“If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me) by the Bellamy Brothers

This week for Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has prompted us with songs pertaining to Could/Might/Should/Would. We’re getting our grammar on, y’all!

David & Howard Bellamy, The Bellamy Brothers are an American Pop & Country Music Duo who hav entertained audiences all over the world for the past 40 years. They have released multiple albums in 17 countries.

The Bellamy Brothers are from Darby, Florida in Pasco County. They had their first musical gig in 1968 at a benefit concert in San Antonio, Florida at the Rattlesnake Roundup with their father who played country music around the house. Fraternity parties at the University of Florida became their first paid gigs. To hear their story, you may be interested in their book “Let Their Love Flow – The Live and Times of the Bellamy Brothers”.

“If I Said You Have a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me” was released in March 1979 and was the second single on the album “The Two and Only”. The song was written by David Bellamy and became The Bellamy Brothers first number 1 hit on the Billboard Magazine Hot Country Singles chart and their second number one overall, after their 1976 pop hit “Let Your Love Flow” which is a great song in its own right.

On the original single, the song showed the word “Have” in the title, however on subsequent releases, the title was listed with “Had”. The change came from a Groucho Marx line that he would sometimes use while interviewing attractive female contestants on his television program “You Bet Your Life” where Marx would say to them “If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body”, then shake his cigar & raise his eyebrows to elicit a reaction. Of course today, the show would be cancelled and Marx would be sued for sexual harassment.

In an issue in 2003, Country Weekly magazine named “If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me” the number 1 country pick-up line of all time. Took them long enough to decided that. It was the #1 pick up line in the 80’s when I was a teenager moving into adulthood. I know, I lived it!

David Bellamy on left, Howard Bellamy on the right
If I said you had a beautiful body
Would you hold it against me
If I swore you were an angel,
Would you treat me like the devil tonight
If I were dying of thirst
Would your flowing love come quench me
If I said you had a beautiful body
Would you hold it against me
Now we can talk all night about the weather
Tell you 'bout my friends out on the coast
I could ask a lot of crazy questions
Or I could ask what I really want to know
If I said you had a beautiful body
Would you hold it against me
If I swore you were an angel,
Would you treat me like the devil tonight
If I were dying of thirst
Would your flowing love come quench me
If I said you had a beautiful body
Would you hold it against me
The rain can fall so soft against the window
The sun can shine so bright up in the sky
But daddy always told me, "Don't make small talk"
He said, "Come on out and say what's on your mind"
So if I said you had a beautiful body
Would you hold it against me
If I swore you were an angel,
Would you treat me like the devil tonight
If I were dying of thirst
Would your flowing love come quench me
If I said you had a beautiful body
Would you hold it against me
If I said you had a beautiful body
Would you hold it against me
If I swore you were an angel,
Would you treat me like the devil tonight
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: David Bellamy
If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me) lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Halloween – A Neighborhood Haunting

Lighted Halloween display - 2019

All of the holidays are special times for us and Halloween is no exception. Anytime we can access our inner child, we jump at the chance. Frank & I worked hard on the house decor the weekend before Halloween, however a torrential storm came in on Monday & took out most of what we had done. With a rainy forecast for the week, we didn’t want to do more and have to redo & redo & redo. So we picked up the rest and waited for All Hallows Eve to finish decorating. On Halloween, Frank worked all day on the display, while I worked until 4pm. The majority of this was done the last 2 hours before the first victims arrived.

Our neighbor, 2 doors down has had the best free Halloween display in all of Jacksonville for the past 10 years. He sold his house this year & moved out of town. We usually had between 200-300 kids who trick-or-treat in our neighborhood because our neighbor would blast our haunted houses on social media, Halloween forums and run ads on Craigslist. We missed him this year and so did the rest of the neighbors and hordes of trick or treaters.

All that being said, we had an awesome Halloween. We had visits from Godzilla, T-Rex, Men in Black, Wonder Woman, The Frozen Cast, Batman, Lady Bug, Minnie Mouse, Dorothy, Spiderman & many ghouls & zombies. Total, we had 190 trick-or-treaters from age 1-18 years old. If you count the parents, we were well over 250 visitors. Many of whom mentioned how much they enjoyed and appreciated how we decorated for the occasion.

We love the decorating & the occasional spook. A few years ago, my hubby put on this mask that was really scary with a lot of scarring. This little blond headed girl, about 3 or 4 years old, came up to him and said, “what happened to your face?”, in this really sweet voice. He told her he had an “owie”. She looked up at him and said, “can I give you a hug?”. It was by far one of the sweetest moments ever! He gave her a big hug & she went on her candy collecting way.

Skeleton family photo booth lit up by rotating orange lights.

Every year we set up our version of a “Halloween family” photo booth for the parents & kids to take selfies. It’s always quite popular. This isn’t just about getting candy! It’s about sharing a night that kids look forward to every year. If the decor is not enough, I lure them into my spider web with lots of good candy. Left overs, come to me in the end.

The bone collector with his skeleton staff & bone cart.
The Bone Collector roaming the streets of the neighborhood. (Yes, this is my hubby)
Wednesday Addams in her 50's.

2019 – Wednesday Addams – I stayed in character the entire day at work, but because of the heat, I was down to my skeleton t-shirt & shorts for the evening trick-or-treaters. It was still 80 F (26.66 C) at 8pm.

If you didn’t read “Why I Love Halloween” & see the past 5 year preview of my quirky costumes, you can check it out here.

Nov. 3 – BOTD – Red-Headed Woodpecker

Red-Headed Woodpecker climbing an oak tree in Jacksonville, Florida

Here is my entry for Granny Shot It’s  Bird of the Day (BOTD) challenge.

The Red-Headed Woodpecker is a 7.5″-9″ species of woodpecker that lives & breeds mainly in most of the eastern & northern United States. They have been known to migrate to Texas & Louisiana during the winter months in loose flocks. They often move during the daytime in the fall & the night time in the spring. The migration is dependent on how well the acorn & beech nut crops are. They breed in woodlands of oak & beech trees where trees are dead or dying. They will often use snags that have lost most of its bark to deter snakes. Dying trees provide plenty of insects and the capability to build a cavity for a nest. The male builds a nest from an existing hole of his choosing. The female may tap around it when she approves of his handy work. They have also been known to build nests in utility poles. Unlike many other woodpeckers, the Red-Headed Woodpecker often uses the same nest cavity for several years before moving on to the next. They will have 1-2 broods a year and the female will lay 3-10 eggs that are 1″ (2.5 cm) long x .8″ (1.9 cm) wide. The eggs are pure white and hatch between day 12-14. The new chicks will fledge after about a month.

From 1966-2014, there was more than a 2% decline per year and a cumulative decline of 70% in the span of those 48 years. The population is making a slow progression back & was rated as “least concern” in 2018…downlisted from “near threatened” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. The decline was mostly due to the destruction of habitat and conservationists have had a loud voice in the past decade. Predators of all sizes & shapes don’t help the baby boom either.

We had a Red-Headed Woodpecker living in a tree at the end of our street for 3 years. Hurricane Matthew took down the tree as it was on its way to being dead. We haven’t seen the woodpecker since. It was too bad. We got used to seeing him return year after year. He was a male breeding just like the photo above. The image above was taken about 4 miles from here in a neighborhood community park.

If you haven’t seen this bird, I hope you do someday. The male in breeding colors is one of the most distinct birds you will ever see. Happy Birding!

“Sideways” by Dierks Bentley

This week for Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has prompted us with songs pertaining to Around/Down/Sideways/Up.

Sticking to my roots & the country theme, I chose “Sideways” by Dierks Bentley. Bentley co-wrote this song with Jim Beavers. “Sideways” was released on March 2, 2009 and was the second single on Bentley’s fourth album “Feel the Fire”. It was Bentley’s twelfth single of his career which began in 2003 when he signed with Capitol Nashville. “Sideways” was Bentley’s seventh #1 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country charts the week of July 11, 2009. “Sideways” is one of many Bentley songs that revolves around a rowdy party, pretty girls and rednecks. The video premise is a man wanting to get a girl’s phone number while in a bar and not being able to hear her. He sings to her saying he wants to “get a little sideways”.

