….a surprise in my Tree Garden

My gardening is about as haphazard as my housekeeping.   Plants and trees just sort of fend for themselves, and left to their own devices they never cease to amaze me.    Years ago, when I first built this house, planted assorted trees and other plants….not counting the volunteers in my notorious “tree garden.”      One of the prettiest of my flowering varieties, with marvelous pink flowers, kept pace with another ornamental tree nearby…until we had an especially cold winter about five years ago which froze out and killed quite a lot of specimen in this area.   Although it has been apparent that this tree was indeed defunct, what with its growth covering of lichen.   The branches literally disintegrated to the point where many were removed by the wind itself.

Ever the optimist, last year I determined that among the miscellaneous plant life growing in the vicinity, several shoots were thought to be trees, but their species was quite unknown to me, and could be one of numerous trees in the near neighborhood.      So I let the people that wield weed-wappers and chainsaws, and such, in the area…that these weed-appearing growths are to be left alone.    The tree itself kept developing lichen, and chunks of it kept falling off…I could push the whole thing over if so inclined.

This morning my daughter (who lives next door) and I went for a walk around the place and I pointed out the tree, and its new growth.   The bark of the tree has reminded me of cherry tree bark, and the shoots were developing thickness enough to see that the bark was the same.   As my eye traveled up the tree…there were three pink flowers…which I recognized as being related to the tree in question, and a closer look found two more blossoms further down the branches.

I of course ran in the house to grab my camera.   My first shots were badly over exposed, with the sun high up behind the blossoms, so that the sky was bright and drowned out the delicate pink color.   Each blossom is about an inch in diameter.

 

 

 

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New Growth in front, next to the original tree.  

 

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Tree covered with lichen and moss.  New growth behind.

 

 

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A long shot toward the North, the barn and Tree Garden on the left rear,  the subject tree with the blossoms hanging from a new growth branch…the original tree to the right.
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Welcome blossoms!   

 

 

[Why Nuts?] A look into the unique creative art of blogger I-Shan Lin…

Here is a delightful and different blog by I-Shan LIn. Her drawings and writing are fresh and creative. Thanks for the permission to re-blog.

“I’ve got all I need. Me, a paper boat and lots of nuts. So there’s nothing to be afraid of.” 

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pack a lunch and let’s go!

http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2017/04/14/world-s-most-dangerous-path-is-reopening-to-hikers.html

NO Folks…..I did not get this from watching FOXNEWS!!!!   Yahoo.   Anyway….it is a real mind-boggler, especially for someone like me who freaks out at an atrium in a Mall.   I just don’t do heights…even a ladder will weaken the knees.

The Google-Street-Map is spectacular, 3-D view of the gorge and the walkway.       I see there’s a Restaurant-Bar located along the trail.

Oh, and helmets are required of all participants because of the 300-foot drop.

Anybody want to go?

Death is late…Re-blogged from writer George Agak’s site, Sliver of Darkness.

I am very touched by this excellent poem by George Agak.      His work is very graphic, and grabs ahold of the reader and doesn’t let go.       It is an accomplishment to achieve such a deeply emotional work of writing, and as you folks know, I am not subject to being moved by hyperbole….so I appreciate what I may call beauty-in-horror.      It is a sad fact that this kind of terrible scenario exists in our modern world.       Thanks for letting me re-blog, George!

 

Sliver of Darkness

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I will write a letter and toss it in the wind
Or strip your hammock and toss in the river
I might be dead when they reach you
Nothing has changed
Yet nothing has remained the same
The gods have been vexed
All this time they’ve held rain

Grass still grows
Watered by endless flow of blood
The valley has changed its appeal
The shades we once rested under
Now home rotting humans
And vultures feast
The freedom fighters have fought the system
Then rebelled against their prior motives
They kill anything in human gait

But still….
The government lives
Not counting the ones lost
They fly outside to drink and dine
Because this nation is rotten
Their appetite might wane

When they took you, bro,
I couldn’t fight them
That’s cowardice I know
But death isn’t for the brave either

Bro, this nation is rich
You could have seen…

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Where have all the bloggers gone? Gone to silence, every one…my take on Opinionated Man’s observations.

