Sun, Mostly Bugs & Horizon’s

I have come to the conclusion that I’m a sun person.


I loved Colorado but to me it seemed there were just too many dark and cold days there, yet according to Wiki, it’s actually the sunniest state in the union with more days of sunshine.  Go figure.


I liked Alabama but it, for sure, was dark and rainy far more than any other place I’d ever lived or been to other than Hawaii. PLUS, it is damp and very cold in winter and in summer it can be suffocatingly hot and humid. It reminded me of Fiji and… well you do get used to it. At least your body gets used to it and after awhile you hardly notice, except for during it’s intense periods which are brief.

There was also soooo many bugs. The first year I was there I collected an innumerable amount of bugs and placed them in a box, neatly arranged and sent them to my grand kids so they could have a lesson in entomology. They were being home schooled at the time. I gave them assignments to research and discover what the different ones were. (Google: Bugs of Northern Alabama)

I wrote them a story about how when I was a little girl, my father showed us kids what was inside a dirt daubers mud tunnel and sent them one to see.  ( A dirt dauber is a wasp that builds it’s nest out of mud made from wasp spittle and soil.)

The dirt dauber builds a tube-like tunnel and places insects, mostly spiders in chambers.  These insects are not dead but drugged, put into a death like slumber  until the newly hatched larvae move through the consecutive chambers, basically, eating their way out. It was very interesting, because when daddy opened the casing I was amazed to see how many tiny spiders there were of every type, shade and color imaginable slowly awakening. Once exposed to air, the oxygen began to revive them. (I only wish I’d had an iPhone’s then) Unfortunately, once the larvae chamber was exposed, it pretty much resulted in their demise, but I was too young to take that into account or much less care. The point of my story was to impress how little we know of how many different insects there are in the world and how there are so many out there we never see or notice until they are snatched up by a predator and mummified.   (the link is of 58 dangerous spiders of northern AL)

Alabama also has a notorious bug called no seeum’s, actually all states seem to have a variety of some sort, but I only became aware of them late in life. (Perhaps a result of my aging body.) The Alabama no seeums, I must say, loved the back of my knees for some reason. What’s worse is they not only left welts that itch for way longer than any mosquito bite would but when it was over and done, it left a bruise like scar that would take weeks to go away. They seldom itched the first day. It would be like day two when the itch would start and it would get so bad at times that I felt like I would gouge the flesh away scratching at it and that would last three or four more days before just a tolerable itch took it’s place for an additional few days more. Nothing worked on them, no calamine lotion, ItchX, or camphor would help.  Once I tried nail polish, cement (works great on poison ivy)and baking soda paste to hopefully dry the sucker out but that didn’t work either.  I tried all the above remedies including facial masques. Nothing.  Then I went for a series and tried them in various orders until I landed on something that worked. The final solution was to avoid going out in the early morning or evenings and if I did, wear long pants and long sleeve shirts. After a few years, they stopped “bugging” me, it was like they got tired of me.

fire antsAs for mosquito’s, they never seemed to bother me much.  They’d bite, but their bite lasted all of a day in most cases and sometimes only an hour or two. A little itchX and they’d disappear. Fire ants left blisters and hardened red bumps and scarring that also took forever to go away. I once stepped into a nest clearing out an area for a garden and in an instant they were all over me.  After that, I was careful to look for their mounds which are fortunately quite noticeable.  Nothing kills these things.  You poison them and they just relocate.

Although the aforementioned are the most noxious of the Alabama bugs. Annoying ones are termites, which love damp areas, earwigs, moths and the like. Then there are palmetto bugs, which are nothing more than giant cockroaches that fly and swarm. roachThey invade the warm, damp areas especially under houses and become more apparent at night when they are drawn to the lights in your home or you can see them scurrying around at night on the roads and walkways as they avoid your foot fall. Yuck!  Then there are cicada’s, tree frogs and other night things which can make loud chirping and humming noises both day and night. As long as it’s a steady melodious drone, it can be quite pleasant.  When they stop, it’s like a warning that something, someone, a storm or tornado are imminent. There is one creature however that nearly drove me mad and which I suffered through one night at daddy’s place. I never heard it again  but at first I thought it was a bird but never learned for sure what it was; it had a song reminiscent of a hard rock band with no melody. Every few seconds it changed, so I couldn’t sleep. It would sing or at least it had somewhat of a tune, but it was a frantic cadence that would vary. A chirp, then squawk, song, then chirp, sing, squawk and so on. But no reliable sequence, making it impossible to be lulled into a pleasant slumber. It was loud too, like it was yelling at me and knowing my discomfort. I longed for a drug to put me out of my misery. I awoke the next day with a “hangover” as my aunt calls it, from too little sleep.

dads pics 004

In Alabama I mostly missed the sun. The biggest reason we had less sun was not only because of frequent rains but it’s heavy foliage.  It is so dense and the trees so tall, you never saw a horizon. Not all of Alabama is like that but where we were it was.  If you wanted to see sky, you had to look straight up. It could be very depressing at times, especially for a California reared girl. Yet, I miss Alabama.


