Saturday, December 29, 2007

Toot! Toot! - Friday 12/28/2007

Yes, that's the familiar "toot" of my own horn you're hearing.

I wasn't sure if this was actually going to happen this year, but I received my contributor's copies of Weber: the Contemporary West in the mail yesterday!

Yes, you read that right. Contributor's copies! My personal essay "It Ain't Las Vegas," about life, nature and development in my area, and four or five of my photographs appear in the Fall 2007 (24:1) issue. You can get a copy through their submission page. I think they lag by about 1 issue in putting the content online, which makes sense.

This is a really nice way to end the year.

I decided to start sending out my photos at the beginning of 2007 and I placed them in 4 of the 5 publications I sent them to (Agua Dulce/Acton Country Journal, The Houston Literary Review, Raving Dove, and now Weber.)

It feels just wonderful to end the year with some credits under my belt!

And I thought Wednesday was a frabjous day!

Friday, December 28, 2007

No Pix of Pasadena, Redux - Thursday 12/27/2007

I seem to have some sort of mental block about taking my camera with me to Pasadena. This happened last time I was there, too. In lieu of shots of Vroman's and Tomasina's house, here are some photos taken at my house after I got home.

This is my current writing notebook--in which I write fiction, creative nonfiction and your basic self-involved journal entries--against a backdrop of the breathtakingly lovely vintage hand-stitched tablecloth (and matching napkins) that Braveheart gave me for Christmas (along with other treats.)

Since we were all off work, my writing group (now just Braveheart, Tomasina and I) met at Tomasina's house in Pasadena. The day was planned to last from 10-3, but we ended up being there till six! It was nice to just move from one thing to another and do all the things we wanted to do.

We talked about our writing since the last time we met; lunched on Tomasina's delish turkey chili (I WANT that recipe, T!) and lots of leftovers, cookies and candies; read to each other from our current projects; opened presents; took Tomasina's dogs for a walk; wrote together for 40 minutes; read that to each other, and then set the date for our next meeting and made commitments for the work we'll do by then.

I am known for having the fastest jammies in the West. I can get into my pajamas within mere seconds of coming through the front door.

Hence the pantlegs in this shot of the amazing bottle of olive oil Tomasina gave me for Christmas (along with other treats.) It will remain to be seen if we can hold off till we have guests to share this with before we crack this open and try it.

Great day.

Somebody please remind me to ask Tomasina how to get to the 210 West from her house next time. I lucked out with the inter-holiday light traffic, but I don't expect that'll always hold true.

O Frabjous Day! - Wednesday 12/26/2007

Callooh! Callay! She chortled in her joy.

One of the happy outcomes of my gallbladder surgery earlier this year is that I can now drink coffee again whenever I want!

I will never throw over my beloved teas, but it's wonderful to be able to say "yes!" when Hydra asks if I'd like a cuppa joe, java, mud, devil's brew.

I mean, coffee houses have been an important part of my life since I first found The Blue Mountain Coffee Company in Fort Wayne, IN during my first year of college. Hydra and I started sharing a table and the rest is history. I even worked there for four years. Coffee houses and diners are my second home, anywhere in the world.

As perfect as a pot of tea is as a writing companion, it's just wrong to sink a Hershey's Mint Truffle Kiss into an estate grown Assam or a winey Keemun.

But it is damn fine in Starbuck's Christmas Blend.

Christmas Day 2007

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum!

You can't really see them in this light, but we switched to lower-energy-use LED lights on the tree this year.

We had a great Christmas. Hydra woke up at 3:15 and there was no more sleep to be had. We opened packages that had arrived from people in other states, and a couple from each other. Did a little prep for dinner, set the table, etc. Most of the prep was done the day before.

The cousins arrived from Orange and Riverside counties around 11:00 and we broke out the Mimosas and the-- Let's call them Pimosas. Champagne and peach juice cocktails, for a change. Appetizers: homemade shrimp spread, cheeses, crackers, TJ's Sun dried tomato/pesto torta, kalamata olives, nuts.

Opened gifties from one another. Lots of goodies!

