Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In the Mood




In 1981 I was a vintage girl. Totally. My clothes, music and above all my dancing style were straight out of 1939. My wardrobe teemed with circle skirts; their crescent edges cascaded like sequined corollas over my more normal garb.  My thinking was if it won’t twirl up to your eyebrows on the triple spins, it’s just not hanger worthy.  While my days, working as a Zoo. Keeper, were filled with goat parts and various degrees of muck and dust -- muck in the Seattle rain and dust filled with ungulate hair in the rare Northwest sun -- at sundown I transformed myself into a Ginger Rogers clone from tip to toe.  It was a double life and like all such forays into a mirrored existence it had it’s moments of both the sublime and the ridiculous, the dichotomies of male and female -- night and day.


In the day I trudged on in a vaguely androgynous way but at night I was light as a feather and no one, ever, called me mister.  I suppose if I had been allowed to wear a strapless evening gown while mucking out stalls I would not have had the problem of people asking me, “Hey Mister, Where’s the Seal Pool”, but my Zoo uniform, a riot of beige understatement reminiscent of the duds of a transvestite service station attendant, doomed me to an image of male drone status par excellence.  So I compensated at night.  I suppose some might even say -- over compensated.  But then, it is well know that that whole Stoic/Republican routine of moderation in all things”   yada, yada, is only a ploy to keep most folks minds off love and pain and death and  instead save money for bogus causes and keep out of trouble, in other words -- to not have any darn fun at all.


Where was I, O Yes, frozen sperm.  Why is it that Republicans always seem like an acceptable segue to frozen sperm?  


I was living on borrowed time with my gritty-goat versus glittered-glove existence.  I could feel these worlds coming closer and closer in a scary ‘When Worlds Collide’ kind of way.  Then, one night, they merged completely.


This came about through a deceptively innocent senario. At the Zoo my favorite goat was named Eris, the ‘Goddess of Discord’, and we Zoo folk wanted to get her in a family way.  Not wanting to endure the various difficulties involved with attempting this along normal, biological lines we had arranged for her to be artificially inseminated.  My job as a zoo keeper was to monitor her estrus cycle to determine the optimum time for the A.I. act to occur.  This involved noting her amorous behavior i.e. mounting of other goats in fruitless and delusional reproductive activity and gathering her mucus for stretching.  You can probably envision the mounting but mucus stretching is kind of hard to describe in a delicate fashion.  Basically, you collect some mucus from the goats nether regions on your thumb and forefinger and then stretch it between them like transparent gum.  If you can achieve 2 inches without breaking, eureka, ovulation will occur in approximately 12 hours.  (That’s 12 hours to ‘making baby goat time.’) Well, after noting and gathering and stretching one day the optimum baby attempting time was estimated to be at 12:30 AM that evening.  Of course I had a dance to go to that night and a new gold lame dress made from a 50’s pattern with a huge circle skirt that I was dying to try out so that’s how I ended up past midnite in my rubber boots, gold lame bunched up above my knees with a glass speculum in my hand and a frozen sperm straw warming up in my d├ęcolletage.  Quite a picture.  Steady as she goes goat-wise, three cervical rings breached, one squirt and -- bing, bang, boom, AI achieved!


Five months later, TWIN goat girls.  I was allowed the privilege of naming them.  Felicia and Fi Fi were the the cutest things on the planet.  This was the last time I was allowed to name anything, but I did not care I because I had become a father in a gold lame dress.  What a relief it was to scratch that one off my life list.  


This story is finished but it  has gotten me into a mood to try on that old lame dress and a few other accessories from the past.  I’ll sign off now and slip into something nostalgic.  I just can’t keep on writing, when I get, in the mood. 


   


© Robin Wendell 2009








Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hi and Happy Summer




Hi to all and especially my 10 followers of this blog.  I have been on a ruminating holiday and have not done much updating or writing here lately...huh!  

I'm working on one last Zoo story involving frozen semen and gold lame and then I'm thinking of switching to my other blog, Oracletheory, and start a more general writing routine.  I'll post the details soon. Until then I hope you all are having a truly fabulous summer.  Be sure to smell all the roses you can, mind how you go, and be well. 

