Stairs, Steps and Ladders – Oh My

042114-cffcI don’t often do photography challenges. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever done one. That’s not totally true. I think I did a five-photo thing. Also, I did mix a One-Liner Wednesday with one of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges. This week is different. This week, it’s all Cee’s. You see, I have lots of photos of stairs, steps and ladders and I can’t really imagine having too many opportunities to use them. So, I’m jumping on this.

You win too. All of the descriptions are in the photos, so not a lot of text today. Enjoy the photos. Explore the gallery if you like. I’ll be back to the One-liner thing next week.

Posted in Cee's Fun Foto, Photography, Prompt | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Plain Old Reality

Transformer sunshine

Early mornin’ sunshine

We are experiencing some serious dog days around central Connecticut. Temps in the upper 90s and no rain, save for the occasional short violent thunderstorm. We’re watering things outside the garden, and we never water things outside the garden. We’re taking Maddie for walks earlier and earlier each day. We’re bumping into the point where she hasn’t yet…well, you know, the thing we would rather she not do while walking.

Some of you mentioned that I made you think on Saturday. Sorry about that. If I try to make you think, it’s usually on a Monday. Fair’s fair, I’ll give you today off. Some photos to look at. Gathered while Maddie and I walked early Sunday morning.

Sorry, these are just plain photos, no augmentation (1) today. All I have is the bare bones reality that Mother Nature and people, for good and not-so-good have added. Some people are trying to make it better. Clearly, some people don’t give rat’s a** about anything other than they’re convenience. I also included attempts to capture interesting images. Some were successful and some were not. Oh well, something for me to learn.

I wanted to include some background music. Believe it or not, I had a problem with some of the classic summertime songs. More about that later. I chose The Allman Brothers Band – “Blue Sky” from “Eat A Peach” which was released early in 1972. I hope you enjoy the gallery.


(1) I’m still on a bit of a roll from one of the topics that crept into that SoCS post.

(2) As the week rolls on, I will be spending some time preparing for and administering the Cherished Blogfest. My regular reading / writing habits might get interrupted. There is still plenty of time to join us. Choose a cherished object, tell us why it means so much to you and publish it anytime between early Friday and late Saturday. You can let us know you’re coming by signing-up here. But, if you want to just jump in with your post, the official list will be active Midnight, (GMT) on Friday.

Posted in Current Events, Opinion, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 50 Comments

Having Second Thoughts?

This week, the lovely and marvelous Linda G. Hill, a.k.a. the woman who frees the voices in my head from their drudgery, has given us the freedom to use a word any way we like:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “second.” Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!

It’s a good word for me, because lately, I’ve been thinking about second thoughts. I haven’t been having second thoughts, just thinking about them. Some of the people whose blogs I follow have written about changing the way they write, changing when they write and, sadly, some have decided not to write any longer. One uplifting post was from Ellen, over in the U.K. She wrote about ignoring SEO – You Go Girl! I left her a comment saying that I don’t know how I came to follow her, but that I keep following because she writes well.

I’m not sure how I came to follow most of the folks I follow and I’m not sure how those folks came to follow me. I know some, for example, I met Pacific Paratrooper over at Dan Hen’s blog and I figured if he likes Dan as much as I do, since Dan is a little off course, if the course is the straight and narrow path through the world, then I’m sure to like him (the Paratrooper guy).

I like people who comment, and, for the most part (I’m never really sure if I should use that expression). I know I’m not supposed to use ‘really’ or ‘actually’, but, actually, I don’t care. Sometimes, that’s what I want to say, and Linda doesn’t let us edit. Um, for the most part, I tend to follow them.for most partThe other thing that makes me think about second thoughts is that I listen to people. I don’t think I’m eavesdropping. I wonder if that word stems from the stuff dropping from the eaves of your house. Hang on, I’ll be right back – It does! Well, sorta, it refers to a person who listens from under the eaves. We had a dog once who hated the rain. He would hug the side of the house and pee on the supports for our porch, in order to stay dry.eavesdropThat’s not what I’m doing, eavesdropping, not peeing on the side of the house. I’m just listening to the people around me. This week, I was in the lounge of a hotel, for a few meetings and meals, and I overheard a lot of people.

The political junk was on and a lot of people were talking about the stuff they heard and I heard more than a few. Let’s see, a couple is two, a few is three, so more than a few…ok, I heard a few people, in response to “who do you like for president?” say things like: “well, so and so said this about him but then this guy said this about her” If I were the kind of person to butt into conversations of this nature, I would have said “Yes, but what do you think? You’re an intelligent person – decide for yourself!

