One Year Later…

May 30, 2020 marks the day I returned home. It’s very warm today (87°) so I’ve got my mini fan on here in my room. I’m enjoying a Gin & Tonic à la Chez Rock Vixen (Recipe below) and watching Dean and Nala (Nala’s World: One Man, His Rescue Cat, and a Bike Ride around the Globe) cycle around the Danube.

Reflecting on this past year, I am torn between being thankful for the first stimulus check (It enabled me to rent that POD; otherwise I might never have made it back home…) and despising the evil that’s permeating this planet like a smallpox-laden blanket.

despise
v. to look down on with disrespect or aversion; to regard as negligible, worthless,
or distasteful

Fortunately, both Tim and I are of like mind and are pretty much saying “Fuck Them and Fuck That” to their pathetic push to coerce us into getting jabbed. In addition to the transparency of their tactics, these jabs (like the flu vaccines) contain GENETICALLY MODIFIED DNA. That’s what the “R” in mRNA stands for: Recombinant DNA Technology. “Recombinant DNA technology is the joining together of DNA molecules from two different species.” Anyone who knows me very well knows I am averse to genetic engineering. If I don’t want to ingest GMO why on Earth would I allow someone to inject me with that shit? Then there’s the subject of blood clots, organ failures, DEATH… (Do ya feel lucky, punk?)

Yeah, Fuck Them and Fuck That!

Anyhoo…a big thank you to Uncle Sam for the $1200!

I had meant to post more photos of my Ensuite Bedroom but lagged. (I promise to do that REAL SOON.) In lieu of that, how ’bout some videos of the wildlife around here (of which both Ramses and I are enjoying immensely)?

There is a pair of robins who have been visiting the Concrete Jungle regularly scrounging for seeds jettisoned from the bird feeder. I’ve named the male “Rock” and the female “Robin”. (Get it? Rock & Robin.) Anyhoo…I caught Rock stealing some coco fiber from my planter. My assumption was that he was going to woo Robin with his choice of nesting material.

Apparently she approved of his choice because right after I took the video, they engaged in “avian coitus” on the fence.

A family of geese have have staked out the complex as their home base.

Yesterday they meandered by the front door, stopping at the apartment kitty-corner to the right of us for morsels of bread being handed-out by our neighbor. One gosling even took a piece from his hand! Needless to say, I grabbed our supply of corn (ORGANIC, of course) and headed-out the front door. They were happy to see me.

– and Ramses was fascinated by them. (What ARE those thimgs?)

Gin & Tonic à la Chez Rock Vixen

Bombay Sapphire Gin
Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic Water
Scrappy’s Lavender Bitters
Ice

Place two ice cubes in glass. Add jigger of Bombay Gin and enough tonic water to cover ice. Finish with 2-3 sploshes of Lavender Bitters. Prendre plaisir!

See ya later, alligator!

ℳ –

You Say It’s My Birthday? Well, Happy Birthday To Me!

I turmed TWO today. I got a special treat amd all the fresh catmip I wamted!

Im homor of my special day, SHE suggested I share some videos amd pictures we’ve takem.

At 7 momths I was all eyes amd ears. Amyway, that’s what SHE said. I thought I was quite the catch!

These were shot right before we moved to where we live mow. (That liquid stuff tasted yucky!)

Here’s me with that fluffy thimg SHE says is HER pillow! Purrsomally I thimk she puts it om the bed especially for me to play with! Amyway, that’s my story amd I’m stickimg to it.

Someome called “Samta” gave me a presemt for Christmas last year! (I dom’t kmow who that persom is, but it was sure mice of them.) Here I am opemimg the box, them tryimg to catch somethimg movimg aroumd imside that large blue pillow.

From time to time, SHE amd I watch TV together. My favorite program is ome that shows videos of cats amd kittems 24/7! How cool is that?

Here are a bumch of ramdom photos from the last eight momths. I thimk I’ve growm imto a hamdsome fellow, dom’t you?

I hope you’ve emjoyed these photos amd videos. (I’ll get HER to post these thimgs more timely im the future. SHE’s beem laggimg…) M-iao!

ℳ –

Life is Short, Buy the Plant

Er…Plants

In the past I’ve tried all types of gardening in the Concrete Jungle (herbs, vegetables, small flowering perennials) with limited success. Except for the very top of the fence the area gets partial sun at various times during the day, and this varies also with the seasonal changes. At the same time, the Jungle has been a suburban hideaway for lizards, newts, a Pacific Tree frog, opossums, birds, and the occasional pollinator.

I had five goals this year:

  1. Include a variety of plants that thrive in partial sun.
  2. Purchase three or four planters that can be hung at the top of the fence for any herbs or other small plants that will require more sun.
  3. Preserve the safety of this little wildlife refuge (dubbed “Wildlife Mötel“).
  4. Attract more pollinators.
  5. Limit color choices to white, pink, purple, and green.