THE ULTIMATE PICKUP LINE SONG.

Hey girl, what's your name?
It's so loud in here I can't hear a thing,
But I sure do like your style,
And I can see you came to rock
In your blue jeans and white tank top,
Man that look drives me wild.
And it's hey now here we go.
DJ don't you play nothing slow
Keep those girls out on the floor
Gotta make them want to come back for more.
Been here since the sun went down,
Be here when it comes back around
Worked all week it's time to play
Gonna get a little bit sideways
Sideways.
Ain't no need to fight
Y'all take that redneck stuff outside
That's what parking lots are for.
Once you're out you ain't coming back
Them velvet ropes ain't got no slack
Man they're busting down the door!
And it's hey now here we go.
DJ don't you play nothing slow
Keep those girls out on the floor
Gotta make them want to come back for more.
Been here since the sun went down,
Be here when it comes back around
Worked all week it's time to play
Gonna get a little bit sideways
Sideways.
That's right
Hey now here we go
(hey now here we go)
DJ don't you play nothing slow
Gotta make 'em wanna (what?) gotta make 'em wanna (what?)
Gotta make 'em wanna come back for more.
It's hey now here we go.
DJ don't you play nothing slow
Keep those girls out on the floor
Gotta make them want to come back for more.
Been here since the sun went down,
Be here when it comes back around
Worked all week it's time to play
Gonna get a little bit sideways
Sideways. Sideways. Sideways.
Hey girl what's your name?
It's so loud in here I can't hear a thing
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Dierks Bentley / James Beavers
Sideways lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Why I Love Halloween

My 2 favorite holidays are Halloween & Christmas. I love Halloween because for one day out of the year, I get to be something I’m not. The year that Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows book came out, I was Harry Potter. Pulled it off too. I’m only 5′ 1″ so when I used to trick-or-treat with my kids, I was literally going up and getting my own candy. I went through the trouble of putting together my own costume plus 3 kids, I was going to get something for it. Unfortunately, I can’t find the photos from the year I was Harry Potter. All the photos below were costumes that I wore to work the past 5 years.

2014 – Grumpy Killer Granny

2015 – Oompa Loompa from the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

2016 – Groovy Hippie from the 60’s – The jeans were my hubby’s jeans that he once wore back in the day. He’s 10 years older than me.

2017 – Hula Hoop Girl from the 50’s – Photographed with my friend Amber. Neither of us knew we were dressing from the same decade. Note: My hula hoops in the background!

2018 – Deadly Bride – Groom slit my throat, drove a nail into my ring finger & left me at the altar.

I won best overall at work last year for this one.

2019 – You will have to wait until Friday to see what I become this Halloween! I have co-workers who follow my blog & it’s a secret.

Oct. 27 – “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” – Tracy Lawrence

This week for Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has prompted us with songs pertaining to Lost/Found/Hide/Seek. I spun mine off the word “Found”.

Tracy Lawrence hit the country music scene in 1991 when his debut album, Sticks and Stones was released. Tracy went on to have hit after hit for the next 5 years. I will save those for another day. He was born in Atlanta, Texas and grew up in Foreman, Arkansas. Tracy began performing at age 15 and moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1990 with only a few dollars in his pocket & a vehicle that barely made it there.

I was an instant fan & joined his fan club which I remained in for many years. Tracy’s fan club was the only fan club I have ever joined. I have attended 6 of Tracy’s concerts over the years and was able to be backstage at a concert in 2003 at the Entertainment Center located on the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida. It was a 3 for 1 that night because Joe Diffie & Mark Chesnutt performed as well. After 5 other concerts, I was finally able to meet the man that I had followed since he began his career. It was a thrill! After the meet & greet, it was time for the concert and Tracy came out on stage with a #47 (John Lynch) Tampa Bay Buccaneers football jersey. The “Bucs” had just won the Superbowl XXXVII the week before. I was stoked! Below is my mint condition Superbowl winning John Lynch Bobblehead. I took it out of the box to share with you. Maybe in 200 years, it will be worth more than the $40 it goes for on Amazon right now. I only paid $10 in 2003, so it has already gone up in value.

“Find Out Who Your Friends Are” was written by Casey Beathard & Ed Hill. It was the lead-off single on Tracy’s “For the Love” album released in 2007 on Tracy’s own label Rocky Comfort Records and Lawrence Music Group. This song was released as a single on August 21, 2006 and debuted on the Hot Country Music Songs chart on September 19, 2006. It made it to the top 40 on January 13, 2007, but fell out a week later. After the album release on January 30, 2007, it went to number one on both the Billboard & Mediabase country charts. Once it reached #1 in June 2007, it set a new record for the slowest-climbing #1 single in the history of the Billboard Country Music Chart and the second-slowest song to climb the Billboard singles chart. “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” was Tracy’s first Billboard #1 since 1996. It put him back in the spotlight.

On the “For the Love” album, Tracy featured two versions of “Find Out Who Your Friends Are”. One was sung by Tracy himself and the other was a remix version featuring country music artists Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney. Both of whom are Tracy’s friends. The remix ran into some legal trouble the week before the single reached #1. A cease and desist order was issued on behalf of Sony BMG (the parent company of BNA Records) which was the label Kenny Chesney was signed to at the time. This order was presented to several radio stations that were monitored by Billboard. The order stated that Sony BMG did not grant Rocky Comfort Records the “singles” rights with respect to the album version of the song & had not authorized radio stations to play this particular recording. Well, the radio stations continued to play the remix version of the song regardless of the demands from Sony BMG. The fans loved the remix! Only 1 day after the release of the order, Sony BMG issued a formal apology to the radio stations who received the cease and desist letter.

The tale to this song is about finding oneself in different situations and needing help when in trouble. Who are your true friends that are willing to show up and help you in your time of need without asking for anything in return? The song is very relatable to real life.

The music video which debuted on CMT on August 16, 2007 features appearances by George Jones and Darryl Worley. Larry the Cable Guy makes a cameo appearance as well.

Find Out Who Your Friends Are
Run your car off the side of the road
Get stuck in a ditch way out in the middle of nowhere
Get yourself in a bind, lose the shirt off your back
Need a floor, need a couch, need a bus fare
This is where the rubber meets the road
This is where the cream is gonna rise
This is what you really didn't know
This is where the truth don't lie
You find out who your friends are
Somebody's gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas get their fast
Never stop to think 'what's in it for me?' or 'it's way too far.'
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who you're friends are
Everybody wants to slap your back
Wants to shake your hand
When you're up on top of that mountain
But let one of those rocks give way then you slide back down look up
And see who's around then
This ain't where the road comes to an end
This ain't where the bandwagon stops
This is just one of those times when
A lot of folks jump off
You find out who your friends are
Somebody's gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas get there fast
Never stop to think 'what's in it for me?' or 'it's way too far.'
They just show on up with that big old heart
You find out who you're friends are
When the water's high
When the weather's not so fair
When the well runs dry
Who's gonna be there?
You find out who your friends are
Somebody's gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas get there fast
Never stop to think 'what's in it for me?' or 'it's way too far.'
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who you're friends are, you find out who you're friends are [Repeat first verse}
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Casey Beathard / Edward Monroe Hill
Find Out Who Your Friends Are lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

Oct. 23 – Are You Square? Lines & Square Challenge – Wedding Lights

Thank you to Becky for hosting this awesome challenge.

For Life of B’s October “Are You Square” Challenge

We attended a beautiful wedding in Cedartown, Georgia at Hightower Falls. The setting was beautiful even with a tropical storm putting a damper on things. Inside the venue, I saw lines everywhere in the lights, the wall paneling, cedar planked ceiling and the blinds. Couldn’t help but take a few photos of the decor. The whole scene was made for this challenge.

Chandelier at Hightower Falls Wedding Barn.
White miniature lights hanging from drapes as decorations for a wedding.
White miniature lights hang in straight lines from drapes for a wedding.
Framed Window with Square panes against Cedar Panel Walls.

Oct 19 – BOTD – Great Horned Owl

Here is my entry for Granny Shot It’s  Bird of the Day (BOTD) challenge.

