Jack

Jack

Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year's Eve...

Today was rainy, so it consisted mainly of mopping up tracked-in mud from the kitchen floor--although it is such breathtakingly ugly early 1970's Harvest Gold linoleum that mud actually improves it. We also had to bring in one of the Silkies and all three Polish chickens for a session with the hair dryer, they were soaked to the skin and looking especially pathetic. Since crested poultry all have the same non-Darwinesque trait--a hole in the top of their skulls through which their brains protrude--wet crest feathers on their heads weight their head feathers down so as to cause brain injuries. This is thanks to dumbass humans breeding the birds for bigger and fancier head crest feathers. So when it rains, in come the Silkies and Polish chickens to lounge in the house, get their feathers blow-dried, eat snackies and watch TV (the 'Twilight Zone' marathon). Today two of the Silkies had the sense to stay in the coop and remain dry.

Tonight we will have our little family New Year's Eve party, complete with sparkling pomegranate juice, party hats, noisemakers and confetti poppers, plus a few leftover Fourth of July tidbits. We're celebrating at 8PM our time so N. can participate, then she's off to bed for a few hours till we wake her again at midnight to stand on the front porch and bang on the good Revere Ware stainless steel pots with wooden spoons (family tradition).

Tomorrow we take down the Christmas tree and pack away all those wonderful holiday baubles until next year. Normally I watch the Rose Parade during the tree untrimming, but because years ago the Rose Parade folks struck a deal with the local churches never to have the parade on a Sunday, no parade till January 2nd--on which day it is supposed to rain VERY heavily. It always feels very weird to take down the tree without the parade going in the background. We'll each write our memories from this year on the tissue that wraps the ornaments, and read the comments from previous years aloud to each other as we do so. N. will write her own comments beginning this year.

I also prune back all my rose bushes at the beginning of the year, which always makes them look like wretched little sticks but does them good in the long run...sad since this time of year I get my best roses--no sunburned blooms like in summer.

Whatever your New Year's Eve tradition is, have fun and celebrate safely and in style, Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Thanks For The New Memories...

Tonight I was watching various holiday movies as I sat wrapping Christmas gifts, surrounded by a confusion of rolls of bright paper and shiny ribbons, and constantly losing the scissors...Holiday Inn, Desk Set, A Christmas Story...

The Christmas tree this year is a good one, and glows warmly in front of the window, smelling great and looking fabulous with all my favorite old-time glass ornaments hanging from it. My six year old daughter was sitting under my table, playing with the scraps of paper and bits of ribbon as they floated down, wrapping her own 'presents'--small plastic animals, dinosaurs, little toys. She does this very carefully and with serious intent, so I help her by showing her how to tear off a strip of tape so it doesn't ball up and letting her choose which gift tags to use. As she works, from under the table I hear her quietly singing "The First Noel"--except she has changed the words, in the way we all do with misheard lyrics. It is now "Oh well, oh well, oh well, oh well..."

Forget loud, fancy parties. These are truly the moments to savor.

Life is good...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

This Weeks' Chapter In The Car Saga...

Ever had one of those days?

Here was yesterday for my husband J.:

Thankfully, other than being banged up and sore, he seems OK so far. The truck, on the other hand, seems totaled. We'll know more when they drag the poor thing off to the repair shop. This is what happened when some guy driving in the far right lane suddenly realizes that he's going to miss the left hand turn lane he needs, and cuts off people in order to get there, rather than continue on past it and turn around. I swear some people think the road only runs in one direction. So after this guy--who was, by the way, driving a transport service van full of handicapped kids--cut off my husband, my husband broadsided a woman in a car. He blacked out for a moment and came to with an airbag in his face. That's all he knows right now, but the woman unfortunately had to go to the hospital. We'll have to try and find out what her condition is, if she is in the hospital I would very much like to send her some flowers...being in there at all is bad, being in there for Thanksgiving is gonna suck.

The truck has a nice 'S' wave to it when you look at it head-on, but heck, at least the diamond-plate toolbox in the back still closes...of course, the capper is that the truck didn't have a dent or ding on it, and we'd just gotten it paid off. I had to prepare N. a bit before we got home from school yesterday, she was very sad that the truck was ruined (but very glad her daddy was OK) and seemed to gain a bit of appreciation for how much damage cars can do.

As I look across the dinner table this Thursday at my family safe and sound, I know what I'LL be thankful for.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

She's Coming Into Focus!

 NOW--! Here she is with the new top!



After 6 days at the shop, Ruby is home with a beautiful new top! Since nothing is ever simple--especially with old cars--once my mechanic had taken the old top off, a new set of hitherto unknown problems surfaced. The wooden (yeeeeees, wooden) tack strip that the top attaches to above the back window was crumbling and needed to be repaired, the top pads that protect the top from rubbing against the metal frame were shot, and the metal frame for the top was rusting in spots and needed scraping and repainting. Since I don't intend to do this anytime again soon, NOW was the time to get it all done in one fell swoop.

My mechanic said he hadn't done a convertible top in many years but he was game if I was, so I closed my eyes, gritted my teeth, crossed my fingers and said, "Go ahead...". He and his three other guys swarmed all over the thing for 6 days and did a beautiful job. He did call me down to show me the newly discovered problems partway through, and it is really disconcerting to see your car taken so completely apart--no seats, no top, no convertible frame.

It was also discovered that the hydraulic pump that raises and lowers the top needed possible rebuilding. We were unsure of it's condition because it had sat for so long without hydraulic fluid in it and the seals had dried out. Once he got it back together and refilled, I discovered that it was working perfectly, and I got to drive around with THE TOP DOWN! The car was turning heads again, this time for all the right reasons.

For about a week.

Then...well, things started to get hiccupy and reluctant. The last time we put the top down we very nearly didn't get it raised again, and then only with J. manhandling it into position while I held down the control button. So for now the top is up to stay, until I can save the money to have the top motor rebuilt. *sigh* It's always something...at least we found a place up in San Gabriel to rebuild the motor.

N. loves to ride in it and is constantly asking for the top down, and to her the best part was when we went for a drive just after dark one warm evening...the breeze, the lights--it was just magic for her. She has also taken a liking to my George Harrison tape and keeps asking to hear 'Blow Away' over and over again.

So next will be the top motor rebuild, then paint--I'm pretty sure Ruby will return to her original Marine blue color--then upholstery and carpet. This is going to stretch out for a while, since all of these cost serious money, except for the carpet which curiously enough is only going to run about $135.00 and is readily available. Plus the carpet is easy to install and can be done by us in an hour or two without major disassembly of the car.

