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Dubrovnik and a Bit of Bosnia

Mostar, across the Neretva River Enjoyed a hearty breakfast this morning while listening to Lulu belting out 'To Sir with Love' ...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Mini Mini-Break

Yes indeedy, I did ignore the opulent gas prices and point the Honda north for a drive through the Avenue of the Giants where the Redwoods tower, on to the north coast for my annual visit with northern buddies.

Scaresly made any stops on the way north. Instead of the scads of wild Dwarf and/or Roosevelt Elk, there was only this one Rooseveldt stag, traveling - well, he was traveling stag (his pun, not mine).

He was mowing his way across someone's front yard; a BIG boy he was too.

Crescent City is just a hair short of the Oregon Border. I picked up some Thai food and dashed over to my friend Inez. We had a chatty picnic in her back yard - I'm talking Olympic quality chatting here - and when the sun dipped below the pines we were tucked into our sleeping bags (seen the background of the photo below), watching bats flittering around as they chased moths and other bat dinner selections.

Inez having a rest

Believe it or not, in Olympic chatting, Inez would take the gold and I'd be slinking home with a bronze, at best. Inez is a teller of tales and this go-round she told me what has happened to her since she left her last job - a stunning and facinating story that I asked, no, demanded she write down for a book. Honestly, chatting doesn't get any better than a chat with Inez. She writes Gopher Gulch for Crescent City's paper, the Triplicate. I added her nook to my links list.

Next morning we ate creamy rice pudding for breakfast, watching the wild birds squabbling over birdseed on her front lawn. Then I was off south to Eureka.

In the Eureka area, in the eensie little hilltop town of Kneeland I visited my friends the Aggelers; Jennifer & Rick, daughter Carolanne (home from the University of Utah for the summer). She's working the summer as her Mom's 'girl Friday'. Jennifer is a lucky duck who works out of her home doing captioning and such, while Carolann is her brilliant technical 'nerd' and I mean that at the highest level of the meaning. While I was visiting, daddy Rick was bulldozing, flattening a slope behind Carolann's cabin where one day Jennifer tells me she hopes to house yaks! I'm pretty excited about those future additions to their critters.

It was a nice visit and I got to meet the newest, unexpected member of the clan, who hasn't even got a name just yet. Jennifer spins & knits and has angora rabbits who generously supply her with nice soft angora wools in several lovely colors. Anyway, Jen's oldest bunny is 9 years old and that is VERY old for a bunny. Just about the time Jennifer was expecting the old gal to give up the ghost, what did the old hunny-bunny do? She dug a nursery den, lined it with straw and bunny wool and had a kit, that is, a baby bun-bun.

You can see the little darling in sitting in his favorite spot, right on his mama's back. He is all black checkers on a field of white. Isn't hims cute? I'm voting for him to be named Checkers.

While at Jennifer's I picked up my long abandoned Baby Wolf loom. I've missed it and have high hopes this winter of producing a scarf or two or even something more daring. What would that be - a placemat?

This little Common Murre was California surfing

Cowabunga!

Rad surfing in Crescent City Dudes, Dudettes!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Annoyed

DAMN IT! REVEAL THE HOAX AND GET IT OVER WITH ALREADY!

There are numerous hoax watchers that say the Bigfoot revealing tomorrow in Palo Alto have all the earmarks of a stunt. Am WAY disappointed. Oh well. This one will probably go up there with the famous 'little girl with fairies - and a brownie camera. Oh well. I guess there is still a chance it's real, but I've already given up.

I'm talking Bigfoot, not Obama, though expectations for them are probably the same at this point.



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Speak of the Devil...

A couple days ago, I picked up a gift card at Barnes & Nobels. Now, heavens forbid I enter a book store and not exit with a book, and since I've always been fascinated by Cryptology - the study/search of undiscovered animals, when I spotted The Search for the Last Undiscovered Animals on the sales table it was a done deal. I posted it at the bottom of my blog here.

Well, speak of the devil, last night I discovered there are BIG Cryptozoology doings. Out of Jimmy Carter's Peachy state of Georgia, has come a possible Bigfoot. Mind you, not some more muckity footprints or fuzzy video, this time there is a honking big, 500 lb carcass, DNA tests and a news conference tomorrow - in Palo Alto. Oh pinch me Please, I must be dreaming.

Maybe, just maybe, this isn't some half-cooked scam. Just maybe, I might get a wish and be alive when the existance of a MAJOR unproven critter revealed as fact. This week Sasquatch, maybe next week the Loch Ness Monsters.

Humans are only genetically 3% different from Bonobo Chimpanzees. So, I'd expect there to be only an ensie bit of DNA diff t'wixt a genuine Sasquatch, and a human. Will that too little a difference to make the nay sayers declare a hoax? Oh well, you never know; might be the real deal, and with a body to pick at, the people who say 'no such critter' may be the ones scrambling for proof of their beliefs.