Dinner was pork tenderloin roasted with garlic, rosemary and sage; P's killer mashed potatoes, V's delish spinach pear and Gorgonzola salad, apple-sage stuffing, shaved Brussels sprouts with bacon.

Now the birdhouses I painted (but did not build) can be revealed. I had a lot of fun with these. Ended up doing two more. Green and another pink/lavender in another shape.

After dinner we drove over to Shambala for the traditional viewing of the lions. Okay, it's not a tradition yet, but it may be... It's only about 7 miles from us. This guy was in an enclosure near the road.

This big fellah huffed and puffed for us from down in the canyon. We just stopped along the road to look in.

Back to the house for apple pie and mincemeat pie, and tea. Everyone stayed till about dusk.

We felt really good about the day. And I have to admit, it was nice not to have to drive anywhere!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

An Avian Christmas Eve - Sunday 12/24/2007

I have had this pie bird for years and finally used it!

It's an old-fashioned tool to vent the steam from the crust (which this didn't really need, because there is a hole in the crust that is kind of gaping.)

I made this from an apple pie kit that Dana's boss and his wife gave us for Christmas. Forgot to even try to make a decorative edging on the crust, but I did cut little leaves out of extra dough and put those on.

Okay, sad to say, although Dodger had vowed to remain uncute on the Internet for the duration of the WGA strike, he couldn't help himself. He committed this random act of cuteness and I...well, I accidentally videotaped it. And then I tripped while carrying my laptop, and it ended up on YouTube. Sorry, WGA.

His original YouTube appearance, not being cute in response to the video Sorry, Internet, has been viewed 1,339 times since it was posted three weeks ago!

Wrapping Up Christmas - Sunday 12/23/2007

Our tree-topping Santa. We like him.

I picked up these reusable totes at Target for less than the cost of a lot of the gift bags they sell. Perfect for oddly sized gifts, and good for the environment, too!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Peachwood - Saturday 12/22/2007

We went to Blum Ranch, which we can see from our place across the valley, to pick up a quarter cord of firewood for Cousin M. Isn't this house great?

With the help of one of the family (Ray Billet himself??) we unloaded one of these bins into the back of our Tahoe. It was a great day for it, cool enough that it was nice to have the activity warm us up. We joked as we stacked wood.

We chose the cleaner peach wood limbs rather than the split logs from trees that had partly burned in the fire of 2004. $40 for a quarter cord. This is a really good deal. Other places around here are charging $205-250 for a cord. (Do the math; it's good for you.)

Close up of the water tower. I would love to roam around here taking pictures one day.

Back at our own little homestead, we moved things around in the garage and stacked the peach wood under the window. This pile is about 4x4x2.

I called and left a message with Cousin M, telling him that our fee for moving this wood two--no, that'll be three--times (eventually into the back of his Explorer) is an armload of wood.

Mr. Billet said that it smells good when it burns and I'm more than curious.

Fruitful Friday - 12/21/2007

Whoo! Festive, huh?

Why don't I ever think to take a "before" picture?

Maybe because they tend to be kind of humiliating.

I am forced to admit that I might have a slight compulsion about saving paper and plastic bags and glass jars. It was like ankle deep in here when I started. Naively, I thought it would take about 2 hours to clean up.

Har dee har har har. Six--count 'em--six hours later, viola! No jars that have no lids, no lids that have no jars. No boxes full of bags. Just a renewed conviction to not mindlessly accept the paper and plastic our friends the cashiers want to give us.

Outside the pantry door things are a little more jolly. If we've received your card, it's here! Thanks so much for helping us decorate.

My cousin Bells, reminded me that our grandma put cards up on the inside of her front door. My mom did this too. I guess I've always done it. Except that we have a big leaded glass window in the front door, so I wrap the pantry door with gold paper and tape the cards on that.

I had a very productive day. Wrote just a tiny bit in the early a.m., completed two more hand made gifts, and started two more. Yay!

Christmas/Birthday Tea - Thursday 12/20/2007

Yeah, it would have been nice if I'd thought to take a photograph of this before I and my coworkers descended upon it like hyenas on voles.

Wow, was the food at The T Room in Montrose great! Most of us ordered the traditional tea and you could substitute other sandwiches from the menu. Mmm. The Lingonberry Chicken was surprisingly good. Watercress & cucumber may have been my favorite, with the Olivade coming in a close second.

