Friday, November 04, 2005

Bush Babies and Me

Ok, guys, time for a new post. Recently a friend compared me to a bush baby. I didn't have any clue what that was, for starters, and what he meant by calling me one. I was tempted to just tell him to take a flying leap, but I decided instead to find out what one was, and come up with the ways I was like one. Then I typed a paper. The resulting paper amused me so much that I decided to let everyone else enjoy it too. Enjoy!

Bush babies are nocturnal animals native to the African bush. They are small nocturnal creatures which live in small to large groups- smaller when feeding, and larger when sleeping. When they are sleeping they often stay in groups as large as 20. They sleep in small, enclosed spaces like tree trunks, all cuddled together. For such a small animal, weighing no more than ten ounces as an adult, they have a very large territory- up to 20 acres per group that sleeps together…. Amazing how only twenty little ten-ounce animals think they need 20 acres! That's an acre for each little nocturnal, fuzzy body. What cheek! Bush babies not only need an oddly large amount of space, but they are also one of the most peculiar looking animals in the African terrain. They have large, round, glassy-looking eyes, and enormous ears. They have the unique ability to leap great distances along the treetops, giving them the illusion of flying. Sort of like a flying squirrel with bigger vocal cords. Speaking of vocal cords, it's this particular body part the gave the little tyke its name. When a bush baby thinks that something is invading its territory, it gives a yell that sounds similar to the yell of a small, excited child. Want to catch one? It's not hard; just buy yourself some liquor (palm wine specifically) and you're good to go! You don't have to buy much- the little sots are cheap drunks. At least that's how the African bushmen catch them when they are in need of a funny-looking little pet. Bush babies survive on an omnivorous diet of bugs, caterpillars, lizards, dung beetles, flowers, pollen, honey, seeds, fruit, and the sap from acacia and albizzia trees. Because they are nocturnal animals, they sleep all day, and then awake for their nightly gorging sessions at dusk. Whenever they are foraging for food, they go in groups that consist of a male, a pregnant female, and the female's offspring from a previous litter. They have very fast reflexes (at least when they aren't doped up from a bushman with a keg), and catch their prey by pouncing on them. Their use as pets used to be much more widespread until 1940, when there was a particular heinous outbreak of yellow fever. At that point, bush babies were mercilessly hunted, due to their participation in the plague of sickness. You see, bush babies are somewhat like the idea of an alien life-form which peacefully cohabits with deadly gas; they carry the virus for yellow fever in their cute little bodies with no risk to their personal health. Problems ensue when mosquitoes bite them and pass on the virus to the next thing they bite, which in many cases are humans. Once they invented a vaccine for the virus, though, bush babies were once again flung into the process of alcohol abuse and captivity. Bush babies are amazing animals, and have incredible senses of hearing and night vision. A bush baby can hear a cricket’s legs walking on dead leaves from over 15 feet above in a tree. Obviously, these little guys don't miss a thing. Still needing more of a mental image of one of these little guys? Please refer to the recent animated film "Madagascar"- the little guys singing the "Move It" song with gusto are lemurs, which are very similar to bush babies. They are from the same group of primates, the main differences being that bush babies are smaller, nocturnal, and have a slightly different diet. Bush babies are nocturnal due to competition with larger primates who delight in daytime activity. Evidently, in a poo-flinging contest, the guys with the most crap win.

Ok, so now the question arises: In what ways do I resemble a bush baby? Well, first of all, the obvious- I'm a cheap drunk, I love leaping through the air with catlike agility at high altitudes, and foraging with my mate and children for food in the undergrowth of the African jungle while pregnant. The more subtle comparisons, however are a little harder to nail. The more overt ways I resemble a bush baby is that in my family of origin, I was more of a watcher than a fighter. If the big monkeys were out throwin' poop clods twice my size, I would be on the side lines hiding, sleeping, or shrieking like an excited child. In my environment I was more an observer than anything else. The only time I came out of my shell was after the other primates went to sleep for the night (or left, or went away, or after I moved out of the environment). My orb-like eyes and oversized ears picked up everything; nothing escaped my notice. The fight in me only came out when there was an unsuspecting victim- like a smaller monkey or a big monkey feeling emotionally strung out and defenseless. Once I had spotted my victim from twenty feet away, I would stalk and pounce with lightning speed and deftly deliver my small, sharp death bites of criticism to the neck before they knew what was happening. My quarry was completely caught off balance due to my overly apt observations and skill at flinging the glaring truth about themselves into their faces with stunning accuracy at times when I didn't think they would swipe back. Sometimes I was wrong, and they would fight back, but soon they would grow bored with their warfare against a pipsqueak and I would live to fight smarter another day; there was never surrender under any circumstances.

