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January 18, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Dirt bags

You can try mending rocky things, but as with the Frost, well, you can only fence for so long.

Grumbling. Still dealing with dirt.

Clods, those disgruntled insolubles, always seem to remain.

Two parked front end loaders. LoC (Lowe) HALS/USPD: Nat.Parks Service employee/

Why is this scary? We caught the cat looking at these on Amazon. She was much too near the credit cards. Luckily she hasn’t completely mastered human speech or else Amazon Echo Alexa would be shipping them already. (USPD/

Like it or not, eventually you have to replace the stupid, uneven backyard fence and deal with the mess left.

The last excess dirt mound has been reduced enough to allow HRH RC Cat to sit on her sunny indoor window ledge without having her view totally obstructed, but…

Can’t tell you of the grumpy grimaces through the screen that she takes for encouraging more rapid action.

We also suspect she’s been purring subliminal messages into our ears at night to reinforce the guilt of not completing the task.

If it was only useable dirt, but no. A jumbled mix of concrete lumps, clumps of sticky clay-like gumbo, and assorted unidentified objects among the original yard fill.

Worse, some of it stinks horribly and there’s no way that stench getting scattered on lawn or flower beds.

Yep, that’s the picture: me on hands and knees carefully sorting and grouping dirt – with occasional sniffing required. OSHA probably would not approve.

But, hey, saving the cost of expensive mud baths with the daily 70-80% chance of rain.

woman crouched on dirt with shovel. 1963.( National Geo. Society. Smithsonian archives. Acc.90-105.Flickr/, no known restrictions/

Oh, yea! A hands-on game of hide and seek. How delightful the fence guys thought to bury concrete scraps in the leftover dirt. A solid treasure hunt! (USPD/

Growing weary of the fun, we are getting creative with dirt removal ideas. A few options:

  1. Sneak small amounts of unwanted dirt into the garbage pick up over time using ice cream cartons, oatmeal containers, or large cereal boxes.
  2. Wrap it up in leftover Amazon shipping boxes and call FedEx.
  3. Shape the gumbo into  primitive sculptures like the Statue of Liberty, garden gnomes, or bears. Then call them folk art for flea markets or craft shows.
  4. Mold fist-size nuggets, buy cans of shiny metallic gold paint, and set the painted clods out by the curb. No doubt these will be instantly claimed by small children, landscapers, or interior decorators.

Any suggestions?

If we don’t get rid of the stuff soon, we might as well plan on plowing the kitchen floor for a spring garden with all the tracked in dirt.

Clodhoppers aren’t just kicking’ for farmers anymore.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

And the area’s flooding again. Bayou out of banks. People stuck in cars. (Wonder if I should bother putting recycling bin out?) Waiting to see if it’s just a few hours event or an early Spring flood. Spring usually starts making appearances after Valentines Day though.  Just another La niña winter. 

Boy carrying lumpy bag. 1940 WPA youth. (NARA/ USPD. created by US agency,

Hey, just in time. Yes, it’s garbage – heavy garbage. You’re wearing steel-toed shoes, right? (USPD/



January 16, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

It’s her fault

It’s the Queen’s fault.

Why I was forced to wear closed toe shoes in a big crowd.

Why I answered the phone with “To whom do you wish to speak.”

Why I still automatically  check to see if there’s anything stuck between front teeth after a meal.

Stupid being proper.

Blame Elizabeth II.

Glamorous movie star Clara Bow in backless dress. 1922-35. Bain New Service. LOC/USPD/, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.oerg

Dress would not meet wardrobe guidelines By either of them.(USPD/

You see, HRH and my mom could be mistaken for twins. Seriously.

Same facial expressions – of frowns and grins. Those eyes: bright approval or grim tolerance. The shoulders.. The way that purse is grasp.

I really didn’t notice until an in-law said when watching some interview,  “Hey, she looks just like your mom.”

The simple unconscious mannerisms. Some ancient DNA coding making long distance calls.


As the Queen ages, I see more and more mirror images of Mom who really would have been the older sister.

It wouldn’t be appropriate to call her Liz, though.

Even if cousins – distant cousins, true, as we’re so far apart.

We didn’t expect invitations to the weddings.

We did stop by her house one year, but she was out which was OK as we hadn’t called ahead.

Dropping by unannounced would have frowned on.

By both of them.

I don’t post family pictures, so you can’t see for yourself.

You’ll have to just take my word for the twinsie-ness.

I was there. I know. Stored all the images of both in memory.

Confused woman holding hands with cowboy. 1919. Sunset pictures/Triangle Picture. (

“Honey, think hard and concentrate. You will remember. Skunks, prickly pear, and presidential elections leave their marks. (USPD/

You know maybe the Facebook and Twitter generation are just looking down the road – for when memories fail – with all their selfies stored in data clouds’ deep freeze memory 

Almost every moment and detail of their lives will be ready to stream into their nursing homes.

