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November 15, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Eye see, but not

dog Malamute eye. (Image: © All rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

The wisdom of the Malamute  (Image: ©)

Practice pays off. Act perfected. Guilt brings rewards big time.

The limp draping on the couch,

The lack of interest if the cat marches up and paw sorts my food bowl as she examines it to see if anything looks interesting .

The deep sighs.

Staff is still only showing up periodically. And then it’s a frenzy of laundry, frantic house pickup, and coordinating lists for groceries and what must be done in a short period of time.

RC Cat oddly seems awfully tolerant of the extended staffing loan – She simply shrugs and says she has 14 years of training invested in this one and is simply too busy to start over with another…beside there’s all the extra treats and freshening of mouses.

I, Molly Malamute, misunderstood the last part. Staff seemed so excited when I rounded up that backyard live one and dispatched it with one giant paw stomp. RC smirked “fresh kill” isn’t what she meant (although the cat did look rather longingly at my welcome home gift for Staff.)

But paws up for “Outdoor adventure for Molly” being at the top of each weekend’s list of things to do.

Here’s a few pictures of last weekend’s outing along Pine Gully Trail.

Pine Gully Trail. Fall color with tallow tree (Image: All rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

You can tell it’s fall  by the drying grasses and the tallow trees turning red. Tallow trees, not indigenous to this area, have naturalized and are plentiful. Tallow trees are also on the list  of 24 ” Noxious and Invasive Plants” which are illegal to sell, distribute or import into Texas. Figures. Tree outlaws.(Image: ©)

Plants. Pyracantha berries. (Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Looks like the birds’ grocery store is well stocked with berries for the winter. Interesting that birds brake for red, too.(Image: © )

Wild flowers at Pine Gully. Lantana with monarch butterfly. (Image: all rights reserved. Copyrighted, No permissions granted)

All the storm rains and warm weather have nourished tangles of wild flowers – a welcomed sight for the monarch butterflies who have paused to gain strength before taking flight across the Gulf to their winter habitats in Mexico.  There were blankets of butterflies but most were too busy to stick around long for portraits. (Image:© )

Wild flowers at the edge of Galveston Bay/ Pine Gully area (Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Looks like some wild flowers, wild about the view, were first in line for the standing room only spots here at the edge of Galveston Bay. The concrete lumps just past them were placed there as a breakwater to prevent wave action erosion. There’s a very, very big drop down to the water. No sandy beach here, but there is a long public fishing pier that is closed right now for repairs from Hurricane Harvey. (Image:© )

Sea serpent or dragon made from recycled tires and materials on the Pine Gully playground (Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Not dragon, see serpent. If  you don’t feel like fishing, there’s a fabulous playground that issues invitations to all ages. If you squint at the horizon at the end of the sea serpent ‘s tail, you can see a tanker traveling up the Houston Ship Channel. (Image: ©)

Sundial at Pine Gully park (Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

And what’s this? (Image: ©)

Oh, step up and read the instructions . (Image: copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Oh, there’s always some smartie who  insists on reading the instructions. Sheds light on things.(Image: © )

Pine Gully's history. (Image :© copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Pine Gully is a historical area and there have been several archaeological digs here. Some of the areas where we used to let dogs wade in the water and run along the gully’s sandy shores are now under state protection with trespassing forbidden. The area has been reestablished as coastal wetlands with maintained trails. You know what is weird though? Indigenous. Sort of like “those who were here before you got here”. There were earlier people than the Karankawa although those were considered “indigenous people” by the Spanish. There was that land bridge across to Alaska that was traveled – so exactly how long does a group of people have to inhabit an area to stop being immigrants and become indigenous? You ever wonder about that? Silly, I know. But Molly Malamute is descended from European wolf stock that wandered across to here – not North American wolf ancestors..she’s indigenous by ancestry and time served?  Doggone it. The Tallow trees would like to know.They have bark, too. (Image :© )

Middle path of Pine Gully. (Image:© copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Happy trails to you. Eye seen naught. Me, moping Molly Malamute, will have to settle in and wait until the weekend to feel happy again when Staff makes another appearance. (Image: © )

PS. If you’d like to see more of Pine Gully Trail and how the area has changed/been affected by humans as well as several hurricanes and storms, click here to see a list of other Pine Gully posts and pictures since 2012.





