Saturday, July 27, 2013

J. Moonboots

"For to assemble the letters that make up the name of a thing, 
in the correct order, was precisely to effect a magic, 
to establish a new kind of influence over that entity, to summon it forth!" 
--David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

I would have told you all sooner that we welcomed a new kitty

to our home, but every time I bust out my keyboard, she crawls
on top of it and starts purring, in the most inconvenient but
adorable way. Or chews on it.

And then, it took a while to find her name.

Her name at the shelter was Chloe. Her mom is Charlotte, her brothers are Cody 
and Chevy, her sister is Cupcake. It was a whole "C" theme!

But still, I knew that wasn't her name.
"That's not my name!"
She is feisty, stubborn, brave and rambunctious, curious and comical; continually 
tumbling over herself in somersaults, running full out with the hooked tail that 
means "Playtime!" in cat language, and stretching her little stripey self in huge leaps 
that usually end with her hanging on the edge for dear life, scrambling for purchase. 
Sometimes she falls. Mostly, though, she makes it.
She curls right up on my lap. I stroke her head. Just like that, we're an interspecies 
love story. I sing her the "Soft Kitty" song even though she is not sick.

Deena Metzger wrote, “In the Hebrew tradition, saying The Name, Calling The 
Name, Naming has enormous spiritual power; is, perhaps, the supreme ritual act.” 
(Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals).

We named her Juniper. Juniper seems to be the sound of her personality. Also, 
we brought her home in June, she is tiny, therefore she is our Junebug. 

Stazi Lu is not thrilled with this development. 

Juni follows Stazi around. She goes where she goes, does what she does, only all the while
she is trying to start a wrestling match or game of chase. Basically, she's like an annoying little
sister you can't shake off. You try to take a nap, and she jumps on you. Things like that make
you run for the basement, where you can have your food bowl to yourself and snooze in
uninterrupted peace.

Juni relaxed. Stazi, not so much.

But you never know, with cats. They could be snuggle buddies before the year is out. I, personally, have never had cats who actually snuggle with each other, but it could happen.
For now, it's irritated growling, displeased stares, heated pursuits and the occasional hiss. But really, I am encouraged. A couple of times, Stazi licked Juni's fur. This almost qualifies as
world peace, in cat terms. 

It is good to have a young one about, stirring us all up, playing the clown and the trickster. 
Today, she learned about the ways of the vacuum cleaner and how the cursor is not to be caught, no matter how quick one's paw.

p.s. Blogger was giving me a crazy hard time formatting this so I apologize for weird
line breaks, misalignments and other graphic tomfoolery. Maybe I should go to Wordpress.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sweet season

“We are coming to the sweet season of the year, when the air is mild and the leaves pale, and lemon cakes are flavoured with lavender: egg custards, barely set, infused with a sprig of basil; elderflowers simmered in a sugar syrup and poured over halved strawberries.” 
—Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

Our front steps, earlier this summer....

“These days are perfect. The clear untroubled light picks out each berry shimmering in a hedge. Each leaf of a tree, the sun behind it, hangs like a golden pear.”  
—Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

Yesterday, the fading ginger-ale sun rested for a few moments in the cradle of an elm tree. Stazi Lu and I watched it from the backyard. We listened to a twilight robin sing it down, down, down into the dark center of the earth, where it would dream all night, until dawn. In that suspended moment, all else was quiet, waiting for and welcoming the darkness, the blessing of coolness. Last night and again tonight, there is a fine, fat moon waxing in the southwestern sky, glowy-gold as a nightlight. 

Today, another sticky day in a July of sticky days, I uncoiled the green garden hose and screwed on the spray nozzle with the seven different spray settings (JetSoakerMistShowerConeFullFlat), yanking it after me as I made a sweaty progress around all the gardens in our corner lot. 

I watered the perennial garden. (Shower!) The annual garden. (Shower!) Sprayed out the debris in the stone St. Francis basin and the rusted iron birdbath (Jet!) and refilled them (Full!) with clean, cool, clear water.

