Payback

Wait, what? You wanted this sunflower bud to blossom?

September 9, 2021

Well, maybe you shouldn’t have chased me away from the peanut feeder. What goes around, comes around.

#Caturday editorial assistant

I was working on revisions in bed this morning when Marcel decided to check out the happenings. In true feline form, he chose to curl up on the very document I’d just set next to me.

As gently as possible, I removed it from beneath his vast bulk. Not to be dissuaded from his mission of chaos, Marcel began noisily licking the plastic bag containing my highlighters and post-its. I was less gentle in that removal.

A few minutes later, I relocated to the patio. Marcel is an indoor-only cat.

P.S. While they didn’t directly obscure my materials, a couple hummingbirds got into multiple dust-ups as I worked outside, distracting me with their darting aggression.

It’s pretty obvious that I deserve a medal for getting any work done today.

Twofer Tuesday: perching birds

We spent one night at Jackson Lake State Park in late May and were gifted with many bird sightings. This male Bullock’s Oriole patiently posed on  a post while I took photos, turning this way and that, allowing a complete view of his plumage.

There were several swallow species flying about and I took many photos of them in flight, none of which turned out well. This Barn Swallow was very considerate and graciously perched on a roof.

Later, as Zippy and I walked along a trail, we spotted a flash of red up ahead. He studied the bird through the binoculars and said, “Wow, it’s some really big red bird” and then passed the binoculars to me. I also briefly thought it was some unknown big, red species, and then my brain kicked in: we were looking at a House Finch, a species we see every single day in our yard. Yes, it was an unusually red male. But was it truly a large bird? No! It only appeared that way because of the binoculars. You know, that tool we use to help see things better via  magnification?

Birding. The gift that keeps on giving.

Marcel Monday

Marcel loves to sit in this window at night so he can watch and stalk the moths attracted by the light. Last night he generously paused long enough for me to take a few portraits.

July 11, 2021

Right after I left the room to put away the camera, there was a kerfuffle. According to Zippy, Emma became agitated when Marcel clawed his way up the screen to get at a moth and for some reason, Marcel thought that was a good time to jump down to the floor where the agitated Emma-pup waited. In a flash, Marcel went from predator to prey. Fortunately, Zippy intervened and all was well in this animal kingdom.

Wonder if Marcel would’ve posed for me with such disdain if he’d known the indignity in his very, very near future.

Sunday Confessional: artist unknown

I’m cleaning my writing room and can already breathe more easily.  I’ve recycled a bunch of paper (hello, holiday cards from 2019!) and have a small Donate pile going. My weight bench is almost visible again after I whittled down the stack of books, papers, notebooks, etc. While doing so, I found this gem:

In case you can’t read it: Thank you Tracy for my Calvin and Hobbes book. 
I liked it when Susie got hit with the water balloon.

Confession? I think (but don’t know for sure) one of my nephews sent this to me a long time ago. In my defense, I’ve gifted a lot of Calvin and Hobbes books over the years. Wherever the artwork came from, I unearthed the gem a while back and obviously couldn’t bear to part with it. Well, I’ve toughened up in the meanwhile and am ready to let it go. Posting it here makes it easier to drop in the recycling bin. 🙂

Also? I’m remembering all over again that Susie Derkins endured an awful lot of mixed messages from ol’ Calvin.

Kindred spirits

“Not much goes on in the mind of a squirrel.

Huge portions of what is loosely termed “the squirrel brain” are given over to one thought: food.

The average squirrel cogitation goes something like this: I wonder what there is to eat.”
― Kate DiCamillo, Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

 

#Caturday at the movies

Marcel thinks that if he blocks the screen with his considerable bulk, I will focus on him instead of Netflix or Hulu. And maybe that ploy did work a couple months ago when this photo was taken, when I was feeling more tender-hearted and giving.

Marcel doing his best to make me even more visually impaired than usual.

Tonight is a different story. He has been warned.

Get your smiles here

It’s been a rough week and I’m guessing there are others out there in need of a smile. Look no further than Zippy and Emma.

April 11, 2021

I’m not sure whether she’s got her tongue out at me/photographer or because Zippy is gripping her hind feet like he’s a pilot guiding a plane down for an emergency landing.

Doesn’t matter. Makes me smile.

Sunday Confessional: expiration dates

I add food scraps to the worm bin every weekend which has become a bit of a challenge now that it’s only Zippy and me. When a son or two lived here, there’d be more fruit and vegetable matter for me to chop up for my worm friends. Now I have to search the refrigerator to ensure they have enough to eat during the week.

That’s why when I found a bunch of cilantro past its expiration date today, I was really happy. Slightly slimy cilantro in the drawer? Excellent! Now I didn’t have to rely on feeding the worms a ton of coffee grounds (which the worms love but I sometimes worry hops them up too much).

Image by Gábor Adonyi from Pixabay

While I chopped those greens and added them to the cauliflower and zucchini pieces, I thought about how I welcome stuff past its expiration date. Not only furry fruits and rotten veggies, but also coupons. Why? Because expired coupons are a no-brainer: they go into the recycle bin. An expired coupon means one less item in my problematic piles of paper. Straight into the recycle bin.

