Ridiculous Cuteness & Subtle Inspiration

Right now my cats are sun bathing in the corners of the house that they hid away from this weekend. Kudra, Porter, and their ridiculously cute daughter visited over the weekend. With the exception of a late night visit by Bailey when the grown ups talked downstairs, the cats kept themselves tucked away in our bedroom for the two night stay. I should mention that the ridiculously cute daughter is just 8 months old and crawling. When our guests arrived Bailey ran to his favorite hiding place, which unfortunately was under the guest bed. He came out eventually though, one little cry out of the baby and Bailey’s loud paw steps ran from one side of the house to the other over our heads. The cats have been shy to begin with, but I think we finally found Bailey’s kryptonite. Poor Hitch hid in our closet all weekend only coming out at night. If we had ever had kids it seems possible that we would have creatures in the closets that only came out while you slept. That wouldn’t be psychologically damaging for anyone, no..no.

Other than the cats long game of hide-and-go-seek (which I’m sure they took a break from when we went out all of Saturday) it was a nice weekend with friends. We exchanged our little crafty things with one another. The guys exchanged their homebrews and Porter gave us a bottle of his homemade hot sauce made with Carolina Reaper peppers. Kudra gifted me with a Happy Heart scented oil roller and an Olbas oil inhaler, not to mention a bottle of Elderberry syrup (which I just started making myself). I gave her an infused oil and two bags of kale, because that’s the only thing in our garden thriving in this wonky weather. We ate BBQ, drank a little bourbon, and then the guys and I talked about politics late into the night. On Saturday we visited a few local breweries, heard a great band, and then went home and had a homemade lasagna before all being in bed at a more decent hour.

On Sunday Porter made one of his famous fritatas and I danced with their daughter to post-punk revival music while they packed up. Trust me, the kid loved it.

I enjoyed their visit and hope next time I can convince them to come out when it is green and warm. They only seem to come out in the winter when the trees are bare and the outdoor seating chills you through your jeans. Not that I blame them-why you would drive away from the coast in summer? But I’ll keep trying. It’s wonderful to have them over, lots of laughter and kind words to one another. They also get my brain working in ways that usually doesn’t happen around most people. I even had a dream while they were here that would make a good Sci-Fi story, a genre I have never considered writing before.

How about you guys? Are there people in your life that inspire you in fun ways just by being themselves?

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Odd Energy

It was the oddest thing, but yesterday I got a surge of energy.  I used it to take those ten minutes in a day that I have been denying myself to meditate.  It really is the most simple of things but so easy to put at the bottom of the list, even when I know it makes me feel better I still have issues making myself a priority in my day-if that makes sense.

After a frustrating session (you do get rusty on breaks) I did a few things around the house with a feeling of intention for starting and completing tasks. This carried over to communication; texts and emails were answered. Kudra even sent me a email about free online classes for a subject very near to my heart. And then I actually blogged! Holiday cards were addressed and laundry taken care of and in such purposeful way that it wasn’t like I just floated for one task to another.

Later I went to the gym, did my 10k steps on various equipment. I think I even got an endorphin rush.

I finished up the afternoon by “helping” my neighbor Meryl socialize her new (hopefully) puppy by going to a Starbuck’s and pretty much asking people to come pet the puppy while I sipped on a holiday coffee.

IMG_2239.jpg

Imagine a person coming up to you and asking, “Would you do me a favor and pet this puppy?”

And I am wondering what caused the surge.  Could it be the meditation to the endorphin rush?  Maybe the healthy food?  Or maybe it was just the cute puppy above… All I know is it was an odd energy that I haven’t had in a while.

Then this morning I read an entry from one of the blogs I follow (and you should too). Liz mentioned that there was something in the cosmos that began three years ago, Winter 2012 and now it is coming to an end. And while that idea frightens me slightly, I am wondering if it will be a good thing for me.

In Winter of 2012 I was packing up our house and planning to move across country to a place I had never been. We knew for a few months it could happen, but we didn’t want to tell anyone until it was a sure thing.  I think that is where my habit of introversion took root.

