Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tiny Colorful Froggies

Yes, they are indeed froggies. Because they are so tiny. Calling them mere frogs would not indicate their diminutive size nor would it describe their adorableness. 

Located in the butterfly house among the butterflies and orchids at Tucson Botanical Gardens, this tiny shades of blue fellow is about the size of your average adult big toenail. The yellow and black cutie in the top photo is about twice as big. More on this educational and entertaining attraction later. I have to go iron my cow costume.

Dinner at Carrabba's

The MacBroome-Shuttlecock sisters Frigga, Heidi and Grace all tarted up and out on the town for dinner. When the food looks this good us girls must make extra efforts to be this gorgeous.

Lobster Ravioli

Plank grilled salmon topped with crab with asparagus, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes on the side.

And to finish things off, a little dolce called Chocolate Dream. Or more properly, sogno di cioccolata.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lego Monster Mashup

Halloween is almost here! Let's all dance!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Miss Martine's Felines

Assisting Martine with applying a fresh coat of paint to the coffee table are, left to right, Bear, Blink, and Big Al. A blurry Pearl is the calico near the top of the picture.

Sweetie. Who ironically really is not. Sweet. I'm surprised she is down on the floor with the rest of the kitties, her normal perch is atop the kitchen cabinets or draped across the top of the refrigerator. Sweetie doesn't know it yet, but by the end of the week she is going to love me. Because I am irresistible. 

Big Al gets his own photo because he is such a handsome guy. Sweetie seems to think otherwise. If I was Sweetie I would so go for Big Al. Sweetie likes flowers. Maybe Al should bring her some flowers.

And Zen. Who generally avoids all the drama by hanging out under the bed. Or in one of the kitchen cabinets. We all need our own little haven away from the crazies.

Squash Sequestration

Y'all can relax. The pumpkin containment system has been successfully deployed and is functioning within anticipated parameters. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

What's Left of Ralph the Pirate

Sometimes, when I'm minding my own business, I feel a teensy bit like I'm being watched. I know. But I'd rather be paranoid about the spider in my car than a grinning pirate head. I really have no point to make except that it's Halloween week. And floss. Flossing is good. You should definitely floss.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Conversation From Last Night

Him: I don't want to be that guy.

Me: What guy is that?

Him: The guy who kisses a woman when he doesn't know what to do about the one he already has. But I can give you this. Takes my face in his hands and kisses my forehead.

Me: Is this the kiss of death?

Him: No way. Grins

I totally swooned.

Beware the Catbrane

Einstein. Patiently sitting on top of a small plush pumpkin. Is he hoping it will hatch into a whole mess of tiny plush pumpkins? Who can say. It's dangerous crossing over the catbrane. Not for the faint of heart.

More Halloweeny

My tabletop spooky village. The little skeleton bendy guy lives here. I swear when no one is looking he creeps over to that tiny pumpkin under the tree and tosses it down onto the floor. Either that or it's the cats. Whatever.

Vegetable Challenge Accepted!

Fear not, girls and boys, it's only a carrot. Like, a two pound carrot. Tami dropped it off for me a couple of days ago. I'm thinking I will roast it, pretend it's a squash or something that more commonly arrives in this size range. I am not daunted! Brown sugar and butter will make it that much better. Either that, or I'm going to hollow it out and and make a birdhouse out of it. If you can't eat it, be crafty with it, that's what I always say.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bellona's Dictionary

adorkable adjective \ə-ˈdȯrk-ə-bəl\ 1. Worthy of being adorked. 2. The human state of possessing highly appealing, attractive qualities specifically combined with high intelligence, mild social ineptitude, and obsession that produce a disarming effect.

Yes, I'm a Sucker for Romance

I swiped this from today's Sex and the City Facebook post. Do want.

Fall in love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't-live-without-each-other love. Real love.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Game On!

