Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm Lovin' It!

Humans can be very goal-oriented beings. Even when we recreate there tends to be a go-go-go attitude. We jet-ski, we bike, we move and do. We are ever onward, ever out there exercising, constructing, making things happen.


I have plenty of those moments though as my waistline expands and my age advances my goals are less physical. I write and relp. I "produce something." But even before retirement my well-being required veg time, time when I seemed to be doing absolutely nothing. It makes me feel me feel lazy and guilty no longer.


Those times have an important purpose. They are recharging moments. Minutes when the soul breathes a sigh and slows to recognize its own pulse. Mine are also times devoted to... devotion. My eyes look on this world and such love and gratitude happens.


There is no way to describe it. I believe Creation appreciates the energy boost and I offer Her my admiration and my thanks. Take a minute or more from your day, every day, and notice the miracle that surrounds us. Even when our lives are in pain, stressed, full of sadness or in anger, we have them and that is amazing stuff. Even in the garbage the sky holds air, clouds fill with water, the planets spins and renews. How improbable is that? If you think God did it all then thank your deity. If you don't believe in a god just recognize the wonder that this place happened.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

This life is for the birds.

Smiles are hard to come by when the weather continues to be dank,
dreary, and wet. When I pull my lips back in semblance of a grin the
feeling is more that of preparing to growl and bite something rather
than shine out with a dimple graced grin. Mom Nature must sense my
lack of enthusiasm for her meteorological manifestations though. She
has gifted me with birds.

Surely the gift is for me alone? Yes, I know better but as long as
I'm watching and cherishing them it does seem as if they are meant
for me. The population of my front yard right now:

A pair of quail. Dan & Marilyn. Little roundnesses topped with a bob
of a question mark.

Several Band-necked pigeons. They are trying to convince our rooster
that they are part of his flock and thus entitled to breakfast with
his harem.

A flock of cowbirds stopping by to tank up at the feeder before
continuing their trip north.

A bunch of Goldfinches. These are bits of sunshine flitting back and
forth to peck thistle seed from the mesh bag hanging in the tree
beside the driveway.

Miscellaneous sparrows, mostly House, White-Crowned, and Song. They
rush the feeder between invasion of Cowbirds and the ubiquitous
Steller Jays who insist they own the place, or at least every
sunflower seed therein.

The coming and going is constant and entertaining. They are oblivious
of my interest, their lives belonging to themselves. They are
independent of me but will take the handout of seeds with a return
payment of a reason for me to summon that smile.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Time Keeps on Slippin

I've had another of those mornings when the passage of time skips,
hiccups, and trips over its own shoelaces leaving me with that
stunned Alfred E. Newman "What Me Worry?" look on my face. Isn't
there some saying about "Times Marches On"? It doesn't. It dances,
often badly. It boogies, cha-chas and occasionally bunny-hops. It
waltzes and does those street moves that resemble choking spasms.

This morning time was bouncing between s-l-o-w, like the agony of
waiting I feel as my aging Mac tries to cope with a combination of
satellite internet and (ugh) Flash animation; (Honestly, I could hand-
draw and watercolor the pages faster than they move in Flash); and
fast as in how long it takes a toddler to find the one crystal
antique un-babyproofed in the house.

The end result was me dashing from coffee with friends to my
volunteer job at the library, thinking I was 15 minutes late when I
was actually 30 minutes early. Luckily the ladies in a meeting at the
library let me in (it would be another half-hour before opening time)
and I got my pile of books covered and was home sufficiently soon
that my husband thought there had been nothing to do at the library.

And now I'm waiting the next permutation of the temporal rift-a-
shift. Is it time to make dinner? Will I fall asleep and wake up ala
Matawheeze-Van Winkle? What'd I miss?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Forty

That is the answer to the trivia question of the day, brought to you courtesy of my neighbor, Gail.


The phone rang a while ago and her voice came on the line after my "Hello?" with the word "Forty." Long pause. My mind is racing to identify the caller and make any sense at all out of the single word. Identity grasped, no meaning for the number presented itself, so I replied with my best, intelligent, "Huh?" closely followed by an equally smart, "What?"


I'm never at a loss for a witty response.


"Forty. The number of teeth for a horse."


