Spring Cleaning, Saving the Wild, and Other Things To Do On Your Day Off

Hello
again from Mountain Mecca & Hippie Heaven!

TGI…S? This will be my first full day off,
with no chores or commitments, in almost 3 weeks! I intend on using this time
wisely, mostly by doing a lot of nothing. Prez did give me a surprise day off
on Wednesday but I spent the entire day cooking and cleaning so I don’t think
it really counts. Right?

Yesterday
I tended to my nagging addiction –not
reading, writing, chocolate, martinis, my cat, Star Trek, or watching Eddie
Izzard (he’s my latest craving and I did, actually, end the day with a half
hour of him)- I cleaned the truck! From the debris I removed, you could build,
if not a house, a small guest cottage. There was a family from Burundi
(Burundians?) living between the back seats and it was terrible to evict them,
what with the conflict in their homeland and all. (I might have made that last
bit up; I’m not sure if there is any conflict in Burundi). If you’re like me,
(poor you), then you know the agony of wishing for a crevice attachment, for
your vacuum, small enough to get in the air vents of a vehicle and suck out
those last, little, annoying, teeny, tiny, miniscule pieces of dust that no
tool or rag seems capable of reaching! ARRRGH!!!

Hello,
my name is Princess and I’m a clean-a-holic.

Hello
Princess.

It’s
been three hours since I last mopped, dusted, vacuumed, washed, pol…no wait,
I’ve just wiped the coffee stain off this podium. Ummmm, can I start again?

No.

You know
those western movies where the tall, dark stranger (aka – Clint Eastwood) rides
into town, and you know just from the look in his eye (and the ominous
background music) that there’s gonna be trouble? Yes, well, when Prez sees me
dip into the back room to get the vacuum he feels about the same as all those
poor townsfolk that Clint will eventually fill full of lead. I’m a bit OCD when
it comes to cleaning but I’ve gotten better, learned to relax, over the years.

No you
haven’t.

Shut up,
no one asked for your opinion.

I’m you,
stupid. I’m your brain. Your opinion is
my opinion.

If you’re
my brain, prove it! What am I thinking right now? Huh?

Oh,
honestly, you’re hopeless.

I’m not
alone; I take some comfort in that. My good chum Patty-Cakes is as bad (much
worse) as me. Given his way, he would re-paint the entire house and re-carpet before any social event to
be held there. Large parties would, of course, require a complete renovation.
Some might consider this a bit over the top, I say the man is just thorough.
But then, my CD’s are arranged alphabetically, chronologically, and by genre…so
there you go.

I like
to clean but my forte is organizing, (See also: CD collection). I think I got
it from my mother. Long I admired her photo album arranging skills, and dreamed
of the day I, too, could put photos in books with dates and descriptions beside
them! Shortly after I met Prez, he regaled me with tales of his big adventure,
as a teen, when he rode his bike, solo, as far as Arizona. “Hold on, I’ll show you some pictures!”
he exclaimed and I eagerly awaited the album we would pore over together.
Imagine my shock, (the horror, the horror), when he led me to a closet and
pulled out a cardboard box with hundreds of stray photos jammed in every which
way. “They’re in here… somewhere.”

I had to
go have a shower; it was an abomination.

Oh come
on, give the guy a break.

I still
have nightmares.

Yeah,
but what about his fishing tackle?

True.

Anyone
who’s ever fished with Prez, who’s seen the German-like efficiency of his
tackle box, will testify that he is not completely immune from clean-itis. And,
come to think of it, I recall watching a movie long ago, with friends, and
seeing my new guy whip out a Dust Buster, mid-film, and start sucking up chip
crumbs from the carpet beneath the friends’ feet. Oh yes, it was love at first
vacuum.

Spring
is when my disease reaches critical mass. Spring: the flowers, the birds, the
sunshine, the dust! DUST!! So, here I am, smack in the middle of Spring
Cleaning Fever. Luckily we now have an Employee, so I will have more time to
clean…erm, I mean write, more time to
write.

Yes, we
have hired someone. We held off as long as possible but Prez’s back and knees
started soliciting resumes while we weren’t looking. It is odd having an
Employee. I’m really conscious of my behaviour all of a sudden – not wanting to
be anything like all the bosses I’ve ever hated. And yet, part of me feels like
one of those James Bond villains, stroking my cat, sitting in a big leather
chair, laughing maliciously – “Employee,
go dig a hole over there, mwa ha ha ha ha! And move those heavy bags of cement
five feet to the left, mwa ha ha ha!”

But
seriously, the new guy, DJ-B, (I considered nicknaming him “MC Hammer &
Saw” but thought it was a little verbose), is really nice and working like a
madman. Mwa ha ha ha! (I just love
that laugh).