After the move and some of the company we kept or rather did not keep, I felt my little shy, obedient side coming out and ruling more of my life. It has been struggle to find my voice again and my sass, but through some situations and people in the last year I have been able to get it back.  But really the last two months I have been feeling quite different.

I noticed I didn’t blog as much the last three years, which sucks because so many new things happened that I really did not record properly and I worry that I have lost those initial thoughts forever. I’m not going to make any big promises of blogging, but I want you to know the intention is there.

So I am hoping that this odd energy is maybe just a little Retro-Melly coming out to take a look around.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and enjoy the New Moon tonight.

Dylan the Butterfly

One afternoon a few weeks back when our dill was tall and seed bearing, my husband noticed that the plants had some new tenants.

Eastern Black Swallowtail

We had two Eastern Swallowtail caterpillars happily munching down on the plants.  We had already taken our seeds for next year and they weren’t going after our vegetables so we let them be.  Besides who doesn’t like butterflies hanging around?  We planned to keep on eye on them and hopefully get to watch their different stages of development.

Fast forward to the next morning…We were sitting in the kitchen, eating breakfast, drinking our caffeinated beverage when something caught Honey’s eye.  It was a cardinal-and he too was watching the dill plants with a great deal of interest.  Before my husband could get the sentence out of mouth, the cardinal pulled one of the caterpillars off the dill and chomped it up.  Being no stranger to walking out into the backyard in my pajamas and shooing away various unpleasing creatures (usually squirrels stealing from the bird feeder and one time a snake) I leapt up and ran to the dill plant to see if the other caterpillar had survived.  He/she had.  

Standing there for protection I could see the cardinal was still standing by, waiting for his second breakfast.  This would be a good time to mention our’s and practically the whole neighborhood’s bird feeders were full.  I was depriving him of a filet-type meal, but there were enough worms and seeds to keep this cardinal’s belly full.  I realized I couldn’t stand there forever and so my husband suggested we bring him in.  We cut part of the parent plant (and a few more blooms) and set the caterpillar up on my office bookcase.

Dylan on dill 

I sent this picture to my sister Firefly, because our Dad raises butterflies and I thought she might get a kick out it.  She thought it was cool and  asked me what had I named him.  To be honest it had never occurred to me to give this little guy/gal a name.  I had no idea what I was doing and I figured it probably wouldn’t make it to the pupa stage.  I thought about it for a minute and decided to call it Dylan, it was a caterpillar of the dill and I had no idea what its gender was.

A few days went by and it ate everything it could and pooped constantly! We had finally run out of fresh dill plants when Dylan decided to start exploring the rest of my bookcase.  I was worried he was looking for food and I put what small remittence of the dill plant I could find in the ball jar Dylan had been perched on.  That did not entice Dylan back, instead Dylan found a candlestick and slowly crawled up it.  At first I was scared that we had starved it to death, but then I noticed over a few hours that it was beginning to contract and not in a morbid kind of way.

Dylan takes a rest

The next morning we saw that the pupa had began to form and one Home Depot trip later, Dylan was in complete pupa form.  

Dylan in pupa state

In case your wondering that thing beneath the pupa is Dylan’s former head.  I looked it up and people said that was normal.  For ten days after obsessively checking on it a couple times each day (I didn’t want it to get trapped in the house), I discovered one morning that Dylan the Butterfly had woken up. 

Dylan wakes up

I had reached Dylan before he/she could fly, but Dylan could move around very quickly.  So I grabbed an empty trash can and put the entire candle stick in it.  Then I covered it with a piece of paper, telling him with each step that I took to get to the backyard to “stay put”.  I had visions of Dylan making a break for it and Bailey and Hitch finding a brand new toy.

When I made it outside and took off the paper, Dylan hoped right out and onto the cement of our patio.  I figured Dylan was still tired and needed to pump up his wings before he could go start his month of fun.  So I put out my finger and for some reason Dylan latched on.  I put him on a flower that was next to the plant where he was born and took a few pictures before he flew away.

