Sunday, April 7, 2013

2013 Art

 My art during the year 2013

Journey.....listening to the wind!
Intently listening to the story that the wind is telling as he travels on his Journey....
  (Painted with permission by nature photographer Richard Cronberg!)

Kobe - the Rat Terrier

The Female Mallard  (Anas platyrhynchos)
The nesting period can be very stressful for the female since she lays more than half her body weight in eggs.  Here she is looking back as her babies follow her for the very first time into the water!  The babies are precocial which means that they can swim as soon as they are born!  The opposite of precocial is altricial: meaning babies that are helpless when born.  Since 1933, the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee has kept Mallards as a popular hotel attraction!  The hotel is known for the "Peabody Ducks" that live on the hotel rooftop and make daily treks to the lobby.  The duck families are rotated out every three months just in case you wondered how the babies stay the same size.....  Just to let you know!  And!! The one little duck with the feather on his back - he led the others with a "Quack! Quack! Quack!" (painted in watercolor with permission by photographer Emily Teal)

A California Hummer humming merrily along! 
Painted with permission by Vanessa Armes!  (watercolor)

Cousin Sophia!

 Tyler - The Wild Man!
He was found living in the jungle as a primitive man.  We couldn't understand him at first. He kept saying "Tah! Tah! Tah! Tile! Tile! Tile! Hur! Hur! Hur!" so we called him "Tyler".  When he had finally learned some rudimentary language, it turned out that he had known some English words but had lost the ability to pronounce them.  What he had been trying to say when we first met was that he admired my tie and that he really liked her, by which he meant an attractive female anthropologist that was with us.  It turned out that he hadn't seen a woman in many years! 

I used to be a trumpet player!
I used to be a trumpet player. Used to be I say. I was actually in the musician's union and had played music in different states. For a time - I was on fire, and I played with musicians that had actually recorded on the songs we were playing!! But then the world moved on and I got drafted. That stopped my trumpet-playing days. I went for two interviews while in the army to try out for the army band, but each time no one but me showed up. "That's the fact Jack!" "Army training sir!" I guess they had enough trumpet players though I was pretty good at reading music and playing the trumpet at that time. I could almost make my trumpet talk back then! But now without any practice, my lip is way out of shape and can only make squawks on the trumpet. My mouth piece has run away from me! Escaping, I guess, from a cruel and unusual punishment and the sounds there in. Please come back little mouth piece!! I miss you!

2013 Annual Birdy Meeting! 
It was time once again for the Annual Birdy Meeting. This year's subject was to be: "The Usage of Dried Grasses in Nest Building and Construction." There was a lot of chirping going on and a lot of pros and cons about the use of dried grass in nest construction. The larger birds were against the use of dried grass and in favor of only using large sticks and branches as that would best protect their young. The smaller birds were vehemently against large sticks and branches and said, "Only dried grasses can make for a firm, light-weight, sound construction high up in trees in nest building!" The Cowbirds tried to have a say in the nest construction and said that the materials didn't really matter to them as long as the nests were strong and well built. There was some mumbling that the Cowbirds really shouldn't have been invited to the meeting as they weren't considered "nest builders" per se. One group complained that they had been told that they would have ample time to speak on the use of rocks as suitable for nest building along high rocky shores, and that they hadn't received their opportunity to speak. The representatives for those that preferred to excavate holes into trees to raise their young, questioned if they should have even attended this year's meeting. The representative of the Cuban Tody faction stated that if everyone would just dig tunnels into clay banks like they did then there really wouldn't be any need for dried grasses, rock, twigs, or branches. Though everyone complimented the Todys on how pretty they were, they quickly went back to the debate and ignored that suggestion. After quite a bit of arguing over nest construction materials and types of nests, it was decided by concensus that next year's meeting, if about any type of nest building, would result in all bird groups to meet separately and on their own!! The Cowbirds chirped in that "It didn't matter to them as they really didn't have to come to a meeting on nest building anyway!"

Common Core! Apple core! Baltimore! Who's your friend? Me? Bam!
Most of us can point fingers! We all have a common core! After all we are humans or other beings and do exist on this same beautiful planet! But, did you know that Elves loathe alcohol but will drink a little bit of wine? I didn't think that you did. So, not everything is common. I just can't take it anymore... Our lives are controlled by people that just can't make their point or have no clue as to what makes everything common and easily understood. Some do have better pointing fingers than others. Especially the ones that don't have any fingers.... Still there really isn't much we can do about it unless someone very smart can put the bit in the horse's mouth and lead them in a different direction. There is a childhood game called "Apple Core" in which after eating a apple you say, "Apple Core! Baltimore! Who's your friend?" and whomever the person picks - you hit them with your leftover apple core. Not terribly violent and I've never understood how a person hit with the apple core could be your friend, but then it is all supposed to be in fun anyway. That is unless the person is hit in the eye and has to go to the hospital. So, don't point your finger at me and say you are my friend if you intend for me to be hit with an apple core....

Resting Where I Am!
I'm just going to sit down and rest where I am as I am just s-o-o-o-o-o-o tired that I can't take another step! And, I'll do this even if I am blocking traffic! I'm just too tired to go on! I'm sorry if I seem inconsider...ate, but I've reached my limit and I must take a quick rest. Well! I hope it will be quick for your sakes if I am blocking the progression for you and your friends! If you lose your patience, then just throw a bucket of cold water on me, and I'll try to keep on going! Though you might want to give me a few moments to recover as everything is Kaput!!!

