Drink Sangria In the Park

Often, I think I’m not ready for things. I’m not ready for autumn, despite being ready to quit sweating every minute. I’m not ready for Halloween, though I can’t wait to dress up and give candy to kids. I’m sure as hell not ready for Christmas shopping. You can’t make me do it!

So pretty!

My friend Diana recently completed a Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing and just took a job in Newark as a graphic designer. She’s absolutely glowing. I’m deeply impressed by her fearlessness, and will miss seeing her every day.

Turns out, though, I’m almost always more prepared than I think I am. I’ve brought plants into the house ahead of the cold and dragged out warm clothes. My closet is full of costumes, and candy is at a drugstore four blocks away. At this point, no one has to go to a store and Christmas shopping is on everyone’s phone. No need to stomp my foot and shake my tiny fist at the sky!

Point: until it’s really cold, I hate socks, but the other day, I bicycled to work in ski pants. I’m ready for all kinds of shit. What I am never ready for is the antics of my siblings. This morning:

Anya: Are you missing a black kitty?

Me: What? I’m starting to panic. What are you talking about?

Anya: Last night we found a little cat wandering around. We took it in. It’s small and black but it’s a dude. We’re hoping to find the family that owns him because we can’t keep him.

Me: Okay, whew! You found a little guy.

Anya: He’s fed, healthy, very much a people cat. Liked to be cuddled, doesn’t mind being picked up. He has humans. We stood and watched him for a while. He kept meowing and followed us and ran into the street here and there. I couldn’t leave him outside.

Me: Facebook is your friend. Ask people to describe their missing cat.

We refer to my sister Anya as the Deputy Mayor. She does not actually hold any office but when Anya leaves for a weekend, the entire town has to find someone else to confide in, depend on and gossip to. That’s a lot of prepositions for one tiny town. Anyway, if anyone can find the tiny dude cat’s people, it is Anya. In the meantime, my bet is that if the cat’s people don’t turn up, that cat will still be the luckiest cat in a town of lucky cats.

 

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Women And Glasses Of Beer

Deer stopped by. Left a message.

Last week, the Senate confirmed Rapey McDrunkenheimer to the Supreme Court, and I have been somewhat fucking low. There’s no time to waste, though: we’ve got to get everyone to the polls in fewer than 30 days. Are you registered to vote?

Aiming Straight For Your Back

You may or may not recall that I’ve worked for the unnamed university a really long time. Tomorrow, that really long time becomes 33 years. In an intriguing coincidence, last week there was a meeting in which my department was reorganized and suddenly I didn’t work for Gianna after 21 years. I’m not a crying-in-the-meeting kind of woman, but this was fucking rough.

Prank french toast is still a complete breakfast.

My sister Corinne left a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk at my place. Guess what she got back?

Welp, funny thing: for about five years, I was bored and asking to learn about particular things, and Gianna granted my requests. Oddly enough, when the department was divided in thirds, I ended up in a purchasing group because I understood how certain kinds of orders functioned. Although I’m like 900 years old, I am actually a toddler in cool shoes, and my being there is practically child labor, so it’s startling anyone lets me play with money.

Note: I do not play with money. I’m too pretty for prison.

This is all to say that though my life with Pete is reasonably stable and happy, the rest of my life is in flux. My mentally ill mother has turned into a racist granny who isn’t sure I should have access to her family’s genealogy information because her paranoia hasn’t reckoned on publicly held information being on Ancestry.com. My father-in-law hasn’t spent much time with Pete and me because his cancer treatment has made the long drives between our houses difficult. It’s just about time to harvest the last of the summer vegetables from the garden and empty most of the small planters and boxes. Even without the influence of political events, I can feel change coming.

Seriously, what is this guy wearing?

You never know what this local guy will be wearing.

I’m having a Be careful what you wish for moment, since I got that, but the finance people also got me. I wonder what they wished for. Was it a co-worker who shows up in pajamas and makes them go outdoors even when it’s raining? Because they are about to get that.

We’ll Be Able To Fly

Months ago, one of little Swedish Black hens and sometimes Chicken Chicken started kicking up fusses just after dawn. Local ordinances forbid residents from keeping roosters because sunrise squawking makes the neighbors cranky. Anyway, In June and July, I found myself running down the stairs before dawn and out the back door to shush chickens almost every day. Andie, who is not an early riser, was calling the little hen “Chicken Soup.” I developed a plan: we would identify which of the hens was the complainer, if there was only one, through the clever use of chicken jewelry. Yes, I bought different colored plastic leg bands. Andie and I chased the nearly identical chickens until we caught them and gave them name tags. Sort of. We determined that the tiny hen with the white leg band, LaVerne, was our vocalist.

As a matter of fact, those are hot dog rolls on the ground.

LaVerne, in the corner, evading capture. Chicken Chicken, nearer, acting nonchalant.

The professor from the organic farming course of last summer agreed to take LaVerne to the Chicken McMansion on her farm. When the day came, Ellen arrived with a cat carrier. Andie was working, so I resigned myself to chasing LaVerne without backup.

You haven’t lived until you’ve climbed halfway into a chicken coop in your street clothes. Remind me to burn these garments later.

Note: no part of this is not gross.

Of course I’m dressed badly. How should I be dressed to chase a chicken through gross shit?

This went on for quite a while. Before I climbed in here, I’d warned Pete, “You have two jobs here: take pictures and heckling.” As you can see, it’s not easy to photograph a chicken roundup. Or my butt.

So glamorous!

I am literally chasing a small chicken around the coop with a cat box pooper scooper.

Finally, I got my hands on the little bird, who pecked my hands, but settled right into Ellen’s arms. After a few minutes, we stuffed LaVerne into the cat carrier and off they went. I still get up before sunrise most days, but with the solstice behind us and the equinox ahead, that time is a bit later every morning. Chicken Chicken, without the goading of her sidekick, sleeps in. This morning, I didn’t see her in the run until just after 7.

Wait, I'm not your real Mom?

The recipient of this chicken finds her charming. Her feelings are reciprocated. I feel left out of this lovefest.

Ellen says she holds LaVerne in her arms all the time. I could never get near her. It was obviously meant to be.