June 05, 2008
Hanging with my niece and nephew
Red-haired Sister had given me a pillow, sheets, and a quilt for the futon where I was to sleep. She'd assured me that the anole lizard crawling loose in the room wouldn't likely bother me at all. And the two birds flying above my head? The parakeet and cockatiel that took turns landing on my head when I sat at the table and opened my laptop? They were harmless, really, and much cleaner than those pigeons that people feed in Europe. She forgot to mention that the birds would both wake at dawn to sing and chatter and fly about the room just above my quilt.
Red-haired Sister and Tie-dye Brother-in-law live in a house crowded with animals, plants, and science projects. Their four dogs, like many rescue animals, have issues and get into the occasional fight, growling and snapping their teeth. The rabbits and hen stay in the backyard in the summer, although I think the rabbits occupy the upstairs bathroom in the winter. The cat, slinking quietly about, is no trouble at all. The butterflies were hatching from cocoons during my visit; we watched as new butterflies flapped their wings to dry. I don't know the status of the compost worms: I didn't ask.
Dandelion Niece and Suburban Nephew are homeschooled, which perhaps explains the science projects going on in every part of the house, and the posters on the stairway that show the planets and the solar system. The bay window in the living room is filled with plants, and the gardens all around the house spill over with flowering bushes and thick clusters of perennials. Both my sister and brother-in-law like to cook generous mounds of food that fill the kitchen with good smells. When my sister buys stuff for a picnic, she includes olives and fresh bread and chocolate. When my brother-in-law picked us up at the airport after our European vacation, he brought with him fresh water, fruit, and dark chocolate for the ride home.
Red-haired Sister was sitting at her computer, with two dogs at her feet and a bird on her head, her daughter leaning against her shoulder, when she gave me an explanation for her lifestyle. "I think I was unduly influenced by the movie Dr. Doolittle."
Posted by jo(e)