The Quiet Time on the Pond!
Time had paused for a moment. Everything seemed so peaceful! Quiet ripples played a delicate tune that softened and caressed our tired minds. We floated slowly along. Even Gummy, the toothless shark, came to swim today! We were glad to have him and not his friends on this wonderful day! It was a special time. Even the mutated swan was not afraid of the ugly duckling and glided on! You can't always have everything, but you can always make the best of what you have! Anyway! Valentine's Day is coming up and we all needed to show our love!

Taking a Step!
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) in watercolor
Watercolor painting of a Great Blue Heron from a photo taken by my cousin Sarah's husband!

The Mutated World!
Just when I got over being scared that some weapons-grade, mutated, bird virus might escape from a university up north - strange things started walking around. "If only we'd decided to take 'THE STAND' earlier on against this!" said Stephen, but by now it was much too late. So, the sooner I mutate - the sooner I can blend in! Hey!!! Can you recognize me now? I didn't think so! Some say, "If you can't beat them! Then, join them!" But, I say, "I'll still be the same. I'll just look different!" If Max had only been just a little quicker with his hammer, then perhaps we could have stopped this before it began......... My little dog, Skippy, isn't very happy as now he doesn't know whether to walk, fly, inch slowly along, bark or chirp, or just sit down and put out some deep roots!

Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus) in watercolor
This very colorful bird in the family Rallidae has extremely long toes to help it walk on lily pads without sinking though they are about the size of a common chicken, and with a gait somewhat like a chicken they are sometimes called a "swamp hen!" They are mainly found in our country in the state of Florida!   Painted with permission by photographer Richard K. Ledward, Jr.

 The young lady and her acorns!
In 1957 Walt Disney made a film called "Perri" which was about a young squirrel and her life. I don't know how many saw that film, but I've always thought about it over the years as it was a sweet little story. So, here's a little lady and her acorns!

We are all level!
Well, that is what I was told, and since I am low on the thinking totem pole, it must be true. Alhough I do know that we are all different in many ways, we also have a few common ingredients - we have to be here together in some way. Dobie Gillis would probably say, "Good stuff Maynard!" But, then he'd have to go sit by himself next to a statue and think. He was much better at thinking and working out his problems than I am. I was hoping that we could all just be individuals with our own unique abilities, but I guess in the new world we all must become unthinking automatons or something similar to that. I know that works in some ways; especially if we all react in the same way for certain situations. But! That also won't work at other times. Not everyone reacts the same in a foxhole with the enemy coming. Sometimes, the only way that you really get to know a person is when your back is up against the wall as some will stay with you and others will run. Not everyone is a hero after all. Very few are. So, we are only level in some ways, and so different in others. I'd really prefer to think on my own if that is possible. I remember one time while I was in the army during some war game and I was told to guard a tank upon a hill. I was told to stay in the tank. I reported through my walkie-talkie seeing some vehicle stop and let some guy out about a 1/2 mile away. No one came, so I climbed out of the tank and hid in the woods. When the guy got close, I popped up and said, "Bang! Bang!" (we weren't allowed to have blanks) The observer wrote down that I had stopped the intruder, but my Sargeant asked why I had left the tank when I was told to stay in it. I replied, "I wanted to stop the guy and protect the tank!" I wondered if I was supposed to have been captured?? Another time in the army I went to the morning formation wearing a winter coat as the temperature was very low. I was told that "I couldn't wear a coat as I hadn't been told I could yet." If I am doing wrong, I'll have to learn how not to think as I am not Dobie Gillis. "You rang?" said Maynard.

Sweet Peas and Pearl Onions
I used to be able to buy a frozen pack of "Green Peas and Pearl Onions" in my grocery store. But my store hasn't carried them for many years. For over 30 years, I have gone to the service desk to ask a question about some product as to "Why aren't you carrying a certain product any more?" and every time whichever manager they had would say, "I'll call you and let you know." But, they never called. The last time a manager said that he'd call me I told him that no one has ever called me for over twenty years. He said, "I will call you." I had asked about a certain ice cream brand. He did call and said, "We aren't carrying that brand anymore." And yet when I went back into the store, there it was on the shelf and is still on the shelf. So, I just won't ask questions anymore as it must be much too hard for them to answer about products in their store. Above their pay grade I guess... I used to wonder why they could see that some products sell more quickly and the spaces empty faster than others, and why wouldn't they buy more of that product to fill the shelves with another that doesn't sell. I once asked about a certain type of frozen grape juice that disappeared as I would buy every can they put on the shelf. But, then I didn't take business courses in college so I guess I just don't understand how business works.... But, I sure miss the brands that I always had when I was young! And, getting a straight answer would also be nice!

Looking forward to the first meal of the day!
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) in watercolor
This painting of a Great Blue Heron is from a photo taken by my cousin Sarah's husband, David!

Watching our garden grow!
My sister and I are overlooking the garden of our lives. Did we plant well and water
when necessary? Did we use enough fertilizer to encourage growth? Did we keep the
weeds and pests away from its beauty? Did we give it all of our love? I do know that many years from now no one will remember our little garden or the care we spent on it. Still, we did the best we could while we were here!

Tee's Cap!
Tee is finally giving up his cap! He has worn it proudly for a long, long time. He's offering it to you even though he probably needs it to cover up his bald head. So, take it and feel honored! This will be the very last time that he will ever need to wear it. It would be his "Swan Song" if he was a swan. Still, he does deserve some applause for all of the hard work that he has done over the years. He felt like the time had finally come for him to stay home and rest. The world had turned, and he didn't want to go with it. He's retiring, and someone else will have to take up his mantle. I hope he lives long and enjoys his retirement! After all he is a twin son of different tree trunks and still has some growing to go! (or so he thought anyway!)

