Recycling Giggles

The sign on the big, tall recycle bin into which we toss our recyclable trash says: Do not use for yard waste.

I think I now know why.

Upon first read, I assumed it was because some people might mistakenly fill it and place it at the road for the city to collect their leaves and grass clippings.

While I’m sure that has a lot to do with the edict, I have a feeling there’s more to it.

Here’s a clue:  If I say “recycle bin” my daughter erupts in a fit of giggles.

You see, I broke the recycle bin rule and used it for the collection of yard waste.

My next door neighbor has a large pine tree in his yard and offered me his fallen pine needles.  All I needed to do was collect them.

And, what better way to collect them but with a large, wheeled, light weight container?  The recycle bin was perfect.

So, I grabbed mine, freshly emptied by Metro, and headed across the yard, through the hedges, and into his front gate.

A rake stood against the old pine tree and I set about my task.  He had already created several piles of pine straw so the work went quickly at first.

I tipped the tall recycle bin onto its front with the lid flipped over its back and began to rake straw into it.  When I could rake no more into it without packing it down, I grabbed the handle (which was under the opened lid) and began to lift the bin into an upright position so I could continue to load it from the top.

Simple enough, or so it would seem.  The problem was the large lid that attaches to the handle.  Instead of flipping it closed, I allowed it to remain open. (Big mistake.)

As I pulled the bin upright, the large lid flipped outward onto the ground and I stepped on it.

I’ve yet to figure out the exact steps that caused what happened next.  And, no.  I’ve not tried to duplicate it apart from in my mind.

As I pulled the bin upright, my right foot stepped on the lid.  The weight of my body on the lid pulled the bin slightly sideways and off balance which threw me off balance as well. And, somehow, in attempting to keep the bin upright and myself from falling, I ended up headfirst in the bin which caused the bin to topple over onto its other side.

Exiting the bin a bit slower than I entered it, I brushed myself off and examined my stinging right shoulder and aching left pinkie finger.  My left forearm felt a bit odd, as did my wrist, but neither showed indication of injury. My pride, however, smarted a great deal and I looked around to see who might have witnessed my tumble.

The pine straw in the bin had cushioned my fall and become compacted to about a foot in depth by my jarring impact.  I quickly set about work and had the recycle bin full and ready to drag across my neighbor’s front yard, out his gate, down his drive, up the street, into my drive and across my yard to the backyard where I would dump it. (Was a far shorter journey when I could lift it over the hedges that border our yards.)

The problem was the little tan Chihuahua named Rose.  She was intent on accompanying me through the gate.

As I was pondering what to do and how to do it, I received a text from Daughter saying she was heading home from the zoo.

Problem solved.  I would just wait 15 minutes for her to arrive home and ask her to occupy Rose in play while I slipped out the gate with the recycle bin.

And, that’s what happened.

I had no intention of sharing my recycle bin fiasco with anyone, but when Daughter offered to hang around while I finished up the work of loading and transporting the bin twice more….

Well, sometimes things come up and out in casual conversation that you intended to keep private.

Such was the case here.

Of course, the telling of my debacle delighted Daughter.

And, every time she hears the words “recycle bin” she giggles uncontrollably.

Personally, I don’t see what’s so funny about it. 😉


Twas the Saturday Before Thanksgiving

Today I should be planning out my days between now and Thanksgiving.  There’s oodles to doodle and I’ve limited time in which to get it all done.

But, instead of turning thoughts and energies toward Thanksgiving day perfection, I’m taking the morning off and heading out to the Zoo at Grassmere for a little people watching time with Hubby.

Oh, I’m sure we will see animals, too. But, it’s the people that stir me to return time and again.  The zoo workers are always courteous and eager to help. And, the zoo visitors are a varied lot – and never cease to entertain.

I often wonder what the animals think as they look out on us and watch us move around them.

I’m certain they think.

I think we probably bore them.  And, who can blame them? The only humans they find interesting are their keepers.  We watch and take from them – the keepers interact and give to them.

The zoo – an excellent place to learn more…mostly about ourselves.

Can’t wait to get there!

