June 14th, 2011

Step By Step

So, I'm inching my way back towards maintaining a regular presence here again. And the way I mean to do it is by treating this space as the public diary that it really is rather than pretend that it's some grandiose project. The more I think about it, the more I'm starting to think that I just needed to break the connection with certain non-LJ folks who read me on a regular basis. The pressure of having to perform for them, on top of everything else going on in my life, was simply too much to cope with.

Some of those readers were longtime friends. Some were former colleagues. And some were people I've grown close to recently, with whom I therefore felt a special obligation to put my best foot forward. Now that they've surely drifted away -- who would keep checking a blog that has one entry in a month? -- I can scale back my ambitions and just say what's on my mind.

What's going on this week? Well, today was my father's eightieth birthday. Kim and Skylar joined me on Saturday at my parents' apartment to celebrate with him prior to the Belmont Stakes. Then they left for a mother-daughter trip to the same places in the San Diego area that the three of us had just visited the previous week.

They seem to be having a grand time there. I am more jealous of their fun than I normally would be, as I may explain in a later entry, but still relatively calm about the fact that I'm back in Tucson partaking of the area's famous "dry heat." Tonight was my father's real birthday, so I cooked my parents dinner, then watched the first part of an opera with him after I'd put my mother to bed. Together with having his granddaughter over to watch all three Triple Crown races, that was about as good a birthday present as I could have given him.

Now I'm sitting here rather agitated by the full moon, trying to get myself sleepy enough to enjoy the restful slumber I can enjoy only when I'm by myself. But I will finish off the coconut curry I made for dinner before that happens, then curl up with the two Japanese novels in translation that I'm rereading for an essay I plan to write: Kawabata Yasunari's Snow Country and Murakami Haruki's A Wild Sheep Chase. I like the idea of switching between them, both because they are so different in tone and because I read them the first time at very different junctures in my twenties.

Well, there you have it. I managed to write an actual entry that communicates something more than my tortured musings on why I haven't been able to write actual entries communicating something more than my tortured musings. That's progress, even if it doesn't quite qualify as a a full step forward.

Little Big-Eared Blessings

Saturday morning I was still in the midst of the tortured slumber induced by the combination of fire season -- the air quality has been terrible, by our standards -- and my usual respiratory challenges, when I heard Kim say the word "kittens" enthusiastically in the other room. "There are kittens on the patio," she continued.

I was already getting hurriedly to my feet when she qualified that assessment. "No, they're bobcat kittens!" I reached for my camera and put on the telephoto zoom as rapidly as possible, then made my way to the patio door. Sure enough, there were three bobcat kittens exploring the area. As their mother kept an eye on them, periodically peering around the corner, they hopped on the scratching post left behind from when Thing Two became an outdoor cat, pawed at the screen, stepped on the shell of Max the tortoise, who had recently taken up residence on the patio -- perhaps because of the bobcats in the yard -- and then ambled over to inspect the Crocs I keep on the patio.

There are few things on Earth more adorable than kittens, but BOBCAT kittens are somehow even more amazing, given the size of their ears and feet.

Because I had to shoot through the not-very-clean glass of the patio door, which also confounded the autofocus on my camera, it was hard to get decent shots. I posted the best to Facebook already, as those of you are my friends over there probably noticed. This is the funniest of the bunch and the only one to show all three baby bobcats clearly.

Kim and Skylar left on their mother-daughter San Diego trip Saturday evening. They would ask me whether I'd seen the bobcats again every time they called. Kim was concerned that she might have spooked the mother by going out in the backyard to look for a shovel. But it was hard for me to check, since I didn't want to compound the problem if the bobcats were still there by making the mother too aware of their presence. Yesterday, however, I went out on the patio to feed Max his daily ration of organic greens and strawberries and decided to peek around the corner. And there was one of the baby bobcats, playing near the solar screen that fell off the bedroom window a while back, with its siblings obviously poking back at him from the other side.

As far as I can tell, the bobcats are still in the yard. I imagine the little ones will soon be able to get over the wall that surrounds our property -- assuming that they can't do so already -- and will then be on their way. But I also know that there's a good chance that at least one of them will remain a regular visitor to our yard, since it's safe and adjoins what Kim refers to as the "salad bar", i.e. the retention basin in which the bobcat's favorites foods, especially rabbit, cavort in abundance. Even if we don't see them again, though, I will always feel blessed to have witnessed these creatures up close. Just thinking about them puts a smile on my face.