Round-Leaved Orchid – Wild in Alberta

Wagner Natural Area located 1.6 km west of Highway 16 and Highway 44, near Edmonton, AB is a provincially protected area. This land has not been set aside for recreational or development, instead it is protected because of it’s 620 acres of biological and physical diversity. It is a microcosm of boreal forest and contains many natural ponds, swamps, coniferous and deciduous forests, creeks and fields. Obviously this protected area has a rich diversity of plant life from a variety of ...

May Day: Thoughts & Poems…

“He who labors diligently need never despair; for all things are accomplished by diligence and labor.”  Menander of Ephesus May Day: Thoughts & Poems... May Blossoms Excerpt from May-Day by Ralph Waldo Emerson(1867) Wreaths for the May! for happy Spring Today shall all her dowry bring The love of kind, the joy, the grace, Hymen of element and race, Knowing well to celebrate With song and hue and star and state, With tender light and youthful cheer, The spousals of the new-born year. Lo love’s inundation poured Over space and race abroad Happy May Day! I can’t believe we are already ...

Peculiar Picture #11

As many of you know, I’m a retired illustrator. I have a Peculiar Picture Portfolio of images that, for one reason or another, have never seen the light of day. This illustration sprang forth from a doodle I was toying with a few years back. Unlike most of my work, this picture never found a home in a book or magazine. I think it says something about relationships, but I’m not certain what. These two people appear to have quite different agendas. What ...

Plant Profile: Astrantia

Astrantia, commonly known as Masterwort is a beautiful, shade loving perennial that adds colour and uniqueness to every garden, especially so when you consider it makes for a beautiful & long lasting cut flower. Masterwort can easily be grown from seed. Make sure you seed them in the fall as they need cold in order to germinate. Once you have a mature clump you can easily divide by carefully digging up the plant, split it into two and replant the halves. Masterwort ...

Canada – A Biodiversity Treasure

Ottawa’s botanists have completed a new book; Official Plant Emblems of Canada, A Biodiversity Treasure that explores our provincial flowers in a funny, intriguing and sometimes gross way! The book Official Plant Emblems of Canada eschews high-brow science for plain language in an attempt to explain the natural world to its readers. Biology and politics also met back in 1999 when Quebec replaced it’s first official flower, the white lily. They switched to the blue flag iris which is natural in Quebec, ...

Guest Post: What MS Taught Me about Compassion for Self and Others…

“The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.” Thomas Merton Compassion: Healing Hands & Healing Lives... Margaret Tidwell has graciously agreed to share insights on MS with us. This is one of the SITSGIRLS Tribe building workshop assignments and my post is on her site. This is also my 100th post and I’d like to say a big Thank ...

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise!

“The only thing that should surprise us is that there are still some things that can surprise us.” Francois de La Rochefoucauld Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise!  L L Bean Shoe Car on the Highway Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise!  Glowing Night lights Generally, I don’t like surprises, but we all have to live through them… The thing about surprises is that you have no way of controlling or directing the unfolding drama/event/item and sometimes, they stink or are hurtful. However, an amusing surprise will ...

Musings: On Prayers…

“Set your mind for success, victory and progress. Cast down anything negative, any thought that brings fear, worry, doubt or unbelief. Joel Osteen Musings: On Prayers… I receive Daily Word, a monthly book filled with prayers and uplifting messages for each day, from Unity.  I find the inspiring words and stories help set the tone of my day. It is one of several publications I get that enrich both the spirit and the mind. While reviewing the July/August issue, I read a beautiful story about the power of ...

Trombone Arms…really?!?

I grew up in a house jammed with music. Or drums, anyway. My dad was a drummer, so these instruments were part of the living room furniture, and a part of me. In fourth grade it was finally time to join the band. My classmates and I lined up to select our weapons of choice. “But you have good, long arms – perfect for playing the trombone!” This was the best sales pitch the music teacher could muster, after informing me that too ...

Best Satire Video of 2012: Whole Foods Parking Lot

We live near Washington, DC which has exposed us to a variety of new experiences – not the least of which is the Whole Foods Market  grocery chain. Living in New York most of my life, I’d never been to a Whole Foods until we moved south of the Mason-Dixon line. In a nutshell it is a high-end grocery store that specializes in selling expensive, sustainable, green-centric organic goods and unpronounceable, exotic vegetables. It’s what the Wegman’s grocery store chain would be if ...

Cautionary Tales

I’ve been busy transitioning from Maine to Florida for the winter. It’s not so much a culture shock as an environment shock. The day before we left our place in Maine, I took this (above) picture of the view outside our living room. Yesterday morning I took this (below) picture of the view outside our living room in Florida. Gary and I visited a friend in Bowie, MD, on the trip down. She’s widowed, 80-something, and living in a life community ...

