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WORDLESS WEDNESDAYS – IMAGES OF CHRISTMAS

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[For a close-up look at any individual photo, just click on it.]

Weekly Photo Challenge: One

This week, in a post created specifically for this challenge, show us ONE.TinyFlowers

Last spring I was weeding the front garden beds, and I noticed one little weed that stood out. It had thick, richly sculpted furry leaves  and a very tiny trumpet-shaped flower. I have no idea what it was. But it was the ONE that caught my eye and I took a photo of it. Then I pulled it out anyway.

MY DAILY CALENDAR – DAY 343 – DECEMBER 9, 2013

MY DAILY CALENDAR FOR MONDAY, DAY 343 OF 2013: My today actually started at 9:05 Sunday night, when Renee and I just settled down  to watch the Mentalist.  Suddenly, Renee turned around and looked at the corner of the room behind me. I turned around and didn’t see a thing. Then I heard a noise like an animal trying to claw its way through the wall. OMG! Every scene I’d ever seen in every horror picture I’d been stupid enough to sit through flashed through my head. So what did it do?

The same thing that every character in every one of those movies did … I opened the door to see what was trying to get into the house.  SURPRISE!! There wasn’t any thing there. The noise was being caused by the cable company line that ran from the curbside utility pole to the house that was moving up and down against the side of the house. Now, what would cause something like that? I looked down the street to see a car sliding around on the fallen ice that glazed the street. The driver was attempting to back the car off of the icy spot on the street. And when he got it backed up and attempted to turn the car back into the street, the car went forward and slammed into the utility pole two houses down which caused the electric and cable wires to vibrate back to the utility pole in front of my house. The driver kept repeating this maneuver over and over until something finally snapped and the top of the pole broke loose and fell to the ground  bringing the wires down on top of the car in a sparking flash. That’s when I ran into the house and called 911!

Halfway through trying to explain the situation to the operator, he told me to hold on while he talked to another operator. It seems like three other dutiful citizens were calling in to report the same incident, and emergency vehicles  were on the way. Within a minute I could hear the sirens of West Walnut Manors’ finest fire, police and rescue units were on the way.  By the time I got back to the front door, the street was filled with flashing lights and rescue personnel waiting around for the arrival of the man from the electric company. Walking around with a yellow cane in his hands he surveyed the scene and walked down to the utility pole in front of my house, and after extending that cane he was carrying to its full length he reached up to what had always looked like a corrugated trash can at the top of my utility pole and within a few seconds all the lights in the house went off.  Also the furnace!  Have I mentioned yet that the outside temperature had been dropping all evening to its low in the LOW teens. As he walked away to his truck, I heard him explain to the police, “Keep the street blocked until the repair crew arrives.” And then he drove off.

I watched the inactivity on the street until about midnight and finally decided that it was as exciting as watching a replay of the SOUND OF MUSIC with Carrie whats-her-name. So with the song of the Lonely goat-herd yodeling through my head, I went to bed.  Since the temp in the house had been dropping since 9:30 when the electricity had been cut, I didn’t change out of my day wardrobe, but added more. I tried to coax Mlle. Renee into going to bed with me, but she refused to leave her post and stayed there guarding the front door from those intruders on the front lawn. I went to bed with my cold feet and eventually managed to doze off.

I didn’t doze long before Renee came in to wake me up. I tried to see what time it was, but the light wouldn’t go on. Besides every clock in the  house was dark, too. By the time I realized my wristwatch was still on my arm, it indicated that it was now 1:30. Also the street was now filled with utility repair trucks with bright repair lights. Didn’t see any workers though. So I shivered a bit and went back to bed. It took me a little longer to doze off this time.

After that, I would wake up every hour on the hour except for four and five. Finally, I was awakened by someone on the TV talking about how cold it was and heard the furnace turn itself on. Also every light in the house was on. I looked at my watch and discovered it was a little after six. I looked out on the street and discovered the work crew doing odds and ends high wire work. I turned off the TV and all the lights and went back to bed.  This time Mlle. Renee decided to join me. Who needed her now? The furnace was working again.

If I ever write about the incident, I could call it …

A Long Night’s Journey Into Day!

YAWN!

YAWN!

