Thursday, March 31, 2016

Colors of the Day

"If wishes were horses and beggars could ride, I'd be over the sea with you at my side.
But if 'ifs' and 'ands' were pots and pans, there'd be no work for a traveller."

I don't know about you, but the time change threw me for a loop. I've had an easier time flying to Paris or London and adjusting to "springing ahead" six hours than I did this spring losing one measly hour.

For a week at least I wound up sleeping until the old time (about 7 am), except it was an hour later. So in true Groundhog Day fashion, I essentially lost an hour every day. I still went to bed at the same time. I do like the extra daylight in the evenings, but it's still dark at bedtime, and dark is dark.

I wish we'd just stay with Daylight Saving Time year round. Time changes are so disorienting. I know that in the fall when we set the clocks back, I want to put my pajamas on as soon as it gets dark. And 6 pm is a little early to end the day. As long as it's light outside, I still get things done. As soon as it's dark, I'm toast.

Going away this past weekend, as much fun as it was, didn't help to reset my internal clock. For some reason I sleep more on trips. My doctor once theorized that it was because when I'm on vacation I'm usually out of doors more, hiking or sightseeing or in this case walking around Grapevine, Texas. The idea has merit but I also think it might have something to do with soft hotel beds, all that white linen, and setting the thermostat lower than we do at home.

So I also slept later at the Hampton Inn in Trophy Club than I do at home - which didn't stop me from dozing on the ride home.

The weekend was a sort of crime of opportunity. My stepdaughter Laurie bought her husband a NASCAR experience but accidentally booked it at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Neil suggested we make a weekend of it and visit my daughter and grandson. Laurie and Luke drove to Sugar Land on Thursday and on Friday we headed to Keller, stopping for lunch at the Dixie Cafe in Hearne.

I was smart and just had a bowl of chicken and rice soup. Neil had the meatloaf and his serving looked like a full lb. of meat. We met at Kandace's house when she got home after work and picking up the boy child. We had Tex-Mex for dinner. Neil and I split chicken fajitas for one and it was still a lot of food.

Kandace and Laurie wanted dessert anyway, so we stopped at Dairy Queen for Blizzards. We were going to play board games but Neil was in a food coma and kept falling asleep on the sofa. So we played with Ry instead, which was even more fun. Three and a half is a great age to be and to be with.

I also got to see the only dog I've ever owned, who was 16 years old in August and has lived with Kandace for 10 years now. Buffy is deaf now and I'm not sure how much she can see any more. Her sweet face is very gray now and while she isn't thin for a Min Pin, she seems frail. I have the sense that her bones are brittle. Kandace sees her every day but each time I see her the change is a shock.

After. And before.

I'm not really allowed to have an opinion here. I've thought at times in the past that some people keep their pets alive too long, past the point of having a truly good quality of life. I've never had to make that decision myself. The only cat I've ever had to choose to say goodbye to was so sick there was no doubt about the course. I've not had to make the judgment about the time being right.

Kandace believes that Buffy still is happy, not in any pain, enjoying life to some degree. She sleeps a lot but her appetite is good, she goes outside with the other pets and sniffs around in the yard. I can't tell if she likes being petted. She seemed startled each time I touched her and then indifferent. But I'm not her person, even though I once was, and it's not evident that she remembers me. Then again, it never really was, over all the years I visited her. She'd get as excited about Neil, who never lived with her, as about me.

You can tell I'm not a dog person. Dogs can tell too - although some don't give a care and will try to cozy up anyway. Those surprise noses in my crotch are especially annoying. (I'm talking about dog noses in the crotch of my jeans. What. were. you. thinking?)

On this trip I did have a chance to say goodbye to Rocky, the cat, who is being re-homed. Kandace's boyfriend is planning to move in soon and he is allergic. Rocky lived with me briefly, in late 2006, early 2007. He was always meant to be temporary, especially since he bullied our cat Puck, but Kandace decided to take him after she took Buffy.

I've always had a soft spot for Rocky. He's a real snuggler. He gets along really well with dogs. He vetted 30 boxers when Kandace was fostering and really bonded with her big dogs, Sabrina and Wilson (who crossed the bridge last year). I'm pretty sure he needs to be an only cat, but that may have changed in 10 years.

That's probably a moot issue, because he's been spoken for by a family with dogs only. If he passes the trial run, I think he will have a loving home and I'm happy that he will be an indoor cat again. I'm not sure how much Kandace will miss him. Being involved in rescue, she has been heartsick at the idea of having to re-home a pet at all, but she is a dog person and I think she will be fine without Rocky.

