Moonlight Write

I was restless in the wee hours so I decided it would be the perfect time for some night writing.  I stepped out into the darkness.  There is a certain quietness at night that I like to curl up with.  The night is solemn, it’s still and penetrating.  I can do much pondering at night. It is empty enough for me to feel the oneness of everything and I feel connected to it.  I walked down the long sidewalk and into the studio.

The usual suspects, Mario, Jacky and Sunny, were already on the scene.  Mario sat atop his perch on the desk, Sunny planted herself in the night garden and Jacky was sleeping in my chair.

I write in a converted garage that’s quite nice.  It has cherry paneling and two skylights.  It’s located at the south end of the garden under a tall pine tree.  It’s really more of an office but we call it the studio.  This is where all the magic begins. Ha Ha. Well, I like it.  It is the perfect place to write.

Jacky

The famous Mario

The cats think it is the perfect place to nap and Jacky has taken a liking to my chair.  We have to arm-wrestle for it daily and he usually wins.  He’s very muscular.  Mario likes to sit atop the desk. Sunny; she’s her own cat and wildly independent.  She likes to spend most of her nights in the cool air outside.

Sunny at night

Jacky is a recent addition to our family.  It can be difficult introducing a new pet to the household.  Adding to that the fact that Jacky is almost full-grown and a male.  Mario was the ruler of the roost before Jacky came and there has been some tense moments.  Mario feels a little put out and perhaps jealous, as well.  Jacky is trying to find his place.  I know he wants to fit in and as time goes on, he’s doing just that.

“The Boys” ( Mario and Jacky) have been spending time together and I can just tell that someday they’ll be the best of buddies.  Sunny on the other hand, still hisses at Jacky once in a while.  I hate to say this but Sunny can be a little testy.  We love her but she doesn’t have the best of temperaments.  M.M. has nicknamed her “The Rat Mole”,  A name that has stuck.  She also is known by Santino or Sunny two-tones because she is a Calico.

I have just come the strange realization that all three cats have gangster names.  Mario, Jacky and Santino. This may mean something, I will have to ponder this…

Just as I am pondering, I hear a sound of rustling in the bushes.  It is loud and I and the cats freeze.  The two boys and I slowly creep out of the studio to investigate.

We see them and they see us.  It takes me a minute before I realise that there are six of them.  They are raccoons and they are so cute.  I know they are wild but they seem so cuddly.  The closest raccoon looked at me right in the eyes.  It seemed to be asking me for something.  I began to speak to the raccoon in the soft sing-song voice I reserve for animals and babies.

The raccoon inched closer, I think I could have lured it in the house.  It seemed so tame. It seemed to be fascinated with me talking to it.  It inched even closer,  all of a sudden I get tense, I back up right into a potted plant. I let out a small sound of surprise and the raccoons scatter into the night.  I curse my clumsiness and gaze into the darkness.  It’s just as well.

I laugh as I think of the look M.M. would give me If I brought a raccoon into the house.  He already thinks I’m crazy, but it just might be a lunatic he’s looking for.

Hoping you find what you’re looking for….Strawberryindigo.

Retro Revert

Ms. Pac Man on Crack

Image by boboroshi via Flickr

The other day I went and tripped around downtown with my teenage son.  He’s 16 and I don’t know how much longer he’ll want to be seen with me, so I take advantage of these situations.

I led the way as I showed him where all “the cool shops” were.  There was just one thing about that; all “the cool shops” I once went to were all gone..they existed twenty years in the past. I felt stupid and old at that point.

If that wasn’t enough; my famously poor sense of direction got us lost.  We started wandering into uncharted territory.  It was a park filled with young “business” people who were selling their “wares” all across the length of the park., it was obvious what was going on.  I was glad that my “Suburban Mom” look deterred them from asking us if we wanted to “score” something from them.

As any good parent would do, I used the situation to preach against drug use.  It was then we found a Starbucks!  After having some caffeine and a realisation that I can be a hypocrite,  we pressed on…

It was starting to get hot and technically we were still lost.  My son is a great guy, I would have to say that because he is my son, but he is  truly a one-of-a-kind special person.  I wish I could take credit for this.  In reality, I got lucky with him. I’m not just bragging him up for nothing.  He has tremendous patience with his sometimes scatter-brained mom….

Now here we are, it’s getting hotter by the second.  My son wants me to ask for directions, I refuse; stating over and over; “I have a good feeling about this, let’s go that way.”  We go on and I’m starting to really feel the heat, all I had to eat was coffee all day and now its starting to take its toll…

I feel like a bad mother, dragging him around like this.  I am sweating and I think I’m about to pass out when I see it.

