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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Covers for Amazon Shorts

As promised - they're here, and I couldn't be more pleased. So now instead of the sad little avatar that meant "no cover", Amazon Shorts has chosen to put my image of one of Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary's unreleasable Red-tail Hawks (she's an educational ambassador now), on "Paradise" and a snapshot, taken by my mother of Dad and Uncle John, holding "The Last Striper".

Clicking the link will bring you to my page. Soon "The Bale Hunter", "The Otter" and "The Strange Journey of Vernal Page" will be uploaded. I have just submitted a children's story, "Grandma's Pearly Egg", written in serial to my grandchildren. We'll see if Amazon Shorts likes it.

I have a whole collection of thoughts, essays, observations about "Life on Sleepy Creek", that is more of a journal than anything. But that's how "Waltz on the Wild Side - An Animal Lover's Journal" came to be. I think I may serialize those for this feature of Amazon.

If you should download any of my Shorts, please leave a review, and I hope you find my writing worthwhile.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Of Butterflies and Roadside Woes

The following was published in our local newspaper, the Panama City News Herald. Out of this came an invitation from Dr. Neil Lamb of the local Audubon Society. Out of the presentation came a meeting today with the Florida DOT, Audubon, Master Gardeners, PC Womens Club, Panama City Garden Club and other interested parties. We're going to see if we can keep our roadsides neat, safe and pretty and at the same time, give the creatures that live in and from wildflowers happy, too.

My neighbor generously shares her canal-side dock with me. It’s where I go to feed fish, observe the lilypad highway and hunt with my camera. The morning before yesterday, I spotted the beautiful caterpillar of Eumorpha fasciatus, a large, elegantly patterned moth. However, its caterpillar, grazing on its host plant, a type of mallow at the water’s edge, is incredible in color; a bright, mosaic pattern of black, yellow and red. It’s big; as long and as wide as a man’s index finger and totally harmless. I always call them “jazzy”.

“Aha,” I thought to myself. “I will photograph it in the late afternoon when the light is just right.”

I took my walk late that day, and noticed a lawn care truck parked in front of my neighbor’s yard. She’s had knee surgery, and hasn’t been able to keep it the way she wants. But it looks neat-as-a-pin to me. Maybe a little too neat, in my opinion. But it’s her yard.

I never went back that day, but I was up early to catch the soft morning light, camera in hand, to photograph “my” caterpillar.

Weed eaters had totally destroyed the fringe of tall grasses and aquatic plants that stood at the foot of the bank. Gone were the duck potatoes, the pickerel weed, the mallow with the fluorescent yellow flower and red-striped leaves that was home and diner to the caterpillar.

Fragments of vegetation lay on the bank and floated in the water. There was no trace of the caterpillar. Without its host plant, it could not survive anyway.

One of my hobbies is photographing insects; what you normally would not notice, except for the obvious ones, like butterflies and dragonflies, and maybe wasps, thinking all are dangerous.

So saddened by the destruction of the caterpillar, I stood in my yard, which I can proudly say is not “neat-as-a-pin”. It’s just the way I want it. On my circle, only my neighbor to the east feels the way I do. Your weeds are my wildflowers.

In my favorite wildflower (Bidens alba, a plant merrily blooming right now along the roadside in bushy patches of white daisy-like flowers), is a flower wasp with the interesting habit of keeping its second pair of legs raised up over its head. Click. Its image is on my memory stick. So is the beautiful orange, black and white Ailanthus web moth. Click. A common sulphur flies by me. I check my watch. Right on time. Sulphurs start moving here around 10 or 11 in the morning, but their favorite flowers are trumpet shaped and they are not blooming in my yard this year. Gulf Fritillaries – you’ve seen them – orange with flashing silver spots on their underwings are now coming to the Bidens. A little later comes a Monarch, steadying itself on the small white flowers.

Did you notice something this year? There are barely any wildflowers lining our ditches or the roads. There are patches of Bidens, but not many, because the mowers are destroying them. But that’s not only what they are destroying in the swath of stubble they leave behind.

