Today, I didn’t share.
Zippy and I worked in the front yard for 90 minutes (we’d set a two-hour goal, but gave up after the effing wind blew off my hat one too many times). He deadheaded the blue mist spirea bushes while I dealt with the lavender. WE HAVE SO MUCH LAVENDER.
Normally, when I thin plants I put a FREE ad on Craigslist and leave the plants next to the house for people to pick up whenever they can. Today, I couldn’t deal with added layers of decision-making and organization, and tore out a garbage-bag full of run-amok lavender and threw it away. To summarize: I didn’t share plants with other gardeners and I didn’t compost the waste.
If confession is supposed to be so good for the soul, why do I still feel guilty?
Whew. I’m feeling whupped, which reminds me how exhausted Zippy was after I labored for 26 hours to bring Zebu into the world. I’ve teased him over the years for being more tired than me.
Today, I get it.
Exactly one year and one day ago Emma came to stay. Not a whole lot has changed since then, except that we still haven’t mastered not-blurry photos of her AND elder-dog Zoey now has one more “damn millennial” to shake her head at AND cat-brothers Loki and Marcel have mostly put aside their differences to join forces against the high-energy pupster AND strangers now stop Zippy and me on the street to inform us that Emma is so very cute.
As if we hadn’t noticed.
Zippy and I just returned from our weekly date. It was his turn to choose and he chose Guillermo del Toro’s THE SHAPE OF WATER. I would not recommend the film. However, Sally Hawkins’s performance was lovely and the movie was so visually pleasing that I debated whether to recommend watching it without sound. Alas, I believe the heavy-handed characterization and plot line would still sledgehammer their way into your consciousness even without audio.
As a writer, I’m kinda pissed. The characters were lazy stereotypes, including Michael Shannon’s character who was so over-the-top I nearly burst out laughing. That character didn’t have one shred of decency. Not one. Plus, there wasn’t a whole lot of nuance in the film and absolutely zero question as to justice vs injustice. Zero question.
And you know that quote from Chekhov about the gun? (“One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn’t going to go off. It’s wrong to make promises you don’t mean to keep.”) Yep, THE SHAPE OF WATER committed that sin when a hard-boiled egg didn’t go off.
Today I was looking in our linen closet, and unearthed this shirt:
Neither Zippy nor I can remember which son owned it. I’m guessing it was Wildebeest, but am not 100% sure. Why do we still have it? Why is it taking up space in the home? For that matter, why are we holding onto half the crap in our lives?
The good news is, I haven’t come across any Napoleon Dynamite moon boots.
Tonight Zippy, Wildebeest, Zebu, and I are going to watch the Nuggets play the 76ers. I’m excited because one of my favorite former Michigan State players, Gary Harris, plays for the Nuggets. Also, I love basketball.
However, that excitement doesn’t mean I won’t be packing a pen and notebook. Yes, I’m a basketball fan. But I’m also a writer who likes to be prepared, and as Tom Waits says: Any place is good for eavesdropping, if you know how to eavesdrop.
Even a basketball arena.
We’re headed to Zippy’s sister’s home for a belated Christmas gathering. I was wrapping some gifts in my writing room when I looked up to see Marcel wedging himself in the box of ribbons. I carried the box out to show Zippy, and asked him to take a photo.
That face is a Christmas miracle all its own.
Zippy and I have been taking turns picking out a date each week. This week was my turn, but the days had passed by without me making arrangements. This morning I invited my mate to go bowling.
Sunday mornings at our local establishment are very inexpensive. We each bowled three games plus rented shoes for me, and only spent about $14. Woot!
Despite getting four strikes in the first game, I only bowled a 134. The next game was lots of spares and a little higher score (144). The last game, I threw a whole bunch of gutter balls and ended at 108. It was time to go home.
All in all, not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.
Emma and I walk the neighborhood every day. Some of those days, Zippy joins us. Other days, it’s just Emma and me. Today it was just the two of us and I optimistically dressed for a run in case Emma was feeling energetic.
Emma was not feeling energetic. Emma was too busy missing Zippy. She kept turning to see if he was behind us. About three minutes into the walk, she dug in and refused to budge. I said, “Fine,” and headed for home. Emma RAN the whole way there. I put her inside and went out for my own run.
