Monday, July 30, 2012

Actor! Actor!

Enjoying my summer and doing OK.
For quite a few years, my husband and I visited a dear friend who lives in the bucolic Hudson Valley of New York. It is about an hour and a half outside the city, but the differences can be measured in light years. While everything about NY is large, noisy and with high energy, the countryside outside the city is quaint and serene, and people enjoy the slower pace of life.  This is the home to many celebrities, ordinary people and a few left-over hippies.  It is also home to the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival that runs from June 12th to September 2nd and is held on the grounds of  the Boscobel mansion in Garrison, New York.
The site is situated on a cliff above the Hudson River and people are encouraged to picnic before the show. The scenery is breathtaking. Those times that we were there were some of the loveliest I have had on a vacation, enhanced more so by the old friends with whom we shared the evenings.

We have been unable to attend this festival for the past two years and I have missed these trips.  However, we looked around and have found alternatives.  We realized that towns all over have events like this planned, you just have to let yourself be open to the experiences.  Just because actors do not work in New York, London, or LA does not mean they are any less talented.  As a matter of fact, many of your hometown neighbors may have more talent in their little finger than Angelina Jolie, they just don't have her lips.

Two weeks ago I noticed that the Summer Arts Series in our area was presenting an Evening of Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost.  I checked out the specifics, asked hubby if he was interested (not so much) and invited some friends along (no takers).  Not discouraged, because I knew in the end that hubby would go (just needed some encouragement), I packed a picnic basket of shrimp, cheese, strawberries and freshly baked cookies along with a bottle of fine wine (encouragement for hubby), and with some folding chairs in hand, off we went.  Even though it was only 10 minutes away, we had a little trouble finding the location but after asking around, we were directed to a park located behind the Whole Foods store.  It was not exactly Boscobel.   We were one of the first to arrive but many people had chosen the option of a before-hand dinner held at a restaurant up the street from the event.  Some of the actors were rehearsing so we had a preview of what was to come.  The backdrop was a grove of bushes and it seemed to work very well, although again, not exactly Boscobel.  Behind us sat the matriarch and patriarch of the village and while we dined, they chewed our ears off about the history and politics of the area.  Then our local state senator came and sat with them and like all politicians, soon had his hand in my basket of cookies.  He was a very nice fellow though and I enjoyed getting to know him.  Then the show began.

It got better.

As we drank our fine wine, it got even better.

And after 2 glasses of wine, it got even better.

The event cost us $10.00, the after-show party was $15.00 each and included a beverage, some light fare and a chance to hob-nob with the cast.  A jazz group entertained us as we enjoyed our refreshments in the outside gardens of a 250 year old inn.  The acting troupe was local and will probably never get a chance to play at Boscobel  There were no interesting sets or props, and no jet set people in the audience, but the evening was just fine.  So my advice is to look around your small villages or towns, enjoy what have in your area, meet some new neighbors, and encourage the arts.  You might be surprised at what you find. 

Just in case it does not turn out well though, it might be wise to pack some spirits to get you through the evening.   It can't hurt.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lost, But Now Found

Such a surprise, and I am feeling OK

I thought the little kitten that we tried to catch was gone forever. We had violent storms and stifling heat and I held out little hope for her survival. Tonight we were sitting out on our deck having dinner and saw BB sitting down by the woods. She is usually up on my deck looking for food about that time but she seemed to have something else she rather do.

Your Momma will always find you.


Monday, July 23, 2012

PhotoPrompt Monday, July 23, 2012

The Birthday Present
Thanks to Susan Kane at
Thoughts of a boy and his new cat:

Johnny:  I wanted a dog, a big black boy dog and I got a cat, a lady cat."

Fluffy:  No way am I going to run after that stick.

Johnny:  What do I do with a cat?

Fluffy:  I hope he has some string.

Johnny:  She just sits there cleaning herself.  Doesn't she know any tricks?

Fluffy:  Aargh, a hairball, I got a darn hairball.  Oh good, here it comes. Gak!  Gak! .......Gak!

Johnny:  Oh, that is so gnarly.  Yuck!

Fluffy:  Ah, that felt good. I could use a little grooming now,  maybe I'll let him pet me.

Johnny:  Oh gosh, now she's  rubbing herself all over me. 

Fluffy:  Get with it kid, this is your cue.  I am allowing you to touch me.  Under the chin, under the chin, and if you please, my head also.

Johnny:  She is friendly, and I guess kind of cute.

