WP Photo Challenge: “Ready to walk on through? This week, share an image of a door.”

The captions tell the short story.


Patio Door:

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Two Ways

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Tunnel Doors:

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Times Two

To friends in the U.S. and those who celebrate, Happy Independence weekend. Have a wonderful 4th of July!

In breaking news…Gibbs hung the mouse early Tuesday morning.



Third strike, buddy.

That’s 10 to life under the watchful eye of your human and no treats until I say so.

(The tossing of paper off the computer table was ignored due to lack of injury or insult.)

Gray Muse or Two,

we know you so well.

Of royal blood you are,

not cats from hell.

*The peanut gallery snickers*  

Gibbs 001 (2)

Don’t let the cool exterior fool you. Ever.

This is your day to shine.

to bask in the glow and gently purr.

A challenge that pushes you front,

to be Master Gibbs and Queen Demure.

*The human owner unwillingly bows*

Ziva Muse

The Queen can be so cute when she desires.

Revel in the enormous moment

Of 15-minute feline celebrity.

The likes, the comments, the idolization,

the followers on bended, adoring knee.

*The peanut gallery finds this clawingly uncomfortable and leaves*

I’m a little disappointed that only three readers responded to the latest WTH  v.3 challenge. Did you not eat your breakfast people? Not enough coffee or tea or sugar to foment creativity?

What the heck?

Seriously, though, thank you for reading, liking or participating in the last post. My simple objective, other than egotistical self-gratification, is to always engage readers at MJM and hope at least one person comes back for more melange.

Okay, so back to breakfast. What did you have to eat this morning? Soft-boiled eggs? Cereal? Toast and jelly? Leftover pizza? Half of a toaster struedel left on the kitchen counter by your teenage son?


Breakfast of champions!

Did any of you have bacon?

As you may know, I love bacon. Bacon in the morning, bacon in the evening, bacon at supper time. It’s an all-time favorite, fatty, smoky, crispy meat. I even wrote about it HERE.

Bacon is the reason the kitchen towel caught my eye and provided the muse for this latest challenge. So, without further ado, the answer is:

“I want to grow my own food, but I can’t find…any BACON SEEDS.” Yes, bacon seeds. Tiny pieces of plantable gold. I need them bad. Like I need dark chocolate bad. (If anyone out there has a black market connection, I might be interested. Meet me behind the Piggly Wiggly tonight at 11:00 pm. The police patrol doesn’t make its rounds until midnight. I’ll bring cash.)

Unfortunately, no one came close to this answer, so everyone gets a big and loud, incorrect buzzer. No points here.

Let’s continue on with the next two questions and their answers.

The name for a group of pigs depends on their age.


Can pigs fly?

Numerous young pigs in the pen are called drift, drove or litter. The only points awarded, to all three respondents, was the answer of litter. Ding! Ding! Ding! You each receive a point. Congratulations!

A bevy of adult pigs are known as: Sounder of swine; a team; passel of hogs; singular of boars. No points here, the incorrect buzzer makes another loud noise.

Note: Natasha provided the reason behind the pig questions. I won’t say how the topic came up, but let’s just say we have both been giggling like 9 year old boys over the term sounder of swine. We give two thumbs up to SOS and have already used it on several occasions to label anything that smells.

Finally, the final answer. (MOSY is going to hugely kick herself.)

The flower in the photo is:


Carpobrotus rossii, commonly known as karkalla, noodle snacks or Pig Face (Western Australia), is a succulent coastal groundcover plant native to southern Australia.  The species occurs in the states of Western Australia, Southern Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. It can be found year-round in large patches covering the dunes close to the ocean, due to its hardy nature and salt resistance. Aboriginal people eat the fruit traditionally, fresh and dried. The salty leaves were also reported to have been eaten with meat (bacon?). Extracts of the plant have significant in vitro antioxidant, antiplatelet, and anti-inflammatory activity.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for most of this information.)

Did you notice that there was a theme to this challenge, that every question and/or answer was related? Yeah, I bet you did, unless you left your computer to go out to the kitchen and fry up a couple pieces of bacon or out to the barn to slop the singular.

In the end, two respondents tied with one point each and get a pig snort and an honorable mention. Their blogs rock, as do they, for their passel of attempted answers.

Dan from “No Facilities”

H from “Master of Something I’ve Yet to Discover”

One respondent managed to stick a tired hoof out and make me laugh with a groaner. I am awarding her an additional snort and one thumb up. Winner!

