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Circle of Life....

I came home early today -- we were dismissed a few hours early for the holiday. When I arrived home, I saw a robin standing on my deck, but a robin who looked way too young to fly. He was sitting on one of the railings for the deck, not all the way at the top, but not all the way down on the deck platform either.

I'm not a huge fan of birds, but I also felt bad for the chick. As I was looking at him, I was weighing in my head how I was going to the clean up the mess later if he croaked on the deck.

I didn't want to handle the bird, nor try to somehow raise him until he could fly. But I did put out a saucer of water for him -- in this heat, he needed water! But he would not hop down off the railing to get to the water. Ten minutes after I left the saucer, I looked out side and he had sat down -- as opposed to standing.

I went upstairs, and in a few minutes, I heard 'cheep, cheep...cheep,cheep,cheep...cheep!" -- I would translate that to "Bloody Murder!" When I came down, there was no sign of him -- just a pile of poop where he crapped when whatever ate him grabbed him.


Growing Old...

I'm really glad for the 3 day weekend...I need the extra day.

The medical issue has been prodded, discussed and diagnosed -- I'm not dying yet, at least that I know of knock wood, but it IS something that will require surgery. So, I need to schedule that appointment to talk about my options.

You know, sometimes I worry that growing old means giving up on the simple pleasures in life. For example for the issue I am having, I saw a recommendation to give up caffeine and alcohol.

Really? I mean, really? No café com leite (coffee with milk) in the morning? No verre du vin (glass of wine) in the evening? What is the point after all?

Will I start looking backwards at some point?

I like to think that I will always be a 'young'-whatever my age happens to be at the time...but I'm just starting to feel older.

Looking forward to my vacation in July!

To pull on someone's sack

Too funny...today, I had an idea to start sending my Brazilian friend some common English phrases.

I started with "to butter someone up". He immediately laughed, and said he didn't have the slightest idea what that meant.

So, I explained that it means to flatter someone a lot, with the goal of having them do something for you. Like, I flattered my boss today because I want a raise" -- "I buttered my boss up because I want a raise".

He answered with the Portuguese version: "puxar o saco" -- "to pull on the sack".

So....I looked at that phrase, and thought about it a second. I know that 'o saco' means 'the bag'...but I suspected it was more. And I answered "...I think 'o saco' means a different thing -- a different sack" lol -- and he answered "yes" lol.

So, "to pull on someone's ball sack" is how you say in Portuguese!

And by the way "kkkkk" means "hahahaha" in Portuguese. K is pronounced "ka", so "kkkkk" is "kakakaka" which is how you write it.



Forecast? Rain. Clouds. Rain. Clouds, omg...lol! It has been the wettest, coldest spring in my memory! The plants are all lush and green, but they are not blooming much because they haven't been getting much sun!

I actually have a plant dying up front because I think it's just too waterlogged! A couple of weeks ago between rains, I managed to get a few vegetable plants into the straw bales--

I did notice yesterday that my cherry tomato plant put out a bloom, in spite of the lack of sun!

I got down to the river today -- I do miss the sound if I haven't been there. There were a lot of Blue H

eron out!

On a different note, this is a mural downtown that was part of a series of them painted for the bike race event last Fall. The perspective is off, and it looks like a 70s porn movie, lol!

Quick Note

Haven't been entirely well lately...I have an appointment with my family doctor next week. Odd symptoms that I haven't had before.

I had ice cream with my Brazilian friend -and- his wife tonight. It was fun, and she was very nice, but it was tiring tonight! He asked me to bring a song with me, and then he made me translate it into Portuguese! Next week, he will bring one in Portuguese...but I think he still wants ME to translate into English.

I think his point is that his English is better than my Portuguese, which is true. I help him with the finer points, but he's helping me with some basic stuff.

Handwritten notes here are some vocabulary words for me.

Few pics from lately --

Continuing my quest to try the edible things in my yard and neighborhood, today I made some tea with dandelion flowers

First off, I had only mowed the yard just a few days ago, so I didn't have many flowers. I should have reduced the water in the pan -- the tea was not very strong.

First, I gathered the flowers that I could fine. I just put 2 fingers underneath each flower and tugged until the flower popped off into my hand.

Then, I put some water in the pan and put the flowers in. Remember -- there were too few flowers for this amount of water. I think the articles online showed a lot of flowers in the pan.

I brought them to a slow boil, then turned off the heat. Then I did some stuff around the house and came back -- probably about 20 minutes letting them steep.

The color of the tea looks like pee to me...but it tasted fine! I used honey to sweeten it. I would definitely make this again!

