Friday, February 27, 2015

Red blue orange blue blue blue

At least on a Windows computer. Jeez! Must mess with it and make it less eyeball pain inducing.

What colors do mountain lions see? Anyone? I keep thinking about bulls and red. What if my orange sweater is like waving a HERE I AM EAT ME UP sign at a mountain lion? Hmm.

I'm ready to go to the dog park except I just drank a quart of water and have to wait for percolation. They have those portajohn things but ew. Also, taking my dog into one of those with me is hilariously awful. He kind of can't believe such things exist and is utterly horrified.

I imagine for someone (a dog) with smellovision, a portajohn is massive sensory overload and not in a good way. Actually I'm the same way, but sometimes You Gotta.

Probably just the dog park alone is massive sensory overload.

What do you think a mountain lion smells like? I imagine a wolf smells like super extra dog. But what would super extra cat smell like? I keep smelling my cat but I don't really smell anything. Do cats not have a smell?

My brother described a moose he met as smelling earthy. Earthy. Like earth? Like dirt? It's evocative, but non-specific. Carnivores surely smell much stronger and more alarming to our prey noses.

How anyone can smell anything but dog at the dog park is beyond me. Not in a bad way. Dogs! I love them! They love me! We are in love! I have to pet and talk to every single dog. They come visit me and get me to throw the ball for them and lean against my legs. I am dog people.

Sometimes people will stand apart from the group at the dog park and then I have to go over and talk to them, like some kind of weird compulsion to bring them into the fold and overcome their group reluctance. It's like social anxiety once removed.

I don't have social anxiety about the dog park because it is full of DOGS. And dog people, who are kind of like dogs in many ways! Also my dog gets to go with me, so. He's the anxious one there. He's the one who barks at me for petting all the other dogs. And isn't sure how to interact with them. He loves the people, though. Yay, people! he says. Meanwhile: Yay, dogs! I say.

The people look at me and my dog and say: "He's the boss, huh?" Well, he's bossy, I'll give you that. But I am the boss. I'm the one who can open the fridge, after all.

I love human instinct things that we do without conscious thought. Like if someone falls, we have to get them up up up right now now now. Like if someone is down, our brains flash alarms. Walking away from a group of people out in a field feels very very very very wrong also. Like, I should be with the people! Alarm, alarm! You are doing it wrong! But we need miles of exercise, too, so I have to do that first, because it's so hard to leave once we're with the people.

The most awesome thing so far was having a character from my Apollo book run past me when I was walking dog on leash away from the people, on this paved path at the edge of the woods on one side and the neck high blond dead grass/reeds on the other. Perfect mountain lion territory and full of game trails so I was flipping out. And carrying a bag of dog poo.

I heard something behind me on the trail and thought: throw the dog poo at the mountain lion! So I turned and it was the love interest guy from the Apollo book. I mean, it wasn't, obviously. But it WAS. In real life! So I'm sure I got all hearts for eyeballs and open mouth agog. I said hi, of course. And he said hi. And he kept on running and I'm sure I stared in astonishment and joy.

I am glad I did not fling the dog poo at the fictional love interest guy I imagined in a book and am totally in love with who then came to real life all dressed in royal blue, too, which just proves it, and scared me because I thought he was a mountain lion coming to eat me up.

I believe the percolation meter has run out! And it's raining. Should I wear my giant blue poncho purchased because my raincoat doesn't go over sweaters well? Or the red one I got because of visibility in survival situations and they were $2 each? Do mountain lions see red?

Friday, February 20, 2015


I know, how scary is that? We're having the craziest weather. The east is all one big glacier and it's ridiculously warm out here, to the point that every day I'm convinced we're going to burn up this summer. It was already stupidly hot last summer, far beyond normal.

The Great Lakes are icing over again. That blows my mind. The sheer area of them is just insane. When they freeze over, it cools things for much longer than if they don't. That is basic ice age stuff. But west of the Rockies, everyone is quietly freaking out over the lack of winter and having spring come two months early. 

When I lived here ten years ago, I had to wear sweaters into June. I wore shorts yesterday. It's been 60 degrees every day for a while. It's very alarming! And it feels all wrong, because there are no leaves on the trees yet. Bulbs go by warmth but trees go by length of day. All the bulbs are blooming or about to bloom but there are no leaves on anything except evergreens, camellias, rhododendrons, and magnolias. 

