Here's that no-good, lazy blogger cheating again.........With Consolee's help I just downloaded some pix from my camera......some go back months, others were taken only yesterday and I am thrilled to have them accessible (I hope). The subjects are critters who have delighted me in various ways........many of the pictures are really awful but were the best I could manage under the circumstances........trying to shoot the porch buffet at night ain't easy when you have glass and screens in between you and your target. However, I shamelessly offer them for what they are worth.......for me that is always a smile, a giggle and a few sighs and moans at the charm and beauty of my visitors. This first pic is one of my insatiable hummingbirds totally out of focus but definitely close-up and personal. It does show his gorgeous irridescent magenta head.
Here he is taking a breather on a bush
outside my kitchen window.
Incidentally, these were daytime shots not nocturnal. I have about 8 feeders, 4 of which are visible from my kitchen so I can have entertainment while chopping veggies. Since I use a formidable cleaver for my chopping I am glad I learned the "fold the holding fingers under at all times" method.......I only forget once in a while.........ouch.
This is one of the raccoon family.....there was a mamma and four babies....the babies grew prodigiously and I could not tell which were the young 'uns and which was the Mamma. They were all gorgeous and charming.
Below are two of the babies. I loved watching them when they chose to eat with their fingers by skillfully picking up a single piece of kibble and tucking it into their mouths.
Here is my latest freeloader.....an utterly adorable baby possum I have named Pogo. (does anyone remember Walt Kelly's marvelous comicstrip?)
This guy comes several times during the day as well as at night. He has decided to sit in the midst of his dinner while he eats and when he is full he climbs up the side of the water bowl and sits on the rim and drinks. One day the water level was a bit too low for him and as he stretched forward to get to the water he fell in. I rushed out to help him so I missed seeing how he extricated himself. By the time I got back to watching he was perched on the rim of the bowl trying again. What a cutie!
So this is how I entertain myself and what a lot of joy these critters provide.
My faithful readers may remember earlier references to my days of wild abandon when I had my studio on North Fairfax.........days and nights of depraved revelry guzzling cheap wine, brewing and dispensing hundreds of pots of coffee to droppers-in (I used to say that if I had sold the coffee and given away my ceramics I would have been a huge success.....this was before the invention of the coffee house, by the way), and, sort of incidentally,was also involved in the endless potching, shaping, decorating and firing of clay works of art in the midst of all this revelry. I know I promised more tantalizing revelations from this period and I am here to deliver.
Before I continue I must properly describe the setting......otherwise it will make little sense, I fear. (Hey....it may make little sense even if I describe the setting in excruciating detail, but, as you know, I am undaunted by that.)
My shop was one of three adjoining shops that had been built onto the front of an old 1930's house. Mine was the center one and I was lucky enough to have the original living room of the house complete with a real wood burning fireplace...........my living/sleeping quarters up 4 steps at the back of the shop area. There was also a mini-bathroom consisting of a toilet and stall shower and, in the shop itself, a sink. I had carved out a samll kitchen area around the sink and had installed some hanging cabinets over the sink and a work counter with primitive open storage beneath, a second hand frig and 4 burner apartment stove. It was really a very efficient working kitchen, but only for one small person and it was here that I often produced nearly gourmet meals for my friends.
One of said friends was a wonderful, brilliant, funny writer named Sasha who came by often for conversation, nourishment, occasional friendly sex and various games like scrabble and all sorts of word games which we both adored. One night I invited Sasha to a special dinner.......I had splurged on a gorgeous piece of steak and intended to grill it in the fireplace (which worked very well as a grill site incidentally) and offer a salad and baked potatoes followed by my marvelous apple pie with cheddar cheese baked right in the crust.......heavenly. Sasha arrived and I had the grill all set up in the fireplace and the charcoal just about ready for grilling. The oinkly (oh another lovely combination that really should be a word) as I was saying, the only glitch was that the salad had to be prepared by me in the kitchen which was about 25 feet and 4 steps down away from the grill in the fireplace so I took the obvious path to solving this problem. I put the steak on the grill and installed Sasha on a chair by the fireplace with all the necessary tools and acoutrements to remove the steak at the proper moment and the instructions to "watch the steak, please while I assemble and toss the salad". "OK" said Sasha with a confident grin.