Today wasn’t an isolated incident. However, in the past I’ve coaxed her along. Not anymore. From now on, if Emma is too busy missing Zippy to keep moving forward, I’ll immediately take her back home and then go for a run by myself. That short-legged dog cramps my style, anyway.
A small package arrived for Zippy in the mail today. He held it up and asked, “Do you want a late birthday present or an early Christmas present?”
Birthday, of course.
Zippy knows that the way to my heart is via dragonfly . . .
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.)
This is one of my favorite photos from our spring trip to Sweden.
Zippy, Zebu, and I were walking across a square in Stockholm when I noticed this artful arrangement in the cobblestones. Who knew manhole covers could be so appealing?
Well, this guy, for one.
After I finished my hoop-dancing session this morning, Zippy walked into the kitchen. I’d blasted lots of funky songs from my playlist and the final one was “Overpowered by Funk” by The Clash. As I danced over to pour myself coffee, I asked my mate, “Are you feeling overpowered by funk?”
Zippy said, “I think I’m immune to funk.”
“No,” I cried. “That’s just wrong! How could anyone be immune to funk?! That’s blasphemy!”
“Well,” Zippy conceded. “I do like Roger Clinton more than most people.”
“George Clinton!” I corrected. “You like George Clinton.”
“Oh, yeah,” Zippy said. “Roger Clinton is Bill Clinton’s brother.”
No offense to Zippy, but there’s no mistaking Roger’s music for George’s.
It was Zippy’s week to choose our date and he chose LOVING VINCENT.
It’s the first ever fully painted feature film, painted by a team of over 100 artists.
That’s 65,000 painted frames.
Visually, the movie was stunning. Narratively, it was a bit bumpy.
Still and all, I’m glad to have experienced it. Vincent Van Gogh felt things very deeply, and any celebration of sensitive people can only be a good thing for humanity.
Revision is all about keeping in mind the big picture and the many, many details that go into creating that big picture. Because a novel is kinda like a forest, which is nothing without its trees.
Zippy and I just returned from a city council candidates’ forum. We heard from the three candidates running for one of the two seats in our ward. It was my first time attending a ward function.
Ugh. Our neighborhood ward is essentially run by a cabal of older, reactionary people.
Know what? After fifteen minutes trying to arrange my thoughts in a coherent manner for this post, I give up. I can’t bring myself to rehash their disrespectful, clique-ish behavior or the dog whistle language they use to work everyone into a fear-based lather. It pissses me off too much.
Instead, I’m going to escape into my fiction. Some of the characters in my novel are also horrible people, but I ultimately have power over their lives. If I want to load them all on a bus and drive them over a cliff, I can do that. In real life, not so much.
Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day, sunny and in the low 60s. Zippy and I spent the afternoon working in the yard, trying to catch up on our much-neglected gardens that have run amok. The sun shone through the leaves and I paused in my work to capture this vibrant image:
I made a conscious effort to fully experience the colors and balmy temperatures, because there was a huge weather shift on the way. This morning we woke to about 4 inches of snow on the deck railing (currently 8 inches or so).
Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny with a high of 51 degrees. Welcome to Colorado.
Today Zippy and I went to Berry Patch Farms in Brighton, Colorado.
Note: the rooster windchime on the tree was there before Michelle’s bench. Can you say SERENDIPITY?
Today, Michelle’s mother, sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, and friends gathered in her memory. For the past two weeks or so, the weather has been uncharacteristically cold and rainy, but today the sun was shining in a blue, blue sky. The morning was lovely, and I suspect Michelle pulled some strings to make it so.
It was bittersweet being at the farm without Michelle, but here I am warming her cheery red bench along with three of the Writing Roosters, the critique group she lobbied to include me in its membership. Michelle’s generosity lives on.
There are 32 photos in the exhibit. Images include a man holding a Confederate flag, groups of people at small town parades, dead coyotes in the back of a pickup adorned with a U.S. flag, a girl and her goat at the county fair, and cell phone towers that are camouflaged as a eucalyptus tree in one photo and crosses outside a church in another (two of my favorite photos in the exhibit).
This powerful photo (Alister & Sherie) is from Michael Joseph:
Zippy chose this as one of his favorites, should a mythical Uncle Mortie show up with a blank check to buy one of the photos. I, too, admire this image, but don’t think I could summon the emotional courage to look at it every day.