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This bird lady isn’t quite this bad…

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

I can’t even imagine how long this took to train and put together.


Bruiser’s new trick

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

Alison took me to task for not taking enough photos of the dogs, but basically they’ve been avoiding the heat. Still, Bruiser has started doing a new trick that worries me a bit. Without prompting, he’s started sitting up, which is amazing to watch, that long body rearing up and all, but given all the warnings I’ve heard about little weiners in carts because of back problems…

Bruiser"s new trick

He’s just so damned…earnest.



Mammogram Zombie Attack

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

I just turned 40, which, once I got over that “Omg, another decade gone” thing wasn’t so bad, except that I was immediately sent off for various tests because now I am officially in a new age category.

This one:

First up on the list was the mammogram, especially important since there’s some family history there. A bit apprehensive, I went off to my early morning appointment, and was faced with this as I stripped down:


You can't fake authentic surrender for it is the moment you unclench your hands…accept what IS and finally let go…that the fertile space is provided for divine intervention and unimaginable possibilities.

I stared, horrified, before whipping out the camera before they made me whip out…ah hem.

Let’s examine the ways in which this is just creepy. First there’s the text, which seems to be saying “okay, yeah, you might have breast cancer, but there’s nothing you can do about it anyway. Oh, but if you’re not cranky about it, maybe God will do something for you.” Also, the use of “fertile space” in this context is more than passing strange. As are the random ellipses. Not to mention that the text seems to be written in blood on a tombstone.

As nervous as I was about the exam, fear of preachy zombie hands reaching through the Aurora Borealis to squeeze my chest never entered into it, although it does occur to me that if this is some kind of a Rorschach test, I’ve definitely failed.


Spring Quakers

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

This is actually really old; I found it in my drafts folder while doing some WordPress maintenance but because I love the first picture so much I decided to post it anyway. It’s over a year later and the tree still stands, but there’s a crow/quaker battle for its domination.

One thing that was good about the big freeze this winter is that I now have an excellent view of the tree the Quakers like so much:
Quaker landing

The bad news is that it’s really apparent their tree is dead and isn’t coming back. I wonder how long it’ll be before somebody cuts it down. Better enjoy my perch view while I can:

Jockeying for position

Trying to get the dirty birdie clean

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

Once a week or so Jack throws himself in his water bowl and has a lovely time making a big mess:


Since Pratchett was a mere hatchling I’ve struggled to get him to clean up his act. He’s never tried to clean himself in his bowl, as far as I know. I’ve taken him in the shower and bought misters, both of which made him scream like it was acid he was being spritzed with.

But I accidentally came up with a way to trick him into cleaning himself (a little) the other day. His current bit of bamboo was gnawed into bits and it was time for another, but it’s practically been monsoon season and everything’s soaked. I cut a stalk bigger than any he’s ever had before…but I put it on top of the cage instead of inside:

He even opened his wings a little and shook himself so maybe his little ‘pits got a little damp. It’s not much, but it’s a start.


Houston, we have a disconnect.

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

So I got a call from the kiddo this morning that began with the opening line: “Houston, we have a problem.”

Leaving aside the fact that she’s a little young for the reference, I immediately thought she’d crashed the car, was robbed, had a meteor fall on her… you know. Mom’s go-to list of calamities that this sort of phrase is just made to invoke.

“I went to PJ’s…” she began, and my mind raced ahead to try to figure out what horror might’ve befallen her at a coffee house.

“… with some friends and I only ordered ONE drink, so you’d THINK she could get it right, but…” About here I start to suspect the National Guard won’t be required for whatever her issue is.

“…anyway, so I know I didn’t leave her ANY tip, because she didn’t deserve it, but when I checked my account this morning, instead of the $4.65 for the chai, there was a charge for $6.65!!! She added in a tip!! I KNOW I didn’t tip her! What should I do?”

“Suck it up,” I replied, much to her annoyance. Not immediately taking her side makes her want to revoke my mother’s licence, so after she argued her case for awhile I tried to explain the facts of teen-dom to her. Again.

“Look, Al. Let’s look at it from her point of view, shall we? She works in a coffee shop just off a campus with 30,000 students. Broke students. Often obnoxious students. And here comes yet another group of them- 4 girls, taking up one of her tables for a couple of hours with ONE drink order, which she gets paid a whole $2.76 an hour to deal with. And then you stiffed her. Just like a zillion other kids she’s seen. I don’t agree with what she did, but I do understand it. If you don’t have a receipt and you ever want to go to that place again…just let it go.”

We’ve had this conversation in various forms on several occasions, and she just can’t see the problem. When she was going to driver’s ed it was on a highway with only 2 places to walk to and eat, so for 10 days straight she and the other 35 students tromped over to eat and she just could not believe how rude the waitstaffs were. I totally could. A new group of 16 year olds every two weeks? :::shudder:::

But Alison will have none of it. “I’m not rude or bratty! They shouldn’t pre-judge- it’s not right!”

