Foggy is as Foggy Does on Friday

pisces My horoscope for today is a surprisingly accurate fit… for yesterday:

“…Your path is very similar to driving through a fog: all you need to count on is that the road is there, and that your headlights will illuminate the path directly in front of you…”

At one point in the afternoon, I looked up and saw the backside of a man standing on a ladder, fumbling with something on the ceiling. As usual, my mind’s focus was only on the task at hand – getting as much done as accurately and as quickly as I could.

At first, it didn’t even hit me that someone was standing on a ladder in the middle of a big office. A few seconds later, it hit me as odd and curiosity took over. I looked closer and realized that what the man was doing was replacing batteries in the smoke detectors.

“What in the world?” I thought to myself. “Why would the state hire someone specifically to go around replacing smoke detector batteries? How stupid and wasteful is that?”


A Welcomed Sight for Sore Eyes



It’s not a great photo. It’s not even a photo of the greatest of sunsets. But, it is a very welcomed sight nonetheless. We’ve had weeks and weeks of almost non stop rain and solid cloud cover. It’s been dreary and depressing. Well, as the cold front moved in this afternoon, it pushed those clouds away. Oh, it was so great to see blue overhead again!

I can’t ask for a better end to a long week and the beginning of the weekend. That just might make it a bit easier to deal with turning the clocks back and shorter days come Sunday.


Head to Wal-Mart For Your Casket


From the realm of the ridiculous, the largest retailer made an announcement today that is sure to add to the giant’s coffers; that is, if anyone can get beyond the issue of the bad taste left in their mouth.

The world's largest retailer wants to keep its customers even after they die.

Wal-Mart has started selling caskets on its Web site at prices that undercut most funeral homes, long the major seller of caskets.

The move follows a similar one by discount rival Costco, which also sells caskets on its site.

Wal-Mart quietly put up about 15 caskets and dozens of urns on its Web site last week.

Prices range from $999 for models like "Dad Remembered" and "Mom Remembered" steel caskets to the mid-level $1,699 "Executive Privilege." All are less than $2,000, except for the Sienna Bronze Casket, which sells for $3,199.

Caskets ship within 48 hours. Federal law requires funeral homes to accept third-party caskets.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

The caskets ship within 48 hours? Does that mean you have to buy ahead and store it…where? In your living room? Undercutting morticians? Is that wise? And, just what kind of quality are these caskets and urns? Where are they made – in China? What are they made of? Plastic?

This is just one idea I cannot wrap my mind around. Discount caskets. Just what is the world coming to?


A Place to Call Home: City or Small Town?


City or small town living? Is it an easy choice?

Imagine the first warm days of spring. Throw the curtains wide and open the windows to let in some fresh air. It’s sweet, it’s caressing, and it lifts the spirit.

A bird might chirp. Is it a robin? Is spring really here? The spirit lifts higher. Once in awhile, the sweet air carries a touch of warm earth or maybe a trace of an early blooming flower. A buzz comes into hearing range and goes out just as quickly. If there’s flowers, there’s bees. Life is alive and well with a perpetual invitation to come along.


Adventures of a Mattress


No matter what it is with a mattress, it takes two. Understatement of the century, right?

Well, when it comes to my wild hairs, I tend to forget subtle things like that. So, here’s my latest adventure, this time with a mattress.

I don’t often think about the comforts of life. Some things just aren’t that important. Like the bed I’d been sleeping on. It was over 20 years old, it started out as a soft-sided waterbed and ended up about as uncomfortable a surface to sleep on as you can get. It just didn’t matter. It was a minor irritant until I got myself jiggled around and nested in.

Lo and behold, a new outlet store opened along my route, so I stopped in yesterday, on the way home from work. It was pretty dingy inside, bare concrete floor, no aesthetics whatsoever and beds all over the place.


All Systems Down

courthousetowerIf you've ever had a power outage at home, you know the feeling. Even if it's daylight, your mind starts running through the Plan B you once thought about - and have since forgotten. Don't use the hot water, don't open the freezer door, no way to make coffee, no TV, no radio (do they even make battery operated transistor radios anymore?), and, heaven forbid, no Internet! Whatever will you do now? And the thoughts roll around, on and on, until the power comes back on. The dilemma is over.

