Rants & roses

Just in case (both of) my readers would like a venue in which to expound, vent, wisecrack, or shower me with praise, I've built one. With my bare hands.

From any of my pages, you can get to my e-mail form by clicking on the license plate at the end of the navbar or the link at the bottom of the page. The ensuing form has radio buttons for choosing to keep your message private, but the default is to submit it for display here.

If you already have an e-mail address for me, you can use that too - but I'll keep it private unless you include a release for Letters to the Editor.

I'll comment in italics. Fire away!



Name: Monica
Heard about this site from: Glenn Beck condemned it on one of his shows

Subject: You a Funee Laydee!

You know that I agree with everything you had to say about the child seat. I just can't say it as well as you did. That's why you're Yez. I especially loved the photos of the Very Much Alive Alex - "wiper threaded through..." had me laughing like a loon.

You are an astute observer of the follies of this world and I appreciate your comments regarding them.

P.S. I had never seen your abstract pictures before - how did I miss them. They're incredible!

Your Biggest Fan Living Closest to the Hudson River,

A Beck condemnation! That would come in second only to your approval of my scribblings. I apologize for having run this rant by you 14,867 times before commiting it to this deathless site.

To be honest, I think I was all over the map on this one. I had the two Deeply Unsettling carseat photos for grins. But when I hit my files for straight illustrations, all I found was "Son of Deeply Unsettling". There's even a Haight Redux picture from when she was 5½, but she was out of the booster seat by then.

Glad you found the abstracts! I need to do more of that.

And Gentle Readers, for a good time call surf to Monica's blog. Kleenex is essential - there will be tears of mirth! There's also some major cogitation goin' on, infused with an impeccable sense of the absurd.


Name: Rob Miller

Subject: Other

cool site



Name: Nancie Moore
Heard about this site from: you :)

Subject: '50's art

Hi Yez! It's good to "hear" your voice again.

That webpage graph is simply amazing! Who are these minds that come up with this stuff? I'm not so sure your graph is a "he". To me it looks like a dancer "on point" with her left arm down and right arm flung up and,(being a woman in her late fifties) I can imagine what those two "pendulum" type things are in the middle!! :0

Anyway you look at it, it's beautiful.

Hope all is well with you...say Hi to Steph for me. Still looking to go to Coral Bay in STJ in May of 2011,but not sure I can make it. If either of you are free then, let me know. Maybe we can work out a trip!

Keep safe and have a great week-end. Nancie

Ha! Well, I like that Yezbot can be seen as female, presumably dancing with joy :-) The results include a legend which identifies the dots by color. Feel free to use the link and plug in my URL ( http://yesrie.com ) to watch it build (it will pause to allow you to sign or bypass a petition). I just tried it again, and the graph is almost the same - but rotated to the left. Maybe I caught her mid-arabesque :-)

Sorry for the long hiatus. Summer is flying by! I'll relay your greetings to Steph. A May trip is probably doubtful, but we can dream!


Name: Nancie Moore

Subject: P.S. about graph

I forgot to write this in the last e-mail.

That graph kinda reminds me of the String Art we used to do in the '60's/'70's. Remember that? You would hammer small nails in a board in whatever design you wanted and then string bright colored string from one nail to another.

All my friends had one...usually right near their macrame hanging plant holder!! Ah, the good old days :)

Do I ever remember! You killed me with the macrame reference :-) I tried doing some of those, but my forte was seed-bead chokers.


Name: Nancie Moore
Heard about this site from: The Universe

Subject: Photo Assignment

You've done it again,Yez! Some more beautiful pics to contemplate and enjoy! The one of the branch sticking out of the water is kind of "moody". What's the book about? Keep us posted, okay.

Have a great week-end Yez and say Hello to Steph. I still need to chat with her about our Island. Thanks, see ya!

Thanks, Nancie! The branch is one of my favorites - it was pleasantly cryptic even in real life.

