Saturday, December 1, 2012

We decorate our animals; We sew dresses and red trousers; Ben fixes computer; KD and the pigeon; Our office

He is called 'Toad'.
Taking up residence in Gramaw and Poppy's
Pleasant Valley MD basement,
which is a bit porous around the
stairs door up to the yard, the creature seems
to enjoy living with the Means.
He's been in residence for a long time.
Gramaw has taken to talking to him,
addressing him in their conversations
by the un-flourished title, 'Toad'.
As Gramaw is an accomplished seamstress
- has made mamy garments and accoutrements -
and as she feared that Toad would get accidentally
squashed by others less worried about where
they stepped in the semi-darkness,
she fashioned a pair of red trousers for Toad,
as an alarm.
Has worked so far.
No icky squishings,
and the trousers have made Toad a real stand-out.


Likewise out in Pleasant Valley, Maryland
Emmie Jean, a photographer and niece of ours 
has dolled up her doggie in a red dress
for Christmas.
We do that sort of thing in this family......

Here in the Midwest our decorating of not fully-seasonable animals
this year has us adding pipe-cleaners to our pet rat,
converting it to a reindeer.

As though a fairy had kissed the rein-rat, it came to life.
This morning it was found sitting on top of the stove
warming its hoof toes.

Notice it to the left of the whistling tea kettle
in this photo taken with our lower-crustacean cell cam.

We have the idea of taking the rein-rat into The Steaming Cup
as kind of a show and tell item.

Am teaching it to just lie still
and not move a whisker
so the other customers at The Cup
will think it is just a wood carving
and not head for the door.

Creamed potato with mollusk and cheese, and their tasty scone muffin on the side.
The rein-rat followed his orders and remained wooden but this soup was
a huge temptation!

Our late cat wanted a mane
after hearing an Earnest Hemingway Story.
We eventually accommodated her.

I said, "No Mona, only male lions have
manes." She said she didn't care, she still
really wanted one so we discussed it as any
family that loves its pet would and decided
to take some hair saved from when one of
the women had a seriously shortened trim
and get some wig netting and actually devise
a mane for Mona that would be kept on

by a rubber band under her chin, but I warned
her she would struggle and struggle to get it off,
the same way she does when we attach other
devices to her body like twisties to her tail
and clip-on earrings. Mona said she promised
not to try to get the mane off if we took time to
make one for her, so we said we would,
although we were secretly winking at each other

and trying not to laugh, but by golly, fashion it
we did and Mona hasn't taken it off yet in three days.
It's been a little hard on us when she charges
us by surprise and I think her voice has dropped
an octave; she practices roars and postures in
front of the hall mirror. The hair of the mane could be
a little shorter. It drags on the floor when she
walks but she won't let us touch it, and she means it.

She still eats her kibbles but much prefers
insect prey, only supplementing her diet with
the dry cat food, but she is wearying of hunting
and somehow found out that maned lions get to hang out
and sleep a lot while their mates do the hunting,
so tonight she informed us she needs a male cat
partner to provide that mundane service for her.

(From 2007 posting:

I inadvertently picked up the old trousers
and used them as a dust rag on
the office folding table yesterday.

Those red trousers were made for Mona
by mother Denise, pictured below.

On her lap is a dress bought for Erin 
for her Waukesha South High School senior
concert solo performance with the school symphony,
when Erin played with great poise and excellence
 on her currently dormant clarinet.......

Erin brought that dress home at Thanksgiving
 for Mom to alter, shorten a bit if she kindly would.  
It still fits her nicely
and has been treated well
 all these eight years.

'Waste not - want not' is the credo of these two Dix women.

Note:  Those who know Dee will recognize her favorite sweatshirt.

Erin.  Her hair is a little shorter now.

She has a colleague and friend at Lawrence
name of Ben.
When they were here over Thanksgiving
Ben addressed a minor problem with our
computer which is as old as Erin's dress.

There is a small round battery that is in what Ben,
a computer whiz and tech professional at Lawrence,

After this long a time, the computer was taking
a long time to come on after being switched off for the night.
So Ben and Erin walked down to Walgreen's,
found the battery which is I guess  for a hearing aid
and quick as a lick the machine was functioning 
well again.  Thanks, Ben!  It helps to know somebody.


KD lurks, peaking over a window sill,
this morning, trying not to be seen by a birdseed-eating pigeon.  It is
probably her feathered friend who likes the ledge above our left window.
It has flown down to grab a seed or two before KD shows up.

KD knows enough to keep her head down until the moment
of lunging at the glass, when, according to their script,
the pigeon flies away, to try again later.

In this manner, KD and the pigeon while away many happy hours, daily. 


This is the raccoon news home base,
where certain things hold forth.
The Singer sewing machine desk;
the wheel chair a great therapist got us out of;
an illuminated painting of St Paul by Rembrandt,
being just a print but well-framed; tacked to the
lower frame a poem by us annotated, illustrated
 on a postcard from author Norb Blei of Ellison Bay WI
a porch rocker from the  Maryland Means collection;
looped over it is a Mexican bandolier,
which was a gift from the late David James
(we are no longer robbing banks - it now holds a holstered
  safe gourd rattle we made);
a stained glass window from a salvaging done in the 60's;
Festoon The Stuffed Fox, who surveys Main Street below, 
also lit; a battered but usable vise from our weathervane
making days; it holds a canoe paddle that logged
many whitewater excursions where some craft were wrecked,
 now painted with the Big Dipper in honor of our Alaskan daughter;
attached to the paddle near the top is a Japanese fishing net float;
and peeking from the left edge is a dress form with
lots of splattered paint speckles from our
T-Shirt painting enterprise.  Now we put a drop cloth down
to protect the Odd Fellows carpeting.

Surrounded by such things we can think.


Mr. Heaven

Excerpt from Revelation 11:15-19
UCC Daily Devotional 11-27-12
"Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven."

Reflection by Donna Schaper

Everybody knows Washington Square Park in New York City is not heaven, just a hint thereof. There is a man in Washington Square Park who plays the trumpet mornings between about 8 and 9.  He has less competition from the sirens at that time of day and a more meditative clientele.  By evening, half the park is drunk, another third is chemically enhanced, and the sober people are rushing through the park to get home.  The NYU students are throwing Frisbees, with less than perfect aim.  Often the Frisbees hit the old men who are garrisoned behind their walkers.  The old ladies have all been out in the morning, aware that the park is no place for someone with calcium insecurity in their bones.

I have a feeling the morning trumpet player works for the angels, that he is on retainer.  He takes his horn into long slow notes in a way that makes you think you don't really have to get to work.  He doesn't finish a piece until he is ready to finish it, and sometimes you're not sure it is over at all.  Some of his notes hang so long in the air that you want to get a net and put it under them and catch them.  The cops like him.  The pigeons like him.  The little dogs in the little dog park yap too much to hear anything.  The tourists aren't out yet because at those prices for a hotel you should sleep as long as possible.  But if they were to get up early, or to look up from their guidebooks, they would find Mr. Heaven, already at work, blowing his horn.  Music does things to people that nothing else can.  Maybe heaven is like that too.

Maybe heaven also restores what is lost.  Surely you know the joke, "What happens if you play a country music song backwards? Your dog comes back, your wife comes back, and the bank forgives your mortgage."  Isn't that what we say about heaven, that a better thing has come, that debts are forgiven, that we meet those we have loved and lost there?

You have a feeling the trumpet player goes to a regular job after his morning measure.  There is another man who wheels a piano in around 3 p.m. and starts to get people ready for the evening heaven. I know nothing about heaven and may never know anything about heaven.  But I know there's music.  I know the trumpet's sound.