Monday, June 30, 2008

Madison Park

Wow - two posts in one day. After a couple days away, I am trying to catch up. See the following post for an update about the goslings as they grow one week older. Coming up this week is another edition of Wind In Your Sails.

After two days of evening storms, today was a picture perfect cloud-studded day. Darlene was eager to test drive her brand spankin' new Nikkor 400mm telescope (er, I mean lens). Am I a teensy bit jealous? You bet! While she has the coolest lens ever, I have the brand spankin' new Nikon D300. I guess that makes us even (if we were keeping score, which we are not. Nope, not even the tiniest bit). I may have a bad case of lens envy, but she deserves it. Yes, I'm obsessed about photography and all the toys, but I believe she has me beat. Woo-hoo! Way to go, Darlene! So...can I borrow your new lens? Just kiddin' :) Sort of...

Anyway, click on the photo below for a slide show taken during our stroll around the pond at Madison Park...with my Nikkor 300mm zoom lens...that is smaller than Darlene's 400mm a l-o-n-g shot! The last three photos are of our back yard after last evening's storm. We had lots of wind, but no damage. Doughboy and I weathered the storm by sipping Pomegranate Martini's in the cozy comfort of the pool house :)

The Goslings At Five Weeks

The goslings are about 5-6 weeks old and starting to develop their adult feathers. They are quite agile in the water and on land, although they are still too young to fly. The goslings are looking more like their parents every day and gaining in size and strength. Strong flight feathers have begun to grow from blue quills on their wings and tail feathers are taking on the appearance of maturity. It looks like they're going through their "adolescent awkward stage". They still "peep" for their parents when they're separated like true adolescents :) The twins were eager to get in front of the pack to beg for bread crumbs while their parents stayed protectively close. Dad hissed at us and charged forward if we got too close to the twins. After they got their fill of bread, the goslings mimicked the actions of their parents' grooming. They are still sweet and awkward. It's sad to see them grow so quickly and there will be a void when they take flight and migrate in autumn. Click on the photo below to see a slide show of the twins at 5 weeks.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pragmatic Contradiction

According to Wikipedia, a pragmatic contradiction occurs when the very statement of the argument contradicts the claims it purports. An inconsistency arises, in this case, because the act of utterance, rather than the content of what is said, undermines its conclusion. Allow me to explain…

Years ago, through self examination, I was convinced I had OCD – obsessive compulsive disorder. Certain things – many things – drove me absolutely bonkers. I mean melt-down crazy! Fortunately Doughboy has the patience of a saint. When I would rant and rave about something trivial, something that was of utmost importance to me at the time, Doughboy would wait patiently for my anger to subside and (this is important) remain absolutely mute until my breathing returned to normal. It’s not that he lacked the ability of articulate speech. He is perfectly capable of speaking his mind and has been known to make waitresses cry if he deemed their service inadequate. However, he doesn’t sweat the small stuff and is seldom ruffled. In fact, I can recall only a handful of times in almost 20 years when he lost his temper. Whether it's factual or wishful thinking, I think I'm getting better at controlling mine.

So…how could someone have a meltdown about wet towels on the bathroom floor and be oblivious to the developing ring of fur in the toilet bowl? This, of course, is a pragmatic contradiction. And the “someone” is me. There is no rhyme or reason. Years later, I realize I don’t have OCD – never did – and Doughboy is still a saint. His self control, a trait that once infuriated me, is a characteristic worthy of admiration. In spite of my many faults, he loves me. How did I get so lucky?

I was contemplating this conundrum when I logged onto one of my favorite blogs – The Mom Bomb. I had an “ah ha!” moment as I read her current post entitled How Do You OCD? Oh my gosh – I’m not alone! Isn’t blogging great? It’s FREE therapy! Here are a few of my pragmatic contradictions:

OCD – organized dresser drawers (i.e. underwear folded exactly the same way; socks matched, folded in half and tucked inside each other)

Contradiction – a load of clean, unfolded laundry from last week sits in a wadded pile on top of the dryer

OCD – dry-cleaning is immediately removed from the plastic covering; clothes are hung in the closet via category and color, all facing the same direction

Contradiction – dirty clothes are tossed on the closet floor inches away from the laundry hamper

OCD – toilet paper roll must face forward (i.e. paper rolls over the top to the front)

Contradiction – toilet bowl is cleaned only when fuzz begins to appear (BTW, we have seven full bathrooms in our home, so please grant me leniency for the occasional toilet fuzz. If I don't use 'em, I don't see it)

