Monday, April 24, 2006

California Poppies...They're Back!

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Hills are Alive

They really are alive...they're crawling and wriggling with critters right now. Not only the hills but inside my house, too. This morning my cleaning ladies were working their magic in the living room while I was making us all a cup of coffee in the kitchen. Rosario ran towards me in an agitated way, tripping over her words but making her point known which was there was an animal in the living room. I eyed the kitchen chairs, assuming there was a rat (at the very least) and I'm all about putting some distance between me and any rodent that chooses my house as temporary lodging. Well, it wasn't a rodent; it was a small wren, perched delicately on my decorated twisted willow branches. DID I GRAB MY CAMERA and snap away? Of course not. Damnit. I did not. Leslie, Rosario's cousin, quietly approached it from the back, cupping her hands gently around it and calmly walked outside, where she released it to the wilds of my garden.

So, here are the birdless branches, minutes after the bird was removed. I'm still smacking myself over what could have been a really good pictures.

I'm still happy it wasn't a rat. We have rats at this time of the year. They're under the house where the tools are stored. Under cover, but not in the basement, proper. My husband calls them wood rats. They are a bit Wind in the Willowie in that they almost seem to smile at you as they dart by but I'm completely discombobulated by them. I can't stand the surprise, gotcha, nature of rodents. But the wren in the twisted willow pales in comparison to what I saw this afternoon and it wasn't a rat.

I decided to take a nap in the little guest cottage. It's always comfortable, but never more so than when the day is slightly cool and the sun warm and strong. Today was such a day. I made my way down to the cottage, turning round to admire the recently 'filled-in' steps. Pavers and railroad ties make up the stairs and winter rains had washed soil from between the pavers. This past week all the gaps had been filled in, making one feel more sure-footed on the descent. So, admiring the newly firmed footholds my eyes were drawn to the second to bottom step. The step I'd just trod on, the step with a three-foot RATTLESNAKE on it.

Can you see it...look carefully, on the right. A rattler. And I almost stepped on it. Shit. It had obviously just crawled out from some chilly undergrowth and was searching for some warmth. Luckily, it was still a slow mover. I took the other stairs back up to the house and got Himself who was on the phone with his sister in Wales. I mouthed, "IT'S IMPORTANT! IT'S A RATTLER!" We both ran back down so I could show him what had almost killed me. We both determined that it should be moved, back up into the canyon, away from homes and humans and we did try to get him in big plastic rubbish bin but he rattled furiously and slithered away. Freaky fast and then he was under a rock. Himself kept an eye on him while I dialed 911. They put me on to the local Topanga Fire Department and they dispatched a pair of firefighters to, I presumed, move this rattler, perhaps to Topanga State Park.

But no, they didn't come to move it, they came to kill it. And I felt like shit because they killed a creature that has more claim to this land than I. Sure, I rationalize it. Little kids play here. Rattlers are beyond dangerous. But I still don't feel good about today.
Tomorrow we're going to buy this grabbing device that will allow us to capture, contain and move any future snakes that choose to visit.

Easter Sunday

The Easter Bunny hid eggs in some pretty whacky places. Charlotte seemed to understand they could be pretty much anywhere.

One of the rapidly multiplying reasons why our grass looks so crappy. What the hell do you do about rabbits? We pepper the grass around them with bb's. Reaction of the rabbits? Complete indifference.

Sweet Baby Sophie.

Charlie, one of our esteemed guests, waiting for the rest of us to join him at the dinner table.

Charlie transferring eggs from the basket to the truck, from the truck to the basket, from the basket to the truck.

Charlotte wearing autographed ears she made herself, clever girl.

Eggs schmeggs. I've got stuff to look at, thank you very much.

The eggs

Friday, April 14, 2006

You Know What I Just Can't Get Outta My Head Today?

This...this is what is stuck there. Pity me, cos it's starting to make me feel kind of crazy. I'll tell you why, too. First, sing along with me and then sit quietly, or you might just get shut up in a cave, too, with no Mary Magdalene to annoint you or recognize you when you come out or whatever she did. I'm still confused.

Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my savior
waiting the coming day, Jesus my lord

Up from the grave he arose [he arose]
With a mighty triumph o'er his foes [he arose]

He arose a victor from the dark domain and he lives
forever with his saints to reign


I was a conflicted child when it came to religion, but that's not really a story because religion is pretty confusing to most children. Come to think of it, most adults in my sphere are still pretty stymied by the whole idea. We're all on the same page when it comes to Easter candy, though. It's good. We like it. People who deny their children candy, at Easter, need to lighten up, unless they have a doctor's excuse or their kids are just too young to get it. That's a good time. You can buy the kids candy and just let them look at it and exclaim over the color and texture and then eat it yourself.

Anyway, back to UP FROM THE GRAVE HE AROSE! and my early exposure to religion.

When in England, I usually attended The Cathedral Church of St. Mary, St. Peter and St. Cedd (Chelmsford)... most definitely an Anglican Church. (In case you're curious about St. Cedd, well...In 653AD St Cedd landed at Bradwell-on-Sea to bring Christianity to the East Saxons. He built his church at Bradwell and it is still there to this day and well worth a visit.) But my church of choice in the UK (due to the cute boys and the youth club) was St. Mary's in Great Baddow. Oh how I loved St. Mary's. It was on Beehive Lane. How could anyone NOT love a church on Beehive Lane?

Unfortunately, I have no memory of the music from these ancient churches. Oh no. You see the music I remember and that is stuck in a forever rewind in my brain is from a SOUTHERN BAPTIST Church in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Yep, a red brick, suburban church, complete with a dunk-tank behind the alter. Montgomery Hills Baptist Church (and it has no website so I can't link it) straddled Georgia Avenue and Forest Glen Road and while my parents weren't big church goers, our kitty-corner neighbors, the Rowes, went...religiously. And they were happy to take me. So every Sunday I'd pile into their Nash Rambler and off we'd go. It was a short ride and that was a good thing since I'd be lumped in the back with their daughter Jere (think Jerry), grandmother Sibyl and great-grandmother Mama Hessie. Seated up front were Gordon and Marylou...

both puffing furiously on their unfiltered Lucky Strikes.

We'd all spill out of the car in the church parking lot, encircled by a cloud of gently wisping smoke, me slightly green with nausea and taking deep lungfuls of the fully leaded, next-to-the Beltway air. Marylou and Gordon would be sucking deeply on their smokes, looking for all the world like they were drawing down some seasoned Acapulco Gold, bibles clutched firmly in the free hand.

So on the one side of the Atlantic I'd have the Baptist Church; Coke machine, Sunday School and smoking only allowed in the basement. Heavy religious stuff, including baptisms, upstairs. In England, the Anglican Church and the cute boys. I adjusted to each, as kids do.

Every year I would flip between countries and churches and it is therefore no wonder to me, whatsoever, that I almost speak in tongues. My accent has been described by some as mid-Atlantic. One minute I sound English, the next American. Don't ask me why, but it's always been like that. I often catch people looking at me strangely and I understand their confusion. One minute I say cahn't and the next can't. I want to tell them. I swear I'm not a phony. I have spoken like this since I was small. It's me. It's weird. It's whacky to you, I'm sure, but you'll get used to it. Then I start singing UP FROM THE GRAVE HE AROSE!

I have more to say, but I cahn't get the UP FROM THE GRAVE HE AROSE! song outta my head.

So, have a good weekend, friends. Eat well and have fun.

How do you Plead to Bunny Abuse? I Will Plead Guilty, but only if you Swear not to ask me About the Peeps