Little Adventures: PRIDE

My concept for Little Adventures is the idea of exploring the local things that I’ve been living near for years, but either didn’t know about or never took the time to investigate. I’ve got a whole mental list of posts, but it’s also that time of year when I should be scampering outside having LITTLE ADVENTURES instead of staring at a screen. This makes my writing less than timely as PRIDE Month ends tomorrow which means June is over which is just horrible for so many reasons!

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I’ve lived in Columbus for 18 years, but have never attended any PRIDE Week festivities. This year there was opportunity, motivation (sort of), and transportation to the Saturday morning parade.

My adventure buddy read that area shops would open early so parade goers could also shop local. Enthusiasm translated “open early” to “I’ll be at your house at 7:15 am!”  We found ourselves wandering relatively empty streets, aside from people organizing floats, wearing our “Love Wins” shirts and feeling a bit like the people who wear the band’s t-shirt to the concert. It turns out “open early” meant roughly at 10:30 when the parade was supposed to start.

However I’m always secretly thrilled by the opportunity to safely walk down the middle of what is normally a very busy street. We did a couple of lonely laps and then found a restaurant open for breakfast. Window seating let us watch other PRIDE attendees with far more fabulous outfits than ours slowly emerge and stake out parade viewing territory. There was also a gaming con of some sort at the convention center a few blocks down, so we also got to watch several Deadpools, Batmen, and other assorted characters emerge.

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My hair looks this awesome because SOMEBODY had to have the top down while speeding on the highway at 7:15 am. FYI that is a really cold situation.

Being early meant that about 10 minutes after leaving breakfast, we were some of the first customers at the Tupelo Honey Donut truck. Because that’s what you need after breakfast…. donuts. Second breakfast! Hobbit life, y’all!

We also had time for me to participate in the “As We Are” interactive sculpture in the convention center. Adventure buddy had already done it with her kids. It’s a combo of The Wizard of Oz “Ignore that man behind the curtain”, horrifying giant pores revealed , and funny. In part it’s about diversity which seems pretty appropriate for PRIDE.

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Coincidentally, I wasn’t the only one attending their first PRIDE Week activity. VP Mike Pence was in town the day before to speak at a downtown hotel. Poor timing or deliberate aggravation on his part, who knows, but protesters met him with a dance party. At the parade we saw “Mike Hot Pence” who really could act as a stunt double for the VP except that he was dancing, and taking selfies with people all while garbed in a suit coat and tie up top and booty shorts on the bottom.June20182

Once the parade started, it was just a glorious conglomeration of happy cheering, music, and all the rainbow swag you could catch! A good adventure!

CBus does PRIDE right even if some Ohioan lawmakers continue to bring on the haters. Lawmakers are debating  Ohio House Bill 658 that would compel teachers, among other government entities, to out “suspected” (whatever the fuck that might end up meaning) transgender students to their parents cause it’s all about family. While many parents might be loving and accepting of their child’s identity, you don’t have to watch more than one season of RuPaul’s Drag Race or Project Runwayto learn that loving is not the guaranteed reaction when Mom and Dad discover that they now have a direct link to the LGBTQ community. It’s not actually kosher for me to directly tell a parent that I think a kid does a lot of drugs, or seems dangerously promiscuous, or is an asshat because of their parenting choices. But I should speculate and report a kid’s sexual identity? Rigghhhhtttttt.

I only report dirty communists and sometimes witches. Just sometimes. 😉

Little Adventures: Hanging out in a bog

Even the smallest adventure can make me feel just a little less lazy unlike this morning’s squirrel.

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I was up and out the door to discover new-to-me stuff before the squirrel got out of his sunspot.

What I’ve discovered is that despite my lack of green pigmentation, I might be part ogre. (Not everyone reading this is surprised.) Using Shrek as the base model for ogre-ness, I qualify in a lot of ways. I am frequently loudly farty and burpy. Surliness is my go to emotion for Ev.Er.Y.Thing. I am often misunderstood and regretful of the aforementioned surliness which then leads to self-hating surliness. It’s an ugly surly circle.

I like living by myself. Waffles are acceptable food. Donkeys are okay-ish. People stress me out, and I think it’s possible that my weirdo neighbors could form an angry torch-bearing mob.