I can't beleive what a boost being able to put the top down on the car again has given me. It reminded me once again of why I bought the car in the first place, that instant falling-in-love feeling. I know it's dorky but I can't help it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Here's a couple of pics from yesterday:

My costume--


I walked slowly alongside my daughter as she trick-or-treated in her costume ('Dash' from The Incredibles) and waited until people noticed me--always with a big, creeped-out jump backwards and a yell--then I'd ask if they had any Visine. It always got a laugh, but towards the end of the evening N. chided me because she was tired or hearing the same lame joke. Or I'd tell people I was just along to keep an 'eye' on my kid...

Here's part of the house, pity the nighttime pictures didn't come out, there were black lights, spooky music and a fog machine going--



 The eyeballs and my mask, by the way, are plastic bowls from the party store. The ones on the roof were lit from behind with two small mismatched table lamps I picked up at the thrift store for a couple of dollars each. So the lighted eyeballs on the roof worked out really well for such a cheap prop!

Here is the guy we sat on the front lawn at a table--



I'm not sure how many people got the joke that he had expired trying to complete 'The World's Most Difficult Jigsaw Puzzle', but oh, well! I used J.'s clothing stuffed with newspaper and several other thrift store finds; a rubber skull mask, blue fright wig and rubber rats.

I also found at the thrift store a creepy battery operated doll that was supposed to 'walk', but when hung by a noose around her neck from the porch she became 'Twitching Tina', kicking legs and all! I told the kids that she was a trick-or-treater from last year that hadn't come in costume, which got a laugh.

A few kids refused to come up the driveway, so we had to go to them to give them their candy. Once we let them play with a rubber rat or two they were fine. N. had a grand time, especially with setting up the yard.

It reminded me vividly of when we were kids, setting up various fun things in OUR yard. We had a ghost on a rope hidden in a tree which Fingle dropped on people, homemade recorded wails, howls, cackles, etc., one of my other sisters hid under a dark gray blanket in the corner of the porch and leaped out at people and strands of black thread hanging from the darkened porch so they would brush against people's faces.

I do so LOVE Halloween. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

It's Got...Potential...

...that's the polite way to phrase it. In blunter terms, it's The WhiteTrashmobile. I'm referring to my car. Here's my horror story for Halloween:

That's right, my own car. My preferred mode of transportation, personally chosen BY me in 1992 and driven daily (well, almost) since.

By way of explanation, I have to tell you that my car is a 1969 Plymouth Fury III convertible. No, NOT a muscle car. I laugh at muscle cars, muscle cars are far too easy to find parts for. It is nearly impossible to find parts for my 36 year old car. Leave it to dumb ol' me to fall in love with it. No, mine is what is called a 'C Body', which translates to 'Land Barge'. It sports a twenty four gallon gas tank, is nearly 9 feet wide and 20 feet long.

I get my money's worth at parking meters.

What I DO love about this car is that it handles like a dream, has a surprisingly tight turn radius, runs like a champ (and the faster you go, the smoother it runs) and I can SEE out of it. Since I am short this is a major plus. This car cried out to be named, as some cars do--her name is Ruby.

Besides, Ruby is just plain cool. When I first bought her in 1992, she had been freshly sold to a man who soon discovered that this was NOT the car to drive from his home in Fountain Valley to work in Long Beach, it was eating him alive in gas money. HE had bought it from the family of the original owner, who purchased it in North Hollywood in 1969. The first owner had obviously loved the car and taken very good care of it. So when it came to me it was in pretty darned good shape, and had a brand new convertible top.

Fast forward to 2005.....brace yourself, here's how she looks now:


 OK, so not too bad. You'd think. Until you see another picture from a different angle, which more clearly shows the 13 year old vinyl top:


Oh, dear. Tape? Can that really be TAPE?! Why yes, yes it is. Ohsoshiney, silvery, reflective tape. Wait. It gets worse. Let's move in closer, shall we?


 Ahhhh....yes....lovely, isn't it? Notice the hopelessly fogged over elcrapo plastic window, impervious even to Superman's vision. The loose bits of tape flutter nicely in the breeze, thank you. Hold on to your hats though, it gets even better:


 The crowning glory: A black trash bag. There is, at least, an amusing story to the trash bag.

It's patching a large, cat-sized hole.

Yup, one morning we went out and found this enormous hole, which at first I thought was someone either vandalising the car or one of the neigbors making a none-too-subtle point. Not true, as the muddy pawprints that vanished, skidding, into the opening professed. The no doubt mortified kitty was long gone. As I stood there looking at this, J. turned to me and said, "I would have paid cash money to see that happen..." So would I, so would I.

Next photo! Let's look inside, shall we? Cause as nice as this is on the OUTSIDE, the INSIDE must really scream 'class'...




That green bit in the middle is the sky! N. is now officially embarassed to be seen at school climbing into this car. She doesn't have it too bad though, because here's MY seat:


 Let us, mercifully, end this tour by viewing the passenger side, exterior:


Now if you saw this coming into your lane on the freeway, you'd move, right? Because obviously whoever drives this...this...thing can't possibly care if it takes any further damage.

I practically get the road to myself these days.

My mechanic, when I pulled into his garage area today to have this disgrace of a top replaced, actually laughed so loud I could hear him from inside the car--admittedly, not too tough with the overhead cat door--and yelled out, "Hey, you think you got enough tape on there?"

I told him I thought I had pretty much gotten my money's worth out of the thing.

So this evening Ruby sits, hogging TWO of his garage bays, while his guys remove the old top and fit the new one on, complete with GLASS back window. I'll post more pictures of the finished product in a few days, as long as nothing ELSE goes wrong. I just HAD to get pictures of Ruby at her worst, poor thing...

Next: Upholstery, carpet, and paint. Ruby, who was originally a pretty shade of Marine Blue, is trying to be blue AGAIN in many places, as the cheapo Earl Scheib special paint job wears away, which only serves to make her look like a giant, rolling bruise.

Onward!

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Something Awful...

