The Trouble With Nature

Just a little glimpse into what is going on around here.  A woman-vs-animal sort of post.  Presented for your edification and entertainment.   

•  It’s cricket-palooza in our garage this week.   Noisy little buggers.   After our previous two weeks of unseasonably cold & wet weather, we’re back to normal temps; the nights are in the 50s and the days are in the upper 70s.  I think that the crickets are rather charming, but Zen-Den has a different opinion of them.  For some reason they seem to like to jump on him in the morning as he walks through the garage to his SUV.  [*tee-hee*]

He’s started to mutter words like RAID & SWEEP & WEEKEND as he walks to Bullwinkle, so I’m guessing that by Monday morning our garage will be a cricket-free zone.

•  I sat in our screened-in porch this morning to drink my coffee and contemplate the meaning of life wake-up. As I tried to meditate on the profundity of the human experience remember what I had to do today, a squirrel fight broke out in the trees right behind me. Our screened-in porch is at the back of the house and is elevated. Thus, when sitting on the porch you are right in among the middle branches of the trees which are immediately behind the porch.  It’s cool.  It’s unique.  But, man-oh-man, is it noisy when unhappy squirrels start to argue over whose nest is going to be built where.

I really don’t care where these squirrels build their nests, AS LONG AS IT ISN’T INSIDE THE HOUSE.  Been there. Done that. Paid someone to catch/murder some squirrels. Not a pretty experience. Don’t want to repeat it.

•  It’s official.  The deranged woodpecker who delights in pecking on our guest bathroom window frame has ruined it.  The window now leaks dirty, grody water inside the house into the bathtub.  There’s a whole fricking forest for this bird to use for his dinner, but he prefers our house.  Yum, yum.

So next week, we will meet with HANDYMAN CONTESTANT NUMBER ONE to see if he’ll do this sort of repair & how much it’ll cost us for him to do this kind of repair. This is a new-to-me sort of house problem, so I have no idea what to expect.  I mean, are we talking the price of Thanksgiving dinner for 6?  Or the price of a lovely, romantic weekend in the city for 2?  Big difference there.

And on that chatty note, I’m out of here for a long weekend of play.  Some say:  make hay while the sun shines.  But I say:  dance while the sun shines.  It is such a rare commodity around here, that not taking advantage of it seems like a sin to me.  I’ll catch up with you, my gentle readers, next week.  

And So It Goes

 Kind of a bittersweet week for me.  Endings: small, medium & large.

I.

Our tomato and pepper plants are at the end of their growth cycles.  I doubt that we’ll get more than a handful of tomatoes– or a couple of peppers– before the fall chill kills the plants.  It happens every year this way;  I’m always surprised.  This year the difference is that the other day I noticed two chickadees goofing around in the tomato plants.  At first I thought that they were after the tomatoes, but as I kept watching I realized that what the birds wanted is the cotton string that we use, with the wooden stakes, to hold up the plants.  They were pulling on the cotton string with their beaks, but unable to get it lose.  So I decided that  when I dismantle the tomato plants later this month I’ll cut the used cotton string into lengths and leave it out on the deck railing.  Maybe the chickadees will use the cotton string to make their nests.  We’ll see.

II.

Zen-Den and I have very few traditions.  We don’t do the same thing for any holiday.  There are no “but we always do this” restrictions on us.  It comes from being on our own for so long– and from not having kids, I suspect.  That being said, every September we look forward to our first drive into the countryside to go to a small, locally owned apple orchard that has the best apples ever.  So this last weekend we got into the car and went out there, all excited about our first apple foray of the year.  But when we got to the orchard, it was closed;  a sign out front said: “Semi-Retired.  Closed for Season.  Be back Summer of 2012.”  And with that, our one tradition went *poof* and we found ourselves apple-less in the countryside.  Humph.

III.

