A Dry Spell; Then Blessed Relief

I’ve been in Dallas for a week, nursing a daughter after surgery.  It’s what mom’s do.  It’s been great being here seeing family I don’t see often enough and bonding with my grand-dogs and cats.  But the lack of humidity is driving me crazy.

I can’t believe I once lived in this arid desert for years and didn’t shrivel up into an aged crone.  After only a few days, by hands are like sandpaper, by legs area as scaly as two giant redfish and my nasal passages are actully bleeding!  

I have to go back home tomorrow.  Some nonsense about earning a living.  It will be hard to leave.  It always is.  But the one thing I can look forward to is stepping off the plane and onto the jetway.  Vistors from elsewhere always comment at that moment, “Oh, the humidity!  How can they stand it here?”

I always spread my arms and breathe in the moisture.  Let the re-hydration begin!


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Not Just Snail Mail: We’ve Got Manatee, Dolphin, Marlin, and Flamingo Mail Too

People all over the Bay area like to indulge their creativity when it comes to mailboxes, but near the water, receptacles for the daily post reach a whole new level of crazy.

I doubt that the Postmaster General approved all the boxes Allie and I have seen in the neighborhood, but the mail-people don’t seem to be fazed. Neither rain, nor tide, nor concrete, shell, or wooden monstrosities stay these couriers from their appointed rounds.

So far, I’ve found three basic types of “non-standard” mail boxes:

Those being held up by some large sea creature –

Seahorse Mailbox

Seahorse Mailbox










A box disguised to look like something other than a place for mail –

Manatee Mailbox

Manatee Mailbox

Fishing Lure Mailbox

Fishing Lure Mailbox








Hand painted or decorated boxes.

Palm Tree Mailbox

Palm Tree Mailbox

Seashell mailbox

Seashell mailbox









Some box owners have a lot of talent.

Painted Pelican Mailbox

Painted Pelican Mailbox











Others not so much

Mermaid Mailbox

Mermaid Mailbox

Shark Mailbox

Shark Mailbox








If you are still curious about beach mailboxes, there are plenty more here.

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This is the view I see out my window in the morning. Photobucket

As much as I love sunsets, especially the over-the-water-kind with the green-flash bonus, sunrises are just the best.

I’ll never forget the one morning when I was eight, my dad woke me up at 4:00 am. It was cold, Iowa winter below-zero cold, and pitch black outside. . He bundled me up and loaded me in his truck. We drove around aimlessly, just so he could show me the city asleep. My Dad was cool like that. The streets were eerily quiet and empty, covered in frost that sparkled in the street lights’ glow. The only place in town with any activity was the newspaper plant where workers were loading papers onto trucks for distribution. We drove into the park where he showed me how hunters “spot light” rabbits. We saw a deer, too. Then he took me to the highest point in the city and we watched the sunrise. I’ll never forget it.

Afterwards, we went to a local diner where he had a “big stack” and I had a “little stack” and although I burned my mouth on my hot chocolate, the whole experience was magical to me. I’m sure that’s where my love of sunrises began.

Some sunrises are like mangoes and peaches in a big blue bowl. clouds1

Some are military – brass buttons and gold braid on a blue uniform. Some are pastel Monet water lily canvases. Some Degas ballerinas, all pink and gold. Some are high school marching band orange and purple. Some are firey as the gates of hell, and some pearly as the gates of heaven.

If you haven’t seen a sunrise lately, make it a point to catch one soon.

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Pigments of Imagination: Houses Near the Beach Come in All Colors

Apparently if you live near the water, you run the risk of your spirit becoming a little bit too free. Either that or the beach attracts a lot of people who are absolutely color blind. Houses near the beach tend to not be the mundane “ticky-tacky” of inland suburbia.

This place doesn’t need any balloons tied to the mailbox to announce ‘the party’s here.”

party house 2

party house

Then there’s this one. Why stop at painting the house when you can paint the accessories too?
pink house accessories

Purple and green? It just doesn’t get any beachier.

purple and green house

All these places remind me of when I was a kid in Iowa, and my dad took me to see the “crazy houses.” They were right in the middle of one of those 1950’s communities full of pastel three-bedroom ranches that all looked alike.

Apparently a guy decided to paint his house school bus yellow. His next-door-neighbor, after asking him to tone it down and being flatly rebuffed, chose to fight fire with fushia, and painted his house bright purple.

With the gauntlet thrown, so to speak, the owner of the yellow house lost no time adding huge bubble-gum pink polka dots on his sunny domicile. Not to be outdone, his neighbor painted giant cartoon characters (Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Popeye, and others) on top on the purple background.

