Saturday, December 23, 2006

Color studies

I have been busy reading and goofing off but I finally found enough time to download some pictures.

Every once in a while I catch the sky doing some amazingly beautiful things and I have the camera close at hand. I don't think I have ever seen the sky quite so beautiful even when it's on fire in the morning or in the fierce dying embers right before dusk.

Then there are times when I'm working and a flash of light catches my eye. Is it any wonder I keep my camera near my desk?

I may do a little research about this little tar ball and her appearance here in Colorado so far from where he landed and write an article about her. I haven't seen her for a few days and I hope the foxes haven't caught up with her or the other squirrels run her off. She is definitely a beauty.

I am no photographer but I enjoy catching a small sample of the views and happenings I see outside my windows when I'm chained to my desk. The view is never quite the same and always a beautiful surprise in color and texture and diversity.

That is all. Disperse.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Random notes

A new friend and I have bonded over a magazine, one we have both tried (unsuccessfully) to break into and be published by the eccentric editor. She has sent him reams of poetry and stories dripping with snot and tears (his favorite type) and still he rejects her. Her husband bought her all the back issues so she could study them (I got a year's subscription) and still the editor rejects her with chatty notes but still very strong and unequivocal Nos. I just get the form rejections with little notes scrawled across the bottom, but they are still rejections.

She set me a task--to figure out her middle name: three letters ends with M. My first guess turned out to be her daughter's middle name but then I didn't know her name only had three letters. After reading about Hebrew naming practices I think I finally have her. Her middle name is most like to start with the same letter as her first name: J or Y in Hebrew. That narrows the field considerably.

Looking for her name made me think about names in general and mine specifically. My name is the feminine of John which means, "God is gracious." The bearer of such a name is described as well-groomed, intelligent and as solid and dependable as the Rock of Gibraltar. The Johns I know certainly fit that description and I know from talking with Beanie that my mother (and the rest of the family) certainly see me that way (okay, not so well groomed since I fail to wear makeup every day and I prefer comfortable rather than fashionable clothes). Perceptions are always interesting.

We see someone smile at us and immediately think they're interested even though we don't know they were looking past us at their date or someone that makes their toes tingle or even someone who just looks funny. Maybe they are smiling at us the way a crocodile smiles before it weeps while gnawing a piece of our flesh. Maybe they smile because they are nervous or just because they don't want to let it slip that they are liars and cheats and vampires who need your energy and your cooperation to get close enough to siphon it off and leave you empty. You never know for sure. I remember a song from the 70s: "They smile in your face. All the time they want to take your place, the back stabbers." Funny how lyrics linger in the corridors of the mind waiting for a chance to pop out when you least expect it, like when you're rambling in your journal. I always said I didn't trust Jimmy Carter who took $600 off his taxes as a campaign expense for toothpaste. Anyone who uses $600 worth of toothpaste is a liar, obsessive or has worked for the Dept. of Defense and thinks the people really believe a screwdriver costs $35,000 dollars. I don't trust anyone who smiles too much; they make my skin crawl.

I can understand smiling when you're nervous; I do that. I don't understand smiling when there is nothing to smile about. I always watch how many teeth are showing; the more teeth there are, the less I trust the person, and if they show their gums, I run for the hills as though a wild fire is on my tail. Not going to happen.

I have learned to pay attention to my instincts. Every time I have ignored that sudden flush of adrenalin and prickling sweat I have ended up in trouble. I also have my irrational fears, too, but those are a subject for another post.

That is all. Disperse.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Black squirrel

A little black squirrel has appeared in the trees around my house. At first I caught only glimpses of him and then on Friday I actually got a picture of him. He was in the squirrel porn tree and I finally got his attention and he looked in my office window. I got two pictures but have not downloaded them from the camera. I have spent the weekend dealing with family, explaining medical reports on my Dad's condition to several members of my family and working. I now have two jobs and I have spent the better part of the weekend working for Random House Publishing and learning my new job. I have also put in several hours on my regular job to earn the bonus but also to earn a little more money. I'm tired of worrying about money.

I could understand it if I were extravagant and spent all my money shopping and buying frivolous things I don't need, but I don't. I even gave up cable. Since my television was in the shop for six weeks, giving up cable was a smart move and I didn't miss it very much. I download the programs I want to watch anyway and the landlady is nice enough to let me watch the odd program or mini series with her downstairs. We sit and chat and discuss the show and generally visit. It's one of the good things about living where I do--the wonderful people, my friends and neighbors.

Back to the money issue...

I don't eat out all the time. I seldom eat out, come to that. I don't buy expensive food, although I am tempted now and again to throw caution to the wind and buy shrimp or steak or scallops, lovely, sweet scallops. I don't buy a lot of clothes, as anyone who has seen me on a regular basis over a period of months or years will attest. I don't buy makeup and I don't have my hair done at a salon. I drive my car once or twice a week and I have even cut back on indulging in DVDs of movies I like and books I want to read and hold and own and caress and sleep with. I'm not extravagant. So why do I have so little money?

I work hard but the people at work keep taking pot shots at my page counts, squashing paragraphs that have nothing in common and are in different tenses together to make the report shorter and use fewer pages, all in the pursuit of making sure they get the most for their money and I get the least value for the work I do. I never find out about it until I receive my paycheck and find out it is many, MANY dollars short. By then it's too late. I have responsibilities and bills I have to pay in order to keep working and so...some part of the budget must suffer. The grocery budget always takes the hit. Good thing I don't drive the car more than two or three times a week or I'd have to cut that back as well.

So what does all this have to do with a black squirrel?

I watched the little black squirrel along in the squirrel porn tree, alone for a couple of minutes. Then the red squirrels descended, biting, scratching, kicking and knocking the little tar colored ball of fur around. The black squirrel fled out on a limb and launched into space, barely missing a branch and plunging to the cement sidewalk below. Other little red squirrels chased the black squirrel out of the tree where he fled, chasing it from tree to tree down the street. No wonder I don't see it very often. You'd think the little red furred squirrels would be more interested. The black squirrel is a female.

This new little female, according to my quick Google research this morning, could have come from a plague of black squirrels that started with ten who were brought from England or she could have migrated from Quebec and the surrounding regions, crossing the Great Lakes on ice floes in the midst of winter. She is an outcast from somewhere and has decided to make Colorado, specifically Old Colorado City, her home, but the neighborhood squirrels don't like her very much and they have decided not to get to know her. She is harried from tree to tree as she forages for food and grabs a quick nap, running for her life and safety, but always ending up back here in the trees surrounding my house. I wonder how her family feels about her being so far from them and so far from what they consider to be her home?

I have watched the red furred male squirrel and the little black squirrel together from a distance and today I watched them up close. They were tentative, sniffing and touching and curling up together, eyes darting about as they watched for the other red furred squirrels. It was almost as if they were afraid to be found out, afraid their few moments of closeness wouldn't last but willing to take the chance just to be together. I'm sure he worries about his family and what they will think of him and how much trouble he would cause if he were found out, but the red and black squirrel seemed suited to each other. The fit together and the red furred squirrel has had quite a bit of trouble from the female squirrels in the area. They kick and scratch and bite and chitter endlessly at him; the little black squirrel doesn't. she shares what food she has with him and they comfort each other. I wonder if I will see black and red furred squirrels in the spring?

I hope I do.