I Write

I write so I won’t forget…

…the way the fallen leaves chased after the car that whipped through them as they lay thick on the lane…

…the road covered with orange, yellow, red maple leaves – newly fallen – unbruised, not crushed or creased, unblemished – like golden snow covering the road and raining down with the gentlest breeze…

…the garden in its last blush of bloom – the okra 15 ft tall with new buds and opening blooms atop it – and a freeze warning issued…

…the farewell glance I gave the garden after picking all I could from it before the hard freeze claimed it…

…the last green tomato found hiding beneath a tomato leaf, plucked and tucked safely into my pocket…

…the orange maple leaves on the three trees across the street cascading from said trees in waves of orange, covering the ground, hedge, street beyond…

…my refusal to put away my shorts and don sweat pants even though the wind was cold and whipped my legs until numb…

…the rush to rescue potted plants summered outdoors from the coming frigid blast and the frustrated flurry to find space for them in the crowded garage…

…heat from the “grow” light in the garage warming my face as I removed cold, damp clothes from the washer…

…knowledge that Summer is past and Autumn means business…

…that all work and no play makes Suzan a dull girl…

…Zinnias in their faded glory looked tired and ragged as the wind whipped them and temp fell – with scissors in one hand and a vase in the other I kissed Summer goodbye and brought in what I could of it before the freeze blackens the reds, pinks, purples….

…the snipped tops of okra stalks in a vase before me – hibiscus type flowers, yellow, pink and red threaten to open – I know they will wilt…

…I try to delay winter’s arrival every way I can think of….

…free weather gives way to cold weather and the thermostat is pushed from cool to heat and the furnace cuts on briefly and raises the temp from 64 to 65 for the first time since April…

…thoughts turn to the homeless man we saw at BK – I pray he found a warm place for the night…

…my gears are changing…from warm weather minded to cold…outside in shorts, breathing deeply of the cold windy air, embracing the drizzle that chilled me, refusing to hang onto what I cannot keep and willing to embrace what is now…

…cannot hold in my hand Summer’s beauty and wonder, but I can in my words and memory retain as much through writing as I can allow myself time and indulge myself the pleasure of…

…that October is beyond my reach and November, now here, has begun the countdown to year end activities…birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve…

…the ease of warm weather and less clothing is no longer an option – sweaters, sleeves, jackets and coats, gloves, scarves, and hats become the norm and a necessity…

…that on one trip to BK for a quick dinner we were approached by two (at BK) who said they were homeless and hungry…

…the crisp pinch of surprise 29 degrees and 35 mph wind gives to bare skin….

…that cold zoo mornings offer fantastic walking opportunities with few obstacles and only occasional reasons to slow for animal (or people) watching…

…that I am not a fan of change or of discomfort but I trust I am woman enough to embrace it and move forward through it with joyful expectation and hope…

…I am a survivor and though I may not embrace the idea of change, I do adjust quickly to it and move forward within it…

…that this who I am and how I clear my head and unload thoughts and memories to make room for more…

…who I am and why I am – where I’m going and my journey to get there….

This is why I write, you see.  It’s not for you.  It’s for me.


Feeding My Habit

For our anniversary, Hubby and I gave each other annual zoo passes.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Several weeks have passed since our last visit to the Nashville Zoo.

I miss the fresh air, the sounds, the animals, the paths, the crowds, the smells, and yes, I even miss maneuvering around the strollers.

It’s time for us to return to the zoo.  I know it is.

It’s time to feed my habit again.

Come on, Hubby, let’s escape to the zoo sometime soon! I can’t wait!

Zoo View

Hubby and I arrived at the Nashville Zoo about 30 minutes after it opened.  The number of cars in the parking lot was indicative of the number of people within the zoo – but not of the number of strollers.

And, I don’t mean people out for a stroll.

I marveled that so many strollers could be out and about in one location – and I marveled at the different types, colors and shapes of strollers.  Some were your typical, simple umbrella type strollers and others were top of the line deals.  In every stroller, the occupant had the same look of boredom.

It was the same look seen on the faces of some of the caged animals as well.  🙂

Take that bored little rider out of the stroller and as soon as his / her feet touched the ground a change came over them. It was like energy shot through them and they became alive.

Me? After trekking up hill and down, I was ready to occupy a stroller myself.


The great thing about the zoo is that it’s never the same. There’s always more to see and experience if we are willing to be eyes open and hands on.

The keepers are always busy behind the scenes to make sure the zoo experience for all concerned is a happy one.

