Saturday Surprise — Squirrels, Squirrels, and … More Squirrels!

I love watching squirrels!  They are so cute, but also personable … we have a few squirrels who pay us a daily visit.  I think it could have something to do with the unsalted peanuts and bird seed we put out each morning.  But they are so much fun to watch, and they are smart critters, too!  They somehow know that the kitties cannot get to them through the window, and they delight in tormenting the kitties!  They stand on the patio table in front of the window on their hind legs and do a little squirrely happy dance, swishing their furry tail from side to side, while the kitties, sitting on the chair in the kitchen window looking out paw the window, growl and whine!  The squirrels, meanwhile, just grin at the kitties!

When I came across this collection of squirrel pics over on Bored Panda, I knew I had to share them with you!  I can think of no better way to cut through the stress and angst of this past week than these cuties!

From the article in Bored Panda …

Did you know Squirrel Appreciation Day is a thing? It’s celebrated every January 21st as an opportunity to learn more about the little rodents, and even if we’re far from that date, it’s always a good time to celebrate these precious balls of fur! Squirrels are pretty awesome, and their cuteness is only matched by the fact they’re quite clever and can form cognitive maps in their heads of the places they store their food.

I’ll never forget the first time I visited London, where I was amazed by the number of cute squirrels in St. James’s Park and how well they tolerated being surrounded by so many people. As naive as I was as a child, I thought the city had a secret squirrel sanctuary! When I investigated some more, I found out squirrels can be incredibly friendly to humans. They have a reputation for curiosity and get interested in what’s going on around them.

For all these reasons and more, squirrels are easy to love. And if you’re a fan of adorable animals like us, you’ll surely appreciate this gallery of squirrel pictures! So scroll down, feast your eyes, and upvote your ultimate favorites!

Squirrel Licking A Glass Window

One Woman Started Putting Bowls Of Ice Out For The Squirrels In Her Yard. This Little Guy Was So Grateful, He Fell Asleep Cooling Off

I Followed Squirrels Daily With My Camera For 6 Years And Here Are 50 Of My Best Photos

A Squirrel Ran Into The Store I Work At And Stole A Chocolate Bar

I’ve Spent A Couple Of Years Photographing Squirrels And Their Different Emotions

Squirrel Fell In Love With My Stepdad

Saw A Squirrel Eating A Strawberry Off A Fork On My Way To Class

Rescued This Little Guy While Shooting Some Photos In A Wooded Area. My Dogs Adopted Him

So Ive Been Feeding The Squirrels Lately And This Is What I Saw At My Door When I Woke Up

Defiant Squirrel

This White Squirrel I Saw On My Walk

Hoomans Said If Your Ear Is Itchy, Someone Is Thinking Of You

This Little Guy Needed To Say Hi

Squirrel Love

My Mom Occasionally Leaves Nuts Under Our Bird Feeder. Today, He Came To The Window And Asked For More

Sadie The Squirrel Has Eaten 3 Jack O’Lanterns So Far

I Give The Local Squirrels Breakfast Every Morning. He Was A Latecomer. His Face Says It All

Squirrel On Dog

Indian Palm Squirrel In My Indian Palm

I See Her Suspicious Look And A Cucumber… But Look At Her Feet On The Bowl!

I hope that the squirrels made you smile this morning!  I also hope you have a safe, fun and happy weekend!

Saturday Surprise — Animal Art!

Good Saturday morning, my friends!  After this past week, I bet you’re ready to step away from the political scene, from the news-making events, and find something fun and relaxing to start the weekend, yes?  Well, look no further!  I have just the ticket …

I make no secret of the fact that I have no artistic talent … none, nada, nunc!  My granddaughter Natasha, on the other hand, is very artistic and has drawn some beautiful pictures, though of late she seems to have lost interest somewhat.  Anyway … I have tremendous respect for those with artistic talent whether their style is classic, street art, manga or any other style.  Yesterday I came across an artist I hadn’t heard of before, Shannon Mayhew.  Says Ms. Mayhew …

I’m a self-taught artist living in Iowa, creating hyperrealistic animal artwork. For as far back as I can remember, I would draw animals and cartoon characters, which both of my grandmas would hang on their fridges. I checked out book after book from the library that taught you different drawing techniques. I taught myself how to draw, although I do credit, my grandma, for my artistic abilities. ​She herself was an artist and I always say that I inherited my talents from her.