So, there you go. Me and the bush baby. Twins I tell you, separated at birth.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Zen of Crawling

Well, folks, it's been awhile since I have felt inspired enough to write. Just as easily as my life complicated itself, it has uncomplicated itself these last couple of weeks. So, that all said, my life now consists of housework, romance novels, and making sure my little brown furry tornado, more commonly known as Gizmo, doesn't wreak havoc whilst she shadows me around the house.

However, today my routine has changed. Today I came over to my brother's house to help my mom with my adorable 5 month old neice, Shayce (pronounced Shay-see). She is the cutest baby ever! Her most recent accomplishment is holding her bottle for herself. And I'll be darned if she doesn't look absolutely pleased with herself when she does. She's even taken to plucking the bottle in and out of her mouth just to show that bottle who's boss.

She's also working on figuring out how to get her knees beneath herself and her arms in the right spot so she can start crawling. She works so hard at it, and babbles the whole time. The only thing is, her babbling sounds more like growling than anything else. As my mom puts it, "She the growlin'est baby I ever did see!" The most amusing thing about watching Shayce play on the floor is the fact that any time she accomplishes anything new, she gets a look of absolute shock on her face. She was floored when, at the pinnacle of her growling frustration, she managed to wedge one knee beneath herself and lift her abdomen off the ground with a heartfelt "Yayayayah!" This was soon followed by her body thumping back down to the ground and a millisecond of stunned silence from the hyperverbal baby. And then resumed the ooching, grunting, flailing, growling frustration of baby, broken intermittently by a screaming diatribe directed at one of her floppy, fuzzy playthings.

I think Shayce would agree that the few seconds of baby buttum elevated off the floor was worth it.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hail to the Moody Chief

Oh, kitten.

This phrase has been bandied around quite frequently in my house for the last two months. For some reason, she has gotten a mixed up sense of the hierarchy of the household. Whenever I was toying with the idea of getting a cat, the warm, cuddly vision of a lazy fluffy furrball lounging in my lap, sleeping all day popped to mind. Oh how untrue that has turned out. For some reason, the image of my mind's eye has chosen to derail and speed turbulently southward as opposed to coming to fruition, as I so wished. My house is now filled with the pitter-patter of little feet, which sound more like sassy, overfed thuds every day. Occasionally a little furry tornado whizzes through my bedroom, twirls around in playful abandon, then darts under the bed, only to pop out only now and then with all her suppressed rage and bite a towel or some other unsuspecting stationary object. She used to have a preference for my husbands feet, but after long, persistent, hard-headed experimentation with getting in a juicy bite on a big toe, followed by feeling herself rocket through the air and land across the room, she has decided that it's better to go for objects that don't object.

Well, speaking of husbands, mine is waiting to return to our little domestic hideaway, and the reproachful miaow that will be waiting for us on the other side of the front door.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Furry Takeover

Well, well, well! Guess who's back? If you said "Cris! Hooray! Cris is back" then yes, you are correct!

Well, it's been awhile since I've caught my faithful readers up on the important goings-on of my little world, so I have decided to tentatively peek my head out of my little shell and enlighten those who are curious as to what I've been up to.