Would you believe that in all the wooded area that Hubby and I explored we did not find one sprig of poison ivy? Now that says a lot for the care the zoo keepers go to in order to protect those wee ones most prone to wander off the path when set free to become strollers at the Nashville Zoo.

Zoo Roos and the Featherbrained Parents

If you want to “experience the wild side” visit a zoo…any zoo.

I’m not talking about wild animals.

It’s featherbrained parents and their wild way of raising their next generation that I’m referring to.

Case in point:  Nashville Zoo – family consisting of a mom, dad, two boys (8, 6) and a girl (4) – walk-through kangaroo enclosure – inattentive parenting style that encourages children to experience EVERYTHING hands on.

Hubby and I were in line to enter the kangaroo enclosure.  To enter one must go through two gates.  The first gate opens into a fenced area that is barred by a gate at both ends (to keep kangas from escaping from the enclosure and children from their parents and into the enclosure).

We had entered the first gate and were following a couple with one child as we moved toward the second gate that opened into the kangaroo compound.

Just as we opened the gate to move through it, we heard “WAIT FOR US!” as we felt two small bodies bump against us and then past us.  We assumed they were with the family ahead of us.

As we closed the gate behind us, I looked back and saw a woman and man with a boy slowly making their way toward the second gate.  Apparently the two children who had dashed past us didn’t belong to them.

I turned to look ahead of me as we stepped around the people who had gathered just inside the gate and as I did, I saw the little she devil that had careened into and bounced off of us as she and her brother shot past us.  Blond curls bounced as she turned her head right and left looking at kangaroos. The people I thought she was with gave her no notice.  And, neither did the boy she had entered with.

She spied a kangaroo lying on the ground, in the shade of a tree, just off the path…15 feet from her.  The instructions are – stay on the path at all times and allow the roos to come to you.  Apparently this little girl couldn’t read, or didn’t follow directions.  All she knew was that nothing now stood between her and her beloved kanga or roo.

With arms outstretched to grab and hug, this little bundle of mayhem stepped off the walkway and into harm’s way, heading straight for the nearest kangaroo and beyond my reach.

“Where are her parents?” I wondered. Did she become my responsibility because her parents are absent?

DO unattended children of inattentive parents become the responsibility of others??

Apparently so.  And, of course, as is so often the case, the one who steps in to save the little one from certain harm becomes the bad guy.

Just like the rookeeper did who stepped between the little girl and the kangaroo.

As soon as the rookeeper said “NO! You cannot approach or touch the kangaroo!” the little girl’s parents appeared. (Yep, they were the ones who followed us into the enclosure.)

And, like their daughter, uttered the words “Why not?”

WHY NOT was clearly posted outside the enclosure, within the gated area before entering the enclosure and throughout the enclosed kangaroo area. And, any thinking adult with one eye and half sense could see that these kangas were NOT fuzzy pets or stuffed animals.

I wondered – could these people not read, or were they just total morons?

Or, featherheads as my brother taught his daughter to say of people who acted like they had feathers in their head instead of a brain.

We found out later that they could, indeed, read.  And, so could their boys. The dad read a sign that said “This is how far a kangaroo can jump.  Can you jump that far?” And, the older of the two boys said, “The sign says Do not step off the path and do not touch the well, so why is Mommy looking in the well?”

Good question.  Smart question.  What did Featherhead Dad reply? “Because that’s what Mommy wants to do. Mommy knows these signs don’t apply to her.”

My advice?  Go ahead, Mrs. Featherhead.  One swift kick from a kangaroo will knock some sense in your head. But, just remember – your children are watching and learning.  And, as we’ve already seen, they are following your example. And, your example can get them killed.

And, in the meantime, I’ll call child protective services because YES, Featherhead, if your child is unattended because of your inattention, it’s called neglect in the eyes of the law and it becomes someone else’s responsibility to see that they are cared for and protected.

Kudos to the Rookeeper who did her job and didn’t back down or apologize for doing it.

Parents, corral your kids – be responsible and teach them responsibility by following the rules yourself.  And, if you don’t, be wise – don’t get bent out of shape when someone steps in and acts on their behalf.

Nuff said.

Zoo Tips

See below for a few tips that will make your summer visit to the Nashville Zoo a happy and memorable one for yourself and for others.