Here are some of the drawings I made. My flamingo took me 42 hours to complete, the lynx took 32 hours to complete and my whitetail buck took 63 hours to complete. You can see more of my work on social media. (Instagram; Facebook)

Her artwork is fantastic … it speaks for itself!

Well, folks, that’s all I’ve got for now.  Whether you go out and about or just stay home and relax this weekend, I hope you have a wonderful one!

Saturday Surprise — Carousel of Happiness!

Last night I was wracking my poor brain trying to come up with something fun & unique for Saturday Surprise.  My mood wasn’t really well-suited for the task at hand, for the news of the past week had left my angry and more than a little grumpy.  Just as I was about to give up, something drew my attention.  It’s a story of healing, of giving, of … well, just take a look for yourself.  It brought a smile to my tired old face and I think it will do the same for you!

Have a fun and happy weekend, dear friends!

Saturday Surprise — A Few Cute Critters To Bring A Smile

Good Saturday morning, dear friends!  Well … well, well, well.  It’s been a rough week … a sad week for people on all sides of the big pond.  I was planning to skip Saturday Surprise this week and write about … well, never mind.  But I thought … maybe we all need to just take a deep breath, find a reason to smile, and zone out for a wee bit.  And so … I went in search of some cute, smile-inducing pictures of furry babes.  I bet you can’t get through this entire post without smiling at least a little bit.

I hope you have a wonderful, restive & peaceful …

Saturday Surprise — Meet Wally!!!

You’ve all heard of Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) right?  If a person is going through a very difficult time, for whatever reason, and is suffering from depression, sometimes the company of a pet can bring that person out of his darkness.  I fully believe in this … one of our ‘feral five’, Oliver aka Ollie, seems to just sense when I’m sad or upset and plops on my lap, nuzzles my hand for pats, and purrs so loud it nearly rattles the windows.  How he knows when he’s needed, I don’t know, but he does.

Well, a man in Pennsylvania has a support pet who has helped him through the deaths of several close family members as well as his own battle with prostate cancer and the two are inseparable.  The man is Joseph Henney and his emotional support pet is Wally … WallyGator, that is!

WallyGator goes with him almost everywhere, from the grocery store to walks in the park. They hug each other and sleep in the same bed. WallyGator is an alligator.  The two watch television together on the couch, and when Henney takes him to the farmers market, WallyGator gives hugs to shoppers — as long as they are okay with being that close to a 70-pound reptile with a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth.  Says Joie (pronounced Joe) …

“When he turns his nose toward you, that means he expects a kiss. He’s super sweet-natured. He’s a very special gator, but I wouldn’t recommend that anyone get one. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you will get bit.”

Henney’s unlikely friendship with WallyGator began in 2015 when a friend from Florida called to ask if he could take in a few gators that had been found in a pond in Orlando. Because he has always enjoyed caring for reptiles as a pastime, Henney told his friend that he could take in three juvenile alligators. Little did he know, he was about to embark on a beautiful friendship with one of them.

For about three decades, Henney—who makes a living in wood-crafting—has helped relocate unwanted alligators, snakes and iguanas to wildlife sanctuaries in his free time. He revealed that he is usually called to rescue alligators that people take in as pets when they are cute baby gators but find difficult to handle when they inevitably grow into large animals. After moving the rescue reptiles into separate indoor enclosures in his home, Henney finds sanctuaries or zoos to take them. Two of the gators he received from his Florida friend eventually went to reptile refuges in New York and New Jersey.