What is “it”?  you ask.  A glittering oasis in the desert; An old school retro arcade! Yeah!  This town rocks sometimes!  It doesn’t take much to revert me back to kid again and this was no exception.  It reminded me of the old days.  Inside it was dark, hot and packed and I felt eleven all over again.

The change machine was broken but we found a few quarters. This is exciting to someone like me and my son could see it in my eyes, they practically pulsated as they darted from one game to another.  We pass Frogger, Mr. and Ms. Pac- Man, We skirt the pinball machines and pass centipede and right over to the Mortal Kombat! Yes!

Now I will proceed to kick some @$$.. I won the first match. HA!  My yellow guy beat his blue guy!  I can see my son is surprised and a little impressed.  That is almost impossible; A 16-year-old boy being impressed with his mom… watch out son…

Next round, he kills me, blood everywhere.  What a mess.  Next round, more killing.. I am dead, well, yellow guy is dead.  I am looking for more quarters…

My son, being 16, is looking for the lunch I promised.  I vow a re-match and we go and get some bad Chinese food at the mall.. and that is another story…What a great day!

  Strawberryindigo.

Wishing you a great day!

                                                      

Techno Crazy

Our computers

Image by aranarth via Flickr

Dear Computer:  I hate you!  You have screwed with me all day and I’m not going to take anymore!  I am not in the least bit technical and frankly, I don’t want to be.. I don’t understand machines, they are foreign to me.  This is not the best thing in this techno crazy world and believe me, I try…but sometimes I think I’m cursed.  Today I really think I was cursed.

My computer started acting up from the get go this morning.  I was in a fine writing mood and that was changed by my ignorance of technology and my computer being the spawn of the devil.  Seriously, I am ashamed to say that my computer is an ancient relic that’s 10 years old!…gasp.  I think its tired of me and I am tired of it.

After suffering an anxiety attack for a few minutes, I decided that action was necessary and M.M. and I took ourselves down the road in search of a new computer.

Initially we went to the land of cheap goods and cheap labor where the poor can shop for entertainment, or as I call it: Wal-Mart.  It should have occurred to me as we walked in the door and smelled onions that maybe this wasn’t the place to get electronics, but hey, I’m ignorant in such matters plus I needed to get some cheap socks.

We found a cheap laptop, then we found another and decided what the hell, let’s get two.  We are like that, M.M. and I.  Together we create a third personality that’s three times as nutty as one of us alone.  Fortunately this third person has stellar credit so we had no problem with cash flow.  No, it was Wal-Mart, Their machine was down, couldn’t process the credit application.  We tried four times and left in disgust.

 I did get the socks and some free milk duds they gave us as I consolation prize, I don’t like milk duds, they’ll suck out your fillings if you’re not careful.

We drove down one the ugliest streets in town, saw a dead man on the sidewalk (I’m not kidding)  The cops were there and I saw him, his face, the guy looked dead, I mean its something that you just know when you see it.  It’s also an image I won’t forget….And so I tried to…And then

The two gang members on the corner who started to yell on us helped me forget the poor dead man.  They didn’t like the way M.M. was driving and expressed themselves rather loudly.  We turned and I flipped them the bird…And then the sun broke through the clouds…We made it.

We made it to an office type store full of bright shiny colorful office stuff or as I call it: Office Depot. We went straight to the laptops, determined as ever.  We found two cute white ones, They’re twins! We had to bring them home right away. We signed the adoption papers with no problem, the paperwork sailed right through and before we knew it, we were back home with two shiny new laptops.  Wow!  I should have been excited but somehow our victory tasted bittersweet.

If I learned anything from my “adventure” today, maybe it was that in this country, the key to happiness is the availability of cheap goods and excellent credit.  Or really, if I think down deep with my heart maybe I’ll realise that all of that “happiness” really doesn’t mean a damn when you are dead old man alone and unloved by the side of the road.

Good night

 Strawberryindigo.

The grass is always greener…A letter to my neighbor

The lawn of a garden taken from a low level.

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t have an alias for you so I will call you: The man who messes with his lawn too much.  I used to call you the poisoner but I thought that was a little harsh, maybe you are just ignorant.  Keeping that in mind I decided to write this open letter to you. 

I see you often since we are neighbors.  I see you water at all times and rather frequently, almost everyday in the summer.  You’d think that because of this your lawn would be lush and green.   It’s not.  You know what it looks like….It looks sick and patchy.  It’s hard to take.  Even my shriveled up tree looks better.

You are constantly at work on your lawn; mowing very short so that it resembles a brown golf course.  You re-seed it at least twice a year and you are spraying pesticides around like there is no tomorrow.  It’s a bit ridiculous to tell the truth.  There you are, wearing goggles with a giant container of poison on your back.  You spray and spray.  Everywhere.  I’m tempted to run out and scold you.  I want to scream “Stop the insanity, you are poisoning our planet with your damned pesticides!”

