Homicidal thoughts on a lovely Spring day

Ah spring.  Warm temperatures, gardens in bloom, nests filled with robin’s eggs . . .

Every day the chance to glory in the return of foliage to bare trees, seedlings popping through the moist soil, apple blossoms in the orchards and …

… poison ivy

Woe to those who do not see
your evil coven in the tree

Such a wicked curse
made by itching even worse.
cured not by the ablest nurse
Or any amount of purse
woe to who’er conjured thee
from my wrath you shall not flee.

My salvation, hopefully …

I wish I could say my homicidal instincts ended with poison ivy extermination but

Who invited these dudes to my yard?  And who gave them permission to pig out on my cyclamen?  I have asked them nicely to party elsewhere.  I have threatened to fatten them up and sell them to the French restaurant but no.  And so regretfully, slimy dudes, eat shit and die! 

But this spring, winter has arrived. Bloodsuckers have breached the walls of Castle Kitty and forced King Kitty into the crypt. He thinks he can escape the final, prolonged agony of itching but Bloodsuckers, well they can smell warm blood.  Duh. (apologies to Game of Thrones – which has become a soap opera don’t you think?)

Can you see him?  We couldn’t as the doors to the cabinet were almost shut.

 

Those of you who are pet owners have probably guessed who is after the cat.

Mister Flea who bears a stunning resemblance to Beetlejuice in both character and elusiveness.

And so this year, Die Mr. Flea!

It’s really not fair because the cat never goes outside and probably picked up the infestation during his last stay at the Kitty Motel.  It will be his last stay there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mighty Truckee’s Finer Ladies

Spring is really the best time to visit Reno Nevada.  The snow is just beginning to melt, meaning that the Truckee River is wild and dangerous and beautiful.

Above is the RiverWalk, a popular place on a sunny day.  As you can see off in the distance, there’s still plenty of snow to melt on the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

These two kayakers wisely chose to paddle to shore instead of attempting to run the set of engineered rapids downstream used for professional kayaking competitions.

Along the river some of Reno’s older and more interesting houses have managed to survive the ravages of the Mighty Truckee.


The building above was once an elementary school and now serves as a art center.

The Lear Theatre may not look like much but it has an interesting history.  It was designed by Paul Revere Williams who famously lamented that most of buildings he designed he could not enter. You see, he was the first African American to be honored by the Architectural Institute.

Before it was a theatre it was a church attended by the Moya Lear, the wife of William Powell Lear of Lear Jet fame. Besides being the wife of a brilliant man, she was also the daughter of vaudevillians and apparently thought the need for theatrics more important than the need for church and bought it. Unfortunately this building is not in the best part of town and they’ve had to surround it with a chain link fence to prevent vandalism.


Across the river and high on a hill sit decaying mansions once owned by the town’s prominent citizens. A few have been extensively remodeled but today people with money prefer to live far from Reno’s squalid old town with it’s pawn shops, casinos and bail bondsmen on every corner.

Above, for Norm Frampton’s ThursdayDoors extravaganza, is the one door I was able to get a clear shot of.

This rather gloomy building always brings bittersweet memories.  It is Saint Thomas Aquinas Cathedral where for years my best friend’s mother attended Mass every single morning and then wandered the streets ministering to the drunks sleeping it off in alleyways.  She spoke for God whose language she alone knew.

Here’s a better shot from Bing Images. It’s not Notre Dame, that’s for sure but then it’s not in Paris.  It’s two blocks from the El Dorado Casino and the heart of Sin City North (Reno’s nickname).

Buried in Section C

Many people believe that newspapers are obsolete.  You can, after all, get your news on the internet for free so why pay? Aside from the fact that online you have to put up with numerous pop-up ads just to read the headlines, sometimes it’s nice just to unplug.  To sit with a cup of coffee and read articles researched and written by local reporters who have a vested interest in what is going on in your neck of the woods, who write with wit and passion and deserve to be read and not buried five clicks down and behind an ad for Depends.

Here are some of the local stories that caught my eye in the San Francisco Chronicle last Saturday, March 9th.

Osprey watchers can see clearly now
by Steve Rubenstein, staff writer

First, this article has a catchy headline that infers osprey watchers have been having vision problems.  Oh dear,  Was there some kind of eye infection that affected only people who liked to watch ospreys?  Why? And last, what was the cure that has them seeing clearly now?

