Scout and the Art of Compromise

Scout and I are working on our relationship.

He likes to chew on artificial pine, climb to the highest point in any room and knock off of every surface anything not nailed down. I like going home to find things where I left them and love the idea of not having a cat that swings from light fixtures like a little monkey.

So we’re going to compromise. We’ll do things his way.

For real guys, there is no compromise with a cat, especially an eight month old kitten with the playfulness of a baby and the strength of a small tiger.

He’s my little panther.

I lost him the other night. Searched the entire house until making it to the laundry room where I heard a faint jingle. And then up popped his little head!

Like a jack–in-the-box!

He’s cute, right? Of course, I didn’t think he was so cute the previous night when he was knocking vintage items off the top of my kitchen cabinets like a little maniac.

But he is a cat and cats weren’t designed to be down low. They are tiny little killing machines meant to climb high, hide stealthily, sharpen their claws and do as they please.

So instead of trying to stop what I call bad behavior, the new goal is to provide alternate opportunities.

Can you tell I work in marketing? I’m pretty good with a positive spin if you give me a minute to think it through.

So he wants to be up high? I’ve made the top of the linen closet comfortable for him. It’s the highest structure in the bathroom so he can survey his kingdom any time he likes.

If I’m foolish enough to leave a remote control or book on the coffee table, there’s no reason to believe it will be there when I come home. That’s just silly on my part as it is a cat’s duty to knock these things on the floor.

Those top shelf red containers in the laundry room will never have anything inside then because they provide a comfortable, warm and high place for a catnap and this seems to prevent him from trying to wiggle into an old wardrobe in that room or from climbing onto the clean towels in the linen closet. If he wants to roll around in my dirty clothes basket, who am I to argue? He’s not hurting anything.

However, we do have real and serious issues. For example, he chews on and tries to eat every bit of artificial pine in the house and most of the silk vines and flowers. All along, I’ve been scheming to design a Christmas tree situation that he can’t destroy but there’s little I can do about him trying to eat something he cannot digest.

Goodbye Christmas tree! Maybe we can revisit this next year…..

Anyway, the compromising seems to be going well. As long as Scout continues to get everything he wants, we should be fine!

Have a cat story to share? I would love to hear! Have you ever tried giving them a pot of fresh grass to distract them from eating artificial pine? This is my last resort.

The Outstanding Art Of Dale Chihuly

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My summer bucket list is about a mile long but the first thing on that list was to see the Dale Chihuly exhibition at Franklin Park Conservatory. Monday offered opportunity to make the trek up to the Columbus landmark for a stroll through the flowers and glass art.

We’ll talk about the Conservatory another day but I really wanted show you some pictures of Chihuly’s work. The Seattle based artist does outstanding things with glass, light and color. His style is unmistakable and easily recognizable.

I’m not an art critic but I do know what I like and Chihuly’s work makes me smile. His work is larger than life and something that you simply have to see in person to truly appreciate.

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With that said, I am not excited about the placement of most of his pieces at Franklin Park. In my humble opinion, his work is best appreciated when surrounded by elements of nature. It’s hard to view (or photograph) most pieces here without getting backgrounds of building, concrete and steel. But it’s still outstanding and I was impressed with how they incorporated pieces into the butterfly room, pictured above. This room is lush and green and Chihuly’s colorful orbs in the water feel like floating flowers while other pieces appear to be growing from the earth.

Another outstanding element here is the Persian ceiling. If it weren’t such a high traffic area, I would have been tempted to lie down on the floor and stare up at it!

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Have a look and see what you think. I would love to hear your ideas in the comments!

Want to know more about Chihuly? See his website, visit the Franklin Park Conservatory or find his work in public spaces across the country.

 

 

Enjoy The Little Things In Life

I went for a walk around my yard one morning this week and took the time to actually enjoy some of the small things that normally go unnoticed.

For example, there’s a nice population of rabbits living in my yard this year. I rarely have the time to stop and appreciate how pretty and how fast they are.

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Someone has been busy.  Impressive, isn’t it?

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The hydrangea that I told you about last month continues to surprise me. These next two images come from the same bush.

 

The irises are in full bloom too. This one came from my friend Emily. The color is even more stunning in real life than you see here.

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And then there’s this – the place where I love to sit when the weather is less humid and hot. A wonderful message. Enjoy the small things – whether it’s a flower, an intricate web or just a few minutes free to relax.

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It’s Saturday. Enjoy it!

 

 

 

 

Summer Has Arrived

Ohio weather quickly shifted from cool and rainy to downright hot and humid. That’s what we do here. About 349 days out of the year are uncomfortable for one reason or another – humidity, heat, rain, snow, sleet, high winds… and during the shoulder seasons you’ll sometimes experience all of this in a single week.

