Book Report: Darwin Comes to Town

This month’s book club book is so sad I had to take a long break from it, and discovering this book made that WAY easier. I think I just spotted Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution, by Menno Schilthuizen in the new nature books section on Amazon. I loved the cover and was really intrigued by the subject matter: how life evolves in the world’s urban enclaves.

Schilthuizen, a naturalist in the Netherlands and author of many articles in popular science publications, writes really clearly without “dumbing down” the science behind what he talks about. I think his reminder that evolution is not just something that goes on in the forests, oceans, and hidden jungles; it’s going on right under our noses.

I love the cover art.
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Wine Room Accomplished!

You may recall that we started putting our wine cellar/shoe closet together a couple of weeks ago. Since then, the office area has been in a bit of disarray with lots and lots of bottles stashed here and there, plus pieces of IKEA furniture.

Masterfully installing a door.

So, yesterday, since I had to leave work early, I invited my strapping son, Declan, to drop by and pick up his next batch of treasures that I unpacked from the garage (lots of vintage albums and some 45s). While he and Riley were here, he was also kind enough to help me put the cabinet together properly. It helps, I think, to invite a non-drinker over to your furniture-building events.

Light shines from my son’s head as he expresses pride in his work.

I did assist by un-doing some of the things that we’d done haphazardly before, when we didn’t have all the parts, but Declan jumped right in there and started assembling like a pro. Wow, I gave birth to an assembler! He even got the fancy doors on the cabinets to do their fancy thing.

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More Gentle Memories, Why?

Surprisingly, at least to me, I had a really had time dealing with the flood of memories that came up when I opened that box of letters Monday night. I had a huge reaction where all the things I used to feel about myself and other people whomped me but good. I really had boxed those events and emotions up in my mind as well as the actual box!

As I blurted that all out to my therapist yesterday (good timing, that was), she was able to identify what was happening. That always helps, when I know what the heck is going on in my brain. She said I was having an emotional flashback. That made a lot of sense. She then explained the stages of it, which include numbness, re-feeling all hte feelings and their accompanying negative ickiness, and moving toward forgiving yourself and others, which lets you remember that while we all do things we regret or that aren’t really the kinds of things we prefer, we’re all human and doing our best, at the time.

So.

Also among the things I found were mementos of my time volunteering and working for La Leche League (breastfeeding support organization). I know I’m doing better about THAT time, because I no longer call it “a large, international nonprofit organization.” For a while there, I got sick when I said the name.

Oh heavens, look at all those memories! There are pins for each conference (2001 and 2003), our beloved LLLOnline pins (snazzy PCs in them!), LLLUSA (a quite dead organization I tried real hard to get to work well), the Alumnae organization (now Friends of LLL), and of course pins for how many years I served as a volunteer Leader. I’d really hoped for more years.
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Solar Sophistication: You Can Follow the Panels

Finally my solar panels are talking to me! They aren’t saying much yet, but that’s okay! I have my own dashboard and everything!

Hey, hold on here, those gray ones aren’t working.

Wait a minute, I’ll take that back. It’s telling me that half of our panels aren’t communicating with the “Envoy,” which appears to be the communications device. Well named. The people who called did say someone is coming to look at our system, so maybe that’s why! (By the way, everyone who works at Momentum Solar has been SO nice to me and Lee.)

The much better interface! And it’s from later in the day.
Suna loves the sun. As long as she wears sunscreen.

I am just happy to see that we’re making electricity on our roof! It’s a thrill. Go Sun!

I like that the interface tells you what the weather is each day, so you can see how clouds affect the production. That, of course, assumes that we ever have another cloudy day.

If you are a solar energy nerd, you might want to follow the Bobcat Lair house online. I’ll see if I can get the link to the Hermits’ Rest, too! I can’t imagine anyone would care, but there it is!

I Also Suck at…Mailing Stuff

Yesterday I wrote about all the letters I received in the late 70s and early 80s. I guess I was a better correspondent back then. Probably writing a letter was a great way to procrastinate all the reading I had to do during my endless years of higher education, because the minute I got out of grad school, the productivity ended.

For a while I would write Christmas letters and send cards, especially when my kids were little. And I did always write long letters to the kids’ grandmother in Ireland, since it was too expensive to phone them.

