Friday, April 30, 2010


I got a picture of Tammy the cat as she was coming through the backdoor. It wasn’t until I viewed the picture that I saw what appeared to be a scar on her face.

Poor kitty. It looked like a battle-scar from what must have been a terrible cat fight. After all she does lead a protected and pampered life and is not a rough and tumble alley cat. But on taking a closer look, the scar started to look more like some things that fell off from a tree when everything was blooming. I went out into the backyard and I found the “scar”.

She must have had one of these draped over her face and for some reason she tolerated it.

This is actually quite small and is only about one and a half inches long. It must be the equivalent of flowers to the tree and falls off when the flowering season is over. She doesn’t have a scar on her face but this item from the tree made it look as though she did. There were hundreds and hundreds of these on the ground. You can see them on the cement behind her.

Such a cat. Definitely never a dull moment with her. She keeps me entertained with her antics. Have a good day. Lew

Thursday, April 29, 2010

strange creature

I was out in the garage when I noticed something on the wall. I circled it in yellow (No, I didn’t actually mark on the wall with a magic marker! I used my computer paint program to make the circle on the picture.) It was quite small and at most half of an inch log. I had an idea of what it might be and so I took a closer look.

A strange looking creature but it is kind of blurry. Let me see if I can sharpen the focus a little.

Ah yes, it is the cocoon of the caterpillar of a bag moth. Sometimes you will see a little tiny moth flying around and it is a bag moth. They call it a bag moth because of the silken cocoon that it spins around itself. It then sticks little grains of sand and any other debris that it can find to the cocoon as camouflage. It drags this cocoon around, which serves as a little house, as it feeds, much like a snail or hermit crab carries its shell around.

Here you can actually see the small grains of sand stuck to its silken cocoon. Because the cocoon is made of silk it is probably quite smooth and comfy on the inside even though it appears quite rough on the outside. Eventually they undergo metamorphosis and emerge as a flying moth much like a butterfly does. An interesting creature just trying to find its niche in this world. And once again, some of the small objects arounb us are easily passed by. But the close-ups of the camera brings out so much detail which is fascinating. How do I get these close-ups? I put a magnifying glass in front of the lens and take lots of pictures at varying distances to make sure that I have some in-focus. Photography is a lot of fun when used to explore nature with.

This morning before daybreak (5:00 am) I stepped out the back door and the moon was so bright. The sky was clear and black and the moonlight was intense. It reminded me of the times when I lived in Arizona and walking across the desert at night. The air was warm and dry and the sky was cloudless. The skies were black and the moon was so bright that I easily walked around the desert without the use of a flashlight. I could actually see quite well. I almost felt that I could have read a newspaper by the moonlight because it was so bright. It was fun walking in the desert at night because I could hear the howls and barks of the coyote's as well as other desert sounds.

The sun has come up and so go out and have a fun day. Lew

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

teeny tiny yellow flower

I was walking outside when I noticed the tiniest of flowers. They were so small that the only thing that I could notice was how bright yellow they were. I decided to take a picture and then enlarge it on my computer so that I could see the flowers better.

The leaves remind me of a three-leaf clover but this is definitely not a clover. It is amazing, such a pretty flower it is and so easily passed by because of its diminutive size.

It is springtime and so everything is abloom with all varieties and colors of flowers. And in Albany, New York where I lived for a short time, they have the tulip festival each spring. In their large park there are literally thousands and thousands of tulips planted and blooming of every color imaginable. It is quite a sight to see. But that is alright because I have my multitude of wildflowers (don’t say weeds or their feelings will be hurt). Have a relaxing day and enjoy the sights of spring. Lew

Friday, April 23, 2010


Wow! Looks like a lightning bolt out of the blue. But actually it was the smoke trail from the latest Atlas V rocket launch. The setting sun which was behind me really illuminated the smoke trail real good and made it look like a lightning bolt.

If you look close, you can see the trail between the tree and the electric pole. I was so busy taking pictures of the smoke trail that I missed seeing the flames from the rocket. Mary said that she could see the rocket. As the rocket continued to climb the smoke trail became less bright.

At this point the upper trail was faint but the lower trail remained bright. There was a trail below a cloud (the brighter one) and another trail above the cloud (fainter). I darkened the picture below to show the fainter trail better.

It is actually quite exciting to live even this close to the rocket launches. Those poor people on Long Island don’t get to experience it. I am hoping that Seaside will come up with some better pictures of the launch than I was able to get. She lives very close to the rocket launches and I am surprised that she doesn’t have tourists sitting on her lawn in lawn chairs with binoculars to watch the launch. That may be a bit of an exaggeration but not much.

