Saturday, October 31, 2009

You Were a Vampire and Baby I'm a Walking Dead

It's Halloween and, with all the scary stuff on TV, nothing scares me more than that trailer for "The Perfect Storm". Actually, the movie would have me peeing myself IF, and only if, I actually sat down and watched it. I love the ocean but big ass waves that guys on a fishing boat have to look UP to see the crest? Ho..lee..crap! I've done scary movies. Hell, I read Hitchcock and Rod Serling as a pre-teen. I was probably just nine or ten in Santa Cruz when my sister, Carol, took me to the Del Mar Theater to see Psycho...."Oh God Mother...BLOOD!" comes to mind when I'm rinsing hair color out of my hair and the red-brown is swirling around the drain.. and I would never go in the fruit cellar.... I remember watching the Exorcist through my fingers at the Rio..*shiver*. Oh yeah, Willard... and Ben gave me the rat willies (but I think it may have been that smarmy MJ song - blech)....You won't see me at Saw sinco or jonesin to see Freddy Krueger and when I think about Dracula, I leave my window OPEN! I am fascinated with cemeteries and spent a couple hours waiting for the full moon earlier this month to get some pictures. These are not the things that keep me up at night (well, except for that Dracula guy).
My nightmares were always made of BIG things...big rocks falling from the sky...big dumptrucks full of petunia-colored paint (after a particularly stressful childhood bathroom remodel)...and really big fish; the groupers at Marineworld made me squeemish with their awkward size and rubbery lips. I'm thinking that's why that wave in The Perfect Storm makes me shudder - that wave is just ENORMOUS beyond the scope of comprehension for me.

Different strokes for different folks. I know one person who is TOTALLY creeped out by used bandaids (dirty tape with dirt and hair, too) but I love her and I accept her as she is. I saw a lady being interviewed the other day that is horrified by BUTTERFLIES. Soft, gentle butterflies.

So, I've spent the day carving my jack-o-lanterns into benevolent hobgoblins and scattering friendly, PG garland around. I will not be responsible for a child's sleepless night although, for me, one of those award-winning pumpkins carved into a half-ton jack-o-lantern would be the SCARIEST! Oh, and I made the coolest spiders out of styrofoam balls and glow-sticks....thank you Martha. They are good things.

Happy Haunting people. What gives you the willies? What about vampires before they were in?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens

It wasn't so long ago, I brought them home, fresh from the incubator. I think back to when my babies were brand new and fuzzy, they made me smile with every little glance. Those sweet little girl eyes. The sweet "peeps" they made as they nibbled at grass I threw in their pen. So tiny, I could hold them in my hand. I didn't even mind when they pooped on me - well, maybe a little. The time passes like a whirlwind as they grew from tiny little creatures to adults. And then....they lay an egg! Actually, this one is looking a bit like a fella with the fancy big comb and enormous waddle. He/she also greets me eagerly at the gate which seemed aggressive till I realized it was trying to get to the weeds growing outside the gate. No sweeping sickle feathers have appeared at the tail and, when touched, she squats down into the submissive pose the girls seem to save for roosters. So we'll see if Ginger has become Genghis....or, as we like to call them, "Stew".
I've found one egg a couple days this week but I got two eggs today - small brown beauties - so it appears I have at least a couple of my feathered children growing into adulthood. Perhaps it was Julia (above). I could be scientific about it and hang `em upside down and take a peek at the vent (that's what they call a hen's naughty place) to see if it's "in use"..... yeah, I'm not that interested at this point.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Before the Breathing Air is Gone....

Weather: The daily atmospheric conditions upon which we base our shoe and sweater wardrobe Climate: The state of the air our grandchildren will breathe.

I'm no scientist. I struggled through a meteorology class with Dr. Jon Pedicino at CR because I really WANTED to understand why some days are sunny and others are good for surfing and still others are best spent indoors baking bread and making soup. I came out of the class with a B and still don't understand it all but I did learn that the perforated layer of ozone is trying to protect us from the suns scorching rays. That's science, not politics.

