Friday, March 27, 2015

Pet Love

Its not that I don't love pets, just that I don't have one right now, highly unusual for me. Frankly, I don't know if I could manage it. I've just started back at the gym, encumbered by portable oxygen. To relieve my boredom on the treadmill, I call up in memory all my beloved pets, starting with Black Mike Crockett Crosse, the pit bull of my childhood. Mike was my bud for many years, his back fitting snugly into the curve of my knees each night. Next were my mother's dogs when I lived with her the last two years of high school: Duke, Prince, Lady Jeanne, the latter once having sixteen puppies. From her second litter I adopted a blue Merle collie, Skye Blue, my companion the last year of college and early years of teaching. A Siamese kitten, Kitty Roo, completed the pack. Then came Hallo, a stray calico, who appeared on the window ledge of my classroom on Halloween. At the right, me with Sky Blue at 21.

Moving with Lee to California in the wee bungalow in Berkeley three kitties came with the package: Junior, Mister, and Cindy. Later they shared the address at our first Oakland home with our first canine, a miniature schnauzer named Christopher Robin LeBon. Chrissie lived to sixteen, and surely was surrounded by love. A dozen more pets followed, but you get the idea. Calling up in my mind the memories of these pets gets me through fifteen minutes on the treadmill.
Nowdays I entertain myself with my Oakmont friend's pets. Probably two dozen dogs are walked by my front door daily, and all love to be greeted. Recently my friend Karen adopted two teen-age kittens, Shasta and Pixel. They are great characters, as you can see of this photo.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wearing of the Green

So the story goes, my maternal great grandfather was pure irish, six feet tall, with flaming red hair. This may have been another figment of my mother's imagination, for all I know. Still I celebrate that little part of me that is supposed to be irish, and though I no longer chugalug irish coffee, I proudly wear as much green as I can muster on St. Patrick's day. Here I am with my book group Tuesday night at Cafe Europa, where we all gulped corned beef and cabbage. It was pretty good, too.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

CLIVIA and Marianne

Even when she takes a big breath, Marianne, also 84, only comes to my chin, but like this clivia in her garden, her presence makes a big statement. She's been my friend for a couple of decades now and was one of the reasons I moved to Oakmont. She has been a true friend, and often the one sitting in the hospital waiting room while waiting for me. We've gone on several photo shoots together since I moved here. Tomorrow the "Open House" sign goes on her front lawn. Barb's health is going down hill, and they have decided to move to Lincoln Hills to be closer to family. Its a wise move for them, but a loss for all of us at Oakmont. Good luck, sweet ones. I know you will bloom wherever you are.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Steering Through Life

My book club having just finished embracing Boys in the Boat (my choice) it was with some interest when starting east across the Richmond-SanRaphael bridge yesterday I craned my neck to better see a shell with not nine but six rowers. In profile with the sun behind them I couldn't make out the sex of the rowers, but in today's climate, it could have been either. All were paddling on the same side which I found curious, and they were struggling against the incoming tide.  I hope they made it without crashing into the bridge. In the comfort of the book club discussion, I realized I keep choosing books set in Seattle. Almost sixty years since I lived there, and yet my unconscious keeps drawing me back.
In Oakland to do my taxes, I was once again aware of what I miss most in Santa Rosa: Lee's energy is there, not here. It was there in the Rockridge cafe, (yum) where I had brunch yesterday. It was there in Montclair, where I quickly purchased two bras in a store we knew by heart. It was even there on the busy streets and freeways. I wish I could bring it up here, alas. Even though some of her cremains are scattered in my new back yard, nothing has yet taken root in my being. This is not to say that I don't cherish my new community, for I do, but just that it will never be where my heart is. Like changing direction when the tide comes in, steering through life is a challenge.

From the look on her face, you can tell how seriously
we all take each assignment. Goodness, I had forgotten what its like to follow rules.