Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Life is good to me.

Lyman found a little turtle in the bag of crawfish Saturday.

"What should we do?" I asked.

"Take it down to the ditch at the end of the street."

"What's the best way to get there?"

"Go across John's yard. It's right beside it."

So I carry this little turtle, the kind with a red streak on its neck, across the neighbor's and on to John's yard.

He is outside with two grandsons in a wading pool. The oldest might be four.

"John, this came out of a crawfish bag. I was taking it to the ditch."

Boy says, "Can I hold it?"

"You'll have to ask your granddad. It's his now."
I like to give gifts.

When I was a little girl I would save pennies so I could have something under the tree for everyone at Christmas. It was mainly junk, but it was bought with the recipients in mind. I did manage a tie rack for my brothers one year which was useful.

So I had fun today. I had a high-school graduate and a bride-to-be to please. Her local shower is this Saturday. She be from Detroit.

I've gone beyond trying to read the minds of young women. The graduate has a nice check (she used to look after the cat when we were out of town), and the bride has a certificate to Amazon. But they still needed a little packaging.

I found a cheerful card for the grad. But at the new dollar place in the mall I found a tiara and scepter for the bride. Isn't every bride a princess?

I also found cheap, safe baby toys for the birds.

What a nice day.
Indigo Insights sends this joke today:

Wanda's dishwasher quit working so she called a repairman. Since she had to go to work the next day, she told the repairman, "I'll leave the key under the mat. Fix the dishwasher, leave the bill on the counter, and I'll mail you a check."

"Oh, by the way don't worry about my bulldog. He won't bother you. But, whatever you do, do NOT, under ANY circumstances, talk to my parrot!" "I REPEAT, DO NOT TALK TO MY PARROT!!!"

When the repairman arrived at Wanda's apartment the following day, he
discovered the biggest, meanest looking bulldog he has ever seen. But, just as she had said, the dog just lay there on the carpet watching the repairman go about his work.

The parrot, however, drove him nuts the whole time with his incessant
yelling, cursing and name calling. Finally the repairman couldn't contain himself any longer and yelled,

"Shut up, you stupid, ugly bird!"

To which the parrot replied, "Get him, Spike!"
The best kind of local news: Imogene's has come back to Vidalia after several years up the road in Ferriday.

Imogene's is a greasy spoon with the best heart-clogging food around: beautiful pies, sumptuous hamburger steak with mushrooms or onions or both with gravy, fluffy omelets, and a lovely vegetable beef soup with corn bread.

The restaurant opens today. I wonder if the menu is much changed?

UPDATE: The menu is unchanged. This is good news.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Little Charlie might be the coolest little beastie I've ever met. By cool, I mean non-reactive. You won't faze him much.

Lucy has done her level best to intimidate him this week. If he were a larger bird, I'm sure he would have just batted her away with his wing.

Perhaps, he, too, needs a talking to. A great little guy, though.

We'll be proud and careful guardians.
Deborah Solomon of the New York Times interviews Larry McMurtry on his new book about Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley.

Mr. McMurtry is not a navel-gazer:
You should probably come up with a better answer, because I'm sure you'll be asked the question many times on your book tour.

No, I won't. This is the only time I am talking about this book. Why write a book and then talk about it? It doesn't make any sense. I can get another book done in the time it takes to do a book tour. I don't want to sit around reliving last year's book in conversation.
(Thanks to Ann Althouse)

From the Baton Rouge Advocate

Sunday, May 29, 2005

I've gone about this all wrong.

I've said time and again that Lucy is a good helper. She has been helping me today with Charlie. She helped mix his formula and feed him. She helped demonstrate a bath in the sink. She showed him it was okay to eat on the playstand. In return, she's mainly left him alone.

It might be getting through to her that we have a baby on our hands.

Speaking of a baby, at about 8:20 Charlie jumped from his perch and came to my chair. He was full as a tick today. Food was not the problem. I picked him up and he was squawking.

I held him close and petted him. He responds much like a cat. After a while he was blissing, when I found the proper arc down his head.

I sang him the prettiest lullaby I know. I bet Jordana knows this one, since it came to me from a Peter, Paul and Mary album, circa 1964:
Don't you cry,
Go to sleep little baby.
When you wake
You shall have
All the pretty little horses --
Dapples and greys, pintos and bays --
All the pretty little horses.
If you know more of the verses, Jordana, send them on. Please? That's all I remember.