The butterflies are migrating now. If you have ever noticed, most arrive in August, on their way to south Florida and beyond, and even into Mexico. Even more than Monarchs, the Gulf Fritillaries are desperate for food as they fly south. They need Bidens for nectar, and other natives on which to lay their eggs, if they lay multiple broods. If the plants are mowed when they are blooming, they cannot set seed. If they can’t reseed, they will eventually disappear. And so will the other species dependent on them. The mowers don’t see the drama of life hidden in the leaves and flowers of Bidens and wild morning glories, mahogany vine, and the other plants which insects need to complete their life cycles. The predators, from ants to damselflies, grasshoppers, toads to snakes and lizards, to birds, all benefit from these native wildflowers.

Several years ago, Claude Duncan, then of the News Herald, wrote a column about Monarch migration, following the golden highway. There is virtually no “gold” this year.

I have photographs taken four or five years ago, when masses of golden flowers, and spires of lavendar Liatris grew in our ditches. What happened? Drought complicates things, but mowing is sure to devastate a natural, and naturally beautiful resource if it is done at the wrong time.

I posted the short version of this to one of my butterfly lists – The International Lepidopterist Society. The response has been quite something and I have found that in some communities where mowing kept the wildflowers down, public comment has persuaded the city fathers to halt the mowing until the flowers are gone. In addition, it was suggested to me that I bring this issue to the attention of the local newspaper, and go on from there. Is it possible for the municipalities and the Florida DOT (who plants wild seed to bloom in spring – NOT in butterfly season), to mow AFTER the flowers are gone? Mission, Texas has a butterfly festival.

Maybe we could have one here? We don’t have a butterfly house – a festival would be so much easier.

After reading this, you may feel this is much ado about nothing. But if you feel that way, I ask you to take this challenge. Find a spot where Bidens alba grows. Stand there in the middle of the patch and be still. Just watch what unfolds. You will see butterflies – Common and West Indian Buckeyes, Gulf Fritillaries, American Painted Ladies (if you’re lucky), Monarchs and sometimes, the several varieties of swallowtails. You will see the skippers. They are easily identified by their somewhat plainer colors, big eyes and small size. They are everywhere. The wasps, solitary bees and bumblebees won’t bother you at all. They are nectaring. Some predatory wasps who are thin-waisted and shiny, iridescent black with unusual coloration in their wings, are not only nectaring, but hunting for insects to bring to a tunnel dug in the sand, where the egg is laid on the stunned, unlucky insect for the larvae to eat. Did you know there are nectar-eating mosquitoes that don’t sting? Well, now you do. Or that some species of flies we think of as “dirty”, take advantage of the nectar in these plants, too?

You may see a flower, crab or a green lynx spider catch and kill a bumblebee many times its size; or see one take a butterfly or moth. Day flying micro moths, some rare, are hiding on the undersides of leaves, and your footsteps through the flowers will disturb them.

Yesterday I took my camera out on CR 2301 and a boy on rollerblades came up to me and asked what I was doing.

.I explained and told him why I thought it was worthwhile. He was a student at Waller Elementary. We watched and talked for a good half hour. I spoke about the obvious – the beauty of the insects, this small environmental niche and why it was important. I told him the names of what was flying. Did he ever see a fuzzy, orange bumblebee with green eyes? It was nectaring in the Bidens just inches away. He was afraid of wasps – one had stung him once.
But here he stood beside me, beads of sweat on our foreheads (I could have been his grandmother), and he became so absorbed and unafraid, that he didn’t want to leave.

Maybe he’ll be the one to point out the eyespots on a Buckeye’s wings and tell them what they’re for or tell someone about pollen baskets on a bee or describe the color of a Fiery Skipper.

Maybe you’ll read this, and be curious enough to find one of these patches before it’s mowed. When you return, surprised at what you’ve seen, you might even pick up the phone
and tell a friend. And then maybe, you’ll make a call to ask that the mowers be silenced just until the flowers have gone, and in that simple act, you may have saved a butterfly or two.

