Saying goodbye to an old friend

In a few minutes, a kind veterinarian is going to arrive at our home to help us say goodbye to Zoey. She’s lived with us the past 13+ years which is more than half of Wildebeest and Zebu’s lifetimes. This morning Wildebeest said goodbye before  heading back to his home that’s a six-hour drive from here. Zebu will be with Zoey at the end.

Zoey’s last trip to Westcliffe. August 12, 2017

We’d originally hoped to say goodbye to Zoey tomorrow because it’s my birthday today. But when the vet offered to come this afternoon it seemed the best option. Zoey’s tired and has had enough, and it felt wrong to delay the inevitable. We’ve definitely made the right decision for her, but the mood is less than festive.

Rest in peace, our sweet Zotato.

I get to hug my son

Zebu in summer of 1998

Today is Zebu’s birthday and I’m feeling especially grateful. He (and our other son) spent their entire childhoods with Zippy and me and while those years certainly held challenges, we remained intact as a family. The four of us were never forced to seek asylum, we were never denied refuge, and our children weren’t ripped from their parents’ arms. That kind of unspeakable trauma was never part of our lives. Not because we’re exceptional or more deserving, but because we were fortunate enough to be born in the United States. That’s it. Sheer luck.

Today is Zebu’s birthday and I get to hug my son. I’m weeping for those who can’t.

Sunday Confessional: can’t keep my eyes open

Just returned home from lunch and a visit with my mother-in-law who had a birthday yesterday. I sat down at my computer to pick up where I’d left off on my revisions and was hit with a wave of sleepy.

It’s raining outside my window and I’m opting for a nap.

Quiet, please.

Thanks for the memories

Today’s been a difficult day.

I’ve had no energy and stayed in my jammies until 2:30 when I dragged myself off the couch so I could walk Emma and get some sun. Despite the sunshine and blue sky, I felt weepy as we walked, and kept tearing up. And then it hit me: January 23rd…Scott’s birthday. My childhood friend should be making a wish on his candles and eating cake, except that he died almost exactly twenty-five years ago.

Oddly enough, figuring out why I was feeling so down improved my mood. (Well, that plus the sunshine and exercise.) Because then I started remembering. Odd conversations about olive loaf and Salsa Rio Doritos; Scott’s old blue Pinto; the St. Patrick’s Day we spent together; his English class demonstration in which he taught us how to keep score in bowling, but became confused and had to step back from the board to figure out exactly out where the score had gone wrong; the Sears catalog poses he’d do for me whenever I asked; singing Victor Banana songs together; laughing until we cried. Laughing some more.

Here’s the photo I keep on my desk:

Scott’s smiling.
And now I am, too.

Happy birthday, friend.

Happy 88th!

My mom turned 88 today. During our phone conversation just now, she wondered about the significance of “88.” When I wasn’t sure what she meant, she went on to say, “It means something automotive.” After we hung up, I asked Zippy. And being the son of a gear-head, he knew exactly what she was trying to remember.

“She’s talking about the Oldsmobile Rocket 88.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d never heard of this car, but there are LOTS of them out there. Images galore!

This one was an official Indy Pace Car:

 

This one is just pretty:

 

 

 

 

And here’s the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 race car I dedicate to my mother on her 88th:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!

Skee Ball Omen

Last night while on my birthday adventure in Manitou Springs, Zippy and I discovered an old arcade with Skee Ball machines. I love me some Skee Ball. We each played two games (25 cents per game!), and rolled the nine balls. My first game, I only scored 130 points out of a possible 450. But the second game . . .

330 points, yo.

She’s a Skee Ball wizard
There has got to be a twist
A Skee Ball wizard
She’s got such a supple wrist.

How do you think she does it? I don’t know!
What makes her so good?

I’ve decided that my perfectly-respectable-but-not-at-all-astounding score is a sign of good things to come. It’s a Skee Ball Omen.

(Note: That ball on top of the net is from another, less-wizardly Skee Baller.)

The little birthday symbol that could

Today is my birthday and when I woke this morning, I started thinking about what image I’d like to put up here to commemorate the day. The answer came while I was preparing my smoothie: the end from a purple carrot.