Fluffy:  Now he has it right.  I'll give him a few more minutes, just to make sure he gets all my favorite spots.  Wait, I think I see a moth.

Johnny:  Wow, she sure can jump.  Maybe this won't be so bad.  I'll go get my Frisbee and see if she can catch that.

Fluffy:  Well,  that was exhausting and I didn't even get the bug.   I need to take a nap now.  Maybe, if I feel like it, I'll give the kid another chance tomorrow.

Mondays PhotoPrompt is a laid back project wherein anyone at anytime can join a picture on a Monday, write something generated by the prompt (prose/poetry/long/short/fiction/nonfiction), read, critique.... You have all week to think about what you want to write (or not). 

If you are going to post a PhotoPrompt or are going to write about a PhotoPrompt or are planning to do some reading and may hap critiquing please leave a note in comments so everyone can follow over to your place and see what's happening.

PhotoPrompt Monday Participants (So Far!)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kittens and Heartbreak

Upsetting weekend, but doing OK.

I have spoken before of the traveling kitties who like to spend part of their days at our neighbor farmer's pastures and the rest hanging around in my yard. As time has gone on though, two of them have more or less taken up residence on my deck or patio.   I usually wake up to see this beautiful Himalayan and her pal, a little grey British short hair, leaning against the French door window waiting for food and some pats on the head. I have grown very attached to them and when they are not there, I become worried as many animals meet their fate on the narrow, winding road by my house.

Big Bucks

Vanna Gogh

A few months ago the Himalayan, BB, was in season and became enamoured with a passing handsome black stranger. We watched to see if her girth was getting larger, but with all that hair, it was hard to tell. Then about five weeks ago, she disappeared. After a week or so, she surfaced again, but only for a quick bite to eat and then back in the woods she would go. For the past two weeks , we have seen more and more of her. Friday I went out on my my deck and heard some scurrying going on inside my gazebo. At first I feared raccoons, but then I saw a little tail. Upon investigation, I saw a small grey kitten, then another and later another. BB came up on the deck and quickly went to her babies. Not being sure what to do, I called hubby who told me to get in touch with the farmer across the road because she said she would take them. I then called my daughter, who works nearby, and asked her if she could come over for lunch and help me round them up.

The first one

The first one, a sweet docile kitten, was easy to catch.  The second one, the alpha baby, took a few pieces of my daughter's skin with her.  Finally, the last one, who did not want to be held, was put in the carrier.
Caught, and scared

Oh, but wait a minute, there was a fourth and she did not want to be part of the roundup.  Off the deck and down the rain spouts she ran.  Sarah and I looked all over, but she was not to be found.  A few hours later, I spotted her behind a bush, but decided to leave her there and not frighten her anymore.  I was hoping her mom would find her and bring her back.  Next morning, there they were, mother and daughter together in the gazebo.


Sad to say, we were unable to catch the kitten and off she ran again.  We have not seen her since.

The other kitties were delivered to the farmer who has contact with a vet and a cat rescue agency.  Someone has agreed to foster them and they are in good hands now. 

It was a difficult situation and taking the kittens away from the mother who brought them to me was a very sad experience.  Losing the last one though and wondering if BB has found her is heavy on my mind. 

Saying goodbye

When they were taken away, I was assured by our neighbor that this was the best scenario. These kittens now have a chance to be domesticated and have someone to love and care for them.  Most feral cats lives are limited and many of them get hit by cars or succumb to the elements.  I knew she was right, but as I looked at BB, my heart broke for her. 

Doing the right thing does not always make you feel good.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Young and Foolish

Cooling off and doing OK

I have had my "moments" in life.  I have taken chances, not all good, but few that I regret.  I look at what did not work out as a life lesson and although I sometimes question myself about some of them, they are in the past and c'est la vie.   I can say though, that I never did anything where I knowingly put my life in jeopardy.  I am a coward, yellow to the core, and a scardy cat when I think harm could come to me.  Survival is my middle name.

I thought I raised my children that way and that they would never put themselves in a situation where one of the outcomes could be to break their mother's heart.  Yes, I used guilt to persuade them to be careful and I am not ashamed of it.  My family is now grown and through conversations I hear from them now, taking my advice was not always the case.  It seems they all pushed the danger button on some occasions, and I am so thankful everything turned out OK and also that I knew nothing about it at the time. 