OCD – bills are paid by check, carefully organized, categorized and printed using Quicken

Contradiction – our checkbook hasn’t been reconciled in nine years

OCD – shoes must be removed at the door to avoid tracking in dirt

Contradiction – dust bunnies gallop freely, and for long periods of time, on the open range of our wood floors

Now that I’ve come clean about myself, feel free to tell me about your pragmatic contradictions, OCD, foible, or quirk. C’mon – we all have them. So, spill the beans... bare your soul... purge your conscience!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wind In Your Sails: Part IV

With day one of our sailing adventure over and day two ahead of us, we awoke early and ate a leisurely breakfast topside in the fresh morning air. The day’s agenda included a short dinghy trip to the Caves for snorkeling, followed by a day long sail to our overnight mooring in Manchineel Bay at Cooper Island.

Lending to the continuing legend of buried treasure, the famous Caves, pictured below, are only four feet deep, although they drop off to 40 feet near their entrance. Typically explored by snorkeling, the Caves are fascinating rock formations. The variety of tropical fish, the life-encrusted walls of cup corals and sponges with their brilliant colors, and the abundant waterfowl, including pelicans, tropic birds and laughing gulls, make this a popular area.

Packing our gear in the dinghy, Dinghy Captain Bill followed the craggy shoreline to Treasure Point on the lower tip of The Bight. Rounding the point, we tied up at the dinghy mooring. The northern-most cave stretches 70' back into the island. In the early morning light we saw the gorgeous purples, rusts and deep veins of the above water walls. Underwater, it's like a night dive, with the coral polyps extending their tentacles to feed. At the end of the cave is a small room. The next cave is deeply indented into the rock face. Still another cave is above the water line. The southernmost cave has a rounded rock bottom on which to stand, underneath a natural skylight. This is a good place to take photos from the inside. The surge was powerful and we had to be careful to avoid getting too close to the cave walls. Not only can you cause harm to yourself, but you can damage the cave's fragile ecosystem.

Returning to Quantum 2, we unfurled the sails and journeyed east to Cooper Island. We sailed past beautiful Peter Island that was closed for renovations, and tiny Salt Island. Reefs shimmered in many hues of blue and green, from navy blue in the deeper water to light blues, light greens and turquoise in the shallower places. Rocks and the reef itself appear in brown hues and darker shades. Added to the composition is the cerulean blue of the tropical sky reflecting back from the water's surface. Entering Manchineel Bay from the north, we found that securing to a mooring ball was not as easy as The Bight at Norman Island. Whereas The Bight was protected from the Caribbean Sea, Manchineel Bay was open to the south and somewhat rougher. While we still had enough daylight to navigate safely, we took the dinghy to shore and strolled along the powder-soft sandy beach.

Exploring Manchineel Bay, we were warned to avoid the manchineel tree, particularly in the rain. Fortunately for us, it was a beautiful cloudless evening. The tree's sap, said to be used by the Carib Indians to poison their arrows, causes severe skin blistering and, if in the eyes, at least temporary blindness. It can take the paint off of any car parked under it. If it rains the water dripping off the leaves can burn our skin! In the summer this tree produces fruit that look like green apples, but are very poisonous. Columbus called the apples "death apples". The only animals that can eat the fruit of the manchineel tree without getting poisoned are land crabs. Even bumping into the tree trunk can get poisonous sap on us. This is not the tree you would want to sit beneath, no matter how much shade it provides. Fortunately, this tree is the only one that is dangerous on Caribbean beaches.

Returning to Quantum 2, the guys snorkeled off the stern while Claudia and I prepared dinner. Once again we enjoyed the soft evening breezes while watching a spectacular sunset. There isn't a five star restaurant anywhere in the world that compares to this. Besides, what 5-star restaurant allows you to dine barefoot? It doesn’t get better than this. Ahhhhhh. We vowed never to return.