The book isn't mine, but I've seen early drafts. It addresses love, loss, events and feelings that can sabotage someone subconsciously, connections to spirits... told with considerable humor and perspective. I'm looking forward to the final MS, and I hope I get that coverworthy shot!

I've been meaning to ask how your conversation went with Steph. You guys, seriously, contact each other because it's all about meeeee and I want to hear all about it!


Name: Couldn't Be Prouder to Know Ya!
Heard about this site from: Entertainment Tonight!

Subject: Agog Again!

Dear Miz Yez,

Once again, your photographic talents astound! Love the reservoir photos, and am thinking you should keep up with the goose documentary. They make fascinating subjects and should actually hire you to do family portraits.

Regarding your subsequent photos, I found the very hairy grape leaf to be pretty skeery! Mostly because it resembles my legs during winter. Am looking forward to its continue growth (the leaf, not my leg hair), so I won't be so skeered to look at it.

Loved the Rose in Four Variations. A truly beautiful shot.

Am also terrified of anything buggish with wings. Nice picture of the dragonfly, but very skeery! My skeeredykatness is a result of having once, as a child, getting a Palmetto bug (cockroach with wings) caught in my hair and losing my mind until a grown-up was able to subdue me and remove said offending bug. Because of your excellent pitcha taking, however, I will continue to admire, though quickly look away from, photos of your beloved...pest.

Hope to see the selected moody book cover shot soon!

Your fan and most prolific Letter to the Editor Writer,
Minca Moothis

Miz Moothis! I am honored by your devoted fandom, especially because you are the Queen of Kat Filmstrips and associated captions. I am most horrified on your behalf regarding the Palmetto bug! They were my least favorite acquaintances in Florida. Bad enough that they're so much bigger than cockroaches - how on earth do they deserve pilot licenses??

I generally like bugs, though I prefer to approach them with a zoom lens. Won't tell you my childhood horror story. Am now fairly sane about encountering the insect in question (involuntary shudders are okay, right? Right?).

Maybe I should've held back on the HAIRY LEAF shot until Halloween. It's a little on the creepy side but I tell myself to think of peach fuzz, as tempting as it is to meditate on your leg hair. The rosebud shot knocks me out because of all the little tiny dots on the bud casings! Who knew!

Unless a bunch of unlikely factors combine, the book cover may not materialize until, roughly, the equinox. Least likely is my getting vertical in time to catch kewl meteorological effects! I'll keep you in the loop.


Name: Steph
Heard about this site from: The Goddess

Subject: new material

Please post the reservoir and associated wildlife photos! Wuv you.

Ha! Wuv you too, and thanks for the swift kick in the pants. You'll find it here!


Name: Atwitter about the Knitter
Heard about this site from: A Bill O'Reilly Rant

Subject: You take purdy pitchers

Dear Editor,

In futher perusal of your site, I discovered the many, many wonderousnessouses of your incredible knitting skill. I also delighted in Alex's fetching modeling throughout the years. I am assuming that is her with you in the leaf pile? She has now qualified as a Genuine Cutie Patootie.

Now. I have a number of questions:

1) How is it possible that one single, solitary person can be as multi-facteted, multi-talented and multi-multied as you are? You write, you take pitchers, you program, you knit art. Keep this up and the Universe will get jealous...like me! And don't tell me it's all about being a Virgo because I'll never get to be a Virgo and I simply couldn't stand it.

2) Can any of your delightfully whimsical items be purchased by a regular Joette? For any amount of money? Should you require inspiration, I can shanghai a friend's infant for a day. Or, can one special order (pre-payment for the required wool would be, of course, forthcoming) - say I wanted knit mice for a friend's kat (and them kept them for myself - damn, I shouldn't have told you that!)?

Answers to these questions would be gratefully appreciated.

Yer friend,

Oh my! With praise like that, Woolnerwear might just go all corporate-America on us and start hiring Peter-Principal execs with golden parachute clauses. Must take an emergency meeting with the CEO, stat! Wait, that's me.

