Righteous Side eye

Two Targets and a website search later, I could not provide my children with the Cardboard Haunted Mansion for cats. The Target employee who helped me said they suddenly started selling out. I blame it on the number of articles I’ve seen about the house.

Sorry, kids.

However Target #2 did have a small in the lion mane I’ve been eyeing.

Sorry, kids.

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It has a certain rock star quality. I feel like Miles is channeling 80’s Bon Jovi. Side eye and snarrrrrrl.

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Look at that hair toss!

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He hates it, but I think he hates Olivia’s photo bomb more. Indignant!

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Not to be left out, The Wigglebothum brings her dance moves to the stage.

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Sookie also wore the wig, but her photo was just too sad to share. It’s like I broke a part of her heart.

Nature reminds us that it is wild after all

Warning, there’s a bloody, gross, but freakishly fascinating photo at the end.

Generally, my interactions with nature involve words like “cute,” “lovely,” “look, they’re friends,” along with squeals of excitement while I anthropomorphize the shit of whatever creature is in front of me. I root for nature. Yes, nature you need to do your thing and survive! As long as that thing is adorable and could be in a scene with Disney princesses.

Typically, both MomBert and I cheer on praying mantises. Finding one of their nests is a celebratory event. Praying mantises eat the garden pests. They are strange looking, strong, cold hearted (there’s that anthropomorphizing) predators who usually earn their keep.

However like raccoons that don’t want hugs, and groundhogs who haven’t suffered from a lack of petting, praying mantises are mate-eating, wild beasties.

Among the soft and squishy beasties are caterpillars. MomBert has had great success with attracting monarch caterpillars this year in her yard and in the BF’s meadow that he agreed not to mow. Meanwhile my milkweed is not bringing all the boys to the yard. I’m guessing that geography and environment are factors, but I’m jealous nonetheless.IMG_7092

They even consider her house a hip place to build a chrysalis and transform!
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She checks on her army daily and worries about their well-being which led to a series of upsetting text messages this week. She’d sent an update of the current five nom-nomming away happily-see above– but then discovered that sixth caterpillar had become a juicy snack for the beast at the watering hole.

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At least it got to keep its snack.

While this was disappointing, it was expected and understandable. She transported the clearly pregnant praying mantis to the backyard where she’s been trying to relocate them so they are away from the caterpillar population.

We expect bug on bug violence, but her next discovery was out of left field and horrifying to all of us. She found a praying mantis eating a decapitated hummingbird! WTF, Nature!

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*******Side Note: 1. Texting just needs to let us swear. Auto-correct should know by now that when I or anyone else types “fuck,” that that is exactly what we mean. I suppose the “ducker” is just protecting me from myself.  2. She insists on referring to hummingbirds as “hummers” and I’m not going to be the one to explain it. That’s my sister’s job.

This was the horrible bloody reminder that nature has got to do its groove thang. It was upsetting. I mean, there was that time that I found a chipmunk guiltily standing over a brainless, dead mouse. Yes, the top of the skull had been removed and the brain was gone. Zombie chipmunk? But that just registered as weird.

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A bloody, decapitated, actively being devoured hummingbird though plucked at heartstrings and seemed unfair. Maybe because they are tiny, but so packed with energy and purpose. They’re drawn to the bright and beautiful flowers, so by association are part of that beauty.

Additionally, the logistics seemed impossible. How could a bug catch a bird? Of course, I googled it and immediately found videos of praying mantises catching hummingbirds. I can’t even post the link here, it was that upsetting. The praying mantis flings those long serrated arms out, grabs the bird by the throat as it hovers, appearing to strangle it or trying to cut the head off. The worst was watching the little, shiny jewel of bird twist and struggle. I only watched one video, that was enough to understand.

So “circle of life,” nature is beautiful but purposefully predatory and provides me with so many interesting experiences.

If you continue scrolling, you will see a praying mantis eating a hummingbird.

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Cats on cats are weird

Day 1 We’re going to make the bed! She’s into it and prepared to add hair to these clean cats.

Day 2 OMIGOD THERE ARE CATS AND THEY ARE TERRIFYING! NEVER. SLEEPING. AGAIN.

And she left.

To be fair, she was completely freaked out by the edge of the pillowcase which makes so much more sense.