Sometimes it’s good to let things go, you know?

Twofer Tuesday: snow play edition

The snow has started falling again, much to the delight of these four kids.

It’s been fun seeing the many snow caves and tunnels and quinzhees around the neighborhood. When I lived in Anchorage, my good friend Anne S. did a weekend wilderness class during the winter in which they had to build quinzhees and then spend the night in them. She invited me to take the class with her, but I declined. When Anne returned, she regaled me with stories of a woman named Betsy who struggled throughout the weekend, constantly complaining about cold, wet, hunger, discomfort, etc.

I looked at Anne and said, “I would’ve been the Betsy of the quinzhee.”

True then and true now.

Here comes trouble

Basically, if you go looking for trouble, it’ll come find you.  ~ Estelle

February 25, 2021

This squirrel and I had multiple face-offs the other day over the peanut feeder that keeps the chickadees, nuthatches, and bushtits happy. I don’t mind squirrels snacking on the bird food now and again, but I do object to them eating ALL the peanuts.

Scat! The squirrel food’s hanging on the back fence, yo.

Gratitude on a Monday

Today I’m grateful for my wavy hair that hides scissors-related mistakes. I haven’t had a professional haircut in over a year and just cut my own for the third time during this no-end-in-sight pandemic. Does it look like a pro cut? Nope. Do I care? Not at all. Do I feel better now? Absolutely!

Tracy post-cut. February 8, 2021

Here’s a photo taken with my Android phone camera (that takes incredibly low-quality selfies). Looking at it, I already see some too-long strands here and there. Not to mention I appear slightly cross-eyed. 😂

Whatever. I’m relieved to have less hair to deal with and am now ready to face the coming week.

 

 

eta: adding this other photo because it shows more egregious hair errors!:

 

#Caturday napping

December 26, 2020

I was just in the basement, tending to the worm bin, when I heard a sound I assumed came from the dog and/or cats upstairs. Nope. It was Marcel, shifting position in his sun-soaked napping place.

Glad someone’s getting use out of the treadmill.

Sunday Confessional: saved by a sloth

I’ve got strong feelings about ALL SORTS OF STUFF right now and felt a rant rising inside me. But as I tried to pin down exactly what I wanted to convey, I paused and reconsidered. Maybe what I really wanted to do was post about the writing life: the process, my progress, the angst and insecurities, etc. I’ve written many such posts over the years and appreciate that documentation which reminds me I’ve been here before and survived. Breathe, Tracy.

Which is how I began searching through Douglas Adams quotes, knowing he wasn’t an angsty guy but would provide me with the tone needed today. And here’s what resonated with me:

My absolute favourite piece of information is the fact that young sloths are so inept that they frequently grab their own arms and legs instead of tree limbs, and fall out of trees.  ~ Douglas Adams

Image by Minke Wink from Pixabay

Why does this resonate? One: it cracked me up. Two: I can relate to those young sloths because Three: as I near the end of this first draft, I vacillate between an overwhelming sense of ineptness and glimmers of “hot damn, this might actually not suck too much!”

And at the risk of sounding like a sloth-shamer: I haven’t yet fallen out of the tree.

#Caturday shenanigans

One day last week, son Wildebeest and I had our cameras out to practice photographing a black cat and a white cat at the same time. It’s difficult to land on the correct settings that will allow the black cat to have definition without also blowing out the white cat’s fur. This photo is proof of my ongoing struggle.

Marcel and Loki basking on their box condo. November 20, 2020

However, capturing the moment Loki launched the attack on his brother from below was a small victory. And if you look closely, you’ll see a hint of trepidation on Marcel’s face. Every picture, even a poor one, tells a story.

Twofer Tuesday: bee tales

Yesterday, Zippy told Wildebeest a story from when we lived in Alaska (before Wildebeest was born). It was a summer night, and Zippy and our dog Packy were out in our large yard where there was a pile of branches and grass clippings left by the previous owners. (We, being basically lazy people, had left it there with the rationale that it provided wildlife habitat). Zippy noticed something white in the branches, something he thought was a volleyball.

Image by Tidy from Pixabay

He proceeded to poke at the “volleyball” with a stick. (I know, I know. Who arms themselves with a stick when approaching a piece of sports equipment?)

Well, you can guess what happened. BEES!

Zippy yelled, “Run, Packy! Run!” The bees swarmed them as they ran to the safety of the house.*

As I listened to his story, a memory tickled my brain. And then I remembered: Have I Got a Story for You. Read it and weep (with laughter).

*Zippy wasn’t stung and as far as we know, no stingers penetrated Packy’s thick fur.

Far out, baby!

It’s been a day and when I went in search of an image to perk me up, I thought of my love for mannequins. I’ve posted lots over the years (unfortunately, I wasn’t great at using tags in early blogging days so can’t readily locate them now), but none tops this photo. However, that unbeatable image didn’t stop me from searching for another that would steal my heart today.

Image by dietcheese from Pixabay

I’m going with this one because my emotions have been all over the place and this seems to encompass a few of those feelings.

Now I’m off to apply some lime-green lipstick . . .

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.

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 . . .