Big pots of tea--we ordered the Noel blend and the Russian blend--on the table. Happiness. We celebrated Christmas and Momalisa's birthday. Food was wonderful, service was slow for our party of eight. It took about 20 minutes before they even brought us the tea, which came when the sandwiches and scones were ready.

My only food complaint was the fruitcake style candied fruit in the scones. I mean, yuck.

Everyone rose above the ominous fact that this is our last meal together for the foreseeable future. We will be working on kind of an on-call basis in January, a day or two a week maybe. I don't want to write about it.

The top of the Christmas tree, which everyone encouraged me to get a shot of... Scarily over-decorated for my taste.

Weens exhibits the classic tea room decorum one would expect of a lady. We're so proud!

[Hey, she reads this blog. She knew the risk she was taking!]

Looking up Honolulu Avenue from outside the T Room. Didn't get any good pix of the outside of the T Room. It's not terribly photogenic.

Weens pointed out this angel down the street, in front of an art gallery.

We went back to the office and opened our Secret Santa gifts from each other, and our gifts from the owners. Lovely cashmere scarves, all different colors. So soft and lovely.

I'm sleeping in mine.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bah Humbug? - Wednesday 12/19/2007

Okay, is this a good sign or a bad one? I went into work today--I'm always there first--and the only lights on in the place were these on a string next to the door toward my office. I Laughed Out Loud.

It's just so half-hearted! Kind of expresses the atmosphere around work this year. We're still basically upbeat people making the best of a situation, but it's becoming hard to maintain the big grins.

Tomorrow we have a meeting and the Christmas/Momalisa's birthday celebratory lunch, this time at a tea room a few cities away. We often go to the festive Smoke House at this time of year because it's within walking distance and it's wonderfully old school. George Clooney named his production house after it (it's across from Warner Brothers.) But it'll be fun to do something different since we have the time to go further this year.

I know, I know. You've seen enough sunset from behind my house to last you a lifetime. But I haven't. Not quite yet.

Busy Day - Tuesday 12/18/2007

Oh my gosh! I had to crop this image out of a larger one because I spent a good part of the day working on Christmas gifts and some of the recipients read this blog from time to time!

You'll have to wait till after Christmas to see what I did with these colors.

Hee hee!

I also baked a bunch of Scotch shortbread today. The house smells so good.

There were a lot of clouds over the mountains across the valley. I made myself a one-egg omelet with avocado and cheddar cheese with sun-dried tomatoes and took it out to the deck and watched the sky move overhead while I ate. With my hood up. It was like 50 degrees out.

But it was sooo wonderful to be home to witness the storm moving in.

Nostaligic Bob's - Monday 12/17/2007

Yeah, I'm wandering around Toluca Lake feeling all nostalgic because I'm going to be basically laid off after Thursday the 20th.

I do very much enjoy my morning routine, saying hi to the Three Musketeers, etc. I ended up sitting here transcribing an entire conversation between a man in his late forties and a World War Two vet. Practicing my Truman Capote skills.

For me, it's an interesting mix of what I can actually get down and what I have to go back and reconstruct. What the heck. Here's the whole thing.

You are not obligated to read the whole thing. But if you do, let me know that you did, huh? If it's interesting to you as a bare bones conversation. These guys were sitting behind me and I couldn't see their interaction.

The transcript:

I’m the first one at Bob’s this morning, minutes before five. I couldn’t sleep so I drove on down. I’m not ready to order breakfast.

A guy takes a booth in front of me. When his food is delivered I can smell ham and Tapatio sauce. Usually there are too many intermingled scents for me to discern what’s going on around me.

The next guy sits two booths away. All of us face the front of the restaurant like we’re on a train. Like we’re going somewhere. Two booths away, but I can smell the syrup when he pours it over his pancakes. I’m starting to get hungry.

Lovely old white haired man walks into Bob’s Big Boy at 5:22 in the morning with a man in his late-forties.

Lovely white haired old man returns my welcoming smile and says, “Good morning, young lady” with great warmth.

He and I are both happy with the lie.

