An Orange Furry Tangle

The former kittens Bo and Leo can often be found sleeping in a jumble.

LeoBoTangled

(The WP Weekly Photo Challenge wanted to see “juxtaposition”.)

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Angles Over Water

At a family reunion in Punta Gorda, Florida, I saw a highway bridge that crosses the Peace River amidst docks and piers. I loved the symmetries and intricacy of the angles.

Bridge&DocksPuntaGorda1

Here is a pier’s eye view of the bridge.

Bridge&Docks_2

(The WP Weekly Photo Challenge wanted to see “juxtaposition”.)

Home Is Where The Thoughts Stay

What I see this morning as I write this.

What I see this morning as I write this.

I love meeting new places, and so I am excited to be heading out for a week of work-related travel; however, there’s a part of me that never wants to leave home, and thus I must always shove myself out the door.

There is nothing special about my house. It’s a tiny, nondescript box. I’m always behind with my housework and yard work and I no longer pretend that I intend to catch up. It would be charitable to call the furniture antiques. At one time I had lots of Nice Stuff but multiple moves, kids, pets, and my waning interest in Stuff have all taken a toll.

But of course, that’s not what matters.

Home is where my kids grew up (when we stopped moving around), and where they stay when they need a place to. Home is where we marked their growth spurts on the wall, and now have a funny paint job as we paint around but never over those growth marks.

Home is where the cats and the dog reside, usually doing something goofy. This morning, two of the cats did some play-fighting in the backyard, on opposite sides of a tree trunk. They rose up like bears and batted at each other left right left right but mostly hit the tree trunk.

Home is where I sit on a patio and write novels, and blog posts, while listening to the morning birds or the evening freeway traffic, which really can sound like the ocean.

Home is where I get to choose my changes, or have that illusion. Home is where I can dress however I please, except maybe when a kid walks in out of the bright afternoon sun with a friend and I’m still in my jammies. Home is where I ignore the phone’s ring if that’s what I feel like doing.

Home is where I recharge, revive, restore, and become ready to go back out in the world.

The curious thing is that home is so portable. I have had many homes – big, small, fancy, plain – and they all have the same effect. A house is a building, a home is the state of mind.

The Art of Letting Go

My son and daughter have grown up. They are 20 now (yep, twins), and launched on their personal trajectories – to what heights and distances, none of us can yet say. I am in awe of the people they have become, so clever and kind, funny and wise. I love spending time with them, and am all too aware that I do so in an extended magic moment, before they settle into the careers and families that will take them farther from my own orbit.

My daughter’s university is a two hour drive away, and a couple times each term I drive up to spend the day with her. We’ve developed a routine: we go out for a meal, we share a long walk and talk on the beach, and then I buy her some groceries. Most recently, we saw this sunset together:

Sunset at East Beach, Santa Barbara, January, 2014.

Sunset at East Beach, Santa Barbara, January, 2014.

My son – and daughter, when she is home – enjoy a lot of live music together. Their musical interests are broader and deeper than mine, but we have many overlaps and intersections, and have each shared great finds with the others.

Still can’t decide whether this is a good mom or bad mom anecdote: The first time I took them to a concert, they were 12 or 13, and we went to see one of my favorite bands from the old days, X. The band had recently reformed to do the occasional “oldies” show, and they were as good as ever.

Here is what X were like back when they were not much older than my kids are now.

In the old days, I hated the crowd at X shows –  slamming, spitting, too much intrusion of personal space and sharing of bodily fluids for me! But at the new shows the mosh pit was small and friendly, and many of the attendees were clearly there with their kids – or grandkids.  So I brought my kids to a show in Orange County. Well, apparently that is where all the nasty fans went to die, or beget new generations. The music was awesome but the room was filled with disgusting drunks (vomiting on themselves without realizing it, that kind of thing). Oops. My kids loved the music but my son still complains that I wouldn’t let him enter the mosh pit, and my daughter still gets grossed out by the smell of beer.

Here is what X looked like last week, when my son and I went to see them at a Whisky-a-Go-Go 50th anniversary celebration:

X at the Whiskey on the Sunset Strip, Los Angeles, January, 2014.

X at the Whisky on the Sunset Strip, Los Angeles, January, 2014.

We don’t usually attend “oldies” shows – we’d rather hear something new – but we’ll keep going to X shows as long as there are X shows. Don’t know how long that may be – serious health problems in the band – which adds bittersweet  to each performance.

When my children were growing up, my most debilitating parental fear was that someday, they would spend time with their mother strictly to fulfill obligations. As is typical with all my free-floating worries, this one consumed much psychic energy for no good reason. At last I might be sort of, kind of, sometimes learning to cease all that worrying. Which leaves me more open to appreciate my moments with my kids right now.

(The WP Weekly Photo Challenge topic is family.)

Can You Spot The Redundant One?

Thanks to the bumper stickers, the politics of this car’s owner are clear. However, at least one of the stickers is unnecessary, telling us what we have already figured out. Can you spot the redundancy?

spotItphoto

Sidenote: due to genetics, or birds-of-a-feather tendencies (or both), the person who goes with this car is visiting this neighbor who remains fixed on the U.S. 2012 presidential election.

The Right Spot

Leo loves life and he makes the most of every moment. (Leo, teach me how!) When he wants to get petted, there is no ignoring him.

Pet me, please.

Pet me, please.

Oh yeah. That's the spot.

Oh yeah. That’s the spot.

I'm leaning my whole body into it.

I’m leaning my whole body into it.

And I'm... slipping away. Oops.

I leaned too hard and I’m… slipping away. Oops. Don’t worry, I’ll come right back.

Here is a movie of the same session, with his mega-purr on the soundtrack. (More than one morning, he has awakened somebody in the household with that purr.) No need to watch the whole thing. Any ten second interval will give you the idea.

Years ago, a famous therapist pointed out that humans would be much healthier psychologically if we could ask for affection whenever we needed it – if we could mimic the cat who climbs into a lap as needed. I don’t remember the therapist’s name but I remember that observation whenever one of my cats shows up for a dose of affection.

(The WP Photo Challenge asked to see joy.)

Enlightenment Juice

Last night I happened into a supermarket I don’t usually enter, and found myself one step beyond. There, Aisle 8 offers some very special beverages.

newagedrinksphoto

What? No New Age snacks?

I wish I could tell you for sure what classifies as a New Age drink. However, I got distracted and forgot to cruise Aisle 8 before I left. Call it a failure of intellectual curiosity if you must.

On the other hand, it may be more fun to speculate about what we might find on Aisle 8:

  • Enlightenment juice (never from concentrate)?
  • Homeopathic cocktails?
  • Boba with crystal instead of soy beads?

What’s your guess?