A Bird-Brained Story

This is Jessica’s cockatiel, Pilot.

pilot 1

Pilot

Pilot is a female.  Female cockatiels are very stubborn.  They are not as friendly or easy to train as males.  Jess knew this, but Pilot’s soft, pretty colors won in the end.  Even though the pet store said she was hand-raised, it took Jess about six weeks to get her hand tame.  When she got frustrated, I used this analogy to demonstrate Pilot’s position:

You are being kept in a small but comfortable room, and every so often a zombie walks in offering you Cheez-Its.  The zombie isn’t doing anything threatening: it’s just standing there waiting for you to take the crackers.  But it’s a zombie!  Zombies are scary!  You really want Cheez-Its, but you have to get near the scary zombie and take them from its hand.  The zombie walks in and quietly offers you Cheez-Its several times a day.  Man, those Cheez-Its look tasty, but hello!  It’s a frickin’ ZOMBIE!  

My story went on and on, but it did the trick, and I kid you not the next day Pilot let Jess hold her. Now, Jess can give her kisses and scratch her neck (which birds loooove), but Pilot will only tolerate the rest of us.  We can hold her, but if we try any funny business like a skritch she hisses.

A few days ago  I put Pilot on the table where I was working on my laptop so that she could peck around and explore, which tends to make her happy.

Thank you for the popcorn, Zombie.

Thank you for the popcorn, Zombie.

I was scrolling up and down pages with my mouse wheel.  From the corner of my eye I noticed that Pilot was awfully still.

How about a skritch?

How about a skritch?

She was sitting in front of my mouse with her head down, asking for a skritch!

C'mon, Zombie.  It's okay.

C’mon, Zombie. It’s okay.

I realized my finger on the mouse wheel made the same motion as scratching her little neck.  Zombie or not, when you need a skritch you need a skritch.

Zombie!  Wake up!  Scratch right there!

Scratch right there.

I grabbed the camera and held it left-handed, practically wrapping my arm around the thing trying to get a picture.  Jess wasn’t going to believe this.  I needed proof.

Dude!  Do I need to stand on my head?

Do I need to stand on my head, Zombie?! Scratch!

I lifted just one finger off the mouse and stretched it over to her little head.

Aaaaaah!

Aaaaaah!

If I stopped, she’d peck my finger just enough to get my attention, and put her head back down.

pilot 8

That’s the spot.

She’d twist and turn just like a cat, making sure I got all the itchy spots.  Even on her face, which was very brave.

It's important to train your zombies properly.

It’s important to train your zombie properly.

Alas, it only lasted a day.  I am back to being ignored and hissed at, which is fine with me.      Less clean-up.  But for one sunny afternoon, I was a bird’s best friend.

 

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Enter Title Here – Cuz I’m Not Doin’ It

Another frustrating day.  I don’t know if it’s “them” or me, but chocolate, wine, and cake are helping.

It’s them.  It’s definitely them. #$%^ers.

*deep breath, another sip of wine, carry on, calmly*

Today was the first day of school.  It did not go well.  On the bright side, I was finally able to take some new View Club shots:

San Gabriel Mountains, 1-7

San Gabriel Mountains, 1-7

Construction, 1-7

Construction, 1-7

Boone Sculpture Garden, 1-7

Boone Sculpture Garden, 1-7

The weather has been too cold for our tender skins, but in the grand scheme of things it’s been glorious.  The bleachers that line Colorado Blvd. for the Rose Parade have already been dismantled and removed.  Do you watch that on New Year’s Day?  I grew up sleeping in the gutter overnight to get a front-row seat for the parade.  I’ve only done it once as an adult.  I have since decided that it’s much more convenient, and informative, and warm and comfortable, to watch it from home.  The parade is rebroadcast by a local television station all day long in case we miss something.  Plus, several floats drive past my parents’ house the day after the parade on their way to be dismantled.  This year, 19 of them went by.

The annual Tournament of Wilted Roses.

The annual Tournament of Wilted Roses.

Jess and the Rotary International float

Smile, Jess!

I didn’t take pictures of them all, but I got some good shots here.