How I’m Learning Humility This Week

This week I’m attending a pair of communications-training conferences in Colorado. It’s been a great experience thus far – except for last night. Below is a video post I shot this afternoon where I talk about the first presentation we had to deliver and how I crashed and burned. Enjoy.

Easy as Tiddlywinks

In seeking to write about Thanksgiving I found myself reaching back to the dim corners of yesterday, uncovering a misty vision of “little me” waiting in my crib for Ma to come and fetch me. I was standing on my toes holding onto the rail, bouncing as I begged, calling, but not crying. And then she appeared—wearing a smile as wide as an open window. With out stretched arms she gathered me up, and toted me off. I don’t remember ...

A Patio for Entertaining

Outdoor living spaces have always been popular, but with today’s lifestyles of long work hours, lengthy commutes and hectic family schedules, the need for a backyard retreat is greater than ever. Throw in the rising popularity of staycations, and the benefits of a backyard paradise become unmistakable. We recently designed an outdoor living space for clients that love to entertain friends and family, and wanted their patio to serve as an extension of their home. Festive furnishings in a color palette ...

25 Christmas songs in 2 minutes

The holidays tend to bring out the best in people – particularly from a creative perspective. Here’s a creatively, entertaining video from the folks over at ignitermedia.com – they produce a variety of faith-based videos, skits and production pieces. In this particular segment Rob Thomas (aka “Johnny”) and Braun Brown (aka “Chachi”) regale us with 25+ Christmas songs in less than 120 seconds. Don’t let the goofy wigs or extreme orthodontia scare you, it’s a pretty cool accomplishment. Question: Do you have a favorite ...

My First Movie: Men Buy...Women shop

While you're running about hitting all the Memorial Day sales this weekend, here's a little video to keep in mind. It's a mini-movie I made about the buying differences between men and women. I may start a series of these vignettes called "Wedded Bliss-Tors" - that looks at the blisters couples incur on their way to marriage bliss. Let me know if you like this first installment!

Please visit the authors blog by clicking on the link below!

Stephen - The Chubby Chatterbox
June 29, 2012, 8:58 am

Sex On Mountain Road

A few days ago I was on my way to a dental appointment when an impulse prompted me to detour through our old neighborhood. Years had passed since I’d driven down these streets and I saw a street sign that made me smile. It wasn’t a traffic sign; it was one of those chin-high decorative brick walls that announce the name of a new housing development or apartment complex. I pulled to the curb and studied it. Written on the bricks:

SEXTON MOUNTAIN ROAD

Sexton Mountain Road was a development of comfortable homes named for the street leading up to an unimpressive bluff called Sexton Mountain. The sign was in good shape, without any vandalism. This was intriguing because I remembered when this sign was created. The letters spelling out the name were made of individual pieces of wood attached to the brick backdrop. Thieves thought it great fun to steal the “T,” creating a message that made the prurient giggle:

SEX ON MOUNTAIN ROAD

The Operations Department in our city was responsible for maintaining signs, and replaced the “T” dozens of times. These letters always disappeared. They were eventually replaced with painted letters that couldn’t be stolen. Taggers wasted little time painting out the “T.” The poor fellows at Ops were constantly sent to repaint the “T,” but the problem persisted.

A police car was dispatched to persuade vandals to keep their spray cans away from the sign but the cops could never apprehend anyone in the act of vandalizing the sign. It was as if the taggers had an informant at City Hall warning them when a squad car was near. One tagger did more than paint out the letter “T.” He was skillful enough to execute a trompe l’oeil painting, clever enough to fool the eye; not only was the letter painted out but the tagger skillfully recreated the bricks beneath the letter to hide the fact that it had ever been there.

Mrs. Chatterbox worked for our city’s Operations Department at the time; she told me the city was going to repaint the sign and shield it with a sheet of bullet-proof plastic. And so they did, but the plastic vanished after a few days, along with the freshly restored letter “T.” Residents of our city gave up on a solution being found for this problem and began referring to the street as SEX ON MOUNTAIN ROAD.

As I sat there staring at the sign, my fingers itching, I was distracted by fond memories. Drives at midnight. Excuses to utilize my artistic skills and play with pompous concepts like trompe l’oeil. Yes, those were the days. Interesting that the sign was now left alone, with no one sullying it with wanton acts of disobedience.

But then I didn’t live in the neighborhood anymore.

Stephen - The Chubby Chatterbox

Stephen - The Chubby Chatterbox

Visit Stephen Hayes’ blog Chubby Chatterbox for excerpts from Hayes’ memoir The Kid in the Kaleidoscope, a collection of observations about growing up in the Fifties, Sixties and beyond. The Chubby Chatterbox is an unabashedly sentimental journey seen through the eyes of an artist, traveler and world-class screw-up.

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