Saturday, August 24, 2019

Memorial Games

When my cat Guinness died (more than three years ago) I let the veterinarian deal with his body. I kept his memory. 

 Later, when I moved my small couch, I discovered a cache of his favorite toys – little yarn or metallic balls (each slightly smaller than a ping pong ball). 

My other cat was not particularly interested in them, so I placed the collection in a heavy glass vase and taped a photo of Guinness on the front. That was my memorial. I put the vase behind a row of books on a living room shelf. No one need know it was there, but I knew and could occasionally smile at my memories of the crazy, loveable cat who loved only me. 

This year my grandson came to visit. Somehow, he found the vase full of cat toys. They were fun to throw. So he threw them. And the other people in the room threw them back. It was a perfect storm of cat toys and laughter. 

At first, I was taken aback. They were my Guinness memorial cat toys. But then I remembered how much Guinness loved to play. He would have approved. I joined the laughter.

After my guests were gone, I restored the Guinness memorial, ‘hidden’ behind the row of books. Until my grandson comes again.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Beyond Binary

Not too long ago I didn’t know what ‘binary’ meant. 

Not too long ago I didn’t know I knew any lesbians (although I was pretty sure I knew some gays). A long time ago I didn’t know (or know I knew) any African Americans … or Asians … or Native Americans … or Latinix … or Muslims … or Turks … or Germans … or Buddhists … or Catholics (well, maybe some Catholics … and Jews) … or motorcyclists … or hunters … or homeless people … or differently-abled people … or really old people… or any people other than white, middle class, privileged people. 

What a myopic view of the world! What an infinitesimal fragment of reality. 

Recently I went to a lesbian wedding. It was a beautiful celebration of two people who radiate joy in being together. I was honored to be there, to witness their acknowledgement of the miracle of their love. 

It is a miracle, you know… whenever it happens between/among whomever it happens. Right now it seems utterly foolish to inhibit, in any way, any smidgen of joy. 

When we open our eyes, minds, hearts to any* of our fellow passengers on this planet as it swirls within our galaxy, our heart is nourished … sustained. And we become more fully alive. [And increase the possibility of our own joy.] 

(*Even Republicans ***)
(***with one possible exception)

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Water Hazards

My house is now full of water hazards because my old cat has feline kidney disease and is therefore perpetually thirsty. 

In addition to the bowls of water next to his food bowl, there’s another tucked into a corner of the dining area . . . and a huge water pitcher in a corner of the kitchen. Upstairs, there are three water bowls in the bathroom. 

But that’s not enough. Not for my cat. 

After a while, he began following me into the bathroom. I permitted absolutely no toilet access. But he was still thirsty. Looking around, it occurred to me that the sink might do. 

Close the drain, fill the bowl, lift the animal onto the counter and voila! A remedy. 

My upstairs sink is surrounded by a counter. Not so the downstairs sink. One evening as I was sitting on the toilet, my cat wandered in, thirsty. What to do? He jumped into the bathtub, peering over the rim, looking longingly at the sink. ‘Oh no!’ I thought. ‘If he jumps, he will land in the water.’ He did jump but managed to balance on the rounded sink rim and drank. Amazing. 

So. When you come to visit, please watch out for water hazards; close the door behind you when you enter a bathroom; and, please, close the toilet lid when you leave.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Earth Day Birthday

Today, April 22, is my brother’s birthday. My mom chose this date for her caesarian delivery because April 22 was my uncle’s birthday.

My brother was born in 1943; my uncle, several decades before. ๐ŸŒŽEarth Day was created in 1970.

Noting this, my brother claims he is older than dirt. He has told this same joke every year for the past 49 years.

It’s still funny.

It is my careful, unbiased observation that people born on April 22 are exceptionally nice human beings.

 According to my cousins, my Uncle Jack was the best dad ever. [I only spent a little time with him but I enjoyed every minute of it.] He was even at my parents’ house when we celebrated my first-born son’s first birthday (Oct. 5, not April).

And of course, my brother is extraordinary … my favorite (and only) sibling.

So here’s to our amazing and fragile planet ๐ŸŒand to all those who work to protect it (and by so doing, protect the rest of us). They get it. We are co-dependent with Earth.

Celebrate it. Do everything in your power to allow every bug and bird and blossom and butte survive and flourish.

๐ŸŒŽ Hooray! For the interdependent web of all existence.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Colorado Spring

It’s sandals and snow boots time in Colorado. 

 Weather changes reign. Sometimes snow, sometimes sun. 

 All creatures adapt. Last week we went from a 70-degree day to a 7-inch blizzard. 

When the robins had no access to my birdbath, where they usually get their water, they took to the streets where traffic had reduced the snow to puddles. 
I had never seen that before. 

And I believe this is the first year that my dandelions have emerged before my tulips. 

At least they provide a spot of color as green seeps back into my world. 

Green is so welcome. Every day it gathers strength, first transforming beige lawns then gradually adding a haze of leaves on the trees. 

The pace of transformation accelerates. 

 And is so welcome. 


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Old Hair

Other than senior discounts and Medicare, one enormous perk of aging is the lack of hairy legs.
Oh, I do occasionally – about once every three or four months – have to harvest the meager crop, scattered sparsely on legs whose veins tend to make them look like maps of the London subway system.

Still. It’s a perk.

Hair is a contrary mammalian trait. It seems to grow where we don’t want it and disappear from places where it is fervently desired.

This is true for both men and women but I will deal only with the aging female here. [And I will not deal with all of the capillary ramifications – like moustaches (which is another dilemma altogether).]

When I was younger and more smug (smugness seems to be characteristic of youth) I would smirk disparagingly at men who had attempted to disguise a balding pate by combing longer locks over barren skulls.

No longer.

My once glorious tresses still exist but, like the earth’s aquifer, are diminished.

My hair is thinning.

From the front and the sides, I still look adequately ‘haired’. Not so much from the back.

Now I too must fluff the remains and try to guide them over my pink, pink scalp.

I even have some powder I can sprinkle over the too obvious hair barrenness. It helps.

So beware, oh youth. Avoid smugness and smirks. All too soon, that which you deride will be that with which you must contend.

Monday, March 18, 2019

A Recent Scribble

I recently attended an event for writers focusing on our respective heritages. [This is a photograph of  some of my ancestors]
We were encouraged to write a little something. I wrote a synopsis of my life:

Like most U.S. citizens, I am a mongrel 
Within my veins and chromosomes flows the heritage of 300,000 years 
Or more 
I, like all people, came out of Africa. 
According to DNA analysis, my Paleolithic ancestors lived in northern Spain. 
I do not remember this. 
Family conversations alluded to more recent ancestors from the British Isles and Germany 
I do not remember this 
I do remember stories of early California ranches and farms – 
Buckboards and stage coaches— 
Not from personal experience 
From stories. 
Then I began to act in my own drama. 
First, following the standard American script: 
School, college, marriage, children 
Cooking, cleaning, washing clothes. 
Eventually, divorce 
Jobs that took me to many lands 
Learning, absorbing, respecting. 
I am part of all that I have met and learned. 
All that I have met and learned are part of me 
And I have only just begun.