Hey, so here we are in 2017!
We're off to a running start. The last few days, I've been thinking about animal stories. As part of the world around us, they figure in as characters in their own right in a lot of stories -- Aesop's Fables, The Odyssey (check out this article about the monsters in the Odyssey!), and countless mythologies.
We have been anthropomorphizing animals for a long time - reflecting our humanity into their actions and reactions. It seems to be one of the ways that we relate to the world around us. Or, sometimes we take the Cartesian model and then we end up with factory farms...
*Spider warning* (I'll tell you when I'm done with spiders!)
I think one of my favorite animal stories is Charlotte's Web. I'm not sure how many times I read that story when I was little. And now I'm the person who generally lets the spiders be in the house, except the really ginormous ones who run *toward* me when I'm getting into the bath. Those ones get a shriek and get taken outside (as soon as I can find a robe). There's one that lives under our bottom step going downstairs. That's Jaq.
Because we live where we live in the middle of a bunch of trees, in the Pacific Northwest, we get a lot of spiders August through early October. In late August, sometimes our yard is coated in webs. You might not notice it so much in the afternoon, but in the morning when the dew is still out, the webbing really stands out eerily. And sometimes in the early evening when the sun hits just the right position, you can see all of the webs that are strung between tree and fence, or tree and tall piece of grass, etc. They build webs across door ways, on screens, and windows. And horrifyingly, the big Giant House Spiders (yes, there are pictures on the linked page). On the upside, these are the spiders often used by arachnologists for spider education and phobia reducing because they are incredibly gentle and prefer not to bite (and their bite is harmless to humans and pets). These are also the spiders that compete with the also local hobo spiders which do bite and whose bites can be quite harmful (though it seems that there is some debate on that topic). And of course we have other spiders of all sizes including the beautiful orb weavers. So I just had to go look at spiders of Washington and I think I've seen most of these around here, which makes sense because they're local spiders. They are mostly harmless, but something about the way they move just brings out the shrieks involuntarily when they're big.
Ok. I'm done talking about spiders.
With two cats in the house, there's never any end to the animal stories in our house. The box turtle has a modestly quiet life, as does the solitary remaining fish, but the cats are our constant hilarious and occasionally helpful companions. Today as I was working in my office, GregTheCat pushed the door open and started talking to me and flopped down in the middle of the floor. This is, of course, the room we try to keep cat free for our occasionally cat allergied guests... So I walk over to him and he hops up and scoots back out, then turns around to see if I'm following, I catch up, pick him up, give him some pets and go back into my office. He pushes the door open again and repeats the talking and flopping and scooting back out of the room and waiting to see if I'm following. So I follow him. In the room with the printer, he looks to see if I'm following him still, I am, so he heads for the stairs. Again he waits to see if I'm following him, and when he sees I am, he goes up the stairs, pausing half way to see if I'm still following him, which I am. It goes on like this, through the dining room, until he hops up on the buffet where he and LissaTortilla watch the squirrels in the back yard, and perhaps more interestingly, the hummingbirds at the feeder just on the other side of the window.
It's been very cold here, so the hummingbird food is frozen solid. GregTheCat looks at the feeder, and then back at me as if to say, "Look -- I can't watch them because they keep flying away! DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!" And this is how I ended up making fresh hummingbird food and pouring boiling water on the bird bath in the front yard today. The steam rising off the ice looked really cool, so I thought I would take a video of it. Then the sun got in on the act and made everything extra super fancy! I couldn't have staged that shot even if I knew how, I think!
LissaTortilla likes popcorn. She's a ridiculous little cat, very food driven. Enough so that we had pondered whether or not we might be able to train her. Possibly not but it's entertaining to try. Lately we've been trying to teach her 'sit.' Tonight I made popcorn. She came running into the kitchen, totally unfazed by the sound of the popcorn maker and sat directly behind me as I was tending the popping and butter melting, staring me down through the back of my head. She sat there the entire time, getting up only once to examine and then nom a piece of popcorn that had flown past me out of the popper. And then she sat there. It sort of takes away from the fun if you don't have to request "sit!" because she's already sat and just staring with *that* look, like, 'look -- I'm sat, so give me popcorn already. And make them some of the buttered ones!' Cats. She was rewarded and I could see her little walnut brain rolling its eyes as I repeated "sit!" to try to associate the sound of the word with the action she was performing and the reward. LOLhuman.
So no long stories here, just bits and pieces of the things that catch my attention and entertain me through out the day.
With love and curiosity,