Friday, March 30, 2012

Lessons in Domesticity

Talking with my friends recently, I looked down to see a gaping hole from snagging on a rose bush just below the knee of my favorite pants. My domestic qualities are far from accomplished, but hey, they are my favorite pants, so they had to be fixed. My last experience with a sewing machine, about five years ago, ended with me jabbing and breaking off the sewing needle inside of my finger. So I was a little nervous about the undertaking.
My first lesson was: guide! don't pull!
Guide! Don't pull! Apparently if if you pull, the stitches are too far apart. If you don't guide, it just sews the same spot over and over again. So guide! Don't pull!
Next comes the application of the iron-on, decorative patch.
Iron on the patch. Then sew around the edges because iron-on patches do not actually iron on.
After some fingertip pain, I learned the thimbles are not just for looks. . .
Finished product! And no finger injuries! Let the domesticity begin . . .

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stormy Weather

If you are a lover of storms, please stop reading now because I don't want to hear some well meaning but misdirected comment about how storms are so neat and people should love getting rained on and all that. I am a desert lover. It speaks to me. I love being able to look far and vast. I love how the desert is so quiet that silence makes a sound, and when you hold still for a long time, you see it come to life around you. I love sand and warmth and cute lizardy things. Those are things that I love.

These are things that I don't love: I don't love walking on a cold night, rain plummeting down and starting to seep through my supposedly water resistant clothing. I do not like things clinging to me. Wet clothes cling. This is bad. If I wanted to dress in cling wrap, I would do so. And speaking of clothes, I don't like having to put on a zillion layers of clothes just to take a simple walk.

I also don't like coming home and having my recently skunked dog waft his residual smell around because his fur is wet. Nor do I like cleaning the kitchen floor every single day of my life because there are fresh, muddy paw prints across it.

I don't like how dampness makes things stick to me. Suddenly I am a magnet for dog fur, for clothing lint, for my own loose hairs, for bits of moss or mud or some sodden leaf that I happened to come in contact with. And wet feet. Not a fan of that either.

Yes, I know the northwest is green and beautiful and lush and blah blah blah. And yes, I know this is all because of rain. I also know that I have lived here long enough to earn the right to complain. So there.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Song of the Frog

Following a particularly hectic work day, I was frantically walking Lewis in an attempt to "get things done" when I walked by a house that had singing frogs in the backyard. Singing frogs help time to slow down a bit and put things into perspective. For instance, I was walking on a rainless, relatively mild night. The air was fresh, and the night was rather still. The frogs were singing merrily, and it made me think of lazy summer nights when the sun sets late and you can rock the minutes away on your front porch, talking with a good friend or just watching life go by.

When I was riding horses many years ago, we had a frog in the wash stall that lived under the water control handle. I made a sign there indicating that the frog should not be harmed or overly disturbed. Sometimes the frog would sing, reminding us of its presence. The frog always reminded us to slow down a little and think of something other than the immediate tasks we felt we needed to accomplish.

The next time I hear frogs singing, I am going to stop and take note of the other things I was likely missing. The gentle breeze or the smell of spring flowers. I will stop and let the frogs remind me of what is important.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Nature Fridays

I would like to instate Nature Fridays in my life. Having a spastic work schedule over which I have no control will make this nearly impossible, but I like the idea nonetheless. There is something about Friday in particular, the day prior to the day of rest. You can almost feel the earth getting ready to take a breather. Not so on Wednesday or Monday or some other such day when it seems to be status quo as usual.

So anyway, on this particular Nature Friday, Lewis and I came across some kind of woodchuck. Taking a left into the forest instead of our customary right, we found ourselves down in a canyon unfortunately littered in junk. However, amid all the trash, there sat a little brown guy, the tips of his long fur glistening with gold in the sun just starting to come out from behind the clouds. He was so laid back I just wanted to pet his apparently soft fur. Lewis felt that the critter was so laid back, he just wanted to leisurely eat him. Needless to say, I think either pursuit would result in puncture wounds of the rodent-tooth variety.

Getting back to the story, Lewis chased the little guy, and he (the woodchuck, not Lewis) disappeared into an old tire. Tying Lewis to a concrete thing near by, I returned to the tire and was able to lift the woodchuck's hiding place up and snap a pretty close photo of him.
Awww, isn't he cute? And he didn't even seem scared really, just more shy.
Here is Lewis looking over his domain. As you can see, Nature Fridays are full of discovery and great views. If you have the time and lack of a spastic work schedule, I recommend you try them for yourself.

Friday, March 16, 2012

cuisses de grenouilles

Walking down the street the other night, I came upon a frog who had unfortunately been flattened by a passing vehicle. While its body was not very intact, its back legs were. They were completely straightened and rather muscular looking. This reminded me of a muppet movie I watched many years back as a kid where the french chef was always chasing after Kermit because he wanted to eat Kermit's frog legs. 

At the time, I thought this quite odd. Perhaps stuck in a literal brain stage of life, I could not fathom why the french chef would want to eat Kermit's legs. Kermit's legs are not muscular. They do not look succulent. They are stick straight and rather fuzzy looking. I would imagine that eating Kermit's legs would be rather like frying up a fresh batch of those oblong cotton things they stick in your mouth at the dentist office. 

This is Kermit. His legs do not look yummy. 
This is dental cotton. Need I say more.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Pet Skunk

Recently, for approximately 12 hours, I had a pet skunk. Ironically enough, I called him Lewis. He even looked just like Lewis, and he lived in my house just like Lewis.

You know how on a late summer evening you are sitting on your front porch, rocking away in a chair and listening to the neighbor kids play in the streets? Perhaps there is a gentle, warm breeze that carries the aroma of a far away skunk to your nostrils. It is not an unpleasant aroma. It is so faint you might even think is smells halfway decent, simply reminding you of summer and nature.

Now, completely erase that pleasant image from your head and imagine that it is not a far away skunk that tickles your nostril hairs. Instead, imagine that you are holding in your lap the real deal. There sits a fully functioning, gamey, I-just-got-startled-and-have-emitted-the-subsequent-juices kind of skunk.

So the other night I put Lewis outside in the yard before going to bed. When I went to let him in, my new pet skunk entered instead. I don't want a pet skunk, I thought, and gave him a bath, hoping to get Lewis back. All night long, the power was overwhelming as my pet skunk slept peacefully in Lewis's crate in my room.

The next morning, I rose early and scrubbed all the floors, thinking maybe the skunk had tracked his juices in on his paws. All morning at work, a skunky aroma followed me as I attempted to maintain a professional demeanor. When I got home for lunch, I opened the door to my house and was greeted by my pet skunk and his overpowering odor.

Fortunately, I had done some internet searching and came up with a skunk eliminating elixir. Mix I quart 3% hydrogen peroxide with 1/4 cup baking soda and a couple of tablespoons of dish soap. Dump this onto your pet skunk and wash it thoroughly into his fur. Wait five minutes and rinse with tepid water. Viola! You have a dog again.

I am infinitely thankful for Lewis's return. While I love all nature, there are few wild animals I want living in my house with me. From now on I will keep a supply of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, just in case the pet skunk wants to return. . .