Meanwhile, there a loads of very interesting articles on line to whet one's glee while in search of proof that a HUMONGOUS fuzzy primate - one of which, my friend Inez saw years ago as a girl, in the Redwood Forests - is not imaginary but is a genuine bit of North American fauna. Uh... please note that even I'm not ready for it to be shown to be a live Cro-magnon or some such Huminoid.

Heh... in a short time I'll be camping out with in Inez in her Northern California back yard... it's Bigfoot country up there. Here's hoping we don't come across any critters more mysterious or interesting than the odd banana slug.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Joann Sent Me Back a Horse!

When anyone I know is going on a vacation, I ask them to bring something back for me. It's a imposition I realize, but I must be humored. Down in beautiful San Diego, my buddies Joann and Gene were off on a day-cation (known at my end as a 'mini-break'). Darned if they were sweet enough to remember my request - 'While you're off galavanting around, don't forget to bring me back a horse!'

Digital, smigital, a horse is a horse, of course, of course.

Here is the exceptional herd that Joann & Gene sent to me.


Gene making friends with Sunshine, the Missouri Walker


A Tennessee Walker in this season's most fashionable Red Roan



Joanne's friend Lorraine having a go on the gentlest ride on the spread

Her Majesty, Tony, the Welsh Pony -
just drop your curtsy and move it on down the line!

Ok, this is weird


On Friday, out of the blue, in the elevator on the way out of my office, I found myself thinking about a moldy, oldie, "where-the-hell did that come from?", Rin tin-tin.

Yes. I was thinking of the television series, so ancient that I doubted anyone, short of other human fossils, like myself, could remember the show. I don't imagine I've thought of the program since...Hector was a pup? Still, I there I was on my way home, musing over Rin-flippin'-Tin, the brave German Shepard. His master was a round-faced kid, the other running dog fascist working hard to rid the west of its aboriginal inhabitants. Why out-of-the-blue was I thinking about Rin-tin-tin?

Flash forward two days, to this morning. My little Sunday ritual - just watching my weekly DVR recording of Sunday Morning on CBS. I watch the show purely for the thrill of its final 30 seconds; that showcases live video of some wonderful bits of wilderness; sometimes it's flowers in a gentle breeze in some Massachusetts meadow, another time it might be alligators in some Texas slough. This morning the wilderness was a herd of bison with adorable red calves, frolicking in Montana's LaMar Valley.

Where was I? Oh yeah, back to this morning! On another enjoyable bit of CBS Sunday Morning, the almanac segment; feature of the week? Yes, it was Rin-tin-tin!

Was I flabbergasted, gob-smacked or thrown for a loop - your choice.

So what can I conclude? Sheer coincidence that out of the blue I thought about Rin-tin-tin and also out of the blue the show was featured on television? Or is there some weird thing going on in which if enough people are thinking of a topic, perhaps their electrical brain waves fly around, setting ideas in to people's noggins?

I wasn't thinking of Rin-tin-tin because I read or saw anything about the dog - it was that sudden; one minute I was pressing the elevator button, wondering if I could catch the 4:15 tram, the next I was pondering Rin-tin-tin. Heh... did my mind pick up airborne electrical thought waves out of the sky? Or does all of this only prove I am certifiably mental? Probably a little of each, but we already know that, don't we?

In other Sunday morning news, I finally baked what I've fantasized about for a couple of weeks now - a nice bread pudding, 1/2 made with fresh blueberries, the other half made with those colorful, juicy Trader Joes' fat yellow/red/deep purple raisins. Oh YUM!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Rats n' Bats

A few days ago I tried photographing a rat that was out scampering across the street from my office building, in the early morning dew. I’ve known there are rats in the park for a long time. In the winter when it was still dark out I used to see the beasties scampering about as I made my way from the bus stop to the office. By the time I would see the rats, they were always fleeing - it's safety first when you're a rat!

One time I spotted a rat sitting with a wistful look - yes, it was wistful - at me – it was white rat. It's tameness made me think some cruel human had turned it loose to fend for itself – poor baby. If that white rat ever goes out in the daylight will nabbed for sure, by one of the Red-tailed hawks that hunt pigeons in the park.
I tried shooting a rat portrait a couple of time this week and this is the best photo I got.

Look all you want, but there's no rat, just dirt & twigs.
The rat skittered off just just as I hit the shutter. Damn!

No rat, but I had better luck with a bat this afternoon. I was on my way to Starbucks with Mommy Nancy (so I could whine about missing the party, see here). Anyway, as we left the building a building buddy pointed out to me something interesting - just outside the office building on the wall by the front entrance. High up on the marble wall clung a beautiful, chocolate brown polka-dot. After the Starbucks run, I got out my portable digital and snapped myself a few batty memories.

Hard to say if this little guy is outside because he was overheated,
or migrating, or just plain rabid. Yikes!

