Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com


Home of Jenny the Pirate



This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.


We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.


 Nice is different than good.


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



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


I am a Blue Star Mother




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 =



The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were






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.


Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson



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



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


Keep To The Code








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




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
    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
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
  • 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
    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
    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



Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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A situation well in hand

Since it's October for only a few more hours, I thought I'd regale you with a tale having to do with a cemetery.

I walked the cemetery briefly in August, and like many delightful discoveries, it was unplanned. At least by me.

It was on the side trip that we took to visit Cheryl and Alan in Greenville, Ohio, the seat of Darke County.

The Arments took us out to lunch, then we went to the park where I told you about the squeaky little bridge over a cool and bubbly creek.

For all I know, the creek meanders for miles.

Our last stop before leaving town was Greenville Union Cemetery. Cheryl wanted me to see it because she knows I'm a taphophile: I love to wander amongst the tombs.

Remember how I told you I erased a data card, losing all of my photos of the dummies at Vent Haven? That was in the evening of this same day. The regrettable action was preceded, however, by another camera-related thing that I rarely (if ever) do.

I allowed the battery to die. Fitting thing to realize just as you're about to take pictures of tombstones.

Remember I told you, sleep deprivation was beginning to make me do crazy things.

So I put my camera back into its case and grabbed my iPhone and started walking around the cemetery with Cheryl. I was so mad at myself for the fact that I couldn't use my camera.

But my phone is a newer one and at least I had it. The on-board cameras nowadays take better photos than my first two digital cameras put together.

Even so, in such a situation I prefer to be wielding one of my Nikons. Because as I looked around, I was amazed to find this small-town cemetery teeming with angels and unusual monuments -- one so impressive, I haven't seen many to rival it, even in massive metropolitan cemeteries.

And I have walked many dozens of cemeteries. Maybe even a hundred.

I tried not to panic -- when would I ever get a chance to come back here? -- and told myself it was no big deal. It wasn't the "golden hour" -- that last hour of daylight, when pictures take on a magical quality. The light was too bright, too overhead, all wrong.

But I'd take pictures anyway, because I couldn't not take pictures. With my phone, which felt touristy and dumb. It was such a beautiful place. And Cheryl had brought me there, knowing I would enjoy it. 

It wasn't long before I realized, I was standing purely by chance and luck in the middle of a cemetery that I would have taken considerable pains to see, had I known of its existence. 

And not only did I not have my camera, but I had almost no time in which to explore. 

There was a monument that looked to be thirty feet high, topped by a life-sized angel with upswept wings. Beneath her, in a columned rotunda of sorts, stood the stone figures of three women. One held a scepter-like object while another cradled an infant.

The third held an armful of lilies. More carvings of lilies encrusted the bases of the ionic columns, and of the figures' pedestals.

I was too enraptured to even read the names.

Looking in another direction, I saw an angel who stood with her wings upswept against a cross. I've seen many of these, but she was a honey of an example.

There was even an angel missing a hand. I love those. Headless is better, but handless is great.

There's just something about those. I cannot explain why they fascinate me but it's nothing morbid. You'll have to trust me on that. It has to do with the hope of permanence and the ultimate inevitable fragility.

Speaking of permanence, we weren't there more than twenty minutes. After all, TG and I were on vacation. Chop chop.

In my dreams I am back at Greenville Union Cemetery, an hour before sundown on a cool, autumn or spring day. There are either flaming leaves or tender new flowers, in abundance.

My camera is fully charged and no one's waiting for me to finish so that we can move on and do something else. I wander at a leisurely pace and set up all the shots my heart desires.

The angels and other stone figures wait patiently for me there, and in countless other cemeteries I've yet to visit and photograph.

For this one I'll echo Scarlett O'Hara: Tomorrow is another day.

That day being the first day of November. I hope it's a good one for you.

And that is all for now.


Happy Tuesday


What I did last summer

Here in South Carolina, summer typically begins some time around Easter and ends some time around Thanksgiving.

Almost. Usually. All you really need to know is, it's hot and humid much of the year.

And since it still feels like summer here (sort of; no, the temps aren't in the sweltering nineties but neither is there any reason to wear long sleeves), I thought I'd share with you some pictures and videos summing up our season.

We'll start with some footage I took during the Memorial Day weekend:

That's Dagny, sporting inflatable water wings, swinging. Cousin Allissa, in town for the holiday weekend, gave her the friendly shove. 

In June and July, mainly we had hot weather. And hummingbirds. 

Notice our old front door out back at the corner of the fence. That was my idea.