As I tore up greens with wild abandon I would periodically call out to Sasha ...."are you watching the steak?" and he would reassuringly reply, "Yes, yes I am watching it". Finally the moment arrived when the salad was ready, likewise the baked potatoes and I trotted back and up the steps to my living room with the dinner on a tray.
"How is the steak?", I asked...... And Sasha looked up at me with innocent brown eyes and said "I think it is burnt.....
Holy Moly......it is a week since I uttered a blog-word to my dear friends and I am deeply ashamed, sorrowful, repentant and whatever. And it isn't as if I haven't tried......I have sat here staring at the virgin New Blog screen on many a morning and been unable to come up with a swingle word........that, of course, was meant to be "single" but I rather like "swingle"...if it isn't a word it ought to be.
I have also spent many an hour trying to analyze what the impediment is (very different from writers' block) and what may have altered within me during my recent trials and tribulations but I keep bruising my nose against a solid blank wall. However, today is my caregiver's day off and I am detecting an ineffable something........the vibrations are different when I am here alone and when Consolee is here with me...........somehow the solitude seems to have turned off the evil rays which have been blocking my blogging. Now, don't get me wrong, folks.....I am not blaming Angel-child Consolee.............and it is not simply that, when I have someone to talk to, the need to blog is somehow diminished because no conversation compares with the sharing that goes on here. I can only assume that the distraction of a presence alters my Blogability in some way. Or perhaps it is simply that Lois, the Hermit is a Blogger while Lois, the gregarious social butterfly is not. At any rate, I will simply take advantage of this hermit-day and pass on a few photos and random thoughts while the spirit is with me.
First, I must revert to my Pollyanna state and confess that, when the two of us sit in Crochet Corner gazing out into my little overgrown courtyard where the bougainvilla and jasmine vines spill over the wall in wild profusion, I am constantly reminded that I have the enormous privilege to live in Paradise. When I ripped out the 3 little sash windows in my living room and installed floor to ceiling glass panels I certainly knew what I was doing though I never envisioned that a klutzy tumble would install me in my recliner to gaze out for so many hours at a time. Anyway, all I can say is I am certainly glad I did.
Oddly enough, speaking of bougainvilla,. I have never had such a profusion of blossoms until this year when I have been forced by my enfeebled condition to neglect everything that is growing outside........hmmm.....could it be that plants resent having a Jewish Mother who is constantly pinching their little leaves and muttering, "eat, eat, and flourish, mine kindt" ?
These are potted bougainvilla in the back yard overlooking the pool...........never looked this good in all the years in have wrung my hands over them.
And, here is a rare shot of Baskin, my anti-social ingrate of a cat who has not let me touch him in the 6 or 7 years I have had him and for whom I went to the trouble of adopting Winnie to keep him from being so lonely....as you can see......my ploy was a success....he huddles near Winnie whenever he can and basks in her presence.......the little idiot. He could have had 7 years of petting if he weren't so stubborn....ah well......maybe some cats need to be hermits.........ya think?
I know, I know......I have been awful, totally remiss and neglectful and I can't promise that I am going to get much better in the near future, but my lovely caregiver has taken some great photos of my babies, Gussie and Winnie, so I figure if I pass on a few of them for your amusement and entertainment it is better than total deprivation........
These 2 so-called cats are our constant companions as we sit in Crochet Corner day after day. Amazingly, they do not cause a great deal of trouble in regard to the bounteous balls of yarn that are strewn hither and yon around our feet ......the real trouble comes during the Great Chair Wars. My favorite crochet site is my lovely leather recliner with footstool; Consolee relishes the black leather Moderne armchair that faces it. Winnie will fight you for either one and Gussie wants sole possession of mine including the footstool. Any time either of us grown ups raises our fannies and relinquishes our territories they are immediately taken over by certain furry creatures and one of the hardest things I have to do each day is physically evict a cat from my favorite chair. I AM getting better at it but it it not my greatest skill and Consolee is even worse at it than I am. Sigh. We spend a lot of time shifting from foot to foot,wringing our hands and contemplating our options.
