Saturday, December 23, 2006

Will It Never End??

Today I got the call... "Come and pick up your computer! We've tested it and it is fine." I was thrilled, I was elated, I was... skeptical! But, with hope in my heart, I jumped in the truck and headed for the store. Upon arrival I was happy to see the 'computer repair' section of the store was pretty empty. In fact, I was a little surprised that the traffic and amount of people out shopping really wasn't too bad considering that tomorrow is Christmas Eve.

Taking my place in line I tried to keep my feeling of elation in check. I hadn't yet tested the computer, and this was the -2nd- time that it had been sent out to the manufacturer for repair. My turn came and I stepped up to the desk, gave my name, and pulled out what is becoming a large bundle of repair orders. Flipping thru I came up with the newest one and handed it to the tech. Smiling he brought me my laptop.... he didn't even make a demur when I stated that I wanted to plug it in, fire it up, and test it myself. Although, he did tell me that he and another tech had tested it and he was absolutely sure it was fine....

I boot up, I load up Photoshop Elements, load up a picture, click on crop with a shape, make my shape on my picture, hit o.k..... and watch the computer screen go black as it shuts down. HAH! This was why I wouldn't take the computer out of the store without checking it. Today was 12/23... officially my extended warranty ended 12/22.... I was NOT taking possession unless it was right!

The poor little tech guys face just fell... He claims never to have seen anything like it.. Could it be software?? No way, I say! I've been thru all of that and it is definitely hardware!!!! I then explain for the third (or is it fourth? or maybe Fifth?) time to a new person that it all worked fine -before- his store added a gig of ram to my laptop.

"But, it can't be the ram, we tested it!" He says confidently.

I ask, striving for patience, "I've asked that the ram be removed and tested, I assume no one has done that -still-"

"But, ma'am" (I hate when they call me ma'am {sigh!} "It -can't- be the ram... we tested it!"

"Humour me... let's remove the gig of ram and see if it works then!"

Treating me as if I was insane (at the very least), this is done...... and the computer performs flawlessly! I crop once, twice, three times... on the same picture! and then do the undo three times and return the picture to it's original size.

"I'll be d@mned!" the little tech dude exclaims... "Um... could you come back in an hour? Maybe go shopping or something? I ... um... need to check this out."

Feeling vindicated... and a little smug LOL! I agree. Off I go for an hour. My return is greeted with, "Just a tad more time, if we could?"

Another half an hour of wandering.

Finally he is ready for me.... "Ummmmm... well, we took video of the problem and we will have to send the laptop back.... But, -I- have sent a very detailed description with the video... I think we will be able to get something done this time...."

"Fine..." I say with a huge sigh, and not being able to resist, "You know, if the techs I've dealt with would have listened to me and allowed me a chance to show them, I wouldn't be sending my poor computer out to the shop for the -3rd- time.. not counting the 4 days it stayed with you guys!"

He was very apologetic, and I did feel a little superior to be proven right after all of those snot-nosed kids had treated me like I could barely turn a computer on let alone understand how it actually works! Maybe next time they'll listen to the lady who knows her 'baby' inside and out!! {sigh} But probably not.

Anyway, the bottom line is that my laptop is -still- in the shop, and I'm still having to beg, borrow or steal time online just to check my e-mail.....

Oh, for anyone interested... It works with the 1/2 gig, it works with the 1 gig, it won't work with ram in -both- slots... very odd, and obviously a -hardware- problem... Gee, where did I hear that before?????? LOL!

One more thing, in case you missed it, check out my Celebrations of Light and Hope entry. I know I repeat it every year, but it is one of my favorites and is fast becoming a Holiday tradition for me!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Winter Holidays

and still missing in action.....

I'm still missing in action, but wanted to drop in and make my yearly repost of my Happy Winter Holidays post. I originally posted this entry on my AOL Journal in 2004, the first year I blogged. Last year I reposted it in my AOL Journal AND in my Blogger journal that I had started in 2005. This year I find the message just as relevant as it has been for the last two years, so here it is again!

An update on my poor laptop: Remember that it spent a week at the shop before they decided it was more than they could handle and they would need to send it off to the manufacturer. I was thrilled when they called me after only 1 week to tell me it was back. I immediately jumped in my pickup and flew into town to pick it up. Arriving at home I was thrilled to be connecting to the internet with my baby. I surfed, I e-mailed, I caught up on all my friends lives.....

Around Midnight I decided that I would make an "I'm Baaaack!" entry. I chose the photo, I brought it up in Elements, I cropped it....... I watched my screen go black as my laptop shut itself down. BAH!!!! That was the reason it was in the shop to start with! The nice tech people received a call the -moment- they opened the next morning. "Bring it back" they say. SIGH! So, back it went, and it's been gone another week and a day as of today.... I don't expect it back till after Christmas... Sniffle!

So, how am I making this entry? And for that matter the comments I have made on a few blogs? Well I had a laptop prior to my beloved baby. I had passed it down to G. so he wouldn't ask to use mine to check his e-mail and things. The shoe has been on the other foot the last couple of weeks with me asking HIM if I could please check my e-mail! LOL!

Why no entries? G.'s laptop only has the bare minimum of programs on it. He has the normal Windows stuff... paint, notepad, write..., but no Photoshop Elements, no PSP7, no LIveWriter...He literally only uses it for e-mail and internet access! So I've just been waiting (semi-patiently) for the return of my baby to post again. But I couldn't not post a Happy Winter Holidays entry could I???

Be sure to scroll down one entry for the mentioned Happy Winter Holidays Post... And, just in case I don't post again till after New Years... Happy New Year!!

Celebrations of Light & Hope

This is a repeat of an entry that I've made the last two years on this day. It still says what I want to remember about this time of year, so I'm doing this 'reprint' again for the third year in a row! <g> Our jobs have changed, our address has changed, as have other circumstances, but the main message of this post that I originally made on December 21, 2004 has remained the same. I hope you will enjoy my take on the Winter Holidays... even if it IS 2 years old LOL!

PreviewToday is the shortest day of the year... and the longest night. It is the first day of Winter. It is the celebration of Yule. It is an acknowledgement of Hope. That Light and Warmth and other good things will always return after the darkness. It is the day that G. and I celebrate as our personal Winter Holiday. In ancient times, this was the festival of the rebirth of the new god and a promise that after today the days would get longer, the nights would get shorter, and warmth and Spring WOULD come.

Yes, secularly we, like so many others, celebrate Christmas. In the United States, Christmas is no longer just a religious holiday. With the gift giving, and Santa, and the decorations... Christmas has become more, and less, than what was originally intended. Everyone takes the pieces and parts of the holiday that works for them. Some embrace the religious parts, and try to ignore how secular it has become... others embrace the secular with it's parties, lights, Santa, and presents and ignore any religious beginnings of the holiday. But, at it's heart, it is still a Winter Holiday.. A celebration of Hope. And every religion/belief system seems to have a celebration of some type that embraces this.

I grew up in the States, and therefore my memories of a Winter Holiday include all of the above. And Christmas itself is as much a melting pot as the United States itself. The Christmas tree is German, and Santa is the culmination of a blend of traditions from many countries. Mistletoe? Druid. Christmas Cards? England. You see what I mean. G. and I will be celebrating with my brother and his family on Christmas Eve at his house. That's the day we all have off together. Christmas Day G. is working so a co-worker can be home with his small children for the Santa Claus ritual <g>.

