SQUIRREL!

Actually, unlike Dug the Dog from the movie UP, I maintained my focus today. I woke this morning with a game plan for working on opening pages of a new middle-grade, and I kept to that schedule. I made good progress and am feeling (slightly) less nervous about sending those pages (plus more) to my critique group on Monday.

I declare today a WIN for this writer.

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Life is just one gigantic marble maze

Exhibit A:

Look at all the bright and shiny colors!
The rocket ship! The stars!
There’s even a dotted line to map out the route.
There’s so much potential in the marble maze of life.

And at the end of some days, I go to bed feeling like a WINNER.

Other days it seems as if I keep falling into the same damned hole.

But the secret  to the marble maze of life is finesse,
a little bit of TILT,
and a willingness to fall down,
get back up,
and show Hole 15 that this aggression will not stand.

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Happy Windsday, Piglet

Zippy and I just went for a run.
It is very blowy out there.
Ugh.
winnie-the-pooh-and-the-blustery-day-winnie-the-pooh

It wasn’t quite that bad.
I mean, neither of us went airborne.
But that’s only because we’re not chubby little cubbies all stuffed with fluff.

Otherwise . . . WHOOOOOSH.
Trust me.

 

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Vermiculture or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Worms

These days there isn’t even the option of pretending not to see the bad things being done to the planet and its inhabitants. Agent Orange and the Billionaires’ Club are taking what was formerly done on the down-low, cranking it up a couple hundred notches, and shoving it in our faces. Anger, anxiety, and despair (just to mention a few) are running high. I’ve made tons of phone calls and sent emails, and while those are important tasks, I’m not feeling overly swell about my influence on Washington, D.C.

Enter the worms.

Back in mid-December, I blogged about nabbing some free wooden drawers off Craigslist. I wanted them for worm bins. And now, after lots of reading and research, I’m pleased to say Zippy and I have converted some of those drawers into worm bins.

bins-with-lids

Zippy did all the construction. He drilled holes in the bottoms of the bins and ventilation holes on both sides. Then he lined the bins with shade cloth.

ventilation-holes  bin-interior

I prepared the bedding using newspaper, phone book, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, and an ancient newsprint drawing pad that I must’ve brought with me from North Hollywood (via Santa Rosa, Bakersfield, and Anchorage). Yes, I sometimes lean “hoarder.” But hey, isn’t it cool that the worms are benefitting from my issues?!

bedding-supplies

Bedding supplies

bedding-preparation

Shred, shred, shred some more!

On Saturday, we went to pick up our two pounds of worms from a worm farmer in the Denver area. Unfortunately, I don’t have photographic documentation of our worms’ homecoming because I was focused on getting them out of the cloth sack and into their prepared bins. But here’s a fair representation of what those worms looked like when I released them from the sack:

compostwoms

And here’s a quick and slightly blurry overview of the bin in use (didn’t want to dawdle since worms are light-sensitive):

bin-in-use

The worms are working away in the damp shredded paper, etc., beneath a damp “blanket” of newspaper. They’re eating our kitchen scraps and their bedding. They’re helping me feel less horrified about my footprint on this planet.

Today the Senate voted to confirm a wealthy, unqualified, anti-public school fundamentalist to head the Department of Education. I had no influence over that vote. I do, however, have control over my worms’ well-being and my household contribution to landfills.

 

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Gump philosophy

Life may, indeed, be like a box of chocolates. The chocolates in this Belgian sampler were certainly full of surprises.

All that remains from Zebu's gift to us from his travels in Belgium.

All that remains from Zebu’s gift to us from his travels in Belgium.

Yum, chocolate curry.

 

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I’m leaving on a jet plane

Heading off to see my mom.

