Friday, February 25, 2022


Someday, I hope to come back to this post, and breath a sigh of relief, think to myself it wasn't as horrible as we dreaded, they did not go as far as we feared. But today, Russia is invading Ukraine, bombing their cities, fulfilling threats, spreading propaganda, and they are applauded by prominent Republicans in the United States. Such waves of grief and foreboding have a grip on me, and disgust. I admit to being naive, to having fully expected a bright, promising Spring, progressive strides, days near at hand when we lift each other up, rally for justice, quash racism and racist systems, disdain greed, and lift up learning, healthcare, gentle acts. Instead, we are derailed by fear mongering, and hateful decrees against Trans youth, against the autonomy of women over our own bodies. Insurrection against Democracy is hardly addressed, and as it is, it is slow, suspiciously, ploddingly slow. Braver people than I will make their travel plans, and soíree. I feel too turned around, sad, worn, to move forward, to think of doing happy things, making happy plans, and I feel guilty, too, because my life is good, and safe. It's the weight of trauma, of wading through these Pandemic years, knowing our planet ails, and people hurting, it's being disconsolate for the suffering that makes me heavy, slows my steps, and I feel a hopelessness, a shadow that I don't remember, or know, how to scatter away.

Someone once assumed that I didn't read the news, was not staying informed. They took my penchant for cats and chickens, cakes, and aprons, my whimsical leanings for blissful ignorance, and a casual indifference to the state of affairs. That is not the case. I do read the news, and follow stories, listen to accounts of all kinds of histories, and current events, causes, rallies, and in recent years I have redoubled my efforts to listen more, read more, and learn more. But the truth is, there is always a time when I can't absorb more. There is a tipping point, where after one more report, another account of terror or cruelty, and I am ineffectual. I withdraw, and despair. To stay present, and engaged, to do good works, I cannot assimilate every disaster, then work at fathoming how to save the world. In fact, it sounds like a kind of arrogance to imagine I would assume this role. I do tune in, empathize, and imagine the anguish of others. Those struggles and issues that others are suffering, inform my voting, what I share, who I support, what I purchase, how I conduct myself. More simply, I am a better gardener than soldier. I am more adept at sharing eggs and lemons from our garden than testifying before a council. My activism, my rallying cries for social justice, and peace are in our Little Free Library, in Craft Camp for neighbor's children, in mentoring, donating, contributing, in sharing seeds, fabric, recipes, in posting cat pictures, and adopting chickens to help a friend...

I don't know what I am trying to say. I often don't know what I am trying to say, but I'll post it anyway! But this... these events, and the consequences, the state of the world, matters. I can't be shallow, or muddled, not about this. I connect with Paula Sutton's post, when she wrote, "Before anyone mentions other tragedies and other causes beyond those of today, believe me, I ache for all of them, but for the most part I choose to be an oasis of calm for those who need an escape from the relentlessness of horrific news and the struggles of life. Tonight however, I think I’ve reached a tipping point. Tonight I feel too sad and too angry for the world. So until tomorrow - here’s a sunset instead." Like Paula, I love the pretty images, and the acts of love, the affirmations, and hopeful gestures. I am imagining peace, and willing it, praying for it, and voting for peace. I am centering my beliefs, and actions, my hopes, and thoughts on peace. And I am going to sit here, a minute, and try to remember how to scatter the shadows away.

Bird House Notes: It rained. It hailed. It's still cold. We had some weather. There was even snow in lower elevations, like where my brother lives. I was glad the hail wasn't heavy. I ran out into the thick of it when I remembered my daffodils are really taking off, to take a picture, in case the weather would thrash them. Gosh, those bulbs are making me happy. Rain, bulbs, bathroom progress, cats on my lap... in truth, every bit is necessary, helps. The news, and other things, are heavy, and we need comforts, hope. I am naive, more than I like to admit, and maybe that's a good thing, because I never want to see hate and violence as inevitable. Peace, peace, peace. Keep fostering and demanding peace. February 24, 2022

Bird House Notes: I love my home, and the comforts I enjoy here, but everything loses its flavor, it's beauty, a bit more every time I hear of bombs falling, of people fleeing, hiding. Wealth with greed is abhorrent, casual violence by choice is disgraceful, hate, oppression, and cruelty are the lowest forms of behavior. Good things are better shared on this one planet we should call Our Home. February 26, 2022