Sure, losing the electricity is tough to deal with. We use it constantly and take it for granted. When you flip the switch, the light comes on. That’s just the way it is.

It wasn’t the electricity that went out in the office yesterday, but it was an even greater neutering. Statewide, our whole system went down. And it stayed down, rendering our computers and phones still and useless. That meant that we were rendered still and just about powerless to do anything resembling work.

What could we do without the computer system? Open the mail. Too bad that chore was already taken care of for the day.

At first, the office was quiet. We all sat staring at our screens as if our collective will would bring the system back alive.


Odin’s Playful, Perfect Timing


I didn’t know it when I walked out the door with my camera in hand, but there was a party going on next door. A bunch of guys, young and old, were out on the porch smoking.

I get lost when I’m outside with the dogs, Odin and my camera. I wander aimlessly, oblivious to anything beyond the three acres enclosed in pasture fence. I noticed those guys smoking out on the porch when I heard a city-slicker’s attempt at neighing like a horse. It was pretty pitiful of a sound that I felt was meant to make fun of me.

I beat that feeling down for a few heartbeats and did what I usually do; I hid out of sight. Then, I saw the old water bucket and the light bulb went off in my head. I’ll show those guys what a real horse is, I thought to myself, and I grabbed that water bucket up.


Social Networking’s Next Level? I Think I’ll Pass

max_headroomLost in ever-loving, romantic thoughts, I used to think about writing a book about my life. For the longest time, I kept journals; not so much for my book’s fodder, but to work out what I had experienced daily, more as a way to keep myself honest with myself than anything else.

Journaling got me through quite a few rough spots along the way, to say the least. What it proved a thousand-fold is that the process of writing is integral to learning, to balance, to goal fitness and to staying sane in an insane world.

I haven’t thought about writing a book about my life in years. Thinking about it now, the same old question still is, “Just who would be interested in my life?” Sure, I have a lifetime of experiences that, if shared, would curl many a mothers’ hair, but would they be interesting enough for someone else to read cover to cover? Nah. At this point, I’d even have a hard time reading a book about my life.


You Should Think About This

UnmaskingHypocriteIf there's one thing that sets my blood a-boil, it's someone telling me what I can and cannot do. I get the same reaction when I hear someone telling someone else what they can and cannot do.

It didn’t take long for me to figure out that it wasn’t wrong or bad to think that a person who assumes they are favored, obliged, smarter, of better breeding, more popular, wealthier – better – is not possible, not true, and certainly far from reality. No one person is ever better than anyone else. Period.

For this reason, no one is ever right in pushing what they believe down my throat.  I have the same red blood coursing through my veins, I require food and water and sleep, I eliminate waste and yearn to procreate just as much as the next person – or any other living thing on Earth when it comes right down to it. I do not assume that I know what’s right for another person, and resent it when someone assumes that only what they believe is the right way to believe.


Who Will Pay for News? Good Question.


More specifically, who will pay for online news? If there has to be one thing that stands in the way of fully transitioning to the Information Age, this is the issue.

The news itself is necessary. The news is a solid, well established checks-and-balance between the government and the people. The news provides the information needed to make an educated decision on crucial issues that effect each one of us. The news provides the facts, and it’s one-to-many distribution waylays disinformation and rumors.  It is a necessary part of "the system” of a government for the people, by the people.

The physical newspaper is jam-packed with ink from front to back. Articles, commentary, opinions, photographs are crunched into every possible inch along with advertisements. Those ads provide the paper the income needed to produce such a mountain of information on a daily basis and operate on the notion that the more eyes that see the ad, the more familiar the brand name and likelihood that the product will sell. The expected return on a newspaper ad is a realistic 20 percent.


A Slow Sunday at Home

odin101109After too many weeks of my camera wrapped up snug as a bug in its case, I took it out and dusted it off today. Ah, its weight is comforting in the hand.

As usual, I wandered around, looking around for visual excitement and interest, not paying much mind to anything else. It’s so relaxing and invigorating at the same time.