We have become a disposable society and it's bad for the budget and for the earth. We buy cheap shoes and toss them out when they start to show wear. We wear bargain clothes not worth the thread to repair a torn seam. We eat fast food wrapped in paper, put in boxes, stuffed in bags with a drink topped with a plastic lid and a plastic straw. And we eat it with a plastic utensil finishing off by wiping our mouth on a paper napkin....all of which goes in the garbage. Our trash cans aren't big enough for all the waste we create. Our landfills are filled then covered over and used as a base for the next new development.

Our budgets, as well as our world, will suffer unless we change our evil ways. When a gallon of gas was approaching the $5 mark, we found alternatives. We carpooled. We walked. We bussed. We biked. Now that the cost of gas has dropped a bit, we've gone back to our high consumption habits. Some of us will reduce, reuse and recycle until they compost our bodies but others have to be hit where it hurts - in the cheesy, vinyl pocketbook.

Even if you're dubious about overfilling landfills or the talk radio host you listen to raptly assures you that global warming is the fantasy of a madman, can it REALLY hurt to create less garbage? Can it hurt to pack a lunch in reusable containers and take a real metal fork and paper napkin? Buy a good, sturdy pair of shoes that will be worth fixing. If the pesticides you spray on your lush lawn causes you to cough, is it such a stretch to think it might be better for the earth to find a less-toxic alternative?

This week we've sent a rocket to the moon to blast a hole to determine if the environment is welcoming. Most of us won't be alive when we colonize that new world so we really should take care of what we have. We have just one planet and she isn't disposable. Remember, once upon a time SHE was an inviting place to live, too.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I have arthritis in my back that causes me to occasionally feel (and walk) much older than my years. I also carry around a few extra pounds. When Big Sid, our handsome tabby, began having trouble negotiating the steps a few weeks ago, empathy was not difficult - he's more than a bit heavy plus that step was at eye level.

In past weeks, the Big Man started sleeping in the middle of the back lawn at night. Not sure where he normally sleeps but I’m guessing it was somewhere that involved a jump or a climb. In the midst of our recent flea infestation, he also started napping in the covered cat box, stinky but quiet. Between the fragrance of cat poo and the fact that that chubby Sid has not been able to get to his back half for a number of years, we hauled him to the sink for a good wash before hitting him and his feline step-siblings with the Advantage.

The bath was sorely needed and I figured he would feel better with the flea crumbs removed but, instead, he developed wobbly-cat disease – as if he’d had a stroke, his ample stern was not quite following his bow. In hindsight, I’m thinking that bath was the beginning of the end and for that, I feel horrible beyond words. Last Wednesday, I carried his ampleness to the vet where he purred contentedly but would not walk across the room to display his lack of grace for the doctor. Because he is eleven years old, he got a “senior screen”, full blood test that might uncover diabetes or other condition that might afflict the obese elderly. They gave him a shot for pain to see if that would help. By Thursday, his test results showed “normal” but his legs were more wobbly. He still wasn’t showing any indication of discomfort except for his total inability to climb stairs and physical inability to mow everyone down on the way to the food bowl.

Friday morning he was a seal, dragging his big ol’ butt to the food bowl, rear legs not functioning at all. But he ate – he cleaned his plate and the leftovers from the other two plates. Then he crawled back to his towel and plopped the rest of his body down. Back to the vet that afternoon for x-rays and a cortisone shot…pills for home. Sid spent the weekend dragging himself around, front legs powering around his enormous lower body. He slept in the sun’s rays, actually dragging himself out to the back porch once -- I could see he was considering a trip down the steps to the driveway when I carried him back in for fear of him going for a “drag” down the street.
It broke my heart to see him. He was lacking control of his bladder. His feet were cold to the touch….he tail stopped twitching. His front half was still a cuddly teddy bear and he even played a bit with Hope’s hamster as Rambo rolled past him in the ball. By this morning, we knew things didn’t look good for Sid.

Mark’s shop is closed on Mondays so he was elected to take Bubba back to the docs. They consulted. They concurred that his butt-nerve was pinched badly by the arthritis and would not get better. Even surgery was not an option that would help. So Mark held Sid in his arms while they sent him off to take on his next life, where maybe he’d do a little yoga, eat smaller helpings and stay a little more limber for more of his years. Hopefully, we’ll get him back in one of his other lives. I miss that big ol’ ottoman already.