19 October 2010

Too much excitement for a Tuesday....

I was sitting in the living room, minding my own business, watching the episode of Castle that I recorded last night when I heard a major scrabbling in the kitchen.

"Damn," I thought. "Astra's brought in another live bird." Hoping against hope, I got up and went to look. Astra's live birds have a tendency to perch on the curtain rod at the sliding glass door, so that's the first place my eyes went.

Was there a bird there? Hell, no! Staring back at me, just as astonished to see me as I was to see him, was a full grown raccoon hanging from the curtain rod by his front paws.

"Holy shit," said I, having no other words to cover the situation. I've had cat doors for twenty years or so. I've had cats bring strange things in through them; I've had cats that didn't live at my house come through them. But I have never, ever had a wild animal come into my house through one, despite the fact that I've had coons and possums wander on my porch in the immediate neighborhood of the cat door.

Well, I've never had a wild animal come through under it's own power and alive, anyway....although the occasional take out dinner of bunny tartare has come through the door, escorted by the chef.

I stopped to pause the recording (I have NO idea why, but it seemed important at the time), scooped up the cordless phone, and hustled my butt out to the garage and closed the door.

I then proceeded to call 911, and they dispatched a couple of Indy's finest to tackle the raccoon.

I figured what the hey, opened the big garage door, and the tailgate of my car, and sat down to wait. I noticed that Astra and Hillary were both out there with me, for which I was grateful --- I've seen what a raccoon can do to a cat half its size.

The officers entered the house cautiously. We could see that the raccoon was no longer visibly in the kitchen, and with that I withdrew back to the garage....while listening to one cop say to the other "I REALLY don't want to have to shoot it in the house..." and the other replying "Yeah, but I don't want to get bit, either."

After about ten minutes, they came back out. Very anti-climactic, in both a good and bad way, I suppose: there are no bullet holes in my house, but neither did they find the raccoon.

Presumption is that, being a pretty bright critter, Mr. Coon betook himself back out the same way he came in, having discovered that what he'd thought might be an interesting habitat of Free Dinner was infested with those pesky humans.

Did my own pass through the house (and closed the cat door, into the bargain). 'Pears they're right....but on caution's side, I closed the door to the quilt room. Having hunted cats in there, I know it's possible for a ccon to hide in there behind piles of fabric and never be seen by the cops.....so on the offest chance that he did go that way, at least he's confined. And since I know the cats AREN'T in there, if I hear any scrabbling coming from that room, we'll be calling Northwest District IMPD again.....

I'll also probably close my bedroom door tonight. But the cats have explored the house as carefully as the cops did, and I've not seen a single bit of freaking, yowling or growling, so I think he left.

Still, I've got WAY too much adrenaline coursing thru the veins for a half hour to bedtime.....

Oy! :)

28 February 2010

Foo fighters 101

Everyone has some craziness in his head. This is foo.

There is craziness that is created any time two humans, with their foo, interact. This, too, is foo.

There is craziness that is created any time a human being interacts with the rest of the world. This, again, is foo.

Foo exists. Foo must be dealt with. While the goal, always, is to live in the least foo possible, foo will never be eradicated.

But do not lose hope, grasshopper. There are certain principles that can assist us in our task as foo fighters. The first and most important is this:


Like any stray animal, if you feed the foo it will follow you home. Let me say it again, for this is the crucial central principle:


Foo fed is foo that will grow. Do not under any circumstances nourish foo.

And the second principle is related:


If the foo you are dealing with at the moment is owned by a particular person, do not attempt to fight the foo by appealing to that person's rational being or sense of logic. When in the grasp of foo, none of us has full access to rationality; we may not have any access to rationality.

Accept that they are currently possessed by foo. Seek solutions that do not require their assistance.

These two principles will do much to reduce the foo in your life, and the less foo there is, the easier it is to cope with the foo that remains.

16 February 2010

If you don't know your history, you don't know your present....

I know people who are of the "If you can't speak English, you shouldn't be allowed in this country" camp. People whose parents I grew up with.

Whose grandparents I knew; they were my parents' age, our neighbors.

And *their* parents I also knew: well enough to say hi to. Not much else. Not because I wasn't friendly; not because they weren't.

But because "hi" was about as far as we could go together in the same language.

I know people who are of the "If you can't speak English, you shouldn't be allowed in this country" camp. People who don't know their own family history as well as I know their family history.

How can you say "you should be deported if you don't speak English" when your own great-grandmother came to this country as a new bride, not yet 21 years old....raised a family, watched her grandchildren grow, lived well into her eighties.

And in those sixty-some years, never mastered more than maybe two dozen words of English.

Do these people REALLY mean their great-grandparents should have been deported? That they themselves should not have been born Americans?

Of course not.

They're just too ignorant to understand just how recently "they" was really "us." And ignorance is NOT bliss; ignorance is the road to destruction.

History marches on; the pouting ignorant will not stop it. They can only inflict pain, most of all on themselves.

