ODDBALLS

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: April 30, 2017

Oddballs. Good to think about now that spring is arriving with piles of caterpillars and of course, those big black ants. I love warmer weather, but the bugs really get me. I suppose living in the country, you have to deal with them … and I do. OUTSIDE. Not in here. And not when they show up by the millions and eat my trees.

The caterpillars are tiny right now and the trees are not fully in leaf. All this rain may help keep them from doing as much damage. I hope so. I really sincerely heart of my heart, hope so.

Dog treats

Cameras, lined up and waiting to go

Porcelain pig with greenies

Front hallway

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BLANKETS

We live in New England. It gets cold. Not West Coast cold. We get the real deal, including bitter days with the temperature below zero and piles of ice and snow through which only a snow plow (maybe) can pass.

We do have a heating system and good insulation, but we are always just a little bit cold, especially in the spring and fall when I’m not ready to start (or restart) the heat.

We love our blankets.

There are blankets in the guest room

We have a big comforter in our bedroom

But the biggest, most determined blanket maven in the house is Bonnie. The crate in the corner is her house and in it are her blankets. Many blankets. Periodically, we pull all the blankets out and run them through the laundry. Garry lovingly folds them and puts them neatly in Bonnie’s house.

Bonnie gives him That Look. After which she goes in her crate. Pulls the pile apart, drags each blanket out of the crate, then drags them back in. She then rearranges them until they form that perfect pile in which she will be completely at her ease. She also drags everything else in there, too. Biscuits, toys, pieces of old cardboard boxes and anything else she has found and decided to save.

She is very particular about the arrangement of her blankets. We may not be able to see the careful organization, but she knows. Don’t go messing with her blankets. She will have to start all over again, pulling them out, dragging them back in. It’s a busy life for a small, black Scottish Terrier.

A MOUSE’S TALE – BY TOM CURLEY

This is a tale of a mouse. A mighty mouse. No, not this one.

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More like this one.

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What makes a mighty mouse? What makes a mouse mighty? I say it’s by doing mighty deeds. But what motivates a mighty mouse to do mighty deeds?

A sense of duty? Honor?  Is it because he has the firm conviction to never give up? Never surrender?

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Or could it be because he is really, really, really stoned? Allow me to explain.

This is a true story. You can’t make this up. OK, I guess you could make it up. But that’s not the point!  I’m not making it up. It really happened.

We have a mouse problem at our house. The problem being that we have a mouse in our house. OK, to be honest, we probably have more than one mouse. They tend to hang out in groups. I don’t want to bring in an exterminator because, well they exterminate. I have no beef with the mice. I just don’t want them in the house. So I bought one of those “mice repelling noise generators” that’s supposed to drive the mice out of the house.

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I put it in the basement where all the mice are. Or were. The device worked. Sort of. It drove them out of the basement, but it didn’t drive them out of the house. It drove them upstairs. Well, at least it drove one of them upstairs.

Every night for the last month, between the hours of 9 PM and 10 PM, while we are watching television, Ellin would suddenly scream “Did you see that? A mouse came up from the basement and ran across the hall!”

Insert mouse running here.

I never would see it. It happened really fast. About a half hour later Ellin would see him running back down into the basement. This happened every night.  We soon surmised that the mouse was running into our mud room. Why?

We finally realized we had stored a bag of dog food in the mudroom. It had ripped open a few months back. Ellin thought she had cleaned up all the loose kibble. Obviously, she hadn’t. Our mouse was making a dinner run, then going home. Home. To our basement.

One of the rooms in our basement is our studio. I left a little plastic baggie on a table that contained three gummy fish candies.

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They weren’t regular gummy fish candies. They were “special” gummy fish candies. According to the label, they each contained 10% THC. Pot. They had been on the table for about a month. Then one day about a week ago, I went downstairs and noticed that the little plastic bag was still there, but the “candies” weren’t.

My first thought was. “Damn it! A mouse stole my stash!”

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But then my second thought was “Damn, a mouse ate all three of those candies? Wouldn’t that kill him?” Then I thought, “Well, maybe it was more than one mouse.”