...one of my favorite websites! :)

Just got back from spending some time perusing the Something Awful site. It's difficult to describe...it was started by some guys who are irrepressible, highly intelligent pranksters, whose scathing sense of humor reminds me of the ill-fated but mucho beloved 'MST3K'. It does carry some adult content here and there, so view it yourself before deciding if you'll let the kids see it. There is a section called "Photoshop Phriday" where they show off their own and their fans' Photoshopped fun. Another section called 'Comedy Goldmine' shares reader's job horror stories (funny, though). Fun Flash movies. My favorite section, by far, is "Pranks". That's the section where they hook scammers and porno/insurance/cheap meds website trollers and sloooowly reel them in... There is one story there called "The Smart Box". Read it, you'll be on the floor crying the laughter. :) It's hard to beleive that some people can be SO obtuse.

But I digress! The reason I'm posting this here is not only to share a great website, but to share a diamond mine of razor-sharp fashion reviews, which they call "Fashion SWAT":

http://www.somethingawful.com/fashion/


It's WELL worth it. If you read nothing else, read the Retro SWAT series...glaringly ugly men's fashion pics from England in the 60's and 70's, ruthlessly torn apart by these two guys.

Enjoy!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Expect The Unexpected...

Tonight I was checking my email, J. was sitting just to one side of me on his computer as well.

N. came up to me..."Mom...?"

"Yes?" I pause and look over at her, as her tone of voice is troubled.

"I accidently bit my..." she frowns a bit and moves her lower jaw around a little. I start to reach for her face to get her to open her mouth so I can see the damaged tongue she no doubt is feeling.

"...big toe." she finishes. I stop cold, trying NOT to look at J. whom I see out of the corner of my eye is struggling not to laugh out loud.

Don't laugh, my mombrain warns me, and sound sympathetic, for chrissakes! "Oh, I'm sorry. How did that happen?"

She looks sad. "It was an accident..." she says.

"Well, next time try to keep your toes out of your mouth and that won't happen." I say, patting her on the head and shooing her away. We DO wait for her to be back in her room and playing before we giggle....

Friday, September 23, 2005

It's A Plot, I Tell Ya...

In their ongoing quest to brood and hatch a clutch of eggs, my hens have started laying away again. 'Laying away' means creating little sneaky nests anywhere BUT the lovely nest boxes that J. made especially-special for them. They do this juuuust infrequently enough so that we forget about it, until we realize that for the last few days our egg production has dropped by half.

Then it's off to play Off Season Easter Egg Hunt. Usually it's the banties that pull this stunt, who, if you ask the man that owns one; will tell you are wicked clever little snots. Favorite hidden nest spots of the past (not counting eggs laid in the house) include: an old wheelbarrow full of potting soil and large gravel that I was going to use as a planter--eggs laid DIRECTLY on the stones, in a trash can, in a long redwood planter, on top of the folding table and my personal favorite: suspended in air in the branches of the sage bush in the herb garden. That was a good one, we didn't find THAT little treasure trove for nearly two weeks. Silly us, we were looking UNDER the bush...

Usually when a hen is going to lay an egg, the entire neighborhood hears about it in advance for some 20 minutes. Loud, anxious cackling along with a desperate hunt for THE PERFECT SOMEPLACE TO LAY THIS EGG TO END ALL EGGS. She is accompianied by the rooster, who will follow her around crawling into lovely dark hidey-holes, burbling charmingly and suggestively, trying to sell her on HIS special nest. After several long minutes of this nonsense, including loud, repeated requests to be allowed in the house to lay the egg there (NO thank you, I fell for THAT one before), she finally settles on the same spot she always lays her eggs. It's when she gets quiet that she's actually laying the egg, followed by another round of explosive, joyful cackling which all the other hens take up, too. A hen will lay an average of 6 eggs a week, or an egg every other day. Say you've got 10 hens. Each one cackles for herself AND all the others for every freakin' egg. Now you know why farmers drive tractors. It's so they can get a few minutes of QUIET.

Currently we have six hens that have gone broody--that is, they've Gone Over To The Dark Side. Suddenly the sweetest, gentlest little hen morphs into Godzilla. She stays on the nest all day in a trance. She will come off the nest once or twice a day to eat, drink, and poop massively and with a grand stink. The other chickens run for the other side of the yard when a broody comes off the nest and stomps, clucking loudly and angrily, across the yard. It's chicken PMS From Beyond Hell. God help you if you stick your hand near her to roust her off the nest or, most heinous crime of all, take her eggs. Loud, chicken-y death shrieks, fluffing up and bloodletting (yours) follow quickly. Most heartbreaking of all is the nearly human shrieks from the hens that sound JUST like they are sobbing, "Nooooo!" as you remove the eggs from under them. We are heartless, murderous fiends to take their unborn and yes, we feel lower than dirt and apologize.

So lucky us, we've got SIX of these right now. Since we don't want more chicks, we have to both take their eggs each day (the other chickens gleefully find a broody hen and climb in with her to lay their eggs) AND roust them off their nests and into the safety of the coop each night. Some of the broods have formed Survivor-ish alliances and sit together in one nest. That's better, that way no matter HOW you stick your hand in there you're gonna get bit.

Little snots...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Random Cruelty From Strangers

Interesting event at Disneyland the other day, when we took N. for a last visit before school started. Since I just had another surgery on my left ankle--number 3 of 6 needed--and am still in the Frankenstein-esq orthopeadic boot, I was in the wheelchair--extended walking still being a no-no for the present.

Firstly, no one, but no one looks out for wheelchairs at The Park. I've never had so many people run into and/or trip over me as I did that day. J. was muttering seriously about installing a sharpened cowcatcher to the front of the chair. Also, since J. was pushing the chair, N. walked beside me and held onto my hand so she wouldn't get lost. Those people that DID allow room for the chair refused to allow the child to get by. It was weird.

Then there are the parents who I swear, go to Disneyland specifically to lose, injure or kill their own offspring. Unattended kids were the worst for running into the chair and hurting themselves. One little boy of around 3 even walked beside the chair for a bit, staring at the wheel. I could see it coming, and his mother was looking the other way, oblivious. "No!" J. and I both told him as he stretched his hand out. Yup. He did it anyway, stuck his little fingers right in the spokes of the chair. By then I was SHOUTING "No!". Luckily J. knew what was going on and stopped the chair fairly quickly, but the kid still got his fingers pinched but good. Mother finally did turn around and grab him by the hand and haul him away. Incredible.

But that wasn't the worst.

I waited for J. & N. to ride Roger Rabbit, then we all went out through the standard exit, J. pushing the wheelchair. At the exit was the Goofy unit, comprised of Goofy and his handler, a girl named Shannon. No one I knew at all. Shannon spotted me, immediately pointed at my injured leg, laughed loudly and yelled, "Hey, can I kick you in the other leg and make it even?"

