Saturday, March 20, 2010

Photo of the day: Beyond This Point

There be dragons.

Or at least sea otters.

Friday, March 19, 2010

You Can Only Do it for the Love
I can't believe we had our first meeting for the next season's kitten nursery last night. It seems like we only just closed down from last year.

We're aiming for an early May opening and will go through September; even October if there are still kittens in need.

Last night was for us old hands, so there wasn't anything in the way of training. Just a few new policies to go over and a chance to pick out our preferred shifts. Three shifts a day breakfast 8-10, lunch 1-3. and dinner 5-7. Seven days a week. Last summer I did two regular shifts and picked up a third along the way, plus doing my cat shifts on the days when I wasn't at the nursery. This year I hope to work with some of my favorite people from last year -- at least we all requested the same shift, so I'm hoping it'll be the fun crew again.

And then I went back today for a regular cat session. Someone today asks me why I do it? Why give us so much of my days and work so had for absolutely no money. I had to, in all honesty, respond that this is the best paying job I've ever had. When I left Apple I was making over $1k a year to do nothing all that important. And yeah, I could buy socks before they all developed holes and had dreams one day of a new car (mine is 10 years old with 185,000 miles on it). And yes, my all time big dream of all dreams, owning my own house.

But what I'm doing now is more important that that. I can find a good used car. I can rent. I can shop at K Mart rather than Macy's (although I'll still insist Husband shops at Macy's). But I can't give up the fact that i am doing something good. I made a conscitious decision to turn in the 6-figure salary in favor of the buy your own catnip and band-aids brigade. And I don't regret a minute of it. There may be times when I feel guilty when Husband has to get up early or work late to make a deadline and I feel like I'm not pulling the weight in our relationship. But then he smiles at me and tells me how proud he is that I'm taking care of critters and all's right with the world again. (I am the luclkiest woman on the planet!)

Sure I'd love a car I can count on. And yes, more than anything, I was to own a house where I can paint the walls whatever color I chose and where I can't be asked to move on 30 days notice. But more than that, I want to take care of the animals. I want to be there when they learn they can trust people, when they find that one and true person who wants to take them home. I want to get the shy cat to curl into my lap and I want the agressitve cat to play with me without claws out and with no trauma getting hin back into the cage.

I honestly believe that working with animals is what I was born to do. Now if I could only find someone to help me pay my rent and I'll be a full-butt-wiggle happy camper.
Photo of the day: Cipher on Patrol

The World's Most Amazing Cat, Screw You if You Don't Agree (tm) on duty checking out the back yard to make sure none of those feral cats invade her domain.

Never fear, Cipher's on the case!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Photo of the day:Make a Wish and Blow

Send all the little dandelion tendrils on their way and your wish will come true. Provided that your wish wasn't for a field of dandelion.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Wearing of the Green
When I was a senior in high school I was in the marching band. I played the flag. You know those spangle-clad girls you see twirling flags at the Thanksgiving Day Parade? Yeah, I was one of them. Go figure.

Our band was quite a big thing. We went to, and won, state competitions and marched in a lot of big-time parades. Before my time the band from our high school played at the Kennedy inauguration. But my year we didn't do much except compete, do a few local events, and march in the San Francisco St. Patrick's Day Parade.

I suppose it was appropriate, as our uniforms were green. The flag girl uniforms were short leotard-y things, green spangles with white fringe. They were hideous, in retrospect. No. Not in retrospect. They were hideous back then too. And so uncomfortable. With them we wore white knee-high boots which made us all look like little hookers. Ah, those were the days.

For the SF parade we joined with dozens of other local bands and hundreds of floats, plus every pipe band in the universe, to march down Market Street under a typically gray San Francisco Day. The streets were lined with thousands of revelers, most of them drunk out of their gourds, happy for an excuse to be snockered at 11 am on a Sunday.

Most of the spectators were wearing green and there was a huge business in green cardboard top hats with gold shamrocks on them. There were adorable troops of red-headed Irish children step-dancing their way down the financial district. And a float from the local Irish-American Cultural Center that was tossing out green mardi gras beads. I can't tell you how many of those things I stepped on.

We discovered that the grates covering Market Street had squares the exact same size as the heels on our hooker boots and several of us got stuck along the parade route. We had to pull each other out and then dash to catch up to the rest of the band. Andy Landucci passed out in front of the Bank of America because he was hungover from Jessie Madell's 17th birthday party the night before and was dragged off the parade route by a cop and some guy in a McDonald's uniform. We were at the back of the band and had a hard time staying in step because the float behind us, playing a tinny version of McNamarra's Band, was louder than our own band in front of us. We heard McNamarra's Band 17 times during the course of the day. I hate McNamarra's Band. The float was from a local Irish pub named "Brennan's" and the guys on the float downed their first pint of Guinness at dawn and were well and truly cooked by the time the parade kicked off. Thoughtfully they had designed their float with a fake bar, with real stout. They kept up the drinking. One guy kept yelling inventive come-ons to us girls at the back. Another guy jumped off the float and started a fight with some hapless tourist who, unfortunately for him was wearing orange.