Day 3 She makes sure to settle in on my side so that I have to awkwardly crawl in from the other side.

Out cold.

These sheets are from Target. The Opal House brand. I saw them on Instagram modeled by Clarence the bread truck kitty over at @eddiethelilaclion

“When life gives you lemons…throw them.” Yoga and Axes

 I’ve done a lot of “yoga and…”

Yoga and:

In keeping with my own trends and those trending culturally, I can now add yoga and axes.

“When life gives you lemons…throw them.”August2019

I’ve thrown an axe unsuccessfully before under the vague tutelage of a viking horde at Lilyfest. Viking Advice: Hit the target.

During this session, I got just a little more guidance. We did an hour of yoga on the indoor turf of the football bowling field…somehow my mat migrated a foot to the left during the class. GoYoga provided an excellent, bendy start to the day.

Fully flexible, our Throw Nation hostess, gave us a quick tutorial on throwing form.

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Turns out, form helps. However, I did much better when I didn’t overthink it. Nothing like axe throwing to make you really look at your butt.

What you’re not seeing are the 20 million tiny video clips of me completely missing everything.

Adventure Buddy and I agreed that we could see the appeal; there was the impulse to keep throwing again and again to try to get it right. However, we only used about 45 minutes of our allotted throwing hour and much of that was spent standing around wondering why on Earth anyone would add alcohol to this environment. Yes, to ideally be on trend you’re supposed to add drinking to the “and axe throwing.” Alcohol fueled competitiveness, and coordination plus deadly weapons. Bingo.

Part of the standing around in a  state of “meh” was also due to our hostess. She didn’t want the dozen of us to touch any of the other throwing lanes which meant lots of waiting, and was not inclined to organize any games. Basically, she seemed unprepared for the event, and kept saying things like “there’s not a manager here today” and “mmmmm yea that game is not open right now.” But OMIGOD she is going back to college this week! Squeeeee!

So we threw axes. It was okay. We are badasses….in theory.

Check mark. No major need to repeat this adventure.

 

 

Miles Got Jesus

I’m not a terribly religious person. Too often, we seem to use religion as an excuse to berate, hate, stereotype, shut down, and exclude, but that’s a whole other conversation…or a presidential tweet, whatever.

With that in mind, I, unfortunately, hesitated to take Paint By Numbers Jesus when my sister and I went on the last raid of Gpa and Gma’s house before the auction. We were in the middle of Great Grandma’s room, the spare bedroom now, surrounded by open boxes waiting for bidders. I held the painting which was so much bigger than I remembered it being when it was on the wall, with the frame it measures 35 x 18 inches or about two Miles long, and tried to visualize where it could go in my house. I didn’t know why I wanted it other than Gma had painted it, and the kitsch value was off the charts. The mythology of Paint By Numbers Jesus says that Gma spent hours and hours meticulously working on filling in those numbers. There was no cell service to debate it with MomBert and my sister was hesitant to give a firm “yes.” We were both certain there was a smaller painting somewhere, but only found a velvet clown that clearly belonged in someone else’s house, not ours!

So I bypassed Paint By Numbers Jesus in favor of smaller sewing implements, some play dress-up jewelry, a pocket knife, and a cast iron weiner dog that was always at the front door.

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Miles has a lot to consider here.

Gpa passed in August of 2017, but it took his children another year to argue about paperwork, possessions, and land before the auction was set for the house, contents, and a section of property. (Advice to those thinking about their descendants and what you want to have happen after you die, do not put faith in the “better natures” of your survivors and their willingness to “do the right thing.” Verbalized wishes mean squat, put it in the will. The end.)

When our father asked us if there was anything we wanted post auction, I inquired about Jesus. Miraculously, Paint By Numbers Jesus survived the auction! Not sure about the clown. I graciously suggested that he put a bow on Jesus and hand it to me at Christmas. I thought this was a no-brainer because it would be free and zero effort on his part, things he loves.

I did not get Jesus at Christmas. Whole bunch of fucking irony there.

Since there were no offers to just go get Jesus from wherever he was being stored- presumably NOT in a climate controlled, art friendly environment- I reiterated that I would like Jesus and, hey, my birthday was just around the corner! Alas the Amazon gift card I received could not purchase Paint By Numbers Jesus.

