Monthly Archives: May 2008

Protected: Because Santa will not be paying back my school loan

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Protected: But only because he wants the house to himself.

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I had no idea there was life outside my parents-in-laws’ neighborhood

We went down to Bardstown Road yesterday and met up with Aletha (“YEEEEOOOOOW! WELCOME TO LOUISVILLE!”). The houses were tiny and cute, cuddled up next to each other, some even kissing on the sides. The neighbors were an eclectic, friendly mix of mostly working class folks of all colors. Nobody batted an eye at our unconventional family; in fact, every third or fourth house housed a same-sex couple. It was just as colorful as any east- or south-side Austin neighborhood, except without the crime, apparently. The yards were tiny and sweet, decorated with lively arrangements of shrubbery, flowers and yard art.

It’s not a type of neighborhood where I’d want to settle down, but I could see renting there for a few years. It’s fun, but there’s not much nature. I need trees, a yard big enough for two gardens and a small chicken coop, and a little bit more distance between myself and an urban center. In Austin, that place does not exist for people in my income bracket, at least not where we’d still feel safe and supported. I’m hearing rumors that Louisville might have the neighborhood pot at the end of my family rainbow. We shall see.

Today, we go on a nature adventure, to inner-city parks and outlying nature preserves, in search of water. I don’t think I can live without access to some sort of beautiful water. Lets face it, Louisville: the Ohio just ain’t that pretty around here.

We’re here, and 70 degrees never felt so cold

We’re taking a slow day today. I’ll probably go to the gym for an hour or so, then we’ll go check out the new waterfront trail. Tonight we’re meeting with our friend Aletha, someone I met online who has turned out to be an extraordinarily friendly and cool pal. She has taken us under her wing while we’re exploring the city. We’re all very excited to meet each other.

When Baby Birds Kill

Yesterday was mine and Rukan’s six year wedding anniversary. It was a wonderful day spent with Rocky, our friends from Colorado, Chuckles and Tanya, and our friends from Chicago, k. and Jess – all of us on a patchwork of towels and sarongs at Barton Springs Pool, enjoying the warm sun and cold, refreshing spring water. Then on to Magnolia for dinner, because Baby needed steak, and I wanted veggies. Our friends bought, as an anniversary gift.


Today at work I startled a mama swallow from her nest, and a tiny pink fleshy blob fell to the deck. Then the blob moved its head and opened its beak. “Oh Jesus Christ,” I said. First the old cat, now a hatchling bird, what will it be tomorrow? It had big bulging un-opened eyes, a round blue belly, a wide swallow-beak, and see-through skin with tufts of white fluff sticking out here and there. I found a ladder and gently returned it to its nest. Three hours later, I startled the mama out of the nest again (look, I had to sweep the deck) and the damned thing fell out again. Maybe its siblings pushed it. Whatever the case, this is a huge multi-million-dollar condo on the lake. The distance from roof-level nest to cement deck floor had to be like falling 20 stories to the baby. I was amazed when it survived the first fall. By the time I re-fetched the ladder and returned, the baby had died.

“Well that just sucks,” I said. I examined it for a few minutes, the little scientist in me awed by the tiny bird details of it, then dropped it over the rail and onto the lawn. Back to the Earth.


Tomorrow Rukan, Rocky and I are leaving for Louisville, to try to get closer to a decision about where we’ll be settling our family down. My plan: to be exactly who I am, no holding back this time, and see how it feels, both around Ru’s family and out and about in the city. Hopefully, the decision either way will be very clear. Lets light a candle for that.

Love and hair dye,

Nature Schmature. Keep those damned dogs on leashes.

My concern for Bob, who is probably pushing 15 and starting to show it, grew tonight. There was another dog attack on an old cat earlier (the last one killed Willie, a sweet old kitty from my neighbor Maggie’s across the street). This time I witnessed it – I heard a dog yelp and a scuffle, I jumped up and looked over my balcony to see two dogs fighting in the brush on my patio. I flew down the stairs, about halfway down realizing what I had really seen – two dogs attacking a big ball of fluff. It’s amazing what the eyes won’t see, when they can’t take it. I was petrified that it might be my cat.

It wasn’t – it was a toothless old calico from next door, a stray that my neighbor feeds. The dogs were from a few houses down – bolters that are always getting out, a smallish one and a medium one. I was a wall of fury, standing over the cat and roaring “BACK OFF!” over and over, though it only took once. I birthed a child at home with no drugs. I know how to access the primal scream.

I have to hand it to me: I will take the helm when there’s a disaster, and get people moving. Neighbors came from all sides to see what was going on, and I started giving directions. Everyone scrambled to find a carrier or box. We moved her into a small dog crate and put a towel over her. The dogs’ owners did the right thing (as ordered by Rukan: “Scott, DO THE RIGHT THING”) and took the cat to the ER vet, and paid for the exam.

Rukan and I are a good team.

I called my neighbor who feeds the cat (she’s as close to his as anybody’s) and gave him Scott’s number, and asked him to keep me updated. Rocky and I said a prayer to the Goddess to keep her warm, healing arms wrapped around the old cat. I felt like I was going to throw up for the rest of the night.

If I’m going to believe in anything, I tend to believe in the cycles of nature. I suppose it’s another cycle of nature, that the old cats are just not fast enough to get away.

Yeah. If nature had its way, Rukan would be president, I’d be blind and Rocky . . . well, Mother Nature sure didn’t invent gore-tex heart patches.

All I know is that these days, every time my sweet, eccentric old Bob comes home, I scratch his head and relax a little.

My Wild Neighborhood

We saw a grey fox in our yard last night.

Of course I didn’t see her in this much detail, since the yard was only lit by streetlamp. We were down at the neighbors’ with our visiting pals Chuck and Tanya when somebody spotted her up the street at our place. I followed her, not knowing whether or not she might want to make a snack out of my old Bob. But as she disappeared down the hill toward the greenbelt, there were a plenty of fat cats hanging out she could have snagged. Maybe she was after the catfood, not the cats. There have been sightings of her in my neighborhood on and off for the past year or so.

It was a first for me. I’ve seen plenty of red foxes up in Maine, what looked like a kit fox (if that’s possible) in Austin on the shore of Lake Travis, and now my first grey fox. Sightings like this are such a magical thrill for me!