The final piece: I was completely blissed out hanging out in a bog this morning.(Yes, I know Shrek lives in a swamp which is different from a bog, but are you really going to nit pick with an ogre?)

Today’s adventure took me to the Cedar Bog Nature Preserve in Urbana, Ohio.

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Boardwalk paths roughly a mile long wind through a decidedly wet and slightly less wet sedge meadow area of the preserve. I knew it was love when I entered the tree line and saw muddy paw prints running for several yards along the boards. It turned out that paw prints were the norm through out the walk.

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One of my favorite types of walks is when the environment is so shady that you don’t notice the heat. It was in the 90’s today, but inside the trees, that wasn’t as noticeable although bug spray would have been advisable.

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This is what Skunk Cabbage turns into! Who knew!

The bog is not for fast walking or loud voices. I was certain that there were hundreds of creatures around me at all times if I just looked hard enough. It was like those visual puzzles that if you stare at it long enough, the image will suddenly become clear.

Like picking out this snake on a fallen tree from all the other elements around it.

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Fortunately, (or unfortunately because it would have been interesting from a distance.) it was not one of the local rattlers.

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I will absolutely stay on the boardwalk.

The attendee at the nature center kindly talked me through the things I might see on my walk, but basically told me I had picked a poor window of time to show up. All the glorious spring blooms were done and it would be a couple of weeks before the orchids started blooming. However I did get to see the Southern Blue Flag Iris and some Columbine that were still blooming.

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Southern Blue Flag Iris

Thanks to a friend who is a frequent bog visitor, I also got to see a Sundew which is a carnivorous plant! I had to look up some images to figure out exactly what I was looking for in the sedge meadow and this photo required laying on the boardwalk much to the amusement of the family that found me there. I think the little kids were hoping I had something more impressive than minuscule alien-looking plants.

IMG_6305I might have impressed them more with my frog find and my skink.

 

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The bog was absolutely alive with sound and movement. I kept catching the scurrying blue tail ends of skinks as they darted off the boardwalk. Finally though, I found one who was a supermodel.

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This skink was significantly longer and rounder than the ones I had come across during most of my walk. It also looked like it’s tail may have been nipped off halfway down. Once it emerged from the leaves, it let me get really close and posed for several pictures. I could see the flutter of breathing under its iridescent bronze skin. The Internet thinks that it’s a Broad Headed Skink, Ohio’s largest lizard.

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So close! This is not cropped. 

I would go back. It was quiet. It had the smell that I associate with the national parks out West: pine and cedar. It felt healthy and magical. I was happy to be there.

Kitten Season

Tis the season for litters of kittens. (Which technically doesn’t end until early fall.)

April showers of kittens bring May clowders?

To help cope with the influx of tiny furballs, my local shelters hold open houses and kitten showers. Just like for human babies only better because…kittens!

I wasn’t able to stop by the shower scheduled for Saturday, so Bird and I spent Saturday evening cutting up fleece kitty blankets which was one of the shower wish list items. All that fabulous hat project fleece will now be snuggling kitty tooshies.IMG_E5697

Again like your basic human baby shower, the shelters put out wish lists and often create them on places like Amazon for easy donations. Common items might be things like:

  • KMR milk replacer formula
  • Unscented non-clumping clay litter
  • Kitten dry and wet food
  • Fleece blankets (Got it!)
  • Toys
  • And, of course, fur-ever homes

So if you haven’t caught my drift yet, I’m suggesting that YOUR local shelter might also have a wish list. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge.

Of course, putting together a donation is just an excuse for me to go pet strange heads. I topped off the blankies with some kitten food and headed over.

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For as well rounded as this beauty was, he or she had the shortest squat tail.

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So many flavors.

This was the tiniest kitty I could find. Either the kitten shower/adoption event was really successful or the clouds are getting ready to burst.

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DIY OH WHY: HAT MATH

Dear kids,

I swear to you that as a basic, everyday, human being THIS is the only math you are ever going to use aside from the basics to pay your bills and shit, or maybe to figure out percentages to find out the sales price of leather boots and to figure out a decent tip so you’re not an asshole to the food service industry.