Tonight for supper was homemade crab cakes from scratch. It is a lot of work for Mary to make these but it is Friday and that means fish of some kind. We also had Pasta Parmesan which was a good complement to the crab cake. By the way, for lunch we had some fried chicken at a fast food place. I found mine to be very greasy. I could press the chicken pieces with a plastic fork and the grease ran out. My cholesterol medicine is going to get a workout tonight. But the seasoning on the chicken was good.

Have a good evening and don’t forget that wrestling is on tonight. Did I mention that we are planning on seeing Iron Man 2 when it comes out in May. We haven’t been to the movies in quite a while because there just hasn’t been any movies that we care to see.

Have a nice day and be good. Lew

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


This is Mary's April painting called "Shackleton". The name was taken from a book she had read about The Shackleton Expedition to the Arctic in the early 1900's. The painting is done in oil on an 8 x 10 Wooden plaque. Shackleton had left his men on an island on the Artic Polar Ice after his ship was frozen in ice, the ship was crushed and sunk. Shackleton then took one of the life boats back to civilization and got help, then came back to rescue his men. The picture is of the lifeboat that he set sail in to get help. He was a hero and saved them all. The picture is very colorful and depicts the story quite well. Mary is now painting a still-life of flowers in a vase on a table. It also should be quite colorful. She has the patience to do these paintings which I could never do.

Have a nice day and I hope that everyone got to watch the space shuttle land at the Kennedy Space Center today on television if they weren't able to see it live. Take care. Lew

Monday, April 19, 2010

waiting on a friend

This picture of the cat reminds me of the song by the Rolling Stones called Waiting on a Friend since that seems to be what she is doing. From her vantage point on the window sill she can see the squirrels running around in the backyard. She tries to catch the squirrels when she is outside but she is just way too slow.

You have to admit that she has a sweet smile. And very affectionate. A happy cat.

Breakfast was cereal, the Oats and Honey brand. But there wasn't much of the cereal left. The bowl was only half full (now, let's not say half empty) so I took a box of Cinnamon Chex and finished filling the bowl. It was an interesting mix of cereals and wasn't bad.

The weather outside is drizzly and I am waiting to see whether or not the shuttle will land. In Florida we say the weather is partly sunny and not partly cloudy. Partly cloudy tends to scare the tourists away and we need the tourist industry. So today is partly sunny with an occasional drizzle. Have a pleasant day wherever you are. Lew

Sunday, April 18, 2010

goodbye, old friend

What an old friend my CRC book was during my college years. It is a reference book containing the values for trigonometric and logarithmic functions plus mathematical formulas and constants. It was the bible of mathematics and physics students. Mine was used often and shows the wear and tear of it. You can see that the spine on the book has been broken and is starting to come off. I got this book circa 1963 which would make this book at least 47 years old. The book was absolutely necessary to solve the mathematical and physics problems at the college level. This was in the time before calculators. What about multiplying and dividing without calculators? Well, that was done with a slide rule and I had several. By the way, the letters CRC stands for Chemical Rubber Company. I have no idea why a rubber company would publish a book like this.

Even after the advent of calculators, a CRC book and a slide rule was considered the poor mans calculator. I remember when scientific calculators cost around $350 when they first came out around 1970. Now the same scientific calculator sells for $14. But now it has come time to say goodbye to my old friend who went through college with me. It now lies in the recycle bin waiting for pickup. At least it will be made into something else. We have an orange recycle bin for paper products and a green recycle bin for plastic and metal containers. Have you ever had certain objects that are symbolic of portions of your life? So it was that the CRC book for me was a part of my college years and sometimes it is a little hard to give these up even though they no longer have any practical value. It is just the memories of the good times that it brought back when I would see it and pick it up. I have heard of the expression that “The good old days weren’t so good”, but sometimes they were good. And my college years for all of the trials and tribulations of them were definitely good. Have a nice day and the next time that you see something that invokes a memory from the past, pause and think about the good times for a moment. Lew

Saturday, April 17, 2010

childhood picture

This picture is probably what I consider as a representative picture of my youth, like when I came with my parents on vacations to Florida, exploring the countryside in my rural town and discovering the beauty of nature, and of course mooching lunch from Mrs. Benson which was always tomato soup and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was truly happy during this period of my life and I have many cherished memories.