DJ is doing great, and so is his mommy.  Jess and I spent a couple days at their house, helping new mommy and staring adoringly at DJ, cooing at his smushy smallness and exclaiming with delight at every little twitch and yawn.  Jess tried to wake him up for a feeding once, but she didn’t have the heart to do more than pat his baby tushy back to sleep.  So I woke him up for the next one, to show her how it’s done.  I had way too much fun.  At one point I raised him up like Simba and sang “Circle of Life.”  Who says newborns have to be boring?

On Saturday, a Facebook friend posted a picture of a double rainbow.  I was ready to ask where she lived when I remembered she lives near me!  The post was only a minute old, so I ran through the house shouting, “Double rainbow! Double rainbow!” like a town crier.  Seven of us stampeded out of the front door, then around the house to the backyard because a huge tree blocked our view.  We didn’t see a double rainbow, but we did catch a beautiful single one:

Rainbow

Rainbow pouring from the clouds

That about does it.  Have a lovely…anything. ❤

Noncation, Day 4

Day 4

7:00 am: Wake up against my will.  No one has called.  It’s freezing!  These mornings sure are cold for summer.  The weatherman assures me temperatures will be up in the 100’s (Fahrenheit, upper 30’s Celsius) by next week.  Yuck.  I’d rather have the cold mornings.

8:30 am:  Actually get out of bed.  I need to eat and take supplements before I get dopey again.  I remember some multicolored eggs in the fridge that I purchased at a farmer’s market last week.

Thursday eggs

Multicolored eggs.

Waffles sound good, too, but cleaning a waffle iron does not.  Thin crepe-like pancakes it is.  I use a 1/4 cup scoop because I can’t find the 1/2 cup scoop.  I open the box of pancake mix and find the 1/2 cup scoop.  Oh look!  Some small moths found it first!  Clever little turds  So much for pancakes.  Fortunately I also bought a loaf of garlic sourdough bread from the farmer’s market.  Toast it is!

9:00 am:  Check Facebook and email while I eat.  The garlic sourdough is strong.  Good thing I’m alone.

10:00 am:  Post “Noncation, Day 2” blog.  I try to fix the glaring hot spot in the picture of my parents.  It doesn’t work.  I search the internet for a picture of my laptop skin.  No luck.  I manage to take a decent one myself for the first time ever.

Thursday laptop

Laptop skin: Xmas present from Shelly.

Pictures from John’s prom and cherry picking last month distract me.  I have the prom photos edited and saved,

Jess B4 Prom

(Actually, I stole this one from someone else)

but not cherry picking.  It must be done immediately.  There is no good reason for this but I give in to my ADOS anyway and work on the pictures.

ADOS – Attention Deficit Ooo Shiny

12:20 pm: Memory card is cleared.  All pictures have been edited and saved elsewhere.  I feel better now.

Cherries

Bing and Rainier cherries

1:20 pm:  Famous Amos cookies and milk for lunch.  I find an email from Esther about a guy who needs editors for an on-line literary review he’s launching, called the museum of americana.  He’s looking for slave labor.  I’m so on it.

2:30 pm:  Sahara is sitting on the chair in front of my computer.  She meows at me when I approach.  I lift her up and put her on the floor.  She jumps on the table and walks on my laptop keys, trying to destroy my latest blog post, still meowing.  I put her on the floor again.  She jumps on my lap, still meowing.  I’ve never seen her so vocal.  I start to stand up, but she refuses to jump down.  What is wrong with this cat?  She finally jumps down, only to spring right back up onto my newly vacated chair and  start meow again.  Okay okay, I know when I’m beat.  I clean off another chair containing my purse and laptop case to pull up to the table, but no sooner is the chair clear than Sahara jumps from her chair to this one and proceeds to bathe herself, purring away, completely satisfied.  Unbelievable.  I text Shelly:  “Your crazy cat just asked me for a chair!”

3:00 pm:  Succumb to a sugar coma.

6:30 pm: Wake up from my sugar coma.  I flip on the computer and read an article about how sugar ages your skin.  I swear off sugar.