WallyGator, however, he decided to keep as he had formed a special bond with the then-14-month-old reptile.

“I bonded with him and was committed to caring for him. One of the problems when someone gets an alligator for a pet is they don’t realize they’re in for a long haul. When they get to three feet, nobody wants them. They can bite and they’re extremely hard to handle.”

According to Henney, it was evident to him from the very beginning that WallyGator was different from all the other alligators he’s handled …

“He wouldn’t eat live rats, and he really showed a love for cheesy popcorn. I thought it was different, but I was still very cautious around him. I’ve been handling gators for years, and I’ve learned to read them. An alligator isn’t going to attack you for no reason. I’m always careful, but I felt it was fine to let him roam free in the house. He enjoyed being held, and I thought, ‘Wow, this is a super nice, friendly alligator.'”

It was in 2017, after several family members and friends had died in a 2-week period, that he and his unusual pet really bonded.

“I was depressed and WallyGator started to do silly things to cheer me up. When I was on the couch, he’d pull my blanket to the floor.”

It was his doctor who suggested that he register the reptile as an emotional support animal when Henney revealed how WallyGator had helped with his depression. Although he initially dismissed the idea, Henney went home that day with a letter from the doctor qualifying the alligator as an emotional support animal. He later filled out an application on the U.S. Service Animals website and received a certificate along with a harness and leash for his alligator once it was approved.

Henney also credits his leathery friend for emotionally supporting him through a recent diagnosis of prostate cancer and weeks of radiation treatments. Because he knows there’s a good chance his pet gator will outlive him (gators typically live 80 years or more), he has arranged with a friend to ensure that WallyGator gets to spend the rest of his days in reptilian comfort.

Don’t believe me, do you?  Take a look at this short clip of Joie and Wally …

I loved this story … it warmed my heart.  But not enough to make me want a pet alligator!  I can only imagine how he would get along with our five cats!!!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and to my friends in the U.S. – Happy Labour Day Weekend!!!

Saturday Surprise — SILOS!!!

This …

… is a grain silo.  And these …

… are also grain silos.

🥱  Pretty boring, right?  I mean … a structure whose only purpose is to store grain … what’s to get excited about.  Function over form, yes?  Well … in Australia, farmers and artists have managed to combine form and function and … WOW!  Take a look …

This one is located in Colbinabbin, Victoria, and was painted by Tim Bowtell over the course of 8 weeks in 2020 at the beginning of the Covid pandemic.  Look at the detail …

Or what about this one, the first in Victoria in the town of Brim …

… painted in January 2016 by Guido van Helten.  Look at the detail … isn’t it amazing?

This next one is in Kaniva, Victoria, and was painted by David Lee Pereira and his assistant, Jason Parker, completed in October 2020 …

This depicts the Australian Hobby Bird, a member of the falcon family.  To the left of the bird is the plains sun orchid with the salmon/pink sun orchid on the right.

And this next one … touches the heart …

It is an image of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern embracing a Muslim woman after the Christchurch mosque attacks resonated around the world in April 2019.  The silo was painted by Loretta Lizzio in May 2019 and is located in Brunswick, Victoria.

This last one is located in Avoca, Victoria and was completed last year as the 47th in Australia’s Painted Silo Art Collection.

These are but a few of the beautifully painted silos in Australia, but I hope you’ll take a look at some of the rest of them on the Victorian Silo Art website that was so kindly sent to me by my Australian artist friend, Anne Lawson of Anne Lawson’s Art.  Thank you so much for pointing me in this direction, Anne!

And now, my friends, go forth and have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday Surprise — Animal Myths

Somehow, I fell into the rabbit hole earlier this week and was struggling to find a bit of humour to share for this morning’s Saturday Surprise.  So, I took a trip back through the archives to September 2018 and found some fun there!  Surely, those of you who were following Filosofa’s Word way back then have forgotten this post and it will be as new to you, right?  Except Keith … Keith never forgets anything!