Today was big breakfast day and Mary made eggs, sausage, and biscuits. Thanks to the cat wanting to go outside at 5:30 am, I am up and about. The cat must have an internal alarm clock because she wants to go out around the same time each morning. The sun isn’t even close to coming up yet and it is pitch black outside. However, I was fooled by the streetlight outside into thinking that the sun was peeking up over the horizon. The bulb in the streetlight is the sodium vapor type which gives off an orange glow. When seen through a thin window curtain which blurs the image, it looks very similar to an early rising sun.

The cat is getting very finicky in her eating habits. She sticks up her nose to canned cat food which includes Fancy Feast, Whiskers, and Friskies. At lunch time Mary will give her table scraps. Well, actually sometimes not really table scraps because if we are having a sandwich, Mary will give her a slice of the deli meat such as smoked deli sliced turkey which she loves. I think that she prefers the smoked sliced turkey over her cat food and I have to agree with the cat. If I had a choice between smoked turkey and cat food, I would choose the turkey also. Such a spoiled cat. Such a lucky cat.

Today is another day and I wonder what adventures await me today. Although I may have absolutely nothing planned for the day, something always comes up to fill the day. I know one thing that I won’t be doing today and that is watching Judge Judy at 4:00 because her show isn’t on the television on weekends. She definitely has a sharp wit about her. It is time to close. And what are my words of wisdom for today? Set up the T.V. tables in the living room and have supper while watching your favorite television program. Make a little fun adventure out of it. Lew

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


This is one of the numerous orange blossoms that we have on the orange tree in the backyard. People living in Long Island don't have to wory about how many orange blossoms there ard on the orange tree in their backyard. Oh, they have a backyard alright, just no orange trees. How sad, no homemade orange marmalade. But, hopefully we will get a bountiful crop of oranges this year and have lots of orange juice, fresh oranges, and appetizers made of sectioned oranges. I guess that them northern yankees can get all of that at their local grocery store.

I was working in the shed in the back yard and I was listening to music on my MP3 player. My MP3 is so small and yet holds so many songs (around 240). It sure has the old portable cassette players beat in all ways. As my player went through the play-list playing one song after another, I started hearing my favorite Michael Jackson song, “Ben”. It is such a pretty song and I just never seem to tire of it. It is a very relaxing song. The title of the song also reminds me of an Orlando coworker named Ben. I barely knew Ben but I could tell that he was a very friendly and gentle person. I sometimes think about my old coworkers and wonder how they are doing. Now if you don’t have the song Ben at home and you feel a little stressed, then check out a Michael Jackson music CD from the library that has the song Ben on it, pop it into you CD player, then tilt yourself back in the Lazy-Boy lounge chair, put on the headphones, close your eyes and enjoy the tranquility of the music. I am a fan of Michael Jackson’s music and I like most all of his songs. His music videos are excellent also. I try to separate his musical talents from his personal problems. The local library has so many music CD’s that can be checked out. And best of all, all of those CD’s are free to listen to.

The weather here in Orlando is absolutely delightful right now and I am reveling in it. But summer, along with the high heat and even higher humidity is coming. People living near the beach can get that nice cool ocean breeze. That cool ocean breeze is also good for flying kites. I haven’t seen the ocean in so long which I hope to correct this summer. Seaside’s pictures bring back pleasant memories but I think that I would like to get my feet wet in the surf and buy one of those little globe-shaped jars of orange marmalade in the souvenir shops. Have a fun day. Lew

Monday, April 12, 2010

ever skyward

It is spring time and time for the birds to build their nests in the trees. We have a gray-colored bird that defends its nest and territory with great zeal. I have heard this bird called "cat bird" because they will dive-bomb cats mercilessly to chase the cats away. There must be a nest in the camphor tree right by the back door of the garage. I see these birds in the tree and they always seem to be in an agitated state. That is probably why Tammy the cat is ever looking upward watching for a dive bomb attack by these birds. She is so paranoid about it that she even looks up even when she is in the garage looking out the garage window like in the picture above.

Mary and I both got brand new computer desks which are nice. Mary is trying to revamp the computer room which is really one of the bedrooms that has been converted into an office. Now we are looking for a replacement bookcase. I love my new computer, it is so fast.