  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Get there early – it opens at 9:00 a.m.
  • Bring bug spray and use it…flies bite and so do mosquitoes.
  • Use sun screen for children – especially if they play on the AWESOME playground.
  • Bring a companion – this will help you walk slower and take more time to enjoy.
  • Stay on the paved path.
  • Don’t lay anything down.  Tether everything to your person. No – it’s not that someone will steal it.  You will forget you set it down and walk away and will have no idea where you left it.  And, you will cause worry and concern for others who see it and are too honest to pick it up and too concerned about you remembering and returning to get it to take it to Lost and Found for you.
  • Staying on the paved path will keep you and your wee ones out of the POISON OAK. (or is it POISON IVY?)
  • Stay hydrated – bring a water bottle.
  • If you are not familiar with the layout of the zoo – keep a zoo map with you and consult it. The important things (food and restrooms) are clearly marked.
  • The giraffe compound is the “end of the line” so to speak and the water fountain nearby doesn’t work – make sure your water bottle has water in it.
  • Go to the Lorikeet enclosure first thing in the morning if you want to interact with them – otherwise the fans that cool the enclosure keep them high in the trees and with their bellies already full of nectar they will show you no interest.
  • The hotter the day/afternoon the less likely you will be to see the animals – they will seek their cool “dens” or be hidden in the shade.
  • Keep up with your children – I watched a little girl run into the kangaroo enclosure ahead of her parents and was literally “caught ” (as in snatched up) two feet from the kanga she intended to “pet.”
  • Cover up, girls, and keep things G rated – no one wants (or needs) to see your private parts hanging out of the rear of your shorts or peeking over the top of your shirt. Believe me – what is often accentuated is not always as positive as you think.
  • Drink water – often – a lot of it and make sure those in your care do as well.
  • Drinking water often will necessitate a visit to the “facilities” – know where you are and where they are (you’re never very far from one).
  • If you choose to use the restroom facilities – clean up after yourself.  Ladies, if you choose to squat and not sit, remember…the next person who follows you might not.  NO one wants to sit in your dribble.
  • Let your wee ones wee first – you’re a big girl…hold it.
  • Dads, there are “Family” restrooms available if you’re concerned about upsetting guys in the “Men’s Room” by bringing your girls in with you.
  • There are FOUR elephants even though the signs give names and descriptions of three.
  • And, there are rabbits in the elephant compound!
  • The train is small and the ride short, but the kids absolutely LOVE it – some adults (like me) do, too.
  • Take time to see the reptiles/amphibians/fish…go slow…go s-l-o-w…so much to see.
  • Be patient and be nice.
  • Be considerate of the animals.
  • Don’t miss the Croft Home and the gardens behind it.
  • There are ample benches scattered along the paved paths (many are located in shaded areas).
  • If you have a question or need assistance, don’t be shy. The zoo keepers and workers are friendly and eager to assist in any way they can.
  • The zoo food is good quality even if it is “fast food” and the servings we received were man-sized.
  • If you want to see IT ALL – plan to stay the entire day.  Seriously.  I’m not kidding. Or, get an annual membership and go often. 😉
  • The Nashville Zoo is family friendly and family oriented. It’s a great place to hang out with your kids (whatever their ages).
  • The zoo brings back memories – be prepared to enjoy!

Our Anniversary at the Zoo

Hubby and I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere yesterday.  Clear skies, temp in the low 90’s, bright sunshine – it was a perfect June day to head to the zoo!

We arrived a bit later than intended – at around 10:00 instead of 9:00 when the zoo opens, but that was okay.  We’d spent a leisurely morning together and the day stretched before us – all ours to enjoy together.

Upon arrival, we found ample parking near the entrance in lots just right of where vision is directed as you round the curve.

We assumed Monday would be a relatively slow day.  And, perhaps it was.  I’ve no idea.  I’ve only been to this zoo once before. The first was on a Friday and that Friday was  apparently Field Trip Day for several schools.