Here's a roadside wildflowers (not all of them) a mower might encounter. It's rather long, but it's pretty.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Bear Creek Feline Center

Not far from where I live, tucked away under the trees, is Bear Creek Feline Center, sanctuary and future breeding facility for the "lesser" exotic cats, staffed by interns and volunteers. I was invited for a Sunday morning "Coffee with the Cats", an educational event where you can sit with Jim and Bertie Broaddus, their staff, curious visiting children and adults who are fascinated with the "house" cats. I am quite taken by the Servals, long-legged "lesser" cats of Africa whose tawny coats have the Morse code splattered loudly all over them.

The first time I visited, Bertie was bottle feeding their new goodwill ambassador, a Bobcat kitten, 17 days old. In residence, but not in the house are other Servals, a Caracul, the rare Jaguarundis, Bobcats, Russian Lynx and Dani and Thatcher, two beautiful Florida Panthers.

Returning several times (but not enough), I am always struck by the clean compounds, the beautiful condition of body and mind of the cats. Because of many hours of daily human contact and enrichment (playdays with boxes or hay bales, or...and prey stimulation, they are never bored, and never pace - that terrible habit that comes of small quarters and nothing to do.

If you are in Florida, take a side trip and visit. It's time well spent.

The goal of the Center is to breed the endangered cats to insure the perpetuation of the species.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Amazon Shorts, I'm pleased to say...

has two of my stories up. "Paradise" and "The Last Striper".

Amazon Shorts are 49 cent downloads arrive in PDF format or in plain text in your email.

Both haven't received their covers yet, since I requested a friend's Red-tail Hawk images to be used for "Paradise", and an old snapshot of my father, the striped bass and Uncle John to be used for "The Last Striper".

If you download them and are pleased, I would appreciate a short review (or a long one). There are three more in process and many more to come from me.

On February 7, another Short was published. This one is pure Southern fiction (from a Yankee?). I had my friend's large, wild family to draw from in "The Strange Adventure of Vernal Page". About an old Florida Cracker and his neighbors. It's a fun read, and I enjoyed
thinking of Jean and her brothers and sisters, her little bitty Blackfoot grandmother, who whipped them with switches from a nearby tree if they got out of hand. Jean's a wonderful storyteller, and when she gets started, you can't stop laughing. By the way, she was a Page.
And I would expect Vernie Page to be as resourceful as her family.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Here's a link to blow your mind regarding the US oil and gas reserves...

and how the US government is controlling our future. Please Google up the name Lindsey Williams, a Baptist minister/missionary, who spent years as a chaplain at Prudhoe Bay.
He explains the government manipulation of our oil reserves and the role of government, and the Bush administrations, particularly, and what the plans for us as a country is, and how it will affect your children and grandchildren. Watch the videos, though they are long. Then make your own decisions.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Prices for images...

Finally, here it is.

Please specify glossy or semi-matte finish (I love this).

1. 4”x6” - $10.00

2. 5”x7” - $15.00

3. 8”x 10” - $25.00

4. 10”x15” - $45.00

For single mat and mounting board, add $5.00

All shipping is done Priority, USPS. Bank or personal checks and money orders only, and please include postage.

Because my images will find their way to your wall, you should have the pleasure of finding just the right frame.

In the future, photo notecards will be available. These will be high quality, frameable notecards, blank inside. Each one will have a photo title and my signature.

Send order to:

May Lattanzio
Sleepy Creek Images
Post Office box 1351
Youngstown, FL 32466-1351

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Things you just have to see...

This will be a collection of links that get me supercharged. Or something.

Here's one someone just sent me. Took my breath away. Then when it was over, I said to myself, "Damn! I want to try that!"

And here is Lunga, who leaves me speechless.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Guess it's time to show you some of my photography...

My friend (and chosen, intrepid cousin, Tim who is from Ireland - more about that later) took a look at my blog today and suggested I put links in to show you some of my photography. This makes sense to the dense! I forgot, talking about other things. I have thousands of images in my files, and they are available for stock photography, as well as individual orders. Contact me by leaving me a comment for pricing if you see something you like, or if you are local and would like me to come out and photograph you, your family or the members of your family who have hairy legs, scales or feathers.

4x6 images, unmatted, are available for $10.00 and I will post the prices matted and unmatted for various sizes in a separate post.

Again, though I've given these links in the beginning of this blog, in the pursuit of shameless self-promotion, you can view some of my work at and

Google lists some of my images that are in the files of other websites, such as the Bug Guide and Dalton State University, Entomology Department (Dr. James Adams).