I was so shocked I couldn't speak, and J. just looked at her and angrily kept us going. NEVER in my life would I have expected anyone to say such a horrible thing to someone in a wheelchair, much less a stranger.

It was so cruel, so unexpected, so unprovoked that it literally took my breath away.

She, of course, had no idea why I was in that chair, or if it was temporary, or forever. To say that the last 6 years have been agonizingly painful, frustrating, stressful and depressing is an understatement. It's been a VERY long road so far and the end is still not in sight. The work they'll have to do to restore even partial use of my left ankle is complicated and has only a partial chance of success.

Shannon's bizarre comment, unfortunately for me, opened up the floodgates of all the emotions I've been trying to hold back for years, trying to look forward and hope for the best. We didn't even get out of Toontown before I was crying, and J. was trying to both comfort me, shield me from staring, curious people and explain the situation to N., who was very upset that I was crying.

We did stop at City Hall and file a complaint against Shannon, and the guy at the desk was very sympathetic.

We got out of there as quickly as possible, the day ruined. Sometimes people are just no damned good.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Irretrievably STUPID People...

Just got home, it's 3PM and about 110 degrees
outside--no exaggeration. We're having a really nasty heat wave and I
have to go out every hour and hose off the yard and the chickens. We
had gone out to the local party supply store to get some things for my
daughter's upcoming 6th birthday party. We came out and yippee skip,
the car won't start...

OK, call AAA, tell them it's really hot and we have a young child with
us, they say they'll hurry. Terrific. (I LOVE AAA). We see across
the parking lot a young woman with two kids and and older woman
standing next to a car. The older woman is one the phone, and they
have been since we got there, roughly 10 minutes before. We stand
around sweating...I take my daughter back inside the air conditioned
store to wait, watching out the front windows for the tow truck. DH
is rummaging in the trunk for the jumper cables.

After a few minutes I see him on his cell phone, grab the tire iron
out of our trunk and walk quickly across to where the women and kids and
standing by the SUV. I figure they've got a flat and DH is offering
to help, naturally. After another minute here comes AAA, so I go
outside to meet them. DH has headed the driver off and is directing
him to the women and kids, so I figure DH is going to get them taken
care of them first. No problem.

It turns out, THERE ARE TWO TODDLERS LOCKED IN THE CAR!!!
AARRGGGHHH!!! Every stinkin' year, we see news stories about kids who
die in very short order because their dumbshit parents leave them
locked in the car for 'just a minute' while they run into a store. My
DH had the tire iron because he was just about to break one of the
windows of the SUV! He was on the phone with 911, telling THEM what
was going on since the women HAD NOT! The AAA guy jumped out and
after quickly trying his lockpicking tool on several doors, was finally able to jimmy open one of the
locks. The kids inside had gotten so overheated by then that they had reached the stage where they had
stopped crying, were pale, bathed in sweat and listless. I was all ready to have to preform CPR on them. We told the
women to take the kids somewhere for a cold drink RIGHT NOW, so they
took them next door to the McDonalds. The older woman at least had
the sense to look shaken and was muttering, "Never again..." I also
told her NEVER again to leave the kids in the car like that, it's fatal!

We told the AAA guy he had without a doubt saved two lives that day,
and thanked him all over the place for being a hero. My husband let
911 know that all was well and the car was opened and the kids were
OK. I'm going to call AAA and praise the AAA driver.

I'm so damned mad I could spit. WHY those women had not had the sense
to let 911 know that they had little ones locked in a car on a hot day
for 20 minutes I'll never know. The cops would have been there in seconds. Or why they hadn't flagged down
ANYONE in the parking lot and asked for help. My husband had walked
over to them on his own when he saw them lean over and talk to someone
in the car! If that had been my kid I wouldn't even hesitate or wait
for AAA, I'd grab a rock and break a window immediately and chalk it
up to my own stupidity. But then I have never and WILL never leave my
kid alone in the car, not for a moment for any reason...I've always
been that way.

*whew* OK, I feel better now...but it turns out that my car needs a new alternator...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Happiness ISN'T...

...getting your freakin' leg whacked open from stem to stern. Here comes a full-on whine: DAMN, MY LEG HURTS!!!

OK...that's better. At least yesterday I made it down to the doctor to get the 900 ton cast removed. Since I couldn't get my left leg into the car on the driver's side around all the gas/brake/emergency brake pedals, J. had to drive me. I took along my old friend, Das Boot (a Frankenstein-ish orthopeadic boot, complete with numerous adjustment knobs, heavy duty black velcro straps and steel reinforcements, it looks like something Q would invent) that I had from the original broken ankle back in 2000. Lucky I did, since they were nice enough to cut off the bulky cast and replace it with the boot, but with a no-nonsense steely gaze and stern instructions NOT to walk around without the boot, and then even only when strictly neccessary.

No problem there. Especially since walking feels like someone is cheerfully holding a red-hot poker against my leg, it's automatically self-limiting. Since they had to make an even bigger incision to remove the hardware than they do to place it, the current incision is something on the order of 10 inches long. J. inspected it last night and said, "Hey, now you've got another new scar!" Whoopee. I told him I was going to come up with an interesting story to go along with it, maybe involving a bar fight down at the docks or the time that little voodoo doll came alive and chased me around the house wielding a butcher knife. Hmmm....

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Just TOO Cool!

Gotta thank my sister H., our gal in China. She just sent N. the neatest envelope...inside was a fun note telling N. all about Auntie H.'s adventures over there, plus some Chinese coins...AND the coolest part, her Dland business card in English and Chinese, and two maps of Hong Kong Disneyland!

Thanks Auntie H., you are the best! N. couldn't be more thrilled, and we've placed all those things away very carefully for her to have always. We had trouble getting N. to stop jumping up and down and waving her hands (her outlet for Big Fun and Excitement) long enough to go over everything with her. She played Chinese Disneyland the rest of the afternoon. :)

Ya Gotta Think Like A Kid...

