Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lights Out Until There's News

Roger said he's not going to shave his beard or cut his hair until we get an answer about the house. This is serious stuff. He's talking to you, BofA, do you hear him? He's going to be a shaggy gray-haired dude, BofA. (Okay, he'll still be totally cute, he always is!)

My plan is this: Unless something so unbelievably earth-shaking or shattering happens here, I'm not posting another thing on this blog until we get an up or down vote on our offer. Do you hear me, BofA? Don't make me come over there and spank you.

Man, we are so tired of this limbo.

Lights out. Unless a bear, bobcat, mountain lion, coyote, eagle, or any other drop-dead beautiful wild creature crosses our path, we're going dark and quiet. Wish us luck and a home.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: What We Saw On Monday

We were surprised and thrilled to see dragonflies and butterflies so early in February. The black mushroom is a Fluted Black Elfin Saddle. The shiny golden mushroom has not been identified yet. The lake, as far as we know, has no name. There is no news on the housing front. The weather and these sights have balanced our ongoing disappointment.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What The Pileateds Did on Valentine's Day

It's interesting that Roger and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day in the traditional sense. My parents always did. They exchanged cards and remembered each other in those kind ways that romantics sometimes do. Even from his deathbed, my father had one visiting child (my older brother) buy a card in January and hide it in a drawer for a month, and had another visiting child (me) fill it out for him to give to my mother on his last Valentine's Day. It was that important. He died one month to the day later. Yet here it is Valentine's Day, and Roger and I don't buy any cards, gifts, candies, or flowers. We spend 24 hours a day together. That's literal. Our affections are expressed in the little surprises we do for each other every day of the week. It's true. One of us sneaks off in the morning while the other is immersed in political readings or Facebook, and makes the bed. Or, Roger will whip up a breakfast frittata. Or, I'll make a fresh batch of maple almond granola. In the evening, every dinner is a celebration. We open a bottle of wine. We hold hands before we eat and thank each other for the meal and the day. When one of us is doing the dishes, the other turns down the bed. It's a daily dance of love we do. Seriously what more could we do on Valentine's Day that we aren't already doing everyday for each other?
We go for a hike. On this Valentine's Day the sun was shining in a sierra blue sky. We headed out in the mid morning, feeling the warmth of temps already in the high 50s on our winter pale skin. We walk a brisk four-mile round trip. All the people on the trail are just as happy as we are to have this beautiful day. Everyone greets each other with a generous "good morning" and a "wow, what a beautiful day..." and walks on. Dogs splashed in the irrigation ditch, and children fished for brown trout. It's that kind of day. Easy.
Off in the distance a pileated woodpecker calls. Then again. We walk on, feeling lucky to be heading in the direction of the sound. We stop and listen. The call is so close, we know the bird is as near as can be. There in a very tall, old snag we see a flash of a red head on a black body. He calls and cranes his neck to find his mate. He calls again. She arrives. The trail is instantly restored to its natural quiet with the two of them together at last on the tree. And for a moment, we think they must be celebrating Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Glimpse of Our Future

There hasn't been very much consistent in our lives over the past few years. We've lived in four houses in 18 months. That's a tad disruptive, to say the least. But one thing has stayed absolutely consistent and that's our drive to protect wildlife. So, I emailed the local Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release program when we first arrived. We didn't hear from them until late Thursday afternoon. A wonderfully enthusiastic woman called to tell me about their next training. She regaled me with stories about Yellow-billed Magpies and blue-eyed baby Stellar's Jays. Their program sounds incredibly good. We particularly love that they work with mammals as well as birds. I think we're going to be trained to care for injured songbirds. That's a future we are both delighted and ready to leap right into. Bats, small mammals, fawns, songbirds, and raptors... oh my!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Beautiful Words For a Wednesday

We received an email the other day from CCorax, who we've known through blogging for five years now. This is a cherished, ongoing friendship of the heart and mind. She said that she had been reading What The Stones Remember by Patrick Lane, and it made her think of us. Can there be a more beautiful passage about the smallest and most overlooked aspects of life than this one that she sent? To think that these words reminded her of us made us feel utterly grateful and humble.