Goal #4 required that whichever plants I purchase need to be ones that flower; and, yes, I found many that met the limitations of my Jungle. So I made a list and set-off to visit my two favorite nurseries here in Silicon Valley: Yamagami’s and Summerwinds, Cupertino (which just so happens to be a block from Yamagami’s). As you can see by the photos at top, I did pretty good. At least, Ramses approved! Anyway, a couple more visits and I had crossed-off most of the items on my list…and found some that were NOT on the list but that I just had to have. I also found two cool wrought-iron planters (courtesy of Not Too Shabby) and a hanging pocket planter on Amazon.

Ramses and I spent the last two days repotting and moving things around. We still need to tweak some things and I need to hang the second wrought-iron planter, but the Jungle is starting to look the way I envisioned it.

Moving counter-clockwise from the right-hand corner (which gets the most Summertime sun):

The white flowers on this Arabian Jasmine are insanely fragrant!

In the pocket-planter:

In the one wrought-iron planter I’ve hung and outfitted with a coco fiber liner:

The beautiful blue flowers of the Borage are edible (they taste like cucumber)!
The lemongrass is strictly for my use in the kitchen.
Note that each is planted in black 1-gallon grower’s pots.
I did this deliberately so I can move them around, if necessary.

I moved all three hellebores under this planter, along with a few succulents. Only one of my hellebores bloomed since I moved back, but look at how pretty the flowers are. A dusky plum.

Technically a bog plant, I’ll plant this dwarf papyrus accordingly and bring it indoors when it starts to get cold. (By the way, papyrus is NOT toxic to cats and may actually provide them with nutrients; however, I still don’t want Ramses mowing the poor thing down to a nub!)

The Jungle’s resident gargoyle stands guard over both the papyrus
AND my Alpine Strawberry plant.

I plan to hang the second wrought-iron planter above these two:

Daturas are TOXIC but Hummingbirds adore them!
I’ve always wanted one and consider myself lucky to have found a variety whose flowers are creamy-white tinged in pink.

My “Green Dragon” comes back larger every year…gorgeous!

On the step leading down from the living room:

The flowers of “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” (Brunfelsia) change from dark purple, to light purple, to white before fading – AND it will flower nearly year-round!
The Sweet Woodruff produces small, white flowers but I’m growing it ’cause it’s pretty, has fragrant leaves, and is used to make May Wine.

Finally, an assortment of plants and succulents which get late afternoon sun:

But before we go…in addition to hummingbirds (loving the fuchsia), we’re already seeing solitary bees and hoverflies – both great pollinators! PLUS, hoverflies are beneficial insects, as their larvae can gobble-up large swaths of aphids, thrips, and other plant-sucking pests. Ramses and I also wanted to let you know:

Today is World Bee Day

(Although EVERY day should be World Bee Day.)

Until next time, signing-out from the Concrete Jungle.

ℳ –

It wasn’t always like This.

The Internet (It was referred to as “The World Wide Web” back then.) used to contain some truly beautiful, engaging, creative endeavors. At least, that’s how it was when I first became interested in web design back in 1998. Like two sides of the human brain, there were informational sites and visually-artistic ones. Yin-Yang. That’s how it USED to be…sigh.

This was before 24-bit monitors, high-speed internet access, and the ability to create and upload videos using your phone. Yahoo! was the King of Search Engines and most everyone used either Internet Explorer or Netscape. Websites were created using HTML 3.2 and some kind of graphics software (such as Photoshop). Back then computer monitors displayed a maximum of 256 colors. (I stumbled upon this fact quite by accident while creating buttons for use on our company’s intranet. They looked fine in Photoshop but when viewed within the webpage the colors displayed completely differently! Needless to say, I re-created them using the 256-color palette…and lived to design another webpage.)

Although challenges can create constraints, for the creative mind these limitations just seemed to promote more creativity. Web Designers began pushing the envelope using Javascript, CGI, and Flash – with some pretty amazing results! But over time these types of websites became less and less common, and the internet evolved into the trite and mundance entity it is today with cookie-cutter interfaces and social media platforms. (When I performed a search on “the best artistic websites” the most relevant entries were ones owned by artists or galleries showing-off their portfolios. Not one could be called a piece of artwork in and of itself.)

Unlike Entropy8. Auriea Harvey’s website was not only visually stunning but encouraged the visitor to engage with her world. It was a labyrinth of rich graphics and interactive puzzle-pieces in which I lost myself for HOURS that first visit. I was both captivated AND inspired.

All screenshots remain the property of entropy8.com.