The Great Horned Owl is the most common owl throughout the Americas and adapt well to many environments. They can be seen from the Arctic to South America. They are recognizable by their tufted ears resembling horns, almost cat-like. They vary in size from 18″-24″ (46-63cm) tall. The Great Horned Owl can be found in wooded areas & parks with heavy canopy & large trees. They help keep the rat population down, but they will eat mammals, fish, reptiles and other birds as well.

This mama had 2 chicks. The second one wouldn’t come out long enough for us to get a photo. Papa Owl was just above sitting on a branch with eyes wide open. This was taken at Fort Matanzas National Park just outside the visitor’s office in February, 2010. The tree no longer exists due to hurricane damage.

Oct. 20 – Are You Square? Lines & Square Challenge – Yellowstone Inn

Thank you to Becky for hosting this awesome challenge.

For Life of B’s October “Are You Square” Challenge

Inside of the historic Yellowstone Inn.

The Yellowstone Inn is the oldest hotel in all the National Parks. The entrance to this historic building is breathtaking & full of #linesandsquares. This is one view of each story formulated in a way that is viewed at the ground level in a square. From the logs to the chandelier and candles, there are lines everywhere.

Oct. 19 – Are You Square? Lines & Square Challenge – Downtown, Jacksonville, FL

Thank you to Becky for hosting this awesome challenge.

For Life of B’s October “Are You Square” Challenge

Jacksonville, Florida has a unique skyline which I don’t have a photo of. Shame on me! Pictured above is The Bank of America Tower formerly known as the Barnett Center and was built in the 1990’s and is the tallest building in Jacksonville standing at 617 feet/188 meters with 42 floors. This tower is the 17th tallest in the state of Florida as of the time of this blog.

Side view of the Wells Fargo Building, Downtown Jacksonville, FL
Side view of the Wells Fargo Building, Downtown, Jacksonville, FL

The Wells Fargo Center, formerly known as the Independent Life Building and the Modis Building was the tallest building in Jacksonville from 1974 to 1990 before the Barnett Center was completed. From 1975-1981, this building was the tallest building in Florida when the One Tampa City Center was built. The One Tampa City Center lost that title many years ago.

Flags at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce with the Wells Fargo Building in the background.
Flags in front of the Jax Chamber of Commerce with the
Wells Fargo Building in the background.

This image was taken while I was sitting at a red light on my way to work. It is the bottom portion of my Wells Fargo Building above. I didn’t even notice the flag poles standing in a line with the palm trees until I was ready to crop. A simple bi-product of taking what I saw versus what was there all along. Love #linesandsquares!

FOTD – Desert Cacti Flower- Haiku

Cee’s FOTD Challenge

Desert Cacti Flower taken at Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, Nevada
Desert Flower
I'm prickly and green
Thirst is not my companion
Blooming purple buds.
Cactus Flowering at Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas Nevada

Oct. 18 – Are You Square? Lines & Square Challenge – Office Items

Thank you to Becky for hosting this awesome challenge.

For Life of B’s October “Are You Square” Challenge

Sitting in my office, I got to thinking about this challenge & started looking around. Isn’t this one of the things about the challenges on WordPress is to get our brains to think outside the box? Well, my eyes opened up to the normal things around me & I realized just how many lines & square were just in my personal space. I’m employed as a graphic artist & Customer Service Supervisor by day, photographer & writer by….whenever I get free time. The things here were taken in my office during my lunch break. Not my normal nature stuff, but part of my daily life.

Pantone Color Chart
Pantone Color Chart on my wall.
Computer keyboard
We all have at least one of these. Typing on it right now, but at home.
Custom Form with grids on the bottom
Grid paper that I had to custom design a form for a client.
Lunchbox with lined pattern
My lunch box. Never noticed the lines before.
Pantone color swatch book
My pantone color swatch book. It’s been used & abused over the years.
Lined notebook
Small lined notebook that has Promo180 on the cover.
We used it as a promotional item at a trade show.

Oct. 17 – Are You Square? Lines & Square Challenge – Lighthouses

Thank you to Becky for hosting this awesome challenge.

For Life of B’s October “Are You Square” Challenge

I collected lighthouses for many years and have quite a few novelty items and some collectables. I downsized a couple of years ago by selling off about 1/2 of my stock. I kept a few of them and have them scattered throughout my house. I thought I would share some photos of a few of them that reminded me that lines are everywhere even on a cylinder shaped object. Hope you enjoy an open-mind interpretation of Lines and Squares.

The image (top) is my lighthouse made from wine corks. This hangs in my guest bathroom. It was made by a local craftsman.

Novelty lighthouse made of wood & has drawers.
These lines are not so straight, but it’s cool. They are drawers.
Painted lighthouse
Part of painted art on a screen. No, I didn’t paint this.
Framed print of St. Augustine Lighthouse, Florida
Print of St. Augustine Lighthouse, St. Augustine, FL
Framed sepia print of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, North Carolina
Sepia tone print of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, NC. The original lighthouse.
Printed lighthouse quilt.
Prints on a quilt my friend made me years ago. Not part of the downsize!

Oct 16 – BOTD – Northern Flicker

Norther Flicker perched on a tree limb in Bozeman, Montana.
Northern Flicker – click the different links – they go to different pages.

Here is my entry for Granny Shot It’s  Bird of the Day (BOTD) challenge.

This was day 9 of our vacation and it was our birding day. We saw a lot of birds while on our trip to Yellowstone & Grand Tetons, but none of those days were dedicated to just hiking & birding. On this day, we saw several life birds (will be featured on other bird of the day posts). The Northern Flicker was not a life bird, but this is the best photo of one that we’ve ever gotten. This beautiful bird is part of the woodpecker family & is 11-12 inches in length (28-31 cm).

We were exploring and heading down one of the trails at Glen Lake Rotary Park in Bozeman, MT when we spotted an opening to a very green patch of grass. Turned out to be a public golf course. We walked around the edges where the woods and the pristine maintained lawn was as to not disturb the golfers. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday, so there were players scattered from the tee boxes to the greens & in between.

I circled around this pond observing 9 mallards. I wasn’t paying attention to anything else until I looked up. Frank & I saw this Northern Flicker up in the tree about the same time. This image is the result of Frank’s master photography. I can only take credit for spotting this magnificent species. The Northern Flicker is found in every state in the lower 48 states in the US, Alaska & Canada.

Oct. 16 – Are You Square? Lines & Square Challenge – Waves

Thank you to Becky for hosting this awesome challenge.

For Life of B’s October “Are You Square” Challenge

Tide coming in with waves in a straight line one Little Talbot Island State Park, Florida.
Little Talbot Island, Atlantic Ocean waves

Oct. 15 – Are You Square? Lines & Square Challenge – Beach Sand

Thank you to Becky for hosting this awesome challenge.

For Life of B’s October “Are You Square” Challenge

Ripples in the Sand on the beach at Little Talbot Island.
Ripples in the sand as the tide goes out.
Veins left behind in the sand & shells after the ocean retreated during low tide.
Sand, shells and veins left in the sand by the power of the ocean at low tide.

Oct. 14 – Are You Square? Lines & Square Challenge – Palm Trees

Thank you to Becky for hosting this awesome challenge.

For Life of B’s October “Are You Square” Challenge

Palm Trees damaged by beach erosion and salt water encroachment.
Beach erosion from several hurricanes
Close up of remnants of Palm Trees in a line after several major hurricanes.
Remnants of Palm Trees on Little Talbot Island, Florida

Standing in as straight of a line as they can before the next major storm takes them down.

FOTD – Pretty in Pink – Haiku

Cee’s FOTD Challenge

Pretty in Pink
Attracting insects
Pink buds pollinated bloom
Garden is beauty.

Oct 13 – BOTD – Great Blue Heron w/Wood stork

Great Blue Heron & Wood Stork fishing in shallow water at Lettuce Lake Park, Tampa, FL.

It’s been a while since I featured a bird of the day. Here is my entry for Granny Shot It’s  Bird of the Day (BOTD) challenge.

You are getting a two-fer today. In the foreground you are seeing the stealthy Great Blue Heron. In the background, you are observing the Wood Stork. Both are avid fisherman…fisherwomen…fisherbirds…well, that’s what they do for a living…they fish! 😉 This photo was taken at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida.