They take the booth behind me. The younger man encourages the older to order whatever he wants.

“You don’t have your glasses?” he asks. “Okay.” And he proceeds to very deftly read most of the menu aloud as if he’s just auditioning things for himself.

“Oh, a waffle with fruit, wow. That sounds good. Or the bacon and eggs, I think I might get that. Maybe. Oh, how about the Big Boy Scramble? That looks good.”

“What’s that?”

“Eggs, ham, onions, peppers, all together, with hash browns and toast, English muffin or biscuit. That sounds good.”

They order. The older man orders the scramble. The younger man orders egg whites, bacon, cottage cheese instead of hash browns, dry toast.

“You want egg whites?” the waitress asks the older man.

“Oh, no. Give me the whole egg-- cholesterol and everything.” He chuckles.

The younger man gets a cell phone call. The person on the other end isn’t feeling well. Isn’t going to work today. But will pick him up at the airport. He asks about the weather.

“Clear but windy,” he says, “At least we’ll be low on fuel by the time we crash. Right?”

The older man laughs.

“Most of the fuel is in the wings, you know.”

“Oh yeah.”

“You knew that? About the fuel in the wings?”

“Oh yeah,” and the older man tells him about old war planes, how the early ones in had their machine guns synchronized to shoot between the propeller blades.”

“That doesn’t even seem possible does it? How’d they do that?”

“I don’t know,” the older man says. I wonder if he used to. I know about the synchronization because Hydra told me. The engine and the gun are linked.

“How long has this place been here, you think?” the younger man asks, “Over fifty years you think?”

“Oh, easily. It was here when I first got here.”

“When was that?”


“Forty-eight, so that’s more than fifty—that’s like sixty years.”

“Yup. Right after the war.”

“My grandfather was born in 1895. He was in World War I.”

“Oh, he would have been.”

“He would have, been what? Like twenty when it started.”


“And it lasted how long?”

“Four years.”

“He was there the whole time I guess. Where you in the Second World War?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Did you ever have bullets whizzing past your head?”

“Oh yeah, oh yeah. Many times. I was in a house and the V2 bombs came in and leveled the house over us. We were in the basement.”

“Where there people upstairs?”

“Oh yeah.”

“So—People died up there? In the house?”

“Oh yeah. I was knocked out. I must have passed out and when I woke up the house was down around me. When I woke up there was a guy there—I’ll never forget it–he was completely under the house—the boards and everything--just his leg sticking out from under. I’ll never forget that.”

“Was he dead?”

“Oh yeah. Oh yeah.”

“Because sometimes a guy can have his legs crushed, I’ve heard about this, and they’re still alive but as soon as you relieve the pressure it causes blood clots and stuff and you die instantly.” I saw that same episode of Homicide: Life on the Streets. They did it again years later on Grey's Anatomy. Based on a true story from the New York subway system.

Their food is delivered.

“How was the food over there?”

“It was okay.” Takes a bite. “When we were in towns, it was okay. Otherwise, it was K Rations.”

“What country were you in over there? Where you in Germany?”


“Did you meet any women over there?”

“No, not in Germany.”

“They were hiding, huh?” Laughs. “Did you get to France or anywhere? Did you meet any girls?”

“Yeah, in France.”

“Did they like American men?”

“Oh yeah. Yeah.”

“How’s your food? Is that good?”


“A lot of people who went over there became heavy drinkers. Because of the trauma, the mental trauma. But you never drank. Why is that?”

“I never tried it. I never wanted it.”

“You never even had a glass of wine?”

“Well, yeah, I tried it, but I never tried to get drunk.”

“You’ve never been drunk?”

“Never. I didn’t like it. Didn’t like the taste.” Pauses to eat. “Never had a cigarette. Never even tried it. Just never wanted it.”


“This movie’s supposed to be about vampires.” The younger guy laughs.

“Oh yeah?”

“This movie I’m going to Florida to work on. Vampires. Flying vampires.” Laughs. “When I get back to New York, I’m going to shoot a wild turkey. Have some wild turkey breast for Christmas.”

“Oh yeah? Where are you going to shoot it?”