I don’t seek a lot of outside influence for my decisions, I tend to figure stuff out.

influence Pam over at Butterfly Sand quipped today:

It never ceases to amaze me how low our intelligence quotient has fallen.”

(For some unknown reason, I copied that as what is shown below. I’m adding this after Pam’s comment, pointing out my error, ‘cuz I can’t fix this. In any case, her quip inspired this train of though, even if it left the tracks)

We remain intelligent, but we suppress our intelligence with the opinions of others.”

I think the forces acting on us to suppress our intelligence are the same ones that cause us to want to be popular. I have an advantage here. Being an introvert and a nerd, I dropped my pursuit of popular long ago. I don’t even do popular things. Pokémon Go is popular today. I didn’t download it. I overheard someone talk about something they learned from Pokémon Go, and I realized that they could have learned that exact thing by reading my blog – I wrote about it over a year ago. Maybe Pokémon reads my blog.

There’s one exception to my rule: OK, it’s really not so much a rule as it is just a thing. If I didn’t dislike the expression “it is what it is” so much, I’d use it here. Anyway, sometimes, what I like becomes popular. Maybe I liked it first, maybe I came to like it independently, but I usually don’t come to like something because it’s popular to do so.

Popular floydFor example, I liked Pink Floyd way before that band was popular. Way before Dark Side of the Moon. I liked Meddle. I liked Ummagumma. I liked Obscured by Clouds. On the other hand, I wasn’t a big fan of the Beatles when they were the huge thing that they were. I think they were playing to an audience at first. Kinda like manipulating the SEO of the day. What did I know? I was 8. I grew to like them when they started making interesting music and I really enjoyed the early independent works of the band members after they broke up, particularly John Lennon.interestinglyInterestingly enough – I also always wonder about using that expressions, I mean how much interesting is enough? Is interestingly enough just barely over the line from meh? Where was I? Oh, John Lennon, yeah, he sent me email today. I didn’t notice at the time, I was asleep. I really didn’t notice until a few minutes ago because I didn’t check my spam folder this morning. That’s where John was. Actually, he’s dead, but…

Lennon blacklist-cWow, I’m way over my word count. I’ll leave you with a few pictures of our second Irish Setter, Reilly. When it rained, he peed on the corner porch post, which he eventually destroyed.

Posted in Blogging, SoCS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 74 Comments

Thursday Doors – Reason to Hope

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

A need to research some building material for a project that we hope to undertake next month took me to Kelly-Fradet, my favorite lumber yard. You might remember them from a previous Thursday Doors post. While a very nice salesman was figuring out the specifications for a piece of engineered lumber we need to buy, I was taking pictures of doors. They sell doors. I thought I’d make a doors post about “potential” doors.

Then I headed home.

Then I saw Holy Trinity Church.

Three things caught my attention: First, the amazing brick work. Second, the red doors in, what I refer to as an Episcopal Arch (pointier), and, third, a shady parking lot. It was about 97 degrees that day. Walking around the church, I noticed a discrepancy, and an interesting bit of history. The name on the sign is Holy Trinity. The name on the plaque is St. Mary’s. The other name on the plaque was Augustus G. Hazard. Of course. The church is in Hazardville, a few blocks from the Hazardville Institute.

At first, I thought that I’d spend most of this post talking about Augustus G. Hazard. He was an interesting fellow, and there has been a lot written about him. I had assumed that the difference in the name was simply due to the church building being purchased as one congregation grew/shrank and another was looking for a home. Actually, the story about the church is more complicated, and I think more appropriate for the summer we’ve been having than the history of a man who made gunpowder. I’m sure I’ll have another occasion to talk about Augustus.

Holy Trinity church has always been an Episcopal parish, but 25 years ago, it was a struggling parish. It wasn’t alone. Calvary Church, in nearby Suffield, CT and St. Andrew’s Church, also in Enfield, were also struggling. Membership had dropped and it was becoming hard for all three churches to pay their bills and provide the type of service to their members and the community that they were known for. They decided to work together.

In 1992, they formed a cluster ministry of churches. Operating as a cluster, or regional ministry allowed them to share the expense of clergy and staff.

I don’t know if you have any experience with small churches, but sharing, i.e. not being in total control of the situation, is not easy. I’ve seen battle lines drawn that have eventually split individual congregations. The idea that three congregations could work together and share one set of resources, would not have occurred to me.

Not only were the three churches able to share, they actually came together as one body. In 2007 they merged into a single large, and stable, congregation. I particularly like this quote from the website of the relatively new Holy Trinity Church:

We invite all people to be a part of our church family. Learn more about us through this website and by visiting with us on Sundays and at other times. Holy Trinity Church welcomes you! Holy Trinity Church welcomes all!