UPDATE: And so we get the "My Little Ponies" industry. "Rockabye Baby" doesn't give itself to that kind of treatment. Try that, capitalists.

UPDATE: Miss Francesca sends along this version:
Hush-a-bye, don't you cry,
go to sleepy, little baby.
And when you wake, you shall have cake,
And all the pretty little horses.

Black and bay, dapple and grey,
Coach and six white horses.

Mammy loves, and Pappy loves,
and Mammy loves her little baby.
So hush-a-bye, don't you cry,
go to sleepy, little baby.

Black and bay, dapple and grey,
Coach and six white horses.
You simply never know what you'll find on the Internet. I was browsing over at Terry Matson's BamaBlog and came across a site on carved melons.

Both birds like the background music. They're still as can be.

Taking recommendations for soothing Asian-style music.

I could use them myself.
So, I get this spam from Imelda telling me I "should give myself the pleasure I deserve."

I really don't care that much about shoes, darlin'.
There's little point for me to put up a separate Memorial Day post when Papa Possum has done it so well.
When I made Lyman's mother's cake for Mother's Day, Big Daddy told me he didn't care much for cake, but that he loved a good cobbler. Blackberry, especially. (Hint, hint.)

His birthday is tomorrow. I am looking for a cobbler recipe that approximates my mother's. Can the quick stuff. She made it with a bottom crust and top crust, with melt-in-your-mouth doughy bits inside.

Never mind. I've found a good prospect in Cajun Cuisine.

UPDATE: Girl sent the cake carrier back a few days ago. She ate nearly every bit of that cake herself. Big Daddy had a bite or two.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

"Lucy! Don't get that baby's tail!"
The floor really needed a good going-over, so I started when Lyman went out the door to pick up things for this evening.

I vacuumed, spot cleaned on my knees, and mopped the worst parts.

When Lyman walked in from the grocery, he set things down, fixed a cup of coffee (with sugar) and promptly spilled it down the island cabinet and onto the floor.

The birds were due for a snack. I gave them each a quarter of cantaloupe. Charlie started on the rind, flinging bits of it willy-nilly. I took the quarter away from Charlie, scooped the seeds and flesh into a dish and brought it back to him. He cried (well, squawked) for the whole thing back.

We need to sell this house and move to a barn.

As if enough hadn't gone on the past two weeks, Lyman insisted on the last crawfish boil of the season today.

Sorry, Nate. He pretty much sprang this one on me, too.

(Photo from specialacajun.com)
Ahhh. Two deeply tucked birdies.

I'm a happy girl. A worthy week's work.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Now, by gosh, that's the way it should be -- two little birds sitting on their perches grinding their beaks before bedtime.

We make progress.
A reason other than reference to know the birds' sexes is to understand behavior patterns.

Having learned that Charlie is a boy, I researched enough to find out that young males spar with each other for the highest perch available as a means of establishing dominance. He insisted on leaving his separate play area and keeping the top branch of the Parrot Tower all week.

That sat none too well with the Queen of Oak Street.

Tonight he stepped on down to the tray and has been wandering down there. Lucy tolerated that fine after a pull or two on his tail.

He has just tried the playtree. It's too much of challenge for him right now. But he's game.

UPDATE: Let's put that differently. The boy has game.

We also won't be "killing two birds with one stone" in this household.
Now we can speak proper English. The new bird is a male. Charlie is a boy.

Isn't that precious? We have a sweet little boy and a savage, vicious vixen of a little girl.
I have found the most humane and efficient means of drawing Lucy away from Charlie when she is feeling contentious -- the camera.

She's always been too curious about the thing to get much of a picture of her. So I doubt I can present many pictures of confrontations.

Technology. How it improves our lives.
My gosh. Wait until Lyman reads this story editorial.

So how long a knife should be allowed to have a sharp point?

Boning knives and fillet knives are long enough to do serious damage and need their points.

I'm still pretty handy with an Exacto and a single-edged razor blade. They surely should be banned.

My, oh my.

(Seen first at Dr. Smith's.)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Not a bribe, but a fine distraction for a day or two.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

My Lord. Charlie just made Exorcist noises.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

What is the matter with the world that Lucy thinks family love is a zero sum game?

She's a bird. She's a great girl and I love her, almost unconditionally. (The girl needs to learn how to take criticism. And leave the baby alone.)