20 January 2010


For any passionate reader, there are fiction writers who stand out for a variety of reasons. (Non-fiction writers also stand out, of course, but often for different reasons....)

Writers whose technique you admire; writers whose characters you identify with; writers whose books you simply enjoy.

Then there is a shorter list of writers, much shorter: those whose work has had a profound effect on you. Whether their work has moved you deeply, or taught you something, or been associated with a particular time of your life; whether it has been there for you when times were bad or whether it has made you laugh hysterically when there wasn't much good around you, these works and their writers are etched more deeply on your soul than most of what you read.

Some of those writers---Louisa May Alcott, for example, or Laura Ingalls Wilder---have lived and died before you were born, or at least old enough to read. Some of them may have overlapped your life, but died before you discovered them: C. S. Lewis comes to mind.

And then there are the ones whose work you were well aware was entrenched into your being while they were still actively writing; writers whose death leaves you with a very real sense of personal loss. Asimov. Heinlein.

And this week, for me, Robert B. Parker. The world is just a bit dimmer place without him at his desk in Boston. He brought us a few series characters: Spenser with Susan Silverman and Hawk, Jesse Stone, and Sunny Randall spoke to us in a contemporary setting; Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch from a century back or so. There were other characters that had no series.

But his people all had something in common: their view of the world, and how it works, and what a person owes themselves. And I appreciated that view and learned from it.

I will miss you, Robert. May your soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

05 January 2010

Reviewing Stuff I've Learned Last Year......

I don't function in chaos.

By that I don't mean that I need everything perfectly tidy and orderly and regimented; I don't have OCD, and yes, there's such a thing as TOO orderly that can make me twitchy as heck.

But I need things and processes and routines and plans to be reasonably orderly and predictable....even if the "predictable" part is "we're going to do this, that, and free-float on whether to do the other thing."

And it's not a judgment issue: some folks appear to thrive in chaos. They do wonderfully well in an environment where everyone does whatever they want to, working at cross-purposes, ignoring each other, no communication, as if each other isn't even there.

More power to 'em. But I've learned that I don't. And I don't mean "don't function well"; I mean "don't function" period.

It depends, of course, on how chaotic the situation is. I can slowly cease to function, or I can freeze almost immediately, if it's chaotic enough.

And it's not the appearance of chaos that I react to, as near as I can tell. I've been in situations that appear to be utterly chaotic, but a few moments watching the people will tell you that you're seeing an orderly but intense multi-tasking organism. I've even been a part of some of those---try backstage at any functioning theatre.

It's a combination of non-predictability and lack of communication I react to. The "nobody has a clue what's going on, what they're doing, or what anyone else is doing, and they don't give a damn that they have no clue, or see why you'd want one" syndrome.

It doesn't matter WHY I don't function in it. What matters is knowing that I don't. It's not good, it's not bad, it just is. And so I learn how to avoid it as much as possible, and how to extract myself gently when I happen to find myself in it.

It's a good lesson to learn. And I'm happy with it.

24 November 2009

Thanksgiving: Sisters

There are so many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but the one that's on my heart today is sisters.

I'm not speaking of the ones that came from your folks being brave enough to do that reproduction thing more than once: surely wonderful, but I've not been blessed with any of those, so it's outside my zone of experience.

But for the sisters that we find along the way: the ones whose hearts and minds and spirits resonate with our own. The ones we share the triumphs and the failures and the truly horrendous jokes with; the ones that won't be able to bail us out, because they'll be right there with us.

For all of these I am truly thankful: for my sister in Florida who knows the deep dark schooldays secrets; for my sisters in Illinois who have been there for me in good days and bad; for my sisters in Texas who feed my spirit, and don't know each other, and should; for my sister in Missouri who moves my heart; for my sister in Washington who challenges my mind.

For my sisters in Indianapolis at St. Gabriel's and elsewhere. And for other sisters I've not mentioned, and sisters I have not met yet:

For all these, Lord, I am truly thankful.

03 October 2009

Mister Fry Redux

OK, now I've seen the whole show.


I expected to be amused; I expected to be educated; I expected to be made to think. I expected to hear anecdotes of teacher experiences, stories of students, tales of the culture shock of a kid from Indianapolis private schools finding himself as a teacher in notoriously tough South Central Los Angeles, and the insights that came to him as result of that experience.

And I did; it was all there.

What I didn't expect was for Jack's stories of his experience to move me to tears. For the sad events to tear my heart; the accomplishments to give me joy.

Yes, I understand that Jack's a great teacher, a special teacher. Anyone who can not only understand the preciousness of these students, but share it with complete strangers in such a way as to make them feel what he feels cannot help but be, for it is those same skills that he uses to teach us about these kids. And to teach us to care about these kids.

If you're in Indy, you've got this weekend and two after to catch this show. If you're not, it's headed to an Off-Broadway run in November and December. "Must see" is thrown around way too casually these days, but that's what this is: a show that will not only entertain you, but feed your soul.

Way to go, Jack.