Colorado also has no seeum’s but they seemed to only attack my scalp, as if only were a mild thing. Was it my shampoo?  I don’t know, but they loved my scalp.  These no seeums were somewhat visible, but only when they came at you in a swarm. There was no time of day or predictability of attack but fortunately, it seldom happened.  Their bites would leave little red welts all over my scalp that itched and burned and these too would last for days. As I mentioned before, Colorado is known for having the most sunny days, but I think the reason it never felt like it was because it’s winter months and gloom lasted for longer periods at any given time, unlike California.



The best part about Colorado was, there were no FLEAS! We never had  fleas on our pets the whole time we lived there! I was told it was too cold. I guess if someone moved from a place with fleas with an indoor pet carrying them, they probably would and/or could survive indoors. No matter, our pets never suffered fleas and that was awesome.

There are a good many mountains in Colorado, but where we were was high desert, so we got our desert horizon and beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the mountains in the evenings. But there’s still nothing like seeing them anywhere else but facing an ocean where you can truly see a horizon that goes on forever. I missed that.



California has the fewest bugs I’ve ever seen and those are mostly spiders and like everywhere else, termites continue to plague houses. So much so that houses in the neighborhood are always being tented.

In some areas you can find roaches, we, fortunately have none. There are unfortunately silverfish, neither are wanted.

In my late teens and early twenties, we lived in Navy housing, and there were roaches. Both the tiny ones and the bigger ones, but none as big as palmetto’s.  My mother was immaculate, so it was not a sanitary thing, but I think it came more from living in “housing”. Once they infest, they are there.  I recall getting up at night to use the bathroom and walking with my feet curled on heel/toe in order to avoid stepping on them as they scurried around in the dark. I hated them!  I hated them so much I would scream because of them, not out of fright but out of total disgust.smokybrown-cockroaches

That stopped however, after my little girl, who was maybe not quite two, came across one unexpectedly.

It was mom’s laundry day. Tina had been playing on the pile of clothes mom had sorted by colors. She was having the time of her life all by herself, throwing herself on the stacks of clothing. The rest of us were watching and enjoying her at play when suddenly she spied a large cockroach. She screamed like there was no tomorrow. “Keeka! Keeka!” she screamed, frantically trying to run from it, but the clothes kept slipping out from under her feet. It was like a bad dream where you run and can’t get away? She was hysterical.  What seemed like only seconds for me to get to her must have seemed like hours to a small child to snatch her up. Her little heart was beating so hard I thought it would burst from her chest, her face was contorted in sheer terror. I was frightened. Her lips were blue and she was gasping, trying to catch a breath but not able to get any; she was hyperventilating. I’d  never seen anything like it. I held her close telling her “It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s not going to get you. Keeka’s are yucky but they cant hurt you, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.” All the while her little eyes were fixed in the direction of the roach. Her Nonie, (my mother) in the meantime was on the hunt, found it and was dramatically stomping it to death, telling her “it’s okay, keeka’s gone. No more keeka!”  As I think about it, I’m sure anyone else might have found the dramatics comical, even though it wasn’t. Once it’s demise was confirmed, she began to relax.

It was then, as a new mommy I realized how much and what an impression my reactions would make on my child. Even more so, how important to pay close attention to messages I might be sending her by my reaction to things. It was my fault. Inadvertently I/we, all of us had communicated our disdain for them and she interpreted it as fear. Wow! I would later explain to her how it’s a bug and it wouldn’t hurt her and that we scream because we don’t like them, but they really can’t hurt us, not bothering to qualify that statement either. She was very astute for her age and fully comprehended what I was saying. From then on, her fear was turned into an unexpected boldness so that upon spying one she would unhesitatingly go up to it and squash it. Oh well.IMG_2403

Sun, sunrises, sunsets, horizons and more sun.  I work best on warm and sunny days. Not too warm though.  Cali gives me the most. It is too dry most of the time, but I get sun. It does get too hot in August, September and in the early part of October. In those months, it’s just too hot.

When it’s gloomy, so am I.

I think it’s interesting how climate varies in different states. In September Colorado begins to get nippy, it’s hot days being the usual summer months, June, July and August; something you may not expect is by the end of August Alabama begins to cool, it’s hot period begins the end of May with on and off hot spells May and June but doesn’t truly get stinking hot until July, so basically two full months of painful hot;  California on the other hand is just barely warming up in July. Funny how that is.

I have often thought I could be a nomad.  Mother said we had a gypsy spirit. I’m inclined to agree.  Russ and I have talked about it, well I’ve talked about it to him and he says he’d go along to be with meIMG_0130 but I know he agrees, it would be nice to wander between all these places we’ve been to and enjoy our favorite seasons in them.

Perhaps one day we will.