What always stops me in my tracks and takes my breath away is Odin. I marvel at his beauty, his strength and his presence. It’s always a thrill to catch a good photo of him.

I took 80 shots today, and there’s quite a few good ones. It will take me awhile to get them prepped for Out in the Back Yard, though I expect to have quite a few new entries there in a few days. I’ll have a few more of Odin, and I grabbed some decent shots of Saki, Hiro and Jake too. Of course I took a lot of what’s left of the wild flowers. It’s sad to see them giving up for the year. Still, there’s some good photos to hold me over until spring.

It’s a good way to end the weekend. No thoughts, no worries, just tucked in warm with Hiro and Saki at my feet, Jake by my side and a good book to read. I hear Odin right outside my window thumping a foot now and then, breaking through Chloe’s snores coming from the foot of the bed.

I’m tired, I’m warm, and I’m home. I couldn’t ask for more.


Who is That in the Mirror?

transgender-photo In the last 20 or so years, more than a few times I’ve caught a glimpse of myself as I quickly passed a mirror and was startled. It’s that thing of time: I feel the same as I did when in my 30’s, but what greets me in the mirror nowadays is not what I would see in that mirror 20 years ago. Startled, surprised, momentarily shocked, that mirror warrants a second glance. Looking hard, critically, I see the remnants of what the mirror beheld in the days of old, then I come to terms with the current reflection. Yes, it is still me staring back from the mirror, albeit older, much older.

I’ve never shared this bit of weirdness with anyone before, so I can’t be sure if it’s something that is common – or not. You see, I live so much in-the-moment that I probably give new meaning to the “Space Case” continuum.  Regardless, it is from this perspective, unique or not, that gives shape to certain reactions of mine.

Yesterday, toward the end of the day at the end of two harrowing weeks of overtime and running all out, an older woman sat at my desk and launched into her story. She was relatively tall, large, and had a very large head topped with teased, hairsprayed hair. She wore a blue, sort-of smock top over black, yet it remained her very large head and face that kept me startled.


Hey, You Guys…


What’s going on, you guys? So, what have you been up to? You guys want to meet at the Courtyard, then go over to Bobby D’s? Cool. I’ll be there at 9:00…

The Courtyard was an old bar with nightmarish acoustics because of the large pool, located in the Ramada Inn. It’s not in this photo of Binghamton, NY; it’s off to the left a little, across the river. Bobby D’s was a swanky roadhouse sort of bar that didn’t have much better than a dirt floor, it was so filthy. It was kitty-corner to that building with all the columns on the left, do you see it? The out of town, top-40 bands would play the Courtyard, and the rock bands would play Bobby D’s. Back in the early 1980’s, you could go out 6 nights a week and catch a live band. Ah, those were the days.

Too old now to even stay up past 8:30 during the week – and not minding it a bit – I got to thinking about phrases. You know, the ‘local’ phrases. Well, it’s not only phrases, but pronunciations.


Stop and Think First


It wasn’t all that long ago that we were warned to be careful before hitting that Send button when writing an email. It’s good advice, and one that still seems to be tough to remember. Hammer out your heart and soul, say what’s really on your mind, spill all the beans and forget the life raft because when you hit Send, it feels so good. You got it off your chest, the weight is lifted. Then, once you settle down and have your emotions back under control, the dread creeps in. How much damage did you do?

There’s no tellin’. That’s the good thing about blogging – you can go back and delete a post if you want to. It’s still out there though; that’s the nature of RSS feeds. But at least some of it is deleted. It’s the same in Facebook. If you change your mind, just delete your post. There’s at least an illusion that you covered yourself and prevented the damage of your burst of hot-headedness.

It wasn’t that long ago that long distances charges on phone calls kept us in check. To save on long distance, we wrote letters – with pen and paper, an envelope and a postage stamp. The only time you were S.O.L. in stopping that letter from being sent was if you dropped it into a big, blue, public mail box. If you stuck it in your own mailbox to be picked up by your mailman, you had some time to run out, grab the letter and put the flag back down before he got there.