Monday, April 25, 2016

Happy Birthday and Heartbreak

Yesterday was Jingle's 12th birthday which means nearly 12 years of living with us.  She is set in her ways and not a very social cat at all.  She likes things on her terms and only cuddles when she wants to.
So I know without a doubt that she was none too happy yesterday to have an intruder in the house.
I found this sweet baby in our stairwell yesterday.  Our neighbor said it was for the people downstairs and when I asked, the grandmother said it was hers and took her inside.
But when I got home in the afternoon from picking my son up from school, I found her in the street. So once again, I knock on the door downstairs and this time talked to a young man of the house and his mother and they said it is not their cat.
So she came to stay with us for the night.
And made herself right at home.
She even took over my husband's chair.
And is the sweetest lap kitty you could ever meet.
We managed to keep her and Jingles apart.  Jingles knew she was there but I didn't let them meet as I was afraid of what she would do.  The hissing and growling was at a minimum as long as they didn't come in contact.  My husband said he had seen her in the street over the weekend so there's no telling what she's been through.  And the weather is getting so hot now.  Poor thing slept a lot, I'm sure recuperating from her ordeal.
I'm heartbroken that I couldn't keep her.  I had a couple of animal rescue organizations post to Instagram last night but we were unable to find her a foster home.  I surrendered her to PAWS this morning and have a headache from crying.
Crazy since I only knew her for 27 hours.

I don't understand why people are so hateful.  It is common in this country for people to get a cute little kitten and by the time it is 1 or 1-1/2 years old, they throw it into the street.  Why do they get them in the first place?  Do they not consider how scary and dangerous it is out there after having lived indoors all their lives?
Now the streets are overrun with feral cats who are currently having litters right and left.  There are so many kittens who wind up being abandoned, abused and neglected when the mother disappears or because heartless individuals do horrible things like place them in a bag and throw them in or near a dumpster.  I will never understand such behavior.  
I feel like I helped her, and yet failed her at the same time.
What will life be like at the shelter?
And what if she never finds love and her forever home?


Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Week at the Garden

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
On Wednesday, I helped out with a field trip at The Secret Garden Project when a group of 5th graders came to celebrate Earth Week.
We taught them about composting and had them dig under leaves for the compost rich soil for planting.  They then turned a sandy patch, raked in the nutrient rich soil and planted some night-blooming jasmine.  After all the garden work, I normally read them a book about leaving a zero footprint, but since they were older school children, I had one of the students read the book aloud to her classmates.
A recent addition to the garden is the Wall of Kindness.
Any sort of item can be left at the giving tree for anyone in the community to take.  I'm always looking for ways to pass along some of the things we no longer use, so look forward to leaving them here in the hopes that someone will take what they need.
The garden has really grown and is green and lush now.
But our temps have reached the low 90s this past week and it is only going to get hotter from here on out which means the garden will be slowing down over the next month.
When that happens, the murals will still provide some color to the garden.
As will our crochet covered trees.

We can begin by doing small things at the local level, like planting community gardens or looking out for our neighbors.  That is how change takes place in living systems, not from above but from within, from many local actions occurring simultaneously.
(Grace Lee Boggs)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Price of So-Called Progress

I don't care two hoots about civilization.  I want to wander in the wild.
Jane Goodall
One definition of progress is "a gradual betterment", but sadly, this does not seem to be the case when it comes to construction.
Last year, I was disappointed that one of the walking paths near us had been redesigned -- the real grass was gone and fake turf put in its place.  Bright stripes were painted on the path which have now been faded by the sun.
The turf could not withstand the heat.  It was such an eyesore and a hazard that it was just finally completely removed and disposed of.  And now, to make matters worse, construction has begun on a road project in this same area to supposedly relieve traffic congestion.  A project that is going to take at least a couple of years to complete.
Last Friday when my husband and I went out for a morning walk, I was shocked to find that only three trees around a bus stop have been left standing along the walking path.  Trees that helped to block noise and air pollution from the main road, provided shelter for birds and also improved the scenery while walking have all been cut down.
Above is what it used to look like.
And now this is the barren view.
When I walked a couple of days ago, I was further shocked and disappointed to find that palm trees have been uprooted and tossed to the side.
More victims of progress.
From what I can tell by the placement of these black and yellow barriers, the "new and improved" roadway is going to encroach on the area surrounding the walking path.
I try to have a positive outlook and focus on the good but when things like this happen, I really just question man's perspective on progress. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016


Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometime in December, we bought tomato seedlings.
Once planted, they grew quickly and blossomed.
I posted the above picture to Instagram on January 2nd.
Since then, the transformation has been slow.
I had begun to wonder if anything would really happen at all.
But then, by March 9th, there were tiny green tomatoes.
A month later and the final stage of ripening had begun.
And since Thursday, we've been enjoying our own little bunch of homegrown tomatoes.
For lunch today I wanted something quick and easy so boiled some whole wheat macaroni with spinach and chickpeas in vegetable broth and seasonings. ( I took this picture while it was cooking so the steam gave it a hazy look.)  Stirred in some of our fresh tomatoes right at the end, drizzled with olive oil and squeezed in the juice of one lemon.
Then ate it with a spoon. 

Have a blessed day.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Wander Society

While in Dubai, I picked up this wonderful little book entitled "The Wander Society". 
Right up my alley as you know how much I love to wander.
To walk/explore/amble in an unplanned or aimless way with a complete openness to the unknown.
This morning I wandered our neighborhood, going up and down streets I hadn't been on in a while.
It always makes me happy to find such pretty spots along the way.
In the book, one of the philosophies of wandering reads;
"To wander is to go against the evolution of society.
Society wants you to speed up, to produce, to seek material wealth.  In a system that requires never-ending growth (at the cost of limited natural resources), to slow down seems anti-progress in nature.  Who are you if you are not trying to "get somewhere"?  Who are you if you are not actively working toward something?  As a wanderer, you're not subject to the narrative forced on you by society.  You do not fall prey to trends that have nothing to do with your talents and desires.  You do not strive to conform, but instead follow the life that springs from inside.  You walk your own path.  In this sense, you're truly free."
That passage perfectly describes where I am at in my life right now.  A strong need for slowing down, quieting the noise of the world, and scaling back.
The last paragraph of the philosophy chapter states:
We need more rambling, daydreaming, thinking, perusing, being, looking, existing, allowing, ambling, opening, listening, because it teaches us what we are capable of.  The nomadic tendency of wandering allows us to take pause, to consider what is really necessary, what is important for living well.

In every moment of wandering, we can experience awakening.
Wishing you a blessed day!
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