Benji and the High Life

I looked out my office window and this is what I saw.

“Benji!” I yelled.  “What are you doing up there?  Have you forgotten already?”

“What’s that Sue?”

“Have you forgotten how I had to rescue you from the top of the dryer just last week?”

“You didn’t have to rescue me then,” he replied,  “and you certainly don’t have to rescue me now.  I’m quite capable of getting down by myself.”

“Well it’s a good thing Benji because Bob isn’t home and there’s no way I can reach that high!!”

“You don’t have to get so worked up about it, Sue.  I can get down – just watch me.”

And with that he walked across the top of the R Pod and down the rounded front dropping to the spare tire below.

“Fine, Benji, you got down. But please don’t go up there again or you may lose your outside privileges.”

“Sure Sue. Sorry about that. Whatever you say.”

“That’s better Benji. Now what are you looking at?”

“Oh nothing Sue.  Just doing a little planning for later.”

“Okay Benji, time to come in.”

~  Susanne and Benji

A Stop by Bisbee in Blue and Yellow

On one of our trips to Tucson, Arizona we drove south to the old mining town of Bisbee just past Tombstone near the border with Mexico.  Founded in 1880 and known as the ‘Queen of the Copper Camps,’  Bisbee was once a thriving town driven by a booming mining industry of copper, silver, and gold.  But after nearly a century of mining the mineral reserves were depleted and when mining operations closed, the city of Bisbee fell into decline.  Fortunately efforts were taken to preserve the historic downtown and artists moved into the area making it a fun place to visit  (though it’s off the beaten path, I grant you.)

I say all this to show you the photos I took on the outskirts of town as I thought they would do nicely for Cees Fun Foto Challenge,  Blue and Yellow.

~ Susanne

Getting Comfortable in the New Chair

No, not me.

Happy Monday from Benji.

~ Susanne

Hummingbirds in the Garden

After weeks of rain we finally woke to clear skies and sunshine and I headed out back to catch the sunrise in the garden.

While thus loitering in my bathrobe a male Anna’s Hummingbird showed up ready for breakfast quite unafraid. Excited, I snapped his picture using the Automatic Exposure mode on my fancy (to me) camera.

Now it so happens I’m taking a photography class and should be practicing the Manual Exposure mode. And it also happens that the instructor recently showed us pictures he’d taken of hummingbirds, along with the manual settings he’d used.  I knew the hummers would be there a while so I ran inside to refer to my notes – there’s no time like the present to practice.

A whiz. A blur. A flash of color. Swoop. Hover. Drink. Soar. Return.

It was satisfying.

Not that I won’t use automatic mode again. Learning can be slow and it’s always easier to stay with what’s fast and familiar. But I do want to understand how it works and what my choices are, and when I might want to do something differently; so that setting aperture, shutter speed and ISO become second nature.  The class is helping with that.

In the meantime what could be better than practicing on hummingbirds in your garden?

~ Susanne

Other Blogs: Part Two

Thanks Pete for including me in your list! I enjoy your blog and appreciate the support you provide to other bloggers!


This continues my recommendation of other blogs that I follow. If any of them sound like something you would enjoy, then please follow a link and read a couple of posts. I know that some of you will already be followers, so this is mainly intended for my most recent followers and readers.

For some insight into world-wide politics from an American perspective. An intelligent and well-balanced look at many hot topics, from a retired educator in Mississippi.
Chuq, at

Travels around some of the most scenic parts of America, as well as the Pacific North West on her doorstep. Lovingly documented and photographed by cat-lover Susanne.

A Greek perspective on Europe; Art, History, Sculpture, Watercolour paintings, and photos to make you wish you were on holiday. Marina’s blog is always diverse, and fascinating too.

Someone who doesn’t mind roughing it, on her world-wide travels with…

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The Rain, the Park and Other Things

I’m borrowing the title for this post because it fits and if you don’t know it’s a song that’s okay too –  I guess I’m showing my age.

It’s been a rainy week in the Great Northwest but what else can you expect in January?

Well, snow for one – see how pretty it was last year? – but none in the forecast so far.

Despite the rain Bob suggested we go for  a walk earlier this week – “we can’t let the rain stop us dear” – and off we went to Coulon Park in rain coats with umbrellas in hand.  Lucky for us it slowed down to a drizzle and umbrellas weren’t needed after all. And despite the odds we enjoyed bursts of color on our rainy day walk.

Such as the red twig dogwood, my favorite winter shrub.

And the stony walkers, who were still dressed up in their (wet) Christmas clothes.

And of course the sailboats, one willing to shed its covering to show us a pretty shade of green.

To top it off,  a bald eagle soared over the lake though I didn’t get a picture that day.

But on the next day’s walk in the park (still raining), the eagle landed on a piling long enough for me to get a picture.

‘Look over here,’ I said, ‘I can’t see your face.’

And he did.