Tomorrow I go in for surgery...NOT my favorite thing...to remove the metal bar and 6 or 8 screws that are holding my left ankle together. Yesterday and today I've been trying to get the things done that require me walking/driving/leaving the house/being upright. Bank...grocery store...gassing up the car...the kind of chores I refer to as "killin' rats"--that is, things that have to get done, but nobody likes doing. I'm also digging out my Advance Directive paperwork to take along, much as thinking of that kind of thing is Big Time No Fun and makes me cringe a bit, it's gotta be done. My own personal take is: No heroic measures (which means no rescusitating me or placing feeding tubes if it means I'll be a vegetable and have no quality of life), and if I pass away I want to donate any organs they can use and cremate the rest of me. Strip me for parts and burn the rest, heck I'll be long gone anyway so I won't care. *L* J. has the same plans, although he still needs to officially fill out the paperwork. Hate that general anesthetic, *bleah*. I really am fascinated by surgery anyway so I'd prefer to be able to watch, but they don't allow it.

This evening I was out enjoying the grass and visiting with the chickens since I'm going to be in the house for the next few days/weeks (our house is raised and has no wheelchair ramps). Phoenix the rooster

 Ain't he cute? Goofy, but pretty!

came over to be friendly, so I picked him up, talked to him and petted him. I teased him a bit with my standard line as I gently felt his little meaty thighs, "Ooh, aren't we a yummy, meaty bird! Umm, yep he's just about ready to eat, FEEL those meaty little drumsticks!" Phoenix just gives me a "Sure, like you'd ever really eat me. I know you're full of BS." look and bears with it. N. came over and said, "Can I?" OK, I said, but gently. She does, feeling his thigh and saying, "Yum, ice cream!"

I was laughing so hard I had to set Phoenix down. Drumsticks=ice cream, in the mind of a 5 year old... :)

Happiness Is...


...new sod!

Hallelujah and whoopdedoo, the back yard is a dust bowl no longer. Last weekend J. our intrepid and energetic nephew Joey helped us resod the back yard. For those who have never experienced it, laying sod is a trip...mostly a slimey one. To see how the yard got in this pitiable condition, see my previous blog entry about the floods in Dec '04 and Jan. '05.

Before you start sodding the sodding yard (heh, couldn't resist), you have to clear the entire yard of anything you can move, then rototill and level the dirt. We mixed in 20 bags of soil amendment--our local soil makes the dirt on Mars seem like prime bottom land. The chickens, of course, were in Heaven. Joey looked at me like I was a little nuts when I told him that one of his jobs would be to shoo the chickens out of the rototillers' patch using a broom. Actually it took both him AND me to keep them away. Chickens don't know from self-preservation when there is primo food like earthworms involved. J. & Joey used some spare 4x4 fence posts to help level the dirt and I walked the yard picking up more of the ever-popular broken glass, bits of rusty metal and old marbles. Among the things found was a vintage steel Budweiser bottle cap, surprisingly in pretty darned good condition.

Much to our delight the temperature was nearing 100 degrees the two days we had picked out to work in the yard. The minute the sod is delivered the clock starts ticking, you've only got a matter of hours to get it laid as it cheerfully begins dying the minute the sod company cuts it out of the ground. I mostly hosed down the three pallets of sod and the sections that were laid, while J. & Joey leveled, rolled the ground, laid sod chunks and afterwards rolled the sod again.

The chickens very nearly wept with delight at the sight of all that grass, and in order to keep the pallets of sod from being nibbled to death we decided to sacrifice one strip towards the greater good. Here they are, only about two-thirds of the flock fell on it like wolves...the ducks just wanted to sit on it and bask in the grassyness of it all, and Geraldine the tortoise barged in and ate as if the chickens didn't even exist.




This picture shows the three pallets of sod, surrounded by worshipping fowl.




Sod is apparantly grown in dirt mixed with snot....to say that it's slimey stuff is understating it. To make matters worse I had to keep hosing it down so that the damned stuff wouldn't DIE, so that made for slimey snotty dirt to ice skate on while trying to carry chunks of heavy sod. Try it sometime, it's loads of laughs when you are exhausted and it's 100 degrees. At one point Joey, while watching me hose off the pallets, ventured sadly, "That only makes it heavier..." "I know..." I apologized.

Here is the yard, rototilled (which, to everyone's further joy, makes it like wading through 12 inches of fresh snow). The stuff piled in the back is the pool, N.'s slide, lawn chairs, etc.



This next picture shows Day 2 of the Damned Sod, as it came to be known by then. The chickens were running around in a rather Brownian motion-type frenzy lying on different parts of it, as if they were afraid it would suddenly disappear as quickly as it had appeared.

 Finished, yay! And none of the sod (except the Sacrificial Chunk) died! I'm so happy I could cry. I'm still amazed at the amount of incredibly hard work that J. & Joey did, my heros, thanks guys! :) Here's the finished yard, I tried to get pics in the same areas that my previous blog entry during the floods show. The difference is astounding.






 
N. came home after two days at the Grandparents and her eyes were bugging out of her head. She eyed the grass every bit as hungrily as the chickens had and said, "Can I lay on it?!" Afterwards she ran around yelling "Grass! Grass!"

My thoughts exactly, kid.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Cool Bug Site And No More DIRT!

Just for fun, we found this cool bug identification site; loads of pics and stories, but NOT for those that don't like up-close pics of creepy crawlies. We were admiring the Toe Biters and sat around being glad we did not live in Florida:

http://www.whatsthatbug.com/

The way has been cleared for the new sod for the back yard, yee-ha! The soil amendment is being delivered today, with the rototiller and sod scheduled for Saturday. N. will be whisked away to the grandparents for the weekend so we won't have to worry about her becoming entralled with the rototiller--like all young kids, she loves heavy machinery and points out her favorite, backhoes, everywhere we go. J. is NOT looking forward to wrestling the rototiller all weekend, but at the end of it we should have a new back lawn! I'm so freakin' thrilled I can't stand it--it's like Christmas. The local cats have discovered the plain dirt back yard and are using it as a giant catbox, so N. hasn't been allowed to play out there for a couple of weeks now. Not to mention the constant dust-bowl-like status of our yard and home--that stuff gets everywhere and I'm sick of it. I've been clearing away the stuff in the yard to make room for the bags of amendment and sod, so my knees and ankle are giving my royal Hell. Oh well, tough luck for them!

After the sod gets laid will come Adventures With Carpet Cleaning, which will be the next fun thing. I'll post pics of the yard renovation, the chickens are going to be SO thrilled to have grass underfoot again to eat!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Pirates And Indians And Dancing, Oh My!

