Listen up: bird & dog tale

August 22, 2020

Over the past several years, my partner has bemoaned the scarcity of magpies in our yard. We’d see them throughout the neighborhood, but they weren’t spending much time in our yard anymore. We missed their raucous energy.

Then one day last month (which just happened to be our wedding anniversary), we noticed a whole bunch of magpies in our neighbors’ backyard, their trees, and on the fence between us. We’d hit the magpie jackpot! But why?

Rainbow peering through the fence at magpies frolicking in our bird bath. August 15, 2020

 

Well, according to our neighbor, when he came home that day to find his yard filled with magpies, he was equally puzzled. Then he went to feed his dog and couldn’t find the nearly-full bag of chow, which was also a puzzle. So he stepped out in the yard and pieced together the sequence of events. His doggo had dragged the bag of food into the yard, scattering the kibble everywhere. The smart corvids had quickly found the treasure.

They also immediately found our bath and took turns tidying up.

August 15, 2020

And as a sign of their appreciation for the use of our facilities, they began leaving gifts for us on the deck rail and tucked away on the steps.
       

The best news is they’re still hanging around and we’re treated to magpie sightings every day.

Four Black-billed Magpies. August 15, 2020

We salute you, Rainbow Dash. Pure genius.

the Monday crowd

Marcel assesses the activity. September 28, 2020

Cat and squirrel face off through the glass as a House Finch dines in the background. Meanwhile, a fish (window sticker) swims across the scene. Would’ve been even more awesome if a reptile wandered into the picture.

Guess it could happen…the day’s still young.

Thankful Thursday

Hard days on the planet, yo. However, this morning I sent my revised manuscript to my agent and that feels so very good. While that project has definitely been my refuge, there were times it was hard to focus because of *gestures* everything. But after two months, the revisions are complete and I’m very proud of my tenacity (call me Tenacious T) and the finished product. Huge shout-out to all the readers who offered their insights, suggestions, and support at various stages of the process. ❤️

Blue Jay, Florida. May 3, 2019.

I’m also grateful for birds. They never, ever let me down. No matter what — watching them, listening to them, studying them — always soothes my soul and returns me to balance. More birds, please.

Who’s a good girl?

Emma. September 14, 2020

Here’s my happy doggo to perk up anyone in need of perking (not to be confused with twerking, although, if twerking makes you feel better, by all means do that!)  The photographic quality is low and Emma’s smile is slightly blurred, but the emotions shine through.

As Charles M. Schulz famously wrote, happiness is a warm puppy.

Aspirational quotation

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

September 12, 2020

Maybe not the best day in the year, but I did turn things around today. Lost my patience this morning after vacuum became unplugged several times, screaming and swearing loudly enough for the neighbors to hear. Promptly put vacuum away and sat down to read a book and drink coffee. Then set my sights on other tasks.

Pleased to report I ended up accomplishing much and smiling often(ish).

#Caturday mood

Marcel and I are in solidarity with anyone else chewing their nails and/or shredding their cuticles today. I’m not so much nervous about what’s going to happen as pissed by the knowledge that the Democrats will handle this latest end run by the Republicans in their usual spineless fashion. The Democratic establishment only plays hardball against the left.

September 14, 2020

The one piece of good news is that I’m pretty confident I won’t be coughing up a hairball. Marcel? Not a given.

 

(ETA: for my own historical reference, I want to note the Senate approved five judges just this past week with the help of the Democrats who during the Obama years passively accepted MANY judicial vacancies at the hand of Mitch McConnell.)

This is a climate emergency

August 15, 2020

What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?     ~ Henry David Thoreau

Zippy took this photo last month and while today’s air quality isn’t nearly so orange, I’m not spending any time outside. The local air quality index reads “Unhealthy for sensitive groups.” I’ll go out on a limb and say I think this translates to “the air is unhealthy for everyone and everything.”

Exceptionalism?! All over the United States, people are hiding indoors to escape the ravages of the climate crisis. And our elected officials don’t care, so it’ll only get worse.