I was inspired to feature the Wood Stork because of a fellow blogger, novelist & emmy award winning journalist da-AL. She posted an Australian White Ibis & I responded to her about how much it looks like the Wood Stork. She had never heard of the Wood Stork. Check out her blog by clicking on the link above.

Living in the Moment – Day 2 – Sept. 14, 2019 – Traffic Jam

We left Mammoth Hot Springs and headed into the heart of Yellowstone. If you missed that blog about the hot springs, click here and see my obsession with the cone.

Today we had planned to visit Lamar Valley, a must see for anyone visiting the park. One of the things to remember when visiting Yellowstone is that you are on the park’s schedule. This is truly a wild place and you have to adapt yourself to any and all things that occur in the natural world. That being said, we were hungry and anxious to get into the valley and cook a delicious lunch. Good thing we had some snacks to stave our hunger pangs.

We came through the park from the North Entrance outside of Garner, MT.

We’re heading down the road enjoying the beauty and wonder of this majestic park when all of a sudden the traffic stops. Traffic jams in a large city or even your small town can be a nuisance & cause stress & anxiety. Getting in a traffic jam in the middle of Yellowstone is quite something else. Granted, there were roads under construction in the park and we chose to avoid those areas. It’s a great idea to check with the Park Ranger when you enter the park to get the 411 on what’s going on with road crews. We had been stopped for several minutes and were very hungry at this point. We thought of every possible scenario as to why traffic was stopped when we started to move slowly forward. We were creeping, but we were not moving much. As the cars creeped around the corner on the downslope of a hill, traffic stopped again and we could finally see why.

Bison crossing the roadway in Yellowstone National Park
Just the beginning of the crossing.

What a site! This traffic jam wasn’t due to road repairs or an accident. Nope, this was the boss of the plains! BISON HAVE THE RIGHT-A-WAY! PERIOD! I was in Buffalo Heaven. Couldn’t believe it! Seeing bison and getting a nice shot of one (or a few) was on our bucket list for this park and this crossing gave us our first “up close and personal” look. And wow….what a look! These majestic animals grazed pass us less than 8 feet from where I sat in the minivan.

When travelling, often times, you will see a yellow diamond shaped sign that has an animal on it (Deer or Bison for example) with the large words “CROSSING” on them. You almost never see anything. Like, they are going to take that exact path at that moment like a traffic cop stopping you right then. Animals don’t work that way, but it is good to be aware so we don’t smash our car.

In Yellowstone, you always have to be aware of all wild creatures as they don’t follow the same traffic laws as us humans. Know the signs are everywhere, even when there isn’t a yellow diamond reminding you of such things. The bison just step out onto the road with their entire herd in tow. This wasn’t our only bison crossing while visiting the park on our 10 day vacation. It is quite common & thrilling each & every time. But your first time…..well, I’ll just leave it at that.

They strolled right next to me as I sat in the minivan with my window rolled down.
The lone straggler.
Bison moving off the roadway after 30 minute delay in Yellowstone National Park.
Took about 30 minutes for them to get passed our vehicle.

Best advise for visiting Yellowstone National Park is to have a loose schedule because there will be delays from time to time. Enjoy those remarkable moments that may have you running a little late. Even if you’re hungry and late for lunch. After all, you are on vacation, so soak it all in & enjoy what nature has to offer. Today was the perfect example that this amazing park belongs to the animals that live there and we were lucky to have them share it with us. Open your eyes and feel the magic in whatever it is you are doing!

“Pancho & Lefty” by Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard

This week for Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has prompted us with Drifter/Loner/Transient/Vagabond Songs. Pancho & Lefty was written by Townes Van Zandt who passed away at the early age of 52 in 1997 from cardiac arrythimia caused by years of health problems stemming from substance abuse. His story is interesting & you can read more by clicking the link. Van Zandt first recorded Pancho & Lefty in 1972 on his album “The Late Great Townes Van Zandt”. Ironic, don’t you think?!?

Townes Van Zandt, country music songwriter
Townes Van Zandt

Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard took Pancho & Lefty to #1 on the Country charts in 1983. In the year that CMT was all videos…all the time. Watch carefully & you will see Van Zandt appear in the video.

The song & video portrays Pancho, a Mexican bandit & drifter who is betrayed by his partner Lefty. Lefty was paid off by the Mexican federales to kill him. Van Zandt never ruled out that this song was based on Pancho Villa, a well known Mexican revolutionary general who led a raid against a small US-Mexico border town in 1916, but met resistance by the US Government, causing Villa to flee from capture.

Pancho & Lefty
Willie Nelson
Living on the road my friend was gonna keep you free and clean
Now you wear your skin like iron and your breath's as hard as kerosene
You weren't your mama's only boy but her favorite one it seems
She began to cry when you said goodbye and sank into your dreams
Poncho was a bandit boy, his horse was fast as polished steel
He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to feel
Poncho met his match you know on the deserts down in Mexico
Nobody heard his dyin' words ah but that's the way it goes
All the Federales say they could've had him any day
They only let him slip away out of kindness I suppose
Lefty he can't sing the blues all night long the way he used to
The dust that Poncho bit down south ended up in Lefty's mouth
Day they laid poor Poncho low Lefty split for Ohio
Where he got the bread to go there ain't nobody knows
All the Federales say they could've had him any day
They only let him slip away out of kindness I suppose
The poets tell how Poncho fell and Lefty's living in a cheap hotel
The desert's quiet and Cleveland's cold and so the story ends we're told
Poncho needs your prayers it's true but save a few for Lefty too
He only did what he had to do and now he's growing old
They only let him go so long out of kindness I suppose
A few great Federales say could've had him any day
They only let him go so long out of kindness I suppose

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: TOWNES VAN ZANDT
Pancho & Lefty lyrics © Katie Belle Music, Will Van Zandt Publishing, JTVZ MUSIC, KATIE BELL MUSIC, BUG MUSIC O/B/O KATIE BELLE MUSIC, WIXEN MUSIC PUBLISHING OBO WILL VAN ZANDT PUBLISHING, WIXEN MUSIC PUBLISHING OBO JTVZ MUSIC, BUG MUSIC O/B/O WILL VAN ZANDT PUBLISHING

SoCS – Ground Hog

Ground Hog in Bozeman, MT

Linda Hill has prompted us with the word “ground” this week. This post is part of SoCS: This ground hog messed with me for over 20 minutes. Playing peek-a-boo. I’d raise my camera & he would duck back into his hole. I’d lower my camera in disappointment. I finally got a decent one after all my patience (or lack there of). Photographed in Bozeman, MT on our last day of vacation.

Here are the rules if you would like to participate:

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!

Living in the Moment – Day 2 – Sept. 14, 2019 – Mammoth Hot Springs

Elk cow & calf lounging on the grounds of the Albright Visitor Center in Mammoth Hot Springs.
The elk cow & calf were just chillin’ outside the visitor center.

On our first day visiting Yellowstone National Park, we entered from the North Entrance just outside Gardner, MT. One of the stops on our list of “must sees” was Mammoth Hot Springs. We stopped at the Albright Visitor Center upon arrival into the area. Great restrooms, but pretty much standing room only in the entire building. We didn’t stay to see all the history that this beautiful landmark had to offer. Next time, I would love to tour the historic Fort Yellowstone where the US Army kept order from poachers, offered medical care, fought fires & managed wildlife. Speaking of wildlife, there were at least 80 elk entwined between the buildings once known as the barracks. We were on a tight schedule and just wanted to be outside. Will have to save the history for another trip.

We drove over to the hot springs area where we found more people. Frank dropped me off to go find a parking space. I began to explore. I was in awe of the beauty. It’s easy to understand why so many of the geothermal sites in the park are so crowded. It’s not just the beauty, but the uniqueness and raw power that is so mesmerizing. The Liberty Cap was one of the features that caught my eye, standing 40 feet in height. Not sure why, but it had me frozen there for a while enthralled. How did it get there & how long had it been in that spot? Click on the link to find out a little history about this amazing limestone tower.

Liberty Cap - A dormant hot spring cone
Boardwalk leading to Palette Springs

I fought the crowds to get up to the end of this boardwalk (above) where the elk were lying on the warm ground in the sulfur ash and salt (below). It looks like they’re relaxing in the snow but they aren’t. Just another example of the diversity of this volcanic landscape. This area is known as Palette Springs.