Back in my internet dating days, which was a nightmare I am now two years removed from, there was a phrase that I often ran across while reading potential date's profiles. No games. Which always made me wonder. No games at all? Not even fun harmless ones like flirting? Come on! It's a type of social interaction that allows for us to get to know each other, test out the tentative feeling of the situation, an opportunity to practice reading each others' social cues! How about clever and fast paced word play? It's stimulating and challenging! Or at the other end of the spectrum we have elaborate and complex game-playing that sets you up for an inevitably painful and humiliating fall. But seriously, who has the time and patience to put that much effort into an ultimately unsatisfying venture? Well, okay, genuine sickos maybe. But isn't that character building that you'll eventually be grateful for? Perhaps fodder for a future best-selling novel? As ever, I expect the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Teasing with no intention of following through. Avoiding the truth when asked a clear and simple question. Cruel manipulation to get what you want with no regard for another's feelings. These would be games to avoid. Leaving me further wondering why anyone would be so upfront about how emotionally damaged they might be from previous involvement with game-players! Which tended to make me pass over their profile with no further interest in meeting them. We all have baggage and pain but do we really need to discuss how defensive you feel before we even have coffee together? My preference is kindness and honesty and the time it takes to discover and cherish that which draws you to another human. And in case you're interested in what I want from a man, I spell it out pretty clearly here. No games. Except I promise I will kick your ass at backgammon.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dollhouse Rock

Dollhouse, Season 2, Episode 2, Instinct. New to the inside workings of the Dollhouse, Paul Ballard asks Topher how the chair works and if the technology will have the same effect on him. Topher replies, Well, not you, to an active. I can't fiddle with the mind until it's wiped clean. The human mind is like Van Halen, if you just pull out one piece and keep replacing it it just degenerates. Ha! Rock & roll humor from a geek. I would have expected a video game reference.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Asymmetrical Hirsuteness

I swear the hair grows faster in my right armpit! As compared with the speed of hair growth in my left. Armpit. Seriously. This information is on a strictly need-to-know basis. So keep it under your hat. So to speak. Or type. I'll keep it under layers of clothing. I apologize for the overuse and perhaps inappropriate use of Italics. Have a good day.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fun With Andrea

While cleaning out my costume closet, Andrea discovered this lovely fluffy pink number. And doesn't she look fab in it! Particularly when paired up with her Tardis socks. By the way, this is genuine joy and frivolity she is expressing. And that is cranberry splash Sierra Mist she is drinking. Sugar highs are the best.

Fluffy dress detail. This is the perfect dress in which to attend a Southern zombie cotillion. Hats and white gloves are a must. 

Then it was time to decorate for Halloween. Ghosties in the greenery. Black roses and black cats. I do love this holiday.

In My Room

Somehow I feel more like a grownup on days that I make my bed. There is sometimes a rebound effect, however. Now I want to stay up past my bedtime and eat nothing but chocolate milk and crunchy Cheetos.

Monday, October 14, 2013

In Conclusion

I am pleased to report that after just over nine months in duration, my social experiment has come to a conclusion with most interesting results. Particularly interesting in that the primary question at the outset was not necessarily answered. But other information from which to draw a completely different answer came forward, to a question that was never asked! Maybe the design of the experiment was faulty. Or maybe the question posed at the outset wasn't thought out entirely. Or clearly. It seems we learn when we're not expecting to and somehow the lesson is rendered that much more valuable because of that absence of awareness. Here's what happened. I got a do-over. Seriously! Fate deals these out frequently but my theory is we don't recognize them for what they are at the time. Like we have to keep doing things over until we get them right. And I got it right without really trying, maybe because I was unaware that it was a do-over until the results were in. So even though the sample was too small for validity purposes, I inadvertently built in some sort of double blind option where I got the real stuff instead of the placebo. And even though I occasionally stumbled quite gracelessly through this process, those rough spots were offset by a few wonderfully revelatory moments and the most sublime bit of light was saved for last. I was plopped square in the middle of a moral quandary that was oddly familiar, and if I didn't do things perfectly right at every step along the way, at least I acted honestly. In the end, the realization that I had grown emotionally wasn't exactly satisfying, it was comforting. And a relief. Oh, and I didn't die.

A Girl Needs to Have Her Pink Dresses

1. I know, I know, I'm avoiding grocery shopping because it is raining.

2. In reference to item 1, I would be closer to getting out the door if I would get dressed.

3. Referring to item 2, I'm having a difficult time getting dressed due to the fact that it is, indeed, raining.

4. At least when I open the garage door most of the leaves have been plastered down to wherever they happened to be and likely will not blow into the garage.