I then imagined what the conversation must have been between them about 4 hours after they ate my stash.


MOUSE 1: Whoa …

MOUSE 2: Have you ever thought that maybe the whole universe is just a single atom in a single molecule of a single cell that is part of a really big, really huge mouse?

MOUSE 3: Whoa …

MOUSE 1: Have you ever looked at your paws? I mean, really looked at them?

MOUSE 3: Whoa …

MOUSE 2: What were we talking about?


I forgot about the whole incident until the next night. Ellin and I were again watching TV when we heard a really odd, loud scratching sound coming from the kitchen. I got up and walked into the kitchen.  I found our mouse trying to open the lid to the wooden bin where we store our dry dog food.

Actual dog food box.( Note the TiVo box. It becomes relevant later)

He was so intent on what he was doing I was almost able to catch him and put him outside. But at the last second, he saw me and ran away. I then realized that if anybody needed proof that you can’t overdose on pot, I was looking at it. I couldn’t help but hum a variation of that song “High Hopes”.

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Everyone knows a mouse can’t,
Raise the lid of that box.
But he had high hopes,
He had high hopes,
He had high apple pie in the sky hopes.

And laughing to myself I went upstairs to go to sleep. I was awakened early the next morning to Ellin downstairs screaming.

TOM! THERE’S A MOUSE IN THE DOG FOOD!!!

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I ran downstairs and looked in the box. No mouse.

“Are you sure he was in there?” I asked my wife.

“Yes, he ran over my hand!!”

So, as my wife freaked out and I couldn’t stop laughing, both of our dogs glowered at us. Basically saying “Mouse, schmouse. Where the hell is our breakfast?”

Uh, Hello? Two dogs waiting for breakfast sitting here!

So now we have to put an old unused TiVo box on the dog food bin. Why a TiVo box? It was there. (I told you it would become relevant to the story)

The mouse is still in the house. He hasn’t come back upstairs in days. Maybe he left.  Maybe he’s still full. Maybe he’s just looking at his paws.

So there you have it. The tale of a mouse.

A mighty mouse.

A mighty, stoned mouse.

DECORATING TRICKS FOR YOUR KITCHEN – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I’ve been obsessing over the news for what feels like forever. I needed a break. So I decided to step away from my iPhone and do something that made me feel happy and safe. I walked around my house. I took in all the little things about it and in it that I love.

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I particularly love my kitchen. I redecorated it from top to bottom two years ago, along with the adjoining sun porch. It came out exactly as I had hoped – bright, cheerful, fun and totally me.

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My first goal was to create a colorful environment. All of the walls in my house had been shades of white or beige for the past twenty years. So I went a little crazy. I love color. Happy colors make me happy. I dress in them and wanted to live in them as well, particularly shades of aqua and turquoise. So the walls in the kitchen and eating area are a pale mint green and the walls in the sunroom are light turquoise. Most of the accessories in both rooms are shades of blue and green.

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For some colorful drama, I trimmed the moulding around the numerous windows in the sun room in turquoise darker than the walls. The effect is stunning!

I also added an aqua Corian counter to the kitchen island. And a colorful mosaic tile pattern on the back-splash behind the stove.

My second goal was to create warmth and personality by using accessories. Everywhere you look there is something pretty and interesting to look at. Because it’s a kitchen, and because I wanted to save money, I used everyday items as a major part of the decor. Items like plates and bowls, glasses and cups, trays, etc. So in my glass cabinets, I displayed these decorative touches to add pops of color in and amongst my everyday dishes and glasses.

I have two small bookcases in the kitchen as well. I used these shelves to create artistic ‘vignettes’ using similar items plus some vases and paperweights.

I love to use colorful, patterned plates, trays and bowls as decor on the walls and on other flat surfaces in the kitchen as well. I have a charming set of ceramic plates in different sizes, shaped like fish and glazed in beautiful tones of blue. They are dispersed throughout the sunroom and kitchen, on walls, in cabinets and standing on the shelf above the kitchen cabinets.Sun room curley house

I get a lot of pleasure looking at the pretty things in my home. I also remember how and where I got them and what they mean to me. Hopefully you can take some of these ideas and use them to give your kitchen a little extra pizzazz, or at least something new to look at.

