Archive for September, 2010

cat on the fence

Cat on the Fence, greeting (sort of) visitors to the homestead one late afternoon in September, photo © 2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

Something about October’s approach. Strange things start to happen.

Earlier this week I drove up the long drive to our house. There on the mahogany fence was The Cat. I don’t know where she came from—originally that is. Probably came with the house, along with the 1950s powdercoat-yellow metal lawn chairs, left behind by the former owner.

I do know that Sony the Pug mangled the poor tabby and that Jim keeps her (the cat, not Sony) because he has likes to move her from place to place around the yard. She lounged in the wide Y of an old cottonwood all summer long, and then suddenly there she is, sitting on the fence one late September afternoon, looking as real as real can be.

Then yesterday when I got up, I heard rustling in the laundry room. The tea kettle was about to whistle, and I had just come in from dumping the day-old coffee grounds out onto my ice plants. I could hear the noise, like a rummaging through paper. I hit the light switch; the sound went away. Turned off the lights and went back to my morning routine, disturbed by the notion that a mouse must have gotten into Sony’s dog food bag and couldn’t get out. (Of course, I planned to wait for Jim to get out of the shower before testing that theory.)

Moments later as I approached the kettle to pour hot water into the French press, I noticed a dark blob moving across the linoleum. Oh no, I thought, a hurt mouse! I moved closer. It hopped. And hopped and hopped, toward the Chambers stove. I thought it was going to hop right into the crevice between stove and cabinets and back behind the appliance where I’d never be able to capture it. There it would hide out for years only to emerge five times fatter and bumpier. I held out my hand and turned away as if I were picking up dog poop. It took me several tries but finally I caught the toad and took it out the shade garden.

This isn’t the first reptilian visitor to the house. Week before last I had to escort a young bullsnake out to the garden. I found it trying to slither across the floor in our bedroom. It wasn’t getting far, thanks to the miracle cleaning product vinegar-and-water; in fact, it looked more sidewinder than bullsnake.

And this wasn’t the first snake, either. Jim found one once when I was traveling. Nor are snakes and toads the only reptiles that like to visit us inside the house. We also once found a box turtle making its way down the hall, and one night I caught a lizard that had fallen asleep under a lamp near our bookshelves.

The great outdoors has been making its way indoors through the doggy-made doggy-portal, which is actually a large right-angle slit in the screen door that Sony the Pug (yes, she is a bundle of chewing, scratching energy) created so that she wouldn’t have to wait for us to let her in and out.

cat close up

What is it about fall? Harvest moons and long shadows.

Tonight Em spent an hour brainstorming Halloween costumes. Last year she was a Porta-Potty. This year she thought maybe she’d go as something more stylish—Lady Gaga, for example. But her older sister warned that everyone and their brother will be Lady Gaga this Halloween, so the search continues.

We’ll keep our eyes peeled for unique costume ideas. Hey, maybe we could dress her up as one reptile-creature that I hope to NEVER see in my home. The chupacabra.

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summer prepares for a fall, BlackBerry Shots, Golden Valley, Minnesota, September 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

autumn wind bristles
painted in yellows and blues —
blurred, undecided,
summer prepares for a fall,
from the garden’s point of view.


-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

-related to post: haiku 2 (one-a-day)

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centipede (one)

distant relative (third cousin twice removed) of the lobster, crayfish, and shrimp—which is why the centipede likes to live under rocks

centipede (four)

anywhere from 20 to 300 pairs, depending on the type (this one being Scolopendra polymorpha, or Desert Tiger centipede)

centipede (two)centipede (three)

centipede (five)

yes, indeed, inflicted by the poison claw that exists  just under the head (and some centipedes have stingers in their many legs, so best rule of thumb: Don’t handle centipedes!)

centipede (seven)

centipedes are meat-eaters (munching on lizards, insects, toads, rodents) and they get eaten by fellow carnivores (owls, coyotes, roadrunners)

centipede (six)

up to 6-8 inches, average 4-5 (either range spells “t-o-o  b-i-g”)


This centipede showed up on a walk on the ditch that my daughter and I took shortly after I wrote the piece Centipede Dreams. My daughter was in no mood to hang out with me while I picked up a small stick and caused the centipede to walk in circles as I tried photographing it with my iPhone. I don’t think the centipede thought much of me either, but I had fun.


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My Refrigerator, photo © 2010 by chickenlil. All rights reserved.

From chickenlil:

This is a photo I took last summer, my grandson decided to play a practical joke on us by loading the fridge with trolls! Had to take a picture of that!

My Refrigerator, photo © 2010 by reccos62. All rights reserved.