The story, from ThoughtCo, is titled …

12 Animal Stereotypes and the Truth Behind Them

… but in the interest of time and space, I am only sharing 7 of the 12.  However, you can see the whole lot here if you feel so inclined!

Are Owls Really Wise?OwlFolks think owls are wise for the same reason they think people who wear glasses are smart: unusually big eyes are taken as a sign of intelligence. And the eyes of owls aren’t only unusually big; they are undeniably huge, taking up so much room in these birds’ skulls that they can’t even turn in their sockets (an owl has to move its entire head, rather than its eyes, to look in different directions). The myth of the “wise owl” dates back to ancient Greece, where an owl was the mascot of Athena, the goddess of wisdom — but the truth is that owls aren’t any smarter than other birds, and are far surpassed in intelligence by comparatively small-eyed crows and ravens.

Do Elephants Really Have Good Memories?elephant“An elephant never forgets,” goes the old proverb — and in this case, there’s more than a bit of truth. Not only do elephants have comparatively bigger brains than other mammals, but they also have surprisingly advanced cognitive abilities: elephants can “remember” the faces of their fellow herd members, and even recognize individuals whom they’ve met only once, briefly, years before. The matriarchs of elephant herds have also been known to memorize the locations of watering holes, and there is anecdotal evidence of elephants “remembering” deceased companions by gently fondling their bones. (As to another stereotype about elephants, that they’re afraid of mice, that can be chalked up to the fact that elephants are easily spooked — it’s not the mouse, ​per se, but the sudden wriggling movement.)

Do Pigs Really Eat Like Pigs?pigWell, yes, tautologically speaking, pigs really eat like pigs — just as wolves really eat like wolves and lions really eat like lions. But will pigs actually gorge themselves to the point of throwing up? Not a chance: like most animals, a pig will only eat as much as it needs in order to survive, and if it does appear to overeat (from a human perspective) that’s only because it hasn’t eaten for a while or it senses that it won’t be eating again any time soon. Most likely, the saying “eats like a pig” derives from the unpleasant noise these animals make when chowing down their grub, as well as the fact that pigs are omnivorous, subsisting on green plants, grains, fruits, and pretty much any small animals they can unearth with their blunt snouts.

Are Lemmings Really Suicidal?lemmingsTrue story: in the 1958 Walt Disney documentary “White Wilderness,” a herd of lemmings is shown plunging heedlessly over a cliff, seemingly bent on self-extermination. In fact, the producers of a subsequent meta-documentary about nature documentaries, “Cruel Camera,” discovered that the lemmings in the Disney picture had actually been imported wholesale from Canada, and then chased off the cliff by a camera crew! And we thought Disney was kind??? By that point, though, the damage was already done: a whole generation of movie-goers was convinced that lemmings are suicidal. The fact is that lemmings aren’t so much suicidal as they’re extremely careless: every few years, local populations explode (for reasons that haven’t quite been explained), and rogue herds perish accidentally during their periodic migrations. A good — and extremely miniaturized — GPS system would put the lie to the “lemming suicide” myth once and for all!

Do Crocodiles Really Shed Tears?crocodile.jpgIn case you’ve never heard the expression, a person is said to shed “crocodile tears” when he’s being insincere about the misfortune of someone else. The ultimate source of this phrase (at least in the English language) is a 14th-century description of crocodiles by Sir John Mandeville: “These serpents slay men, and they eat them weeping; and when they eat they move the over jaw, and not the nether jaw, and they have no tongue.” So do crocodiles really “weep” insincerely while they eat their prey? Surprisingly, the answer is yes: like other animals, crocodiles secrete tears to keep their eyes lubricated, and moisturization is especially important when these reptiles are on land. It’s also possible that the very act of eating stimulates a crocodile’s tear ducts, thanks to the unique arrangement of its jaws and skull.

