Ahhh. Another Year Of Torture Is Complete.

July 19, 2013 at 7:09 pm (Big Benches, Day to Day, Family, For Mason, For Stevie, Heat, Pictures, Posts In Pictures, Summer, Weather, Zoo) (, , , , , , , , , )

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The Benches are back. And I finally got an afternoon free, with all of us, for the annual “Kick-Scream-Drag Summer Event”. The official name, per the Tinley Park village program is “Benches On The Avenue” with the theme this year being “Fairy Tale Festival”.  As usual, no one wants to go. And no one wants to take pictures. I was lucky to get this happy girl right at the beginning. The boy wouldn’t even let me get near him with the camera. And yes, I bring the actual camera for these, which just causes more complaining and whining about “why can’t I just use my phone??”  and “we look like *swear word* idiots out here” and “why do we have to do this every year??” and, finally, “it’s so *swear word* hot out here!! Uugghh!!” Then I tell them to be quiet. and don’t swear because there are little kids around and don’t be such babies. Then I tell them how old they are to remind them. This year it’s 14 and 15. Then they just say it’s stupid and they are not doing this and walk ahead. Here is that annual picture:

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But eventually the heat, and the mile or two of walking, gets them, and they have to return to the mother ship, weak and weary and beat down. Then they just shuffle quietly along side of me while I take my pictures and talk to the air around their heads. It’s a beautiful thing. And the temperature wasn’t even 100 degrees. So I don’t even know what they are complaining about.

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Here is an actual bench:

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This is, The Prince and the Dragon. There are 20 of them according to the village website. You can look there, and read more about this yearly event, by clicking here. I’m not sure how many of them I took pictures of. I think all of them, but I will have to go to the folder and count. I will put them up here as I have time to post. That was yesterday. Today was the zoo. Oh yeah. More heat. More walking. More pictures with the camera. The two things I like to make the kids do every year. Done. It’s going to be a busy picture posting week. The children are currently laying around the house in various, frequently changing locations, in the air conditioning, waiting for the BF to come home so we can go eat dinner. They’re “ttt-iii-rrr-eee-ddd”. But say that in a whiny, sing-song voice and you’ll feel the mood over here. And it was only 97 degrees this afternoon. With a breeze. Practically a cold snap. Cry babies. XO XO, my little darlings. Until next year…

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Stepping Up Our Wildlife Game

July 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm (Big Animals, Day to Day, For Mason, For Stevie, Nature, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Snakes, Summer, Unusual, Weird Shit Around House) (, , , , , , , , , )

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S is for snake! This little lady was laying right in front of our door last night when we got home from shopping at Target. I mention the Target part because we do not live in an area where this type of snake roams free. And truthfully I didn’t even see it. I apparently walked right over it. Stevie too. Mason started yelling from the door, “Are you kidding me?? Did you guys NOT see this giant snake sitting out here on the ground?? Are you kidding me??” I am paraphrasing for time. Add many more swear words and repeat 10 more times. I thought he was kidding. Nope.

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Of course she slithered herself in between the outdoor plastic tub we have and the house. It was near dark when we found her and could not get a good look. She was rattling her tail and beating it against the ground and bricks while trying to move. So we thought rattlesnake. This is my night pic. The only one I could get:

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Looks like a rattlesnake to me. Sounded like one too. So we called the police because we thought they need to know about potentially dangerous animals. They do. BUT. This isn’t really in their scope. They sent an officer who helped us move the tub so we could catch it. We did. Put it in a plastic bin and then into a pillowcase. Left it outside by the garage. Then went to the internet to try and identify. Success! I feel kind of smart too since that is a crappy picture and memory is not as good as you might think when you are terrified that a rattlesnake is going to bite you or try to crawl into your house. Our pretty little snake though, seems to be a Fox Snake. Often mistaken for the rattlesnake in Illinois. Often. Quick FYI’s and possible, relevant, future knowledge, you might need too someday:

Rattlesnake: Similiar colors, but, with a lighter enhancing outline around the dark pattern. And shaped like bow-ties. Thinner in the middle.

Fox Snake: Darker, rectangular pattern with light background. Picture proof obtained.

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Rattlesnake: The rattle on the end.