From reccos62:

What is on my D or no D? BITE ME from Assateague Island, two PSU football player cards that match the jerseys my daughter and I have, a picture of my honey, weight loss ideas, a school photo of my bonus son.

When we posted WRITING TOPIC — MY REFRIGERATOR on red Ravine last week, our readers were inspired to take photographs of their refrigerators. The above are a few of the images we received. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do. We’d love to see the inside/outside of your refrigerator. If you are so inspired, send your FridgeFotos to info@redRavine.com. Or make a list of what’s inside/outside of your refrigerator and join us in a Writing Practice. When inspiration strikes, follow the Muse!

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Hello From L&P Sock Puppets Invade Osteo, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, September 2010, photo © 2010 by Pam Wilshere, haiku by Louis Robertson. All rights reserved.

yellow sock haiku

footed yellow sock
breathe deep the essence of earth
love, my yellow sock

NOTE: My brother Louis has been pretty sick for the last few months. A few nights ago, he went into the hospital where he still resides this evening. Earlier today, his partner Pam sent me a text message, followed by a photograph. This photograph. I can’t tell you how big my smile was when I saw that yellow sock puppet pop its head up on my BlackBerry. My brother’s sense of humor is shining through. A glimmer of hope. It made me happy when they said I could post their collaboration on red Ravine. 8)

Louis wrote with us a few weeks ago when he was inspired to join us on the WRITING TOPIC — SCARS. He also sent along a photo of his liver transplant scar (not for the faint of heart). To meet Frankenbelly 2 and learn a few things he’d like to pass along to his kids, see his Writing Practice post PRACTICE — SCARS — 15min.

Thank you L&P Sock Puppets. You lifted me. I have so much gratitude for the gift of family. And laughter.

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By Linda Phillips Thune


This Wind
     (For Annie and her sisters — Mother’s Day, 2010)
This wind lifts through
the grass and leaves and curtains
taking with it some dreams
     but not all
some tears
     but not all
some joy
     but not all.
What weighed unbearably
becomes light
riding away on this wind
brushing by my face —
invisibly, softly, sweetly —
on its way to where ever wind begins.
A fresh chance remains.
A clear view remains.
Prayers remain.
Love lives.



About Linda: My name is Linda Phillips Thune. Writing, for me, has long been a series of offerings, gifts, to those who needed a thought, a prayer, a part of me. Now, as the focus of my life moves away from my children toward my self, writing is becoming my raft… I’ve loved words always, and after a long road to a Master’s in Literature, I am fortunate to share that love with my students. Recently, I lost a daughter. Her father, her sisters, and I are still wavering in the pain of her loss…hopefully, words will keep us looking to the light.

To read more of Linda’s writing, please visit her blog, In the Margins.


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My Refrigerator

My Refrigerator, BlackBerry Shots, Golden Valley, Minnesota, September 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

To some, refrigerators are bare places, slick and spit-polish clean. Enamel, stainless steel, plastic. Avocado greens and lemon yellows in the 1970’s. Black, white, and stainless steel, the current aesthetic. For some, appliances are pieces of art — sleek, retro, places that make a statement through even curves and vintage hardware. In our house, the fridge is a place that collects — grocery lists, receipts, magnets, calendars, bits and pieces of our lives. One day, we realize the clutter for what it is, throw the valuable photos and magnets in a shoebox, and toss the rest. Until the cycle begins again.

The front of my refrigerator reflects a timeline of my life, something I call fridge typography. Magnets from Ocean City, Maryland, an old photo of Liz’s sister when she was a small girl, the Morton Salt Umbrella Girl, the official Geocaching logo, Lily and Hope black bear swag from our trip to the North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota last July. There is a school photo of my niece, a postcard of Hershey Kisses I sent to Liz when I was in Pennsylvania in May, another of the World’s Largest Boot (size 638 1/2 D) sent to Liz by Bob (or was it Jude) when we were down near Red Wing, Minnesota for a writing retreat earlier this year.

Fridge Topography - 259/365

Fridge Typography, September 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

What does your fridge look like? Is the outside uncluttered and sparse? If so, open the door. What food do you have inside your refrigerator? Is it all fresh and ready to eat? Or are there a few rotten items to be tossed. What about the freezer? Do you have old-style vintage refrigerator coils (remember what it used to be like to defrost condenser coils)? Or is yours state of the art, energy efficient, humming along quietly in the night.

Fifteen minutes should do it. Or if you’re on a roll, go for 20. Get out your fast writing pens and Writing Practice notebook. Jot down My Refrigerator, and Go!

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, September 19th, 2010

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