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Poppy Burst

I have a lot to write about from the past couple of days, but right now, it’s (past) bedtime. So, for now: Enjoy the photo.

(It’s a little like me … or, at least, how I feel at the moment.)

This morning, I got up and at it earlier than I intended. Mostly so I could bug The Lovely. While I was about and out, though, I drove by the house on Maple with the poppy plants — and, to my delight, discovered that one of the poppy buds had burst open.

I strolled over to the yard and saw the man who lives there working outside. I asked him if he minded if I took pictures of his poppies; he was friendly and told me to help myself. I snapped away for a few minutes, and then asked him if it was OK if I returned when more of the buds had opened.

“Come by any time,” he told me.

As I was leaving, I paused at the sidewalk and took some pictures of the irises in the front yard. While I was crouched down, looking through the viewfinder on my camera, I felt someone tap me on my butt.

Only one thought came to mind:

I sure hope I know this person!

I glanced to my right and realized the tapping on my butt was this dog’s tail wagging!

Here's Looking at Me

I patted him on the head and back, and he stared at me for a few seconds before taking off, down the sidewalk and through the yard next door.


Tracking. Cats or squirrels or moles, who knows? And then:


He pointed. Toward what, I have no idea. Didn’t matter, anyway: I was hunting flowers.

After that, he bounded off, across the street and through another yard.

Poppy Closeup

Poppy Sideview

Poppy & Blooms

Poppy Bush

Iris & Columbine

Today, I went on the Akin motor route with Sheila.

It was fun!

Running Goats

Goat Eating

Open Tree





Blue Truck & Barn

Horse & Barn

Vinson Road

Wild Canaries

Some Philadelphia fleabane that has sprung up on its own, thanks to my back yard’s apparent inability to drain properly, and that darn cat.

Field of Fleabane

Fleabane Closeup

Carmelo & Fleabane

Carmelo & Shoe

I forgot to mention this last week:

Last Tuesday, I go into Polling Place No. 2 on my way to work to snap a picture of someone taking part in their civic duty by voting in the General Election. Working the tables are 5 election judges, and a local couple have just cast their votes. Usually, I would announce my presence (with authority!*), but this time I figured, it’s 7 a.m., I’m the only one here with a camera and a reporter’s notebook, I’ll let them figure out who I am and what I’m doing here.

“Mind if I take some pictures?” I ask, and the judges — all of them female — either shake their heads or say, “No,” so I fire off a couple of shots.

Finally, one of the judges says, “We’re just trying to figure out who you are. You work for the newspaper, don’t you?”


“You look better in person than you do in your pictures.”

What the … ?

How do you respond to that? I reply by saying, “Thank you,” but later I find myself wondering: Just what does that statement mean? I mean, am I so hideous in any of the photographs with me in them that have been published that these women are suddenly stricken by my sheer gorgeousness? Or are they saying I look good in photos, but I look grrrrrreat in person? Well, wait: They didn’t say I look “great” — they said I look “better in person.” They could’ve kept it from being too ambiguous if they’d said, “You look even better in person than you do in your pictures” — just that little word “even” would’ve been better than what they actually said.

True to my nature, however, I do a quick inventory: I’m feeling perky, I’ve got on one of my favorite mismatches of clothing (olive-green cargo pants and a comfortable T-shirt and fleece), I’m having a relatively good hair day and, through it all, I’m smiling.

Hot damn, I actually DO look better in person than any photo could ever hope to portray!

Later, I tell my friend and former co-worker, Becky, about the incident.

“Of course you look better in person,” she says. “A photo can’t capture your lively spirit.”


* — A line from one of my all-time favorite movies, Bull Durham.

I knew I’d be spending a portion of my morning at a funeral in West Stinkfort*, a town 6 miles south of here. And, although 6 miles isn’t exactly a long haul, in my mind, it still qualified as a minor road trip. (Had I known I’d actually be going to West Frankfart** twice today — once by virtue of deciding to take a “new” road — I would’ve deemed it a fair-to-middlin’ road trip … even though, thankfully, I’ve never actually used the term “fair-to-middlin'” in a real conversation.)

Anyhoo, knowing about the first trip, I grabbed a couple of CDs for the drive there and back: Version 2.0 by Garbage (primarily for the song “Special”) and the Cold Mountain Soundtrack … mostly because, during this “Hallmark Hall of Fame” tearjerker that I just HAD to watch last night, a song kept playing that reminded me of one in Cold Mountain — a movie that I really, really like, by the way. Keep in mind that I also knew I already had the Beatles’ Abbey Road and One CDs in the car, along with the 1984 Soundtrack by the Eurythmics.

Sometimes, I wonder: What do my musical choices/tastes say about me?

(Remember, also, that I intended to take Yaz’s You and Me Both with me, primarily for the song, “And On,” which I can’t seem to get out of my head these past few days, but I can’t seem to find the CD anywhere. [It’s probably worth noting, too, that at any given time, there are at least 2 CDs I have misplaced; bear in mind that I rarely lend my CDs to anyone, so it’s basically all on me.])

And On

Your mother was crying
Your father passed her a handkerchief
Their tear-stained faces
Looked to mine for a sign of grief
A thousand raincoats
Always stand around too long
I stayed to talk with you
After they had gone

The flowers I brought you
Were beginning to fade under the heavy rain
Your name on the card had run
So I tried in vain to write it again
They didn’t understand you, no
They didn’t even try
I’m so glad that you left us now
Before you had the chance to die

I sat there for a long time,
Expecting to turn and see you there
I ran my fingers through the long grass
Willing it to turn into your hair
And oh, I’m gonna miss you, dear
But I don’t have to cry
I’m so glad that you left us now
Before you had the chance to die

And oh, I’m going to miss you, dear
But I’m not going to cry
I’m so glad that your life stopped now
Before it had the chance to die

— Yaz

* — Not the town’s actual name.

** — Also not the town’s actual name.


Buildings & Rust

Red & Green


Shed Door Closeup

Shed Door Closeup 2

Rose Shed

Pamela Sue Brannan
(April 28, 1962-April 18, 2007)

Jenn’s mom died on my birthday. I didn’t hear about it until the next evening when Leslie sent me a message on MySpace. (Lest you think I’ve forgiven MySpace, keep in mind that it was back to its fucked-up ways over the weekend — so: NO, I haven’t.) Jenn and Brandee made their way to the news office on Friday, and for the first few minutes of seeing them, all I could do was hold Jenn.

She and Brandee were expecting some words o’ wisdom from me, and all I could come up with was: “Sucks.” Honest to God, that’s the best I could do … although, today, after the funeral, standing in the parking lot at the cemetery, just before I left, I came up with a bit of an improvement — or at the very least, an expansion: “Sucks, man.”

(I am nothing if not eloquent. And/or succinct.)

I did not know Pam. In fact, I’m pretty sure I never actually met her in person — I had only spoken to her a few times on the phone when I would call out to talk to Jenn.

It would have made more sense, age-wise, for Pam and me to be friends, as she was 44 going on 45 and I just turned 42. Jenn was the one who worked with me, though, and by getting to know each other in the wee hours of the morning every weekday (and late-night Fridays), plus all the other connections we seemed to have, we formed a friendship that I will always treasure.

Jenn is 25 now — coincidentally, the same age I was when my dad died. Suddenly. Just like Pam, and I suspect that now, just a few days after her mom died, Jenn is probably in the same kind of shock that I was for a few days/weeks/months … except, no, this is her mom, so it’s different, and as much as I might think I understand, I really don’t.

But I’m sure it sucks, man.

April 2007

My Shots on Flickr



Shed & Pump