Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com

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Home of Jenny the Pirate

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This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.

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We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.

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 Nice is different than good.

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Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962

  

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Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors

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I am a Blue Star Mother

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Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =

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Represent:

The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were

 

 

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Columbia Cemetery

To read my articles, click HERE! And don't forget to subscribe.

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Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.

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Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson

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REMEMBRANCE

When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks
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 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.

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Keep To The Code

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You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts

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Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
  • Elements Series: Fire
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    RCA
  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    by Tod Benoit
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    by Matthew Rolston
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move

~ RIP JAVIER ~

1999-2016

Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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One Word, Luv: Curiosity

Thursday
Aug102017

A world away

I blogged here, nearly three years ago, about visiting Andrew at the 134th Air Refueling Wing at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Knoxville, not long after he became a fully-fledged boom operator.

He treated me to a visit inside the "sim" -- simulator to civilians -- where I was allowed to watch what he does, and even pretend to do it myself.

You've got to be in awe of our American heroes.

Since forward-deploying from Qatar to Afghanistan a few days ago, Andrew has been sending me and his father the occasional photo.

In the first photo above, he (you can't see him but I promise he's there) is operating the fueling boom of a Maine Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker, giving a drink to a thirsty (and fully loaded) F-16 Fighting Falcon in the air over Afghanistan.

I've never understood how he both refuels the plane while they both are hurtling through airspace at six hundred miles per hour, and takes a picture at the same time. I mean, they are no more than thirty feet apart.

Once I asked him how he does it, and he told me, and I still don't understand.

Millennials.

Here's a short video showing exactly what happens:

How about that Stealth bomber? It reminds me of a sea creature. Kind of creepy; am I right?

Andrew arrived in Kandahar at around four o'clock local time one morning last week.

It's been a long day, he texted.

While waiting to be assigned to barracks, he and his buddies posed in front of a sign. If you'd like to know more about the name on that sign, go here.

Andrew said he and his friends were wanting to look cool but to me, they look weary. And brave.

Yesterday he sent me this picture, of himself in the USO building. I hope they gave him a donut and a cup of hot coffee.

I was reminded of the picture I posted a few weeks ago -- here -- of the boy walking into the USO San Antonio one decade ago, a day after graduating from Basic Military Training.

I don't know much about the United Services Organization but if they provide even one moment of homey comfort to a soldier so far away from the comforts of home -- and I know they do more than that -- I am grateful to them.

God Bless America and each one of those who serve. It's a sacrifice; a selfless and often thankless job that somebody has got to do.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Thursday

Tuesday
Aug082017

Stand by me

To wrap up our visit with Melanie so that we can move forward in the space time continuum, allow me to tell you about our final photo shoot.

It was last Thursday.

Stephanie was en route with her two younger children to spend the night, pose for some pictures, give the kids an opportunity to swim in the pool one last time (for the summer), and collect Melly.

In preparation, Melanie relaxed in a bubble bath. I washed her hair. She dressed in a new top I'd bought for her.

We dried her hair and I pushed it away from her face with a glittery headband of my own. Melly didn't like it and let me know she preferred her usual half-up, half-down.

But I wanted a few pictures of her looking different than usual. Her hair hanging full from the sparkly headband was so glamorous. I teased a little bump behind the sparkle and added a few well-placed squirts of hairspray.

I asked if she'd consent to keep it that way for about a half hour, and also lose her glasses.

She liked that wild idea even less than the hairdo, but with some wheedling, I prevailed.

The result was several pretty pictures that I will treasure. Melanie liked them too.

Proving once again that sometimes you have to shake things up.

So then it was parking on the front porch, waiting for mama to come around the bend, which she did, right on schedule. Melanie was ecstatic.

Now is the time for me to tell you a family secret: Melanie refuses to stand beside her sister when pictures are taken.

It can get ugly. 

Some opine that it is because Allissa tends to be bossy; others suggest that Melanie tends to be bratty.