1) Idiot savant? :-) More like "idiot qui sait quelques choses d'aucune importance". The Virgo helps. Until you fork over your birth date, location and time, I can't uncover your hidden talents. On the other hand, I strongly suspect a Mercury/Uranus alliance, as your correspondence has me hiccuping in delight, crying with envy and checking your RSS feed approximately every 13 minutes.

2) OMG, you think the CEO has a price list? Or even an attention span? On the other hand, I have actually taken orders (can be counted on one hand, perhaps even on a cat's front paw), filled them and received positive feedback. So, yes! Speed bumps would be the availability of yarn with the same qualities (specific lines of yarn have a production schedule roughly equivalent to the lifespan of a fruit fly) and my angst in rewriting any given pattern to a different size. The rule of thumb on price is 3 times whatever the yarn costs, until the CEO goes rogue and the Marketing VP actually earns his/her keep. I'm not holding my breath :-)

It is indeed the lovely Alex next to me in the leaf pile. She insisted on the honeycomb pattern throughout her sweater! I decided that my crossed eyes and nights of cable-twisting dreams were a small price to pay for her mad modeling skillz.

"Bill O'Reilly Rant" - is he on my case again?!


Name: Your Bestest Fan
Heard about this site from: Dateline NBC Expose

Subject: You take purdy pitchers

Dear Editor,

I am so pleased that you posted your most recent, wonderful photos. I know you are a virtual professional, but your photography is exquisite. The shot of that moon (and no, I would hardly call you as shallow as a ping pong ball - volleyball? NAY! NEVER!) was breathtaking.

I was also completely caught up on your dramatic photo-documentation of the grape vine invasion. I'd never quite considered the insidious nature of the creeping grapevine and its tendency to grasp neighboring plants in its sinewy...roots, hands, feet, claws...I don't know, actually. But I'm glad I know now! Mighty Yez! Making the world safe from creeping grape vines everywhere!

Please keep up the good work and continue to enlighten through the eloquence of your artistry.

Your Bestest Fan,

Moniker! You have spoiled me, well and thoroughly. Photographically, I am a legend in my own mind, yet I describe myself as a serious amateur (wait, doesn't that mean a humorless lover?).

"Dateline NBC Expose" - your mouth to [deity]'s ear! "This just in: obscure blogger discovers color #FFFFFF and the circle. Dare we hope for a hexagon in heliotrope? Today's show is brought to you by the letter C and the color White."

Conquered grapes: due to my membership in Procrastinators Anonymous, I have not vanquished the beasts, but the lilacs lived to perfume my yard and dust the bees with pollen. It's time to see how big the grapes are now; I can exact further revenge in June, the month of rampant defoliation (I gather leaves for dolmathes). If I get a Round Tuit, in August I'll attempt some grape jam!


Name: Sallye Miley
Heard about this site from: on-stjohn.com

Subject: st john

I love the photos and writing about your visit to St John! I went for the first time two years ago (didn't actually make it onto St. John, just St. Thomas and Virgin Gorda) and am returning in 4 weeks (to stay on St John). On our first visit, the captain of our boat (day sail) told us that Kenny Chesney's house was actually the one directly on the beach at Peter Bay. The larger home that you referred to in the "lower tier" is owned by the guys who create google....or so the captain said. Do you have any great restaurant suggestions that you could offer?

Hi Sallye! Thanks for the clarification on Kenny Chesney's house. I had searched on the Internet and found some photos, but I didn't find enough to be able to match architectural detail :-) How interesting that the Google guys own the other house. Yes, my image search was done on Google!

The trip I wrote about was my first to St. John (I won't say "only", because I plan to return; in fact, we hope to relocate there). Our budget was limited, so with the exception of The Pavilion at Maho Bay Camps, we didn't search out haute cuisine.

