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Prague - Trial by Walk

St Vitus Cathedral on the Prague Castle grounds Trial by walking - that's how I'll remember today for the rest of my natural lif...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

OH THE HORROR!

After work I spotted the first insect horror of the year - a praying mantid. It was perched on my recyclables bin I just hauled in from the curb. *shudders* Those critters are the second scariest things on the planet. The mantid was pale green and stood hunched backwards like a master ninja poised for the kill. Gads, mantids are spooky.

Mind, it is a tad embarrassing to admit it gave me a chill. The creature was a new hatchingling. Come to think on it, on recalling the beast, I must admit the word miniscule comes to mind. The mantid was not quite up to the size of this letter ----> T.

I know, I know - I need to grow a spine.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Rule of 3

Unless I wish to lie awake listening to Western Screech Owls at 3 am, I will never, never ever again drink venti soy cafe mochas - iced or otherwise - after 3 pm.

Three. Caffeine. No.

That ought to be easy enough to effing memorize.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Rocky III

Rocky, the raccoon who visited me since December (and prior to that visited incognito) is back.

You know, it occurred to me last night, I might be visited by more than one raccoon. Even if that is true, I will continue referring to them all as ‘Rocky’. The little guy I saw last night did not have the swaggering attitude of the last raccoon that had come in, eaten, and was on his way out when I happened to look up and see him. This 'new' raccoon was timid and seemed afraid of me. Its little paw trembled as it stared at me, in an affecting manner. One thing is that all racoons visiting my home do stare at me as I stare at them. The critters seem amazed at the humongous THING, i.e., me, before them. They think I'm the giant guarding a treasure - CAT FOOD - as in some fairy tale.

The cat flap being gone now, this was the first time the raccoon just marched through the open cat door. It was a daring thing for the critter to do; the area in front the fireplace, nearby the French doors is piled high with junk I back-hoed out the rear of the house; a mattress, a steamer trunk, piles of bed sheets, a basket of sewing trimmings. Trust me, timid though he/she may have seemed, a raccoon that walks off a dark patio and into a well lit house that by raccoon standards, reeks of cats and human scent and is full of foreboding piles of stuff is no diminutive and timid little forest critter. Maybe the paw trembling was old Rocky debating if he should just ignore the fat human and continue his investigations.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Progress in Periwinkle

I like to imagine one or two who have read my blog, have forgiven me on the kitty abandonment issue. I thank you for your compassion and will now continue nattering on with my little daily revelations, daily concerns and introspective bull.
Am thrilled; took two days off work so I could paint the final frontier otherwise known as my junk room/future bedroom. The room is 50% painted and trimmed.


Late this morning after a painting session I stood in the hallway and came to the shocking conclusion; despite all my efforts at variety, I inadvertently painted the both back bedrooms the same color. Both are
periwinkle or blueish lavender. I would have sworn they were different but it would take DNA paint swatches to tell the rooms apart now. The main difference is the new bedroom has pale yellow trim, the guest room trimming is a pale lavender. Boogers. I've moved all the junk out into the living room in front the fireplace for a M.A.S.H. style junk triage. The big question is how long will the crap sit junking up the front room before I donate/toss the floatsome & jetsome? I'm hoping now the junk is no longer 'out of sight, out of mind' and is hidden in plain sight the clutter - which makes me crazy - will be just the auspicious kick in the arse needed to move me towards a junk-free state.
If I am wrong about my motivation to ditch the junk then I suppose I will begin proceedings on obtaining a landfill operator's license. How lucky for me that I work at CalEPA headquarters.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Confessions of Kitty Abandonment

Bless me Father for I have sinned.

Five days in a row I lay trying to sleep at night, all the while imagining imaginative way to garrote, suffocate, hang, pound (you get the general idea) a cat that marched up and down in my back yard yowling at the moon. You see – the cat was my cat, Kola.

For the 11th year in a row I managed to resist the temptation to do the fuzzy little beast in but this week, after the fifth night in a row of falling fitfully asleep only to wake and wake again to caterwauling, I caved. I took Kola and locked him in a kitty carrier in the garage. Next morning I took him to the animal night drop box at the Sacramento County Animal Regulation offices. I filled out the paper slip & willingly gave all of my info - my name, address, phone number and information about Kola, such as that he is neutered & his shots and even his flea protection is up to date. Then I left. With Kola gone, the remainder of my day felt like a wonderful & jolly holiday.

This morning I got a call from Animal Control asking if I would come down to fill out paperwork for Kola so he could be released for adoption. When I got to the place one of the county agents was quite surprised.

‘I understand a pet getting on your nerves and giving it up after maybe a year, but waiting eleven years to give him up? I don’t get it.’

