Solstice Switch-Out – The Nature of the Kitty-Beast

fullsizerenderI love my living room window.  It is presently decorated in silver, white and vibrant red.  A cozy chair and table with a hand-blown glass lampshade sits before the sparkly window and the winter sun floods in, throwing pretty shadows on my wall to say that, yes, this is the shortest day – but it gets brighter from here on out.  But yesterday saw some minor adjustments to my beloved “blood on the snow” theme to my window.  All the hummingbird attractant red globes were removed with haste.  

Why the sudden flurry of re-arrange, re-do, re-think?  Because this year I have a CAT.

glass-lampYesterday afternoon as I sat in the cozy chair in front of the glittering-betwixt-rain-showers window reading by the light of the glass lamp, I noticed a hummingbird again outside the window, practically beak to glass at one of the red ball’s glowing splendor.  I was not the only one who noticed.  The cat on the footstool at my feet made an abrupt chirp sound, bounced once on a small trunk near the window and was instantly suspended on netting that holds up all those glittering decorations!  Her tail lashed at the lamp.  All the decorations slipped down lines towards the suddenly weighted center.

I stood, dumping my book onto the floor, stabilized the glass lamp with my left hand and grabbed the slightly flailing cat by the scruff with my right hand!  I toss/dropped the cat onto the large footstool and missed catching a falling silver ball.  (One of the ones above reflecting my suddenly endangered lamp!) Oh, well.  I was grateful I had done so much of the window with plastic ornaments, and little glass!  Small loss and literal CATastrophe  averted.

First, I did think just moving the large red globes that glow like so many hummingbird feeders would be sufficient crisis management.  But the mental image of the cat hanging on the sinking garden net made me think it was time to do the slight re-build we had planned for the window post-decoration this year.  A set of vertical cloth blinds usually hangs in that large window; but since our 2008 install of newer better windows, they have not fit properly.  The window became more shallow and the blinds were hard to open.  So we had planned to remove the blind hardware and put in a kind of false top window ledge — a deeper one that would allow the re-attached blinds to again hang and move completely free.  A long, beautiful maple board was acquired with this in mind.

I decided we would do that today instead.  The net and ornaments will come down, the board, with wee hooks behind the blind’s hardware will go up.  The window decorations will be re-hung free hanging from the top only — nothing for an ambitious kitty cat to climb.  The cat is a sweet pet, it is her nature to chase birds. (And thus one reason she is an indoor cat.) When tossed onto the footstool yesterday, she looked at me like I’d lost my mind: “Mom, it was green AND red, clearly MY Solstice gift!”  But I’d simply prefer if the window was no longer an invitation to kitty stalking, ornament breaking, and lamp or kitty endangerment!  The lamp table is moved, the couch back in front of the window as in 2015 photos.  Smaller touches of red will prevail, but the larger scarlet glass globes are in windows more obscured from hummingbirds and less reachable by cat!  All is well that ends well, right?  And IF, next year, the world has not ended?  I have my window plan all ready to brighten my dark-0f-the-year, right?  I hope I find the heart to decorate next year!  It was dark by the time we finished — daytime shots tomorrow?

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Gratitude Catch-Up, July 20 Thru 23rd

Feeling scattered and shattered today. Suddenly life is both full and empty.  The last three days were very hectic.  I’ve not had/made time for yoga since Monday and am full of bodily aches and groans as a result.  So, counter-intuitive as it is, I am grateful today that my body has become accustomed to a new yoga norm and bitches about my UNhealthy habits!

Yesterday was hectic, rising early to hit the road to Seattle to one of Swedish Medical’s SIX locations.  The Minotaur had an appointment to consult with a neurosurgeon there.  Traffic was hellish, it took over two hours to drive there in a light rain.  Then finding parking took another twenty minutes.  Then the VA (Veterans Administration/Very Annoying) had NOT sent the promised necessary authorization codes and a further half hour had to be spent getting all those things.  They were not nasty, the dear people at Swedish, they did not chide us or cancel the appointment we were thus very, very late for — they simply re-alloted time.  I am grateful for that – a reasonable medical staff and a humane doctor.   But it was a two/three gratitude day!

Image-1I was also grateful that we took a traffic stress break after the doctor and drove to Volunteer Park to visit the Seattle Asian Museum and the beautiful conservatory there.  I took a picture of the trunk of an unfortunately dying cedar there and “Prizma’d” it — even in death was beauty.  The Seattle Asian Museum did not have my favorite gold and black 12th century screen on display, but I did get a poster, cards, and a scarf embellished with it’s image!

FullSizeRenderI love crows and corvids in general – so this image never tires me.  Our metal front doors on the porch were roughly modeled on this design.