November 10, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Crocodile tears and later, gators

Wetlands and waterway, near Butler Museum/Clear Lake, TX (Image © all rights reserved, copyrighted no permissions granted)

Wetlands on a warm fall afternoon. Hard to believe Hurricane Harvey stormed right across here. (“Molly stay out of that water! Could be gators!”) (Image © )

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes. 

(Finally. An affordable, yet effective diet.)

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

(Contrary to the psychobabble that life’s baggage is always a drag.)

Common sense is genius in its working clothes.


What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.

Thoughts by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nothing like hanging out with a couple of big dogs and a kid discovering what feet are for to go back to seeing the world as all new and they way it should be.

And tearful apologies for being such slacker and not responding to comments or visiting blogs, but running to keep up here…Oh, OK, maybe not wailing and wringing hands over lack of computer time (’cause I’m one of those odd people who think little kids should be exploring, sitting in dirt, and outside if possible instead of in front of any kind of screen…but, yes, texting withdrawal is brutal.), but it is a sincere apology.

Hope Santa gets my request to hitch a ride to my rooftop with him….RC Cat is sooo not amused. The emailed images of a depressed, moping, heartbroken malamute Molly have a certain HRH’s paw prints all over them…..Being catty, RC was never one to avoid guilt tripping staff.

A closing thought “Without electricity, air would rot.”

RC Cat always claims this is her favorite Emerson quote, but we wonder at her interpretation of it.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Portait of cat with queenly ruffle. . Painting "The Widow. 1861-1897 by Dielman,1847-1935. Boston Lib./, reprod of PD art/

“No, We are not amused. The cat grass is limp and dying. It is not being rotated. Do not trifle with Us. Remember, We know where your shoes reside. I am RC Cat and I approve this threat message.”


November 2, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

The Day the Earth Stood Still-ish

The day after is always unpredictable.

It was supposed to be just for the night. Became a Werewolf for Holler-Ring and now won’t can’t switch back…or so said.

dog. Malamute at window on Halloween. Image: ©All rights reserved, no permissions granted, copyrighted)

I see that grin, Molly. Pack it up until next year. (Image: ©)

Finally as many grins as yawns in Houston now that the baseball World’s Series is over. Maybe everyone will be able to get some sleep. Sleep deprivation can be regional only explanation for a lot of really ugly T-shirts being purchased as we speak.

(Getting the product out while people are vulnerable by bleariness eager to hang on to the experience’s exuberance and camaraderie is more important than product design, right? HaHa)

As the Houston mayor says, sports is one thing that unifies people in this city.  That and floods and food neither of which are probably recommended by health organizations.)

Well done, Astros. Not sure about the “Earned History” logo, but certainly a place in baseball history now achieved.

German Shepherd in dragon Halloween costume. Image: ©all rights reserved, no permissions granted, copyrighted )

Do these make me look fat?(Image: ©)

German Shepherd as dragon for Halloween. All rights reserved, no permissions granted, copyrighted)

Neither rain, nor dark, nor dragon wings shall deter a German Shepherd from her appointed job. That foolish trainee Ella took a personal day/night off…must have a chat with that young dog. (Image ©)

Oh FYI, The German was paws up for donning Game of Thrones’ dragon wings. Of course she insisted on escorting Person’s toddling offspring – now called Mohawk Wu…it’s the wild hair thing. Besides that’s a pretty good nickname for middle school, right?

Still assisting the German and her trainee Ella in Realm management for a bit longer. Person’s arm is healing, but the chaos is probably standard with or without damaged appendage. There’s always something. Talk about unpredictable: this isn’t exactly the weight loss/body building program I had anticipated.

Yawns at the dawning (and it’s anything but still around here)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

dog at window on Halloween. Image:© all rights reserved, no permissions granted, copyrighted)

“Staff isn’t here, so she can’t say no…Ignore the nibbled windowsill – Blame it on the Werewolf of Holler-ring or Cross Quarter Day.”(Image: ©)


October 31, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Gentleman mist missed

Shadows. (Image:© all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

It’s right there: what is real. But are they shadows or are we? (Image ©)

Dogs can tell. Whether the one in front of them is OK or not.

I never worried about him – the vague gentleman in the grey at the end of my bed as a child.

After all they teach you that song from Hansel and Gretel in school and all.

I just figured maybe he was one of them.