Elk lying in the sun atop the sulfur ash left behind from the hot spring.

The sun was shining brightly and the temperature rose into the low 80’s. This was the warmest spot we explored in Yellowstone. It got so warm, the elk decided to take refuge behind Liberty Cap and the small amount of shade it provided. See the video below. They are so accustomed to people being in the area, they walk around as if they are oblivious to the interlopers all around them. In fact, the crowds bothered us more than they did these gentle animals. We found all of the geyser basins and geothermal areas in the park to be like going to an amusement park & fighting to get in line for a roller coaster.

Elk seeking refuge in the shade.
Lisa selfie with Liberty Cap

Apparently, I couldn’t get enough of the cone. I just had to take a selfie in honor of it. We walked around and took in some other views throughout the boardwalks on our way back to the van, intrigued to see the environment we’d only experienced in pictures and on TV. One of the aspects of Yellowstone that can’t be overstated is how much more impressive the park is in person. The beauty speaks for itself, but the power of all your senses come to life with all the sounds and smells. It’s a true primordial landscape everyone should experience at least once.

Elk cow lounging in the shade from the rising temperatures.

On our long walk back to our vehicle, we met up with this elk cow relaxing in the shade, happy to be out of the sun and to poise for a picture. Near the cow, we observed two American Robins & a Cedar Waxwing feeding on berries and traveling through the trees together. An appropriate end to our first hike in America’s first National Park. Next stop….the wilderness!

FOTD – Wildflower- Haiku

Purple Wildflower located in Targhee Mountains about 8,500 ft elevation.

Cee’s FOTD Challenge

Purple Mountain Wildflower

Wild in the mountains
Flourish with others like me
Admire my brilliance.

Living in the Moment – Day 1 – Sept. 13, 2019

Highway 90 heading east towards Livingston with the mountains in the background & a train coming around the bend.
Traveling from Bozeman to Emigrant, MT

Arriving in the town of Belgrade, Montana is like being in another world. Belgrade hosts the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. Compared to Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago & even Jacksonville, it is quaint with views of mountains in every direction. There are only 7 gates & 3 baggage claim check points. You can’t really get lost in it.

If you hadn’t read my first blog on the flight from Jacksonville, we were lucky enough to take this trip flying first class on American Airlines. What is great about flying first class is you are the first to board & the first to debark. We got our luggage, rental car (minivan) from Hertz & headed out on our adventure. The photo above made us smile and feel like we were in the west, with the train coming around the mountain (on the left) & perfect weather. Had me singing “She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes”.

Paradise Gateway Bed & Breakfast Guest Cabin sign
Paradise Gateway Bed & Breakfast in Emigrant, MT

We had done some shopping in Bozeman and picked up supplies before heading to our first destination, Paradise Gateway in Emigrant, MT. This bed & breakfast is tucked away in the mountains & sits right on the Yellowstone River. We stayed in the Wildflower Room the first 3 nights in the main house & the tiny house the last night. The tiny house is located a few yards away from the main house overlooking the Yellowstone River. See the 3rd photo below. Pete & Carol Reed are exceptional hosts. Pete has an encyclopedic knowledge about the area including Yellowstone, and Carol makes a delicious breakfast.

Decorative Railroad Crossing sign in the gardens at Paradise Gateway Bed & Breakfast
Decorative RR Crossing sign with a birdhouse.
Mountains & foothills in Montana with bird feeders in the foreground
View of winding road at Paradise Gateway in the late afternoon.
Fire Pit with the tiny house in the background on the property of Paradise Gateway Bed & Breakfast in Emigrant, Montana
Fire pit at Paradise Gateway. Tiny house in the background.

Once we unloaded the necessary luggage into our room. We walked around the grounds of the bed & breakfast, taking in the majestic views surrounding us, excited about staying in such a beautiful place and anticipating what was to come. Daylight was dwindling and we were too excited to hang out at the B&B. We found Pete and asked him where he thought we should go to see something special before it got dark. He smiled, gave us detailed instructions and said with confidence “you should see some elk there”, pointing to a spot on a hand drawn map. We headed down the road to look for birds & elk.

Ferruginous Hawk with prey in its talons

Driving down the highway, I spotted a bird of prey flying over the roadway just ahead of us. When we pulled over, we saw there were two birds feigning, swooping and scoping out the alfalfa field below. They were hunting and flew in to roost in a large tree overlooking the field. These hawks were huge. Before getting a close look at them through the binoculars, we thought they might be Golden Eagles. They were Ferruginous Hawks, an adult and an older juvenile. Excellent, two birds we definitely wouldn’t see in FL. We think that it was a parent teaching the younger bird to hunt. We got a photo of the younger one (above) which had something in its talons. Way to go young one!

Brilliant sunset over the mountains in Montana.  Hues of pink, purple and blue lit up the sky
Perfect sunset!

Light was waning now and we had to find the elk to make the day complete. As we continued down our patch of the unknown, we found the elk in a field way in the distance from the highway. They were right where Pete said they would be. In the days that followed, whenever Pete told us where to find something specific, we could dang sure set our GPS to it.

On our first night, we counted 60 head of elk cows & calves just from what we could see with our binoculars. We could here the bull bugling to his cows, but we couldn’t see him. Then as the light was giving way to darkness…there he was…tucked up against the trees next to his harem. No photos this evening as the herd was too far away & the light was dimming quickly.

Frank & Lisa enjoying the sunset over the mountains near Emigrant, Montana

We drove a bit more and pulled off in a wilderness area along the Yellowstone River, where we would eventually launch our kayak a couple of days later. We watched our first Montana sunset as the temperature began to drop into the 50’s. That’s 50 F/10 C. It was quite invigorating since we had left Florida in the upper 90 F/32 C. Tired and happy, we headed back to Paradise Gateway excited about what tomorrow would bring.

Milestone – We thank you!

Yesterday, we hit 1000 likes! For part-timers, Frank & I were pretty stoked. Thank you to all who have supported our ramblings for the past few months! Look forward to seeing you soon! We love what you are doing!

Love to all!

Mountain Bluebird on Fence

Here is my entry for Granny Shot It’s  Bird of the Day (BOTD) challenge. Entry also for Becky’s Life Of B “Are You Square” October challenge Lines/Squares.

Mountain Bluebird sitting on the fence post off the Old Yellowstone Highway in Montana. It was really skittish & was lucky to get a shot at all. I found it interesting that the fences are made of round logs set in intersecting lines. So rugged looking!

“Convoy” by C.W. McCall – Song Lyric Sunday – Trucks

This week for Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has prompted us with Bus/Truck/Lorry Songs. Talk about an interesting song that gave truckers a true identity. Written by Bill Fries & Chip Davis and performed by C.W. McCall, Convoy reached #1 on both the US country & pop charts in 1975 & hit #1 on the Canada RPM top singles chart in January 1976. Rolling Stones Magazine has listed “Convoy” at 98th of its 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time. This song led to an onslaught of Americana trucking movies. Smokey and the Bandit leading the way in 1977. “Convoy” was turned into an action film staring Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw & Ernest Borgnine in 1978. Truck driving Pop Culture and CB radios in America had hit an all time high.

This was a household song for my family. It almost became an anthem in a way. My uncle & my future step-dad drove a truck. Eighteen wheelers were constantly passing by my grand-parents house located in the country in Texas. Whether they were on their way to pick up a load or heading back to town with a full load, it was an exciting part of our day. As soon as we heard them coming a mile up the road, my cousins & I would run towards the cattle guard before they got to the homestead. The cattle guard was located next to the main road to keep the cows on the property. It also served as a thru-way allowing cars to enter the driveway. Otherwise, we’d be trapped.

With our arms in an “L” shape like flexing your muscle and fists clinched, we began our motion “up and down” for the driver to blow his horn. Sometimes, they ignored us, but other times they blew it not once, but 2 or 3 times! Wow! What a rush for a bunch of 10 & 11 year olds. We could recognize a Peterbilt, Kenworth, Freightliner or Mack as soon as they cleared the hilly pavement. Breaker 1-9, anybody there? This here is the Firefly! That was the call name that I gave myself.