I guess it can always be this way with a spoiled child.
Ray Heid is on TV right now at 7:15 p.m. Weather channel.
It's 3 o'clock in the afternoon and Charlie has tucked for a nap. That means he puts his head over his shoulder into his feathers.

Lucy is caged and won't bother him or her or it. She's never done that. Not in daytime. They're different kinds of birds.

When will those results come back?

Monday, May 23, 2005

This is not a great picture taken with a tiny Gateway digital, but here is Charlie:

Lucy has been a real bully to this sweet baby today.

She's gotten the lecture: "If you were a human little girl I would whip your butt and put you to bed. Leave that baby alone."

That's her silhouette in the background. Our bird compound is plenty large for two medium-sized birds, unless one is a total snitch-rhyme.

Taking all suggestions from human mothers and daddies. You'd not think so, but most of them will apply.

Nobody likes a selfish snotwad bully.
What a stinky girl! Charlie is napping on the top perch of the Parrot Tower and Lucy went and pulled his/her tail. Cool Charlie just moved over a few steps and went back to sleep.

Bad Lucy.
This concept of sharing is very hard for Lucy.

It's been 3-1/2 years since she lived with other birds. Charlie just came from a group of six greys along with all the other birds in the house.

The snotty little biddy has a lot to learn.

I'm glad we didn't delay this any longer.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Oh, dear. Charlie made the jump into the open door of Lucy's cage.

Lucy was on her tree, and looked at the other bird like, "Wait a @#$^ minute. What do you think you're doing?"

Charlie is not one bit shy. She's looking at everything. Eating the food, Lucy's food, inside the cage.

What do you do with kids these days?

Maybe I should name this baby something more sedate, like Laura or Nathaniel.
Charlie is a pretty clumsy thing when it comes to stepping up and negotiating horizontal bars, but she has tremendous stretch and dexterity vertically.

She's also not intimidated by Lucy. Lucy has been working at domination, but Charlie is the larger bird, even at her age, and when she fluffs and spreads those wings, Lucy backs down.

Charlie is still taking formula once a day. I was worried about that, but we did fine this afternoon. She gulps it from a medicine cup like your Triaminic dose. They had said she might take a cup during the feeding. The stress of coming here and adjusting must have taken its toll. She ate the whole portion I made for her -- about four cups.

Her feathers are soft and she likes to be cuddled and petted. That is not an Eclectus thing.

She's doing fine.

Lucy is, too, if she'll admit it.
We made it home safely with Charlie at about 8 last night.

Charlie is not quite the rider Lucy was at that age. She just hunkered down and drowsed. Charlie hung from his/her beak. (We're fixing this his/her problem next week with a submission of a blood sample to a laboratory for DNA sexing. I can't refer to an animal in my house as an it. I wouldn't do that to an iguana.)

We are slowly acclimating them to each other and Charlie to all of us and his new surroundings.

The different characteristics of the two species are already evident. Greys are more active and clownish than Eclectus, and more vocal. When anyone speaks to Charlie, he mutters and chatters away. He frequently flaps his wings. Lucy is quieter and less rambunctious.

We didn't aim to have a Schultz strip, any more than we aimed to have a Lucy and Desi. We chose Lucy as a name because it's fun to say and lends itself to all sorts of variations. Charlie is named after Lyman's friend who died several years back.

Given all her dancing this spring, Lucy might have preferred that we brought her a male Eclectus. That's a road we just don't want to go down. There's no end to it.

UPDATE: Charlie was hatched on my birthday. He is fourteen weeks old.

Friday, May 20, 2005

So that's settled.

We are going Covington way to pick up little Charlie tomorrow.

This is going to become a Schultz strip.

I surely hope Lucy won't mind.
My sister, Patricia, is coming the week of June 6.

Big Daddy says, "Then we must kill the fatted calf."
Good news, if something comes of it.

Lyman was an indigent defender for a spell. He was paid nearly nothing and the workload was horrific. He didn't have a secretary.
Lyman wants a new baby.

This would put my drawers in a tangle if he weren't talking about a bird. Not least because he's had a vasectomy.

We're talking to the Johnsons about a little grey.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

And again, let me extend gratitude to Debra and Craig Johnson for raising a trooper.

Lucy is a loudmouth at times, but she is top-notch.
"Interfering in (or with) a governmental action". If you are a lawyer, or a law student, please look that up for me.