I think what I'm trying to say is that it doesn't Previewmatter who you are, or what your core beliefs are... There is a place in the Winter Holidays for all. But, please, take a moment this season, whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Chanukah, Yule, or Christmas, to remember that the REAL reason for all of these celebrations is to celebrate HOPE in all of its forms

graphics by useless graphics

Saturday, December 02, 2006

(About to be) Missing in Action

I am about to go missing for 2 or 3 (probably more) weeks. This is not my fault!

I think I mentioned here that I decided to add a gig of ram to my laptop so that my Photoshop Elements would run better. A gig and a half of ram! I thought that my problems would be over!! Silly, silly Me.....

After having the ram installed by a 'qualified' technician I happily brought my laptop home and began to surf and play. Things went great until I opened up Photoshop Elements and tried to do something with a photo. Each time I would do more than 2 things to a photo my computer would shut itself off. Thus began the ordeal......

First I did the repair, uninstall, reinstall drill that we all know so well. Nothing worked. And, the only time the computer did this was when I worked on photos. Since all I really use the computer for is Internet and photos... well, you can see the problem. So, I phone the 'qualified' techs and they tell me it could be a software problem.. No, I already thought of that.. O.K... then bring it in and let us take a look...

Tuesday I took the laptop to them and they said they would need to run tests. My understanding was that they weren't that busy and would get to it that afternoon. I call back 5 hours later.... And am told they needed to stress the machine and it would take 2 or 3 DAYS!! I freaked, but sucked it up and figured I was at least getting my $69 worth of testing. Meanwhile I went to dig up paperwork and realized that the laptop is still under the extended warranty I bought till Dec 20th... Yippee!! Calling the techs I am told that my $69 would be refunded when I picked up the machine... Double Yippee!

And I waited...

And I waited...

Finally on Friday evening at 7pm they call.... they can't keep the machine up and running long enough to do the rest of the tests and want to send it in to be worked on.... and it would be gone 2 or 3 weeks.. EEEEEeeeeeeeeekkkk! Did I want them to do a backup before they sent it off? (at a cost of $110 not covered by my warranty?) Ummm... NO! I would come and get the box, back up any photos not already on my external harddrive and any game saves (most things are already on the external, I try to do that once a month anyway). Well, I could try they said.

I pick up the box, bring it home and check e-mail, Bloglines, read journals/blogs etc for like 3 hours..... but the minute I bring up Photoshop... Phhhhhhht!

So, I am going to go online and schedule the bills to be paid for the next couple of weeks, make an entry to both Blogger and AOL Journals so you guys don't think I had some awful accident, back up a couple of random things...... And return the box to them to be shipped out... Whine!

Update: I just got off the phone with the store and they said that the laptop wouldn't ship out till Monday if I brought it in today... so I'm keeping it till Monday. LOL!

Monday, November 27, 2006

What Surprises are in Your Front Yard???

Because I have a fenced in yard here, I often come out to find that I have a visitor! Skylar stays in my yard 24/7 during the summer, but in the winter his owner takes him inside at night, but returns him to my yard when it warms up in the morning. Very few days here are too cold for him not to spend at least a portion of his day running around my yard.

When asked if it would be o.k. for him to be loose over here, I gave my assent, but was concerned that Morgan would mess with him. Turns out that he is almost as big as Morgan, and has absolutely no fear of her!! For her part, Morgan wasn't too sure about this interloper in HER yard at first, but now looks for Skylar when she goes outside. Why do we always look for Skylar? Because we spent the first couple of weeks he was in the yard noticing he was missing, finding him, returning him to the yard and then figuring out how he got out!! He's a smart little critter, but the yard is finally 'tortoise proof' LOL!

Not being a herpetologist, I have been amazed at how much personality Skylar has. Because I spend quite a bit of time outside and pay attention to him, Skylar has become attached to me and will come when I call and stretches his neck out so I can scratch him in his favorite spots easily. He also follows me all over the yard begging for treats and scratches.

I love taking pictures of animals, and I also enjoy looking at the pictures others have taken. National Wildlife just had a photo contest and there are some stunning pictures there.... I hope someday to be half as good as these people! Enjoy!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

And the Holiday Madness Begins...

The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally the kickoff for the Christmas (or other winter holiday of your choice) season. The 'official' beginning of the season is, of course, the arrival of Santa and his sleigh at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Do you think you are a Santa Conoisor? Well, I have a quiz for you: The Santa Quiz.... Oh, I scored 9 out of 10, and I'm not ashamed of that because the question I missed had to do with the movie Elf that starred Will Farrel <shudder>

And, for a little more Santa Fun, check out this Santa Nation

Feline Friday

The quality of the photo/crop job this week is a little weak.... my computer is giving me fits. I am completely unable to use my Photoshop Elements software. I dug out my Paint Shop Pro7 program and am at least able to crop my photos and reduce the file size to something that is web friendly {sigh} I sincerely hope that Best Buy is having a slow repair day tomorrow so I can take this thing in and have them test it. I am crossing my fingers that it isn't my motherboard, but this computer is almost 4 years old now, so it is possible {bigger sigh}.

This photo is a little washed out because I had the front door open and could only get one angle on  the shot, and it wasn't the best angle! However, DK looks like she is enjoying the sunshine regardless of the havoc it was wreaking on my photo endeavors....

Want to play along? Take a picture of your cat, put it on your blog, and pop over to (sometimes)Photoblog and drop off the link!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Turkey Day!

I am thankful today to be sitting here watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and waiting for my sweetie to get home so we can go out with some friends and eat a good meal (AND I am thankful it is going to be in a restaurant and doesn't require me to cook or clean LOL!).

I am thankful for my Internet connection that gives me an opportunity to have friends near and far in the blogosphere and J-Land. I am thankful for my laptop so I can surf the Internet (even if it is being ornery about letting me edit any pictures grrrrrr!)

I am thankful for the nice people at Best Buy who are going to look at said laptop next week and tell me -why- it is being contrary! LOL!

I am thankful for the talent in J-land. Today I am particularly grateful to nightmaremom over at This and That and Hockey for not only creating but allowing me to snag the wonderful graphic at the top of this entry.... Hopefully the nice people at Best Buy are going to fix me up so I can go back to featuring photos soon.

But mostly I am thankful for my family (both regular and fur) and my friends (both 3-D and cyber).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans Day

Thank You!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Your Monday Photo Shoot: What's in a Name?

I debated with myself about if I would do the Photo Shoot this week over at By the Way or not. See, my first name is boring, my last name is boring, even my nickname.... is boring. BLAH! Finally I decided I would go with my AOL screenname, which also happens to be my identity at most places on the web. Here is the challenge:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of something that relates to your name. It can be your first name, or your last name, or of your middle name (we're not picky). Even nicknames work. And since this is AOL, if you want you may use your screenname as well. Basically, if a name relates to you, let's see a picture of a representation.

My name on AOL (and most other parts of the Internet) is Astaryth. It is unusual enough that I have never been turned down when I've picked it as a sign-in name. Well, except once. Turns out I had a Google account already, but I couldn't remember the passcode nor enough information to get the passcode sent to me. I must have gotten it back in the mid '90's {LOL}.

Why is it always available? Well, probably because I made it up! When I joined AOL way back in the stone age I tried several variation on my real name and my nickname, none were available without adding a number to the end. At the time I was trying out AOL I was already a member of Prodigy... Anyone remember them??? Anyway, I was playing a game over there on their bulletin boards based on the Anne McCaffrey's Pern series of books. My first dragon that I impressed happened to be a Gold. If you are not familiar with the books, a Gold Dragon is not only rare, but the 'highest' color. Apparently the people who ran the 'weyr' thought my writing good enough to award me this honor. If you follow the Pern books you will know that the wonderful telepathic dragons all are born knowing their names AND all dragon names end with th. I named my first gold dragon Astaryth and played her and the character for quite a long period of time.