This is how it goes with our father. Things that you thought you agreed to, things that should be simple or straightforward, things that seem to be standard in other people’s relationships, become negotiations, traps, hostage situations with moments of begging layered with a coating of bullshit  because you want something that he has whether it’s informational, material, or Paint By Numbers Jesus forbid monetary. The newest fun game every visit is to ask us what we want to inherit while our stepmother chants from the sidelines that we don’t need to worry, that all the paperwork will be in place, and us kids (which includes her children as well) will be equally taken care of! No matter what we respond to him with, whether serious or sarcastic (with that tiny grain of truth), he laughs. During the latest round of this, I said I wanted Jesus. Dad went with his standard ploy of “not remembering” where the thing I wanted was, but relaying how many hours Gma spent working on it.

However about an hour and one trap later, I was invited to meet him to pick up Jesus. He literally waited until I left his house, and was driving out of town to call my cell and suggest this hand off. Jesus was hanging off a wagon handle in a large storage barn along with the other unsold items….and the dirt, mice, birds, weather, and mud daubers that were building tubed nests on EVERYTHING. It was exactly the environment where I expected to find Jesus eight months after hesitating to carry him away.

Paint By Numbers Jesus was my co-pilot home. Those in the know applauded the “I got Jesus!” text messages. Miles was more concerned than thrilled. When I told him the name of the painting, he was like “LAST SUPPER! WTF?! That’s no good!” His concerns for food outweigh concerns for relationships, art, and religion.

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Big Cats Catting

The zoo lets members in an hour early two days of the week during June and July which is lovely because you can beat the heat, avoid a lot of the stroller gangs as well as the daycare groups, and do things like walk unimpeded by crowds, perform yoga poses for the Markour goats

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…catch animals like the gorilla chillaxin’, and….

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….witness some other unusual activities like the cheetahs playing keep away with a dead baby bunny.

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By the time we made it to Africa and the cheetah enclosure, we’d already seen a half dozen adult rabbits, various chipmunks, and even a shrew going about their morning business inside environments that were not intended to feature them. Unfortunately nobody advised the bunny that wandering around the enclosure with three of the world’s fastest cats was not a good plan. The lone human observer filled us in on the drama when we arrived.

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While a gruesome scenario, watching Wild Kingdom in person is always fascinating. I’m not going to start handing out dead bunnies at my house, but it’s interesting to see that the big cats and my clowder go through some of the same actions.

Somebody has a something, somebody else wants in on the something…

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….somebody gets a head bonk in retaliation.

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C’mon, Shirley!

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This is Shirley. She makes some bad fucking life choices. Jeeezus, Shirley.

To back up 5 minutes….

I kidnapped Adventure Buddy on a coffee trail and park exploration day because we were on the right side of town to check out the eagles at Pickerington Ponds. We started at the viewing area with the most convenient bathrooms because per usual, I had to pee. It is my life’s work.

Wandering along the edge of the pond, AB started yelling about a snake. She may have had her bifocal contacts in or none at all, and could just make out the elongated neck. Shirley is actually a soft shelled turtle and resents being yelled at and called a snake. Maybe this is why she ignored everything we told her that day.

Shirley was camped out in the sand and gravel viewing area busily flinging dirt with her hind legs. She’d already made quite the depression.

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We speculated on what was happening and decided on laying eggs which Google said could take Shirley up to an hour. Evidence around the viewing area suggested that Shirley was merely supplying a buffet for local predators. There were holes down the entire fence line with empty eggshells trailing around them.

We pointed this out to Shirley, and made suggestions about alternative locations, but she was determined that this was her hole.June20196Deciding to give Shirley some privacy we wandered away, eventually filling in the only other people there who were heading Shirley’s direction. By the time we circled back, the youngest of the party had christened her Shirley. The other option was Terry so we think she lucked out.

Shirley appeared to be wrapping things up. How did I know AB inquired. Well, Shirley’s booty was going through the same undulating movements as my cats’ backsides when they poop (sadly, you sometimes need to monitor your fur kids’ poo) so I was fairly certain that something was coming out.  Shirley finished, covered her eggs, and hauled turtle ass back to the pond. I have never seen a turtle go that fast!

Good luck, Shirley!June20198