One side note -- if you take a medicine, make sure there will be no interactions.

Me? I take medicine that increases my blood potassium levels. And dandelion flower tea evidently is very high in potassium. So...this means I shouldn't drink this on a regular basis.

Poxa Galera!

Another fun evening chatting with my Brazilian friend. He and I always bring a list of things to ask the other as we eat our ice cream.

On the English front, one of the things he asked about tonight was the word, slurp, which has no corresponding Portuguese word -- closest that you can say is to make noise while you're drinking or eating. I told him that slurp is a fun word in English :)

On the Portuguese front, I had seen Poxa galera on Facebook, and when I showed it to him, he laughed and said it was slang. He suggests I not use slang with people that I don't know well - I think he's afraid I'll offend someone.

In this case, galera means your circle of friends, so sort of like your 'posse'. And poxa means something like 'damn' or 'fer chrissakes'. He said if you spill ice cream on your lap, you can day 'Poxa!'

He gave me an example that if your friends went out and didn't tell you about it, you could say 'poxa galera' -- fer chrissakes friends!

On a different subject...I have had 3 amaryllis bloom this Spring -- I guess the secret is to let them dry out in the basement for a couple months, then water them and put them in the light!


Bom Demais

I told my Brazilian friend that I wasn't working today because my computer was broken at work, and I can't work without a computer. So, I was taking a vacation day.

He answered with Bom demais today...'overflowing good'...'too good'. It made me think...my life is indeed overflowing with good. I think I should keep that in mind :)

It is the intenção da semente :)

Some photos of uma abelha today --

The purpose of the seed

Se não houver frutos, valeu a beleza das flores;
se não houver flores, valeu a sombra das folhas;
se não houver folhas, valeu a intenção da semente.

My Brazilian friend asked me to translate this saying, poem.

The best I could do was --
If there are no fruits, value the beauty of the flowers;
If there are no flowers, value the shade of the leaves;
If there are no leaves, value the purpose of the seed.

I don't rightly completely understand this. I get the part about finding the value of the flowers and the leaves...but what is the intent (or purpose is probably better) of the seed? The word looks like 'intention' -- which would imply the intention of the seed itself. If I use 'purpose', then it is more general.

I guess...if there are no fruits, flowers, leaves or shade, then remember what the seed is for, and the fruits, flowers, leaves and shade will come in the future. Plant the seed in your life that will bear good fruit later..


Contos de Fadas

Probably the most 'nakidity' you will see me display online --
[Bum alert!]

I was just in one of those moods last night...This is what happens to a photographer stuck inside for nearly a week due to rain...It's not a pretty sight ;)

Fairy Tales...Contos de Fadas...the title of the post...when I tried to use the term with my Brazilian friend last week when we were having ice cream, I only knew the term in English. And he had no clue what I was talking about. So I looked up the word, and I will bring it up the next time I talk to him. The reason it is important is because that I think "fairy tales" are important.

Pictures from the yard tonight after the rains --


Checking in

The weather lately has been killing me, lol! OMG...I prefer the weather to be very warm. I can deal with winter because, well, that's just the way of things.

But this weather lately, where it will be 70˚ or 80˚ for a couple weeks, then suddenly, change overnight to 55˚ is just messing with me! On a positive note, the rain seems to be making every thing intensely green! And I can see the front landscaping (new last year) is really filling in nicely!

Spent some time with friends yesterday and also today...and got some flower pictures in lately, regardless of the cool temps.

And last night, I got in the mood to take a creepy picture or 2. Not sure what I really want out of these, but I like creepy photos. I feel like I should take more time with them...plan focus, aperture, ISO, shutter and the execute the plan. In reality, I just grab the camera and intervalometer and start running around trying out various settings.

I think this is the same shot, just edited differently. There were a couple of others that might work too...

I've been tired lately. I feel like I need a bit of time off. I'm in a contract gig right now, and the renewal is uncertain, so I feel like I shouldn't take off time just yet. But I'm finding the weekends right now are not quite long enough for me to be rested when I get back to work on Monday.

I'm trying something I saw online -- using bales of straw as planters. You have to spend a couple weeks prepping the bales - basically putting high nitrogen fertilizer (or I'm using bone meal) on them to start them towards compost. Then, trowel out a hole to put some dirt into for planting.

They are a bit stinky right now with the bone meal on them.


Met with my local Brazilian friend last night. This is the one who has been helping me with Portuguese, and me helping him with English. I had a good time talking to him.