Back to the screen name dilema. It was getting late in the day, I wanted to try out this service people had been telling me about and in desperation (and the desire not to be known as blank5678) I typed in my name for my Gold Dragon. BINGO! Accepted! And I've used that name (and e-mail address) every since!

Now for a picture to represent my name.... hmmmm.... Well, I thought about one of my pics of a Bearded Dragon, or maybe a Komodo Dragon, but finally decided to pop over to and I offer up:

Three Galaxies in Draco!

There are many other wonderful pictures of galaxies and things over at and, since we all pay taxes, they are free for us to use!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Gatorland Fire

Before Universal, Before SeaWorld, Before Disney there were smaller 'road side' attractions. People came to Florida for the beaches and the sunshine. While here they were presented with opportunities to enjoy a little piece of Florida at places like Cypress Gardens and Gatorland.

This morning I saw on The Disney Blog that Gatorland was being ravished by a three-alarm fire. He gives a first hand account of the fire and also offers up a link to a set of photos taken by his wife. Luckily no human life was lost, and only 3 animals, as most of the animals were housed in other parts of the park. It made the news also, of course, and you can find stories here and here.

Here is a link to a slide show that showed the huge gator jaws that were the unique entrance with flames behind it. I feel so sorry for the owners and the employees... although they were saying that they would have the attraction open again, possibly within a week! This is a family owned and run business, and I am glad to see that they are going to reopen.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Feline Friday

I had a heck of a time with my Feline Friday entry this week. I knew exactly what picture I wanted to use, and I had it off the camera and on the laptop in time. My downfall was trying to edit the picture.

I don't know what has gotten into my computer (and if anyone has had the same problem, I would love to know how to fix it). I added a gig of memory last Monday. I had it installed by the techs because I didn't have the proper tools, so I know it was installed correctly. Seems when I start working in Photoshop Elements (both 4 and 2.. I did try both) when I go to do any kind of effect my computer shuts down. I opened up PSP, but couldn't duplicate the problem there, thus my belief it has to do with the Photoshop program. I finally managed to get the picture done by knocking the size down right away and then working on the smaller file. I plan to experiment more tomorrow and see if I can figure out what exactly is causing the problem. Suffice it to say I was very frustrated! Before I call and whine to the tech, I am going to uninstall and reinstall the Photoshop Elements files and see if that fixes it.... GRRRRRRR!

On the bright side, I've been very pleased with the increase of speed on my computer for everything else. I went from .5GB to 1.5GB

Want to play along with Feline Friday? Post your picture and then head over to (sometimes)Photoblog and drop off the link!

What kind of Writer would I be?

I was over at Pat's and she was doing a couple of 'tags'... I'll spare you the one where you type out a few lines from a book because the closest book to me currently is Head First HTML and CSS.... pretty boring stuff!

I did, however, pop over and check out what sort of writer I would be... turns out I am strange and worry people LOL! Hmmmm..... I think John Scalzi's gig is safe from me, but I will admit to enjoying reading Sci-Fi!

You Should Be a Science Fiction Writer
Your ideas are very strange, and people often wonder what planet you're from.
And while you may have some problems being "normal," you'll have no problems writing sci-fi.
Whether it's epic films, important novels, or vivid comics...
Your own little universe could leave an important mark on the world!

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I've noticed that my posting since the "big move" have been a little sporadic, and dare we say, BORING! Mostly Monday Photo Shoots and Feline Friday entries....Hmmmm.... When did this become a photo blog? I mean it's called Adventures of an Eclectic Mind, not Photos Taken by Someone Boring!

I'm blaming my lack of interestingness (It's my blog and I'll make up words as I go along if I want to ;p ) on the fact that I am currently working on actually learning CSS instead of flying blind and doing a lot of 'What would happen if I changed this...?" type of coding. Not that it hasn't worked so far, but still I was ready to sit down and actually do a little studying and learn to do it the -right- way. Add to that the book on Photoshop Elements 4 I am slogging thru (and meanwhile they released Ver 5. Don't they know I'm not finished learning 4????) . Plus keeping up with all of YOUR blog entries. Well, overbooked is probably a good word.

Many times I see something and think about how I should do a Blog entry about it, often even composing it in my head, and yet not ever getting around to actually doing anything with the idea.Today it occurred to me that instead of just -thinking- about doing an entry when I see something interesting I should just -do- one! What a novel idea!

With all of that fresh in my mind I was reading my bloglines new entries and ran across a post over at My Day and Thoughts and she had an entry on doing an inkblot test. Being curious (and always liking to have reassurance I'm semi-normal) I followed the link over to Tickle and checked it out. It is supposed to be based on the original Rorschach tests. If you decide to give it a try, have a little time set by. It has over 50 questions. Still it was fun! I was a little surprised at my results, but very happy that no words like psychopath or dangerous to the general population were used LOL! So, without further ado I decided that it was interesting and that I would do a blog entry on it. Thus you are presented with my subconsciuos!!

Astaryth, your subconscious mind is driven most by Imagination

This means you have a deep desire to use innovative ideas to enhance your life and influence the world around you. This drive influences you far more than you may realize on a conscious level.
Your need to be innovative drives how you look at new opportunities and the kinds of experiences in life you choose to have. On an unconscious level, the reason you may be so driven by imagination is your fear of destruction, the opposite of creation. When you are unable to create due to restrictions imposed by your environment or even ones you unwittingly impose on yourself, do you feel trapped or confined? You may find these feelings of unease only get better when you find another outlet for your imagination.
With such a strong creative orientation, you are willing to entertain a broad spectrum of ideas at any given time. The world is a fuller, richer place because you can contribute new ideas to any experience. Your natural curiosity inspires those around you and encourages them to come up with ideas they wouldn't have thought of without your help.

Though your unconscious mind is driven most strongly by Imagination, there is much more to who you are at your core.

Want to see if you are normal? Wonder what drives your subconious? Go check it out! If you do, leave a link and let me know... I wonder about the people I hang out with, you know???

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Your Monday photo Shoot: Pumpkins!

AND Trick or Treat around Blogger!

I'm about to kill two birds with one stone! This is going to be both my Monday Photo Shoot AND my Trick or Treat around J-land/Blogger! So, here goes!

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show us your Halloween pumpkin! This year's pumpkin is preferable, but if you've not managed to get yours for this year, go ahead and pick one from your photo archives. Remember also that just because it's called the Monday Photo Shoot doesn't mean you can't turn in a picture on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. So if you haven't gotten a pumpkin yet -- there's still time!

Well, since we live in the middle of nowhere this year, I didn't decorate for Halloween.... nor did I buy and disfigure any pumpkins. So, Instead I offer up the graphic I did from last year for Trick or Treat around J-Land!

When I worked for the circus it was a tradition to give the animals that would play with them (mostly the tigers and elephants) pumpkins at this time of the year. Mohan was kind enough to pose with his for me!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Feline Friday

Hmmmm... We missed last week, but this week we offer up D.K. once again reclining on her favorite piece of furniture.... MY BED! LOL!

The usual rules apply.... If you want to play along with Feline Friday all you need to do is update your Blog/Journal with a picture of one of your favorite felines and then drop on over to (sometimes)photoblog and leave a link. Now, how easy is that??

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Your Monday photo Shoot: Off-Color Photos

John over at By the Way offers up the following for this week:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Turn something an unexpected color. Most photo editing software will let you fiddle with the hue of your photos: Use that feature to make your photos subject a color it would be impossible (or at least, very unlikely) for it to be in real life.

