Saturday, April 26, 2008

See Ya!

That's it! I've had it with you guys. I can't take it any more. Does it sound like I need a vacation? Last year, it seems that we were away more than we were home. But, this year, it's just been home, home, home. To say that I need a break would top The Best Jokes of '08 List. I do think that the working half of the home team could use some time off. So, we're saddlin' up and headin' into the sunset (That's west for those of you in the Midwest where there hasn't been a lot of sun lately.) Hopefully I will encounter some of the same kind of humorous events that occurred on past vacations. There have been some real Laugh Out Loud ones. Like the one at a campground Up North when a woman stepped out of her camper with a bed pan (bucket) and the stairs collapsed under her. Stuff flew in all directions and, even though she wasn't aware of me watching, she straightened herself up and acted like nothing happened or that was her normal way of leaving the trailer. Or, at a campground in South Dakota where I got the crap scared out of me by a renegade gang of wild turkeys, , as I enjoyed my morning coffee. (I think they were speaking Arabic). This vacation won't be the "camping out" type although we will probably encounter a great deal of wild life. Our campsite will be Las Vegas and our campgrounds will be Nevada, Arizona and Utah. I imagine that my first couple of blogs when we return will be written in echo as the trip will take us to the Big Grand Hole (BGH) in Arizona and another Not Quite as Big Hole (NQBH) in Utah. Get ready for some cool pictures, tall tales and hopefully, a few laughs.

Adios Partners!

We're outta here!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

More Signs of Spring

Took out a small business loan, filled up with gas and went searching for some signs of Spring. I knew that Spring couldn't be too far off because I couldn't afford enough gas to go real far. Fortunately, out our way you don't have to travel very far to find nature at it's best.
(Did I mention that the Cubs won their sixth straight last night?) Driving the back roads is like cruising down streets lined with art galleries. I've been wowed by places like Santa Fee, New Mexico, Oak Street in Chicago and even, right here in Mineral point, Wisconsin. As wonderful as the art in these places is, the scenery around here is every bit as beautiful. And, it's free. The gate in the picture below could well be defined as the door to a gallery. Beyond it lies works of art in every direction. (Six in a row) An uprooted birch tree becomes a graceful sculpture, as does the upward thrust of a nearby silo. And, doesn't that group of Wisconsin beauties resemble a Rembrandt masterpiece. Well, just driving around alone does get one's imagination a liitle warped.

Oh yes, there is one more sign of Spring that one must be aware of while driving the Wisconsin back roads....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More Small Town Wild Life!

Even though the saying goes, "Coot today, gone tomorrow", that doesn't hold true up here in Southwest Wisconsin. Yesterday, on my way to meet JoAnne and her mom for some docotor's appointments in the "Big City" (Madison), I decided to take a less scenic route. One of the highlights of this road is passing the "SuperMax" prison. It runs along the south side of the mighty Wisconsin River and passes other points of interest such as a house with the entire yard fenced in with old motorcycles and helmets on each post. (I'll post some pics of this in the future) You also pass through the town of Muscoda (oddly pronounced Mus-ca-day). Muscoda proudly proclaims itself as "The Morel Mushroom Capital of Wisconsin". As if these breathtaking wonders weren't enough, much of the area is wetland and with the spring flooding a haven for waterfowl. I watched for my new friend, the Coot, who left without even telling me his name. I saw lots of ducks, a few Herons and even a pair of Sandhill Cranes. But, then I spotted it. A Bald Eagle's nest and it looked like mom (or dad) was home. I took some pictures but wasn't sure about the presence until I downloaded the pics this morning. This is pretty exciting to me because usually as the ice melts off the "Big River", the eagles head north and you don't see too many of these magnificent birds until next winter. So, it's nice to have a few around during the warmer months. It's starting to sound like my retirement life is "for the birds" and in a large respect it is. Hopefully my stories will take some more humorous turns in the future. Next week we'll be spending in Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and other Southwestern hotspots that should provide some interesting experiences. (If not, I'll just make up some funny stories)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Old Coot Visits

Cubs win two more. Enough said. The big happening this weekend was the visit by an old Coot.
No, not Jay or Dick from Chicago or Barry from out east. This was a fine feathered Coot who must have taken a errant right turn while migrating up the Mississippi. It was a typical Saturday morning with JoAnne dreaming up projects for the day and me dreaming up excuses not to be involved in the projects. I was hard at work watching the birds at the feeders when something caught my eye. Out next to our venerable '93 Honda Civic was a bird quite a bit larger than the usual visitors. After closer scrutiny, I realized that it was an American Coot. Now I had recently seen literally thousands of them while I was photo chasing White Pelicans along the river. But, we live 30 or 40 miles from the river in the middle of town. No water anywhere near us let alone seaweed or minnows. The Coot seemed to enjoy the safety of the Honda and would crawl under it and rest for a while then would occasionally search the lawn for some sort of food. He (I assume he was a male because he wouldn't ask for directions) wasn't too concerned with passing traffic and if a person would approach him, he would retreat under his friend, the car. He stayed around all day and was still roosting under the car at 11 pm Saturday night. Sunday morning he was gone. (must have either caught the scent of the fresh donuts from Casey's or gotten a peek at our GPS in the other car. At any rate he left without so much as a thanks for the hospitality or a sorry for pooping on your lawn. I did manage to get a photo or two while he was here.

On the not so neat side of things, we found out that JoAnne's niece down in Chicago suffered the loss of her apartment (and everything in it) in a pretty nasty fire last week. The apartment and all of its contents were wiped out. Fortunately, everyone escaped without injury and only stuff was lost. I tried to include some photos but, being new at this Blog thing, I screwed up and it didn't work. If you really are interested in seeing them, I can arrange a private showing for you.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Go Cubs Go!