The quiet man of misty grey at the end of my bed never said a word. Maybe offered a small smile and a finger to the lips signaling “hush” or signed that I was to go to sleep. But that was it.

 A lot of what grownups do seems like magic. Kids are simply along for the ride.
He always made the room feel warm and safe.
In later years, there was rarely a glimpse of him – except once in a while when I was someplace a little risky. I’d feel a sudden chill and notice him standing by the exit nodding his head towards the door. Usually I left. Something just wasn’t right.
But called it survival instinct, or Universal Consciousness, or just “tired and ready to go.” Never the veil being thin.
As we closed up the house after my dad died, we went through piles of old family pictures.
Lots of laughs those: swim suits that looks more like ski underwear, ornate baby carriages, little toddler boys in dresses for portraits, Beatle bangs, go-go boots, massive bell bottoms. Generations of costumes, I mean, fashionable attire.
Then one old faded photo flipped out in front of me.
There he was: the faded grey man at the foot of my bed now smiling up at me.
Totally unknown and never seen before.
Some many great great greats uncle from the Civil War era. His name barely legible in the ornate old ink on the back.
Swear he winked.
Dad used to say, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio.” (Shakespeare/Hamlet)
A soft smile back at them both.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
When the days grow short and the winds unsettle, it’s time to sit close to a fire and tell tales.
I’ve offered a few past experiences. 
Make of them what you will.
  • Life on the way out. (2016) “People are always stopping by on their way out. If you’ve grown up around really old people, you know they do what they want…”
  • Dark, stormy, and spooky. Mommy! (2015) “Again. Standing at the back door. Completely dressed. Neatly. She couldn’t have managed all those buttons herself. What’s with that child?…”

Spooky fiction with a twist:

  • Beside her. (2012) “A light touch. Or was it….”
  • Dark and stormy night (more than two sentences) (2013) “It was a dark and stormy night.(She always thought Snoopy as a writer was underrated.) No way they could force her out now. Not with this downpour. They know she’d fight the only way she could: dead weight…”
Woman posed in Halloween costume. Actress Marjorie Peterson, The Tattler, March 1922 (USPD., artist life/

Wishing you a safe and happy Holler-Ring.(USPD/

October 23, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

You too, deus?

Fancy costumed squirrel. Tommy Tucker, tame Eastern gray squirrel who visited hospitals, entertained children and supported the war effort. Time, Inc. Nina Leen/Life mag. 1944/USPD artist life,, Commons.Wikimedia,org

Yes, I am feeling a little squirrely.Blame October.(USPD/Commons.Wikimedia)

Who doesn’t want happy trails – with a side order of coconut shrimp?

Deus ex machina seems to be getting the nod more recently.

The hard-working blue-collar guy wearily leaps into his trusty vehicle (It’s a pickup, off course – a Texas truck commercial) and drives off after a long day’s work. The background is Galveston’s wharf and dock area with a couple of jack-up rigs parked near the ship yard on the flat coastal plains. He’s obviously headed home. But  look at the last few frames: the truck is zipping through a far west Texas landscape of hills and mountains.

Whew. That’s a heck of a long commute. (Longer than a full day forced march at NASCAR speeds with only stopping for bathroom when you get gas and you’d better be fast ’cause I’m getting back on the road, in case the distance is unfamiliar.)

Magic. Scenic picture worth a thousand sales, I guess.

Been feeling a bit woozy recently from the messaging whiplash?

It’s probably just October. 

What I want to know is who decided? Was there a memo? A vote?

Who is the Calendar Girl or Czar of Days who decided what gets celebrated each month?

Or did just a miracle occur and  a list was handed down by a burning bush.

It’s nuts. 

October is Hispanic Heritage Month?

There’s a lot of conflicts from established October celebrations

  • The big Orthodox Greek Festival, the Italian Festival, and the Egyptian Festival.
  • Raise one up for Oktoberfest! Sail on for the Harvest Moon.
  • Of course, the elementary schools’ Boo Bashes, Spaghetti dinners, and Fall carnivals.
  • Both Halloween and Día de los Muertos.(which is not Mexican Halloween, seriously, people) haunt the end of the month
  • Suddenly there’s a ton of TV commercials declaring Oct. is LGBT History Month. Although President Clinton declared June “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month”( 2000)  and President Barack Obama declared reinforced  June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (2009).

See? Bonkers. October celebration overload. 