5. The MacBroome/Shuttlecock sisters, Frigga, Grace and Heidi, have scheduled their annual reunion.

6. In reference to item 5, Squeeeeeeeeeee!

7. I am happy to report that cleaning out the costume closet has been quite successful. I sent Andrea home with a big bag of goodies on Saturday.

8. I bought a dress on Saturday! 

9. Referring to item 8, don't be overly concerned. The dress was only $12.

10. The aforementioned dress is pink. It would seem that a minimum number of pink dresses must be in my possession at all times to avoid a rift in the physical laws that keep the universe stable. I sent one home with Andrea and another is on its way to Goodwill. Yes, I have fully rationalized this purchase.

11. Yes, since you asked, personal responsibility for the stability of our space/time continuum can be a burden at times.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Effect of Kliban Cartoons on My Cat

For your consideration, a most peculiar yet amusing cartoon from B. Kliban's collection Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head

For your further consideration, the top of my dining room table. I am calling this scene Einstein lived in South Dakota where he bit the necks off of decorative gourds. Maybe he's upset about how Mr. Kliban draws cartoons of very fat cats. Seriously fat cats. And then takes it out on my fall table decorations. I expect I'll have to lock up all the Kliban books.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


This is for Stephanie. Who is just now learning the ins and outs and joys of the manual transmission. You can do it! Especially because you are learning in a Subaru Outback. May the fourth (gear) be with you.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Meanwhile, on the North Side of the House...

Last week Karen sent me home with pumpkins and fancy colored ornamental corn. Cornamental, isn't it? As well as festive and fallish.

In the opposite deck corner, this pot seems to be under the impression that it is still summertime. I won't bother to try to convince it otherwise, I'll leave that up to the first frosty night. And please don't tell this begonia that some of the other plants got to come inside. It's still summer in the northeast corner of the front deck. Thank you.

Pseudonym Dropper

I actually know the author of this book. And I now have in my possession a signed copy. This makes me feel special in a snobby I rub elbows with fellow writers sort of way.

My Brain Hurts

1. On Monday I bought bagels. When I already had bagels. I just didn't dig deep enough into the freezer to find them.

2. Over the last week or so I have had an epiphany about a certain man. I have come to the realization that I really don't like him all that much. Surprisingly, this has turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

3. Went for a mile and a half or so walk with Tami this afternoon. That girl is seriously leggy. And I kept up. Yay for me.

4. I could have been parking my car inside the garage as of yesterday. This is a major accomplishment that has not happened since early May.

5. I took what was perhaps the last hammock nap of the season today. It was lovely.

6. Referring to item 4, the reason I haven't parked inside even though it would be possible is because Reid and I have determined that it would be a good idea to swap sides of the garage that we park in.

7. Referring to item 6, this is not a complicated thing to do, but sort of like one of these kind of puzzles, and a certain thought process must take place. with any luck, this will happen before winter takes a big ole dump on us.

8. The other night, whilst in the midst of a Sudafed-induced nightfull of weird dreams, I swear when I woke up I was totally convinced that I had written three blog posts during the night. And I could almost remember the titles of two of them. Then the fog cleared.

9. Referring to item 8, not only did the fog clear upon waking, but the congestion in my left ear was mostly better. Sudafed. Great stuff when ingested for its intended purpose. 

10. I can't decide how to dress for Halloween. It would be fun to get out the cow costume again, but it would be even more fun if I had a partner in costumery who would dress up like either a bull or a farmer to complete the motif.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

The End of an Era

The great tomato orgy of 2013 is winding down to an end. I love garden tomatoes. Almost more than anything else in the world. They smell heavenly and taste delicious. I have been bingeing on these beauties for over two months in pretty much any way you can imagine. I have been well supplied with all sizes of tomatoes, from tiny grape-sized to monster beefsteaks by Karen and Tami, gardeners extraordinaire. What you see pictured here are the last of them. I shall savor them. And mourn that the season of the fresh local tomato has passed. 

