Category Archives: Animals

New Foal

IMG_9512 (1)jdbphoto 2016

New Foal

From his mother’s teat, the new-born colt
raised his head with a sudden jolt,
his new world noisier than before
as the truck drove up with its engine roar.
A small boy sat with his window down,
surveying the scene with a subtle frown
as the older man jumped out to walk
slowly toward him, lest he balk,
and reached a hand to touch his coat,
fingers exploring, as though by rote,
feeling bones, sinew and muscle.

“This one here will have some hustle,”
he said to the boy who stood beside,
thinking of his horse who’d died.
“You want to name him?” his father said.
The boy’s toe shuffled. He hung his head.
The tiny colt looked up and snorted—
edgy now, but well-deported.
He moved to the boy to butt his arm.
His nose was soft and smooth and warm
as it nudged the small boy’s skin.
His father watched the pact begin.


I saw this unusual colt alongside the road almost a year ago.  I pulled off as soon as possible to snap a few shots and have been waiting for a chance to use them  Not exactly a new-born colt, but close.  I’ve been waiting long enough!

The prompt today is “jolt.”

Some Little Nonsense on the Subject of Copycats

“Coming and Going.” Although I am in the proximity of this dog and undergoing the same experience, you will note that I maintain my individuality by presenting my best angle to the camera in direct contrast to the dog rather than imitating him. And, as a side note, I was here first.

Some Little Nonsense on the Subject of Copycats

Some folks’ originality comes from what they view,
proving that old adage, “Monkey see and monkey do.”
And there’s another label coined from denizens of zoos.
A “copy cat” is one who mirrors everything he views.

But I find this last one puzzling, and so I’m asking you,
have you ever known a cat to do what you want him to?
Whatever he might see you do as he edges nearer,
is likely what he will ignore, not what he’ll choose to mirror.

It’s true that cattle move in herds and wild geese mimic flight,
and no one knows what sister acts mice practice in the night.
Yet all animals aren’t so easy, in spite of what you think.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

You cannot tell a cat to do what you want him to.
What you desire from that cat is what he will eschew.
Sit or fetch? Roll over? Those things hold no attraction.
Cats simply are not at their best when you prompt interaction.

So let’s dispel this rumor that cats are good at mimicry.
For though they like to bat at strings and other hanging gimmickry,
they don’t want to imitate any other creature.
For in the world of animals, each cat is the main feature.

The prompt today is copycat.

Hard Lessons


Learning Disabilities

I have no water in my house. I’ve had no Internet for weeks. My dog is at the vet’s having major surgery that will cost $1,000 U.S. that I need to go to the bank to withdraw along with another $1,000 I offered to loan to a friend to buy a car they need to buy who just called to say they need the money tomorrow! Problem is I can’t get to the bank because I’m hoping for a call from Telmex saying they’ve figured out my internet problem––and the plumber who is going to try to come at 3. All this and to top off the perfect day, I have amoebas and the new medicine I got yesterday has given me a headache and fever. Or I’m just stressing out and the entire kit and caboodle is giving me a fever and headache.

I’m beginning to fear I’m no longer able to handle running a house. The floor is covered by boxes of three different types of tile I have laid out to try them out. I have a dozen things to complete before I leave in a little more than a week. I’ve been trying to get a haircut for a month, but no time to do so. Gripe gripe gripe. You would think I would learn, but somehow time and time again I am getting into these high-stress situations where hyperventilation is the norm.

From a perfectly organized house last night my house has turned into a disaster area. Files from the file cabinet lay piled on the headboard/case of my bed—leftovers as I looked for a brochure of the water system to try to figure out what particular tube I need for the purification system. My bed is covered by the contents of six different big baskets I pulled down from the closet to look for a pair of gloves to handle the tube I bought after visiting four different water supply places. No, none had a man to come install it. Yes, I broke it installing it. Good thing I had one glove on—all I could find.

My desk is covered by little slips of paper concerning tile types, prices, business cards, discarded amoeba meds (wrong variety for what the lab told me yesterday) and old VHS tapes (what are those doing there?) Earlier, when I needed to call the water place to see if they could locate another purification tube light (answer was no) I couldn’t find one phone of four that I have in the house that was still in its cradle. Then when I did, turns out one of the lost phones was clicked on so I couldn’t call anyway. Search house again. Finally found it on the bookcase by the doggie domain. What in the world was it doing there and where in the world are the other 3 phones that are still lost? Last night I found them all and restored them to their cradles. Do I have Telmex poltergeists infesting my house every night?

Yes. At.The. End. Of. My.Rope.