Soon to rival November and December who seem to be so jealous of October getting so much attention they are shoving themselves into the public eye earlier and earlier.

Will there be a new reality show “When Holidays Attack”?

Party exhaustion danger could be imminent. 

Balloon companies, banner makers, Bouncy house rentals, and decoration stores can hardly keep up: there isn’t enough room on the shelves!

Restaurants can’t keep their menus in the trend.

Is there such a thing as too much recognition?

Up for debate.

Meanwhile, lunch? Pizza, gyros, tacos, or coconut shrimp?

You’re not you if you’re hungry, they say.

Hey, maybe that’s the reason for the party crowd: need ready festival food to keep sports rolling through falls. (it can’t be called junk food if it’s a festival, right?)

I’m willing to suspend disbelief if you are.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Sunset. Italy. October. (Image ©.All rights reserved. Copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Just pretend and you’re there. (Image ©.)







October 18, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Not dragon

Dragon inflatable Halloween decoration. (Image ©. All rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

No, not a Game of Thrones promo. Molly Malamute insists she posed for the artist. Honestly, some in the neighborhood truly believe this is her alter ego. We try not to encourage her.(Image ©)

Halloween is like dragons: they have to exist. Keeps society orderly.

Not child’s play; serious bucks made (and pounds added – on both sides of the pond).

Construction paper pumpkins and damp bleeding orange or black crepe paper do not qualify as Halloween decorations any more.

Oh, Ok some cool science teachers back then had fog on their porches from cauldrons or tombstones hiding dry ice, but elementary school art projects were de rigueur for home holiday decor.

Of course, there was always the artistic mom on the block who went all out. (And we all wished she was ours.)

Somewhere some graduate student’s thesis seriously discusses “The Influence and Relevancy of U.S. Political and Economic Movements on Halloween Yard Decorations.” 

From simple pumpkins, to painted plywood cutouts, to plastic skeleton limbs crawling out of witty tombstones in flowerbeds, to inflatables that make yards look like a horror of tossed laundry during daylight hours.

Recently, strings of repurposed Christmas lights are currently stretching to limits. (Try and convince a kid that replacing the Christmas bulbs with orange ones is just as good purchasing the new strings in the Halloween aisles. “It’s recycling. Good, right? No, not just cheap, but we do need to watch the budget right now…”)

This  year hauntings’ cutting edge seems to be arachnophobia with giant fuzzy spiders with glowing red eyes in large stretchy webs. (Reflections of “what a tangled web we weave” these days?)

Early Halloween decoration after Hurricane HArvey (Tessie Rose Bailey/click2houston)

One hurricane victim who normally puts up a big Halloween display decided you might as laugh and roll with it. More photos and her story here. (T.R.Bailey)

Costumes seem to be shelving the old, too.

A simple bed sheet with eye holes cut out won’t float a modern ghost.

Not to mention the necessity of checking with intellectual non-traditional Halloweenists about appropriateness of a costume choice.

In any case, as with yard decorations, if it costs more, it’s better.

This Halloween will put a stake into the hearts of many here as a beloved institution, Frankel’s Costume Co., is staging its’ final act.

It would be difficult to find a native Houstonian who hadn’t searched those bins for any event requiring first class costume attire or props from Cub Scouts to mega churches’ Christmas or Easter performances. Renaissance Festival? They’ve got your Henry. Mardi Gras rolls year round.

The final chapter is understandable as the owners are well into their 70’s, the younger generations have now gone in other directions, and a developer finally made an offer they couldn’t refuse for the now valuable location.

“”Lonnie and I always said that we were just two kids making a movie,” Mrs. Frankel says. “Now it is time for a change of scenery.”

Best wishes to them after the final curtain call. Thanks for years of Wonderland.

Frankel’s assisted so many with the chance to be their dreams or nightmares – if only for one night.

Great spirits passing into legends just like dragons.

More real than you can know.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge




October 16, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Horror’s building. Requesting A.R.F.S..

Where did they come from? What do they want?

One can only wonder what the future brings if the infestation spreads – across towns – across seasons.

Not so easily brushed off, this new October menace must be taken seriously, so I, The German, am sounding the alarm to RC Cat and her Realm. Plus I need a favor and am counting on this alert making HRH feel a tad indebted.