Fun weekend, this. We actually got out and did things for a change. Saturday was the 6th birthday party for a friend of N.'s, which had a pirate theme and was held in the recreation center of the city historical house/aquatic pavilion/farm/park complex. A very nice place that we could tell was custom-made for expensive weddings. The kid's mom had handed out these cutesy party invitations on the last day of school back in June. Each invitation was printed on aged-looking parchement paper in gothic text with cute pirate-y wording, then rolled up, tied with a gold cord and placed in a small bottle with a few seashells, some blue sand and corked shut. Very fancy for a 6 year old's party, and the kid's mom handed out about 50 of the things. N. was looking forward to this party, so we said we'd go.

Well, the day of the party we went to the place at the stated time (1-5PM was the time frame) and got there about ten minutes after one. We were the first ones to arrive, so we helped set up and chatted with the parents while the kids played. The parents and the kids were dressed in pirate gear, pirate decorations, a pirate ship cake...very well done and fun. About two hours later only one other couple + kid had showed, and we were feeling VERY sorry for the family that had obviously spent a good deal of money and planning on this party. Yet the kids were having a blast, running around having balloon swordfights courtesy of the dad who was making balloon animals and swords, bless his heart. Finally around 3:30 more people showed up until most of the 20 or so tables were taken. They had a quick scavenger hunt, played several games and had each kid make their own bandana using pirate stencils and fabric markers. The only flaw was that whether planned or unplanned, the reservation time on the building ran out before the kid could open his gifts. Parents, take note--ALWAYS leave plenty of time for the poor birthday kid to open his presents, which for the birthday child and the guests is the highlight of the day! At any rate, N. loved it and had a great time.

Today was fun, too--we went to the Southern California Indian Center Pow Wow, which this year was held at the Pomona Fairgrounds in one of the huge, air-conditioned buildings! Yay for a/c! Usually they have the pow wow the last weekend in August, outdoors, with little to no shade. Pow wows include LOTS of lengthy dancing in heavy regalia. Not good in summer. Today we got to sit and watch a fair amount of the dancing, which had N. VERY entralled. Many louds drums, chanting and fancy regalia. All the people there were smiling, laid back and taking the time to enjoy.

She also loved the booths with the natural animal bits and pieces--skins, bones, teeth, etc.--that Indians use in their decorations, drums, flutes, regalia, etc. We pointed out the different animal skulls (possum have REALLY impressive teeth, by the way), bones and hides. We were pleased that N. handled the materials carefully and showed the animals the respect due. We also got to indulge in one of the greatest meals ever, Navajo tacos. That's a nice chunk of Indian fry bread topped with refried beans, ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Impossible to eat neatly, but then everyone ELSE is covered in it too, so heck, who cares if you've got refried beans decorating your entire left leg. Loads of very cool drums, flutes, dreamcatchers, handbeaded jewelry and too much other cool stuff to list. The dancers outfits, or regalia (it's not Halloween, NEVER call it a 'costume') were incredibley ornate, and I noticed that after all that heavy duty dancing not a feather, bead or bit of anything from the dancer's outfits were on the floor. That's what comes of handsewing everything on your outfit yourself. We got N. a story book on rabbit the trickster since she loves bunnies, plus a desert animal sticker book, a couple of handmade beaded bracelets for her and I and some decorations to hang on our Ren Faire costumes--rolled tin jingles (technically for a Jingle Dress) and some lovely white carved bone feathers. N. kept staring at the people in their regalia and grinning like she was seeing movie stars. As we were leaving, she asked me if she could say hello to one of them, a teenage girl in a beautiful purple Shawl Dancer dress. The girl was very nice and spoke for a minute to N., who for ONCE (Hallelujah!) did NOT have to explain her Cherokee name, spell it, repeat it 5 times or correct people who insist on calling her 'Naomi', which is NOT her name. N. gave her a hug as the puzzled but smiling teenager looked over her shoulder at me. I just smiled back, shrugged, and told her, "She just really enjoyed the day and wanted to thank someone!" All the way out N. kept saying, "I LOVE Indians!" Which gave passersby a grin.

Best Tshirt of the day, among many: Front--"Got land?" Back--"Thank an Indian". Problem is, now N. wants a Jingle Dress and to learn traditional Indian dances. The dress I can manage to make no problem, but finding someone around here to teach the dancing I'm SURE will be a pain. Should be fun, though!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

This Week...

Another trip to the fair, and this time we got brave enough to actually enter the avocado fudge booth....sadly, no free samples, and it turns out the fudge is NOT avocado flavored--it's chocolate--and the avocado merely performs the dull and somewhat lackluster duty of 'moistening' the fudge. Humorless signs in bold print told us so. I guess the people working the booth had had enough of people who had juuuust enough beer in 'em to be 'Sparklingly Brilliant' stopping by to make witty comments.

Dang. My brother misses out again.

N. did score a huge stuffed cobra colored a bright blue with, oddly enough, red flames. She rode rides to her heart's content and we ran into our friend John, the hairdresser who had disappeared about a year ago. To our surprise he told us that he was now owner of the salon and had two more opening up. He had his fiance and her daughter with her, and they looked happy and healthy. It's nice to run into old friends and find them content and successful.

Also on the plus side, tonight I went to a different supermarket, Ralph's. I got fed up with the local Stater Brothers. On a recent trip there the whole market smelled. I mean, it smelled BAD. A friend of mine, whose ex-hubby was in the supermarket management biz, told us that this particular smell is the scent of maggots. Oh, joy. To make matters worse, when I opened the milk cooler I was actually assualted by the smell of sour milk. Double joy. The place was also so picked over, non-stocked or stocked with 100 boxes of the same item, that I asked the two teenage girls lounging behind the deli counter if the store was closing. No, they said, blinking at me dully. The shelves looked like shoppers had stripped them in preparation for a natural disaster. To top it off, we found a block of cheese that had expired FIVE YEARS AGO. So when I went through the checkout I gifted the cashier with the fossilized cheese and informed her of the horrible smells, to which she said offhandedly, "Oh yeah, we need to hire a new janitor." I told her if I was the manager and MY store smelled that bad, I would grab a mop myself and have a go at it.

So, much as I hate learning the new layout, new store. Clean! Bright! Well-stocked! Absence of weird/funky/dead thing smells and creepy science project petrified foodstuffs! I'm happy. What gave me a giggle today was the sign over one of the aisles....yes, it's true..."New Age Soda"! A WHOLE AISLE! Only in California, I snickered. By the way, 'New Age soda' is apparantly anything made by Sobe, Powerade or any variation of flavored/carbonated water.

