Summer, finally, after six months of sixty.
I found some Possum videos today. She spent so much time in my lap that using Photo Booth was obvious, unobtrusive, and, frankly, forgotten until juts now. I may post some eventually.
I have been using an iPhone for a couple of weeks now. I’m predictably dissatisfied, primarily because of the many, many things it can’t do that my old phones have been doing for about six years. I gather there are routes around the feature denial, but the thrill of sticking it to the man by nearly breaking your fucking expensive toy has faded. I would expect some longwinded bitching in this forum when I decide to care enough to cut loose.
That said, I’m not unhappy with the device on its’ own merits nor on the late-adopter cost incurred. My last cell phone lasted five years and it was more fully-featured than the iPhone on the day I opened the box. I think when I tell you what sucks about my phone it’s probably useful to listen, but I can’t really say I care one way or the other. I endeavor not to bore the reader with my exegeses on car culture, automotive insurance, engineering reliability, and housing cost inflation. The iphone is much like a car or a house: boring, overpriced, underfeatured, and inevitable. I expect to hate it for the rest of my life.
So, speaking of the dead young of our avian neighbors, one of our cats brought the body of a small bird into the house today. We’re not sure who it was, but the general hunterly evidence of late points to our nearly year-old boy cat, George.
Viv called out to me about it as was I was in the yard measuring our grill for some replacement parts. The tiny boy was on the floor of the dining area and Viv told me she had shooed Lark away from it. As I bent down to it, I at first took it for a sparrow, but then I noticed the long, curving beak and the elongated, barred tail-feathers. The baby, not yet ready to leave the nest, had been a juvenile flicker, one of my favorite neighborhood birds.
The body’s torso had yet to be feathered in any meaningful way, but the spotted head, wing feathers, and of course the beak and tail feathers were quite definitive. There was a not-terribly-bloody wound in the bird’s belly, but the corpse was other wise intact, not stiff, and quite cool to the touch. The pinkish-red of the little bird’s back and belly was distinct, as was the yellowish, knuckly look of the base of the bird’s torso from which sprouted those distinctive tail feathers.
I should have taken a couple of pictures, I suppose. I buried the not-quite-a-fledgling near Possum.
As I was rebedding lettuce this afternoon, the crows started squawking and raising a ruckus, a sure sign that an eagle is near. Usually you can tell where the eagle is by following the shifting trajectories of the crows as they fly toward the center of the mob, chasing the eagle around the sky until the bird leaves.
This time, however, the black birds were all streaming toward a nearby tree, clearly visible to me and about 200 feet downhill, placing the crown of the tree at my eye level. Crows were bouncing up and down out of the tree, clearly actually landing in it and not simply pursing their usual boom-and-zoom diving arcs. Puzzled for a moment, I realized that this almost certainly meant that the predator was in the tree.
Pretty much as soon as I figured this out, the massive shape of a bald eagle emerged from the boughs for a moment before returning to them. The bird appeared in no hurry to leave. I started calling for Viv, and she came to join me in watching.
A moment later, the eagle reappeared, flying strongly toward us before turning away to the south, crows in hot pursuit. The chase was lost to sight behind more trees a moment later, but in the second or two the eagle was flying toward us we clearly saw a small crow clasped in the eagle’s claws.
Well over a year ago, I bought a turn-of-the-century pair of spectacles off ebay for around $5. One of the pulled-wire temples was broken, and I had it repaired before I got lenses cut for the hardware, which consists of a padless bridge, the hinges, and the temples. Unfortunately the temple repair was poor and broke immediately.
I waited a couple of months and got a different retro-styled pair of glasses, more mid-twentieth-century in style, but was always a bit sad that the other pair hadn’t worked out as hoped. In addition to the style, they were my third attempt at bifocals.
This morning as I got up I realized that my eyes were really kind of bothering me and that I should try to use the old bifocals at the computer today. As I went and rummaged for them I realized that I had another pair of frames, found long ago, which had temples that might fit the Victorian pair. After a bit of struggle with the screws in each pair of frames, I had the temples free and slid the good pair into the rimless hinge-set. They fit perfectly, as did the securing screws, and so all day I have been looking at bits and pixels through polycarbonate blended bifocals held to my face with three pieces of century-old gold and two pieces of somewhat newer metal which may also be gold.
The tiny size of the lenses means the new specs weigh less than any pair of glasses I have previously worn.
I don’t think these glasses will become my driving or going out glasses – the head-nod up-and-down I go through to see my feet while walking means that I won’t likely be comfortable with these for any other use than reading or computing. But otherwise, I’m happy about this in complicated ways that include a miser’s joy, a tinkerer’s satisfaction, and an antiquarian’s pleasure.