I say it's a little bit of each. Both. And then there's normal sibling rivalry. Bless their hearts.

Ah well.

This picture perfectly sums up the way things are:

Haaaahahaha. Look at Melanie's face. She's having none of it.

Since it's difficult to reason with Melanie as one might with other children, we work around her.

As in, I promised all week that if she'd let me get some pictures of her mother with herself and her sister and brother, without making trouble, she wouldn't be required to stand next to Allissa.

She agreed by not actively disagreeing and for the most part, it went well as long as the girls' mother acted as a physical buffer.

See Melly above? Can you guess what she's looking at? It's Rizzo, behind the big planter. You can just see the tip of his nose as he attempts to photo bomb.

It was humid so after this shot we headed back inside where I had set up lights in a few different locations. Erica was coming over too, and Audrey with Dagny. 

Remember the aunts and uncles pictures? It was that scene again, only with Melanie this time. The last one. Uncle Andrew is away so he couldn't be included.

First I asked Audrey and Dagny to pose in front of my backdrop which I love, but which is too narrow for most of the shots I want. Bear in mind I am a perpetual beginner.

Something must be done about it. But not today.

I put Steph and the kids in front of a distressed-brick backdrop and tried to squeeze everyone into the frame.

Melanie looks as if she came with another group and wandered into our photo. But we'll take it.

Then I put them in the open window backdrop and got one that I rather like, only I wish everyone was wearing black. Do you see it? The gothic vibe?

It helps that Stephanie could double for Morticia Addams.

Come to think of it, Allissa could pass for Wednesday Addams.

I'll have to engineer that one next time.

We repaired to the sun room and took a few shots there.

Back upstairs in the regular studio, it was time to get down to business. Pizza had been ordered and everyone was ravenous.

I was working against time.

Audrey and Dagny had posed a bit earlier while I was checking lighting, and I was reminded of how much I love photos of people looking at one another. Dag and Audge connect instantly, with great eye contact.

So I began suggesting to Melanie that she cozy up to her Aunt Audrey, hoping that I could get a shot similar to this of the two of them.

But she began doing her impersonation of a mule. A particularly recalcitrant one.

Her mother scolded her. I put my camera down and said I wasn't going to fight with her about it. I was tired.

But Stephanie persisted, not willing to give up just yet. Something she said reminded me of an anxious day in late December of 2004, when Melanie was less than a week old and had just come home from the hospital.

Because of Melly's cleft palate, she had to be fed through a piece of thin tubing that was positioned just so in her tiny throat, after which a quantity of formula was plunged through the tubing into her waiting stomach.

Stephanie had sat up on the sofa all night that first night, coaxing drops of nourishment into her baby's body. By morning, my daughter was so pale, she was nearly transparent. She needed sleep.

I was not able to work the tubing and feed the baby. I was afraid. But not Audrey. I can still see her hunched over Melanie's infant seat, deftly placing the tube down the baby's throat and plunging in the formula while Stephanie caught a few blessed hours of rest.

Yes; there is room for shame in my game. I reminded Melanie in no uncertain terms of the debt she owes to her Aunt Audrey. If you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat, is my motto.

And we got some shots.

Then it was Aunt Erica's turn. Erica is like a whisperer. Little kids and animals adore her and, as the male population to Scarlett O'Hara, "just naturally flock to her."

Melanie marched right over there and posed with her aunt.

Now the North Carolina contingent has returned home and summer is on the wane and school is starting, and the grandkid visits are done.

I'll be editing pictures until the first yellow leaf drifts by the window, accompanied by a shower of acorns on the roof.

And so it goes.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Tuesday

Wednesday
Aug022017

Melly Belle in the house

Our eldest granddaughter, Melanie, is in Columbia for her summer week at Mamaw and Papaw's house.

Her siblings, Allissa and Andrew, had their weeks with us earlier in the season.