7:25 pm:  Realize I forgot to feed Shelly’s fish.  It’s the first thing on my list of morning house-sitting duties.  Fail!

7:27 pm:  Find a spelling mistake on yesterday’s blog post.  Epic fail!

7:30pm:  Talk Joe into taking me to a restaurant called The Only Place in Town for dinner.  I call Drew to ask if he’s eaten.  He says he has.  I don’t believe him.  He’ll live on popcorn and birthday cake if I let him.  He says he had popcorn (see!) and Wing Stop (chicken…okay, that’s better). Now if I would please excuse him, he’s in the middle of taking out the trash.  I think I might faint.

8:30 pm:  Shelly calls.  They are in South Lake Tahoe, which is the California side of Lake Tahoe.  (Nevada is on the other side.)  Not too long before she called, she and Mom were laying on a bed in their hotel room watching TV.  Mom was propped up on pillows at the top, Shelly was laying cross-wise at the foot.  Mom got up, and the whole matress flipped up like a backwards murphy bed:  the head of the mattress was near the ceiling and Shelly was at the bottom clinging on for dear life!  They’re both still giggling as Shelly tells me the story.

I talk to Mom and ask about the rest of their day yesterday.  She says by the time the car was done they’d had just about all they could take of Reno  They headed to Virginia City, NV, an old silver mining boom town from the 1800s.  It was hot.  Uphill.  Miserable.  They walked through town, then hightailed it back their hotel in Carson City, NV, to recover in their air-conditioned room.  They spent today at Lake Tahoe, which is much cooler and beyond beautiful.  Tomorrow they’ll head to Columbia, CA, an old gold mining boom town turned tourist trap…I mean, tourist “destination.”  Sarcasm aside, it’s really a nice place to visit.

9:00 pm:  Feed Sahara.  She’s waiting for me.  She now understands that I’m here to serve her.

10:00 pm:  Joe sends me a text from home.  Drew has indeed taken out the trash AND fed the cat.  He must want something.

12:00 am:  Conduct my nightly house-sitting duties.  Leave a kitchen light on.  Go to sleep.

1:00 am:  Sahara is trying to hog the bed.  I remember a trick Rob taught me to make her go away:  pretend to sneeze.  I literally say the word, “Ah-choo!” and she bolts out of the room like a bat out of hell.  I have the room to myself for the rest of the night.

Noncation, Day 3

Day 3

8:20 am:  Wake up against my will.  First the house phone rings, now my cell phone is ringing.  It’s Shelly.  Shocker.  “Dad wants to know if you felt the earthquake?”

“When was it?”

“I don’t know.”

“Maybe.”

“Well, okay then, I’ll let you go back to sleep.”

I drag myself out of bed and turn on the computer.  There was a 3.0 magnitude earthquake in Marina del Rey around 3am this morning.  Can you even feel a 3.0 magnitude?  Apparently so, because my friend and former coworker, Kelly, is complaining on Facebook about all the stupid phone calls she got at work.  Better you than me, my friend!

8:30 am:  Notice a new voice mail message from Jess.  She and John left for their fishing trip today.  She just called to say good-bye and she loves me, and she can’t say more because she’ll start crying.  Oh brother.

8:35 am: Perform my morning house-sitting duties.  I unblock and unlock the cat door, then check Sahara’s water.  The food is gone.  You’ll recall that she didn’t show up when I fed her last night, nor did she come in for the night…where the hell did her food go?!  Maybe a window upstairs is open where she can sneak in.

9:00 am: Can’t decide if I want to walk down to the Reyn this morning or not.  I’m hungry now, so I heat up half of a veggie burger leftover from last night.  I read through my email, check Facebook, and catch up on blogs that I follow.  I notice my toes are frozen, which is strange because my feet are never cold.  I don’t even remember the last time I wore socks, but I happen to have a pair so I pull them on.  I can’t walk across the kitchen floor in them.

9:10 am:  Shelly calls on the house phone again.  They’re at a Nissan dealership in Reno, NV, because their fuel pump died.  It’s difficult to get to:  their whole back seat has been removed and all of their luggage and assorted trunk crap are piled next to the car.  They have at least two hours to kill until the car is ready.  This isn’t the first time they’ve had to take their car in for work on vacation.  It might not even be the second.

