Friday, July 25, 2008

Sam, the feline escape artist strikes again

My dear, dear friend Liz is here for a few days, a mid-way stop on her trip from the Bay Area to Seattle and back.

I adore Liz, and I love having her here. Her energy is positive, her wisdom seems boundless, and she has a killer sense of humor. Best of all, she understands the need for alone-time.

Yesterday, after I returned from an amazing session with my hypno-therapist (another story here), I suggested that we make a quick run to New Seasons (a locally-owned and totally righteous supermarket) so I could pick up a journal and a few other odds and ends.

When we came back, Liz made a phone call, and I sat down at the dining room table with the newest Willamette Week and a bowl of watermelon. For some reason, I looked over my shoulder and saw that the sliding door out to the back deck was open - and that the screen door, which should have been closed tight, was also open. "Damn!", I thought. "Sam opened the door and escaped again."

So I went outside, called his name, and was rewarded with a loud 'meow' in response. There he was, crouched down next to the tall grass and the little pond, chowing down on greens. I grabbed a bit of grass and lured him over to me, picked him up (no mean feat, since he weighs about 22 pounds these days) and lugged him up two flights of steps from the lower deck into the house. Then I went out to try and find Caruso. No luck. Liz joined me, and we scoured the back yard, calling his name, did the same in the front yard, tried again the in the back yard, and finally gave up.

It was time for my daily siesta, so I rested for a couple of hours, woke worrying about Caruso (temps were in the mid-80's, he's an elderly kitty who's in the first stages of kidney failure) being outside for so long, and went back out to look for him again. I was in the lower part of the yard, near the raspberries, when I heard a rustling above me. I looked up to see a bird hopping away from something, and realized there was a furry, gray lump crouched nearby, watching the bird intently - Caruso! So I climbed up the stone steps to where he was hiding and grabbed him.

It was easier to carry him back up and into the house, skinny old guy that he is, and I deposited him on the floor in the sunroom with an enormous sigh of relief.

Here's the thing. When we began keeping Sam in the house at night, in an attempt to decrease the number of fight-related injuries he was sustaining on a regular basis, our vet told us that he'd adjust to being an indoor cat in "oh, a month or so". It was to laugh.

We had that conversation in 2004. We are now half-way through 2008, and Sam still bolts whenever he gets the chance. Part of me feels badly that he's on permanent house arrest. But realistically, I know it's better for him (and MUCH better for the birds that come to our feeders) if he stays indoors. I remind him about those issues all the time. For some reason, he ignores me, despite my usually-effective powers of persuasion.

This morning, both guys are inside, having been given their usual morning treats, and settled down for a day of napping. With luck, they'll stay inside.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

This morning...

... for the first time in more years than I can count, I woke early, did my regular morning routine, and then (insert drum roll), went out for a walk. Yeah, I know - BFD, right? Well, it IS a big fucking deal for me, and I am so glad I did it. It's cool here today, and overcast, perfect walking weather for me. One of the things I love most about where we live is how rural things feel (no sidewalks help with that, as does the amazing abundance of lush greenery). It's not like taking a walk to, say, Solano Avenue in Berkeley (although I still miss Solano Ave.), it's more like taking a walk on a thickly settled country road.

No one was out and about, other than dozens of birds and one black and white cat, crouched low and safe close to its house at the top of the driveway. I walked slowly, trying to breathe in and out, deeply and regularly, and to pay attention to little details like the color of a blossom on a bush or the sound of birdsong high in one of the huge conifers that line the streets. Even though I could hear the faint sound of traffic on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway a couple of blocks to the south, it faded to white noise almost immediately, and the sound of birds took center stage.

We live on a rise, so any walk from our house requires navigating both a steep incline and a steep climb at one or the other end of the walk. I opted to do the incline first, and brave the climb on the way home, and managed to do both without much trouble. I stopped at the crest of the little hill, just to breathe and be grateful that I'd managed to make it.

It's a far cry from the days when I could walk a mile in fifteen minutes (it took me about that time to do what I assume is about a quarter mile stroll), but who cares? I took a walk!

Friday, July 18, 2008

What to write, what to write?

Every once in a while, I'll get an email from a dear friend back east, gently wondering why this space has been so silent lately. Am I too depressed to write? Too busy (not likely)? Have I forgotten how to type, perhaps (my question, not his)? The answer eludes me, except that it doesn't feel as if I have all that much to say.

I read blogs brimming over with the writers' achievements - culinary, artistic, poetic, corporate. I think about my own life with its rather small and sad list of 'achievements' (cleaned the cat boxes, watered the herbs, emptied the dishwasher), decide it's kind of silly to post on a blog about all of this mundane crap, and the space remains silent.

This post isn't about me, though. It's about a wonderful event that was announced two days ago. A friend of ours, Kay Ryan, was named U.S. Poet Laureate. You can Google her name and read all the latest articles announcing her appointment in the NY Times or Washington Post. I just want to add my little voice to the chorus of congratulations, both for Kay, whose talent is boundless and who so deserves this honor, and for her life-partner and now-wife, Carol Adair, my very beloved friend. Carol and Kay have been together for over thirty years. They married for the first time in 2003, when the city of San Francisco legalized marriage for same-sex couples (and we chose to be married in San Francisco City Hall in solidarity with our gay and lesbian friends, even though those marriages had already been declared invalid by the reactionary and fearful folks who refuse to believe that 'different' doesn't necessary equate to 'bad'. Kay and Carol were married again on July 8th, 2008, the same day that Kay received the news of this wonderful honor. It was one helluva wedding present, wasn't it?

Congratulations, Kay (and Carol)! And my thanks to those who realized that brilliant talent has nothing to do with sexual preference or gender or race. It just is.

(Hey! I know the Poet Laureate!)