You knew I would have to do something with an animal photo, now didn't you! I considered a tiger, but Pat over at Here, There and Everywhere beat me to the big cat idea, then I considered a giraffe... but, you know the whole black and white stripes on the zebras just drew me and I knew I had the perfect picture for it......

So, I give you a horse zebra of a different color! See, that line wouldn't have worked if I had used a giraffe LOL

Friday, October 13, 2006

Feline Friday

And that brings us up to Feline Friday! And it's Friday the 13th to boot. I had planned to save this pic for a Halloween entry, but with it being both Friday the 13th AND it's October, I thought this would be a good one. Remember the nice close-up pic?? This picture was one of the last I took that day, and I think D.K. was ready to be finished with the whole camera thing and take a nap!!

Want to play along?? Take a picture of a cat.. your cat, the neighbor's cat, and cat and put it in your Blog. Then drop over to (sometimes)photoblog and drop your link! Come on, you know you want to!!

Your Monday photo Shoot: Foliage 2006

Now, after the Bobble-head fiasco, I figured the next Monday Photo Shoot would be easier...

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Leaves are changing color all over the US -- show us the foliage in your neck of the woods. Normally I say that pictures from your archives are fine and dandy, but for this assignment try to get fresh photos of the change of the season. Remember also that even though this is called the Monday Photo Shoot, you can still submit pictures on Tuesday, Wednesday or even Thursday morning -- so you have some time to find that perfect fall photo.

Sure John..... I live in Florida... We have Palm Trees and nice green trees on Christmas day! LOL With this in mind, I thought that I would either skip this Photo Shoot, or I would take a pretty picture of all my GREEN trees. However, we decided to take Morgan for a hike in the woods on Tuesday and we went to Paynes Prarie and as always I took my camera along because you never know what you'll see out in the woods....And lo I found some trees that were NOT green!!! So, I snapped a pic and that is what you see below. HAH! I found colored trees in Florida! HAH! LOL

If you want to see some other pretty fall foliage, don't forget to check out John's recap of links for this photo shoot.

Your Monday photo Shoot: Bobble-Heads

I'm a little behind making some posts... Real life reared it's ugly head for the past 2 weeks. But, life is settling down, and I have some pictures for the last two Monday Photo Shoots that I didn't get a chance to post, so here goes:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Someone in your house you probably have one (or more) bobble-head figurines. Immortalize them in photo. For this, any bobbly toy will do -- bobbly hula girls, toy animals with bobbly tails, it's all good. They just have to be bobbly somewhere along the line.

Well, the truth was that I DIDN'T have a bobble-head figure! But, my friend and neighbor did, so I asked if I could borrow it for an hour or so and take a picture of it for my Journal/Blog. Although she looked at me like I was insane, she did hand over the bobble-head, which I carried off to a sunny patch to take a picture of. Morgan, who feels she should always be the center of attention, NOT a silly doll thing, followed along and managed to get in the picture! Finishing up I returned the bobble-head to my neighbor and downloaded the pic to the computer.... unfortunately I didn't get around to posting it until tonight... I thought about just not bothering, but I already had the pic... and what else would I ever use it for???? LOL

If you want to play along with the Monday Photo Shoots, or the Thursday writing assignments, pop on over to By The Way and see what John has for you this week!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Feline Friday

... and yes, I do know it is actually Saturday

It's that time of the week, and D.K. has consented to a close-up of her gorgeous little face.... Mr. DeMille... She's Ready!

Want to play along?? Put up a picture of the feline of your choice and then pop over to Steven's place, find the entry with the kitty and leave your link!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Your Monday photo Shoot: Horses

This weeks photo shoot from John over at By the Way is this:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Horses are nice. Show us a horse picture you've taken. It can be new, or one from your files. It just needs to have a horse in it. Donkeys, mules, ponies, zebras, and quagga are also acceptable, and I'll be impressed if you have a picture of a quagga in your files, being that they've been extinct for 125 years and all.

HA! This one at least is an easy one! The hard part for me is picking just one picture.... So I didn't. First pic here is of Boo playing 'Hide and Seek' in the trees. I've been playing with getting pictures of him and his pasture mate under the trees. The shadow play makes for interesting compositions.

The second picture I chose just because I liked the expression on his face.

Both of these pictures were taken on Sunday afternoon, before I even knew about this weeks subject. I also took pictures of the other 5 horses I have here. Why? Because I gave them all baths and I wanted photographic evidence of them being clean. See, with horses, if you want a picture of them all sparkling clean you have to be fast because at the very first opportunity they are going to roll in the sand and not be clean anymore! {LOL}

Why not play along? I'm sure you have an equine picture someplace! Pop it up and then leave a link HERE so we can all take a look!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Feline Friday

or.... is that all that cat does?!?

Today is Friday.... And today we have D.K. resting from last weeks workout! Actually, are we starting to see a pattern here? D.K. feels that sleeping should be an Olympic Sport... at least for Cats!

As always, if you want to play along... Post a kitty pic and drop your link over at (sometimes)Photoblog!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Your Monday photo Shoot: Color Opposites

John over at By The Way came up with a little different Photo Shoot Challenge for this week:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Color Opposites

This week's photo shoot will be a study in opposites:
Your Monday Photo Shoot: Post a picture that focuses on the contrast between two opposing colors. What colors are opposites? Green and red are opposites, as are blue and yellow, and orange and purple. So a picture that has something purple in front of something orange would work, or a picture that features blue and yellow in alternating stripes. The subject of the pictures could be anything you like -- but there have to be opposing colors in there.

I spent the first 3 days of the week trying to figure out what to use. I finally decided on Black & White. My original concept was a shot of my horse, Boo, and his pasture mate (who happens to be white)... unfortunately I got NO co-operation from the pair of them. LOL! So, instead you get a picture from my archives.

I just love carousel animals and will spend quite a bit of time anytime I find a carousel getting pics of the different figures. This little BLACK & WHITE zebra is one of many exotic animals featured on a local carousel. The hardest part of taking carousel pics?? Finding shots without children in them! Apparently I'm not the only one who likes carousels.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Air Morgie!

Morgan hasn't been too happy lately that I've done -2- Feline Fridays with pictures of DK and not a Corgi picture to be found. To make up for that, today I give you Air Morgie!

This is something new that Morgan has just learned to do. She's been fetching since she was a little girl, but always the we throw/she chases/she picks up/she brings back scenario.... She's VERY proud of herself that she can now catch stuff midair.

I'll leave you to guess at how many pictures I took to get a few good pictures of her in mid-air.... Lets just say that 1. She doesn't catch it every time as she just learned to do this. and 2. Her Daddy doesn't always throw said squeakie so it crosses in front of where I was set up to take the picture <g>

And, just for good measure, we leave you with an Air Morgie Montage!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Bored with your Blog?

Bored with the templates that Blogger offers you? Well, jump over here and check out the contest over at Bluebird Blogs! If you read Adventures in Juggling you've seen some of her wonderful work!

In celebration of Fall, this wonderful lady is giving away 2 custom blog designs! So, get yourself over there and enter!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Feline Friday

Today is Friday, and I offer up D.K. doing.... This....

I don't even know what to say other than at least I didn't put bacon on her! <g>

If you want to play along, put up a picture in your blog and drop the url here!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Your Monday photo Shoot: Profiles

This week over at By the Way John offers up the following challenge:

For this week's photo shoot I thought we might try something striking yet simple:
Your Monday Photo Shoot: Get a picture of someone in profile. Could be you, a family member, a friend, a pet -- just as long as we see their face, from the side.