Thursday’s gratitude was that the food at Appleby’s, where my German lady lunch partners chose to go this week, has improved.  I was able to find something that didn’t ping my allergies!  Also, it gave me a nice mental memory instead of a nasty one for that restaurant — laughing friends, instead of my son’s former in-laws in drunken condition!  (Also, on Thursday, we dropped by a favorite European Cafe — with French food and a French chef – to drop off a dried bouquet of lavender in memoriam of the dead in Nice, France.  The Citron is an excellent choice with delicious soups for lunch for only $6 or so!)

Wednesday’s gratitude was again for food.  My husband the Minotaur took us to lunch in Puyallup at the Roadrunner Bourbon and Burger House.  This was very satisfying and sustaining.  They have far more than mere bourbon and burgers.  The music is early ’60’s and the decor is maybe what I’d call early Las Vegas.  The food and booze is excellent and happy hour(s) is noon to six and ten to close!  

We don’t actually eat out very often, aside from my carefully budgeted luncheons with the former employees of Hess Deli.  So finding the Roadrunner and great happy hour and delicious food is a marvelous break.  Not from cooking, but from the world.  The ambiance is totally in the past — in the allegedly “great America” certain asshat-not-to-be-named claims he will bring back.  So why, knowing the Rat Pack years were certainly NOT ideal, do I revel in this place evoking all that?  Because it was the years of potential — the moments when I still believed everything was going to change for the better!  So, when I sit in beneath the crystal chandeliers in the Roadrunner’s bar, listening to Dean Martin, I take a break from the heartbreaking, mind-bending news of the day and go back to a time when I believed it was going to be different.  It actually does brace me up a bit and allow my batteries to re-charge.  It surely beats thinking about how everything did start to change and then suddenly went rapidly retrograde when every crazy white sort in America freaked out over a black man in the White House!

Now, back to the “salt mines” of a yard getting ahead of me, an election year that is insane, planning schedules around surgery and recovery time next month and much more solo yoga!

Poetry Month – Twenty Six (edit)

Was my morning cup stolen from Alice?

For I must be so small,

Sound woke me – overhead clatter,

Across the patio – hummingbirds magnified!

Peacocks strutting the roofline, majestic,

Majestic thieves!

Seed tray ravagers, hunger driven,

Hera’s pets this “king” and his three brides?

mooned

(Edit:  Later in the morning, the peafowl were doing mating dances on the Labyrinth.  They were shy, I caught the backside of the huge displaying male from inside the “hide” of my son’s vehicle.  Mooned by a peacock on a Tuesday morning.)

 

Prose: “There arose on the roof such a terrible clatter” No, I know, I said prose. And I know it isn’t the night before Christmas.  But I was sure I was dreaming when tremendous noise woke me this morning.  It died off, I thought I dreamt and dozed a bit longer.  Then, out the window, atop the Haven I saw them.  As if some wand had blown large the blue-green hummingbirds I feed.

We have always known pet peacocks gone wild lived on the hill behind us; years ago they came to eat cheap cat or dog food off our roof.  They stopped when some redneck took a shot at them from the road.  But this morning they are back and very hungry – the seed trays just sprouting beans and other things to transplant into the garden were devoured.

I wonder what has changed on the hill where they were once self-reliant?  I know my seed feeder for small birds is empty with great speed and I have hummingbird species I’ve never seen before coming and emptying syrup bottles.

We threw handfuls of dog food to them.  When last we looked they were walking in circles on the stones of the Labyrinth.

Poetry Month – Twenty Four – Other Mirrors

mirror,mirror,mirrorI see myself in the morning’s mirror,
Same hair, too wild unconfined,
Same hollows ‘neath boring blue eyes,
Same pale and thin lips
But there are other mirrors?

How do hummingbirds see me?
Lady of the Nectars warm,
With e’er changing plumage,
Save the head, they might say,
Constant in every season’s need?

In the eyes of children?
Do I stand firm in joy or trouble,
With feather beds against cold,
Hot bread and butter against hunger,
Storybooks against loneliness?

My husband says I am a beauty?
Though I do scoff at his eyesight,
Finding grace in my steady stride,
Seeing film star glamour in fall of hair,
He sees no broken dirty knuckles?

My few women friends look at what?
To see support, a port in storm,
Outrage upon a profane tongue,
Facing down bullies bigger than me,
A heroic romantic fool ideal?

Striding on the street before strangers?
Dressed a bit too showily,
No jeans and t-shirt here to see,
Proud boots for stepping, me…
Cockroaches to stomp?

I leave my mirror quickly,
I must ever be more than I see,
Because I am not the image alone,
All that I will ever be,
Is what I do, not what you see!

