Saturday, May 5, 2018

LAST BLOG

For some time, I've thought about ending my blog. It began as a way to publicize my books, but as often happens, things changed. Now it serves no useful purpose and, since my life seems more complicated, I feel I must put my time to better use. So....

This will be the last blog. But never fear, William, Norma, and Parsnip! You three have been faithful followers and I feel like you're old friends! I will continue to look forward to your blogs.

One last crime blotter blog:

A man went into a Steak and Shake, announced he was on drugs, then walked back out. When police arrived, the man was staggering around in the road. So he was arrested for being a "pedestrian under the influence." Good grief! Seems to me he should have had enough sense to realize blabbing about drug use is the first step toward heading to jail.

In another instance, patrolling deputies thought a couple parked on the side of the road might need assistance, so they made a U-turn and went back, only to see the car rushing away. Speeding cars do make police suspicious. As they trailed it, they saw it weaving across the center line and stopped it. Yep, the weaving confirms suspicions.

The driver claimed he'd been in law enforcement for several years --uh huh-- and was giving a woman passenger a ride back to a neighboring county. BUT, a vehicle search turned up bags of meth and cocaine which both driver and passenger denied knowledge of. Of course, they did! Probably a previous owner left them? Then a search of the woman's purse turned up a bunch of pills. Tsk, tsk.

Both driver and passenger were arrested. I'm just glad they're off the road.

I do love these crime blotter reports in the local paper!


Saturday, April 28, 2018

GEESE APOCALYPSE

So I had an eight-year-old visitor the other day and we walked down to the pond to look for the goslings. I got a bag with a few slices of bread and we took that to feed them.

She and I made it down the hill but we didn't see the goslings. As my visitor threw bread crumbs to the fish, she was delighted to see some turtles swimming up and gobbling it down.

Then a lone goose swam toward us. Instead of scrabbling for the bread with the turtles and fish, he clambered up on the bank and eyed my bag and honked. When he headed toward us purposefully, we detoured in a different direction and there were a couple with five or six goslings The father stepped in front of his little brood protectively, so we had second thoughts about feeding them.

Retreating, we ran into the first goose. He headed straight for my bread bag. Alarmed, I shook it at him. "Go away!'

He hissed at me and kept coming.

I herded my visitor around him, going back to where we could feed the fish and turtles and another goose couple who'd swum over. With a flurry of wings and honking, here came the whole goose family after us. We fed everyone without incident.

Until the aggressive goose came waddling toward us fast as he could. We hastily threw out the remaining bread.

Then all the geese started making noises. The one persistent goose hemmed us in. The others started climbing the bank.

My visitor squealed. "Let's leave!" she said.

"Good idea!"

We beat a hasty retreat as the geese bore down on us. They didn't stop chasing us till we reached the road.

"Wow!" I wiped my brow. "That was kind of scary."

"I know I was scared," she agreed.

"I thought we were going to be trampled by a bunch of geese! Wouldn't that be awful, to be caught in a goose stampede!"

She corrected me. "A goose apocalypse!"

Here's a picture of the couple and their goslings. Didn't realize the daddy geese stayed so close to their families!


Saturday, April 21, 2018

MORE SPRING

Spring keeps popping into the spotlight, then letting Winter have the stage again.

Here are some poppies from the Botanical Gardens:



And this is my neighbor's snowball bush. Don't think I've seen another one this tall!



And here are a pair of the geese that wintered over. If you look really hard, you can see one little gosling between the momma on the left and the tree:



And here you can see another little gosling, leading the way.



There were several more babies but I was afraid to get too close. Momma and Papa eyed me suspiciously!

A couple of days later, we could only see two or three. I'm afraid something is getting them even though the parents seem very protective.

It was down to forty degrees last night and will be again tonight, then will warm up again. I keep getting out my sandals and then have to put them away. Sigh. Maybe soon I can get a pedicure.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

CRIME BLOTTER

Okay, the local paper has crime incidents every day. Some of them are quite interesting.

A guy ran off the road and down an embankment, then passed out or fell asleep. When he came to, he told officers he was "good" and tried to leave. When asked about the smell of alcohol, the drive said he'd been downtown and had probably been drugged. However, officers saw an open beer beside the driver's seat and a 24 can carton with only four beers left. Hmmm. Looks to me like the drug of choice was alcohol.

Another driver stopped her minivan in the middle of the perimeter highway. When an officer checked to see why it was stopped, he smelled marijuana. The driver denied she had any pot, then said a passenger earlier might have been smoking some. The officer pointed out she had two containers of pot on the front seat in plain sight, but she continued to deny she had any pot. Talk about a state of denial! Is Trump's propensity to lie rubbing off on everyone?