A bit blurry I know. He was too far away and I don’t have enough ‘zoom’ to get a clear shot for you – though it could be my photography skills  – still working on that.

Still I can’t complain.

~ Susanne

The Distress Call

Cats talk.  Really, they do. With their eyes. With their tail. And with their voice. This morning Benji used his voice to issue the distress call, not urgently but definitely.

I wandered around the house looking for him but he was not in the usual places.  Not by the door wanting out (different voice.)  Not on the landing, where he was singing, earlier in the day.

The doors inside the house were open so I hadn’t accidentally shut him into a room. It was quiet now but I’d heard the call and continued looking.  Hadn’t I cat-proofed the house enough by now?

I went downstairs to the laundry room/bathroom/cat box room and there he was.  Near the ceiling.  On top of the stacked washer and dryer.  The gap behind was deep and wide enough for him to fall into.

He must have jumped to the top of the dryer from the sink and should have been able to jump back down the same way.  He likely knew he wasn’t supposed to be there and called for help just in case.  I climbed onto the toilet seat, reached up and brought him down, grateful he hadn’t taken an inquisitive or accidental plunge behind. I can’t imagine the hassle of trying to get him out of there if he’d fallen. Makes me shudder.

My husband assured me our smart Benji was quite able to get down without my assistance (probably true) but has since sealed off the area to prevent any possible mishaps.  All is well.

~ Susanne

A Rainy Day at Historic Balboa Park

It never rains in San Diego except when it does. Fortunately we’d already planned to spend the day at Balboa Park where we could hide in museums when necessary. So I left Bob at the Air and Space Museum and roamed among the gardens and grounds taking pictures of the historic buildings under gray and cloudy skies.

A Bit of History

The land on which Balboa Park sits was first set aside for public use in 1835 when it was Mexican territory.  After the Mexican-American War the land was ceded to the United States, and shortly thereafter California became a state in 1850.   San Diego’s  ‘City Park’ remained largely undeveloped until plans were laid in 1909 to hold the Panama-California Exposition to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal. City Park was renamed Balboa Park and the Exposition opened in 1915 and ran through the end of 1916.

The Architecture

Many of the Spanish-Renaissance style buildings built for the Exposition still exist along Balboa Park’s famous El Prado walkway and this is where I spent most of my time camera in hand. The day was rainy and gray and I admit to enhancing the photos to bring them into a better world of light and color.

Below is the Plaza de Panama Fountain, which I got carried away with in the second photo (still, nobody got hurt.)

The California Building with its 200 foot Tower and Dome, is one of the most iconic landmarks in San Diego. The building houses the San Diego Museum of Man but I didn’t go in, preferring to continue walking the lovely grounds, rain or not.

I did however enter the Botanic Building which houses ferns, palms and other tropical plants and is one of the largest lath structures in the world.

This Pitcher Plant hanging inside was both beautiful and beguiling and ready to catch any tasty insects that might happen by.

Back outside I came across the Park’s landmark Moreton Bay Fig tree, over 60 feet tall with a spread of 120 feet.

Planted before the 1915 Exposition, It looks more like it belongs in Jurassic Park.

After lunch I continued my walk (16,000 steps according to Fitbit!) until the rain picked up and I ducked into the Natural History Museum where I saw the usual fossils, dinosaur bones and pretty rocks. Soon afterwards I met up with Bob who’d spent all his time in just two museums, Air and Space, and Automotive. (His attention span is longer than mine.)

There was still much more to see and do but by then we were tired and ready to move on.  Kind of like me, right now.  But before I close I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the world-famous San Diego Zoo which also makes its home in Balboa Park.  We opted to pass on it this time (I know, I know) but we did visit the zoo a few years earlier where I took this picture of a happy Panda.

Maybe next time.

~ Susanne

Home is Where the Catnip Is

It’s good to be back in the Great Northwest and to celebrate I opened the box where the catnip is stored. Benji dove in and found it a suitable resting place.

~ Susanne and Benji

Postcards from San Diego

We finally got the blue skies and sunshine one expects in San Diego (it rained yesterday while we hid in the museums at Balboa Park) so on this first day of 2019 we headed over to Coronado Island, home to Coronado Beach and the Hotel del Coronado, made famous in the classic film, “Some Like it Hot” – remember that one?

Temperatures were only in the low sixties but it was perfect for a walk on the beach and toes in the water.

We also swung by the hotel just to say we had.

It’s been a wonderful time in Southern California but I won’t be sorry to go home in a few days where I hope these two boys will be waiting and happy and forgiving.

Until then, Happy New Year!

– Susanne

The Mountain

On our recent flight to southern California I made sure to book seats on the left side of the plane in hopes of getting close up views of that most beautiful mountain. My husband graciously forfeited the window seat and shortly after takeoff Mt Rainier came into view.

Mission accomplished.

– Susanne

Still on break

And in repose.

Just like Benji.

– Susanne

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