Snapshot #270

For three weeks I’ve trailed behind our youngest cat, Patches, in an attempt to get a fecal sample for the veterinarian. We’d tried isolating her in a guest suite outfitted with a litter box in the bathroom and plenty of food and water in the adjoining bedroom, but that just traumatized her to the point where instead of pooping, she peed on every imaginable surface and didn’t poop even a little bit.

It took me a day to clean everything and it’s taken even longer to soothe poor Patches’s nerves. I’ve had to mend a lot of fences with her, and she’s still pretty jumpy.

My next plan for getting a sample from her was to catch her in the act of pooping, thereby knowing for sure it was her poo and not Scout’s. Sounds fairly straightforward, right? Not with a traumatized Patches. We went a couple of days without seeing her at all, and while I knew she was using the litter box I couldn’t distinguish Patches’s Poo from Scout’s Scat.

I’d almost given up on ever getting a piece of Patches’s poo when this very morning I had the pleasure of seeing her make a deposit in the box. I’ll tell you I’ve not been this excited about watching a bowel movement since our youngest child was potty trained. I had to rein in my enthusiasm, though, so as not to interrupt her endeavors. Inside my head I was jumping with joy.

So this, friends, is Snapshot #270. We’re calling it, The Sweet Smell of Success.

Peace, people!

Politics and Funerals

On Sunday Studly Doright and I drove south for about three hours to attend a Celebration of Life service for a man I’d never met, and who Studly only knew superficially through business contacts. We went more to support friends who’d known the man well than for any other reason.

The service was held at Silver Springs State Park near Ocala. I’d visited the park a decade or more ago and it’s lovelier than I remembered. When we entered the park a family member of the deceased directed us down a winding path to a rustic pagoda with raised seating and a view of cypress trees rising out of the swamp. The October sun filtering through the surrounding foliage created the most perfect spot on earth that day. We found our friends and sat together as the service began.

From the photos around the pagoda one quickly surmised that the man being honored had been rather remarkable. There were photos of him at the summits of several major peaks including the Matterhorn. He’d also been a deep sea diver and an astronomer. I wished I’d had the opportunity to have met him.

Then one of the pastors officiating the service spoke about the deceased saying he’d disliked Democrats and hated lawyers, and that if the man could speak from the grave he’d tell us to never vote for a Democrat. A smattering of laughter accompanied by a few groans resulted from his statement. I looked at Studly and he put his hand on my arm, most likely to keep me from saying something I’d regret. I’m no idiot, but I must say words bubbled in my mind.

The second pastor then went on to tell us how the deceased had loved the environment and sought God in all the faces of nature. But he’d hated Democrats and lawyers. Now, I’d say the dearly departed thought he was looking for God, but quite honestly never really cared about the meaning of God.

Listen, when I die, I don’t want any mention of politics. Such talk doesn’t belong at a funeral. I wouldn’t mind being eulogized in the sacred forest of Silver Springs State Park, though. Surely the trees will cleanse the air of any negativity.

Peace, people

Open. Closed. Open.

Who am I to question the way a door is opened?

Push. Pull. Lift latch. Turn knob. “Abracadabra”

So what if I choose incorrectly at least half of the time?

Enter. Exit. Round and round.

When last we talked I caught a glimmer of remorse. Maybe you would choose a different door this time, or maybe find a new way to open it.

We were friends once. Invisible doors were slammed. I lost a figurative finger.

All I’m saying, is I’ll help you open that door again. We can lean against it together.

OLLI and a Fabulous Ant Fact

Did you know that in some species of ants, the queen can live to the ripe old age of 30? Workers of those same species live about seven years. It’s good to be queen.

I enjoyed the OLLI class, The Parallel Universe of Ants, yesterday. We learned a bit about ant anatomy and the social structures of colonies, but I’m incredibly thankful there’ll be no tests. Some of this stuff is way over my head.

It figures that in a college town that many in the class would be retired educators. The level of questions asked by my classmates was impressive. Before our next session I’m going to do some heavy duty reading.

The instructor for my class authored this book:

Pretty cool, eh?

I wrote this joke:

What do you call an ant who’s good with numbers? An accountant.

Peace, people.

Venturing into the Unknown

Doright Manor is situated on a small lake in a rural housing development about eight miles outside of Tallahassee, Florida. I live in the woods, and I love it. Studly Doright, my husband of 43 years, and I often joke that there are more trees in our front yard than there were in our respective Texas panhandle hometowns of Dumas and Floydada. Honestly, that’s not much of an exaggeration.

