Saturday, January 28, 2012

Winter workout

My new favorite exercise program:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Frustration Increases with Rainfall

Shelton Laurel resident Dana Nagle awoke this morning to the sound of rain pounding on the roof of her temporary home, a 1971 Tradewinds Land Yacht Airstream. Yawning and blinking herself into full consciousness, Nagle groaned. "It's so loud," she said in vain to the dog, who couldn't hear her due to the volumes of both the rain and the dog's snoring. She closed her eyes to try to block out the reality of yet another deluge. Even through her closed eyelids, she saw the electric flash of unseasonal lightening. A few moments later, the thunder roared ominously, a long threatening rumble, like a trumpeting warning to all of humanity. Nagle thought to herself, 'that sky is MAD.'
She reluctantly rose from the little bed in the kitchen and forced the dog to accompany her outside. Both bladders needed relief from a nighttime of slumbering containment. The rain poured on the leaky tin shed rood awning in front of the camper, dripping in here and splattering in there, allowing no true shelter from the downpour. In spite of the aching bladders, neither human nor beast had the slightest inkling of desire to step out into the water. They stood, dampening even under the cover, looking pathetic as they gazed out at the river which used to be the driveway. Muddy water flowed in a steady stream from both coves and the construction site and the garden, gathering momentum and volume as it approached and ultimately flowed into the branch just below the spring. Large puddles covered most other surfaces of the ground. It was a dictionary definition of supersaturation.
Dana Nagle felt an unsettling heat begin to churn in a deep part of her.
"Goddammit!" she said to no one, realizing the source of the heat was nothing other than a rain inspired Bad Mood.
Dog and woman stood miserably for a few minutes in the deafening deluge before the grumpy lady ushered them both back inside. The shelter of the aluminum camper, while warm and mostly dry, offered absolutely no refuge from the roar of the rain. "It's exactly 100% like being in a human sized tin can," Nagle sometimes tries to explain to others, a meager attempt to describe the "difficult to describe-" the experience of being in an Airstream in the Pouring Rain.
A half hour passed, and the rain finally let up enough for Dana and dog to step out and use nature's facilities. Dana decided to seize the moment to unload a large metal table from her truck, awkwardly hoisting its wet weight out into a puddle, all the while slipping and sliding on the earth's muddy surface. The internal heat of the Bad Mood rose again, and again she cursed, to no one in particular.
Stepping back into the camper, she felt like a wet rat. While attempting to dry off, she accidentally kicked over the dog's bowl of water, which flowed across the slightly unlevel floor. Again, Nagle cursed.
When the floor was mostly dried, the dog returned from her morning business. Nagle let her in, towel in hand, determined to wipe muddy paws and contain the uncontainable mud and mess. Dog shook and muddy watered splattered upon the surfaces of most belongings in the camper.

Nagle cursed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Living the dream (with my Survivor flashlight)

With full awareness that my blog has been a rather "journal-like blog" of late, I hereby will describe to you a most excellent evening of mine in my new locale. Two evenings ago, the clouds hung low, and the breeze was unseasonably balmy. January in the North Carolina mountains is typically frozen and white, but this one has been primarily rainy, muddy and grey. Nighttime began its descent at about sometime between 5:30 and 6:00, and I set out for a walk around the hood. I mosied around the Gephart fields for a while before arriving to G and K's at dark to feed their dogs, as they are outta town. With my handy "Survivor" flashlight, I paused underneath G's bird feeder, which is mounted on a tulip poplar outside their main room window at a height of about 12 or 15 feet. I heard some quiet munching above me and when I shined the light up there, I was delighted to discover about 6 or 8 very busy, very quick moving flying squirrels feeding above me. Curious little things, those critters are. They move so quickly it is hard to follow, jumping from branch to branch, extending their little front and back legs to outstretch their odd flap of skin and then gliding from one branch to another and from one tree to another. Their beady little eyes shown in the light of the Survivor, and they took turns nibbling sunflower seeds. It was a show- a quick little configuration of dancing and gliding cute rodents. I an unsure as to the proper identification of the critters- Northern Flying Squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) differ only slightly from Southern Flying Squirrels (Glaucomys volans), and according to Peterson's A Field Guide to the Mammals of America North of Mexico, the ranges of both overlap here in this very western part of North Carolina.

From G and K's, a continued on, through field and forest, headed to the sweet one room cabin home of S and T to celebrate S's birthday with hot chocolate and shortbread cookies and talking and laughing. On the way there, my Survivor flashlight found many sets of nicely spaced eyes glowing on the edges of the pastures. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus viginianus) resting and grazing without fear is a beautiful sight to behold. These abundant creatures are both graceful and mighty, and always induce awe and admiration in me.