The Bug Guide is fast becoming "the resource" for insect identification on the web. So snap that picture if you see something unusual, or want an identification, and join The Bug Guide (free) for help. Dr. Adams is an expert on moths at Dalton State in Georgia. And in case you think moths only fly at night and are dull and drab, the image above is of a Polka-dotted Wasp Moth. Completely harmless, a day flying moth, and absolutely stunning in color.

Animals Matter to Me

Guess it's time to show you some of my photography...

My friend (and chosen, intrepid cousin, Tim who is from Ireland - more about that later) took a look at my blog today and suggested I put links in to show you some of my photography. This makes sense to the dense! I forgot, talking about other things. I have thousands of images in my files, and they are available for stock photography, as well as individual orders. Contact me at for pricing if you see something you like, or if you are local and would like me to come out and photograph you, your family or the members of your family who have hairy legs, scales or feathers.

4x6 images, unmatted, are available for $10.00.

You can view some of my work at and

Google lists some of my images that are in the files of other websites, such as the Bug Guide and Dalton State University, Entomology Department (Dr. James Adams).


Sunday, January 13, 2008

I know this guy named Craig...

He lives in Arkansas. Found him on PBase. Let me tell you - he's on his way to becoming a
world class photographer of wildflowers, and his specialty takes him outdoors every day, searching the woods. He's putting together collages which should be posters for the state and part of developing an eco-tourism program. (How's THAT, Craig!) If you'd like to visit his website, here it is:

I love wildflowers, too. Because our winter's been mild, there are still a few patches of stubborn Bidens alba, that reliable little plant that frosts our summer and fall roadsides, and gives sustenance to all manner of insects. It is ruthlessly mowed by the county which apparently doesn't believe people really like wildflowers on the sides of the road. This one plant guides the migrations of the Monarchs, the Gulf Fritillaries, provides food for aphids, ladybugs, moths, butterflies, flower wasps, the nectaring mosquitoes (didn't know that, did you), all sorts and sizes of bees, beeflies. In turn, small predators like green lynx spiders and anoles hunt there. It's a remarkable, prolific plant. Some in my yard have become perennial. They have a tenacious little seed, hooked at both ends.

One wildflower, above, that has had me stumped for nearly a year got identified by the UF Herbarium just last week. It is a skullcap, Scutellaria integrifolia, and it is incredibly beautiful. The color is stunning, and it likes its feet wet. I have found a few plants in ditches and just a couple in an untended yard on Bayou George. There is a lot to be said for not mowing right down to the water. Which prompted me last year to write a piece that got into the local newspaper.
The caterpillar of the Banded Sphinx Moth is vividly colored, intricately patterned, and lives
on a specific host plant with a yellow flower (Ludweigia decurrens, the Wingstem Water Primrose), which grows in seeps, water's edge and in wet ditches. Again, a plant with a penchant for wet feet. My neighbor is terrified of snakes. I found a caterpillar at water's edge one night in summer and decided to return the next day to photograph it. She had hired a lawn service, and they had just scoured her creek bank down to nothing, and reached out into the water. I was devastated.

That yellow, green, red and black caterpillar is the one I'm talking about.

I guess the point of this post is to ask you to set aside one spot in your yard and let whatever grows - even if you consider it a weed - grow undisturbed and see what happens. The most barren part of your yard is your lawn. Nothing grows in a well kept lawn. Cut back on your use of pesticides and fertilizers just a little, or entirely; consider xeriscaping. Watch your little wild plot. Spend some time each day observing who visits; who lives there. I have a feeling you'll be very pleased. It's a good place for the children, too.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Been thinking about wildflowers today...

January is wacky weather time here. Today it was close to 70. It was higher than that two days ago when I got a response from the FSU Herbarium regarding a wildflower (it starts this entry with its intense blue) which has taken since last summer to identify. It is a skullcap, and the species is

Here in the panhandle, spring brings wildflowers in pinks and white, it seems. First comes tiny white violets with stalks scarcely over an inch tall, appear on my neighbor's creekside bank. Then I look for a common wild orchid called Ladies Tresses on the roadsides and then I know spring has sprung. It has tiny white florets that spiral down the stem. Wild onions appear down front near the mailbox in the shade. Very tasty and intense, and they smell so good.