This little guy will be showing up, hopefully, quite a bit this baseball season. The Cubs managed to rack up another win yesterday. As if it's not hard enough dealing with the Green and Gold fans in the winter, I have a neighborhood of Milwaukee Brewers fans surrounding me all summer. Thanks to satellite TV, access to home game tickets and a lust for travel, we are able to follow OUR Cubs all season long. In the past, there have been years when we haven't set foot in Wrigley Field but somehow ended up in a city where the Cubs were playing. For instance, last year, no trips to Wrigley but a trip to Colorado just happened to coincide with a Cubs visit to Coors Stadium. (no "W" flag that day) Maybe this year we can frame the stubs from a World Series game next to the unused playoff tickets from last year.

Seems that Springtime brings all the little birds out. In St. Louis the Cardinals come out to play. In Baltimore the Orioles and in Fennimore, the Finches. Here's a shot of a little guy that stopped by the other day.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ron and Rod

Wow! The fun never ends. Had a great time last night celebrating my belated Christmas gift with Rod. I guess I never did really mention that the "Lost" gift was a Rod Stewart CD. It's the one with him singing songs from my younger (and thinner) years. At any rate Rod must have read my blog so, he flew into Fennimore International and stopped over for a Drambuie and Coke. We had a great time sharing lies about our earlier lives and I even got some Tommie Lee type tattoos. Well Rod just left and I have to get back to washing dishes and doing laundry. (Isn't that what all swingers do?) Besides, I need to rest up for this afternoon's Cubs game. Let's see if they have anything left after last night's 12 to 3 win.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

Easter came early this year. But, in the Blume house Christmas came late. If you happen to pass our house some evening, you'll probably notice a lit Christmas tree in the front window. Some would claim that this is due to my inherent nature to put things off until I receive a sign from above. (or a direct order from my wife) The real reason for the presence of the tree is a lack of presents. Last December, when regular folks celebrate Christmas, JoAnne felt it necessary to hide one of my Christmas presents. Being an expert hider, she manged to hide it from herself as well. Christmas came and passed and poor Ron sat there empty gifted. A search for the elusive gift ensued and continued for months. Every night Ron would sit by the Christmas tree which, by now, bare with the exception of the little white lights. The search has been abandoned, the flashlights put away, but, Ron's vigil continues. That is, until last night! Ron was on the couch pretending to be watching TV as Jo went upstairs to prepare another stunning wardrobe for the next day at the office. "When there arose such a clatter I leapt from the couch to see what was the matter". (Sorry, I couldn't help but break into rhyme) The exciting finish to this longer than necessary story is, as you have probably guessed, she found the well hidden gift. I won't go into details about where it was hidden (who knows, she might want to use that place again).
Tonight I will extinguish the little white lights and climb the stairs to bed accompanied by my old buddy Rod Stewart singing some old songs from days gone by when Christmas was actually in December.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax Time

Here are some quotes that might lighten up tax day.

"It's tax time. I know this because I'm staring at documents that make no sense to me, no matter how many beers I drink."
-- Dave Barry

"How is a mugger different from the Internal Revenue Service? Both take your money, but the mugger doesn't make you fill out forms."
--Jacob Sullum in Reason

"More than ever before, Americans are suffering from back problems: back taxes, back rent, back auto payments."
-- Robert Orben

"Taxation with representation ain't so hot either."
-- Gerald Barzan, humorist

"Earlier today, the White House released President Bush's tax return. Not surprisingly, under dependents, the president listed Iraq."
--Conan O'Brien

"It's income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta."
-- Dave Barry

"The wages of sin are death, but by the time taxes are taken out, it's just sort of a tired feeling."
-- Comedian

Called in for an audit, Mr. Briggs was confronted by a surly IRS agent. "It says here, Mr. Briggs, that you are a bachelor; yet you claim a dependent son. Surely this must be a mistake." Looking him straight in the eye, Mr. Briggs replied, "Yup, it surely was."

"A fool and his money are soon parted. It takes creative tax laws for the rest."
-- C Bob Thaves

"Worried about an IRS audit? Avoid what's called a red flag. That's something the IRS always looks for. For example, say you have some money left in your bank account after paying taxes. That's a red flag."
-- Jay Leno

"If you are truly serious about preparing your child for the future, don't teach him to subtract - teach him to deduct."
-- Fran Lebowitz

"Day in and day out, your tax accountant can make or lose you more money than any single person in your life, with the possible exception of your kids."
-- Harvey Mackay

"Our party has been accused of fooling the public by calling tax increases 'revenue enhancement'. Not so. No one was fooled."
-- J. Danforth Quayle V.P.

The more you earn, the less you keep,
And now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to take,
If the tax collector hasn't got it before I wake.
-- Ogden Nash

This guy walks into the tax auditor's office, the auditor looks at him and says, "Please Mr. Johnson, take a seat. We already own a piece of yours."

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ronning Off

Mainly due to an attack of basic laziness and a desire to spout some meaningful (ha!) prose, I am shutting down my web site, Blume's Blooms, and going into the world of Blog. Hopefully this will give me the opportunity to have some fun with words and pictures. I plan to share a joke or two, some photos that I find interesting as well as, a few tales of our travels and humorous encounters. And, in most cases, a chance to show off an original photo or two that I'm especially proud of. The blog format allows me much more latitude to change and update material than my web page(s) did, so it will updated on a regular basis.
So, check in from time to time and see what's happening in my little world.
I look forward to sharing some fun with you.