Melanie is twelve and our special needs angel baby. She had issues at her birth and struggles to communicate.

None of which prevents her from enjoying life.

On Sunday, we had a photo shoot here at the house, both in the studio and outside. The weather was mild and Melly (I've always called her that -- sometimes expanded to Melly Belle for Beautiful Melly) was greatly enthusiastic.

She especially liked the part where Rizzo joined her on the swing out by the pool. He loves her and she reciprocates his affection.

On the front porch in late afternoon shadows, I used a ring light and it reflected in Melly's glasses, resulting in what I consider a great shot.

She has the prettiest eyes, lovely white skin, and a glorious tumble of thick chestnut-colored hair.

Yesterday we had a number of errands to run. We're in the market for a certain large kitchen appliance -- the kind which provides cool storage -- and Melly had a ball opening all of the doors to said appliances at the local home improvement stores.

She really liked the one that has a window in the door. You knock and it lights up inside to showcase your provisions. We won't be buying that one but we inspected it at length anyway.

The best thing about our Melanie? You could not ask for someone who shops and shops and shops without ever a single complaint or demand.

In fact, the salesman at one store, after we'd conferred about various options for what must have seemed like an eternity to Melly, asked if he could have the honor of being formally introduced to her.

As in, he was so impressed with her behavior, he wanted to shake her hand and tell her he enjoyed meeting her. She liked that.

Later, at home, she put on a new nightshirt we'd bought for her that day, and went to bed as quiet as a little lamb.

She's a delight to have around. I wish you could know her.

Tomorrow her family will come to spend the night and swim and visit, before taking her home on Friday.

I think this calls for another shopping trip today, to buy Melly something pretty to wear. It's one of our traditions when the grands come to visit.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Wednesday

Monday
Jul312017

Oh look

So here in Columbia, we are gearing up for Total Eclipse Weekend 2017.

Banners have been affixed to lightposts throughout our fair city, proclaiming Columbia as the best place from which to view totality.

Although, depending upon which website you read, the best place from which to witness the moon blocking out the sun on that day could also be Jefferson City, Missouri; Lincoln, Nebraska; Casper, Wyoming; Nashville, Tennessee; Charleston, South Carolina; and a privately-owned farm in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

In addition to countless other places. Who knows. Conflicting information on this topic is as plentiful as stars in the sky.

(At any rate, the Kentucky farmer says he's prepared for what and who may descend upon his land on that day. I wonder.)

One website states unequivocally: No human action can disrupt the incessant dance of the cosmos, and the Moon's shadow will not wait on you if you're not ready.

At least on that point, we can agree.

Eclipse totality is set to begin in Columbia at 2:41 p.m. on Monday, August 21, 2017, lasting anywhere from two minutes and thirty seconds to two minutes and thirty-six seconds, depending on whom you believe.

What we know is that Columbia is the third largest city in the United States on the center line of totality, as well as the largest city in South Carolina with the longest period of totality

Word on the street is that over one million people live within a day's driving distance of someplace where totality will be visible (given that the weather cooperates), between Oregon and the South Carolina coast.

Lots of them will be on the roads in the days leading up to eclipse day.

According to some sources, untold tens of thousands who have had plans in place for years to visit a location in the path of totality, also have alternate plans if the place they're headed for turns out to have a cloudy forecast.

Even so, have you heard anything about this in the lamestream drive-by media? I haven't. But then, shortly after the (Trump) inauguration and the vile ensuing madness, I stopped listening.

I have read that thousands are expected to set up camp at Lake Murray, a five-minute drive from my house. I won't be going anywhere near that place on the weekend in question.

I plan to be at home on the day, also purposefully not participating in any of the dozens of highly commercialized activities (such as, at a local dramshop, happy hour with water balloons) revolving around the spectacular event. Doors and gates will be locked.

If you want in, you'd better know the code and keep to it. Rain or shine, we'll be outside by the pool.