In Cruz Bay, apart from coffee at Mojo's, we had only one meal: lunch at Woody's (beer batter shrimp and conch fritters). I'm salivating at the memory! I would advise ducking into St. John Spice when you get off the ferry. The proprietor, Ruth, would surely give you the latest and greatest restaurant news for Cruz Bay and probably for the whole island.

Stephanie is just now returning from another visit to St. John; I think this was her 6th or 7th trip there. I'll ask her for you, and I'll e-mail her comments to you. Like most vacation destinations, there are a few overpriced establishments, so if Steph strongly advises against any, I'll include that info too. (We can say that the cafeteria at the St. Thomas airport is disappointing and crowded, but you probably know that.) In the meantime, use the search function on On-St. John; their archives are vast, they give great advice, and the commenters add depth and personal experience.

While St. John is the only Virgin Island I've visited, my step-siblings had plenty to say about their idyllic youth on St. Thomas. I'd love to see the other islands, but I'm willing to bet that St. John will be your favorite. Have a wonderful time!


Name: Nancie
Heard about this site from: On-StJohn

Subject: Grapes

Hello again Yez! Thanks for the pics of those tiny grapes. There's a winery near me and I've helped harvest grapes with them but of course I have only seen grapes that were ripe and full. I never realized they were so darn cute as babies! Isn't there any way you can dig the grape root up and replant it somewhere else so you can enjoy some wine (from the previous year) while sitting next to your fragrant lilac bush? Well enjoy the week-end and I don't mean to rub it in ( yes,I do!) but in 4 days I'll be on our favorite island. I'll drink a Painkiller in your honor and I'll try to take some awesome pictures to share with you (if I can figure out how to do that!) Bye.

Oh, harvesting must have been fun - and fragrant! We went to Napa Valley once, and I remember the delicious scent when we entered the valley (too bad we got used to it in a matter of minutes).

The grapes and the lilacs are both around 50 years old, and I think neither one would be easy to transplant. But I'm resolved to limit the vines to their stone wall!

I'm delighted that you'll be on-island soon. I can take the rubbing-in! Here's hoping you and Steph meet up, too. Paradise soon come!


Name: Yolanda
Heard about this site from: can't remember now

Subject: Former ST.JOHNIAN

What a wonderful story you tell and as a former Island resident it is all very accurate and nice to read. I too have a love affair with ST John and had a love affair with a West Indian who didn't know what love is. So I do miss my STJOHN. Am always thinking of ways to visit. And to one day return.

When I fly in I am as excited as a child and when I leave I cry on the ferry ride back to Red Hook and when the plane takes off I just stare out the window and secretly wish and hope that this glimps in not my last in life. Lets be friends - Yolanda from Florida with a four pound Yorkie who wants to walk on Maho Bay beach and hike the goat trail lol

Yes, let's be friends! It means a lot for a former St. Johnian to confirm what I've written. (As for the West Indian, it's better to have loved and lost, right? But I'm sorry he wasn't enlightened.)

Oh, do I sympathize with you on the ferry home, the taxi and the flight. It's heartbreaking to leave the island! While I love New England, I've had it with ice storms. I like snow, but I like turquoise 83-degree saltwater better :-)


Name: Nancie
Heard about this site from: Mother Earth

Subject: Rainbow

Hi Yez! Love your rainbow pic. Did you see the one that Maddie (the dog) saw on her birthday? Check out the On-StJohn site, if you haven't already. You are both fortunate ladies to have seen them. I know I get excited when I see one but have never captured a picture of one. I will try next time. Have a great week-end!

I have seen Maddie's rainbow and applaud the photographic talents of her people! I'm not confident with rainbows. I figured the camera's meter would try to make it an 18% gray card, so I overexposed. My other shots make the rainbow more realistically vivid, but they're depressing (foreground sun went away, slate sky background).

If you EVER get a chance, see a total solar eclipse. I have really bad shots of one :> but the experience was unforgettable. O, the corona!


Name: Steph
Heard about this site from: the Universe

Subject: up, up and away!

