Right now, the view out my window looks like Fifty Shades of Dead. Everywhere I look, it’s nothing but dry-drab-brown. So I’m going to indulge in a little fantasy . .
Take that, reality!
Bunny, blooms, and throbbing green to the rescue.
It’s been dry and windy, and this morning I noticed finches hopping around in the nearly-empty bird bath. As I filled the watering can I use to replenish the bath, I noticed other finches perched on the dogs’ water bowl that sits on the deck.
The birds were thirsty.
Soon after I went back inside, birds arrived. These finches (House and Gold), juncos, chickadees, doves, flickers, and magpies all came to drink at the community pool. In fact, so many birds came to visit throughout the day that I just cleaned and refilled the bath again.
Lucky me. And I mean that.
When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all.
~ E. O. Wilson
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.)
Over the past two days, I’ve felt stalled and demoralized about the middle-grade novel I’m writing. When I woke this morning, I was determined to face the pages and write myself out of that morale-sucking place. No matter what it took.
Well, I’m pleased to say that (1) there was no bloodshed involved in the writing of those pages and that (2), I’ve officially regained my momentum and am back on track.
However, I can’t be complacent about my efforts. Tomorrow I must plant my butt in the chair and face the pages again. And so on, day after day, until this draft is finished.
Even if you’re on the right track,
you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
~ Will Rogers
Yesterday morning, Wildebeest woke up early to drive the six hours back home. At the same time, Zebu was on a flight out of London to Denver. Wildebeest got here an hour before Zebu landed at the airport.
Zippy and I haven’t seen either of them since mid-August and we all have lots of catching up to do. In the last 24 hours, there have been many overlapping conversations and bursts of laughter. Both sons are introducing new topics to the discussions, touching on the lives they’re now living, but we also keep to our usual “script” which includes Arrested Development references and cat jokes. And basketball. Always basketball in the script.
This morning it was a spirited debate re Michael Jordan vs LeBron James as Best Player of All Time. We’ve also discussed the way college player Grayson Allen trips other players as compared to Golden State Warrior Draymond Green’s kicking players in the crotch, and who deserves to be suspended. Right now, one of Zebu’s high school basketball teammates is here and they’re talking about basketball intramural games at their respective colleges.
Basketball. Basketball. Basketball.
A familiar song I’m happy to hear.
Zippy has started the task of scanning photo negatives from long ago. Right now he’s revisiting July of 1992 when we lived in Alaska and one of his sisters was visiting. We did a boat tour in Kenai Fjords National Park where we saw this handsome sea lion:
Because we have approximately one metric shit-ton of negatives we haven’t looked at in years, I’m guessing we’ll unearth more sea lion photos from our time in Alaska. That means there’s a very good chance I could begin posting one every Saturday, and #SeaLionSaturday could become a real thing. (Especially if 50 people started joining me in posting sea lion photos each Saturday. Friends, they might think it’s a movement!)
All I’m saying is that #Caturday isn’t the only catchy hashtag.
Yesterday and today have been frigid in these parts. The kind of cold that makes my teeth ache and my nostril hairs stick together as soon as I step outside. I’ve toted my space heater from room to room while waging an internal debate on the pros and cons of life in Florida or Arizona or Texas. (Okay, that’s melodramatic hyperbole.) However, the stuff about my nostril hairs is true.
But at this moment, I’m thankful for the promise of better things:
That’s a 29 degree swing in the right direction, and I’ll take it!
As that Little Orphan Annie with the freakishly blank eyes is fond of saying:
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow ….
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.
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.
So now I’m moving beyond another year and another birthday, and looking forward to any-and-all good stuff up ahead.
This is an Eurasian Collared-Dove, an exotic bird species that has been making its way west since its release in the Bahamas during the 1970s. We’ve still got Mourning Doves in our neighborhood, but the most common dove sighting in our backyard is one of these.
It’s hard to be anti-bird because, well, they’re birds. On the other hand, these birds are pretty pushy and spend a lot of time camped out in the feeder tray. Pink Floyd’s song isn’t about gluttinous birds, but whenever one of these doves bombs in and scares everyone else from the feeder, I can’t help thinking “Pigs on the wing.”
As has been documented here over the years, I’m a long-time Dylan fan, so wasn’t completely surprised when it was announced today that Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. (Although, as I said in an email to a friend, I do wonder whether Bob should’ve been disqualified from consideration due to his Victoria’s Secret commercial years ago.)Nonetheless, this year the committee chose to honor Bob Dylan’s work which, on a personal note, feels very fitting because Zebu is studying in Sweden right now. The award also feels fitting because of one Dylan song in particular that tragically never, ever goes out of style. For “Masters of War” alone, I’m good with Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Okay, this is a stretch.
Coco isn’t a Ramones fan
and she doesn’t sing Blitzkrieg Bop.
Or maybe I’m projecting a punk attitude on her because I know how when that door opens she’ll run inside and her back legs will go out from under her as she negotiates the turn to her food dish. Pure mosh pit enthusiasm.
I spent the morning packing and repacking duffel bags for Wildebeest who has moved to a faraway part of Colorado. He couldn’t take everything with him when he left so Zippy and I are heading his way to deliver the rest of his stuff. Wildebeest had it all packed up and ready for us, and our plan was to fit everything inside the truck we borrowed from my brother. HAHAHAHAHA. *wipes away tears of mirth*
We needed a Plan B. So we pondered and debated the position of the roof rack and the dimensionsn of our 20+ year-old XCargo carrier:
We weren’t confident we could securely attach the carrier so then I did some research on the intertubes. And just as you’d suspect, people are very clever when it comes to hauling stuff on top of vehicles. Alas, none of those DIY ideas suited our specifications.
