It’s not as impressive as Jesus appearing in a piece of toast, but it did make my day.
Happy 4th of July.
OK, I’ve never done a two-blog. I try to be very concise. Give you a nibble, not a 3-course meal with coffee. But if I wrote ALL the strange things that happened to me on Saturday in one long blog, you’d hate me for taking up so much of your time.
So part two of my day.
Having survived a marauding lady deer, we continued our hike. Anders loves to give me options of the routes we can take, and as I considered the two that he proposed, I wished that somehow we could end up walking past these houses that I’ve heard are perched up in the woods. I mean that literally. Occupants of these homes have to walk up long, winding dirt paths from the car park to get to their houses. Cool in nice weather. A bitch, I’m certain, in the rain with groceries and a crying child. This thought had nothing really to do with the two options he gave me. It just popped into my head. I noticed it, and let it go. Very Northern California of me. We chose a direction and set off.
Now again, we do a lot of hiking. Over the course of 20 years with this man, I’ve taken a million steps. Most of them have been with a dog in tow. Never has a dog of mine killed a defenseless bunny, but guess what? Yup, today was the day. She did one of her signature hop moves into a bush, I heard the distinctive crunching noise of something going very badly, and when I turned and gasped, she dropped the adorable, gray, still-trembling but very much in the last moments of its life bunny. I stood there with my hands covering my mouth, muttering, “Oh noooo, nooo, nooo,” endlessly until Anders snapped me out of it and told me there was nothing to do.
My dog is now a bunny killer. Certainly the world must be coming to an end soon, because this just was so not ok with me. We continued on, and at this point figured there was nothing to lose to go down some new paths we had never tried before. I mean, what are the odds of MORE strange things happening? I let the man with the internal compass lead, and after having not passed another living soul for an hour of walking, we passed a mom and young girl in a deeply wooded area. Soon thereafter the trail dead ended. Unless this young girl was part goat, I’m at a loss to understand where they came from. Because it seemed so … odd … we continued to look for the path. Stomping through undergrowth and through a little creek, we realized that there was nothing on the other side and we needed to turn around. As I looked down to pick my way back across the water, I noticed a submerged old glass bottle. Now, I love finding old bottles in our yard. It happens every so often, when we are digging somewhere, as our yard back during the turn of the century when this house was built was the dump. And here were funky old bottles just half submerged in the muck, calling to me. Cool. Very very cool. I dug up two and was going for my third when Anders told me it was getting dark and we needed to go back down the trail to find another way out.
Do you know where this is going? The way out, a path we had never gone down before, was the SAME one I had wished to find. We passed the houses tucked up on the hillside, and even some woman carrying up her groceries. As we exited this area, there was a wedding reception in the grove of redwood trees, yellow lights twinkling and beautiful people in love.
Had my thought really manifested in this action? On this day, it sure did.
So. We made it home. Didn’t get hit by a car, or see a streaker, or have any other animals burst into song. It seemed that the crazy part of the day was over. We made appetizers, I made a fire in the outdoor fireplace, we poured ourselves a nice glass of wine and sat down for a game of Scrabble. A party at the house above us was in full swing, the happy conversations of young people laughing mixing with the music we had on the stereo.
I commented on how much I loved the moment. Perfection.
Until the sound of something unexpected thunked off the wood trellis above our heads and smashed onto stone somewhere near. And the party sounds above us ceased right about the time Anders screamed “Your Party is Over.” My lame-o “That was so uncool” hardly encapsulated how un-cool it was.
Some dumb-ass drunk kid decided it was bright to try and pick us off with a missile of a glass Bud bottle thrown from 150 feet away off their deck. Because it might have been the end of the world for one of us, and then it would have been the end of the world for the one left.
So, in review: Deer. Bunnies. Glass bottles both old and uncovered from decades in the muck and new and thrown with a crash into our midst. Ideas coming to life. Weddings. And yes, the cops. In my house. Any one of these situations would have made for a unique day. You know, dinner table conversation. But mixed together into a melange of strangeness, it qualified, at the end of the day, as quite a day indeed.
Was your Saturday as strange as mine? Please tell me yes, it will make me feel better.