At a time when every story we read, watch and listen to is calling attention to the things that make us different and the things that drive us apart, I thought a story about coming together would be nice to read. Not that many years ago, these people were able to focus on what they had in common, and the ways in which they could help each other, and they were successful.

This story is part of an interesting and fun series called Thursday Doors. It’s facilitated each week by Norm Frampton. You can join the fun. Hop on over to Norm’s page and click the blue button. Be sure to check out Norm’s doors first, they’re always worth a look.

Posted in Current Events, Perspective, Photography, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday – Birds

We’re hungry, mother!

Well, we’re pretty sure that’s what they were saying.


She loves it on the roof.

According to our bird book, these would be the babies of our resident House Sparrow, Snoopy. We call her Snoopy because she spends a lot of time sitting on the roof of her house. Her house, by the way, was supposed to be a Blue Bird house, but Snoopy made the first offer and we accepted.

The bird book says that these guys have a noisy screech (we can confirm) and that they build nests out of piles of twigs and grass and stuff. We can also confirm that. The birdhouse is stuffed to the gills with grass and sticks and stuff Snoopy found lying at the side of the bird-curb. Who needs to go to Nest Depot?

The book also says that they eat insects. Also confirmed. One of the photos in the gallery shows Snoopy with a fly on her head. The next photo I took (they should be together in the gallery) shows Snoopy’s beak where the fly used to be.

Yo, my babies, I have some fly for you…”

Mmmmmmm, flyyyyyyyyyy.”

While I was sitting out with Maddie, I managed to get some pictures of the babies when Snoopy was out fetching more bugs (she covers an amazing amount of territory). I don’t want to say that these are faces only a mother could love, but I think if I was looking into that gullet, it wouldn’t be hard for me to regurgitate. Of course, eating a fly…just sayin.

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday.

One Liner Wednesday

Posted in Animals, One Line Wed, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 64 Comments

8 More Rules at the Bar

Bartender missing

Pick one TV, buddy.

Back in 2013, I wrote a post called 8 Simple Rules at a Bar. As soon as I wrote it, I added a new entry to my Evernote notebook called 8 More Rules at the Bar. It has taken three years to gather those next eight rules, but this past weekend, rule number eight emerged as a woman interrupted the conversation I was having with the bartender. I’ll get to that later, you know, “full story at 11:00” and like that.

Don’t come here to have that conversation – It’s not like I make a habit of listening in on other peoples’ conversations, but when you’re in a small bar, it’s hard not to hear stuff. It’s how some great conversations start and how I’ve made some friends. Person A says: “Did you see that throw?” to person B, and it’s fair game to add: “I never would have thought he’d get the ball there in time.” On the other hand – when person A says: “I asked you to meet me here because I think we have to talk…” Yeah, I got nothin’.

Do not try to dominate all the TVs – The bar I am usually sitting at has eight stools and a few tables. There are four TVs, two of which can be seen from the bar. I stepped up to my favorite stool and asked the bartender if she could put ESPNU on the TV closest to me. The guy at the other end of the bar said: “I’m watching that.” I said: “OK, I actually prefer looking at that TV” (the one closest to him). To which he replied: “I’m watching this too.” And, then I introduced him to this rule.

We don’t care that you’re an expert – Bars are full of decisions that have already been made. From the beers on tap, to the snacks on the counter, the types of wings available and the myriad coach/player/driver/etc. decisions being made in the NFL, MLB, NASCAR NHL and NCAA Women’s Softball (the thing I wanted to watch in the rule above) stuff on the TV. You may be smarter than all of the people making all those decisions, but other than a passing expletive/groan/sigh/rhetorical question, we don’t want to hear it.

It’s a playlist – You may not like the music, but nobody wants to hear a rolling commentary of how bad each song is. It’s not like there’s a DJ in the back room. Give it a rest

Don’t pick on the bartender – She works here, she doesn’t own the bar. She doesn’t set the prices, or pick the beers and she didn’t prepare your food, she only delivered it. In addition, some of us like her, and some of us are bigger than you. Just sayin.

Don’t hit on the bartender if you’re a jerk – Lot’s of guys aren’t self-aware enough to understand that they’re a jerk, but once the bartender points that out, it’s time to pack it up. I’ve witnessed some dumb, creepy and crude attempts over time. The most recent was a married guy who actually said to the bartender: “don’t you realize that I’m hitting on you?” She replied: “I do, but you don’t seem to realize that I’m ignoring you.”

Don’t make those comments – You know: “why did you wear that shirt?” “Why didn’t you leave your backpack in car?” “Stop photographing your food.” Unless, of course, you’re at the bar with a six-year-old. Otherwise, you’re heading for Rule #1. Consider this a warning rule. Overbearing comments are like a gateway drug to the “we have to talk” talk.