I would have taken him except for two things. Neil doesn't like Rocky, who once jumped on the mantel and broke a little dish that I'd given him. I could probably have overcome Neil's objections, but we do already have three cats, two of whom are afraid of their own shadows. After the trauma of introducing Biscotti to Zamboni when Biscotti was just a kitten, I don't forsee adopting another cat in Zamboni's lifetime. Especially not an adult cat with a history of being a cat bully.

On Saturday we took that stroll in Grapevine. Kandace's boyfriend met us for lunch. Neil and I stuck to lattes and resisted the gelato, but the kids tucked in to pizza and subs. Then we went back to the house for some Easter egg coloring. Everyone had fun with that.

And after that it was time to eat again. We went to one of my favorite places, Chef Point Cafe, a trendy upscale restaurant housed in an operating service station. The fact that it is Conoco-branded makes it that much cooler. (If you forgot, I worked for Conoco, later ConocoPhillips. I know, I usually try to forget that too.)

Back to the house for a board game and then I had to say goodbye to Ryland and remind him that I love him to the moon and back. On Sunday we got an early start on the trip home. We stopped for lunch at Buccees and I had literally nothing, I was so fooded out. Auto-correct just had a field day with fooded - but you know what I mean.

So it's back to the round robin of making beads, selling a few beads on Facebook and walking on the treadmill. I binged through season two of Happy Valley and now I'm watching the Swedish version of Wallander. In Swedish. With subtitles. One nice thing about that is that I'm not watching British actors. Happy Valley has Siobhan Finnerman (O'Brien) and Kevin Doyle (Molesley) from Downton Abbey, James Norton (Sidney Chambers) from Grantchester (as a murderous sex offender), Katherine Kelly (Lady Mae) from Mr. Selfridge, Amelia Bullmore (Gill Murray) from Scott and Bailey (as a crazed lunatic), off the top of my head. And that's pretty typical for any British crime drama.

Neil and I recently watched the BBC version of four of the Narnia stories, made in 1988-1990, and even that had a very young Samuel West from Mr. Selfridge (Frank Edwards) playing the young adult Prince Caspian in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Right now we are reading A Swiftly Tilting Planet, the third Of eight books in Madeleine L'Engle's Kairos series (that begins with A Wrinkle in Time). Once again, I read some or all of them as a child but I remember little besides the tesseract and Meg Murry saving Charles Wallace from IT by standing there and loving him. They are new to Neil and he's hanging in there pretty well (although he kept reading IT as "I.T." i.e, "Eye Tee").

Last note for now. I'm sad because I started coloring and I love it but I think I have to give it up because it's hurting my right hand, arm and neck so much. I started with Crayola pencils but they were too hard so I tried gel pens and that was much better.

Then I decided to try real artist pencils, premium Prismacolor oil pencils, but I could finish even one picture without putting myself in significant pain.

Of course I stocked up on three brands of gel pens and bought a craft caddy and pencil cups and I have four coloring books counting the one Chelsea gave me. There is something seductive about coloring, but then I've always been seduced by color. Swiping ink more or less inside the lines, curves, leaves, flowers, birds, circles, curlicues, peacock feathers, fantasy animals, grids, all of it, soothes something in me.

Maybe after a rest, if I can find a better ergonomic position and pace myself, the way I do with making beads, I'll be able to do it again.

Color me incautiously optimistic.

How many miles to Babylon?
- Threescore and ten.
Can I get there by candlelight?
- Yes, and back again.
How many miles to Babylon?
- Threescore and ten.

Down on the carpet, you shall kneel,
While the green grass grows at your feet.
Stand up straight, and choose the one you love -
And choose the one you love.

If wishes were horses and beggars could ride,
I'd be over the sea with you at my side.
But if "ifs" and "ands" were pots and pans
There'd be no work for a traveller.

Up all night, and running through the town -
Upstairs and downstairs, in my nightgown.
Peering through the windows,
And cryng through the locks,
"Where is my sweetheart, it's eight o'clock!"

Lavender green, lavender blue
If you love me, I'll love you.
I'd skip over ocean and I'd dance over sea,
All the birds in the world can't catch me!

Come out with me, and come out to play -
The moon, it shines as bright as day.
Oh, leave your supper, and leave your sleep -
Come down with your friends now,
Here in the street.

How many miles to Babylon?
- Threescore and ten.
Can I get there by candlelight?
- Yes, and back again.
How many miles to Babylon?
- Threescore and ten.

(Jennifer Hamel)

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