Carnivorous plants being to appear, like the sundews and the
pitcher plants.

By summer, wet seeps and ditches are filled with white hatpins and rayless sunflowers. Colic root stands tall where the Ladies' Tresses grew, replaced with tall pink meadow beauties and the shorter white ones. Then when the roadsides explode with yellows, up sprout spires of liatris in pink among coreopsis and blackeyed susans. Purple Gerardias beckon the Gulf Fritillaries of orange to nectar and deposit eggs. The larvae will devour the leaves later.


Friday, January 11, 2008

What the internet does for me...

As I write this, I am listening to Peo Kindgren who is a classical guitarist from
Sweden, living in Denmark playing "Cavatina". I just listened to his version of "Romance".
Before that, Maria Linnemann, and some of Keituji's new videos on I confess that I am a YouTube junkie. I love music, and my taste is eclectic - from the bossa novas of Brazil (please meet Marcelo and Sinval Fonseca, who is also a fine artist) and all kinds of jazz ( listen to Bruno Marrazza, here) to Fred and Ginger, to bellydancing, and dogs like Skidboot. Because you can leave comments and return again and again to see what's new, you begin to get to know these artists (and other brave souls) who put their hearts into their hobbies and creative passions. And the same with photographers like my friend, Dwain Shaw and Randy Emmitt - people with the same interests as mine. The world is a big place, as no one needs reminding, but my ever-expanding circle of friends and knowledge, reaches out across a whole planet, to places I never thought of visiting, much less communicating with anyone, sharing our like minds, appreciation and respect for each other's talents.

The internet must remain unregulated and free for all people and all time.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

So now you know a little bit about me. And as I sit here listening to David Sanborn, here's a little more - probably more than you care to. But hey, that's what a blog is for, isn't it?

I discovered my muse around the time I was 50. All of a sudden, I was doing things I'd never thought I would, including getting serious enough about my writing. A couple of things were added into the anthology "Least Loved Beasts of the Really Wild West - a Tribute" published by Native West Press. Then William Bernhart of HAWK Publishing Group called and asked for the (GASP!) entire manuscript of what would become "Waltz on the Wild Side - An Animal Lover's Journal" (now sadly out of print, but you can usually find one through Amazon). I was stunned. In my right hand was the phone. In my left, a wooden spoon I was using to stir spaghetti sauce. At the end of the conversation, I looked at the dangling spoon. The dogs had eaten the end of it completely. I was left with the handle! I didn't even know what they had done!

Since then there have been many articles in many publications, newsletters, newspapers and literary and poetry journals. My first love is nature writing. I want to stir you; to make you laugh, make you cry - make you feel for those things you rarely notice. I want you to read my stories, and be inspired.

Is that being an egotist? I hope not. I know when I do a reading, from the sniffling I usually hear that makes me stop and look up, I know I can touch you with my words.

I also fancy myself as a photographer, and I make Powerpoint presentations. In November I gave a slide show presentation to the Audubon Soc. chapter regarding Bidens alba, a roadside plant that is ruthlessly mowed by our county and the state. It blooms daisy-like along the roadsides in summer and fall leading the butterflies south in their migration. A much cursed weed! But the members who attended were unaware of the life it supports, and the little talk was well received. We are going to try to stop the mowing until the seeds are ripe. And one of the members who heard me speak had the local chapter of the Native Plant Society call. I give the presentation tomorrow.

You can find my photography in two places, and scattered around the web. Just search the name - May (Lenzer) Lattanzio. I'm all over the place with bugs of all things! www.jpgmag/people/maziel and
I also blog at the new child of The Burryman Center,
You may want to join the folks at inked-in. If you are creative in any way and want to network, it is a place for like minds. And we can all use some help.

The internet is a vast place, and sometimes you find some special places to visit and make friends. I admit to being a Youtube junkie. There are two young musicians I particularly enjoy - Keituji from Japan who plays beautiful classical guitar, and Marcelo, from Brazil and now living in Washington state, plays wonderful bossa novas from his country, in the state of Washington. You can find him here:

Maria Linneman is also a composer and very forthcoming with her appreciation of her "fans". She writes musical scores as well.