It is a Mexican Free-tailed Bat; he's a long way from T.J.

Note: This little guy is clinging to a sheer granite wall - bet he needed his nails sharpened first.

Some Bunny Effed Up

Yeah - that's right - some bunny effed up

I was gearing up to go to Cornetta's going away party tomorrow night. I don't get invites to fancy-people-come-a-callin' shindigs very often so you better believe I've been so excited! Of course, I was also a bit cowardly, but I was going to suck it up and just go and have some fun. I asked Mommy Nancy if she would go halves with me on a gift card, which I purchased last night.

So here I am all excited and rearing to go tomorrow and I got an email from Nancy: the party was LAST Saturday night! WT....?!

And there is NO excuse for my screw up! Have no idea what to tell Cornetta (although she no doubt already knows I'm something of a spazbrain. You see, Cornetta gave me the party date - August 2nd, ages & ages ago. So how do I explain to her that my poor, tired, feeble brain managed to transpose the party date a whole week?! I'm hoping the party was such a success she hasn't even noticed I was missing. GAK! Honestly, I swear, just mark ready for the rest home, wrap me up and send me away.

Mommy Nancy forgot the day too, and we've decided we can take Cornetta out for dinner & there we can give her the gift card. *sigh*

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

An August Evening on Waldron Street

A view from my end of Waldron Street

Last night was National Night Out in my neighborhood – nice excuse for a potluck and chatty gathering. While last year’s event was dang near intimate; just the neighbors on my street; Waldron. This year the event covered the entire neighborhood, although if you look at the photo above, the event was still small.

So with my Indonesian Cold Rice Salad in hand, I trooped the half block to the Pot Luck gathering. I only recognized two of my neighbors; Bill, who arranged the whole event, and Mark who lives next door. This year there was no safetly talk by the local sheriff’s crew, but there were reps of the local fire department, who gave tours of their big, shiny red, fire engine. I didn't know that 8 out 10 calls the fire department get, via 911, are for health emergencies – you know the sort - grandad’s having a stroke. The whole fire crew is trained and they carry an EKG machine, heart paddles to jump-start the faulty tickers and even oxygen-to-go.

The Fire Truck; always at the ready to save Gramps

Loads of knobs and shiny buttons to hit

The neighborhood kids got to make a mess – note homie in his bad*** Potter T-shirt

My new favorite neighbor – 9 years old, Thor the Italian Mastiff

The last event of the evening was a free raffle, and in keeping with my recent string of luck, I won a prize – a Jama-Juice Card. Hurrah! I get to try a charged-up Jamba Juice, heavy on the wheatgrass.

Friday, August 01, 2008

For Whom the State Sucks...

The Governator strikes yet-again - at 11:00 today he signed a bill to screw State Workers as punishment for our having - uh... well, actually I have no idea what we have done to deserve this. You see, the State legislature is tardy in passing the State budget for the new year fiscal year - an annual occurrence. To make up the naughty lawmakers, I and all my fellow State workers will have our pay cut to Federal minimum wage level until the legislature 'makes nice' and passes the annual State budget. No worries; my credit union will cover our arses as it has done in the pass when the State toys with its workers lives.

So... what to worry about...? Aha! How about August? Last night I got a letter from my credit union; my State paycheck was not deposited in my checking account as it ought to have been yesterday. You see my credit union has my initials down as 'C' but the State has my initials down as 'NC'.

*GULP*

Mind, if a chimpanzee, with a copy of my drivers license - in crayon - swung into the State Controller's office to demand my paycheck, I strongly suspect there would a happy chimp, having the time of its life at Disneyland on my dime. But put my paycheck into my account, when the only thing different is ONE freakn' initial? Hell no.

Alas. A few months ago, I visited my safe deposit box at the credit union. There was a minor quibble that the name on my safe deposit box doesn't match my driver's licence. I told them to just drop my unused first name. Voila! The problem disappeared. Well, Voila again, the problem has reappeared and has brought reinforcements. Who knew a 'minor change' would, two months later lead to the State's sudden decision that all other things being the same, Norma Claire M. and Claire M. are 2 different people.

So now I have to spend tomorrow scrambling to get $$ into my account before my automatic mortgage deduction, utilities, and everything else I have on automatic payment, hits my account. The fun starts on Monday when my mortgage comes due.

Funny - I bought barrels for my garden, now it seems, if I can't get the State Controller's Office to see reason, I may wind up needing the things for day wear.

Uh... pardon me... does this barrel make my arse look fat?

[Management is happy to report, that on checking with the State Controller's Office, and after going on line to see for one's self, Ms. Claire's cash is where it belongs -in the #$&% bank. An unsettling question remains of why the EFF the letter, that began this Tempest in a Teapot, was mailed to Claire in the first place.

Hearty thanks to the head of the Payroll at the Controller's office, Ms. R., without whom by now Ms. Claire would have torn out the remaining vestigial bits of her hair.]