I need peace in the neighborhood so I grin and bear it.  It still bothers me. It’s all so unnecessary. 

I must say that I might be partially to blame for your obsession with your lawn, that and retirement.  Where I come in is that my lawn is the one that is lush and green.  Everyday my greenness stares you in the face.  It never used to be that way and neither did my lawn.  Once we were like you,  I didn’t use poison but I made more work for myself by how I treated my lawn.  I have learned a few things since then.  Maybe my neighbor, you can too…

 

watering in the morning

I have read many books and have at least a decade of first hand knowledge on the subject of lawn care.   Especially organic lawn care which I highly recommend.  Mother Nature really knows best.  I work with nature instead of trying to conquer it. You are fighting a losing battle there.

And so Mr. neighbor, the guy who messes with his lawn too much:

This one’s for you… Here are some tips I’d like to share to help you in your quest for a green lawn.

Watering  Do it infrequently and do it deeply.  This forces the roots of the grass to grow longer in order to get a drink.  This makes the grass stronger and better able to withstand longer periods without water.  Also do it in the middle of the night or early in the morning. Watering in the heat of the day causes the water to evaporate before it can sink into the soil. 

Mowing  Mowing height is an important element to consider.  Giving your lawn a super short cut may look nice to you but your lawn hates it. Keeping the mower blade 3 to 4 inches off the ground  is the best  during the summer months.  The shade the taller blades of grass provide enable the grass to hold on to moisture longer.  Thus you water less. In addition, the more you mow the grass the harder it works to re grow itself.  In my opinion, it feels softer and is more lush when it’s allowed to be longer.

 Poisoning  There is a better way.  You don’t need that.  Look around, it’s a dead zone over there. No birds, no butterflies or cute little insects, no weeds, nothing but dying grass. It’s depressing. It gets into our ground water.  It’s even found in breast milk.  Please stop it! 

Your lawn would healthier without all that.  Nature provides.  In the coming months, I will be writing more on the subject of organic gardening.  Perhaps we can whip that lawn of yours into shape so that by next summer, you will have a lush green lawn and more free time to spent with your wife, who I happen to know, is a nice person.

Happy Gardening,

Signed your neighbor,  Strawberryindigo.

A Very Rich Man, Indeed.

Warren Buffett speaking to a group of students...

Image via Wikipedia

Aesop once said the worth of money is not in its possession, but in its use.  I can think of no one person who exemplifies that idea more than Warren Buffett.  Some call him “The Oracle from Omaha.”, I call him inspiring.

Mr. Buffett has been in the news of late due to his company Berkshire Hathaway‘s $5 billion dollar investment in the troubled Bank of America and also Buffett’s recent piece in the New York Times.  In the piece he asks Congress to raise tax rates on him and his rich buddies.  What a piece of work this man is.

I had already thought the world of Mr. Buffett before his recent actions, not only for his investment and business prowess, his uncommon common sense and his personality, (Hey,the guy’s cool to me)  all of which I have to say that I admire greatly.

It is his record of philanthropy that I admire the most.  It is the reason why he is one of my heroes.  His pledge to donate almost his entire fortune to the good of others and his devotion to get billionaires like him to do the same is simply put; inspiring.

It is that attitude that can inspire us all, rich, poor and in between to give some of ourselves to help others.  It doesn’t have to be money, although that would help.  It could be your time, the most valuable thing of all.  It could be your expertise, or advice. Maybe it could be a kind word to a stranger who really needs it at the time.

This is what real magic is made of.  Love and care for our fellow human beings.  It gets around and believe me it comes back to you triple fold. It’s up to everyone to see how they can help.  We all have our individual talents and ways of contributing. I am not a financial titan like Warren Buffett, but my dream is to help in some way through my writing.

We as a country, actually we as a planet are facing unprecedented social,economic and environmental turmoil and this divided attitude we humans possess could spell much trouble down the road.  We can all do our part.

Thanks for listening,

Strawberryindigo.

Blue eyed Handsome Cat 2

Now for epic conclusion to Blue eyed Handsome Cat..

Jacky was counting on me, I couldn’t let him down.   I couldn’t just sit there and allow these crazy people to take Jacky.  I didn’t want to start a neighborhood war over this, especially from the loud crazy neighbors with the totally ironic last name.  Over the years these neighbors had created quite the reputation for themselves. (THAT is quite another story I must share with you in the future).  Lets say for now that I feared for Jacky’s well-being.

I considered keeping Jacky in the house forever but I knew that wasn’t the way.  Jacky’s a free spirit and locking him up would be impractical and frankly, I think a bit cruel. Jacky mewed at the door, I let him out.  I hoped he would return.

