Saturday, June 30, 2007

Kitty T.V.

How to keep your cat, and your hamster, entertained on a rainy day.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Be careful what you wish for.

I woke up this morning and it was raining.

It rained, hard, on and off all day. Thunder, lightning, downpours, you name it. Three cats hid in closets part of the day while the fourth, who doesn't seem to care about thunder one way or another, snored in his bed most of the afternoon.

We had over three inches of rain today.


It's been a long time since it's been this wet.

Unfortunately, I talked with Daddy Bird, who lives where the drought is even worse, and all he got were a few sprinkles, "not enough to even make the driveway wet."


Rain at Last!

It's finally, finally, finally starting to rain here. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, we're still in an extreme drought, but it's getting better. We're getting afternoon thunderstorms most days, and this morning it's already booming and pouring. Our area is still ten inches short, in terms of rainfall, but we'll take what we can get. Hopefully it will keep raining so that the morons and their fireworks don't burn down entire neighborhoods beginning July 1st, when you can legally set off fireworks here in town.

Granted, some of these thunderstorms are more of a tease than anything. The sky gets black, the thunder rumbles and then.....nothing. It blows right through.

I actually mowed the lawn yesterday, for the first time in three or four weeks. It's been so long since we mowed, we can't even remember when we last did it. The weeds, not the grass, were getting really tall so I decided it had to be done. It annoys me that the grass barely grows but every variety of pasture weed (most of which I am apparently allergic to according to my recent scratch test) will grow like no body's business.

I actually enjoy mowing to a certain extent, although with my allergies I usually pay for it later that night and the next day. However, I wore a mask, took a supplemental allergy pill, used my new nose spray and I'm actually allergy free this morning - amazing. Wearing that dorky mask probably did more good than anything.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Carnival Time!!!

Toss that diet out the door, get some cotton candy, and check out this week's Education Carnival, brought to us by Education in Texas!

Monday, June 25, 2007

What I'd give for a thunderstorm or two.

Hubby and I decided to cook out on Saturday evening.

We got rained out.

We were ecstatic.

We are, according to those that keep the records, currently in the driest spring/summer in the 134 years they've kept records. Latest news is we are over 10 inches behind in rainfall.

I grew up in Southern California (AKA Land of Perpetual Drought) and I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. And of course there's fireworks stands all over the place in preparation for Independence Day. Some counties have banned fireworks all together, but ours hasn't. You can almost hear the fire sirens getting ready to blast, can't you?

And interestingly enough, the only thing that really grows during this kind of weather are the ugliest weeds on earth.

And crabgrass.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Carnival at the Beach!

The Science Goddess is treating us all to a Carnival at the Beach! Be sure to check it out!

Where are all the kids?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away - when I was young, in other words - summer vacation meant being outside. Actually just about every day of the year meant being outside seeing as I grew up in the Los Angeles area. No snow, no ice, no sub-zero temps - all the kids on the block spent most of our free time outside.

We played a lot of basketball, a lot of catch and baseball (in the street, no less), and I was blessed with my very own thetherball for a birthday one year and I spent many an hour whomping that ball back and forth. We all had skates or skateboards (or sometimes both) and would ride them all over the neighborhood, to the drugstore to buy comics, to the beach, and just anywhere we wanted to go. Even I, the dedicated bookworm, would do a lot of my reading outside, under a tree, or sitting on the back patio. My hubby, Mr. Bluebird, grew up in the Chicago suburbs and had a similar childhood where he spent hours playing outside with his friends, climbing trees, building forts, throwing balls, and riding bikes. And we were city kids growing up in urban areas.

So the other day Mr. Bluebird and I are out in the front yard, watering, pulling weeds, and all that fun stuff when he looks over at me and says, "Did you ever notice that we never see kids playing outside?"

He's right. We rarely see the neighborhood kids playing outside. And I know we have neighborhood kids because there's a school bus stop right by the foot of my driveway, and I've actually seen a number of kids outside once in a blue moon mowing lawns, or getting out of vehicles when mom and dad pull up in the driveway. The schools in this area are so overcrowded that they're opening a new middle school this fall and a new high school and elementary the following year, so there must be kids living nearby. Every once in a while we'll see a kid or two on a bike, or a few on skateboards, but there's no water balloon fights, no games of catch, no games of basketball (despite the fact that nearly every house has a basketball hoop), no hide and go seek, no tag. It's like some weird Ray Bradbury story where all the children are hidden away somewhere.