One of the coolest things about living here is our proximity to Florida State University. A 20-minute drive gets us right into the heart of the campus. Of course being the curmudgeonly people we are, we avoid FSU like the plague. If I have an appointment anywhere near the school I plot routes that will avoid busy Tennessee street with its six narrow lanes of crazy college aged drivers, even if taking said route requires me to add an additional 20 minutes to my drive. Today, however, I am purposely venturing onto the FSU campus for OLLI.

One might ask, “Who is OLLI and why is he/she worth risking one’s life for?”

OLLI is an acronym for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. According to Wikipedia, “Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes offer noncredit courses with no assignments or grades to “seasoned” adults over age 50. Since 2001, philanthropist Bernard Osher has made grants from his foundation to launch OLLI programs at 120 universities and colleges in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

I’ve been aware of OLLI classes for at least a decade. When we lived near the University of Illinois I had friends who took classes through the program there, but I was still working full time. Now that I’m mostly retired I no longer have any excuses. Except–the anxiety of venturing into the unfamiliar territory of Florida State.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I performed a dry run to locate the building in which my first class will be held, even though I initially went to a similarly named building. And, even after locating the right one I never quite figured out where I’d be able to park. Guess who will give herself an hour of extra time to get there today?

You might also wonder what class has intrigued me enough that I am willing to venture out of my comfort zone. It’s one titled “The Parallel Universe of Ants.”

Studly Doright thinks I’ve lost my mind, but who do you think will have the last laugh when our insect friends begin their quest for world domination? Again:

If you don’t hear from me again after today you can blame it all on OLLI, or ants, or you can just make something up that’s suitably dramatic.

Peace, people!

A Splice of Life

I spliced the scenes together

The early days of flickering frames in shades of black and white,

Three channels and Walter Cronkite’s signature sign-off, “And that’s the way it is.”

We begged for a color tv, if only for the Rose Bowl parade broadcast, but

I’d outgrown the delight of floats bedecked with hundreds of thousands of flowers by the time

The old RCA was replaced by a bigger, shinier new Zenith. Bonanza in color and Little Joe in

My dreams. Yeehaw.

(I owe the idea for this one, in part, to my friend LA at Waking Up on the Wrong Side of 50.:

A Nice Wine Makes it Right

I want to be happier than I was yesterday, but not quite as happy as I’ll be tomorrow

Like that old saying I heard somewhere when I was much younger and had better retention

Only, it had more to do with love than happiness, and while the two are closely related

They can be mutually exclusive. I’ve been happy without being in love and in love without being happy

Damn. Is that as deep as I think it is, or is that just the Cabernet Sauvignon talking?

Rosa’s Wedding

Yesterday I wrote about my friend, Rosa’s wedding. Except it was more about me than Rosa and her wedding. Typical, right? Am I a narcissist or just very narrow in my scope of observational abilities. Let’s see if I can do better today.

Rosa is one of the kindest, loveliest people I’ve ever known. She stands all of five feet tall and her smile is like sunshine. Not the glaring sunshine of a summer day in Florida, but that of a warm autumn afternoon when the very quality of light makes one glad to be alive.

When Rosa told me about her impending nuptials I was kind of surprised. For one thing, I thought she was already married. She and her domestic partner of many years, Esteban, have three beautiful children together. Rosa is a devout woman, as well, so the old fashioned Puritan in me was shocked even as the free spirited hippie in me thought, “right on!”

For the ceremony Rosa wore a beautiful, traditional white satin gown with a fitted bodice adorned with lace and embroidered with seed pearls. She was radiant.

Since the ceremony was in Spanish, there was a good deal I didn’t understand, but I believe the priest asked the couple how long they’d been together and why they’d decided to marry after all these years. I’ll have to ask Rosa to be certain, though. I was struck by the personal nature of the priest’s interaction with the couple. It was almost as if the rest of us weren’t there at all. This was no dog and pony show, but an intimate joining of two people.

Well, as intimate as it could be in a church filled to the brim with families with small children. This wasn’t a quiet affair, but one in which the vows were woven in and around a great deal of exuberance and movement.

After the couple was officially wed, the priest led them down the aisle and back up again to joyful music. And the music! Oh my goodness! I knew none of the songs, but they were played with gusto by a mariachi-style band. I had to look to make sure it wasn’t a recording, but there were real live people behind me making music.

Once they were back at the altar the photographer stepped up to take pictures. Of everyone. There were a few standard married couple and wedding party types of photos, but after those were done regular members of the assembled audience stepped forward for photos with Rosa and Esteban. I snapped a few on my phone and said “hi” to a couple of people I knew before heading to my car. Before I made it to the car, though, Rosa’s eldest daughter caught up to me and said Rosa wanted me in one of the pictures. That was pretty sweet. I wish I’d thought to have someone snap the picture on my phone, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.

There’s lovely Rosa on the far right. Beautiful bride, beautiful church, beautiful day.

Peace, people!