I had several nice 'profiles', but ultimately decided on this little guy...

He is a Great Horned Owl.... for some more info on Great Horned Owls, click here... or go over to National Geographic and check out the great pic they have over there.

Want to play along?? Find a picture, load it up and get over to Scalzi's place and post the link in the comments section.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Weekend Assign: 9/11 -- Five Years Later

I wasn't sure that I wanted to do this weeks assignment from John over at By The Way. But, here I am.....

Weekend Assignment #128: Share your thoughts about 9/11. You can remember back on what you were doing on the day or give some thought to how we think about it today. Thoughts personal, political or philosophical are all up for consideration. Tell us all what you think about when you think about September 11, 2001.
No extra credit this week; thinking about 9/11 should be enough to keep us all occupied. Write it up in your Journal or Blog, and then come back here and leave a link, so we can all share our thoughts together.

Five years ago I was in my second year of my first tour with the circus. Those of us on the pre-set up crew had pulled in the day before and set up all of the animal areas. Some of my animals traveled over the road with me instead of on the train, so I had already gotten them tucked in to their tent the night before. For some reason the load-in had been a long one, and we were all tired that night when we headed off to the hotels to get a little sleep before the arrival of the train the next day with the rest of the animals and all of the other people.

The animal walk had been scheduled as an early morning walk on the 11th and the plan was to stick as close to our time frame as possible since we were to take a detour up thru downtown Memphis stopping at a park for a little PR that had been set up. For some reason G and I did not turn on the TV that morning before heading over to the parking lot of the Pyramid. Normally we would have had the TV on for noise and a quick check of the weather. Maybe it was because we had been really tired the night before, but we got up just a few minutes before we needed to walk out the door.

Arriving at the lot, I didn't notice anything unusual, and as G went off to check and make sure the train was still on schedule, I wandered over to the tent where I already had my zebras and Freisians installed. Opening up the flap I was greeted with the normal sounds of an early morning barn anywhere..... Animals asking to be fed.. NOW!

Quickly handing out breakfast rations, I wondered at G not returning to tell me if the train was on time or late.... Late was often the norm, and I was considering a trip to a nearby McD or other facsimile thereof for breakfast for myself...

How quickly a normal routine can be completely disrupted... entering the elephant tent I was greeted with the news of the first plane hitting the towers.... we were still digesting this and considering how the pilot could have made such a tragic error when the supervisor, whose trailer was on the lot, came back out the door and told us of the second plane.... and that it was now being considered an attack.

We stood around wondering what to do.... and possibly a little selfishly... how it would affect us and getting our animals off of the train and into their more normal accommodations. The rest of the day is a little of a blur.

The animal walk went from a triumphant entry and parade thru the streets with children in a park laughing and clapping to a quick walk the shortest way we could find to get to the lot. The people running the pyramid where worried because, as you can see from the photo here, this building would be easily recognizable from the air. We were told that we could not load in the rest of our show that day as planned, and they weren't sure if we would be allowed to do the shows at all.... there was talk of breaking down tents and moving them farther away from the building... and whether we would be a good (read high profile) target for a terrorist group ourselves. No one knew for sure what was happening and there was fear of other attacks....

After getting all of the animals settled in, we found ourselves without the normal load-in we were expecting.... and slowly we all trickled back to the train and TV sets where we all tuned in to local channels and watched the crash over and over again. Phone calls made to be sure people we knew on other shows were o.k.... One person had left that morning to fly out to FL, but thankfully, her flight was cancelled before she got on it and she returned to the lot, shaken but at least not stranded somewhere! I phoned my brother (who's in the Navy) and we talked about if he could be called up for this...Some people gathered outside the train with TVs brought outside and connected to satellite TV set ups that people had (DISH, DirectTV?? I don't remember) so we could watch CNN and other news channels. Ultimately it just seemed surrealistic. Everyone just seemed stunned by the whole thing. Many of the people with us weren't U.S. citizens, and some time was spent explaining to them and trying to translate news.

But, life did go on... They allowed us in the building early the next day and we were able to get inside and with a lot of hard work have the show ready for the first scheduled show of the stand.... But, nothing would ever be the same.

So, that's where I was the day we were attacked..... and, I'm sure I'll never forget how sad, angry, upset, confused and lost I felt that day. I remember my mother's generation always knowing exactly what they were doing the day JFK was shot, my grandmother's was Pearl Harbor... this will be one of those moments for our generation.

note: I wrote this in one sitting... just typing. when I went back and reread it I realized that it is a little jumbled... but that is how I remember that day.. Jumbled and confused. I thought about going back and clarifying and cleaning it up, but then it wouldn't be as I remember, would it?

Monday, September 04, 2006


I was over snapping pictures of something totally different when I glanced up and snapped this pic of Boo. He had been eating his hay, but when I turned towards him he looked up as if to say, "Whaaa? You got a problem? I'm eating here!" Yep, we have a theme going here... all of my animals are tired of Mom snapping pictures of them all of the time. The shot isn't good because of the shadows at that time of day, but I liked his expression.... Oh, and the shot I was actually after... Nope, didn't get it {LOL}

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Feline Friday

For some reason since my return to the 'cyberworld' I haven't been able to figure out what to write about here. It's funny but during my forced absence from J-land and Blogger, I kept thinking of things I would like to blog about and what I would say if I was able to get online... but, once I again had the ability, I've been drawing a blank. It's not that I don't have anything in my "Possible Blog Entries" folder... I think maybe that I have too many things and just don't know where to start... or maybe I'm just out of the habit. Sooooo..... I decided I should just start doing some of the weekly 'assignment' type things out there. Maybe if I start getting back into the habit of posting I'll again find my Muse :P

So, with that in mind, I offer up the following picture of my cat D.K. for the Feline Friday entries over at (sometimes)photoblog. If you want to play along, just put up a kitty picture and drop over there and leave your link! Easy, Huh?

Discovering D.K. all stretched out and asleep in the middle of the bed, I grabbed my camera to get a picture.... She woke up and seems to be asking, "Can I help you?"

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Isn't the Internet Everywhere?

...Or why it took me almost 3 months to get hooked back up


When I left the apartment (and apparently civilization) in mid-May I had no idea it would take so long to find an internet solution. During the 2 1/2 months I was without access, not only did I have Journal withdrawals, but I had to write checks, yes CHECKS to pay bills... no click click you're done, but actually writing and licking of stamps! How last century of me {LOL}

Now there are so many ways for civilized people who live in normal places to access the internet. We have:




Air Card

Even the library

Yep, if you live near civilization all of these are options. Heck, some people even have large areas covered by Wi-fi (Think New Orleans).....

Let's see if I live near civilization.....

Nope. If you want to watch anything except FOX (fuzzily I might add) then you get a sattelite dish. Yep, we have one of those {g}

Hmmmm..... yes on the south side of our little town they will get it in the next year, but we live on the north side. When questioned they talked about a 5 year plan.... EEEK!

Wide spread Wi-Fi?
Well, seems there is a guy doing that here (because of the whole no cable no DSL thing) and it seems that we are line of sight... Oh, except for that pesky grove of trees we have growing right there in front of the property.... But if you want to put up a huge tower at your own expense we could.... Uh.. No!

Air Card?
I bought one. Installed it. The signal out here for cell phones is weak and after about 2 hours the tech gave up trying to get it to work. Returned it for a refund.... Oh, did I mention that ONLY one cell phone company gets a signal (weak) out here AND you have to be sure to get the right phone <sigh>

The Library? Well, they only have 3 computers and you have to sign a list to get on. Then you are only allowed 30 minutes before the next person gets on.... It's summer... Schools out... 'Nuff said!