My dentist, Dr. W, must have heard my heartfelt cry for clear weather on the day because a thick half-page-sized envelope arrived in the mail last week, from his office.

Not a peep from my eye doctor. Still waiting.

I have a habit of ripping what I deem junk mail -- missives from my dentist fall solidly into that category -- into two or three pieces and chucking them, unopened and unread, into the trash.

The packet in question was a hair's breadth from being file-thirteened thusly when I sensed something rigid inside the envelope. Thinking maybe Dr. W had sent me a fridge magnet, I went ahead and grabbed the letter opener.

Oh look! Eclipse shades -- two pair. That's one less thing to do prior to eight twenty-one seventeen.

I wonder, will my eye doctor be sending a toothbrush, when he finally weighs in on the subject? Because even I know, you can't view the eclipse with un-brushed teeth. They'll fall out.

Just kidding. 

Where will you be on Total Solar Eclipse Day 2017? I can't wait to hear about how you celebrate it, what you see, and the amazing things you hope to experience.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Monday

Friday
Jul282017

Godspeed Andrew

The son and heir has arrived in the Middle East and is getting acclimated, once again, to the desert conditions. 

We would appreciate your prayers for his safe return home in mid-September.

Once I sent Andrew the following lines, which, although written about a fictional detective over seventy years ago, always remind me of him:

Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean,
who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything.
He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man.
He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct,
by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it.
He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.

He is a common man or he could not go among common people.
He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job.
He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence
without a due and dispassionate revenge.
He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man
or be very sorry you ever saw him.

He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right,
because it belongs to the world he lives in. If there were enough like him,
I think the world would be a very safe place to live in,
and yet not too dull to be worth living in.

= Raymond Chandler =

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Happy Friday

Wednesday
Jul262017

Deer ones, we are gathered

Remember when we went to Pittsburgh? It was this past March.

When we hatched the plan for our trip and initially began clearing the decks for takeoff, the weather in our destination was forecast as ideal: sunny, in the mid fifties.

But as the day of departure approached, the predicted daily temperatures in Pittsburgh plummeted to somewhere between incredible and ridiculous.

As in, snow, with highs in the mid twenties. Also significant wind chill -- something I dimly remember (as in, I have tried to forget) from many years spent living in the Midwest.

Naturally, even with a fifty-fifty (or better) chance the meteorologists were dead wrong, the latter is the forecast that turned out to be correct.

Since part of our stay in Pitt was to include extensive time touring and photographing a huge historic cemetery -- don't judge -- I was obliged to seriously rethink my traveling wardrobe.

No worries. I still own a suitably warm and subtly glamorous winter coat and all the layers necessary to be outside in authentic winter weather.

Secretly, as I packed, I was excited at the prospect of seeing "up north" snow at a time when, where I live, the first flowers of spring were blooming as though June were in hot pursuit. 

We got on the road mid-morning on departure day and arrived at our hotel after nightfall. After settling in and before bedtime, I glanced outside. A wet snow had begun to slick the parking lot. 

The next morning, I peeked again to find the hundreds of trees on a nearby rolling hill transformed by snow. Everything was white except the sky, which was blue-gray, awash with scudding clouds that hadn't yet said all their piece.

TG had some business to see to in town. I drank coffee, checked all systems go on the cameras, and got ready in a leisurely fashion.

By noon or so we were driving the lanes of the cemetery, casing the joint as it were. The sky was all brilliant blue and white by now, and I was disappointed. I dislike taking pictures in bright midday light, but here was my opportunity and at least the sun kept the temperature up around twenty-five. 

Eventually I saw a monument I simply had to observe at closer range. I got out and began walking while TG parked. 

Within five minutes, gray clouds moved in on the stiff wind and the day became overcast again. For the next two hours, we experienced everything from horizontal sleet to frenetic snow to biting winds to cheerful sun.

It was perfect.

I said to TG that we couldn't have chosen a more ideal day to photograph this cemetery. I must have been touched by an angel because truly? Yes, we could have. The weather was awful.