The other fun thing is the new song my five year old daughter is singing....a la K.C. and the Sunshine Band, that immortal hit from the '70's--(in ohsocute young child voice) "Shake, shake, shake...shake, shake, shake...shake your buddha...shake your buddha..."

Hell NO, I'm not going to correct her! Just as I'm not going to correct her calling her belly button a 'bee butt'.

The mental imagery is just beyond wonderful.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

County Fair Time Again!

One of our favorite times of the year is county fair season. Today we went to the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, California. Every year the fair has a theme, and this year's is 'Come Out And Play', and they are spotlighting the avocado...which I love and J. is deathly allergic too so he hates. As soon as J., N. and I walked through the Blue Gate (they have them color coded in the hopes that people can find their way out, even through a beer and sunburn induced glaze) I burst out laughing when I saw this sign:



'Avocado Fudge'.  I took a picture of it (who would believe it, otherwise?) while J. mimed leaning over and retching--N. looked on in puzzlement. Now, don't get me wrong--I like fudge...Hell, I LOVE avocados--but Avocado Fudge is just a severe perversion of nature. The other thing that gave me a smile was this bit of artwork:



That's an avocado in that nest of eggs, presumably an escapee from the kitchen where another tasty batch of avocado fudge was being whipped up.

At any rate, N. had a good time. She went down the giant slide 4 times, rode a couple of other rides and batted her eyelashes and bestowed a smile on one of the carnies who then almost fell over himself giving her a large stuffed dog. We had some of that killer giant roasted corn and tons of fresh sqeezed lemonade, visited the animals, watched the charming little three person circus show, got N. some Magic Rocks which we'll grow tomorrow and came home with a new goldfish and sore feet.

*whew*

But of course, this is just the first trip, we'll be going back!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sharing The Wealth...

For those of you who cannot afford to take your summer vacation here in California this year, just thought we'd share:

In the last week, Illinois had a magnitude 3.0 earthquake, a 2.5 in eastern Tennesee, a 3.2 in western Montana, a 3.6 in Utah and a 3.5 in Washington state.

Yer welcome! :)

Y'all make sure and stick those loose geegaws down, now...they do hurt a mite when they fly off and smack ya in the head.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Mockingbirds Are Amazing...

Our local young fellow has a vast repetoire of very amusing sounds: your basic mockingbird 'twee-deep, twee-deep, twee-deep', a car alarm going off (complete with the pause and double 'boop-boop' of being reset), an imitation of an angry crow caw, a VERY fine imitaion of a whole murder of crows cawing--at a distance!, Starling calls, sparrow chirps, etc. The most recent addition is the sound of an aluminum baseball bat hitting a baseball, courtesy of the people who live behind us and their kid who bats fungo at 11:30 at night when the mockingbird is revved up and running through his calls, in prime learning absorbtion mode.

I recently spotted our mockingbird during the day, surprising since he starts singing at around 11:30 at night and continues until nearly dawn. He was a young, healthy, skinny little thing who was so bright-eyed and bouncy he looked like he was on speed and could go forever.

Oh, goodie.

Oh well, I wonder what interesting sounds we could teach him...?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Another Stage Of Life Passes...

...and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Today N. graduated from Kindergarten. I know she didn't, technically, but until someone comes up with a better term, well...'matriculated' is too fancy for 5 year olds. I've been helping out all year by being there every morning to help the Kindergarteners line up for class, after which we all walk waaaaay out to the back field with the rest of the school kids, then on to class when the bell rings. Myself and 3 other moms have been doing this every day all year, rain or shine, sick or well, being there as a comfort and a familiar face for the kids. I'm glad school is over since my leg pain has been viciously growing in leaps and bounds for the last few months and towards the end it seemed a race between the end of the year and the hospital (school won, the hospital thing is in a week and a half), but at the same time I'm sad. The difference in the kids from tiny, clinging little things who barely knew their own names last September to self-confident school kids who can read, write, do addition and subtraction, charge around the school like they own it and follow rules today is nothing short of amazing. I've had a lump in my throat the size of Kansas all day. Today was tougher than N.'s first day of Kinder, although that first day I DID pace the living room, watching the clock and counting the minutes until I could go and get her.

Today the contents of N.'s back pack were: The last few school assignments graded and returned, a pink, yellow and green construction paper flower and white paper dove she made, her final report card (overall pretty good, she needs improvement in penmanship and paying attention, but is two years above the norm in reading ability, no surprises there), three invitations to summertime birthday parties, her Kinder graduation certificate, her little softcover yearbook with many scrawling signatures and a Fourth of July headband they made today.

It was nice that everyone made a point today of lingering to look each other in the eye, smile and say goodbye and have a nice summer. I tried to explain to N. yesterday and today that today was the last day of school, and she wouldn't be seeing many of her friends for a few months, but I'm sure I'll be hearing "Can I go to school?" quite a bit in the next few days. I'm glad she loves school so much. I loved elementary school, too. I can still vividly remember my own days in Kindergarten, and how excited I was to finally be old enough to go after watching my brother and sister leave for school each morning.

But now I know how my Mom must have felt.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Latest Update On The Back Yard!

Well, now the back yard has had it's first rototilling. This first one was to break up the soil and then smooth it out...but mostly to remove the rest of the damned weird trash we've been finding. Before the new sod is laid we'll have to till it again, mixing in soil amendment (our soil is decidedly NOT top quality).

So far we've filled a 35 gallon trash can with assorted bits of rusty metal, old beer can pull tabs, marbles (OK, we those were cool and we kept them), broken toys, chunks of broken and/or melted glass, rocks, broken china and the remains of many, MANY pigs. Creepy.

Besides the marbles, a few cool surprises: an unbroken Cracker Jack toy--a magnifying glass--, a small goldplated pendant adorned with what appears to be amethysts circa 1920's, and yesterday a square nail! I've never dug one of those up around here before, so it was a surprise. I stood there blinking at it for a bit.

Today J. set up the new inflatable pool for N.--12 feet across and 30 inches deep, she was in Heaven. We explained the swimming lessons she was going to have this summer and explained to her that no longer is she allowed in the back yard unless one of her parents was with her. This is the first pool we've had that has a filter and doesn't get dumped out after each use, so it has a cover and will have a pool alarm too.