If I don’t mail things from now on, Angry Supergirl will glare at me. Actually, she’s glaring at me now, because I left her in a box for over a year.

But wow, I stink at mailing things to people these days, or at least I did for a decade or more.

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Boxes of Tears: I Found the 80s

Why do people keep their old love letters, breakup letters, heartbreaking letters…? Heck if I know. To be honest, I didn’t realize I was one of those letter-saving people until tonight.

Oh look, more boxes.

Anita and I were doing our weekly box opening, when we found a box of a variety of personal treasures. I found Lee’s first novel. I found some cards from my children. I found this box, all sealed up.

A very nondescript box.

I did not recognize it. It was just a box. Anita said it was a treasure, so I came to look. I opened it and thought, huh, letters. They must be from my mom and grandmother, because no one ever wrote me.

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People and Dogs: Doing Some Reading

I’m very thankful that I have some brilliant people among my Facebook friends and that many of them share what they’ve been reading. In the past couple of days, I’ve read and shared a few articles that I want to talk about today. You might like them, too.

Dogs

One article was on how we treat dogs we don’t know. Debby McMullen wrote this article on the Positively dog training blog. It’s called Consent: Not Just for People, and I really like how the author puts us in a dog’s position to see how the way we treat dogs might appear to them.

Maybe I want to approach you on MY terms!

Nowadays, the topic of consenting to be touched or approached is popular when talking about people. But, hey, a lot dogs aren’t just sitting around hoping to be bopped on the head by random strangers, either.

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More from Ledbetter Park

The Portacool is still holding up, and I’m dying from smelling barbecue on an empty stomach. I’m now the only staff, but since business is not brisk, it’s fine.

We did see a beautiful bug and I got a great photo of it on Meghan’s tattoo. Perhaps it’s Rugosana querci. Or not. But it’s beautiful and tiny.

This little fellow is about a quarter inch long.

A lot of our volunteers have dropped by, including Tom and Windy, who do the kitten rescue and fostering for the Cameron Touch of Love. They got these bright shirts so people can easily see them when they are rescuing cats from “interesting” places. We all love the color!

A little later

We were also visited by Mary Lou and Janiece, from Rockdale. Thanks to them, I got some lunch!

Mary Lou checks out the display.

Janiece is the Animal Control Officer for Rockdale. They have lots of dogs available, and not much space, so they’d be a great source of a new canine friend!

Janiece and I are full of love for MTOL.

Milam Touch of Love is also helping their pound out with their donations. Next we are trying to figure out how to open a shelter for the animals out in the county, who can’t be taken to the pound. Yes, I can’t adopt them ALL!

Public Service Announcement over!

And later…

My own family even came! And Kathleen donated. We decided to head out early, so we only have a half hour left.

Lee, Kathleen and Michael having fun.

That’s good, because the cooler is getting sad.

Live from the Shade…Here We Are

Well, we’re still here, and I’m not dying of heat stroke. I even am having some fun! I watched some kids fishing and enjoyed looking at fun geese and ducks.

The fishing area!

We’ve had exactly one visitor so far. But it was a good one! We got an invitation to go to the Blessing of the Animals at the Episcopal church in town. October is a nice time to do an outdoor activity. I’ll be out of town, but I know

We enjoyed talking to Casey, and we exchanged lots of business cards. He may be able to help us start a coffeehouse at the Hermit Haus, too!

But wait!

We had more visitors and got a membership! The wind is making a mess of our papers, but woo hoo, our cabana is holding up! Meghan and Michael and I would love more guests!

Perils of Sun Sensitivity

Live Blog!

Hey. Just a short post asking you all to think of me as I sit near fire ants until 4 pm. I’m doing yet another Milam Touch of Love event. I’m in charge so I can’t leave. And sun is my enemy! I got sunstroke in high school. Since then, ugh.

Meghan and Michael day hi.

Luckily one of our volunteers brought a porta-cool thing, which should help, and our canopy will help once the sun is higher. And I have ice. And a neck wrap.

Porta Cool!

The good news is we are near the coffee guy. And he’s open!

Coffee guy.

More later! Come by the Cameron FunFest and Barbecue Cookoff to see me.