I’LL NEVER WEAR IT AGAIN

I got up this morning and I wasn’t in a great mood. No reason. Just not a great mood. Grumpy, sort of. I decided I should wear something other than black because — my husband really believes in this — you should “dress against the weather.” I figured I should dress against my crummy mood, so I went looking for a long, red dress which I wear around the house. It’s comfortable, warm. And I couldn’t find it.

It doesn’t mean it isn’t there. When it comes to my clothing, not finding it is more typical than finding it. Much of my clothing is dark — black or charcoal or navy — so it all looks pretty much the same. Including when I’m wearing it. Moreover, the closet is crowded with clothing I always mean to wear, but don’t.

I gave away a really nice outer jacket yesterday. That felt good. But today, I wanted my red dress and I could not find it. Finally, I looked up and realized I had maybe a dozen pairs of pajama bottoms I used to wear and no longer do, not to mention a whole bunch of plastic bags that used to hold blankets and quilts. And there are a dozen shirts which I don’t wear because I don’t like them. Will I change my mind and like them in the future?

I grabbed the big bag. Pulled down all the pants and shirts … and stuffed them into the bag. After which, Garry carried out to the trash.

Whew! Suddenly, I felt better.

Red dress, found!

I found my red dress. I cheered up. Now, I just have to do the same thing with all the rest of that stuff I know I will never wear again.

Is this the oncoming of spring? Maybe it is!

BLURRY, AS DREAMS ARE

Whoosh. I was into a dream.

I was at the top of the stairs looking down at my house. Part of the house had bright lights on.

“Funny,” I thought. “Why are those lights on? I should turn them off.”

I grabbed Garry to come downstairs with me and help me figure out why those bright lights were shining. Somewhere, I noticed that we were in a big, attractive brick house that apparently, we owned. Except it isn’t the house in which we live, but it was definitely ours. We got down to the first floor and … blur … we were younger than we are now. Maybe twenty, thirty years? We found the lights and turned them out. I realized that someone I know from the blogging world was living there, too … and so were other people.

That was when … blur … I realized I had no idea where this house had come from or why we owned it. We wandered around the house for a while and it was a very handsome, rather large house and quite a few people were living there. The house was well cared for. Someone was managing it, but I wondered …

Blur … When did we get the house? Where was the money from it going? I thought about it and out of the … blur … came the reality that I recalled I’d seen something which had our name on it. Another mortgage, so this must be that house, but … blur … blur … blur …

I woke up. I lay there a while, so blurry I couldn’t quite get out of the dream. The house. We owned the house. Where did it come from? After a while, back to sleep … and there was blur … another house. In another part of the world, maybe Montana or Colorado. It belonged to a writer and it was a huge house, full of people who wrote books, painted pictures. All people like us. Kind of old, but who used to do artistic things … and I thought “we must have just left our other house … maybe at our age, it doesn’t really matter any more …”

And blur … I woke up again. Clearly there was no further point in sleeping. It was going to be about this house we owned but didn’t own, the house we had moved to, but hadn’t moved to.


DREAM MOODS

New House

To see a new house in your dream indicates that you are taking on a new identity and developing new strengths. You are becoming more emotionally mature.

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In general, dreaming of new things and new places corresponds to what is new in your waking life. It refers to something that is different or unfamiliar.


At no point did the new house, either the big one made of brick and in excellent condition … or the old, but wonderfully charming house out west … seem to be unpleasant places. There were a lot of “places” to discover, but they were not unpleasant places. Blurry, yes, in the way that dreams always are. Blurry and fuzzy and oddly twisted to form a shape that isn’t “regular.” I looked it up, just to see. I know there are many meanings to things we see in dreams and there had to be an important meaning to dreams and this piece was as good as I found. If you are interested in what things in your dreams may mean, it seems a good place to start checking.