Tats and Jewelry

I once considered getting a tat about thirteen years ago. I didn’t. I thought I had a legitimate excuse for one though.  I had developed a scar from a chain ring scrape on my leg that didn’t heal properly and being the vain person I am, I thought I’d cover it with a pretty little tat. (My sister’s tat partially hides her surgery scar below)

Sherene's tat2

As I debated it, I could never come up with anything that would be discreet enough, beautiful enough or one that would not make me feel or look like a hussy. It just needed to be something delicately classy if there was such a thing. I didn’t want a rose or flower or my spouses name or the birth dates and names of any of my children or any other loved one.

I would discreetly peruse the tattoo shop windows for ideas, while shuddering at their clientele but couldn’t find anything to fit my conservative nature, not to mention one that would not offend  my conservative,  Methodist choir friends. After all I was living in the Bible belt at the time.

Andreas tat

In all fairness, my friends were not put off by it at all. I was from California after all and in truth I think they lived vicariously through my more liberal and vivacious nature. Not much I did would shock or surprise them, in fact I think they would have giggled, wishing they could be so bold. (I later learned some of them already sported a tat or two.)

The resistance did come though, but not from my southern compatriots so much as from a California relative!

IMG_3389 (2)

I mentioned my intention to my mother in law one day in a casual, in passing manner and she about had a conniption fit. It so took me by surprise because her son and my husband once belonged to a punk rock band called, of all things, “Social Spit” (you can find them online) and that was okay. Granted he has no tats, but still, he wrote lyrics to songs like “Fuk Off Bitch” and “Eat Shit and Die”. They screamed out songs with F… this, F… that, were shaggy as hell, doped (briefly) and did who knows what all else and that was okay?! (In her defense she probably had no clue what he was doing in those days.)

My girls in the meantime have gotten several tats.  My husband dislikes them (the tats), period.

My model niece was the first to get tats and I distinctly remember my mother’s reaction when one, at the base of her spine, peeked out at my grandmother’s funeral when she leaned over to put a flower on the coffin. She also had one  on the center of her neck and probably several more but I’m not certain how many. My niece is of the Hollywood crowd and many of her friends also had them.andrea tat2

My youngest daughter has had one for years.(she’s the one above dressed as Inara from the Sci-Fi series “Firefly” for Comic-Con – her first was the white tiger, (she was studying ninjitsu at the time) followed by the dragon holding the hoop – nasty thing in my opinion)

Then came my grand-daughters. (More on theirs later.)

A few weeks ago I learned that my eldest daughter got a tat. I won’t give her age away but let’s say she’s not young. She was the last of the girls of legal age to get one. In fact, my two girls got matching ones, only the eldest, like her mom might have, went quite small (see the wrist below). Both tats are in Chinese and say “Serenity” or as one Chinese person translated it “harmony” which, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the Firefly series, is the name of it’s spaceship. (We are huge fans and if you haven’t seen it, weeeelll…)

Matching tats

As for the tats. Is it a big deal? I don’t know, I suppose not. I personally don’t like the number and size these girls opted for, but I did initially want one to cover up that scar which now is hardly noticeable and to be honest the scar was the excuse since tats became “fashionable” a few years back and it did seem like everyone is getting them.(think of lemmings) It seems that tats are the “in” thing right now even though my husband thinks not.  Why?  I’m not sure I know the answer to that.  Is it in lieu of jewelry? I believe my girls wear jewelry most of the time.  At least their wedding bands and earrings anyway. Neither of the girls own a lot.

I wear jewelry pretty much all the time. I have two rings and earrings I wear most everyday. I have lots of jewelry and this is about 1/10th of what I have.

Sometimes my youngest tells me I wear too much.  Too much is a couple of rings and sometimes a necklace, earrings and bracelet(s). I don’t think it’s too much. I tell the girls that as long as I keep the count to 13, I’m okay. No, not 13 pieces of jewelry but items on my body, which include shoes, stockings and other clothing including scarves, gloves and hat if I wore them. (Something I learned in charm school when they still existed)

The nice thing about jewelry is you can take it off.  You aren’t stuck with the same thing on all the time.

becca's tat

My grand-daughter opted for a swallow. She has one other, a match to the one her BFF got which is of an elk placed under opposite arms. match

Her friend also has a beautiful bird on her back. (I did ask permission to use her pic)


My other grand daughter,the youngest of the bunch also has one. If she has any others, I am unaware.

Portia's tat

Granted, I know my girls have a more active lifestyle and their work requires hands on with either patients or customers.  One daughter is studying to be a nurse, the other is a massage therapist as well as my eldest grand-daughter who did the above two photos, learning photography.   My daughter and grand daughter both work for a prestigious hotel, in a major city.The hotel where they work

So, it is understandable that since their work requires hands on, jewelry would need to be minimal. I believe conservative earrings is all they are permitted to wear.

Now in case you didn’t notice, these girls are beautiful and although goofy,A.B &T

they are not sluts. It has not made them less pretty, so what can I say?

In the meantime my niece, who started it all, got married and is now in the process of having all hers removed.

Isn’t that how it goes? Ces’t la Vie!