Sunday, March 26, 2017

On Coconut Oil, Age Spots & Glowing

Earlier this week, my lovely & well preserved younger sister Janet texted me & asked if her dog Zoe could stay for the weekend.  As always, my answer was affirmative. 

When Janet brought Zoe over, she (Janet, not Zoe) asked to look at my hands.
She took one.

I was skeptical as to why she needed to see my hands close up.

While I doubted sincerely that she wished to examine them for gun powder residue or evidence of an assault or struggle (we both watch too much NCIS & Criminal Minds), I asked Why?

Janet’s response was that she wanted to see if I had age spots.

I showed her & told her that I had all kinds of spots on my skin.  Age spots, damage from the sun, horrible dry areas.  I told her I think it may be age spots & psoriasis or eczema or melanoma.  (OK, I am dramatic.)

The facetious part of me wanted to offer to let her see my entire skin surface.
After viewing my hands & arms, Janet said  We are getting old.

I tell her Yes, we are.

And to myself I think, this is what we are born to do.  To grow & develop & age & survive.

Until we leave.

Janet suggested coconut oil.  She has been using it on her hands & she assures me she has seen a difference in a very short time.

She asked me if I have coconut oil.  This amuses me – it is like asking if I have olive oil. Or ginger.  Or turmeric.  Or basil.  But she is my only sister & worried about age spots & I understand her concern.

I assured her I do, indeed, have coconut oil.  I tell her it works on the skin of my face. 

Tomorrow I will buy another jar of organic, unrefined virgin coconut oil & once again use it on my entire body.  Which requires covering a giant wooden spoon with a modified glove, spreading the oil on the glove & using the lathered spoon to coat my back.

I do this because my sister’s hands do look flawless & I really like coconut oil.

And because when I went to lunch with my friends Jo-Ann McCoy & Stephanie Kennedy last Friday, Jo-Ann mentioned that my complexion was glowing.

Maybe the glow was due to the coconut oil.

Or maybe it was due to the fact that I am out of blush & used Burt’s Bees Caramel Lip Shimmer on my cheeks.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hawks in the Trees Near the House that Jack & Jean Built

In the midst of everything that is going on in our world today, I am intrigued by hawks.

Specifically, the red-tailed hawks that are dwelling nearby & hovering around my house.

At first, I was aware of their presence by what sounded like a raptor from “Jurassic Park.”

Then, one early morning, I heard a fierce swishing sound, the wisp of wings, as I was unlocking my car.

I looked up & saw a magnificent bird land high in one of my next door neighbor Mr. Israel’s tree.  I stood there, watching him.  He spotted me & moved higher.  Then he hit the air & flew to the branches of one of Miss Juta’s pine trees on the other side of our house.

He was glorious to watch. 

I told my brother about the hawk & wondered aloud if I should refill the bird feeder & buy some more suet.

He smiled & said I think it is more likely that the hawk would prefer a mouse or small animal.

After all, a hawk is a bird of prey, not a vegetarian.

The next day, when my brother left to go to work, he came back in & told me – there are two hawks in Juta’s pine tree. One was carrying a mouse or baby squirrel & dropped it when he saw me.  They must have a nest nearby.

I went out & saw the pair move from branch to branch, as high as the branches went. 

They were talking to one another, no doubt discussing which one was going to retrieve the dropped mouse or squirrel.

I wondered if their nest had eggs in it or little hawks.

During the next days, I saw the hawks in various trees & heard their calls even when I could not find them.

Today I went out for the mail & my neighbor Mr. Israel called me over his yard.

Have you seen the hawks?  Their nest is in one of my oak trees.

Mr. Israel showed me where to look – at the top of the tree I could see the bottom of the nest.  It appears to be a little over three feet wide.

In the mornings, around seven o’clock, Mr. Israel hears the female calling for the male.  The other morning,  he heard a tiny tweet.  There is a baby hawk !

Concerned what to do if the baby fell out of the nest, Mr. Israel called the game warden.  The game warden told him to call immediately if that happened & they would come out to rescue the infant. 

Through the game warden, & a little Google searching, we learned that hawks mate for life.  Ordinarily they take a new partner only when one dies.  Females lay one to three eggs at a time, depending on the available food supply.  Usually in March or April.  We should be seeing the baby hawk, called an eyeas, take small flights in a few weeks.

Mr. Israel has been observing the hawk family with his binoculars.  He told me that the male often lands on our roof & the old basketball hoop. 

I look forward to seeing the eyeas fly.  Maybe we should name the hawks, like the most famous & photographed urban red-tailed hawk, Pale Male in New York City.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Singing to My Sister's Dog Zoe

There is a reason that I seldom sing in public.

I cannot sing.  My sister sings.  My sister sings like an angel.  It is one of her many gifts.

Singing is not my gift.

But I LOVE to sing.  I have always loved to sing.  As a teenager, I used to sing in the Youth Choir at church – but only because it was a small congregation & bodies were necessary.  My friend Donna Pippin was the star of the choir – singing has always one of her many gifts.

Donna Pippin’s mother, Beverly, recommended to my mother that I take Speech & Drama in high school.  Clearly redirecting me from wasting my talents on singing.

Or from butchering every choir performance.

When I was in high school, my friend Colleen Tubbs & I would encounter one another in the walkways along the patios of Coronado High School & burst into song.  Usually something from The Doors or Three Dog Night.  Colleen didn’t seem to care that I cannot sing in the center of the note. 

Actually, I cannot sing anywhere near the center of the note.

Sometimes, even now, at 63, I sing.  In the shower, in the car, listening with my earphones on the laptop or my phone.

Today, I sang to my guest, my sister Janet’s dog Zoe.

Suddenly bursting into a rendition of “Here Comes the Sun.”

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right
Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right

Zoe looked up from her perch & did not laugh.  (Believe me, Zoe laughs.)

She did not tilt her head from side to side in wonder.

Zoe listened & then put her head back down & shut her eyes.

No doubt thinking, when are David & Janet coming back so I can hear music again?

So later in the evening, I tried a different verse:

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
And I say, it’s all right
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
It’s all right, it’s all right

Zoe was more forgiving & generous during this serenade.  She wagged her tail, asked to be petted & waited for a treat.

She has trained me well.The only book I have about dogs is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.  Which begins with the death of a dog in the night time.Not a good night time story for a loved & adorable dog.

Perhaps Zoe will settle for a treat & a space at the end of my futon while I read (to myself) a novel about Mr. Darcy’s version of that whole Pride & Prejudice story.

And a promise not to sing.