To refresh their thoughts.

Bet the old folks’ home staff will be busy.

Responding repeatedly to their charges’ questions of “Who are those loud people and why are they in my room?”

And scolding agitated residents who continually throw stuff at the chatty “windows” on the wall. “If you break one more screen, we’ll tie you down. You know your family wants those pictures playing up there for your enjoyment.”

A laugh, a sigh, and a royal imitation of the wave bye-bye.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Pretty in Pink. Queen Elizabeth II on Royal Navy Carrier. 2015. Image: Joel Rouse/Ministry of Defense. (

Mom? Oh, just Queen Elizabeth II. Reasonable facsimile.(Rouse/Ministry of Defense/





January 13, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Back drafts. Dangerous litter.

Scratching through old stuff can be risky.

Odd unrecognizable things surface. Awkward.

Not “well seasoned”. Only old petrified dumps of ideas buried in blog post drafts.

People in flower faces at a piano. (1876. Count Franz Pocci's Viola Tri Color.(

Play along. You’ll see what the cat’s dragged in.(USPD/

Simple over looked? A little amusing as so many ideas coming out of the blue.

Of course, it would help if those interpreting the blue were well grounded in reality and how the average person sees things.

Despite the thought that artist are supposed to know the best way to depict things, Cedar Park City Council has waved the flag and is considering a do-over. (Read about the city flag controversy here)

Hope the artist’s feelings aren’t hurt.

Cedar Park's flag with blue and green bands divided by 3 wite X's (

Welcoming? Maybe it’s an I chart.

Artist and sports figures breath rarefied air…and maybe from lack of oxygen get a little loopy with decision-making?

Take Johnny Manzel, former lauded football genius and NFL player will be at the Superbowl. Not playing, but selling his script – for a heft price.

Surely his agents will insist on a big sign to prevent the awkward “Who?”.

Wonder if there will be associates with nets – oh, it’s Texas. They might actually use guns instead – to eliminate any of those fancy new drones from the recent Las Vegas tech show from sneaking shots.

These new obedient little drones act a bit like a cat on an owner’s invisible leash. Actually better than a real cat.

It follows you around without tripping you. Can even locate you in a crowd if you wander off. Obediently follows directions. It happily takes videos and images for while the owner mingles and maybe actually interacts with those around him/her. All without that annoying and dangerous selfie stick!  And when done, the drone quietly fold up in small places.

Told you it was like a cat.

A cat without the mess or litter.

If you been around a cat, you know how that darn litter gets everywhere. Occasionally in places that make people uncomfortable.

woman with cat. (1901-evelyn nesbit holding cat. By Sarony. From Harvard University collection/

Definitely trouble makers: the helpful household hints blogger and, of course, the cat. (USPD/

Consider the sockie and the cops.

One minute the young guy is pulled over for a simple traffic stop. The next he stunned to be paraded as a major drug kingpin and biggest meth dealer ever arrested.

Smilie drug enforcement professionals holding a sockie. Tested twice! A sockie stuffed with meth! High quality stuff! Biggest bust ever!

Until after three days in jail…until after he finally talked with his dad…… until the big state drug testing lab confirmed….

The internet is not your friend, Dad

Wonder if a sockie full of kitty litter can control mildew in a car trunk..

You can Google it. (Or maybe the story here first.)

Enough scattering from digging through back drafts.

Time for the cat to get my tongue.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Odd crowd by Count Franz Graf Von Pocci's "Viola Tricolor" (

Committee formed in protest against free range cats. (Count Franz Graf Von Pocci/USPD/

January 11, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Back of closet

Sahllow water with floating box by bulkhead. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

We have no idea what this mystery box is. It’s been floating in and out with the tides and north winds  for weeks. We keep wondering if we’ll see it on the news: human head found floating…millions of dollars worth of cocaine found…Hey, around here, not impossible. Thought about getting a grappling hook to snag it, but, then, how to explain involvement to authorities? Some mysteries should stay mysteries.©

Don’t lie. You know they are there

The things that have dropped off the hanger. (Were they depressed and suicidal from being too long in the dark side? Or was it self-preservation to avoid the donation pile?)

The things that cling. Chocolate too good to share. Cherished clothing with too much emotion buttoned up.

Things that are hopeful. “It’s too good to discard. Besides someday maybe I can fit back into that (uttered each New Year’s Day…).”

The archaic and the forgotten: The inhabitants of the back of the closet.

Heartlessly, the door is closed on them. Lights out.

Soon another guest will check into that Hotel California.

I’ve hidden her successor. In the guest room. To be kind.

Colorful fireplace flames glowing in the dark. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Lunar landscape is so fascinating…or maybe it’s Mars. Oh, it could too be. You can see little astronauts.Squint.©

No need to be cruel.

Computers have memories, too, you know. Long ones.

Even if they are wiped with a cloth.