Today my friend Jason over at OPINIONATED MAN  posted a question about the recent slow-down in blogging.          https://aopinionatedman.com/2017/03/29/where-did-they-all-go/#respond    I started to make a comment, which of course went all hay-wild, and I am moved to make a post of my own.    Thanks, Jason

huh….good question!

I’ve been thinking about this a lot.   I think it is because I am overwhelmed.   I LOVE blogging…love my blog, my fellow bloggers.   Since the beginning of this year…. January 20, 1917 to be exact we wake up every morning to a new disaster of Government Gone Mad, and are filled with rage that everything we hold dear is going down the tubes.

Now….having written that statement above, my zapping finger wants to delete it.   WHY?   Because someone will pick on me for being partisan or a conspiracy theorist or a Democrat or Liberal or biased….and make me feel like a terrible person because I am critical and speak out about it.

What I really want to do is write about Daisies…and Little Bunnies…Sweetness…Light.     I want to write poetry that curls the toes and reaches out to my lost- love- with- the- blue- eyes .

Photos…I want to take photos and put them online.
Blogs…I want to visit every one of my blogger pals every day….AND comment on stuff.
Writing Poetry…I want to write great poems that I love.  (I may be my own favorite poet.)
History…I want to write about History….the pyramids, archeology, slavery, British Abolishment of Slavery,
Rachel Jackson, the Real Purpose of Foreign Aid.

So why don’t I write about these things?     Because someone/somewhere will resent it, or think that I am opinionated.   Someone told me once when I was complaining about the bombing of Baghdad…that he “always knew what I was going to say…always negative…always unpatriotic.”

Or worse, the “WHO do you think you are?” remarks from alien commenters…both from Mars and from Maryland.   These are the folks who demand their right to say and write anything they please—while sneering at what I write and telling me that I don’t know what I’m talking about.      Do I ever say that to anyone?   No—

Yes….I am overwhelmed.   Chastised by people who laugh at me for being “afraid of the Russians.”    Reluctant to say anything that will piss somebody off.

I check my notebooks, and too often to stuff I find scribbled there is pinched and stiff…topics like bombs and war and why I hate the news people.

From now on I’m going back to writing something in my blog every day….no matter how mundane, how ridiculous, how unpopular…and if anyone doesn’t like it they can go read something else.    AND I’ll just write about my theories, and is anyone wants to snicker or make fun of me for being a silly…well, I’m not even going there…fine.   Just keep one thing in mind: just because I’m a conspiracy theorist doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me.

Snow Drifts, and The Night of the Tomato, revisited

Well, Spring is on the way, I heard!    We here in Northern Ohio escaped most of the big snow storm this past week, which is fine with me, but the news weather people were quite disappointed.     It is always so heartening the way they put on parkas and mittens and various snow gear and wade out to the nearest snow drift to pose for the 11 o’clock news segment.      There used to be an old joke about shoveling “partly cloudy” off the front walk on the morning after the prediction of sunshine and warming temperatures.

We never know what to expect here in Ohio in March, when the daffodils are raring to go, and indeed when ready the blooms just open, even there is snow up to their eyebrows.   We have photos someplace of snowdrifts with daffodil flowers laying right on top of the snow.

Back in the 1940s there was a great snow fall in Cleveland.   My Dad and the other men in the neighborhood waded through the waist-high snow (maybe it was thigh-high…but hey, I was a kid) to trudge along the middle of the road to the grocery store, which valiantly opened its doors to the brave men who made it through the deep snow to buy supplies for their families.