NOTE: Click on the label "Wind in your Sails" to follow along as I relive our 2002 BVI sailing adventure with the Smietanas. We plan to take this same adventure, plus a surprise addition or two, with Chere/Fred and Judy/Mitch in fall 2009. One island we will be sure to visit is Peter Island. At the time of our 2002 sail adventure Peter Island was closed. The entire 1,800 acre island is a private resort. When we motored close to the dock, we were shooed away by a dock tender. Friends have since visited Peter Island and I was told to not miss eating at the resort's wonderful beach restaurant. And next time, we'll make sure the dinghy doesn't leak!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Horse Fly

Being Saturday morning, Doughboy is home. We woke to a drizzle of much needed rain and set out to complete our errands. First on the list was a veterinarian visit for our Scottie, Dianora (a/k/a Dee). She has been undergoing a treatment of antibiotics to control an increased elevation in her liver enzymes (for reasons unknown). We discovered this when she was taken to the vet for teeth cleaning. As is routine, blood was drawn and tested for any anomalies. Unfortunately Dee didn't get her teeth cleaned as a result of the blood tests. More so, the two-week regimen of antibiotics didn't work and her enzymes are even higher than before we began treatment. Additional blood tests have ruled out Cushing's disease, a common canine malady. Xrays taken last week didn't reveal any tumors, but they are not always conclusive. Dee's appointment today was an ultrasound with Dr. Susie. She is not a fulltime vet; she practices on as needed basis for ultrasounds and treatment of cancer patients. That in itself sounds foreboding. Today's ultrasound results were encouraging. No tumors were detected, but clearly Dee's gall bladder is not functioning as it should. She is on another set of antibiotics that are target specific to her gall bladder (you don't even want to know the charge for today's visit) . We will have her blood retested in two weeks to see if the new antibiotics prove successful. What wouldn't we do for our pets? For us, our canine children are our family. They mean everything to us and we want them to have full, happy, and healthy lives. All in all, there have been no evident changes in Dee's behavior as a result of her medical problems. With the trauma of going to the vet behind her, she is napping contentedly in a spot by my feet. She is such a sweet girl.

So, what does this rambling have to do with horse flies? Absolutely nothing! However, I did take some interesting photos during our walk around the pond at Madison Park yesterday. As usual, I went to Chick Fil-A to grab a salad on my way back to work. In the parking lot was a horse trailer with the cutest face curiously poking out. Obviously he/she was patiently waiting for its owner to return. For some unexplainable reason, I thought of horse flies. Click on the photo below to view a slide show of photos taken at the pond. The butterflies were abundant. Enjoy!

P.S. Yes, the two birds sitting in the tree are vultures. I wish I could have gotten a closer shot, but they were clear across the pond. Ewwww!

P.S.S. NOTE: All photos shown in the slideshow for this post were taken with a 300mm zoom lens. A macro wouldn't have allowed me to get close enough to the subjects. I used Photoshop to crop a few images to bring the subject even closer. It's fun to experiment with various lenses. I am trying to perfect the quality of my photos so that I rely less on PS and more on the original SOOC shot. I use my macro and 300mm zoom 90% of the time (refer to the list of photographic equipment shown of the left side of our blog for detailed lens information).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Goslings At Four Weeks

Darlene and I returned to the pond at Summer Grove today to look for the geese. In particular, we wanted to find the goslings. There! I spotted them across the pond. This time we drove around to the other side and began to lure them toward us with scraps of bread tossed by our friend, Birney. Slowly at first, a few geese began to swim our way. Thankfully, the goslings were among them. Darlene and I snapped away as Birney kept the geese interested in free lunch. The goslings were more aggressive than last week as they swam easily to the front line to catch the morsels of bread. Wing feathers are beginning to sprout, taking on the appearance of mature feathers, but their necks and the back of their heads are still a fluffy downy yellow. They are about one-third the size of their parents. When communicating, they still peep, reminding me of the yellow fluff balls they were only a few weeks ago. It sounds more like squeaking, unlike the deeper honk of adult geese. I was delighted to see them again.

There they are...and here they come. Oh boy! Free lunch!

Toss it close. Yeah -- right there!

Harriet keeps a vigilant watch, but soon gives up and paddles back to the point

With their tummies full, they paddle back to the rest of their family. See ya next week!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Flying Dragons: Part Duex

Given today's oppressive heat, and let's not forget the humidity, hardly a bird or bug was moving. Darlene and I went straight to the pond in Summer Grove for our weekly photo shoot of the gosling twins. We searched the waters edge for a sign of the gaggle and listened intently for their calls. Nothing. Using my 300mm zoom lens as a telescope, I spotted the family in a cove across the pond. They were either resting or asleep in the heat. Taking a noon day siesta, I assume. Why weren't we doing the same? Not even the prospect of bread could entice them to make the journey across the pond. Photo ops were slim to none. Looking at a strange flowering plant at the water's edge, my eye caught the busy antics of a bumble bee. Also included in my photos are shots of dragon flies taken last Friday. Yes, MORE dragon flies. Well, there wasn't much else to, why not?. Anyway, they're pretty. Their precarious balancing acts on thin reeds made me chuckle. I got the impression they were bored and needed a diversion, or maybe they were just showing off for the camera:) Tomorrow we will return to the pond and see if we can photograph the goslings.