I tell Mom about the cat food.  She asks Rob if there’s a window open upstairs.  Yes, he says, but there’s a screen on it.  I check it myself.  The screen’s intact.  What manner of rabid critter came in and ate the cat’s food?  And how?  Am I lucky to be alive? It’s too much for my brain to comprehend right now.

9:30 am:  The veggie burger was insufficient.  I need to go to the Reyn.  Since it’s so close I really should walk.  I even have new sneakers.  And socks!

Wednesday foot

New shoes! New socks!

I can’t convincing myself to walk.  I’m can’t even convince myself to go, really.  I should take a shower.  I can’t convince myself to take a shower.  WTH is going on with me this morning?  It’s too cold for a shower.  There’s a heater in the bathroom.  I need my laptop.  I need water.  Walking back-and-forth through the house has me warmed up.  I finally take a shower.

10:30 am:  Can’t seem to organize my thoughts.  Should I go to the Reyn or not?  Should I walk or not?  Of course I should walk, duh.  Should I wear a dress today?  A dress would be nice, but then oh then I can’t…I can’t…shoes.  I can’t wear sneakers.  If I wear a dress.  Jeans.  I can wear sneakers with jeans and walk.  Yes, I should walk.  Why do I feel so dopey?  Do I even

11:00 am:  want to go to the Reyn?  Yeahhhh theyhavewi-fi.  Laptop!  I should charge it.  Lay down a sec.  Gotta finish getting dressedooh I forgot to send someone my blog address walkin’ ‘cross the housez me winded…

Wait a minute…why am I winded?  Iron!  Good grief, I’ve let myself get anemic again.  No wonder I’m having issues.

11:30 am:  Drive to the Reyn for a proper breakfast. Vitamins and supplements come with me.  The eggs today remind me of my grandmother’s.  Even my coffee cup looks like something out of her house.

Wednesday breakfast

The Reyn Special (wheat toast not shown.)

Wednesday coffee

Wednesday coffee.

12:00 pm:  Publish “Noncation, Day 1.”  Compose “Noncation, Day 2.”  I wonder if I should be drinking coffee, seeing as it might block my iron absorption.  Psh!  I’m at a coffee shop; how can I not have coffee?

Something o’clock pm:  Still feeling funky, though not as bad as this morning.  I can form complete thoughts in the present, but the past looks like this:

Spinning teacups

Spinning teacup madness.

I remind myself to keep taking iron until my body says stop, which it will eventually, but has not yet.  At some point Jess texts me that John is already being an ass.  By the time I respond he’s treating her like a princess.  Gotta love young adults.  She leaves one more voice mail just before they set sail.  Joe and I have dinner at Daphne’s (Greek-ish, healthy-ish).  I catch the tail end of my favorite show, So You Think You Can Dance.  I feed the cat.  She looks startled.  Joe leaves. House-sitting duties happen.  I crash into bed.

Mellow Yellow Monday

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strawberry toes

Strawberry pedicure

Last summer our favorite pedicurist, Leyna, came up with a new watermelon nail design.  It was similar to a French-tip style:  red with black tear-shaped spots and green stripey tips.  My daughter and I told Leyna we would get that design the next time we came in for pedicures.

Two weeks later we hit the nail shop for our watermelon toes. Leyna informed us that my best friend [at the time] had been there the day before, and had the new design on HER toes!  Not wanting to put us in the awkward position of being seen in public with matching toes (which apparently is only a faux pas if you’re not related), she painted tiny watermelons on our big toes instead. They were okay, but we were disappointed. Wouldn’t you know, my friend got her toes repainted the next day: her toenails were too small to see the design.  I should have known then that we were destined for separation.

Eventually, we got our cute watermelon toes.  This year I wanted strawberry toes.  I figured they’d be the same as the watermelons but with white seeds and no stripes.  Leyna didn’t think it would work, so she hit the Internet and found this design.  These are my daughter’s toes before they were quite finished, in ever-so-stylish disposable flip-flops.