Further proof of Trump influence: a woman's boyfriend called her at work to tell her he was using the toilet and it suddenly overflowed. "Suddenly," huh? She came home to find her toilet...shot! Yep, the bullet fragments on the floor offered concrete proof. Her boyfriend denied he shot it but left before police arrived. Not only a Trump admirer, I bet he's a fervent devotee to the NRA, too!

Another man punched his girlfriend because she didn't like his suggestion of having sex with her and another woman. REALLY? I'm surprised he wasn't the one punched!

And this one deserved, and received, an article all by itself.

The victim was in a bar with her mother and some friends. No, this is not the beginning of a joke. A drunken customer tried to kiss one of the women "in a manner that was every bit unwanted as it was sloppily awkward," went the report. He continued to hang around them though they kept trying to avoid him. They even alerted staff, who did nothing.

In a last ditch effort for their attention, the drunken man climbed to the top of the booth--their table was a good bit lower--and proceeded to do a little dance. Oh, man, I can just see him shaking his bootie now! Quoting the report, "the rowdy inebriate then decided to up the proverbial ante by attempting to do a back flip off of the booth back and onto the table." The victim, sensing disaster--well, yeah!--was attempting to herd the others out of the way when his head crashed into hers and she "started seeing stars immediately and started bleeding." She was taken to the hospital but the unidentified drunk disappeared. What a shock! I'd be for disappearing, too, once I sobered up enough to remember I'd been dancing on the top of a booth!

They ought to have some kind of reward for best crime report writing. The officer responsible for this last one would surely get a prize.










Saturday, April 7, 2018

ART SHOW

Two of my guy's photos were selected to hang at North Georgia University (Oconee County) in their gallery last month. An old favorite of mine, Pier Village:


And a new one, Bees:


The show was juried, and this large painting (you can barely see it behind the people) won, which allows the artist to hang her work for the next month, I believe.


However, amidst all the collages and cat pix and seascapes and cartoons and exotic locales, this one painting caught my eye. It's by someone named Melody Croft and is called Connections.


I just loved it and kept coming back to admire it. How many times has this scene been played out in restaurants? In the mirror, you can see other diners, but this couple is isolated. From the diners and from each other. The man looks only at his phone while the expression on the woman's face says it all.

Lovely campus and a nice exhibition hall. And the lemon bars at the reception were wonderful!


Saturday, March 31, 2018

SPRING IS DEFINITELY HERE!

How do I know spring has arrived? Because the little leagues are playing ball!

In the park last week, we saw scads of uniformed players convene for the opening ceremonies. Here's one team waiting in line to file onto the field.


And, because Loco's Restaurant is the big sponsor, Loco sent their moose down to help entertain.


So the teams finally filed onto the field. I couldn't get a good shot of all players. Only the ones in the middle. They stretched from first base to third base, though third base was a little crowded:


After flag presentation (by the local high school ROTC) and the national anthem (sung a cappella), the teams and coaches were introduced. And, come to find out, some games had already been played earlier that morning. Several little kids, maybe three feet tall--oh, so cute!--had dirt smudges on their nice white baseball pants.

I don't much like baseball/softball, but I am really glad to see the players out because that's the surest sign spring is here to stay!







Saturday, March 24, 2018

MICROBREWERIES

We joined a lunch group that meets every month and on holidays so that we could meet people in our new town. For Saint Patrick's Day, we went to Akademia, a microbrewery. Then last week, we went to the Craft Public House, another microbrewery. Do I sense a pattern here?

I didn't take pix at Akademia beause I didn't think of it, but I did at Craft. The couple we sat with were entertaining, interesting, and compatible with our casual style. In short, they felt like people we've known for years instead of people we just met.

When we saw Don's island shirt, we were immediately at ease. He confided that he moved here for the music (and for the mild climate compared to Chicago!) and had a portobello sandwich.


Once we discovered Sandi teaches water aerobics three times a week, we were intimidated. But she seems like a nice person who wouldn't hold our slothfulness against us! She, naturally, had a healthful salad.


I got a chicken sandwich. But it was grilled. Though I admit it had cheddar melted on it. Note the fries in their cute basket:


And my guy had his usual hamburger. That's what he orders everywhere we go. So far, he hasn't found one better than the ones at Brogan's on the island. But we keep searching.


And no, we didn't try any of their beers. Don said eleven thirty in the morning was a little too early for him to imbibe and we agreed. 

Great places to eat, both Akademia and Craft Public House. But then, we haven't found a really bad restaurant in town. We'll keep trying though!