M.M, seeing how bothered I was, went over to the ironically named neighbors and spoke the most level-headed one.  We call her Marilyn after Marilyn Munster. (From the old T.V show)  She seems so normal but I know better.  No one could be normal and live there. Well, M.M. is a diplomat to say the least… he found out that Sally was the only one who wanted the cat.  Marilyn, her mother and the matriarch of the family, did not.  She said; “Have the cat, we don’t want it.”

I was ecstatic at the news, it was so much easier than I thought….or so I thought.

Jacky didn’t return.  Five days passed.  I asked around the neighborhood, Marilyn had not seen Jacky, no one had.  I feared that Jacky’s friendly and trusting nature had gotten him into trouble. I looked and looked for him, to no avail.  I  wished that I hadn’t let myself get so attached so fast.  I kept up appearances though.  I told my family that Jacky was fine and that he was having an adventure somewhere and he would be back any day.

I had a bad feeling, I was convinced that I’d never see that white cat again.  I looked out the window, as I had been doing a lot of lately, this time I didn’t expect to see him, I was giving up hope and then there he was.. he was in the street, he looked confused and out of it.  He was sniffing the ground like animals do when lost.  I could tell from a lifetime of experience with cats that he had been in a car and had just been deposited there in the street.

He saw me and ran to the front door, I let him in.  A flurry of meows escaped his little cat mouth.  He was a bit skinnier and he looked dirty but there he was in all his cat glory.  He also was sporting a cheap plastic collar with gaudy glitter all over it, attached was a metal tag:  Hastily scratched into the metal was the word Lucky, underneath was an address..The address was  familiar.. very familiar.

I knew right away what had happened.  I thought back and remembered that I had not seen Sally or her old green van for a while, about the same length of time I hadn’t seen Jacky…

Sally.. of course it was her, she had taken poor Jacky somewhere in her stupid van, And stupid me had believed them.  I am so naive sometimes. The problem remained, We both wanted Jacky.  I believed that I should have him since  he would be so much happier at my house… I also thought that Jacky agreed…he did somewhat.

Jacky also had built quite the reputation in the neighborhood: He was a friendly sort. The cute little girls next door called him snowball, the blonde teenager across the street called him princess.  The people around the block knew him as buttercup and I suppose Sally had named him Lucky.  Everyone thought he was a girl cat, I guess because he is so pretty, they just assumed.  I know enough to look…and what to look for…..enough said on that.

I took off the collar and the metal tag and put them on the mantle, that wasn’t the best idea, looking back on it… Sometimes I get so bull-headed thinking I ‘m right when sometimes….

Jacky had eaten his fill and slept for a couple of days and he was ready to go out.  I let him out the back door and into the garden.  He like all the other cats in the area, instantly fell in love with the place. It’s a cat’s paradise back there… he explored and then found a nice cool spot in the back..behind a tall fern.  He settled in for a nap.   Jacky stuck around for a couple more days, hanging out in the garden, sleeping and hunting moths under the back porch light.

Jacky's off on another adventure.

And then, he was gone. He went out the side gate. I was sure he would come back, He’s so happy here, I thought, he even grins at me when I pet him.  I walked through the side myself, past the multitudes of potted plants in a long long driveway,  I could see a shock of white, running..”Here we go again.”  I said out loud to myself… this time though, it was different.  Instead of Jacky, my Jacky, running toward me.. he was running over to HER?!

This cannot be. What is going on?  Why is he going over to her? I was to say the very least, flabbergasted, I was beside myself.  Then when I saw the boy, the little boy, the crazy neighbor’s kid and I guess, Sally’s son, he was calling the cat and running around.  Sally was beside him and she was actually smiling… Jacky went up to them and started rolling around on the ground, in that adorable way he does.  She, Sally, the one I had watched for years, go into red-faced rages and screaming fits in the street at night, this Sally who let her kids run wild and swore like a sailor.  She stroked his white fur with a gentleness I had never seen in her before.

The boy ran around and then in an instant, Jacky was up on his feet and running.. with the boy, back and forth across the tall weeds that make up their front yard.  The boy was laughing and so was Sally.  Jacky, I think he was smiling too.

I learned much that day.  About Sally, about boys and cats.  I learned the most about me….

 Some time has passed and Sally and I and of course Jacky have made some compromises.  The gaudy collar stays on but the tag stays off.  Jacky goes wherever Jacky wants to go.  Which has turned out to be nights with her, days with me.

Everyone seems a little happier since Jacky’s arrival, now that the dust has settled and I am just beginning to learn about Jacky.  He is a special one.  He has been going on walks with me as of late, he follows me like a dog.  Trotting along, never minding the noises of humans, their machines or their dogs. He is quite the brave traveler.   We’ve been gaining some notice around the neighborhood for our walks, maybe I’m creating a bit of a reputation myself.

Strawberryindigo.

Off we go!