One of the things that we learned in that Teaching English as a Second Language class -- and it is something that mirrors my own experiences -- is that a language learner often reaches a plateau, and sometimes go BACKWARDS before continuing up again.

I feel like that a little now. Tenses that I knew how to use, I suddenly have gotten unsure of. And I find myself double-guessing myself, and often saying the wrong thing. It's MADDENING!

My friend and I are trading a paragraph over WhatsApp every day, which we have to read to the other, and get critiqued on for pronunciation. We also have to ask the other about words we don't know. No dictionaries allowed. It's working out pretty well, with both of us learning. And I also see some repetition, which helps memory.

An example is the word MUCKY which was in the paragraph I sent him today, and when he asked what it meant, I told him lamacento and "wet" -- muddy and wet, but I couldn't remember the word for wet, so English it had to be. Lamacento is a word we talked about months ago, so it was a good repetition.

Then he asked what the word 'meadow' means. Because no dictionaries are allowed, I had to piece together some Portuguese to define it. I said it was un campo, às vezes com as flores e às vezes com a grama -- "a field, sometimes with flowers and sometimes with grass."

In our conversations in person (and on WhatsApp), we blend English and Portuguese as we need to to finish our thoughts. I revert to English more often than he reverts to Portuguese! His Portuguese is way better!

Last night
Him: What's the opposite of polite?
Me: Rude.
Me: Or impolite.
Him: Quizzical look.
Me: Writes i-m-p-o-l-i-t-e
Him: Oh yea. That.

Him: What's the pronunciation for taught, thought, etc?
Me: Writes the words down "thought" "taught", and says them.
Him: Amusement in his eyes as he recognizes the total silliness of the spelling!
Me: Vem d'ingles velho -- it comes from Old English. (At least I THINK those weird spellings come from Old English.)

Him: Combinado!
Me: What?
Him: It's a deal!
Me: What? (Combinado is the past participle of "to combine"). Evidently, you can use it in Portuguese to say "Deal!" or "That works!" He gave the example of "Let's meet at that place?" And the answer could be Combinado!

We often pull out our phones to look up words, when we can't understand.

Him: I ever show my wife the pictures you send.
Me: Uh...You mean always?
Him: Ever. Always. They are the same.
Me: Shaking my head no
Him: Pulls out his phone, uses the Translator, types in "Ever", which gets translated to "sempre". Sempre means always.
Me: Shaking my head no

I had to look Ever up this morning to find out what it 'really' means. It's meaning is more 'at the time" - but never does it mean 'always' regardless of what the Translator apps say!

Experience #3

So...the Couch Surfing experiences continue...this past Thursday, I got a request from a surfer who was already in the local area and in a pinch needing a place to stay a couple of days. I was at work when I got the note, and I didn't have much time to make a decision, so I checked out his references on the Couch Surfing site, took a look at his eyes in his profile photos and quickly just said yes. He arrived Friday evening and will be leaving tomorrow (Monday) morning.

He is a guy who makes a living on his photography, which totally impresses me. As a matter of fact, he's out at this very moment doing a photo shoot.

It's been interesting. For example, I haven't known anyone who writes their own poetry and can recite it -- when he offered to recite a poem, he gave me 4 options, like 'love' 'religion' and a couple of others. I chose an option, and he recited one of his poems -- and it was interesting and well delivered.

This morning, I got up and didn't hear any noise, so I thought he had left for the shoot already. When I went downstairs I noticed the bathroom door closed, so I realized he was still here. When he came out, I told him that I was glad I had put my pants on before I came down ;)

In the last 36 hours or so of his being here, he has shared his musical tastes, some of his personal history, some of his philosophy, etc. Although I don't think I have bonded with this surfer as deeply as the last, it has been a pleasant guest experience.

One thing that is interesting to me is that I almost tagged this post with the 'travel' tag because Couchsurfing feels a bit like traveling. You meet people from all over, and even if you're still in your own house, it has a 'travel' feel to it.

I got out yesterday with the camera. When you go to the same place, you often take the same shots.

The locks on the Kanawha Canal near the Pumphouse --

Byrd Park (another shot I've taken several times) --

And a few shots from the creek in my local park from a week or so ago --

Remember how I hosted the (now) friend from Belgium last Fall? And what a good experience that was?

In the interesting of keeping myself open to new experiences...I attended an event of local couchsurfers tonight.

A guy contacted me through the couchsurfing site a few days ago -- he called himself the "traveling hobo". He goes from city to city playing the guitar for his food. He organizes potlucks or local courchsurfers.