Pig Pen Joanne from “My Life Lived Full”

Never fear readers, there will be another WTH challenge down the road. Perhaps next time I’ll offer a REAL prize, like a box of erasers or a scratched Journey CD. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, regular programming will resume with the usual cat photos, mom stories and intricacies of an exciting *yawn* life!

It’s that time again, boys and girls!

I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath.

On a day when I was perusing the vibrant colors of a nearby garden center, I came upon a dish towel in the gift area with an amusing saying. I’m providing the first part, but you have to finish the sentence.


There is something I want desperately, but is nowhere to be found. Clues are non-existent other than you will probably say “Oh, duh!” if you have been regularly following this blog.

You have the ability to earn bonuses by answering the following questions correctly:

  • Without checking on your electronic smart device or an antique, hard-cover dictionary, what is the name(s) for a group of young pigs?
  • What’s the name(s) for a group of adult pigs? (You will earn one squeal for each correct response as there are multiple possibilities for each piggy question.)
  • Again, without checking a reference point, what is the name of the flower in this photo? It can be either the scientific name or an easily pronounced name.


I cannot offer a monetary award or promise of a shiny, gold statue for the winner. However, you will receive my utmost, undying admiration, followed by a small-print mention in a future post and the possibility that someone may follow you due to your thoughtful, smarty-pants response.

Thank you for playing. Let the fun begin!

It’s all about her.

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Ziva rules, Gibbs drools.

Gibbs has been a naughty boy of late, more so than normal, so he’s taking a respite from celebrity.

Ziva ponders the goings-on and noise over in the field. The “beep, beep, beep” of heavy machinery plowing earth woke us up at 6:30 am on a Saturday morning – a day when I prefer to “sleep in.” Costco is building next door. It’s apparent that Ziva, nor the remainder of the humans and creatures in this apartment complex, will be sleeping late on Saturday mornings through most of the summer. The Queen is displeased. She may have to move her throne to a more peaceful palace.

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I love Ziva’s paws, but not so much the nails that grow. The Queen despises nail cutting day, spitting and sputtering and swearing at me in cat tongue. I can clip the front nails, but those back paws are off-limits. They get a once-a-year clipping at the vets, just so I can show her who’s boss.

Yeah, right.

Anyhow, Ziva has bunny-soft fur and those paws of hers have the most beautiful variations of gray. The photo does not do justice to the royal appendages.

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Cats have it all – admiration, an endless sleep, and company only when they want it. ~Rod McKuen~

There is an admiration by some for her endless ability to sleep, to ponder, to openly vocalize her opinion, and to effectively act the Queen. Natasha calls her Miss Priss. Gibbs calls her Thatpaininmya**suckup.

Well, sir, that’s what you get for being naughty. Go lay down.

Today, it’s all about her.

For this week’s photo challenge, Roy G. Biv, the following represent the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. All photos have been used in previous posts because, frankly, I’m being a little lazy.

Gibbs and Ziva 009 Road 1

Packes and Patio 008Assortment 016

December 2014 028Nature3 MironMask 004

SunriseHalloween 2014 056

Orange3July 2014 Vacation 125

July 2014 Vacation 133

For a post and poem related to this last photo, CLICK HERE.

Shiny Squirrel

Have you ever been distracted by…

Hang on, my smart phone just beeped. Must be a Facebook update.

Hmmm, the neighbor went camping, someone is not fond of the TSA, lots of dog and cat and Its-Monday-morning-and-I-need-coffee posts.


Have you ever been…

Excuse me, I forgot to look at today’s “Shame Your Pet” calendar page. Just a minute.

“Hello, I’m a hole digging Jack-a** Russell!”

Too funny!

What was I saying?

Oh yeah, have you ever been distracted by something shiny?

Or a small mammal?

Speaking of shiny, my SUV used to be shiny. Today, it’s dirty. (Today is yesterday. It took me two days to write this post due to lack of focus.) It needs a bath. Too much dirt, dust, pollen, bird poop, and indescribable things from who-knows-what coats the paint. Blech.

I almost hit a squirrel with it the other day, but disaster was averted. I accidentally hit a squirrel once and felt horrible for weeks after. Thankfully, I’ve never come close to a bunny running across the road.

Enough of that.

Where was I?

I’m not sure, but my stomach is growling. Time for lunch. Back in 45 minutes.


Soooooo sorry. I ran to the store on my lunch break and when I came back, I had to actually eat my lunch, and then the phone rang and the mail came and my boss asked me a question, and…

Wow, look at it rain. We need that like a hole in the head.

Thankfully, time spent at the gym will distract from the flooding roadways. Actually, my aged muscles and trigger points will distract while I carry around a 35 pound plate and throw a 10 pound sand ball 75 times.