Dylan the ButterflyIt took longer than I expected for Dylan to leave the flower so I got a few chances to check on him.  Each time I worried I had put him in the wrong spot; it was too windy, the flower wouldn’t give him enough nourishment, he was in a spot where a bird would come along and eat him.  But I realized I had to let Dylan figure this out, it was out my hands now.  It had been three hours from when I put him on the flower, but this time when I checked on him, he was gone.  I was a little disappointed not to see him but hoped he was off having some fun.  

The Books & Booze Room

Happy Friday All!

I told you how after Porter and Kudra’s visit I renamed the library “The Books and Booze Room”, because somehow in a fortuitous miscalculation in size and our lack of desire to have a formal living room, we ended up putting the two together.  I mentioned this name change  to one of our local friends Poppy last weekend and she said that sounded like a great idea for a real business.  I have to admit if there was a bar that was made up of comfy couches and chairs that you could just curl up with a book and sip on your spirit of choice without the bar atmosphere, I might be inclined to check it out.

Just think of it, there would a wide selection of books and you could reserve a chair with an adequate amount of reading light around it.  The place would be quiet, but not as invasively quite as a library.  Waiters/Waitresses would come by and quietly ask if you needed a refill on your bourbon as you read Elmore Leonard’s Fire in the Hole or get you another glass of Pinot Noir while you read My Life in France by Julia Child.  There would specialty drinks created to best suit the book you pick. There of course would be food offered, little nibbles to pad your chosen intoxicant.  Maybe there would be a room set up to the side (with sound proofing) that local writers or guest speakers could come and chat with others.  Oh, if only…

But until I find some investors 😉 here is our version of The Books and Booze Room, which as you can see currently has two kitties napping off a catnip hangover.

Book and Booze Room 1

 

Books and Booze Room 2

The Books and Booze 3

 

Addition

It’s always bad when WordPress logs you out due to nonuse, I get it WP- it’s been a while.

I have been keeping busy with the new house, it seems as though the decorating and organizing will never end.  We are also preparing the yard for our first fall because now we live in a place where seasons actually mean something.  We have also been trying to keep up in the midst of birthday season.  In just our little area here we have 8 birthdays from mid August to the first days of October.  Luckily people don’t mind sharing a celebration, but still.  And the other thing we have been keeping ourselves busty with is the new addition to our family, Hitchcock or as well usually call him Hitch.

Hitch

Photo by John

I have always had a thing for black cats.   My first real pet was a black cat named Sheba, I think part of my attitude in life came from her.

shebaIt was only as I got older that I found out what a bad rep black cats have.  I thought they were always beautiful and refined looking but black cats are the least likely to get adopted of their more colorful litter and kennel mates.  They don’t stand out as much in dark cages and of course there are the superstitions.  When we got Bailey from my mother’s house there were four kittens running around: three brown tabbies and one black cat.  I had preferred the black cat but it ran away from me.  Bailey looked me right in the eye and didn’t run away, I figured he liked me and we took him home.  Since then I have mentioned on more than one occasion that when the time came I would want to adopt a black cat because I knew we could give it a good home.  It wasn’t until we moved here and Bailey was an only pet for the first time in his life that we had an option to.

We debated on getting another cat for a while, Bailey was so sweet and affectionate with us now and we didn’t want to jeopardize his attitude by bringing in someone new.  But then he started to get a little weird.  He would cry for us if we left the room, he would wail when John went to work, he had to sleep between us in our bed like a darn chaperone, and then the days I was out for hours at a time he would seem morose for the rest of the day.    We figured it was time for him to have a buddy to play with.  We went on and off this wagon several times.  A few weeks ago when we were on the off wagon I went by the grocery store and by chance decided to look at the adoption board that was propped up in front of the next door pet store.  The cats are from a rescue organization at this store, like the one I used to volunteer with.  I had poked my head in in once or twice to visit with the cats, but I had yet to see a black kitten or cat.   I looked on the board that day and saw they had a black five moth old male kitten.  I bit the bullet an went in to see him.