If you want to catch up on my doings in other ways friend me at FB- Robin Wendell Glover or follow me on Twitter- @paradisekitten





Friday, April 17, 2009

@MOM I love you and miss you. Say Hi to Dad & send instructions for apple pie crust soon Pls xx❥x Robin


                                              Virgina Wendell circa mid-1930's


All the hoopla about the Oprah tweet debut and the CNN versus A.Kutcher, race with its, follow or not to follow, debate on twitter this week got me thinking about my own following proclivities.  I realized that the folks I want follow and to hang with are the ones that I want to connect with on a personal level.  Same goes for the people I follow -- I look forward to the tweets about their lives, their blogs and the other useful information they have gleaned from others.  I only follow folks that are marketing products if it’s something I want - like books or travel or food related sites and information.  I want real stuff and real folks not free laptop guys and mega-marketing gurus pitching how-to info-manuals cluttering up either my twittersphere or my offline life.  


I got to wondering.  Who would be my Ultimate Follow?  If there was one person, living or dead, that I could follow -- (and who would follow me back and engage in conversation with me) Who would it be?


No, contest, it would be my Mom.  She died suddenly of a heart attack in 1985 and I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. We have a lot to catch up on.  I’d like to go through all the family photo’s with her and ask questions about her mom and dad and her childhood in Chicago. She always wanted to write - I bet she likes my blog and is proud of my sisters books on the Ravenna neighborhood (where we grew up), and Frederick and Nelson, where my dad worked for over 30 years.  Most of all I really need her exact technique for making pie dough.  I have never been able to replicate the, melt in your mouth, crust on her apple pie. 


How about you -- Who would you choose?  Why?



©Robin Wendell 2009


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Speaking of Goats

Woodland Park Zoo 1982, Fair in the Farm - Robin Wendell, Ernie Rose & goat Eris




I’ve noticed some people out there, on the internet, and elsewhere yammering on, in what I am sure are very well meaning ways, about how to have a happy in life.  Some would lead you to believe that an encyclopedic knowledge of everything from psychology, astrology, numerology, the I Ching, tarot, plus a smattering of Sanskrit and the lost art of paper folding are absolute necessities. I have nothing at all against any of these studies to provide illumination or guidance in life, I does bother me though when some folks act like their personal system, new age or traditional, has all the answers.  Frankly that gets my goat.


Speaking of goats, I used to work at a Zoo. In the course of my duties, which, contrary to public opinion, were not at all glamorous, and consisted mostly of scraping fecal matter off various surfaces, I have been bitten by a tiger, chased by a giraffe, and have attempted to appear calm and cheerful before the public while bats crawled up my legs.  I also have been stepped on, butted and had a significant portion of my hair chewed off by the species, Capra hircus.  In other words, there is hope.  I know the heights and depths of one of the best self-help aides available to man -- I know goats.


Let me say at the start that I know that goats are not human.  Most animal management types scorn an anthropomorphic attitude -- baby gorillas in little pink tutus -- ugh.  However anyone observing a group of animals for an extended period of time will notice that there is a specific energy that is manifested by a particular species.  This energy is in a pure form; that is, unlike your standard human, a goat doesn’t need a nervous breakdown to know something is wrong or a psychologist to fix it.  This is because they do naturally what we humans find so difficult -- they live and feel and act smack-dab in the present.  No lingering doubts regarding the moldy alfalfa of yesterday taints their enjoyment of todays repast.  


A typical day at the Zoo would start by me letting the animals out into the yards.  I would sometimes let the sheep out first, before the goats, because that would be the only peace the poor things had all day.  Once those goat hooves hit the tarmac it was all over.  In three-seconds-flat they would evaluate the various potentialities for food, shelter, and opportunities to get into trouble and then claimed them for their own.  Their modus operandi for achieving these aims was brute force and intimidation.  Goats are not subtle.  Their idea of a good time is to hit something with their heads until it does what they want.  Once outside, they would often form a charming tableau on a large rock pile where they would keep one eye on the sheep flock to make sure they were reasonably miserable, and then scan the pathways looking for children or feeble adults so they could snatch food, cameras or articles of clothing, which they would then eat trample or shred.  Their attitude during this activity was gleeful enjoyment.  No guilt or hesitation, just pure impulsive action.


