Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Okay - it's not exactly rare....and it's definitely not live. But it's footage!
Footage that I filmed this morning specifically for your viewing pleasure.

I almost never take videos with my El Cheapo digital camera for two reasons:
1. It takes very short crappy videos.
2. It devours the camera battery.

I used to have a very good camcorder, but it's one of the many things that the movers "lost" (or stole) when I moved to Tennessee. 

It snowed all day today. I stepped outside (in my bathrobe) at around nine o'clock this morning to film a few seconds of my back yard. At the time it was 12 degrees (Fahrenheit). The temp is supposed to drop far below zero tonight.

Late last night - at about 3:00 a.m. - I went outside just to check the weather. It was very dark and bitterly cold. Despite the frigid temperature, I stood there for several minutes savoring the incredible silence and gazing at the black sightless woods.

Suddenly a rowdy band of coyotes started yelping and howling right at the edge of the woods, only a few yards from where I was standing.

It scared the jeeters out of me because there was previously no sign of them. They seemed to appear out of nowhere, and they were clamoring down the hillside heading directly towards me!

I ran like hell for the back door and made it safely inside. 

There are always coyotes around here but they never bother me and very seldom scare me.
This time I was alarmed.
Had they been watching me the whole while I was out there?
Were they hungry? Did I look good enough to eat?
(hell, everybody looks more appetizing in the dark).

Anyway, here's another very brief video of my back yard that I took this morning.

Is anyone else having trouble posting comments/replies on Blogger, or am I the only one? This latest Blogger glitch is driving me nuts.

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Why Frozen Leaves? Because it sounds nice. And the leaves (or those few remaining) are indeed frozen solid today. I encountered some on my morning walk in the woods.

There hasn't been much excitement around here since the customer service repairman came (last Monday) to fix my router.
That sounds deliciously salacious.
Actually, he fixed my computer's router. Not mine.
(I just threw that in to unnerve you).

The next day I had to drive to town. A wet, gloomy, damp, dreary, very misty day. It was Gothic. 

For the second time in a row I forgot to buy trash bags. I'm completely out of them. 
Make a list, Jon.
I made a list. I still forgot to buy them.

Whenever I go into town everything is a complete frenzy. The endlessly long and harrowing drive is enough to impede my memory. Then I have to haul my trash to the dump (this time in improvised trash bags). I have to put gas in the car, go to the bank, pay bills (I never pay online anymore - for reasons I won't go into), and get a month's worth of groceries. And cat supplies.

By the time I get done running around I can't even remember what gender I am - let alone what I have to buy.

On the way home, when I finally reached my property, my car got stuck in the mud. With an incredibly bad back and mud up to my knees, I'm pushing and dragging the friggin' car out of the relentless quicksand.

Then I have to drag bags and bags of groceries up the mercilessly muddy hill to the back door. Slipping, sliding, and gasping for breath.

I'm giving you the kind and gentle version. My existence here in the wilderness - at best - is beyond the deepest realms of hell. 

On the bright side, we had two gloriously warm days in the 50's (Wednesday and Thursday). It was so wonderful that I actually opened my bedroom window for a few hours.

On Friday the temperature dropped rapidly. Snow flurries all night. Today (Saturday, I think) the daytime "high" temperature is 18 degrees (Fahrenheit). It's supposed to get much colder next week. 

Here are a few photos I took today - along with sunsets on the recent warm days (Wed/Thurs).

 I mostly take the sunset photos from the front porch. It's the easiest way to do it.

 I couldn't stay out very long today because my fingers were nearly frozen (I don't have gloves)

Not a living soul except for me (partially alive) and a few birds. I did hear several woodpeckers. 

There were flurries all day long but not much accumulation.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


 So here's what happened:
It all began last Saturday after I wrote my previous blog post ("Layers"). I wrote it quickly and posted it without thinking.
When I reread it I began to think, and my initial thought was "I hate this damn thing!"
I not only disliked the post, I despised the header photo....

