Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hippie Hippie Shake

I am so concerned about the health, well-being and cholesterol of the stellar,
crow and yellow-necked sparrow, that I always buy salt-free nuts; organic lettuce for the deer too.
Often times I forget to look up at the sky because I’m carefully watching my every step, in order to avoid crushing 
rollie-pollies, ants and spiders.
My pal, Alec understands my sickness.  He has it too.
He and I have both confirmed that when a spider, moth or Daddy-Longlegs has managed to make its way into our kitchens, out of compassionate (and possibly obsessive compulsive) habit, we take out a small Tupperware bowl and an envelope, gently place the bowl over the insect, carefully slide the envelope under the creature and head for the door.
I am in a state of euphoria when I see the small arthropod animal make it’s way to freedom.  
I want to shout, “Free at last! Free at last!”

Such humane heroine-ism has its downsides.  Like right now I am worried about a lost cat named Little in Shiner, Texas that I read about on a friend’s Facebook page. 
WTF?  And ever since I was a teenager, I've blessed road kill. Yep, true story.
I recall one Thanksgiving holiday week.  I was up in Redding visiting my mom, my brother and my niece who was about 3 or 4 years old at the time.  She and I were driving around, picking up last minute items for the Thanksgiving feast, when I merged onto the freeway.  To the right of the on-ramp was a dead cat.  I quietly muttered, “Spirit be with you…white light surround you” as I, in my ungodly yet loving way, blessed the carcass lying there.  She stared at me from her car seat and said nothing.

Hours later, my family was gathered around the table, preparing to stuff ourselves silly.  Now, I must tell you, I do not come from a religious family.  And although I went through a period of giving out Bibles at the Esplanade Mall (another time, another blog) we weren’t the Cleavers that said grace before a meal.  Yet, out of the blue, my brother says, “Let’s hold hands and go around the table and everyone say grace.”  I’m like, “What the hell? Out loud?!”  So, we do.  

He starts and it’s very weird and awkwardly traditional, “Thank you god for the food in front of us…etc"  It continues to my niece’s mom (who we thought was my brother’s wife, but they actually never really married), then to my mom and then to me.  I can’t recall exactly what I said but I know it came out of my mouth in NASCAR time.  My brother skips my niece, (WTF?) says “Amen” then starts to cut the bird.  All of a sudden my 'little gem' says, “I have grace too.  
So my bro puts down the carving knife, we put down the serving bowls and join hands again…
My niece closes her eyes and begins, “Spirit be with you, dead orange cat on the side of the road…I know you are in heaven even though you are bleeding…and spirit be with all the dead kitties, dogs, cows and all the animals…white light around all the animals…”
Since I didn’t have my eyes closed, due to my aversion to the whole damn thing,
I could see all adult eyes fixated on me; especially my mother’s, whose glare was sharper than the carving knife we were about to use on the (dead) bird. 

                                                               (Spirit be with you.)

I’m the kinda girl that, after the movie ends, I remain in the theater and pan the credits; not for the director’s name or the producer’s name.  Not for the song titles of the film’s soundtrack.  
I scan the credits for the American Humane Association’s one assuring sentence: 
“No animal was harmed in any way during the making of this film.” I suppose I'm just a hippie, hippie girl from way back, but it’s especially comforting to me, whether the flick I have just seen was mediocre or phenomenal, to leave the theater knowing the animals were pampered throughout the production.
Speaking of phenomenal, Wes Anderson’s recent film Moonrise Kingdom, is all that and more.  
Much more.  The lead protagonists are 12 year olds who fall deeply, sweetly in love; a love very misunderstood by the grown-ups.  Their performances are natural; their chemistry is immediate and unforced. During the scenes when they alone occupy the screen, we see the world through their eyes without the distracting filter of an adult perspective. In a turnaround, which isn’t surprising if you’ve seen any of Wes’ other films, it's the adults who come across as immature and silly.  (Fantastic Mr. Fox, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums)
And Robert Yeoman, the cinematographer, is a stallion.   The pace, the shot selection, the colors, the composition were pure genius.
If you’ve ever been a misfit, or currently fit the bill.  Or if you’re not a misfit but love a multitude of them, check out this film.
Since I began this blog talking about animals, what about this one?

Jerry Sandusky continues to display his arrogance, denying any wrong-doing.  Ha!  His team of rich goons will, of course, appeal. I say, let Penn State, who a couple of decades ago were the Division 1 School who publicly acknowledged "not wanting lesbians on their women's basketball team" pay for the appeals.  Tax payers should not carry this financial burden. 
The almighty Nittany Lions should and I'll tell you why.  Those bastards covered it up for years in order to receive booster bucks for their beloved game.  
I say, "Take it out of the popcorn fund."
But you know, it's the artists who find a way to right wrongs and Michael Pilato wins my vote this week for a most creative endeavor with a thought-provoking twist. He scrubbed Sandusky out of a mural on Penn State's campus and replaced it with an image of a poet/activist draped with a blue ribbon--a symbol for awareness of child sexual abuse.

A huge HOORAY to the artists, musicians, poets, writers and the animal rights activists and the millions of volunteers who give so much and so freely to the betterment of a community, a culture and the beautiful beasts habituating our planet!  Below are links to some damn great non-profits in my hood.  I know you have some in yours, but take a moment and check 'em out; especially Peace of Mind Dog Rescue which started out as a one-woman show and has grown to dozens of volunteers.  
And their sole/soul mission? Older dogs.
Way cool, eh?

Here's who runs my castle. Hands down.  I don't even get up to go potty when he's comfortably sleeping on my lap. (Or on my side.)



  1. Dear Bird/Animal Lover: Since I buy black sunflower seeds in 50 lb. bags for the birds and critters in my backyard, and since Kitty the Pooh sleeps all over me, too (which means I won't even turn over so as not to disturb her), I guess you could say we're two birds of a feather. No wonder we stick together on issues vital and important to our natural environment...that includes children and all things that fly, be it bird or spirit. (I'm with your niece, here...bless her heart.) Your kind compassionate heart and goodness comes through in your words, but more so in your actions. We're all part of this humming, buzzing, tweeting, purring wonderful world, as Louie Armstrong sang. As do you..

  2. I am sure glad to read that I am not the only one who can't kill things...I have a special jar for taking them outside...except for the big ones with a red hourglass...those are history.

  3. Well done Valerie! How thoughtful and loving of you to bless road kill animals. Hey, are you a vegetarian or vegan yet? Definitely a way to save animals! I jumped on board yesterday in the morning and have made it through 2 days of plant based diet and it actually has been easier than I thought. Jerry Sandusky isn't an animal, he is a monster! XOXO Lynn