Even when the goats were at rest, gnawing on a light meter or a baby bottle they remained alert to any and all possibilities for adventure.  One of their favorite pursuits was the constant assault on gates and fences.  Goats can open fences that would have baffled Houdini.  I suspect they have prehensile lips.  This talent resulted in many goat escapades into obscure and unprotected buildings where they would terrorize rabbits, chickens and other small animals and eat inappropriate food stuffs that caused them to bloat up like the balloons in Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade.  


Our goats were sturdy, graceful and quick.  Even though they appeared to be built entirely of angles, like a box with legs, they could balance on a bolder, sideswipe a sheep, and keep an eye open for dropped candy bars, all with apparently effortless grace.  However, if you tried to lead them in a direction that was not of their choosing, they had this trick they did with their torso and leg muscles that quite effectively glued them to the ground, immovable by anything less than a small forklift.  


Most of all the goats were the masters of endurance.  Hot and cold weather, unusual food, getting along with their peers, they either put up with it or assimilated it to produce more of their specialty -- obnoxious, but most of the time, irresistible goat behavior.


So, how does help me understand life?  Well, for one thing, I can see now how some ‘top of the heap’ kinds of folks combine a need for no restraints on their own whimsical behavior  with a need to be in control of others at all times. Also their need to think they have all the answers.  Perhaps when the next authority figure is kind enough to clue me into the “real” facts of life I can just look for the goat eyes behind their persona and consider their own fears or a need for liberation.  It seems significant that it was always the goats, who were so obsessed with keeping the sheep in line, that were long gone when we found the hasp undone and the gate to the yard was open.  


So the pundits and proselytizers can continue to pontificate but they won't seem quite so irritating any more.  Maybe they just haven't learned the true meaning of the word - capricious.  They could learn a lesson from my favorite goat “Eris”, on how to caper though life with a little more grace.  Next time one of them crosses my path I will look past them to see her, standing at the top of her rock pile, surveying the possibilities of leadership and obnoxiousness. The epitome of ambition, persistence and block-headed obstinacy the light in her eyes at the sight of a helpless child with a cookie was both instant and inevitable.  She thought she was right -- not because the sheep or other  people were wrong, but because she knew how to both endure and to still have fun. She was no respecter of persons and yet there was not a malicious bone in her whole rambunctious body. I can’t help but imagine that if someday they drop the big one and most of humanity is reduced to smoking slime, that through the clearing smoke we will see familiar shape emerge-- Eris on her charred rock pile.  Around her all the fences will be blown down and with a gleam in her eye she will leap down and conquer the world.



©copyright Robin Wendell 2009


 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Revenge of the Carrots

                                             ©RobinWendell 2009



Happy Easter


I just finished my first Marzipan decorated cupcake experiment.  I was going to call it 'Bunnies in Bondage' but decided against it because of the Twitter #Amazonfail- 'Amazon ranks' brou-haha.  So here they are in their PG-ed titled version...'Revenge of the Carrots.'

Friday, April 3, 2009

Never Trust a Gorilla



Yesterday was a ‘Feed the Poor’ day where I got out of the house and sliced cake-pie-and-pud for the Saint James Cathedral Kitchen. I was also schooled in the mysteries of ‘mammoth salad making’ and mastered the art of ‘colossal casserole collaboration’, some fun!   During my extreme celery chopping exertions I had a vision of the many, many veggies I had chopped for hungry monkeys during my Zoo-keeping days of yore. Celery was never one of their favorite food-items. When their food basket arrived they would up-end it, tossing broccoli and celery aside, looking for the good stuff, grapes and yams. However, I mused, none of the primates that I met after those days, (including some of my dates on match.com - (before I met the man of my dreams), can rival my first gorilla - Wanto.


Episode TWO in the Zoo Stories Series - True tales to dip into, dwell on and that occasionally disgust.


You can take it from me. Never trust a Gorilla!


I had barely recovered from my Rat in a Blender experience, at my new Assistant Zoo-Keeping job in 1976 at the WPZ animal nursery when other concerns with the animals I was helping to raise began to surface.


