November 26, 2010

Black Friday Shopping.

I also went shopping this Thanksgiving weekend. Photo-shopping, that is. I used the following pictures. The bee and the woman, I clipped from magazines, and I had already worked the picture of the woman posted here quite a bit (can't seem to find the original). The photo of the roses I took in Monterey several years ago and I scanned the leaf. I think I might have another hobby.

November 13, 2010

She used to be a beautiful baby.

I bent down to plug my laptop into a socket which was inconveniently tucked under a piece of furniture. Instead of repositioning myself, I just tried it anyway, and soon felt my one leg sliding slowly away from the other. It was all in slow motion, and I had time to realize that if I let this continue, I could easily split down the middle. Too late to bring the leg back so I dropped my rear end to the floor. Far less painful than being split in two.
I looked up to see Athena in her usual position in the bedroom, sleeping most of her day away. 

I wondered that if I was in a really disastrous situation, would she come and save me, so I gave a plaintiff cry for help and I added a little whine for good measure.

She opened her eyes and raised her head; her paws one draped over the other most elegantly. I whined again, and in the bubble over her head I saw her think: "What in heaven's name are you doing on the floor? So unlike you". I think she blinked once or twice before she decided that it was impossible to continue holding her head up, placed it on her paws, and went back to her mid-morning snooze.

If I ever end up half-dead in a ditch, I think I can only expect a sympathetic little sniff from her, before seeing her tail jauntily disappear in the distance. So much for that.

Here she is wearing her rosebud baby collar and her favorite worried expression, which is totally fake. She never worries at all!

November 9, 2010

Rare birds.

Recently at a concert, where a soprano from New York sang the stars from the heavens, I glanced around as I settled in to listen. Across the aisle sat a baby-boomer Harley guy, with tattoo's up his arms and in his neck; his  chains catching the light. His face tilted upwards, his eyes closed, listening to the music in quiet appreciation. Although he seemed oddly out of place, it was good to see that we don't have to fit into society's little boxes.

The same week, at Petsmart, I approached a store associate, who was standing by an older woman with a mangy looking little dog on a lead.  He had sad eyes and was missing a large part of one of his ears. The elderly woman turned and gave me a snarling smile, telling me that it was not yet my turn because her dog was being trained as an assistance dog. Her expectations were clearly high. I looked at the dog and he looked up at me with tired eyes, and I am sure he was saying, "Do I remotely look like a dog that would be able to do that?". I wanted to pluck some of the woman's tail feathers, but thought better of it.

Later at the dog park (my life seems to revolve a lot around dogs), a man sat down next to me on the bench, while his wife settled on the armrest. He was hesitant to talk, but when he did he mentioned Mark Twain's autobiography, which is on the best-sellers list. I said, quite innocently, "So you are a NPR listener?", because that day it had been mentioned on the radio. I added that I liked listening to BBC news on that station. "I don't like that stupid English accent", he snapped. His wife scoured the sky for any birds flying by to study. Now there is no denying that my accent sounds British to some, but it's not. I realized that he wasn't happy at being found out that he listened to what he might consider a "liberal" station. I felt like feeding him a worm.

My accent sometimes incites reactions that are beyond my understanding. Like the woman in a car, who was in the assumption that I had locked my dog in a car with closed windows. She screamed that she had already called the humane society, so I walked up to her to explain, but she just bellowed, "Go back to Canada, and stay there". "Why would I want to go to Canada?", I asked but of course, I knew what it was about. My accent. I should have tied a knot in her beak. Silly bird.

You meet some rare birds sometimes and I am not talking about the biker at the concert, who didn't fly with the flock.

The birds in the drawing are a Sunday morning practice. I wanted to see if I could do something like this.

November 4, 2010

Bohdi Leaf Skeleton.

I have never watched much TV. There is a reason for this, I think. I grew up without television, not because I wasn't allowed to watch it, but it simply wasn't available. TV was only introduced in South Africa in 1976 and I might just have developed an early immunity to the TV-virus.
Of course, there was always a TV in the house later wherever I lived, and I did enjoy watching certain programs. I am after all not from another planet.
Then, about 10 years ago, I lived and worked in Barcelona for a while, and there too I had television but I had difficulty getting into the Catalan language and if you like reading then it's so simple to put on some music and settle into a book and forget about television altogether.
When I got back to Arizona, I remember I was making the bed while Sally Raphael was on and thinking that I didn't want this kind if thing in my home, and cancelling the cable and switching to DVDs. I had to forfeit PBS and some other things I was fond of watching, but it was either the one, or the other.
I am now staying in a home where there is television, and the first two weeks it was practically impossible for me to unglue my eyes from the screen. I just loved watching NatGeo, PBS and some cooking shows. How could I have lived without this for so long?
Week two, I discovered that TV-life consists of reruns and reruns and then some more and I went to the local library for some books and now the sullen screen sits in a corner sulking and feeling very unloved.

When shooting the skeleton leaf in the picture I was reminded of my time in Barcelona. I had bought some there in a florist shop, but they are easy to make. Just use sturdy leaves such as magnolia or maple, dry them in phone book for a few days so that they are nice and flat, and then place them in water. Clean the water daily to avoid decay, and soon you will find that you can carefully remove the remainder of the fleshy green part as it rots away with an old toothbrush and dry the skeleton.


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