It was a … drumroll please … a three thousand dollar remote control windshield washer.

According the SF Audubon Society, over 70,000 people are addicted to watching the mating habits of an osprey couple via a webcam installed downwind of their nest. But when a bird’s gotta take a crap, he doesn’t much care where the wind takes his treasure, no matter how many followers he has. And so Richmond Osprey has made quit a mess and osprey viewers are suffering. There hasn’t been too large a public outcry because Rosie Osprey has been off clubbing in Mexico, as is her habit every winter. But soon she’s returning and no doubt expecting Richmond to give up his bachelor ways to service her at least eight times a day “live and in color” for all to see. Some poor member of the Audubon Society will probably be on call twenty-four seven to activate the windshield wiper when necessary but I’m sure it will be a sacrifice made happily.  If you also like to watch ospreys mate, here’s the link.  I can’t guarantee you an x-rated experience but you may get lucky:

http://sfbayospreys.org

There is, however, a darkly ironic side to this story. 

Point Molate, Richmond California

For at least a decade a friend of mine has waged a frustrating battle to save the shoreline that provides eelgrass for the osprey and other wildlife  from developers hellbent on building subdivisions and casinos. She and others in the Pt. Molate Alliance have provided plans to the city for an eco-friendly nature center, picnic areas and hiking and bike trails which would provide Richmond residents with a million dollar view of the San Francisco Bay.  They’ve also documented the perils of overdeveloping that area from increased traffic congestion to the environmental impact.  But they’re up against big money in a community famous for poverty and high crime.

While she is happy that people enjoy watching these incredible birds, she wishes that money had been spent fighting the greed that will put them at risk once again.  I agree.

Another headline concerning wildlife also caught my eye:

When monkeying around was a job creator and kid favorite
by Gary Kamiya, the author “Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco”

Now I think of monkeying around as cheating on one’s partner. That’s just where my mind goes, folks.  So how could that be a job creator and kid favorite?

Rats! I was fooled again by a clever title.  Building monkey houses for local zoos was one of the projects that got people back to work after the Depression. The one at the San Francisco Zoo was particularly popular however it was not rebuilt after 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damaged it beyond repair.  The reason why?  The residents, spider monkeys, expressed their displeasure at being held captive by dangling their butts over the mesh tunnel leading to their island and defecating on the zookeepers.  These monkeys also ran in gangs and followed leaders who were often described as “gang bosses.” It was a regular West Side Story on Monkey Island.  I’m sure the zookeepers probably said “It’s either them or us!”

It’s a sad commentary on the times, but I bet Life and Death on Monkey Island would get more views on a streaming webcam than Rosie and Richmond’s last tango mid-air.

Alas, t’is the season for sweeping away spend camellia blossoms.  Perhaps spring will eventually arrive!

Mudluscious

This time of year, when the rains give way to sunny days, in my mind I  always hear e.e. cumming’s poem  in just spring. Those of you who’ve studied poetry remember cummings. He never capitalized his name or the titles of his poems which I could never get away with in English class! Here he is reading the poem:

In California a break in the rain this time of year brings this urgency to all gardeners: Quick: Pull the weeds while they’re young and tender and the ground is mudluscious!!!  

weedsSure they’re cute in their infancy.  So many brilliant shades of green particularly after four years of drought, it seems a shame to try to uproot them but if you don’t, they will grow like – well – weeds.  And once the ground starts to dry your best chance to get rid of weeds is with a jack hammer.

Which brings me back to mud.  I don’t view mud as icky. Especially when my mud is rife with worms.

mud

 

Isn’t this a lovely shot of mud?

It will dry out quickly if the California sun continues to shine.

And then my battle will be hard. But today was a mudluscious day.
i wore my garden hat.
i listened
to the birds

and the boy practicing basketball
thump… thump… thump

hat

and the creek, dry for years roaring to life.

and i said oh what the heck and started my day
in the lower case.
with the worms and the mud.

oh please wordpress – don’t ruin my mudlicious day by insisting i capitalize everything!