Are Sloths Really Lazy?sloth.jpgYes, sloths are slow. Sloths are almost unbelievably slow (you can clock their top speeds in terms of fractions of a mile per hour). Sloths are so slow that microscopic algae grows in the coats of some species, making them virtually indistinguishable from plants. But are sloths really lazy? No: In order to be deemed “lazy,” you have to be capable of the alternative (being energetic), and in this regard sloths simply haven’t been smiled on by nature. The basic metabolism of sloths is set at a very low level, about half that of mammals of comparable sizes, and their internal body temperatures are lower as well (ranging between 87 and 93 degrees Fahrenheit). If you drove a speeding car straight at a sloth (don’t try this at home!) it wouldn’t be capable of getting out of the way in time — not because it’s lazy, but because that’s how it’s built.

Are Hyenas Really Evil?hyenaEver since they were cast as the heavies in the Disney movie “The Lion King,” hyenas have gotten a bad rap. It’s true that the grunts, giggles and “laughs” of the spotted hyena make this African scavenger seem vaguely sociopathic, and that, taken as a group, hyenas aren’t the most attractive animals on earth, with their long, toothy snouts and top-heavy, asymmetrical trunks. But just as hyenas don’t really have a sense of humor, they aren’t evil, either, at least in the human sense of the word; like every other denizen of the African Savannah, they are simply trying to survive. (By the way, hyenas aren’t only negatively portrayed in Hollywood; some Tanzanian tribes believe witches ride hyenas like broomsticks, and in parts of western Africa they’re believed to harbor the reincarnated souls of bad Muslims.)

And that is all I’ve got for today, folks!  I hope you all have a terrific weekend!happy dog Saturday

Saturday Surprise — A Unique Dining Experience

Good morning and welcome to …

Saturday Surprise took a brief hiatus last week, but I’m back this weekend and I’ve got something fun for you today!  But first … I’ve got a joke (courtesy of my blogging friend Jim Borden):

What did the farmer say when he couldn’t find his tractor?  (answer at the end of the post)

Now, I’m afraid of heights … I wasn’t as a child, for I used to love nothing better than to climb a tree and keep my parents in suspense as to my whereabouts, but as I got older, heights became one of the few things I actually fear.  In fact, I cannot even stand on a kitchen chair to put something on the upper shelves anymore without getting dizzy and having chest pains!  So, today’s Saturday Surprise is one that I will only partake of from my armchair, but it looks like great fun!

Angélique Schmeinck is a Dutch master chef with her own quite popular restaurant.  Although I’m sure the food is unique and tasty, it is the venue of her restaurant that has earned it a place here on Saturday Surprise, for her restaurant is in a … wait for it … hot air balloon!

According to Atlas Obscura …

Schmeinck had her “Eureka” moment in 2003 when she saw a hot-air balloon and realized, “a hot-air balloon is actually a huge hot oven!” Excited by the opportunity to build her own restaurant from scratch, she called a hot-air balloon company for help. Two weeks later, they hoisted a customized bag filled with fish and chicken to the crown of a balloon via pulleys. The flame at the balloon’s base brought the temperature to 194 degrees Fahrenheit (90 degrees Celsius), an ideal heat level for slow-cooked meals. When the balloon landed an hour and a half later, Schmeinck removed the fish and chicken. “I had tears in my eyes when I saw that it was perfectly cooked,” she says.

That successful trial run was the starting point of CuliAir, the world’s first hot-air balloon restaurant. Since her maiden voyage almost two decades ago, Schmeinck has hosted about 50 trips each year across the Netherlands. Among the key advantages of her airborne kitchen are a cooking counter that hangs off the side of the balloon basket (and includes a camphor stove) and a pulley system attached to customized steel containers that allows Schmeinck to raise the food toward the balloon’s flame and lower it. Her system needs to be efficient: On board, Schmeinck has an hour and a half to serve three courses to 10 people. “Organization is the most important thing,” she says. Her kitchen is so well-designed that Schmeinck says she can find items blind.