“From my backyard. Right in my back yard. They travel around in groups of twenty. I see deer, all kinds of wildlife in my backyard. I’ve caught more than 20 raccoons in my Hav-A-Heart trap. I shot a beaver with my pellet gun.”

“A pellet gun wouldn’t kill a beaver would it?”

“If you shoot it about fifty times, it will. The first time I shot it I got it in the head and it jumped in the water and swam around in circles. I shot it again and again for twenty minutes. Had to kill it and get it out of there. That’d mess up the whole pond, a dead body in there. I’d just planted a willow and the damn thing ate it. That’s why I shot it.”

“Oh, I wondered.”

“Yeah, I planted another willow, but I had to get rid of the beaver or it would have eaten that one too.”

“Oh yeah.”

“Usually they dam up streams, you know. I don’t know why it came to my pond.

"Can we get the check?” He asks the waitress. “Twenty-five dollars for gas this morning. There was a time when I wasn’t counting my money. I’d carry five hundred dollars in cash.”

He gets the bill, looks at it. “Guess what they’re getting for a cup of coffee these days?”


“Buck fifty.”

“Huh. You been to that place downtown, on Alameda? The sandwich with gravy on it. Not gravy, that sauce. Old place, been around for a hundred years. French Dip.” He’s talking about Pierre’s. I’ve eaten there. Sawdust on the floor. Good mustard.

“Oh, that famous place? I’ve heard of that, but I’ve never been there.”

“They have breakfast for two fifty. Cup of coffee is ten cents.”

“Still? Two fifty?”

“And ten cents for coffee.”

“Well they’re losing money on that. How do they make their money?”

No answer.

“On lunch, maybe on lunch. They could add a dollar to that price and make a killing.”

The younger guy goes up to the register to pay. Comes back.

“So that writer’s strike. A lot of money is being lost all over because of that.”

“Yeah, I don’t know much about it. Seems like the writers don’t want that much.”

“Residuals. The Internet, it’s getting to be more and more important. When you get a computer, you should get a laptop. Take it with you wherever you go. You don’t need one of those big ones.”

“You have one?”

“Yeah, in my briefcase. You don’t need a big one, just a laptop. There’s no point in getting a big one, you don’t need that kind of power. Just to get on the Internet.”

This is the opposite information I would give. Desktops are cheaper, more powerful for the money and can be more easily upgraded.

“When you want one, let me know, I’ll go with you. Actually, I have a friend works in computers, he can get you one. Maybe I can get you one for free.”

“Oh, no.”

“Yeah, maybe. Anyway, thanks for the ride.”

“Oh sure.”

They get up and head for the Burbank Airport. I stay behind and type.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Carolers! - Sunday 12/16/2007

How cool!

As I hoofed it up the hill toward the house at the end of my hike/walk this evening, I heard these kids walking up the street talking, gearing themselves up to sing, but I thought they were just goofing around.

They knocked on the door as I was walking into the bedroom in my sweats to change into p.j.s.

"Oh, no," I heard, "That's the second one!" I hadn't clearly heard their knock and I wasn't sure they were on the front porch.

"She's coming back!" I heard as I popped back into the library. I guess you can see right through those sheers when you're outside in the dark.

This excited bunch from the Vasquez High School Service club also left me a candy cane with a note of cheer and a couple of little pom pons attached... and no strings! They didn't ask me to contribute to anything.

[EDIT: Oops! Forgot to mention that they sang a cheery "Jingle Bells" while they were here. Thanks, Raul V!]

Very cool. I'll write a note of thanks and send it over to the high school. And to think only yesterday I was dissing their namesake!

Have I mentioned recently how much I love my little town?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Anniversary Meadowlarks - Saturday 12/15/2007

How cool is this!? We haven't seen meadowlarks in our back yard since the first year we were here.

Today Hydra called me to the kitchen window to see the five big guys (bigger than a dove) in the back yard! It is, coincidentally, the 7th anniversary of the day we moved in here.

Boy, am I glad that we aren't doing all that lifting and loading today!

Our real estate agent came to our housewarming party and saw them, and said, "I want meadowlarks! How can I get meadowlarks?" I still don't know. Maybe it's the cracked corn.