This computer has charged and clicked steady like a Budweiser draft horse. Dependable. Always obliging. No drama. But now no longer able to keep pace or take the updates.

I haven’t told her.

She hasn’t noticed a thing.

A bit like one of the ancient aunts who slipped into dementia cheerfully and gently. 

She always smiled. Batty as a loon, but never knew.

We wheeled all difficulties around her. Determined nothing would upset her.

So it’s like that. A new computer ready to take the stage.

Settings to be made. Files and documents to transfer.


All without stripping this lovely old gal of dignity.

While she won’t be the opening act, I’m determined she won’t suffer the long walk to the back of the closet.

She can still be open about things and play – without the pressure of keeping up.

Just been in the thick of things for too long to abandon.

Besides, she has a photo memory and knows where all the satire is kept…

With thought police and social bullies warriors these days…

And she can Google their contact info…

Slipping into the new

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

bricks making abstract strange fuzzy design. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

See. She’s held onto this just in case it fits somewhere. An odd image of bricks lining a sidewalk. Who knows why it’s so fuzzy. Could be dog hair. She always been good about just happily accepting the mystery.©






January 8, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Training thoughts


train in Houston setting. Museum of Natural Science. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted.

Get on board. Golden words around the globe. ©

Tracking Awards Shows: a few unhitched thoughts training:

  • Best overheard comment on the Houston Texans vs the Oakland Raiders’ game. “Your 72 million dollar quarterback beat our 400 thousand dollar quarterback.”
  • Best description of a dachshund: A Doberman after being cut down to size. (and is mad about it)
  • Best new snark:  WikiLeaks emails/cyber hacking situation is getting to be an awful lot like the global warming/climate change controversy with argumentative people.

Makes you just want to pack a bag and travel. Or the next best thing:

Officials from Houston’s Museum of Natural Science said “the exhibit features several trains crisscrossing the state and passing important and unique places in the state’s geology. Destinations include oil country salt domes, prairies and wetlands of the Texas coast and state and national monuments, such as Enchanted Rock, Pedernales Falls, the Balcones Escarpment and Big Bend. Along the routes to these geologic wonders, the trains also pass through Galveston, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio….”

The company and museum have been working for nine months to complete the exhibit which is open until Feb 20, 2017. Watch some of the exhibit construction process in videos here.

A good bit of math, science, technology, geography, history, and art there with those tracks.

What a schooling creating all that would be.

But you’d have to get rid of desks and textbooks to make room for train and brain.

Worth a choo and a byte

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge





January 4, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge


New bones to pick

Relics to rattle.

Shells. nature's patterns and designs ALL rights reserved. Houston Museum of NAtural Science.Copyrighted NO permissions granted.

Constructs and constructed. Noun and verb. ©

And for what?

Gain or loss.

Reeling thought less common than pop mental floss.

In the long run, a fool’s hope

That permanent means just that.

Today is today. Now is.

Wait, that’s already fled.

Wave after wave. Endlessly timed.

An archeologist peers in marveling, “Ah, new bones to pick.”

Sea shells displayed. Houston Museum of Natural Science. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

A civilized shell game: orderly, predictable, useful, artful. Now only featured leftovers in a museum.©

January 1, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Game on

Frogs. 1908 postcard of frogs in shorts bowling (USPD: pub. date, copy r.expired/

It’s says,”To continue, put another quarter in.”

Knowing the game.

And the appropriate outfit.

Critical in this age of Selfies and Tweets

Hope everyone remembered to save the instruction manual for this new year. 

Last year’s must have gotten tossed out with the packaging and leftovers.

Winning coaches say the playbook makes all the difference.

Baby New Year holding hoop as frogs jump through. 1880s trade card from Lib Company of Philadelphia /USPD:, no cr./

A new year with new hopes to jump to. (USPD/

Hmmm, somewhere on page 2 …middle of the page, I recall…

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated, but stand up for yourself.
  • Agree to disagree and still be friends.

A little farther back, page 5?

  • Make sure brain is in gear before mouth is in motion.
  • Mind your own business and don’t be a tattle tale.
  • If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all. Oh, actually that was on page 1, I think.

Wish I could find that darn manual – even if it’s crumpled or stained with coffee grounds. Parts of it’s bound to still be good. Why people toss things out without thinking…

I always was inspired by the Introduction page. “Little minds discuss people. Great minds discuss ideas.”

Yep. Liked that.

Or I could be confusing it with the old “All I needed to know about life, I learned in kindergarten.”

In any case, naps. Naps are the answer for so much.

Especially if there’s a lot of gutter balls being thrown while learning the moves.

No need to get discouraged or hurt.

Careful of the frogs you kiss. Game’s on.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Disheveled Princess talking to frog.1909 painting .Bluemenschein. Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn's Women's Club/ USPD., no cr /

“Look Frog, you may have bowled me over last night with your leaps of fancy, but now that I’m sober, no way I’m kissing up to you and playing your games.” (USPD/



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