So in the big blur of dreams that come and dreams that wander around our heads for a long time, I’m sure this one meant something. A dream that arrives and will not let go, not even when you wake up from it and then go back to sleep … That dream means something. This dream meant something. I think, maybe, this time, something good.

BLURRY AS DREAMS ARE

I CAN FIX THAT FOR YOU

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People used to help me do all the setup and wiring stuff of life, but things have changed. Today, they call me. It’s not like I’m particularly good at it. I’m not. About the best you can say of me is that I’m logical . I can dope how to plug A into B and B into C. Usually, it only fits together one way. If you stare at the plug awhile, you will have an AHA moment.

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I guess it’s that Garry is less capable at this stuff than I am. He looks at something mechanical and his brain freezes. Like, say, a vacuum cleaner. I look at it and I figure there’s got to be an “on/off” switch. There has to be one of those step-on-it release thingies so the upright will let you vacuum under things. And there’s got to be a release button on the canister so you can empty the dirt. The problem isn’t whether or not these buttons, pedals, et al are there. The only question is “where”? Garry says just one thing: “HELP!”

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Anyway, last night I finally got the extension cords I had ordered. Amazon has a new delivery service. Their own. Not UPS and not FedEx and not even the pretty lame USPS. Nope, it’s AmazonLogistics, or AMZL. I had ordered these from Amazon because I didn’t feel like hauling ass to the mall or Walmart. I figured with Prime, I’d have them in a couple of days.

It took a week. First they sent them to Wisconsin. I got an emailed apology that they had been sent to the wrong city. Then they wandered around the midwest for a while, showed up somewhere in Texas. Got another apology. Eventually, the night before last, I got a note saying they had been delivered. To my back porch.

We have a back porch. A deck. It’s a steep stairway nobody will climb in anything but full light, and never ever if the steps are icy or even wet. Except for one FedEx guy who not only brings the package to the back door (which is on the deck), but knocks and hands me the package to make sure I got it. The man is a saint, but I digress.

It was 1AM. It was pelting rain. I suppose I should have checked earlier, but usually, I get an email to tell me something has arrived. But that’s from UPS, FedEx, or USPS. Amazon doesn’t do that. You have to look at the order to see if it was delivered. I didn’t want the electrical cords out in the rain, so I put on my robe and slippers and went to the back door. No package.

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I limped downstairs and checked the front door. Nope.

Went down another flight of stairs to the bottom floor. Checked the two side doors. Nope. Nada. Nothing.

I limped back up the stairs, got back into bed and called Amazon. She said “sometimes the delivery people say they delivered it, but they haven’t.” I said looking for a package that ISN’T THERE in the middle of the night IN THE RAIN is uncool. I know why they mark things delivered when they haven’t been, but I’m too old to be running around in the rain to find a package that isn’t there. Eventually, I got compensated (appeased) and drifted grumpily into sleep.

Last night, I realized I should use those cords. Garry had been unable to use his heating pad for more than a week. The cable box and Roku in the bedroom were strung together with a huge, heavy-duty surge protector that was overkill in the extreme. It was safe, but weird.

I dug through the stuff stored between the dressers (extra bedding and pillows in zip bags) to find the outlets. Moved the lamp plug. Added the new extension with the multi-plug and connected Garry’s beloved heating pad. By then, Garry was done with his nightly ablutions and was offering to help. I let him hold things while I did things easier done with two hands.

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Detached the cable box and the Roku. Carefully unplugged and removed the huge, heavy surge protector. Replaced it with a standard extension cord (note to self, should buy shorter extensions for future use). Managed to NOT knock over every single thing on the dresser (only half of them). Booted up TV, cable box, etc. Lights came on. All was well.

Garry was happy. I had brought back the power. And I’m thinking “I just added an extension and replaced another” … but one person’s simple act is another’s miracle.

When I wondered when (and why) I became the woman who fixes stuff? When did people stop helping me and instead begin asking for my help?  I should be glad. If I had to call someone for everything that needs doing, I’d spend my life waiting.

I’m not old enough for that. Yet.