New Autumn

The trees have started to turn and a few have taken “the fall”. As if on schedule the dreaded starlings have swooped in to my front yard. Saturday morning in my favorite window watching the invited birds, wondering how to twarth the uninvited ones.
This week I experienced “flashes and floaters” in my left eye, my first day on the floor at my new part time job, concern I might have to euthenize my cat Kiki, and once again getting my foot stuck in my mouth and almost causing a family hail storm.
My eye doctor assured me the flashes and floaters were a normal part of aging. That’s a bitch…..
Kiki got loose a week or so ago and injured her right hind leg. She wasn’t better, so I took her back for exrays to determine what our options were. I am to give her steroids for 21 days and see if she gets better. One week seeing her writhe in pain was awful and if there was no hope she would get better I didn’t have the heart to make her suffer any longer. But the vet assures me this could take a month to get better. So……
My nephew Brian passed away in March unexpectedly. In the confusion and haste there was a snafu regarding two songs to be played at the funeral: Imagine by John Lennon or I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me. I think both of them are spiritual in their own different ways but when you are expecting one and the other plays it can be devastating at a time like that. Hoping to make my brother feel better I found the appropriate music and planned to visit the grave site with him to play it. I tried to explain what I wanted to do to my niece at lunch, and didnt explain myself very well. Next thing I know her husband calls and wants to straighten things out….nothing to straighten out, I just explained myself BADLY because we both started tearing up, in a public place.
GEEZE. I have often said if I tried to make a mess of things on purpose I couldn’t do a better job than what I screw up by accident…..

Hummers – Itty-Bitty Pritty


We only have one variety of hummingbird here in Southern Indiana, but what they lack in diversity they make up for in itty-bitty cuteness.  They weigh .11 ounces, a massive wing span of ….. 4.5″!  Compare that to the bald eagle’s 7 foot wing span who weighs in at 9 lbs.

I had no visitors early in the year, probably because there was lots of natural food for them, but last week I saw one buzz my seed bird feeder, so I scrubbed down my hummer feeder, made the 1 to 4 sugar to water syrup and hung the thing up.  The ants attacked first then the honey bees. Hummers are so small the bees ran them off!

I spent several days researching what to do about the ants and bees.  Oil.

I use motor oil on my seed feeder post to slow down the squirrels so I slathered that on the hummer’s post and the ants slogged to a halt. Too thick to traverse! (How’s that for allegation?!) I didn’t want to harm the bees so I used a mixture of vegetable oil and peppermint flavoring. Who knew! bees don’t like minty freshness!  (You can also smash fresh mint leaves on the feeder to get rid of them if you have it.) 

This is one of the first pictures I took once I got the others out of the way.  I know they will be stoking up soon for their bizillion mile trek to warmer climates and I will keep the feeder full until they go.  They are such amazingly tiny creatures sometimes I could sit and watch them all day long!




We make such big places in our hearts for our pets, the love is pure and unfettered by all that baggage we humans put on one another. I know that we humans understand where they went, but I always wonder, do the dogs/cats? Do they grasp the concept to death and grief, especially how in our domestic lives we protect them from the whole “pack” life/death experience. I know they are way smarter than we give them credit for and I have no idea how to make them feel better, especially if I am hurting at the same time.

I do know if I am crying, my cat climbs into my lap and onto my shoulder. I know that simple gesture tells me something about the two of us. She makes me feel better, does that go both ways? I think so. I hope so.

I guess as they are comforting us we are comforting them. Finding the new norm, getting through it. Can’t get over it. Can’t eradicate them from our hearts and minds. I guess for a dog or cat you can’t completely eradicate their scent either. There used to be a pet medium on TV and she convinced me that our pets are still with us. Which might explain my cat’s strange behavior from time to time! I like to think that is true.

I am so sorry for the loss you and your family has had. I know you have a big big heart and you will find a way to fill the big hole your dog has left.

But don’t linger in the hurt too long, remember the joy and love and laughs your dog brought and step into the light when the time is right.

Surprise! Nana!

I am still reeling from your news last night. But after much reflection, I feel confident both of our girls will handle the challenge of motherhood well, because, they had such awesome role models! And while I never thought it would play out quite this way, I think it is just life’s plan playing out before our eyes and we just need to get in line and join the dance as the Conga line snakes past our door.
Yep, we’ve made bad choices and bad decisions from time to time, but they are way smarter than us and learn from our mistakes. As unique from us as they are their babies will be twice as unique! Look what we have spawned!! hahaha
Life goes on, and on, and on, and we better do a good job from here on out so we will be remembered as loving and doting Nanas; and not those grumpy ol’ bitches their parents make them visit on Easter.
BTW – Not me, not yet.