You can view Randy Emmitt's and Dwain Shaw's breathtaking photography or, on the other end of the spectrum, visit the Mike, the Kid from Brooklyn, for opinions that are right on the money, but never quiet or "polite".

My new friend, Carolyn Howard-Johnson,
is a prolific writer, backing her Frugal Writer series up with experience and knowledge. She's an educator, a novelist, a poet, a lecturer, an Amazon reviewer (take a look at Amazon Shorts, downloadable short articles and stories for $.49 - she's already there and I will be shortly) and because we haven't met (yet), I envision her as a swirl of yellow; a tornado. This lady is BUSY! And I met her through a link to her poetry! The point of all this is that the internet is an adventure, a path to networking, to finding kindred spirits. There is biblical historian and writer D. DeLondon, author of "A Man Called D'aoud" who is a riveting writer and equally good photographer. I don't have to meet David, Carolyn, Kei or Marcelo, recent friends, or old ones like Randy, whom I met over butterflies. There is something that connects us. Whether it is respect for talents, a mutual feeling of being on the same wavelength or strung along a common thread. Hell. We'd be great at a party!

Oh - I forgot something. Here I am two weeks ago at my 46th class reunion. The Port Richmond High School Class of 1961! What a hoot!
It was held at John Scalia's (classmate) Old Bermuda Inn, Staten Island, New York and Deja Vu, a local rock 'n' roll band played music from the '50s and '60s. It was one of the best nights of my life, and nothing could have been improved. Thanks, John!


Saturday, January 5, 2008

A poem for the rescuers...

There are seven dogs in residence and three cats.
Blade's owner beat him severely when he was a puppy and I got him through another
rescuer when he was not quite a year old. He is now past middle age and he weighs 145 pounds.
Buffy, a Wheaten Terrier mix was found by trying to place two Anatolian Shepherds from here, though they were in a high kill Los Angeles shelter. I got them adopted, but on the same page was this winsome face with sad eyes. Through contacts on the internet, she was sprung from the shelter, spayed, made her recovery with a new friend in CA and flown here. Delta Dash was the carrier. She made the trip fine.
Australian Shepherd, Holly, was another internet find. Her owners didn't understand Aussies, especially from herding lines, needed room. The fluffy puppy (a Christmas gift) was fitted with a prong collar, which they didn't know how to use, and it accompanied her in the bag of belongings when we picked her up in Georgia. Kept in various crates all day long until she came here, Holly is a stunning blue merle with blue eyes. (I'm a sucker for dogs with blue eyes.)
Bernie was a street urchin, probably part Shih-tzu. A fuzzy wanderer he, (do you believe there is an acre here and he has to be walked on a retractable leash?) and I eventually had to catch him in a live trap on a bitter March night baited with Limburger cheese.
Roxy was a giveaway Boston, and the eldest of the crew at 11. She is in her Mardi Gras costume that was taken off and put away forever. She hated it.
Maggie was a giveaway Boston, a brindle sable, and she is a sweetheart. This is her third home from which she'll never leave.
Sophie, a Boston, was purchased, and she is nearly six months old. There was no alternative - couldn't find a rescue.
Vern is a red tabby who was left behind when the renters across the street vacated. I took him home and he is content to lie on my desk on a folded towel under the lamp, all nice and cozy. Sweet Pea is an ancient Siamese, an older adult when rescued under the same circumstances as Vern. She potters around, deaf, lame, and maybe slightly vision-impaired. But she's not ready to leave any time soon. Dottie was dumped here twice at the gate. I found her a home, and the people dumped her back here. Sophie thinks Dottie's a Boston, too. All are wonderful with the dogs and Sophie and Pea often keep each other warm, cuddled in a basket.
To all the rescuers of dogs, cats, exotic birds, farm animals, we save and rehome on our journey through life - and I've been all of the above - this poem is for you with my heartfelt thanks for easing their pain and suffering and healing the unseen scars.

Here in this house...