I'm hoping that they're all away at camp, and some of the little ones are at day care, but I suspect that's not the case. I'm guessing that our world is so crazy that a lot of these kids are, essentially, under house arrest until mom and dad get home from work. Or perhaps they don't want to be outside and are content to just sit at home, playing video games, cruising My Space, or texting their friends.

Every year I get a new crop of seventh graders and every year I am astounded at how physically unfit they are, how uncoordinated they are, and how pudgy they are. They have little familiarity with nature, with the outdoors, and with anything outside of a video game. It was so bad that this year, at the end of the school year, Mrs. Language and I played a pick-up basketball game with some of our students and just kicked their butts. We were astounded that two ladies in their 40's were more coordinated and in better shape than a bunch of 13-year olds.

That's sad. And makes me worry more and more about the kind of future these kids are going to have.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Adults Behaving Badly

I am an airline brat. My mother, years ago, worked for Frontier Airlines. My father spent 40 years in the industry, retiring from Delta a few years ago. Two of my uncles worked at Continental and American. And, my cousin works at United. So, to say that I've traveled via air a lot is an understatement.

Although I can get a discounted standby ticket from my father, the hassle involved in flying standby just isn't worth the few dollars I'd save by going that way. Even my cousin rarely flies anywhere on her employee passes because the flights are just too full...a far cry from years ago when we'd both hop on a flight to Hawaii on a whim, and never had to worry about if there was space available.

I got a great, great price on my round trip ticket to San Diego. The only drawback to it was that the times weren't all that great. I ended up flying on the "red eye" the other evening/morning on my return trip. Silly me was actually looking sort of forward to it because, in the past, most of these flights were fairly empty and relatively quiet so taking a nap wasn't a problem

Not this time.

Not only was this flight to Atlanta full (and they say you can't go anywhere in the South without going to Atlanta), but the people in my section of the plane were subjected to the antics of one drunken Tricia Lopez. Tricia and five of her co-workers (we gathered this as she kept referring to one of them as her boss) were scattered throughout our section of the aircraft. They apparently had hit an airport drinking establishment fairly heavily before boarding, although Tricia was, by far the most inebriated. Before the doors were even closed on the plane, she was yelling across the seats to her friends that she wanted to change seats (none of them wanted to sit with her, apparently, so she was stuck with another girl from her group who, thankfully, wasn't nearly as drunk). The flight attendants had to tell her, forcefully and multiple times, to sit down so we could leave. She would then yell to one of the guys in her party, "David, is Tricia Lopez beautiful?" and the guy David would yell back, "Yes, Tricia, you're beautiful." She repeated this stunt with every guy in her party. She'd then yell that she wanted to talk to one of them, and they'd have to remind her that the fasten seatbelt sign was on so they couldn't. All of their conversations were done at a yell, so everyone could hear everything. I was beginning to wonder just how drunk and annoying someone had to be before they were escorted off the flight.

It got better. A few minutes after we took off she mentions, loudly, to her seat partner that she thinks she's wearing a swimsuit under her clothing, and the proceeds to disrobe to show her friend her swimsuit.

A half hour after we leave she asks her friend, "Am I on an airplane?"

She and her friends did not shut up until the flight was over half over. Her screaming for shots of tequila during the beverage service was another highlight. Needless to say, a lot of us didn't get a lot of sleep due to these morons' antics. Tricia, thankfully, fell asleep towards the end of the flight. The last I saw of her, her mouth was wide open, her head was lolling to the side, and her friends were trying to get her up and moving.

I hope she felt like hell.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What to do with Elephant Poo

Momma Bird and I went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park the other day, which is one of my favorite places to go. Momma Bird goes there so often that she's invested in a membership so she gets in for free. It's well worth it. Every time we go there's something new or they've changed something so it never gets boring.

The shopping there is a lot of fun as well (another reasons Momma got the membership). We were actually on our way out and had stopped by a little ship when I noticed a table with some note cards, bookmarks, and other paper goods on it. On closer inspection I realizes that these paper products were made from Elephant Poo.

That's right, Elephant Poo.

Of course I had to buy two of them, one for me and one for Mrs. Eagle.

They are made by The Great Elephant Poo Poo Paper Company, and they truly are made from Elephant poo. Take a moment to check out their site, if for no other reason than to get a good chuckle. Gotta love a company that states, "We take the "oo" out of "poo".