In 1976, WPZ Gorillas Nina and Pete, produced a little brown bundle of joy-- WANTO.

Wanto was nearing 6 months of age when I arrived upon the Zoo nursery scene to assist Nursery Keeper Violet Sunde in his care.  He must have been a beautiful baby but baby, he was a handful then!  Imagine a miniature brown Arnold Schwarzenegger with large-lashed eyes and a will of iron. Violet had raised him since his “incubator-days rescue”, after first-time mom Nina dropped him on his little head once too often. He was a placid little jewel with Violet.  It was me that he liked to put the fear of god into when she wasn’t around. I had been taught disciplinary gorilla-mom signals. A low harsh grunt and chest thumping were supposed to work wonders. Ha!  Inevitably, when alone the Wan-ton, as we called him, would ignore my attempts to say, stop him from trying to eat the electrical socket, and there would be a big tugging match -- me venus baby- godzilla.  These bouts resulted in a varied assortment of hand and finger-shaped bruises on my arms that were very difficult to explain at the gym, or while out dancing in my 1930’s sleeveless gowns.  “Er, Right, sure, the..Gorilla....gave you those bruises.”  Like most cases of Zoo-Gorilla abuse my plight was destined to stay behind the scenes.  Or so I thought.


1976 was the year of the Zoo’s First Jungle Party, a fund raising effort that all staff were expected to participate in.  What fun, I thought, and I immediately acquired a vintage strapless sarong dress that featured flamboyant orange flowers -- very “Dorothy Lamour”.  The night of the party I showed up in my glamorous new attire ready to charm party goers with something like a tiny, tame, cute baby kinkajou shown through the nursery glass.  But Noooo.  My task for the evening was to take my nemesis, baby Wanto, outside to the exercise area and show him off to various semi-inebriated semi-big-wigs.  Great, I thought, just great. 


I trudged outside with my charge, his little sweet legs clamped around my waist like oversized rusted-shut bolt cutters, and I smiled, at least somewhat successfully, as the then Mayor -- Charley Royer and his encourage of perky-girl interns and city hall cronies drank champagne and made ‘hilarious’ comments about Fay Raye, King Kong and other raucous burbling quips too numerous to mention.  


After 5 minutes of this banter Wanto became bored, and in an attempt to liven things up a bit slipped his little paw into a vise grip on the bodice of my strapless dress and began to pull....and pull...and PULL!  The group watching were amazingly entertained by this, supposing, I guess, that it was all part of some gorilla peep show we had planned for the evening.  I, on the other hand, was, not-entertained-at-all, by this display of playful gorilla jua de vie, and a feeling of frenzied and doomed deja vu took hold of me as I, without seeming to deviate from a caring and sensitive pose by screaming and flailing at him like a crazed lunatic, attempted to remove his hand from my dress.

 

We wrestled for a while, Wanto pulling and grunting gleefully, while I said unmentionable things to him between my clenched teeth. Finally, in fear of loosing my temper and my dress I finally gave up and fled the scene, yelling, “little Wanto needs a nap,” Back in the nursery.  Mr, congeniality Immediately climbed down and scampered over to Violets lap, looked up at her lovingly with his big brown innocent eyes, and gave me a happy grin.  I looked like a good-time girl down on the waterfront after the fleet has come in.  My dress was perilously close to half-mast and the gardenia originally over my left ear now dangled in a tangled squishy mass that obscured the sight of my right eye.  “Wanto-one Me-zero. 


I forget how it all ended -- my gorilla-mom days.  I think I was transfered to the Aviary and lost track of my little friend for a while. However later when he was grown up and housed in the main gorilla area it was uncanny how, when I came in view he would perk-up and start to finger a rock or small turd and eye me with a speculative grin. I began to take the long way around to the office.  It was then and shall always be -- Wanto-one, me-zero. 


Take my advice, never trust a gorilla.





