Observing whatever tickles my fancy

The New Enforcer

I spotted him last night. He was lurking behind the overgrown weeds that come up between the cracks in the sidewalk. I said hello. He remained silent. I moved to the left. His beady, black eyes followed my movement. I moved to the right. His gaze followed. He wasn’t talkative and that was okay. He was there to do his job and I left him to it.

Early this afternoon I returned from an errand and found him again. This time he sat on the bottom step. I greeted him with a smile and said hello as I walked around him and went into the house.

This silent creature with the black beady eyes makes me smile. He most certainly is a great, great, great grandchild of the legendary Algae. (Algae was one of the best guard toads that ever took on the invading hoards of ants.) I’ve yet to learn the name of the new enforcer of the steps but once he becomes comfortable in his new position, and with me, I’m certain he will share it.

He grudgingly allowed me to take his photo but soon became impatient with his new celebrity and started to hop away. But here he is, my new guard toad.

The new enforcer.



Pipe Dream

If you can dream it, you can do it.

Walt Disney

A month ago I lost my job.  The phrase, “laid off due to reorganization” was used.

With this lay off the company arranged for me the opportunity to meet with a “human resources” organization. These are folks who were, at one time, members of the human resources department of their respective employers. Their goal, to help the recently laid off find a job by spiffing up their resumes and teaching them to answer those ever so difficult questions like “tell me about yourself” and “do you like to work alone or as a member of a team”. All of which can be found for free on the internet or your local department of Workforce Development (or whatever your state calls it). Since my former employer is paying for these talking heads I agreed to meet with the one selected for me: a soul without a dream.

That’s a hard phrase: “A soul without a dream” but it bears repeating. A soul without a dream.

During my first session, probably when I was asked “tell me about yourself”, I told this advisor that in high school I had dreamed of becoming an animator for Disney but that through the course of my life, and accepting some limitations, I adjusted my dreams. The response from this soul without a dream was, “I never had a pipe dream like that”.

A pipe dream. That statement has stuck in my craw since the moment it was spoken. No one should ever be told that their dream (no matter how old) is a pipe dream. It leaves a sick taste in the mouth and soul. It pushes the heart down and resentment up. How dare you. But as I have thought on it I began to feel sorry for the person who made the statement. How can you have never had a dream? Didn’t you want to fly in space? Be a cowboy, a doctor, a Broadway star? Didn’t you ever stand in front of an imaginary crowd singing your heart out wondering what it would be like to be a rock star? Did you really want to be an accountant when you grew up, a manager of the human services department? Why didn’t you have a dream? How could you not have a dream?

I’ll never work for Disney. That time has passed. But maybe, if one of my children stories ever gets published…maybe Disney will purchase the rights to animate it. So, there’s still a dream…and if you don’t have a dream….what do you have?Laughter is timeless dreams are forever quote Disney


“Existing or being everywhere at the same time : constantly encountered.”

Before I learned of your death yesterday you had been on my mind.

It had been so long since we had last seen one another that when I opened the door a few weeks back and saw you standing there all I could say was your name, and give you a long, loving hug.  We talked for nearly four hours that night and  I’m grateful for the blessing of that last opportunity to spend with you.

Pastor Dick once called you “Ubiquitous” because you seemed to be everywhere at the same time. Now you are. You are in the hearts and minds of those you touched.

You were a treasured friend, Kevin, and shall be a treasured memory.

p.s.  “Go Giants!”


Recently I’ve been reading about Norse Mythology.  My interest lies more in symbols that would work in a carving so with hope of finding something interesting I checked out a number of books from the library and ended up reading about the Viking gods.

Today I ran across the creation story in the Time Life book “Sagas Of The Norsemen: Viking & German Myth” published in 1997 by Duncan Baird Publishers, London.  It’s a fair book and is an easier read than the original by Snorri Sturluson. (Snorri Sturluson is considered the first to write down the Norse myths. He was born in Iceland toward the latter part of the 12th Century.)

The Time-Life interpretation of Snorri’s Creation story left me puzzled.  Here is what was written:

“…at the beginning of time, before the earth had been formed, there was nothing in existence-just a gaping void called Ginnungagap. To the south of this was Muspell…..”

Explain to me how there can be nothing in existence, but something can be south of it?  (Let alone how there can be a void within nothing.)

“The Prose Edda”, by Snorri Sturluson (translated from the Icelandic by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur, Ph.D.). The American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York. 1916.

“Erst was the age when nothing was:  Nor sand nor sea, nor chilling stream-waves; Earth was not found, nor Ether-Heaven, – A Yawning Gap, but grass was none….

Then said Jafnharr; “It was many ages before the earth was shaped that the Mist-World was made….”

“Yet first was the world in the southern region, which was named Muspell…..”

Snorri’s original (as translated by Brodeur) makes a tad more sense to me. Granted, Earth does not yet exist, but there’s an explanation that other things were created beforehand and that they came together to create Earth.

Time-Life then translates that man and woman were formed in the sweaty armpit of a giant as he slept.  (Pleasant, I’m sure.)  At least the 1916 translation (with what I assume is Victorian Age sensibility) has man and woman formed under the giant’s sweaty left hand.  Happily, when the giant arose from his slumbers, he used his right hand to become upright thereby not crushing these new little humans under his massive palm.

The Norse are an interesting breed and I think I best read the 1916 translation completely for I think Time-Life may not have translated Snorri Sturluson accurately.


They gobbledygook and gobbledygeek and mishy mash around.

The brain tries to make sense of the sound and gives it another go but the words tumble over the tongue and crash into the teeth.  Crazy sounds emit from the mouth.  People stare, confused, and say “huh?”


Words, dammit, words!

Shovel Toss

The hazards of rain, sleet, snow and sinking temperatures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few days ago the upper Midwest was hit with an incredible mess of rain, snow, sleet and sinking temperatures.  Parking lots, sidewalks and driveways turned into lakes and streams that quickly froze over into a rink that Olympic hockey teams could have played on and speed skaters could have raced around.  The pond at the bottom of my driveway froze over and has icebergs that could sink the Titanic.

Today the sun came out.  The frozen paths in our yards softened.  I thought it would be a good idea to chip away at the ice.  And I did.  Chop, chop, chop…..chop, chop, chop.  Take shovel, scrape, lift, toss.  Repeat.

And then it happened.  The shovel, with its batch of ice, flew off of the end of the handle.  Up and over the snow bank and into the road it went. I guffawed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe remains of the day.

A Winter Dream


Warm sunlight.

Open windows.

A summer breeze.

The smell of freshly mowed grass.

The smell and colors of flowers in bloom.

Riding bicycles.

A robin.