I told him Kola was not ‘my cat’ exactly. Kola belonged to my dog Chiquilla & I had long vowed if Chiquilla died before Kola did, Kola was going to be out on his furry arse. Two years ago Chiquilla broke my heart when her life ended. For the sake of her memory I managed to stall dumping Kola for two long, nerve wracking years. Then this past week, no surprises, my patience gave out. I was either going to strangle Kola and achieve the first symptom of serial killers – murdering small animals - or I was going to have to get rid of Kola.

‘He’s not a bad animal,’ I insisted, ‘it’s just that we never got along. He’d make a very sweet pet – for someone else.

The man said, ‘If you don’t mind my asking, what does he do? That cat had me laughing, and he was yowling all night.’

‘The yowling is only part of it,’ I said, ‘He does a thousand things that drive me crazy, and not the least of it is he loves raping my other cat Rum, whom I love. Honestly, the kitty rape scenes are driving me mental.’

The guy’s eyes widened but he kept his thoughts to himself.

I think I came across as a bit eccentric, but what do I care, that #@&#*ing bastard Kola is gone! I am very near to deliriously happy.

So, in short, this morning I filled out all the necessary paperwork and even paid the required $40 relinquishment fee to turn Kola over to the county. The fee seems counter productive to me because all it probably does is prompt people to abandon their pets on the streets or refuse to claim former ownership of the animals which means the creatures are not put up for adoption, and are held & then, unclaimed by the person who abandoned them - they are put down.

I wish Kola the best of luck. I would bet the farm he will easily pass the psychological testing required of animals that are put up for adoption. He is older and in this kitteny time of year that won't help his odds at adoption, but who knows - with the sort of luck that restrained me from strangling him all these years, maybe some cat loving soul will adopt him and he'll have a few more years of being someone else’s pet. And if not, well at least he had 11 good years.

I'm still deliriously happy Kola is gone.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Am rather stunned this morning. I completed setting up the new bed but am stunned at just how little room is left over in a 20 x 10 foot room once a QUEEN sized bed it jammed into it. Dear me, there isn't enough room left over to swing half a dead cat. To see the bed, scroll down to Friday's blog entry.

I moved things around but the upshot is, the only way to make the room look less cluttered is to bite the bullet and ditch more of the furniture. I am determined to have a decluttered house.

I put the new tv stand I got at Ikea together this afternoon and unlike the bed, blew no mental gaskets in the attempt. *whew* Looks so clean and modern; must add photo sometime tomorrow or tonight.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Hurrah! An Accident in My Favor for a Change!

In fact, double Hurrah!

Only minutes after waking from an uncomfortable night on the couch, I got a phone call from Ikea delivery men; they had several articles of my delivery - and asked my permission to deliver the goods even though the delivery was a full week early.

My concern was they didn't have the queen mattress with them so I asked for them to hold on a bit. I called Ikea and & it was confirmed I already paid for the delivery for next Saturday and today's delivery would be sort of an early bird special. So I called back the delivery men back they brought everything except for the mattress and a couple of things I brought home last night.

Upshot: No more couch!

Downshot: Yikes! Now I have to assemble a humungous pile of wood & pegs & such to make up a bed.

Upshot reititeration: Yahoo! No more couch!

UPDATE, 8:02pm: FECK! FECK! DOUBLE FECK!

Stupid idiotic God cursed Swedish bed from HELL!

Am most miffed. Spent entire day assembling bed which went reasonably well though at 8PM it is still not quite completed yet, plus now that I'm further along in the instructions I realize that I won't be able to just drop my old twin mattress on it so I won't have to sleep on the couch all week long. Blast!

The entire bed, the wooden portion is set up and the main metal spine of the undercarriage is in place. HOWEVER, there remains several light weight aluminum rods requiring connection by means of insainely eensy weensie screws that are of a size more easily manipulated by wee little mice than live humans. I am so frustrated I could scream. The screws are tiny and if stared at they fly from my hands and race across the wooden floor. The screws are meant to be screwed UP, which being so tiny, and so low to the ground you can't get under them to screw upwards, is frustrating, as I reckon most acrobatic feats of vertical screwing in tight places have always been, those I can recall anyway.

Do not fret. Am ready to murder someone - anyone - Swedish.

No. Must instead eat one of the chocolate marzapan thingies I bought yesterday at Ikea - that ought to put me off murdering Swen - but Lars had better watch his arse, I can tell you that. *snarl*

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mini-break to Sweden

Hurrah! Had fun after work; Nancy accompanied me to Ikea for some shopping. This was sort of a mini-break to Sweden for the International Jetsetters on a tight budget. I needed to shop for a new bed to replace the twin beds that I ditched yesterday via charity pick-up.