©copyright 2009 Robin Wendell


 






Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Short Short Moments of Life


                                                 


It’s March in Seattle and chunky rain is falling.  My spouse and I call this seasonal outpouring “chunky” rain because it seems like someone is sitting on our roof and occasionally, in a maddeningly random, and quite imperious fashion, adding small white freezing globs to the normal clear drops that fall from the sky. I know what you are thinking -- and, no, it’s not snow.  I am aware that snow floats.  It’s more like 20 bums sitting up on the roof, spiting snowcone bits into a gutter, which, in some weird alternate world, just happens to be our backyard.  It is not a pretty sight.  Even the cat will not go out into the bushes for his daily latrine duty during chunk-fall.  He wisely uses the kitty box in the gardening shed instead. 


As this is a typical Spring in the Pacific Northwest -- the chunk-rain is falling apace.  I am a Seattle native so it would not be seemly for me to appear to whine about this or, in fact, to take any notice of it at all.


I’m cool with the usual de rigeur native rain behavior: We never use an umbrella under any circumstances.  We only wear a hat if making a bold fashion statement or for some reason we are going bald.  And, most of all, we never, never let a little water falling from the sky stop us from doing any old thing that strikes our fancy on any old day our fancy happens to get struck.  Of course if what strikes my fancy on a day like this is a walk around our beautiful, centrally located  fitness magnet, “Greenlake”, I have to go to great lengths to hide my attempts to stay warm and dry in order to save face should I run into any other Seattle-born acquaintances during my perambulations.  This involves much layering of silk underwear under deceptively flimsy clothing, an unobtrusive flesh-colored neck scarf and a jacket with a hood that can quickly be pulled back into it’s “I really couldn’t care less,” position should a native person approach.  Let me tell you, getting exercise can be quite the ordeal.


So this morning I’m sitting and watching the rain spit down, thinking, screw the walk, and then morosely wondering if I should do a ‘night run’ up the street to get the mail so I won’t have to stroll past the neighborhood houses nonchalantly, like getting frigid goo down my neck is a matter of absolutely no consequence to me.  Then I remembered the tweetomancy reading I got this morning, and it all came back to me. 


Some mornings when I first log in to my twitter account home, I take a second and go to the ‘Everyone’ section, and with eyes closed click on a random tweet.  This morning’s tweet was:


“Waltzing about town in short shorts”

Jon Ray (jonray) on Twitter


Well, thanks buddy. You live in, lets see, er, Austin Texas, which is today, ah, just a sec -- let me Google that -- clickity, click -- Oh- My- God-- is a frigging 68 degrees warm today?   Thanks, my friend, for rubbing in the fact that you can blithely waltz around your town in skimpy short-shorts, without getting goosebumps the size of Mount Rainier on every part of the body that you are wantonly, and without thought for the delicate feelings of others, flaunting before the elements for everyone to see. No soggy jacket sticking to your ass and your car seat. No stumbling into a ravine next to your garbage cans because your glasses get fogged-up and wet.  No damp neck, damp feet, and damp feelings, because your hands resemble wrinkled white asparagus on the week-old veggie-bargain table. A Happy Blue Danube kinda day to you too, Mr. Happy Go Lucky!


Well, wait a minute, what the heck, I guess maybe you better keep waltzing away my friend.  I can see that your tweet is perhaps a timely reminder to me that somewhere in the world the sun is shining down on the carefree legs of dancing males.  Somewhere, someone is moving like a zephyr on the springtime air with a light heart, while living in the moment and getting their vitamin D the natural way instead from the Jumbo-size sale bottle from the drugstore.  


Your tweet has inspired me to take the high-ground -- another thing you probably don’t have to worry about in your neck of the woods! -- so I’ll just try to be happy for you and your sun-drenched, twirling, foot-tapping exuberance.


Hey I have an idea.  I am going to go straightaway and ferret out my one pair of short-shorts and then find my 78 record of “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” and keep them safe until summer.  Then, come August, when you and yours are huddled up indoors, with your hands up to the air conditioner and the temperate days of March are a dim, dim, memory, I will put them on, get the cat and we will dance out on the deck.  The air will caress our extremities like sun kissed gloves, we will twirl, and twirl until we fall down in a dizzy, happy heap. Then, when I can walk straight and get over a serious case of happy feet I will come inside to log into Twitter and my first Tweet of the Day will be --  


“Hey, Mr JonRay, I am waltzing around my deck in my short, shorts”!