Kids all over town were ecstatic, since the school was closed.   Except me…who was sick.   I have written about this traumatic event in my young life before…ten years old and unable to go outside to play in what (as far as I can recall) was the most exciting event ever.      I still remember standing looking out the front window as my brother proceeded to demolish the pristine white snow drifts.    Even at this late date the disappointment is  palpable.     (I have  always been a dramatic kid.)

The television news crew was stranded at the TV studio for a long time, and the exhausted and dedicated News Men were so worn out after being on camera for days (well, many hours anyway) they removed their coats and ties, which was nearly unheard of on the TV in those days.    These selfless and loyal personalities stayed with their fans and watchers throughout the siege…helping the police department care for the needs of the citizens…who were desperate for milk and other life-sustaining items.

Several years later two of my girlfriends, and our boyfriends, were caught in another huge snow storm.   We came out of a movie theater, to find the storm raging…and nearby was a man and woman whose car had become stuck in a snow drift.    We—the boys anyway—helped the couple out of the drift, and they invited us to their house for sandwiches and a hot drink.      That was nice of them, as by this time we were all frozen and starving.

To my horror, the lady served us bacon-lettuce-tomatoes (BLTs), which was something of a remarkable gesture in the middle of winter to have fresh tomatoes and lettuce.    Now, lest anyone fails to understand why the BLTs would be such a bad thing to the point of being a Big Deal to Me.      To that point in time I had never eaten a tomato…I hated tomatoes, and avoided them at all costs.   But now…faced with a tomato sandwich…I HAD to eat it.    Refusing to partake of the couple’s generosity was not possible.

So that’s how I happened to eat a tomato for the first time in my life.    I think of that incident every time I see a BLT….but yes, I do eat tomatoes now, at least in sandwiches with bacon and lettuce.

Russian roulette and rhetoric

Every week we watch the TV show Blacklist, which is noted for its elaborate plots of spies, agents, good guys and extremely unlikely  situations.     Now there is a spin-off show, starring one of the lead characters in the original show.

Last night’s episode dealt with The Russians— new spies and situations, and one of the most frightening and far-fetched (maybe…) “plots” that were featured in the old days when the Cold War was at its height.    We all knew from a very early age that The Russians were absolutely out to get us…to somehow come to the United States and take over everything.     One of the most nefarious scenarios was—Sleeper Cells.

These were groups of individual Russian spies that were trained to impersonate Americans, and underwent elaborate training programs to guarantee absolute authenticity.  They drove American cars, sang American songs, ate American food…even birthday cakes!     They lived in mock villages built to duplicate American homes and movie theaters, schools and way of life.     Then, when the training was completed, these Russians-turned-Americans would actually move to the United States to set up “sleeper cells.”

These “sleeper agents” would then establish their new identities within American towns and cities, and live among the natural citizens indefinitely…until they were “activated” to do whatever it was that they were supposed to do.    Namely take over peacefully instead of resorting to violence and war.

Readers who have never before heard about the supposed sleeper-cell projects will no doubt scoff…snicker even…at the fanciful imagination of the Cold War Kids.    On the other hand, those in the “know” will experience the old familiar shiver up the spine at the mention of being taken over by enemy agents.   Like the old monster movies where the bugs grew to monstrous sizes and proceeded to devour us—unlikely but still scary.

This whole idea used to be reoccurring in movies, novels…even newspaper articles.    It became almost like Science Fiction…associated with the similar flicks featuring alien hordes that arrived from outer space in space ships instead of in metal ships or railroad cars.

Apparently we are about to enter another era where we live in nervous laughter at ourselves as we encounter terrible scenarios, worrying about new neighbors moving in next door… gosh, they LOOK normal!  Let’s take them a tuna fish casserole and see if they are surprised…

Well, I’m not about to judge anyone.   I lived through this stuff before, and will probably survive it again.     I have always wondered about Russians.   If they were to simulate the American-way-of-life, what in the world was their own life like?       It used to be our own government that went out of its way to scare the citizenry with tales about being infiltrated by “them”…the Russians.   What if they actually wanted us all to become Russians…would we get to participate in world domination?

