WH Chronicle GHD 2016

Feb 1, 2016*

Happy Groundhog Day AND Happy Groundhog's Day Eve!!

This is our routine check up, check out, check in, and report on all things Whaleherd.  
Punxsutawney Phil provides us a great excuse for an annual jettison of family propaganda.

In 2015, we did our best to pretend to be your average, middle-class, American family.  
We portrayed normal with the following: a kitten, a chameleon, crickets (lizard chow) a cockatiel, two fish, an African singer, Missionary kid, Aspiring actress, Naturalist, Bassoonist, Horn player, all residing in a two bedroom apartment like the richest bunch of East Africans in Barton Hills.   When I asked Sam, his opinion of it all, he responded, “This rocks, you can’t ever tell me to go to my room because I’m already there.”  It’s cozy, but no one really cares.  

Daryl, the teen (or alien occupying Daryl’s body), and aspiring actress,  has behaviors that swing violently between coyly soliciting a ride to the mall, and hissing while denouncing our very existence.  Inadvertently, we must have also signed up on a list to receive daily vocal reminders about our inadequacies and uncoolness.  Is there a spam filter for teenager pronouncements?  We have been threatened about inappropriate visibility (being seen with her in public).  Of course, this information is wisely heeded by us as potential embarrassment fodder.   I can’t tell you how fun THAT is...just whip out a few of my new youtube sensation dance moves in front of her friends...fireworks, I tell you!!

Sambo--6th grade.  He still hugs us, though it depends on who is in proximity.   He is very funny with his astute and quirky observations--especially about animals.    Sam is our strongest ally in the war against teen angst.  He is the Chief Reconnaissance Officer.  

Sophia, the 2nd year graduate student from Tanzania, is finishing up her choral education degree at Texas State.   We bemoan the fact that we are going to starve to death when she leaves us.  Fun fact:  Sophia is also irrationally and uncontrollably scared of animals since childhood.   She can levitate when attacked by a kitten.  

Nathan is the new guy, with white skin, from Africa.   Nathan was the sun, the moon, and the stars to Sam during our time in Tanzania.  Nathan is 19, and grew up in Tanzania, so now he is enjoying his American adolescence.   He told me that if he had a super power it would be remembering everything he’s ever read.  His super hero name would be “The Retainer”.  

Mr Grumpy Pickle, the chameleon, is a Christmas present off of Craigslist.  It only had to live through Christmas day to complete his duties as Sam’s Christmas present, but it is (unfortunately) still going strong.  I purchased him from a compound in the country that would have been deemed unsavory by meth-heads.   It’s a wonder that lizard hadn’t been pickled.   

Mooch, aka Megatron the Destroyer, is the kitten Christmas present.  He is either marauding or purring.   Climbing the curtains and stalking Sophia are his favorite pastimes.    He is especially passionate about a fuzzy sock that he is constantly killing, disemboweling, and decapitating.   This might be part of the psychological warfare against Sophia.  

Louwise, the broke-beak bird, loves Tom.  She hears his car approach and begins making more noise than anything the size of an eggroll should be able to make.   Screaming ceases once she is resting peacefully on Tom’s shoulder.  Tom has little affinity for Louwise, but that doesn’t bother her.  The fact that cockatiels mate for life presents some unsavory incentives.  

Moe and Larry, the swordtail guppies, swim in circles.  

Did I mention that Mr. Grumpy Pickle likes to eat live crickets? We even have to buy these lil' guys 'cricket chow' so they are healthy prior to being pulverized by the chameleon.  Crickets are also really noisy.  Our house sounds like a camping scene from a ‘B Movie” Horror Flick.  Screams couldn’t be heard over the cricket chirping.

From the list of the inhabitants, you might anticipate the potential for an accidental (or not) reduction of our household participants.   Reason to stay tuned...

Tom navigates the time-space continuum much more gracefully than I (I’m perpetually late and can’t drive straight to a location without first spiraling in on it).  As the lead parent, he coordinates school transit, mall drop offs, basketball games, babysitting gigs, piano lessons, play practice, Magic the Gathering card games, sleepovers, cricket and kitten chow runs, etc.    He plays horn, too.

Me, well, I walk in circles.

I also wonder silly things, like do fish think heaven is really upwards?  Is it the same for upside-down catfish?  When someone dies do angels applaud or cry? Did we forget our existential origin? I forget what movie I’ve gone to see after just three trailers.  Do we choose our lives prior to entry? If so, are the bravest amongst us the martyrs, and disaster victims? Did they leap into the human condition with a half gainer in order to get their money’s worth of the human experience? Did the rest of us comfortable folks merely bunny hop into the shallow end only to die in a cozy, warm bed?  Just wondering….

Where do the Kardashians stand in this karmic conundrum?  Are they the perfidious role models for American youth?   Well, we all need role models, so here are mine:   

Fashion role model:   Jane Goodall.  Khaki really ties the jungle together.
Skin care/makeup:     Sister Teresa.  She looked exactly the same for 50 years--that’s better than botox!
Cooking/Entertaining:  Bear Grylls.  Nothing says “Welcome to my home” like BBQ Lizard.
Pedi and Foot Fashion:  Gandhi.  500 miles barefoot, and your feet will redefine beautiful--in an army boot kind of way.   
Hair:  Dalai Lama.  Timeless, classic, and low maintenance.  Bar soap and never clog a drain.
Childish endeavors and passions:  Malala.    Duh!

*Since we are essentially celebrating two holidays in this edition (Groundhog Day and Groundhog's Day Eve), the following could come in very useful.  

For those of you who got lost trying to get to Poet’s Corner:

Twas the night before Groundhogmas, when all through the flat not a creature was stirring, except a young cat.  The crickets and lizard were flung under a light all aglow, in hopes that St. Punxsutawney wouldn’t see his shadow.  The children were nestled all snug at their screens, with visions of intergalactic destroyers and other killing machines; and Mamma in her kerchief and me in my johns wait anxiously for a Groundhog day dawn.  Hence the men in silly hats hold rodents aloft and then tell meteorologists where to get oft.  Because predicting the weather, though narrowly correct is demanded by tradition and commands respect.  So next time you bore of our politics, or want to make fun of a religion, ask yourself if our nation’s elections could be decided by a pigeon.  

“Who would believe such pleasure from a wee ball o' fur?” ~Irish Saying

“Even the colours of a chameleon are for survival not beauty.”  African Proverb

“Haters are like crickets. Crickets make a lot of noise, you hear it but you can't see them. Then right when you walk by them, they're quiet" variation of Drita Davanzo

Camping out,
Daris and crew.

Typical Photo bomb! 

Summer travels. 
Artist Refuge at Thunderhead Mountain, Montana 

Fanciest RV Park

Hot Dog! 

Little Bighorn 

I don't know what to say about this--he has a selfie stick. 

Summer travels.  We had 4 our these.  

Austin was weird first.  True. 

Thanksgiving with Jerry and Susanna.

Waterfalls outside of Portland.

San Fransisco Toilet

George Washington's Nose.