Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dream House

This past Labor Day weekend I had the opportunity to take the kayak out on the creek. 
There is nothing more relaxing than kayaking. 
OK, maybe a warm bubble bath is slightly more relaxing, but kayaking is good for getting away from your head for a little while and working out those issues with some enjoyable exercise.  And there isn't anything I need more than to drown my brain in copious amounts of alcohol get out of my head. 
This time I managed to take a camera with me, but only the old one I let the Brat Child play with.  I've had a few instances where I've fallen out of the kayak into 20+ feet of water, so I didn't want to take my nice camera with me.  I didn't fall out this time, but I can pretty much guarantee that if I had my nice camera I would have flipped the kayak. 
Unfortunately, there's a reason why I let the Brat Child play with the camera I took along.  It's crap.  Still, I managed to capture some shots of the creek that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to. 
While poking around and just enjoying a warm day on the water, I noticed a house peeking out of some trees along the waterline.

I've been on this creek all my life and I can't say that I remember ever noticing this house.  It has certainly been there the entire time I've been there and then some.  Intrigued that there was something "new" for me to check out on a creek I know like the back of my hand, I moved in closer.

And when I moved in closer, I knew that when I win the lottery I am so buying this house. 

I imagine that my bedroom would be located where those top windows are looking over the water.  And when it rains, I could stay in bed and listen to it on the tin roof and watch the storm move up the river.
And I'd have all my "Blisters" over for wine on the huge screened in porch that also looks out on the water.
It is unfortunate that I was afraid unable to get a close up of the house
(some paranoia about being chased down by angry homeowners in a power boat vs. my kayak)
But I did get a shot of the cool piece of driftwood at the water's edge.
It reminded me of a very large "Thing" from the Adam's Family. 
This house has everything, screened porch, tin roof, view of my creek and a wooden armless hand.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Brown Stool

I'm sure you're wondering what in the world I could possibly have to say about a brown stool.  But this isn't just any brown stool, it is the brown stool.  The one that is older than I.  The one that sat at the end of the bar in the old trailer that used to stand on the lot in Deltaville.  The one that my cousin and I seemed to fight over every single summer.  The stool was the place to sit.  When my cousin and I were smaller, we would take turns- one of us on the stool, the other on an old wooden high chair that had a white bunny painted on it.  Eventually our butts got too big for the high chair, so it went back to the fighting.

You can see where the bottom two rungs are worn from all the feet that have rested there.  My grandfather, my grandmother, my parents, my aunts, cousins, siblings, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Generations of feet rubbing at the wood.

I can remember sitting at the counter eating Oscar Mayer Bologna sandwiches.  And on special afternoons,  we would drag the stool to the stove to help cook lunch which typically consisted of ABC's123's or Spaghettios.  I even remember the summer where my cousin and I were served hot toddys.  Kelly, my cousin, had an itchy throat.  That meant I had one too.  So my aunt decided to make us some toddys.  And yes, Grandmother added an aged Jack Daniel's whiskey to the mix.  In fact, I distinctly remember the conversation between my aunt and my grandmother regarding the alcohol addition:
      Gma: You think we should add a little whiskey?
      Aunt P: We don't have any do we?
      Gma: I have an old bottle but it probably went bad.
      Aunt P: I don't think whiskey goes bad.
      Gma: Here it is!
      Aunt P: you think it's OK to give them some?
      Gma: Oh, Pat, one little shot is not going to hurt them.
It was probably the only night that my aunt and grandmother had any sleep without being disturbed by two smallish imp children doing something they shouldn't. 

Despite the reason for its use, the stool was always a seat of honor.  Perched on it you felt like a giant flightless bird surveying your territory.  You were on eye level with the adults in the room.  You could stand on it and reach great heights (like the whiskey bottle behind the pots and pans).

You could do anything.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Poetry Yet Again...

Lately I've been slacking in the blogging department.  Perhaps time is the problem, or a brain too engaged in thought to be able to link together a coherent sentence.  Whatever the reason, I have been uninspired to blog much of anything.  So once again, I have dusted off something to share that at least I wrote even if I wrote it long ago....

Holding Each Other After Making Love

I silently question my beauty 
as the curves (the ones society
thinks I shouldn't have) press against your body-
slick and hot
like a yellow moon floating
in a humid sky.

I silently question my beauty.
Your whispers
smooth and comforting
tell me I'm beautiful.
Your hands roam my body
worshipping; assuring
making my skin shivery.

I love you.
You are invigorating and familiar;
you are the snowflakes melting on my tongue.

                                                   ~Jamie L. Jackson

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Touch Tank

A long time ago, I wanted to be a marine biologist.  That was my great love and ambition, right on up until the career day in High School junior year.  Then I learned that 1. there are no jobs that pay decent enough and 2. I could no longer ignore my math teacher when they claimed that I would need math in my future.  So I retained all the information I had already studied and switched to English.  The result is that I'm very irritating to the volunteers who run the touch tank at various aquariums.
On the left is a whelk.  A large marine snail that is carnivorous and born with its shell.  Their egg cases commonly wash up on the beach and are referred to as mermaid's necklaces.
On the right is a spider crab.  Named for its spider-like appearance.  Interesting fact: unlike other crabs, spider crabs walk forward not sideways.  Though they are capable of side way movement.

This is a sea star, no longer called a sea fish as it's clearly not a fish.  Some sea stars eat by flopping their stomach into an oyster to begin digesting it (this is the simplified way of describing it).  They can be a real nuisance so fisherman sometimes chop them up when they catch them.  Unfortunately, if the chopped up pieces contain portions of the center piece of the sea star, the fisherman has now made several MORE sea stars instead of killing one.  They can regenerate body parts.