You will use geometry. The end. (Ok, maybe some algebra for some ratios or to solve for x when y is a box of wine but mostly geometry. )

Because someday you will want buy enough paint to cover your walls without making 5 trips to Lowe’s in one day. Or you will want new carpet, or to figure out just how big your yard is or how much paver patio you can afford because, no matter what, it costs 5 million dollars and barely fits two chairs.

Or you might want to sew something.

Like a hat.

A hat that is two basic geometric shapes: a circle and a rectangle. You are definitely going to need the circumference of that circle for this to work out.

Directions sort of: Two sizes are pictured below. I have a giant head (Gma said my mom had to sit in the bathtub a lot after I was born. Ick.) I use the 8 1/2″ circle diameter for myself. People with “normal” heads, whatever that means, seem happy with the 7 3/4″. The formula is the circumference of the circle which you need to know for your rectangular piece. For my size I cut a rectangle that is 27 (the circumference) x 18.” The 18″ gets folded and all seams are sewn to the circle. I like my circle to be a different fabric from, but complimentary to the fabric of the rectangle.hats1

Math, I’m pretty sure it’ll rot your teeth. That might be meth. Both are bad. Don’t do them.

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Sultry, serious hat model.

Math will only do things like reveal that your years have added up enough to have reached some irrational point of losing things.

Things I have lost recently:

  • Not weight-see cupcakes
  • Two cupcakes. I found them in the garage.
  • My mind.
  • A big wooden necklace.
  • Just about any tool/utensil/item that I was just using a second ago. I swear I haven’t even moved. How could this be lost?
  • My favorite hat.
  • At least one of the new hats I made to replace my favorite hat. New hat last seen on my head on January 4 after yoga.
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Hat last photographed January 4, 2018. Please come back, hat.

I started doing math because I lost my favorite winter hat. It was a burgundy fleece (last photographed hunting for sheds)that I bought on a road trip in New Hampshire. It coordinated with everything, didn’t mess my hair up…much, and could be easily shoved into pockets or purses as needed. It was pure class, at least when your standards of classiness are as low as mine.

One minute, I didn’t need a hat, the next we were having a real winter and my ears were cold. Out of necessity, I crafted.

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The brown gecko hat gets me knowing nods and “What up’s” from old ladies. Like legit senior citizens. I don’t know what it means, but the hat makes them happy.

True to my project history, I accumulated a ton of supplies-fleece!- last winter and promptly got bored with the whole thing. However the hat crafting urge came back with a vengeance this winter. Everybody who was likely to wear one, got a hat sometimes two.

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You’re Gonna Freeze Your Balls Off…

It feels like it has been a while since we had to contend with negative wind chill temperatures and actual accumulations of snow. Olivia Wigglebothum brought the Polar Vortex in 2014 which was exciting. However last winter was so mild that my parsley overwintered. Fucking parsley.

This winter, I have to figure out how to dress like I’m harnessing my cat sled team for tundra travel, but spending the majority of my day inside at work looking “professional.” Mostly I want to go into hibernation mode. According to people who live in REALLY cold areas, “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing” and Ohioans should figure out how to dress for the weather and get over it. I feel like these people don’t get punched in the crotch enough.

Because I seem to advocate for crotch punching and profanity, a friend shared this app with me: What The Forecast?!! I set it on “obscene” and proceeded to share my forecast and freezing giggles with everyone. It was free fun!img_3906

The same friend and I signed on for our metro parks‘ winter hikes series. We did it last year, but last year was parsley-growing mild! What seemed like a good idea a month or two ago now seemed like a bad dare when Saturday morning’s forecast looked like this:

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I sent her this forecast hoping she’d call my bluff and suggest that yes, we would be incredibly stupid to go for a hike in the woods. Even if there was soup at the end.

Unfortunately, we know that, unlike hibernating bears, we are not living off our body fat so much as adding to it during the winter. So we layered up like the little brother from A Christmas Story and chose the two mile option for the first hike of the season.

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It was so cold that my phone died.

Given, I did have Pokemon Go open (we were in a metro park there were balls to get!), was trying to take a photo, AND got a text message at that exact moment which was more than my phone could take. Solution: tuck it into my ample bosom to warm it up.

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Before my phone fainted from hypothermia.

