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.