Where’s the heating pad? And food. Lots of food. I am hungry.

But first, I have to feed the critters, change my clothes, pick out clothes for the next day and check Facebook posts. I would have to water the patio plants, except that the rain…


Young Grey Squirrel and sandy rabbit

Young Grey Squirrel and sandy rabbit

I am easily sidetracked with shiny things and thoughts that are like scampering bunnies and tree-climbing squirrels. It never ends. The mind constantly goes this way and that. Here and there. And everywhere. I wonder, some days, how I manage to focus. There are a bevy of thoughts that run through my mind daily, such as:

  • What should I wear today?
  • Why does short hair always look so horrid in the morning?
  • Do I need to shop for food today?
  • How can I stop my cat from annoying me at 4 am?
  • Will I have time to write something this week for Mary J Melange?
  • Where am I supposed to be tonight? Do I go directly to the gym or home?
  • I wonder when they will finish the bike trail? It would be so cool to bike to work without getting hit by a truck.
  • I wish the road construction was done.
  • Can we get more sunny days like today? We’ve had enough rain.
  • I need more coffee. And water. And bathroom breaks.
  • I love chocolate.
  • Thank goodness for Star Trek and Vulcans to wind down the day.

That’s just a sampling. I won’t bore you with 100 additional bullet points, especially the thoughts about naval fuzz and cat poop.

Speaking of which, I put my finger in cat poop this morning (which would be Tuesday in case you’ve lost track). I didn’t have my glasses on and I thought a stray piece of cat kibble made it onto the carpet. Until I tried to pick it up. Eww, eww, eww! Who ran off before they were finished? Huh? Eww!


Do you have the Shiny Small Mammal Syndrome? Are you easily distracted by daily thoughts or visions of sugar plums, new shoes, or the sports car you dream of owning one day? What kind of serious or crazy thoughts are in your head at this moment?

Ohmigosh, lunch is almost over. I have to put the fork down and get back to work. There’s a lot to do, much to think about, focus to attain.

But first, a quick peek at Facebook…

Late September, 2014. Sparta-Elroy bike trail.

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Off-season now, but the beautiful fall day provided a glorious ride then.


Time spent with mom has been alternately difficult and smile-inducing the past few weeks. She falls deeper into a mind that forgets days and dates and confuses the people that have consumed her life. Her world-in-the-now grows smaller as her world from the past paints the larger portion of her landscape.

I repeat (several times) to mom the day of the week that I’m there to visit and the month of my birthday. And of my brother’s birthday. Mom believes that she missed both, that she failed to celebrate either one at the appropriate time. “No mom,” I’ll say. “You didn’t miss them. We went out to eat for my birthday and we sent a card to your son for his.” After she fails to remember either occasion, she shrugs and mutters, “I don’t know…” Those have been her favorite three words of late.

Two minutes later, mom will ask again, “When is your birthday?”

I continue to be both this woman’s daughter and her sister, Jeanne. This past Saturday, mom asked if my husband and I had bought the family home in Milwaukee. (While she forgets what happened yesterday, she remembers the name of the street where she grew up.) “No mom, that was your sister, Jeanne, and her husband.” Mom wanted to know if Jeanne was alive and I said, “No mom, she died a long time ago.” I thought about this later and wondered if I had confused her further. Mom thinks I’m her sister, but I just told her she died years ago.

At least two friends have told me to not argue these points with mom, to let her have her own reality. It’s less confusing that way.

I did a better job a week earlier of letting mom believe I was, in fact, her sister. She asked me what I did all week and I answered the usual: I went to work, went to the gym and made myself supper. “The gym?” was mom’s question, which quickly led into, “Do you remember when we were at the gym, sitting on the floor, with our feet together…and I let one go?” She was smirking. I quickly replied, “You farted? How stinky!” There was a seldom-heard belly laugh from the 95 year old. Her sister/daughter joined in.

Those with dementia are still people and they still have stories and they still have character and they’re all individuals and they’re all unique. And they just need to be interacted with on a human level. ~Carey Mulligan~

The stories told, regardless of who I am on any given day, are becoming memories. I close my eyes and try to store them in a section of my own brain: The recounting of ice cream shared with siblings on the front porch, of an uncle that returned to his homeland of Germany, and the countless times that her mother made meals for a family of 15. Mom repeatedly tells me that her own mother “was a saint.” I often wish I had known my grandmother as I bet she was a strong and strict, but loving, woman. I cannot fathom the amount of time and energy she expended in taking care of her large family.

