Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fierce Enough for Tyra

Dog: our little hunter just caught a mouse!

did she eat it?

Dog: nope
well, she had it in her mouth
carried it to the bedroom
held it
held it
wait for it
dropped it
and it was there stunned and she was just watching

G: then what?

Dog: i put an empty strawberry thing over it
now it's outside in a little cage
while i decide what to do with it

G: let it go!
what would you possibly do with it?

Dog: should i throw it over a neighbor's fence?

G: no

Dog: i'm not going to fricassee it, bebe.

G: just let it run away
don't throw it!
it's been traumatized enough!

Dog: not throw
i just mean put it somewhere where it's more likely to end up in someone else's house, rather than our own

G: believe me, it isn't coming back

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Back in April I planted seeds: Two varieties of heirloom tomatoes, mini sweet peppers, and jalapeños. Given that I haven't grown anything from seeds since Mr. Stumpf's grade 3 class and internet research that suggested I was starting a few weeks late, I didn't know if the seeds would even sprout.

But they did.

I went away for a weekend a couple of weeks after I planted them. Before I left I moved the tray of peat pucks that housed the tiny green sprouts into a sunny window. At the airport I bought a Martha Stewart Living that advised I should ease the seedlings into direct sunlight, maybe for an hour or two a day to start. Oops. I half-expected to find them brown and withered when I got home, but they were fine.

I was really excited about these seedlings. I called them my "little dudes" and sometimes in the morning I asked them if they needed water. (And sometimes Ken answered on their behalf, in falsetto, "Yes, we do. But don't give the peppers too much; they have no self-control." Hee.) At one point I mentioned to a friend that I'd planted seeds, and he thought I meant figuratively. I laughed, but when I thought about it, the idea didn't seem so ridiculous. I've moved three times in the past year and lived with roommates - strangers, really - for six months. As a result I had a lot of pent-up nesting to do. I liked that planting seeds - literally - could be symbolic of putting down roots and growing into my life for a little while.

I'd planned to plant the sprouts outside when they were a few inches tall, then did some more research and found out I should wait until they were a little bigger. I kept them in their tray in the sunlight and as a few started to develop their first set of "true" tomato leaves, I planted them in small pots. The rest stayed in their incubating peat pucks on the sunny windowsill, growing.

This week it looked like more of the seedlings were ready to be planted, so on Wednesday morning I got up early and carried the tray of earnest young plants out to the backyard to move them into their new homes: Plastic flowerpots filled with fresh potting soil.

Then, on the way outside, I dropped the tray.

Most of the peat pucks fell out of the tray, and many of the tiny plants were decapitated, leaving them no leaves with which to photosynthesize. My careful labeling of the tray with stickers was ruined.

I surveyed the damage - dirt on the floor, of course, littered with tiny stalks no bigger than blades of grass but that seconds before had held the potential to become tomatoes and peppers and, more importantly, the potential to become proof that I could do this thing, that I could plant seeds and put down roots and cultivate whatever grew from them.

In that moment I felt overwhelmingly like I'd failed. As I picked up the pieces part of me wanted to just sweep everything out the door and start over some other time. Instead, I halfheartedly rescued a few survivors, probably about half the plants I'd started with, and moved them into the waiting flowerpots.

Yesterday afternoon I called my friend Lee to wish him Happy Birthday. I don't think he's ever been home when I've called on his birthday - I always sing to his voicemail. Despite about ten years of this tradition, I missed last year, and this year I was a day late. After I finished my enthusiastic, off-key serenade (to his voicemail, of course), I apologized for my general lack of communication in the past 18 or so months. "It was kind of a busy year," I explained. "I got divorced, moved, and changed jobs." I paused. "And I'm really happy now."

It turns out I planted a few other seeds along the way, some without even knowing it. And they're doing splendidly.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Rough Week

Monorail Memphis
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

This cat has had a rough week. On Wednesday night around 9 p.m. Ken (his real name! Yay!) commented that she was being really quiet considering how close we were to feeding time. I immediately suspected that she was being *too* quiet - in other words, that she wasn't actually in the apartment. Apparently when I had come back in from the backyard, she hadn't. We called her back with a few shakes of a can of treats, and she didn't seem any worse for the wear - and in fact, I suspect she might have eaten something somewhere because she was remarkably unpesky as 10 p.m. approached.

Then, on Friday morning, a cockroach (ugh, I know) ran across our hallway. It stopped beside a box, and Memphis, descendent of fierce feline predators, sauntered over to it, gingerly touched it with her paw, then walked away.

What a pussy.

Friday, May 09, 2008

How To Win My Heart

When I arrive home from work with a pint of New York Super Fudge Chunk and announce that it's dinner: Heat a mug of water in the microwave so that I can warm my spoon, facilitating ice cream consumption.

I will swoon.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Just A Reminder

You must do the things you think you cannot do.
- Eleanor Roosevelt