Tee Has Lost His Cap!
Tee thought that his working days were over and willingly gave away his cap. But, the world did a reverse turn and came back and got him caught up again in it's madness. He thought that his time was over, but it just seems to keep going on. Now he has to go and find his cap, but he just can't remember whom he gave it to a few, short days ago. If only he'd planned ahead in case some unforeseen type of occurrence happened....such as finding out his working days had not ended, then he certainly wouldn't have given away his cap.... Will he ever find it again? And, who has it?

Looking for Tee's cap!
The word had gone out that Tee needed his cap back as he just couldn't quit working yet due to some unforeseen circumstances. His close friends did try for a little while to find his missing cap as they knew he really liked to wear it to work. However, most were just indifferent about this issue. His best friend told Tee that he had seen him give his cap to a small bird that lived in the area. One fellow came and told Tee that he had indeed given his cap to a small bird, but the bird had flown up into the air, and the cap had apparently not been able to stay on the bird's head when he flew up into the sky, but where it was now - he had no idea. There were some that even though they saw the cap lying on the ground just didn't want to get involved. There are some that even when they know something - they just haven't been given a voice to speak. If Tee doesn't find it soon, he'll have to try living his life in a totally new way that doesn't involve wearing a cap. Tee feels like he won't be himself without his cap to wear to work. Have you ever felt that way?

The Mad, Mad Dash to Help Tee Find His Cap!
All of Tee's close friends, well some said they were just acquaintances, including Makenzy ran like crazy to try and find Tee's lost cap. But, almost everyone was looking in the wrong place. Perhaps if it had been a worm they might have found it. Most had remembered that the bird Tee had given the cap to had flown up into the air and the cap blew off and was lost. So, most of them looked up into the air expecting to see the cap floating high in the sky. Only those close to the ground had any chance of finding it, but being small they just didn't have voices loud enough to communicate to the others that that had indeed found the cap and so it remained lost for Tee.

Missing his cap!
There are many strange desires and longings in this world! Some of them are worthwhile and some aren't. Some beings have a deep love for very unusual belongings. Still, whatever these people want; they must care for these things very much! Such is the case of Tee and his love for his cap. Though he gave it away thinking that he'd never need it again, he quickly realized that his life was missing a large portion of joy and happiness that his cap brought to him. Being a stoic person, he sat at home sad as could be but tried to endure his suffering and make the best of it as he could... All of a sudden he heard a very quiet "scritch-scritch-scritch!" noise as if something was scurrying across his floor!! You know! Sometimes there are happy endings!!! Sometimes true friends do come through!!!

Tee sent his friend to tell us to be quiet and to give Tee a chance to learn how to live in his new life! He had been very sad for quite awhile due to the many things that had been done to him. His room was taken away from him, and also his tables which were replaced with rough tables that just weren't suitable upon which to draw or make art. "They took away my good tables and replaced them with inferior ones!" he said. "And then they took away my cabinets and I had to place all of my supplies on the floor!" "I tried to make the best of that situation as I could, and if it hadn't been for all of my helpful friends - I would have quit!" But, Tee doesn't like to complain very much and has sent his good friend to ask everyone to be very quiet while he tries forget all of his past problems and to forgive his enemies and live his retired life in peace. So, we'll just let Tee be alone for awhile to gather his thoughts.

We found someone wearing Tee's Cap! 
(a prequel/sequel)
Sidney and Zack and others were just walking along looking for the cap that had belonged to their friend, Tee.  Jacob was off in the background as he usually was looking around for the cap.  When all of a sudden they spied a guy wearing the very cap for which they had been valiantly searching!!!  "Hey good sir!" they all yelled, "Where did find that cap?"  "We've been looking for it as it belongs to a good friend of ours!"  "This cap?" the guy said,  "I just found it laying on the ground."  He then opined and said, "Well, actually I saw it floating down from the sky before I found it laying on the ground."  "I didn't know that it belonged to anyone."  "I thought maybe the sky was just throwing away caps that day."  "If it will make your friend happy, then please return it to him!"  So, that's the story about how Tee's friends got his cap back to him.  I thought you might also want to know that the peas in the canoe survived going over the falls, and have now reached land!  Though their canoe does seem to be beached on some rocks and probably won't float again.  I'm wondering if the peas might have reached some kind of secret pea burial grounds???  Or are we supposed to know that?

Hopefully this will be the last episode about Tee and his cap!!!!

But, regrettably it wasn't'....  So, the one below was actually done in 2014.

Tee's Farewell!
Tee was asked to come back and show everyone his cap for one last performance!   He politely and regretfully declined, saying, "Gas was too expensive to drive the seventy miles and his retirement funds were horribly small!"  He would have loved to have come back to see all his former students and friends, had the circumstances been different.  He remembered that the previous year, just when he thought his days of donning the cap were over, he had been hauled back in for an extra three days of demonstrations which wore him out.  Hopefully this will be the very last time he will ever have to be seen in public with his cap.  So, let's all bid farewell to Tee and his cap as he takes his final bow!

Retired and still working!
I thought I could get very lazy when I retired, but it turned out that there were all kinds of things that I had to do! "Go guard the eggs and take care of them!" the missus said. So, here I sit guarding and turning the eggs over every 15 minutes. It's not a hard or difficult job as I just have to keep turning them so that they keep a uniform temperature all around until they hatch. But, this can be a boring job, and I'm not even allowed to read a book while I sit here. And, when these little critters hatch out and start running all over the place, guess who'll have to chase them and bring them back to the nest? I'm not worried. I can do it. I just wanted to rest a little bit after I retired. The thin necks that worry too much don't help my state of mind either... They keep offering suggestions that aren't helping my mental state one bit! But, then they do worrying an awful lot about everything. I'll just keep doing what I can until my final moment of complete laziness comes!!! Then, I'll just rest, and rest, and rest!!!

