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Aquarium – Jeddah

IMG_9779Look closely! It’s a fish!

We actually went to the aquarium. It was newly opened and Jules was game. Dolphin show! We don’t see them in the Red Sea too much. And so far I have not had a personal shark encounter in the Red Sea. The aquarium is just fine with me. Sometimes I just take a picture. Ha! I take lots. But usually I have a reason and purpose. This image was colorful. Graphic, bold colors, I shot the image. It was to me a bright colorful coral in the tank. Later, I mean much later, and definitely in retrospect, I realize I took a picture of a frog fish. Yes, that’s what it’s called. But really, I took the image and never realized. And now that I tell you, I think you suddenly see the eye and the mouth. I’m told that this fish is very easily missed in the sea. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never seen one. Ha! But I’d like to…

I like the dolphin show. I think it’s neat to work with them. And I am amazed they are so strong and agile. And now I’m thinking that their freedom has been taken. They are safe and fed regularly. Is it a reasonable trade? No. What about the shark. He swims in a recreated reef environment. Better?

Jules Visits

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Of all the things we never imagined, Jules visiting Jeddah would be right up there on the list. But she really does love her dad. I posted a nice lead picture. Women hate humor in their photographs. (Just wait.)

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She came for a visit. You have to wear an abaya. I borrowed one. She wore it. It’s like your own personal steam bath. She even wore the scarf although that is pretty optional for non Muslims. Sort of… No Jules did not go over the top with heat stroke. She wanted to see camels. And we thought there were some on the other side. Dopey? Yup, I guess the heat did get to her. She let me take this awful pic. One looks very interesting out of context wearing a dive mask on dry land. It’s not awful. It’s just not flattering. Right? She teaches Little kids. Sharing? Nope.

This was a raspberry macaroon. She ate the whole thing and never offered me a taste. That’s revenge! She’s still my favorite daughter.

Wedding In Beirut

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Well, what’s a Lebanese wedding? Christian. And a lot of fun. Traditional. Wedding gown, formal wear. Small church – chapel, really – and so it was crowded. A lot of the folks just stood outside. Video and cameras, and lots of very very bright video lights – in your face and all of that. That was jarring. If you notice they turned off all the lights for the post ceremony pics. Nope! The power consumption was so high that the power went out and could not be restored. I was truly impressed by the media array. Talk about in your face… the priest did not seem to care. So the images were terrible? They only needed to turn 180 degrees and have the backdrop of a beautiful Mediterranean sunset. But I guess if you have a gorgeous sunset every day, it’s not so special. I was gonna say something, honest I was, but then there were so many professional photographers pretending to be amateurs…..

There’s always a signature shot. I got mine. We were late to the ceremony. I was with Farid and on his calculated schedule. He wanted to be late. So we were in the back and I was with my trusty point and shoot. I wasn’t there to upstage the real photographers. Off to the side of the stage under the speaker system over by the muscians – two kids – just passing the time….bored, dutiful – priceless.

 

Fish!

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Blennies like to hide in holes. In this case the hideout is an abandoned pipe. He’s brave in the tube. He boldly challenged us when we moved in for a shot. Amr shot the profile and I moved in from the front.You can see the teeth in his shots!

My shots would not focus. I don’t know why. It is a function of the diver and his gear. That would be me. I did get a serviceable shot. But the deal it to get a good shot. How is it that the good shot is usually the last one you shoot? In this case, no, I never did get the shot I wanted. When you dive with a buddy you are at the mercy of his patience. Amr is patient. But I’m OCD. Sometime you have to settle. I’m better than I once was and not as good as I’m gonna be…

IMG_0459It’s been a while since I did fish. The past couple weekends the waves were too rough to safely enter the water to dive. And everyone agrees, safety first.

Failed

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The experiment lasted until evening. Then I tested the waters and Bidi left. She’s much happier. So much for my theory about being out in 100 degree weather with a fur coat – it hot! Right? I think that she might have come around. But hey!

Meanwhile, I’m back to Lulu and Casi. Suddenly they get along better. Imagine that. Neither cat disliked Bidi. But seemingly the inside cats are closer since Bidi left. Bidi is back outside and lurks by my door to await food. We’re all good around here. You can’t win ’em all. Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you.