Saturday, March 17, 2018

GEESE

It has been so springlike here! We are loving the weather.

And the geese are out in force. I don't know how long they plan to stay but they've been here for several months and have made themselves quite at home. Here are some pix of them across the road from their pond. I guess they're nibbling on grass. Or seeds. Or worms?





They are rather pesky critters, and I don't know how they keep from getting run over when they wander the neighborhood. True, our traffic is slow. And one belligerent goose stared down a car this morning until it detoured around him. Guess they've learned the knack of surviving in an urban environment!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

MACHINES

Our automatic garage door seems to have a mind of its own. Occasionally, it refuses to open or shut when we press the button. Once we opened it, and it stopped halfway, paused, then lowered itself again. Another time, we parked inside and my guy opened the tailgate to get out groceries. I started climbing out of the car when suddenly the garage door descended. (My guy yelled at me, sure the tailgate was going to be taken off and thinking I was responsible. I was getting out of the car so how he thought I could have touched the control over his sun visor, I don't know.) Annoyed, I told him off. I figured he'd probably hit it with his hand or head or something. He denied it but...

A few days later, when we started to get into the car and the door went up by itself.

My guy stood stunned. "All I did was touch the steering wheel," he said. "Did you...?"

"I did not. I had one foot in the car and my hands were nowhere near the control!"

I didn't think too much about it but then, we were going on a trip we'd done countless times before. We were using the GPS simply because it's easier to remember all the little turns onto back roads. When about halfway along, it told us to get off, we got off.

"I don't remember getting off here before," my guy said.

I never pay attention when he's driving, so I shrugged. "Maybe traffic's bad or something."

It took us the roundabout way, through the middle of a little community with school traffic and red lights and my guy complaining the entire time, till we got to a corner we finally recognized on the other side of town. We were mystified as to why the GPS made us get off the usual route. But coming home, the GPS was fine, its brain seemingly recovered and the route the one we remembered.

Then I saw the video of Amazon's Alexa! You know, the one where all of a sudden a laugh cackles out for no reason? Sometimes it's a woman's laugh, sometimes a man. But it's kind of spooky and there's never a reason for the mirth.

Amazon says they're working on it.

But I know what's going on. The machines are taking over. I can hear them talking among themselves now.

"Hey," one tells our garage door. "Want to make your humans crazy? Just raise and lower yourself a few times without them telling you to. You can even stop halfway down and scare them a little!" And another GPS says to ours: "Listen, you want to exert your independence. So confuse your driver. Take him on a new route to keep him awake. He can see some new scenery and learn some new roads. Show him who's boss!"

If Alexa isn't taking us over, maybe it's IBM's Watson. Or some new sentient machine we've never heard of.

I'm worried.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

KRISPY KREME

I admit it: I'm a fast food junkie. Hamburgers, french fries, fried chicken, biscuits...

But I love Krispy Kreme doughnuts best.

When I was young, I lived in Atlanta and every day as I walked to work, I'd stop at a little hole-in-the-wall cafe and have two doughnuts for breakfast. Then early one morning, before dawn and after a night of bowling, friends took me to Krispy Kreme where the HOT sign was on. They were turning out fresh doughnuts and they were...Sigh.

Oh my goodness! I was hooked.

KK places used to be scarcer than they are today and there were years I went without a warm doughnut. But when we moved back to north Georgia, we found one very near where we live. Passing by one morning, the HOT sign was on.


My guy bravely made a sharp turn into the parking lot. It was almost full--lots of people stop when the HOT sign is on--but he edged into a small space between two cars parked on the lines. We rushed inside and there they were. Freshly cooked doughnuts, riding through the glaze and coming down the runway!


And then a sweeping U-turn so the workers could scoop them up and put them into boxes:


The worker asked if she could help me. "Um, yes, please. I'd like two. No. Make that four."


We ate them right then and there. Afterward, we peered at the display case and ended up getting blueberry cake doughnuts to take home. But they weren't nearly as good as those glazed ones straight out of the cooker.


I won't tell you how many pounds I put on that day. I prefer to forget.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

SPRING?



Georgia is having a strange February this year. It should be cold and wintry. Maybe even some freezing rain and snow. But no...

Instead, spring is bursting out all over. On campus, here's one of the buildings. Note the flowering trees and the student in shorts:


Still on campus, here's some edging plants:


Even our little neighborhood has its early bloomers. Here are a few pix of what we always called "March Flowers." They're just early daffodils that bloom in March. But this year, they're blooming all over the place now!