In the summer and fall, we often go to this small town named St. Peter's Village to enjoy a walk through the woods and take in all the ambiance that this lovely place has to offer.  The town is known for their large boulders that line the stream that runs through the town. For a hundred years it was an iron mine and granite quarry area,  closing down in the mid to late 20th century.  It is now just a local tourist attraction.  Kids have a great time jumping on the rocks or swimming in the water.  It is refreshing watching the young generation doing something other than playing on an electronic device.
File:St Peters PA Boulders.jpg

However, there is also a sport that has been played out for more decades than I have been around.  It has become a rite of passage for the youth of the area.  It is called "jumping  the cliffs" and no matter the warnings, no matter the signs, no matter how many are hurt  and on some occasions, killed, this summer tradition goes on.  Yesterday, we again witnessed this ritual.  There is always an audience watching, cheering them on and encouraging this behavior.  I have been known to scream out to them "Does your mother know what you are doing?"   Needless to say, my words are not appreciated.

They jump from the top right side.

It is a 100 foot drop at it's highest peak.

No, I am not sorry I did not try this when I was young.  It is fascinating though to see this played out for generation after generation.  There is no fear in youth and little thought to consequences, just the joy and spirit of thinking they will live forever.  As much as I consider this dangerous, I can remember the times and the feeling of wanting an adventure and having that zest for life. 
How about you; did you have a great adventure or a rite of passage experience?  Me, I just got married and well, that could be more dangerous than a 500 foot drop.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rocky Raccoon Comes A' Callin'

Wilting from the heat, but doing OK

Raccoon picture
I am very fortunate that my back yard borders a very nice woodland area.  It is lush with trees and flowering plants and because of the creek that flows through it, the zone is protected.  It was one of the reasons why we chose to buy this house.  I love all the wildlife that we get to see here and and always have our camera ready to catch any animal that happens to pop out into the open space.  I have to admit that I do feed them and often leave leftover vegetables and greens deep in the woods for them all.  Every winter, as the dusk of day descends, we encounter some large majestic buck.  However, by the time we get over our oohs and aahs, and get our camera focused, he is gone.  Mostly though, we have small creatures and as I have mentioned before, our neighbor farmer's cats who have come to know my yard as their second home.  Sharing my life with all these animals is a great joy for me.

Having said all that, I do believe that the animals and I should each have our own territory.  The woods are available to them, and they are welcome to the use of  my yard, if they do not eat my flowers and chew on my bushes.  So far, everything has been sypatico between us except for that rogue woodchuck who sometimes eats all my cabbages and some pesky bunnies who just love to chew my tulips down to the core. We also have the cows from across the road that visit us a few times a year right after a torrential rain storm and ruin hubby's perfect (no weeds allowed) lawn.  This does give us cause for concern, but I have to admit that we always get a good story or laugh out of those incidents. 

Now though, we have an issue.  Although hubby has a problem with birds eating out of the wrong feeders because he thinks they should know better, he gets very annoyed when the squirrels climb the poles and feast on his specialty seeds.  As mad as he gets at the squirrels, it is nothing compared to how ballistic he becomes when he sees a large raccoon swinging away on one of his feeders.  They not only drain all the food out of them but very often pull them apart.  We have many feeders and the brids of the East Coast will not suffer from the loss of one, but you would think it was a tragedy the way the man carries on.   It doesn't bother me as I think the raccoons and squirrels need to eat also and what difference does it make what creature partakes of the food that we leave out.  This is an argument that I never winHowever, I have been given a reason to rethink this all and as hard as it is to say this, maybe, just maybe, hubby is right this time (now that was hard to say and my fingers hurt typing that in).

We have lived here for 10 years and use our deck and patio five months a year.  They are our favorite rooms.  We often dine outside but are always very careful to clean up everything so as not to attract any unwanted company.  As I said before, the farmer's cats visit us daily and two of them often stay the night sleeping on one of the garden chairs.  Last week, as I laid on my couch in the family room, I saw through the window that the deck light went on.  This is a sensitivity light and will turn on when someone/something steps onto the outside area.  I was sure it was a cat and watched a tail go behind the patio dining table.  As it turned around and came ever closer to the French doors and brazingly stared in at me with his peering eyes, I knew it was not a cat, but it was Rocky Raccoon and he was hungry.  I am very grateful that I had my eye sight fixed a few months ago, and did not open the door to invite him in.

We checked with the farmer across the road and she has had a problem with a family of  raccoons.  They have eaten three of her chickens.  I am counting on her to solve the problem, however, I do not want to know how.

Maybe though, Rocky  remembers my high-pitched, blood curdling screams and is still running, preferably out of town.