My Birthday Week (I’m Milking It!)

If I must acknowledge getting older, then I prefer to have my birthday celebration spread out over days. This year I’ve got a birthday week – and if I count the concert with a friend in November, I’ve got a birthday season!

Hiking at dawn! It has been too long.

Hiking at dawn. It has been too long.

Highlights this year are two dawn hikes (my first hikes with my new hip), a trip to the beach, and dinner at a favorite restaurant. My kids also gave me a book of dustbowl-era political and social photographs:

My kids got me this book.

Looks like an interesting book and its photos are unforgettable.

It’s an awesome book but what really makes it special is the thoughtfulness with which they chose it. (They figured it fit with my love of Woody Guthrie and my recent interest in traditional bluegrass.)

At last, hiking again!

Gee. Thanks guys.

Dear Family Cats (and also the dog),

Thanks for giving me an unforgettable experience. A night of induced insomnia and – okay – a couple laughs.

The oldsters, Bop and Luna, age 10.

The perpetrators, Bop and Luna.

It all started about 130 am. The dog woke me up, walking in and out of my room, flopping down in the hallway, jumping up again to tick tick tick tick another circuit of my room. When she walks at a certain pace, her nails on the floor sound like the Sixty Minutes clock. At 130 pm, I find this charming.

After a moment of consciousness, I heard what had made the dog restless. Cat fight, a couple houses away. I recognized the voice of my beloved Luna, whom I had failed to lock inside. I keep the cats in at night (coyotes), but on hot summer nights Luna often evades capture.

Luna is 10 years old and I had never heard him fight before.  He is a peaceable fellow who gets along with most other cats. The part of my brain that was awake decided it was a good idea to break up the fight. I filled a glass with water and headed down the street. No noise, no cats. Okay. I dumped the water and returned to bed.

Turn out my light, cue the fight, which resumed a few feet outside my window. Refill the water glass, take it outside, toss water at the cats. The other cat ran north. Luna headed west, stopped, stared at me, then sprinted after the other cat. Jerk.

The really!-I’m-mean-and-I’m-going-to-hurt-you! howling resumed in the backyard. By now I was too invested to shrug and lie in the dark listening to fake loud cat aggression. In the backyard, I decided to turn the hose on them. I turned the hose on full bore and I blasted them —

— with a dribble of water. Oh. The hose had kinked.

While I worked on unkinking the hose, from the house behind ours came brutal THUNK-thunk-THUNKs as the pit bull tried to slam his way outside through a closed dog door. He wanted in on the cat fight.

Suddenly I realized that what I needed was to be asleep. I left the hose and returned to bed. Where I lay, very very awake, for 3 hours. As many of you know, time expands at night and those 3 hours lasted for days.

I finally drifted off to sleep shortly before dawn. Not long afterwards, I jolted awake to shrill cat screeches. For the first time, our cat Bop had ambushed the kittens during the night, which is usually a time of truce. Perhaps Luna had inspired her.

There we were, stumbling into the hall, squinting at the lights we each turned on: my daughter and I, armed with water bottles, looking to spray Bop for messing with a kitten.

A peacekeeper.

A peacekeeper.

Actually the “kittens” are now 11 months old and two of them are bigger than Bop, but she knows how to bully and they will always consider her enormous.

Wow. He is so cool.

Recent runt kitten Leo stands outside window and watches his hero Luna snooze. Leo doesn’t realize he has grown up to be the biggest cat in the neighborhood.

Now the dog was energized. With two humans out of bed, it must be breakfast time.

Have you ever gone for a walk just after dawn? It is such a peaceful time of day.

P.S. As I write this, Bop has knocked the DSL modem to the floor. Twice.  So we’ll see whether this exposé ever gets posted.

(This post responds to today’s Daily Prompt, “I’d Like to Thank My Cats”.)

Most Tactful 4-Year-Old. In the World.

On my evening walk, I passed a mom and her young daughter headed the opposite way.

“Mom, it’s oKAY!” The girl waves her arms and bounces as they walk.

“No, it was not okay that you did that.” The mom hunches forward, pushing an infant in a stroller.

“It was okay.” With no uncertainty.

“No, I really didn’t like it when you – did that.” Mom edits for my benefit. Her lips press together. She is not pleased.

“I wish,” the girl begins. By now they are past me and her voice carries back to where I have stopped walking, the better to eavesdrop.  She continues slowly, as though choosing her words, “that I had a mom like you except somebody who didn’t care that I did that.”

I decided against openly stalking them, so missed the mom’s reply.

Mom. Seriously. Are You *Crying*?

This week my twins turned 20! Here they are in the last few hours of their teen years. They actually let me take a picture. Best 20 years of my life, even during the worst moments of my life, because these two have been in them!

Last known photo as teenagers.

Last known photo as teenagers.

Here they are on their first birthday. The chicken wing thing was common when they first learned to walk.

Age 1 year. It was 100 degrees that day.

Age 1 year. It was 100 degrees that day.

Age 1 year.

Age 1 year.

(This Daily Prompt wanted to hear about the last time that beauty brought me to tears…)

My Fresh Son

This week’s Photo Challenge wants to see fresh, which it defines as a state (new, recent, previously unknown) and a taste or sensation (cool, sweet, invigorating, refreshing). There is an additional state of fresh and when the dictionarists adds it, they are welcome to illustrate the concept with a photo of my son.

New guitar picks have many applications.

New guitar picks have many applications.

Events-378

Exerting self-control during a visit to Grandma and Grandpa.

Self Reflection

(Today’s  Daily Prompt says: finish this sentence…)

When I look in the mirror I

  • am reminded of hopes and fears
  • see my mother, my sister, my son and feel awe at those family ties
  • suffer flashbacks to other eras and haircuts
  • struggle to take in my full reflection rather than its parts
  • feel familiar yet surprised
  • think I need to smile more
  • wonder what others see.

 

When Anything Could Be Anything

I loved the days when my kids could take just about anything and convert it to something fun to do. For example,

giant-boxes-on-board-screwed-into-two-sets-of-skateboard-wheels +  gentle-incline => tandem go-cart race

StartPoint

On your mark…

AwayTheyGo

And awaaaay they go…

 

I probably thought this was horribly dangerous. If only this had remained the pinnacle of risks that my now 19-year-olds would ever undertake.