A beautiful tossing of autumnal forest finery- or is it? Is it instead a predator stalking her prey, peeking around a tree trunk? As I pranced around ooohing and ahhing at the colors like a Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds laden hippy, little did I know it was the latter. What's this, a mushroom? I can't just stoop down and take a picture, no, I gotta git down on the damp and scented earth for a close up. Like a naive fawn joyously snifing out tender shoots of dinner, oblivious to my suroundings. Actually, maybe more like a wild boar, singlemindedly pawing at a truffle. Yeah, I think boar is more like it than fawn. Hey, it's been between 20 and 40 degrees lately, I need my winter layer. Never mind that I sported the same layer of cozy fat through the hundred degree days of summer. Ahem, I digress. And then I was caught. I seem to have passed boar and landed right in couch territory. There I was, innocently groovin' on nature, when I became Lilly's new perch. But that's not all. You can see that there's no way I could take this picture. Not only was I oblivious to approaching lap seekers, I forgot that I'm not the only human on the planet. And my honey wasn't alone. His friend dropped him off at home, and was then treated to confirmation that yes, my honey does indeed date the crazy cat lady. Can you tell if my face is redder than the maple leaves?
As far as being a slacker is concerned, in my defense I have been working 9 and ten hour days (for 7 and half hours pay, bless the guv'mints teeny tiny cold little pebble of a heart). I can't wait to move to AZ, and write my heart out- and maybe find a job that I don't hate, and that pays by the hour. Silly dreamer. No, I haven't been sampling wild mushrooms. Course, that may not be what the neighbors thiink. Or does everyone play in the autumn leaves? Well, they should. :) I can't promise my regular presence through these hectic holiday hours, but in the words of Arnie, "I'll be back".
Lilly sees something. Something... interesting. Something she has to get. Ooooooh this is going to be fun. What is it Lilly? Hey! It's Maggie! In a tree. Lately I've taken to calling her Lillymonster- she has been terrorizing the kittens. It seems they make good practice. Or maybe it's a big sister thing. I wouldn't know. I never stalked my sister, hiding patiently, waiting for her to enter the room or round the corner to jump out at. And scare the crap out of. No, I never ever did anything like that to my little sibs. Just so we're clear on that. Oh boy. Kitten in a tree, this is worth waiting for, woohoo fun stuff! When she comes down, Lilly is sooo gonna get her! Maybe chase her accross the porch, in the cat window,and under the bed. Then nonchalantly stroll to the food bowl, sit there eating, like she's not keeping one ear pointed at the bed. If she would just get out of the tree!! Lilly is getting bored now. Wait, is it bath time now? Yeah that's more interesting. That sap between the toes is the worst! ( Pssst! Little Maggie May! Now's your chance, run for it!!) And, now completely engrossed in primping, Lilly misses her target. Maggie makes her getaway. Free! And all is well in the world of felines, until the next time Pheonix feels like playing- then it's Lilly in the hot seat. I think Maggie likes that part.
Pheonix and I went hiking yesterday, just the two of us. He stepped in a huge glob of sap and so the whole walk he was flinging his hind leg and tweaking his toes, trying to dislodge the debris that kept clinging.It was pretty hilarious. I tried to clean it off for him, but just ended up with stickyness all over myself, too. The other cats started out with us, but about ten feet up the trail discovered this: Oh no it isn't. Is it? Yes, that's a squirrel tail. Turns out, acorns aren't the best toy ever. THIS is. They were still tossing it around when P and I got back. Eeeeeew. Later that night, when my honey got home, he said, "do you know what's on the porch?" I answered, "a squirrel tail?" and yup, turns out they'd brought it home. Which he found out by, it being dusk and all, picking it up. Then he patted my cheek and said, "with this hand". Lucky for me he was kiddding about the hand, unlucky for him he really did pick up a disembodied squirrel tail. Did I already say eeeeeeew? (Mom, you want me to mail it to you? Kidding! Well, I would, but something tore it to shreds last night.) Moving on!
Totally out of the blue, like this subject change, at work Del says, "Let's name our vehicles!" Jan: Like "peice of s***"? Ted: They're all named that. Del: No, like... I'm naming mine Tonto! We all laugh. Me: K, mine's Silver then. (you know, like hi ho Silver away) Jan: Mine's still peice of s***. Me: Ok, we'll cal it Pos. Del: Ted's can be Running Nose! The rest of us:...uh... Del: I don't know it just came to me. Me: Like a native american name. Ted: Yeah, they probably didn't all have cool names like Sitting Bull. Me: Pooping Bear!