It's supposedly a state statute in Alabama, and I am convinced it dates between 1954 and 1978.

My e-mail address is on the left side. Send me a bill.
And for everything, we don't have trouble.

And where is the follow-up to the tsunami in Asia? Googling brings me this.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

We did more socializing at the coast this weekend than in the entire nearly five years we've owned our place.

The dinner on Sunday night was the first time that we've actually sat to down to dinner with friends. Same for them. They are shorter term owners than we are, and have spent most of their time working inside their units. We've spent ours shopping and arranging improvements.

Lyman has had more fun at the coast. There were times when several local couples would go down to cook and play together.

Lyman and I usually play together very well, but it was fun to have someone else to play with.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Phase V - inventory

We went twice to the condo on Sunday after shopping trips.

Most things were in pretty good shape. There was the usual loss of glassware. We bought our third sturdy manual can opener in five years. We replaced the rusty box grater. Bought a hand-mixer.

We had a pleasant dinner that evening with the nice couple from Wisconsin that we have been talking to for several months at Cafe Grazie at SanRoc Cay.

We all had drinks, shared two substantial appetizers and two entrees for $90 total, including tip. It's well-decorated, pleasantly situated, and the food is good.

We have an invitation to the lake country in Wisconsin this summer. The company would be fine and the lakes are beautiful. It's a thought.
After the meeting, we went to an owner appreciation party at Live Bait.

Nothing much to report on there except the 18" baby alligator that came paddling up once a few people appeared on the deck above the water.

He was a pretty cute little guy, but one was led to wonder where his mama was.

People threw him little chunks of hushpuppy and chicken. He won't be a baby long at that rate. I suspect he's a regular.
Phase IV - the meeting

It was long.

The lawyer lied at least once that we know of, and the contractor danced around a serious question.

The president was her typical insufferable self. She started the meeting saying, "I think a lot of people here should begin with the attitude of saying 'I'm sorry'."

Then she began a litany of "I'm truly sorries," none of which approached what she should be sorry about.

The first time she spouted "I'm truly sorry," I nearly laughed out loud. The little lady had taken the words right out of my mouth. She makes it too easy.

The board did decide that it would be better if they did not retain the right to make changes to the by-laws without a membership vote. Generous, hunh?

We were only able to elect one new member. He is a good guy and will do as much as he can, but the boy do have a row to hoe with that crowd.

There was nothing wrong with the groundwork and electioneering our outside team did. Something was rotten, though, and I won't go into it here.

Just a note to the nice lady from Indiana. Southerners look down on using a public restroom as a venue for making cell phone calls. Just sayin'.
So Lyman called Gateway last night to arrange for repairs to the laptop.

He admitted that he had run over it. The woman handling the call reassured him that he was not the first to do such a thing.

The handlers keep a list of the oddest calls that come in. The present oddest call was from a guy in Arkansas who shot his computer when it failed to work as he wanted it to. Then he complained that repairs were not covered under warranty.

I respect the guy for doing what so many of us have wanted to do from time to time, but a claim under warranty was a bit much, don't you think?
Phase III - Friday the 13th

An excellent reason for neither of us going to jail was the necessity of buying a new pair of lamps.

I will repeat, I DO NOT LIKE TO SHOP. If I need something, I'll find a means of purchasing something appropriate, but it is not a blood sport for me as with some women.

To be continued ...

MOVING RIGHT ALONG: The selection of lamps has improved over the years. But my lamps had several criteria:

1) They had to be a tone of blue that would coordinate with the current wall color, art, and bedspread in the room.

2) They had to be of a simple shape and style to contrast with the white wicker headboard.

3) They should be no less than 25" inches tall, and no higher than about 30" so as not to overpower the headboard or the end tables that were to be their home.

So off we went. We had seen billboards for Posh Furnishings along the highway on Canal Road, so we started down that road first. Posh is an appropriate name. The pieces there were large and pricey, and there were no lamps suitable for my more modest setting.

On to Coco Island Furniture. There was a large selection there, and a number of attractive, cheerful options, but only one blue lamp that I thought might do. The color and finish were good, but the shape didn't appeal, and I thought it a little large for our bedroom. At $159 apiece they were a little pricey, too.

