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The Dance of the _______ Butterfly

July 8, 2013

[Calling all Lepidopterists to fill in the blank. I even have the Audubon Guide to North American Butterflies and I still couldn't find the right one]

UPDATE: Thanks to the marvels of Tweeting, I got immediate response to my question of what kind of butterfly is in the video from the fabulous Westmoreland Sanctuary right in my neck of the woods.

Looks like Great Spangled Fritillary

Standing in my front garden, lamenting the lack of rain and how my plants have a serious case of the droopies, I got some pretty good video, if I do say so myself, of a butterfly playing on the CONEflowers.

Nature blogger Carole Sevilla Brown who tweets as @CB4Wildlife and who blogs at EcoSystem Gardening, as a great post called Butterfly Numbers Plunge by 50%.  I was noticing how few butterflies are on my plants this year and how few I saw hovering around the peonies this spring. A good read.

Bring on some rain please. The hydrangea, poor things, are gagging. So too the coneflower blooms.
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This flower is in such distress it called it a day. Said, done with the sun, I’m covering my bald spot!
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The Problem Is…. She Has FOUR Children!

July 5, 2013

Ba-dum-dum.

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I can’t criticize people who have vanity plates – I have one myself, one obscure enough that I often see people tilting their head to read it to try and figure it out. Decoding vanity plates is a fun pass-time on a long road trip – kinda a 21st century version of the license plate game we played as children.

But this plate struck me…struck me odd, not odd in that I couldn’t read it, but odd that she displays her life on her car by her TWO GREAT KIDS.

I don’t want to get all women’s lib here because I am FAR FAR FAR from being Gloria Steinem, but shouldn’t we women be past the stage of defining ourselves by our children? Nothing wrong with being proud but that’s why God invented My Child made the Honor Roll stickers. Plus, I never trust a woman who says her kids are great. It’s like she’s saying she’s so great.

Is this making any sense or are you going to tell me the heat has gotten to me?

America The Beautiful

July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day, from our home to yours.

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O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine.
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

Here’s Your Multiple Choice Test

July 3, 2013

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Per your request threat, to resolve yesterday’s dilemma of how to get rid of telemarketers once and for all, one of the below is the actual foolproof response I give to ensure getting your name off the list.

1. I work for ____too. Which center are you calling from? 

2. This is the ____ Police Department. Officer Krupke Speaking.

3. I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. 

4. What are you wearing? 

Good luck!

PS: On advice from counsel, I will neither confirm nor deny any method chosen. (yes, I know, chicken!) multiplechoice2

Just Call Me The Miracle Worker

July 2, 2013
Why, why why are you calling me?

Why, why why are you calling me?

The March of Dimes calls have stopped. So too the calls from A. Smith of the Young Republicans. How did I do it?

The woman to whom I spoke at March of Dimes did what she promised and took my phone number off the list. Excellent.

Two days ago, when A. Smith called, I reached for the phone and decided I’d try my FAILPROOF method for getting my phone number off the call list. God, I’m good. Not a single call from them since that very conversation.

What did I say and how can YOU get the same results? Send $9.95 in cash or money order to EOS, in care of……

The problem I have with sharing what I said is that its a wee bit close to lying. Well, heck, it’s actual lying. But such a good lie that its marketable and would win me the hearts of every household across the nation for sharing my seven word cure.

As a matter of fact, my idea is so good, A. Smith APOLOGIZED TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!

Care to guess?

 

Curses, FOILed Again!

July 1, 2013

In tackling a renovation/addition project here in Bedford, we had to do some sleuthing at the Board of Health with regards to the bedroom capacity of the septic system. There’s a branch of the BOH in Mount Kisco, the next town over, so I called, they led me to the e-form to fill out and I was on my way to getting the answer.

It came quite quickly, one of the BOH employees called me in a week or so and said he had found the documents I needed and would send me all the information he had.

He did, and in the envelope, along with the paperwork I needed, this…

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Since when does getting documents for one’s own home fall under the Freedom of Information Act? Not in any law that makes sense to me.  It’s my home. Aren’t I entitled to know about my own home without filing a government document? I could see needing to file a FOIL request if I needed information about my neighbor or a property I was considering to buy, but  the e-form clearly names me as the homeowner.

But wait, it gets better.

