Thursday, January 26, 2023

Thursday Ramble - Going to the Dogs Again

Dogs alway believe that they look great, they can be fresh from a roll in the muck in a pig pen, and they will smile, wag and expect a nice snuggle or ear scratch.  Dogs don't care if they are groomed or not, bathed or not.  Some might not mind, though many do, we humans imposing our idea of beauty and freshness on them. 

In many ways I find dogs easier to photograph than people.  They never worry about their hair, or their teeth, or what they are wearing, well maybe the  wiener dog forced into the yellow raincoat would prefer to not be wearing the rain coat.  After all the underside is getter wet just the same, especially when the underside is so close to the ground.  

I was a latecomer to liking dogs.  Growing up my father and grandfather had "hunting dogs" though my fathers was never much for hunting, but always up to chasing the nearest car, truck or school bus.  He caught a school bus one time, that is how he lost his tail, snagged it on the bumper and needed an emergency trip to the vet to stop the bleeding.  

One summer we dog sat for friends with an Irish-setter who was a proper house dog.  That was fun, she was well behaved and a delight to have around.  The owners were having a new house built, and all too soon, the house was finished and they wanted their dog back.  

For some reason after that I developed a distrust of dogs.  I don't know why.  It took decades to get over, my sister's dog restored my faith in canine kind.  He is missed, I wonder how long until another dog enters her life.  

Sometimes I am tempted to carry dog treats in my pocket when I walk, but I worry that the dog might be sensitive, or allergic,  or something and I wouldn't want to hurt one. Not even the little noise box down the hall.  

I can't imagine either of us following a dog around with a plastic bag on our hand, so I doubt we will ever live with one.  There are plenty around to enjoy.     

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Wednesday Ws: Week 4 of 52 for 2023

Who have I seen?  Doc Spo, and Sharon from Phoenix Daily Photo, and a room full of estate and probate attorneys. It was great fun to see Spo again. This was the first time I had met Sharon, if you read her blog she is just what you would expect.  Bright, creative, a little reserved.  She seldom appears on her blog, so I didn't post a photo of her here. I also had breakfast with one of our past board chairs, and dinner with a lawyer friend of mine who served on another board with me a few years ago - she is about to become President of that board.  

Where have I been? Tucson and Phoenix Arizona, the 115 miles of desert in between the two.  Spo and I went to a very southwestern restaurant, Sharon and I met at Desert Botanical Gardens for a wonderful hour plus stroll exploring the flora of the high desert and a few birds.  All of the photos from that are on the real camera and will start to appear in a few days.  This post needed to be created before I have time to download those images. 

How was the trip? Non-stop going out, delayed three hours in Chicago coming home. 

What did I do that was special? I went to the Barrett Jackson Auction on Monday for 2.5 hours. This was kind of a bucket list item.   

What have I seen? Cactus, hummingbirds, bees, desert birds, an airplane graveyard and storage facility, and my favorite mountain including the house my parents should have bought in 1965. Cars, more cars, and more cars. 

What have I been reading?  A book on dementia and criminal defense and started a book about buying a vineyard in Italy.  

What have I been eating?  Breakfast out, my favorite meal when I am traveling.  And good southwestern food. 

What have I been listening to?  Radio in the rental car. My car has a CD player, loaded with a selection of discs that play until I know every note by heart, then changed out for half a dozen new ones.  In the rental I discovered I have no music stored on my phone. My music, was on the oldies stations - must be something weird in Arizona.  It is the first time I have listened to the radio in 4 or 5 years.  

What am I thinking about? Work, I am in the middle of a couple of exciting projects and I have a couple of admin duties I need to get done soon. 

What is new in travel plans? Iceland is all mapped out and all of the hotels are booked.  I am going to New Orleans in early February for work. We are going to Cleveland for a family function in later February.  

What is next after that? Probably Hawaii for work, I swear it is work, in paradise no one seems to care how much you work.  

What has the weather been like?  When I woke up Saturday morning in Tucson Arizona it was 29 degrees with ice on the car windshield.  I traded text message with my sister in northern Indiana, it was 31 degrees there.  So cool, but warming up in the 50's-60's in the afternoon, and mostly sunny.  I can see why people like living in Arizona in the winter.  I am not sure I would survive a summer here.  

What shocked me?  I was early on way to meet Sharon on Sunday, so I stopped to take some photos, drove past an "Open House" for a house for sale, and stopped in.  Lovely adobe style two story, about twice the size of the condo, and about twice the money.  The Realtor was bragging that the owners have spent $350,000 on renovations, as I am standing in a pretty kitchen with Bosch appliances, and cheap IKEA cabinets.  Don't they think people are going to notice the plastic drawers in the cabinets in an $800,000 house.  

Who deserves a slap? Be kind, no slapping this week, they are making mistakes to the best of their ability. 

Who deserves an atta-girl?  The hotel front desk clerk who was so kind and helpful and found a room for me early on Saturday.

What's next? Another whirlwind week, then back on the road to adventure.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Travel Tuesday: Malaga Cathedral - the One Armed Lady

Continuing the theme of large photo drops on Travel Tuesdays from our December trip to Spain. Todays collection are of the Cathedral in Malaga. It has one belltower, the base for a second tower is there, but the tower was never built.  There are various legends of why it was never built.  A few years ago, there was a move to build it, and the popular opinion was to not do so, the Cathedral is affectionately known as the One Armed Lady.  