UPDATE: I used my 300mm zoom lens to photograph all of the shots shown below. It was suggested in comments that I change my F stop to capture the wings of the bee in flight. However, I didn't even realize I caught the bee in flight until I downloaded my CF card. I was actually quite a distance away and snapped my camera about 20 times hoping to get one good shot. Yes, had I known I caught the bee in flight, I would have increased the shutter speed. Oh, well. Judy, I don't know the name of the weed that enticed the bee. I'm terrible at identifying plants. Perhaps Priss knows.

Wind In Your Sails: Part III

We set sail in the fall of 2002, almost six years ago, aboard a 42’ Beneteau named Quantum 2. Our crew consisted of Bill and Claudia Smietana, Pete, and yours truly. The day of our departure dawned cloudy and drizzly. We all attended the mandatory and essential boat and chart briefing. The Moorings is well known for the preparation they provide their guests. Prior to our charter departure, we were given a complete chart briefing covering the local cruising grounds. We were given a chance to ask any questions we had about navigation, anchorages, and prevailing conditions. We were given a complete briefing aboard our yacht and covered all the operating systems, including rigging, electrical system, water system, windlass, stove, head, dinghy, outboard and emergency systems. By the time we finished our briefing, and stowed our gear and food supplies aboard Quantum 2, the clouds broke and a spectacular blue sky appeared.

Leaving Road Town Harbour behind us, we sailed south toward our first destination and overnight mooring – The Bight at Norman Island. After catching a mooring ball to secure Quantum 2, we enjoyed a dinner prepared on the grill at the boat’s stern. We slowly savored the bottle of wine that I carefully smuggled in our luggage and reveled in our first day’s journey. Watching the fiery sun slip below the horizon, we grew lazy waiting for the first evening stars to appear. Star gazing is a must after sunset. Without the reflection of artificial lights on land, the skies are pitch black and the stars bright white. If you’re patient, you can see satellites as they traverse the night sky. The plane of the Milky Way is visible from Earth as a band of light in the night sky and billions of stars twinkle in their brightness. Drowsy from the day’s excitement, sleep came early and easily to the crew. Lulled by the gentle rocking of Quantum 2, and the soft lapping of waves against her bow, we fell fast and hard asleep. Morning light comes early and quickly in the tropics. We’ll need our rest for the next day.

The quality of our photos are poor by today's digital standards. My camera at the time was an old 35mm film. Still, I think you'll get the picture (no pun intended).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rain Drops On Roses and Whiskers On Kittens

My day is off to a baaaaad start. Yesterday was an extreme weather day with unbearable humidity that led to unstable weather conditions in the late afternoon. This made my drive home from work a little hairy – thunder, lightening, and a torrential downpour mixed with pea-size hail. By the time I got to within one mile from home, the rain stopped and the pavement was dry. Go figure. The much needed rain came overnight. Along with the rain came a change in barometric pressure. I tossed and turned until about 2:00a.m., then awoke at 5:07 with the most God-awful sinus headache. For those of you who are prone to such headaches, you know what I mean. I can hear you audibly groan for me. Thank you. Your sympathy is greatly appreciated. I describe it as spinning on a merry-go-round at breakneck speed while someone presses the heels of their hands on your temples with all their strength. I have a splitting headache – the kind that daylight makes worse – coupled with nausea and dizziness. When I don't feel well I whine and complain. Therefore, rather than subject my co-workers to hours of self-centered egotistical ranting, I am at home writing to you about my unfortunate malady. Aren't you the lucky one!

When I was a little girl, I went to the drive-in theater with my mother, aunt, and grandmother to see Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. Since then, I think of the song My Favorite Things to cheer me up when I need it. Yes, I know what some of you are thinking. What is a drive-in theater? Well, back when dinosaurs walked the planet…oh, never mind. Back to my happy thoughts.