World Furniture offered lots of imported things that were totally inappropriate for us. They did carry a large number of attractive woven rope and wicker pieces, if you've a yen for that sort of thing.

Henry's had nothing appropriate.

So we drove on out to the main drag in Gulf Shores and visited a shop I'd never been to before. And there was a doable blue lamp. It looked like it came from the same maker as the one at Coco Island, but the shape and texture were better and the price, too, at $122.

And I found Charlotte again. She sold me the bedspread for that bedroom two years ago at Henry's furniture. She gave me the name of the seamstress who sewed my drapes. After the drapes were installed in 2003, I wanted to call and thank her for her recommendation and praise Sunny's work. I tried Henry's and she wasn't there. I had lost her. And she's just the kind of woman I wanted to know.

Charlotte owns Anchor Furniture. So she did it for me again. And she gave me a 15 percent discount. The lamps came in at $102 apiece. If you're that way, check out her shop. Buy something. It's been a rough first year for her. And she sells bedspreads.

Friday 13 was a lucky day for us.
The peregrines are feathering out nicely.

Turn your back on the kids for a few days and they begin to look like real birds.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Dinner was late at LuLu's, Jimmy Buffet's sister's place. It was cute and fun (and breezy and cold), but the food wasn't anything to talk about.
Phase II - or where to lay our heads as darkness falls

Without the specific consent of the owners, pets are forbidden in condos. And most hotels. And you don't sneak Lucy into a place. She'd scare the bejeebers out of someone who wasn't aware of her presence. She provides a pretty good shock when you are.

So we parked at a gas station and flipped through the yellow pages looking for places that allowed pets. We found a listing for the Home Away Inn, at the foot of the intercoastal canal bridge beside the Comfort Inn.

I carried Lucy in on my shoulder and asked if Lucy could get a room. The solid, good girl behind the counter said it was not policy to allow pets (despite the blurb in the ad), but she'd let us stay. She said, "Let me give you a key, and you go look at the room next door and see if it's all right." I took a look. The bathroom was very clean with plenty of fresh towels, the kitchenette was clean as could be, the sheets were fresh and the bedspread was clean. The furnishings were mismatched and a little worn and the carpet was stained, but I've stayed in worse.

Turns out the place caters to the construction workers that are busy all over town. Some have stayed there for a year or more.

She said, "We try our best."

Even the best behaved of them come in dead and dirty from a day's work. Who can keep up?

So we took it. And I liked it. We met some of the people running around, and they met and admired Lucy. It was convenient and pretty darned cheap.

It also had internet access. So what?
Notes on Thursday:

We arrived into town about 4:15, stopped at Home Depot to pick up a couple of hard hats, entered the property and unloaded everything into our unit, and parked the car outside the gated area.

At five, a security guard came to tell us that we had to be out of our unit. Lyman said we would not be leaving. The guard said he had to report that to his boss.

Sometime later another security guard came by to tell us to get out. Lyman said he was not leaving.

Later, the chief of security for the property management company came by and told us to go. Lyman said no. He said he would have to call the police. Lyman said fine.

Then a young officer came by to tell us that we had to leave. Lyman asked what ordinance or statute we would be violating if we remained. The kid said he would need to call his corporal. He stepped outside and spoke to his corporal, then returned and said the corporal was on his way to explain the situation.

In the meantime we discussed Lucy and the view, both of which were gorgeous that evening. Lucy rather liked the young man, and so she should have. He was very courteous and regretful at the position he was in.

The corporal arrived with a few other officers in tow, and told us we had to leave, or he would have to arrest us. Lyman explained to them the overall situation, and his view of it, including the point that a certificate of occupancy was under discussion by the board as late as Tuesday.

The young man said regardless, he would have to arrest us if we didn't vacate the site. Lyman asked what crime we could be arrested for. The young corporal told us that we were "interfering in a governmental action," under state statute. Lyman later said he should have asked them to cite the statute. (That boy is sure enough out of practice.)

Lyman asked when bond could be set. The magistrate would set bond the next day, he was told.

Lyman asked the whole troop to step outside so we could discuss it for a couple of minutes. He decided that he really didn't want to spend the night in jail. If he could have posted bond that evening, he would have gone through with the arrest.

That's when I should have risen to the occasion and said, "Take me." They all felt bad, and saw through the foolishness of the situation. They would not have cared one bit for arresting a woman for doing nothing more than occupying her own home.