If you didn’t read the menu, don’t complain about your food – Saturday. A woman interrupted my conversation to ask why her meal was served with a side of garlic mashed potatoes instead of being served over linguini. The bartender explained that that’s how it’s described on the menu. The woman said –  seriously – she said this: “I make this at home and I always serve it with linguini.”

Now I guess it’s time to start working on rules 17 – 24.  By the way, the photos in the gallery were collected over a few years Smile

Posted in Humor, Opinion, Perspective, Rant | Tagged , , , | 60 Comments

What’s the Deal?

For the love of beer

The perfect place and beverage to share some casual conversation.

If we were having a beer, you would have some questions for me.

“So, what’s the deal with this Cherished Blogfest of yours?”

“Hi, it’s good to see you, too. Would you mind if I ordered a beer?”

“Well I sure wouldn’t mind; he’s been sitting here for 10 minutes sipping a glass of water. He says it’s your turn to pay.”

“Hi Cheryl. OK, a Yuengling and a splash of the grape for him.”

“That it, isn’t it? Is your cherished object going to be a mug of Yuengling?”

“No. I like Yuengling, but I don’t cherish it. I might cherish it if I lived in a state where you can’t yet buy it, but…”

“So what’s the deal? What’s your object, and how did this become an annual thing?”

“Here you go boys. I’ll leave you to your discussion, but I happen to like the Cherished Blogfest. In fact, I’m one of the co-hosts.”

“Whaaaat? Has my whole world gone mad? So what is it that you cherish, Cheryl?”

“Hmmm, I’d say a hefty bar tab and a nice tip, but I haven’t seen one in a while…just sayin.”

“Ouch. I think that’s on you. You did pay last week.”

“OK, OK, I might have been a little thin on the tip. I’m not that good at math. But…”

“Not good at math? You’re a financial advisor. I’m sure your clients will appreciate knowing that.”

“OK! I’m cheap. Financial advisors understand that part of the secret to having money is to not spend money. Anyway, can we get back on track here? What’s your cherished object?”

“I haven’t decided, but it’s not the almighty dollar.”

“It’s your bike, isn’t it? No, you wrote about that a few weeks ago, you really like that thing, but you wouldn’t write about that again.”

“It’s not my bike. Why don’t you just wait and see? The blogfest starts in two weeks, it’s not like you have to wait forever.”

“I don’t like waiting to see things. I make my living predicting the future.”

“Yeah, but I don’t think anyone is wagering on the kinds of topics people cherish.”

“Wagering implies gambling. Investing is not gambling.”

“Sure it is, you just understand the odds better than most people.”

“Ok, let’s forget about me, let’s forget about gambling, and let’s forget about you and your cherished object. How did this ‘blogfest’ thing start?”

“Last year, the woman who first organized a writing group I belong to had this idea to give our respective blogs a little more exposure, by organizing a blogfest. It worked well. I discovered several new blogs that I am still following, and I met some people who are now following me.”

“Sounds like you’re artificially increasing the interest in your writing. That kind of thing is dangerous in my business. There are laws against that.”

“Nothing artificial. Write a post. If someone likes it, they can come back for more. If not, they move on. No harm. No foul.”

“It’s an interesting topic. If I want to join, then I have to create a blog?”

“Well, that would be the easiest way to go. However, if you wanted to just write about one cherished object, I’d stick it on my blog. The blogfest goes for three days.”

“So I can post without having a blog?”

You can, but only because I’m making you this offer.”

“What’s that going to cost me?”

“The next round, and a healthy tip for Cheryl.”

“OK, I’ll think about it. How much do I have to write?”

“You’re going to want to keep this under 500 words.”

“Under 500 words? You’re participating in this? I’d buy the next round just to see you stay under 500 words.”

“OK, let’s make a deal. If I publish a Cherished Object post, and stay under 500 words, then you buy all the drinks the following week.”

“And, you buy them from me, and you leave me a nice tip.”

“OK Cheryl. It’s a deal. If my long-winder friend can stay under 500 words, then I will drink, pay and tip.”

The photos in the gallery are some of my favorite tools. I’m not sure any are cherished, but, you never know.

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s and my periodic conversation at the bar. Linda’s prompt this week is:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “if/then.” Begin your post with the word “If.” For bonus points, end your post with a phrase containing the word “then.” Enjoy!

I think I scored some bonus points!

You can join Linda every Saturday. You can also join the Cherished Blogfest. It’s free to everyone but my buddy. Click here to learn more.

Posted in If having a beer, SoCS, Tools | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments