Thursday, June 30, 2011

SWIM (1)

The NABLOPOMO topic of the month arrived in my mailbox this morning - SWIM. I've not been very inspired to blog, life has been getting me down a bit, but this subject did bring a few stray thoughts swimming upstream to my brain so perhaps, just maybe, I'll share them over the next… day? Week? Month?

Starting with SWIM is what you could do outside in the yard. Oregon is doing wet this year and our area, moist most of the time, is outdoing everyplace else. For instance, in March we measured 21.46" of precipitation. I know this because my husband, the weather-spotter, keeps that sort of information. You can verify it on his site at -

Being near the coast we get almost daily fog which dampens walks and outdoor furniture each night. Woe to the person who thinks to enjoy the morning seated outside with a cup. The bottom of that person will soon be soggy. On a drizzlish night that moisture is multiplied. The morning, this being one of those, reveals wet everywhere. SWIM is what you could do in the tall grass of the pasture. The wait-high stalks, heavy already with seeds, are now bent hither and yon, touching their heads to the ground in quiet supplication, "Please? Enough wet already!"

The chickens are about as droopy with wetness as the grass. The rooster looks dejected with tail soaked and sagging under its compliment of wetness. Kitty comes in the house dusted with drops from her walk through the shrubbery. She is happy to roll around on my flannel pillowcase to dry off. The air is saturated. Humidity is well over 90%. Come visit. We can enjoy a leisurely SWIM on a stroll down the sidewalk!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


As a kid, when I used to go visit my grandmother, it felt like I was visiting the tropics. She lived in upstate New York and no matter the time of year the house was warm. No, HOT! Summer and winter her kitchen domain was sweat city. Granted, she was often cooking, but the heat was kept at nearly stifling and I wondered how anyone could stand it.

I am now about the age my grandmother was then and I understand why her domain was kept subtropical. The kid who once swam in Lake Michigan is long gone and in her place is a cranky lady who is almost always too cold. Here it is, past the middle of June, and I am huddled inside considering the merits of flannel versus polar fleece. I poke my nose outside just long enough to fill the bird feeder and toss some crumbs to the pond fish and then I dash inside to huddle in front of a space heater to defrost. Himself hikes to town in shirtsleeves to fetch the mail. I hunker down inside adding a sweatshirt and wool slippers to my daily wardrobe.

Getting older = getting colder.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


There is nothing like morning sunlight to give me some insight into the multitude of eight-legged beasties sharing my house. As the light slants into the front window huge arrays of complicated bridgework suddenly shine out, glimmering briefly only to disappear as the sunbeams change direction.

We don't have a people pathway through the front part of our living room. The daily-utilized television area is at the opposite end of the room and is where the foot traffic leads. The space between our two sofas and the table between them is generally used only for "company". The tiny invisible beasties that live here with us must be honored guests because they've certainly made themselves at home. Nearly invisible threads stretch from place to place, a network of vaulted spans rivaled only by the complexity of the Los Angeles freeway system.

We never see the constructionists, thank goodness. I imagine them zooming around in the dark of night and wonder if there is ever serious gridlock as somebody goes left while somebody else opts for right. I hope instead that is is merely one or two overly-ambitious (and tiny, and defenseless) spiderettes that will tire of the work and move out.

Today will be a good day to scale back their enterprises and demolish some of the formidable construction. Please, please don't let them summon the MotherShip!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Is it the Weather?

I've been alternating between restlessness and a sense of immobility that feels somewhat like being buried up to my neck in quicksand. Is it the weather? Around here it is difficult to tell what season we are in. The sun can be out, promising summer and then the clouds reassert themselves and it feels like winter is on the way again.

We aren't the only region with odd weather these days though, and at least ours isn't blowing us across the country line or totally rearranging our living space. I've seen pictures of the destruction left by recent tornadoes and it is horrifying to think of huddling inside, scared for my life, and then climbing from debris to find complete chaos. We live close enough to the Pacific Ocean to get a sense of the power of weather and I've been through earthquakes, notably the Loma Prieta in1989, but nothing seems as terrible as the speed and fury of an F-5 tornado.