But its fickleness and the coming-and-going of the dark clouds and spates of precipitation made for a moodiness that one longs for when taking pictures of hundred-plus-year-old tombs. The snaky bare arms of trees were just the counterpoint for the changing sky and endless marmoreal landscape.

In mid afternoon we broke for lunch. Later, all sunny now, blowing snow a memory, we returned for the golden light. It was while on a lane somewhere in the depths of Allegheny Cemetery's three hundred acres that I first saw them.

I had just photographed the massive Boyle monument, clambering like a mountain goat up the knoll on which it stands to catch it from every possible angel angle.

As I stepped back toward the car to ride forward a few hundred yards (it was so cold), TG held the door for me. I was ready to get in when I heard myself sputtering: Deer ... deer ... DEER!

TG answered with the most quizzical expression, like: What ... what ... WHAT?

I realized he thought I was saying dear ... like, the homophone, the endearment. The pronoun. Perfectly understandable.

But I wasn't. I was flabbergasted by the sight, thirty-or-so feet beyond our car's front bumper, of a whole line of deer casually appearing from behind the bulky mausoleum which stands guard over the Boyle angel, and walking across the lane to the graves grazing on the other side.

They were so close. And they ignored us.

I cameraed up and started clicking. TG was still as stone by then, taking in the sight which, no matter how much you think it wouldn't be, is always amazing to see: wildlife simply being wildlife, as though humans -- alive or dead -- neither exist nor matter.

And there is just something about wildlife in a cemetery. Maybe it's the peace. I'll get back to you on that, or having seen these photos, perhaps you will form your opinion of just what it is, that is extra special about this unexpected treat.

We'd already witnessed a gaggle of Canadian geese waddling and pecking; darling to be sure, but not as heart-stopping as deer on the hoof.

I took picture after picture until, satisfied I'd covered the subject, we moved on. I don't remember whether we saw the deer any more that day, except perhaps from a distance.

The next day, we went back. It was even colder than the day before. But as we drove around looking for things we hadn't yet seen, we encountered the deer in even larger numbers. 

While I took more pictures, a man came along the road who seemed to be well acquainted with the deer population. They knew his car and began walking towards him in groups as he slowed. He soon produced buckets of corn, which the deer appropriated as though having ordered takeout and being glad for fast, courteous service.

The man told us he feeds the deer twice a day and has been doing so for many years, at his own expense. He reported that cemetery officials call him when, as had happened that very morning, one of the deer wanders off the reservation and into city traffic (the cemetery is situated in a heavily populated urban area), and gets killed.

He speculated that at least one hundred-fifty deer of all ages make Allegheny Cemetery their home at any given time, having swum the nearby Allegheny River to gain the sanctuary of its vast wooded confines.

He described how they hunker down against tombstones to sleep on cold winter nights, how sometimes unscrupulous hunters enter the cemetery illegally with bow and arrow to kill the deer, and how the bucks' shed antlers are routinely stolen by human scavengers. The does and fawns do the best they can.

While he talked, I kept clicking and wondering what it must be like for a deer family to live out its days in Allegheny Cemetery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If I could, I would have asked one; but they weren't talking.

Still, it was a privilege to meet them on a wintry day in almost-spring, and to photograph them simply being themselves, mostly untouched and unafraid, in their chosen habitat.

If you'd like to browse my entire Allegheny Cemetery gallery, as well as other galleries, click here.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Wednesday

Sunday
Jul232017

Home of the Braves

Sorry to be silent for so long.

TG and I came home from a short trip to Atlanta -- home of the Braves as well as Coca Cola, Chick-fil-A, and Delta Airlines -- to find that our internet service had broken down for approximately the dozenth time in ten months.

I waited a few days for the internet to heal itself. When it became obvious that I'd have better luck waiting for Johnny Depp to call and ask for my advice regarding his financial problems, I contacted our service provider.

