Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


We Love the Great Outdoors!

As promised to Kate and Sonel, I’m posting some pictures of Dottie!  We have a fairly large yard or what TheBrit calls a garden.  Dottie loves to roam around and play in it.  This girl has brightened up the spot!

We’re working on some training so she can have a bit more freedom to roam without a tether or a fence but we have a ways to go on that yet. She loves other dogs so when she sees one coming she can’t contain her excitement and she’s off!

Hey! Where are you going?!? Photo Credit: Ruth


Freedom! Sort of… Photo Credit: TheBrit

Photo Credit:  TheBrit

Photo Credit: TheBrit

Photo Credit: TheBrit

Photo Credit: TheBrit


How to Handle a Snake

oak.snakeYesterday, as Dottie was giving me my afternoon walk, we came upon one of these. It’s an Oak snake – not poisonous.  I saw it before she did – when we were a good fifteen feet away from it – so I proceeded to guide her to the other side of the street.  About the time I started to pull her that way the snake saw us.  It raise it’s head up and coiled a bit.  Dottie staged a sit in and began to whine when the snake slithered away and I didn’t let her follow.

“Come on, Dottie,” I called to her.  Hesitatingly, she did, stopping every few seconds to turn around and get another look.

I don’t like snakes.  There a various and sundry theories of how to tell a poisonous[scary] snake from a non-poisonous[good] snake.  Most of them involve getting close enough to see the size and shape of it’s head.  I’m not interested unless I have some killing tool in my hand.  I didn’t have any such tool at my disposal at the time.

TheBrit likes the live and let live approach.  He’d get close enough to see whether he thinks it’s poisonous or not.  Either way he wouldn’t kill it unless he felt threatened.  My feelings on the matter are that the only good snake is a dead one, but I haven’t had to kill many.

“If it’s not hurting me I’m not going to kill it,” he says.

“That snake might not hurt me, but it will damn sure make me hurt myself!” I say.

That wasn’t the first snake of the day.  Dottie and I encountered a much smaller one on our morning walk.  It’s hot here and the snakes are on the move.

So are the alligators.  We live in a neighborhood situated between several large lakes and they move from one to another.  Dottie would be a small snack for one of those things.   A neighbor down the street has lost two dogs to alligators.  Her house backs up to the lake.  Mine doesn’t. I’m good with that.  Thankfully I haven’t seen one and hopefully I won’t.

I’m reticent about letting Dottie just go trudging into the shrubbery because of the aforementioned snakes and alligators but last night on our night-time walk she poked her head into the shrubs and flushed out a baby opossum. Adult opossums are kind of…unattractive. But the baby ones are sort of cute(ish).

baby possumDottie was ready to play.  She hopped over to the baby opossum and started to bark.  The baby opossum did what baby opossums do.  It played dead. Didn’t move a muscle.  Dottie barked, and growled, and howled. Still no movement. Yawn.  It’s not much fun to play with something that won’t play back.



Not that kind.  If only.

This is the story of a 25 year-old woman who was three months pregnant being stoned to death by her own family for marrying someone without consent from her father.

Pregnant Pakistani Woman Stoned to Death by Family

Particularly chilling is her father’s admission upon arrest for the killing:

Parveen’s father surrendered after the attack and called his daughter’s murder an “honor killing,” Butt said.

“I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it,” Mujahid, the police investigator, quoted the father as saying.

This is the 21st century, people.  Her family, upon being rebuffed at the courthouse steps, fired shots, then beat her with their fists, then picked up bricks from a nearby construction site and pummeled her to death with them.

Why?  Because she was a possession to be bartered.  Her husband did not pay her family for her.  I’m sure her father could have gotten a handsome price for her.  Unbelievable!

Even in societies where children and wives are considered property one would think that they would be valued as prized possessions, not disposable goods.


The New Natives – Follow Up

Some of you really seemed to enjoy the music stylings of The New Natives.  Here’s their SoundCloud page if you’re interested in more:

Some of the music they’ve uploaded to SoundCloud is from when they were first trying to figure things out. YouTube is a great resource for independent artists and SoundCloud is another.

Thanks for listening along!


Don’t Pray for Me

I can still remember the lipstick stains on the cigarette butts.  She was beautiful.  Her make-up was always perfect, her hair curled, and her nails were always polished. She was my very feisty, crude, chain-smoking grandmother – my mother’s mother.

There was no stop sign between the thoughts in her head and her tongue.  If she thought it, she said it, and let the hair go with the hide.  She was the queen of the backhanded compliment.

She’d been through hell in her lifetime, I suppose. Her first husband beat the hell out of her on the regular.  She divorced him and later married my granddad. He was a salesman and a fall down drunk. And funny and kind.  He let us jump on her couch when she wasn’t there which got us all into trouble.

For some reason, I’m guessing because she loved him, she stayed with him.  Or maybe it’s because she’d already been divorced once and didn’t want another under her belt.  This was the good old days when such things were shameful.  He never laid a hand on her, so maybe she thought that was as good as it got.  At least she wasn’t having a near death experience every day.

I can’t remember if he lost his license because of his drinking or if she took his keys so he couldn’t drive drunk.  She worked two and sometimes three jobs waitressing to pay the bills.  I don’t think she could count on grandpa for that.  She worked at a restaurant just down the street from their house and he’d show up on the riding mower, embarrassing her I’m sure, for a cup of joe to sober up.

She never went to church that I know of and I’m not sure of her beliefs. She was pretty cynical about church in general.

When she was in her seventies she was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. My aunt talked her into undergoing chemotherapy treatments to prolong her life a little.  She’d already lost her best friend(my mother) and couldn’t bear the thought of losing grandma.  So grandma relented and took the treatments.  That landed her in the hospital a fair few times with pneumonia and other chemo-related illnesses.

While I was there at the hospital for a visit one day a man of the cloth came by and asked if he could pray with her.  I’ll never forget what she said.

“Hell no! You have never darkened the door of my house.  You didn’t give a good goddamn about me when I was in good health, don’t come around here when I’m dying wanting to pray with me.  Get out!  Don’t let the doorknob hit you where the good lord split you!”

He left to the sounds of her murmuring the like.  After I picked my jaw up off the floor I asked why the man couldn’t just pray with her.

“God nor him ever did anything for me in this life. I’m for damn sure not expecting anything now!”


A Few Lucky Shots


A pair of Doves


The cutest Blue Jay


The resident Woodpecker


We have a pair of those fellows, too.

DSCF1012I’m not nearly the photog that some of you are but these are a few little offerings from our garden.  We have loads of birds.  We have Blue Jays, Woodpeckers, Blackbirds, Doves, Cardinals, Brown Thrashers, and many others.  Watching them is a fun pastime.