Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Yesterday I picked up Mama Cat and her 6 little ones. See how smug she looks in the overexposed photo above? She is a dear little mom.

When I found myself pet free, I started looking into dog rescue and volunteer situations that would be a good way for me to ease myself back into having a pet. I'm a little commitment shy at the moment, so this is the perfect fit. I signed up about a month ago, went to a training meeting and waited for the phone call. I'm available pretty much 22 hours a day. The first several phone calls all came during the 2 hours I cannot answer the phone. I was so disappointed to miss out.

Finally, the timing was just right and I have a very large litter with a very small mother.

I brought the family in the house, set them up in a corner, and opened the door. I expected a feral cat who wouldn't dare to venture out until I was well out of the room. I could not have been more mistaken. She came right out to say hello. She brushed her head against my leg and chatted me up. For the next hour she took a break from her babies and indulged in scratches from me and a very large meal. We're old friends now.

The babies are not so sure of me yet. They're still pretty devoted to mom. Every so often I can get them to swat at my finger or scratch one under the chin.

I must be crazy. I thought they'd fit in a corner and not take up too much space....they've overtaken my front room. There's the crate, the food, the cat box(yuck) and the barricade of pillows so the curious kittens don't stray too far away and get lost in the "big"house. So much for my tidy home.

But, I'm happy to be doing this. I hope each of these babies goes to a really good home, and that all the squeezing I give them prepares them for their future families.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My previous post

Was kind of, just to lighten things up, I am now the proud owner of a camera. I have wanted a camera for a very long time. I did acquire it a week too late. Last week, as I looked out my window, the field was awash with lupine, a vivid purple which is such a lovely contrast to the grass that was still a bright green.
That's okay though. I'm sure there will be plenty more photo opportunities. Like this one:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


This week's news was disturbing, (as usual), and had one sort of happy ending. My Mom and I spent Easter Sunday together, driving up the coast and drinking in the glorious beauty outside. Inside, we were talking about this n that. We finally decided no more current events, because it's all bad news. One thing we discussed in particular is the issue of recent pirate attacks on the sea. In one instance, pirates were holding an American ship captain hostage for ransom. The sort of good news is that he was rescued by Navy Seals. The "sort of" is because we just ratcheted up the stakes for negotiations in regard to future attacks.

In the car I said, "Mom, why do I like Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean so much, when I really hate what pirates do?" Or something along those lines....A part of me honestly felt guilty for contributing to the glamorization of pirates.

We threw out the name Johnny Depp, laughed and steered the conversation elsewhere.

For some reason, an answer popped into my head last night, as random thoughts often do. I realize there is a lot of social commentary hidden in such a child's tale. Perhaps smarter people than I wrapped their minds around this long ago.

The character Will Turner, in Pirates of the Caribbean, is a pirate by birth. In the beginning of the film he does not even know this about himself. Elizabeth Swann knows this. She keeps a medallion she took from Will when he was plucked from the Sea and passed out on the deck of the rescuing ship. This medallion indicates that he is associated with pirates. Pirates are a lot who are guilty by association, even if that association is simply birth. Elizabeth was gracious enough to look past this, and even held a sort of fascination for pirates.

I thought about the way we move about in society. More often than not, it seems that we stick to our own kind. There are instances to be sure of people breaking free of their lot in life and exceeding expectations. Will Turner is one of those characters. He took the news of his identity and used it for good. He was thrust into a situation, and acted with integrity. Jack Sparrow, on the other hand, chose a life of piracy. Though his actions and choices are a bit more shady, he still occasionally operates in a selfless manner for the good of others.

So where did I go with all this? It's the age old story. Sometimes, we like to root for the underdog. More than that, I think on some level, we like to see people move outside of what is expected of them, because we are encouraged even if only subconsciously, that we can then do the same thing. These thoughts comforted me.
Then, I realized, on some level, we are all pirates, hijacking other people for our own needs; whether it be lashing out in anger, manipulating, lying, bragging et al...Whenever we put our selves first and make others pay for our own desires, we are acting no differently than the pirates today.

The beauty of it is that we can move outside of that and learn to live with honor. And, I can keep enjoying my Disney movies guilt free.

Friday, April 03, 2009

I have a resident squirrel

I feel so blessed that when I sit in front of my computer to work, I look out onto a hillside with a sweeping tree line. There is a ranch fence just feet away from my panoramic window, which once kept horses in. The horses are long gone, but a squirrel now uses it as his thoroughfare. Instead of seeing folks in suits and whatnot breezing by with Styrofoam cups of coffee, I occasionally make eye contact with a very fat squirrel. I wonder which one of us is more unsettled.