And yes, the paper really is odorless. And it's actually kind of attractive in its own way.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Here Kitty, Kitty...Not

Momma Bird, who will be 70 in September, is very good at taking care of herself. She eats right (a lot of organics), she's active, and she walks a lot. She doesn't look, or act her age.

She has three walks around her neighborhood that she takes. There's the flat walk, the in the middle (one big hill) walk, and the hilly walk. Today we decide to talk the hilly walk which meanders out of her subdivision and into the chapparall that circles it. It looks like the set of a western and you half expect John Wayne to come riding out from behind a big boulder. It's lined with yucca trees, manzanita trees, shurbs, and a lot of very neat desert native type of plants. It is gorgeous in its own unique way.

As we start off on our walk Momma casually mentions that "there's just a few things to be concerned about on this walk, like snakes. And somtimes a mountain lion."

Okay, we had a snake in her roses a day or so ago, no big deal. But a mountain lion?

Good gracious. That's a far cry from worrying that the deer are eating your shrubs.

Excuse me while I howl

Momma Bird has a delightful cat named, of all things, Kitty. I know it's not the most original of names but it works for the two of them, so that's good enough for me.

Kitty is a lovely gray medium haired cat that Momma Bird rescued a few years ago. Kitty has repaid her by being a delightful companion. She spends most of her days sleeping on a pink afgahn on the bed in Momma's guest room/office. In the evening when Momma Bird gets out her knitting, Kitty will hop onto her lap and stay there, while Momma Bird knits. Amazingly enough, she never messes with the knitting, which makes her a truly special cat. The fact that she's the easiest cat to get a pill into makes her even more special. I've wrestled with many cats and pills and I've never seen one so easy to medicate. She's a dream.

Momma Bird neglected to inform me, however, that Kitty likes to play with her knitted stuffed mice in the middle of the night. This wouldn't be a problem except that she howls a lot when she's doing this.

The first time it happened I woke up and couldn't figure out what was going on. In fact, I thought Kitty was upset about something. Was there a brush fire? Was the house on fire? Did someone break in? Was there an earthquake?

I got up to find Kitty and Momma Bird heard me and woke up.

"What's the matter?" she asked me.

"I heard Kitty howling and thought something was wrong," I responded.

"Oh, she's just playing with her mice," Momma Bird tells me. "She does that sometimes at night."

The next morning when I got up there were about four knitted mice toys strewn throughout the house which weren't there the night before. Kitty was obviously very good at "hunting" these mice down.

Lucky Momma Bird. I thought I had it bad because my feline alarm clark, Morgan wakes me up every morning at 5:00 am, regardless of the day of the week or season. This explains why, although I'm on summer break, I'm still waking up at 5:00 am.

But at least mine aren't howling during the night!

Monday, June 11, 2007

If you fry it, they will come.

Yesterday Momma Bird, along with some close family friends, and I went to the San Diego County Fair, also known as the Del Mar fair as it happens to be at the Del Mar Race Track.

Honestly, if you live anywhere near here, this is worth going to. Talk about fun, fun, fun! Then again, I'm the kind of dork that loves state and county fairs.

And this county fair is bigger than any state fair I've been to. Honest.

We probably only saw, maybe, a third of what was there. We went through a few of the vendor buildings (I'm not much of a shopper so this isn't something I'd do much of), spent a lot of time going through the garden exhibits and the plant and flower building, went and petted cute farm animals in the agriculture building, checked out the entries in the knitting categories in the Home and Hobby Building, and watched a great show by a hypnotist.

And of course we ate.

I'm always amazed at the food you find at fairs. It's also the kind of day where you just toss the diet out the window because goodness knows, you won't see some of this again until the next year's fair. Which could be a good thing.

We started off with BBQ beef sandwiches on huge, monstrous sourdough rolls. Then ice cream. And mom and I split a cinnamon roll (her's are still better), and then fried zucchini which is one of my favorite foods. Others in our party indulged in chocolate malts, artichokes, and ice cream bars. I was tempted by the roasted corn, but I'd just made some the night before so I passed. I also decided not to take a leap and try the rattlenake chili. Maybe if they'd had small samples, but I wasn't in the mood to shell out the cash for something I wasn't too sure I'd like.