Ah, memory. Gail had sauntered down the driveway for a visit two days earlier with her Arab, Buddy. She and I sat on the deck for a chat while Buddy, incredulous at his luck, provided equine mowing service and occasional close examination of the scent of my hair. (I haven't had a nose that large and soft in my hair since... well, that's another story for another day!)


So, in case the subject ever comes up in conversation, tuck this away for future reference: Horse= 40 teeth. And I think she said it breaks down to 24 molars, 12 incisors and 4 cuspids... but I might have that wrong. You'll have to look it up.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

A few observations...

HooHah! The barn swallows are back at last! I watch for them every year and consider them a sign that spring has finally reached our part of Oregon. In past years they've gotten here in mid to late March. I saw the first one here Friday morning.


I walked out into the front yard a few minutes ago to see a dozen turkey vultures circling overhead. That sent me back inside to check my blood pressure and make sure I wasn't dead. It doesn't seem to be me that attracted them, thank goodness. They are more interested in the sheep butchered a few days ago, the remains of which were hauled to the end of the pasture for the critters to clean up.


In my attempts to learn the art of writing fiction I've discovered that characters really do sometimes refuse to do and be what the author intends. I thought that was silliness until it happened to me.


Why does the single visible spider in the room work its way across the ceiling to dangle perilously close to me? Arrrrrgggghhhhh! Retreat!!!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Solving the Old Question...


My friend Paulianne lives on a hill overlooking Port Orford, about twelve miles south of us. She looked out her window the other day to see a sow bear and her two cubs meandering through the yard. Upon subsequent investigation Paulianne discovered bear scat where the trio had been.


It really is true. Bears DO shit in the woods.


The woods can handle a little bear poop. In small amounts poop is natural fertilizer. What the woods can't handle, nor can the meadows, oceans, streams handle, is the amount and types of shit we human leave in our wake. Too much people poop. Bears don't also leave a trail of garbage, except that already spread around by us hairless apes.


We need to work for a world where the worst pollution we see is a small pile of bear poop in the woods.


Celebrate Earth Day by reducing YOUR shit on our planet.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Whence Spring?

Spring seems to always be late to the Oregon coast. This year it is dawdling along, dragging its feet and stopping somewhere else to smell the flowers and smile in the sunshine. Without Spring to give a shove, Winter hesitates to leave. Her heart isn't quite in the rain and chill air but she gives a half-hearted effort to maintain wetitude and establish a final frontier of mold and moss. It can get depressing.


A friend has emailed me chirpy descriptions of her suburban backyard garden. "I picked more artichokes today," she reports, "and the squash are doing great!" "We have a terrific crop of slime algae on the deck," I reply with gritted teeth, "The lichen growing on the car are particularly lush this year."


Harvest? Sheesh! The cherry tree outside my kitchen window has just managed to produce a few weakly optimistic flowers. The apple trees stubbornly refuse to show that much enthusiasm. I had to laugh last night viewing the movie "How to Train Your Dragon" (wonderful, by the way!) when the Viking climate was described as nine month of winter interrupted by three months of hail. Must be just like here! It got a great guffaw of recognition from the audience of coastal-Oregonians.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Eyjafjallajökull

A friend sent me this .url for pictures of the recent Iceland volcano. Take a look.


http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/04/icelands_disruptive_volcano.html


Great photos - but did you read the comments? Now THERE is scary nature at work. We have the Armageddon contingent ("Pray, sinner!") and the Greenies ("Plant trees and save the earth!"). Do you suppose if we both plant a tree AND pray we can stop a volcano from erupting?


We humans seem determined to find omens everywhere.


Wait, I think THAT is an omen of disaster!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Picnic

Finally! A beautiful spring day has arrived and plastered an enormous smile on my pasty-white face. I took my coffee and a book to the front porch to absorb some rays before the rain returns tomorrow. My next effort will be aimed at convincing Himself that an impromptu picnic would be both advisable and delightful.


We do a short version of picnic, suitable for the changeable Oregon coastal weather. Our favorite involves a stop at the local supermarket deli followed by a drive "somewhere", often to one of the rivers nearby, but sometimes to a beach or to a spot close to one of the small lakes. If there is a table we emerge to check for mosquitoes or other annoying flying thingies, and sit for our meal. If there is no table we are content to sit in the car, munch our food, and watch the water, be it ocean, stream, or pond.