My next statement will likely win me some hate mail but since I NEVER complain about winter, I reserve the right to say this at least once.

Yesterday’s heat made me miss winter.

You can only take off so many clothes and, when it’s humid, the only place to find relief is in the air conditioning. You can’t even breath when it gets this humid. But when it’s cold you can still bundle up and go outside at almost any time of day. Plus, there’s nothing more purifying than a deep breath of fresh air on a chilly winter day.

Besides, isn’t it pretty?

So here begins my summer quarantine where all outdoor activities occur early and late and where the rest of the day is spent sprinting from one air conditioned oasis to another while trying not to have a heat stroke or sunburn along the way.

If you need me, I’ll be sipping cold ice water in the air conditioning and counting the days till fall. Whatever you’re doing today, enjoy the day but try to stay cool and safe.

Stopping To Smell The Dirt

It should come as no surprise to my pals here that I went hiking last night – about four miles on one of my favorite local trails.

Fresh air and exercise beckoned all day. After all, it was about seventy degrees and sunny with blue skies as far as the eye could see.

Who wouldn’t be in a hurry to get outside on a day like this?

But once I got to the trail, I forced myself to slow down and really take in my surroundings. I’ve been tired lately, the kind of tired you just can’t sleep off. But it is the kind of tired that responds well to quiet, to fresh air and to standing still in a nearly abandoned forest.

Most of the tourists were gone for the day so, while I did see a few folks, it felt like I had the place to myself.

When this happens I like to stop, to close my eyes and absorb my surroundings. Here’s what I loved best last night….

The softness of soil and rotting leaves and pine needles beneath my feet. There is no more pleasant sensation than stepping down into this after a long day.

The drip-drip of water from the side of an age old rock. The wet winter and spring have left the waterfalls gushing and small streams gently rolling over the sides of cliffs and hills.

A woodpecker in a nearby tree. I can’t see him but his presence is clear and the rhythm he keeps overpowers all the other sounds of the forest.

The babbling of a stream as it winds through a narrow gorge, past boulders and under fallen trees. I wonder where it ends and what life it carries with it.

The spring breeze through new leaves on the trees and through my hair. Oh, how calming and cool it is in my hair.

The smell of earth, musty and yet vibrant. There is no other scent like it and one that I recall during even the coldest nights in the dead of winter. It’s amazing to experience in real life, especially on the first few warm days of spring.

The sad coo of a mourning dove. Let’s just say the name is appropriate.

A fallen leaf as it gently dances across the trail. It looks happy and aimless and sometimes I wish I could be so satisfied just going whichever way the wind is blowing. I’m good at that some days but struggle others and often think I shouldn’t have to try so hard to be carefree.

The way sunlight dapples a cliffside and creates unique patterns where there previously were none. But I know the light will change again and the art created by the sun will change or just altogether disappear – a good reminder not to let a special moment pass without notice.

The chatter of a squirrel who, moments ago, was barreling through the leaves, making believe he is an elephant. At least, I’m sure that’s what he was doing because that’s what it sounded like.

How many times have I prepared to meet my Maker because a squirrel sounds like a bear about to attack?

It was a peaceful evening in the woods and one I hope to replicate many times in my life. It’s sort of like stopping to smell the roses. While you may not be up for a hike in the woods, my wish is that you find a way every day to stop and smell the roses (or the dirt) and to enjoy life.

Repetition

There are some places where I never tire of spending time. Lake Alma State Park falls into this category. My favorite feature here is is the nice bike path that stretches past the lake and into the nearby City of Wellston.

It’s reasonably peaceful most days and easily accessible for a quick walk after work.

I sometimes snap phone pictures here during my walks and the challenge is to find new ways to look at the familiar.

Like these boats.And the road.

Luckily, nature changes daily. The sky and the light are always different. Right now the trees are bare but starting to bud. In a couple of weeks they will look completely different.

Repetition may seem boring to others but I find it calming and even challenging at times. I like looking for new ways to see the familiar.

It’s a skill, I think, being able to look at something day in and day out but still see it from a fresh perspective. It’s a skill that can be applied to situations that require problem solving and to daily life just to prevent boredom.

Perhaps this is why I am never bored. There’s always something to see or learn about a subject – even when you think you’ve seen it all!

Welcome, Spring

“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love.” –Sitting Bull

This image is from my four mile hike in the Hocking Hills last night. It was perfect hiking weather and a glorious day to celebrate the beginning of spring.

The Hocking Hills region is close to where I live and I know it reasonably well. I reference hiking here a good bit but wonder if anyone is interested in knowing more about the area and things to do here. If so, I’ll work on some observations to share here.