Back to my role as daughter/sister…I wonder why my brother is always her son, why that never wavers like it does with me. Mom never mistakes her son for anyone else. Never. My smart-aleck self screams, “It’s because he’s a sinner!”


My brother has been in a long-term, non-marital relationship that goes against the grain of a strict Catholic mother. Every time I visit with mom, she asks, “Did he get married?” I respond “no,” but say they are engaged (I made that up for attempted appeasement purposes). Mom always replies with, “It doesn’t matter, it’s a sin.” Yes, mom. I agree for the sake of agreeing. It’s as useless to set her mind to rest over the matter as it is to resist The Borg or a double-dark chocolate chip cookie. I don’t know if it’s the dementia or mom’s persistent will, but she can be like a lion clamped down on a piece of raw meat. She doesn’t let go.

Mom’s confusion will drive her to make anxiety-filled phone calls to me in between visits.

“You need to come right away!” 

“Mom, it’s 7:30 at night. What’s wrong?”

“My checkbook…it’s a mess. The checks came out and now I can’t get them back in.” Mom tells me this with a trembling voice. To her, this is a tragedy.

I have no idea why she was in her checkbook as she doesn’t have the vision or steady hand to write checks. I could guess that it relates to her constant question of how much money she has and will she have enough to stay there. My answer is always, “Don’t worry mom, you have enough money and you don’t have to go anywhere.” It never calms her mind. She’ll ask again next week about the money situation. I did not rush to mom’s aid that night. A calm voice and a promise that I would fix her checkbook on that Saturday brought some ease, although mom ended the call with her favored, “I don’t know…” I suspect that she forgot about the entire phone call by the next day, instead focusing on how much she detests the food that is served at assisted living. She calls it “crap.” Evidently, that’s a word that she has not forgotten.


This may sound awful, but I have learned to lie to mom. For her own well-being. Just as she worries about the balance of her checkbook, she has no clue what goods and services cost these days. I lie to her about how much her perms cost, how much she pays toward room and board, and items I pick up for her at the store. If mom believes that I overpaid for anything, she becomes agitated. “Fourteen dollars for a hair cut? That’s too much!” That was actually the truth. Fourteen dollars. I didn’t tell her that I usually pay around $30 for my own hair cuts, which I consider to be fair. Mom would probably faint. In reality, I try to share as much of the truth as possible, as long as the truth doesn’t confuse or irritate.  Some days, it’s a fine line that we dance around, kicking our heels up between the past, the present, and an opaque cloud of what’s in between.

Most days, mom remembers her husband, but she doesn’t talk about him as much as she talks about her childhood, parents and siblings. When we visit dad’s grave, she tends to be silent. On Saturday, mom asked if her name was still on the tombstone and if the flag would be all right through the summer. She does not remember when her husband died, unless I tell her. I imagine the last three years have felt like an eternity.

It is what it is, the present. There isn’t anything I or anyone else can do about mom’s situation. I can’t revive her sight or hearing or wave a magic wand for a clear mind. What I can give mom is the interaction of a sister/daughter, a day out for a meal and ice cream, or a listening ear when mom calls to insist she’s supposed to “be somewhere.” I used to pray for those things – a moment of clarity for mom or the ability to see flowers with color. That has changed recently, as I pray her prayers to be answered. Mom asked one of her repetitive questions on Saturday, which led to an interesting end.

“What kind of church do you go to?”

“It’s non-denominational, mom.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s not a Catholic church, mom.”


“Do you pray at your church?”

“Yes, mom, I do.”

Then I turned into the questioner…

“What do you pray about, mom?”

“I pray that I go to heaven.”

“I don’t think that’s in question, mom.”

“You think so? What if they run out of room?”

I smiled. “That’s not going to happen, mom.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

With a sigh and a shrug, mom simply replied, “I don’t know…”

Ardy and Ed’s has been a well-known landmark in Oshkosh, WI, since 1948.


The vivid red drive-in is famous for its hamburgers, ice cream and waitresses on roller skates.

They serve customers in their vehicles while 50’s and 60’s rock ‘n’ roll blares from the loudspeakers.

I took mom there a couple of weeks ago to cap off an earlier lunch and ride through the city park.

Mom enjoyed it immensely, so I plan to take her back soon.

Perhaps tomorrow.

It may be a vivid memory that she can hold onto.

(For additional vivid photos, click here.)

June 4th is National “Hug Your Cat” Day!


Ziva wanted nothing to do with the hugging crap.

Gibbs pandered to me for just a moment…

until he wriggled free.

I think he was scared.