The problem with the Oddball Photo Challenge isn’t finding oddball photos.  It’s deciding which photos to use.  These two are from my latest trip to the City of Brotherly Love: Philadelphia.

Window dressing

Window dressing

Portabella mushroom burger wrapper

Portabella mushroom burger wrapper

“That will be $2.50.”  The person on the other side of the counter proffers a credit card. “Do you possibly have cash?” I ask.  “No, sorry.”  “That’s fine. No worries,” I say as I run the card, in the process, incurring a charge to the business, a charge that’s completely unnecessary and impacts every business, small ones more so than larger ones. And just so you remember, anything raising the cost of doing business, eventually gets passed on to the customer.  That’s you and me.

While I’d love to see credit card companies not charging businesses for accepting credit cards, I realize that’s not going to happen. I’m encouraging you as a consumer to carry cash for small purchases, purchases of $10 or less.  It’s an easy way to support small businesses as well as to do your part to keep costs down.

While my boss hasn’t said what she’s charged per credit card use, it’s simple math to realize that as the amount of the purchase gets smaller, the percentage of the sale taken by the credit card company’s fee gets large; the percentage, not the amount.  One local grocery story has stopped accepting credit cards for sales under $10 A;do doesn’t take credit cards at all, only debit or cash.  I don’t know how many other businesses might do this, but if we all started using cash for small purchases, yes, even at McDonald’s or other large companies, it would go a long way to showing support for business, particularly those smaller, local shops we profess to support.

It doesn’t cost  you anything extra.  But it allows businesses to keep a bit more of their profits.  That means they can pay their employees a bit more, expand, hire another person, or just go on vacation a day longer.  All good things.

So next time you’re at the ATM (one where you’re not charged a fee, please) or at the bank, get some cash.  Use it for those under-ten-dollar (or your country’s equivalent) purchases.  It won’t cost you anything; in fact, it might make you spend less when you actually see the money go out, not just put it on the plastic.  But it will help the owner of your favorite tea shop, coffee shop, local hardware store, deli, or other store.  And that helps all of us.

This week’s theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge, “Early Bird“, is right in my sweet spot.  I wake up early no matter what time I go to sleep and, being married to a night owl, that means I don’t always get as much sleep as I’d like.  But it does make for some glorious morning photos and time to be almost alone on the path in the park.  This morning there was some early fog and the sun was just up from the horizon, allowing me this glimpse of beauty.  If the early bird really does catch the worm, this is a worm I’ll catch as often as possible!

Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.
~Emily Dickinson

This local (Chicago-area) gin was offered during a tasting at the high-end supermarket just a few blocks from our house.  I’d never tried gin straight but, amazingly, this was both smooth and tasty.  We bought a bottle and it tasted just as good with tonic and a slice of lime.  Once gone, I was intrigued by the simple, classy look of the bottle itself.  It’s my entry for this week of Cee’s Black and White Challenge, asking for a photo of anything with numbers.

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Such a joy to get back into the park last week!  Off-pathing (yes, I made that up) was a quite wet and a bit muddy and, as you can see, there was some detritus on the regular path, but I reveled in the opportunity to once again spend time in nature…as well as to take more pictures .It’s an interesting time of year, as most of what surrounds me is still brown and dead, some determined leaves still gripping their trees or bushes as well as stunning dried plants.

But there is some green, both grass and ground cover, and a few small flowers in the ground cover.  Spring is in the air and, bit by bit, on the ground, in the air, and on the plants. No matter the time of year, take the opportunity to get out and see what’s nearby. It will refresh you and your soul immeasurably.  With the nice weather, at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere, it will be a walk in the park.

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For more Which Way photos, click here, a live link once Cee’s post is up and I link to it.  You’ll find plenty of lovely photos to take you whichever way you want to go.

On Patrol

Posted: April 14, 2015 in Nature, Poetry
Tags: , , ,
He lies, 
     the fat, brown rabbit,
motionless on the warm, dark earth,
apparently mounting surveillance  
    on our neighbor’s deck across the yard.
His camouflage fur
   (better than any man-made camo)
conceals flawlessly.
White tail hidden,
only one twitching ear betrays.

Next time I look,
he’s gone, 
undoubtedly on a foraging mission.


Calling all photographers who take photos with non-traditional cameras, such as phones or tablets!  Sally, at Lens and Pens by Sally, hosts a weekly challenge with rotating themes which go live on Monday.  You’ll meet some amazing photographers as well as excellent writers, share your photos, learn, and just have lots of fun.  The theme for the second Monday of the month is “Macro“, one of my favorites.

I’m happy to be back walking in the park, at least on those mornings I don’t have to leave for work early.  This morning was, as you can tell, we,t and I made the mistake of going off the path that, while not paved, is firm and beaten down.  Instead, I choose the grass path, but as the grass was short, I thought I would be fine.  In less than 25 yards, my shoes and socks were soaked, but I was so taken with being outside and with the bits of green that were showing that I didn’t mind.  I did, however, take my wet, muddy shoes off before and bag them in a plastic grocery bag before getting into my rather clean van.

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