Thursday, August 13, 2020

A Little Bit of Fun is Good for the Soul


Note: Warning - this is about addiction. Continue at your own risk

When not on the porch hanging out with the lizards I can usually be found at the other end of the house, sewing. The thought has crossed my mind that this whole pandemic is a plot to make me focus and finish the myriad half-done projects that lie therein.

 Because I am the center of the universe. 

A joke, I hasten to add, albeit a feeble one. I am well aware of the gravity of the corona virus situation and the tragedy it has meant for many people. That said, no matter what horror stories you may have heard about Florida, they are very likely exaggerated. That seems to be how the media operates these days. Let's tell them the sky is falling and they should cower and tremble and be very afraid. 

The news is depressing, the pandemic is depressing, the riots and protests are depressing, not being able to visit with your friends is depressing, not being able to have proper funerals is depressing, people eyeing their fellows with suspicion is depressing. I don't want to be depressed and so I go back to the comfortable chaos of my sewing room, confident that , no matter how long the current situation lasts, I have fabric and thread and ideas to keep me happy and busy indefinitely.


In just the past month have finished (love that word!) several small quilting projects that were lingering, ignored, for more than a decade. Done, dusted, happy dance time!

My sewing machine grudgingly shares space with my computer and last week I was clicking idly from one interesting thing to another when something stopped me in my tracks, my heart skipped a beat. You've undoubtedly heard of the evils of the internet? I had stumbled onto a blog - and there was a tutorial for a very cute little bag. A Komebukuro bag that is used in Japan to carry rice to the temple. I very much doubt that I will ever, in what remains of my life, have a need for a bag to do that. But before I had finished reading Catherine's description (she's the blogger on K.C.) I was casting my eyes about the room and having a think about which fabrics I would use. Never mind that I still have plenty of UFOs to work on instead of something new. 

I needed a small break, I told myself. I deserved it, I told myself. Look at all the UFOs I'd finished since the beginning of the year!  My fingers in my ears stifled the sound of the responsible angel that sits on my right shoulder, so I could hear, loud and clear, the devil on my left.

And so I made it. Sat there, stitching and grinning while the OC held his tongue and rolled his eyes. 

I'm thinking I'll take it to Ohio Daughter whom we'll be visiting in the next few days. Surely she needs a pretty little bag to take rice to the temple? No? Well maybe she could use it for her knitting? The only problem I can foresee would be if she feels a need for a kimono to go with it. 

Then I'd be in trouble.

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Talks to Lizards, Must be Crazy

Earlier this year the OC pulled out some shrubs and extended our front porch. We'd wanted to do this
for some time and now that it's done - it's my favorite place to sit, drink coffee in the morning, read and talk to lizards.

You might be fooled into believing it's peaceful and quiet out there. That it's just you, basking in the early morning sunshine, a bit of a song from the birds and the occasional muffled drone of a passing car.  And, most of the time, it is. Two small pots, one of ivy, the other of pothos, that I tossed out into the sunshine when they refused to thrive indoors, proceeded to take over the world and now, a couple of years later, have formed a lush carpet of green under the shrubs and sometimes even have to be dragged down out of the crepe myrtles. Unruly to say the least, but kind of a bonus too - more green.

There's a thriving population of lizards living in and under that green carpet. (Possibly some black racers too but them I don't engage in conversation.) The bushes, trees and ground cover are their own little universe, bursting with life and lizard activity, sometimes even violence. The lizards are calm, quiet, curious and spend a lot of time basking in the sun, unbothered by nearby humans. They will move when I come out there, but not far, positioning themselves on whatever surface is convenient - the arm of a chair, 

the edge of a flower pot,

the plant shelf, a leg of the table, or the ground. They'll fix me with their beady eyes, cock their heads, seeming to wonder what manner of creature I am and if my intentions are honorable. Assured that I mean them no harm, they continue to bask. If I lean over and say hello they look quizzical. Maybe I should learn some lizard lingo because not one, as yet, has said hello back. Sometimes they almost seem to be flirting with me. All those push-ups, all that head bobbing, and especially that display of bright orange under their throats! I'm polite. I always admire the display and tell them what handsome fellows they are. How could I fail to be impressed?

And so it's quiet. You think. Peaceful, serene. You think. But then you hear a tiny rustle in the leaves beside your chair. You glance around, expecting a bird in search of a worm - there's a nest nearby.


No bird. All you see are leafy bushes, and below, that carpet of green. You turn back to your book,
but then you hear it again.  So much for peace and serenity. Now we have violence (have they been watching human news on TV?) Two strapping males, on the trunk of the crepe myrtle, murder on their minds.   

 Meanwhile, the sun continues to shine, the birds continue to sing and the occasional car drones on by and, to the untrained eye, it seems like just another idyllic morning.

The underdog turns tail and runs but the aggrieved one gives chase - "Get back here, varmint!"

And they face off again, teeth bared (if indeed they have teeth. I've been unable to get that close), muscles tensed.

The shrubs are divided by the path to the front door. Is it possible the lizard king from the right had the temerity to trespass on king left's territory? Or maybe he dared, be still my heart, to dally with one of king left's ladies? Time to teach that punk a lesson! I keep very still, don't want to scare them off. I want to see who wins and take pictures of the battle.

The paparazzi are as annoying and intrusive in lizard land as in Hollywood. I will have my pictures.

There's a noticeable absence of other lizards, mamas and little ones, skittering around on the pavement. Probably all waiting and watching from under the leaves, holding their collective breath, as I am doing, hoping the dispute will soon be resolved and peace restored.

I think the dominant male protects all the females and juveniles in his territory. Protection, as determined by a male lizard, might have a somewhat different meaning than you or I would give it. I try not to judge the moral standards of lizards by my own, but there have been times when I thought a word in a male lizard's ear was necessary, as in "Hey Buddy, she's a little young for you, don't ya think?" He'll appear to listen, give it some thought, but then proceed with what he was intent upon anyway. "Mind your own beeswax lady, go sip your coffee!"

Meanwhile, back at the battle site, the interloper is getting his comeuppance, 

and now he's looking like a goner for sure, his head clenched in Super lizard's jaws, his pale undersides dangling, helpless and exposed.

But Super lizard makes a tactical error. He loosens his jaws to adjust his grip and in that split second our under-dog(-lizard) drops to the ground and vanishes into the ivy.

So much excitement! I've seen lizards' tails shortened from surviving similar battles. I just don't think they'd survive as well without their heads.  

And just like that we were back to peace and serenity. Mama came back out,

 a baby cavorted from leaf to leaf, 

 peacetime adult activities resumed, (gotta make more babies)

and the birds sang on regardless. I finished my coffee, bid my lizard buddies farewell and went inside to make the bed, do the laundry and get on with my day.