The Attack of the Turkey People

Okay, no actual attack was involved. It was more of an invasion in my back yard.

A momma turkey and her three babies either flew over the 6-ft fence or wriggled under it. A bit of a surprise before my morning coffee.

Turkeys qualify as wildlife here in my corner of California, but they’re apparently not native. They were introduced to the state in the 1870s for hunting.

Other wildlife I’ve encountered in my yard:

 

I can vouch for the mule deer being native to my area, but apparently the fox is only a member of that club if he (she?) is a Sierra Nevada red fox. The squirrel is probably a red squirrel–not native, and sufficiently more aggressive than the gray squirrel (which I think is native, but it could be an interloper too) that the red has overpowered the gray. I like the grays, they have fluffier tails.

Then we have a few critters in the neighborhood that are clearly not native:

The zebra is a stud used for zebra crosses like zorses and zonkeys. No idea why there are peacocks strutting around our county (rumor has it they scare rattlesnakes away). And you know the Canada geese are transients from out of town–and they apparently have an astonishing number of babies.

Any interesting critters where you live?

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cats Horses and Other Pets | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brilliant, Brilliant I Tell You

This has been a creative morning. As I struggled to drag myself into wakefulness, hitting the snooze button for the second time, an absolutely brilliant, foolproof idea burst full flower in my mind. I’m sure I can trust all of you not to steal it for yourselves and make gazillions of dollars from this lucrative concept before I can.

So here it is: when you hit the snooze button on a clock (any clock–old school clock-radios, fancy watches, smartphones), you not only get 10 extra minutes of sleep, but time moves backward that same amount. In other words, you don’t lose time by sleeping in. In fact, “sleeping in” will no longer be a thing. We’ll call it “time restoration” or “time recycling” or some such. You’ll never be late for work again.

Now that I’ve come up with the idea, I’m sure physicists, mechanical engineers, and Time Lords alike will want in. They’ll pay me generous royalties once they figure out the trivial details of how to make this work. The big bucks will start rolling in.

I’m thinking there might be other applications for this idea. How about a reset of unpleasant experiences? Download the app “Time Restoration” onto your phone and select from a list of options like Bad Blind Date or Disastrous Election Result. You’ll never have to say “Well, there’s four years I’ll never get back” again.

Posted in Books | Leave a comment

Greatness in Diversity

A while back, President-Elect Trump’s staff posted a page requesting feedback on how we Americans thought we could “Make America Great.” I took the opportunity to respond. My response is below, with some minor editing.

you-belong-here-11x17What makes America great is its people. All its people. We are a nation of immigrants, and we must respect the rights of all–those who arrived in the last few months, few years, few centuries. After all, no one but those indigenous to this nation are native here. We all came from somewhere else.

So first, acts like this must stop.  You, President-Elect Trump, have a powerful pulpit. While all Americans must speak out forcefully against racist, sexist, homophobic attacks, your voice in particular must be heard loud and clear.

Some of your supporters seem to think your election has freed them from human decorum and kindness, allowing them to say or do whatever hateful thing they wish. It has not. We still must be respectful of one another. Kind to one another. Hateful acts worsen and coarsen our country. They bleed away our greatness, making us LESS THAN the magnificent country we can be.

Once you’ve done your part to restore civility and kindness to our nation, then you can begin to put in place the policies you think will make this country greater. But please keep in mind you are not just president of the ones who voted for you. You are president of the ones who didn’t vote for you and the ones who didn’t vote at all. Not all of us will agree that your policies are what’s best for our country and its people. We may speak out against them. That’s our right as Americans.

So do your best, Mr. Trump, for all Americans. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Posted in diversity, Strongly Held Beliefs | Leave a comment

Solace in Cats

dsc_2680cssI’m one of those who’s still dealing emotionally with the election last month. I’ve been reeling from horror story to horror story, my stomach in knots. I can’t say things are looking any brighter close to a month afterwards.