 

 

toning down the glare

Last month I got a new computer, printer, and camera.   Yesterday the monitor had to go back to the store because the brightness control didn’t work.    I have had computers since 1983, and the first thing I ever did when setting them up for use was to adjust the brightness of the screen.   The manufacturers insist upon having white backgrounds on much of the content, but there was always the option to turn down the brightness by using the control button.

So in a search for the control that I knew had to be there, finally found the controls, and set out to change the brightness.    So I went online and asked google how to change the brightness.   Easy…they told me…giving detailed instructions.    Nope.   Then checked the discussion pages….the people who say stuff about their frustrating experiences with their new computers.      In a nutshell, they followed the instructions, to no avail…gave up.

After convincing myself that the brightness control on my monitor did not work, I turned to my second plan of attack—the first being to solve the problem myself—which involved asking my daughter, who is something of a computer guru, to look at it and tell me what I was doing wrong.   She arrived, and conducted a search of her own, trying all the tried and true tricks that a neophyte like me would not know.

Finally, daughter arrived at the point where I had given up and her opinion was that the control system was not working.    So, we went off to BestBuy, where the GeekSquad woman ran the monitor through its paces and arrived at exactly the same conclusion that we had reached—the thing did not work!

All ended well though—I paid an extra $30.00 and got a new monitor.   It’s about an inch larger screen than the one it replaces.    The brightness control works…and the controls themselves can be manipulated easily and efficiently without standing on my head to find the control board.

Now…I am having a problem getting the CD with the instruction booklet for the monitor to download.   I know the CD drive works because I tested it last week.   But this won’t be a major issue, because I DO know enough German to read the on-screen directions if I need to make other adjustments.    Sprechen zie kleine bissel deutsch, so I’ll manage until I have the wits to adjust the language.

Stats are fun!

I love the STATS feature of WordPress, and every once in awhile go to the page and look it over.   Actually its two pages.   They are very well organized, and I notice some new twekes that I really like.  For instance the Followers list now has that little round bubble photo with the blog avatar.   Mine is a yellow rose.

Today I have had four visitors so far, or to be more specific, visitors from four countries: UK, Ireland, Australia, and someplace else.   The multi-color map illustrates where the viewers are in the world at a glance.

There are statistics showing Yearly and Daily progress.   My stats begin when my blog did: 2011.   I think two people looked at it that year…and I know who they are!    2012 and 2013 the blog sort of languished in cyberspace without much attention.     Then at the end of 2014 it picked up, when I started to take it more seriously.

In 2015 and 2016 the posts multiplied.   This is when I enrolled in several WordPress classes, which were free and fun.   This is also when I met lots of other bloggers, some of which have remained loyal to this day, originally classmates in various courses.   There was Writing 101, Writing 102;  Photography; Poetry Writing; Fiction Writing….just to name a few.   The classes were voluntary….could follow themes or just wing-it and write whatever.   Different forms of Poetry—that was my favorite, where I learned forms of poetry that I never knew existed.    (Oh, I guess I did, from some old English class participation, but promptly forgot.)

The cool thing about the classes was that there were assignments, and huge class lists of bloggers that signed up, and every day for the class period (a week, month…) my followers list grew.

So for a good time check out your Stats.

 

Tile Art

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Here are some pictures that just tugged at me to create while walking through my entry.  They are twelve-inch natural stone tiles.   I never noticed the (featured photo) before, but once the face popped out at me…at least three faces in fact…I knew they were perfect for Cee’s Odd Ball Photo challenge.     The eye just seems to adjust for the scene.

These shots remind me of mountain and desert terrain, the color scheme of the Southwest.      What wonders do YOU see here, boys and girls?   I’d love to hear….