Fox Snake: No rattle, but tries to mimic the rattle, by vibrating the tail just like a rattlesnake. Yep. True that. It rattled that rattleless tail alot to scare us. But, no rattle. Also confirmed via pictures.

Rattlesnake: Slit eyes with vertical pupils. Vertical. Up and down. Very scary looking.

Fox snake: Round eyes. Round pupil. You can see her pretty eyes in the above pic. And here. We really got in there this morning with the picture taking.

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Rattlesnake: Light bottom. Similar coloring to top.

Fox Snake: Yellow bottom. Or orange. Could not confirm that until today. Yellow.

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Both snakes are available in various lengths, but the Fox Snake is 3-5 feet. Ours is prob 4 feet.

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The head is lighter in color, like the pattern gets blurry or smeared, whereas the rattlesnake head keeps the pattern same as the body.

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And constricting. Bites for defense, but not poison. The internet claims it doesn’t hurt. Hmm. That will remain unconfirmed. Eats mice and rodents. It’s a sub species of rat snake I guess. Not aggressive unless attacked or threatened. Also, most likely female, based on size. We are just going with it. We played with her for quite awhile this morning and she never attacked. She did try and constrict and curl and keep trying to get out of the bin, so I picked her up bare handed and was able to look at her closely and then put her back into the pillowcase without physical harm.

A few phrases come to mind: “Snake charmed.” They do have a mesmerizing magnetic effect that makes you want to keep them and touch them. “If it was a snake it would have bitten me.” I NEVER even saw the damn thing laying straight and flush against the house. Camouflage in action. “Snake wrangling.” We were quite hilarious and ridiculous last night chasing that girl all around the house trying to pick it up with rakes and sticks. Little did we know we could have just grabbed it. But in our defense it was pretty “strikey” last night until we calmed it down.

At any rate, I posted it on Facebook for anyone to have. We can’t keep it, but we won’t kill it or let it loose somewhere. Could be a pet that got free, because it is not really indigenous to our particular location. One more interesting factoid: It is unlawful to catch, keep or kill this snake in Iowa. Endangered I think. Protected maybe. Mason found that info. There are like, 39 different kinds of snakes in Illinois at any one time, (4 are poisonous), and we get an out-of-towner. Seems funny. And don’t worry, I’m not going to just give it to anybody. It’s not food for something else or material for shoes or purses. If no one legitimately can take it and care for it properly, I am calling a private owned pet store we know of–that only deals in fish and reptiles–to see if they want it or can at least take it and fine a home for it. No animals will be harmed in the making of this post.

So, that was our night. We have to go to a grad party now (Yay Jesse!! High School Over!! College Bound!!) and prob won’t be back until dark again. I cannot wait to see what will be hanging outside the back door later on! The lost reptile wildlife of suburban Chicago must know we specialize in taking care of fish and turtles and are hoping to expand the family with snakes. What will it be tonight? I am hoping alligator! Or crocodile! Either way, it’s going to make an awesome photo gallery tomorrow! Last shot because I have one more picture I want to use.

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We Take A Lot Of These Shots Too

July 12, 2013 at 12:55 pm (Day to Day, For Mason, Mason Pics, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Road Trip, Summer) (, , , )

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Driving. Somewhere between here and Kentucky. From the boy. That’s it.

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From The Boat. Off The Boat. The Boy.

July 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm (Big Sky, Day to Day, For Mason, Mason Pics, Nature, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Summer, Vacation) (, , , , , , , )

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Kentucky Lake somewhere. Samsung Galaxy S4. Below is the boat, sort of. He likes the picture because you can see the image so sharply. It’s good. And now I have to go. Should I post his self portrait? I need to update the “About Us” page and I am hoarding all these pictures of the kids as they age. But, what the heck, they are so good looking, multiple postings can’t hurt. I changed the title to suit my comments after the fact. It’s always a work in progress over here. Stick around because later I have pictures of…Fire!! Oh yes, it’s gonna be a good weekend already.

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New Flower Alert!