 

 

MY DAILY CALENDAR – DAY 341 – DECEMBER 7, 2013

MY DAILY CALENDAR FOR SATURDAY, DAY 341 OF 2013: Baby, it’s cold outside! So I decided that I would occupy myself with a day of indoor activity. And that means house cleaning. My mother (affectionately known as MRS. CLEAN by any friend who ever visited the house) always began her pre-Christmas house cleaning at noon on the eighth of December, and finished up sixteen days later at noon on Christmas Eve. Trust me, she did surgically deep cleaning from floor to ceiling in every room of the house. (I should note that the cleaning was interrupted several days for the baking of her Christmas cookie list … Peanut Butter Cookies, Oatmeal Cookies, cutout Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pressed Cookies and Date-Nut Bars. She was a mean cookie baker, too.)  And as she completed a room by washing and waxing the floor and vacuuming the rugs, she would cover the floor with newspaper. (I should let you know that this was in the era when newspapers were printed using movable cast metal type that impressed the ink on the paper, and it didn’t rub off on your hands and everything else it touched like it does with today’s offset printed papers. When the ink started rubbing off on everything, she began using rolls of brown kraft paper. I told you she was a cleaning fanatic.)  Once the house was spotless on Christmas Eve, she started scrubbing her three sons so they would be spotless when they went to Midnight Mass with her and dad.  Back in those days on Christmas Eve I was a boy soprano in red cassock and starched white surplice, and the last thing she did before cleaning herself up was ironing the starched surplice. Then she picked up all the paper off the floor. And when we returned from Midnight Mass she opened the tins holding the cookies that had gone untasted since she baked them. And we ate cookies with hot cocoa while she beamed on about how good I had been singing Oh, Holy Night at mass.

Cute boyhood Christmas Eve photo

Cute boyhood Christmas Eve photo

Today, I discovered that I am not as good at house cleaning that my mother was. I began the day by chasing dust bunnies. I regularly vacuum the carpets, dust the tops of furniture, and mop the floor tile. Where I’m somewhat lacking, is laying down on the floor to clean under unmovable furniture. I inherited a lot of unmovable semi-antique (It’s older than me.) furniture.DSC08470

In addition to the dust bunnies, I discovered …

My mechanical dog who apparently walked under my bed. one day.

My mechanical dog who apparently walked under my bed one day.

Renee's pedometer that I have to wear.

Renee’s pedometer that I have to wear when we walk.

Renee's red ball

Renee’s red ball.

And DSC08482… some loose change. And yes, I have to get the hose attachment for the vacuum to clean the carpet under the furniture.

NO ORIGAMI CHALLENGE … IT’S THE WEEKEND!

DSC08467

BUT THE TREES RULE!

DSCF1238 MENSA PUZZLE FOR SATURDAY:24

AND I EVEN CLEANED MY NIGHTSTAND:
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It has been standing next to my bed since I was 14-years old and it has seen a lot of great books … many of which kept me up much too long at night. And that’s not dust I missed … like me the night stand is getting old and needs a new paint job.

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: Carefree

In a new post specifically for this challenge, share a photo that means CAREFREE to you!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

THE CUMULONIMBUS FALLOUT!

cumulonimbus Well, the weather wizards had been warning us for the past week … “Bad weather is heading your way on Thursday, Friday and Saturday!”  they screamed. And guess what, they were actually right this time. Yesterday, I decided to postpone a Breakfast for Lunch luncheon I had scheduled with a group of people with whom I used to work. It was scheduled for the new ORIGINAL PANCAKE HOUSE that had just opened across the street from where we used to work. I waited until the last-minute yesterday afternoon when the weather forecast said, “Severe thunderstorms arriving about 11 am. and continuing until mid-afternoon.”  I cancelled the luncheon, knowing full well that today would dawn bright and sunny.

And I confirmed they had played me for a weather fool again, when I woke up to cobalt blue skies and heavenly sunshine.

Fortunately, they lasted all of 45-minutes before the cumulonimbus clouds started floating in overhead while thunder rumbled in the distance.

cumulo  Cumulonimbus (from the Latin cumulus (“heap”) and nimbus (“cloud”) is a dense towering vertical cloud associated with thunderstorms and atmospheric instability, forming from water vapour carried by powerful upward air currents. Cumulonimbus may form alone, in clusters, or along cold front squall lines. They may produce lightning and other dangerous severe weather, such as gusts, hail and even tornadoes.

And around eleven, the clouds broke open and dumped a downpour on West Walnut Manor, if not all of the metropolitan area. It rained until mid-afternoon when the sun returned cajoling us into a false security of a wondrous June is busting out all over end to the month of MayThen the cumulonimbus started rolling back in  and the local TV stations went from Weather Update to WALL-TO-WALL THE EARTH IS ENDING NON-STOP WEATHER ALERT STATUS. Frankly, there’s nothing on Friday night TV anyway since the season ended a week or so ago. So I nuked a bowl of split pea and ham soup and grilled a ham and swiss hoagie sandwich for my dinner. As I was washing up the dishes the tornado warning sirens began growling. “A tornado has just touched down in Saint Charles, Missouri.”  This was quickly followed by, “There are reports that the roof of the Hollywood Casino on the Missouri River has been blown off!” And then, “People living in Earth City, Florissant, St. Ann and West Walnut Manor are advised to seek shelter NOW.”