Poetry Month – Nineteen – Carnage

Pardon a bit of macabre humor, ok?  I’m feeling a bit literally “Lord of the Flies” today!

FullSizeRenderOh, the bodies littering the wooden deck,

Dozens, dozens, and blood splash on windows,

Slaughter worthy of pirates or zombies!

Whence came this plague of flies in April?

A screened porch and dawn with hundreds of flies?

Like a bad movie out-take in Amityville, woe!

A week of time of assiduously applied swatter….

Oh, whence the plague worthy of Egyptian myth?

 

A month back weather barely warming,

The scent wafting through the floorboards?

Made us slam doors on early spring warmth,

“Oh, hells NO — what died?” we cried,

‘Neath the floor boards as “rotten in Denmark”,

I think the Rat King died!

Nature’s undertakers were there awaiting- life from death,

And by my hand, back to death — in hundreds!

 

Poetry Month – Ten – Nature

beached blue

Long under Man’s bridle She danced like a filly,

Now She turns and rears like a Fury,

Her tread marked with blood and worry,

Ne’er “broken” with love, She breaks from love,

To be again Red – in tooth and claw ungloved!

 

And the prose –

I watch the beginnings of the devastation by weather – I can’t help but to make metaphors and personifications.  I know it is irrational, but it somehow firms the concept for me.

The last time we went to our favorite beaches on the Olympic coast, we found piles of dead seabirds.  And the tiny blue- violet “velella” were ashore in their dead thousands.  Even though this death-littered sand is a rather common event, it filled me with foreboding.

That same year, a huge flock of pine siskins migrated into my gardens, emptying a large seed feeder daily.  They were all bedraggled and thin, and some of them were dying.  Finding body after tiny bird body made me wonder what they had been through to reach the haven of my fir trees.  Their songs ignited every dawn and sang down the sun.  I’d never seen a flock of birds so battered and desperately in need of food and rest.

I watch the weather these days with a sense of dread once reserved for news coverage of the wars.  I hate to sound Biblical — but it does feel as if the time has come to reap what whirlwinds we have sown!  Not that I mean that in a literal Bible sense at all; but the turn of phrase is irresistible.

I watch my gardens fill with birds this spring and feel I am seeing the end of an era of calm, peace, and plenty.  I water flowers and tell myself to hold to grace under the pressures that must come.

Poetry Month – Nine

(Another haiku-free day)

We stand before the Fall,
Not of night, that blessing –
But the fall from Nature’s love,
When still a ray of morning light
Upon a tan leather chair is sweet,
Without portents of doom.

When new soft green needles
Are a-light but unburnt by heat,
When we can still eat almonds,
Though the price becomes dear,
When the sun was our lover,
And the earth danced in it’s light.

When the morning fogs spoke of water,
In whispers soft and white,
When the sunrise didn’t burn the eyes,
Before Nature spurned our touch,
And turned away like a runaway child,
Abused too long, disused too long,

The Prose, Part Two

So yes, it was “set the alarm early” day. The morning chill made us shiver as we walked down our own road to a nature preserve very close at hand. We met five others there and shook hands all ’round. The job was to connect a mislaid trail by cutting a new one and blocking off an old path.

We hacked out sword ferns and black-cap vines, wild roses. A fallen tree blocked our way, and one woman had quite valiantly attacked it with a hand pruning saw — but it was eight inches in diameter and fresh fallen enough that the heartwood was like iron.

FullSizeRender 2Being close, the Minotaur husband walked back home to bring more choppy-sharp things and the pick-up truck and the wheelbarrow to make us all more effective. I used a hatchet on the recalcitrant log, and we made repeated assaults with a reciprocating saw when the batteries were charged. I hacked the final bit of tree away and then gave the freed log a jerk — pulling it clear and falling on my butt as I shouted “Victory!” Finally, the path was clear end to end!

It felt good. It felt primal.

My fingers found the black fresh-water pearls corded roughly at my throat – it felt “rooted” and “grounded” and all those magical things. I’ve been playing with the idea of wearing jewelry “coded” to chakras and days of the week, you see? Today, Saturday, is for Saturn and for the root chakra — so red or black jewelry is my key of the day.  While I am not Eastern religion linked enough to be serious about chakras, it has been a novel way to make me change my jewelry!  Otherwise, lazy me would just put on my labrys pendant and be done!

But the entire morning, hacking and chopping, and asking the strangers sharing this task to think of what we wanted to chop down and out of our world so as to focus our anger, our energy to make the task an accomplished thing?  It almost felt like that base/root chakra woke up to flow enthusiasm up my spine and down my arms!

Let’s hope I UP-rooted more today than unwanted plant matter, eh?