Maybe she has a point; she does have the kind of excellent manners that come from years of your mother glaring death rays at you until you say the polite thing.

But I confess…I can’t wait for her to get a little older. I will involuntarily bust a gut the first time she starts a story with “this obnoxious group of teeanagers…”


Who watches the watchmen?

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

I’ve been trying to figure out why the hive mind has been so taken with the Casey Anthony trial- my own little brain buzzing along with everyone else’s. I don’t usually get caught up in these sorts of things, so why was this one so damned personal for everyone?

The line that kept coming back to me is “Who watches the watchmen*?” Who’s going to make us do the right thing when we’re the one carrying the big stick?

It’s an issue we all face, but most acutely as parents & caretakers. We don’t beat the living crap out of them, even when they intentionally throw the fruit punch across the carpet. We don’t give them the Sudafed to knock them out, even when it’s 3am and they just won’t go down for the count.

Recognizing it for the slippery slope that it is, we just don’t. We’re the ones with all those weapons on our belt, after all…and when you take the baton out once, we suspect it’ll be much easier to do a second time.

We know that we’re really not up to the task before us – just look at those gorgeous, trusting eyes, that ever expanding brain that needs shaping, the bottomless well of need – and you’re somehow supposed to manage this on 3 hours of sleep in 2 days? But, somehow, we do- reporting for duty day after day after exhausting day.

Maybe we all got so outraged because there’s nothing a veteran despises more than a deserter, and that’s what she was, whether or not she intentionally killed her daughter.

*Full disclosure: more specifically it’s Terry Pratchett’s Sam Vimes I kept thinking about.</p>

For the uninitiated, Vimes is a good man who has the unenviable task of keeping an insane city in check. He knows himself to be a drunken lout, a racist, and a peasant to the core. In reality, he hasn’t had a drink in years, is largely responsible for integrating the city, and possesses the embarrassing title of “His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander Sir Samuel Vimes.”

Doesn’t matter. He knows what he is. Underneath. So he paces, and he wonders who will catch him when he royally screws it up.

Over the course of many books, he finally arrives at the answer. “Who watches the watchmen?” he asks.

“I do.”


St. Roch Chapel

Originally published at NOLA Graveyard Rabbit. Please leave any comments there.

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Steven Prosterman

Originally published at NOLA Graveyard Rabbit. Please leave any comments there.

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The Island of Misfit Toys

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

This post should really be called “The Isle of Toys Rejected by Spoiled Parrots.”

Patricia Sund put out a call for toys and perches- anything, broken, used, rejected, because:

I simply cannot thank you enough. This is one cause that is ripping me up. It’s bad. There’s birds who’s only perches are pvc and steel pipe with absolutely no toys. They had a fire not too long ago and it nearly wiped out the entire place. They now have a board of directors but they need help pretty badly.

So into the boxes I dove, knowing I’d find many things that had arrived all hopeful, ready to make some bird happy, but instead were sneered at and rejected. Even so, I was a little surprised at how much I found:

Isle of rejected toys

The Island of Shunned Swings

These, you see, are round. Round is entirely the wrong shape. Round is not to be tolerated. Oh, sure, our rope boings are twisted into spirals, but (apparently) that’s totally different.

The one on the left is a particular disappointment for me- it’s a snuggle ring, made of hundreds of bits of fleecy soft stuff to be rubbed on and preened and to keep you warm. Colorful and cute! I want one of those! But it seems that the birds do not, so into the box it goes.

Isle of rejected toys

Next we come to the terribly sad

Forsaken Isles

These toys were once beloved, including the once favorite of favorites- the caterpillars! But now that we are big birds and are familiar with every joint on their little bodies, we are no longer amused. Familiarity, they say, breeds contempt. Once you can take down a toy in under 15 seconds, you can no longer respect it, so off to find less informed owners they go.
Isle of rejected toys

Here we find the

Reef of Repudiation.

These toys were ones that “everybody” loves. ALL birds love to shred coconut husks! They can’t wait to work those bits of wood out of the metal bars! If the love taking apart the caterpillars, these ball puzzles will be a hit!

Oh yeah? We’ll show you. Rejected!
Isle of rejected toys

Our last stop on our tour of the Islands is Mama’s

Shoals of Shame.

I must confess that the birds aren’t the only ones who’ve misbehaved. Once upon a time I was filled with one of those ideas I get- “I need a PROJECT! I know, I can MAKE the birds’ toys- I’ll save money, have fun, use only the materials they like, it’ll be great!”

Yeah. Not so much.

You can’t really tell the size of the bowl from the picture (though you can see I haven’t dusted this week- sorry!), but it’s big enough to hold 5 lbs of meatballs on those rare occasions when I cook something other than birdie bread.

Isle of rejected toys

If you have anything (including money, of course) you’d like to donate, please contact Patricia through her site and she’ll get you in contact with the shelter.

So now it’s off to the post office to send these to the rescue birds to hopefully make their holidays just a little brighter. As I go, I’ll be humming because while I’ve been writing the stupid song has gotten lodged in my brain: