I was in jail and you visited me…

On our first trip to Africa, in 2011, we visited a place for orphaned and injured wildlife that was adjacent to the Nairobi National Park. I was touched at the way the monkeys from the park came and visited with those in the pens.

Notice how some of the monkeys have two tails? If you look closely you can see a baby hand holding on as well.

 

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Astounding Details

When we traveled in China last year I was amazed at the intricate detail work we saw in so many places. It seemed like there were works of art everywhere you looked. Here are some examples:

Detail of paintings on supports for a roof at the Summer Palace.
Detail of paintings on supports for a roof at the Summer Palace.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Intricate.”

Intricate Work

Reconstructing the terracotta army strikes me as one of the most intricate of tasks.

Excavation pit showing how the pieces look when tehy are found.
Excavation pit showing how the pieces look when they are found.

It is awesome to realize the amount of detail that went into creating the figures in the first place as well.

Terracotta warriors.
Terracotta warriors.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Intricate.”

My Life, The Books

I am more and more coming to believe that fiction may be the only way to portray truth, so My Life, The Book would not be a biography. I would love to see how two different authors would write about my life experiences: Kenneth Grahame and PG Wodehouse.

When things seem pretty grim I sometimes amuse myself by wondering how those two authors would put my experiences into story form.

I have a sister who is Mr.Toad (Wind in the Willows). This came to me when I was sitting in a courtroom watching her speak to a judge. That thought helped my stress level greatly, it is amazing how thinking of a favorite book from childhood can make a situation more tolerable. And a quick wink of humor didn’t hurt  either.

Puget Sound beach at Cedarhurst on Vashon Island.
The new riverbank: the beach.

There are other characters in my life that I think Kenneth Grahame could render beautifully. And the beach, which has a central place in my life could make a good river bank, tying the stories together. I love the way he is able to portray aggravating and frustrating characteristics and not loose the lovable side of the person. Sometimes I think I may be a Mr. Badger sort, but maybe I am just Ratty. His stories are both profound and gently humorous..

Could Daddy be a new Lord Emsworth?
Could Daddy be a new Lord Emsworth?

PG Wodehouse is more slapstick and, of course, very British culturally. And yet, I could see him going Pacific Northwest style and doing a really good job describing my father who could make a Lord Emsworth of Blandings type of character, and the ferries would make a good parallel to taking the train to London or the country which is a common plot element in his stories.

Washington State Ferry: Tillicum
Are we off to the big city for a new plot complication?

He could probably make my son, with his four aunts, each with a different, very strong, personality into a great series. I am not sure what he would do with me, I might need to be an aunt in someone else’s story, but that is okay,  I don’t feel the need to be the star. The thing PG can do is turn drama into a good laugh. To quote Bill Cosby “If you can find humor in anything you can survive it.”

In some way reading stories by those two authors is reading about my life. That is one of the joys of literature.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Your Life, the Book.”

Happy, yet well prepared, wanderer

I love to travel, and a lot of the fun for me is doing the research ahead of time. Learning a few words of the language, something about the culture, and what options are available for activities and sights. I carefully create a folder with an itinerary showing where I will be with phone numbers and contact information, vocabulary, transportation schedules , maps, and information about sights. However, once all the research is done I am ready to play it by ear.

I do this regardless of how I travel: bicycle (only once), walk, cruise, automobile, train…Just thinking about it makes me want to start planning to head off somewhere far away from the craziness of my life right now.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Happy Wanderer.”

My Managerie

Pets wrap their furry little selves around our hearts.

Black Labrador retriever with pheasant.
Misty
Siamese cats.
We are Siamese if you please…

I grew up with pets. we had my faithful partner in crime Misty and three to seven cats, depending on whether there had been kittens lately. Most of our cats were Siamese and I don’t recall that we ever had problems giving away kittens. In this day and age it would have been considered totally irresponsible to have as many kittens as we had.

I am a responsible pet owner (or servant, depending on perspective). We prefer to have only one pet (my husband grew up in a household with no pets). We live in the city and our first pet was Star.

Obese Sheltie
Star on arrival.

We got her from Pet Protectors, She was a beautiful black and white Sheltie, who had been brought to the vet to be put down because she was obese. She weighed a bit over 50 lb, and should have weighed 20-25 lb.

Black and white sheltie.
Star

She was about 8 when we got her and her tummy rubbed on the grass when she went off the sidewalk to go potty. It was pretty sad that anyone had let her get so fat, she loved to walk with me. But  by the time we had her the excess weight had damaged her knees, so she walked very slowly, even when she was down to ideal weight, she maxed out at about 1 mile per hour. One time when someone called my husband told him that I was out “standing the dog”. It took about a year but with diet and exercise she got down to 25 lb and remained there for the rest of her life, she was about 16 when she passed away, so she had several happy years with us. She had a really sweet personality.

Our one period of having two pets was because I tend to be a bit of a softy and agreed to take care of my youngest sister’s cat for three months in 1992. This was to keep peace in the family while she stayed with my dad and allergic-to -cats stepmother.

Silver tabby cat with flowers.
Kitten.

She had named him Allan and for some reason I never cared much for the name, he was about 6 month old so I called him “kitten”. The three months turned into 17 years and I always called him kitten and he actually came when I called (weird for  cat). He was a grumpy, fussy bachelor who did not care much for kids, taking swings at my nieces when they got too close. He was fastidious about going outside and not using his litter box unless it had snowed, then not letting us rest until the box was clean.

Tabby cat exploring.
Inspecting the new realm.

About a year after Kitten left for the sunny garden spot in the sky I came home from a trip and felt sad to have no one home to welcome me. My son and I went to the Humane Society the next day and came home with our Empress.

Someone had, in one of those unfortunate kitten naming events, given her the moniker “Binky”. She had grown to an elegant and substantial brown and black tabby. Since she had already been chipped as “Binky” we gave her a title, The Empress, and licensed her as “Empress Binky”. We call her The Empress and Your Highness mostly. There was a wink at PG Wodehouse and the Empress of Blandings in the name, because she has an eating disorder and was off her food when we brought her home. Like the Empress of Blandings, she got over her stress and we now have to keep a close watch on her diet.

While the paperwork we got from the Humane Society said she lived with other cats and dogs, she says that is not true and her delicate temperament is unsuited to any role other than only pet. She snuggles us into submission to her every whim. My husband, who never even let Kitten on the bed, sleeps with the empress. If I could photograph them without waking them up, I would title the picture “The Other Woman”, but it might be too racy to publish with both of their heads on the same pillow!

I also have puppy friends: here are Ginger, my Grandma’s dog, and Sam, my half sister (we have different mothers, can you tell? ). We all like to walk. Sam is also an avid fisher-woman.

Two spaniel mix dogs: one corgi-lier(King Charles Cavlier) and one sprig-ador.
Double trouble.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Menagerie.”

A List of Advice

1) A list is a great way to organize your thoughts, your day, your life…It can get you going and keep you going when things seem crazy or overwhelming.

2) Once you have the list stop for a minute and see if it has achievable items on it. “Write a novel” doesn’t work for a Monday list, better to have write for an hour. (Save the novel for a weekend!)

3) Don’t neglect regular stuff: always put things like “eat lunch” and “feed the cat” on the list. We do so many things each day that get taken for granted. A list is a great way to see all that we accomplish. Mundane is important.

4) Celebrate every check mark!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Satisfaction of a List.”

C is for Cloud

Ice cream castles in the air:

Pink clouds.
Pink clouds.

 

Clouds of steam rising from a thermal area in New Zealand

Clouds of steam at Te Whakarewarewatangaoteopetauaawahiao
Clouds of steam at Te Whakarewarewatangaoteopetauaawahiao

Choppy clouds at sunrise in the Tasman Sea:

Choppy clouds at sunrise.
Choppy clouds at sunrise.

Dawn at Four-mile beach in  Port Douglas, Austalia.

Dawn at Four Mile Beach Australia
Dawn at Four Mile Beach Australia

Choppy clouds in Bend Oregon at sunset:

Choppy clouds at sunset.
Choppy clouds at sunset.

I think this is my favorite cloud one, the cloud echos the shape of the mountain.

Cloud and rock mountain from White Emperor City on the Yangze.
Cloud and rock mountain from White Emperor City on the Yangze.

Inspired by Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge: Clouds

Morning in Africa

I am not a morning person. Not really a night owl either. I have a couple of good hours around 10 in the morning most days.

Elephant at Sunrise, Masai mara
Elephant at Sunrise, Masai mara

Since I can’t seem to get up early to take pictures except when I have jet lag here are some pictures taken when I was up early because of jet lag.

 

Sunrise in Mulundi Village, Kitui, Kenya.
Sunrise in Mulundi Village, Kitui, Kenya.
Lion taking an early morning stroll.
Lion taking an early morning stroll.
Hot air balloon flare at dawn.
Hot air balloon flare at dawn.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Early Bird.”

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