Should I move? Can’t stand to think about that. Perhaps there is someone pleasant willing to trade free rent of my casita for a few managerial tasks such as dealing with electricity, phone, internet, gas and minor construction. No, I don’t need a keeper yet, but my house certainly does. It seems to be reaching that age when everything needs attending to. Walls aren’t crumbling, but floors need replacing, the walls painted less than a year ago need a second coat, and someone needs to search the Virginia creeper vines to find those hummingbird moth caterpillars that are pooping bee bees all over my terrace table and the steps outside the doggie domain.

Yes. At. The. End. Of. My. Rope.

I need to pick up Frida in an hour and still can’t get hold of Pasiano or Yolanda to come let the plumber in. If the plumber comes. And even then, I won’t have purified water—just water, at least, to flush toilets and wash with.

Headache. Chills. Frustration. Breathe. No one has died, at least today. Calm down. Was I always such a fussbudget? Yesterday I was screaming “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” when I had for the zillionth time lost my keys. They were no place. How could I be so dumb???? It was past time to leave for something important and the other set of car keys had vanished into the void 4 years ago. This was my last set. Last chance. I looked in the outside locks, the inside locks, the bathrooms, kitchen, under the bed, on the nail on the wall where I usually hung them. Emptied out my purse. Twice.

I imagine, now, neighbors passing in the street hearing this madwoman scream invectives at herself. With all my doors and windows open, they must be able to hear me as clearly as if they were inside my house. For 15 years, I’ve overlooked this fact until once earlier this year when all three of my dogs were barking and I roared “Frida!!! Stop!!!!” above the din, a friend protested,“Judy! You are worse than the dogs. You should hear yourself. You must scare the neighbors!” my friend uttered this softly. Unlike me.

I had to shout to be heard above the dogs, right? But did I need to scream at the keys?

I found them eventually and was only 10 minutes late to the appointment I started to leave for half an hour early. I found them by calmly retracing my steps which took me eventually by my open closet door with the new file cabinet inside—my keys dangling from its lock. I had gone to get some necessary file, but the cabinet is so new it had not yet been added to my key recovery route. It has been now.

I am, you see, capable of learning. It’s the remembering that is the hard part.

The End (Perhaps)

Postscript: Just now the lovely lovely girl from Techno Agua called. She has called all over town and located the right water purification tube light. It is 60 pesos above the price I paid for one this morning. Is that a problem? No problem. The plumber can come at 3. I just called Pasiano and although he still is not answering his phone and although Yolanda is working and can’t come to let the plumber in, her husband has agreed to do so; so when he arrives, I can go, hopefully, to the bank and then to get Frida. The tide is turning. Maybe today will turn out to be slightly less frustrating than earlier happenings indicated. 

An hour later: good news and bad news. I got to the bank in time to get the $1,000 U.S. for the surgery and the $1,000 for the car, but when I got to the vet’s I was informed that Frida still hasn’t awakened and so I need to leave her for the night. They assure me they’ll feed and water her when she wakes up, but although I understand I can’t take an unconscious dog home, nonetheless I know she’ll be traumatized to wake up in a cage away from home and to have to spend the night there. Also, I was supposed to sit the info booth at the Lake Chapala Society tomorrow so will have to try to find someone to sit in so I can go get Frida and take her home. Always a new thrill. Still no internet at home, so I am at the mall. Getting to be a regular mall rat as they have free wifi and otherwise it is $15 U.S. a day to use my phone as a hot spot as I was over my limit in just four days.

Are you tired of my whining yet?


The Prompt word today was “Learning.”

Toadie Came a Courtin’: Thursday Doors, Aug 11, 2016

IMG_3182I don’t know how this little guy got inside my locked screen door and three feet up on the crossbar, but he did.  The space between the screen door and the glass door seems too small for him to have been able to jump up. This is the third tiny toad like this that i’ve found on the crossbars of slider screens or doors.  They are exactly the color of the paint, so must feel hidden and safe.  Hope they are catching flies!  I relocated him to a planter box as this door is used too much for him to be safe and the kitty lurked just a few feet away. The ledge he was on was 1/2 inch deep, so I’m sure he couldn’t be over an inch long.  Tiny little guy.

And, so you can get an idea of scale and also because this posting is supposed to be about doors, after all, here is an inside and outside shot of the screen door that was his resting place as well as the planter with rosemary plant that I relocated him to:

You can click on the first picture if you want larger views.


El Sapo

El Sapo

It was about time for Yolanda to leave today when she came into the sala, where I was working on my blog. “¿Senora,quieres tomar una pictura?” she enquired. I wasn’t listening closely, so at first I thought she was saying she’d found the picture my friend Betty had painted that I had purchased at a show months ago and put away for safe keeping until I could figure out where to hang it and had never found again. “Pintura de Betty?” I inquired, and she said no, and motioned for me to follow her. “Un foto!” she directed, pointing at my camera that is always at the ready. I realized then that she had originally used my imagined Spanish word for photograph by adding an “a” to picture, whereas in reality, the correct word was “foto.” In fifteen years, we had developed this pidgin Spanish between the two of us comprised of real Spanish vocabulary I had learned in addition to the made up words of Spanish that she had adopted as a means of not humiliating me when I made mistakes. Over the years, they had become real words to both of us and we did all right, although anyone else listening to us might have wondered just what language we were speaking.

