Sunday, October 25, 2020

A Cranial Clear-Out--Some This 'N That For You To Pick Through

 It's time for a general Cranial Clear-Out, so here are a few of the bits and bobs that have been taking up space in my cerebellum.

~*~I have a new nextdoor neighbor, and I have fallen deeply in love with him. His name is Oakley, and he is a rescue puppy. On Friday, it was so warm and breezy out that I had all the windows open, and I could hear his squeaky toy. It gave me such giggly joy.

~*~A few ads for cosmetic procedure clinics here use the slogans "You're worth it" and "You deserve it" to hawk their services. That drives me crazy. Just because I'm worth it and deserve it doesn't mean I can or should have things. I'm absolutely worth a live-in maid and chef. I'm definitely worth a tummy tuck and a house in Italy. And hell be damned sure I'm worth a lifetime supply of peanut MM's (I'm addicted). And I honestly think I deserve them. I even know many other people who deserve those things. But that doesn't mean that we should automatically go out and get them. If I went and got everything I deserved or was worth, we'd have declared bankruptcy hundreds of times over. It would be the same for you.

~*~My porch furniture and my deck furniture are still out. I'm a little in denial and a little bit lazy. We hit near 80 on Thursday and Friday, and I made the most of both outdoor spaces each day, partly because it was so gorgeous out and partly because I wanted to make myself feel better that my porch furniture and my deck furniture are still out. For those of you scoring at home, it is the last week of October. Sigh.

~*~I have been doing something terribly juvenile for the past week or so, but it provides me with a rather cathartic feeling. As I drive, I give the finger to each and every 45* campaign sign I see. I'm not aggressive and vicious about it; I don't roll down the window and jab my hand out or anything. I simply raise my hand slightly and flip the bird. Perhaps I'm merely "sinking to their level", as my late father would say, but I honestly don't think so. I think I'm engaged in a little therapeutic exercise and releasing tension. 

~*~Northeast Ohio has hit Peak in Autumn Colour, and my walks are sometimes not walks at all, but a series of Stop And Awe moments. I spend an inordinate time standing under trees and looking upward, marvelling at their brilliant displays. Here are a few examples from Thursday (or was it Friday?) when the weather was downright glorious and the trees were a fiesta.


Let's leave it there (no pun intended), shall we? I hope you had some joy, some beauty, and some stress-relief in your life this past week. And we must all do our best to find more in the week to come.

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Monday, October 19, 2020

Bug Stuff, The Movie!


I just could not Let It Go. 

I'll be back here in a day or so--which you all know is NanceSpeak for a week, more likely--with something more substantial. But this damn Technical Difficulty was not going to break me. 

You were going to watch this mantis eat her mate whether you cared or not. Gosh, I feel better.

Carry on.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Bug Stuff (And There's Supposed To Be A Movie But Blogger Is Ruining My Life)

When I was a kid about a hundred years ago, I feel like there were more creepy crawlies around in Nature. I can remember catching dozens of lightning bugs (you might call them fireflies) and putting them in a jar with some grass and a twig or two. Now, I rarely see them, and yes, I do look for them. It wasn't odd at all to see the occasional turtle wandering in the yard or even on the sidewalk. And toads were everywhere. Once, when we were at my grandparents' cabin, hundreds of the tiniest frogs I had ever seen came out one night and clung to a tree. Some covered the ground below it. I was instantly in love and wanted to take dozens and dozens home with me. They were no bigger than a dime. By morning they were all gone, and I never saw anything like it again.

I remember a lot more butterflies, too, and moths. Big summertime moths that beat against the screens and porch lights. Grasshoppers were around as well, and when I held them, they'd "spit tobacco" in my hands. We'd play with big grey potato bugs (you might call them pill bugs) and get them to roll into tight balls, tucking their legs until all of them disappeared. I can't remember the last time I saw one. 

Every so often--very, very rarely--a praying mantis would appear. They were almost mythical creatures, and I had heard from someone (my brother, probably) that it was against the law to kill one. I would be almost terrified to see one, afraid that I'd somehow cause its death and get into terrible trouble.  Add to that their odd appearance and weird movements, and I'd just as soon not see them, period.

Obviously, once I got older, I wasn't so naive about the praying mantis; instead, I was fascinated by it, especially its famous mating ritual wherein the female bites the head off of and then consumes the male. I couldn't imagine how that frail-looking head and tiny mouth could accomplish such a feat. Plus, how cool is that, really?  And besides The Internet and documentaries like Planet Earth, when would I ever get a chance to see that up close?

Well, it turns out that This Week is the answer to that question. For quite some time now, a pair of praying mantises (mantii?) has been living on and around my back deck. They climb the back of my house, walk across my deck, and meander among the bushes and grasses nearby. Yesterday, I was about to walk into the back door and noticed them hanging onto the bench like so:

Apparently the male had already lost his head. Since I wasn't really interrupting anything sensitive, I shot a short video:


(That would be Marlowe, my female crabby cat, protesting in the background. So needy. IF YOU COULD SEE IT AND HEAR IT. I'll keep troubleshooting it.)

There is no sign of the now-single praying mantis today. I looked for her this morning when I left to go vote and again when I came home. I searched when I went out for my walk and when I returned. An obnoxiously loud fly slammed into the kitchen window above me, and I saw a particularly ugly fat grey spider, but not the praying mantis.  Perhaps, her mission accomplished, she has moved on.

Fingers crossed that the multitudes of wee tree frogs are next on the horizon.

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