Friday, August 03, 2007

Oregon in my mind

Some places never let you leave.
Those places that were the scene of pleasant moments may be treasured forever in your mind.
Those are the places that the mind holds dear, and allows you to revisit again at will.

Places like that become part of an equations:

Time + Place/People/Actions = Memories, either good or bad.

It is a formula that can only be used once.
It is a formula that can never be repeated.
You can go to the same place, with the same people, and do the same actions, but it will never be quite the same.
It is the ingredient of that particular time that will always be missing.

Fellow blogger Dawn wrote yesterday: "Where did the time go?"

And I thought:
Time became memories and the memories became pictures that somehow folded up so neatly that they all could be stored in one's mind. Time became history, and each moment has been exactingly saved for us to see again at a seat of judgement in heaven.
Time for me becomes images that I capture via my camera, my words, my writings and occasionally my brush strokes, to be enjoyed again, and shared with others.

My question is not where did time go, but where did time come from?
Why have I been given fifty three years of time, yet others had but three hours, or four months, or twenty one years of time?

Why did some particles of time arrive with parcels of pleasure, while other passages brought injury and sorry?

I wonder why I consider time at all, knowing I am an eternal being.

Yet I number my days, and hope that the days will prove to be time well spent and pleasing to the One who gave them.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Millinery: Gena Conti in Michigan

I do so love to visit a millinery shop. Sadly, such opportunities are few and far between. I make do in between times when the yearning strikes me by visiting millinery websites instead.

One of my favorite milliners is Gena Conti. She has been selected for five years running to display her millinery work in the Kentucky Derby Hat Museum. She has created some really amazing pieces which are viewable in a gallery from her home page.

I've admired Gena's work for a while now, and wanted to share her site, which has a dandy slideshow of her lots of her designs. I especially like how often she incorporates veils into her designs. If you have read my blog for awhile, you know I have a passion for veils, and with each passing year, have a stronger desire to see veils return as an option for well dressed women to wear as they go about their usual life. Veils: Not just for weddings, please!

Her period hat slide show is outstanding; but frankly, the every day fall/winter spring/summer hats are charming as well. For bridal wear and cocktail events you can hardly do better than a Conti design. Her pieces frequently show up in bridal magazines, just the thing for the bride who has enough self confidence and personality to want to wear a unique veil.

The Conti "millinery shop" home page can be visited by clicking here.
I hope you will enjoy Gena's work as much as I do!

As we hat loves say...I hope you have a hatty day!

Country folk, city folk

I sure like having my Mr. B. back home. He was gone the last four days on a business trip, with a stop over in SLC to see son Jeff. Apparently Jeff is getting to be almost as good as a golfer as B., but on this trip, B. is still undefeated on the links.
From there B. headed over to Las Vegas, which seems to be popular destination these days. Both daughter LauraRN and Running Wildly have blogged about the LV adventures. B. was there on business however, and was glad to get home, even if it meant flying in at 1:30 in the morning, at which time all the trams and carts are no longer running. That meant he had to hoof it with his carry on luggage and laptop for a 3/4 of a mile to reach the terminal attached to the parking garage where his car was parked. Urk.

I stayed up till 1:30 sewing, waiting for him, but finally gave up and went to bed a half hour before he came home. Tiggie followed him into bed, and purred so loudly and with so much enthusiasm that the bed vibrated like those old fashioned motel beds used to, the kind you paid a quarter and buzzed away on, supposedly to relieve the tensions of travel. Truth was, in my family, it was a feature used mostly to entertain the kids.

Good job, Tiggie! The kibbles will be served a the usual time and place in the morning as your reward.

I couldn't wait to take B. into the woods to visit the spiders. We rode our bikes this time, and B. didn't hesitate to step off the path to get up close to one of the SEVENTY TWO spiders that we saw!

The spiders are really growing on me. The female spins the web, and generally sits patiently to snare a bug, and then wrap it up for dinner.
Mr. Spider is usually somewhere around the web, sometimes facing Mrs. Spider, like they are chatting, and other times he is just above Mrs. Spider on the web, around the 1:00 position.

