Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kadi spies on me

It’s true, she does! Kadi’s a good, good girl, almost saintly, but she’s not perfect. She can’t pull that pale orange fur over my eyes anymore.

Now that I’m home all the time, Kadi keeps close track of my whereabouts. If I move from one room to another, I don’t travel alone. She almost always follows me and lies down nearby. Most of the time I find that endearing, but sometimes all the togetherness gets a little annoying.

If I shift from one hip to the other in the recliner, and the recliner squeaks the tiniest bit in response, Kadi’s head jerks up, and she’s on the case. What’s happening here? Are you going somewhere? What are we doing?

If I’m rushing to get something to drink during a TV commercial, she’s right there with me, pacing underfoot so I have to move carefully around her. Someday I'll need her, by golly, and she'll be right there, but it's unlikely I'll have an emergency during the span of a commercial break.

We have made a little progress in addressing this problem, but only for one room in the house. I’ve learned that if I say out loud, “I’m going to the bathroom, I’ll be right back,” she’ll usually stay put. Just not for long.

Because I’ve lived alone for years, I’m in the habit of leaving the bathroom door ajar, so when Kadi spies on me, I see her do it. Even when the door is closed, I know she’s there; I see the shadow of her nose under the door and hear her sniff-sniff-sniffing.

I use the word “spies” instead of “peeks” because she’s sly about it. She doesn’t come into the hallway (an excellent vantage point) and look around to see where I am. Instead, she strides purposefully toward the bedroom (where I almost never am during the day). Just before she gets there, she whips her head to the left and looks pointedly into the bathroom (where I am often during the day). And here’s the deceitful part: She keeps on going into the empty bedroom! She waits there for just a few seconds -- evidently all the time she thinks it will take for her old, naive human to believe she had business in the bedroom -- then comes out grinning and lies down in the hall outside the bathroom door.

I’m on to her now: She's not just "Kadi Marie, Kadi Marie, prettiest girl I ever did see," as I sing to her (to the tune of the Kit-Kat jingle). She's Kadi, a.k.a. Sister Mary Katherine, K-9 Private Eye.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Try a little tenderness

During my long, conspicuous absence from blogging, one project that occupied my time was organizing my digital photos into meaningful categories, applying tags for easy sorting, and eliminating duplicates and bad shots. If one were to accumulate the hours I've spent on this task into a single block of time, it would amount to weeks, maybe even a couple of months.

I've made lots of progress, but the end still isn't in sight. For every photo I've managed to drag to the trash can, another one has pleaded to be rescued. I've pored over each of these ugly babies, searching for anything salvageable, and once in a while I find a little potential.

That's when I switch into "extreme ho-hum makeover" mode and go to work with Photoshop Elements. Sometimes it saves a nature photo that would be beautiful except for utility wires draping across the scene. Sometimes the cropping tool rescues the only interesting corner of an otherwise dull shot.

The filters tool is the one I've had the most fun with. I've taken so many photographs that looked good through the camera lens but turned out to be blurry when I saw them on the computer screen. The worst ones were discarded (well, not all of them; I'm apparently a photo hoarder), but application of an "artistic filter" to the slightly blurry photos made them look like little paintings.

Seeing a photograph that represents a beautiful slice of reality can take my breath away, something these little "painted" shots will never do. Still, I find them charming in their own way. When you see them posted here from time to time, you'll know a lot of love and tenderness went into making them blogworthy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Well, isn't that an amazing coinkydink?

After all the time I spent yesterday deciding on a background picture for the new blog layout, I was delighted when I checked out today's JigZone puzzles.

Scroll to the bottom of this page to see for yourself.

UPDATE:  If you visited here earlier in the day and scrolled all the way down, you found a jigsaw puzzle titled "Sun Acadia Tree" that looked very much like my new background.  If you enjoyed it, I'm glad.  On the other hand, if you're just reading this post for the first time, you'll think I'm crazy.  There's a big blank space where the puzzle pieces used to be.

I posted the puzzle on my blog at JigZone's invitation, so I don't know why it was removed.  Anyway, to eliminate confusion, I'll just go ahead and delete the puzzle workspace, too.  If you did the puzzle, liked it, and want more, click this link.