And there you have it. It has been officially written on the vehicle check-out sheet: Pos, Pooping Bear, Silver, and Tonto. it's nice to laugh at work. :)
Or "earthquake weather", they call it. 'They' being anyone who lived here in '89. Oooh, I guess I'm one of them. The Loma Prieta quake was first a 7.2, then downgraded several years later to a 6.9. I was in a car, already sick and soon to be actually delerious with strep throat, and I was 10 years old. At first I thought one of my siblings was bouncing around in the back seat, shaking the car, but when I looked around I saw the streetlights swinging and waving, and all the cars stopped around us, rocking like boats. The woman in the car next to us looked at me with her eyes wide and her mouth a perfect O.
At my mom's house, the chimney collapsed, into the kitchen I think, I was too sick to remember much of the aftermath. Things were flung from shelves. At my dads house cracks tore through the walls and foundation, all the dishes leaped to their deaths from the cupboards, and, most awful to me, the fish tank lurched and the fish met a sad end. There were ten aftershocks over the next few days. Schools were closed, buildings downtown were rubble, and people died. The effects reached for miles and miles. I don't remember how long the power was out.
There was a sudden increase in earthquake awareness and preparedness, albeit a little late, and childproofing was recomended on cupboards and shelves, fishtanks strapped to walls, evacuation plans made, drills practiced regularly in school. And yet, it was always more exciting than frightening to me. Running for a doorway- the next safest place if you can't get outside quick enough. There have been many gentle tremors over the 18 years since then, the anniversay only two weeks ago.
Then we had one, the night before last, that wasn't like the other tremors. It wasn't short, and it wasn't small. 5.6 on the richter scale and almost thirty seconds long, I was cooking some fried squash and mashed potatoes when I felt it. It took a few seconds to be certain, sometimes they're so mellow it could almost be a heavy truck passing by. Then when I realized what it was, I thought, cool, an earthquake. Yeah, probably not the most typical response, but I figured it would pass- they always do. I've been through tens of 'em, even a biggie. But it didn't stop, and then it started shaking more. It got louder. Rumbling, and the first creakings in my house, the floor moving under my feet, and still it didn't stop. And then an image came to my mind, of our roof, and how it just eeeeeever so slightly looks bowed, and that was when I felt, not the quake, it was still growing, and going, steadily bigger. I felt the fear hit me. I could imagine the roof falling in on me.
I've never been scared in an earthquake before now. I dropped the spatula, and ran for the door, debated whether to run from the porch or not. I'm completely surounded by trees, though, and there's nowhere open I could run to, so I stayed in the doorway. And still it kept shaking and rumbling, but I felt like I had done what I was supposed to, and the fear lessened. It seemed to last so long, and though I estimated 30 seconds at the time, I thought I might be just imagining it, you know? The one in '89 was something like 45 seconds long. I had time enough for the fear to ebb as I stood in the doorway, time enough to think, "Dang it, right in the midddle of cookingh dinner". And then it faded away and was gone, like a storm passing to new ground.
I was a wee shaky myself, and I kind of just stood there, feeling like, what now? But nothing had fallen, aside from the spatula, the power was still on, and everything seemed the same. I didn't feel normal, but I think I've already established that I'm somewhat less than normal anyway. I kid, I kid. After a few minutes of standing around, I went back to the sink, washed off the spatula, and stirred the veggies. That earthquake brought back a lot of memories, and feelings that I'd forgotten, but the fear was new. It faded as quick as the earthquake, a fading that felt about as quick as 10 minutes in the waiting room at the dentist before a root canal. I'm not afraid now, of one to come, more afraid of the fear itself. Like the spider. Is this a new thing, or a one time thing? I thought fear lessened with age, like bad dreams and boogeymen (who, by the way, when I was a kid I thought was a monster made out of boogers). Or do we trade the fantastic fears from our protected childhoods for realistic ones as adults?
Now, I'd like to add, I wasn't crippled by it or anything, and honestly, I'm not worried. As a worrier by nature, that's saying a lot. It' just something that's been on my mind since the earthquake. I guess fear is a perfectly natural thing, a saftey mechanism, but it seems like America treats it as an evil that not only can be combatted, but could be wiped from the planet entirely. You know, now that I got all my thoughts down about it, I don't even fear the fear. It's a real part of life, but it didn't hinder me, and I feel confident. Cool. I think I just passed an internal test or something. I'm a strong person, and I can count on myself.
P.S. Belatedly I must say, eeeeeeeeew a booger man.