Archive for April, 2011

Sign Up Hang Up

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

I will explain what I signed up for or with. Earthwatch, studying Grevy’s zebras in Kenya. Well I have been to Kenya, although at Lake Naivasha to study fish and Lake Baringo to count flamingos. So it appears I am working up the evolutionary levels of vertebrates. English is the national language so communicating while traveling around the country is not a problem. I spent many hours on the water for fish studies and miles walking and riding in a van to count and classify flamingo carcasses. The zebras range in the Samburu district, at least that is where this census will occur. The number of zebras is shrinking because the habitat is disappearing by encroaching civilization, illegal poaching for skins and hunting by natives for food. The count will be taken while riding in a van with the team I will join. But the sign up was a minor action for the day. I hung my bedding on the clothes line to air in the brisk breeze and washed and hung up tee shirts and underwear, which took much more time and energy. Then I buried myself in my stamp collection. I really get into it. Clears my brain of all other thoughts, believe me. I have to search for the strange countries whose names I found on the stamps in the package from Mystic Stamp Company. Some have changed the names and some just simply exist no more. The job gets my detective juice working. Not nearly as scary as Bitter Lake. But I better get my rest. Tomorrow I will be at the teepee learning station to inform 60 third graders about Indians. Beat the drum, bury the hatchet, or scalp the rowdy.

Harmless shoots

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

New born leaves peeked out of swollen buds on the ends of small branches on the walnut tree that waved joyously at me in the capricious wind this morning. The temperature was too chilly for walk around the shop as I had planned when I first got out of bed. The sky was clouded and I hunched my shoulders. Water was still dripping off the eaves but at least the rain had stopped. I had two towels and a pair of socks to hang out before I figured out just how I would fill my day. The stamp club met on this Wednesday but I really didn’t feel up to going. My feet were swollen and my ears ached with the cold air. My forehead was warmer than it should be but I felt sweaty so I wasn’t sick. My thoughts have been on people who shoot themselves or shot by others. Should I work such horror into a new story? Plant shoots are intriguing and far less unsettling for contemplation.

Eggy

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Finally got busy and boiled the dozen eggs that have been in the fridge for a long time. Now they are cooked, peeled and deviled. Yum. And those uneaten are refrigerated. I had to boil them in the fry pan. No stove burner nor pan for cooking any more. They boiled over long because I was busy reading Tim’s book and would have let them burn away without my notice if I hadn’t been in the sun room  and could smell them. Anyway the job is done. The last time I put eggs on to boil, I drove off to work and my mail carrier smelled them burning, called the fire department, who climbed in the bedroom window, turned off the stove, took the pan outside and called to apologize for invading my house. Never mind that he prevented a house fire. Now I mostly nuke packaged meals, just the right amount for me. Not a lot of calories either to help in the battle with my bulge. Well I’ve given up a lot of things – I really should give up cooking.

Weather (or Not)

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Mark Twain is credited with lots of remarks about the weather and they are philosophical but not necessarily any more worth quoting than anything you or I might say as we look at clouds piling up in the west, or rain falling on our umbrellas, or feel the wind trying to pull the hair right off our heads. Most of the time I don’t even think or say anything about it at all. Except when I want warmer temperatures, or sunshine instead of rain pouring down when I want to go for a walk. What ever is happening, the weather is a safe subject to keep a conversation going with near strangers. When we ask: “How are you?” the last thing we want is for them to tell us how they are. So the sun is shining, isn’t that nice? Or rain is coming down, my lawn sure needs the moisture. Or the wind is blowing , sand gets in my eyes. If a person insists on making conversation with me, I nod patiently. I know the person just needs to have someone listen.

Slim Work

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

It seems fitting that if I want to reduce the flab around my waist I must work at it. I kind of wish it didn’t take so much work. My towel mat stays on the floor so I have no need to spread it for each workout. Good thing I have few visitors to question its presence. Stretching feels good for this old body but I have to push myself to do more than that. Sit-ups are what firms the tummy muscles, but boy oh boy, is it work. Not that it hurts exactly but I grunt and that makes the energy focus on the correct muscles. I in no way expect immediate slimming. The process will take time. A long time. But I look at my full length silhouette and hope I have the courage to make good things happen. Slim up. Who knows? Maybe that will even clear my sinuses.

Bird List

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Nature lovers find bird watching easy and make list of all species found. I never thought to do it after the exotic list I made in Jamaica when Mark Smith pointed out the indigenous birds, ones found nowhere else in the world. Sunny, dry and pleasant on that island, I remember. Not here today. Oh it is pleasant to sit in my sun room watching the drizzling rain. I marvel at the birds that seem not to mind it at all. I enjoy my trees and flowers and so it seemed did the neighbor’s calico cat. I wondered if she made her lunch here on these winged creatures I found such a delight to watch. Robins hopped, cocked their heads as if to listen, then quickly pulled a fat worm from the soil. Other than robins, who had just recently shown up, I saw juncos, chickadees, California quail, mourning doves, house finches, and a flicker. Crows and gulls flew above the street on lookout for leftovers thrown out by careless drivers. Or they flew for the fun of it. Or just because they could. So I added then to my list. Just because I could.