I wrote this Post because I was saddened to learn today that one of my favorite plant bloggers is planning to publish less posts in the future, preferring to use her Instagram account because she’s “getting more traffic/comments” there. I’m seeing this happen more often. People want their content SPOON-FED to them (heaven forbid they type more than a few words of comment…) and I started thinking about much the World Wide Web has changed – for the worse.

ℳ –

May 11, 2021

I hear them before the sky begins to lighten. “My Bird” (as I called it before identifying it as a robin) is always the first to announce the day. The songbird’s equivalent of a rooster, I suppose. Today he – because only male robins sing – is not close but his powerful song echoes through the neighborhood.

Yesterday, after researching songs of the backyard birds here in the Silicon Valley (TOTALLY forgetting it was World Bird Migration Day. What a happy sychronicity.), I can more distinctly tell the difference between bird calls. Before it was either “My Bird” (the robin) or “crow” or “woodpecker”. Everyone else sounded the same to me. Now I can hear their unique differences.

Downstairs Ramses is stationed at the back door being “Pancake Puss” (aka “Flat Cat”), intently watching one squirrel foraging for the cracked corn the birds have jettisoned from the feeder. Another squirrel sits on the fence watching the other, calculating its next move. Kitty TV. LIVE from dawn to dusk.

de-de-de-de-de (very fast)

or maybe it's

tweet-tweet-tweet-tweet-tweet
- with the last tweet somewhat warbled

I’ve made an identification!! It’s a Bewick’s Wren.

It’s going to be very warm today. California is already declaring a drought and an early fire season is upon us. We had very little rainfall this last winter. I am keeping a watchful eye on my water consumption. Where before I would have allowed the water run while rinsing dishes, I now turn it off and on, as needed.

Ramses just mosied up to our bedroom, whined at me twice, then disappeared down the stairs. Does he want me to follow him? Has Timmy fallen down the well? OK, I’ll just grab my coffee mug (the one with photos of PR-12) and go downstairs…OOPS, too late. He’s back and into the bathroom for a quick nosh.


New Moon today and I’m asking The Universe for help with my fearfulness. No, that’s not quite right. More a FEAR OF LOSS. I think it stems from losing Diego, losing myself, and almost losing those I love. Now that I have a new, crazy little fur-baby in my life and have relocated back home, I SHOULD feel at peace. But I’m not quite there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely happy and grateful for this life and all the wonderfulness it holds, but I cannot seems to slough off this heavy blanket of sorrow. Perhaps I feel like I haven’t “found” myself again, yet. I need a nudge in the right direction. Something to Kickstart My Heart, as it were.

Putting my dilemma and question to the cards, “How do I get over my deep – and seemingly irrational – fear of loss?”, I pulled the Prince of Scepters (Knight of Wands).

He is the quintessential Seeker Archetype, this knight. The Seeker Archetype is one of searching – searching for a place in the world, an identity, a sense of belonging, something better. The Prince of Scepters is ruled by Jupiter (the planet of expansion and luck) in Sagittarius – a strong placement as Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter – and is filled with a joy for life, creative energy, passion, and spontaneity. He is also heroic and idealistic.

In this instance it’s quite obvious that the energy of this card is badly needed right now. This hero knight would feel the fear, yet take action anyway.

Let go of fear, embrace change, and move toward joy.
– Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher

Intellectually I know all this already. Putting it into practice is a whole ‘nother ballgame. I’ve recently been shielding myself on a daily basis and this HAS helped keep negativity at bay – both within and without. I give thanks everyday for the bounty that is my life. But last night was a tough one. Nights seem to be the roughest. Perhaps I was overly tired? Perhaps I have too much time on my hands?

“I once heard an artist say that when a person has no problems, the mind automatically finds a way to invent some.” [1]

Is this what I’m doing? We humans are so COMPLICATED but just how much of this is contrived out of boredom, guilt, shame, anxiety, or other psychological issues? And what about emotional “triggers”, which are anything (memories, experiences, events, etc.) that sparks an intense emotional reaction, regardless of your current mood. Certain triggers I’ve learned to avoid but what about the ones that I actively seek out, like the spate of books about cats I’ve been reading? They are all heartwarming AND heart-breaking. They leave me wracked with emotion and tears. I am aware much of this turmoil stems from my guilt over Diego’s brain tumor and the part I played in keeping us too long in that toxic environment up North. But then I reach over and pet Ramses and tearfully whisper “I’m so happy you’re in my life.” The sweet, comical, little bozo that is Prince Ramses XII brings so much joy to this household. I cannot imagine him NOT being here; and if Diego had remained healthy would I have adopted Ramses, bringing two amazing felines back home with me? Or am I just afraid of losing everything I’ve just reclaimed? What would the Prince of Scepters do? Hell, what would Ramses do!?!

I think I have much work ahead of me…

ℳ –

[1] Manson, Mark (2016). The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. Harper Collins. p. 18.