"I find myself on my hands and knees crawling around naming the different mosses in my garden. Their colors are an endless variation on yellow and green with a bit of gray or red thrown in here or there, a dark blush of blue or black at the base of their leaves. Under the canopy of cedars and Douglas firs the ground of much of my garden is dark and acidic, perfect for coastal lichens and mosses. I love their names: awned haircap, juniper haircap, cranesbill, tall-clustered thread, Menzies' red-mouthed minim, ribbed bog, lover's, false-polytrichum, Menzies' neckera, golden short-capsuled, Oregon beaked, lanky, step, twisted ulota, hairy screw, bottle, red roof, wet rock, black-tufted rock.

"I might as well search out the lichens too: bull's-eye, cladonia scales, bark barnacle, lungwort, lettuce lung, frog pelt, pimpled kidney, orange pincushion, questionable rock-frog, tattered rag, beaded bone, forking bone, tickertape bone, waxpaper, antlered perfume, devil's matchstick, false pixie cup, blood-spattered beard, and common witch's hair. Nineteen lichens and as many mosses. There are probably others if I search diligently.

"What wonderful names are blood-spattered beard, and common witch's hair. How much more delightful than the tiresome nomenclature of Latin taxonomy, necessary as it is for scientific identification. Ideas of order, yes, but not a feeling among them. Questionable rock-frog is far more interesting to me than /Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia/. These plants live everywhere in the garden, innocuous and largely unnoticed, but everywhere I look, there is another one sharing a bit of rotting wood, a shaded spot beneath a fern. The twenty-year-old shakes on the roof of the old child's playhouse I use for storing kindling and empty planters have seven mosses and five different lichens growing on their gray wood."

The above photo was taken on Monday from the upstairs deck at the house we have been waiting to buy for months. Maybe you can see why we want to live here. There is so much life to be discovered: lichen, mushrooms, and moss; bears, coyotes, and mountain lions. We know; it's why we have persisted.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Totally Blewit

What a roller coaster ride trying to buy a house has become. We had a flurry of activity on Thursday, which began with an email suggesting the bank might have approved our offer. The email was a correspondence between our agent and the listing agent conferring on a close of escrow date and inspections. We were ecstatic, I mean like crazy dancing around the house ecstatic. But, there was no approval letter forthcoming. Thursday turned into Friday; Friday turned into the weekend when no bank is going to do any real business. Our ecstasy devolved into enervation, and we sighed heavy disappointing sighs over the weekend. An email from the listing agent to our agent on Saturday actually spelled out more clearly the status of our offer. We are in Phase 2 of negotiations and the second team sent another appraiser out to the property. We're sure they'd like a higher appraisal, but in this market we're not sure such a thing could possibly materialize. I guess hope springs eternal for Phase 2 negotiators and WEIRDLY NON-COMMUNICATIVE, WE-OWN-THE-WORLD BANKS.

So, we're not exactly still on square one. An actual form was submitted to the bank that set March 5 as the close of escrow date. The new appraiser said that he had until February 18th to get his appraisal submitted, but planned to have it in earlier than that. We continue looking online for other possible homes and land. The conventional wisdom in real estate is that more houses will be listed after the Super Bowl, and from what we've heard, that took place on Sunday!

In the meantime we venture out when the weather permits, which quite frankly has not been often enough these past few days. Roger did find this fantastic specimen of a Blewit (hence the post title). This color is so subtle and reminiscent of early spring flowers. It practically conjures a fragrance -- soft like hyacinth. Sightings like this are what we rely on to balance the crazy limbo of our lives at the moment.
We've also been letting the cat outside a little more often and giving him some time to spend in the yard unattended. With the sighting of two coyotes trotting right through here a few weeks ago, we know we have to be diligent. I check on him every few minutes, when I can't see him from the window. I posted this photo on Facebook the other day, so a lot of you bloggers have already seen it, this for those who haven't. I went out to the yard and looked over the deck railing expecting to see Bonsai. Instead I saw our little orphan boy staring intently at something. I knew right away he was staring at the cat. I went back inside, got the camera, and took a few shots. They spent some time taking good long looks at each other (when the deer wasn't nonchalantly nibbling on grass). I suspect that they've sniffed each other from a distance quite a bit over the past few months, with Bonsai up on the deck and the deer eating apples just below. They're practically old friends. The deer was not afraid of Bonsai at all, and Bonsai seemed to enjoy the moment of having something this big this close that didn't want to devour him. Our two forlorn four-leggeds were hanging out together in peace.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Our Orphaned Deer

Turns out our little orphaned deer is a young buck. Check out those antler buds. He doesn't show up quite so often, but when he does he lets us know it's him by waiting for me to toss him apple quarters. We've known him since early October when he was very young and very alone.