I will never know the loneliness I hear in the barks of the other dogs
'out there'.
I can sleep soundly, assured that when I wake my world will not have
I will never know hunger, or the fear of not knowing if I'll eat.
I will not shiver in the cold, or grow weary from the heat.
I will feel the sun's heat, and the rain's coolness,
and be allowed to smell all that can reach my nose.
My fur will shine, and never be dirty or matted.

Here in this house...
There will be an effort to communicate with me on my level.
I will be talked to and, even if I don't understand,
I can enjoy the warmth of the words.
I will be given a name so that I may know who I am among many.
My name will be used in joy, and I will love the sound of it!

Here in this house...
I will never be a substitute for anything I am not.
I will never be used to improve peoples' images of themselves.
I will be loved because I am who I am, not someone’s idea of who I should
I will never suffer for someone’s anger, impatience, or stupidity.
I will be taught all the things I need to know to be loved by all.
If I do not learn my lessons well, they will look to my teacher for blame.

Here in this house...
I can trust arms that hold, hands that touch...
knowing that, no matter what they do, they do it for the good of me.
If I am ill, I will be doctored.
If scared, I will be calmed.
If sad, I will be cheered.
No matter what I look like, I will be considered beautiful and known to be
of value.
I will never be cast out because I am too old, too ill, too unruly, or not
cute enough.
My life is a responsibility, and not an afterthought.
I will learn that humans can almost, sometimes, be as kind and as fair as

Here in this house...
I will belong.
I will be home.

(author unknown)
Please visit your local shelter, browse through the lists at, or look up specific breed rescues in your state. I promise you...these animals know somehow that you have rescued them, and they will repay you every day for the rest of your life, with love, good humor, and companionship.

Help our military have their Cat to come home to!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

January 3, 2008

Brrrrr! It's going to be colder tonight. I just noticed the sunset and ran across to the canal and took its picture. Looked like a watercolor painting. No toads out tonight, for sure. The water is dripping in the dog waterer, the wellhouse light is on, and I'm afraid to look under the bedspread where I hid the tender plants last night. It was cold all day. The elephant ears finally laid down and so did the pineapple ginger lilies. They will go soft, decay and offer the new sprouts of spring their energy.

Driving to town this morning, I find icicles and stopped to take a photo. They must have left a sprinkler on - as soon as I download them, I'll post them here. We don't get icicles often here in nw Florida. But it did snow on Christmas Day, 1989, the year we moved here.

I didn't give you very much of an introduction last night - to explain who I am, what I'm all about.

Sitting here with old Pea on my desk in front of the monitor, (she's at least 20 - old, stiff, age has dimmed her eyes and she's deaf) I will tell you that my life for decades has revolved around animals, their rescue and their care. Pea was a rescue; a left-behind cat. She's been a dear friend for many, many years. Frankly, I don't know how she manages to climb up here - this is something new this week. She's knocked over the mouse, and a few other items. Not a big deal.
This is where she wants to be. She's earned it. So you know I'm a cat lover.

I've bred Bassets and Bloodhounds; used to show a male Bloodhound, Gabriel of Whiffletree, who was born next to my bed. His mother, Sugar Hills Jesse, my Mavis, a huge black and tan, though a registered bitch, was also a giveaway.

I was heavily involved with horses and donkeys, goats, and other barnyard folks. I miss them. I am not whole without horses, donkeys and other critters. I'm thinking about a goat or two, however. I love cheesemaking, and want to learn more. And besides, goats are smart and good companions - as good as dogs, I think.

There was a time when I was living in the Lancaster, CA area when I rehabilitated ravens. I've also kept a red-tail hawk.

I kept macaws, a double yellowhead parrot and a Moluccan cockatoo and a pair of conures, one of whom flew out of the sky to come to handsome blue-crowned conure, Ricky. He was immediately smitten, and they lived together for many, many years.

All the while, we were busy moving. I've lived in California - north and south; in the suburbs of Los Angeles, in Coloma, where John Marshall bent down and picked up that first gold nugget in the clear water of the American River, in the Mojave desert in several places, the Oregon Coast, the Florida Keys. Now here in panhandle Florida is where I make my home.