Monday, January 23, 2023

Moody Monday: Still Ready to Go

Travel Penguin and I have been around a while.  For about 20 years we have been traveling together.  He is always there, even if he seldom comes out to have his photo taken. 

Like him, I am always ready go.  I have my passport handy, four or five currencies on hand, luggage ready to pack on a moments notice.  The travel electronics bag is on the back right hand corner of my desk, right next to the camera, and the portable GPS unit with maps of North America and Europe. 

I am always looking for the next adventure.  Someone has the motto stay curious, I have never really adopted that one, but I should have.  

There is something new to be learned around every corner.  Sharon in Phoenix recently did a post where she zoomed in to capture the abstract beauty in spaces. Travel reminds me to see the world through more than one lens.  When people meet Travel they often remark that he is smaller than they expect.  He is only a couple of inches tall.  His larger than life appearance is a matter of perspective.  When I stop to take his photo, I see the world as he does, from a different perspective.  

Adventure awaits! 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Sunday Five: Dead

 1: Very likely I have ancestors buried in this cemetery in Boston, do you ever get that feeling that you are surrounded by family in a cemetery? 

2: More than half of Americans are now choosing cremation over burial.  For you, cremation or embalming? 

3: How long should cemeteries remain undisturbed? 

4: Do you own a cemetery plot? 

5: Do you want to leave a headstone, or marker? 

My answers: 

1: Very likely I have ancestors buried in this cemetery in Boston, do you ever get that feeling that you are surrounded by family?  This one felt strangely familiar. 

2: More than half of Americans are now choosing cremation over burial.  For you, cremation or embalming?  Cremation is fine, I really don't care. 

3: How long should cemeteries remain undisturbed? Difficult question, they become abandoned after a couple of hundred years. 

4: Do you own a cemetery plot? Yes, I have been trying to give it away. 

5: Do you want to leave a headstone, or marker? I have thought about this, probably not, 50 years after I am gone no one will remember, or care.  

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Saturday Morning Post: From Where We Were to Where We Are

I have said, that for me "where are you from" can be one of the most complicated questions for me to answer.  I was born in Michigan, in a place few people have heard of, slightly beyond the bounds of civilization.  On a funny farm, that my father and grandfather ran. 

When I was in the first grade, my family lived in Phoenix Arizona for a few months, some of my earliest vivid memories are from Phoenix.  When I visit there it feels like home. 

When I was in the 8th grade my family started spending winters in Florida, the first winter on the Gulf coast, after that the east coast near the space center.  Those winters in Florida changed my life, changed me as a person.  I discovered that there is a big world outside of the 80 acres I grew up on.  I discovered adventures, and opportunities that are only available outside my comfort zone. 

When I finished high school the economy in Michigan was in shambles, there were signs up saying, "would the last person to leave Michigan please remember to turn off the lights."  My parents had already bought the house they would retire to and die in, in Florida, and that fall I wrapped up, left Michigan, flicking that light switch on my way out.  

Within a couple of years, I realized I had left Michigan for good.  I had no desire to return, and actually developed a deep dislike of the place.  Having seen the bigger world, I realized how limiting the isolation of the farm was.  

After a couple of years, I ran into a friend at McDonalds one morning, who introduced me to a friend, who referred me to a friend, who offered me my first real job outside of my family, and I moved to Orlando for opportunities.  I lived there for 15 years. 

Then my Sweet Bear was offered an opportunity, and I was ready for change, so we were off to Lexington, Kentucky.  Graduate school followed, and a decade of work.  

Then opportunity and adventures lured me to the Washington DC area. I wanted to live in the DC area, and looked for the job that made that possible.  

I loathe the place I was born and raised,  Phoenix where we only lived for a few months feels more like home. Florida was home for nearly 20 years, until it wasn't.  Kentucky was a place of opportunities, but not a place either of us ever wanted to live.  It served us well, we wouldn't be where we are today without the opportunities, but it was never home, never where we were from.  

After 14 years living in northern Virginia and working in Washington DC, I still get lost two miles from home.  It is home, but does it feel like where I am from? It feels like where I am.  

You see, the answer to where am I from is more complicated than where I am.   

Where are you from? 

Friday, January 20, 2023

Fabulous Friday: National Penguin Awareness Day

 Spo, the dear, pointed out to me that today is National Penguin Awareness Day There is a panel of people who consider proposals for the national day of, you can sponsor a national day.  

Fortunately for us, someone has recognized the importance of our fine feathered flightless friendly waterfowl.  Penguins are native to the southern hemisphere, some are cold water birds, some are temperate water birds.  In Brazil they sometimes post signs on the beach reminding people to not put penguins in the refrigerator.  

In nature you will never see polar bears and penguins in the same place.  Polar Bears live in the wilds of the northern hemisphere, penguins in the south.  Bears probably like penguins, as a nice oily snack.  Early explorers in Antarctica sometime ate penguins, reports are they found it fatty and fishy.  Not terribly good. 

We have found that the inanimate variety make perfect house pets.  We do have one that regularly demands to go to Paris, Little Bob the Diva.  

Travel continues to be our adventure companion, fabulous plans again this year.  For this special holiday, he is in Tucson, Arizona, a little dry here for a flightless water fowl.