Is it the weather? I include earthquakes and tsunamis in that category since our national weather blokes seems to cover all those phenomena. So many folks seem twitchy and on edge as Earth shakes herself and sneezes. Maybe she is allergic to the critters crawling around on her skin. Perhaps we've grown to be too much of an irritant to be ignored.

Is it the weather… or maybe just me? Am I going into some further phase, some extension of the Terrible-Twos, the Rebellious Teens, the frustrated Forties? Is there a mid-Sixties stage of development in women, besides the ominous and never-ending Menopausal Miseries we all know and love?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

That Darned Cat!

I think cat owners are very patient people. We have to be since The Cat rules its world and by extension, the owner. Or is that - ownee? Himself and I have over 40 years of history and knowledge in this area. After our marriage and the birth of our daughter we bought a house. The first item we bought for our new home was a cat. Her name was Bruce (that is a story in itself!) and, though we'd both been part of families with cats before we were married, she set about training us as cat owners.

Or is that servants? Cats demand household amenities and basic rites of attendance. We were taught to respond to meows for door-opening, food-bowl filling, and frequent petting and scratching (within proscribed limits) - fawning optional but accepted. Bruce did an excellent job of shaping us into cat slaves. Yes, servant really is too mild a term.

Bruce was followed by a couple of neurotic strays who demanded every bit as much abject obedience. Like all cats they made us feel honored to supply their every need while they maintained an attitude that humans were marginally trustworthy at best. We could adore. We could provide. But we weren't allowed to take advantage of our position of servitude.

We were trained and passed along to Wow, who condescended to return our adoration, albeit within strictly feline-specified bounds. He watched our every move and supplied critiques in a loud voice. If we shirked our duties to pet on command he levitated into place and booked no refusal.

After Wow I thought no more cats, no more good-byes. But Flickie adopted us and rules us with a velvety iron paw. She will not be a housecat and refuses to consider a litter box. Her days are spent outside, which in Oregon means in the rain/damp/drizzle/wet, and which therefore means wet kitty. I worry. She ignores my concerns. We keep a litter box available on a dry service porch. She disappears into the dripping shrubbery. We have compromised at nights indoors where she sleeps at the head of my bed so I can savor the scent of moist kitty inches from my nose. And feel grateful to have her there. I write this having just skimmed a slick of rainwater off Ms. Flick as she headed for my pillow to finish drying out.

(Please share YOUR cat story. I could use reassurance that I'm just another cat-besotted wretch.)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It is strange, quiet, sultry weather outside right now. In past places I've lived I've identified it as tornado weather, or earthquake weather - neither of which is accurate except that it is the kind of atmosphere that suggests that something is about to happen. Here on the Oregon coast we notice when it is warm. And we notice when there is no wind. Cool and breezy is the norm and the close quiet air outside is unusual.

Since it has been cool, breezy, and way too wet this spring I took advantage of the change and sat outside in the front yard watching the bird feeders. We have a large seed bowl frequented by all manner of sparrows, various migratory mid-sized seed-eaters, and the ubiquitous jays. At this time of year we also keep a "sock" filled with Niger seed for the goldfinches and their small sedating fellows. Those scattered as I settled nearby but quickly returned once I was deemed "large, scary, but probably harmless."

It was pleasant out for a while but I'm not much of a nature-lover when it comes to the smaller six-plus legged members of the community. A robust yellow-jacket buzzed by and decided I was worth a close examination. Next to arrive was some sort of winged ant-like critter, about 3/4" long. It lit on the walkway and proceeded to march intently toward my sandaled feet. I noticed various other winged beasties in a variety of sizes that flitted around, circled close, or zoomed past. It began to feel a bit crowded where I sat. When I felt a tickle on my leg and looked down to see a large survey party of ants gathering at my feet and starting the climb up my leg ("Hey look Merle, we found a really BIG one to take home!") I decided to betake myself back into the house where the wildlife was just a bit less encroaching.