Was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June
In a Kenworth pullin' logs
Cab-over Pete with a reefer on
And a Jimmy haulin' hogs
We is headin' for bear on I-one-oh
'Bout a mile outta Shaky Town
I says, "Pig Pen, this here's the Rubber Duck.
"And I'm about to put the hammer down."
'Cause we got a little convoy
Rockin' through the night.
Yeah, we got a little convoy,
Ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A.
Convoy!
By the time we got into Tulsa Town,
We had eighty-five trucks in all.
But they's a roadblock up on the cloverleaf,
And them bears was wall-to-wall.
Yeah, them smokies is thick as bugs on a bumper;
They even had a bear in the air!
I says, "Callin' all trucks, this here's the Duck.
"We about to go a-huntin' bear."
'Cause we got a little convoy
Rockin' through the night.
Yeah, we got a little convoy,
Ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A.
Convoy!
Well, we rolled up Interstate 44
Like a rocket sled on rails.
We tore up all of our swindle sheets,
And left 'em settin' on the scales.
By the time we hit that Chi-town,
Them bears was a-gettin' smart:
They'd brought up some reinforcements
From the Illinois National Guard.
There's armored cars, and tanks, and jeeps,
And rigs of ev'ry size.
Yeah, them chicken coops was full'a bears
And choppers filled the skies.
Well, we shot the line and we went for broke
With a thousand screamin' trucks
An' eleven long-haired Friends a' Jesus
In a chartreuse micra-bus.
Well, we laid a strip for the Jersey shore
And prepared to cross the line
I could see the bridge was lined with bears
But I didn't have a dog-goned dime.
I says, "Pig Pen, this here's the Rubber Duck.
"We just ain't a-gonna pay no toll."
So we crashed the gate doing ninety-eight
I says "Let them truckers roll, 10-4."
'Cause we got a little convoy
Rockin' through the night.
Yeah, we got a little convoy,
Ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A.
Convoy!
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Chip Davis / William Fries
Convoy lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Sides of Things

Cee’s Black & White Challenge – Sides of Things

Shrimp Boat just offshore taken from Ft. Clinch State Park, Fernandina Beach, FL
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Great Blue Heron

The Journey’s Start – Sept 13, 2019

Sunrise over Georgia looking out at the Atlantic from an Airplane
Just after take-off

After packing for a month in anticipation of our 10-day trip to Montana, Wyoming & Idaho, the day finally came to begin our journey. We got ourselves out of bed at 3 am, after a few hours of restless sleep. Too excited to sleep, but managed a few winks. Everything was completely packed except a few items that were needed to start our day. I hurriedly ate a bowl of cereal, put on make up (I rarely wear makeup), curled my hair, got dressed, brushed my teeth & packed it all up into the suitcase. Meanwhile, Frank was doing the same, plus loading the car.

We left for the airport at at 4:15 am. Our flight was at 7 am. We parked the car in a covered lot, loaded the luggage onto the tram and headed to the airport. Filled with excitement, we arrived, checked all 4 bags. Yes, I said 4 bags. 1 bag had the inflatable Sea Eagle Kayak. 1 bag had the accessories: seats, paddles, life vests, camp table, backpack stove, pots and pans, kitchen utensils and other items for our outdoor needs. We were not camping overnight, but wanted to do what we wanted, when we wanted while exploring Yellowstone National Park & Grand Tetons National Park. The other 2 pieces of luggage had our clothes & personal items. Each bag weighed over 50 pounds and one was over 60. Yep we were packed for bear, literally. Not to mention bison, elk, antelope, wolves, coyotes, big horn sheep, moose, beaver, otters, all other mammals and any birds that happened our way.

We got through security pretty quickly and headed to the gate. It was only a short wait & we began boarding. We were one of the first to board as we were flying First Class. Knowing that we wanted to bring the kayak with us, the extra amount it would cost to bring those bags, we could almost purchase a priority ticket. In this case, it only cost us $22. We had earned enough miles on our credit card to cover it. You can do it to, more on how in a future post

All settled into our seat, getting pampered by the flight attendant, my heart was just about to beat out of my chest in anticipation to get off the ground. Not because I’m a nervous flyer (which I’m not), but because I wanted to hurry up and get to Bozeman, Montana. Get this Party started!

Sunrise after taking off from Jacksonville, Florida taken from the seat of the airplane.

Just before take-off, you could start to see a shimmer of light on the horizon. The dark morning when we left the house was slowly turning like a butterfly from its cocoon. As the plane lifted itself into the sky high above, my heart skipped a beat or two with the true beginning of the day as the sun peaked slightly from cover. I had the window seat leaving Jacksonville, Florida. Frank really wanted the window seat when we arrived in Bozeman and I agreed. Making my hubby happy, makes me happy. I can’t say I was disappointed because the sunrise on this morning was spectacular. I took 10 photos & 10 videos between take-off & leveling off to 34,000 ft. These photos were just a sampling of what occurred over the first 10 minutes of our flight.

The Southeast coast is a beautiful sight from the air especially during a sunrise or sunset. The meandering waterways are dimly lit and stand out against the dark coastal canopy with Atlantic in the backdrop. We had the ocean, the rivers the salt marsh and the intracoastal waterway all laid out in front of us. It was magnificent.

Brilliant sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean with blue, pink, purple, yellow & orange hues of color taken from the airplane.

The clouds continued to change the pattern of the sun & it’s rays. We were flying over land but could still see the ocean in the back drop. By this time we had been smiling and giggling so much my cheeks began to hurt. Giddy would be an understatement.

Clouds float by while the sun peaks out among them in hues of purple, blue, yellow and orange.

The world was waking up before our eyes. The sun rising at its pace with the acceleration of a jet plane and we were blessed with this awesomeness!

Rays of the sun reflect through the clouds high in the sky while on a jet plane.

We started planning this trip in February. 7 months later, God blessed us with a smile giving us the most brilliant sunrise of purple, pink, bright yellow & orange skies. As a graphic artist, I just wanted to grab a paintbrush & put it on canvas. Oh yeah, I don’t paint very well. Thank goodness for my I-phone to capture this wondrous moment. This seemed to be a way of God saying…enjoy your time off and the magic of the mountains to which your are headed. In my heart, plus I cheated by looking at the weather forecast, I knew our days would be as close to perfection as you could get. Our Eyes were Open and I hope whatever you Open Your Eyes to in the future, will give you the same sense of excitement!

FOTD – Daisy – Haiku

Daisy being pollinated by a fly
Take oh mighty fly
Spread my goodness to others
Bloom another day

“City of New Orleans” – Arlo Guthrie

Song Lyric Sunday

This week for Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has prompted us with Train Songs. City of New Orleans was written by Steve Goodman in 1970 while traveling with his new wife to meet her grandmother. The train ride was from Chicago to New Orleans on the Illinois Central line and was called the City of New Orleans. Arlo Guthrie recorded it in 1972 on his album Hobo’s Lullaby. It reached #4 on the Billboard Easy Listening chart & #18 on the Hot 100 chart.

Willie Nelson recorded City of New Orleans in 1984 which reached #1 on both the Billboard Hot Country Sings chart & the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada. Willie’s version earned Steve Goodman a Grammy Award for Best Country Song at the 27th Grammy Awards in 1985. The video below is from a Live at Farm Aid Concert in 1985 featuring Arlo Guthrie & Dottie West.

The music video tribute linked here was put together by YouTuber AK Dian. Other than hopping a train when I was 15, I can’t say I know a lot about trains except they are loud, a pain when they are switching tracks while blocking an intersection & something I want to ride some day through the mountains.

