that!


I’ll nominate someone to carry on the mission tomorrow. Right now, gotta run!

SHARING MY WORLD AGAIN

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2015 WEEK #15

Regarding your fridge, is it organized or a mess inside?

Both. Organized, insofar as I put stuff on the same shelves all the time. But, I’m not the only one using the fridge. Some people, who shall remain nameless, don’t worry about object placement. Worse, leftovers tend to get shoved to the back where they grow legs and try to escape. Ew!

Have you ever been a participant in a parade? What did you do?

Garry and I were in the Shriners Rodeo. Twice. On horseback. We had to gallop around the ring and not fall off.

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I’ve been a parade onlooker a few times, twice by accident.

How do you stand out from the crowd?

I don’t. I’m short, plump, white-haired and slow-moving. I’m invisible.

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If you are asking the question in a metaphysical sense, you get a slightly different answer. I have some talent for photography and writing. I’m smart, but not as smart as I used to be. I think a lot of my brain cells got tired and died. Or maybe the drugs of my youth finally caught up with me. It was fun while it lasted.

Je ne regrette rien.

How many bones, if any, have you broken?

I broke a toe jumping into a pool with my toes pointed when I was 13. Or maybe 14.

Shortly thereafter, I grew a benign but large tumor on my right tibia, so they removed a small section and replaced it with a plastic pin.

I lost several pieces of my spine when I was 19. Spinal fusion and laminectomy of L-3-4-5.  Last year, they cracked my sternum to replace the mitral valve, cut down the overgrown muscle in my left ventricle, do a bypass, insert a pacemaker, and drain my lungs.

My chest has not healed. I can hear it grinding when I move. I’m told it will heal eventually. I hope so. It’s icky. When I press gently on my chest, I can feel the bones shift. TMI?

TONGUE ANYONE?

Daily Post: Take That, Rosetta!

by Ben Huberman on February 10, 2014

If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be? Why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us TONGUE.

I want to learn DOG. I want to explain to all my canines in their own unique tongues so they can’t pretend they don’t understand (oh, I know your games … you understand fine when you want to) to stop barking all the time at absolutely nothing. Of, if you are barking at something, please … tell me what you see that I don’t see? And about that early morning chorus. You have such beautiful voices, my furry babies … but why six in the morning? If you are all about praising the Lord (other than Garry, your Dog God) … can we reschedule services for a bit later? How about 11 in the morning? Even noon. I don’t think a deity would be offended by a slightly late start and I would be personally grateful.

And about those tongues.

When I get out of the shower, you do not have to lick every exposed inch of my body. Really, I just did that with soap and hot water and although I’m sure you mean the very best, I always feel sort of slimy when you’ve finished redoing the process in your own special ways. And hey, I’ve seen the stuff you eat out in the yard. Don’t lie to me. I know where that tongue has been. Eww and double yuck!

I know you talk to each other. I’ve seen you each approach one another … then get up, and go and a pair to the next canine, then all three of you embark on some kind of group activity … usually barking in chorus or a good howl. Or a trip to the kitchen where you stand around giving us the dead-eye until we produce treats. So you communicate. I just would appreciate you letting me in on the secret.

I could make a pretty penny doing dog food commercials and movies if I could simply explain in native DOG … tell you guys what I want you to do. Training would be unnecessary. Just a simple chat, and voilà! Tricks? No problem. Then, instead of being fuzzy, over-indulged lounge lizards, you could become productive members of society. Maybe with dental and health benefits. And think about how great it would be if you could really tell me what was bothering you? I could stop guessing … a boon for both of us!

Thanks for listening. And please, whatever you are barking at? Give it a rest!

PASS ME THAT BABEL FISH

Take That, Rosetta!

If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be? Why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?


French, because there are so many books I want to read in the original language that were written in French. I studied it in school, but over the years, lost it to Hebrew and the erosion of time. I’d love to read the Angelique books that have never been translated … and reread the others that were translated so poorly. French poetry, Dumas (Pere et Fils) … the original romantic adventure series. All written in French.

Movies! Understanding without subtitles.

Poetry! Classics! Baudelaire, Voltaire, Balzac.

Babel-fish

Actually, I would like to have a Babel fish. The one Douglas Adams invented.

Just stick it in your ear and all the languages of the entire universe are yours to understand. No language barriers exist. No tongue is impenetrable.

