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Archive for February, 2011

Below the Pond

Ok.. so, I feed this one fish and one soft-shelled turtle at times and finally decided to try to get some photo’s of them…  this is the result.

Here’s Mr/Ms Turtle…

and Mr. Fish..

So there you have it…  two of the many below the water here at the Pond!

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Two pieces of “happy”.. one is that the Shuttle took off without incident.  .. and the other is that I was wrong! Yep and glad of it! I thought this was the very last Shuttle to go up but there are 2 more..then it will be all over..  However it IS Discovery’s final flight.

In honor of today’s blastoff I wore a Kennedy Space Center Shirt all day..

Our local news had great coverage …. (photos off the TV)

Unfortunately when I went outside we had cloud cover and all I got to see was a small vapor trail between clouds..

I hate thinking of the space program ending… and although they claim differently… for all intent and purposes it’s ending..the “future” being Waaaaay far away.. *sigh*

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Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Paperback: 320 pages (hb 272 pgs)
Publisher: MacMillan (January 2011)
ISBN-10: 0230753051

From Publishers Weekly

Franklin’s third novel (after Smonk) is a meandering tale of an unlikely friendship marred by crime and racial strain in smalltown Mississippi. Silas Jones and Larry Ott have known each other since their late 1970s childhood when Silas lived with his mother in a cabin on land owned by Larry’s father. At school they could barely acknowledge one another, Silas being black and Larry white, but they secretly formed a bond hunting, fishing, and just being boys in the woods. When a girl goes missing after going on a date with Larry, he is permanently marked as dangerous despite the lack of evidence linking him to her disappearance, and the two boys go their separate ways. Twenty-five years later, Silas is the local constable, and when another girl disappears, Larry, an auto mechanic with few customers and fewer friends, is once again a person of interest.

5 words: I couldn’t put it down!

What an enjoyable little book!!  I am not a fan the “old south and racial problems”… well, not to read them anyway.. I am old enough to have lived through much of it and I don’t need reminders of any discrimination.

But this book grabbed me and  took off like a shot and never stopped.  It didn’t take long for me to feel for both of these boys/ men, Silas Jones and Larry Ott, and once that happened I had to keep reading to know how things would turn out.

If you were a good detective (which I’m not) you’d figure out things faster then I did, but it doesn’t matter much because the book just reeks with excellent writing and a story wanting to be told.

There are some sad parts to be sure, but there is a lot of good to be read also…

Tom Franklin, wrote in simple words, and wrote just like you could hear a voice telling the story…I am certainly going to have to check on his other books to see if anything sounds interesting, because I really REALLY enjoyed this book.

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Mo’ Books

*sigh*..

The last addiction I had as bad as the one I have now (buying books) was smoking cigarettes and I did that from age 12 to age 63…knowing this fact what do you think my chances are that I can stop buying so many books?????

The latest to arrive at the old folks home is:

Keystone: The Life and Clowns of Mack Sennett by Simon Louvish. I got this used book not because I love the Keystone Cops but because Simon Louvish has become one of those authors I keep reading.  I first read his book, Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy: The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy, and I loved it!  He made reading the story of how these two men got together (Stan from England and Ollie from Georgia: in a time when the only way to get from England to the USA was by ship!) super interesting.  He also didn’t neglect the period of time it all took place and so *movie history* was mingled, wonderfully, with *personal history*.

After that *just because*  Louvish wrote the book, I read, Monkey Business,The Lives and Legends of the Marx Brothers. Now, I was not all terribly interested in reading about the Marx Brothers, but once again Louvish worked his magic and it was a really interesting read!

Also in my (ever growing) pile is: Man on the Flying Trapeze: The Life and Times of W.C. Fields by Louvish.  All of which I purchase used, and all of which have shown up to be in like new condition!  And unfortunately he has other books out, but for now I will stick with what I have! (I hope)

 

Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk

Once again I have read this author.  His first book,  The Gargoyle was pretty good, I did enjoy it so when I read a few blog reviews on Waiting for Columbus, I thought I’d give him another shot. 

Sure wish there was a pill to take to stop buying mo’ books than I can read!