If you can conjure up a ridiculous picture, imagine two grown women racing madly across the living room trying to settle their fannies into the chairs before the cats beat them to it.
A nightmare game of musical chairs that no one can really win. Two chairs, four bodies and two sets of reproachful green eyes (if we win)....(2 sets of aggravated brown eyes if we lose.)
The first photo is Winnie settling into Consolee's chair for a lovely nap. The yawn and the stretch are too human-like to bear.
The picture below on the right is Winnie, mid-nap, just checking with half opened eyes to see if she is missing anything of note. I particularly love the languid pose.
The photo below is of Gussie and Consolee......not the best pic of either but OK for a start.
I am going to let the pics speak for me in today's offering.
Perhaps tomorrow I can come up with some words.
From time to time, during the months when I was a proper responsible, serious Blogger (unlike this hit-or-miss mess I have recently become), I would create a draft version of an idea for a future blog....this besides starting a notebook with scribbled notes plus littering the house with scraps of paper containing jottings of possible ideas.......Yes, I was that serious and devoted once.....I sank so low or rose so high as to write one reminder on the wall in the kitchen.......but never mind that.
What I am getting to is the fact that this week I was taken out to lunch by a dear old friend,Don, from my Starving Artist- Beatnik- Hippie Days.......55 some years back.........the one who was then married to Annette, a wonderful Artist and Silversmith who shared the grounds where I had my studio (sadly she has since left us but current wife, Val has picked up the gauntlet) .....and it reminded me not only of the story languishing in Draft status, but of an even better one that I had not thought of in years. After we all wet our bloomers laughing (and crying just a bit) I vowed to devote a blog to those grand old memories from my North Fairfax days.
To recreate the scene I must mention that at the time my studio occupied the middle of three shops which had been built onto the front of an old house. On my right was the person we called the Dirty Record Man......in those days there was hardly any such thing as visible porn....these records hadn't a hope of being dirty....more like a bit bawdy but what did we know, especially since the police, who had no real porn to contend with kept periodically raiding the shop and taking away the poor Office manager, a nice middle aged Jewish lady named Roz. On my left was a young Sandal-maker and his wife and it happened that this young couple had a rather unusual pet. He was an amazing and somewhat rare bird from Africa, but actually "bird" is an insulting term to apply to Homer. This creature was a bit bigger than a Turkey but built more like an ostrich with an excess of feathers. Standing his head reached to my boobs or halfway to my shoulders, whichever measurement you prefer. He had big soulful eyes, was very tame and adored having his head, chin and neck scratched. He spent half his time in a fabulous fig tree we had in the back yard (where the Silversmith's studio was) and the rest in the Sandal shop untying customers shoelaces and we all enjoyed him mightily.
But then came the dreadful day when Homer was nowhere to be found and we feared the worst.....birdnapping. (we doubted that he would have just wandered off). When no ransom note appeared we gave up hope and just mourned. One day when we were still sitting Shiva (Jewish mourning ceremony) I was out in front of my shop sweeping the walk when a Police car drew up to the curb and a real live Policeman got out of the passenger seat and approached me. The following is an honest-to-God, verbatim record of what followed:
The cop, in a rather gruff but strangled voice, said, "Hey, Um, does a bird named Homer live here?"
I, in an astonished voice replied, "Oh, yes....have you found him?"
Whereupon the cop gave a relieved sigh and said, "Thank God......... he is shitting up the whole back seat of the patrol car." ......
........and he heaved open the back door from whence, Homer, like a rock star or Royalty, thrust out one huge foot followed by the other and swaggered out of the car and across the pavement to have his head scratched.
(By the way he did have an ID tag on his leg with his name and address in case you were expecting a touch of the supernatural.)
We never knew who or how he was abducted, but apparently he escaped or was abandoned by his captors after shitting up their entire whatever.........but I will never forget that line...."Does a bird named Homer live here?"
