Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Li'l window on the world . . .

During the recent family's visit, an iPad came to stay temporarily with us. It ran on a foreign-to-us operating system, and though I assured its owner that it could access our network, I wasn't absolutely positive about it.

Imagine my relief when, after providing the iPad owner with a password, his iPad spoke to our network, shook hands, and moved in. Not only that, it remembered the way in and could access the 'net whenever it was asked to do that.

One of the best features about the iPad was the pictures that resided on it. Wonderful resolution and detail plus all the fun of the touchscreen: enlarging and minimizing, scrolling and changing orientation by tilting the screen sideways.

Of course, BigEd disappeared into the chess program and played, uh, forever.

It was like having a new baby to pass around. Its feet never touched the ground . . .

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ankle high?

This is Roaring Creek in North Carolina. When the picture was taken it could have been renamed wading creek. Inches of water skated over the rocks. I liked the dappled effect and tried to capture it. Not happening, except in the foreground. That far distant patch of sun made me want to wade up that far to see it.

That was not happening, either . . .

Monday, July 19, 2010

Intruder alert . . .

Zeta and M have gifted us with a stationary bicycle. It lives in the guest/spare room and is oriented toward a television in there. That room is small. To open the day bed fully (for, say, welcome guests) it is necessary to remove the bike, temporarily.

Tomorrow, the plan is for BigEd to put the bike back where it belongs (he moved it out in the first place) and restore the guest/spare room to its gym incarnation.

Today? Early this morning? There was a Bufo Marinus beside that bike. Inside with us instead of outside where it could be as wild as it pleased. Also known as a Cane Toad, it exudes poison from glands in its head if anything attacks and bites it. I didn't plan to do that. But Mew might.

I recognized this particular toad, I thought. I had seen him (or one just like him) hopping away from our front door when I opened it to pick up the morning paper.

If he had stayed outside, he could have enjoyed a long and toadlike existence. As an invader, he became a threat. We dropped a bucket over him.

All went dark . . .

Mango factory - baa-aack!

Don't you love seeing family, who moved away from the city you live in, walk through your door? So do we.

This is my brother and his lovely wife who did just that, for us.

The bit of foliage in the foreground is the top of a Valencia Pride mango tree, courtesy of the visitors.

We should have fruit in two - three years. I can't wait and I'll bet Zeta is right beside me with that anticipation.

Yum . . .

Monday, July 12, 2010

A study in black and white . . .

Charlie is the cutest kitten. I fed him one meal on weekdays (while he was being boarded for a short time) because he eats four times a day and lunch service was not available. He learned quickly that the key in the door meant that someone with opposable thumbs was coming. Someone who could handle his small serving-spoon .

The first day, I fed him too much. His stomach looked as if he had swallowed a small baseball, so I scaled back a tad on the amount next time. His dish is small but, still outscale compared with Charlie's size. He places both of his front paws inside the bowl to eat and it is as if someone told him it is okay for cats his age to play with their food.

As a surrogate cat caretaker, I found it fun to be around a kitten like Charlie. Mew was extremely interested in my shoes when I got home. Charlie likes to rub along your shoes in greeting. He's not tall enough for ankles, yet.

Mew knew it all. I didn't get away with anything . . .

Monday, July 5, 2010

Down, take cover . . .

We were watching a marathon presentation of The Civil War yesterday evening and had just reached a reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg. As the battle progressed on the screen, our neighborhood began to chime in with fireworks outside. It sounded as if we were also under attack from all sides.

Mew came flying around the corner and down the hall as fast as she could go - all the while remaining low to the ground to avoid incoming rounds. I am sure she thought she saw tracer fire.

I'm not sure I didn't, too . . .

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Fourth and beyond . . .

A technician sat in our living room recently. It was the day that the US soccer team won by one goal. We rewound the television picture to the goal so that he could see it for himself.

We discussed the call by the judge from Mali which took a previous win from the team, leaving them with a nil-nil tie. He surprised us by telling us that, as US natives, we had to be aware how hated our country is by a lot of the world. They are jealous, he said, and want to have the lives we have or to take them from us if they can't have that life, themselves.

He told us that he, himself, is a naturalized citizen. He loves this country, he said. It allowed him to raise his family here, send his children to college, and go back to get a college degree for himself. A degree that no one can take away from him and that his children had doubted that he would get. They thought he would drop out when he discovered how difficult it would be. He proved them wrong.

He believes that there is no place in the world that would allow him to have the life he lives here.

To some, we are truly wealthy - a solid house, a roof overhead, cars, attending church, mobility if we wish it. These are merely dreams for some of the world.

Isn't it a shame that we take it so for granted? And isn't it a shame that there are those who live in this country for whom these things are also merely dreams?

If this country, in the end, turns it's face away from God, we will lose his gifts. We were founded by men who loved God. Men who referred to Him on our coinage as the One in Whom we place our trust.

We will honor the holiday, tomorrow - feast on burgers and watch fireworks after a concert on television. But, also, we will thank the Bestower of all these Blessings . . .