Roxy the bounding dog. This is a 6 foot tall fence.
You ever have one of those days when so many strange things happen that you sort of wonder if there’s something in the air? For us, last Saturday was one of those days. That was also the day that some sliver of the population believed would be the final bow for the human race. And I’ve got to be honest with you … I started to wonder myself at a certain point.
It started with a stalking. From a deer. Not known for their predatory nature, this deer decided that Roxy, our dog, needed to be followed. Badly. Roxy was on the end of a leash, connected to Anders, who was walking next to me. We were taking an (up to this point) lovely late afternoon walk in the neighborhood, when we both noticed the sounds of what we believed were steps of a fast approaching sprinting runner behind us. When we turned and saw it was a large deer making tracks directly at us, with a car behind, we simply assumed that the car had spooked the deer, who was simply trying to escape PAST us and disappear into the brush.
As normal deer do.
But the deer stopped when we turned. What ensued was a strange ballet, where we turned to walk away, and the deer continued toward us. We’d turn, the deer would stop. The woman in the car behind us, bless her, leaned out the window and said, “I think that deer is following you. It looks like it wants your dog.”
We walked much faster, and the deer continued after us. “This deer looks sick,” she offered. She then used her car to gently herd the deer away from us and up a driveway, so we could make our exit. We started walking quickly away, looking back at the deer who had paused on the driveway, only to take off again THROUGH the yard and brush to follow us. Our angel in the Prius didn’t abandon us, but she continued to parallel the deer to keep him off the road.
Now, it’s hard to jog and look behind you, so I focused on the road ahead, and staying up with Anders. And when I heard her voice from behind me saying, “He’s coming at you!!” I ran a bit faster. Sounds of a car speeding up, slowing down, and a horn honking ensued. And then, straight out of a slasher film, I hear her loud and clear, “He’s coming! RUN! I MEAN IT!!“
Oh yes, we ran. There is no shame here. I put it in gear and ran as fast as my legs could take me, wondering how in the world I would ever outrun a deer, and hoping for a fork in the road that would give us at least a fighting chance of ditching this crazy thing.
We ran until we no longer heard the car, or the clack of hooves on pavement, and then we ran some more. We chose a tiny off-road trail, and even so, Anders kept turning around, convinced that this deer had an ability to track us via our scent.
For the following two hours, in between huge stretches of silence and then the occasional, “That was sooo weird” comment, we contemplated reasons for this interaction. End of Days was my first offering. Animals, sensing The End, were losing their minds, clear as day. Anders suggested that perhaps this was Roxy’s mother, as our dog has often been likened to a deer because she hops really high when she runs. I threw down the idea that this deer just wanted to be friends with Roxy, but didn’t know how to show true affection through dialog. Anders of course turned things sexual (men!) and suggested that perhaps Roxy and this deer had a thing going on, and she was one of those “stalker types”. We ended up thinking that this wasn’t a well deer, and perhaps in her declining state she thought that Roxy was her baby, and was instinctively trying to herd her.
On a scale of one to 10, this pegged 10 as a lifetime “strange thing.” But it was simply the first of many. More tomorrow.
We cleaned out Hans’ room last week. Installed a proper bed with storage underneath, so his room has lost the “college dorm mattress on the floor” feeling. Because we live in a house with jewel box-sized rooms, streamlining is in order. The IKEA credenza that held all manner of flotsam and jetsam collected from 12 years of living as a young boy in America was dutifully emptied into bags, dumped on the dining room table, and gone through item by item.
Things that were So Important in days gone by have lost their pull. Bouncy balls from the dentist. Matchbox cars from almost every visit to Grandma’s house. Polished stones. Bits of crystal. Teck Deck Dudes. Bottle caps. Strange little plastic things. And, unbelievably, the air soft gun pellets.
Do you have a young boy too? Do you know of these things? And the pull that they had every waking moment outdoors? Gripped by the zeal of a treasure hunter armed with a metal detector on a beach in Maui, Hans would scour every path, park, and patch of dirt for these little round beads. Some colors were everywhere, dropped out of the mouth of an air soft gun like crumbs from Gretel’s pocket. Green for example. But not the see-through green. Those were hard to find, I think. Blues hardly ever showed up. Same with white. My son collected them in his pants pocket and stored them in his room, first in a glass jar, then in a see-through plastic container with dividers so he could separate the colors. This took a lot of time when he was little. The separating bit.
I longed for the day when this fascination passed. When we could go for a walk without staring at the ground, advancing one s-l-o-w foot after another, hunched over like an arthritic octogenarian. Pass it did, into perhaps the Lego fascination or the Teck Deck Dude collecting. Everything passes into something else in life, and this past week I marked the growing up of my son, by liberating the tiny bb’s into my garbage can, and the glass jar back into my cupboard.
And for those wondering, yes, these are all my pictures. Taken from my handy dandy Cannon G11, mostly without any fiddling after the fact in those fancy yet as-yet unlearned programs like Photoshop. I fiddle as I shoot. That is why digital is so fantastic for me. I’m not completely sure how to manipulate all the aspects of F-stop and depth and speed and all that, but I have a bit of knowledge. And I try. If it sucks, I throw it out. If it is cool, I push it a bit more. (Full disclosure: I did uber tint one photo a while ago, but then I hope it was obvious that the boy and the sky wasn’t banana yellow naturally. Oh, and I did pick up some gorgeous pictures of handbags and rings made out of food that someone else took. I’m good, just not THAT good).
My soulful, piercing, disconsolate, smirking boy, Hans.
Having just witnessed the ball of fury that is this performance from Katie Makkai (yes, please click this link and watch the video first), I find myself wanting to give her a giant hug. And not for the reason you might think.
Katie gets words like I get words. She can, of course, also memorize a whole hell of a lot of them in a row, and deliver those words with such bravery and sincerity and force (and levity) that I can only sit here and wonder.
But her performance, combined with the mosh pit sample sale I visited this morning in the lobby of a business here in Mill Valley, has compelled me to write today about the word “cute”.
What a horribly overused little word.
Women shopping, no matter if they are responding to shoes or baby clothes or dishes, will nine times out of 10, utter the word when describing what they see. Today I experienced a public bathroom that was being used as a dressing room for athletic wear, and right on cue, when a woman pulled on a top and turned to ask for feedback, the chorus would warble: “Oh, that’s so cute.”
You can hear it, can’t you?
I’d like to emphatically state that perhaps, just perhaps, a white cotton yoga top is not cute. In fact, to my mind, precious few things are cute. Baby animals might be the only true cute things in this world. The yoga top in question was well-fitting. I thought the design was unique, although it had a strange way of framing the woman’s boobs. Her girlfriend did mention that, but still deemed it “cute.”
“Really?” said the wearer, doubtful.
How can a sex-kitten high-heel shoe be cute at the same time an Ugg boot is? It can’t. A sexy shoe is hot, or makes a woman look like a vixen. It is fetching. Or bad, said in a way that takes three seconds for that word to leave your mouth. “Oh, girrl, that shoe is baaaad.” Which means, of course, that the shoe is very good.
What I’m getting at is sometimes one word just won’t do it. You need a good slew of them, to round out exactly how you feel. As Hans is struggling to use interesting verbs to describe his writing, I am cheering for unique adjectives to seep into his storytelling.
Category: things I wouldn’t believe if it hadn’t happened to me.
This is me swimming. I’m in my in-laws lovely lap pool, and I was trying to get a mile in before dinner. I was chugging along, in my own head, when BLAM, I’m met in the pool by 45 pounds of paddling dog. Her name is Dazey and she is a lab puppy. I knew that she could swim, of course. It’s always one of the things that is exciting for kids to do: attempt to get the puppy in the pool to see how well she can swim.
What I wasn’t prepared for was how well she could swim. In a straight line. With turns at the end.
Oh yes, Dazey wasn’t a splash in the pan. She was in it for the long haul. And so there we were, doing laps, side by side. I would get to the wall and do a flip turn, and Dazey would simply turn around at the wall and head for the other end. Her little paws and legs were pumping, and I’ve got to tell you, it’s easy to lose track of your lap count when you have a dog as a swim mate. She stayed with me, stride for stride.
I eventually got out.
She didn’t. So committed to swimming was she that we had to fish her out of the pool three times that night.