Two Cats In The Yard, Life Used To Be So Hard

 This is Socks
This is James and Socks
James and Socks are family
But not OUR family
James and Socks are always welcomed on OUR deck

This is a retrospective from a while back when our lives were enhanced by the simple tranquility of two cats in the yard!

As usual, thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcomed and answered. 🙂

Family Matters: Osprey mom deals with kid

A precious capture of a juvenile/mother relationship: early independent flight, motherly reprimand and reward.

This post contains 30 quick browse images, time stamps and captions.

2014-08-08 at 06-22-43
8/8/14, Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. 6:22:43 PM EDT. Mother Osprey on left; weeks old fledgling waiting for mom to look the other way – on right
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6:22:43, (+1 second) Jr.: “OK, OK, Mom’s not looking, now’s my chance….”
2014-08-08 at 06-22-45
6:22:44 (+ 2 seconds) Jr.: “I’m going for it!”
2014-08-08 at 06-22-46
6:22:46 (+ 3 seconds) Jr.: “I’m free, I’m free, whooo!!!
2014-08-08 at 06-22-47
6:22:47 (+ 4 seconds) Jr.: “Whoo, keep it steady!”
2014-08-08 at 06-22-48
6:22:48 (+ 5 seconds) Jr.: “PUSH HARDER, gain ALTITUDE!”
2014-08-08 at 06-22-49
6:22:49 (+ 6 seconds) Jr.: “I’m free….I’m flying!”
2014-08-08 at 06-22-52
6:22:52 (+ 9 seconds) Jr.: “Oh yeah… I get it. I’m cool!”
2014-08-08 at 06-23-42
6:23:42 (+ 59 seconds) Meanwhile, while junior is off on one wide circle, Mom hops down, quickly snags a fish, and returns….
2014-08-08 at 06-23-45
6:23:45 (+1 min., 2 seconds) …to the RIGHT branch, where Junior was before!
2014-08-08 at 06-25-20
6:25:20 (+2 min. 37 seconds) Mom: waiting for Junior… “Now where is he?”
2014-08-08 at 06-25-25
6:25:25 (+2 min. 42 seconds) Mom: “OMG, IN COMING!!!!”
2014-08-08 at 06-25-26 (1)
6:25:26 (+2 min. 43 seconds)  Mom: “NO! NO! DUMMY, NOT HERE! ABORT, GO AROUND.” 
2014-08-08 at 06-25-26
6:25:26 (+2 min. 43 1/2 seconds) Mom: “Ahhhhhh” Jr.: “Wah whoop wee Ahhhh Yergoi”
2014-08-08 at 06-25-27
6:25:27 (+ 2 min. 44 seconds)  Mom: Ducking,Choking, Screaming…  Jr.: “Yevaggg whoop eeech!!”
2014-08-08 at 06-25-31
6:25:31 (+2 min. 48 seconds) Mom: (Censured)
2014-08-08 at 06-25-39
6:25:39 (+2 min. 56 seconds) Jr.: “Ohhhh, I’m in BIG trouble now…
2014-08-08 at 06-25-41 (1)
6:25:41 (+ 2 min. 58 seconds.) Mom:  Screeching and yelling. Jr.: “Gotta get back. I’m getting tired! Mom’s gonna kill me!”
2014-08-08 at 06-25-42
6:25:42 (+ 3 min.) Mom: Yelling uncontrollably. Jr.: “Here we go…oooohhaaa”
2014-08-08 at 06-25-43 (1)
6:25:43 (+ 3 min. 1 second) Mom: “STOP!!!!!” Jr.: “Ahhh  voooog yeee!”
2014-08-08 at 06-25-43
6:25:44 (+3 min. 2 seconds) Mom:  continues to yell and screech!
2014-08-08 at 06-25-44
6:25:44 (+3 min. 2 1/2 seconds) Mom.: Still screeching! Jr. Balancing
2014-08-08 at 06-25-44 (1)
6:25:45 (+3 min. 3 seconds) Jr.: Settling, Mom: Still reprimanding.
2014-08-08 at 06-25-54
6:25:54 (+3 min. 12 seconds) Jr.: Sulking Mom: Calming down.


2014-08-08 at 06-26-46
6:26:46 (+ 4 min. 4 seconds) Jr.: “I’m Sorry, Mom.” Mom: Preparing to feed Jr., (reward???)
2014-08-08 at 06-26-48
6:26:48 (+4 min. 6 seconds) Mom hops over with fish
2014-08-08 at 06-26-49
6:26:49 (+4 min. 7 seconds) Osprey version of kisses and hugs!
2014-08-08 at 06-29-02
6:29:02 (+6 min. 12 seconds) Mom feeding Jr.  “Yum Yum”
2014-08-08 at 06-30-01
6:29:02 (+6 min. 12 seconds)Closer look
2014-08-08 at 06-29-18
6:29:18 (+6 min. 28 seconds) Meanwhile, Dad  remains detached from it all, eating his own afternoon catch nearby.

As usual, thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcomed!

Vincent van Gogh, Greatness and Demise; An Afternoon in Auvers, France, 2012


A flashback to an experience we shared on vacation two years ago.

Short on time? Just browse the images and click for full resolution. 

This post contains nine images.

As one of history’s creative luminaries, Vincent van Gogh, the Dutch post-impressionist painter, fit the irony linking talented genius with mental affliction, (as so well discussed in a recent article by Nancy C. Anderson, “The Atlantic” magazine, July/August 2014.) In his last days, at the age of 37, van Gogh resided in a small one room apartment above Auberge Revoux, an inn in rural Auvers-Sur-Oise, France, about 27 km NW of Paris. During the brief seventy days spent there in 1890, he was artistic greatness…..but dealing with demons,  eventually resulting in his probable suicide that spring. 

In September of 2012, Jeanne and I had the privilege of visiting this very special place, the experience intensified by gloomy weather befitting its historical nature. Below is a photographic taste of that day – a side tour from our Avalon Seine River cruise.

2012-09-27 at 14-58-21
Room #5, his room, preserved as it was with barely enough space for a bed and sparse furnishings – and place to hang and dry paintings

2012-09-27 at 15-17-15


2012-09-27 at 15-19-33
Our small group walks along narrow lanes and thru evocative gateways as rain begins to fall under darkening skies…
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to the Romanesque/Gothic church, which was inspiration for van Gogh’s “Church at Auvers,” shown below.

2012-09-27 at 15-26-10

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We continued with a slow-paced, contemplative walk up this primitive lane towards the hilltop cemetery, the weather suggestive of a day here 122 years earlier, imaged by the strokes of the painter – but emphasizing the brighter, sunlit foreground against the storm clouds as seen below.
Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 9.27.39 PM
(This and other source credits to Wikipedia)
2012-09-27 at 15-36-14
And in the gentle peace of the light rainfall, but troubled sky, we paid tribute to Vincent and his brother, Theo, at the cemetery… their neatly tended graves seen below with one of our groups older members – he slowly walking past while paying his silent homage.
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As a post script, the man above, a solo traveler unknown to the 15 or so others in our group, caused some anxiety while we waited on the bus to leave the small village. The driver/guide and others looked in adjacent quaint shops and inns searching in vain, as the rendezvous time came and went. Perhaps in his early nineties, concern was universal among us. At the last moment, this quiet unassuming man appeared, slowly made his way down the bus aisle in silence as we all wondered where he had been. As he slowly and purposefully reached his seat – not even looking up – he unceremoniously said, “I’m sure you all want to know… her name was Annette!”