By chance one of the volunteers was there cleaning the cages and we talked for almost a half hour.  She let me hold him and pet him, he made eye contact with me too and nuzzled my chin.   When I told her about my love of black cats, my volunteer work, and that I am at home most of the time she encouraged me to fill out an application.  Then she saw the black cat tattoo on my ankle she made a phone call to the origination’s leader on my behalf.  She too was a big black cat fan.  I called John and told him I had filled out an application and sent a picture, it turns out he was playing it cool but he said if I wanted to get him I could.  Turns out he was really excited about getting a new kitten.  Several hours later after the Rescue had called Bailey’s vet to make sure he was in good health and up to date on shots. I got a phone call and I had an interview with the Rescue Leader, ten minutes in she said we could adopt him if we wanted.  We definitely wanted to.  We picked him up the next afternoon and have been enjoying his personality and energy ever since.

So has Bailey.

Bailey and HitchAs for the name, well that was tricky for me.  I am bad with names, seriously I rename my characters constantly and I have always been jealous of the brilliance people have in naming their pets.  We had a list of various names, I wanted to give him a literary name or after a famous author (Neil, Harlan, Stoker),  then when went towards the more traditional black cat names like Midnight or Shadow.  He seriously was like a little black shadow running around the house and hiding in various, unexpected spots.

Hitch on the stairsWe even toyed with Moonshine for a while because well he is Southern and nontaxable, but it was too long of a name to call him with.  Guinness was on the list too, but if we named him that we would be obligated to name our next cat Whiskey. For a day he was called Binx after the cat in Hocus Pocus, but I didn’t like naming him after a cursed creature-black cats have it rough enough.  Hitchcock had been on the list throughout and I liked calling him Hitch, but I didn’t want to name him that just because I liked the director I wanted his name to reflect him.  Poor Hitch was referred to as “Kitten” and “Little One” (because Bailey will always be “Baby”) for his first four days here.  When I found his favorite new spot was in shower of the guest bathroom, behind the shower curtain and he loved darting out of the dark hallways to surprise us I figured he had earned the name.  He cemented the naming by dunking his head in my thankfully cold cup of tea, how British of him.

We are enjoying him in our lives and we are all slowly adjusting to the new pace of the household, which is much more lively now.

Hitch in the window

 

 

The Firefly Priority

The main reason why I didn’t blog, write, or really communicate with anyone the last few weeks is because my sister was in town.  And no offense but I wasn’t going to sacrifice a single moment with her just to blog.  For her birthday this year we got her a round trip plane ticket to come see us for a week.  After a few discussions we decided to offer a more extended trip and changed it so she would stay for a month.  I am very happy we did because the poor kid had jet lag for the first four days she was here.  There would have been some serious caffeinated beverage IVs if she hadn’t had more time.  It worked out though because I used the mornings that she slept to help the house recover fro the move and make some sense of where I was going to put things.

At least Firefly got to recover from jet lag in the Guest Suite (we are giving it a fancy name to entice our friends out for a visit).  It was seriously put together only a few hours before her plane got here. and I added more stuff as time went on.  Some day I’ll paint it to match the color scheme.

gueststuff

Having Firefly here was a wonderful experience for Honey and I, and for her too I suspect.  We had fun showing her around, taking her to the shops and restaurants we liked.  We had excuses for day trips and of course we got to spoil her a little bit.  She’s 17 so we weren’t really baby-sitting or playing Mom & Dad, but she isn’t really an adult yet either so we had some say in the rules.  She was incredibly helpful with cooking and cleaning and a wonderful guest.  I also took her to a local University for her first college tour, it was a beautiful campus but she wasn’t feeling it.  In hind site I should have waited longer into the trip because she was just at that critical moment of homesickness for her friends that made her just see it as being far away from everyone she knew.  I tried unsuccessfully to explain that even if she goes to a college close to home or to the same school as some of her friends that doesn’t mean she will necessarily continue her friendships with them.  It’s hard trying to explain how everything changes once you graduate from high school without completely terrifying someone.  By the end of her trip, her tune had changed.