Because we got a new (and frankly fabulous) front door last year. The person who installed our new door wanted our old door, to put on a shed at his church.

Mmmmmm, no, said I. I am keeping my door, to put in the back yard. As a decoration.

The door installer sulked for awhile, perhaps judging me. I can handle that. The door is original to our house.

Fun Fact: The shiny brass numbers 119 sat on the desk in our kitchen for years. Periodically I would beseech nag TG to affix the numbers to our front door, which he had sweetly painted black at my behest, because our house number is nowhere on our actual house (it is stenciled at the curb where I hope EMS will notice when and if there is a medical emergency).

But TG was disinclined to acquiesce to my request for all of those years, until the door was installed at the corner of the fence in back. I put the numbers, still in their packaging, on the counter one last time and next thing I knew, they were on the door.

Feel free to link to Pinterest. For the amazingness of either door.

Now let's fast forward to August, when TG and I took a trip. (You already know about our visit to Vent Haven and how I stupidly deleted pictures from my data card.)

On our way to visit with TG's sister in Northwest Ohio, we stopped for the night with Cherdecor -- whose blog I have followed for years -- and her family, in Greenville, Ohio.

The next day, after lunch and before we left, Cheryl and her husband, Alan, took us to a park with a vintage bridge over some merrily bubbling water.

Here is a look at the bridge, whose cables squeak when you walk over it:

We arrived later that day at the home of my sister-in-law, who had to work until the wee hours due to an emergency at the office. We didn't even see her, but we ate pizza with her husband. The next morning, we left for Chicago.

You know what we did there: We went to a Cubs game. TG ruffled the feathers of a Chicago policeman (short story) and we feared he'd get a ticket, but it has not so far materialized. The Cubs lost. It was still a great time, though. The weather was perfect; neither hot nor cold, and no pesky high humidity.

Here's video/audio of Gary Pressy, the Cubs' organist for thirty years (he's never missed a game) playing Sweet Georgia Brown as the Cincinnati Reds have their batting practice and fans file into the second-oldest stadium in major league baseball:


The next morning, from our hotel room window in Wrigleyville, TG noticed the demolition of an old apartment building between the hotel and the El tracks. It would have been hard not to notice:

It is what it is.

After taking that video, we walked across Belmont Avenue to have breakfast at Clarke's Diner. Here's a view from our booth, to the front of the building which is being demolished:

I had a waffle. It was good. Later that day, I almost met Theo Epstein.

Next up, we went back to Ohio, stopping along the way to visit some very dear friends from when we used to live in the Chicagoland area. I didn't take pictures; we were too busy catching up.

Once back at my sister-in-law's house, we found her at home, having resolved her issues at work, where she is in management. The next morning, TG played golf with an old classmate. I tagged along and drove the cart.

I got pretty bossy; and oh how I hate my voice on tape. Are you that way? I should learn to keep my mouth shut and just take the pictures. And the videos. I should also learn, when taking said videos, to re-orient my camera phone to landscape. Andrew makes fun of me but you know: Old dog, new tricks.

That night, we ate supper at The Spaghetti Warehouse in Toledo, with more of TG's old classmates from Rossford High School where he's a member of the Class of '70.

Spaghetti Warehouse sits down Superior Street from Fifth Third Stadium, where the Toledo Mud Hens play. Also there's Packo's at the Park, a Hungarian hot dog joint. I love neon signage -- doesn't everybody? -- so here you go:

Next thing you know, it's Friday, and time to go up into Michigan to visit Mari and Bob, and also with Judy.

I had looked forward to this for a long time, having been blog buddies with Mari of My Little Corner of the World for AGES and with Judy for not as long a time, but still blog buddies.

So we drove northwest toward Lansing while Mari and Bob tacked mostly east, slightly south, from Allendale. We met at Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen in Lansing for a wonderful meal. This was probably one of the three highlights of my summer.

I'm so fortunate that this lovely lady is my friend. I handed TG my phone and told him to take a picture. It wasn't his fault that it was set on video, and he doesn't have an iPhone so he didn't know he took a four-second movie instead of a photo.

Mari's Bob -- the talented artist who carved my beloved Jenny the Pirate statue, was taking actual photos. Mari wanted an "up and down one" and I bet she got it.

Reluctantly leaving Bob and Mari, we drove back south and stopped in Brighton for a visit with Judy of Onward and Upward -- Ever Forward. What a darling lady.

Once in Judy's 'hood and cruising toward her house, I was transfixed by these two massive bird statues. Or at least, I thought they were statues. They stood stock-still!

Those almost look real, I remarked to TG.

They are real, he said. And backed the car up.