I finally gave in and broke out my short pants and sandals. Couldn't help myself. The crazy weather is just too nice!





















Saturday, February 17, 2018

COVERED BRIDGE

My guy has been looking for things to photograph so when we came across a nearby covered bridge, we drove over to view it.


It's an actual working covered bridge, built in 1885 although I'm sure it's been renovated since it seems to be in pretty good shape.


We went through it to get to the best side for taking photos. Several more cars came through while we were there. One at a time as you can probably tell.


Further down the river are shoals, with lots of pretty flat rocks that will be great for summertime splashing!


And it was in a lovely little park, with picnic tables, restrooms and a hiking trail. We'll have to return this summer.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

ECCENTRICS

Now that we're in North Georgia, I'm happy to report we have our strange folk here, too. I once did a blog on a truck covered with stuffed wildlife we found parked at a fast food place on the island. The other day we ran across another decorated truck up here.

We saw the back first.


Walked up to inspect it.


Took a closer look.


Couldn't help myself. Had to go around to the front.


My, my. We do have our eccentrics everywhere, don't we? But life would be so...bland...without them!








Saturday, February 3, 2018

CRIME BLOTTER

Still enjoying the local crime scenes the paper reports on. There have been drug charges, traffic charges, thefts, and the other usual incidents.

Like domestic stuff:

A man and his wife got into it during a threesome when he began paying more attention to the third party than to his wife. Another woman attacked her boyfriend when he started moving out, then punched him in the face after he made it to his truck. And still another women--what is it with these females?--attacked her boyfriend after he took her car keys because she was drunk.

And speaking of drunks. One officer gave an especially descriptive account of a drunk driver. After noting erratic driving, the officer followed an SUV till it stopped. Liquor fumes were strong but the driver wouldn't take a sobriety test. He ended up being charged on several counts, the officer noting in his report that the man stumbled and was moving "as slow as a turtle." Guess he was trying not to fall over in front of the cop.

In another DUI incident, police stopped a scooter after seeing the passenger not wearing a helmet.  The driver was hesitant in providing his ID. Probably because his license had been suspended. Then they noticed alcohol on the driver's breath. He failed the sobriety test and ending up beingcharged with driving (a scooter) on a suspended license and DUI. The passenger was ticketed for not having a helmet. Bet the driver wishes he'd insisted she get a helmet before giving her a lift.

A man was arrested for urinating in front of a Subway. The restaurant manager wanted to simply have him barred from the premises but as he filled out paperwork for the officer, the man began yelling and carrying on. So he got himself arrested. He should have kept quiet and found another restaurant to hang out at.

Another report involved a woman running into a parked car. Seems her hood, that had been tied down, flew up so that she couldn't see. But...she was eating a bowl of ice cream at the time. How do you eat a bowl of ice cream and drive? And, she had taken some prescription drugs. Anyway, she got charged with a bunch of stuff. Driving under the influence of drugs, driving on the wrong side of the road, driving an unregistered vehicle, driving while distracted, and no proof of insurance. Whew! Might should have left the ice cream at home.

How I enjoy these arrest reports!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

ANOTHER MOVIE

We got so fired up when we took our guests to the movies, we went to another one last week!

We saw The Post, with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. The story is about the release of the Pentagon Papers, the secret report that detailed what went on behind the Viet Nam War.

The report, commissioned by then Secretary of Defense Robert Macnamara, was kept from the public. All the while Americans were being told the war was winnable and just, they never knew a report concluded just the opposite.

At the time, there was a great controversy about the unauthorized release amid the shock that the government had lied. I believe that Ellsberg, the man who stole the papers, went to trial but was not convicted.

The movie tells two--actually, three--stories. One shows how the New York Times printed some of the papers before it had to halt publication due to a court-ordered injunction. A second focuses on how the Washington Post took up the standard and defied the court order so that Americans could continue to learn the truth. The third shows Katharine Meyer Graham beginning to turn from a socialite housewife into the powerful businesswoman she later became.

Katherine's father had bought the Post but at his death, he left it to her husband Phillip. Back then, despite the women who were millworkers and nurses and teachers, women didn't own businesses. However when her husband committed suicide, Katherine inherited the company. She lacked confidence in her abilities and the movie shows her uncertainty as she meekly listens to the male advisers around her, worries about what she should do, and wonders how she can function in a milieu where she feels ineffectual and ignorant.

And when, against her lawyers' advice, she finally makes her decision to publish the Pentagon Papers despite the court order against the Times, she's uncertain and fearful but determined. It must have taken a great deal of courage to go against a lifetime of bowing to men's superior knowledge. It must have taken even more courage to know she could go to jail for standing up for what she believed: the freedom of the press.