We won't be going to the movies tomorrow because there is nothing that we care to see. It has been so long since we have been to a movie (at least a couple of weeks) I can hardly remember what popcorn tastes like. I like the big screen of the movie theaters because I can just lose myself in the movie. And the sound is really good also. I pose a question to anyone reading this blog; what was the very first movie that you can remember seeing in a movie theater? It takes a bit of thought as you travel backward in time in your memories. A long way back. Can you remember it? The first movie picture that I ever saw was called The Boy With Green Hair starring Dean Stockwell. And yes it was as terrible as the title sounds. It's only significance was that for me it was the first movie in a movie theater. I was with my parents. In my little hamlet, there wasn't much choice since there was only one movie theater. The man selling the tickets would go inside the lobby after selling tickets to people and man the refreshment counter with popcorn and candy. He didn't have to sell soda though. There was this soda machine that dispensed the soda in a paper cup. It would even give you ice in you drink if you wanted it but I never went for that because then I would get less soda. The seats were molded wood and very hard. There was one steam radiator in the back corner of the theater and the theater would fill up from that corner outward in the cold winter months. I remember being heavily bundled up in the winter time and cold watching the movie. The theater is gone now (torn down) and I don't know what the people do now for movies. Oh by the way, the guy who sold the tickets and manned the concession stand would run up a flight of stairs to the projection booth to start the movie (I told you that it was a small hamlet that I lived in.

Have a great time and stop and eat at a fast food place on the spur of the moment. Isn't that a fun thing to do? Lew

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Panda bears

This is a painting that Mary did of Panda bears. I particularly like all of the detail that she put into painting the background. Just look at the realism of the rocks. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of time for her to do that. She seems to have the patience for it but I don’t think that I could do something that tedious.

This is just another sunny and glorious day here in paradise (Florida). It is nice. I go outside and work around the yard for a while and when I get hot I just come inside to get cool. If I am really hot I will sit in front of the fan in the living room eating a sugar-free popsicle. That combination cools me down real quick. We watch Judge Judy each day at 4:00 which we enjoy. I always try to guess which person she is going to rule in favor of. Mary has ordered two computer desks for the computer room which should be delivered some time this week. Of course, “some assembly required”. Even with the instructions, I am sure that I will be trying to figure out where things go, etc.. The shipping weight of the desks is 68 pounds each and so they should be good sturdy desks. Mary is trying to update the computer room. It is like an office in the room with file cabinet, multiple bookshelves, electric pencil sharpener, and on and on. A lot of stuff. Gotta go. It is time for lunch and we are having fettuccini alfredo. Yummy. Lew

Monday, April 5, 2010

up, up, and away

This was my view of the shuttle launch this morning. The sky was clear and gave a spectacular view. So many of the times the view of the shuttle is obscured by clouds. In the picture, the shuttle and its trail looks like a large meteor streaking through the earths atmosphere. The light colored specks in the picture aren’t stars, they are probably just spurious signals from the CCD (charged couples device) in my camera which is the equivalent of film in a regular camera.

This picture shows the contrail fairly nicely. The contrail was illuminated by the rising sun and it had a rainbow of colors to it just like in the picture. The bright spot to the left in the picture is the shuttle. Why there is not any contrail in the middle, I don’t know. It seemed odd to me. I know that it was just an optical illusion, but it looked as if the shuttle was going in a big arc. About five minutes after I started watching the trail in the sky, there was a loud rumble of noise which was the roar of the shuttle engines. It is amazing that they can be heard at this distance from the Kennedy Space Center launch complex. Just prior to the launch, I was watching the pre-launch preparations on television. They said that the space station would be passing directly over the Kennedy Space Center in a few minutes and if you looked up you could see it pass. I hurried outdoors and looked straight up and within a minute or so, there went the space station overhead heading generally from the west to the east. It was very bright which was probably caused by the sunlight of the rising sun reflecting off of it.

Of course, as with all of the shuttle launches, Tammy the cat keeps me company. Here she is sitting on a tree stump watching me take the pictures of the launch. A good cat. Have a nice day and I hope that everyone reading this blog had the opportunity to enjoy the shuttle launch. Take care. Lew

Sunday, April 4, 2010

hello, number three

I thought that only two of the three sunflower seeds that I had planted were going to germinate. Reminds me of the lyrics of the song sung by Meatloaf that says that “two out of three ain’t bad.” But yesterday, there comes seed number three sprouting up through the soil.

I noticed that sunflowers number 1 and number 2 still had the shells of the sunflower seeds still attached to them. I know that I will have to thin them out but I will wait until they have gotten just a little bigger and a little stronger.