I tried
to come up with a clever segway into this next bit but my brain is too tired.

I am
not!

Shhhhh,
they’re buying it. And the sooner we finish this Chronicle the sooner we flop
on the couch with Emily and watch Eddie Izzard DVDs!

Ooooooohhh.
I see. I’m so tired, I feel faint. I’m swooning.

Nice.

So, last
night I met the Ripsters at a book launch for The Purcell Suite. Their friend
Pat Morrow, a well respected outdoor photographer & filmmaker, was a
contributor to this anthology which celebrates the wild beauty of the Purcell
mountain range
. But the book has another purpose.

You may
remember my rant (May 12, 2006) about the proposed development of the Jumbo Valley? (If not,
please visit the archives, and do stop in the gift shop on your way out). Well,
this anthology of stories, poems, and photos is not only a good read and a
fundraiser to help save Jumbo, but also a way of helping people see this slice
of vital wilderness through the eyes of those who love it. I think it’s a
brilliant idea. After all, we only fight to protect things we care about.

At the
book launch, there were readings from some of the contributors, a short speech
from a member of the “extinct” Sinixt Nation, (oh yes, that tribe is extinct
and therefore they won’t mind us taking all their land), and an elder of the
Ktunaxa Nation (he was very hard to hear but I did make out the words “moccasin”
and “boots”; I’m sure they were quite significant), as well as two short,
award-winning films. I was too tired to make it through the second film, but
the first, Still life for woodpecker?, was really fascinating.

On a
small scale, the film described the habitat, and habits, of the pileated woodpecker on a
much larger scale, the film dealt with the need for conservation of old growth
forests. Have you ever been lucky enough to wander through an old growth
forest? I have. Once you’ve touched a tree so large it would take ten or twelve
people, with arms extended, to encircle it, you gain a whole new appreciation
for the forest. Anyway, there was a bit in the film which I loved because I
think it illustrated, perfectly, the reason why one little species, such as the
pileated woodpecker, is necessary to the health of an entire eco-system.

Pileated woodpeckers need large trees for their nests, and they usually carve out a new
nest every year. The empty nests become habitat for critters that aren’t able
to make their own, such as owls, squirrels, bats, etc. Now, the squirrels that
live in these abandoned woodpecker holes feed on, among other things, certain mushrooms
that grow at the base of these trees. In the process of digging up and eating
these mushrooms, the squirrel helps spread spores around which will become
future mushrooms. The tree is dependent on these mushrooms as they help the
tree absorb water and assist in the growth of new roots. Without the mushroom, the
tree would not be strong and healthy; without the squirrel, the mushroom
wouldn’t propagate; without the woodpecker, the squirrel would not have a home.
(Feel free to pop your “Lion King” DVD in and sing along to “The Circle of
Life”, at this juncture).

Anyhoo,
I bought two books. One I will keep for reference, and one I will send out to a
Mystery Recipient. Here’s the deal though, the person who finds “The Purcell
Suite” in their mailbox has a serious mission, (don’t worry, it won’t
self-destruct in 30 seconds or anything so dramatic). Should they choose to
accept this mission, they must a) Read the book as expediently as possible, b)
Write their name in the back, and c) Save the free world from the forces of
evil!

OK, OK,
got a bit carried away there. And c) Pass the book along to someone else,
giving them the same instructions.

After 50
names are in the book, the 50th person must mail it back to me…upon
punishment of death! Mwa ha ha ha! (I
desperately need some time off). The book may be dog-eared, notes may be
scribbled on it, sections highlighted, readers may do whatever they please to
it, as long as the next person can read it in full.

But if
you can’t wait to find out if you are the Mystery Recipient, then you can
purchase “The Purcell Suite” here. There are also some great websites like
Wildsight and Jumbo Wild that can help you understand why we need to protect
these wild spaces, (and why we don’t need some big ass ski resort full of
neon-clad, mocha-latte-sipping, jet setters, and minimum wage, no-brainer,
service jobs in the middle of it all!)

And
speaking of wild things, our resident brown bear has come out of hibernation,
as evidenced by the garbage can he broke into last night and spread all over
our back yard. Well…sigh…I guess I better go clean it up!

I love
bears.

You only
love them because they’re messy and you get to pick up after them.

Do not.

Do too.

Not!

Too!!

Stupid
brain!!!

QUESTION:
Who will be the Mystery Recipient??? (Mwa
ha ha ha!
)

Until
next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy, (clean), & lovin’ life!

The
Princess

p.s. – Here is a pic of the fence we were working on last week and one of Emily helping me with office paperwork. Very talented cat, that one!

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