This little image feels like a worthy symbol of this day and the coming year. I, too, want to be vibrant and colorful, and shine like a sun bursting through a fiery ring. And bonus points if I also achieve antioxidant status!

Happy birthday to me and my carrot.

Birthday Cousins

Born on the same day, five years apart.

♫   May you smile into the camera
And squint against the sun
May you stay forever fun
Forever fun, forever fun   ♫
May you stay forever fun.

Happy happy birthday to two of my favorite people on the planet!

Happy birthday to my sister

On this Sunday, I’d like to thank you for a gift you gave me thirty-five years ago.

(Peace Sunday was a concert to support nuclear disarmament,
and it included an impressive lineup.)

I wanted to attend this amazing live music event, but didn’t have a ticket. You, despite not liking crowds or concerts, said we should go. Right then! So you drove us in your “Blue Goose” from West LA to Pasadena, where 85,000 people had converged on the Rose Bowl. It took us a while to find a parking space and then we walked and walked and walked. Well, meandered was more like it seeing as you had your camera and were being meticulous about noting f-stops and shutter speed for each photo you took along the way.

When we finally reached the Rose Bowl, the concert had started and, of course, there were no tickets available. We needed a hand-stamp to get in. There was a chain-link fence near the entrance and some guys standing nearby had our answer: they licked the stamps on the back of their hands and then pressed them against the backs of our hands. It worked! We had our own hand-stamps and were officially part of Peace Sunday!

Many details of that day are hazy (cough, cough), but I believe our seats were to the side and slightly behind the stage. Wherever we were, we couldn’t see the stage. And the sound was pretty crappy right there. But we’d made it! We were part of the Peace Sunday experience.

I do remember when Joan Baez brought out Bob Dylan. It gave me chills, knowing two of my very favorite singer-songwriters were so close. It was rather surreal, hearing them sing from a stage we couldn’t see.

Joan and Bob’s performances weren’t great, but because of you, I was there! Because of you, I was able to join a swath of humanity that’d come together for an incredible day of music and to say NO NUKES! It was an unforgettable gift. I hope you also have fond memories of Peace Sunday. Thank you again for being my generous and funny big sister who gave me a very special day.

Happy birthday to you.

Live music is better bumper stickers should be issued

Last night Zippy and I celebrated my birthday by going to a dive bar to hear local bands. My logic was that I’d feel less old and obsolete if I hung around the younger generation and heard new-to-me music.

The first band was a punk trio that played song after song in what felt like 45 second bursts of sonic-boom fury. People avoided standing in front of the stage because it was SO loud, and if I hadn’t feared for my long-term  hearing, I would’ve been out there pogo-sticking. There’s something invigorating about music you can feel in your spleen.

20161126_002429-1

Back at home where I’m modeling my wrist band that proved I was old enough to consume alcohol. I had to show ID for that sucker!

We stayed for two more bands and had a good time. Earlier in the week when I’d told my brother and his girlfriend our plans, she’d approved of my pre-emptive logic but also warned we’d be the oldest ones there. Well, I’m happy to say that Zippy and I spotted five people in the crowd who were clearly older than us. We high-fived after each sighting.

My plan was a success.

Today was another blue-sky-and-sunshine day, so I invited Zippy for a hike up in the open space. It was blissfully quiet out on the trails.

Another good call on my part.

Me meandering ahead of Zippy. We'd just scared up a Red-tailed Hawk, some magpies, and a flicker.

Me meandering ahead of Zippy. We’d just scared up a Red-tailed Hawk, some magpies, and a flicker that’d been hanging out in a tree together.

So now I’m moving beyond another year and another birthday, and looking forward to any-and-all good stuff up ahead.

 

 

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In Which Tracy Turns Fifty

Last week I turned 50 years old.

50 skeeball LJ 11.28.12
(image from morguefile.com matthew_hull)

Even when the birthday isn’t a major psychological milestone,
it’s hard for me to feel celebratory in late November
when the days are short and the gloom seems to stretch on forever.
Which is why I planned ahead and made arrangements for our family
to fly to San Diego and stay in a condo on the beach in Oceanside.