I have long had a desire for a fish pond. Rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, deer, bobcats, coyotes, hawks and cougars are not enough. I need gold fish. I stumbled across a plastic tub the other day in the refuse pile, and decided it would do. Though it's not a glamorous rock pond with natural curves and grace, it will hold water, and therefore fish. I dug a hole and dropped the tub in, hoping to surround it with rocks and lessen its perfect roundness. I have to cover it with wire because of the aforementioned raccoons. It's a project; I love a project.

I dragged my mom to the local pet store, and bought a starter five. At 15 cents a pop, I don't feel guilty in this recession splurging a whole 75 cents. A little food and plants, and I'm on my way. Every morning, I eagerly step out to my back deck to see if they've survived another night. So far, so good. Though I'd still like to adopt a furry pet, for the time being, my little five put a smile on my face.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Several years ago, I was depressed. I was studying environmental science, and surrounded by people who spent half an hour washing dishes with the water running the entire time; even walking away from it to collect pots and pans throughout the kitchen. The utter thoughtlessness of it horrified me.
Commercials were getting under my skin too. A distant cousin to the Stepford Wives was appearing on my screen. Back in the 50's, it was all plastic and space age looking appliances. The new push for "homemade cookies" you take out of the freezer and plop on a tray thereby making you a good mom, or the snack sized over packaged everything saddened me. What kind of a world are we creating?
Thankfully, the book I wanted to write is being blogged all over the place. I've stumbled on a wealth of blogs calling women to the life I've dreamed about. This life touts the merits of not only homemade cookies, but homemade bread as well. It used to be that your shiniest newest gadget and scads of Tupperware was the simpler life. Now days, it's producing your own food in a garden, baking and all the opposite things that have been heralded to simplify ones life.
I am so gratified to these people who are reinventing the world we live in. They are taking back what Madison Ave tried to steal, and it is good.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Pope, condoms and Africa

I still haven't figured out where I want to go with this blog; but something struck me so today, I just have to write about it.

On a trip in Africa, Pope Benedict XVI says condoms are not the answer to HIV and AIDS. Please tell that to the countless orphans who have lost both their parents due to AIDS.

Why is it so easy to solve a problem in theory, but not in actuality. AIDS is not the result of people not abstaining from sex, as the Pope recommends. AIDS is the result of sexual actions that occur for a variety of reasons by which merely applying the platitude to practice abstinence is not going to stop the problem. I apologize for calling abstinance trite. Abstinace can be an amazing thing, a calling in fact.

Therein lies the problem; if someone has not heard the calling to practice abstinance, why then will that resolve the problem? We all know that there is a risk of being killed while driving in our cars, but because we need to get from a to b, we take that risk. Why is the Pope not addressing "a to b"? As I mentioned earlier, people engage in sexual acts for many reasons. Why not make it a practice of first meeting people right where they are? Just as we buckle up to make our journey in our cars a little more safe, why not encourage people to be just a little safer as they travel from a to b, and from that point encourage them to maybe drive from a to c...and maybe eventually they will start walking or riding a bike.

Transformation takes time. It is easy for some to lay down the law, and traffic in black and white ideas. It is another thing all together to recognize we cannot ask people to take action based on ideas they are not surrenered to.

As I deal with people on a day to day basis, I hope I can give them grace as they use the tools they are familiar with to get from a to b. And perhaps offer them new tools along the way.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

loved by many

Sunday was a very sad day here. I had to part with a sweet little companion named Twiggy.

I wish the photo showed her beautiful blue eyes, which were crossed, which so endeared her to me.

I inherited her at the ranch. She belonged to Suzanne who passed away when Twiggy was just a baby girl herself. Over the years, there's been many cats who have come and gone, but Chief Wiggums, as Caroline called her out lived them all. She was the most tenacious cat ever. A little slip of a thing, all the bigger manlier cats cowered in her presence.

She was a little bit like a dog, in that she greeted me when I came home with Siamese meows. It was a very sad day when she and I didn't communicate very well, and when I thought she'd gotten out of the way, and she thought I stopped, I ran over her with my car. We raced to the vet, and that girl lived on. One would never have known, except her right hip jutted out a little more than her left after that. I kept her in the house, carefully supervised for 2 months after that. Before the accident, there were times I couldn't get her out of the house. After her 2 months of confinement, she was so mad. The first thing she did when I finally let her outside was to run up to the big house and climb up to the roof. I think she wanted to be good and sure everyone knew she was fine, and nothing was going to hold her back.