....but then I said (to myself, of course)
"Well hell, it's only a blog post. You're not vying for a Pulitzer Prize in literature."

My alter ego disagreed.
Delete it, Jon! Quick, before anyone sees it!

I ran to my laptop and tried to access the Internet. Over and over.... and.....over.
It was an impossibility.
No Internet connection.

Damn! The Literary Gods were laughing.

  After several moments of mindless panic, I ran to the source of my entire existence: the router. It was dead. No sign of life whatsoever.

What could possibly be worse?

It wasn't only dead.
It was barfed upon!!!
Barf. Puke. Vomit.

There was only one plausible culprit:

Does anybody remember, awhile ago, when I mentioned that Bosco sometimes sleeps on the router because of the warmth it emits (yes, routers are warm)?
Well, he slept on it and puked on it.

In all fairness to Bosco, his aim was bad and he only puked on a corner of the router.

Needless to say, I was hysterical. I spent the duration of the night cleaning the router and trying to get it to work.

Let me interrupt this riveting story to say that - ever since I moved to the wilderness - the computer is my only connection to the outside world. Without the Internet, I'm lost.
When I'm off-line for ten minutes I start getting withdrawal symptoms. 

So I made a frantic call to my Internet provider for technical help.
Help! I have a deceased router!!
I didn't mention the cat puke.

"Have no fear," the lady assures me. "We'll call you tomorrow to set up an appointment. The workers will be out later in the week."

The next day, I sat by the phone eagerly awaiting the call. By early afternoon I started getting worried, but I also started getting hungry.

I decided to make burritos. I figured after I ate I'd call them again and see what's going on. A few more Internetless days won't kill me. Maybe.

This post is getting long, but what the heck- I'm on a roll.

So I'm sitting there in my bathrobe, leisurely eating burritos. I look like the far side of hell: I haven't washed my hair in a week. Haven't shaved in two weeks. The house is a complete mess. The kitchen is a disaster.
There's sour cream and salsa dripping from my mustache.

And the phone rings.
Thank God! They're going to set up an appointment!

It's the customer service repairman.
"I'm in your yard!" he announces. "Can I come in?"

Holy Jeezus!! I'm beyond stunned!!

"I wasn't expecting you now," I stammer.

"I'm still in the truck," he says. "Do you have any dogs that bite?"

"No, but I have cats that annoy."

Even in a crisis, my humor is intact.

In an insane frenzy I'm zooming around - trying to clean up the house, trying to get dressed.
I'm pulling on my jeans while shoving food and dirty dishes in the oven and microwave. I'm trying to put a sweatshirt on while hiding dirty litter boxes and cat toys.

During the excitement my cat Scruffy jumps off the bed and gets a bad asthma attack. I nearly trip over her.

I'm not wearing my contact lenses and can't find my glasses....so I'm blinder than Mr. Magoo. Can't see a friggin' thing.

By the time I answer the door my heart is racing 300 beats a minute and I'm fighting to keep from passing out.

"If this is a bad time, I can come back,"
he tells me.

"No, no," I gasp. "Everything's fine".

My voice sounds like Minnie Mouse on helium. I don't even want to imagine what I look like.

The guy is friendly and talkative, but two things are impeding our communication:

My ears are pounding from my racing heart.
And the guy has a VERY thick Tennessee hillbilly accent, which I couldn't understand.

I'm not being condescending. I could hardly understand what anyone was saying when I lived in Texas, and the same thing is happening here.

So, is there a happy ending to this excruciatingly endless tale of woe?

The guy put a new connecting cable on my router and mentioned something about the battery being dead.

Do routers have batteries??
I think they have some sort of internal power source.....I think they can be reset....
but actually I'm completely clueless.

I suppose this story has a happy ending.
The router is working again.
I'm keeping it safely away from the cats.

And vomit was never mentioned.

I was surprised by all the great comments on my previous post - thank you!!!!
Dana - welcome back!
Dylan, I love your recent poem and can fully relate to it .