Well shut my mouth. They started moving. I nearly dropped my phone.

Judy laughed when we told her, a few minutes later. The sand cranes! They look like pterodactyls when they fly overhead to and from the marshland, she said, amazed as we were at the sand cranes' size.

We had a lovely visit with Judy. It was a beautiful late-summer day and her wide windows were open to let in the breeze.

TG took one of me with Judy, and I took one of Judy saying farewell to him.

Later that same day, in the evening, TG and I visited his parents' graves for the first time since my mother-in-law's funeral. TG's brother and sister, Ron and Ruth, plus my brother-in-law John and sister-in-law Marcia, were there too. Then we went to Cracker Barrel.

The next day we headed home, just in time for the eclipse. We stopped in Urbana, Ohio, to see TG's aged aunt and uncle, who live in an assisted-living facility there. We also saw Chelsey, the wife of our nephew. They moved back to Urbana just a few months ago. Our nephew, Dan, was at work. They used to live in Darlington, South Carolina, where he was a pastor.

Not long after we got back home, Brittany came to visit us for a weekend. Andrew was still deployed. They weren't ring-engaged yet. We goofed around with some videos and I captured Audrey and Brittany being lovely:

Shortly after that, on a Saturday TG and I took Rizzo to the mobile vet to renew his prescription of flea-and-tick meds. His hackles went up because other dogs dared to be present:

A few weeks later, Andrew was home. We all met in Rock Hill to celebrate our Stephanie's birthday. Dagny got a lot of mileage out of her piece of Aunt Steph's cake:

That was on September 8th. Hurricane Irma was barreling toward the coast where she'd make landfall on September 10th. Folks were anxious to get away from her. On our way back south that night, here's how the traffic looked on I-77:

We experienced Irma's outermost bands in Columbia on Monday, September 11th. Here's how it looked that day, outside my fabulous front door:

And here was the view from my kitchen window, where a hungry hummingbird was determined to get some fast food from the fly-thru:

A few weeks later, TG and I went with now-ring-engaged Brittandrew and not-yet-ring-engaged Cherica, to Atlanta for the next-to-last Braves home game of the season.

I told you all about that in this recent post but what I didn't show you is the way Braves fans do the tomahawk chop with their phone flashlights lit. It's nutty:

Andrew got into the spirit of things, happy guy that he was to be back in the USA and engaged to his girl.

A few weeks later, I got up on a Sunday morning and was about to make coffee when I spotted something funny-looking lurking in the folds of my dishcloth, which sat on the edge of the sink.

It was this creature -- some kind of frog or toad -- who had somehow gotten inside and found my damp dishcloth, and was snuggled in there like he owned it.

I took him outside. Where I hope he will stay.

Later that same day (I think), I took some footage of Dagny exclaiming -- as she does every week -- about what all she got in her Sunday School Sack. That's what the teachers call it. Dag begins with a show-and-tell of her paper that she colored:

Later on, she sulked and pouted when we wanted her to stand on the air conditioning vent, which is also something she does every week. Andrew teased her mercilessly:

Later still, her mood was much improved with the consumption of a sucker enjoyed in the church lobby just before leaving for home:

A few days on, the Cubs clinched the division title at Wrigley Field. They "flew the dubya" that night but were later defeated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the championship series, for the National League Pennant. Their season is over. I'm rooting for the Dodgers to win the World Series.

Meanwhile, Dagny was hanging out with me not long ago and I was eating salad. She had already had her lunch but expressed a keen desire to share my salad. Naturally I gave her some and we decided to film it for her mother, who was out for a few hours:

OK the way she pronounces the word salad ... I can't even.

Later I built Dagny a LEGO house for her pig characters. She always wants me to get down in the floor with her and "build" and she even gets the blankets and pillows for me to sit on becuase she knows I'm old and decrepit. Be careful! she admonishes me. Don't hurt yourself! Concerned citizen that she is.

Then, next thing we knew, Erica and Chad got engaged. Here she is on the following Sunday, showing off her ring to lots of ladies while Chad hangs around in the background:

The very next weekend -- only a few days ago -- Brittany was with us to celebrate her birthday. We had homemade barbecue and a store-bought cake, and naturally we sang. That's Audrey, not me, going up high at the end:

Here's a better look at that cake, which we decorated with a paper poodle left over from Dagny's Paris-themed third birthday party in June:

And here's a look at some of Brittany's presents, before they were opened:

That same day at church, Dagny was in high spirits as she once again stood on the vent. Maybe it's because Brittany stood with her and Andrew was nearby too:

Then only yesterday, Dagny and I built an even bigger, better LEGO castle for the pigs:

That brings you current.