So then it was a matter of getting all our things back to the truck, which was parked outside the now locked gate. There is a pass-through for pedestrians, but no access for cars.

No one on the site had a key to the gate. Lyman suggested they call the contractor and have someone bring a key. They did, and found out the contractor was an hour and a half away in Mobile, and would not return to unlock the gate.

They pondered a minute, and Lyman said, "Y'all are all fit guys (by now there are three security people and four cops). If each of you will grab a piece of stuff, we can get it all out of here in one trip."

They didn't like that much, and suggested we return for some things in the morning. We agreed to that. The first young cop picked up Lucy's travel cage; I put Lucy in the Pet Pocket, shouldered my purse, and grabbed my custom-made briefcase from the Winnfield prison; and Lyman rolled the suitcase and carried the laptop.

There were two squad cars by the gate.

They escorted us to the car. We loaded what we had and got in and started to drive away. The young officer said, "Sir, you backed over something." And brought us the laptop case. Lyman had left it beside the back wheel while we were readying to go.

(It appears to be repairable -- booted right up, but the screen is a mess.)

That was Phase I.

UPDATE: Some explanation.

The way things are structured at the site now, I could arrive at the condo at eight in the morning, take a shower, wash and iron some clothes, cook some breakfast, watch a little TV, sit on the balcony, take a long nap, cook an early dinner, and leave the property at five without any complaint from anyone, so long as I wore a hard hat while walking through public spaces.

Seems when the workers go home, the place is suddenly dangerous, and it is criminal to be there.
Hey, y'all. While we were driving home a newsman announced that experts are predicting a worse hurricane season this year.

I can't wait.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

We're carrying the laptop, but bye y'all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Lucy weighs less than one pound, and she carries about 75 worth of trappings.

But she's a numbers girl. She is very interested in her eight toes.

Which seems to be rather better than some of the board members.
We are preparing for a weekend at the coast. We will leave tomorrow and return on Monday. Lucy will, as always, be traveling with us.

The annual members' meeting of the condominium association will be on Saturday, and should be quite an event this year. We are not alone in our contempt for our directors' leadership in the wake of "that terrible night last September."

We hope to make it. In defiance of a lack of a certificate of occupancy, we plan to stay in our condo (fully paid for, all fees and taxes up to date), rather than rent some other accommodation, as the board and contractors would prefer. I do not want to board Lucy with a stranger, and no one is available to look after her here. We do not know what the repercussions of our action will be.

Lyman does, however, have extensive experience in criminal law, and knows how to conduct himself accordingly.

And there's some shopping to do, most importantly, two lamps to buy for the master bedroom. The two we had were fine, but one was broken somewhere down the line. No, I don't know how, though we're certain it wasn't "winds of Ivan," not if the placemats on the dining table hadn't moved an inch. Gah, I hate shopping, especially when I know that what I will find in the stores will not be as suitable as what we already owned. The art and bedspread and flowers in that room were keyed to those dark blue lamps.

For now, I am cleaning this place up. I'd leave it as it is, but Bug Busters will come in while we're gone. I wonder if they have a mongoose to chase down whatever is moving furniture in the attic?

UPDATE: Lucy says, "Make my day, big boys. I'll blow your eardrums out! You'll lose hair. Your babies will cry in their cribs."

Can you say "press"? I can.

I ain't signing no "hold harmless" agreement, either. There are half a dozen ways they can hurt or kill Lucy, who will have to be left alone sometimes, without leaving evidence. I wouldn't put anything past those people. No, I don't trust them. Not one iota.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Speaking of showing wings, Fritz Schranck and his wife are proud parents of a fresh college graduate.

Go, girl.
What have I learned from watching the peregrine nest box?

1) There are two parents who share responsibilities, from sitting the eggs to feeding the young.

2) The oldest hatchling will be dominant, demanding the most food, and will defend its siblings. (I might be totally wrong here.)

3) Peregrine siblings comfort and teach one another. The one who lay with the baby got up and demonstrated those lovely wings, and convinced the baby that it was okay to leave the nest.

Do I have anthropomorphic vision? Probably, but I can't deny what I saw.
That feels pretty good. Lyman's mother said the cake was moist and "to die for."

Good. I haven't made that cake in ten years.
Peregrine notes:

Only one napping eyas left in the box.

This one must be the baby. It is a tentative little thing that still naps quite a lot. During lunch, one of the others jumped in the box and lay down with it awhile after.