No Fish…picture… again

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It often find myself looking at the background of the photo.In that case you will see my computer screen. I go to Amazon and read the NY Times. And the article is about mean things said by supporters at Trump’s rallies. Cats are curious and like to get in my business. And I tolerate a lot. How else could you get such a photo op?

No diving again. I was almost there and got the word that the waves were too high. Darn! I headed home. What to do? Ah! Cats. I have lots, too many, pictures. Only a few select can be posted. Picture fatigue. Funny, some folks don’t mind my prose. And then David complained the other day about my not giving him sentences. It was messaging. You don’t use sentences? I’m old. The protocol and communication via email and social media are lost to me. Fine! He was asking if Freeport was worth a visit. He never said that. It’s an outlet center. Shopping. LL Bean. That store is open 24/7. Really! Oops, no sentence again. Drat. Darn. He’s on his bike trip to Nova Scotia. There is no margin to carry extra weight. “Don’t go,” I advised. He messaged back later, “It’s a nice town.” Following advice seems to run in my family.

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Anyway, I got a lot of cat pics after I brought Bidi in. It’s suddenly quiet. And then only Lulu and Casi appeared when I made noises to draw out any cat’s curiosity. Bidi was hiding. Ah! She’s got Casi’s old spot. And suddenly Casi and Lulu get along. Imagine that! No, no, no, fish not cats, I’m a fish person. I shoot fish. Repeat and repeat again, I shoot fish. Oh my! Those are pinned back ears. Lulu has been admonished enough that she checks with me before she is about to eat Casi. … no cats were harmed in the making of this photo.

Why Can’t I Learn?

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Why can’t I learn? Enough is enough. Back to my regularly scheduled posting. The answer to the answer of the first question is that I like to poke the bear. “Don’t poke the bear.” I have my indoor cats. And then there are outdoor cats. For a while now Bidi has hung around my door. She has been right there when I opened the door. She is under the hedge and waits for me to come home. She’s a regular and eats just like Lulu and Casi. Those two are in A/C comfort.

You can see where this is headed. Yup, I scooped up Bidi and put her down inside the door. Lulu to her credit was not fur flying hissing up a fit. I think she may remember Bidi from when they were outside together. Sniff…Casi was timid but curious.

Both watched Bidi explore and mewl. She was a while getting used to being inside. About an hour, no noise, no yowling, no blood, no fur, gee! Am I glutton? Well, this way it’s easier. And Bidi will eat as she pleases instead of waiting in the heat for me to show up. I’m really doing everyone a favor, right?

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You have three kids. Which one is your favorite? Trick question! But there is always a soft spot for your first. And then there is the consideration of who photographs the best. Sometimes graphics triumph. But, I’m not taking sides here….

Melania

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Obviously not my picture: Melania Trump. It’s readily available online now. I sincerely sympathize with their 10 year old son who must this moment be attending an exclusive private school. “Hey, we saw you mom online!”

http://nypost.com/video/melania-trumps-nude-pics-are-blowing-new-yorkers-minds/

http://nypost.com/2016/08/01/trump-camp-melanias-nudes-are-celebration-of-the-body/

http://nypost.com/2016/08/01/melania-trumps-girl-on-girl-photos-from-racy-shoot-revealed/

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8TwRmX6zs4

 

I think I have seen enough. Nothing to hide? Fake too? I am definitely way not PC here. There are those among you who have an opinion about Donald Trump, presidential nominee of the USA. And there is Hillary…. For me, he is a buffoon and I deny any association and am ashamed that this clown is actually running for the highest office of my country. And see the Youtube of Obama at the National Press Club in 2011. Am I biased? I have largely been pretty laid back but push comes to shove. I think that no one can remain on the sideline any longer.

 

“The 15% figure for full literacy, equivalent to a university undergraduate level, is consistent with the notion that the “average” American reads at a 7th or 8th grade level which is also consistent with recommendations, guidelines, and norms of readability for medication directions, product information, and popular …”

 

I was reading at 12th grade level in grammar school. I did not care nor notice. It was simply a fact based on a test. And I was too young to comprehend its meaning. It means I take tests well. Are there so many people who just don’t get it? Even with a lower reading level, there is comprehension on some level, right?