In the grey hours between 5 am and about 8 I usually take my morning (no food for 1 hour) meds and spend the next hour intermittently dreaming of breakfast and my plans for the day. After my major triumph yesterday when the therapist showed me that I can go down the ramp out the front door on my walker and get into the car without having to navigate it in the power chair, and then garage the chair, switch to the walker and finally climb into the car I was feeling quite liberated. Then, wonder of wonders, it occurred to me that, having been give the OK to put my full weight on the mending leg (and since that is my left leg anyway and not much use in the process of driving a car) I might just be able to begin to drive myself. I nearly fainted from the idea of such freedom, then nearly burst into tears when I realized that the more liberated I get, the more likely it becomes that I must either give up or curtail the wondrous services of my amazing caretaker, Consolee.
I may or may not have confessed herein that I had secretly been waiting all my life for the opportunity to be waited on hand and foot.........my Disaster finally gave me the chance to taste that delight and I have been relishing every blessed moment. The idea of having to give that up is almost unbearable, but the financial facts indicate that I had damned well better get used to the idea of waiting on myself, the cats and the hummers again ........(possums and raccoons implied). So, sob, I have relieved my Hummingbird sitter of duty and will do the same with my cat sitter at the end of this week. From Queen of the May I will go back to being Cinderella among the ashes, scraping kitty plates and sifting debris out of kitty boxes........oh the ignominy of it all.
All of these plans and realizations have my head spinning so I had better go off into a corner and impose some structure on all these new ideas. Needless to say......I will be back......don't go away.
This delivered with much grinding of teeth and heart rending groans. No, I have not fallen down again......this is disaster of a totally different kind..........Lois accepting herself as capable of the most unblievable stupidity...........
Only a smidgeon of a teaser today.........yesterday I was rattled to the tips of my pink toes by the discovery that I had created the most incredible blunder in the midst of the afghan I had just finished crocheting..........somewhere in the middle of the thing at about the 30" x 45" point I had negligently overlooked the process of creating the 4th corner and ended up with a........an abomination.........a partially 3 cornered afghan. Don't ask me how I could have managed this amazing feat........I can only blame my feeble condition, my less than perfect vision and the fact tht I have b een so enthralled with watching Consolee whip out HER afghan in less than a week (gasp) that I simply neglected keeping tabs on what I was doing.
Anyway, I have had to rip about half of the damned thing and it did cause me much pain to have to do so not to mention much questioning of my mental faculties............it takes so little to send an old person into fits of worry about dementia that I have attacks of terror several times a day these days........sigh.
Anyway, I am bravely confessing my idiocy in the hope that you will forgive this offering of a partially indigestible morsel instead of a full meal. As I have been known to promise all too frequently............
more later. hmmmm....I wonder how long I can keep getting away with that?
What, you may well ask, do the title subjects have in common? Actually, not a damned thing, intrinsically, except that they happened to be items on a mental list I made while dozing off the other nite.
For a long time now......way before the Terrible Tumble, I have been in the habit of making mental "to do" lists and storing them in the corner of my brain with only the first letter of the word..........yes, I know that is a risky system but I have proceeded on the premise that, if the letter is "M" I am more likely to need Marjoram or Margarine or Mushrooms rather than Morphine or Marijuana.........
Anyway, off I drifted with three "S"s on my little list and when I woke up I actually remembered that I wanted to:
* take a shower (hey, I know it doesn't sound like a big thing to YOU, but when your shower routine involves inserting your bod into the shower stall by transferring from the walker via the use of 3 or 4 strategically positioned grab bars in order to get your fanny comfortably nestled on the shower seat, it becomes a bit more complicated than just stepping in and getting wet.)
* take my car to the mechanic to get a smog certificate for my vehicle registration renewal. (seemingly simple but I could not remember the name of the shop nor could I find it in my little phone book....fortunately I did remember where it was located.......) I could hardly believe that my car needed a smog check.....I bought in in 2004 and only have 10,000 miles on it.....where do I go? .....to the doctor and the supermarket....it is practically brand new.........the DMV doesn't care......bureaucrats!