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Charles Dickens

Dickens:A Biography by Fred Kaplan

Paperback: 640 pages
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press (September 11, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0801860180

From Publishers Weekly

“This first major biography of Dickens in nearly 40 years is a winning mix of insight, narrative skill and shrewd judgment,” commended PW. As limned here, “Dickens was convivial, loyal, secretive and arrogant, with a ‘performance personality’ that required applause for self-definition.”

When I picked this book up in a used book store for $1.00 I thought “ok, MAYBE one day I will read this”.. I couldn’t refuse the price!

I’m not sure why I picked it up to read when I did, and I fully expected to be bored with it within a few days and lay it aside… but that didn’t happen!

The author, Fred Kaplan, had an excellent style  to make things interesting… and so I read on and on until this morning when I finished it!

My mini-fascination with Charles Dickens and Wilke Collins truly began when I read Drood, a historical fiction that made Dickens and Collins both sound interesting and captivating.   Since then I read Dickens Christmas Carol (always saw the movie and never read the book), and The Old Curiosity Shop .  I also read the Woman in While by Wilke Collins, and a few other fiction books about them both.

This Biography, though long, kept my interest.  Dickens didn’t lead an adventurous life nor was much of his life spectacular, with the exception of his writing of course, but still the book prevailed. The author managed to merge the biggest truths about Dickens writings and that was that most all his writings had some autobiographical touch to them.  Often his father was one of the figures in his books and many times he himself drew things from his childhood to write upon.

I did learn some small things too, like the fact that Dickens had 10 children.  One was a miscarriage though and another died shortly after birth.  Actually he outlived most of his other 8 children.

I was surprised to find out that he and Wilke had not met earlier in his career, but in fact later, yet still became good friends and even collaborated on some writings.

In the book Dickens moves around quite a bit and begins his “readings” of some of his work, which takes him to come across the pond to America twice in his life .  He also separates from his wife later in the book.

A big thing I noticed in the writing is the feeling one gets for the time and place of where Dickens is ..and how doctors have yet to discover how to care for and cure illnesses.

If you want to know about Dickens his biography is a good place to start. But don’t pick it up expecting a bunch of “dirty little secrets” or adventure , still I can say I liked the book and I’m glad I read it.

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The Other Day

I looked outside on the 52 degree morning (love it!) and spotted this male Anhinga in the tree.  I grabbed my camera because generally the female hangs at the pond (she was no where in sight) but not a male.  A male is a little smaller and his neck and head are all black,  unlike the female whose neck and head are brown.

Eventually I spotted him again on the ground drying his wings. He’s quite a handsome fellow.

I realized that I never included a photo of the Doves around here. Sheesh, they are fairly plentiful, but do fly off when anyone walks outside so I took this thru my sliding door.

..also thru the door I finally got another photo of the little Warbler in the tree. They rarely stay still so it’s a minor miracle to get a photo.

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Unwanted Guest?

Today is the day of Jonathan Seagull and Gre-be Coot!

I walked the mile walk today around the pond 5 times which wasn’t easy but that’s another story. I noticed “Jonathan Seagull” hanging around, all by himself.. just resting…watching….wondering…

After my walk I went and grabbed the camera… and bread of course!  This got Jonathan Seagulls attention (and the dang Ibis too)

My little Gre-be figured food was around and did his slinky swim over near me..

He does the “low head” swim when he doesn’t want to be seen. (yeah right Gre-be!)

 

But, Jonathan took notice…

….he scoped out Gre-be but was more interested in food!

..Jonathan let the Greb-be know he meant business!

…then ignored him.

But Gre-be got the last word in!       That’s m’boy!!

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I haven’t done a meme in a long time, and there are just so many pond photo’s I can post before no one comes to my blog,  so when I came across this one I thought I’d “steal it” from Daphne .

Quickly name a unique item you have in your house:
Ummm, that would be “Dead Fred” my, very real Steer Skull. I haven’t met a whole lot of people with steer skulls.

What are your two favorite names?
I have come to really like the name I use for the computer of “DesLily” Other than that I like names that aren’t common.