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

A Few Hours At The Zoo

We went to the zoo! Zoo passes were the most requested Christmas gift, and we finally put ours to use. If When Max and Geoff get a break, we want to return on a weekday. Of course, Maria needs a free day too. I don't want to whine for more than one sentence, so here goes: It was incredibly crowded and loud at the zoo, like nothing I have witnessed before, and even worse when we tried to drive out, as two drivers got very heated over who was more entitled to our parking space. Done. The zoo, even on a busy day, is always worthwhile, and we had a very good visit, with many happy encounters. The cheetahs were alert and clearly visible. At one point one that had been lounging in the wide open, got up and sauntered over toward us, then dropped down for a lounge in the shade, and we could feel him purring. I mean... we heard him purring, but a kitty that big, that close, it's clear that sound comes from vibrations. The giraffes were beautiful, so was the donkey and zebra, the koalas. The kukaburra sang it's gumtree song, and we saw fennec foxes, porcupines, a rhino, and flamingos, of course. Komodo dragons, birds of all feathers, including freshly hatched ducklings. The baby birds flitted on the water like wind up toys! We stayed with the baboons for a long time, because they were so compelling. Their enclosure is wide open with different terrains and elevations, and observing them is gratifying. They do so much that is interesting, dramatic. Stories unfold when we pay attention to their interactions, and dynamics. A volunteer observed that the young baboon in the tree was unique, as no other baboons climbed up, like her. Bambi sketched, and she and the volunteer, Anne, talked about art, classes, and watercolor painting.

I felt certain that I had more pictures to share, and now I realize that I was recording a lot, because so many of the animals were active. I'll share video, too, then. Like the one of the adult baboon keeping an eye on the young one in the tree. The one in the tree seemed to make the adult anxious, but the little one was also tossing leaves down, and those were much sought after by the baboons on the ground. It's great to have annual passes. We had a good walk, saw plenty of animals, including the penguins, and leopard sharks, and then we headed out, happy to know we can return, soon.

Did I mention it was loud at the zoo? Maybe turn your volume down if you watch these clips.

Bird House Notes: It may rain. It certainly looks like it could rain, and it is in the forecast. I think, in California, we learn to be a bit wary of promises of rain. It's certainly cold, and the wind picks up. I guess that's all I can say for the weather. And you? What are watching for, anticipating? February 22, 2022

Monday, February 21, 2022

Glad I Blog

Willow. She lays eggs that are blue green. Pretty, like her.

This year, so far, I've been blogging a lot. A lot a lot. It's partly the safety valve thing, where I can let off some steam, sort my feelings/thoughts/desires. It also helps me, later, because I keep track of things. Seriously! The blog has become our own Wiki page of family history, and we refer to our archives often. It's a gratitude journal, where I can center my thoughts on the best moments, the pleasures and good things that make up my days, and revisit those good things, too. It's a meeting place, and while this has been kind of hit and miss as far as statistical success, I am glad that I can connect with people I know, people I am getting to know, people far away, and it's free from ads, agendas, demands, expectations, deadlines. No one has to read Chickenblog, and I don't have to post, or justify nor explain why I write, or what I write. This experiment or exercise, this long letter, open journal... whatever this is, Chickenblog will be 20 years old, soon. If you are a regular CB reader, brace yourself! I will not be able to resist getting very sentimental, and reflecting some, on this strange journey. And even though I have known some frustrations and disappointments, foremost in my thoughts are all of the amazing connections, friendships, gifts, exchanges, and benefits I have enjoyed through Chickenblog. Maybe those are the posts and memories I should share and reflect on... a trip down memory lane of all the times I have been blessed and honored and surprised by the goodness of connections made over the Internet. I have a particular curiosity about behavior and culture, about changes in culture, and so I think that the experiment of blogging, for me, for society, has been fascinating, and now in the midst of a global pandemic, there are new and stranger elements to observe and process... at its best, it's all been amazing, and strange. I think we will be processing these years for the rest of our lives. I am kind of glad I have been, low-key, taking notes.

Geoff needs a vacation, friends. He needs to get away, literally, figuratively, magically. Max, too. Max might take early retirement. That's how I put it, sympathetically kidding, when I see that he's entered the work world in a very unprecedented and exacting way. He likes his work, and appreciates everything, but it's been strange and strenuous. They both are doing a lot, and working from home, as good as the benefits are, is not without some challenges. Fortunately, Max has D & D for sanity and balance, and Geoff has been escaping through creative expression, like assembling watch faces and framing them under glass. I call his piece "Face Time." He has more art plans, extensions of his earlier works, his Art Blocks. My own creative pursuits have been... well, they have not been. I am stuck in a long dry spell, but I am toying with the idea of making our backsplash, around the bath sink, a mosaic. But probably not. I can't decide. I do like looking at the glass and tiles and stuff. A vacation might do us all some good.

Bird House Notes:To all of the people not masking... please cover your face when you cough, sneeze. Please don't wipe your nose over and over again, and then use the same hand to grab merchandise off the shelf, and put it back, over and over again. You are old enough to know better. You are... well, gross. I imagine we are all gross, unwittingly, from time to time, but can't we please make an effort to keep these viruses, fluids, droplets, contaminants, cooties, to ourselves? It's so disheartening how little we (collectively) seem to have internalized about caring for others. Sorry. This is not the kind of chirpy news I like to share, but good grief: I just had to vent. February 21, 2022