Stepping out into the world and looking where I'm going!
I'm stepping out into the world the best I can even despite the unbalanced weight I must carry as I travel on. I'm heading full blast out into my future though I'm not sure where I am going. I know that it helps to have some good tunes to listen to as I go walking on out into the latter part of my life. I'm listening to The Sins Country singing, "Romeo and Juliet Sparks" and that really makes me smile! Their singing makes me close my eyes and dance! After all - music hath charms to soothe the you know what! I do need to quieten down my worries about bills since I retired. So, I hope that I won't be oblivious to what is truly important in life and never, ever fall into a money pit as that might lead to my downfall. I'm going to listen to some great music and keep a close watch out for any very deep holes that might appear! So here I go - boogeying on!!!

Someone isn't telling the truth!
But, who is it??  Jayden said he was telling the truth, and that he didn't do it!  Hayden and Kyle said Jayden wasn't telling the truth and that they had seen him do it! "No!  I didn't do it!" said Jayden.  "Yes you did!" said the others.  So, which group is telling the truth?  They can't both be right!  Someone is truthful, and someone isn't telling the truth.  But who is it?  Arguing about this isn't good - especially while standing in quicksand!  Quicksand is usually not the best place to stand when arguing about the truth or anything else for that matter as you may run out of time.  It's best to tell the truth and get out of the quicksand quickly, or else the last part of the argument you may hear will be, "Glug, glug, glug, gluck, yud, uck.....!"  And, they should always remember - that God always knows what is true and what is not!  One old friend told me in 1971, "Truth can never be found in falsehood!"  That is so true!!!!!!!

Colors stand out in a black and white world!
Some say that it is easy to see colors in a black and white world as they stand out!  And colors really do stand out like that when everything else is black and white.  Black and white is so much easier to understand, and color seems so complex....  I'm just a worrier I guess, and I say that it is hard to understand things that stand out such as colors in a black and white world.  I do know that things that are different truly do stick out, but that doesn't mean that they are better than anything else or worse either.  There are a lot of us that are scared of things that are different.  I've learned that in life if you work with something different and unual that you'll find that they are really the same as you inside but are different only on the outside.  Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't just go around picking up brightly colored objects, tasting or eating them without knowing what they are.  Don't just pick an object off of the ground just because it is pretty, shiny or colorful.  Nature usually labels poisonous flora and fauna with bright warning colors as signs of danger!  Doesn't anyone remember The Twilight Zone episode where a boy was growing mushrooms in his basement which were really aliens and if you ate one they would take over your body and mind?  Or, do I just worry too much?

I feel very flexible!
Do you know the story that "In a one-armed world a man with two arms is King?"  Well, I have arms in a world without arms so that makes me the King of this world!  I have been very flexible with my subjects!  So, what if I've dented a few heads around here.  I know they need a pat on the head every once in awhile as they certainly can't do that for themselves!  They really should be thanking me!  I know they have tried to offer suggestions as to what would make things better, but as I am the King, I just don't have to listen to them.  That makes me flexible as I don't pay any attention to what they say.  See!  If I was a rigid person I would not bend and could not do things in my own way!  I would think that everyone that gets a pat on the head and a "At-a-boy!" would appreciate that and nothing more.  I keep hearing that I need to read the book, "The Peter Principle" but as I'm so flexible, I'll just flex away from that suggestion.  After I give a good pat on the head, I keep hearing, "He needs a good smack on the top of his head!"  But, those guys are just making a funny joke as they aren't flexible enough to give me one.  Ha ha!  The jokes on them!  I have noticed that everyone seems to be a lot shorter since I started the "head-patting" procedure...  They just aren't flexible like I am!!!  What's a little dented head or beak as long as I am happy!!!!

PLC!!! or Peas Like Canoes!
We've all been on this trip through life for some time now.  Just drifting along downstream
and taking this wild ride the best we can.  I just hope if we are headed for a giant waterfall, that someone up ahead will give us ample warning so that we can jump out before we go over!  Are we all just like peas in a pod going over a falls?  Peas like canoes.  Did you know that?  Most people don't.  Peas like to read and write about being in the same boat or canoe.  They really prefer canoes over boats.  Canoes remind them of their beginnings in pods.  I can remember when they first said, "Hey!  Let's all learn to read and write in a new way as the old way doesn't work!"  I wondered about that as I knew that I had learned to read and write when I was young and it seemed to work just fine for me.  But, if things must change, I guess peas should lead the way.  I just hope they aren't leading us off a very steep waterfall.....  You know, all peas aren't the same.  I like green peas and don't care for the other peas very much.  Oh, the other peas are ok, but I like the taste of the really green ones so much better.  I've been told that they are all the same and the only difference is the time they are picked which can make them taste different.  But, that sure seems to make a difference to me.  Maybe if they'd all just get in the same canoe I wouldn't be able to tell them apart!

My Unique Family!
Hi!  My name is Snorp, and I want you to meet my very unique family!  Here we are posing for a family photo!  Some say that every family is unique, but I say that not everyone has as much uniqueness within their family as we do!!  See!  Just take a look at us!  Some of my family members have ears and some don't.  Some have beaks and some don't.  In my family, we all have very different features from each other, but that's what makes us unique!   That reminds me of a joke!  "How do you catch the Easter Bunny?"  ....... "Unique up on it!"  "Did you get it?"