It is raining like to wash the house away.
In other news, a good man and a good friend just let me know that he is engaged!
I seem to be drawing again.
The dog park was like a swamp today! I headed up with the pooch around 2 pm, when the sun peeked out for two seconds, but by the time I got there, it had started to sprinkle again.
Such rain today! Coming back to the house at about eleven, I looked northwest from the top deck of the high I-5 bridge, up and over to the Ballard fishing port. Just past the two bridges that mark Fremont, the rain faded the city and boats to foggy gray. Looking up, above my fellow motorists, I could see that the clouds were moving briskly from southwest to northeast. It seemed likely that the rain would hit the freeway before I wheeled into the drive.
And so it was. Unloading the car, I was soaked though. I thought it unlikely that the dog would get his walk. Amazingly, around 3, the sun emerged, and the sodden ground steamed. A quick look at wunderground.com made it clear the area itself was clear for at least an hour or two, and so we headed off to the cemetery. Memorial Day weekend is like the Christmas of cemeteries, I think. All last week the grounds crew were working absolutely as long as they could, trimming and cutting and raking and who-knows-what. Today, two days after the holiday, the graves are bedecked with botted plants ad cut flowers, American flags twitching and snapping in the breeze.
I’ll walk the dog in the graveyard about three times a week, mostly on days I do not have an errand that takes me more than a mile from the house, and I am coming to know the place fairly well. Nearly every time I take Rocket over, though, something else strikes my eye. There’s a man who, two years ago, parked his worn pickup in the same place every day at 4pm, carted a chair to a grave, and read until the light failed. He would toss breadcrumbs to the birds. Over the past couple of years, his truck became a late-model sedan, and his visits came earlier in the day, and now they are less predictable. I haven’t ever walked over to his spot and made the acquaintance of his bereaver.
There’s the marker dedicated to the memory of the ‘father’ of baseball in the Pacific Northwest, the row of inexpensive, cast-concrete markers commemorating a score of infants both born and decedent in 1919 and 1920, presumably taken to the bosom of Old Man Influenza. There’s the grave of a Marine who lost his life in 200-something at 18, always adorned with some keepsake, sometimes things like an inkjet-printed all-access pass. I’m guessing he held fast; the all-access placard’s colors run freely in our sodden spring.
Today, for no particular reason, I noticed one of the many graves which had been visited and adorned with flowers. The person memorialized was born in 1958 and passed on in 2002. Without consciously doing the math, I realized that the remains of that person had belonged to someone who lived just as long as I have now, today. It was a peculiar feeling.
There’s no promised relief from our wintry spring – just yesterday I saw a satellite image depicting solid cloud cover stretching along the jet stream from Japan to the Pacific Northwest. The Pineapple Express is going to persist, it seems. I delayed planting my garden this year. As it happens, I planted a kitten before I planted my crops. This weekend, seven days after we buried her, I noticed the first upshoots in my raised beds. The soil’s plenty warm, and plenty moist, and the day lasts nearly 15 hours already. There’ll be a fine crop, I’m sure.
I suppose I should write this down now, as ten months is a short time to know a small animal, and the memories won’t get any clearer.
Possum’s favorite toy was a stuffed squirrel, which she began playing with when it was the same size as she. We buried it with her.
Viv took some pictures of me holding her corpse and bawling. A bit later, after we’d figured out where to bury her, her brother George came up and began sniffing her corpse, clearly totally freaked out. I took pictures and a short movie of that.
When she was alive, one of her favorite activities was to seize my head from behind in both paws and chew on my hair.
She is the only cat I have had out of five prior who was a determined inside-the-bed cat. Her favorite place was right in between Viv and I; the more it seemed like we would squish her the louder she would purr.
Of her biological cat family, George and Lark remain alive and well. Possum is the only one of the three who adopted the announcing and conversational meow, and I was looking forward to seeing where it went as she got older. Sadly, I do not think I have a recording of her call, but it was rather demanding, if friendly and cheerful.
Possum daily insisted on eating coffeebeans as I set up the coffee each night. Should I fail the task, I was clearly informed.
Possum’s demeanor was what I would have to call cheerful, and it is this that endeared her to me. My demeanor is not cheerful, and both Lark and Rocket have undergone life experiences that have left them wary, if loving, companions.
I don’t recall if Possum or George was born first. I’m not sure if we know.
Finally, today, May 22, is the one year anniversary of Lark entering our family.