Acton's middle school is named Meadowlark. Kind of nice, huh? Especially since the high school is named after "one of California's most notorious bandits," Tiburcio Vasquez.

Meanwhile, indoors: The Triple Budgie Experience. We decided to let Nick (green, top) out to hang with the boys this morning. He's pretty mellow and doesn't seem to be causing any scuffles. Yet.

Rocky, bottom right, remains the physically largest, but that doesn't seem to intimidate little Gus at all.

Our found ad will appear in the Acton/Agua Dulce Country Journal today and run for three weeks.

Walking Acton - Friday 12/14/2007

Off today. Down to three days at work this week and next. I wrote in the morning, worked on some Christmas gifts, went back to the Post Office which was still miraculously uncrowded. How much do I love Acton today?

Decided I needed some added inspiration to exercise today, so I set up for Hydra to pick me up along his route home. I started at Acton Park.

Walked south--or is it west?--on Escondido Canyon Road. I think this wall is the remnant of an old stagecoach stop. The owners of the place are slowly but surly adding a lot of stone details to their land.

It was a strange experience, walking a road I have driven at least 100 times since we moved out here. It looks very different from the ground.

I told Hydra when he picked me up that in all but 4-5 places if you'd plopped me down there and un-blindfolded me, I would not have known where I was except generally Acton.

"Or Las Vegas," he laughed, "We watch CSI." Which is very often filmed out this way.

Not a lot of good photo ops along this stretch. But I did count 23 horses, two sheep and better than a dozen alpacas along my route. This ewe was so friendly that I didn't have time to get her face before it was obscured by the chain link fence between us. There was a big aloof buck farther back in the lot with horns that curved back over his skull.

I walked 1 and 7/10ths miles in 32 minutes. Seems pretty good since I haven't really been exercising regularly since before the surgery.

Tropical Bob's - Thursday 12/13/2007

Okay, so I had to wait behind a truck to make a turn this morning and saw yet another angle from which to take a photograph of the sign. We could be in Hawaii, huh?

Except that it's 38 degrees out, according to someone at a neighboring table.

Bob's was very lively and distracting this morning. More people than I've seen in a while. There's something about Thursdays. You're in the home stretch for the weekend and ready to get started.

I now know the names of the Three Musketeers. Did I tell you that? Nice guys. Two of them are very excited about their upcoming trips, one to Puerto Vallarta and the other to Costa Rica.

"I'm going to thaw out," H tells me.

LOL. When my mother leaves zero degree Northern Indiana for Southern Mexico, I think she has a little more justification.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Griffth Park Observatory - Wednesday 12/12/2007

View of downtown Los Angeles through the arches at the front of the Griffith Park Observatory. Hondista was laid off today and I took off a couple of hours early and we drove up. I haven't had a chance to get up there since the huge renovations that took place from 2002-2006. They put a huge new exhibition hall in beneath the building and maintained the integrity of the original structure. Yay!

Part of the Hugo Ballin ceiling mural in the central rotunda. I love this 1930s style art so much.

The Foucault Pendulum seems to move around the dial to knock down the little pegs, but actually the pendulum remains true while you and the earth rotate around it.


The GPO is really special to me. When Hydra and I first moved out here we lived about a mile below this elegant building. We were broke and craving open space, so we came up to Griffith Park to hike and every time people visited we brought them up here for the spectacular views. Today we could see the coastline and Catalina Island beyond, planes taking off low from LAX to the west and to the east, the mountains on the far side of the San Fernando Valley.

It's wonderful to come here in the late afternoon and watch the sunset and then the city lights.

In the hallway down to the new part of the building, there's this amazing time-line (not yet fully marked) made of about fifty feet of undulating pieces of jewelry collected by a former board member over the course of twenty-five years and donated to the museum.

I love that this kind of craziness has been honored and that her collection has such an amazing use.

Jupiter from above. It must be 15 feet in diameter. See the guy sitting on the bench down to the right?

He's reviewing a paper he's going to give tonight. (Yeah, I'm an eavesdropper.) That's the Earth above their heads.

The Astronomer's Monument. Again, that wonderful Thirties stylization.

Rent Rebel Without a Cause before or after visiting and see why there's now also a James Dean monument up there.