I did discover through that visit to the vet that she was in the beginning stages of kidney failure, and they didn't think she would live that much longer regardless of the accident. She lived over a year more. Long enough for Caroline to return from Scotland and spend a little more time with her.

She charmed nearly everyone who came around. Some people couldn't help but just laugh at her crossed eyes. She had that curious cat habit of finding the least cat friendly person in the room and jumping on their lap. She was convinced that she belonged there, and somehow, she did. One scratch under the chin, and her motor was running. Everyone has a pet that is the sweetest best most wonderful pet; but she really was a special girl, and has a big fan club to prove it.

She was such a part of the fabric of my life. It's odd to come home, and not be greeted. I was very blessed to have her. I think she's somewhere happy now, eating as many cat treats as she wants, catching mice and generally charming the heavenly host.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I know, I know, I missed Christmas by about 2 months. A Christmas scene came up yesterday, and prompted some thoughts. I was watching the new PBS adaptation of Oliver Twist. I'm sure most know it's the story of an orphan who endures terrible hardship and abuse to be reunited with the family he was not even aware existed, even as they were not aware he existed. The closing scene for this particular adaptation showed Oliver in the coziest family setting playing the piano with his Aunt, (I think) and his Grandfather looking on with a Christmas tree in the background.

Why did this strike me so? I Think Christmas represents birth, just as much as Easter. Young Oliver was rebirthed into his family, and into life.

I thought about my own experiences with Christmas. I've always had to battle with my Mom a little bit to set Christmas aside, make it special. To her it's just another day. If there is ever a time to come together as a family, and bask in warmth and loveliness, it is Christmas. It is the send off of last year, and the advent of a new year. Not that our lives really should be measured in years, but I do believe we humans need to set aside times to reflect, to settle down, to start anew and to enjoy one another. So, I wonder how to achieve that Christmas feel more often, without diminishing the absolute joy of the calendar Christmas season.

I don't know why, but when I saw the family setting in the movie, the sheer enjoyment the characters so obviously had in one another, I got an image in my head of men in white t-shirts watching sports, women fretting and a hustle and bustle that lacks meaning and purpose. I compared it to the warm cozy image in the movie, and guess which I prefer? Of course, I realize, it's a movie. It's easy to look cozy and together when an army of people decorate your "house", dress you, prepare the "food" and create the details of the overall picture. I realize we live in a real world with limits on our time and resources. I do believe what I really keyed in on in the scene, was as I mentioned before, the pure enjoyment of the family.

I hope that I can cultivate that in my own life. Though there won't always be a cozy fire, or sparkly Christmas tree; I hope that I can truly enjoy the moments that come my way, that I can be prepared to appreciate the best in life.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I was reading an aritcle by someone I find very thought provoking the other day. The particular article I've been pondering was written in response to fears in some Christian groups that the Harry Potter series is dangerous. They suggest it promotes witchcraft. He makes a distinction between the actual occultic world, and fantasy. I appreciate that distinction. I appreciate any time a distinction is made which enhances the subject. More than just distinguishing the books as fantasy, and not necessarily a handbook to witchcraft, he fleshes out some bits of the story that are quite wonderful.

What I have really been pondering is the mirror of Erised. In brief, it is a mirror which when you look into it, "it reveals the deepest most desperate desires of our hearts." I've been walking around with the name Erised in my mind, because as Haack pointed out, Erised spelled backward is desire. I know if I looked into the mirror, I would see something, and it would not be God. I yearn for both: to desire God with all my heart, and at the same time, I yearn for the images I would see in the mirror to be fulfilled. Haack quotes Dubledore's explanation to Harry this way also, "The happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it and see himself exactly as he is." That makes my heart palpitate.

It's the paradox of life I think; looking in the mirror and seeing only a reflection, and looking in the mirror and seeing God. How can we both be happy in our position, and as well hope for more. And, more importantly, how can we keep that which is greater than all above all? How can we be both satisfied, and move forward?