©Robin Wendell 2009


  




Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Beagle on the Roof, Aloof

                                                 

Twitterer @ inkgypsy  website has graciously offered to be my ‘First-Peep’ Twittomancy subject.  The everyone ‘tweet’ on her Twitter.com homepage that she picked, at random, (with eyes closed) was-- “I am the Cookie Monster Disguised as Snoopy.”


I immediately had a vision of a rather subdued Cookie Monster inside a dog house with a triumphant Snoopy sitting on top with a happy cookie crumb grin on his face.  I took a look at Snoopy - Wikipedia and found these references: 


“Schulz once said that the best idea he ever had in the strip was to move Snoopy from inside his doghouse to the rooftop. Preceding that, there was a gradual evolution of the character, from something like an actual dog to an anthropomorphic character, more like typical cartoon animals.”

Also:

“Oddly enough, the first time a beagle is mentioned in the strip (December 5, 1960), Snoopy denied being one. As Snoopy dozed, Charlie Brown paraphrased Gertrude Stein: "Beagles on the grass, alas." To this, Snoopy replied, "I ain't no stupid beagle!" (Years later, Snoopy would paraphrase the Stein expression himself: "Birds in the grass, alas;. Beagle on the Roof, Aloof")”


In the comic strip Charley Brown, Snoopy was the ultimate observer of life.  Charlie, Lucy and all the others were very caught up in the drama of their life stories.  Snoopy, on the other hand, watched the continuing show with a certain amount of detachment. He had a wry eye that looked at each unfolding event or object with curiosity and an open mind.  


As a current life situation lesson this picture of a triumphant dog sitting above the fray with a happy life-loving smile on his face says it all. Cookie Monsters are funny but one minded creatures. They want cookies NOW and damn the torpedoes. This is the human condition, we all want what we want when we want it and we want it now.  The trouble is that unless the Cookie Monster part of us is overlooked by the Snoopy part there is no discrimination in our consumption of just about everything.  This leads to a somnolent and sated soul-life, not to mention many extra inches on the old waistline. 


As Joseph Campbell  said, “Life eats life” -- this is a given while we live in space and time.  While Indiscriminate munching is normal but wasteful, the careful consumption or sharing of the proper nutrients for the present moment can nourish your whole life. 


What is needed is to get out of the dog house of need and leap up the roof of abundance to look around to see what’s out there to give or get. Sometimes the morsel is for you, sometimes it is for someone else. Sometimes these tidbits land in your face like a big cream pie and sometimes they come quietly and sit on you shoulder like a little chocolate truffle bird. It’s all waiting in the big refrigerator of life as the unlimited provisions for a banquet of love. 


So here’s to you Inkgypsy - an Eagle Beagle with many wily eyed possibilities before you. I can see you now, your neck scarf is waving in the breeze as you sit on your roof and watch for the next morsel to fly by. You are, at last - A Beagle on the Roof, Aloof"




In memory of "Barney" Woof,Woof. Rest in Peace <3


*Author Ann Wendell - Picture is birthday cake made for my sister Ann Wendell sometime in the 1960’s



©Robin Wendell 2009


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rat in a Blender




This mornings foam sported a male gorilla carrying a baby, followed by an annoying bird.  coffeefoam


I have been thinking a lot about my past employment as a Zoo Keeper lately.  Reading Kari Lynn Dell’s hilarious blog post, Montana For Real: The 50-50 Day regarding recalcitrant gates  seemed to bring old memories all rampaging back in an alarming out of control, lemmings towards the sea, kind of way.  


I can see now that I have been in a period of adjustment during the almost two years since my retirement after thirty-two years of scraping fecal matter off walls while being bitten, chased, peed on, stepped on, trampled and, in general, harassed by all kinds of Birds, Reptiles and Mammals out to avenge their captivity, (or perhaps, just having a little fun.)  I think I have been in denial.  


At first when I was at home in my nice warm house on a miserable sleet-blown day I would eat breakfast in bed enjoying my warm feet and then looking outside at the dripping cold would roll around with glee thinking: “I wonder what part of themselves the ‘Zoo Keepers’ are freezing off today- ho de hoho!”  However, now that the thrill of staying indoors 24/7 has worn off somewhat, some of the my good Zoo memories are flooding back. 