I am in Mount Kisco frequently and figured I’d pop in the office and pay the 75¢ and be done. Grit my teeth that I have to pay for this paperwork, that was placed in an envelope and hermetically sealed in a mayonnaise jar and kept on Funk and Wagnall’s porch since who knows when.

Here’s the kicker. The Mount Kisco BOH office is not allowed to accept any money, period, so I am obliged to MAIL A CHECK FOR 75¢ with postage of 46¢.

Please, someone, tell me how bureaucracy has gotten so out of sync with real life?

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Telemarketers From Hell

June 27, 2013

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914-294-2421

301-223-0051

Besieged seven days a week by both numbers above, the top one with caller ID “MOD” which I found out by Googling the number is The March of Dimes.

The second number comes in as A. Smith, and in looking that one up too, is determined to be The Young Republicans or College Republicans.

On the rare occasion I can’t stand the calling anymore and I answer the phone to tell them to you know what, there’s always dead air. No one is actually at the other end. That’s no fun.

First of all I have an unlisted phone number. Secondly I am on the Do Not Call registry.  I gave to the March of Dimes well over a decade ago when the mother of a good friend died and the MOD was the donation of choice. But that doesn’t answer how they’d get my phone number.

I guess I’m doomed to receive The Young Republicans calls because I am a registered Republican but have never given to that particular cause and again, have never given my phone number out when giving money to the larger organization. As a matter of fact, I often, when forced to give a number, give my fax number. Let them call that 1000000 times, I don’t care.

Two days ago, I decided to take some action. I called the national HQ for the March of Dimes, conveniently very near me in White Plains.

March of Dimes National Office
1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
(914) 997-4488

I asked to speak with the person in charge of telemarketing and was connected to a woman’s voice mail machine. I left a detailed message but no one called me back. No surprise. I didn’t give up and called again yesterday, telling the very nice man who answered the phone that I wanted to speak with someone today, not leave a message. He couldn’t have been nicer and more helpful. Gold star for his job performance. Give that man a raise.

I did get someone, a very capable and helpful someone, a Ms. Spano. She was understanding and sympathetic, said she would remove my number from their telemarketing list. Then we began to chat. I asked her why the March of Dimes, a very well respected organization, would submit themselves to such ire. There is page after page of complaints about this number on a website called Who Calls Me. The 914-241-2421 isn’t the only MOD number on the Who Calls Me complaint list. There are many numbers attributed to MOD, each one with volumes of complaints. I asked if she would report my complaint farther up the food chain and she said she would. To which I asked if I would be better off writing the Director an email. I did.

To the Director of The March of Dimes,

I spoke with Ms. Spano today to ask that my phone number be removed from your telemarketing list. The number that calls me, 914-294-2421, calls seven days a week, at least three if not four times A DAY. At 8:30am and 8:30pm and hours in between. And the couple of times I picked up the phone to tell them to stop calling, it was dead air, no one was ever at the other end.

I am a huge fan of the March of Dimes as an organization but you must stop the telemarketing firm you’ve hired. If you Google the above phone number, you will see page after page of irate homeowners complaining, feeling equally besieged. The damage that it does to your organization is huge. What’s the point of having a telemarketer if the end result is destroying the reputation of the pristine organization?

Miss Spano has taken note of my phone number (which is unlisted by the way, so it begs the question of how you got it in the first place!) and will remove it from the telemarketing list. But I am only one of thousands of angry residents. I wholeheartedly suggest you stop this practice immediately.

Sincerely,

I have not heard back. Don’t expect to although if I were the Director and someone took the time to write me such an intelligent email, I’d find a way to get in touch with me. After all, they DO have my phone number.

Today’s task: find out how to get the A. Smith of the Young Republicans off my back. And don’t suggest I become a Democrat to do so. :-)

UPDATE: No sooner did I click Publish to this post, and the phone rings. Guess who??

mod

At Least I Won’t Have to Shower Tonight!

June 25, 2013

The pool garden is 95% planted, with the exception of six white rose a’sharon plants for the back wall that will be planted next week, and all new grass seed, which will happen early fall. Oh yes, and someone named Mr. EOS has an arbor to build for us (hint hint).

I dragged down a couple of water towers to make sure the new plantings stay watered, but not overwatered, and had a fight with the tower to get it to auto rotate, so soaked I got that I came up to change my clothes at the SAME time the doorbell rang and the HVAC repairman arrived to fix a compressor issue. Let’s just say wet white shirts are not as nice a look on a 65-year-old as a 20-something. I thought about explaining WHY I was drenched, but figured I’d only get myself into more trouble, so I let his imagination have a good time.