We had many heart to hearts while she was here, talking about college and our parents and what her real options were vs what she was being told her options were.  I think some of it helped.  We have offered to let her live with us for a while after graduation if she wants to set up residency here and eventually go to school, but we’ll see.  Going to school on the other side of the state would be a change, let alone across country.  I just wanted to let her know she has options, the world doesn’t seem as big as it is when you only grow up in one place.  The trip was good her because she came alone and got to where she needed to be be by herself, it probably taught to trust herself a little bit more.

Since she came here right as we moved in she became part of our lives in our new place.  I must admit saying good-bye to her at the airport was ridiculously hard, in fact the week before she left I was near to tears on quite a few occasions.  She was also upset at the prospect of leaving, we offered to have her stay longer if she wanted (another three weeks) and she deliberated on that for quite a while.  In the end she thought she should go home, I think because she didn’t want to deal with our parent’s reaction.  She told me the day she left that she wished there had been rain and delays so she could had stayed.  She killed me when she said that, it made me want to pull her out of line and call my parents on the way home explaining she wasn’t coming back.  I won’t lie, I gave serious thought to what would happen if we just never put her on a plane back.  But I wanted her to make a decision and have it just be hers, not what others wanted for her.  She has to make a lot of decisions in the next few years, so I figure a little practice wouldn’t hurt.

fireflywfireShe had a lot of firsts on this trip.  First of all she flew across country by herself, with a layover on each side of the trip (even I haven’t done that).  She saw fireflies for the first time, heard cicadas, saw new and unusual bugs, saw many real lightning storms, met relatives she only saw as a child, got to play with fireworks, read different types of books, explored new towns, roasted a chicken, and got caught in a downpour while swimming…what can I say, it rained around 6 inches while she was here. And of course her and I talked to each other in more of a sister way, than in the mom and child way that we have had in the past.

She told me things that broke my heart and then things that gave me hope.  This trip while giving her a break from daily life also gave her a chance to see the world from a different angle, which is probably important at this stage of the game.  It also made her know that even if there is distance, Honey and I have her back no mater what.  Sometimes just knowing that makes it easier to deal with the crap.  While I know the issues she has to face from growing up with the same cast of characters, the setting is a bit different and the plot has way too many twists.   I had Mimi to go to, hopefully Firefly feels like she can come to us.

Of course we were not the only ones that didn’t take her departure well.  Bailey was practically beside himself when he saw her luggage out of the closet and whenever she left the room he followed.  I think he is also onboard if she decides to come live with us, what do you think?

baileynotpleased

I do NOT approve

We have talked a lot since she got back, she seems to be doing ok.  She is keeping herself busy with friends and trying a few things to keep her mind busy so she doesn’t get summer brain rot.  I’m trying to keep myself busy too, with making the house ours and starting up my writing schedule again.  Since she was here at the beginning of our life at this house, it has been an adjustment in her absence.   But that just gives us a chance to do some more research into all things fun on the East Coast for her next trip out.

“Feed Me!”

After a couple of months of hiatus my husband has started making bread again!  There have been a few dishes that I have made since the move that has filled the house with smells that remind us of “home”, but none could compare to the smell of baking bread.  I love it when he makes bread; it makes the house smell good, he enjoys it, and it saves me from buying the bread with the nasty preservatives.  He usually makes whole wheat bread but now he would like to expand his horizons.

A few weeks ago hef asked if I would mind if he did a sourdough starter.  Sure! I said-who doesn’t like more bread?  And sourdough…mmm…good.  He said it would take a while.  Huh?  He explained that it takes like a week to get a sourdough starter going and you have to feed it.  Feed it?  Like Feed Me, Seymour!  Great, I already have Bailey that nibbles on my fingers and I suspect would be one of those cats that eats its owner if I was a heavier sleeper.

I said yes, but explained that he was responsible for feeding it and cleaning up after it. And if it needed a walk a one am in the freezing rain he would have to do it. =)

So here is our little sourdough starter in between meals.  I asked him if we could name it, he said if it made it to Sunday-maybe.

sourdough