Sunday, June 11, 2023

The Dorsal Crest Erection

Old times, as my father used to say: If you’re not careful, they’ll gut you like a fish.  (Rules of Civility)

 This is a green anole, Anolis caronlinensis.  They were common here in my youth.  I haven't seen one in probably a decade, maybe more.  Certainly more.  They have been replaced, by and large, with the Cuban brown anole, Anolis sagrei.  The brown anole is an invasive species, and like most invasive species, has decimated the native population.  So it was a thrill yesterday to see one of the survivors.  I have imagined that there has been cross-breeding, but I did research and it is impossible. . . maybe.  Probably, but I read a research article that details some hybridization traits that invasive species can make.  If the genes change enough, perhaps. . . .  I only say this because a couple weeks ago, I saw a green anole with a head crest.  It was larger than the usual anole by about a quarter.  It surprised me, and scared me, too. I was the only zoology major in my university who couldn't pick up lizards.  Or snakes.  Or most anything that didn't want to be picked up.  I guess I was the Sissy Zoologist.  

Wait!  More research. 

What they discovered is that male anoles have a clearly-defined organ they dubbed the “crest capsule” (a structure female anoles lack), and when this capsule is filled with an edema from local blood vessels, the crest extends vertically. Collagen fibers appear to help maintain the crest’s vertical orientation during its display. After inflation, the edema then drains into the subcutaneous space surrounding the capsule, causing the crest to deflate. They found no evidence of the involvement of muscles, cartilage, or vascular sinus in crest erection.

Soooo, . . I guess what I saw was a male with a dorsal crest erection.  Hmmm.   Maybe I have a breeding population right here in my own yard.  That would be fabulous.  

Well.. . enough of the zoology talk.  Let's do some math.  

Let me give you a brief rundown of my run down day.  By the end of it, I was sure I was dying.  I decided first thing to walk further than I have since my knee went south, about 3.5 miles.  I was slow.  My knee hurt.  My steps were short.  My right leg did not fully extend.  When I got home, I laid out my mat and did ten minutes of core exercises.  If cleaning the closet for five hours devastated me, then I need to work my core.  After that, I took my fall comforter that had been sitting in the closet to the dry cleaners.  A trip to the hardware store for many heavy bags of topsoil.  A trip to the nursery for miniature mondo grass.  The grass was $5.99 per small pot.  Too much, I thought.  I decided to go home and prepare the ground first.  I would check at some other nurseries.  Home, I got the tool I have no name for, a flat, triangular thing that slices and dices beneath the top soil cutting off the roots of plants you don't want.  The ground was hard.  The work was hard.  There were tree roots everywhere.  I was sore from the day before.  It was terrifically hot.  I tilled the ground then raked up the cut vegetation and put it in a bag.  I sat down with a can of sparkling water.  It was really hot.  I cut the bags of topsoil and began to shake it out and spread it.  The walkway already looked better.  My old girl and I had done this years ago, but I used sand instead of topsoil.  It was pure white.  I told her that dirt was sand with dead organic matter in it, that this would become soil.  Nothing grew and the sand stayed white.  "It looks like hell," she said.  So now, I was doing it right.  I counted out how much grass I would need.  The bank account will take a hit, but I will buy it and start planting today.  

I filled the bird feeders while I was at it, but. . . man, I was done.  I took off my clothes and came into the house (ha!--maybe a different order) and ran an Epsom Salts bath.  After that and a shower, I fell back into bed for a nap.  When I woke, it was late.  I got out of bed and hurt all over.  I couldn't wake up.  It was a painful struggle from bedroom to living room.  I sat.  I hurt.  It was time for mother's.  

I could barely get to the car.  It was even harder getting out.  I cried about how much I hurt to my mother.  She started listing her ills.  This was not a good conversation.  I did not stay so long.  I went to the grocery store to get fixings.  I had not eaten anything all day.  Two days in a row, all I have eaten is dinner.  I bought baby spinach, spring mix salad, cooked beats, avocado, garlic, and some boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  

As soon as I got home, I made a Campari and soda.  It made me feel better right away. 

I put the chicken thighs on a plate and seasoned them with Kosher salt, rough ground black pepper, and a liberal amount of red pepper.  I started the grill.  

Just as I was putting the chicken on, my friendly neighbor, the anesthesiologist with the cutest little white west highland terrier ever came up.  The dog always looks for me.  She loves me ever since the Christmas Eve when she came over and sat in my mother's lap while we cooked (and gave her little food treats), and after that when I shared some of my grilled salmon with her.  We chatted while the chicken grilled, then he said he'd let me get back to cooking.  I flipped the thighs and went in to make the salad.  When the thighs were done, I took one and cut it with meat scissors into small pieces and scattered it over the top.  Salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.  

Then the rain came.  I took my meal inside where it was cool and dry.  I poured a glass of wine. 

Holy smokes, my body wanted that.  I began to feel uplifted right away.  It was delicious.  To make things clear, I feel the urgent need to loose some weight.  Not just some.  So I am eating only dinners.  I don't want to quit drinking, for almost every social event requires it, so I am limiting.  I am drinking less, which is harder than it sounds.  Each night I scale back a bit.  I wish I liked smoking pot, but it just makes me stupid and befuddled.  I know it doesn't do that to everyone, but I become a bit like my drug addled neighbor.  I don't want to be that.  Opium would suit me better I am convinced though I have never seen it let alone smoked it.  But if it is anything like codeine, of which it is a lighter, less concentrated version. . . yea.  After a scotch now, I get the old tea cooker going.  Still, I have another before bed.  Not ideal, but it is something.  

When I went to bed, I took 600mg of ibuprofen and half a Xanax.  I slept.  And when I got up this morning, I felt much better.  Much.  I am no longer miserable all the time.  Just some.  But that is better.  Much.  

I've been saying I want to put a bathtub on the deck for a long, long while.  And I do.  Today, I realized the Times has been reading me again.  They have a long article on doing just that today.  It is now "a thing."


I woke up to this text from Q this morning. 

“It’s easier to be happy when you’re pretty.” (line from Marvelous Ms. Maisel) 

I know you know that's true.  We all know that pretty girls struggle, and we all know what happens when that beauty fades.  What we probably don't know as well is that it is true for men, too.  There is some old maxim about men aging that is total bullshit.  They get old.  Everything goes.  They can't drink, they can't fight, they can't fuck. . . Kaboom!!!  Time just beats the shit out of everyone.  That anyone is ever happy is a wonder.  

Fortunately for some of us, there is a collective wisdom for those who read literature that palliates the inevitable sting. . . a little.  A very little, but yea.  


—You’ve got a . . . lot of books, he said at last. —It’s a sickness. —Are you . . . seeing anyone for it? —I’m afraid it’s untreatable.  (Rules of Civility

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