Here, came the squirrels and Mouse, the opposum. And if you want to read my book, and my small adventures with the wild ones, you'll have to find a copy: "Waltz on the Wild Side - An Animal Lover's Journal". Then there is the anthology to which I contributed called "Least Loved Beasts of the Really Wild West - A Tribute". That one, by Native West Press is still in circulation, but "Waltz" is not, though you can find copies if you look. There are two on Amazon.

Speaking of Amazon, I am now an Amazon Shorts author. Amazon Shorts are downloadable $.49 short stories, essays, etc. As I write, I hope my covers are coming along. I understand they are backlogged. Alpha Miller has graciously donated some images of red tail hawks, which are key players in the Amazon Short called "Paradise", which came from a eulogy of sorts, at my friend's
scattering in the Mojave Desert, after her death. Her real name was Alice Noera, a wildlife rehabilitator, who led me with a gentle hand into wildlife rehabilitation and my years with ravens.

I am a poet. Though free verse horrifies an elderly friend of mine, I can't rhyme for any reason.
I squeezed out a limerick recently and author/lecturer/educator Carolyn Howard-Johnson thought was pretty good. I have a chapbook in mind. Hopefully, it will come out in some form this year. Carolyn and Magdalena Ball, both poets and authors, are writing another collection and have surprised me by asking me to illustrate with my photographs. I'll put a link here when it's available for sale so you can enjoy it for Mother's Day.

"Ladies of the Guild" the story of four older woman writers on a road trip, is great fun. I registered it with Writers Guild of America because it reads very much like a screenplay. It is carried by its dialog. I wrote it for those transparent women of a certain age (read 55 and up), who are passionate, intelligent, witty, wild and not afraid to take chances. In its second reading now with a small press, I hope it has found a home. "Transparent women" you say? Take this test. Next time you're out and about, do you ever really notice women of that age? What goes on in our minds and lives would surprise you.

I wrote "Ladies" because another from my critique group challenged me. I told Norris McDowell I couldn't write dialog around the same time "Waltz" was accepted by Hawk Publishing Group, and he laughed at me. So I took him up on the challenge, and 120,000 words later, with all the characters gathered around me at the keyboard, my first novel was born.
It was an incredible experience.

I'm a photographer. The greatest gift to creative people besides the WP, the pen, and paper, is the technology of the digital camera. I sold all my Nikons and the lenses (stupid me) and went digital. Now there are digital SLRs. I took my little 2.1 megapixel out and started taking photos of butterflies and insects. Now macro photography is a great love of mine.

I am a freelance writer as well.

I love writing nature, incorporating my words and what I see with my camera.

I fell in the canal a year or two ago and drowned my camera chasing a Vesper forktail damselfly one summer evening.

You can see more of my images here: and They are all for sale, matted or not. When I get out my price sheet, I will post the prices/sizes here. I have thousands now in my files. So when I set up the page, just let me know what you need.

Long a member of the Burryman Center for creative folks, I would like to invite all artists, no matter what your calling to visit their new blogspace at Ing. The home page is: and you can find me there, too. I'm in a flowered shirt holding a baby bobcat at Again, some of my photos appear there as well.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Glad you dropped by...

Brrr! On this second night of 2008, the windy cold day has given in to a cold, still night.
I have spent my day in a fury and flurry of emails and essays to everyone and God about the arrogance of ABC and Fox prohibiting three viable presidential candidates from speaking at a forum prior to the NH caucus. I cannot believe any American is willing to allow these networks to control an election. The excuse is that there is no room in the mobile studio. To that I say, get some heaters, put lawn chairs out in the snow and cold, and let them SPEAK!

We are guaranteed by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, freedom of speech and the right to free and fair elections. We send troops to third world countries to insure elections will be free and fair, and then in trots Jimmy Carter to make doubly sure. Where is he now?

Then of course, unless you are completely oblivious, voting machine fraud is rampant. You can't trust a computer with your vote. You need a paper trail. We know that in Florida all too well,
but still, we are using electronic machines that can be manipulated.

Wow! I'm still steaming.

More tomorrow when I settle down. I forgot to let the hose and the faucets dribble.

The plants are covered; the dogs and cats are in.

Hope you are safe and snug wherever you are.