After a lovely evening of birthday communion, I walked home at about 10:00, back through field and forest, by the old cemetery. My walking companion was Ruby, S's little funny orange dog, who bounced excitedly up the hill, wagging her little funny waggedy tail all the while. Upon arrival at my domain, I scanned the edges of the clearing with the trusty Survivor, in my routine attempt to catch my nocturnal neighbors in the acts of their familiar. I spotted two little closely set beady eyes glowing atop of the compost pile, and, just as my eyes were able to make out the rest of the opossum form (Didelphis marsupialis), little Ruby bounded into the stream of light and grabbed the possum in her mouth, taking it down to the ground with a hearty shake of her funny little head. Just as quickly, she dismounted her prey and looked up at me with a funny little questioning look as I approached the scenario. The possum lay curled into a little ball of sorts, looking lifeless. Its mouth was open to expose its pointy little ugly teeth, and its long grotesque tongue was dramatically curled out as if to say, "I am soooo dead!" I felt skeptical. You can never trust those little suckers to be dead when they look dead. And even when they are dead, like hit by a car and killed cold in the highway, there still might be a little surprise if you reach into the pouch- there might be a small collection of hidden baby marsupials in there, alive as can be... I poked it with my toe and it breathed, but then quickly resumed its dead pose. I walked away and went to fetch water for my bucket bath. When I returned, the possum was gone. Go figure. They don't call it "playing possum" for nothing.

I dosed off reading in the camper while the bath water heated on the stove, and woke up in time for another glorious bathing experience outside under the low clouds in the mild and strange midwinter breeze. I truly am living the dream.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


My darling nephews and their dog Scooter...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Of course...

Mom and I are in Dayton, the heartbeat of the midwest. Of course as we journeyed up I-75 yesterday, it was a full-on winter friggin storm blow-out as we traveled from Kentucky ( over the Cincinnati Bridge and into Ohio. Ohio in winter, contrary to popular belief, can be unbelievable cold, grey and windy. I know, you wouldn't-a thought it, huh? Luckily, here in Dayton we have the warmth of family and the hugs of my cute and dear little nephews and Dot's meat market, which is where I am off to now...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sissy bouncin* in the ATX

I evacuated town for the last week of the year. Left my house, which is almost ready for final inspection; left my family in the middle of the holidays; left my Airstream to the rodents who apparently had a BIG heyday while I was gone... My trip to Austin was just the doctor ordered. A week with my lifelong best friend Meg was both epic and ordinary, filled with both the tedious day to day of life as a modern woman and the depth of connection that can only come with a lifetime of friendship. I watched in awe as her children channeled bits and pieces of her essence- her mannerisms, her humor, her deep loving affection, her nutty creativity. And I witnessed Meg's mother, Joanne, in Meg's mothering and marvelled at how present Joanne is in Meg's family, even though she died when we were young teens, murdered randomly while leaving work one night. Meg is a lot like the mother Joanne was, except without the cigarettes and Diet Coke- loving and indulgent with her children, yet stern at times, goofy and playful, and they look so much alike it's uncanny.

I was at Finn's birth 5 years ago. He's the younger. I was supposed to be as Oscar's too, but I couldn't make it. These children hold a special place in my heart. Oscar endeared himself to me this past week with his epic giggling combined with his persistent "peace and harmony" meditation, which he would go off and do in the treehouse or garden. Finn delighted me with funny mannerisms like Meg's and his sweet little voice, which would ask the most surprising and thoughful questions- questions that let me know he sure is taking a lot in for a little guy.

This last picture here was a real good time. We were taking a walk at a lovely place with gardens and trails, and Oscar wanted to be held close by Meg and told a fart story. The union of love and humor, which is so quintessentially Meg, flowed through the generations like an ion transfer in an atom as Meg's tale of a young unclothed boy's body gas flatulating on an overstuffed leather couch unfolded. She spoke in the deep voice of a black man and had us both rolling. Finn entertained himself...

Another day, Simon was kind enough to escort us ladies to the Austin Rifle Club shooting range for some education and practice with his 9mm. Both Meg and I have been fearful of firearms since her mother's death, so this experience with Simon was significant. Simon was a gentleman, and after signing us in as his guests (he is a card carrying member), he focused on safety as he instructed us with his piece...

(Thanks Simon!)

We journeyed to the Botanical Gardens, which is right up my alley, and loitered in the "prehistoric garden."

I fantasized yesterday on the way home about a(n unrealistic) world in which I would spend every other week with Meg in Austin. I wish we lived closer and I could show up at their house regularly for a large pancake with 5 chocolate chips and cinnamon butter and her kids could read me their night time stories with really awesome story reading voices and they could come spend the day with me in the woods and we could go swimming and romping around and Meg and I could Zumba twice or thrice a week together and I could build friction fires with Simon and joke about End Times. But at the same time it is grand to have a reason to go to Texas, and she has a built in retreat here at my mountain home. I hope she comes to it soon... Hear that Meg?

* We really wanted to go to this New Years Eve show, but it was sold out...

(Click on this) Sissy bounce