She was grinning as she led me through the bedroom and the back door, out to the patio. The always-curious dogs joined our convoy and when she motioned to a drooping leaf in one of the large pots around the corner of the house, Morrie and Diego moved in to investigate. She motioned, but I saw nothing.

“Una rana!” she said, motioning towards a tiny slit of beige between one leaf and an overhanging one. There on the leaf I could make out not a frog, but rather a tiny beige toad, no bigger than one inch across, only it’s eyes and mouth visible in its hiding place between the two leaves. Yolanda quickly took the dogs away to put inside as I clicked photo after photo, most of them so close up that the toad looked huge, whereas in reality it was tiny. I was amazed that Yolanda had seen it but so glad she had.

It was the same variety of toad that had taken up residence in our guest toilet on the second floor a few years before. Since this room was sometimes unused for more than a year at a time, the toad had moved in, storing it’s upcoming insect meals on the porcelain toilet rim under the seat, now and then dipping into its private lake for a little swim. It was so tiny that it could sit on the porcelain under the toilet seat, which we had lifted to clean. When we removed it because company was coming, it remained below in the backyard for the weeks our guest was here, but once she left, it reinstalled itself, somehow hopping up the flight of stairs and getting through the locked gate and screen and sliding glass doors, hopping across the bedroom and into the bathroom and up to the toilet. I have no idea how it found its way here from the garden far below in the first place, let alone a second time, but now here was the descendant of that toad, perhaps, taking a little nap in the plant nursery I’d established tucked around the corner from the normal traffic area of my house.

It silently bore my many clicks, the lens coming closer and closer until they nearly touched. Only when I lifted the overhanging leaf did the toad shift a bit. An hour later, when I went out to measure it, not trusting my poor talents at estimating distances and measurements, the toad was still there, facing in a different direction, but still in the shade of the same leaf.

Version 2

Version 4

IMG_8515 (1)
IMG_8509IMG_8519Please enlarge these photos as much as you can on your viewer. The texture and coloration of this little creature’s skin is so amazing.

Bird’s Eye View

Bird’s Eye View 

You crane your necks and stand and gawk
as you stroll past on your morning walk.
What do you look at, what do you see
as you strain to get a look at me?

Do you fear my beak and dread my claws?
Have you ever wondered as you pause,
what I might do without these bars
that stripe my view of sun, moon, stars?

Might I fly at you and score
an easy target before I soar
over this cage, rooftops and trees––
once more a part of a gusting breeze?

I am a prisoner, yet dreams go far
beyond each lock and screen and bar.
The wildness that you think you see
cannot be purchased for a fee.

If you cast a curious eye
but do not see me soar and fly,
You view the least that I can be,
but not my spirit.  My spirit’s free.

Bearcat—NaPoWriMo 2016, April 20

When my new husband and I moved from L.A. to the redwoods of northern California, a feral cat appeared from the forest and after a week or so of hide-and-go-seek games, deigned to move in with us.  A month or so later, she had three kittens—like their mother, all grey Burmese with chartreuse eyes, but each with a differently-shaped tail.  The mother’s was curved at the end with a dip to the right. One of the female kittens had a similar dip, but to the left.  The other female had a zigzag tale. The sole male, Bearcat, was the only one with a perfect tale—unbent, long and expressive.  He was also the biggest,  the most talkative and the only one to survive for fifteen years—long enough to move with us to Mexico.


back lofter
tail wafter
gray bearer
drape tearer
ball loser

lap chooser
bunny slayer
shoelace player
sofa climber
sleep mimer
shadow springer
dragonfly bringer
lizard de-tailer
spider nailer
basement searcher
window ledge percher
tree dweller
mouse smeller
dog chaser
bug caser
door crack peeper
sunbeam sleeper
woods walker
squirrel stalker
rail balancer
prey glancer
shadow catcher
love hatcher
body spinner
heart winner


NaPoWriMo prompt: Kennings were riddle-like metaphors use in Norse Sagas. Basically, they are ways of calling something not by its actual name, but by a sort of clever, off-kilter description — for example, the sea would be called the “whale road.” Today, I challenge you to think of a single thing or person (a house, your grandmother, etc), and then write a poem that consists of kenning-like descriptions of that thing or person.

Here is an earlier poem written to this same prompt:——