So I'm just going to say what I've been terrified will happen to L.A. since I lived there, since that day when Griffith Park caught on fire and burned toward where I was living. They evacuated up to within two blocks of our apartment building. All of us who lived there went up on our roof and watched the fire shooting straight up into the sky. 

There was no possible way to leave, because the main artery, Los Feliz Blvd., was closed off, which made for gridlock in every direction. I packed my car and got out the kitty carrier in case we had to go, but we didn't. Probably should have, given the state of my breathing ever since.

Our apartment building was built in the 20s. The 1920s. It was absolutely tinder dry and surrounded by bushes. The whole area was buildings right near each other and wooden fences and tinder dry bushes and things. It was abundantly clear to us on top of our building that if the fire moved into the houses right by the park, it would spread from house to house and we would be charcoal, or running away on foot as our building went up in flames.

There was one day when I worked at Warner Brothers that I saw smoke coming from the studio lot and called the studio fire number right away, speaking of tinder dry old buildings that would easily burn. Except it wasn't the lot, it was the hillside across the street, in Griffith Park. And then I could see flames, and fire trucks were all over it, but the fire spread up the mountain amazingly fast, just whipped up that slope. Nobody could do anything about it. I stood in my boss's office and watched the fire race up the mountain, and when he came back, he stood there and watched it with me. I emailed my neighbors to see if anyone was home, and went back and forth on email with Allyson all day about it. Fortunately it stopped before it went over the top and down the other side, where we lived. 

And that was before the fire that came right near us. 

L.A. has lots of brush fires. They're a thing. It's not like nobody knows about them or is prepared for them. But they can also get really out of control really fast when the wind blows and flaming pieces of things start flying through the air. And the gridlock problem is pretty constant.

So I worry a lot about all the awesome people I know in L.A., because I'm positive the whole basin is going to burn up one of these days, and not just burn up, but burn up with all the people stuck inside it because they can't get out. Like, the worst possible scenario you can imagine could very easily happen any day of the week. 

Things that make brush fires much worse: unusually high heat, those crazy winds, and lots of dead vegetation that you get when everything dies and dries out because of the unusually high heat. It also doesn't help when they don't get the usual amount of rain. Like this winter. 

Of course, the same could easily happen here, if the terrible heat happens this summer that I expect to happen. It really dries out here in the summers. We don't get rain for months at a time. And people burn crops. It's true. You see columns of smoke from the fields to the east where people have set fire to fields to burn them off. 

Not to mention the usual idiocy of fireworks and whatnot. 

But it's so much worse in the southwest. Infinitely worse. And the trappedness. That is just not good, you guys. So do me a favor. If the fires start burning, get out of town, if you can. Go to Catalina! Come stay here! You can have the spare room. Or the comfy red couch! Heck, you can have my room. Just don't burn up in a towering inferno. 

Ooh, maybe get into a pool! That's a good idea. Except for the smoke inhalation. Okay so get some scuba gear, including extra oxygen tanks, and get into a pool and stay there. Okay. It's a plan. Silverlake Reservoir! Get in it! Or, you know, the ocean. Brrr. 

So anyway. In the grand tradition of expressing anxieties so that then they don't happen, I have now saved Los Angeles from the devastating apocalyptic comprehensive fire/death/destruction that I can so clearly imagine happening. I mean I can see the news footage and all. It's a horizontal 9/11. So horrifying.

Do you know, I wrote a short story about something like this happening when I was in seventh grade. Gridlock terrified me from way back when we lived near Chicago, from fourth to sixth grades. We only got stuck in city traffic a couple of times but clearly it made an impression.

So anyway. Fire! Beware! It's not like you can keep jugs of water in the cupboard to prepare for it or anything, like for earthquakes. What are you supposed to do, have a fire extinguisher? See.

Can I just say how happy I am that I live in Oregon right now, and not for example in Maine, which is under something ridiculous like 90 inches of snow? It's nice to live somewhere where you're not in peril of freezing to death all the time, where the power constantly went out and there was snow up to your elbows and ice and shoveling and the garage door freezing shut and the regular doors freezing shut and having to shovel somewhere for the poor dog to pee. Goodness! Well done, me. At least until we all bake to death this summer. Ha ha! Ooh.