Dial-up? Well, yes.... Except that the phone system here is run by what used to be Sprint and is now Embarq. After talking to them on -3- seperate occasions and getting -3- totally different answers to my questions, I'm afraid that I said bad things to them and I don't think they would install a phone out here even if I asked {LOL} Anyway, it seems that it would cost a quarter each time I called either of the closest 'cities'where local access numbers are, or I could pay $49 a month for unlimited long-distance. Oh, and PLUS there would be seperate charge for a service to connect with (AOL is currently $26 for dial-up)

I was running out of ideas (and hair) when I met a very nice man who came out and set up the contraption you see in the picture below. Yep, I get my internet by beaming an infrared beam -directly- to a satellite and it beams the stuff back.


Yes, there are -2- dishes there. One provides us with TV, the other with internet access....

It's pretty quick, but it is hard to compare to DSL or Cable because it works different.Instead of the page loading as you watch it you kind of count to 6 (3 seconds upload/3 seconds download) and the things just appears... BOOM! Also, like all connections it flies late at night and is slower during the business day when net traffic is high. Buying the equipment and having it installed is usually very expensive, but I caught them with -2- rebates going on.... And, my monthly charge is -less- than the dial-up would cost (remember $49 for unlimited long-distance + $26 for AOL or $10 for one of the others like PeoplePC)

So, there you have the SAGA of my search for internet access..... I thought it would be such simple process.... Who Knew?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Extra Special Edition

Paul (Plittle) has just posted an Extra Special Edition of the CarnivAOL. This journal is normally devoted to people who are 'self-promoting' their own writing... It is what people call a 'Journal of the Vanities'.

But, not for this Edition... For this Edition it becomes a Memorial for Pamela Hilger (His1Desire) and lists as many of the entries about Pam as Paul could find. Pop over there and check out that list.... It's an amazing list and a tribute to how many people Pam's life touched.

And, for this one Special Edition, Paul is waiving the AOL Journals only rule and accepting submissions from any and every source. If you've written an entry dedicated to Pam, check and see if Paul already found it, and if he hasn't, submit it!

Thank you, Paul! This is a wonderful tribute to an amazing woman.

Hey.... What are you doing still here??? Go Already!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Rest in Peace, Pam

I have set down to write something in my blogs about the passing of Pam (his1desire) several times now over the past 24 hours, and each time I have ended up hitting the little x up there and going off to do something else.

I give up. Pam's death has affected me more than I thought it would. I never met her in real life, and yet she touched my life and the lives of so many in J-land. I try to write about how much I admired her, and how she fought her battle with dignity, and bravery.. and humour. About how she never gave up...... And it all just comes out sounding trite... If you want to see what an amazing woman she was and how she never gave up, go here and let her tell you in her own words.


Rest in Peace, Pam
You will be missed

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Missing Blogger.....

A Quiet Moment

Where oh where has Astaryth gone....
Oh where oh where could she be???

Well, the short answer is that I've been VERY busy in the real world. The long answer?

Let's start with my work schedule. Now, I'm one who LIKES to work 10 hour days. You do four 10 hour days and then get a long weekend! I like long weekends. But, when you work for a company that does 8 hour days five days a week and they get a bunch of work.... Well, we have been going in at 6 am and getting off at 4:30 pm five days a week and then doing some work on Saturday also. (53 hours last week and 54 this week total!) Add to that the Sunday feeding of the horses at my boarding barn and you have quite a full week.

But Wait!! That's not all! G went and got a different job. We have been doing the whole visiting, interviewing, filling out paper work for that. It took us about 6 weeks to go from "Hey that might be fun" to "O.K. I've got the job". It is requiring us to move, and because we are in a lease, he went up there last weekend, and I am staying down here with all of the animals till the end of May, when I too will move. Now, the move isn't far, just 3 hours north, and we are still in Florida, but we ARE going to be crossing that line into the part of Florida that actually gets things like freeze warnings! Brrrrrr! I wanted to know why, if he was going to get a different job, it couldn't be farther SOUTH, but apparently I was ignored. We first thought about 'breaking' our lease and paying the penalty, but it turns out the penalty is 2 months rent.... and our lease is up in 2 months. We decided economically it would be better if I stayed here and kept my job till the lease was actually up

So, in addition to having already worked 53 hours that week, I also had to make 2, yes -2- trips to the new place to get him settled in... followed by 54 hours of work this week. Needless to say, I have been working, sleeping, taking care of the pets and if I'm lucky, reading my e-mail and maybe a couple of journals.

Now, I know the next question... What is he doing? He has returned to working for the company that owns the show we worked for while we were traveling on the road. They have a retirement facility for their animals that are too old to work anymore where they go and live out the rest of their natural lives being cared for by some really nice people. I know a lot of people have the idea that animals that 'work' for a living are just discarded when they are injured or too old to work, but not by this organization. They consider their obligation to that animal to be from the time it enters their care till it has passed away, and they go out of their way to make their retirement years a pleasant experience.

Some cool aspects of this: When we toured the facility the day G was offered the job, we found that he knew all of the elephants there from working on both units of the show. He also had 'met' the other animals at one time or another. Most of the animals at the retirement facility are elephants because they have such long lives in captivity. So, G's new job is to feed, care for, and find ways to entertain these older elephants. Pretty Cool, huh?

Now, for the good parts! Once we are moved, I'm not going to have to work as much! I will probably pick up a couple of things part time to stay busy, but I won't be doing the 40 hours a week thing anymore (unless I want too!) G. wants me to look into going back to school, and I am considering the options. I'm thinking a combination of online and traditional would work best for me. Also, I am looking forward to having more free time to really play with my camera and do some other fun things I've been putting off due to lack of time/energy.

And, you will probably be seeing more, not less, animal pictures as I still have lots of friends at the Zoo where G was working, and the area we are moving in to puts me centrally located for 2 -other- zoos! Plus, I am moving into a more rural area with all of the animals THAT implies! So, I am pretty excited about the opportunities for animal photography I am going to have. In addition, I would like to try some macro stuff with flowers and butterflies and the like. All in all, I think the move is going to turn out to be a good one for both of us.

I have spoken with G this last week.... Now, I left him up there with NO phone, NO cell, and NO computer access.... He still manages to call me every evening to "make sure I am doing o.k." {snort} The first time he called I was sitting on the couch with my Chinese take-out, holding the remote and watching a movie I had been wanting to see..... I wonder who we have to worry about "doing o.k." by themselves {LOL} ... anyway, I have spoken to him, and so far he LOVES it.

Oh, and the picture at the top of this entry is one of my favorites of G. and one of his 'girls' out on the unit. Since it is a favorite of mine, I'm sure some of you have seen it. Don't worry.... I have a few new pictures sitting on the hard drive that I plan on posting as soon as work let's up and I can do the required cropping, fixing, and finding appropriate links for them.

And, THAT is the long answer to the question of the missing Blogger known as Astaryth!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


One more strawberry picture.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Last Wednesday I decided that I would dip some Strawberries in Chocolate... MMMMMMmmmmmmmMMMMM!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It's Winter Time in Florida........


What does that mean? Well, winter time in the rest of the country brings you pictures of snow, children sledding, trees covered with ice, the world dressed in white..... But, not down here. Here, at least the part of here that I wander thru on a daily basis, winter consists of fields and fields of... Green!

The picture above is of the same field that I took a picture of when everyone was showing pictures of fall. Then, it was a bleak field of black plastic... what a difference a couple of months make!