The other interesting connection is the association of the mirror of Erised to the greek god of strife and discord, Eris. The supposed association between the mirror and a god is yet another reason to shun the books according to some. For the sake of calling a spade spade, Haack points out the mirror is actually called Erised and not Eris, similar but not the same. The interesting thing to me is that strife and discord is often the product of untempered desire. So, the association does work for me. That said, how often do we do that in our life? We take the tiniest association, and turn something into an entirely different thing. How often do we miss the beauty of something, because we are quick to judge. I think, had I decided the Potter books were handbooks of evil, I would have missed out on some great imagery to take and use in my own life. And I would have missed out on a great story that speaks to me. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

wrapped up and cozy

Lately, I have felt very blessed. I may have mentioned my big picture window before; it looks out to the hills. Whenever I sit at my computer, I am entertained by jack rabbits and deer frolicking in the clearing below the tree line. I feel so grateful to have this experience. One day, when I have access to a digital camera, I will download pictures of the actual view.

I've long been processing the purpose of this blog, and as yet, it is still mostly just my own ramblings to myself. One thing I've long wanted to do is write a book about living simply. Now I see, I needn't. I've found wonderful blogs of women picking up the mantle of simple living. When I need inspiration or a distraction, I wrap myself up in the lives of women who are doing such great things, and I feel cozy.

I was laid off this month, but somehow, I'm not in a panic. I think it is due in part to the fact that times are tough for everyone, and I know how to live simply. The up/downside of being unemployed is that I have lots of time to think and process. Thus, my online journal of sorts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I'm experimenting with my blog. I have been reading other blogs lately which inspire me. It's been raining today, even hailing. We desperately need it. Thus, a watering can image, in irony of my not needing to water today.

Monday, January 26, 2009

odd things

Two things struck me today. Actually, many things, but I'll stick with two first.

We don't listen anymore. We don't read, we don't let space be empty. We fill it. I was reading a thread on facebook about a friend sending her daughter to pre-school. There were several comments between women, and the Mom shared a lot of information about this experience, including how much her daughter has enjoyed pre-school over time. The final
comment was a question, asking if the girl liked pre-school.
It reminded me of the time I was spending the weekend in a cabin in the snow with friends.

A group of us had descended upon a grocery store late at night to pick up some odds and ends. We were all drunk on life really. We stumbled upon the "toy"section which for some reason was funnier than anything ever in our lives. I may have pee'd my pants.

When we got back, we had to explain to those who stayed behind just what they'd missed. I was so caught up in how funny everything was, that even though I watched my friends imitate the battery operated creepy toy gorilla, when they were done, I yelled out "do the gorilla!" Somewhere midway through them repeating what they'd just done, (laughing at my stupidity under their breath) it dawned on me that I sat there taking in the exact same story only moments ago, and it just hadn't registered in my brain until that moment.

I think that's how we are in life. We're so busy caught up in our moments, our wants, our needs, our whatever, that we miss what's happening in the moment.

Meanwhile, I glossed over an interview of sorts by a country music star. (Hypocrite, aren't I? Glossing instead of reading.) He made comments that he wouldn't be sharing details about his wedding because it's private. He doesn't understand how people can sell pictures of their wedding or babies, because those things should be personal. While I agree they should be personal, I don't see how pictures makes them less personal; unless of course, you are of the belief system that your image on film steals your soul. Granted, it creeps me out that people would sell their pictures, but if the proceeds go to a good cause, how can you argue with that?

Then I got to thinking why there is even a market for these personal things. One thought came to mind (today). It may be related to the above story about how we don't listen anymore. Aside of the glamour; the exotic travel, and endless clothing budget, I think the ordinary person is drawn to celebrity, because it's a way of connecting without really connecting. We can watch a couple date, marry, give birth and divorce all without having to do anything. We can see photos of their fashion dos for inspiration and feel smugly better about ourselves when they look like they've been awake for 72 hours. We can watch their relationships rise and fall without ever having to be on the other end of the phone wondering with a sobbing person where it all went wrong. We can look at baby pictures because these people have become an extension of our selves; and who doesn't love a baby? (If it's not your own of course.)

I have no problem with someone doling out pieces of their lives, even for money. Because, at the end of the day, no one really knows what Brad and Angelina say to each other under the covers and behind closed doors. I think there's still loads of things the two of them share that the masses aren't allowed into. I don't see a difference between a picture of their baby, and an interview about an album. It's all the stuff the mill knows we the people eat up. So, I guess what I am trying to say is I have a problem with people who choose a career dependant upon other people's interest in them, and who give interviews, but knock the publicity of others. It it's any group that I find unsavory, it's the one I belong to; those who are fascinated by other people's lives. Perhaps if I filled less space with all that, I'd have more space to listen.