As we sat in it this afternoon, Duck was watching avariciously, no doubt planning on how to Take Over. Finally he jumped into his own pool and swam around quacking loudly. I think he was a little stunned at first that humans actually enjoy swimming, too.

Next comes the sod! I can't wait, it will put an end to the vast amounts of dirt being tracked into the house and sticking to freakin' EVERYTHING.

Monday, April 25, 2005

This Week's Giggle...

...was courtesy of the man at Disneyland stomping his way bombastically through the Park, being chased by a Park employee who was struggling to maintain a professional demeanor while obviously trying to figure out HOW she was going to tell this guy that he had a 10 inch ribbon of toilet paper trailing like a banner from his right heel.

*giggle, snort*

Sometimes life IS just like a sitcom!

An Easter Gift From Ma Nature!

Easter Sunday we were attending an Egg Hunt at a local park, which found N. acquitting herself quite well--she got in there and grabbed eggs with the best of them. The folks were smart and used plastic eggs filled with treats. Afterwards we were sitting around talking with the family, and as we walked to our cars we noticed something strange...

Butterflies!

Every few seconds, a group of 2-6 Painted Lady butterflies would slowly flutter past us, all moving in the same direction. It continued the whole time we were there. As we drove home, we noticed even MORE of them, the mass migration finally causing the 605 freeway to nearly come to a halt as cars slowed, windows rolled down and grinning adults stretched out their hands to the butterflies like little children. The butterflies weren't flying OVER the freeway, they were flying in a slow, stately manner ACROSS the freeway. Everyone was obviously charmed right out of their shoes and braking so flocks of butterflies could pass.

After we got home we went out back and sat for a bit, enjoying the clouds of color as they flew across our yard and over the house, continuing their trek to wherever they were going. I've never seen anything like that in my life. It even made the news that night.

A very cool Easter gift, thanks Mother Nature! :)

Unwilling Backyard Archeological Digs

Well...digging into the dirt in our back yard has proved...um..."interesting", to put it politely.

To put it another way, who in the HELL throws broken glass, metal pull tabs (NOT pop tops, mind you!), broken dishes, et all, into their OWN YARD?!

The recent howling rainstorms and resulting standing floods managed to absolutely kill every blade of grass in our back yard.

Last year:

















After the flood! 5 inches of standing water, which stayed for 4 days:




After the drainage channels, which did NOTHING to improve the looks of the yard:



The bushes and trees are still alive thank Heavens, so there is still SOME greenery. During the floods we had to go out into the rain and dig ditches to channel the water away from the buildings and the chicken coop so the flock wouldn't drown. We came up with lots of weird stuff such as the broken glass and metal, but also some cool stuff--Cracker Jack prizes (intact!), 21 marbles (so far), plastic cars in neato swoopy '30's designs, and numerous small toys. I already have a Kist soda bottle (handpainted logo!) and a small glass Bayer aspirin bottle that my chickens dug up years ago sitting on my kitchen window shelf. We figure that either the people who lived here used the yard for a trash heap, there was an incinerator out there (we've found hunks of melted glass) or, we (ulp) live on an old landfill. We already know that the previous homeowners liked to butcher their own pigs--they buried the remains of 14 (that we've found to date) in shallow graves of 6 inches of earth, wrapped in black plastic trash bags (why???!!). So the 'previous homeowner as land befouling gross polluter' is the front running theory.

Anyway, since none of the grass grew back and the back yard looks like Mars, a session with a rototiller to prepare the way for new sod is in our near future. It promises to be a frightening/weird/cool/eye-opening/disgusting experience.

I can't wait to see what THAT produces...hmmm, come to think of it, didn't that guy's wife die while they lived here...?

*gulp*

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Fun With WHAT...?!

...worms. Earthworms, to be specific. This afternoon we took advantage of the fleeting nice weather to go out and play with the kid and chickens. For N. this involves just about anything, with the chickens today it involved J. with a shovel. The older ones know what The Shovel means and come running to stand on the blade as you are trying to dig.

We weren't planting anything, mind you. Just turning over the earth for the pure sake of breaking the soil, which ya gotta do in warm weather or die. It feeds the soul and calms the spirit. What with all the rain we've had lately the eartworms were numerous and near the surface. The chickens happily pounced on them, not caring that N. was telling them that SHE wanted one to hold and look at. Finally she got one of her own, and as I sat there mentally toting up how much I'd spent this Christmas on toys, she piled some loose dirt on an old cinderblock and commenced to tell her worm about his new house. Then she tried to stuff him into it, only to be robbed of her new plaything by Rita, a small black cochin hen. Not shy about food, our Rita. I struggle against laughing out loud as N. looks at Rita in shock and yells, "Hey--! Mom, she took my worm and I wasn't done playing with it!" Not only this, but Bear has noticed the Worm Home that N. has built and realizes that she saw Rita grab a worm out of it. Destructor Bear moves in like a feathered bulldozer and obliterates the carefully constructed Worm Home, looking mildly annoyed at wasting precious food hunting time when no more worms are forthcoming. We leap to keep everyone happy with more digging, being more careful to seperate the five year old's worms from the chicken's worms.

Eventually the chickens tire of gobbling worms, which is good because several of them look as if they are in real danger of exploding. Liz has fallen into the holes several times lunging for a worm, and Bear has used the smaller birds for traction. A few of the birds are squeamish about the worms though. I guess it's the dirt that sticks to them. Phoenix the rooster only takes one for the barest instant, just to be polite, spitting it out with a nearly audible ptooey for one of the hens and then shaking his head afterwards. I do get him to eat a few that I have cleaned the dirt off of, but he doesn't look all that thrilled.

After a while we give up and go sit down. I see that Bear has a bit of root material hanging from her beak, and have J. hold her while I grasp her head and pull it out of her mouth. When I open her beak I get a full dose of Worm Breath, which I'm here to tell ya ain't pretty. Meanwhile N. is kinda having a good time by sending earthworms down her slide, but she has to keep getting a new worm each time because the old one has mysteriously dissapeared.

Several very happy chickens wait at the bottom of the slide, though.

Did I Miss A Memo...?

Apparantly tonight was "Run Like An Idiot From The Cops" night in our neighborhood. Three seperate episodes of howling sirens going round and round plus the inevitable helicopter. One event merited the fire department getting in on the fun. We sat in the back yard petting the chickens and betting how quickly the cops would tire of the same four blocks over and over again and end it.

Heck, If I'd known in advance I would have set up a lemonade stand!

Ain't full moons fun.