There was an abundance of short people yesterday, most were accompanied by a three or four wheeled pushed or pulled apparatus manned or womaned by parents or grandparents. And, only rarely was the apparatus empty.  Sometimes it contained 3 or 4 of these short people who struggled for position and possession and wailed loudly when they obtained neither.  And, sometimes wailed even when they did.  By day’s end I wished for one to ride in myself.  A nap would have felt good. 😉

Hubby and I watched these short people and their attendants with great interest.  Not only were they entertaining, they were dangerous.  If they escaped from their apparatus they were hellbent on one thing only and that was getting as far away from their keepers as possible.  And, apparently they had great delight in doing so as evidenced by the squeals produced from them as their keepers chased and caught them.

We had once been attendants of two short people of our own….

Hubby asked, “So how old does Granddaughter have to be before we bring her to the zoo?”

I laughed.  I was thinking the same thing.  We couldn’t go back and relive times with our own short people, but we could eagerly look ahead!

As I think back over yesterday, I’m surprised to find that the majority of adults present had small children with them. And, wisely had a wheeled apparatus as pulling or pushing is easier than carrying.

There’s a lot of walking involved at the Nashville Zoo. We walked up hill and down.  Accustomed to walking our neighborhood, we thought to get only a light workout as we walked the paved paths through the zoo.  But, we got more of a workout than anticipated.  Some of those hills provide quite a pull.

I watched with envy first and then with amusement as several small people escaped from their keepers and ran uphill.  Their keepers dashed after them but quickly showed and stopped – able only to gasp out the names of the little rogues and demand a swift return “or else” and begin a slow, loud count – “ONE”…”TWO”….  Upon hearing “TWO”, both short ones turned and ran as fast as their shortness would allow and with great abandon down the hill.

I’ll admit…I watched with both horror and admiration.  I wished my legs would still do that and my fear of falling was as non existent as theirs appeared to be.

I suddenly felt quite old…felt every one of my years and wondered what it would be like to descend the hill in a wheelchair…sans keeper, and doubted I would be able to make the curve and would probably land in the poison ivy just off the path.

Hubby’s hand found mine and we walked on to see what we would find atop the hill and around the next bend in the path.

Every moment at the zoo was filled with enjoyment.  There was ample shade, a great variety of activities, opportunities to cool down (air conditioned buildings as well as a “rain room” with huge fans and misting water), delicious food (the cheeseburger meal was large enough for Hubby and me to share!), clean and abundant restroom facilities, wide paths and plenty of room to wander without feeling crowded.

We had a wonderful time and have great memories of spending our 36th anniversary together at the zoo.  We walked around, hand in hand, and engaged in a little light smooching when we thought no one was looking.

By the time we made it all the way through and around the zoo, we were tired.  And, I knew why God gave short people to those younger than I. 😉

As we sat at the backside of the zoo watching the giraffes and short people, we realized our day at the zoo was nearly over.  The giraffes’ attention was drawn repeatedly to things beyond their enclosure and finally all four gathered near the gate – no doubt in anticipation of their keepers.  We checked the time and saw that 5:00 was nearly upon us.

Hubby asked, “Think it’s time to head toward the exit?”

It was and I said so. Not because I wanted to leave, but because I knew we wouldn’t be allowed to stay past closing. 😉

As we turned to leave the Giraffe compound, Hubby asked, “Which way is the exit?”

“No worries, Sweetie – it’s down hill all the way from here,” I replied.

36 Years Married = Zookeeper or Ringmaster?

Hubby and I celebrate our 36th Wedding Anniversary today.

We’ve both slipped away for a few hours and left responsibilities behind to celebrate ourselves and our years together.

How will we celebrate?

Here’s how.

Yep!  It was Hubby’s idea.  And, I thought it was fitting.

Our past 36 years together has, at times, been like a three ring circus – or, a zoo.

Something coming and going all the time…hard to focus on one thing long enough…confusion, noise, laughter, excitement, activity – and throw 32 years in the pastorate, multiple moves,  two kids, their friends, and their pets into that mix and WOW!

What an amazing life we’ve had together so far!

I can hardly wait to see what the next 36 will bring us (and I’ll admit…it scares me a bit to think what it will bring).

Zookeeper or Ringmaster – it really doesn’t matter.  It’s been a wild and wonderful ride so far!  And, I look forward to growing older together.

Nashville Zoo

For the past 2 years Daughter had been itching to check out the Nashville Zoo. May vacation provided the perfect opportunity – not too hot, not too cold.  The animals would be out and (for the most part) active.

