Don't Look Up!

Ah memories! I'll never forget the beautiful afternoon walking the cobble stoned byways of Venice with my daughter a few years ago. We were hopelessly, yet very comfortably, lost. Not really a big deal, but we were trying to find a specific church, museum, or piazza for some reason or the other, and we decided to whip out our map of the city. (Maps in Venice are not always useful as some streets/alleys are named and some are not. Sometimes the maps even make it worse.) Either way, we whipped out the map, unfold it to its ungainly size that's almost as wide as the alley we're in, and begin flipping it around this way and that to see if it would help us navigate to the church, museum, or piazza; whatever.

SPLAT! Did I forget to tell you that Venice is overrun with pigeons? Oh yeah. Well Venice is overrun by pigeons. They're everywhere. Most of you have probably seen the ubiquitous Italian travel montages that show tourists besieged by hordes of birds in St. Mark's Square (that's a piazza, by the way), and we found that to only be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I'll give Venice kudos though for working hard to keep them in check and minimize their damage. It seems that the pigeon poo was degrading the beautiful structures that make Venice so famous. Just a few years ago they banned the street vendors that sold feed to tourists and started fining people for feeding them. I heard they even set up a government program to help the the vendors find other jobs since most relied on their trade as their single source of income. Some had even argued that the "business" had been passed down through the generations.

Anyway back to the mess on my head. The wet muck struck the map, my sweater, and some got on my hands. Yuck. Our search for the museum, church, piazza turned into a search for a restroom to wash (those are hard to find unless you sit in a restaurant and buy something). I remember I had lost my voice and was scarfing cough drops all day and Mandy had to feed me the next few until I could thoroughly scrub all the pigeon poop away.

I had one other run in with bird guano, years ago. My brothers and sisters and I would walk to the local drug store on a trail through some woods (imagine doing that in today's environment?) and one day a bird found my head. Strange what you remember when you're a kid. It kinda reminds me of the old Gary Larsen cartoon showing how birds see the world: people all with targets painted on their heads. Well that was me. I had a friend with me, so I played it cool and simply wiped it off with my hands and carried on. No freaking out for me. Ugh. I think we went down there to buy candy. I've blocked the rest out.

I venture to guess I'll get nailed at least once more in my life time. I think I'll start planning my response now.

P.S. You can read about the day this occurred on my blog from that trip here. Scroll down to my June 7th posting.

P.P.S. The little video is not mine. Unknown copyright.


How do you Treat Your Lawn Ornaments?

The wind was balmy and the trees swaying in a light breeze. The breeze really helps the 80 degree heat seem very tolerable. Ahh, this is the life. My new backyard is done and I'm sitting in my lounger on the new patio next to my new water feature...

Suddenly I'm awakened by a doorbell and my little dog, Trevi, bounces out of the room barking shrilly, totally ensuring I am fully awakened out of my night time slumber. Darn. It was a good dream. 12:15!! Who on earth would be ringing my doorbell at this hour? I finally get my arms into my robe after about the third try and manage to tie the sash by the time I'm about half way down the stairs. Then the thought hits me. Do I really want to open the door at midnight? Who would be on the other side? Being that James is now working a night job, it's up to me to figure out how I want to handle this perplexing situation. The peephole provides no clues. No one is there. But I do see a Sumner police vehicle outside. Ah, it must be safe I figure, and I open the door. Still no one is there. There are TWO Sumner police vehicles in our little neighborhood. After standing there in my stylish Cat in the Hat pajama pants, Roma T-shirt, and pink robe for a few minutes, the policemen walked around the corner.

Turns out PETLO (People for Ethical Treatment of Lawn Ornaments) struck our neighborhood. Apparently the police received a call from one of the neighbors that someone made off with a lawn ornament. The neighbor gave hot pursuit to the perp while phoning the police. They were there now trying to figure out which house was missing the important artifact. I do have a concrete lion (was originally a headstone a few houses ago for a dear cat) in the backyard. We all traipsed through the house to the back patio where the cops shone their lights all over. Nope, not me. Lions is still in my unfinished backyard near a big pile of dirt. Hmmm... the police thought sure the neighbor had described my house as the target. They made off into the night checking other homes and generally scoping out the area.

I went back to bed very satisfied. Sumner is at the ready for every situation. We scored two police for the lawn ornament crime.

I fell asleep not knowing if the wayward ornament had been found. Was it PETLO? Or, like the Roaming Gnome, did it simply decide Sumner didn't have enough to offer and pack up for an adventure?

Now, back to that dream...


Turns out the ornament stolen was a 3' plastic "SLOW CHILDREN" sign/marker that sits on our corner. You've seen them; they look like little yellow crossing guards. While we don't want to admit we have slow children on our block, it has generally been felt that it did present the appropriate cautionary communication to all drivers venturing into our neighborhood. Our police-wanna-be neighbor, that went chasing after the thief, did get a license number, so it is just a matter of time before it is back in its rightful place.

The big question? Why would anyone want to take that sign, thereby admitting they have slow children?

I Get to Go Back!

I'm very excited at the prospect of hiking through the Utah dessert again this fall. I'm dreaming in reds, browns, golds, and lots of warm sunshine!

I'm posting some of my photos that are from my trip to Utah. Have fun looking!

Utah Desert