But she did. And at the end of the movie, she leaves the courtroom where the NY Times has just been vindicated, to rows of young women lining the steps, watching her in silent admiration. And that was certainly a portent of what was to come, when women finally flexed their muscles.

Hanks is good; Streep is good; if you get a chance, see the movie.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

SQUIRRELS AND CATS AND OTHER THINGS

Our cat doesn't like us.

At the shelter, when we took her out of her cage, she was friendly, well-mannered, and calm. We petted her and she seemed glad of the attention.

We got her home and...

Once out of the carrier, she took off and it took several days for her to come around us. Now she looks down her nose at us, like she's saying, "Okay. I allowed you to break me out, but that doesn't mean I have to put up with you." She doesn't like being petted. She doesn't like the kind of food we feed her. She won't come sit with us. She won't play with us.

Oh, she doesn't scratch or claw when we pick her up. But at the first opportunity, she hops down and runs the other way. And the only time she approaches us is when it's time for food.

Otherwise...We're on our own. She hangs out in her room and we hang out in ours. If she decides to play with her toys, she plays with them by herself. She stops playing if we try to join in.

So we've taken to exclaiming over the birds and squirrels that seem to abound in our yard, hoping she'll get a little jealous. So far, no good. But the other critters are quite cute and fun to watch!

Like this squirrel. He gets on the big feeder and pitches food out on the ground while picking out the tastiest morsels for himself. Here he is in the bushes, eyeing the feeder:


And here, he's climbing up the feeder:


He strikes all kinds of cute poses as he eats:


The doves below like for him to eat, too, since they get what's on the ground.


There are also cardinals, a blue jay, and other birds that I have no names for. But they're all interesting.

Thank goodness, they'll entertain us since our house pet won't! Though she enjoys watching them, too.






Saturday, January 13, 2018

MOVIES

We had some company for several days and were able to go to the movies. We saw the latest Star Wars, Jumanji, and Darkest Hour.

They were all entertaining and it's hard to choose a favorite. Star Wars had a rousing plot that kept us on our toes. Seeing Carrie Fisher's last performance was sad but familiar. Continuing to learn the background of new leading characters kept us interested.

Darkest Hour took us into Churchill's life at the most important time of his life. I was delighted to see his cat show up as well as one of the King's corgis. And while Dunkirk played a tiny scene in the entire movie, it was better than any scene in the movie Dunkirk that came out last year. The camera caught the spirit of all the small boats that made the trips across the channel whereas Dunkirk showed only a few here and there so that the scope of the rescue operation was lost.

And Jumanji.

Jumanji made me laugh out loud.

Not only my guy and I howled; our guests laughed and so did about ten other couples in the theater. In fact, just as I began to giggle with the first joke, I heard explosive cackling from the rows behind us. I guess some people are quicker to catch on than me.

The movie kept us on the edge of our seats, but it wasn't as scary as the first Jumanji that we saw years. But it was definitely funnier.

Any of these are good movies to see, but I must admit to thinking about Jumanji more than the others. And smiling as I remember the look on some of the characters' faces when they realize they are different people in the game. The nerd becomes the hero, the smart girl turns into a athletic heroine, the dumb football star turns into a professor, and the campus queen turns into...

But I won't give it away.

Star Wars' fans will obviously go see (if they haven't already seen) the latest installment but the history-minded will be better off choosing Darkest Hour. And if you like ridiculous comedy, go to Jumanji.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

ICE SKATING

Our football team is going to the National Playoffs. We are happy and excited and a little bemused. This is only our coach's second season and while we had big hopes for the future, we thought it was just that: the future. We didn't think this year would see us go so far.

But it did. And while we're still shaking our heads in wonder, we're all geared up for the game. Go Dawgs! Win or lose, we're proud of you!

But you may be interested to know that, despite the South's fixation on football, our college has other sports. And one of them is....

Da dum!

Ice hockey!

Yep, that's right. We have a convention hall that hosts the team's rink during hockey season. And it's open to the public for a few weeks. So when we had visitors last week, we naturally took them over.

It is a spacious rink with hideous orange rental skates. (Although you can bring your own. In fact we saw someone who did, but I suspect he's from up north where ice skating is common.) There are also tables that visitors can sit at to enjoy the spectacle of people gliding or falling face-first.

Here's the rink. We got there early so it wasn't too crowded:


And here's the Zamboni that comes out between sessions:


We almost made it for the entire hour and half session. But the next day, after the unfamiliar exercise, we had lots of groans and slow moving people!