Yez - LOVE the air show! I know how hard it is to capture birds in flight. I have a young eagle that patrols our air space, but have never been able to respond quickly enough to get a good pic. Of course, I don't wear my camera like a necklace....

Thanks! After sneaking up on lilac and azalea buds yesterday (and getting focused but unexciting developmental shots), I threw out the idea of an Earth Day post. As if to mock me, a passing shower provided the rainbow! Mother Nature had the last word.

I almost didn't include the paybacks grab shot, but I hadn't known when I took it that sparrows will attack with such destructive abandon. Jef explained it: they don't use claws or beak to damage the hawk's airfoil but dive through the wing feathers to fracture them. Gutsy!


Name: Nancie
Heard about this site from: OSJ

Subject: Fuzzy bees

Hi Yez! Told you I'd visit your site again, although I don't know how to get to it without going through the OSJ site first. (I'll have one of my computer friends help me soon.)

Love the picture of the bee. Did you know that you can pet them on their fuzzy backs while they're busy in a flower? I do it all the time and they never get mad or sting or anything! But you need a very gentle, light touch. Try it, it's fun!

See Ya! Have a great week-end.

Glad you're back, and you could do worse than navigate here through OSJ - it's a detour, but it's scenic :>

I knew bumblebees were docile, but I never tried that! (I will.) On the other hand, yellowjackets get progressively meaner through the summer into fall. Good thing the two don't resemble each other.


Name: New Yorkah
Heard about this site from: Strangers I passed on the Street!


I am a total stranger (pssstt...It's me, Monica!) from New Jersey, who has never heard about you before (except I know what kind of car you drive AND your cat's name!), and was unaware of your experiences in St. John (because I just finished reading the entire site today!). I just wanted to say that if I knew you well enough, I'd tell you this is a witty, well-written, funny, sweet, hilarious, beautifully photgraphed, laugh-a-minute, (Gosh, I hope I'm not being redundant!) wonderful journal of that little slice of heaven. St. John. I think that this should be made the official site for the island of St. John, a special feature in National Geographic, a link on "The Pirates of the Caribbean" home page, a column in the New York Times Travel section, and required reading for all elementary school children in the Northeast Corridor so they can pester their parents to take them to St. John, where Geckos come to say "Hello", and chickens pick through your beach bag!

So, Stranger Who I Don't Know From a Pothole in the Road (Ouch!), when are we heading south?

Your New Friend, Biggest Fan and No Longer Unknown to You, The Lady from New Jersey (Tee Hee! It's Monica, you silly!)

LOL, stalker alert! Mysterious Minion with the Monica moniker, welcome :-) You are entirely too funny kind, and can I trust you to arrange the smooth and instantaneous startup of the projects you list above? Take until Monday if you want. I'm easy.

BWAAAhahaha! Oh damn. Never could keep a straight face.


Name: Julie Van Pelt
Heard about this site from: a friend

Subject: Woman with dog and kayak

A friend of mine emailed me your website because she was sure that was me and my dog in the kayak off Hawksnest/Gibney Beaches. Correct! I take my 10 month old Hungarian Vizsla named Kai ("Ocean" in Hawaiian) on my kayak every Sunday. What a hoot that you caught us! I do want to say for the record, that I never toss him out. He gets in the kayak and gets his nose right down on the water so he can see what is swimming or on the bottom. When he sees something interesting, he jumps out to check it out, only to want to get back in and do it all over again. It is the first dog I have ever seen that not only loves to be in the kayak, but wants to explore an underwater marine world. He is truly unique! Thanks for watching.


Julie Van Pelt
East West Catering
St. John, VI

Wow, Julie! I'm glad to meet you :-) I hope you didn't get offended by my musings from far away on the beach. It was clear that both of you were having fun, but I couldn't resist putting my own spin on the scene! Kai certainly earns his name. I'll update the page!