Nostalgia

State Forest State Park.              June 12, 2019.

June 2019 seems like a lifetime ago (hell, February 2020 already feels like historical fiction), and I just spent time looking through photos from one of last summer’s camping/hiking trips. I remember how hot it was in the Bockman Campground when the sun rose in the sky and how happy our doggo was every time we came upon a patch of snow during our 8-mile hike. I remember waking up to a moose grazing next to our tent. I remember photographing this old building, thinking that with a little fixing up, it might make a nice place to spend my days.

We didn’t camp this summer. We’ve only hiked in the nearby open space. Until this country gets its collective act together, it seems I’ll have to make do with memories.

Some of my favorite things

Earlier this week, I prepared for the coming massive drop in temperature (over 60 degrees in 24 hours) and snowstorm by putting buckets over three of my sedum plants. The sedum had just come into bloom and I couldn’t bear thinking about the bees and butterflies losing that food. While we did lose a huge limb from our red maple, the plants fared better.

September 12, 2020

The sedum survived and my winged friends were out in force today.

(Shout-out to Michelle who would’ve been fifty years old today. She also loved flora and fauna.)

Workers Unite

Thinking about all the workers out there struggling to pay rent, buy food, keep their lives going. Thinking about one of my sons who is struggling to find a job in this economy and who may very well be moving back home in the near future.  He’s grateful he has a place to land if it comes to that, but it shouldn’t come to that. Not for him and not for other young people facing a bleak future. They should be able to live their lives on their own terms.

This is a disgrace and we must do better. Much better.

Knotty problem

I’m revising my middle grade manuscript and am having one of those HOW WILL I EVER DO THIS? days. Today’s revision session felt like one cold, hard realization after another. As in, “Wait a minute, if I move that chunk earlier in the story, that will blow up this part of the story” or “When I cut this scene, where do I put this one snippet that absolutely needs to remain in the story?” or the evergreen “Damn, if I tug this thread it will *sob* unravel throughout the entire story.”

Image by LeoNeoBoy from Pixabay

The good news is that I wrote a tight draft. The bad news? The tighter the draft, the larger the repercussions during revision.

I’ve been moving back and forth in the timeline so much today I’m not even sure what’s what anymore. Definitely time for me to stop and let my brain reorient itself.

Eviction ban on the way!

I sat down to blog about porcupine quills and my dear old husky, Flaco, when the group chat for the eviction defense group blew up. Why? Because it looks as if the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is preparing to issue a federal evictions ban effective September 4 –December 31, 2020, for those making less than $99,000/year.

Chat reactions were variations of “this would be amazing!” I wholeheartedly agree. As I also noted in the chat, it’s an indictment of our society that we’re viewing a common sense and humane move as “amazing,” but that’s how low they’ve set the bar.

Renters and those with mortgages are still liable for back rent, penalties, interest, etc. It is definitely a good step, but because it doesn’t include a cancellation of rent and mortgage, people are going to be hit hard at the end of the year.

Scroll down to page 34 at the end of the document for the DECLARATION UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY FOR THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION’S TEMPORARY HALT IN EVICTIONS TO PREVENT FURTHER SPREAD OF COVID-19. This must be signed and given to the landlord.

Image by AliceKeyStudio from Pixabay

Forget the porcupine quills, I’m going with a red rose.

 

 

Befuddled

It’s 6:00 pm. How did that happen?! But the more pressing question is: why did the photographer who posted this photo on Pixabay tag it with “joy”?

Image by Art Skoo from Pixabay

Depending on your perspective, various words could describe this little boy’s expression and body language. Possible interpretations? I think he could be dazed, sad, tentative, or demoralized. Heck, maybe his arm’s tired from holding that plane and he’s just worn out. Nowhere do I see evidence of joy.

Anyway, I popped into WordPress-land to post something before this day completely passed me by and instead of a quick in-and-out, I spent twenty minutes analyzing this photo.

Hmm. Maybe there’s a lesson here for where the day went . . .