The spider domesticity reminds me of so many couples I know; the husband out in the field area, while the wife is in the center of the home, preparing the meals, while the hubby drops inside for meals and snacks.

Remind you of any couple you know?

But of course, even though B. and I saw 72 rural dwelling spider couples on our walk, wouldn't you know it, there is always one crazy couple that wants to be different.

You know them too...the ones that love any thing to do with cars, and even enjoy NASCAR?

"Darn! I almost got the car...I just missed it by an inch!"

"Maybe if I move our web over here..."
"Or I could split the difference, see if I can nab them coming in either direction."

"Well, if you are tired of having cars for dinner, what about an airplane then?"

(By the way, the zigzag in the middle of the web is just part of their natural web design. That is why they are also called writing spider or St. Andrew's Cross Spider. They consistently hang their webs about 10 feet off the ground. Except this couple. I now drive to work a different way. I don't think Mrs. Spider could take down my Toyoto 4Runner, but why take chances?)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Froggie Froggie Night.....

Last night at the library, in addition to handing out pencils, we watched an amazing downpour. On, we zoomed into street level, and a deep purple red blotch was parked over our campus. One minute the sky was clear, and the next it was like a fire hose was being used on our window. Students even looked up; students who usually will not even bat an eye if you inform them a tornado is in the area.

My shift was over at 9:30, and as I stepped out into the warm muggy air, I was surrounded by music; frogs rejoicing in their good fortune of heavy rain and warm night air.

I video'd the sound, and swung my camera around so you can see the library as well. It looks a bit like a science fiction location, but the view is fantastic from the third floor, where I often sit and watch the sky from the window as I work.

Enjoy 40 seconds of Frog Sounds, as heard last night in Houston Texas.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fun at the library: Borrowing stuff.

I think I mentioned that some of the top reasons people come to the library are to borrow a pencil and to talk on the phone.
Or both.

Tonight a 40-something gentleman came up to the desk and asked if he could borrow a pen or pencil. My co-librarian rummaged around, and couldn't come up with one, so I handed over the pencil that I use for tallying ref questions.

An hour later he was back at the desk.

"I'm so sorry, could I borrow another pencil? I've lost the one I borrowed while talking with my lady friend on the phone."

(Wonder what kind of talking he was doing on the phone to his lady friend that was so interesting that it caused him to lose our pencil. Hmmm....)

What the heck. I gave him another pencil

Twenty minutes later he was back again.

"I hate to bother you again, but do you have a pencil sharpener?"

I pointed to the sharpener, but he couldn't find it, so I got up and patted the thing, with a cheery "There you go!"

Fifteen minutes to closing.

Will I get my pencil back?

Stay tuned!

(Yes he did, sheepishly, return the pencil.)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Master Naturalist Wanna Be takes a walk

In my last post I mentioned a blue tailed skink.
I'll bet you thought I was making that up.
Skinks are just a kind of lizard, with short legs, and not much of a neck.
As adults, the blue tailed skink tail stops being blue.
So this guy in the picture below is just a kid.
They are also sometimes called a Five Line Lizard.
Can you guess why?

All around the area where the blue tailed skinks were hanging out were dragonflies.
They would zoom along, then land on the sand, pulsing their wings.
The four spotted dragonfly above looked like he was trying to send a semaphore message using his wing markers as flags.
It's body looked like a guy with brown hair, blue shirt and white pants, with arms outstretched holding flags. Wonder what the message was?

It amuses me that the other kind of dragon fly in the area had almost a photo negative image about its wing design; clear in the middle and colored on the end.
I have learned to look whenever I see the slightest unusual movement around me as I walk.
A quick bounce, twice, of what seemed to be an acorn caught my eye; an acorn wouldn't bounce twice in a straight line across the path.
It took a second to see it, but there he was, Mr. Toad blending into his environment.
I hear Frog and Toad are Friends.
I wonder if my garden froggie knows this guy?
Toad was about the size of a milk bottle cap, and very shy.