Name: Nancie
Heard about this site from: On-StJohn blog

Subject: STJ journal/trip

Hey Leslie! Just wanted to tell you again what a wonderful job you did with the STJ journal. After seeing how talented you are with camera and computers, I think I'm more like a distant cousin than a twin sister! I'm a computer dinosaur but still manage to get around on it somewhat. Hey, I found your site didn't I? Got to get to work, but will be back to check out more later.

Nancie, it means so much that On-St. John "regulars" like you enjoy seeing the island through my eyes. I'll have to warn Jef (hubby) that there'll be no living with me now, after such great feedback!

By the way, I received a private e-mail from Mo at Skinny's! I'll be sending her a few full-sized photos (I think she'll like the interior shot). She showed up at work and the crowd treated her like a rock star - someone had seen my site :-) She deserves all the special treatment they can throw her way.


Name: Roxanne
Heard about this site from: St. John Blog

Subject: STJ

I just read the entire STJ "report," including ALL the links (Coral Bay, Cruz Bay, beaches, etc.). You have an AMAZING way with words, and your photographs are BEYOND amazing! My husband and I honeymooned in STJ last year for a week, and we're heading back in August for TWO weeks. I ADORE STJ and can't wait to return.

THANK YOU for such an amazing "story."

You're welcome! I'm so happy to share, because I too know the insatiable thirst for St. John photos and stories. I'm humbled by your compliments on my writing.

Two weeks! I'm so jealous :-)


Name: Rita
Subject: Beautiful Photos

Fantastic photos and story!

Keep up the great work!

Thank you, Rita. This is work I love to do!


Name: Connie
Heard about this site from: On St. John

Subject: St. John Zine

HI, I love your St. John photos and commentary. We are (almost) annual visitors, it is our favorite place for all of the reasons you say. Where else do donkeys stampede down the road, chickens eat your beach food and angel fish kiss your legs? We have converted our little kids to snorkel bums, and they wear their Skinny Legs shirts with pride. Thanks for all of the lovely photos and for the hour I just lost to a freelance project because your photos are far more interesting! We just got back three weeks ago and I am already budgeting and planning for next year's trip...thanks for taking me there for a few minutes.

Thanks so much! You're obviously raising your kids the right way :-D We have a half-baked plan to relocate there, but it would be in a couple of years.

Sorry to have derailed your freelance project momentarily, but I'm so glad you like the site. It'll be here forever, and I hope I'll have chances soon to update it!


Name: Polly
Subject: Happy St Patrick's Day to you--

What a beautiful piece of work you created!!

I was mesmerized by the photography and impressed with your writing skills--you are amazingly talented--why are you hiding, why aren't you out there for all to see and to appreciate!

Sunday morning I found your St John photo journal on my computer and spent the rest of the morning reading every word of it--the whole thing. It was wonderful, beautiful and so interesting.

Go for it---share your talent with the rest of the big wide world.


Thank you! I've had a warm reception on that piece, and I'm certainly open to editing, writing and/or photo assignments. Trying to get the word out there!


Name: Keriwena
Heard about this site from: Jef

Subject: Way Cool!


Your pages are beautiful! The photos are stunning, and the stories make me feel like I'm there with you as you wander about the island. In fact, it makes me want to pack my sunscreen and flipflops, and hop the next plane south.


Thanks, Keri! The next time I'm able to go, I'll let you know and we can coordinate our schedules.


Name: E
Heard about this site from: Yez

Subject: You are SO smaht!

I am really impressed!

Thanks, E. Apologies for the delay - I would have published this sooner, but my e-mail form was confusing, and I hadn't asked for permission :>

And aw go on, you ahh wikkit smaht!


Name: Xan
Heard about this site from: my crazy momm

I wuv this site, and I especially enjoy the new email interface thinger. Please continue the good work.

Your adoring fans in Frawnce,
-The Dinard Group (Xan)

Dear TDG,
I have it on good authority that your momm wuvs you aussi. Thanks for the kind words :-)

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