Tea from Thailand - Tuesday 12/11/2007

A friend from 43Things sent me some tea from Thailand! I sent her flavored black teas and some mulling spices. The ones she sent are all herbal and very interesting.

This one's safflower tea. Interesting, huh? Kind of like a chamomile, but a nicer color, I think.

I thought it was a good idea to check out what exactly might happen to me when I sampled this. Here's what I found out online at Herb Palace:

  • antiseptic
  • abortifacient
  • expectorant
  • induces sweating
  • inhibits tumors
  • purgative
  • pneumonic (helpful to the lungs)
  • stimulates menstruation
Hmm, I won't be drinking the whole cup.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jimmy Gets Some Lovin' - Monday 12/13/2007

Braveheart and Jimmy on the couch after the writing group meeting. Jimmy's a happy cat.

Lulu (the Doc's dog) requests equal time. There's enough for everyone.

Foundling - Sunday 12/9/2007

Lookit! We found a birdie!

Or maybe he found us.

As I was locking the back door behind me as we left to do some shopping and get a Christmas tree, I heard a very distinctive whistle. Huh?

Hydra and I looked at each other. "That was a budgie." (AKA parakeet.)

He tooted again and I spotted him under the table on the deck. I unlocked the door while Hydra knelt to get a better look. There was this little yellow bird! He moved a little away from Hydra at first and I gave it a chance and just crouched down and put out my finger and said, "Step up."

Little guy hopped right on! I took him in and he stayed on my finger eating millet while Hydra washed out the cage we'd used when we rescued a cat-damaged finch a year or so ago. His feet, which were soooo cold when I first picked him up, were nice and toasty by the time I put him in his temporary cage.

Temporary because either his family will claim him or because we'll get him a bigger cage. Three budgies at once; we've never done that before!

He's in quarantine in Hydra's room for the time being, but he can see into the living room.

To give you an idea how cold it was Sunday, this is what the mountains across the valley looked like. The high was around 45 degrees. Budgerigars hail from the deserts of Australia and aren't built for much cold at all.

Since we name all our budgies after fliers of one sort or another, we are calling him Nick. Because, you know, it's Christmastime, and St. Nick flies around in a sleigh, and...

Yeah, well. We like it. Braveheart and her partner, Doc(umentarian) spontaneously and simultaneously covered their faces with their hands in chagrin when I later told them about the name.

Then I clarified that we don't think the bird is a saint or an angel, just a bird. So they didn't kick me out of their house.

Feeling full of good cheer about having rescued Nick, we began our shopping day with a stop at Starbucks. Do yourself a favor and don't try the Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha. It's not even coffee, it's a little bit of heaven in a cup.

Why, the Gull! - Saturday 12/8/2007

How, my friends, do I get so far behind in posting to my beloved blog? Trust me, I think of you every day, more than once.

I am on the lookout for interesting images all the time. And I often capture them.

But the reason for not posting is a sordid tale of carrying either the Nikon D80 or the Kodak Z7590 (which is smaller and lighter) and then not having the right cord with me when I'm ready to blog. Being fickle always always comes with a price.

You can't tell why this photo is interesting. There were actually two gulls here a few minutes ago. And this is a fountain in a little shopping center in Moorpark, which is far enough from the ocean that I thought it was amusing to see gulls in the fountain.

Get it?

Yeah, maybe not.

Birds have become my shiny thing. My dangled string, if you will.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Action Footage! - Friday 12/7/2007

As a news photographer, I am definitely lacking in skills.

We were working in our office this afternoon when we heard hooting and honking. Lookit! The WGA right outside my window.

Well, almost.

It's actually at the corner of Pass & Riverside, which is very near.

Interesting, as we were just heading into our weekly meeting to discuss just how much work is left to do. Not much.

Oddly, this morning was quite fun at Bob's Big Boy. One of the Three Musketeers was there when I arrived! I'm usually there before him, so I had to give him a little bit of a hard time. He told me his name and a nice little story and the names of the other two Musketeers. T, N and H.

I had a printout about Bott's Dots for them because yesterday they asked what I thought those road bumps were called. I thought Bop Dots. I was wrong. T said he and his daughter always call them Road Braille. LOL.