Monday, June 09, 2008

Watching Lizards

My porch has assumed a greater importance to me this year. I've been really good. I've not smoked in my house at all this year. This has led me to some very uncomfortable bundled up smoking quickly times when the temp was down. I'm sure it will lead to more of the same on the hot end.

One of the wonderful things is that I get to see the world around me in my neighborhood. I never realized before all the things that go on at Baumgarten. I have intensely enjoyed seeing spring erupt and I've watched the interactions of many avian creatures.

As the weather has warmed up I've noticed a pair of lizards. I call them a pair because they run back and forth in the same trajectories. The boy is very obvious. He nods up and down three times and blows out a red thing (a dewlap) under his chin. The girl is smaller and doesn't engage in such silly behavior. I've named them. I name rocks so certainly have to name lizards. I call them Lenny and Lenore.

They often scare the living crap out of me. I'll be sitting and reading and being all quiet and I'll hear some small maelstrom hit the leaves in the flowerbed that hits the foundation. I can see something rustling through the leaves. Human paranoia makes me think EEEK Snakes, but I've found that it is simply Lenny and Lenore. I should have cleared the leaves out, but I hope they will make richer dirt for the flower bed than what normally exists there. Our soil is horrible here, being built on a former airport. We've been bad about clearing the beds up under the holly bushes and have been rewarded with rich soil that has developed from all the downed live oak leaves that accumulate.

Lenny came up on the porch a few days ago. He came within four feet of my foot and he did this strange nodding and then blew out his dewlap. I've seen him on the porch, on the wall, in the flowerbed, on the neighbor's house. He's an impressive fellow. I didn't know the difference between real chameleons and anoles. I've since been educated. My porch lizards are anoles. They do change color. I saw Lenore the first time last week. She's smaller and looks at the world like the Geico Gecko. I swear they must study real anoles to get all the expressions right on the commercial. Lenore ran through the bed rustling the leaves and ended up on the wall. She hid behind the chair for a long while and then peeked out. She ate a bug while I was watching and I was grateful. I'm a supporter of eating bugs on my porch. I'd have ten thousand lizards around if they would eat all the bugs.

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I continue to read. I finished a very interesting book called Tilt about the tower in Pisa. I'm an art history and architecture nerd so it was a fun read. Americans are just too young to appreciate the timeless history of some structures. The Leaning Tower is not so timeless; it is however really old by our standards. I have always been aware of such a thing. I cannot remember a time when I'd not heard of the leaning tower, but I never really knew why it leaned or that there had been 17 commissions to try and fix it. I do love Italia and the more I learn about it the more I think I belong there.

That might have something to do with my next choice of book. I fished out Under the Tuscan Sun from my random pile. I dusted it off and proceeded to get really hungry. I've been to Italia twice and I want to go back. I want to cash in everything I've ever owned and any prospect of inheritance to do what Frances Mayes has done. I will defy scorpions and rotted timbers to live in the golden atmosphere that inspired the Renaissance. Please, mother, may I?

Book #35 was a departure. I'm getting very close to halfway through the year. I'm going to have to read frenetically this summer to even get close to a hundred. Wait, my goal was 52. Hmmm. Dang. I forgot about #36. I'm getting out of order, but I'm keeping the count up. I don't write this down. My friend Jane is so organized. She's a reading teacher, I'm an art teacher. She writes down lists, I draw them on the walls.

I'm listening to my ipod as I type. I want to hate ipods. I hate to see the kids attached to them when they should be listening to me. I hate to see people in public plugged into them so that they are isolating. I'm in private, I'm typing on my computer and I'm listening to "Taking Care of Business" from A Knight's Tale soundtrack. It makes me boogie. It segues into "Golden Years." I'm still moving. . ."Run for the shadows, run for the shadows
Run for the shadows in these golden years" Here comes Thin Lizzy. . . ."The Boys are Back in Town." That's my ringtone for all my young art teachers at school. Mark gives me a hard time when my phone goes off with that. He says "Which one of your boyfriends is that?" It's all of them I say!

Spread the word around. . . .

I'm losing track of the books. I read a really funny book about this weird guy who worked for 21 Dog Years: A Cube Dweller's Tale by Mike Daisey is pretty strange. I'm impressed that this guy has wanted to become a professional intellectual. I want to do that. I think that was 37. The next one #38 was very interesting and a well documented tale of lust and love and learning at the Medici Court in Florence. I kept going with the Italy thing. I picked up a book and was trying to assess it and determine how high it would fit on my stack by the bed. I was a quarter of the way through it before I realized that it was on the top of the stack. #39 is The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr. I read it in about a day and a half. It is very well done and takes really good investigative journalism and interviewing and makes a story that reads like wonderful fiction. #40 came in the mail and I devoured it. The Gold Unicorn by Tanith Lee is the second in the series. I'd previously read the Black Unicorn and although I would say these are for young readers (those of you with teenage girls should check them out) they are very well written with beautifully descriptive language.