As you probably know, All My Children ends this week.  I still can’t quite wrap my head around this.  I grew up around AMC– first at a friend’s house, where her mother was addicted to it;  and then at my house, once my mother retired from teaching.  The fact that my Mom, the happy hermit, watched a soap opera never made much sense to me;  but she said that it gave her day structure and that Erica reminded her so much of her freshman year college roommate that she couldn’t not watch it.  In fact, she watched it every day until her death fifteen years ago.

So here’s the odd thing: even though I never became a fan of the show, I realize that I’m going to miss it.  Knowing that AMC was always on TV gave me a feeling of immediate connection with my mother.  Rational?  Not in the least.  But it’s what I’ve kept tucked away in the back of my mind all these years.  Of course, now with the end of All My Kids, that last connection will be gone.  Forever.

Life’s busy now. More chit-chat next week, gentle readers.  Talk at ‘ya then.

Ignored At The Zoo

Yesterday afternoon Z-D and I went to the zoo.  It was hot and humid outside, but there was a light breeze.  I thought that I might be able to get some fun shots of the animals.  I was wrong.

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We were ignored by a little brown wild bird, even though I was standing about 18″ away from him when I took this photo.

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We were ignored by many turtles who ducked under the water the nanosecond before I clicked this photo.

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We were given the cold shoulder by the okapi…  

… who then wandered to the back of her enclosure, just to make sure that we got the message that we weren’t wanted there.

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We were warned off by this less than friendly sign posted by the gorillas.

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And finally we were ignored by this hippopotamus who had better things to do than pose for the camera.

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It’s a good thing that I have a quite a bit of experience with being ignored– and surviving the emotional shock of such indifference.  Heck, I’m a free spirit in suburbia, remember. Still, I have to admit that I thought that at the zoo, at least, something might pay attention to me, and help me achieve my goal.

But no such luck.  *sigh*

And Then He Said…

“I’ve found that with email it takes people longer to get back to you, or ignore you, than you think it will.”

~ Zen-Den

Well.  Okay.  You’re right.  But I don’t have to like it– now do I?

And how am I supposed to know if they’re just pokey little puppies about returning my emails?  Or if they’re really ignoring me?  Hmmm?  Answer me that one, He-who-talks-in-koans.

<sound of me muttering while stomping out of the room>

*humph*

[The WP spell checker just told me that “humph” isn’t a word, but “Humph” is a word.  And I just reset the spell checker to always accept a lower case “humph” as a word.  Doesn’t WP know that not all situations call for a capital letter “Humph”?  Honestly, who creates these spell check thingies?]

Random Act Of Kindness Or Minor Misdemeanor?

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.  Psalm 37:8

If a bumper sticker makes fun of, puts down, accuses, antagonizes, rejects, hates, pees upon, or whines about <any topic you can think of>, I’ve seen it on a vehicle in the last few weeks.

To say that I’m tired of these hostile, rude bumper stickers on vehicles would be an understatement.  Really people, get a clue.  Your bumper stickers are not contributing to the national discourse.  They add nothing of value to society.  They are a distraction while driving.  And they’re just plain tacky.

Nope.  I don’t like ’em one bit.  Which got me thinking…

How do I make this situation better?

And here is my solution: a mischievous plan that is delightful in its subtlety and entertaining in its message.  *bwha-ha-ha*   A plan so ingenious that I’m surprised that no one has thought of it before.  A plan so clever that it made the Lawyer Bean laugh and promise to provide legal counsel for me should there be a need.

First, I’d buy a couple dozen of this positive, upbeat bumper sticker and keep them in my car.  Only a cretin could not be charmed by the message: “wag more bark less.”

Then when I see one of these previously mentioned annoying bumper stickers on a vehicle in a parking lot, I’d wander over to the vehicle with one of my more encouraging bumper stickers in hand.  Making certain that I was unnoticed, I’d slap my sweet little oval sticker over the offensive, negative bumper sticker.

And *bam* just like that I’d have quietly neutralized the negativity and made the world a better place– while simultaneously ensuring that I receive one more brownie point in heaven.  Talk about your win-win situation!

