credits: terry gross – fresh air/npr radio, google images
glen frey the cat not the rockstar
has been rescued by me
both times from precarious situations
he was always very skittish and fearful of most everything
probably based on the traumatic experiences he’d been through
after the second time
became very affectionate
and clearly decided
that it was important
to remind me of this
each morning around 3:30
he does this in a way
that there can be no doubt
jumping on my bed
nuzzling/pummeling me with his head
kneading everything he can find
circling around me
and somehow it feels like he is
an giant octopus nudging me to wake up with his head and eight hands
until i am sufficiently awake
then he finally settles in
laying on my feet
with what feels like an immovable 237 pounds or so of pure cat muscle
and promptly goes to sleep
snoring and in deep r.e.m.
maybe he thinks we are on guard duty and need to take shifts?
who needs an alarm?
“i read that when cats are cuddling and kneading you, and you think it’s cute,
they’re really just checking your vitals for weak spots.”
pretzel rod, the albino leopard gecko (pre-odyssey).
i stayed with the grandies
while their mom and dad were out of town
for some reason
during the last hour i was there
the two friendly house cats
decided to make a snack out of p-rod.
i had no idea this happened until i got home and got the call:
“the cats somehow got the screen off of the top of his terrarium and ate the gecko!”
imagine how badly i felt
that the murder had happened on my watch.
grandie f had just gotten this young gecko
for his birthday 6 weeks ago and was very sad.
he had replaced pretzel,
the tiny, twisty snake who was let go in the backyard.
the next day i picked him up at school and we planned
to make a memorial stone for pretzel rod to put in the garden.
we talked for a while about love and loss and pets and nature.
imagine my surprise when i got a call late that night that he had been found!
he must have crawled into the boys’ dirty laundry
which was on their bedroom floor
to escape the cats
hid out for 24 hours
then was scooped up
put in the washing machine
with the laundry
where he was washed, rinsed and spun.
he had survived
a feline attack
a day in smelly boy pants
he was washed, spun and rinsed
but there he was
sitting on the bottom of the washer
and after all of this, he was alive!
f yelled out over the phone:
“and he’s getting stronger by the minute!”
mom and dad said he looked rough and didn’t know if he’d make it
but he was indeed alive.
my task the next day was to get him some special treats
(the big macs of the lizard world)
from the pet store to see if he would eat.
sure enough, he had some dinner
the first he’d eaten in a few days.
hopefully he’s on the mend
and we won’t have to go through a ‘second death’.
he looks a little lighter in color,
has some bite marks from the cats,
and doesn’t move as much
but he is alive and that is amazing.
“it is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― leon c. megginson
“your modem has seen its last days.”
these are the words
that two different
comcast/xfinity customer service phone helper elves
uttered to me
when i read them the 267 digits and a couple of random letters
imprinted on the back of my modem
what it was/was not doing
is this grim prognosis part of the script?
we then went through
a series of modem exercises
as a last ditch effort
to try to revive it
all were hit or miss
all to no avail
until it was confirmed
that it had indeed
we scheduled an appointment
to have an elf come and remove the old one
to replace it with
a new, younger and more glamorous model
though we had no history
and i feared it would never be the same.
“technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.”
the old mill, a boarding house, the glass lake, the stone bridge,
santa and his team, pine cone evergreens and the christmas tree
at my cottage 2016
i was so excited to put out
the remaining pieces
of the tiny village that my irish grandfather built
way back in the depression
when had become an american citizen
he was an architect by trade
as was his father
he built this village by hand to exact scale
incredible attention to every detail
to share with us at the family christmas
i have very early and very fond mémories
of it placed on a big white board
with penciled in numbers for placement
so that every piece was in its place
beneath our christmas tree
with lights installed underneath
each building lit up inside
when it got dark outside
a train ran around the village
it was covered in sparkly cotton snow
it was so wonderful
i thought it would come to life at christmastime forever
then it was lost for a long, long while
i didn’t see it anymore
one day i saw its box out by the curb
waiting to go out with the trash
during a very bad divorce between my parents
i would recognize its box anywhere
i was lucky that i rescued it just in time
only a few buildings and a few accessories remained intact
my siblings and i divided up what was salvageable
now i love to set up my own little section of his village each year
i think of how magical it was to see it all together as a child
i wonder what inspired him to create this wonderful village
i wonder where he got the ideas for each building
i wonder how many buildings there were once upon a time
one of my buildings has the number 9 written inside in pencil
in my ‘umpa’s’ very neat and precise handwriting
i wish i knew more of the story of the village
i wish i could ask him
no one remains who knows these answers
a couple of old photographs of parts of the village that i found in the original box
“i call architecture frozen music.”
-johann wolfgang von goethe
a circle in motion will continue
until someone crashes into a tree or can’t breathe from laughing too hard.
it is possible for one conga line to travel in two different directions at the same time.
“the new physics provides a modern version of ancient spirituality.
in a universe made out of energy, everything is entangled; everything is one.”
to all of those who are special to me
south of the equator
way down under in australia
it is already almost christmas day for you
enjoy it as only you can
santa catching a wave on a sea reindeer
wearing board shorts and sailor hat
hot blue skies shining overhead
christmas carol swimming nearby.
photo credit: the queenslander magazine cover, 1934
my class was interested in learning about snow
they knew that it:
comes from up there
falls down to the ground
tastes like peppermint
you can make stuff out of it.
they wanted to learn about snowplows
so we invited our school’s snowplow driver
over for a visit
everyone put on their winter gear
showed them his truck
put on the lights
moved the plow up and down
pushed the snow around the circle
we invited him into our room
to ask him questions
and learn more about him
he told the kids
to call him roger
he was very gentle and kind
he has been here for 28 years
this is his last snowplow winter
he answered every single question
listened to every single comment about snow
they asked him what he does
when he’s not plowing
they were surprised
he lives on 20 acres
has fainting goats, black swans and an aviary of 500 exotic finches
decorates peoples houses for the holidays
is a father and grandfather
who helped to create the children’s garden at our school
he is more than what they saw
when they saw him plowing the snow
now they know him as a person
now they will wave to each other
now they know how he helps our community
now they know how much more there is to his story
when he was finished
and it was time
for him to go back to his work
the children gathered around him and gave him hugs
they know a good person when they meet one.
“i hope I didn’t bore you too much with my life story.” – elvis presley