I live in the center of what is called 'The Strawberry Capital of the World'. And these fields are full of beautiful, red, luscious strawberries. The place I live in is even called Plant City! This weekend begins our annual Strawberry Festival. It will run for 12 days... 12 days of carnival rides, musical entertainment, and.........

Strawberry Milkshakes
Strawberry Shortcake
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Elephant Ears... with Strawberry topping
Funnel Cakes... with Strawberry topping
Fresh strawberries in a cup with whipped cream

Good thing I Love Strawberries!


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Rest of the Story.....


Several people have asked for the 'rest of the story' on Hungry Henry. Soooooo......

The story starts on Thursday when I leave work to find a flat tire on my pickup. Grrrrrrr.... Grumble... Grumble..... Get a lift home and wait for G. to get off work, which he finally does THREE hours after his normal coming home time. By this time it is dark and we make the decision to wait till the next morning to fix the tire. G. is off and can run me to work and then fix the tire at his leisure. No problem. I literaly live 4 minutes from work.

Friday dawns and G begins to change the tire only to find that the lug wrench is missing. Sigh! But, no problem, a quick trip to an auto supply store takes care of that and now I have a four way lug wrench with is a waaaaay better lug thingy anyway. Bad tire is taken off, small screw is found to be the culprit, and the spare is removed from its bracket to take it's place on the truck. I'm all happy because I have a full sized spare, not one of those 'donuts' and will be able to jet down, and drop the bad tire off and we can still make our appointment on Saturday.... Except for one problem.... Seems the spare (which I haven't needed for over 2 years) has gone flat! Sigh! Grumble, Grumble. Another trip by G. to auto store and a can of fix-a-flat puts enough air in the tire to get to a station. Air is added and spare is good... YEAH! Oh, and why didn't we just take the spare to a station and air it up? Well, our second vehicle is a motorcycle! LOL!

Saturday we wake up to a beautiful sunny day..... Until time to drive 2 hours to get to our appointment. Now it is raining and icky and we are driving into it. Yuch!

Finally Sunday comes and I am ready to relax, spend some time with my favorite horses, and I head to the barn. It is a little chilly, so I grab my heavy coat and head out. When I get to the barn, I see Hungry Henry. I don't know it is Hungry Henry yet, but I do know he is a cutie. I feed the horses and am patting myself on the back for having grabbed the camera on my way out the door that morning. I go to the car, grab said camera, and snap several shots of said cutie, along with a couple of my favorite wooly bear (my furry horse), and go to take the camera back to the pickup for safe keeping while I let the horses back out into the pasture....... to find.... that my heavy coat apparently brushed against the door hard enough to push the lock down and the door, although not completely closed, IS closed enough to latch... with my keys, wallet, etc, all inside the pickup! GRRRRRRR! A call to G. turns up that he can't find the spare key, but he will come out and pick me up... with the motorcycle... on one of the coldest days we've had all winter... Grrrrrrr!

Well, I have an auto club. Which has a card. That I carry. In my billfold. That's in the pickup. With the key. GRRRRRR! So, we call the police dept. to find out who they use for a locksmith, call him, give him directions (which is fun because he isn't familiar with the area we are talking about... out in the boonies!), and then go back out on the motorcycle, on one of the coldest days of the winter, to meet said locksmith and get my keys out of the pickup......

So, that is the 'Rest of the Story'! I'm hoping for a better week this week. ROFL!

Now that you've read my sad story, I'll leave you with a cute picture. This is what you get when you let your Corgi do the 'Corgi run' and you actually lay down on the ground and take pictures of said Corgi running like a maniac!


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Hungry Henry


When I go out to the barn on Sunday morning to feed the horses, I just never know what I will find! Today it was "Hungry Henry"......

I was so eager to get a picture of this little guy that I did something stupid... which will be an entry for another day. If I start whining tonight I don't know if I'll be able to quit, so I won't. Instead I will offer up a series of pictures of Henry.

How do I know his name? Well, just as I was leaving the owner yelled over and said, "Oh, I forgot to tell you about the goat. He just showed up and we haven't figured where he came from yet, so give him some feed when you feed the horses. Someone will come looking for him soon... Oh, by the way, we're calling him Hungry Henry." I laughed and told him that I had already fed Henry some grain as a bribe to let me take his picture.

After all of the horses had finished eating and I turned them back out into their pasture, Henry happily followed them out and was still hanging out with them when I came back for the evening feed. He's certainly made himself right at home!

Hope you enjoy him as much as I did.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


The Super Bowl? Phhhhhht!!!! Who needs the superbowl? The only good part is the commercials, and now with the aid of the internet you can actually see all of the commercials without actually having to suffer thru the game! Having said that, here I sit with the game on the TV waiting for the next commercial break ;P

So, What could possibly be better than watching the Super Bowl with all of it's commercials (oh, and that football stuff)? The Puppy Bowl II, of course! And, the Super Bowl may have The Rolling Stones for their half-time show, But the Puppy Bowl II has the Bissell Kitty Half-Time Show!

Come back later and I'll have something to say about what I thought the best commercials where, and maybe even something to say about the Half-time show.......


Friday, January 27, 2006

I'm Famous...

Not really, but my AOL Journal was picked by the guest editor over there this week as one of the 6 journals she gets to feature. Pretty Cool, huh? Well, since I'm expecting a little extra traffic over there this week I thought I would put up an entry that tells a little about me.... And, I thought maybe I would mirror it over here... well, just because ;p So, Here it is:

I'm Famous....

Well at least sort of <g>

Seems that Kim over at I Shaved My Legs for This? is the Guest editor this week... And guess who she picked to share the honor with? Yep, ME! Well, me and some other people <LOL> Be sure to pop over to her place or the Journals Main Page and check out all of her picks.

Since I'm probably going to be getting some extra visitors here in the next few days, I thought I would do a little 'about me' entry.

Although this Journal was never meant to be a 'showcase' for animals, it often becomes one because... well they are and always have been a big part of my life. I was born into a family that loved animals, and I can't remember a time in my childhood when there wasn't at the very least a dog and a cat in my home... and often assorted other creatures... Add to this the dogs/cats owned by my Grandparents and Aunt/Uncles, and I was exposed to pets from the time I was 3 days old.

My first home was with my Grandparents... in Kentucky... You know, "Land of Beautiful Horses and Fast Women" <eg>. My grandfather's favorite story was always about how I threw such a fit at the age of 6 months that they had to go and get a neighbor to come back and let me have a ride on his horse so I would quit crying. Now, I don't remember this, but I wouldn't doubt it. My Grandfather always claimed that my love of horses began at that moment.

I managed to own a horse by the time I was 20, and by 24 was living in Florida and actually making my living caring for horses!! From there, it was just luck that led me from place to place. The people I originally worked for in Florida owned Arabian Horses. Seeing that the market for them was falling, the owner took the horses he still owned and added a few different breeds to them and started a dinner theatre in Orlando. I was lucky enough to return to work for them in the early 80's just as this was taking off.

Working at the dinner theatre, I was exposed to many different types of riding, all kinds of horses, and a lot of really cool people... some of which had been or were still circus performers. One day one of them recommended me to a trainer who had just arrived from Europe and would be training an act for the circus that would include Friesians, Arabians and..... zebras! I was quickly sold on the idea of not only working with 2 breeds of horses that I admired, but Zebras! The chance seemed to be to wonderful to pass up, and my boss allowed me to take a leave of absence to go work with this trainer for 6 months and help get the act ready to go on the road.

By the time the Fall rolled around, it was obvious that, although the act was well on it's way, it was nowhere near ready to just be handled by anyone, and the trainer convinced me to go with him on the road and travel with the circus for 6 months and finish their training..... And I never looked back.