I knew what I wanted when I got there - a nice queensized bed a nice firm mattress which I had picked out earlier on the Ikea website. I also picked out a bit of living room furniture but more on that some other time.

One of the things I like about the bed are two vertical storage spaces in the headboard - rather unusual, as the spaces are accessed from the top - so you can drop magazines into them I suppose.

It was fun trying out all the mattresses to pick out the one I most fancied. Had the biggest temptation in the bedroom area - there was a round bed, which reminded me of the old James Bond movies. Oooo that is like soo very tempting for my bedroom. The round bed is large enough to roll around on - to say the least. Nancy thought I should give the round bed serious consideration and said 'You know what they say, if you buy the bed HE will come'.

Thought I, 'he will come all right, heh, heh, heh....' I think I might have taken her comment the wrong way. Nancy called Rick (hubby) and he asked if we brought a pea with us so we could properly test out the mattresses on our princess soft skins. HAHAHAHHAAHA!

One of the big attactions with the West Sacramento Ikea is a Swedish restaurant which Nancy & I could not wait to try! So first we did our picking and choosing of furniture on the 2nd floor and then we bought dinner there - cafeteria style. Nancy got cooked salmon with potatoes and two varieties of carrots - yellow and orange. I got a spinach salad with salmon lox & a delish dijon dressing & a slice of loganberry cheesecake. Yum.

After enjoying our little 'taste of Sweden' we went down to the first floor for part II - picking up what we wished to purchase. Very strange! First you look at what you want on the immense 2nd floor showroom & jot down the aisle and bin numbers of what you want to buy. Then you go down to the first floor and pick the unassembled boxed items up and take them to check out.

I was whingy by then and Nancy found some nice guy we decided was named 'Sven' to help me get my purchases together on a cart. 'Sven' was a really sweet guy from somewhere in Africa. Anyway, with his help all my purchases were piled high on a rolly-cart.

I opted to have the lot of it delivered to my house so I made the arrangements.

Nancy bought a cute slatted bench for use by her front door - for Adan and Diego to put their back packs on and store their shoes under. Couldn't find a picture of it but it was very pretty and solid wood, not particle wood. Nancy also got a nice green table cloth and some Swedish goodies - cookies and such and I therefore had to peruse a secondary food area Ikea clevery put by the exit to tempt shopers before they leave. I ended up with salmon pate in a tube, marzapan cake thingies, Swedish licorice fish & a jar of pickled herring. Nummy!

It was a huge wonderful treat to have Nancy to go shopping with. I get so totally bored doing all my shopping by myself all the time. Making the event into a girly outing added a nice element of fun and took all the work out of shopping. Heaven knows I have a ton of shopping to do in the coming weeks.

My new bed and TV stand will arrive next Saturday the 20th, first thing in the morning. I can hardly wait! Especially since I will be sleeping on my eensie couch all week as I gave away the last of the beds in the household.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Progress, more or less

Took today off from work; the Salvation Army is coming by to take the dresser out of my future bedroom and the twin day bed with trundle in the guest room - the day bed I've slept on for the past... year? Year and a half? I'm glad the bed is going. Maybe sleeping on my creepy little couch will spur me on to completing painting and turning my future bedroom into my bedroom.

Two years ago - possibly three or four, who keeps count? - my future bedroom was a guest room & it was usually neat & tidy. Then the futon fugged up and voila! The back guestroom became the junk room from hell. More and more stuff piled up, then after a while the stuff began to breed and multipy on its own. Now I can only get into the room armed with a whip, a chair and thoughts of calm submission; thank you Caesar Milan.

With a little bit of luck I will either order a queensized bed or go pick one up at Ikea.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Christmas in May

I've been having fun with my new iPod. I got it a few weeks ago but it was only last Friday that I was able to outfit it for its primary purpose, in-the-field bird identification. On Friday night I installed bird calls onto it for pretty much every North American species that sings, squawks, chirps or tweets. Now, whenever I go birding, if I hear something I don't recognize, I can take a wild shot chirp in the dark at identifying the bird by its song by listening to likely 'suspect' birds on my iPod.

The bird songs I installed are from the Eastern & Western Stokes Field Guide to Bird Song. I used BirdPod Maker software to tweek and arranged the Stokes guide. The BirdPod Maker helps the iPod list the various bird songs by habitat, eastern or western half of the continent, etc.
The Stokes bird song guides were reasonably priced but the BirdPod program was UBER expensive!

Know what I keep my iPod stuff in? A small beaded tan deerskin pouch with a fringe of tin jingles that I made a long time ago - the two together are a perfect mix of my love of the old and new stuff.