Tune in next week for another exciting episode of Defining Moments In The History Of My Crippling Anxiety. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Squirrel down

Yes, today I buried the squirrel. The squirrel is dead! I think it must have gotten into the moss killer that the landlord put on the roof Friday night, because Saturday morning it was down on the ground and twitching its last. 

The dog was upset about this and came and told me. I was sitting on the edge of the deck reading twitter or something and he wouldn't go run around in the yard and Do His Thing. He stayed beside me, fussing, until I looked around and figured out there was a dying squirrel five feet from me, around the tree. 

Dead things are common enough but I get a little panicky over the dying ones. It was clearly paralyzed from the shoulders down and just barely able to move its arms. Nothing I could do but reassure the dog, who found the whole thing very troubling and would not go out into the yard until I put him on his leash.

After it died, he went to visit it several times and looked concerned. So I showed him today when I buried it, so he'd know where it went. 

Anyway. The squirrel saga is over! I considered putting it in the trash but we had sort of a personal relationship. I mean, it lived in my yard and I saw it multiple times every day. 

When I lived in Seattle with two other people, our three dogs, and our five cats, we had two big jobs to get done every day: poop patrol and rat patrol, where we'd pick up the constant supply of dead rats. Nobody knew who was killing them since we had a dog door and a cat door. I think it might have been Steve's Doberman but who knows?

Anyway we threw them in the trash unceremoniously. But my usual way of dealing with dead things is to fling them into the woods. No woods here! I hadn't realized the implications until I had to have a squirrel funeral today. 

I found a giant terra cotta type pipe underground, only like a foot down. I wonder what that is? Sewer would be much further down, wouldn't it? And water comes from the front. Mysterious. I'll ask my neighbor. He's the boss of public works and will actually know.

So it's been a couple of weeks of brain reformatting around here. You know how you update your phone and then for a while what used to be second nature is now confusing and hard and frustrating and everything makes you crazy? It's like that. Except with my BRAIN.

I had to go off one medication, which caused serious withdrawal, and start a different one, and double a third one, and increase another one by a third. One of them was the thyroid medication, which completely whacks you out when it gets changed. So that was all kinds of fun!

It's kind of awesome in that the one I quit was doing bad things, apparently, so now (for example) my legs aren't swollen up, because that was gross and awful. But the overall gist of all the changes was: GET REALLY FRANTIC. Partly from the terrible withdrawal. It's been a tough couple of weeks for sure. Rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle! Aaaaaahhh!!! Jitterbugging and shakypants and flipping the heck out. 

I'm hoping the road to calm is ongoing. There's no reason to suppose that right now is the end of things getting better, come to think of it. It just happens to be right now right now.

I know it's calming down because I'm starting to catch up on sleep finally. For about a week and a half I spent all day and night in a condition like someone had just applied a formidable electrical charge to a sensitive area, with the heart racing and all that. Like big giant eyes and panic mode. It was no good at all. But now I'm sleeping in the mornings again, which is good but also bad because I wake up late, take those meds late, and am up super late again at night. Hmmph.

It'll get sorted out. I might have to (gasp) set an alarm again. No! Yes! Dun dun!

Also the housesitter next door comes home after working in a bar at like 2 a.m. with her giant engined car six feet from my pillow. It's a muscle car with a lovely huge engine and smooth loud purr that practically knocks things off shelves. Anyway, not conducive to early bedtimes, is what I'm saying. It's tuned super nice, a pleasure to hear, but still. Wakey wakey!

My keyboard is wigging out and it's dog walking time, so we're off. The nice weather has brought throngs of dogs out into the park. Dog throngs! But that seems to have died down now too. 

We get tomorrow off, which is nice but will also be confusing all week long. 

I've spent all weekend making awesome food and reading excellent books, so I'm pretty much purring myself, when not holding squirrel funerals. Planning to go right back to reading after our walk. One odd thing is that the meds have cured me of knitting. That's strange, right? I've barely knitted a stitch since I started taking them in December. 

I apologize to those in the east and north but it's 60 degrees and sunny right now. Come on over! You can squint at the sun and gaze at the grass astonished! In six months when it's 110 here, I'll come visit you. Spring is FAR too early this year--everyone is seriously worried. It's like two months early. The flowers are all up, but the trees have no interest in leaves yet. Because it's February! We are all going to die, aren't we? Humans, I mean. Dear oh dear. The squirrels will inherit the earth.