Sunday, June 19, 2011


Today I concentrated on trying to take pictures of the Milkweed Borer Beetle as he took off in flight. I got this photo with his wings (Elytra) in focus, but not his eyes. I will try again, but in the meantime I learned the new word - Elytra. Elytra are the forewings of beetles. Milkweed borers have them and so do ladybugs and other beetles. The Elytra are colorful and protect the beetle from predators. But when the beetle wants to fly, he has to raise the elytra and then spread his real wings which are stored under the elytra.

Oh the wonders of the natural world.

Father's Day

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Anthony Weiner Moment

It all began last week in our hot, hot, hot Honda Accord. My old friends Read, George and Kathy were here for a few days and we took the car into the city to see the sights. Our old Honda's air conditioning system has not been great for a long time and it really could not handle the 102 degree weather. The crowd in the car practically fainted in the heat and just begged Ken and me to break down buy a new car.

Well as we all know, Ken is not one to make quick decisions, so I thought there was no way we would be seeing a new car for a long time. We are planning a week long road trip later this summer, so this morning we took the old Honda into the dealer and asked the good people to please give the car a total once over and make sure the air-conditioning works, the brakes work, the tires, etc.

Instead of coming back home to wait for the Honda, Ken and I took a look around with a salesman at a new and gently used Honda Civic. Ken fell in love, but made no decision. Then he suggested we drive our old Nissan Altima over to the Toyota Dealer and look at his other dream car - the Toyota Prius. I dropped Ken off at the Show Room door and then parked the old Altima. When I came into the Show Room, Ken was having a spirited conversation with a nice young salesman named Al. Al said because of the situation in Japan, they only had one Prius left - a white one. It may be a long time before they get any new ones. He said he would be happy to let us take a test drive. Well, what the heck.... Won't hurt anything to take a test drive. Ken got behind the wheel, pushed all the buttons, drove a few blocks, and fell in love again. I too, as timid as I am driving, got behind the wheel and drove another few blocks and we were both totally impressed at how easy and fuel efficient the little hybrid was.

And then.... Al said, "Hey... I am not the pushy salesman type, but there may not be any more Priuses for a while, so if you want to just see what the trade in value is for your Nissan Altima, I would be happy to run the numbers." Ken and I looked at each other and again thought - ahhh what the heck. Ken then went into the show room and I took Al over to the Ultima. For an old car it looks pretty darn good and has always run like a charm. Al took the keys and started up the old engine and it sounded good and strong. Then he asked me if the car ever had any major body work done. (I had a sudden flash back to a time when I went with my father to a car dealer to trade in our old car and I remember telling the salesman all the awful problems and how my father was ready to kill me for being so forthcoming.) So.... I said I had backed out of our garage two times and taken off the mirror twice, but other than that the car was fine.

Immediately, I felt sick to my stomach. Ken had actually run into a deer a few years before and had to have the side door replaced, He also had a little sideswipe a few years later and had to have the door replaced again but I didn't mention a word of it. Ugh.... Just awful. I held my tongue and Al seemed to think the Nissan would have a pretty darn good trade in value.

I gave him our registration card and our insurance card and he said to wait with Ken while he ran the numbers. Oh.... just awful. I told Ken that I had lied and he said why??? I had no good excuse except I guess I thought we could get more money for the car if they didn't know about the prior accidents.

We waited and waited and I felt sicker and sicker. I could see Al and his boss going over and over the Nissan and I was sure they could tell something was amiss. After too long a wait, I decided to fess up. I took a deep breath and walked over to the counter where Al and his boss and a few other salesmen were discussing the trade-in value of the Nissan. I said, "Hey guys, I have to confess and I feel awful, but our car had two accidents - one involving a deer and one a sideswipe." And then I had another flash back to my old "Born Again" days and said. "I just figured God was up there looking down on me and I ought to tell you the truth." Al and his boss and the other salesmen all gave a good chuckle and were kind and forgiving. Al's boss said I better look out for any beams of light God might shine down on my head.

Shewwwww... Anyway, they said my confession cleared up a few questions they had about the paint job.

I went back to our seat and Al returned and said even with the prior accidents he could give us a good trade in value for the car. Ken and I looked at each other and decided - O.K. maybe we just ought to go ahead and do it. But, not a white Prius, Ken wanted a blue Prius. We told Al we could wait for the situation in Japan to clear up and when it did and when a blue Prius became available, we would be back. Al went back to the counter and returned a few minutes later saying a blue Prius just showed up at another dealership and we could have it by the weekend.

So.... we are soon to be the proud owners of a new car and I feel much better that I fessed up.

Mushroom in the Woods at Valley Forge

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hiding in the Garden

I'm taking a new photography class on wildlife. My assignment this week is to take photographs of wildlife in my backyard. This morning I got up early and set up my tripod in the tall flowers in the garden and then hid behind those flowers and sat on a chair and waited for the birds to come to the bird feeder. At first they were frightened, especially of the click of the camera, but after about an hour I was able to get some close ups of a baby cardinal, a blue jay and a female ruby throated hummingbird. So much fun...