So today, when I am not feeling well and there is no one but the dogs to cheer me up, I create a mental list of all the things that make me happy. There are the usual things…hubby, family, friends, puppies, and home. But there are things coming up that really make me happy… my Happy List (in chronological date order to satisfy my OCD).

1) Meeting Hubby in Pittsburgh this weekend to see Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Gary Allen and LeAnn Rimes in Kenney's Poets and Pirates concert tour

2) Taking a Photoshop CS3 class at Showcase School of Photography with Chere

3) Traveling with four out of five Divas to Stamford CT this fall for the Creative Photography Retreat

4) Our two beautiful daughters are pregnant and giving birth within weeks of each other

5) Taking Hubby on his first cruise. He’s being quite a trooper about going. It is the Ultimate Scrapbook Cruise sponsored by ScrapMap. He and Fred can roam the ship’s casino while Chere and I bond with Heidi Swapp.

6) Our 20th wedding anniversary – woo hoo!

7) My 5 year colonoscopy. Wait! What is THIS doing on my Happy List?? Note to self…move item to UNhappy List.

8) Our bareboat sailing charter to the British Virgin Islands

There! I am feeling better already. I think I’ll down an Advil martini (just kiddin' about the martini part...kinda) and take a nap.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Pest I Love To Hate

I was always told that hate is a bad word. While you may dislike someone or something, you shouldn’t use the word hate to describe your extreme dislike. However, from time to time I bend the rules – the law according to Debra.

As usual, Darlene and I were on the lookout for interesting photo opportunities today as we walked around the pond at Madison Park. Last night’s storms caused a light breeze and slight downturn in temps and humidity, making our stroll quite pleasant. That was until I spotted an insect that I HATE. Yes, I can say hate without feeling guilty because there is nothing redeeming about this highly destructive pest. Can you guess which one of the following photos illustrates the bug of my extreme dislike?

If you guessed the last photo, you’re correct. The Japanese beetle was accidentally introduced into the United States from Japan about 1916, probably as larvae in the soil around imported plants. The Japanese beetle is a highly destructive plant pest that can be very difficult and expensive to control. Feeding on grass roots, Japanese beetle grubs damage lawns, golf courses, and pastures. Japanese beetle adults attack the foliage, flowers, or fruits of more than 300 different ornamental and agricultural plants. Gregarious in nature, Japanese beetle adults are often found feeding in masses on a few plants, leaving others nearby uninfested. The adults are skeletonizers, that is, they eat the leaf tissue between the leaf veins but leave the veins behind. Attacked leaves look like lace that soon withers and dies. The homeowner association in our previous neighborhood imposed a special assessment whereas every property had a treatment of the highly effective milky spore to combat the beetle larvae. It worked quite well. Since we moved to a new neighborhood, we have no neighbors around us yet. We have open fields on three sides with a forested area to our back. I walked around the yard after coming home from work and saw no evidence of Japanese beetles – yet. But they’re coming. And I HATE them!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wind In Your Sails: Part II

I have often been asked, “How did you learn to sail?” Before I answer, let me begin by saying sailing is not for everyone. If you seek speed and daring, don’t mind polluting our natural waters, and have money to burn (literally) on gas, then sailing isn’t for you. I fell in love with the beauty of sailing long before I stepped foot on a boat. In my life before Pete, I sailed with a friend on a small 16 foot day sailer. On the day of my first date with Pete, I had been at a marina in Oshkosh looking for a small sailboat of my own. It was only natural that after we married we would buy a boat together. Pete was already an accomplished sailor, and I was eager to learn. We bought a used 22’ Bristol, named Bristol Crème, and enjoyed our first season sailing on Lake Winnebago. Within six months of married life, Pete was transferred to Illinois. We spent the next several years perfecting our sailing skills on Lake Michigan, sailing up the coast from Belmont Harbor to downtown Chicago’s Monroe Harbor.