Overhearing a conversation about me!
I was hoping that those guys weren't talking about me, but then I got a little closer.... You can really learn what people think about you when they don't know that you are listening! What they were saying was bad enough, but their laughter knocked the icing right off of my cake! My mother always said, "Don't wear your heart on your sleeve!" But, I don't have a sleeve! Still, we must not let idle talk cause us harm! Be strong and brave my little friend! And, always say nice things about others as you never know who might be listening!!!

The Stick People World!!
Just doing their thing! They mainly live in a two-dimensional world, but sometimes they can go on vacation in a three-dimensional location! In their own world, if they turn sideways they find it is very hard to see each other as they only see a straight line where the other is located. In the 3-D world, they have a lot more flexibility with perceptions. Someday, some brave souls may try to venture out into a fourth dimension! Lewis Stick and Clark Stick (not the Superman Clark Stick) have been considering that very thing!

Levitation and Telekinesis!
After many trials and a lot of mental power, we had finally mastered Levitation and Telekinesis!  And at first it was a lot of fun, but as time went by I grew bored with it.  It was like any other new thing to me - TV, video games, baseball.   At first TV was fine!  But, then they changed the programming and instead of a TV season running for many months - it only lasted for 4 weeks and then I had to wait for a whole year before the show came back.  And the commercials!!!  There used to be one or two every 30 minutes and now the commercials were lasting longer than the shows!  In video games - Frogger, Pong, and other games were great until I could get a game where I could make a character move in any direction and interact with beings in the game.  Through time, changes do occur.  Mutations, changes, adaptations came, and finally our ancestors were born without wings or feet as we no longer needed them to move about.  Though my friends don't think like I do and are oblivious to my concerns, I am concerned about what might happen if we ever lose our ability to float....  Or, do I just worry too much about things????  

A present for me? 
But, it's not even my birthday!  Are you sure that you don't have the wrong address?  What?  All of my friends got together and got me a special surprise gift because they love me!  And, it's something that I've always wanted!  There is this one thing that I have really needed!!!  Then, I'd better open it quickly!  Wait!  This isn't a gag gift is it?  It isn't!  Wow!  This really makes me happy!  Thanks guys!!!  "Sproing!"  Snake in a can!!!  Oh well, I do have a great sense of humor and appreciate a good gag!  I just wish it hadn't hit me in the eye....

Kissing my children goodbye!
But, after all they do have to leave the nest at some point in time!   My youngsters have always been kind of small and don't fair well after leaving the nest, but having laid and hatched out over 100 eggs each time I do know that mother nature will ensure that at least one will survive!  I kiss each one goodbye and tell them to do well in life!  I love to tell them the story of "The Three Little Pigs" as they leave and hope that they will "always do their work before they go and play" but I think that most of them just go off and frolic like there's no tomorrow!!! 

I hear too much!
Sometimes I think I hear just a little more than I should.  And, most of the things that I overhear - I really don't want to even know about!  There are a lot of people that say more than they should which also includes me sometimes!  The Bible does say to "not be a talebearer!"  So, I will try to not repeat what I hear, and there are a lot of overheard conversations that reach my ears!!!  Some of it just shocks me silly!  Some of those tales must be true, but I'm sure many are not! And, people seem to believe just about anything they hear.  Sometimes the things I do hear are directed right at me such as the time in 1970 when I got the popular "Beatle" haircut and was told to "Hey Hippy! Either get a haircut or get out of town!!" by a couple of perturbed gentlemen that were very opinionated in their beliefs....  My response was, "I'm going into the army next week and I'll get a hair cut then!"  They didn't have a comeback for that response.  And, I was able to slip away from them without further incident.....  That army haircut the next week certainly didn't keep me cool during that very hot 105 degree basic training summer!  And, when one guy fell down and died after a run I wished I hadn't overheard the mess sergeant say, "One less mouth to feed!"  Someday in the future I look forward to turning off my hearing aide as did that one man on the TV show, "Bewitched" when he didn't want to hear his complaining wife!  You know!  I started out telling you how I "hear too much" but I'm also thinking that I "talk to much!"  My sister told me I need to listen and not talk as much as I do and interrupt everyone so I'll be quiet now..................

The Talking Klatsch!
We meet by the fence every day and have some very juicy conversations! Everyone seems to have an opinion about the current issues, but no one has listened to my point of view! Every time I try to add to the conversation, make a point or comment, they just carry on as if I haven't even said a thing! And, finally, when they get around to asking me what I wanted to say - I've forgotten the whole point of what it was! My sister told me to be quiet and listen to the others, but then I always forget what it is that I wanted to say. Sometimes I know there are some very important ideas that I would like to add to what the others are saying, but they certainly disappear from my mind if I don't get a chance to speak while they are still at the front of my mind..... What if I had a thought that was so important that it could change the world, but I didn't get a chance to say it, and forgot what it was by the time it came for me to talk?????? Oh well! I guess the world will just miss out then......

The Society for the Preservation of Cherry Culture Consciousness! (SPCCC)
The meeting was called to order.  Three members of our group immediately declared that they liked all cherries, but one member said that he was very discriminating and would only have a cherry if he knew it had a white inside.  That member was instructed to research what colors are usually found underneath the cherry skin.  It was then pointed out that cherries had many benefits, tasted good, and normally left you euphoric after consumption.  This announcement was then seconded by many members and entered into the record.  One member declared that he really liked the TV commercial where two men are standing in a bog filled with cherries.  The very patient moderator quietly told this young man that the commercial was about cranberries and not cherries and to get with the program.....  Someone then tried to compare a cherry with a mango, and the group consensus was that while mangos are good for you, they do not have nearly as many euphoric benefits as cherries.  It was pointed out that a cherry on top of a Ice Cream Sundae sits much better than would a mango as a mango would probably squash the sundae.  No member complained when the subject of cherry cobblers came up, and all members confessed to suddenly feeling very hungry!!  Therefore the meeting was quickly adjourned!!!!