UPDATE: Ah, there he went! One of these little guys hatched about two days behind the first to emerge. This must be the one.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The cake looks lovely, and the mixer is covered again until Christmas, when I can unwrap it again and say, "My, what an expensive and useful gift! Thank you so much, Lyman."

It took a while to work up the nerve to have the scent of baking chocolate cake wafting through the house. Yeah, yeah, I know.

We bought the big mixer for two other uses: to grind meats and stuff sausage, and to knead bread. We'll get to it.

UPDATE: For the finishing touch, I'll take it to her tomorrow in her mother's stainless cake carrier.
Peregrine notes:

Screamin' Willie and one of the Hot Chix jumped out of the nest box today and are exploring the ledge.

The two left behind have tested their wings and taken a run or two at it, but you know, it looks like a long way down there, and it might be best to take a nap first.

I can relate, hon.

One of the chicks was out of the box yesterday, but an observer said it looked like the little fellow backed up to the edge of the box to potty over the side and tumbled over backward.

It found its way back into the box at about twilight. I think it double-dog dared the rest to try today.
Happy Mother's Day, y'all!

UPDATE: For my mother's day, I am breaking out the monster Kitchen-Aid mixer that has been under cover since I took it out of the box last Mother's Day, to mix Southern Living's Decadent Fudge Cake for my mother-in-law.

I do not particularly like cake, especially chocolate, because of an incident with my mother many years ago.

My mother was an excellent country cook.

For one dinner many years ago, she whipped up one of her wonderful devil's food cakes with chocolate icing. I was about five at the time.

After dinner, I insisted on cutting my own piece of cake. It was a huge one for a little girl, and she made me eat every bite of it.

I was sick to my stomach for a good while, and have not cared much for chocolate or cake since. Oh, I can force down the occasional Godiva truffle, or take a cup of hot chocolate on a cold night, but mostly you can keep it. Except for Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate ice cream. I can put a dent in a half-gallon of that.

UPDATE: My mom. She always told me, "Your in-laws treat you well, and you should treat them right."

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Ooops. When they banded the peregrine chicks in San Francisco they found the band of a racing pigeon in the nest box. Can you say leftovers?

Lucy is mainly vegetarian and I'm glad of it.
I haven't been to the theater in years. Dame Edna might be a lot of fun.

Friday, May 06, 2005

I am reading insurance papers for the condo.

In the Lloyd's of London papers, I came across the phrase "Certified Act of Terrorism", presumably for insurance purposes.

Defined as follows:

"Certified Act of Terrorism" means an act that is certified by the Secretary of the Treasury, in concurrence with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General of the United States, to be an act of terrorism pursuant to the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002. The criteria contained in that Act for a "certified act of terrorism" include the following:

1. The act resulted in aggregate losses in excess of $5 million; and

2. The act is a violent act or an act that is dangerous to human life, property or infrastructure and is committed by an individual or individuals acting on behalf of any foreign person or foreign interest, as part of an effort to coerce the civilian population of the United States or to influence the policy or affect the conduct of the United States Government by coercion.

So there you go.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Click over to Fritz Schranck's. He asks you to do good, and it won't cost a dime.

Possum's Thursday Three:
1. Ms. White, in second grade, for showing me my report card at the end of the year, and saying, "If you work hard, you can do this every year." And I did, except for that interval with young blond Richard, who made Fabio seem a dog. No regrets there. I still graduated 12th in a class of 965.

Ms. Woods, the music teacher in third grade, who cast me as Cinderella against a black prince. I do hope that cute boy fared well.

Ms. Cochran, high school English, who encouraged me to aim high when applying for colleges and wrote recommendations.

Ms. Cochran and I both believe that John Lewis of SMU is the only genius teacher we've ever had.

2. No need to apologize, but I would like to extend greater appreciation to the world geography teacher in high school who had been one of Pan-Am's stewardesses when they still served meals on white tablecloths. She would wear clothes and items of jewelry from all over the world. An odd little thing she was, and I didn't care enough. Come to think of it, Richard was around then.

3. Air-conditioning for one, and color everywhere. Our schools were dismally institutional.
One of the reasons some members of the condo association are on the outs with the president of the board is that she does not question authority.

If her lawyer (and it is hers, by gosh) or contractor, or any other authority tells her something it might as well have come written on a stone tablet.