Guests receive notification on where to meet mere hours before takeoff. CuliAir uses 20 different takeoff locations to accommodate the wide range of flying conditions. Weather can alter landing times or how high the balloon flies, an especially important consideration given the balloon flame’s dual function as oven and engine. Higher elevations require a higher flame, which means an increase in cooking temperature. Since the food that Schmeinck cooks requires temperatures between 194 to 230 degrees Fahrenheit, she works with the balloon’s pilot to ensure that course adjustments don’t affect a dish.

When guests arrive in the designated takeoff meadow, Schmeinck serves them an appetizer—such as melon, goat cheese, and dried capers—followed by champagne. Meanwhile, a ground crew sets up the large orange-and-white balloon and attached basket that can accommodate up to 12 people. The basket lays on its side, allowing guests to climb in and lay horizontally until the flame fills the balloon with enough heat to lift everything off the ground (and pull passengers upright). Once fully airborne, Schmeinck gets cooking.

The first in-the-sky course is typically a seafood cocktail. The natural, fresh ingredients can be prepared raw, cooked low, or cooked slow. This summer, Schmeinck has served langoustines (a Norwegian lobster-like delicacy), fresh clams, and lobster with passionfruit, lightly fermented yellow carrots, and glasswort (a saltmarsh plant that Schmeinck dubs “sea veggies”).

During the flight, Schmeinck serves wine and gives more information about her dishes. Standing-room only encourages interactions between the chef, pilot, and other diners as the balloon sails above the countryside, taking in the view from a cruising altitude that ranges 500 to 2,500 feet. “Sometimes when the clouds are low, we can go right through them,” says Schmeinck. “It’s a little bit misty. Then we’re above the clouds and see the sun shining. That moment is unforgettable. It’s amazing for me, after all these years.”

Schmeinck’s second course arrives 45 minutes later: royal sea bass pulled down from the suspended steel containers and served in a 12-year bouillabaisse sauce alongside seasonal vegetables, such as asparagus and artichoke. Schmeinck cooks these on the stove that dangles over the balloon basket’s edge with “a nice vadouvan oil,” a French spice blend that derives its ingredients from masala. While all other dishes and ingredients rotate according to season, her sea bass is a staple. “It’s the best fish for balloon cooking because it has a little more fat, which goes well with low and slow cooking,” Schmeinck explains. That, plus the inimitable bouillabaisse sauce, makes for a pairing that mirrors the balloon ride: rich and intense, light and adventurous.

The third course trends toward fowl, although lamb made an appearance earlier this year. Schmeinck’s most recent menu includes duck confit that is cooked in the raised containers, then glazed in its own juices. She pairs it with summer mushrooms and a salsa of lightly fermented cauliflower and pumpkin that she seasons with lemon, star anise, and cardamom.

After serving the third course, Schmeinck cleans up as the pilot navigates the balloon to the ground. Landings can range from smooth to bumpy. Back on terra firma, live music welcomes guests back as they enjoy a dessert (a recent offering was white chocolate and passionfruit mousse topped with a crispy rainbow meringue, raspberry, and basil syrup). Sometimes, Schmeinck will even serenade the guests herself with a guitar.

Given the precision necessary for running a successful CuliAir voyage, one must ask: Does anything ever go wrong? “The challenges are when we have to land earlier,” Schmeinck says. If the weather turns rough, the pilot will make a safety landing and the chef serves the main course in the meadow. Another time in CuliAir’s early days, “the control [for the suspended cooking containers] didn’t go down. It was stuck in the balloon so we could only eat vegetables.”