DSC07352 Well, that included me and Mlle. Renee, so I grabbed my double beam sure hand grip flashlight, cell phone, football helmet and Mlle. Renee, and headed for our subterranean hidy-hole. Just as I got to the back door, the landline rang. I quickly grabbed it to hear my older brother shout, “Why aren’t you and the dog in the basement‽ Don’t you know there’s a tornado head right for you‽” “I would have been there already, if I hadn’t stopped to answer the phone,” I shouted as I hung up and caught up with Renee.

Once in the basement, Mlle. Renee headed for my old darkroom  and headed directly for my sturdy enlarger table and equipment shelf I had attached to the foundation wall. Renee really is a smart dog! I headed for my fold-up lawn chair at the front of the darkroom which is directly under the TV in the living room. (I was smart enough to turn up the audio on the TV before I headed into the basement. So I could hear the weather status from down below.) Then all we had to do was wait out the storm.

The wind began to switch … the house to pitch

And suddenly the hinges … started to unhitch

Just then the witch … to satisfy an itch

Went flying on her broomstick … thumbing for a hitch

Just what I needed … an ancient ear-worm to keep me and the dog company! (Yip Harburg really was a great lyricist – anyone want to guess the name of the song?)

Within a short period of time, I heard reports of the tornado doing some damage at Saint Louis International Airport, damaging some cars on I-70, and snapping 3-feet in diameter trees in half in Saint Ann.  Like the planes approaching the airport for a landing the storm was following I-70 as a flight path. Then the storm crossed the Mississippi River to wreak havoc in Illinois.

Since the ground around the house (as well as most of the metro area) had become saturated with rain water over the past couple of days, the heavy rainfall that fell during the storm began to seep through cracks that had formed in the foundation during last year’s drought. And Mlle. Renee does not like getting her feet wet inside the house.  So with cat’s-paw feet we tiptoed over the tiny rivulets running to the drain and went back upstairs.

The tornado (which hasn’t been confirmed yet) apparently hip-hopped across the area setting down here and there doing damage and then lifting up and completely flying over West Walnut Manor without touching down. Guess somebody up there was looking out for me … or more probably Mlle. Renee. She does have contacts in high places.
Latest weather reports say  no more tornadoes for tonight or tomorrow, but the heavy rain will continue throughout the night and morning tomorrow.
So I guess … the sun’ll come out
Tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
There’ll be sun!
DSC07353
That’s my life, and welcome to it!
 

FRAGMENTED REFLECTIONS

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABack when the St. Louis light rail MetroLink system opened in the mid-90s there were plans to feature some form of artwork in each station. The Forest Park Station had the entire concrete platform wall covered with decorated reflecting mirror panels. On one of my trips I shot this fractured photo. Eventually pieces of the work began falling off, and when the station was enlarged several years ago the artwork disappeared. Who knows where it is today? Perhaps the artist who created it picked up the pieces and took them home.

 

EAT 2 CUPS OF FRUIT EACH DAY!

Well, based in my age, sex and level of daily activity, that’s how much fruit the CDC says I should eat every day.DSC07327

 

But what if the fruit was a faux watermelon doughnut, would it count as 1 or 2 cups?

TAKE TIME OUT TO REMEMBER …

memorial day

 

May 27, 2013

Today, Memorial Day is being observed in these United States.

Take time out during your busy day to remember

All those who gave their lives,

To serve their country.

ODDS AND ENDS ON A RAINY SATURDAY AFTERNOON

It’s damp, gloomy and chilly outside and Mlle. Renee is napping on my bed … so I decided to clean out the photo folders on my computer desk top.

First, there’s this photo of an awning sign that’s over a chain of Wicket City restaurants …

DSC06652

What exactly is St. Louis fish and chicken Chicago style?

And have you ever wondered why I seldom post family photos?The Unavengers

The Unavengers‽

And if you thought a talking clock was scary …

clock

Is this what they mean about lost in the woods?DSC06137

The first musical I saw on Broadway on my first night in New York City …1776

It was staged on a thrust stage that projected out over the orchestra pit and into the audience, and my seat was exactly in the center of the first row about a foot from the stage. It was like William Daniels (John Adams) was talking directly to me.

A memento that hung on the wall of the cubicle where I pounded an old Royal typewriter, an IBM electric typewriter, and two different computers for a lot of years.P7110010

I worked in the in-house advertising agency of a retail shoe company that specialized in women’s footwear … as a copywriter, sales promotion director, events planning director and broadcast producer and director. Well, it was over quite a few years.

From my freaks and geeks collection …Freaks and Geeks

ROY BLUNT

Why are these men always laughing?

Just because I thought this one went with the last two …Frogs

SPAM!!!SPAM

Really, Rob, really!

And I was saving this for a post when I was really hopping mad …leapman

And last, but not least … a self-portrait …TrekID

I was actually considering this for yesterday’s IN THE BACKGROUND photo challenge.

Well, that cleans out all the junk that was cluttering up my desktop and the sun has come out again. Enjoy!

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