I'm no walker and so I'm happy to observe whatever is observable. Himself will sometimes take a stroll and bring me back a treasure, much like a somewhat large 10 year old: a rock, piece of driftwood, etc. Our forays are seldom longer than an hour or two. We come home where I can resume my book and he can go back to his keyboard. It leaves us sedate and sanguine.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

"We have a history of trips suggested, planned, and fallen through. "


And once again the universe exerts the effort to nix plans for Kathy's visit. I can't complain, since her energies are greatly needed elsewhere, but I reserve the right to be disappointed.


This morning's weather suits my mood for it. The sky is gray and the air is filled with the songs of... well, I'm guessing they are white-crowned sparrows, though my identification of a bird species by song is sadly lacking. The sound could be some other common-to-our-yard-in-spring singer. The sound is a plaintive and sweet: WHEE-whee-whee-whee. It pierces my heart and brings tears from somewhere inside.


The sun is struggling to shine and that reflects the joy that accompanies my tears. It is odd, this sad but happy feeling. I miss my friend but am also grateful to have her in my life. Being apart doesn't diminish our relationship. The song I hear, WHEE-whee-whee is full of life and spring even while the notes are mournful.


Friday, April 16, 2010

I am informed by Himself that 10,000 tones of meteorite dust falls on the earth each year. I have proof positive that the house we inhabit is directly under the incoming chute.


Run a dustcloth over a surface and you can turn to watch dust re-accumulate behind each swipe. It appeareth like a miracle, a curse from some ultra-clean outer space janitorial service dumping their debris in a terra-forming frenzy.


In response to the ever-hatching dust bunnies, swirled by dust devils, dodging dustpans and dustbins, I surrendered long ago. The patina grows, sifts and drifts into delicate gray fairy-funnels that I try to see as artistic and creative expressions by the sooty hands of an extraterrestrial creator. Surely they must not be moved? If Picasso had chosen dirt as a medium would one scrub it off? Had Michelangelo sculpted in powdery smut would some custodian have wiped it away?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I live daily taking much of my surroundings for granted. It is easy to ignore the details, become accustomed to things as they are. It takes some change in viewpoint to bring a focus to the space around me. The prospect of company has always done that.


Company. When I was a kid that was the word that sent my mother into a tizzy. She cleaned and cooked, prepared and arranged. The home we presented to the world was not the one we occupied day-to-day. It was the closest approximation to Home & Garden magazine my mother could produce.


Her behavior was the one I adopted. There was the normal house my family lived in and the one I assembled for scrutiny on holidays, and for parties or company. I've never been a spit-polish homemaker. Dust bunnies and their ilk have always found a haven under beds and behind the chairs. But we are generally tidy people so "stuff", you know the sort I mean, only piled up in small manageable stacks.


Age and decrepitude chugs along with its companion, attitude "f*** it" and the stacks grow taller, the dust bunnies morph into dust dragons, and grime settles in for the long haul. My home isn't awful; I've seen much worse, and from wonderful people. But that company/Home & Garden fantasy haunts me. When visitors are coming I see the messes with less equanimity.


I can no longer put forth the energy to achieve my own approximation. I haven't yet gotten to feeling really okay with what is. Yup, what my dear old teacher called "A Learning Experience".


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yeah, I know, hardly any blog posts in ever so long. All I would have written was whining and whimpering and everybody has enough of their own thoughts that fall into that category, right?


Now I have something joyful to write about. Or maybe I should say something pending that will be joyful? My dear friend Kathy, she of the cold frozen north (Alaska), is proposing to visit me here in wet, soggy Oregon. Proposing is the operative word here. We have a history of trips suggested, planned, and fallen through. The comics running the universe have made "flexible" a well used word whenever Kathy and I talk about visits with each other.


Until she arrives, actually walks through the airport gates into my welcoming hug, my task will be to wait patiently and try not to worry myself into a tizzy. Company of any kind always sets my Unworthy gene into over-processing the enzymes required for maximum fuss and fluster. Once upon a time that would set me into a house-cleaning frenzy but older age and bad knees waylay that activity and leave me just with the fuss but no more cleanliness than any other day.


Oh my goodness. She will see that I am no kind of housekeeper and not much of a cook! Truth is she probably knew that long ago and it is just time for me to quit pretending that I vacuum and dust daily, and never eat frozen-food-nuked.


I sit here now with fingers crossed and hopes high for time with my (okay, I'm gonna say it) oldest friend. Maybe this time the time is right.