The last eight months have been incredibly delightful, joyful, and hectic. There are now four new additions to my little family, which was once made up of, well let's see... myself. As of August 6, 2005, I now have a husband. I have also chosen to complicate my life even further by attaining not one, not two, but three pets- two dogs and a cat. I got to name them all, too! Mwa ha ha ha! The cat is named Gizmo, and she is an adorable little 6 month old brown tabby longhaired kitten. The first dog I got was Sadie- a 9-month-old German Shepherd mix with soulful brown eyes and a bigger grin than any dog has a right to have. Our last little pet is a 4 month old rat terrier named Buster. I hate to say it, but he's a little bit of a momma's boy.

Thus, the title. My life has been literally taken over by furry objects- animals and a husband. I think the last one might just be the furriest. I never knew settling down would be so much fun!

Monday, January 24, 2005

In Whose Image?

Well, I have been wanting to write something new on here for a while now, but for the longest time I couldn't think of anything to write about. I guess I was waiting for another stroke of comic genius, since I love hearing my sister laugh whenever she reads my new posts. But the waiting is finally over. I have decided to break down and write something new despite my lack of creativity in making this funny.

A lot has been happening in my life these past few weeks. Everything was rocking along quite merrily, and I have been having a blast enjoying my life and looking forward to the future. However, I never could have predicted what has happened in the last few weeks.

In the last year or so I have been training myself to look for the joy in life no matter what was happening. I feel that I am in complete control of how I choose to interpret situations, therefore, I can decide whether or not I am happy. I do not believe that happiness is an accident of good circumstances like I used to. I used to think, "Man, I can't wait for my life to get good so I can be happy for once!" I've learned that it doesn't work that way. I can not only learn to be content in all circumstances, but I can teach myself to have a good time as well!

So anyway, life is good. And, more importantly, there's another person in it now. I am finally dating someone, which is the thing I couldn't have predicted, and which has thrown my happy little world into somewhat of a tailspin. Although, as he would say, "it's all been worth it".

But, aside from all that, there is a particular issue which has intrigued my train of thought recently, and which led to this particular article on my blog.

When I was little, I used to dream of being a world explorer/ detective, and loved the idea that another person's life depended on my power to save them. At other times, I would pretend that I was a superhero or some kind of mutant that had special powers, so I could use them for good and affect the outcome of the world, so to speak. All of this led to the question- why do humans seek power? What is it in our wiring that makes us crave the ability to control our environment and oftentimes the environments of others?

It all goes back to the question of who made us. The plain and simple truth is that we were all made according to a divine blueprint, according to the original, who is a supremely powerful being. We are drawn to horoscopes and future-telling mechanisms because we were made according to one who knows everything. We have the instinct to care what happens to each other because we were made after someone who cares very much about what will ultimately happen to every single breath of human life.

So, I said all that to say: Humans are very powerful creatures. We all innately possess a portion of the power of our maker, since he is basically defined by it. However, the crux of the matter is how we choose to use the power that we possess. We are capable of great amounts of good, great amounts of evil, or a great amount of wasted space; and this is all determined by the choices we make.

First, there are the people who abuse, misdirect, and misuse their power. These are the ones who commit heinous crimes and cause misery to others. These are the murderers and terrorists.

Second, there are those who are the ultimate in ineffectiveness. They are aware of their power through their concern for world issues and for their family, yet they have built up enough resistance through mental obstacles and hurdles that they are incapable of taking action. All they do is talk, worry, and wring their hands, and it just so turns out that talk is cheap. They waste their energy and ability, and ultimately become resentful and angry because they realize their abuse of the talents they were given. That's the trap of negative thinking- positive results require positive action.

Finally, there are the ones who learn to be stewards of their potential, by fulfilling it and making use of it, and teaching others to do the same. These are the mentors, the role models, the super heroes, the best friends and the happiest people. It's funny how people with the best self-esteem are the ones who have done the most with their lives, and yet only consider it a humble fulfillment of duty.

I want to strive to not only be a thinker, observer, learner, and teacher, but also a doer- a role model, mentor, and a superhero. An effective person with goals to reach for, and happiness and love to live for and inspire in others. And, if I can say at the end of my life that I have done that, then it will only be a humble fulfillment of my duty.