It’s nice to be in the woods even if it is on a march with a hundred other people, and the sound of squeaking snow under boots is the equivalent of nails on chalkboard to me. Somehow I could still hear the birds, mostly blue jays, over the squeaking. Being among the trees is calming. It doesn’t take too much effort to find something beautiful in nature. Eventually, I got used to walking with my glasses frosted over.

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One of the perks of the winter hike series, besides getting some exercise, is the volunteers at the end. Each hike ends with volunteers serving hot cocoa, soup, and other treats. Last year, we practically had a full meal after one hike. This hike ended with veggie soup and a fire pit where it was comfortable enough to loosen up some of the layers. We learned last year that it is good etiquette make a small cash donation at the end of each hike, supporting the park programming. This time we signed on as “Friends of the Metro Parks.” Twelve more hikes to go!

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My “resting soup face.”

A new twist to this year’s hike series is donations to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. The parks are encouraging hikers to bring non-perishables and personal care items to each hike for the donation boxes. We’re all just a jar of peanut butter and tube of toothpaste away from helping out.

If you’re in the Central Ohio area freezing your balls or lady parts off, check out the hike series.

#ColdAF

Satan is Just Santa Spelled Wrong

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According to my cats, Satan is just Santa spelled wrong or vice versa. If it involves costumes, they certainly lean towards the Satanic interpretation. Costumes at this time of year means Christmas card photo shoot!

This year I was lucky enough to find a Santa beard. I looked last year, convinced that Maury desperately needed a white beard, but was only able to find him a moustache. Worth the $8 at Target.

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Who wore it best?

Acquiring the beard, was definitely the signal to drag out costumes. I rarely put up a Christmas tree (Someone has to put that shit away later!), but it’s nothing to drag out the costume bag.

There was the typical forest of trees wandering around the kitchen in festive capes.

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Sookie, as usual, declined to be involved and went into hiding. I basically dropped a costume on her then pulled it off before she panicked.

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Olivia Wigglebothum explored the beard situation. She already has the meowstache.

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Birdie was uncharacteristically annoyed by her costume options and I let her smack them around after pictures.

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Miles, ever patient and accepting, gave me the winning shot. Because of his facial expression though, I used lyrics from “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” as text on the card. The Grinch’s dog Max was always one of my favorites with his giant reindeer antler attire.

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You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch!
You’re the king of sinful sots!

 

 

That 7 Day Thing on Facebook: A Retrospective of Fine Photography

Yes, Facebook is the Devil unless it involves cat pictures. That’s pretty much what I’m there for: pictures -sometimes of people -and local events. Now if I could just eliminate all the ads, the politics, and the friends who go on tagging, liking, random re-posting sprees that make me wonder if they are trapped somewhere.

Are you perpetually on a layover in a really bad airport? If yes, you’re killing your phone battery with this nonsense.

Banished would be things that say “copy and paste this then tag your best friend from high school.” We’ve created the digital equivalent of the chain letter. Worse yet are the passive aggressive posts that start off with something like: “I know that most of my real friends won’t re-post this (subtext being that we are horrible examples of humanity) but those of you that really care about -fill in the blank here with something dead or soon to die…”And so trend begets trend and so on down the wormhole.

However the latest trend of seven days of black and white photos has been tolerable. Photos the end. One of its layers of “rules” is no explanations. Perfect! No people, ok. No pets, seriously? And you’re supposed to nominate another person. Nope. Not dragging anybody under with me. Also you’re only supposed to choose one photo a day. Meh. Again, I’m a big kid and I do what I want! Part of the time at least. Most of the time I do what I’m supposed to unless it involves exercise or eating better. #Adulting

I currently have over 11,000 photos on my phone. Yes, 10,999 are of my cats; and I do realize that life still happens even if I don’t get a picture of it, but, man, I really like that picture. So a photo a day wasn’t as much of a challenge as editing it down to one.

Additionally, black and white can really be a silk purse out of a sow’s ear situation. It makes practically anything look cooler! I took a picture of peanut butter for pete’s sake! It had nice texture. A little silvertone or Holga-esque won’t hurt you.

I guess my end game is that if you do accept this challenge, you crazy trendsetters, then at least make it interesting; and for all you are worth, stick to NO EXPLANATIONS.