A bad landing!
Coming in fast the hard way!!!  Nose first!  The landing gear just won't drop down!  There is an old saying which goes, "...always hold your head up, but be careful to hold your nose at a friendly level!"  That means to always be nice and kind to those around you but still keep a sharp eye out in case there is trouble!  After I regain consciousness from the crash, I will take a look around!  That is if I can find my nose.....

Having two mouths is better than only one!
With two mouths you can say a lot more in a much shorter period of time!!!  I always tell people that there is much that needs to be said, and I am the one that needs to say it!  But sometimes folks tell me, "If you had two noses you would certainly smell better!"  I wondered about that statement, as they may be hinting that I smell bad, but I do use deodorant.  Now, if I can just find a way to move I can say a lot in many more places!

Who hit my son with the ball?
Ok!!!!!  I am first going to very patiently take care of some business.  I'm not going to yell and scream yet....  I know it must have been an accident.  But, as soon as I get through wiping my son's nose and drying his tears ─ then I'll want answers!  So, if you want me to remain calm, you'll tell me, "Who hit him?"  Or, otherwise, I will not be able to contain my emotions over my son's broken nose.....  Now, I'm going to take a deep breath and count to ten....  One....! Two....!  Arrrgh!!!!  I can't wait any longer!!!!   All right!  Who did it?

A Tall Tale
It was a tall tale told by a short person.  Now, I really enjoy hearing a lot of stories, and this guy really brought in a lot of folks to listen to our weekly story hour.  A Randy Newman song came to mind when I saw our lecturer, but I quickly put that on the backburner.  Sometimes "a tale told twice" is told one too many times!  I and the rest of the audience wished that he'd first said, "Stop me if you've heard this one before!" as we had heard this particular story too many times.  If the subject had been on the "elusive grass trout" then we wouldn't have minded hearing it over as we like to fish for the trout that hides in plain sight.  But, never, ever tell a story about the fish called the Grayling Gry!!!!  So who will volunteer to stop him?  I need a volunteer!!!
My wife and me!
I "sproing" and my wife "squirms" when we move!   Some might say I "hop" and my wife "slithers."  But I think my movement is more like a "sproing" than a "hop" and my wife definitely "squirms!"  But, that's what makes our world go round, and  I wouldn't trade her for all the world!

Are you afraid of Clowns?
There are quite a few folks that are afraid of clowns!  You shouldn't necessarily be afraid of them.  Some of them are really quite nice!  Emmett Kelley comes to mind, and though he always seemed to be sad; he was a really nice guy!  Now on the other hand, Stephen King's "Pennywise the Clown" always makes me want to run the other way.  That's the kind of clown that just doesn't do good to anyone!  So how do you tell a good clown from a bad clown?  Look in their buckets.  A nice, kind clown will have flowers, pieces of colored paper, or water in his bucket.  A bad clown will have his bucket full of red stuff and bones.  A tumor on the side of the head is another indication of a bad clown.  Scars, dripping red spots, axes, hatchets, knives held in the hand, and a crazed look in the eyes are also indications to run quickly in the other direction.  If the clown says, "There are balloons in the sewer!" you are in a Stephen King novel, so try to get yourself written out of that script as quickly as possible!  If you look in the clown's eyes and they are "soul-less," then hit that guy quickly in the face with a pie and run away as fast as you can!!!!  And, if you ask if he is a member of "The World Clown Association", a bad clown will say he is a card-carrying member of the WCA, but he will be lying!  Evil clowns are never accepted into that prestigious group!!!  So, look for other indications as to good clown qualifications if you want to be safe!

I was astonished!
I was just astonished by what I saw!  So, I quickly put on the brakes, and took a long, hard look at the most unusual sight that I had ever seen!  Everyone was staring!!!  I just wished that I had brought my camera with me on this very extraordinary day.  Who would have ever thought that we would get to see aliens and a UFO in our lifetime!  I quickly tried to remember the words to say when you see an alien from the old movie, "The Day the Earth Stood Still,"   Um....?  What were they?  Oh yes!  "Klaatu barada nikto!"  Hmm?  No response.  Let me try, "Live long and prosper!"  Those aliens must not speak alien or English!  Wait!  There is a door opening!  Yuck!!!  Blech! I didn't know that they would look so different from us!  One of them is saying, "Dif-tor heh smusma!"  Now what does that mean?  Maybe they speak gibberish!  Let me try that!  "blah, blah, blah!" Hey!  That looks like ray guns they are holding up! Did they not come in peace?  Or did I say something wrong? BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT!!!!

My Very First Retirement Check!
I just received my very first retirement check!  But... it was sent to a place I hadn't lived in over 30 years!  I had to drive to another county to get it.  I called the state office to ask what was going on, as I knew I had signed up for Direct Deposit.  "A changeover to a new system!" the lady said.  Hmm? I thought.  Maybe if I mentioned that I was a Veteran it would help!  NO!  That would probably slow them down even more...and the next check might end at my old military Germany!  That would be a long, expensive trek!  But, don't let me forget to be thankful that I still got the check, as I want to realize that my glass is still 1/2 full!  Or, is that a leak I see developing?

Will you be our mother?
"We can't find our mother!!  Will you be our mother?  We will imprint on you and follow you anywhere!"  "Well, you are cute and all, but I guess it will depend upon how you taste.  Umm!  You taste good!  So, I guess I can't be your mother!"  "Now the only thing left to figure out is if my cucumber friends are burying one of their own or getting ready to make a salad for the feast!"

