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I’ve been messing around on the computer over the last hour or so: Checking my e-mail. Listening to a podcast of Kopana Terry’s interview of one of my favorite authors, Rita Mae Brown, from a couple of months ago on WUKY. Looking over my bank statement.

I dropped in on my bloggie to see if any comments had been left (I love you, too, Janie!) and then found myself staring at the picture of the dolphins at the top of my page. I love lookin’ at that lil’ baby and mama dolphin together — then I glanced to my right, and up, and looked at the black-and-white photo, matted and framed and hanging on my paneled living-room wall (hey, don’t blame me for the paneling; remember, I rent this place!), of two dolphins swimming side by side. The photo is all about shadows, as black-and-white photos sometimes are; it was taken by Jon Sall, one of my fellow staff members back in my days at The Daily Eastern News. He shot it at the Brookfield Zoo, and I fell in love with it the minute I saw it.

I have been running across old stuff here lately, mostly because I’ve been attempting to get organized or somehow put together some semblance of order out of this chaos. Yeah, that has been one of my goals: Uncluttering my life, or at least simplifying my surroundings, at home and at work.

Of course, then, in the midst of it all, Michelle hands me a press release, something called the “Fax Times” that we get every day at the news office, because she has found a quote that reminds her of me:

“One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.” — A.A. Milne

Yeah, that’s right: A.A. Milne. The guy who created Winnie the Pooh. (That quote has been posted under the “Quotes” portion of my bloggie for a day or two, now, in case you hadn’t noticed.) And then, not long after I read that statement, almost as if to prove the point, there we were, Michelle and I and others who had decided on Mexican food for lunch, but the current La Fiesta menu was nowhere to be found, and suddenly, voila! I remembered I had seen it somewhere on the mess of my desk, near my inflatable sword, and sure enough, there it was. Just when we needed it.

Another one of my goals is to get back into reading. (Yes: Actual books, Patti!) I thought I’d start by re-reading a couple of favorites, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Diary of Anne Frank, or maybe I’d go to the library (you wouldn’t know it to look at this town, but we have a really kick-ASS library!) and check out some Kurt Vonnegut and see what else I could find. Unexpectedly, though, I ran across a book in my own collection (such as it is) by Roberta Allen called Fast Fiction: Creating Fiction in Five Minutes. A book I had barely cracked open more than once or twice, let alone taken the time to read any of it; matter of fact, I don’t remember when or why I got this book in the first place, except I must’ve been wanting some kind of inspiration or something and thought maybe this would be a good start. After which I promptly stuck the book on a shelf and eventually crammed it in a box, never to be seen again until the other day when I was (once again) looking for a couple of previously mentioned (in passing) tax returns*.

Anyhoo, so far (thirtysomething pages into it), I like this book. It’s got some short-short stories and, in a few short pages, some exercises for me to try. We’ll see where it all leads.

Meanwhile, I’m putting off going to the eye doctor because I’m pretty sure I’m going to need bifocals, which is a sure sign that I am, officially, Over the Hill. And also is totally annoying because, unlike other old farts who need their glasses primarily so they can see stuff that’s close up, I can see stuff up close perfectly without my glasses, which I really need so I can see the stuff that’s far away … which, in my case, by “far away,” I mean about half an arm’s length away. (In case I’ve never mentioned it, I am horribly near-sighted. I started wearing glasses for reading when I was in fourth grade and began wearing them full-time when I was in seventh.)

Also, I’m cranky because Tampax has, for reasons unbeknownst to me, changed my model or style or whatever of tampons. I mean, gimme a break! Is nothing sacred?

Oh, and The Lovely and I are playing doubles together tomorrow in a tennis tournament, and our opening match is against a 9.0 team. And we are a 6.5 team that is actually more like a 6.0 team, since Diane is still recuperating from her knee replacement surgery. (In other words, we’re playing a team consisting of one player who is ranked at 5.0 — on a scale of 1.0 to 7.0, with 7.0 being a world-class professional player like Serena Williams or any of the other women [and men] playing at Wimbledon right now — and another who is a 4.0. Diane, on the other hand, is a 3.5 player [she has previously been ranked as high as 4.0] and I am a 3.0. I’m just hoping we can return a serve or two!)

OK, that’s it for me. I’ve got a match at 9:30 a.m.!

* — I found the 2003 and 2004 returns I was seeking not in a box or a drawer or stuck between the pages of a book or an album, but rather online because I had done my taxes those years on www.hrblock.com, and H&R Block Web site had them archived and available for me! How incredibly smart of me, don’t you think?! (Sadly, I did my 2005 taxes on TurboTax. Which took me approximately 4 hours, on the eve of that year’s filing deadline! Fortunately, though, I still had my “hard copy” of the return. See? Just when you thought I was a complete scatterbrain, I discover that I am, indeed, not!)

Hibiscus Center

Red Hibiscus

Coneflower & Buds

Coneflowers & Patches

California Poppy as Yellow Rose:

Poppy with Raindrops

Poppy Solo

Poppy Top

Poppy Side

Poppy Sunset Mix

Station Wagon & Porch

Ran across this photo the other day. Naturally, I was looking for something else (past tax returns), and I found this crammed inside an Ansel Adams calendar from 2003, along with various other items and photos. All of which, obviously, I had put away for safekeeping. (No tax returns to be found, however. Go figure.)

This photograph is from my mom’s stash, some of which I have “borrowed” under the pretext/pretense of scanning all the pictures, Photoshopping them (if necessary), printing them out and putting them in a photo album. (I believe I got as far as slapping some baby pictures and kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school photos of my sister and me into one of those magnetic albums and then lost interest in the project.)

DEC 68: This is the view of our house and the front of my mom’s 1967 Ford Fairlane station wagon. You can’t tell from the black & white photo, but the car was Candy Apple Red. (I would love to have a good color picture of the car, and there probably are some amongst my mom’s aforementioned stash, but I do appreciate the way B&W photos hold up over the years.) I was 3 years, 8 months old at the time this picture was taken, probably by my mom using her Kodak Brownie camera. Christmas was coming up — in fact, if you look closely, you can see a plastic Santa Claus inside the front door, which is framed in tinsel. Judging from the light and the shadows against the house, which faces west, I figure this picture was taken in the late afternoon or early evening.

The car has long since been sold or traded, and the house looks nothing today like it did in 1968. My parents redid the porch and enclosed it with windows about the time I was in junior high (1977 or so); later, during The Great Empty Nest Remodeling Project of 1984 & Beyond, they actually turned the north end of the porch — where I had previously spent hours leaned back in a rocking chair, reading and writing — into a small bathroom (!) off the front bedroom.

Still: I remember this house. I grew up in this house.

A “runny babbit”* in the clover this afternoon in my back yard and a giant ichneumons wasp on Anita’s tennis racket tonight at the courts:

Runny Babbit 1

Runny Babbit 2

Yellowhead 1

Yellowhead 2

* — That’s what my stepcousin (or is she my stepniece?) Jana used to call bunny rabbits when she was little!

Earlier this spring, I talked Virginia into planting some poppies in her garden. Mostly because she is good at growing stuff, and I’m … not.

I didn’t expect them to bloom this year, but guess what: They did!

These are just like the ones I saw last year in Arizona. California poppies, or maybe they’re also called Mexican Gold, I don’t know. I just like them.

California Poppy 2

California Poppy 3

California Poppy 1

I might have to take some more pictures of these once they open, who knows. (I do tend to obsess a little.)

Red Chevy Truck

Not sure of the year on this one. I have, however, discovered I like old Chevy trucks best.

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My Shots on Flickr

Waving

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Shed & Pump