Even at 7:30pm, the sun still had enough flame power to make my skin prickle, so I watered myself now and again, as if I were a kind of lungwort in flip-flops. Shock of cold water, momentary balm, biting insects, followed by renewed prickliness. Spraying and scratching my collection of gnat and mosquito and fly welts. Ah, summer. 

Photos from Lyndale Open Street festival in Lyn-Lake, Minneapolis: Sun painting in a store window; street scenes from Lyndale Avenue and Lake Street; Midtown Greenway. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The well-rounded jobseeker

Flesh and Stone,* Mark Roland 

When I was a young lass, still developing a passion for dead leaves, I made a list of accomplishments I wanted to acquire by the time I grew up. I still have it, somewhere--but near as I can remember, they were:

Play the piano (Beth March, Little Women).

Make skilled but strange drawings that reflect my original mind (Jane Eyre).

Experience a mystical friendship with a horse (Ken McLaughlin, My Friend Flicka, and Alec Ramsey, The Black Stallion, et al).**

Write sonnets. Sing like a thrush. Speak and read Latin. Live in a castle. Be handy with an embroidery needle and a calligraphy quill.

(Later, I mentally added to the list, "Learn to read tarot cards, speak Welsh, identify birds and bellydance with finger cymbals.")

Some of those things I learned how to do and others, I did not. But the larger goal was to be a well-rounded and educated person, in my own idiosyncratic, Renaissance Woman sort of way.

Transition, Mark Roland

College opened wide the doors to the humanities, and I fell in love. My hungry mind ate it up--seeing into the Zeitgeist of different eras and how this was reflected in art, architecture, music, poetry, literature, theater, history, politics, languages, discoveries, social movements and philosophy--both within a given period and between the periods themselves, plus across many cultures. Like an epic story, with dozens of seemingly disparate threads, which would suddenly resolve into a sudden, dazzling whole blazing with meaning; making sense of what you'd thought a shapeless mass of facts, a hopeless muddle.

Guardian, Mark Roland

Learning how to be a good and compassionate person, how to be present and kind to yourself, have a positive impact on your community (or even among your own family), how to love people as fully and as well as they deserve...learning to listen to the voice of your own inner guidance, so you can fulfill your unique purpose and do the work only you can do...this course of study is daily, lifelong and replete with worthy challenges.

Yet, the world of employment is so rarely aligned with the quest for fulfillment, meaning, personal integrity, challenges worthy of our mettle, or with using our full and unique array of talents.

It's like, World of Work isn't all that interested in Compleat Carmine. It wants a person to fit into its bullet-pointed, job-shaped space, rather than accommodating itself to a messy, actual-person-sized shape. With its many evaluations, requirements and inflexibilities, World of Work, ipso facto, can't help but be reductionist and sort of a dehumanizing jackass at times. As Robert A. Heinlein said, "Specialization is for insects."

Hence, job hunting? Thorny. Ambivalent. Would Rather Be Reading.

Incantation, Mark Roland

Nonetheless, there are new washer/dryers to be paid for and cat food to buy, so here is my wish plea, incantation, prayer, affirmation, and callout.

Dear Multiverse (and Self),

Please help me to find a Carmine-shaped job where I can:

  • Work with like-minded colleagues
  • Be excited about the work I do every day
  • See that what I do is having a direct positive impact on the world
  • Be valued and accepted for who I am

Kind Regards,


P.S.: Plus, lots of windows and at least one cat on the premises would be appreciated.

Threshold, Mark Roland

*I got this gorgeous print of an intaglio etching, part of Mark Roland's Enchanted Forest series, at the CONvergence Art Show last weekend.
**As I was digging for this list in the "treasure chest" where I keep old things I've drawn or written, I found a packet of horse drawings made on the backs of old spelling tests and mimeographed questionnaires (no scanner, or I'd share). All carefully dated, all documenting the height of my horse craziness. Awesome job, 11-year-old self! I hope girls still draw pictures of horses.
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