I Haven't Posted a Cat Pic For 15 Minutes

This is Cleo. Cleopatra Anastasia for long. She was our family of origin pet when I was growing up. She lived to be nearly seventeen years old. A well-traveled half Siamese calico, she lived in three North Dakota towns and two South Dakota towns. She lived in an apartment with me illegally for fifteen months. And I got away with it due to the management's sloppy managing. Which was pretty cool. Cleo had a sort of broken and pitiful meow which was adorable beyond belief. My brother Cullen was her favorite human. So it seems very fitting that Cully's best friend James has just recently adopted a kitty into his family. And his daughters have christened their new furbaby Cleo. Such events make me ridiculously happy. Happy is good. I recommend it.

I Haven't Posted a Cat Pic for a While...

Einstein. Looking for some peace and quiet in my closet. Which I am apparently depriving him of with my camera's annoying flash. He is sending death rays with his eyes. Even though I explained to him that it is Halloween month and I feel obligated to post a photo of my black kitty. As you can see, he was not impressed. 

Venn It Vorks, Don't Question It

Sometimes reality can slap you up. In a very good way. When you aren't expecting it. Happened to me today. All I can say is, I live in a small town. I'm divorced. A Venn diagram describing the various social alliances that formed in the aftermath of my marriage's demise would be very, I mean very, complex. So it's nice, heartwarmingly nice, to show up at a party where there are no unfriendly factions in any corner of the room. It was surprising. And an enormous relief. I found that small, comfy intersection of groups where I fit in reasonably well. Or at least I don't stick out like that proverbial sore thumb. And tonight, that was good enough for me. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I've had the concept of paying it forward on my mind the last few weeks. Because very unexpectedly a friend helped me out and insisted that I pass on the good deed to someone else in need. Which imbues me with gratitude for her generosity as well as the opportunity to act in a generous manner myself. Which brings me to Mike, a friend in real life as well as Facebook. Who for the past several months has shared his mother's valiant and irrepressible spirit with us as she battled to overcome cancer. Joyce lost that battle this past Saturday, she died peacefully with Mike and his sister at her side. And it seems to me that her life's attitude is summed up in the final line of her obituary. In lieu of flowers or memorials, please do a good deed for someone. So pay it forward, children. Because Joyce says so. And because it's the right thing to do.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fall Has Fell

Maybe it's the yellowing of the leaves on the trees in my front yard. And how the ash tree to the west always drops its leaves, nearly completely, before the one on the east side of the yard. To be sure, autumn has arrived. So my brain turns to the cycle of life and the puzzles of aging and the miracle of life itself. And how we muddle on despite pain and loss and loneliness. There's something resilient or just plain stubborn about us and I rejoice in that fact every day I get to sit up and breathe and experience a new day. Seven years ago this month I wrote this poem after surviving one of the darkest periods of my life. I love mixing mathematical and scientific terms with emotional ones, using them to describe feelings. And unless you're a total math geek you're probably about to grab a dictionary. 

Asymptote of Healing

Bruised and battered, broken
Gaping holes of longing
Lingering within
Begging to be filled with anything
To ease the pain of dealing
With each new day that’s dawning
Mired down
In the persistence of living
Without what you named essential
Now lost to you forever
Acceptance, faith and patience
Close and mend the wounds internal
Never reaching zero
Healing full yet not complete
What remains alive inside
That thinnest slice of quickness
Is the scar of lessons learned
And room though just enough
For seeds of love to grow replete

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Last night I had one of those wandering dreams. And it became clear that the reason I was wandering was because I was attempting to locate my car. I wasn't worried or upset, just confused. The weird thing was that I wasn't wandering about in places where a person would normally park their car, say, outdoors on the street, or in a parking lot or parking garage. I was in some kind of an office building with hallways and waiting rooms all with varying degrees of light and dark. There were very few people about, and when I encountered one I would ask if they knew where I might find my car. If they answered they would tell me to look in the safety department. Eventually I became aware that a man was walking beside me. A man that I was considerably taller than. I asked him if he was having trouble finding his car. He smiled at me and assured me he knew the way. We hooked arms and walked on together with confidence. Just before I woke up I realized that Robert Reich had come to my rescue. I have no idea what the greater implications of this dream might be. But I do know one thing. Wide awake and conscious I would follow Robert Reich anywhere.