(all photos © Sometimes, 2017)

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Promise in a Poem (Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge entry)

 

I am unique among my peers
having arisen from the Winter
more or less intact… if a bit bedraggled.
One might say the word—disarray?
to describe broken remnants
and staring, bleary rimless eyes
askew and discolored
arrangement of my limbs and leaves,
disheveled scraps of nascent green
tones, silky serrated edges of hemline.
Better days have been….and will be again
and my modest Winter garments
will have fallen to the ground.
Please don’t judge me—for who among us
can preserve the beauty and newness of Summer
beyond the ravages of rain and snow
and Cold from the relentless winds?
You are invited to return in half a year hence,
and feast upon my resurrected beauty
as new green foliage  and velvety petals
of red and white roses prevail.

© Sometimes, 2017

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: January 22, 2017

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STATS…my favorite posting prompt

(this post has been amended twice er, three times in the past five minutes.)

I LOVE to look at STATS of my various sites.     They are always wonderful…in the sense of being “full of wonder” at the mysterious statistics.

Today my notice came about a great spike in hourly views and visitors to my alternate site,              A State of Mind, which I admit is sorely neglected.

Anyway, my number of VIEWS has spiked to 52 views an hour — remarkable in view of the stat that my normal count of views is   O  — ZERO.   Of course his information peaked my interest and curiosity.

It seems that the 52 Views were … well, viewed … by 2 — TWO individuals.   One in Canada, the other in Australia.

Welcome to both!

Apparently one viewer looked at up to 52 of my past posts.

…. and guess who holds the record for having looked at (viewed) my posts?

Ha!    Gradmama2011.    Yes, that’s ME.

I love Stats… 🙂

a primer of selective History

Please open your books to page twenty-four
the teacher instructed, one morning …
look at the  ladies’ dressed in their finery,
feel free to smile at feathers and bustles,
and laugh out loud at the shoes!

Now let’s skip ahead to Chapter Seven,
where more ladies are seen at their work,
the clothing they wear is of buckskin,
embellished with feathers and beads (and pride,)
their raven hair in long silken braids.

Now the section titled “The Roaring Twenties.”
Days and years of lovely short-skirted ladies,
with bobbed hair and feathered  hats, called cloches.
They dance the Charleston, ducking the hit-men
who are ducking the likes of Elliot Ness.

The 1930s, when poverty reigned,
until saved by the richness and horrors of War.
The rich and beautiful, such as they were,
held on to their baubles and feathered their nests
as well as they could under the circumstances.

So now, we turn to the aftermath of The War
to the fiction-like era called The Cold War,
when living in spy novels was the norm…
and the games and palace intrigue surpassed
even the earlier times of the Kings…and Queens.

Now that we have closed the book of History
…a somewhat truncated collection of tales
that range from maybe to crazy-but-true…
we start or a new era which marvels
Alice’s Wonderland in scope and Fantasy.

In today’s time of making history…
a knowledge of the past is imperative.
If something of importance happens today,
it does not happen in a vacuum  at all
but is based on centuries of History!

So I leave you, boys and girls, with a note-worthy
suggestion….nay, a proclamation…
study your History from classical sources—
don’t depend on Twitter-twatter from pundits
who think History started last month.

© Sometimes, 2017
.

 

among other things: a new blog

among other things

No I really don’t need another blog.   I am happy with SOMETIMES, which is a conglomerate of  photos, poems, eclectic ramblings…and contributions from other bloggers who have consented to allow their posts to be re-blogged here.

I admit that the temptation to tinker with WordPress blogs is almost over-whelming, always searching for the perfect blog.   I invest each year in a Premium site, which means choosing great colors and various innovations that make a blog…well, unique…in the intended use of the word to mean “one-of-a-kind”—not “unusual,” or (god-forbid) “amazing!.”    Sorry, I am not trying to be the grammar/vocabulary/Nazi….it’s just that I hate the misuse of perfectly good, precise words.

This new blog, which I am naming “AMONG OTHER THINGS,” is not a Premium blog, although if I find myself using it frequently I will upgrade.   Just choosing the colors alone is worth the cost.

Also just last week bought…

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