A technician came out the next day. He was the last in a long line, all of whom have offered their own take on the problem and its solution. None of which have proved to be entirely accurate. So far.

Have you ever noticed that as many people connected with the cable/internet company to whom you put the same question -- as in, Why don't I get the internet service I pay for? -- that's how many different answers you're going to get?

They're a textbook example of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing -- or even of knowing there IS a left hand. it's a mystery.

At any rate, it's sorted -- I think -- for the nonce. We'll see how long it lasts. In whatever size window I am given to tell you about our trip, I will attempt to do so.

We went to Atlanta for a Braves game. They were playing our beloved Chicago Cubs. 

But first, we had lunch at historic Mary Mac's Tea Room, in Midtown. If you ever get to go, take it from me: have the chicken fried chicken and sweet potato soufflé.

The weather was close to perfect. Not too hot, not stifling, and even a trifle stormy as game time approached.

We were stoked about seeing brand-new SunTrust Park with our own eyes. It was pretty great and we can't wait to go back.

I am enamored of the historic ball parks first -- like Wrigley Field in Chicago, which I've seen and will soon see again, God willing -- and Fenway Park in Boston, which I haven't seen but I hope to before shuffling off this mortal coil.

For our first date -- August 24, 1978 -- TG took me to see the Chicago White Sox play the Kansas City Royals, at Old Comiskey Park. I wasn't a baseball fan then. The Sox won, 4-0. I'm pretty sure I didn't fully appreciate that fine old ball park on the South Side of Chicago. It's long gone now.

But the new ball parks are beautiful too, and very much worth visiting.

I decided against taking one of the Nikons into the park because, in reading the rules ahead of time, I learned that you're only allowed a five-inch lens.

If I'd gone to the trouble of toting a heavy camera, I wanted it made even heavier with my Nikkor 18-200 which is the longest lens I own.

To get some close-ups, don't you know.

But it measures more than five inches even before I zoom in.

So I didn't bother and what you see here is unabashed iPhoneography. I'd apologize but I do have an iPhone 7.

Which takes much better photos than my first digital camera could have dreamed of. But that still doesn't mean that if you can aim your iPhone, you're a photographer.

We walked in towards the Chop House Gate -- rather central to the action -- even though to access our seats we'd have to go around to the Third Base Gate.

I opted to walk up the noisy concourse before hanging a left and walking around the outside of the stadium to our gate.

There were scads of Cubs fans. In fact we'd started seeing them at the restaurant and saw more at our hotel.

I identified my loyalties by wearing my Rizzo jersey. Number 44 -- Cubs First Baseman and my beloved dog. Take your pick. And yes, my jersey has the World Series Champions 2016 patch.

TG wore his RESPECT Cubs t-shirt from last year's post season. Apols for not getting a pic. He looked handsome.

As we skirted the stadium, the crowds grew thicker and the clouds got darker and lightning winked in the distance. I sensed a game delay in our future.

And sure enough, by the time we were seated and game time arrived, the field was still covered. The first pitch wasn't thrown until about nine o'clock.

I didn't care. I'm a night owl and we'd arranged to meet and sit with some old friends there, who live in the Atlanta area. My friend and I yakked and visited while the dark clouds glowered at us from the west, and cloud-to-ground lightning snaked down every few minutes.

The game was good as our team led all the way and got even better toward the end, when the Braves tried tomahawk-chopping themselves to a victory over the Cubs, but ultimately failed.

Cubs won 4-3. Go Cubs go.

Next day, coming back home over the Dreher Shoals Dam near our house, the sky was so blue and white and it was so hot. Columbia: Famously Hot. Our official slogan.

I craved the friendly confines of my cool air-conditioned home and was so happy to see it.

Summer continues. Let's see how long our famously sketchy internet service can do the same.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Monday

Wednesday
Jul122017

Wordless Wednesday :: Summertime


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Happy Wednesday