Tomorrow morning is the shuttle launch. I hope that the fog doesn't "scrub" the launch. This morning the fog was really heavy. I don't have to set my alarm clock, the cat will wake me up around 5:30 am as she does every morning to go outside. For fanciers of fresh perked coffee, before going to bed tonight put the water in the coffee pot and the coffee grinds in the basket so that all that needs to be done is to plug in the percolator in the morning. I am lucky because I drink instant coffee. By the way Walgreens had Maxwell House instant coffee on sale and we got two extra jars of it today, so I am set on coffee for a while. I prefer instant coffee over perked. I just heat a cup of water in the microwave and a spoonful of instant of coffee and I am ready to go. Everyone enjoy the launch and have a fun day. Lew

it's cooler in the shade

Nothing like a nice cool shady spot under a chair when it is hot and the sun is high in a cloud-less sky. Whoever used the term “dumb animal”? Looks pretty smart to me. Today is Sunday and breakfast was fried eggs and corned beef hash which has been browned in a toaster oven. English muffins with butter (actually margarine) and strawberry jam rounded out the breakfast. This morning there is some serious fog. Very thick. It will take quite a while for the sun to burn-off this fog. The air outside is cool which probably contributed to the fog. I am anxiously awaiting the shuttle launch tomorrow. I like to turn on the live broadcast on television about an hour before the launch to listen to the pre-launch commentary just like I use to do in the early days of the space launches. I am trying to recapture the magic and thrill of those early days of NASA and all the excitement that was generated by a launch. I want to maximize my enjoyment of the few remaining shuttle launches before they are no-more. Enjoy tomorrow’s launch either in person or on television. Lew

Saturday, April 3, 2010

half-a-cup of coffee

Have you ever heard a waitress say to a customer " More coffee?", and the customer says, "Yes please, but only half a cup." Across the street is this orange tree which like the half cup of coffee is half full of oranges. At first glance it seemed strange for there to be oranges on only half of the tree.

Then I realized that someone must have taken the oranges from the tree limbs which hung over the fence. And so no oranges were on that half of the tree. There use to be a house on this lot but it was torn down and now sits vacant making it easy access for anyone wanting to pick the oranges from the overhanging limbs. Just look at that big "mud-truck" next to the house. I bet that it could probably go almost anywhere. Have a pleasant day and don't forget about the upcoming shuttle launch. Lew

Thursday, April 1, 2010

some days you step in it

I was walking in the front yard when I saw this mound on the ground. My immediate thoughts were “you know what”. We only have a small chihuahua dog and a cat and neither one makes “mound” this big.

I thought that the convolutions were strange. We have numerous moles in the yard which make mounds but they are typically rounded. I nudged the pile with my shoe and it consists of loose sand. Nothing but sand all the way down to the ground. No insects like ants appeared when I disturbed the mound with my shoe like what happens with a fire ant mound. I have found out the hard way that disturbing a fire ant mound is definitely not the thing to do. In the past I have been digging in the ground in the yard and have come across a large grub which I assume is a circadia grub. I think that the circadia grub lives in the ground for a couple of years and only comes up to the surface as the circadia beetle for reproduction. Could this be the builder of the mounds? However, I really don’t think that it is a circadia grub. Having worked in the medical field, the convolutions of these mounds remind me of the convolutions of the brain. A far stretch of the imagination but that is what convoluted mounds remind me of (besides "you know what"). I have seen these mounds from time to time in other parts of the yard. They have me baffled as to what is creating them. I would look on the internet but I wouldn’t know where to even start. The only thing that I can come up with is a mole. I am hoping that Villager might know and be able to enlighten me.

Cinnamon swirl bread was the toast of choice this morning along with a cup of coffee. Coffee and toast gets me ready for the day. Have a fun day and have lunch at the food court at a nearby shopping mall. Lew

stormy sky

I got this picture of the sky to show the dark clouds of the approaching storm contrasting with the blue sky. I am always fascinated by the swirling patterns of the storm clouds. When I viewed the pictures for the first time, I happened to notice the sun behind the clouds. The sun looked so small.

The sun always seems to look bigger on a sunny day. I tried to grab a quick glance and discovered that it was impossible to tell the size of the sun because of the glare. That little tiny globe heats the entire earth, and boy does it ever heat things up in July, August and September. The sun also makes the solar clothes driers work pretty good also. We had hamburgers for lunch and they were pretty good. Tonight we are having baked chicken thighs and baked potatoes done in the oven with the chicken. On Friday, I am having artificial lobster which is Pollock fish seasoned to taste like lobster. It comes in a small frozen package. We got it when we were at Publix the last time. I usually have the imitation crab but I saw a package of the imitation lobster. Since I have never had the imitation lobster I decided to get it so that I could see what it tastes like. I will use a little melted butter for dipping the lobster into. Yum!!! I will let everyone know which is better, the imitation crab or the imitation lobster. Enjoy life. Lew