July 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm (Big Sky, Butterflies, Day to Day, Flowers, For Mason, Mason Pics, Nature, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Shameless Self Promotion, Summer, Thank You, Vacation, Wasting Time In General) (, , , , , , , )

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New chance to take an extreme close up with my fancy phone camera. Thank you to all who are “liking” my pictures and following along here every day! I am trying to like back and follow you too! There is so much good stuff out there in this big big world! I will try and make my words and pictures as interesting as possible. This is one small life, living. And sometimes it is just about doing laundry and taking a picture of some flower in your front yard. Simple stuff. Anywhere on Earth. That sounds like Sunday philosophy not Friday fun, so let’s get the boy’s pics up here before I go to work and bring down the whole day. One more shift and then I am off for the weekend. I am tired. But not tired enough, apparently, to stay in bed instead of walk around the outside for hours inspecting the greenery. Here’s one to start us off. Taken at Land Between The Lakes. It’s an ironic picture.

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Underwater Update

July 9, 2013 at 8:53 am (Day to Day, Family, For Mason, For Stevie, Heat, High School Football, Summer, Things The Kids Like, Underwater, Vacation, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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The last of the Kentucky shots. The waterproof case seems to have held up well. It got taken to the beach when the kids got back but the pictures were all out of the water. Sand, pebbles, waves, shoreline…the usual. Nothing shared at this point, but it always takes a few days for the complete phone empty and picture dump because my daughter literally takes hundreds at a time. And now that my son has his new camera, I mean phone, the kid-view pics should double. I saw some already, (pretty good stuff), but he hasn’t forwarded them. Plus, he’s not happy today because football camp started again and he has to go sweat in the hot and humid, dreary morning. The problems of high school at 15. I wish. I have to go to the eye doctor, take a shower, remove body hair, do the laundry, clean the house, go to work, pay the bills, cook dinners; Ho hum. Problems at 40. (Plus. Yes, plus. I know. I can almost hear my sister snorting on the 40 thing. I am over 40, but just barely, and I can still technically round down.) Here’s the kids. The girl is above. The boy is below. Later.

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Searchin’ For You…In The Cold Kentucky Rain…

July 1, 2013 at 12:12 pm (Day to Day, Family, For Mason, Holiday, Mason Pics, Nature, Posts In Pictures, Summer, Vacation) (, , , , , , , )

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It’s not raining and it’s not cold in Kentucky today. But every time the kids show me a picture of their grandma’s dock and water, I think of that Elvis song. This is the first picture my son, read it again, my son, sent me from his new phone. He was the only one in our very crazy, extended, mixed-up marriage family, that did not have a smart phone. He is on his dad’s contract and had to wait for his upgrade, and it’s finally here. Good fortune too that he got it in Kentucky. Lots of good stuff to take pictures of. Like the above for instance. Sometimes you need a little boost from technology to enhance the natural talent. My kids definitely have something. Anyway, in case you were wondering he also has the Galaxy S4. He deserves to have something really great once in a while. Hopefully there will be more pics I can share. I saw my daughter posted some more underwater pictures. I am hoping to get those too and then I will get back to posting all the stuff I said I was going to post. The pics are all ready. I’ve been working on the ideas and set up for a week now, but I chose to be social and go out and hang with the BF this weekend. Now it’s Monday. And I have to work every day. But I seem to accomplish more in my tight schedule, so, expect greatness. No, wait. Let’s not over sell this. Expect…”good”ness. And some interesting visuals. Time is almost up. Thank you, my son, for the beautiful picture! Daughter, send me those swimming shots! Everyone else, have a fab day in the temperate weather. This holiday week is supposed to be nice. Get out in it, but be safe. Later.

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Tempus Fugit

June 27, 2013 at 9:53 am (Big Benches, Day to Day, Flowers, For Mason, For Stevie, Heat, Language, Posts In Pictures, Summer Break, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Those benches are not going to take pictures of themselves. Time flies. It’s late. I better get on home. It’s late. I been gone too long. It’s late. I need to stop typing song lyrics and get the kids up. I am an hour behind in my “schedule”. Time to make the boy mad! There’s another bench below. Last year was “Music”. I think this years theme is “Fairytales” or “Fairytale Stories”. We did a preview/drive-by yesterday. It’s hot out there too already. And feels humid. I predict a lot of complaining in my near future. Oh FYI, I switched to Latin. It’s my favorite language. Valē! See you later!