During the 6 years I spent working for the circus, I was an assistant trainer for this first act, then Head tiger groom for another set of animals, and finally a Senior Animal Handler... which meant I helped out where needed. It was a wonderful experience and I crossed the entire continent twice, was in New York City at Madison Square Gardens three times, went once to Mexico City, and even visited Canada, and along the way had many adventures. Most importantly, I met the man I currently share my life with.

A little over a year and a half ago, G (my significant other) was offered a wonderful opportunity to work in a zoo. This was a dream of his since he was a child, so how could I say no?? We came off the road, and while he went to work for the zoo, I found a job that I could do while I look for the 'right' job for me. Luckily for me, since G and several of our friends still work with exotic animals, I still get the opportunity to be around the animals I adore... Still, I look forward to finding the right spot for me to continue to do what I love.

While waiting for -my- dream job, I have several 'furkids' who keep me quite busy. We Previewhave Morgan (the Pembroke Welsh Corgi) who is the darling of my eye. She is almost 3now, and I've had her since she was just six weeks old. D.K. (short for Devil Kitty) is a 'tuxedo' cat and 11 years old. I've had her since she was a 5 week old kitten. And finally, but by no means last, is Boo, my horse. He is a black bay Arabian who I actually helped be born. On Jan 1 (all horses have their 'official' Previewbirthday on Jan 1!) he was 16 years old.... but, he will get his birthday celebration in the spring anyway <g>

So, that's the short form...... The newer pictures you find here in my Journal are from our local zoo or aquarium... although I do on occasion get to a little more exotic locals. The older ones... well, they can be from anywhere <g>

Hope you enjoy your visit... And Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

For My friend....

My friend Pat (Deslily), who you can find HERE and HERE, says in the comments of my last entry:

As usual you have outdone yourself once again! Ok, now you have your new background for the next few weeks... time for some "heart-felt animal pics!" heh...

And, since she has often favored me with stories of DeForest, the least I can do is return the favor and offer up some 'heart-felt' animal pics!

I have many pics of the Orangutans at the zoo here (as well as some from other places), but the ones I picked for the entry tonight were taken very recently. In fact, over the Christmas Holidays. I always stop by the Orang exhibit to see what they have given Charlie (my favorite) to put on his head on that particular day. I have pictures of Charlie with boxes, rags, blankets, and assorted other things--all on his head. He likes to sit in the corner and put things on his head. This isn't that strange as Orangutans tend to be the most 'quiet' of the apes and often seem to prefer more quiet games than the other great apes.

I'm also checking to see what the 'patriarch' of the group is doing. Often he will come to the observation window and offer 'kisses'... and in the last couple of months I have been trying to get a glimpse, and possibly a good photo of the newest, smallest addition to the group. You'll know when I finally get a pic of her because I will be sure to post it!

Each morning there is an assortment of food and interesting objects scattered throughout the enclosure before the animals are released into it for the day. On this particular day, the keepers had put out some blankets as enrichment, and one of the juveniles had gotten one and was playing with it. I have a series of about 25 pics of him getting the blanket (and the piece of fruit that was under it) and his ascent to the top of their 'jungle gym'. I've only included 7 of them here for the sake of those of you on dial-up.


The pictures are in sequential order starting with the one centered on the top. Then go down the left side... Back to the top of the right side... and down that side... Ending with him on top of the 'jungle gym' in triumph!


Interested in learning a little more about these fascinating, comical, funny, lovable little guys?

As usual, I have a couple of places for you to go to learn a little more about them and the reason they are endangered and need our protection. Today I offer you 3 different ones. Click Here, Here, and finally Here!

I hope these were enough of an animal 'fix' for you Pat! LOL!

Note: For anyone who saw the 'oops' posting of this entry, I hope you enjoy the 'fixed' one. I ended up using the table tags to make the pictures 'behave'. I am on my way over to AOL right now to see if it is possible to get this to post over there. With the limited HTML features over there... well, I may just have to redirect traffic over here! ROFL!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


It's less than a month till Valentines Day... Time to redecorate!! The Blog Title in this one is a graphic and a separate animation. Just experimenting with using Tables to help place things.... Learning... Learning!

Also, my 'headers' on my sidebar are graphics. Sometimes you do something by accident, and you end up liking it better. When I put the urls in for the graphics in the sidebar, I gave them a height/width value. I accidently put the wrong width in and ended up liking the 'distorted' hearts better than the originals. Go Figure!

I've been working with this template for a few days... I actually put it up at one point, but when I went to check it over on AOL.... No little elephant and no Blog title... Grrrrrrrrrr! Well, with the help of a program I found today on the internet (for free.. Yeah!), I figured out that I was missing a > in one of my tags. Stupid Internet Explorer couldn't figure it out... Firefox could. Big Sigh! That's why you always test everything in multiple browsers before publishing. Although, I do admit that I cheat and only check in Firefox, IE, and AOL.... I really should download Netscape and Opera at least.... but, I'm Lazy and I figure most of you are using one of the big 3!

I was looking thru some old bookmarked sites and came across this. People had a lot of fun playing with this last year: Acme Heart Maker And, just for fun, here's something that will take a few of you back. I remember having a spirograph as a child and spending hours and hours (and lots of colored ink!) making the designs. I wonder if that is where my love of Celtic knotwork comes from... hmmmmmm. Anyway, enjoy playing with your online Spirograph

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Who will be Top Dog?


We are currently watching the AKC Eukanuba National Championship Live on Animal Planet. One of the cool features this year is the ability to cast your own vote on each of the classes. If you see this and want to cast your own vote, Go Here! And click on Cast Your Vote Now... We always watch, but it is kind of fun to cast my own vote for my personal favorite. Sometimes I agree with the judge.... sometimes I don't!

Update: Last night was Part I. The Second Half is being broadcast tonight, and will include the Working, Terrier, and Herding Classes... AND, of course, Best of Show. The show is being Simulcast on Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel. So, Tune in tonight and see who the National Champion Dog is for this year!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Poison Dart Frogs... Pretty to Look at but...


After seeing some of the very nice mosaics out there that people where making with Flickr Toys and their Flickr pics, I decided it would be fun to do a set of pictures with a theme and some bright framing and do a mosaic of it. Unfortunately none of the 'pre designed' mosaics worked for this set of pictures, so I was forced to do it myself in my photo manipulation software!

The top picture here is another picture of my friend the Bearded Dragon. I used a different picture of this same guy to make my 'motivational poster' in an earlier entry. He is usually pretty mellow, and I often find him hanging out on his log. For a little more info on Bearded Dragons in general, click Here!

The other three bright and cheery creatures are called Poison Dart Frogs, and are the reason I chose to do the very bright neon framing for this set of pictures. Poison Dart Frogs are very colorful and fun. I usually get a couple of shots of them when I stop by the Discovery Station.

Poison Dart Frogs are so brightly colored for a reason. The coloring tells any animal who might be thinking about making a meal of the little guys that they are poisonous and will make them sick. So, it's kind of like advertising. Some species of Poison Dart Frogs are considered to be among the most poisonous animals in the world. They actually get their name because the toxin they secrete from their skin has been used on darts to make them poisonous!

If they are so toxic.... How are they so easily handled?? Well, Poison Dart Frogs that are born in captivity have not eaten the same foods that they would have in the wild. Yep! They are the ultimate "You are what you Eat" animals!! Since they have never been exposed to the diet that they would have consumed in the wild, captive bred frogs are not poisonous at all! Want to read more about poison Dart Frogs? Click Here! You will also see more pictures of different representatives of the species. They come in a dazzling display of colors.