My first bird raising experience was in 1976.  I was an Assistant Zoo Keeper assigned to the nursery at the Family Farm at the Woodland Park Zoo. My first task, which I remember with vivid clarity, was to put a rat in a blender.  We had gotten a nest of orphaned snowy owl chicks in and I innocently asked my co-worker Violet, “How do we feed them?  “Well,” she said, “You go to the reptile house and you get a rat, which you then kill, de-bone and put in a blender -- then you shake the owl nest and when the chicks open their cute little mouths you pop a little rat-goo in.”  Oh - My - God, did she think she was talking to a “animal professional? 


Snowy Owl chicks are just about the cutest things on the planet, but I found myself thinking, ‘there must be another way!’   But no, there was not.  I learned a valuable Raptor, (birds of prey), Motto:  "We do not eat Post Toasties!"


So I killed, boned and blended and the chicks ate, fledged and were released to the wild.  Seeing those luminous baby owl eyes looking up at me with grateful ‘Thanks Mom’ love made it all worth it. I became a Zoo keeper one owl chick, baby gorilla and sick kinkajou at a time.


Oh, and I probably forgot to tell you that I got the job of Zoo Keeper by accident.  I was volunteering, doing graphics and aviary plant care while beginning the next new, Great American Novel, when I let the temporary Zoo director buy me a martini at a new exhibit opening party.  Next thing a Keeper job comes up and I get it.  I thought to myself -- Well, I can do this job for a while until I finish my book.  I did -- after all, major in Art & English, gosh darn it.  


The three things I learned from all this that I can impart for your edification are: 


1.  It really IS not what you know but WHO you know. 


2.  Don’t ever take a job with good benefits and pay and think it will be easy to ditch it to starve in an attic for ‘ART’.

 

3.  And most important --  Reading Proust, (even in French), will never prepare you to put a rat in a blender.




© Robin Wendell  2009




Next Zoo post- The Gorilla Made These Hand-shaped Bruises On My Arms, Really!


Like my scratching in the Twitter box?  Give me a recommendation on:

Robin Wendell (paradisekitten)'s Profile on Mr. Tweet

Thanks!




Saturday, March 21, 2009

Not All That Wander Are Lost



Twittomancy 


Having a free moment before starting to think about dinner I clicked on the ‘everyone’ bar at twitter and a random click with eyes closed came up with today’s twittomancy.


@derecto “Not all that Wander are Lost (for real?) 


This is one of the things I wonder about a lot.  Wandering is a full time hobby, (if not a vocation), for me.  I wander through the fridge in the morning and then wander out on the deck with the cat to view the current shrieking spring-loaded bird population that is looking for fun.  Later I drift into this chair or that and poke through one book or another until some bit of prose or pun gives me the ballast to set my anchor for a while.  I never feel lost during my perambulations because like a ballet dancer doing a loooong spin there is a place I “spot,” with my heart and brain so I always know where home is.  


This spot is hard to describe in words.  It is much more a feeling sorta thing.  I get it when good things are happening.  Sometimes when I’m looking at my toes coming out of the bubbles of a hot bath resembling pale mutant fish or basking in the timely words of a friend or loved one that make my heart sing.  I feel it when I open the drapes in the morning and there is marshmallow fog down to the kneecaps of the trees in the neighbors yard.  It puts a hand on my shoulder when I re-read the first email my husband sent me on match.com and my heart grows warm as my lap when my cat sits there purring like a feline little engine that could.

 

My last name is Wendell which comes from valleys that have streams that wander along as they find their way to the sea.  Every raindrop on a rose or tear of happiness or sadness always knows how to find it’s way home.  If they can so can I.


Wandering has got to be a good thing - you just need a compass.  For me, I look for the mossy side of the daily tree and then look up to see what I have to be grateful for. Looking up towards true North has always seems like the Love Direction to me. 



© Robin Wendell 2009



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Friday, March 20, 2009

What Color is Your Zombie


Just a quick post as I run out the door.  I tried twittomancy for the first time this morning as I was eating my breakfast.  The routine is you click on the everyone tweets and then pick one at random, (eyes closed, no cheating!).  Voila- your own twitcookie fortune.  