We eventually sold our sailboat and moved to Georgia where the manmade lakes are too shallow to support Bristol Crème’s deep keel. However, our passion for sailing never waned. Wanting to take my skills to a new level, I began taking classes toward my American Sailing Association accreditation at Lake Lanier. Click here for a link to the ASA web site and a list of courses I took. I successfully passed every ASA level up to Off-Shore Passagmaking. In addition, I studied for my U.S.C.G. license via Sea School. I learned practical aspects of boating, including Rules of the Road, Radio Operation, Survival Techniques, Distress Signaling, Boating Terminology, Boat Equipment, Use of Flares, Use of Life Jackets, Techniques of Seamanship, Anchoring, Aids to Navigation, Boat Registration, Navigation, Knot Tying, Firefighting and more. At the completion of my studies, I sat before the U.S. Coast Guard for my Near Coastal License. The Coast Guard calls this license “Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels” (OUPV). To achieve my licensure, I had to log the required number of miles, both inland and coastal. My coastal miles were logged by sailing on the inland waters of Lake Winnebago and Lake Michigan, taking off-shore sailing classes in FL, and by chartering/Captaining two sail vacations in international waters via The Moorings. It took nearly two years to achieve my ASA certification and obtain my OUPV license. I haven’t lost a passenger yet, but there's always a first time for everything (LOL!). Both photos below were taken around 1990-91. Is there any doubt why I married Pete? Isn't he cute?? There is something irresistable about a man in tune with nature (*sigh).
Chicago skyline as we leave Belmont Harbor

Pete at the helm with Jamie and Edward (our Westie) as navigators

The Twins At 3 Weeks

From all I have read about Canada Geese (not Canadian Geese), I estimate the goslings of Summer Grove at about 3 weeks old. This means they were probably one week old or less when Darlene and I first spotted the triplets. They are the only goslings in a fairly large gaggle at the pond. Although adults mate by age 2 to 3 years of age, not all Canada Geese have offspring every year. I like to believe that the goslings we photograph are very special. At this point in their young life, the twins have learned much. They understand the unique language of their extended family such as distress calls, warnings, and when it's time to eat. They are beginning to lose their fluffy yellow down in exchange for a deeper color of maturing feathers. A couple weeks ago the goslings swam between their parents. This was to protect them as well as teach them balance and swimming techniques. Now they separate from their parents for brief time periods and even venture close to us in an effort to peck at the crumbs of bread we drop. The twins are becoming bolder, but Dad was right there to supervise and even hissed at me a couple times.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Workin' For The Weekend

I don't know about you, but we live for the weekends. We have our typical routine (i.e. pickup Pete from ATL airport Friday evening; drop off Pete at ATL airport Sunday night) and the time in between is up for grabs. In the summer, most assuredly we will be in/around the pool if the weather is nice, which in the midst of a drought is almost every weekend. This weekend we squeezed in a movie: Indiana Jones. It was okay. No surprises. Harrison Ford is still hot. No matter what his age, he is still nice eye candy.

While Pete slept late Sunday morning, I harassed the dogs. Dianora, our old girl of almost age 10, sleeps most of the time. She claims she's only resting her eyes. She is also the sweetest and lowest maintenance of the three. Being a Scottie, she is very difficult to photograph in natural light. She is giving me her "Don't bother me, kid" look. Yet I persist.

Here's Kady the Wonderdog (just kidding about the Wonderdog thing). She's the youngest and most precocious. She typically ignores me when I call her name. You've reached a new low when you're ignored by a dog. Ah ha! I get her attention when I mention treat.

Then there's Leo, our 5 pound alpha dog and the middle child at age 7. Being so tiny, he is the most spoiled and my constant shadow. Even as I type, he is sprawled next to me.

With the kids cloistered indoors to avoid the oppressive heat, I made my way to a favorite corner to read.
Well, that's it for our weekend. Next weekend I'm meeting Pete in Pittsburgh for Kenny Chesney's Poets and Pirates concert. Woo-hoo! How do you spend your precious time off?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Flying Horses

Back when Jamie was a little girl of about five years, she came running into the house after being outside with her Dad. She emphatically declared that she hated flying horses. Not understanding what she meant, I asked if she was referring to the mythical unicorn. "No! I mean flying horses! They're mean and they bite... hard!". After thinking about this, I realized Jamie was talking about horse flies. And yes, they are mean and bite hard. For the longest time, Jamie called horse flies flying horses and dragon flies were flying dragons. Hmmmm... not so far fetched. After all, flying ants are aptly called flying ants. Not ant flies. Whatever.

Walking around the pond in Madison Park today, Darlene and I spotted several dragon flies of various colors and size. They enjoy hanging around the waters edge and typically move too fast to photograph. With today's temps in the 90s, creatures big and small moved slower in the midday heat. Dragon flies lighted on sturdy twigs long enough for us to photograph. They made me think of Jamie. Someday she will fondly recall something silly her boys once said. And it will transport her back in time and make her smile. In the meantime, I watched as flying dragons flitted lazily in the summer sun.