What do you consider a necessary luxury?
my Cafe Vienna.  My Computer. My Television.

What type of car would you like to drive?
I don’t know a lot about cars, so I will just say it would be amazing to drive a NEW car. (not that I could afford the insurance on one!)

What is your favorite color and has it changed over the years?
I’ve always had a lot of White around.

What quality do you most admire in a man?
I like a man with a good sense of humor.  And one that somehow finds some good in everyone.

In a woman?
Same as a man actually.

What is something you long for?
I long for the impossible..good health both physically and mentally

If money were no object what would you buy yourself?
probably that new car so I wouldn’t have to keep fearing when it will break down.

What charity would you donate a million dollars to?
something that would help old people be able to have a better life.

What book have you just finished reading?
Not quite done with a biography of Charles Dickens

Name one book that made an impact and why?
The Hobbit .. probablly because it set me off on reading and I’ve not stopped since.

Name one liquid always in your fridge?
Crystal Light Ice Tea

Name one food item always in your fridge?
That would probably be Bread.

What could you eat everyday?
hmmm, maybe pasta of some sort.

Everyday I drink…
A cup of Cafe Vienna.

TV Guilty Pleasure:
Dancing with the Stars.  NCIS.   Bones. 

TV Show I Don’t Miss:
(see above)

Name a favorite fictional character from a book.
wow.. not fair!  I have many.  MANY! Gandalf. Belgarath. Masterharper Robinton. The list goes on…

From a movie:
Gandalf

What phrase or motto do you over use?
“Yeah…right.. “

I own a lot of:
Books. vhs tapes.

I collect:
Books, movies, autographs..rocking horses..

I try to avoid:
Doctors.  But it’s not working. When one is old there are ALWAYS doctors!

One thing I know:
Life is waaaay tooooo short.

Everyday I:
read some. play on my computer some. watch tv some..

The last time I wrote a letter and mailed it was:
Actually I sent out a written note as recently as a week ago.

Dog or cat?
At the moment I have a cat but I love all animals

(wow! no pictures! mark you calendar!)

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Black & White

I have to admit that I have been “accused” of liking the colors black and white since I wear so much of it ..heh.. so.. it’s true and lately I’ve found it the same with the birds at the pond.

My newest “crush” is “Gre-be”, that’s his name.. actually he’s a Coot, but at first he was thought to be a Grebe.

Gre-be will come when called but still won’t come close enough to eat the bread from my hand.  He’s very hesitant, and he waits just long enough that the “piggy Ibis” come by and push him out of the way.

But I adore him.  He lowers his head when the Moorhens come around “giving way to them” (and still one insists on chasing him). and he has the funniest feet!

They are greenish like the Moorhens but he has a slight webbing around each individual toe to help him be a good swimmer.

People say that his body looks like a Cornish Hen,… if he goes missing I will suspect someone tasted him!

If you look hard you can see the slight skin around each toe.

This is Gre-be pretending he’s comfortable around people and stretching his leg and wing.

Today the “white” of black and white, came by.. the Egret.

And I do love how snowy white they are!  So gorgeous.

When he stretches his neck like this I can’t help but think: “up periscope”!

They are all long necks and tall legs… (and beautiful white feathers)

 

I take way too many pictures of the Egret.. sorry ’bout that.

It’s still sparse of birds around here but I’m sure there will be plenty of baby Moorhens starting in March or April !!

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Summer in February

The past 3 days it’s felt like summer is here already…(I know, I know, I shouldn’t complain when so many are freezing..but it’s bad either way, TO cold or TO hot!)

Anyway the seagulls think they’ve found a new “sucker” to feed them and have continued to return to the pond..

..the softshelled turtle who only suns himself in the summer poked his head up and came out for the sun..

“ahhhh, sunshine and heat!”

Then, not one..

..not two..

..but 3 woodstorks came by..

“ugh..whada mess!”..

..”Oh who cares!..”

“Well, I don’t care!”

“Do we look like we care?”..

“oh gimme a break..”

And after the woodstorks left I noticed last years Geranium also thinks it’s summer!

But the Pond is always the Pond.  And sometimes the day at the Pond ends like this:

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