 My favorite creature in the touch tank is the horseshoe crab who got its name from the shape of its body.  When I was a kid I always found horseshoe crabs in Deltaville.  Sometimes they were alive and sometimes they weren't.  And sometimes the ones who were dead made the trip home to Baltimore to became my show and tell.  They usually smelled very bad.  Like dead fish.  There were a few years when we would be in Deltaville around the same time the horseshoe crabs were mating and we would find hundreds of them along the beach.  Hundreds.  When was the last time anyone saw hundreds of horseshoe crabs? Unfortunately they have been severely over fished because they make good eel bait.  And eels are a delicacy in some countries.  Personally I think the eels should be the ones cut into bait, just sayin'.
So, interesting facts I like to annoy the volunteers with: they have blue blood that is copper based instead of iron based, the blood is used in the medical profession to test the purity of drugs and parts of the crab are also used as clotting agents, females are larger than males (probably because they do most of the work much like the human species), males have "boxing glove" type claws on their first set of legs, females don't (mostly because females are lovers not fighters) , the tail looks menacing but is simply used to turn the horseshoe crab over if it gets stuck on its back.

You can imagine the irritation of the volunteer when she hears me telling the Brat Child all about these creatures.  Especially when the Brat Child turns and says: "You realldy smart, mom, reallldy!"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Virginia Living Museum

"The Virginia Living Museum in Newport News is a combination of a native wildlife park, science museum, aquarium, botanical preserve and planetarium - all in one setting. Carefully protected natural environments for living animals and plants create an opportunity to explore birds, marine life, mammals, reptiles, and insects - all native to Virginia from the mountains to the sea." 

I remember visiting the VLM when I was 7.  My cousins and I went with Pepop who always loved sharing information about wildlife with us.  I remember that I learned that flies eat by throwing up their last meal onto their current meal then sipping it all back up.  Remember that next time you see a fly on your plate.  I do. Over the years the museum has grown.  It houses more aquariums, a planetarium and an outdoor boardwalk that snakes around a large pond and several wildlife enclosures.  All the wildlife at the VLM has either been born in captivity or so badly injured that survival in the wild is impossible. 

I give you- The Boardwalk:


 These are red wolves which are no longer found living in the wild. 


A skunk, or Stunked as the Brat Child says.  A little tidbit: I enjoy the mild smell of skunk.  I think it has to do with the psychology term Classical Conditioning.  I smelled skunks in Deltaville, Deltaville makes me happy therefore skunk smell makes me happy.

Black Vultures.  Why is the head and neck of a vulture "bald" without feathers? So they don't get nasty when they stick their heads inside a carcass.  Yum.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Some Poetry Cuz I'm Slackin


I was 6 when my angelfish Abraham died.
Grandmother let me bury him
in her flower bed under the Impatiens
in a coffin made of clear plastic
Dixie cups taped together.
I didn't understand the concept
of sacred ground
or rest in peace
so I dug Abraham up occasionally
to make sure he was there.

Grandmother noticed the disturbed earth,
and explained about hallowed ground.
I stopped digging him up, but I looked for his coffin every spring
while we planted.

When I decided the man I loved
and I
needed to live
separate lives,
I left.
Driving away,
I looked at him in the rear view
saw him standing on the porch through a dirt-filmed window,
like looking at Abraham.
As I drove I prayed I had outgrown the need
to dig up dead things
to make sure they're still there.

                                   ~Jamie L. Jackson (a long time ago)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Moon

And yet it looks so far away in the night sky.....

Am I the only one dorky enough to stop in the middle of the road to take a picture of the Moon post office?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never Forget

Where were you on September 11th?  Nine years ago, I was working for a private investigator in a box-like office with no windows when I heard the news break in on the AM station I was listening to.  A plane had hit the World Trade Center.  I called in my co-worker to listen to what was going on.  "Terrorists" we both agreed as we hear the frantic voice of the news anchor describing as a second plane hits the second tower.  And life changed for America.

While the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were tragic to say the least, there was something that happened in the aftermath that was truly inspiring for me.  People united.  People stood on street corners and along roadways with signs saying "God Bless America" waving their flags and people drove by and honked their approval.  People stayed close to their families.  People gave blood.  People prayed together in churches they had never attended before.  Politics were forgotten.  There were no liberals or conservatives only Americans pulling together- one nation united.

My father, a Baltimore County Fire Fighter, along with some of his brothers in the department, traveled to NYC to help in any way they could.  What the fire departments in New York needed help with was providing an honor guard for the funerals of their fallen comrades.  The fire fighters who were left were still helping to search the rubble, were healing their wounds or simply mourning their massive loses.  So my dad along with fire fighters from across the country converged to pay tribute to the heroes that gave their lives trying save others. 

When the funerals were over and the guys from Baltimore were walking the streets of New York, strangers came up to them and hugged them.  They thanked them for coming to help.  For being there to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.  At Carnegie Deli, some other customer paid for their meals.  And at the end of the day, the President of Amtrak insured they could return home swiftly by having a private car added to the train just for them. 

We all remember it.

Or do we? 

While we take a moment to remember those who perished on 9/11, perhaps we should remember the feelings of 9/12.

Remember what it felt like driving by those regular folks waving flags on the side of  city or country road and feeling a swelling sense of pride to be American.  Remember what it felt like to what to do something, anything to help.  Remember what it felt like to see politicians work together for the greater good of the people and not their own party's agenda. 

I'll step down off the soapbox now and leave you with these photos from a recent visit to Ground Zero. 

Thank you to all the men and women in the Armed Forces, Police Departments and Fire Departments
who put their lives in harm's way for the sake of others.