Music Video Tribute by AK Dian
City of New Orleans
Riding on the city of New Orleans
Illinois Central, Monday morning rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders
Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail
All along the southbound odyssey
The train pulled out at Kankakee
And rolls along past houses, farms and fields
Passin' trains that have no names
And freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles
Good morning, America
How are you?
Say don't you know me? I'm your native son
I'm the train they call the city of New Orleans
And I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done
Dealin' card games with the old men in the club car
Penny a point ain't no one keepin' score
Pass the paper bag that holds the bottle
Feel the wheels rumblin' 'neath the floor
And the sons of Pullman Porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their father's magic carpet made of steel
Mothers with their babes asleep
Are rockin' to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rail is all they feel
Good morning, America
How are you?
Say don't you know me? I'm your native son
I'm the train they call the city of New Orleans
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done
Nighttime on the city of New Orleans
Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee
Half way home, we'll be there by morning
Through the Mississippi darkness
Rolling down to the sea
But all the towns and people seem
To fade into a bad dream
And the steel rails still ain't heard the news
The conductor sings his songs again
The passengers will please refrain
This train has got the disappearing railroad blues
Good morning, America
How are you?
Say don't you know me? I'm your native son
I'm the train they call the city of New Orleans
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Steve Goodman
City of New Orleans lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Betrayal – Saturday Six Word Story Prompt (6WSP) #5 – September 28, 2019

Tell that Floozy to stop calling!!!

Chasing a Magpie – #writephoto

Sue Vincent’s Photo Prompt – Magpie

First of all, I want to thank Sue Vincent for this writing prompt. It was like it was meant to be as I was already formulating my “Chasing a Magpie” story while on vacation the last couple of weeks. Sue, it was like you were reading my mind.

For those of you who have been following me the past few months, know that I post at least 3-5 times a week. But the last two weeks, I went completely dark, except for a few scheduled posts. I posted a late Sunday Song Lyric upon my return from a wondrous vacation in Montana, Wyoming & Idaho. (More to come on that in future posts). I was unable to submit anything on my blog as I had next to no cell service or internet connection on our trips through Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Grand Targhee. The R&R was well received & extremely needed.

Prior to our trip, I was anxious to see a Magpie. I had never seen one before & was afraid I wouldn’t have a chance to. Certainly, a life bird for both of us and as birders, it was going to be a highlight for sure.

Within the first hour of landing in Bozeman, Montana, we retrieved our luggage, picked up the rental car (a minivan) & headed into town for supplies. Right there in the parking lot of REI, 2 magpies flew gracefully across and landed in a tree within 50 yards of where we had parked. I was beyond excited. Just as I got my camera up, they flew off. I thought to myself, “well, I’ve got 10 days to get a really nice shot of one. NO big deal”.

Many opportunities & days later, I still hadn’t gotten a good shot. And they were everywhere we went! It was like they knew I wanted the photo, and like a teasing toddler, ran away with their tongues sticking out at me, taunting me to come closer & daring me to raise my camera in their direction. Every time….just as I grabbed the camera to even think about taking a shot, they flew off or into cover never to come out again. At least not until I left the area. Ugh!

After 9 days of amazing views, wonderful food, miles & miles of hiking, over 2000 amazing photos & videos, plus many close encounters with the Magpie, still no good shots. The day before we left, hubby & I were at Story Mill Community Park back in Bozeman. Sitting in the van, I heard 2 of them. They were calling to each other, back & forth across the parking lot. My heart started pounding with excitement. The squawking was coming closer to our location as I stayed in the van, waiting & watching. I knew they were close, but was unable to see my nemesis. Finally one showed itself, landing on top of the recreation center behind us. I knew I had him now! Not wanting to be the harbinger here, I slowly opened the van door, stepped out, pivoted slowly & planted my camera on my face & started shooting. The results are below. My camera was showing precision shots. Auto focus was clean & clear. Got it! Click….click….click! OK, don’t got it! All blur! WTF? I thought something was wrong with my camera. I don’t take blurry photos. Especially of birds. It was a curse. The Magpie cursed my camera. Below is a slideshow of the results.

For good measure & to check my settings, I decided to take one more photo after my disappointment to make sure my camera was ok. The shot was flawless. See for yourself. This was not me! This was not my camera! This was the Magpie placing a bewitching spell upon me & my camera. The only logical explanation is the illogical one!

Perfectly clear! Everything in focus! Nice fall colors though.

All in all, we probably saw over 50 of them in 10 days. I suppose another trip is in order to once again chase my nemesis….the Magpie. I will get you my pretty and your little friends too!

WWE – Ocklawaha, Florida Sept. 10

Here is my entry for Granny Shot It’s Water Water Everywhere (WWE) challenge.

Moss Bluff Lock & Dam, Ocala National Forest, Florida
Moss Bluff Lock & Dam – Ocala National Forest

Made a stop here on my trip from Tampa back to Jacksonville a couple of weeks ago. Moss Bluff Lock & Dam is just outside of Ocklawaha, Florida in the middle of nowhere. Amenities at the dam are a boat ramp, picnic tables & restrooms (beware of biting insects in the summertime). Great place to throw in a line, but a fishing license is required.

I was by myself on this trip. I stopped to use the ladies room. Walked into the building, really needing to go. Nope, some of the biggest mosquitoes I’ve ever seen in swarms. Turned right around and walked quickly out. They would have chewed my butt up! Decided I didn’t need to go that bad after all.

I wondered over to the dock. Of course, I left my camera in the car. Walked back to the car, retrieved my Nikon so I could capture these images to share. The view off the dock of the Ocklawaha River was spectacular.

Lily Pads in the Ocklawaha River

Weekly Song Challenge Round 30

Laura, of “Lauravent69”, has started the week off with her fantastic series, Weekly Song Challenge.  

Rules:

Copy rules and add to your own post, pinging back to this post.
Post music videos for your answers to the musical questions.
Tag two people to participate!
Easy!

1. Post a video of a song that is about getting spiffied up.

2. Post a video of a song that makes you cry for no particular reason.

3. Post a video of a song that is a great work out song.

How do you tag people? This was fun! Happy “almost” Tuesday! Thanks Beckie for turning me on to this!

#6WSP – Hope

pedals of a flower spread hope.

If you would like to participate in this awesome Story Prompt brought to us by Shweta Suresh, the information is below.

Welcome to Week #2 of the Saturday Six Word Story Prompt. Click here to read the guidelines for the Saturday Six Word Story Prompt series.

Prompt for Week #2 (September 7, 2019 – September 13, 2019)

Hope

Click here for the 6WSP image.

I will do a round-up post each Friday. So please be sure to participate before time runs out!

I can’t wait to read your stories. 😀 I hope that you’ll be back for next week’s Six Word Story Prompt. 🙂

Have fun! Thank you for participating. Until next week, folks!

P.S: If you have any doubts/suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. The comments section is all yours!

P.P.S: Use the tag 6WSP and don’t forget to pingback to this post!

Word of the Day #1 – Advice

If you would like to participate click Word of the Day - Advice.
Word of the Day - Advice

What happens in Vegas…

It’s a Van….It’s a Yacht…It’s a, well…I’m not sure!

What happens in Vegas….Stays in Vegas! I don’t think so! When I saw Kammie’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge, I knew I had to bring out these photos. We saw many things in Vegas, but this was certainly the oddest. Made us look twice, turn around in the rental car & take some pics.

Lando Vanyachten

When you put Las Vegas in a sentence, the things that come to mind are Hotels, Casinos, Shows, Freaks, Lights, Elvis….but how about a traveling Lando Vanyachten? At least it has AC and if you notice closely, it still has the registration numbers on the boat part of this interestingly piece of transportation.

WWE – Sister’s Creek

Here is my entry for Granny Shot It’s Water Water Everywhere (WWE) challenge. Jim King Park and Boat Ramp at Sisters Creek.

Sister’s Creek – Jim King Boat Ramp Area

Video I shot during Hurricane Dorian. Me & hubby got bored at home. This was low tide. Imagine if it had been high tide & the storm surge was being pushed by the winds that we were experiencing. The parking lot would have been totally under water. I was tucked in behind a bush with a little protection. It’s amazing to me that the Canada Geese are hardy enough to find food in a puddle of water in the parking lot during a hurricane. Holy goose brains, Batman!

Off of Hecksher Drive (AIA)

WWE – American Beach

American Beach on Amelia Island Florida

Here is my entry for Granny Shot It’s Water Water Everywhere (WWE) challenge.

Labor Day – 2019

Waves came in just ahead of Hurricane Dorian at American Beach on Amelia Island this Labor Day. All the Florida State Parks were closed between Jacksonville & Fernandina Beach. NO BBQ…NO BOATS…NO ACTIVITY! HAPPY LABOR DAY!