Stay tuned for further shenanigans.

And that is all for now.


Happy Wednesday


It might as well be spring: #cherica

Romance -- the genuine marrying kind -- has settled in amongst us and established residency. We've all moved over to allow sufficient room for it to thrive and prosper.

On the heels of the thrilling news of Andrew's engagement to Brittany, we are equally overjoyed to announce the engagement of our Erica to Mr. Chad Gregory Porter.

He proposed last Thursday evening, at sunset, on the Harry Easterling Bridge, a vintage trestle structure over the Broad River at Peak, South Carolina.

It was the site of one of their first dates -- they began sparking eleven months to the day before their engagement, on the occasion of our Andrew's house warming party last November -- and remains a place where they love to walk and experience nature.

After Erica said Yes! -- repeating herself, I am told, at least three times after the initial enthusiastic assent -- the two went for Neapolitan pizza at The Pompeii Oven in nearby Chapin, South Carolina.

But first, they began bombarding my phone with pictures of the ring. Okay: I asked for the pictures because we were all waiting at home with a celebratory dessert for the couple, dying to clap eyes on that small but mighty sparkly object.

We feel Chad outdid himself in the ring-picking-out department, and we told him so.

(He didn't do too badly in the wife-selection department either. Just saying.)

Erica has proclaimed her ring to be mysterious in its allure, and it is clear to the casual onlooker that this slightly zany observation gives her unlimited joy.

Meanwhile, in between night falling earlier and earlier these days, and the newly-engaged couple being hard to pin down on account of Chad having closed on the purchase of a house this week, and being busy moving, I have had a difficult time getting a decent picture of them.

As with Andrew and Brittany, a proper engagement shoot is planned for the near future. Until then, this parting shot will have to do.

We'd just had lunch yesterday, after church. As per usual for October in South Carolina, the outdoors was sweltering and sun-soaked like mid-summer. Poor Chad lamented his ability to do anything but squint into the camera, it was so bright where I stood.

But you get the idea. They're happy. We're happy they're happy. Everyone should be so happy.

An April wedding is in the works. Won't that be splendid?

Actual springtime, when these widespread manifestations of twitterpation will result in much lace-wearing and vow-taking and rice-throwing and honeymooning and all that rot.

Because it really is love that makes the world go 'round.

And that is all for now except for me to say once again: Congratulations, darlings.


Happy Monday


In which I do something dumb. Involving dummies.

So last August, I did something I've never done before. Actually, a few things.

Allow me to elaborate.

For a number of years I've wanted to visit a place called Vent Haven, in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. That's basically Cincinnati but a few hundred yards over the line in a contiguous state to the south.

No; I am not a ventriloquist. Also I've never had any more interest than the next person in the art of ventriloquism.

Naturally, as a child, I was enthralled by the likes of Senõr Wences and Johnny with the disconcerting trout-like mouth, and of course Lamb Chop. It was, like, mandatory.

But ventriloquism dummies fascinate me for one reason: completely creepy.

As in, deliciously weird, sort of scary, offbeat, off the wall, slightly spooky. You know.

I'm not sure how my consciousness was raised to Vent Haven, which bills itself as the only museum in the world dedicated to ventriloquism.

The museum is situated in an older residential neighborhood and boasts, in addition to the main house (not part of the museum) several outbuildings which contain the dolls and various exhibits.

It's only open for ten-dollar guided tours from May through September. For many years, whenever we'd cruise up through there on I-75 en route to Northwest Ohio to visit relatives, there would be any number of reasons that stopping was inconvenient or out of the question.

Not this time. TG and I set out from home in mid-August and made our way north. First we spent a night in Knoxville, where we had dinner with Andrew's beloved Brittany. Andrew was deployed at the time.

The next day, we motored up to Kentucky and located Vent Haven. I'd been in contact with the lady who runs the place, to arrange for our visit.

When we arrived, several other tourists were on hand to take the guided tour with us.

Right here I'm going to pull over and park. Admission: I despise guided tours. I guess I'm too ornery but all I want to do is be left alone to stand or walk or stare or read or absorb -- or any combination of those things -- without being told what I'm seeing, or given all sorts of back story.

My feeling is, if I require information, I'll ask a question. Simple; easy to remember.

(I know; it's a character flaw to be so mulish. Throw it on the pile with all the others. If I seem less than repentant, I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.)

At Vent Haven? Nothing not meticulously, assiduously, fervently, thoroughly, diligently, relentlessly guided is permitted, encouraged, or available.*

And I mean nothing.

