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4 kittens

Of a wintry mix

Posted on 2018.01.15 at 22:00
(Day late/dollar short. I see you.)

My lingering cough from the 'flu a few weeks ago blossomed and thrived until I went to the doctor, who said, "You're a bit past bronchitis and into pneumonia," and gave me lots of drugs. That was Tuesday; it was a relief to round the corner from the kind of coughing that is unquenchable and makes your stomach muscles cramp, to the kind of coughing that is managed and contained.


Pokey told us that he did his own science project this year, because he already knew how rain works, which was the project undertaken by the rest of his class. "Puddles, evaporation, forms a cloud, droplets," he said with an eyeroll.

Now, was that the full complexity of his class's project? Or was there nuance and texture to their project? Was Pokey encouraged to strike out on his own, or did he wear down their last frayed nerve until the teacher yelped, "FINE! Go do your own project!"

Who knows!

So, Pokey, what is your project?

Clouds! This looks promising. Sticking with a weather theme, I see.

Why Are Some Clouds Lower Than Others?

Ah, well, uh, Pokey, this is a fairly difficult topic to unravel. See, dynamical systems and chemistry and physics...well let's get started, shall we?

Step one: identify your question.

1st: Why are some clouds lower than others?

Good first step.

Step two, state your hypothesis:

2nd: I predict that gravity pushes more on the lighter ones than heavier ones.

Oh. Well. Are you sure you meant the lighter ones, Pokey? Surely you meant the heavier ones?

Step 3: List your materials.

3rd: Materials
1. Two plastic bags

Step 3 1/2: cats on the project:

Step 4: Describe your procedure

4th: 2. Procedure
1. Fill up one of the bags with air.
2. Drop both of the bags.

Ah, ok. Pokey, so these bags are the clouds, yes? And only one of the clouds has been inflated, so that is the heavier cloud? Or the lighter cloud?

Can we get a teacher over here?

5th: Perform your experiment.

1. I got two bags and filled one up with air.
2. I dropped both of the balloons from the same height. The lighter one hit the ground first.


Step 6: Results

6th: I learned that gravity pushes more on the lighter ones than the heavier ones.

And that, folks, is how you SCIENCE.

Gravity acts harder on the fluffier cat than the orange one, for sure.


Signs that I am about to turn 40 years old:

   1. I took my first photo of my birthdate of the season.

   2. IT nudged me for my biannual password update, so I changed my password from HeebieIs39.5 to HeebieIs40.

   3. There were birthday cupcakes at our weekend in the piney trees, and someone gave me a pair of socks that say Up Yours.


Dear Children,

I don't know what to record for you about these big group gatherings. It is all so beautiful. Or at least the grown ups are - I don't really know what the kids are like, to each other. But you all seem to play with minimal conflicts, from Friday evening until Monday morning, stopping only when driven by hunger or fatigue.

A lot of the men in the group carry musical instruments with them. Each afternoon and evening, there would be different sized mandolins, guitars, an accordion, and sometimes a book of folk tunes out, and they play and sing. (I don't know why music is so gendered in this group. I know some of the women are musically trained, but we're not pulled towards a jam session sort of thing.)

Swarm of kids. (I think this photo is shadowed and tiny enough to cover for my sin of posting other people's children on the internet.)

Usually when the instruments come out, I think, "great, now we all have to stop talking and sit around politely." It is usually a convenient moment for me to depart and go to bed. But this time I was more patient with the music. They really are a talented bunch. Rascal napped in my lap in the afternoon sun, by the campfire, while the strummers warbled folk songs behind us:

And it was serene and beautiful. (The musical stylings were christened Hoo-grass, as in Hoo-wee plus blue grass.)

We always bring our old metal wicker couch. It's the cuddle couch, around the campfire, the cozy couch, the four seater.  There were 12 families.  I stayed up very late each night, watching the campfire, passing time in the company of others. I sometimes think I've lost my ability to enjoy passing time in the company of others, but the alchemy behaved itself this weekend. All was magical, all was bright.

This makes it look like Ace and Pokey enjoyed the outdoors!  Lies, lies.  This is the hard truth of their love:

Our cabin was hideously cold. Hawaii whimpered to me all night long, our first night, as I tried to thaw Hawaii and Rascal together in one bed.

The second night, we borrowed a space heater and doubled up some sleeping bags. When I went to bed, I carefully climbed into the double sleeping bag, in between Hawaii and Pokey, as had been arranged. I dozed off.

Then Rascal started whimpering in the other bed. And then he escalated to crying. "Fuck," I thought, "I have to get out of bed."  So I clambored out of the double sleeping bag, and went to Rascal, who was wailing.

Behind me, Hawaii and Pokey, in their half-dead sleep state, began to visciously fight. They were hitting and screeching. "SHUT UP!" I hissed, and they ignored me. They whimpered, clawed, mumbled and wailed, and I got madder and madder.

So I did this: I climbed up on the half-wall separating the beds, leaned through the window (internal to the cabin), and levitated my face twelve inches above Pokey and Hawaii's heads, and I shrieked "YOU KIDS NEED TO KNOCK IT OFF AND GO TO SLEEP RIGHT THIS GODDAMN INSTANT!" at a terrifying pitch. They each jumped six inches in the air, and started wailing piteously. And then promptly rolled over and went to sleep!

I felt both bad and gleeful. I was like some sort of terrifying spider cat burglar furious mom, descending from the ceiling down to your face. Mostly gleeful. Sometimes we all need to have the living daylights scared out of us in order to achieve that hard reset, necessary to stop clawing at our siblings.

New growth, taller each year, forest fires receding further and further into the distance.

Filthiest kid ever? Missing that front tooth.

Jammies plays sports hard.

Scratched up daddy, scratched up son.

Oh heebie, you must have the soul of a poet, taking a photo of a dead tree like that.

But it's a really pretty dead tree, right?


Everything is cancelled tomorrow - public schools, day care, Heebie U. Unfortunately, classes at Heebie U don't start until the day after tomorrow, so all they really cancelled was my day to be intensely productive before I have to meet with my classes. This is not my favorite kind of snow day.

It's not exactly a snow day - more a wintry mix - but we're going with cancelling things anyway. Definitely the coldest winter I can remember in a long, long time. 


Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings at 2018-01-16 14:06 (UTC) (Link)


I like Pokey's science project! His results are flawed, but he is thinking like a scientist.

Also, that is indeed a beautiful tree.
heebie_geebie at 2018-01-22 03:30 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Pokey

Yeah, perhaps. He is investigative all right. I just don't know what to think about the fact that the teachers let all that go uncontested! Does it mean he was so determined and dog-headed that they gave up? Does it mean that they had a conversation but didn't make him change the poster? None of it concerns me exactly, I'm just so confused how this thing came to pass. I can't wait to show it to him when he's 16.
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