In keeping with the Irish theme, our band played Barry Manilow's Copa and the theme to the movie Rocky. Apparently we didn't know how to play McNamarra's Band.
Photo of the day: Traces of Fire

Traces of fire against these rocks bring to mind beach parties from high school. Beer bought with a fake ID and then lots of skinny dipping and playing on the beach on a warm summer night. A ritual from high school. You had to have attended at least one of our beach parties. In retrospect, quite innocent. Some pot, maybe, but nothing more than that and alcohol and we always had sober drivers. Some great music, great friends, and a chance to get away from the folks for a while and just be teenagers again.

I lived for those nights when I could leave who my family thought I was behind and then go out with my real friends and laugh and get goofy, try stupid things, have fun. I celebrate those memories and credit them for helping me realize there was life outside of what my family were presenting me on their road map. I tore up that map. And I still don't know where I'm going. Loving every minute of it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Photo of the day: A River Runs Through It...And Around A Stump

Oh, so that's where the Pacific Ocean gets all her water.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Scenes from Silver Creek: Wyatt Earp and Columbo

I suppose most towns are proud of their famous sons and daughters. Or eager to claim some brush with glory by proclaiming that George Washington slept there. Silver Creek was no exception….well, with one exception.

Silver Creek has absolutely no claim to any famous citizen or visitor.

The closest the town had ever come to a famous citizen is Andrew Kilpatrick. He right after high school to become an actor. He had one credit: he was a corpse on an episode of Columbo. I suppose his drive to be an actor wasn’t very strong because after six whole months of hard slogging in Hollywood, he got a job as a salesman at a Ford dealership in Orange County and ended his acting career. (Although he did appear in a few ads for the dealership and “Salesman Sal, your car-buying pal!”)

And as for George Washington passing through, well the only even remotely famous person to ever pass through Silver Creek was Wyatt Earp. And everyone knows he never actually visited town – it was just a PR ploy cooked up by the city council to give a little cache to our annual “Founder’s Days” events.

What prompted the deception was the fact that one of Silver Creek’s first families was named Earp. Absolutely no relation as the family never failed to point out – though I could never quite decide if they made that admission with pride at not being related to an such a character or disappointment at not having such a black sheep on the family tree. (If one can have sheep on a tree.)

But when it became obvious that nobody cared about Founder’s Days, the city council decided to add a little spice to the proceedings by claiming that Wyatt Earp had spent time in Sliver Creek in 1880, the year before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. According to the adventurously titled pamphlet “Wyatt Earp in Silver Creek,” the lawman was convalescing from a gunshot wound at the home of his Aunt and Uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Lyman Earp.

But having him lying around in bed eating Aunt Agnes’ peach cobbler wasn’t enough and the pamphlet was three pages long so….

“By July of 1880 Earp was well enough to leave the comfort and care of the family homestead and throw himself into Silver Creek society. It was on the evening of July 17th that Earp single-handedly foiled a dastardly crime….”

Where to begin? Well, first off in 1880 Earp was living in Tombstone. The non-existent “family homestead” would have been the Earp house, a one-story ranch home built in 1892. Silver Creek never had much society. And I’m not even going to touch the phrase “dastardly crime.”

According to the increasingly hysterical pamphlet, a gang of masked robbers burst into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Preston Mears while a party was being held in honor of the visitor. Silver Creek’s finest citizens were being robbed at gunpoint when Wyatt Earp (who had conveniently been out of the room when the miscreants broke in) came flying through a window, guns blazing in both hands. He took down four robbers and finished the evening by dancing the Virginia Reel with the Mears’ lovely young daughter, Camellia.

Phrases such as “Earp’s cool lawman’s mind chilled at the thought of the beautiful Miss Camellia being misused by such ruffians” were matched in their stupidity only by the revelation that Earp was, apparently, such an expert shot that not one of the villains was killed. Earp managed to disarm each, but fired no mortal shot, so that every man was brought to a fair trial. (I guess whoever wrote this preposterous tale decided that having four men killed at a party would rather put a crimp on any further Virginia Reeling.)

One of the great things about Silver Creek is that everyone knew it was a lie, and everyone went along with it. Not in a “we believe this story” kind of way but in a “this is such a ridiculous idea that we’re going to have fun with it” fashion. The first Founder’s Day events after the creation of the Gospel According to Wyatt Earp included an old west costume party and a peach cobbler contest, in honor o Aunt Agnes Earp.

The following year proved even more exciting with a reenactment of The Great Crime, complete with Silver Creek police officer Dan Hartley jumping through a window at the Kiwanis hall and firing blanks towards the four “ruffians.”

And since then, it has only grown. There are mock shoot-outs on the street, in a battle rivaled only by the O.K. Corral itself. There is a cowboy poetry slam and a bluegrass music festival. There is even a dance that concludes with the Virginia Reel.

And one time I danced the Virginia Reel with Andrew Kilpatrick. Before he became a corpse on Columbo.
Photo of the day: 137744

Why is machinery so photogenic?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Photo of the day; See? Weed!

I turned this into black and white because dead and dying seaweed isn't too lovely a color. It's all about the texture anyway.