It's all done in a bright, friendly, upbeat sort of way. It's only when you step one millimeter out of line that you're treated to a virtual smack on the back of your hand with a virtual old-school hefty wooden ruler.

Now, I'd asked the museum's curator if I would be allowed to take pictures. To be honest, I'm not sure I would have paid the money and taken the tour if the answer had been no. It was yes. Well, some. Some photography is allowed, I was told.


You can't publish them, was the caveat. I assumed that meant online.

OK except, there are hundreds of photos of Vent Haven and its dummies online. The reason I wanted to visit in the first place was because I'd seen them.

Let that sink in. Photos? Yes. No. Maybe. We don't know.

Shall we continue.

Our group was ushered into the first of several small buildings where the collection resides. The talking heads were lined up row upon row, occupying special risers built just for them.

The walls were crammed with photos relating to the art of ventriloquism, its performers, and the dummies.

I was warned not to take a picture of a picture, as every last one of them was one-hundred-percent copyrighted. By dead photographers.

I was admonished not to allow my camera strap to so much as brush up against anything, not least an actual dummy.

We were all advised that using flash would harm and deteriorate the dolls and to refrain from using even an assist light lest we contribute to the demise of the entire ventriloquism universe.

We were reminded that touching anything -- anything -- except four cheap dummies that we were allowed to hold and play with at the conclusion of touring the first building, would get us pitched out the door in the general direction of Cincinnati proper.

But picture-taking was allowed, in a general sort of fashion, as long as you didn't aim your lens in a too-specific way or venture too near to a particular wooden face with its empty, staring, but creepily lifelike eyes.

Some -- many -- of the dummies were off limits and if you wandered into their orbit, strident buzzers sounded and a spotlight illuminated your criminal activity. Helicoptor rotors beat overhead and authorities using bullhorns commanded that you back away and lower your camera or phone, assume the position and put your hands behind your head.

Just kidding; it wasn't quite that intense.

But once? TG wanted to show me something in a second room we'd all been in, after we'd been ushered back out of that room to an adjoining space.

There was a wide doorway at each end of a fifteen-foot-long wall connecting the two rooms.

As TG and I stood -- alone, momentarily, except for hundreds of pairs of painted eyes -- looking at a dummy with the name of Weber (no; not me), the curator/tour guide quickly slid back into the room and gave us the eye. And not the lifeless disinterested whittled kind.

Chastised, we joined the others.

I took at least fifty shots. The picture of me with Achmed the Dead Terrorist (a plastic toy, one of the four dummies intended for use by visitors), of whom I'd never before heard, was taken by TG with my phone.

There was to be no getting my hands on any iteration of Charlie McCarthy. Even if I'd wanted to. Which I didn't.

In due time, expected at the home of Cheryl and Alan Arment to spend the night, we waved bye to the world of ventriloquism and took our leave.

It wasn't until the next evening, when we arrived at the home of my sister-in-law where we'd spend several days, that I did that dumbest of things.

My camera's battery had all but died and I was re-installing it after charging. 

Here I should tell you that for at least two weeks prior to this point in time, I hadn't had a good night's sleep. I had hit a patch of insomnia that had me desperate for even four hours of uninterrupted rest. 

Then there was traveling. I don't as a rule sleep well when not in my own bed, even though wherever I go, my pillow goes with me.

It's the only explanation I have for what I did next: Upon snapping shut the little door that covers my camera's battery, I formatted my SD card. Something I routinely do and have done hundreds of times.

Except this time, I erased my Vent Haven pictures.

It was only a moment or two later when I realized what I'd done. I went online and attempted to figure out if there was a way to recover the deleted data.

There probably was and is a way, but from what I could tell, it involved spending money and I didn't care enough about the photos to do that.

To get through it, I told myself that if I was going to delete photos for the first time in all these years, those were the ones to delete. How could they have been any good anyway?

I was being watched. I was under duress, in constant fear of prosecution. There had been restrictions. Copyrights, rules, regulations, and many carefully averted but no less prying eyes.

But I don't suppose we'll ever know. Takeaway: Get your zzzzz's and keep your grubby hands away from the camera's formatting button until you've double checked that what's on there, has been downloaded.

Oh and, don't forget that sleep deprivation equals temporary insanity.

And that is all for now.

*Turns out that each year at Vent Haven, there is a day set aside for Open House. It's free and visitors are allowed unfettered -- though no less strictly supervised -- access to the dummy collection without taking a guided tour. This year it was on September twenty-fourth, a day I was nowhere near Cincinnati. Perhaps we can plan better next time.


Happy Thursday