Sometimes the bumps along the way aren’t even related to air travel or the food: Marriage proposals are common, though not always well received, Schmeinck says. And what happens in the balloon doesn’t always stay in the balloon, as was the case with a flyaway black towel that she mistook for a bird. But overall, each voyage delivers an exhilarating experience. “The guests are having a great adventure, so all the senses are very open,” she explains. “The composition of the food and the flavor combinations must have the same adventurous character. It must not be boring, or too soft. . . . It must not be too heavy, or have too much cream, but it must be as light and elegant and fresh as ballooning itself.”

Now doesn’t that look like fun?  If you’re not afraid of heights, that is!  Oh … and the answer to the joke up at the top is … “Where’s my tractor?”

Now go forth and have a happy weekend!  And Happy Birthday wishes to my friend Ugo!!

Saturday Surprise — Doors, Doors, Everywhere Doors!!!

You all know that I love street art, and a few days ago I came across something that, while it isn’t exactly street art, is very similar in nature … whimsical painted doors!  I’ll let the photographer introduce himself and his work …

My name is Guido Gutierrez Ruiz and I had the privilege of visiting Madeira, a Portuguese archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean just southwest of Portugal.

Walking through its capital Funchal, I was amazed by the hidden beauty of this city. Art, everywhere! The Painted Doors Project has transformed Funchal into a permanent art gallery, giving life to the city by painting every door with a unique personality. Here are some of the colorful doors I visited. Which one is your favorite?

I have been into photography for 9 years now. I started getting interested in this form of art because of Instagram. Before, I always liked taking pictures, but it wasn’t until Instagram that allowed me to have the opportunity to share them.

My Instagram page and journey through this app have allowed me to explore different types of photography. I am enjoying capturing all sorts of content within street photography, architecture, interior design, and lifestyle photography. My Instagram community has grown quite a bit and I have been receiving many positive comments about my photography which constantly gives me the energy to continue what I love doing, traveling and capturing what I see.

I don’t usually plan my pictures. My pictures are taken on the spot wherever I am. I also never use Photoshop. All my photos are edited (also on the spot) only using Instagram tools. The efficiency and speed of taking pictures and editing them these days are incredible. Between taking pictures and editing them it’s less than 2min. It’s something I quite enjoy.

Photography for me is my way of expression and an instrument that allows me to inspire others. I love that my pictures allow me to tell stories to other people. Stories that make them dream.

Art in all ways, shapes and forms is extremely important in our society and this project has been made to unite the community, both local and foreign, with art. I want people to really appreciate local art and the beauty of creative minds.

Instagram is slowly converting my hobby into my dream job. Having clients such as hotel chains, luxury name brands, airlines, and other people recognize my work and want to collaborate with me is a gift as it allows me to continue what I love to do most, travel, observe, capture, and share.

Take a look … let me know which are your favourites!  And have a wonderful weekend!!!

Saturday Surprise — Beauty, Humour and Furry Critters (Redux)

As I find myself sorely lacking in humour tonight, I am reposting a Saturday Surprise from June 2018, but it is, I think, one well worth repeating!  I hope you find a smile or two here to start your weekend!

Well, well, well … we have all survived yet another week and here it is, the first official weekend of summer!  So, does everyone have happy plans for the weekend?  Me?  No, no … Chris is at yet another band competition this weekend, this one in Dublin (Ohio, not Ireland), so Goose and I are just chillin’.  I don’t know about you all, but I think my U.S. friends will know what I mean when I say it’s been a tough week, and personally, I’m in the mood for some beauty, some humour, and some cute furry critters.  But first, a funny-sad story about a member of the Sig-7 (short for Significant Seven):

