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Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

Love This

From Black Friday 2020, but still relevant. Here’s to staying positive!

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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Loss

My nephew’s grandfather passed recently. He loved the land and the life he made on it with his wife of 49 years. He was a farmer, a dedicated family man, a gentleman and a pillar of strength for both his family and his community.

His shadow was long and his roots deep. He will be sorely missed.

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Photo by Jennifer Chen on Unsplash

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Door #2, Please

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” 

― Albert Einstein

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Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

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It’s Sunday. I had plans and a to-do list and I’m getting some things done, but today I’m cutting myself some slack.

Do I need a little break? I do. Will it help get me back into gear and enhance productivity later? Probably.

Or maybe not. I still need that break.

For the sake of happiness and productivity, our goal should not be to squeeze every second of distraction and leisure out of our days.  

— Arthur C. Brooks, The Best Ways to Waste Time – The Atlantic

So I’ll spend at least part of my afternoon reading, drinking a smoked yaupon tea with whole milk and maple syrup, maybe have a treat, like one of the donuts we picked up yesterday. I’ll also check every half hour to see if we’ve managed to trap that last kitten, and generally take things slow. 

Who am I kidding, of course I’m have that donut!

Here’s hoping your day is good too.

“Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” 

— Moliere

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Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

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Not/Great

Things we no longer need:

  • hangers on doorknobs so the cat isn’t trapped in a room
  • the scratching post in my office
  • the cat tree in the living room
  • the cardboard boxes strategically positioned in all the best kitty spots
  • the blanket on the cedar chest at the foot of the bed
  • the half-empty bottle of anti-inflammatories
  • the half-empty bag of food
  • to make sure we close the laundry room door
  • the chair by the best people-watching window 
  • to worry if I drop a bit of the brownies I made for the vet and don’t immediately pick it up
  • to mute the TV any time a crying baby appears
  • the cat bed by the fire

It’s sad not to have the cat here. That’s not so great.

But also? We had a friend over for lunch for the first time since the pandemic began. It was a fantastic festival of vaccinated friendship and exactly what we needed today. 

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Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

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One Final Gift

One fine summer day in 2006 Mr. Man came home from work and showed me a picture of an adorably tiny grey and white kitten.

Neko in 2006, in one of her rare down moments.

“You remember K, who lives on a farm?” 

I did.

“Their neighbor has a cat she hasn’t spayed, and a dog that likes to eat kittens.”

Well, that’s awful. What can we do?

“They’re forcing the neighbor to fix the cat so it won’t be a problem in the future, but she needs to find homes for a litter of kittens.”

I was pretty sure I knew where this was going. Mr. Man batted his eyelashes at me.

“Look at that sweet face.”

He was right, the kitten was adorable, bright, charming and full of energy.

“Tintin could use some company, don’t you think?”

Neko and Tintin

We brought her home a few days later. Tintin was not quite as happy about the company as we had hoped, but we were right about her energy and intelligence. 

Neko was a catch-and-release hunter who never met a mourning dove she didn’t want to bring home to play, a fierce protector who growled at unexpected visitors, and while never a cuddler, she always wanted to be close. 

Was she smart? Oh yes. She led us to problems like leaking basement pipes and trained us to open the patio door on command, to build cardboard palaces, and to carry her up and down the stairs when they got to be too much for her to manage. 

The garden queen in her domain, 2013.

Last month we learned she had lung cancer, along with a rare complication called lung-digit syndrome that made it hard to walk as well as breathe. We consulted an oncologist, got new meds, gave her treats, and generally did what we could to keep her comfortable. We watched her energy and appetite wane. She lost weight. Stairs became a draining once-a-day event. Two days ago she stopped taking her meds.

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For fifteen years we made her hunting blinds so comfortable she couldn’t be bothered to actually hunt, decorated rooms with blankets and fleece beds, and made sure we fed the birds year round so that there was always something entertaining out the windows. Whatever we could to make her life better.

Sometimes the only thing left is to make the end as painless as possible.

So today, we did that too.

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Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. 

— Goethe

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Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash

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Installing new software? Want to make sure you aren’t giving away the rights to your immortal soul in the process? You may want to stop by Terms of Service; Didn’t Read.

This free service distills all that obscure fine print into a list of the least favorable terms and a letter grade so that you at least have some idea what you’re signing onto.

Your soul will thank you.

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Original Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

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Let’s be honest, a lot of adulting is actually pretty ok.

Example:

Mr. Man: “Hey honey, want to have breakfast for dinner tonight followed by ice cream?”

Me: “Yes, yes I do.”

But other parts are not as much fun. 

Example:

Dr. Vet: “I’m so sorry, but it looks like your cat has about two months to live.”

oof

Time to make sure those two months are as close to breakfast for dinner as possible.

Because that’s something else adults can do.

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Sunday
Malibu Hotel

The sun just broke through the morning clouds bringing warmth and new life to the ocean. Not that it needs it. Birds are everywhere, their presence indicating a basically healthy ecosystem. It also tells me that despite not seeing much in the water, there’s a great deal of life in the ocean. None of this is familiar, from the crash of waves on a choppy day to the glint of sun off water or the gulls floating above the shore. I am here to attend a wedding but right now, that’s the least memorable thing about this trip.

On the way down to breakfast yesterday I passed an old photograph of Malibu Colony. It was taken from the north looking down toward the Adams House and beyond to LA. The houses were small then and pressed close to the beach, low against the wind. A two-lane highway separated the houses from a bit of farmland, a road house that is still there, and a series of empty fields that says all that’s needed about land values in those days. 

It was a very different place and yet the ocean still dominates, the hills still face the water. The narrow road still provides a winding lifeline to the city, although it’s less adequate than it was a hundred years ago. Life is easier here now, if only because the residents have discovered, and packaged, the true value of the land. These rows and rows of pink houses, mansions on the bluff, and motels of all stripes exist because we enjoy the beauty of this place, but also because we love to walk to the edge, lean over as far as we can, and wonder what’s out there.

In my mind, this town at the edge of the continent is an outpost, our leaping-off point into the unknown. What an appropriate place to start a marriage, at the edge of the familiar, loved ones sending you off with well-wishes and heartfelt blessings. 

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We met for brunch at a café down the road from the hotel and I was treated to my first insider glimpse of Malibu life. Despite its unprepossessing location on the strip the parking lot was full of Mercedes. This is a mall, and it is treated with respect.

Squinting against the summer glare, I thought I’d stumbled into a supernova. Instead I was surrounded by women with blindingly white hair, their helmets and war paint and sleek-fitting uniforms overwhelming. Perfect hair, boobs, makeup and noses all packed into bodies at various stages of preservation. I let them pass.

Hands grip the boat’s side
golden skin on the water
summer sets so fast.

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

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