I showed up to this event -- about 17 - 20 folks crammed into a Fan District living room -- most very young since Couchsurfing seems to be a young person's sport. But all kinds of people -- the host is just graduating from undergrad, on her way to biking across the US to start grad school in nuclear engineering....not too shabby!

I got some good advice from a guy who used to live in Portland about things to do when I got out there in a couple months!

I have to say it was a bit odd. And a bit interesting. And a bit uncomfortable. But fun to do...I mean watching the guy tonight do the chords on the guitar with 1 foot, while playing percussion with the other foot was certainly interesting. And so was just showing up somewhere by myself with people much younger than I -- certainly opens my energy. And that is truth like a cow :)

First Butterfly of the Year

I'm always pleased when one decision I make creates good unforeseen consequences. I made a decision a few years ago that many of the 'weeds' in yard were welcome to be there. I am especially in favor of edible weeds. I also made the decision to not use pesticides in the yard.

An example of a welcome weed in the yard is a wild violet: last year I made some candied wild violets from blooms I gathered in the yard. Many people would consider them a pesky weed, but since they are edible and they are a nice ground cover with pretty flowers, I am okay with them growing wherever they want to.

This year, my first butterfly in the yard is a type of Fritillary butterfly. It turns out that the caterpillars that turn into Fritillary butterflies like to feed on...wait for it...violets!

So my large population of wild violet "weeds" serves to feed Fritillary butterflies. I believe this one is an "American Lady" because it only had 2 eye spots on its underwings.


Nós temos mais poder do que eles pensam

Portuguese for 'We have more power than they think'....it's just a Facebook post that struck me this week.

Lately, I have been understanding my own 'power' in work-related things. And also in personal relationships. When you are powerful, you don't want to hurt other people...but you do want to stand in your own power -- even when others cry about it!

Over the last few years, I have been intentionally and purposefully opening myself more and more to people. From chatting with a local Brazilian guy to asking guys I don't know well out to have a beer...or as in today, meeting a very young man for coffee -- my power with young gay men comes from my being a 'gay uncle' I think. Being an uncle and not expecting anything romantic -- just listening and interacting with them. Young men in general, but particularly I think young gay men sometimes need this sort of uncle in their life. And I like doing it -- it's part of my own personal power :)

Recently, I found a list that I had written about 'What does Success Look Like?" -- what would make me consider my life successful as I am dying. This list is still in progress, but I note that I mention being a mentor/gay uncle to young gay men. Also note -- there's not a damned thing in the list about work!

Before drawing my last breath, what will I have considered being successful in my life?

Having kept my relationship with my sisters.
Having kept my relationship with my nephews and niece.
Having been a ‘guiding uncle’ to young gay me when they need it.
Having traveled as much as I could afford.
Having left enough money to bury me.
Having left my estate settled - more assets left than liabilities.
Having been married (again, since I consider Matt my first husband)?
Having been able to work in my garden yard until the end. Roll out of bed, do some weeding, take my last breath -- that sort of thing, lol!

I've quoted him before, and I'll quote him again....
The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don't go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don't go back to sleep!


Week in Review

You know that a flower is pretty stunning when you see a jogger on the street turn his head all the way back around looking at it as he ran by the house!

The Clematis (I think Clematis 'Bourbon') really is blooming nicely this year!

What a busy week at work -- pretty exhausted!

Fun spending a birthday dinner with a friend and also hanging out looking at some estate sale items with another friend. I've also been doing a bit of spring planting and sowing seeds.

I'm looking forward to a little down time this weekend!

Irene's Story

Social Story

I found the photograph below when I was at an estate sale with Deege.

I'll set up the story, and you can "add to the story" by adding a comment. If you want, leave your contribution to the story in the comments...but please read any previous comments to see what the story has been so far. And please be careful NOT to comment with a story ending comment! Keep it opened ended for the next person :)

You can add a many comments as you want -- just keep the story going :)

When the business failed, Irene's husband Frank left for work building a dam in Tennessee for the government Conservation Corps. Her life was turned upside down when he didn't come back. And then she found those letters in his desk!

After Frank stopped sending money and with 4 hungry mouths to feed, Irene did not know what she should do. She was despondent and poured her heart out to Lily who lives down the street.

Thinking he could help, Lily introduced her to Benjamin. Although something about Benjamin seemed not quite right to Irene, she took up his acquaintance. What else could she do?


Celtic Knot

Latest Month

May 2016


In order to be effective truth must penetrate like an arrow — and that is likely to hurt.

-Wei Wu Wei

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