Nonetheless, I believe social propriety has been damaged by the full nude post of a nominee’s wife in a prominent NY newpaper. Violence and outrageous behavior has become the fabric of the news. It’s time for civility. American politics is on display as dysfunctional and unacceptable. No one should be permitted the socially outrageous behavior that Donald Trump has exhibited. I do believe that common sense will prevail. I believe in good. And I am saddened by the state of the world. Massacres occur regularly now in multiple venues and multiple countries. Enough! And though I may draw criticism for this post I believe that reason must be expressed. I grew up civil. I still believe in good. Stand up! If you stand by they will come for you someday too. Donald Trump has pressed enough buttons. I do not see any merit in letting him get near a nuclear one.

IMG_1143My son was in Portland on the day Trump appeared recently. This is his photo. He’s riding from Brooklyn to Nova Scotia by bicycle. I know this exact spot having been to Portland myself many times. It’s a hell of a bike ride and I’m proud of him. He thought enough to send this to me.

9% of all potential voters selected Trump and Clinton. All of the rest were on the sidelines. Many – children – and others will not vote. For all of the rest, it is not an option to let someone make your choice. Let us talk once again – of hope, not fear. Vote – hope, civility, peace. Haven’t we seen enough?

(I never tweak a post after it’s written. But, for my republican friends, shhh, there are a few: Please don’t vote for a man with a bad ‘doo so he can make doo doo on us.)

Cat Proud – Cat Tails?

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Thank you to all the kind readers of my blog. Many friends comment from time to time. They read my posts. They don’t comment in the comment area. So it is pleasant to find that at least there is some audience for my meandering adventures and poor prose. Miss Digman my 7th grade sentence diagramming teacher would be horrified at my sentence structure…. Thank you cousin Vicki. You are the latest to boost my ego with your kind email.

Ain’t it always the case? You hear pet owners just gush on and on. I have two cats now. They adopted me. Let me tell you, there is a God. I did not know I needed them. But they came in the door, one a few months back, and, the other in recent weeks. I’m old so my time sense is foggy as to exact dates. Does it matter to my story? Hey, it’s my story, right? Lulu the grey with green eyes and Casi the orange eyed cat are like your kids. Different personalities with different temperament forced to coexist with a nutty human who likes the entertainment they give. In return I feed them and clean up after them.

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Recently, yes, that’s blood in the window. A couple drops here and more scattered around my desk. Who’s bleeding? Damn! I think it was me! I have scratch marks all over now. I draw the line at unmentionable parts of my anatomy but there have been some close calls. No I do not consider myself deviant or perverted. But the cats have free reign. And sometimes teeth and claw meet, well…parts. Everything is sharp and I get skin break and blood loss. In this case more blood was lost than I realized. The fact that the cats have an armed truce does not help. But from my examination, neither have any wounds, just me. So it’s my blood. No, I’m not running any DNA testing. And I’m not gonna be tasting it. My blood, my story, and I’m sticking to it.

After a few weeks Lulu has at least tolerated Casi being in the house. Casi creeps about near the walls very slowly so she makes herself a nonthreatening target for Lulu. Life goes on. Mostly they tolerate one another. When I return from work they are both near the door and appear uninjured. Every once in a while one or the other will go full tooth and claw and that’s when I get damaged. My fault. (And please ignore the mess. This is not about housekeeping. That couch is my dive gear deposit center.)

Stalking is allowed. Lulu hunts. Casi watches. She often turns her back to taunt Lulu. Lulu knows enough to not attempt to eat Casi in my presence. And Casi is more affectionate because she often nestles in my lap for protection. Hey, it works. Sleeping arrangements have been made. I get the middle of the king bed. Lulu sleeps over the down comforter on top of my legs. I always wake with the dream of being trapped in quicksand and can’t get out. Casi is afraid but recently has taken to sleeping under the covers right up against me. She is not there at the start of the night. Lulu is guarding me. Casi sneaks in later and I find her next to my head or hip in the morning. It seems to be a habit now. During the day, it’s fine to be apart. But at night everyone has staked out their spot on the bed.