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ANYHOOOOO, here’s the garden so far. Envision lush green grass in between the flower beds, an arbor with vines flourishing, and a seating arrangement somewhere, not sure where yet. Originally we thought the seating arrangement would go inside the center square, where the roses and lilacs are, but looking at it now, I might want to have the seating arrangement closer to the stone wall, looking at all the plantings.

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Lavender and roses. Such a fragrant combination.

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A fine new magnolia (and on either side will be three white rose a-sharon.

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White Diana Rose a-sharon in the bed with the butterfly bushes and ornamental grasses

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hydrangea and tree here have been in place since about 2003. Growing well.

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Meanwhile, the garden that was new last year up front is doing great guns. Filled in so nicely. Love it.
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It’s a lot of work gardening but the rewards are so long-lasting. Love it.

It’s A Bird. It’s a Plane. It’s SuperSolar Boat!

June 24, 2013

Reader CosHarbour sent some photos of the totally cool PlanetSolar boat that was in the New York waters on the 21st, bound for a trip north after last year being the first solar-powered boat to circumnavigate the world.

In today’s New York Times, coincidentally, a long article about the voyage. Beyond CosHarbour’s photos, I’ve included one photo by the NYT photographer and one from the PlanetSolar website.

Photo courtesy PlanetSolar.org

Photo courtesy PlanetSolar.org

Last year, after it became the first solar-powered boat to circumnavigate the globe, the Turanor Planetsolar could have taken its 5,500 square feet of photovoltaic cells and eight tons of lithium-ion batteries and sailed off into the sunset.

The Turanor Planetsolar, which cost $17 million to build, circumnavigated the globe using only solar power in 2012.
Instead it is becoming a scientific research ship, at least for the summer. The boat, a 100-foot, $17 million catamaran that was dreamed up by a Swiss eco-adventurer and bankrolled by a German businessman, will cruise the Gulf Stream studying the role of atmospheric aerosols and phytoplankton in regulating climate, under the direction of Martin Beniston, a climatologist at the University of Geneva.

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The New York Times The Turanor Planetsolar

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The New York Times
The Turanor Planetsolar

CosHarbour caught real-time images of her. It’s hard to get a perspective on her size, although the man in the red shortsd looks pretty small in comparison to the vessel.

Photo from Planet Solar website

Photo from Planet Solar website

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Boats and I are NOT best friends, that inner ear thing that most women in my family have makes for some two-bagger outings, added to my mild claustrophobia, I can tell you right now, I will not be signing up for their second round-the-world trip. More power to the scientists who take on such adventure. Send me a post card.

EOS Weekend: The Yes, I Am Alive Edition

June 15, 2013

Thanks for your email and comments – it’s awfully nice to be missed. Been busy, and what with the rain, all the rain, so much rain, well, it did nothing for a blogger who takes photos.

I’ve been remiss in posting these stellar photos from Betsy in Albuquerque; she sent them a couple of weeks ago. She’s up first.

One night short of a full moon in Albuquerque. It is a very quiet night, no wind, few clouds…..just breath taking.
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Betsy says: My husband gets credit for this one. He used a camera that takes multiple low light shots and combines them taking the blurriness out.
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Every once in awhile the mountains at sunset are spectacular. You can see why the early Spanish settlers named these mountains “Sandia” which is watermelon in Spanish. For just a few minutes the west face is brilliant. The skies are very smokey looking north from the city but thank goodness clear around us.
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SoundBeacher emailed me too. Lucky you. Betsy and SB in one week.

When the weather has been good, it’s been very very good. Like Tuesday night after all the bad weather moved out — the day finished with a glorious evening. I just had to get down to the beach to see what it would look like with the clearing sky. Nature is never one to disappoint and here are some photos.

It’s a sailboat race
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Sailors racing with spinnakers flying and rays of light brightening Long Island.
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A fisherman out casting in the still water.
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Sailboats
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Sit a spell and watch the golden light of the setting sun
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Evening at the beach just before sunset after a storm.
Sun scape
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Happy Father’s Day one and all. We have sunshine for the first time since 1902. So today everyone is outside, soaking in the rays but alternately coming in to watch the golf. Go Phil!

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