One thing we noticed is that there seems to be a competition between the food vendors for who can deep fry the strangest things. There were deep fried oreos, snickers bars, every veggie known to man (asparagus sounded interesting), and the usual corn dogs, fries, onions, and more. One of the new ones this year was deep friend avacados and tomatoes, which a gentleman we shared a table with informed me were actually quite good, although a tad gooey. Another one that struck me as beyond strange was the deep friend cola. Apparently they deep fry strands of batter, which are then placed in cups (and they look like worms) and then they pour the cola syrup on top and cap it off with whipped cream. Ick. To top it off you could have a fried chicken sandwich, but instead of bread or a bun, it is placed in between two Krispy Kreme donuts and, you guessed it, fried.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Retro Tosies and Hangin' at the Beach

In case you haven't noticed, I've been out of town a bit, visiting Momma Bird out here in Southern California.

For the record, I hate her keyboard as the space bar likes to stick..she, however, feels it isn't a problem as "I don't type as fast as you do."

It's been nice. The weather, amazingly, has been absolutely perfect. It's not too hot, and down by the beaches, it wasn't overcast. I grew up along the beach here, and trust me, June can be darn chilly and gray. They have a marine layer that hangs along the coast for hours, making tourists wonder just what in the hell made them think a vacation to California in June was going to be warm and sunny. They don't call it the "June Gloom" for nothing. Lucky me, the June Gloom wasn't in evidence today.

So a few days ago I mention that I didn't have time to get a hair cut before I flew out here, and mom mentions that she needs a pedicure, so hey, why not do a girls day at the beauty shop??! Great idea, so she makes an appointment for me to get my hair done and both of us to get pedicures.

This beauty shop rocks.

For one thing, it's owned by these incredibly tall red-headed sisters, and it's in an older building down on the main drag of the town mom lives in. These gals are funny and have a certain sense of retro style that's evident as soon as you walk into their shop. For one thing, when they're giving people manicures, they both wear what we used to call "cat's eye" glasses, all glitzed out with beads and jewels and things. The shop itself is all pink and aqua with 45 rpm records lining the walls, old radios on shelves, and display cases with 1950's beauty supplies in them. You get the feeling these gals are running a beauty shop combined with an antique store or a museum. It's a hoot! Everyone in there apparently knows everyone and they're all chatting and laughing and having a great time getting their nails done, their hair colored, and their tosies polished.

If I could find a fun, retro beauty shop like this near me, I'd be there in a heartbeat.

My toes, by the way, look fabulous in my sandals. Considering that I wear sandles most of the year, I may have to get in the habit of getting pedicures.

Today Momma Bird and I head out to the beach to meet two of my college friends for lunch on the pier. Alas, we are getting older, with more silver hair than there should be. However, we had a great time, ate some great food, and enjoyed the waves and the sun and a generally lovely day. Amazing how you can not see each other for nearly 12 years but pick up like nothing has happened.

Tomorrow we're going to the Del Mar Fair...I am leaving my diet at the door.

Monday, June 04, 2007


Hubby and I have just returned from a quick trip up North to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Hubby had to go up there on business and I tagged along. I don't normally tag along on these trips with him, but I'm out of school and since I leave tomorrow for a week to visit Momma Bluebird in California, I figured it was good quality time with Hubby.

We had a lot of fun, actually.

The drive through Wisconsin to Minneapolis was absolutely gorgeous. It was green, lush, and a tad bit rainy, but even so, it was delightful. It was nice seeing rain, since we're suffering through a drought at the moment here at home. I almost forgot what wet looked like.

While we were there I had a chance to go to the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul and do some historical research. What a wonderful place that is! The building is new, and beautiful, the staff is helpful, and it was a great way to spend the day while Hubby worked. Above you'll see a picture I took from the History Center looking towards the St. Paul Cathedral which was celebrating its centennial this past weekend.

Hubby did decide that traveling with me can be like traveling with, well, a 7th grader. (He thinks I've spent so much time with them that I've become one.) I am fine as long as it's daylight and I can either look at the scenery (lots to do on this trip), read, do sudoko, or knit. However, once it's dark and there's nothing to keep me busy, I become a squirmy, wiggly mess. I get bored. BORED. I can't just drive and listen to the radio for hours on end. I did turn on my reading light for a bit to do some puzzles, but truth be told, those lights aren't that bright and that got old after a while. I told Hubby that before I travel with him again, we're getting some audiobooks to listen to.

Now it's back to laundry, watering what's left of my yard, and getting ready to leave tomorrow for California.