I clicked and got @zombiemanet "What color are the zombies at Hereford."  

Well, what to make of that!  I looked around to see if there were any zombies in the vicinity.  Nope.  The cat was sleeping peacefully on his leopard blanket and the yard guy looked normal.
Then I looked down at my breakfast bowl.  Oh no, a hereford cow was starting me in the face. I almost choked  on a strawberry.

I believe in the law of correspondences- everything is interrelated but this is going too far. Zombies, cows and bran.  I'm almost afraid to leave the house.  Fortunately I'm only going to the Wedgwood broiler for a martini and a bite.  I'll be safe there. The lighting is dim and I can hide in the back of the room. Besides I have a feeling Zombie cows have an innate fear of black naga-hide booths. 


© Robin Wendell 2009


OMG tried twittomancy & found your tweet as my fortune -What color are the zombies at Herefo C t/Cow

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Tranquility Bird in my Brew



A Tranquility Bird in my Brew


I woke up this morning on my first month twittering anniversary to find 200 plus folks in my teensy followers box on my twitter account. http://twitter.com/paradisekitten  Wowser. I feel so lucky to be followed by and follow such interesting and informative folks.  I have to admit that I started my account on a lark, being of the opinion that social networking sites were probably self-involved twaddle. Now, a month down the twitersphere universe, I have changed my tune.


I’ve bopped around the net and read some critics of twitter.  “What are you doing?”, BIG YAWN, right?  Who, la de da, cares right?  Well it’s not quite as simple as that. 


There is an old swing song that goes, “It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it, That’s what gets results.”  Sure there are a lot of less than thrilling folks on twitter but that’s life; the great news is that is not like they are seated next to you all the way to Chicago. It’s possible to choose your travel-mates. I personally find an occasional food item or personal epiphany-tweet fun but if hearing about breakfasts or the cute little golden hairs folks have found on their toes is not your cup of tea you can just change seats.  


Social Networking curmudgeons rant on about how twitter is not “real life”.  Well, I agree that clicking on a tiny-URL ROSE, TwitPic - Share photos on twitter  is not the same thing as going outside and sticking your head in a bush. In fact -- in some ways it’s better.  Outside it’s grey and wet.  My bushes have no roses and if I stick my head in one I will (1 get soaked, and (2 come out looking like I got caught in a kitty cuisinart. Twitter is not a replacement for real life but sometimes -- less is more.


Another thing I have noticed during my fledgling tweet flights is that the brevity of the venue condenses the personalities of people like heat reduces a sauce on the stove.  Their joys, foibles, rants, loves, and woes are boiled down to an essence.  Interested, curious, helpful, intelligent, loving, joyful, ruminating, investigating, creative and fun - those are the people I hang with.  Ranters abound everywhere, but a twitter advantage is that while, with a page to rant you can be an expert or philosopher, in 140 characters it comes off as a big baby twissy fit.  On the other hand, goodness and joy reduces down to light -- small but still very bright and illuminating.


All in all, I’m happy I joined and will continue to frolic word-wise in my twitter box. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Marcilo Ficino Ficino Quotes:


What Is Necessary For Composure In Life And For Tranquility Of The Soul

(last three paragraphs)


“O my Friends, live your lives happily, Far from narrowness, Live happy. It was the happiness of heaven that created you; and with a kind of laughter, that is with a dilating, a movement, a splendor, it declared you, as if it were rollicking.  The happiness of heaven will protect you.  So live everyday happy in the present.  For worry in the present steals the present away from you and steals the future too.  Curiosity about the future quickly turns it into the past.  Therefore, I implore you, again and again, live Happy!


The fates allow it, as long as you live without care.  But, to live without care, do not allow one single care.  Never worry about anything!  Be extremely diligent in escaping from cares!  For all it takes is one care for the heart of miserable mortals to burn with all cares.  Neglect, therefore your diligence, and love, in fact, your negligence, and even in this it is fitting to be negligent, I mean to the extent it is allowed us.  


I am telling you all this, my friends, not as a priest, but as a doctor.  For without this one thing -- the life of all medicines, as it were, -- all medicines used for the benefit of life would die."


16 September 1489  in the field at Careggi



© Robin Wendell 2009



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