So, we headed to Amelia Island & found that Burney Park next to historic American Beach was open. There were a few humans, an assortment of birds & a gopher tortoise (whom I named Dorian). The storm had not cleared the Bahamas at the time the photo & video were taken. The rough surf was not a product of any bands coming from the storm but a strong Northeast push that seemed to follow the rotation of the storm. It’s always amazing how everything in nature is so connected and how this push of clouds and wind seemed to be part of a storm 5oo miles away. It was quite breezy & absolutely beautiful.

The history of American Beach is summarized on the Florida Heritage Landmark sign below. After reading the landmark below, please look up the history of American Beach. It’s a great read and a true testament to the American Spirit. The fight for freedom and equality in the Jim Crow era of our history is all here. To be able to enjoy nature and this historic wonderful beach as a diversified nation is a true treasure. There’s something spiritual about walking where great American history took place and is still alive today. American Beach was added to the U.S. National Registry of Historic Places in 2002.

Image courtesy of Amc333 – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11982670

One-Liner Wednesday – #1

Frustrated – Hurricane Dorian

Dock at Sister’s Creek overlooking the flooded salt marsh at low tide.

Hurricane Dorian finally arrived near Jacksonville this afternoon after what seems like a decade since we began preparation for this once Category 5 storm almost 2 weeks ago.

#One-Liner Wednesday

My one-liner is above. Now, I shall elaborate. The anticipation for this slow moving storm has been quite frustrating to say the least. The on-again, off-again forecast has peaked our anxiety. Our hearts go out to the residence of the Bahamas as the islands have been forever changed. Praying the death toll stays doesn’t rise. Jacksonville dodged a bullet today, but our city leaders did a great job with preparedness. We were ready for whatever Dorian was going to bring.

Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille – Sept 4

Connecting Spirit

I long to see you
oh holy isle of Scotland
traced back to my roots.

FOWC – Instigate

American Alligator vs. Eared Grebe

Don’t Mess with a Resting Gator

Oscar the alligator had just finished a long swim, gorging on fish all morning and was ready for a long siesta.  He crawled up on a branch, ready to close his eyes when he heard The Grebes approach.  "Ugh!"

"I'm going to move in to get a better look" said Papa Grebe.

"I think I'll just stay over here behind the bush, thank you very much. You are out of your mind, picking a fight with Oscar today", Mama Grebe's voice was shaken.

"Oh don't worry, he's just a lump on a log. He's not going to hurt me."
"Hey Oscar, over here! It's me Papa Grebe swimming over to see you".

"I wouldn't do it if I were you! He's a lump on a log that will have you for dessert!", Mama Grebe moaned.

As Papa Grebe approached, Oscar turned his head with irritation in his eye. He had just eaten and wanted to be left alone. Papa Grebe inched closer. Tempting fate as he was so prone to do.

As seconds, turned into minutes, Oscar became angry. He'd had enough. He didn't want to harm Papa Grebe, but he needed to be taught a lesson. Not that it would do any good for the future, but living in the moment, it was a good idea.

Oscar barred his teeth & with the strength he had left, whipped around at Papa Grebe with a loud SNAP! Papa Grebe felt the air forced from Oscars chops, as the breathe pushed him backwards.

"Okay, okay....I get it. I'm going but just so you know, you don't scare me", Papa Grebe shouted.

"Come on Mama, let's go."

"See ya next week Oscar", Papa Grebe shouted over his shoulder.

"Not if I eat you first...."
Back away from the 10 ft Gator!

Sept 4 – BOTD – American Avocet

American Avocet feeding at a pond at Henderson Birding Preserve in Henderson, Nevada.
American Avocet

The American Avocet is a large wading bird measuring 16-20 inches with a 27-30 inch wingspan. As observed in this photo, they spend a great deal of time foraging in mud flats and shallow water for crustaceans and insects. Their population seems to be stable with a bit of an upswing. Their migration takes them to almost every state in the lower 48 states in the US. While we captured the behavior of these & others on this day in the west, we are blessed by their presents in Florida during the winter months.

They are distinct with their upturned bill and their “V” shaped black & white wings. These are two breeding adults as noted by the deep orange feathered head. Watching these two strut around with their blue legs reminded me of two ballerinas prancing on stage in blue-gray leotards.

Sept 3 – BOTD – Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Here is my entry for Granny Shot It’s  Bird of the Day (BOTD) challenge.

The Snowy Egret is a smaller white egret compared to the Great Egret. It is distinct by its black legs & bright yellow feet. This egret moves with grace when stalking its next meal. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you will see them 1/2 fly & 1/2 run across the water. What a site!

Their plumage flares in a beautiful array which caused The Snowy Egret to be near extinction in the early part of the twentieth century. Wealthy people paid big bucks to adorn their hats with the beautiful feathers.

Again, thanks to the Endangered Species Act, the Snowy Egret has made a comeback and has provided all bird & nature lovers with God’s creation.

WWE – Sept. 3

Here is my entry for Granny Shot It’s Water Water Everywhere (WWE) challenge.

Lush & Green
Lush Green Water

what lurks in the marsh
a gator, heron or snake
home, it is to all.

Pet Peeves – What is yours?

Toilet Paper Roll – Up and Over

My number one….numero uno….biggest pet peeve of all time is the toilet paper roll. Up and over baby! I understand that cat owners have to go the down & under method for obvious reasons. I certainly understand that. That’s one of the reasons I don’t have a cat. Don’t get me wrong, I love all animals, but I’m allergic to cats & dogs. My dog is hypo-allergenic so I’m able to be around her and….. as an added bonus, she doesn’t mess with the toilet paper.

My obsession about the toilet paper being in the correct direction finds me changing the roll if I have the opportunity from the down & under position to up & over. While I appreciate the person before me loading it up and not leaving me stranded with no toilet paper, (another discussion for another day), it equally burns my ass (pun intended) that I have to fix it by flipping the roll! GUILTY!!!

What is your pet peeve?

  • Family leaving “God knows what” in their pockets for you to find before laundry day?
  • People smacking their gum around you?
  • How about someone who eats with their mouth open & still tries to talk?
  • Those who are always late so you have to set your party time an hour early to ensure they are there on time?
  • Telemarketers?
  • Drivers texting while driving?
  • Selfie Queens?
  • Screaming kid on a long flight?

I know…I know….there are so many, but I’d love to hear from you on your thoughts and what “peeves you off”. Please share as this is a serious subject. LoL

Lord’s Water Fountain

Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille, August 28th 2019, waterfall

"Give me a drink Lord"
"Ask only for what you need"
Plentiful Beauty.
What a great image to spark the imagination.  It appears to me that this is a weekly writing prompt, that we have the whole week?  Please let me know if I am mistaken.

Nov. 10 – BOTD – Meadowlark

Here is my entry for Granny Shot It’s  Bird of the Day (BOTD) challenge.

Male Western Meadowlark – Bird on a Wire – Justin, Texas

Both the Western Meadowlark and Eastern Meadowlark are about the size of the American Robin. It can be a difficult task for birders to identify the species in areas where they can both congregate. The images below are compliments of the All About Birds website & are the perfect illustration of the similarities & differences of the breeding males. The maps below each bird demonstrate their territories. In the crossover states, it is almost impossible to 100% identify which bird you are looking at unless you can get a photo or you are an expert. Both species like to forage in open fields or pasture land. In Texas, I’ve seen them foraging at the edge of lakes during the winter months.

Western Meadowlarks eat grain seed in the winter & spring but will forage for weed seed in the fall. They also eat beetles, ants, cutworms, crickets and grasshoppers. The Eastern Meadowlark eats mainly insects such as grasshoppers, crickets & grubs.

Both meadowlark females build their nest on the ground, but they differ in the number of eggs they lay. The western will lay 5-6 eggs, while the eastern will lay 2-7 eggs. The eggs are similar with spots, but the western eggs are little more prominent with their brown, rust & lavender spots. Incubation times are the same.

Both meadowlarks are vibrant song birds with different calls. This is one of the best ways to distinguish the two birds. Listen to the Western here and the Eastern here.

Hope you get to see both of these species & are able to identify them correctly when in the crossover areas in North America. Happy Birding!

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