That would be the trick!

IF THAT MOCKINGBIRD DON’T SING

When we lived in Boston, a mockingbird used to sit on the rail of our stoop and shout imprecations at the two dogs and the cat, Big Guy. It made them crazy. They wanted that bird so bad.

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One fateful day, I was walking the dogs. Mockingbird was perched on the wire over our head, yelling at us. Then he flew down to the garden, perhaps to refuel with a seed or two. Divot, the Norwich Terrier, lunged into the garden (it was one of those stretchy leads). There was a flutter, another flutter, a chomp, chomp.

Divot emerged from the garden, the mockingbird in her smiling jaws. She passed the bird to her partner, Pagan, the big hairy hound (PBGV or Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen) as if they had been practicing for years.

Together, like the thoroughbreds they were, they trotted homeward where Big Guy was clinging to the screen door, apparently aware of all the events that had transpired. Meanwhile, I was trying to wrench the bird from Pagan’s jaws before we went into the house where Big Guy was waiting to get his jaws around the prize.

Garry Kaity Divot RiverBend

Here ye oh Mockingbirds! This is a cautionary tale for mouthy birds. Don’t taunt the dogs. Or the cats. They may be smarter than you think.

EIGHT IN THE MORNING – WHY IS THE PHONE RINGING?

There’s a myth circulating about senior citizens, that we are up with the birds and asleep before sunset. An entire culture has been built on “Early Bird Specials.” Because old people purportedly eat dinner by 4pm.

I eat around four, but I call it lunch. Dinner is around eight. Please call before you show up.

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In my experience older people, especially retired ones, are up when they feel like getting up. They go to bed when they feel ready to sleep. For us, that’s around one in the morning or later (earlier?). Even when we should go to bed earlier (because we have something we need to do in the morning), “Just one more show?” always wins over “Are you ready to go in yet?”

Thus when the phone rang at eight this morning, I wasn’t happy. I’ve recently changed my phone. At least my new ring tone — a Mozart sonata — is pleasant. Not like the old one which had all the grace of a nail gun to the head.

It took me a few moments to reconnoiter, to recognize the source of the sound. The phone, Marilyn. It’s the phone.

When I’m awake and focused, I don’t answer calls from “Unknown Callers,” survey companies, or 800 numbers. None of them are people to whom I want to speak. Most of them aren’t people. They are recorded messages (talk about annoying).

I can’t see the caller ID from the bed. It’s easier to snake my hand around the lamp and grab the phone.

I see an unfamiliar name on the caller ID.

“Hello?” Big improvement on my usually hostility-tinged “Yes?”

“Good morning, this is Rita from the Milford Daily Telegram.”

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Speechless, I stared at the receiver in my hand, trying to get through the clouds in my brain to remember what to do next.

“Hello? Hello? Is anyone there?”

I was there, sort of. Shortly, I remembered what to do. I clicked “End.” Put the phone down. Plumped the pillow and went back to sleep. I was pissed, though well short of a killing frenzy. I save murderous rages for back-stabbing former friends and moronic customer disservice personnel. I’ve outlived most of the back-stabbers — in which there is some weird consolation — and no matter how frothing at the mouth crazed I may get at customer service drones, I recover almost immediately. I may not even remember the details an hour later.

Actual solicitation calls, of which this was one, should not be coming at all. I’m on the “DO NOT CALL” list. Nonetheless, I get up to a dozen or more such calls every day. If I’m alert, I don’t answer them. When I don’t recognize the name but doubt it’s anyone I know, I respond with a hostility-laden “Yes?”

Note: Putting yourself on a “Do Not Call” list seems the perfect way to distribute your phone number to organizations who want to sell your data to spammers.

Why eight in the morning? Anytime they call me will be annoying, but do they believe they can sell me something if they call before I have time to drink my coffee? Or my defenses down because I’m not fully awake?

What they accomplish is to rob me of a couple of hours of badly needed sleep. I curse them for that. Sleep is precious. Nobody should attempt to solicit anything from anybody before eleven. Or ever, if it were up to me.

I’m sorry about not having a criminal rampage to report. I promise to write about it as soon as something appropriate triggers one.


 

MAD AS A HATTER

But why is the hatter mad? Did his hats not sell? Is he mentally unbalanced or merely angry? Inquiring minds want to know.