Thursday, July 31, 2008

Short Sleepy Stories

When I’m constantly thinking it's Friday and not Thursday, that’s not good. I’m so busy from sunrise to sunset lately that I don’t know when I’ll ever come by to visit y’all! Please forgive me?

Today I sat on an interview panel for a vacant management position at work. The college interviews candidates marathon style - back-to-back appointments during a five-hour stretch. We had a bathroom break. Just one. I’m spent.

It reminds me of the last time I participated on one. We needed to hire a director and one of the candidates looked fantastic on paper and in person he was even better. He mesmerized us throughout the interview and we were hands-down loving him. Until…I don’t remember how or why, dogs came into the conversation. He proudly announced, “I can do without dogs.” With the same passion and enthusiasm he exuded during his visit, he went on to say he hated dogs. For what reason? Unknown. Well, after a few glances at each other around the table, we knew right away he’d receive his walking papers. In less than a minute, he blew it.

There are more hummingbirds arriving daily. They're making my head spin! May I inflict a few more hummingbird photos on you tonight? I have a backlog of great ones but here are two…



Last July, during the driest summer on record, I found a sickly butterfly bush for $5.00. It was about two-feet round, had one solitary bloom, and maybe a dozen pale green leaves. I’m so glad I nursed that bush back to life.






A young black rat snake napped in a corner of the front porch. Chloe didn’t see it but Bella squealed with excitement.




It slithered along the storm door...


Thirty minutes until bedtime (yawn). Can’t wait… If you are still with me and haven't dozed off, good night.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Playing with a Great White Egret

The Great White Egret is ahead…just bear with me because I’ve been stewing...

Do you have a house cleaning service? Or are you the service, like me? With arms folded in front of me, peering through eye slits, I’ve looked on with jealousy at families who have them. There’s a stay-at-home lady across the street that has one and she’s forty-one with a twenty-five year old body. She runs every day. If I had a cleaning service and spent my days leisurely caring for me, I’d look hot, too. But I'd never run. She cuts the grass with a walk-behind mower for fun and cooks up delicious, home style Lean Cuisines for her grown sons and husband.

When I was a lot younger I could clean my entire house in a day. Then, when our homes got larger and I became older and busier, the house got cleaned on weekend mornings whether it needed cleaning or not.

Now my house gets cleaned when I hear my tennis shoes sticking to the floor, when I wonder who sneezed with a mouthful of orange juice… No more regular cleaning schedule at my house, let me tell you.

I want to come home from work and have my dinner cooked and my laundry washed and put away, just once. Or I want to retire from working outside the home, make good meals that don’t taste too healthy, and have the laundry finished before noon.

Does anyone routinely use glass cleaner on the underside of a glass top table?

How about removing those small dust pillows made of animal hair from the bottoms of the kitchen chair legs? I tend to ignore them.

The dog snot accumulates on doors and windows until the dogs can’t see through them. Well, it really doesn’t get that bad but I marvel at it long enough…

Do you move small pieces of furniture every time you vacuum? Not me… I don’t even vacuum behind the bedroom doors that often.

If you allow your pets to sleep in bed with you, what about the bed of animal hair that covers the carpet under the bed, against the wall, near the headboard? It’s so incredibly hard to reach.

Do you regularly check for dirt and dust that collects on top of the refrigerator? I usually give it a year before I look.

Cramming a week of errands and house cleaning into a 48-hour window is getting old, man.

Get my drift? I’m sickofitsickofitsickofit,

because, gentle friends, I’d much rather spend more time blogging and playing with a Great White Egret.




So, you want to hide from me?


Alrighty then.


Found you!


I can still see you. Be careful in there.


You are so elegant, so white, so pretty,


and you have a marvelous profile, too.


I didn't mean to scare you.



Stay away from the gazebo. There was this ghost...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mockingbirds make we wonder...

A similar scenario happened once again…another Mockingbird in trouble and I to the rescue. Last summer I had three rescues, one with an adult trapped in my sunroom. My favorite rescue and one of my all-time favorite posts happened last August when a Mockingbird fledgling fell through a storm drain grate while the mother looked on. You can see it here.

I wonder why I find Mockingbirds in trouble so often. Is it due to the large numbers of them in my area or do I notice what most people overlook? Is it their super-charged behavior that puts them in danger?


Entering the main drive into my community I passed a Mockingbird fledgling sitting in a gutter on the side of the road. Dread. You bet I made a u-turn, parked the car, powered the camera, and approached the poor thing. It was unable to fly but it could hop and flutter quickly.

A car whizzed by while I approached the baby. Can’t people see what’s going on? Without hesitation, I stood in the middle of the road, raised my arm in a confident, professional manner and stopped traffic.

So there I was with a camera dangling around my neck, trying to catch a frightened baby Mockingbird. Have you ever seen a young child bending over with outstretched arms to catch a runaway toad? That was me, and a short 53 year-old-woman wearing too-long capris and clunky sandals is definitely caricature-worthy. The spirited youngster had me bending, reaching, and zigzagging all over the road for at least a minute which is enough time to make some folks in the line of stopped traffic laugh like hyenas or curse under their breath. No matter. I had a job to do.