Spooky Spider web Halloween decoration in window. (Image ©. All rights reserved, no permissions granted, copyrighted)

Will the glass be strong enough to hold them? (Image ©)

These creatures more frightening to Germans Shepherds than kneeling Santas! Totally creepy. And the threat is growing.

Yet, as RC of the Northern Realm, I bravely make daily reconnaissance to monitor this new October Menace.

Hoping to discover what meshes with their habits of gloomy drapery.

Perhaps these spindly invaders are the reason fewer ragged orphans are staking their hopes in this area. The somber mood just too dark to stick around.

It appears some of the unfortunates who fled the Chick-a-among-us got over their embarrassments of their blemishes and Zitkas and were able to blend in enough to be accepted by the local school, a solid place which welcomes diversity. These little migrants look so happy with their new lifestyle.

Hopefully the school’s sturdy iron fencing is strong enough to keep all safe from being draped in a terrible Fall of web.

Halloween scarecrows outside a red brick school (Image©. ALL rights reserved, no permissions granted, Copyrighted)

Olly Olly oxen free. Big old bugs you can’t get me!(Image.©)

The stringy infestation is so feared that even the Orange Vegetable Invaders are crowding homeowners’ gates offering their services in exchange for protection against the crawling fuzzy monsters.

Pumpkins at iron gate (Image ©. all rights reserved, no permissions granted, copyrighted)

Let us in or we’ll get mushy and the blame will be all on you.(Image ©)

Oh, RC Cat, I must tell you. Each day the webs grow more and common. Beware!

Perhaps Molly Malamute and Bob can devise a counter attack plan. They both have bite and would not be deterred by those red glowing eyes.

That would keep them busy so you, Oh, Great RC Cat of the Realm, might be kind enough assist my realm.

A small request. Please grant an A.R.F.S. (A Release For Staff) as quickly as possible.

Only temporarily

My Person broke her arm and her Short Dynamo is furniture surfing at warp speed anyway.

Without thumbs, it is difficult to grasp things. 

It is difficult for me to manage the herding, much less the filling of water bowls – mine or anyone else’s.

Also wearying is the fact that I can just throw myself under him so many times as he bails wildly off the couch.

And he thinks my tail is a some sort of ski tow rope. Not that a tiny tugger is painful to a sturdy German Shepherd such as I, but it is a bad habit. I fret he will eventually consider strapping on some sort of wheels and want a pull-a-long down the sidewalk.

In addition, he’s learned how knees work is attempting the stairs. My teeth can only grasp the back of his shirt for short periods – and that does limit my ability to bark warnings to My helpless injured Person of the his latest fleet feat.

The German exhausted on the floor. Germans Shepherd image ©. All rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Four legs outmatched by two. How is that even possible?(image ©)

Honestly, RC Cat, I am so weary. Even my ears are tired.

My young trainee, Ella, is no help. I get the impression that she thinks it is all great fun. I even thought I overheard her suggesting to the Short One that they should both sneak up to the window and try to startle the Black Creatures of the Grey Looney Web. Antagonizing something without any idea of the potential retaliation? Sigh.

Dealing not only with a sticky fingered whirlwind, but this growing Web of Concern as Holler-Ring approaches.

So humbly, I beg of you. Please loan me relief staff.

I promise Ella and I will assist with clean up of small face, fingers, high chairs, and floors under the food tray at every meal time.

Staff shall be guarded from all October Invaders: orange or thready, great or small.

(Ella, now! Puppy bow as you have never before! Stretch out those front paws. Chin to ground. Tail stretched high. We must impress RC Cat how we understand protocol – how grateful we would be.

We shall send tuna and salmon tributes! Amazon delivers, right?)

Ella German Shepherd on rug. (Image ©. all rights reserved, no permissions granted, copyrighted)

Hey, Ella here. Can we order some Greenies for us, too? Blame it on the kid? (Image ©)

In return I shall scrutinize the fuzzy Creatures of the Web and investigate control measures for this newest October pest.

Somewhere there is a thread of thought on how to combat them. I shall unravel their mysteries and report back to you.

Halloween spider decorations on house. (Image ©. no permissions granted, all rights reserved, Copyrighted)

Gads, they are everywhere. Two sneaky invaders are beginning to weave their horror. (Image ©)

We wait in hope.

The German

The German has paws working for peace. Image © All rights reserved. no permissions granted. copyrighted

Paws for peace.©






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