I Hear You Knockin'!
"Knock, knock!"  I hear you knockin', but you can't come in!  That door has closed and the lock is changed!  There's no place for you that remains!  "Knock, knock!"  "Who is it?"  "Land shark!"  "What?"  "Uh... Pizza delivery!"  "Pizza? But, I didn't order a pizza."  "Uh..... Free Steve Kay Furniture!"  "Free furniture?  Well come on in!" 

Dr. Seuss' Birthday is Coming up!
Dr. Seuss' birthday is coming and I wondered what I could get him.  So, I sat and thought.  I had a lot to think about anyway.  There was definitely a lot on my mind at this point in my life.  Time. Life.  The end of my life.  Existence afterwards.  Existence before. Things that some folks just don't worry about.  It is a bit hard to figure out.  I can remember existing before, then being born and losing my mind for a newer one.  Then, I had to learn the language all over again and it took a little while to do that.  Finally sounds started making sense as words became recognizable.  Then, I said words and worked my way up to sentences.  And here I sit!  Not quite right in the brain, but the world has run over me quite a few times and it has hurt!  This was all designed to improve my development and make me stronger,  although I am chewed up quite a bit.  Now, what can I get Dr. Seuss for his birthday?  Would he like a land where rocks stack themselves?  He probably would!  I know I would!  What I missed his birthday?  It was back in March?  Well better late than never!  Happy Belated Birthday Dr. Seuss!!!  You made a great impact on this world!

The Tiny Creature Emerged into the Wrong World!
Just when the very small lost creature thought that he had escaped from the worst jungle that he had ever seen and found an entrance into another world,  he emerged into a realm far worse than he had ever experienced before!  "Oh me!" he said, "This is definitely worse than anywhere that I've been before!"  "This world seems to have danger at every step....."  "I'm afraid to even take one step forward!"  He turned to try and go back to the other world but the door had closed.  Dimensions can be very difficult sometimes!   (created with oils)

Hey Neighbor! Can you spare a few eggs?
"Hey Neighbor!  Can you spare a few eggs for a cake that I'm making?  I see you have a lot!" 
The reply, "Well, let me put it to you this way.... 'neighbor'.... these are my unhatched babies and if you touch them.... you'll quickly realize that while you are talking to my face there is a very poisonous part of my body that is hovering over your head!"  "I may not be a soccer mom, but I will protect my young!"

Who killed Cock Robin?
Mr. Henry said he shot an arrow into the air but it fell to earth he knew not where, and it could not have hit Cock Robin, even though someone's arrow did land in the Robin's heart, as he was not his friend.  Mr. Sparrow confessed, saying that he did it with his little bow and arrow, but our investigator discovered that he was covering for someone else.  Mr. Fly said he saw the victim die, but not from whence the arrow came.  Mr. Owl, the local undertaker, offered to dig the grave saying, "Friends may come and friends may go, but I'll be the last one to ever put him down."  Miss Dove offered to mourn for her lost love, but as she was a Mourning Dove her feelings weren't believed to be legitimate.  For the benefit, Mr. Kite offered to carry the casket if the ceremony was not held at night.  Mr. Thrush said he would sing a psalm.   A mystery, you say, as to who did the dirty deed!  After a thorough investigation, the wise old Ploomkin bird is pointing in the direction of the culprit!  Now, if you will kindly look to the left you will see the culprit......!  The wise old Ploomkin bird also informed me that the odd feather on the arrow shaft is called, "The Cock Feather"  and the two others are called, "The Hen Feathers." I hope that Cock Robin wasn't killed by an arrow that was made using one of his own feathers!  That just wouldn't be right!

My Secret World!
Hello!  I normally don't invite people into my secret world, but I believe it would be more fun to play marbles with someone else than just by myself!  So, I am going to open up my private space and if you want to come in and play marbles with me then you would be welcome!  Skipper I have forgiven you for stealing my semi-precious moonstone agate marble, but I don't think you will be invited!!!
(oil 40 X 30 inches)

Forsooth and verily I say!
You can say, "Forsooth and verily!" all you want, but if you don't know what side of the stage is "stage left or stage right" then your emoting is useless!  It's like politics when congress does things that don't really add up.  Why raise their wages 33 1/3% but refuse to raise the minimum wage 3%!   As an old friend once said, "Truth cannot be found in falsehood!"  So when one plus one does not equal two, maybe you need to go back to school!  Oh wait!  You've ruined that also....  Why should the government tell us that we can't have ice cream in schools anymore?  Why should they tell us that we can't have dessert in our schools anymore?  I like ice cream and who screams for ice cream?   "I scream for ice cream!"  "You scream!  I scream!  We all scream for ice cream!"  Well, there must be someone who doesn't scream for it, as that person stopped us from having it.  How can the few outweigh the desires of the many?  Oh yes!  They believe that one plus one does not equal two!   But, there are some of us that do believe in God and with God there are absolutes!

Moving Forward! 
Most of us want to move forward in life with smiles on our faces!  However....something keeps holding us down, wiping the smiles from our faces.  Some people think that going backwards is actually going forward.  Whatever they have placed before us is kind of scary and has made us wonder if we really can continue moving on in the direction we wish to go!  What keeps holding us back?  Is it a new Ice Age?  Road Blockers?  A government shut-down? Tacks in the road?  Republicans?  Or does someone have their map turned upside down?  Whatever it is, either go in the correct direction or get out of the way and quit holding up progress!!!