Once Sweet Love

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

When I plan an extended stay at a familiar destination, I am aware of the reading material available and look forward to becoming reacquainted with those sources. My accommodating hostess encourages me to peruse the local library as well and indulge in subjects otherwise unexplored or temporarily ignored. I read a sweet romance adventure “Cypress Nights” by Stella Cameron. I also sampled “Denialism” by Michael Specter and “The Botany Of Desire” by Michael Pollan. Both books contain passion beyond human emotions and are books I’ve read before. The first touches on dangers of denying science and the latter embraces the concept of co-evolution of plants and animals. Both are subjects which I find fascinating. I returned to the series about Hobbits, a unique species inhabiting “Middle Earth” a fantasy world concocted by J.R.R. Tolkien which dwells on human resourcefulness and determination never mind nature and its unique relationships. All this content for a day set aside in honor of love and devotion beyond the expected ordinary emotion between friends, families and lovers. I thought the content was worth printing, no matter that it was written weeks past.

Hoarfrost once loomed

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

While it was a lovely white day yesterday, this morning’s hoarfrost took me right into winter wonderland. Every branch, even the smallest twig was furry with tiny ice crystals. The humidity was high, up to 84 percent, seducing the moisture into its crystal form. Wonderful is the scope of H2O from a liquid that escapes the upper clouds when it becomes too heavy to be held, to a mist that is difficult to see when the temperature is very warm. Steam turns into a fog on window glass and in my sun porch at 11 degrees the fog became an elaborate etching attributed to Jack Frost. Good for him! I’ve done etchings on steel plates and with a special procedure, I could reproduce an image over and over again. Not so with those produced by nature anywhere. There is no such thing as identical frosty images. They are wonderful individual renderings that just happen. No planned design. No master engineer. Nature at its finest. Although I prefer temperatures above 70 F, I welcome the outdoor fantasies which can only appear when humidity and temperatures below freezing combine in crystals with pictures in the realm of Star Wars, Spock and Yoda. It is a distinctive type of frost. Why it holds a weird name like hoar, I can’t imagine.

Day of Rest

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Sunday. I woke thinking I would be late at the Refuge and quickly remembered I wasn’t going there – today, maybe no more at all. I was stiff and thought of yesterday and the hundreds of feet of soaker hose I snaked around through the backyard plants to get the best coverage of the water. Digging in the daffodils that I dumped out of the waste basket I had hoped would bloom in the living room I discovered the bulbs were frantically swirling around their prison valiantly looking for freedom. Well they have it. I hope they bloom this year. The tulips are opening buds and I picked several to display in a window vase to please me while I work at the sink. I am weary and would like to crawl back into bed, cover up my head against the early light intrusion and sleep the day away. My sinuses are stuffed and that affects my ears but I will go to Freethought later and hope the conversation will clear my head. Sometimes those guys (literally Men, only one other woman joins us) get sidetracked with unlikely subjects about which they sound like they know nothing and I leave them to it.) I took out my drawing pencils yesterday and found how stiff and unresponsive my fingers are. Will take practice to get back into putting my surroundings on paper. The black walnut tree did not take kindly to its rendition so practice I must. The forecast for weather is rain and that will keep me indoors and my pencils will make tracks that will look like bark and other lively growing stuff. Drawing is more restful for me than other endeavors so my day is mapped and I am ready for action.

Big Hunter

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

A monster the size of a silver dollar plopped down on my arm as I sat in my lounge chair drinking my morning coffee and I swatted the spider with a swift reflexive brushoff.  Then just as quickly I got up and hunted on the carpet hoping to find the carcass and remove it to the garbage. It was nowhere to be found. I figured the poor thing was reduced to a little brown piece of lint and I would never find it in the variegated brown nap of my carpet so I sat back and sighed heavily to finish my coffee. A movement on the ceiling caught my eye and there the spider was walking nonchalantly as if it owned the territory. How it got to the ceiling I couldn’t imagine but off I went to retrieve a fly swatter. The spider pulled into itself. I could see it go on alert trying to figure out what was going to happen. It must have felt a relief after the swatter landed way off the mark on the first try. I think it smirked. Not such a danger after all. But the expression didn’t last because I eventually hit the mark. I pinched it inside a tissue and threw it into the swirling water of the flushing commode. OK now I could cast off the killer mode and go out to enjoy my sun room and begin a summer tan.