I’m finding a modicum of comfort in my cats. Yes, I’m an admitted Cat Lady, even though I only own two. With our empty nest and my grandkids living so far away, pressing my ear to the side of a purring cat and petting their soft fur can be a welcome distraction.

tenka-bedI’ve been doing a terrible job as a blogger and sometimes would just as soon shut it down. Especially now when things are looking dark for our country. But I’m taking another stab at it. Not sure where I’m going from here, and I hope it won’t be nothing but cats. But for now, here are a couple of contented felines that make my world a little brighter.

Posted in Cats Horses and Other Pets, Strongly Held Beliefs | 2 Comments

Light at the End of the Tunnel

In the literal sense rather than figurative. My granddaughter wanted to sit in the first car of the DC Metro Red Line, and we managed to get the front seat. I couldn’t resist a little video.

Posted in Travel, Unusual Hobbies | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Aww, Go Fly a Kite

KiteWell, it seemed like a great idea at the time. Go to the park and fly kites. The breeze was pretty brisk in DC today, and the nearby soccer field wasn’t in use, so a great opportunity to get the kites into the air.

Oh, and did I mention the tall trees lining one side of the soccer field? I’ll get to those in a moment.

My granddaughter was having some trouble getting her smaller kite into the air, so her dad helped her get the larger kite up. She was doing great. She got it up so high she was at the end of the string, and both the kite and my granddaughter were proud and happy. I was meanwhile doing my best to get her little one to fly, but did I mention I suck at flying kites?

This next part wasn’t my fault at all, though. Really, it was the wind’s fault. The wind and physics. The pull of the kite got so strong that it pulled the handle of the string holder right out of my granddaughter’s hand. My son took off after the handle as it scooted along the grass. But he wasn’t fast enough.

One of the trees lining the field was plenty fast though. It snatched up the yellow handle of the kite’s string holder, and zip, pulled it about twenty feet up into the branches (okay, the wind pulled it, not the tree). Next thing you know, the tree is flying the kite, not us. Nor did the tree seem inclined to give the kite back.

So, now the conundrum. How do we unhook the handle from the tree branch without losing the whole thing, kite, string, and all? Luckily, along came a man who’d come to walk his dog and we conscripted him onto the CSI: Kite Rescue Edition team. With his help, we tossed the other kite’s string over the branch where the yellow handle was caught. Unfortunately, although we could jiggle the branch, we couldn’t get the yellow handle to work free.

Then I noticed a few PVC poles with soccer flags on one end and a metal stake on the other. With the assistance of the dog walker, we cobbled together three poles and by pulling the branch lower with the other string, we got the yellow handle free. Unfortunately, the rest of the string was still caught in the tree.

So now we were controlling the kite, more or less, but further unfortunately, we apparently couldn’t fly the kite as well as the tree could. The kite stuttered in the sky, then gave up the ghost, falling into a tree across the street. We were about to go over and ask the homeowner to give us a call when the kite fell when I suggested we cut the string so we could get it out of the tree.

Once the tension in the string was gone, the kite started sliding out of the tree. By the time we ran across the street, the kite had fallen on the roof of a neighboring house. While we watched, it slowly slid down the roof into my son’s hand.

20160508_174051At that point, I think the kite said, “I meant to do that.” It might have even snickered a little about how well the tree had kept it in the air. Although it did admit my granddaughter had done a pretty good job flying it too.

It took a while to reel in all that string. As we headed home we pretty much laughed all the way.

The kite wasn’t the least bit apologetic.

Posted in Family, Travel | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

E-book Meet Book-Book

Kindle BookmarkYes, I’m using my Amazon Kindle as a bookmark in my paper book. I enjoy reading both ways. How about you? Are you strictly an ereader fan? Sticking to paper books only? Or do you cross-read?

What if a parent only read to their child using an ereader or tablet? Do you think their child would ever explore paper books? I think they would. Kids love to manipulate things with their hands, and there’s a whole world of sensation and textures in a book-book.

So I do think babies would still be gumming their board books, and toddlers would still flip through their first picture books with avid anticipation of the next page. Older kids would still want to curl in a corner with a chapter book, lingering over each illustration. Because a story is a story, in whatever form.

Posted in Books | Leave a comment