I really, really wanted solid family-bonding time because our
last few tumultuous years yielded less-than-heartwarming vacations.
This family time would be different, dammit!

And it was.

Wildebeest and I took morning walks on the beach,
talking and laughing.
Zebu and I shared a nighttime stroll,
watching the silhouettes of shorebirds
in the lights of the distant pier.

There was football, Frisbee, and boogie-boarding.
Sunshine,
surfers,
and sanderlings (my favorite busy-busy shorebird).

I saw dolphins just beyond the line of surfers, gracefully cutting through the water,
and Zebu got to see his first sunsets over the Pacific; he took this photo from our balcony:
Sunset in Oceanside

I shot pool for the first time in years and regaled my sons with tales of
my many years playing in bars and pool halls. My performance was
streaky, but I made enough good shots that Zebu commented it was
obvious I used to play a lot. (Score one for Mom!)

Months ago when I made arrangements, my plan was to
celebrate my birthday by running on the beach for 50 minutes,
and run I did (along with Zippy). My altitude lungs were tickled to
be at sea level, my trail-running feet were grateful for the mostly
flat beach, and my bird-loving heart was thrilled by the constant
presence of gulls, pelicans, crows, willets, and curlews. I smiled
and waved and called out greetings to my feathered friends as I ran.
We went 5.69 miles in those 50 minutes, the final mile our fastest.

Then we soaked in a hot tub.

Now we’re back home in Colorado dealing with our real lives, the
skin-shriveling dry air, and a lack of happy-inducing negative ions.
However, I’ve got a mental scrapbook filled with wonderful memories and a
healthy start on how I’ll define life after fifty.

Plus this lovely souvenir from our family vacation in Oceanside, California.

Oceanside rock in hand 005

It’s Sharon’s Birthday!

    

There's no one in LJ-land more generous with birthday wishes than ,
and I hope you'll join me in wishing Sharon a wondrous day.

May your birthday and the coming year bring you much love and happiness, Sharon!
(And lots of cake!)

Here's a little Vinca from me to you . . .

Jumping into a New Year

 

HAPPY 15TH BIRTHDAY, ZEBU!



                                                                                                                    Photos by Wildebeest
 

 
Zebu, you’ve got mad hops.
Even if the rim was lowered.
 
Here’s to lots more joy and basketball . . .
 
             

When Celebrations Collide

                 

Today is my birthday.
I’m 48 years old.

Today is also Thanksgiving.
There will be pumpkin-pie with candles.

Today I give thanks for my friendships
and the abundance of love we share.

I wish everyone a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving.


                                                                                                                                              © Tracy Abell 2010
    
(Apologies for the mammoth image.  I’ve devoted some time to shrinkage but cannot crack the code.  I am giving up.  Call it a birthday indulgence.)
               

Friday Five: The Random Synapse Edition

             

1)  I hope to return to my regularly scheduled blogging from here on out, as I
have emerged from my funk (thank you, friends!)

2)  Zebu and I just got home from a run which feels extra satisfying since it’s
going to be about 20 degrees warmer in an hour or so.

3)  I sent my BIRD BRAIN pages and synopsis off for the conference critique,
and feel good about my decision. 

4)  I’m back at work on BIRD BRAIN but am not rewriting as I’d planned;
turns out I know those pages so well I couldn’t let go of wording so it’s
actually better to tweak what I already have.  Weird, huh?

5)  Happy Birthday to my sister and Wonderful Weekend to all. 
               
              

Friday Five: The Zebu Birthday Edition

            

1)  Zebu was born in Anchorage, Alaska, fourteen years ago today
after twenty-six hours of labor from which I went temporarily AWOL.
2)  I’d planned a home birth but since Zebu was early, law dictated I had to be in the hospital,
which is one of my least favorite places on the planet.
3) But I coped by going out on the grounds with my friend, A, who coached me through
contractions as we watched a moose ramble around.
4) We found out later the nurses were paging me over and over, but I eventually returned to my room
and they didn’t yell all that much.
5)  After many more hours of labor, my beautiful Zebu was born, and today we celebrate him.

                 

One constant over the years is Zebu’s robust dislike for having his picture taken.