Life needs to make sense!
Sometimes in life, things just don't make any sense!  Life will be especially difficult when nothing seems to be going right!  During these times, people won't talk to each other, or if they do - their opinions are so one-sided that they can't understand the other's perspectives.  Groups form and march defiantly off into directions that take them further and further away.  Nothing will work out when life is like this.  Even my trumpet mouth piece has morphed into some kind of unusual plant life and refuses to act appropriately.  It is during times like these, that I become a hermit.  And there in my solitude will I wait until the world has turned and come back to normalcy even if it takes a long time for this to happen.   Perhaps I have also "marched off" in a way from everyone else.   Where is common sense?  As the wise man said, "Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are and doing things as they ought to be done!" 

Middle-of-the-road nest building!
I have been chastised for building my nest in the middle of the road.  At first I thought that I'd picked a logical spot to build my nest!  "It would be very easy to see my brood", I thought, "if I built the nest right in the middle of the road!"  And, indeed a large audience soon gathered!  However, things did not go the way I had anticipated.  Comments soon followed that really hurt my feelings:  "Trying to make an omelet are you?  Well, you do have to break a few eggs to make an omelet!"  "Why did the chicken build a nest in the middle of the road?  Because he was too chicken to build it anywhere else!" and, "Isn't that the type of nest they usually use to make bird nest soup?"  Apparently my policy of "Not being too liberal or too conservative" was not working....  I guess it's time to jump out of the middle of the road!

Hope is like a balloon!
Hope is like a balloon that floats delicately over a hostile landscape.  Just about anything could pierce the balloon's thin surface and destroy it.  Eventually, a balloon will run out of buoyancy and fall.  When the balloon has fallen and torn, that is when the real Hope is born!  Hebrews 11:1   Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  (in oils)

Going downstream and picking up speed!
I thought that I was doing well!  I seemed to really be picking up speed in my life, and accomplishing a great deal in my work!  But then, I discovered that I had actually been going downhill and rolling way too fast!  I have never been able to fight my way upstream of life like a salmon does, but have always floated like a leaf down the spillways of life.  And now I am tangled up in some kind of obstacle.  Apparently lots of other folks are also in the same sad situation!  If only we had learned to slow down and really enjoy life before it was too late...

Sometimes we really need a hug!
The world really needs a great, big hug!  How many people did I see today that I didn't say "Hi" to or, "Hello, how are you doing?"  A lot of folks I reckon!  The world needs to see a lot more compassion between all of us that dwell on this planet!   So, "Hi there friends!"  Tomorrow, November 13th is "World Kindness Day!" so be kind to everyone!!!!

A Family on Vacation
(watercolor 20 X 24 inches)

The Answer Machines!
I sought truth!  I was told to find the "Answer Machines" as they had all of the answers!  I finally did find the Answer Machines, however they kept giving me entirely different answers every time they said something.  Every side to them had a different answer to all of my questions.  How could these answers be right when they changed constantly?  "Oh!" said a fellow, "Did you want the correct answers?  Then, you'll have to travel on a little further to find the Single-Answer Machine!" said the honest man.  I had asked him if he knew the answers but being honest he said that he didn't.  "Answers are easy to come by," he said, "but if you want the truth - then that takes a little longer!"  The honest man also added, "Truth can not be found in falsehood!"  I guess that explains everything very well!

It's not the number of friends that you have on Facebook, but the honesty, integrity, and other remarkable qualities of the ones you have that matter!  So if you're building your nest close to the ground, you'd better make sure that only good people can have access to your wall otherwise you might just come home one day and find that your egg is missing!

This week I paid part of my yearly taxes.  Poof, there went all of my Christmas money.  I asked the tax man, "Why are the taxes so high?"  He replied, "Because you voted for it!"  I responded, "NO!  I didn't!"  The rich have raised my taxes so high that I now have to borrow money just to pay part of them.  This will be a "never-ending cycle" until they, the rich, own my home.  And although they think that they're safe and secure on dry land, that will one day end.  Then, the smugness will quickly be erased from their faces as they realize that they're eating shoe leather for supper.  Remember!  If you don't have wings -- you won't be able to fly away!

Stoic Cynicism!
I believe that I should be a stoic cynic, as I feel so unemotional about the little people.  I can easily scorn them because they are so small and really don't count in my world!  All they are good for is piling up worms and other foods which I quickly count as mine!  I do need to eat a lot more than they do, being so tiny and needing hardly anything to survive.  So what if they go without and suffer want,  when I'm the one who counts and that's what matters!

"Just Reflexes!"
My subject at school was to write an essay on "Life, Death, and the In-Between!"  So, I went to my paw for advice because he knows just about everything, or so I thought.  "Paw, I know that we must eat to stay alive, but do we have to end a life to keep our lives going on?"  "My son!"  he said, "Do you remember when we watched 'The Lion King' together and Mufasa said to Simba, When we die, our bodies become grass and the antelope eat the grass!  It is the big circle of life!  Do you also remember what Mowgli was taught in 'The Jungle Book' that you only kill to eat or to keep from being killed?  My son, I think this explains your question very well!' "  "But Paw," I replied, "Doesn't it hurt the insects when we kill and eat them?  I know you told me that the worms wiggle when I stick them with my beak only because that is a reflex?  Do they not feel pain, as I know I would wiggle if I was hurt?"  "Nonsense!" my Paw replied, "They don't have a large enough brain to feel pain!"  "But Paw!" I said, "Don't you remember in the first 'Men in Black' movie when it was discussed that only earthlings believe a larger brain is a sign of intelligence, while everyone else in the movie knows that size doesn't matter!"  That was the end of Paw's explanations.....  Having carefully reviewed my paper, I added one final line to my essay, "After considering how 'Life, Death, and the In-Between' seem to involve so many varied types of life forms that walk, talk, and breath,  I would like to say in conclusion that from now on I am just going to eat seeds and berries as I don't think they feel anything or have reflexes!"


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