Rind of Life?

I fully expected that my acclimation to retirement would be fraught with inner conflict and turmoil as I transitioned from working 40+hours to being idle, but I have found it to be just the opposite. I am filled with such peace and clarity! My day is full enough and can be fuller or more low key, determined by my energy level rather than my to do list.
Something akin to the lifting of the hormonal fog after my hysterectomy I can see and understand to the depths of an issue and patience abounds. Stuffing your life into the hours remaining after your career has sucked up your allotted 24, seems so intolerable now. The people who choose Alaskan subsistence living over the career path make so much sense! Making a decision with a thin understanding but because a decision is necessary can only breed dysfunctionality.
We so often live on the shriveled rind of life while the true fruit withers and dies just below the surface.

Ghastly Ghost

The feral cat problem is a tragic situation with little hope of ending anytime soon, but when I see a suffering animal I try to take some action. I know that feeding strays is wrong but I have fed them because they are a creature of God I should try to lessen their suffering. Such is the case this week when I saw a cat my daughter named Ishmael showed signs of an upper respiratory problem. I know those are a symptom of worse diseases like leukemia or feline HIV.

So I contacted the local shelter, brought home a trap and set it up in an effort to take the poor thing to the shelter. (And yes, I understand his fate, but such has to be balanced with his quality of life and suffering and spreading these deadly diseases.)

First night, I’m watching TV, I hear the noisy slam of the trap door and I rush out the check my query only to find…..the wrong cat. It is a beautiful long haired gray who looks all cuddly and sweet…..well she was giving me the equivalent of a good feline cussing right at the moment, but she looks like the cat from around the corner and very healthy. So I let her go, whoosh! She’s off with no looking back. I reset the trap and go to bed.

Early the next morning I hear the door clang again! “Bingo,” I think! “GOTCHA!”
Nope……same damn stupid cat.

“Really?” I say. “Really? You didn’t learn anything? Aren’t you embarrassed?” I was embarrassed for the cat; it had blown my idea of feline superiority over dogs out of the water. To get caught in the same trap twice was humiliating. I let the trap door slam noisily shut on its exit to frighten it and maybe sear this life lesson in its little brain.

I reset the trap for the next night, 4:30 am. “Bam” again! Slightly leery I go out into the early morning having already decided if it was the “Stupid Cat” I was going to leave it incarcerated until day break.  OMG it is a pissed off and pissed on raccoon. The little fella had peed all over the place and things were flying ….arms, legs, tail, and cat food!

The moment it saw me it froze. I sat down to observe, because I had never been this close to a wild raccoon, and to consider my options. He was good at the staring game, not even a blink. After a few minutes he begins panting, it must really be stressed. Poor thing I didn’t want to relocate it because of the pee, plus it might be someone’s momma. So I decided to let it go too, but not until after it gave me the raccoon equivalent of the cussing that the “Stupid Cat” had given me.

After cleaning up the raccoon wee I reset the trap for the next for the next night. Again, early morning hours “Bam!” Got something again!

This was something cat horror stories are created from…..I do not know if its eyeball was in there, all that was left was a red socket. It turned its head widely, scanning with its good eye and when it saw me it exploded in a fit of hissing and screaming and paw swiping I was afraid would wake the neighborhood. I backed up to be less of a threat and after a moment it calmed down, but the head scanning was unnerving. I had a feeling it didn’t see well with the eye that was left.

It might have been a white and gray long hair Persian type but its fur was so dirty and lacking in contrast that it made me think of a ghost. It was a “ghastly ghost”, with two paws in the grave already. Its nose was scared, its ears torn; I could only think this was an old Tom, driven to the same battleground time and time again by hormones and instinct.

A towel calmed him for the ride to the shelter, and my heart was heavy, but I knew he would suffer no more.

“Jesus, lift him up to kitty heaven he is so tired and sick. Amen.”


I have been watching two young and beautiful Red Shouldered Hawks learning to hunt. Their adult feathers are just coming in, they look like they are wearing pantaloons and they are as awkward as teenagers! Their prey has been worms and bugs but they swoop and attack with such intensity it is comical. Their tiny protein morsels will soon give way to the rabbits and squirrels in their small domain and they will become more stealthy and refined, but now they are hovering and running and missing the fence and so just too fun to watch.

I understand that hawks can easily adapt to suburban life and it was been nice to see my neighbors stop for a moment and watch their antics with awe and amazement.

The hawk’s adaptation is good for all of us.Image