It's not that she is a particularly bad woman, and she has always seemed nice enough socially, but she is naive, and I think, on the evidence of her quote below, a tad out of touch with reality. But she's a "nice" woman who probably hasn't had a lot of intimate connections with men. Therefore, she does not know the cardinal rule:

Do not believe everything a man tells you.

Less well-behaved girls like me know better.

Which leads us to the Saturday, April 30 story in The Islander, the semi-weekly newpaper of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan:

Russo under investigation by FBI

Steve Russo is mayor of Orange Beach, and investigators are looking at connections between him and developer Larry Wireman, who developed the Caribe Resort (tres chi-chi), and is working on Turquoise Place, which will be contained in two 340-foot towers on the beach. The Alabama Attorney General's office is involved.

Will the investigation bear fruit? I don't know.

Are there underhanded deals when xxx millions are being thrown around? Damn straight, bro, whenever and wherever they happen.

So it would please us if our board members were always heads up on this reconstruction project, and freely kept us informed, which they are not and do not and do not plan to.
They banded the chicks in the nest in San Francisco yesterday. I didn't watch the video, but close-ups of the chicks are available here.

There are three males and one female, determined by the size of their feet. The female will grow into a larger bird, and so has larger feet as a young'un.

Take note of three of the little guys lined up for a record label.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Here's another talented bird that I found at this site.
I'm pointing out this story about a man selling illegal orchids on E-bay just to highlight this paragraph:
"When a man falls in love with orchids, he'll do anything to possess the one he wants," Norman McDonald wrote in his 1939 book The Orchid Hunters. "It's like chasing a green-eyed woman or taking cocaine, it's a sort of madness."
"It's like chasing a green-eyed woman." Isn't that a wonderful phrase?
From the man who has the best job in Louisiana, Mr. Smiley Anders, in today's Baton Rouge Advocate:
Joe Guilbeau of Plaquemine says Boudreaux and Marie were sitting on their front porch when a large truckload of turf grass squares drove by.

"Look there, Marie cher," he exclaimed. "Those rich people send their grass out to be cut!"

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Ahem. I am babysitting a pit bull named Thor. Don't ask.
I should carry on when I, too, am certifiably insane. We bought one of these last night.

Monday, May 02, 2005

"Fabio! Fabio! It is done," she said as she laughed exultantly at the bloody knife in her hand, "often the unjust winds of criticism were as hard on us as the winds of Ivana that terrible night last December."
"Oh, Ralph!" she cried, as she stroked his cold cheek in the open casket, "Often the unjust winds of criticism were as hard on us as the winds of hurricane Fitzgerald that terrible night last September."

How's that?

Would you like to try? Have at it in comments.
By gosh, I'm going to submit that sentence to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

With a little work, I'm sure to have a winner!
My, my, you do wax eloquent in your note to owners prior to the meeting where we fully intend to drive you to a total nervous breakdown, darlin':
Often the unjust "winds of criticism" were as hard on us as the winds of Ivan that terrible night last September.
It's a building project, hon, not a romance novel. That's your problem in a nutshell.

Can it, Scarlett.
Reid Stott, the Photodude, might have the best comment yet on the runaway bride story at this post by Jeff Jarvis:
This is far from over. We haven't even heard from the 14 bridesmaids who spent money on dresses that will likely never be used. You know that's gonna be ugly...

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Bad news, Tony.

Neither of us has ever been to Uglesich's. Guess we'll never go.

My favorite quotes from the story:
Inside, against a background of hissing oil, Uglesich jousted with some rambunctious tourists at the counter.

Uglesich: "If you give me a chance to talk. Now wait a minute!"

Tourists: "We're from New York. What do you expect?"

Uglesich: "I get plenty of people from New York. Now shut up and listen to me!"
I've been over watching the peregrines a while. The four eyases (eye-uh-ses) are growing. Seems to me they're not a lot smaller than George, though they have a long way to go on feathering and coordination.

Feeding them has become a two-handed job, with Gracie and George taking turns. The nest looks like a little schoolroom, with the children in rows and the teacher at the head of the class.

I showed Lucy.

"Look, Lucy, this is what all that dancing in the window can lead to. You can't just sit on your tail and fake yawns when those babies want to be fed. You better remember that.

"And believe me, honey, I won't take over like your grandparents, Debra and Craig."