Playtime is more interesting. Everyone likes string. They chase and claw and bite at bits of string I have around. I have taken to hiding a piece. Otherwise it will be hidden someplace and be lost as a source of fun. Out of sight, out of mind? No! Casi can smell it. She pried it out from under a brochure. It was easy to shove all the papers on the floor. And that string was missing for a day or two. Then I stuck it under a book. Heavy and not so easy to move, Casi sniffed it and started to push that book. Ok! A drawer, out of sight and really, out of mind! No! She sniffed it out. She went to the very drawer and puzzled at it. Up, upright, upside down…and she even opened the drawer. She does not get the meaning of drawer handles but managed to open the drawer a couple times. It surprised her. And her paws promptly shut the drawer. Before she could get the string I tied it up on the window handle. So far she hasn’t noticed it.

Child proofing means outlet covers. Cat proofing means all things that break off the flat surfaces. My computer hard drives are all fair game. So far they step around all my cameras. No accidents yet, but my place is a disaster waiting to happen. Remember, I mentioned that my cleaning skills were minimal. If the dust lay in an even pattern, leave it. Now there are paw prints all over and the dirty paw prints in my tub are a sure sign that I need to do something. A vacuum cleaner! Yup. It’s a major purchase. Did it. I recommend it to anyone who wants to clean up after a cat.

Did anyone happen to notice that all the plugs do not fit the wall receptacles? Really, I don’t exaggerate. The large three prong plugs were mandated by the king. No shit! And then no one told anyone that all the wall outlets have a different plug receptacle. No shit! Everything you own has to have its own adapter. It’s good to be king. And I have 100v and 220v outlets that look the same. It must have driven the previous occupant mad. He wrote the voltage in magic marker on each outlet. Thanks.

Hiding is a cat thing too. Lulu hides in the downstairs maid’s room under one of the beds. She doesn’t think I know the spot. And I don’t let on I know. We are both happy that way. At least I know her spot. Casi uses the upstairs dresser. There is no back. She can get behind and into the cabinet and hide to her heart’s content. Lulu would too. But I found her spot early on and she never goes there anymore. Privacy! Everyone, even pets, needs it. But the refrigerator? Yup. Casi jumped behind the refrigerator. There’s no space! Well, she managed. Now what, stupid? How are you getting out of this? The cabinet next to the fridge has no kick board. So she got into that space along with all the mouse droppings and the dead insects. The kick board in front opens (fortunately) and I was able to free her without wrestling the fridge. I don’t think I would have found her except I heard cat mewling and looked around the fridge.

Lulu couldn’t resist. She had to try. She jumped behind and I heard the same mewling later. But that darn cat jumped out from behind as I began to look. Damn! She scared me. But then one day, she decided to hide there. For an entire afternoon I searched. And I even looked under her bed. She hid out of sight and did not appear until late afternoon. That was no fair. She had me worried. Not a peep, not a sound, just sat under the dirty dusty cabinet all afternoon right around the corner and just out of sight of my flashlight. Now? I stacked some boxes of chips high against the fridge. So far no one has gone back there again. (Shhhh… don’t tell the kids where the junk food is.)

So that’s cat tails. They are definitely a great distraction. My nurses are horrified. Dust, dirt, feeding, cleaning, bathing….how do you bathe them? I don’t. They wash themselves by licking themselves. Ewwww! Even worse. Cats never come when you call but are always lurking close by. They know where I am. That works for them. And every once in a while they ask for and give affection. Everyone wins. Go ahead. Ask me which is my favorite? Ha!

Nightclubbing

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The highlight of the Beirut visit was going to Mandaloun. It’s a night club. It’s not just any night club. Apparently it is the place to go and be. For several days everyone was in anticipation of the visit. Reservations, and a little cash got us right up front. We were pretty much on top of the performers. Farid was drinking. So i did what the natives do… as in Rome… I had Bailey’s. I don’t drink. I get a headache and sleepy. I matched him drink for drink. Actually, I just sipped and let the ice melt. Dammit, he was drinking fruit juice. He never told me. But, he gets tipsy too! That’s him next to his cousin. Looks sober, right?

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And the very large bank of speakers was there in my ear. Ear trauma! When we left I was deaf. I knew I could hear. But it was as though I was under several mattresses. It was about an hour before, much to my relief, my hearing recovered. My kids say that I don’t hear well already. They’d have a real laugh over this. Did I say it was loud? Am I repeating myself? Look at me when I shout at you. The gal is Farid’s cousin. Nice kid. She actually texted me and showed me her phone to communicate. Yes we were standing next to each other and not in voice communication. She’s been there before. She knew exactly how to make her point. Eh?

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