Coral Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle hugging fences,
Morning glory on the vine,
Tantalizing summer scents as
Rich and sweet as cherry wine.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Today I changed the look of my blog for the third time in the four and a half years since I started it. Also for the fourth, fifth, and sixth times. All I wanted to do initially was try to widen the red paisley header I’ve used since September of 2007 so I could use wider columns in the blog.

That’s when I discovered that new blog templates had been added to Blogger and the old ones were nowhere to be found. Uh-oh. What was a lazy blogger to do next?

I quickly chose a new layout that coordinated nicely with the image in the old header and stuck with that for almost an hour. That’s how long it took to realize it wasn’t going to be simple to figure out how to center the image properly, and I couldn’t live with it being lopsided.

The old paisley image had to go, so I deleted it and left the red header bar, then added a matching red background. I liked the way the posts were set out on their own white areas, but the template faded large areas of the brick red to pink. I like pink but don’t like to live with it, so that look had to go, too.

By using the same template and removing the background altogether, I was left with neat, pale grey-white columns topped by the red header. I chopped the old red paisley image in half and stuck it in the sidebar, after which the page had a similar feel to the old blog. Except it looked much more professional. I kept it for a couple of hours. When I looked at it later, it looked so professional it felt sterile. Who knew red could appear cold?

Back to the template palette, I worked my way through dozens of possible combinations, searching for warmth and light. This is the final result. These golds and caramel browns are colors I’ve used in my home. I think this look is much more representative of who I am than any of the earlier designs.

Welcome to my sunlight and my shadows.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In the name of pretty

When I read Helen's post about late-night TV commercials, I was reminded of another commercial I saw recently. Over time we’ve all become familiar with TV ads for a well-known brand of undergarments for people who, shall we say, have bladder control issues.

The older I get, the faster I need to move after that first little urge hits me, so let me state up front that it’s reassuring to know that this type of undergarment is available. I hope I never need this product, but I won’t make fun of anybody who does. (Unless, of course, it’s the occasional astronaut who wears adult diapers to save time when she travels to kidnap her boyfriend’s other girlfriend.)

What caught my attention about the new commercial is the statement that their product is now available in prints and colors. Heh. Heh-heh-heh. Bwahahahahaha! Talk about putting lipstick on a pig!

Do you think the new colors and prints were requested by consumers? If not, can you imagine the sales genius of the ad man who managed to sell this idea to the product manufacturer? He must have been some VIP’s son or brother-in-law.

Now, I’m sure there are sexy, vibrant women in all parts of the world who use this product and whose partners understand the reality of the situation and find the women as desirable as ever. But I’m willing to bet the diapers, plain, colored or printed, disappear before any lovemaking gets too steamy.

I’ve been trying to imagine all sorts of scenarios involving candles, wine, batting eyelashes, and a healthy adult male’s reaction to the sight of fancy-printed diaper-panties. So far, every scenario I’ve come up with makes me laugh.

Do you think this is as funny as I do, or is my sense of humor just way too twisted? Am I the only one who thinks that even if she might be grateful to have these absorbent panties someday in the (hopefully distant) future, she won’t be deliberately showing them off to anyone just because they’re prettier now?

Maybe the colors and prints aren’t for others, you say. Maybe they’re to build the self esteem of the wearer. Hmm. Maybe. Whatever works, I suppose.

I guess it all depends on your point of view.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Something in the air

My house apparently sits directly under the flight path from Baton Rouge (our state capital) to the oil-challenged Louisiana Gulf Coast. This year, along with the usual summertime sounds of chirping birds and buzzing insects, we regularly hear the whup-whup-whup of helicopters overhead. I don’t know whether the frequent flyers are government officials or news reporters, only that so many of them fly over each day that Butch and Kadi no longer pay the slightest attention to them.

Of course, this isn’t the dogs’ first exposure to the whirlybirds. The many helicopters that flew overhead during hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Gustav (2008) may have desensitized them to the sound.

To me, though, that sound is still a little unsettling, especially when two or more helicopters are traveling together. It isn't the noise that bothers me; they fly high enough to keep from creating a disturbance. It's the sound itself. Somehow, in my mind, the clacking of those propellors has morphed into an aural symbol of suffering and urgency, and I feel just a little bit anxious every time I hear it.

It’s been a rough five years here in Southeast Louisiana.