Now. Stay out of the road!

You can easily read contempt on its little face.

I would have taken more photos of the Mockingbird parents screaming and giving me the evil-eye, but I had to allow traffic back into the community. I waved them on without looking at the faces in the five car back-up. A one or two minute hold-up could make some busy corporate folks feel a little road rage, you know. I did catch a glimpse of an older Latino man who was first in the line of traffic. He smiled and gave me a thumbs-up. Nice. On the way to the car I held my head high.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Best Seven Seconds I've Had This Summer

About six feet away from my chair on the back deck, there is a hummingbird feeder. I placed it there strategically this year, hoping to have a close view while I relax in my chair. They’ve recently started sipping on that feeder but I had never been ready or willing to take a chance on scaring them away to get a photo.

It was around ninety-nine degrees that day. Sofa king hot... Leaving dinner on the stove and the dogs inside the cool house, I sat in my chair for at least five minutes which seems like an eternity when you’re sizzling. I knew that a hummingbird would fly in every few minutes, so I struggled to be patient. Camera was focused on a close-up setting, zoom adjusted. I held it in my hands just under my chin, ready to fire away. A living, breathing tripod, I was! I didn’t dare reach for iced tea. Only my eyeballs moved, scanning the area…

All unedited,


Out of focus, but I’ll take it. Juvenile male, I think, outsmarted a territorial, vicious adult male to have a chance to sip.


This is better. I prayed he would stay just a little longer. Take a drink, sweetie.


Off center this time, but I'll take it. Take a long drink. The coast is clear.


BAM. Now that's kicking it up a notch. Don't go away, sweetie. (I talk to hummingbirds.)


You're curious, aren't you. It's only me, the nectar lady.


BAM! A hummingbird's school portrait.
(Click to enlarge the photos)

For a minute or two I sat there smiling and enjoying what had just happened, knowing my personal best hummingbird photos were saved inside my little Kodak.

Went back inside the house to check the stove, all the while thinking,

Now what?

Oh, no. I’ve just raised my own bar.

Will I ever be able to do this again? Worry.

Now I will need to work on wing and tongue action and, patience.

Dinner can wait.
Skipping along the way to the computer, with fingers crossed, I just couldn’t wait to see the little green gem and count its feathers ;-)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer Naps


Psssst. Paparazzo is here. Wake up. It’s high noon and it's too hot for sunbathing babes.


Excuse me. Will you wake that baby?


Hey, there’s a baby over there. May I interrupt your lunch and ask you to wake the baby?


You’re napping through lunch and missing moist and delicious corn husks. Get up. The flies are biting!


If you won’t wake the baby, please let me see your Maybelline eyelashes. Hmmmpf.


Listen to me?


Now that I have your attention, will you please check on the baby?


Got corn?


Look at me! Over here!


Yoo………. hoo………..


I understand.
Summer naps.
There must be Poppies.
Where are the Poppies?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sad Dog Face


I worried about the wildflower seeds. Thank goodness for garden hoses.

In advance, accept my apology for dwelling on Bella and Chloe once again. Bella seems to be pain-free on Prednisone. She’s on decreasing dosages now and for the next two weeks. Pain-free, I think, but also down-in-the-dumps. The poor little girl hasn’t played in twenty-four days! I assure her that she will play again but not today. This ordeal is breaking my heart.


Does she look happy? No. She’s depressed. Chloe’s depressed. I’m sad about it. You see, living with a Boston Terrier is a constant lively party. A sedentary, lackluster Boston Terrier is unnatural and strange.


So, the hours I enjoy working outdoors in the evenings are spent with them on my heels, wandering around the yard without their balls, hula-hoops, or tug-of-war socks. They dig holes for pleasure and help me trim around the gardens. By the time I’m finished and the sun begins to set, they’re almost tired but mostly bored.


In an attempt to liven things up, I bring cookies outside and announce a picnic. Yes, they know what a picnic is!

After the cookies are gobbled, they both look up to me and ask with sad dog faces,
“Is this all there is?”

I know it could be worse but I need to vent a little.

On a lighter note, the hummingbirds are getting wild.


He’s the Tactical Defense leader. No one sips nectar unless he’s sleeping. There are four feeders about ten feet apart and he doesn’t miss much action.



I prefer the female hummers. They aren’t shy and sometimes feel free to inspect me. We meet eye to eye, especially when I’m wearing a bright pink or red shirt.


I still have birds, yes I do. The woodpeckers, Chickadees, Titmice, are Cardinals are back in small numbers and every week I see more return for nuts and safflower seed. The Mocker never left its post, as I expected. I’ve seen a Bluebird perched on my mailbox and on the spot where the Mocker sits. They’re getting sips from the pond, I know.


If you look to the left in the photo above, there’s a seven-foot water hibiscus that’s grown so large that I had to tie it to the fence with fishing line. Last year, it only grew to two feet. Does this photo look like a pond? No, because I just dig and plant anywhere. My lack of pre-planning shows an overgrown mess.



This weekend I'll work on enthusiasm. It isn't Friday yet but right now, I’m consumed with visions of naps and a rainy weekend.
Enjoy yours!