I don’t anticipate an Albert Brooks-Debbie Reynolds kind of visit (if for no other reason than Mom and I aren’t quite as funny as Albert and Debbie), but this movie tag line from MOTHER feels appropriate:

No one misunderstands you better.

mother-poster

I’m eminently qualified to joke about such things. One: I’m a daughter. Two: I’m a mother. Pretty sure my sons gird their emotional loins for visits with me, too.

 

 

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How to ruin a move in four words

“It has a twist.”

That’s what the ticket-taker said to us yesterday at the movie theater. The older woman informed us who starred in the movie (as if that was something we hadn’t already researched), said she’d loved it and then added that the movie had a twist.

As soon as those words were out there, I felt cheated. I didn’t want to know anything about the movie (aside from the actors and the basic premise), but it was too late. The ticket-taker had spoken.

laurel-and-hardy-shh

And boy oh boy, her words had a major impact on how I watched that film. I kept thinking, “Is this it? Is this the twist?”

Will he let him go?

Was he actually killed by the rattlesnake rather than the gun?

Will the gun now go off and kill that other guy?

Will he go for his gun and start a shootout?

It was distracting; my brain wouldn’t stop contemplating the possibilities. All because that well-meaning woman thought she needed to make small talk.

And you know the worst part? There wasn’t even a twist in this movie! The closing scene left the viewer with a few questions which only means that the movie was open-ended. Open-ended does not equal twist.

THERE WAS NOT A TWIST!

Rant over.

 

 

 

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Garden gone mad

I’ve neglected my flower gardens this year and it’s very crowded out there, both front and back yards. The thistles and bindweed are giving the perennials a run for their money. I spent two hours out there today working on one small area in back, and it still looks like a garden gone mad.

Asters, day lilies, sedum, yarrow, and three shrubs that have run amok.

Asters, day lilies, sedum, yarrow, and three shrubs that have run amok.

It’s a vicious cycle:
I’m overwhelmed by the mess
and avoid going out there
which means more stuff grows out of control
which I then avoid.

Some women fantasize having a cabana boy,
but I dream of Chance the gardener.

 

 

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Waving goodbye to Gene Wilder

I was very sad to learn Gene Wilder had left the planet until I found out he suffered from dementia. Then I said, “Good.” Because fuck Alzheimer’s. But my heart still hurts knowing there won’t be any other wonderful performances from that gentle genius. I grew up on Gene Wilder movies and it’s hard to wave goodbye.

Gene Wilder accomplished the impossible: his subversive performance as Willy Wonka made me love the movie more than the book. That never happens! I ALWAYS prefer books to movie adaptations.

WillyWonka GeneWilder as WillyWonka

Thank you for the many laughs.
Rest in peace.

 

 

 

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Friday Five: The New-to-Me Edition

ONE: The right headlight on our 2004 Prius went out and Zippy fixed it with a new bulb (something he’s done four times over the years, thanks to the kindness of people who post YouTube how-to’s).

New bulb in the old car.

New bulb in the old car.

 

 

 

 

 

 


TWO:
We replaced our garbage disposal splash guard (taking only three trips to the stores to find the correct size), again thanks to the kindness of people sharing DIY knowledge.

My new view from above.

My new view from above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THREE: One night this week Zippy and I watched WILD, the movie based on the book by Cheryl Strayed, and an image from that film that’s stayed with me is Cheryl writing in her journal and then tearing out the page after it’s filled, and feeding it to the campfire.

WILD movie

 

 

 

 

 

FOUR: One of our two old dogs is suddenly walking like a drunken sailor and yesterday the vet told us Coco is (hopefully) suffering from “Old Dog” Vestibular Disease, so she’s now on some medication and we’re hoping she’s soon upright and back to herself.

Coco's got a new tilt to her head.

Coco’s got a new tilt to her head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIVE: Last fall Zippy and I dug out the raised bed on our patio that had been destroyed by our two old dogs, and replanted it with new perennials (before adding a barrier fence to keep out Coco and Zoey), and the new plants are poking through.

A new penstemon has joined the garden.

A new penstemon has joined the garden.