Then I remembered our enormous duffel bags.
Last June, Zebu flew back from Bellingham, WA, where he’d attended school. We’d moved him out there via a rented Impala (biggest trunk EVER, yo!), but didn’t want to make that trip again. Which meant he had to fly back with lots of carry-on items. Enter much online research for the largest duffel bags available that did not exceed airline limitations.
We’re going to put them alongside Wildebeest’s snowboard on the truck’s roof and secure everything with ratcheting straps. Hopefully, there will be enough room in the interior for the rest of his worldly possessions.
I enjoy organizing stuff and figuring out how to pack things efficiently, so it’s been kind of fun. But all morning, in the back of my mind, was the knowledge that in just a few short weeks Zippy and I will truly be empty nesters. We’ve always had at least one son living in the vicinity, but now Wildebeest is a long ways away. And in a few more weeks, Zebu will be living a really, really long ways away as an exchange student in Sweden.
It’s easy being happy for them because they’re both very excited by the changes they’ve put in motion. I’m thrilled by their happiness and passionate outlooks, because it hasn’t always been this way. So right now I’m embracing the Ry Cooder song playing in my head:
How can you keep on moving unless you migrate too
They tell ya to keep on moving but migrate, you must not do
The only reason for moving and the reason why I roam
To move to a new location and find myself a home
~ (lyrics by Agnes “Sis” Cunningham)
I posted the following (I Can’t Breathe) on December 4, 2014:
I’m a writer and I’m supposed to be able to express myself.
But for the past two days I’ve struggled to put down words about the stark contrast between my experience as a white female in this society and all the black women who can never, ever take for granted that any of the males in their lives–sons, husbands, fathers, brothers, nephews–will walk back through the door at the end of the day.
I’m heartbroken. For all of us.
Nineteen months and a whole bunch more dead black men later, and I still don’t know how to write about what’s happening in this country. It’s seriously fucked up what’s going on here. I’m sad and angry and exhausted by the seemingly never-ending supply of fear and ignorance behind all this police brutality. It must end.
My heart goes out to those who, every single day, worry whether their boys and men will make it home.
EQUAL RIGHTS by Peter Tosh
Everyone is crying out for peace, yes
None is crying out for justice
Everyone is crying out for peace, yes
None is crying out for justice
I don’t want no peace
I need equal rights and justice
I need equal rights and justice
I need equal rights and justice
Got to get it, equal rights and justice
I just listened to HUNKY DORY while lifting weights.
That might seem an odd choice for pumping iron,
but I’ve lifted to that album many times.
As I posted back in 2007,
HUNKY DORY is one of my desert island picks.
I’ve loved it ever since high school when I’d close myself
off in my room and play both sides.
Today might be the first time I cried while listening.
Kooks got to me first.
And if you ever have to go to school
Remember how they messed up this old fool
Don’t pick fights with the bullies or the cads
‘Cause I’m not much cop at punching
Other people’s Dads
And if the homework brings you down
Then we’ll throw it on the fire
And take the car downtown
Will you stay in our Lovers’ Story
If you stay you won’t be sorry
‘Cause we believe in you
Soon you’ll grow so take a chance
With a couple of Kooks
Hung up on romancing
And then Quicksand really brought the tears.
I’m not a prophet or a stone age man
Just a mortal with potential of a superman
I’m living on
I’m tethered to the logic of Homo Sapien
Can’t take my eyes from the great salvation
Of bullshit faith
If I don’t explain what you ought to know
You can tell me all about it
Or, the next Bardot
I’m sinking in the quicksand of my thought
And I ain’t got the power anymore.
Don’t believe in yourself
Don’t deceive with belief
Knowledge comes with death’s release
However, as Wildebeest said this morning:
“I never met him, but I don’t think he’d want us to be all mopey.”
Wildebeest listened to lots of Let’s Dance today.
Put on your red shoes and dance the blues
RIP Mr. Bowie.
Okay, I didn’t make the cover.***
Or even the Random Notes page.***
And I didn’t pull a Matt Taibbi and publish a muckraking Wall Street piece.***
However, I made it to the Correspondence page. That’s right, I have a letter to the editor in Issue 1233 of Rolling Stone. Woot!
Think I can use it in my clips file?
***Looking waay back to 1972 and those Shel Silverstein lyrics sung by Dr. Hook
*** Loudon Wainwright III references the Random Notes page in “The Grammy Song”
*** Go read this article that starts with “The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
I have a friend who once told me how to cure an earworm
(defined as "a tune that is stuck in one’s head, especially as unwanted or repetitive.")
She said to call up someone, sing the song snippet into the phone,
and then hang up.
For the past several days,
I’ve had the medley of songs
from the Teresa Brewer compilation album
advertised on television in the 70s
STUCK IN MY HEAD.
Over and over and over again,
I keep singing snippets of these songs.
Because I’m suffering multiple earworms,
I’m going to try a new approach to Earworm Transfer.
CAUTION: CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK:
The funny thing is,
I watched very little television growing up.
The TV was mostly locked away
but at the whim of my father,
would occasionally reappear.
I remember being so, so happy to watch
"Gilligan’s Island" after school.
I’m betting the Teresa Brewer commercial played then.
It’s about thirty-five years later,
and I sing the songs in the exact order they played in the commercial.
Talk about the power of advertising.