(although clearly I’m no e.e. cummings)

Now, the theory of proper blogging etiquette dictates that I end this blog with a question, thus encouraging comments, but the question “what do you think about mud?” really seems a bit daft, don’t you think?

I might change my mind!

Generally I don’t read much into a blood moon.  I’ve seen a few and, while spectacular and often magical, nothing earth shaking happened.  Life went on as before.  Time did not stop. But the sight I saw from my back deck this afternoon got me thinking maybe I was wrong.  Just to be safe, I’m not going to squash the next ant that comes crawling across the table.

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I almost blinded myself getting this shot.  I’m sure it’s just a halo caused by the overcast sky and not an omen of impending doom but the air outside is muggy and even though it’s a Sunday afternoon the sound of children playing is oddly missing.  I came back inside and watched the Pope.

By the way, I believe the small blue object to the left and below the sun was caused by the camera and not a space ship coming to take us away but who knows.

IMG_0778As you can see from the above, it’s getting closer! Hopefully we’ll all be here tomorrow but if not, well, it’s been swell knowing you!

Carol in Oz, Episode 1

Carol

Carol in the creek for some reason: “Hot damn, that water’s cold!”

Nothing my friend Carol does surprises me though often I’m left scratching my head and vowing to never again get involved in any of her shitteries (being stranded at three in the morning outside a hospital after a horse kicked her in not one but both legs comes to mind!). I’m sure she’s felt the same about me from time to time. But long ago I realized: friends are like condiments. You need a combination of the spicy and the sweet. Sometimes you need a jolt of tabasco and a wild ride through the mix-master to make a memorable meal. Besides, she’s a clever and amusing writer, generous and loving towards her friends and quite a hoot to hang out with (unless she’s getting you into trouble).

(shitterie – a Carol-made-up term generally meaning a misunderstanding that ends up tussles and tantrums!)

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“What’s taking you so dang long Jan?” (Carol on the ridge prancing around while I’m huffing and puffing to get caught up!)

Anyway, her latest adventure is a ten day trek through the Australian outback with a couple of elderly horse women. Since these jaunts generally result in some amusing tales I’ve asked her if I can share them with my blog readers and she said yes.  So everyone – welcome the first episode of Carol in Oz  (via her friend Griselda’s iPad, thus the shortcuts):

Good morning,
We r packed except for final items and will leave around 10 after breakfast, run and showers. Taking loads of food and big containers of water. 
We r headed into a huge reserve called the great western woodlands. G. has a book on it which I’ve been reading. Natural areas w all sorts geology plants animal life but also gold mines and grazing. 
It’s cold this morning!  The neighbour is bringing me all sorts of large mens clothing to borrow bc he is worried I will freeze. 
Still waiting for unlock code to use my phone. Will keep msgs  minimal while using G,s iPad, she has data limits and pics or calls can eat that up fast.  
We r taking iPad and my phone in case the code comes and I can make it work on my own. Connections available only when we r near towns I think. Will b gone roughly 10 days. 
Will use a roo (kangaroo) as there r no alligators in my vicinity.  So far anyhow…
Wish me luck. My dear old bod is likely to b challenged
🎲🎲🎲🎲🎲🎲

According to the Nature Conservatory, the Great Western Woodlands in southwestern Australia is “a blossoming bullseye of biodiversity.”   I’m not sure what Carol plans to do with the roo – I guess we’ll have to wait until the ladies are near civilization to find out.

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The Great Western Woodland, picture from the Nature Conservatory

Lazy Blogger’s Day: The Face of Hope

 

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The last few days I’ve been watching this flower grow out of a pile of decaying leaves in an empty flower pot.  Because my husband insists of feeding the birds, we find flowers struggling to survive in the oddest places, their existence a testimony to hope. This little one – a long-legged teen – peers out at the rest of the yard perhaps dreaming of having her feet planted in real dirt.  Maybe she hopes for a friend, a partner, or a drop of rain on her face.

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We did get a few drops of rain this afternoon, enough to clear the air of the dust and smoke.  Not enough to wash the grime from the cars, not enough to make a dent in the drought.  Not enough, but like a pile of decaying leaves, giving hope.

(this post is supposed to be for #WordlessWednesday but alas a few words trickled onto to the page and I didn’t have the heart to deny them!)