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Fleur Deux

June 26, 2013 at 7:08 pm (Big Benches, Day to Day, Family, Flowers, For Mason, For Stevie, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Summer Break) (, , , , , , , , , , )

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Back from CPR.  All renewed. Certified to save lives. Went to a late lunch with the kids. Bought a few groceries to make a dinner, but we’re all to full to eat anything else. Went to buy bird seed but they rearranged the Menard’s by our house and we couldn’t find any. Came home. Put cozy clothes on. Kids are lounging. The girl finished all of her thank you notes from the party last weekend-ago. 11 days. Not too bad. Will mail in the AM. Laundry is laundering. Will finish the extra chores tomorrow. That will be the last day off for me before the kids leave to go to Kentucky like they do every year for the Fourth of July. My number one thing to do tomorrow is…dunt dunt dunt….The Benches!!

My son hates hates HATES doing this yearly walkabout. Hates it. Hates it. I could never type it enough. But I make him go because I am creating memories. This is what I am talking about:

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The Village of Tinley Park decorates park benches every year with a different theme then places them out on a main road in front of the businesses for all the people to see. We go every year and take pictures of them. We go every year. We walk. And take pictures. It was a free, and what I thought was a fun thing to do, with the kids when we were very poor. It’s still free. But now we get ice cream or some food after we walk. Even so, my son hates it. Hates doing it. Hates walking. Hates stopping to take pictures. He complained almost the entire time we were out last year. And I do mean, literally, complained and pissed and moaned for the ENTIRE time it took to walk up and down that main street. My daughter just goes along. And it’s only one time. When we are done, we’re done. It’s not like I go see them every week. Such hard lives. Lots of people walk the area to see them. It’s not like I am the only one, dragging listless, whiny, crying near-adult-teenagers along behind me. Anyway, these (above and below) are from last year:

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It’s nice right? And HA! I just double-extra-bonus posted. Flowers/Nature AND The Benches. (They have their own category to the right there. Just click on “Big Benches” or here, and you can see all the different ones throughout the years.) It is additional credibility for my argument to continue our fine tradition, these pictures, posted online, for everyone to see and enjoy. In case you can’t get out or live too far away. It’s a public service we are providing.  Now my kids can’t say that I,  “never put them on the site anyway, mom, so what’s the point??”  Ca c’est fin. That’s the end. Later.

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Just One More Day…

June 21, 2013 at 1:07 pm (Day to Day, Family, Fish, For Mason, For Stevie, Stevie Pics, Summer Break, The Grass, TV Shows, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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We always want one more day. I wish I could win the lottery. I wish I was independently wealthy. I wish I had a rich uncle who left me a boatload of cash. I wish I was a housewife. Well, maybe not that last one. But we do always want just one more day off from work and life right? To go fishing and have long lunches. Today is Friday. Back to work for me. The BF is on his way home. The kids are now fully entrenched in The Walking Dead. The TV show. The girl just started watching it. The boy has been watching it. But now he’s watching it again with her. She is staying up late and having nightmares, but she won’t stop. She is stomping around the house, yelling at the TV when things are getting tense during an episode, but she won’t stop. My boy has to keep calling her back into the room so she doesn’t miss the next thing that is going to make her mad. She loves Daryll. She hates Rick. She hates Shane. But not really. She just doesn’t like them. But she loves loves loves Daryll. And Glen. And the blonde. It’s complicated. Apparently. I will say this show does inspire strong feelings. At least I know they will be fine when I leave. I think she is only at season 2. Plenty to keep them busy with. I have been up for a few hours and let me tell you, I think I got more done just this morning than I got done in the 2 days I was actually off. Why does it always work that way for me? Too much time and I do nothing. Not enough and I have it almost all done. Grass watered. Flowers revived (hopefully). Laundry nearly finished. That’s the surprising one. House is clean and I need to hop into the shower asap. At least I know that my house will stay clean because the kids probably won’t move now for the next 10 hours.

Alright. Let me wrap this up. I really got to go. I hope it rains just a little. My outdoor stuff needs that good rainwater. First day of summer. Do something fun. Here’s another pic from the fishing hole. FYI. We didn’t catch one darn fish. And, these are Stevie’s photos. All credit goes to her. Later.

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