A few nights ago, I was sitting with my laptop perched half on my right leg, half on the arm of my chair, two kitties curled up sleeping peacefully on my lap, when suddenly the quiet was pierced by a ultra-sonic, high-pitched shriek!  A glance across the room, and there is Boo jumping no less than four feet into the air, turning in circles mid-air, and screaming, shaking his front paw.  Imagine me trying to get the laptop safely on the desk, the kitties safely off my lap and go to the rescue or poor Boo … somehow in this process I whacked my knuckle on something and cracked or chipped the bone.  As I began to approach this jumping, shrieking kitty, something flew at my face, then landed at my feet.  A bumblebee.  Boo had been stung by a bumblebee!  I managed to get the bumblebee outdoors on a piece of paper, but sadly, later that evening he was found belly-up and cross-eyed. Boo is not kind to bugs.  Believe it or not, I cried over that darned bee — for two days!  Boo is fine – since Chris was at band and Miss Goose was out, I was very thankful that he wasn’t allergic to bee venom.  He limped for an hour or so, more for sympathy than out of pain, I think.  The next morning I found another dead bee, this time a wasp, on the kitchen floor.  Sigh.  Gonna be a long summer.

And now for a little beauty …MosqueThis is the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran.  The Mosque was constructed between 1876 and 1888, during the Qajar dynasty, which ruled Iran from 1785 to 1925. It has been dubbed the “Pink Mosque” due to the plethora of pink-colored tiles blanketing the ceiling. The best time to visit the mosque is in the early morning, when the sun reflects the stained glass patterns onto the floor.

The designers were Mohammad Hasan-e-Memār, an Iranian architect, and Mohammad Rezā Kāshi-Sāz-e-Širāzi. Restoration, protection, and maintenance of this monument is being continued by the Endowment Foundation of Nasir ol Molk. The colourful windows and doors are handcrafted by carpenter master Hajj Mirza Ayat.

Isn’t it beautiful?  I would love to visit there someday.Mosque-outside

Now, I promised some humour, but I am finding my sense of humour is a little off these days.  In fact, before I put anything on my Jolly Monday posts, I run it by either Chris or Miss Goose first, for I was informed when I was about to use a story about a lady who was run down by a car … I don’t remember the details, but I found it funny, and Chris happened to be reading over my shoulder and said “GRANNIE … NO … You cannot use that for Jolly Monday!!!”  And so, I now have two content editors who tie my hands just a bit, in addition to my literary editor who only gnashes his teeth when I misuse the comma or apostrophe.  Or misspell a word.  Or make a sentence too long.

You can always count on kids for a bit of humour, yes?  I came across this a few days ago … snippets from children who were asked for their instructions on life. I put my favourites in blue … what are yours?

  • Never trust a dog to watch your food. — Patrick, Age 10
  • When you want something expensive, ask your grandparents. — Matthew, Age 12
  • Never smart off to a teacher whose eyes and ears are twitching. — Andrew, Age 9
  • Wear a hat when feeding seagulls. — Rocky, Age 9
  • Sleep in your clothes so you’ll be dressed in the morning. — Stephanie, Age 8
  • Never try to hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk. — Rosemary, Age 7
  • Don’t flush the john when your dad’s in the shower. — Lamar, Age 10
  • Never ask for anything that costs more than five dollars when your parents are doing taxes. — Carrol, Age 9
  • Never bug a pregnant mom. — Nicholas, Age 11
  • Don’t ever be too full for dessert. — Kelly, Age 10
  • When your dad is mad and asks you, “Do I look stupid?” don’t answer him. — Heather, Age 16
  • Never tell your mom her diet’s not working. — Michael, Age 14
  • Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat. — Joel, Age 12
  • When you get a bad grade in school, show it to your mom when she’s on the phone. — Alyesha, Age 13

And then there’s this …joke

Which brings us to my favourite part of the day … funny animal videos!!!  Today, I dedicate this segment to my youngest friends, Benjamin, Reuben & Amelie …

And one more — just an 18 second clip — watch the baby panda …

Well, my friends, I should let you go so you can get started on those special weekend plans.  Anybody having a grill-out this weekend?  Save me a burger, if you don’t mind.  Have a safe and wonderful weekend!