So what do you think, gentle readers?  Good idea?  Couldn’t possibly be an act of vandalism with a court date and a fine, could it?  And if so, how much do you suppose I’d have to pay for refusing to let stupid get the last word in– or on, as the case may be?

How To Make Me Snarl

[First, here’s “why” I’m talking about this.]

I introduce this topic today because:

  1. It makes me irritable and therefore is rant-worthy;
  2. No one I know irl can figure out what to do about the sort of rudeness I will describe below;  and
  3. I’m hearing about more and more adults who are changing their first names.  So even if you haven’t experienced firsthand what I’m talking about here, I’m betting that sometime soon you will.

[This is not the snarl part.]

A few of my friends have changed their first names.  Some have adopted a different version of their childhood name e.g. Kathy became Katie.  Others have tweaked their childhood name e.g. Sandy became Sondy.  While others have changed their names completely e.g. Joyce became Suzy.

[Still not the snarl part.]

I’m always happy to use whatever name a friend wants me to use.  I figure that he or she has good reasons for changing his or her name, and I can’t imagine being so rude to someone as to not respect what he or she wants to be called.

[This is the beginning of the snarl part.]

But I’ve noticed that not everyone I know is as gracious about name changes as I am.  In fact, on a few occasions I’ve been shocked when someone I know insists that he or she doesn’t have to adopt a friend’ s new name because he or she knew this person before the name change.  Therefore, he or she is exempt from cooperating.

I’ve come to think of these uncooperative sorts of people as the louts.

[Full snarl here.]

Obviously, this behavior is insulting to the name changer, but it is also awkward for those of us who know both the name changer and the uncooperative lout.  While I understand that there is a power play going on here, I can’t figure out what the end game is.  Is the lout trying to undermine the name changer?  Or is the lout trying to punish those of us who cooperative with the name changer?  Or is the lout so obtuse that he or she really doesn’t understand how irritating his or her behavior truly is?

[And finally, I conclude.]

I realize that lack of courtesy is an epidemic in our world.  And I also realize that I cannot change people (nor do I want to).  But this situation has made me more aware of how fragile personal relationships are.  And how nonchalantly some people I know will throw them away when asked to bend just a little bit.

Can you blame me when I say that I have an overwhelming urge to snarl?

It Is Still Raining Here

“April is the cruelest month.”  ~ T. S. Eliot, “The Wasteland”

I’m sick of the rain.  We’ve had wet weather here almost every day since mid-March.  In fact, in April we had 3x our normal rainfall, making this past April the second wettest on record.

[Oh joy.]

  • At this point, I can’t stand looking at the rain:  boring raindrops descending from gray skies that never go away.
  • I can’t stand hearing the sound of the rain pounding on the roof all night: *plop, plop… plop… splat* over and over again.
  • I can’t stand driving the car in the rain: *swish, swish* {sound of windshield wipers} *splash. splash. splash* {driving through a puddle}
  • I can’t stand walking in the rain: wet feet, muddy shoes/ cold ankles, soggy pants bottoms.

I’ve been a trooper about this lousy weather.  Really, I have.  I’ve looked on the bright side and been understanding about the fickle nature of spring.

[Spring: the passive-aggressive season.]

  • Yes, yes– I know that we had a drought last summer/autumn and that this rainfall is wonderful for the trees and grass.
  • Yes, yes– I get it that the early farm crops are thriving and this pleases some farmers.
  • Yes, yes– I’m delighted that because of the plethora of worms available, the birds are so healthy and happy this spring.  Bully for them.

But the reality is that after a very long winter I’ve endured almost two extra months of cabin fever, unable to go for long walks– or to putter in the garden– or to enjoy cook-outs on the deck.  I’ve been cooperative.  I’ve put up with this weather nonsense without much complaint.

And what have I got for all my goodness?  More fricking rain.  Predicted through the weekend.  Maybe into next week.

[And my life remains on hold.]