Speaking of stuff, about a week ago I received a check and some settlement papers and a chart from State Farm Insurance concerning the theft of my 'stuff' in March, two months ago to the day March. The Statefarm chart listed my stolen items. Each item had its own row with fourteen additional columns of numbers - none of which made any sense whatsoever to me. I am not stupid, but honestly, Clarence Darrel wasn't good enough of a lawyer to figure out the meaning of the chart.

So last night I called the State Farm offices and asked WTF? The explanation from the agent made perfect logical sense and there is NO way I could have discerned as much from reading the damned charts or its accompanying letter. I told the insurance agent they ought to hire people who speak English and can convey information so people can read and understand the chart. Honestly, if that letter & chart were an assignment in an English class the writer would have earned an F for reader comprehension.

The upshot of the letter is let's say my stolen spotting scope had a value of $1,000 dollars in the first column. The policy paid directly to me $500 for the scope. I could, if I wanted, take the $500 and that is that. But as I want a replacement spotting scope I am short $500 for replacement. So what I will do is purchase my $1,000 spotting scope and turn over its reciept for to State Farm who then will dish out a check to me for the outstanding $500.

Now why the heck didn't the letter just say that?

So, now if I like I can go on a shopping spree to replace the remainder of my stolen stuff. The shopping to replace all the stolen stuff is rather like some bizarre sort of Christmas.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Beautiful Horses, Just for Me

Today I received a new gift from a former co-worker who with his wife went to China and they brought me back an entire herd of horses! Aren't these spectacular terra cotta steeds spectacular? I am in love with them! A spirited lot, these steeds look ready to gallop across the Mongolian plains.

Terra Cotta Horses of Xi'an

Whenever friends of mine go on vacation, my one request is 'bring me back a horse'. That's not too much to ask is it? I asked Don, who is on his way to Arkansas/Tennessee to bring me back a horse and he wanted to know if I wanted a figurine. I reminded him that he already brought me back a horse once before - a lovely photo of a horse with a cart from Ireland.
I always request friends bring back a photo of a horse they take themselves. It all started when a co-worker was on her way to her first trip to London and she asked what I would like for her to bring back as a present for me; she knew I adore London though have not ever been there. I did not want to hamper her trip looking for something or me or dragging the extra weight around so I asked her to bring me back something totally British that cost a dollar or less (I was not thinking pounds). She returned from her trip with a Sunday London Times for me! The following Sunday morning I had a delightful morning drinking tea and reading the Times. *heaven*

I thought that was brilliant & decided that was the way to go when friends travel. I decided to ask anyone traveling to bring me back a horse photo - easy to accomplish and easy on luggage weight.

I now own a lovely digital herd of beauties from around the globe which includes a chestnut thoroughred on a Jamaican beach, fragil white ponies in Tibet, horses on a green sloping hill in Peru, a Maui quarter horse, a cute white donkey in Nevada, and last but not least; the Queen of England in her open carriage drawn by Cleveland Browns (a breed of horse, not a baseball team). I love my herd of international equine beauties.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I Was Ready For My Shot Mr DeMille!

I was at a docent meeting and I ran into Diane R. who I haven't seen in ages. I told her I haven't seen her in donkey's years; she said she saw me on television. GAK! Did EVERYONE on the planet see me on that news clip other than me? I WANNA see the news clip dang it! I even got an Easter card from Sheep Nancy (whom I haven't seen in two donkey's ages) and she said she saw me on the news too.

last February a news crew was in Yolo searching for the Snowy Owl that was no-more. They were bored enough to film me - the MOOSE in the Northern Exposure style parka stalking up and down some shrubbery photographing a rogue ovenbird. I had no idea I was being filmed until I got to work the next day and I was told by the everyoneandhisdog they saw me on tv. Now here it is more than three months later and I'm still being spotted. I can't imagine the shots showed my face because I had the camera glued to my eyeball most of the time. So I imagine it was my oh-so-delicate frame everyone recognized.

Only bugs me because I DIDN'T GET TO SEE MYSELF ON TV AND EVERYONE ELSE DID!

Where do I file a complaint?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cinco Del Tartans

Stange start to the day; sat at my desk this morning, feeling very down after reading an email from Barbara about her Mom. Anyway, I was sitting at my desk trying to regain control of myself and I could hear the mournful durge of bagpipes wailing in the distance. WTF? I mean, today is Cinco Del Mayo so what was it with the sounds of Scotland? Decided I am losing my mind.

Still - the music continued so I looked out my office window and it was not my imagination. Downstairs, across the street at the motel were a half dozen men in kilts on walkabout, playing the pipes. Found out later there is a peace officers memorial of some sort going on at the Capital.