Monday, July 31, 2006

making me crazy

While we were at the beach, I got a sunburn.
I got a sunburn because I put the sunscreen on my back myself.
There are some parts of my back that I can't reach quite as well as I thought.
Now all those parts itch.


Sunday, July 30, 2006


I've been trying not to mention how much life has grown beyond my capacity to cope with it. I tell myself I don't want to be a whiner, but the reality is that to write about it, I'd have to acknowledge it. Denial's not just a river in Egypt and all that.

In any case, in a nutshell: Pukka and I will both be losing our jobs before the end of year, courtesy of our employer shutting down our call center and retreating to their home office. Since September of last year, Pukka's been dealing with significant back pain. This has affected so much of our life it's not even funny -- certainly his physical health, both our emotional healths, our finances, our ability to get the damned lawn mown so we don't look like the trashiest house on the block, etc., etc.

We spent the last week on the coast in Virginia with my family, swaying with the waves, tasting her saltiness. For most of that time, I put all the stress away. The last two days, I started to dream frustrating dreams about fruitless job searching. Yesterday we came home, and I could almost feel the tension settle back around my shoulders, constricting my chest. In a strange way, it's not unwelcome. At least I know it. At least it's a truth of a kind.

Friday before we left out, we found out that our employer's motivated to get rid of Pukka sooner rather than later. They're denying him further leave, so the next time he needs to take a day off, he'll most likely be terminated. They also converted most of last week's vacation to unpaid leave for him, putting us even further in the hole than is usual these days.

Still, it's good to be home -- good to have kitties brush against our legs and rub their warm, fuzzy bellies. It's good to see that the heat hasn't gotten the best of most of my plants yet. Good to be back to just me and Pukka, without all my beloved family floating along with us. More than anything, this is the way I know he's good for me, that we're meant to be together -- that I value time spent alone with him more than time by myself.

It's good to be home.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Empty nest

Sunday I climbed up to check on the babies and noticed two things:

  • Our wee visitors now appeared more feathery than fuzzy, although they still had some bald-looking patches.
  • The nest was getting quite crowded.
That was the last time I was able to get a good look at them. When I came home from work on Monday, it was so hot that they were all hanging their heads over the side of the nest, panting. I didn't want to bother them.

Yesterday when I left for work, mom was perched on the edge of the nest. We enacted our ritual, her freezing, moving only enough to continually give me the evil eye, while I kept my head down, pretending like I wasn't looking at her or her nest.

When I called home during the day, Tony told me that he had seen both mom and dad perched on either side of the nest. This was new. I had frequently seen his bright colors in the trees of the front yard, but I'd never seen him near the nest, even though my research said he should've been helping with the feeding.

By the time I got home last night, the nest was bare. I could hear a baby cheeping somewhere in the yard, but dad got really agitated when I went looking for him, so I finally gave up.

Later, I noticed dad behaving oddly on our front patio. I'm still not sure if he was seeing his reflection in the glass, or the cats, or what exactly was going on. I headed outside again for another tour through the yard.

Heard a baby again. Saw mom and got the evil eye yet again. No visual confirmation on any of the little ones though.

All said, I suppose that's for the best. There's at least one cat that wanders the neighborhood, and if I could've found the little ones easily, I would've fretted all night about the cat finding them too.

Monday, July 17, 2006


When I was in college, I planned to marry a boy. Two months before our theoretical wedding date, we broke up. We were young and impetuous and couldn't handle each other, couldn't handle the commitment, could barely handle ourselves. That said, when I look back on my relationships with the benefit of hindsight, he's one of the few men in my life who have actually loved me well. (To be honest, it's not like I've had a better track record.)

Now it's years later -- he's a preacher, married, has a son. I'm married myself, and practice a religion that fluctuates but sure as heck isn't Christian. I get the feeling his wife would rather we not be close, which I can understand.

Every so often though, I wonder where he's at, how he's doing, how he spends his days. Last month, while Google-stalking, I discovered he and a few friends have been putting together an intermittent podcast. It focuses on issues within their denomination, something which doesn't interest me much and of which I have no knowledge.

But I download it and listen to it anyway. Because it has his voice, and his laugh. It reminds me of when we were young, and it makes me smile.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


This morning when I left the house for work, the nest appeared empty, so I decided to do a quick climb up to check on the eggs. I don't understand why I do this. It's not as if they grow or change in any way. Or at least they hadn't until today.

This morning, instead of eggs, I was greeted by a nest filled with teeny-tiny, half-fuzzy, half-naked baby cardinals. One must have felt the vibrations because he lifted a proportionately huge head, wavering on a still under-developed neck. Eyes glued shut, he opened his mouth, hoping for a morsel of sustenance. I wasn't able to oblige him.

It took a few minutes to visually sort through the tangled mess of body parts in the nest, but it appears there are three chicks there. Woo hoo!

The bad news is that they'll probably fledge while we're gone on vacation. Right before he went to bed, I asked Pukka if we could skip the trip and stay home to watch the babies leave the nest. He just laughed.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


An old-fashioned rambling rose shields the front door of our home. Last summer I did a little work pruning and retraining it to climb the full height of our trellis. This spring it bushed out nicely, filling in the bare spots and stretching to reach the eaves of the front porch.

There was just one small problem. A few branches of new growth escaped the thicket and reached out across the sidewalk to welcome anyone making their way to our front door.

Pukka and I danced around them for the most part, saying we should do something about them, but not actually getting anything done. But last weekend, Pukka's nephews were coming to visit. Imagining the three-year-old with rose scratches across his face was not a pretty picture, so on my way to the car one day, I stopped to try and quickly reintroduce our stragglers to the tangle of their brethren.

As I pushed one wayward branch into a small hole about a foot over my head, a female cardinal exploded out of the rose bush. She flew to the silver maple nearby and proceeded to cuss me out rather vehemently.

"Do you have babies in there, mama?" I asked, maternal instinct being the only reason I could think of that would give rise to such fiercely territorial behavior. I inspected the rose bush more carefully, but couldn't find any sign of a nest or baby birds.

The next day I was in the living room talking to Pukka when I finally spotted the nest. Since then we've enjoyed keeping track of mama's comings and goings. While she was off eating one day, I climbed up to take a peek inside -- three pale green-blue eggs with brown splotches. We should have babies this week most likely, and then it will be another week before they leave the nest.

I'm strangely proud of this arrangement. As if it's some kind of testament to my homemaking skills that we've been chosen by a cardinal for a breeding ground. Still, I get so much frustration from the local wildlife -- squirrels digging up my bulbs, rabbits eating everything in sight, voles excavating under the back patio -- that this has been a nice contrast. I've been unable to find out whether or not cardinals re-use their nests, so I'm not sure if we'll get a return visit or not. In any case, it appears there will be no pruning done on the rose bush this smmer.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Abigail's word for my dad (grandpa) = humpa

That makes me smile everytime I think of it.