* take Consolee, my wonderful caretaker, out for a Sushi dinner (I am crazy for sushi and found that she loves it too) at my favorite sushi restaurant.
Amazingly, we actually accomplished all three objectives...........what a frabjous day. Delicious shower, got the smogcheck and had a sensational dinner which I am still salivating over in memory.
All in all, things are definitely looking up. I am getting around quite well with the walker and wheel chair and am relishing the company of my Angel...........how very weird..........here is this hermit who couldn't bear to have anyone around for more than half an hour once a week......turned into this unrecognizable person who regretfully bids goodnite to her pal after only 12 hours.....) big problem now is what I am going to do if and when I have to give her up.......I have pondered adopting her.........will have to give more thought to that problem anon.
So that is my story for today.......take it or leave it........for the moment it is my best work.
Well, it seems to be Wednesday........I am only sure about that because the Pool Man is here. I seem to be slowly getting my faculties back, except for some worries about my memory having been fried by the fever and the drugs.....I spent an anxious half hour lying in bed this morning trying to remember the name of the large Greek Island out there near Rhodes.........finally gave up in despair feeling doomed to go thru the rest of my life having to look in my wallet to see what my name is.......then, just a moment ago it came to me......I think it is Crete and I think my name is Lois.....I will just be thankful for small favors......
I have had lots of good news this week......I finally seem to have beaten the pneumonia....my xrays looked good and the niggling fever seems to be leaving....tenks gott. I saw my surgeon 6 weeks to the day after he re built my hip and was pronounced relatively sound..........I can now put as much weight on that hip as is comfortable which means that if it doesn't hurt too much I can try to walk normally with the walker........my new walker tray made it possible for me to put my own breakfast cereal together and schepp it into the dining room for munching. You have no idea how liberating that is! I have dispensed with my nightshift caretaker and am slowly getting back to a more "normal" life.....whatever that may mean.
However, I am not ready to give up my wonderful daytime caretaker, Consolee. She is my ticket to the outside world among many other things. In fact, even if it isn't part of her job description she gave me one of my biggest laughs of the month yesterday. She was driving me to my doctor's appointment and we were blasted out of our calm by one of those idiots who HAS to honk his horn frantically if you don't start to move the very moment the traffic light changes. I, in my usual civilized fashion (windows closed, of course) uttered something typical like, "#$%&#%%.....go "f" yourself you miserable piece of garbage". She simply said, "If you are in that much of a hurry to get there you should have left yesterday."
Nothing I can say can top that so I am going to truncate this offering and try to add another chapter later.
hell and damn. I have been bonked by a recurrence of my fever.....not huge but enough to make me groggy and feel lousy......I guess I have not quite beaten the pneumonia yet....will know more tomorrow after I see the doctor.
Actually yesterday was the bad day....today my temp is normal so far but I am concerned. This thing is dragging on much too long........it is now boring me to death. I am completely losing Pollyanna and turning into world's #1 Bitch......gripe, gripe, whine, whine, complain, complain. Aaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggghhhhhh!
Maverick of a weird, but wonderful family. Have managed to stay alive for an astounding 86+ years kept alive by a passionate interest in many things and a sense of humor.
Have led 2 or 3 separate lives,the first 40 years as a starving artist, ceramist, and graphic designer. At age 40 a matchbook cover that said "Be A Computer Programmer" inspired me to go back to school and emerge as a binary fanatic. Loved my work, had a wonderful 20 year career as programmer and trouble shooter. At the same time I had the chance to meet, befriend and marry Jazz Cornetist Pete Daily,an idol of my youth, whom I had worshipped in my young life. Lost him to cancer after 11 wonderful (and sometimes awful) years. Retired in 1989 and had 20 years of fantastic travel adventures all over the world. Now I crochet afghans, tend my garden, my 3 cats, the neighborhood birds and squirrels, a flock of voracious hummingbirds and assorted wildlife like possums and raccoon families who come nightly to my Porch Buffet. A great life, and it ain't over yet !....(after all, I have just discovered Blogging....)