When she invited me to accompany her, I eagerly accepted.

We arrived yesterday just after the zoo opened.  By 9:15 our tickets were purchased and we were wandering within the confines of the zoo.

And, so were hundreds of people – most of them waist high or less….

Apparently, several schools had declared it Friday Field Day and bussed in hundreds of First and Second Graders along with parents / guardians / chaperones / teachers.

Thankfully, most were gone by 12:30 and took with them the din and confusion that accompanied them.

Okay, I admit it – they were more fun to watch than the animals…so much more entertaining.  Yes, they were.  But, it was much easier to navigate the pathways and see the animals without the swarm of children and their accompanying attendants (1 adult per 2 children).

If you live in the Nashville area and have not visited the zoo – you’ve missed out on a treat.

Daughter and I were there from 9:15 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and we were walking and looking the entire time (except for the few minutes we took for food or bathroom breaks).  Up hill and down we walked.  The landscaping alone was well worth the tour – it’s beautiful there.

Here are some of the highlights of our trip to the zoo.

  • We got lost – even with the map – and weren’t sure which way to go 5 minutes into entering the zoo.
  • While watching the Gibbons swinging in tree tops, Daughter said, “Oh…he’s standing way up high on that branch! Oh…oh he’s peeing…oh, wow…he must have been holding it a looooong time….
  • There were four beautiful Hyacinth (Blue) Macaws – and all were marooned on an island.
  • The yellow flag iris’ were in full bloom and I coveted them – almost enough to pocket one.
  • Daughter took over 400 pictures!
  • When I couldn’t find Daughter in the crowd I looked for her florescent yellow shoes.
  • Daughter’s reaction to the live display of Trinidad Giant Cockroaches was priceless and resembled mine when she showed me the tarantula.
  • The graceful seahorses were so cute and delicate.
  • A woman plucking bits of algae from the coral in the Lionfish tank using LONG skinny tweezers that the Lionfish found interesting.
  • There were signs that said “Please don’t reach in…we will bite you.”
  • At the petting zoo, several women were standing beneath the “Goats Only” sign.
  • The baby camel walked up and placed its head on my shoulder and nuzzled me.  Then he nibbled my cheek.  And, then he bit my shoulder.
  • In the donkey compound, a large tractor tire lay on the ground – still haven’t figured that out.
  • On the information sign about Alpacas it said they “use communal poop piles to avoid the spread of parasites.” (Not sure why I would need to know this.)
  • Flamingos don’t like to be interrupted when snoozing in the sun.
  • The train ride we had eagerly anticipated turned out to be the source of much laughter – mostly at ourselves and at our own expense.
  • Getting into a small space is easier than reversing the process and getting out.  ‘Nuff said.
  • Touching kangaroos on the head is not considered nice and is taken as an insult by the roo.  Just sayin’.
  • Apparently the kick of a kangaroo can break ribs – that’s what the roo keeper told us from personal experience.
  • When looking for elephants in the elephant enclosure, all we saw at first were rabbits…two of which were tiny babies.  Quite a deviation from what we expected to see.  🙂
  • In the elephant enclosure (which was actually several acres of open land) a man was standing in an island of trees and brush…watching the elephants and talking on a walkie talkie / radio / phone thing.
  • Feeding Lorikeets from little bowls of nectar was fun until I felt the vice-grip pinch of a beak on my finger. YEOWCH!
  • The giraffes…oh, the giraffes – the dad, mom, and the two sisters ( the younger born this past December) – all beautifully graceful and delightful to watch.
  • And, the cassowary with its blue head and dinosaur-like crest is a strange, large bird that is said to be able to germinate more than 200 species of plants.  Don’t ask how…just think about it.  You’ll figure it out.

The souvenir I wanted to bring home from the zoo was elephant manure for my garden.  I’d seen it available at other zoos and hoped to see it available at this one.  But, try as I might, there was none to be had.  Until…until we visited the elephant enclosure – and there, just beyond the fence…just beyond the ditch…two fresh piles of ele-dung begged me to collect it.  I wished for two 5 gallon buckets.  As I mentioned what an easy thing it would be to hop the fence and jump the ditch, I felt Daughter’s hand move to the tail of my shirt where she gave it a hard tug and said…

…”don’t even think about it.”