Of course word got out, and soon there were lines of cars on the quite street filled with gawkers eager for a glimpse of the “two crazy guys’” houses. Eventually the guys came to their senses and repainted their houses in boring pastel colors. But it sure was fun while it lasted.

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Weirdness at the Beach

Been away from the blog for a while because of other blogging commitments,

plus it’s just been too doggone cold< to do anything!

window frost

I keep seeing “jogging guy” – the one who wears only candy-striped Bermuda shorts, flip-flops, and a large straw hat no matter how cold it is – but haven’t approached him, because
a) he carries a big (about 6’long) stick
b) we haven’t been going the same direction, were too far apart, or he was talking with someone else.

I think he lives in the bright pink house with the even brighter pink trim down the street, because I saw him exiting that yard early one morning. But, that remains to be confirmed. Must screw up my courage and talk to him one of these days, as I’m sure there is a story there.

Meanwhile, Allie and I were on our usual morning patrol a week ago when I spotted a man’s white athletic sock in the middle of the road. About 10 yards farther down, there was its mate. And about 10 yards from that point – a pair of men’s white Jockey shorts. The next day they were still there, but moved to the sidewalk.

Tidy Whities

Obviously there’s a story behind that, but I really don’t want to know what it is.


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To Err is Human: To Aarrh is Pirate

My old subdivision had very strict rules about what residents could put in their yards. Not only did it detail what kind of grass, flowers, bushes and trees were allowed, it absolutely forbid what the documents referred to as “garden kitsch.” Woe be to the resident who stuck so much as a gnome out front. Stern warnings were sent from the property manager, then the attorney. If that didn’t get results, the homeowner was summoned before the Covenants Committee to explain his or her blithe disregard for THE RULES. The Covenants Committee had the ability to levy fines – as much as $100 per day – in order to convince the resident to comply. If the scofflaw still didn’t toe the line and remove the offending object(s), the homeowner’s association actually had the ability to place a lien against the property to collect the fines plus all associated legal costs, and to eventually foreclose on the property.

No such rules exist near the beach. Here, one man’s yard art is definitely another man’s eyesore – or at least eye-irritation. Almost daily, Allie and I walk by this bear. He stands at least 15 feet tall, apparently carved from some ancient tree.


I can’t even imagine the story behind this big guy. But every time I pass it, I want to yell at the house, “What were you thinking?”.

Then there’s this:
yard chimp close

There are no words. Seriously. People who think a statue of a chimpanzee belongs in the garden are obviously disturbed. Note the giant snail next to the chimp. We walk as fast as we can past this house.

But then there’s this pirate. I can’t figure out why he is leaning up against a garage door and not displayed prominently mid-yard. He’s so… what’s the word?.. piratey!


I just love his face.


If he was in my yard, I’d dare the Covenants Committee to make me take him down.

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Bordering on the Absurd: Fences Don’t Have to Offend

When you walk, you notice things. Things people in cars don’t pay much attention to. And they start to bug you.

In my neighborhood, lots of folks have fences in their front yards. In most cases, they are meant to be decorative, hey are meant to keep people out or pets in. Since there are no deed restrictions here, people are free to put up whatever kind of fence they want. Some efforts are successful.

picket fence

Some are not

chain link fence

Now the owner of this fence obviously doesn’t care about the impression he is creating – that of “lazy slob.”

This homeowner actually has a pretty cool fence. It has little metal lions on top of the gate. Too bad he’s let it get into such bad condition.

lion fence

This person tried to make the fence look good, but failed. Note to artist: paint dark to light, not light to dark. And take some art lessons.

painted fence

I’m not quite sure what this person was thinking, but the rope is totally black with mildew and dirt, and is certainly not adding any appeal to his yard.

rope fence

This guy wanted to mark his territory, pathetic as that territory is. How this patch of weeds and dirt rates a fence is beyond me.

rail fence

Personally I love this fence. From the street it looks fairly ordinary.

pineapple fence

But up close, you can see that someone really cares about creating a pleasing and welcoming environment around their house. The

pineapple has been a symbol of hospitality for more than 500 years.

pineapple fence inside

Likewise, this fence is one I enjoy walking by.

See what a little imagination and effort can do?


To get to the point of this post: fence putter-uppers, think before you enclose! Are you creating an eyesore or an esthetically pleasing addition to the neighborhood? (Not to mention my daily walk) There is enough ugly in the world already. If you’re going to add something, at least make it easy to look at.

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