About two weeks ago I spotted this interesting project.
I have no idea what it is, or who is building it.
It looks like someone is burrowing, and carefully daubing the mud from the excavation around the opening of the hole, making a very neat little fortress wall.

Since my first photo, the fortress size has doubled, it is now about ten inches tall.
The on-going rainstorms have soften the earlier daubs, but there is clearly fresh activity in this project, as the top area is well defined.
If this gets any taller, they are going to need to get a building permit!

On my first observation of the dauber fortress I also saw this gorgeous snake squiggled in a neat pile, like beads on a string that had been dropped into a heap.
It was about a foot away from the dauber's work, but clearly not a part of the project.
I switched on my camera as fast as I could, but the snake was faster than I was, and glided rapidly away into the mulch around the base of a tree.

"Red touches yellow, kill the fellow (or stay away from the fellow), red touches black, poison lack (or friend of Jack) " is the saying to tell whether a black, yellow and red banded snake is harmless or venomous.

Yes, it was a coral snake, and a very large coral snake at that.
It must have just molted, as it's colors were glistening and vibrant. Unless I wanted to stomp on him, or beat him with my camera, I was fresh out of options to kill the fellow, so he got to live another day in peace.

It really amazes me that my reaction to a venomous snake now is to try to get a picture, instead of jumping and screaming and trying to run away.
Bernie is SO pleased.
I even had a dream the other night that I was walking to the beach by my childhood home, and in a vacant lot there were loads of copperheads of all sizes, and an old wheel barrow full of a huge bright blue and black snake. In my dream I was going "Darn, I wish Bernie was here, he would just love seeing all these snakes!"
This is a real improvement over how I used to wake up screaming if a snake showed up in my dreams. I guess true love really does change a person!

I may have mentioned before that the forests by my house all have decomposed granite pathways and raised wooden walkways so I feel pretty safe walking around. As long as I stay on the path, it is unlikely I will stumble across anything, as creatures who might be crossing the path usually scramble as they don't like being caught out in the open.
In the picture above you can glimpse the edge of the lake.
If you look a the base of the tree that is tipped side ways, which is about ten feet from a raised wooden walk way, and then look straight up above it, between the two most forward trees, this is the area which next caught my eye.
Look closely: Can you see a web?
Can you see the spider at the top of the web, just slightly to your right of top middle?

It took a lot of courage for me to step off the walk way to get close enough to get a picture of the spider. I did a lot of looking before I gingerly stepped into the wet grassy area next to the walkway.
I just HAD to get a picture of this spider!
Her body was as big as the palm of my hand. I have NEVER seen such a big spider in all my life...she was so big I spotted her from the walkway, and her web filled up the entire area between the two trees, taking up as much space as a queen sized sheet.
She's an Argiope, also known as a Writing Spider, and Yellow Garden Spider.

I had one in my garden in San Diego for a while, but this one was like the Queen of all Argiope. They are supposed to only get to be about two inches big in the body, this one was at least five inches big. I think she could catch a bird if she felt like it.

Another picture of the web; Ms. Argiope is up at the top, with just her feet showing.
Later on I saw another Argiope. This one had her mate with her.
The tiny spider is a male Argiope.
Hopefully I will eventually get to see one of their egg sacks.
They are good family spiders, Mom puts the egg nest on the web close to her so she can keep on eye on it.

Well, I hope you enjoyed our walk today. I'm sorry that I erased the picture of the rabbit that I took at the begining of the walk. Once I got home, I had forgotten why I had taken that picture; the bunny blended in so well I didn't see him and thought it was a boring picture so I deleted it in Picasa.
I can still see it on my camera on the chip, but for some reason, once I deleted it on Picasa, it will no longer let me load it onto my computer.

Oh well. There is always another bunny out there somewhere.
I'll just have to go and take another walk!