Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Crouching tiger, barking daughter

* My camera is a wanker, so you only have my words tonight*

Lorelei didn't go to school today, for all the Halloween festivities. Instead she went to the doctor. After a night of coughing while Geoff held her, she was actually barking this morning.
She has croup.
She wasn't leaving the house today without wearing her costume, and I was in no position to argue. So she went to the pediatrician's office as a princess.

Isabelle had a great time at school, dressed as Ariel. But how's this for creepy: The preschool is part of a church and today the church held a funeral for one of their members. *insert creepy organ music here*

My costume? A T-shirt that reads, "This IS my costume."

Geoff took the girls out in the neighborhood to trick or treat, wrapped in blankets. It's a bit rainy and cool, so they didn't stay out long. Lorelei fell asleep in the wagon, so we tossed her into bed as soon as they got back.

Other current events:
Geoff is still working on final revisions of his book. But it's actually already listed on Amazon Canada and available for pre-ordering! It's not even printed yet!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of experiencing an endoscopy. (I tried to get still photos of my stomach insides, but the doctor needed them for my chart...killjoy. I TOLD him I had a blog!)
I have had tummy troubles for about 5 months now, and the first procedure I had was an upper GI ultrasound which was negative. Then the endoscopy, which was also negative. And guess what I get to go through now, kids? That's right! A colonoscopy!
Having an endoscopy is really not a big deal. This is what I had to do: Eat and drink nothing after midnight before the procedure. Go in, get an IV, get some really NICE drugs, and I only remember having to swallow a few times as the scope went down my throat. I was so high, I didn't even care.
Hopefully the colonoscopy is just as pleasant. I won't be able to eat anything solid for 2 days before, and will have a lovely dose of laxatives (yummy) the day before.
Now, aren't you glad you read my blog?
And to answer the question burning in everyone's mind right now:
Will I be posting pictures of my colon?
Maybe I will, maybe I won't.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Okay, since Blogger is still in a drunken stupor, I have to post pics through Picasa Hello. Yesterday we had a party for Isabelle. She had requested an ice cream cake, and here she is blowing out the one candle I could find....(I forgot to buy a "5" candle!)
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Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the ice cream cake...even the diabetics in the crowd. From left to right: Rachel, Kevin (Geoff's brother and Rachel's boyfriend), Jim (aka The Yak Herder, also Geoff's Dad), Rita, (Swamette..also Geoff's Mom), My Mom, Lorelei, Mary Lou (my cousin), and the orange shirt sleeves belong to another cousin, Nancy.
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My Mom found the perfect Ariel (The Little Mermaid, for those with no little kids) outfit and wig. This is about as girly as Isabelle gets. She originally wanted to be a dinosaur, fire fighter, astronaut, etc... But she settled on Ariel because we have been watching the damn movie every day since we got it.
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"Why do you do this?"
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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Well, Blogger's being a butthead tonight, so pictures of Isabelle's 5th birthday party will have to wait.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Introducing Helen

We went to meet our new program Red-tailed hawk, Helen.
The scoop on Helen:
I won't go into too much detail about how we came to get Helen, because events that happened before I came to RAPTOR took place to bring her to us. And it is very much a "He said, she said" situation, and I am staying out of it.
Basically, she was living with someone who loves her very much. That person can no longer keep her. So now she's ours.
Helen is 22 years old, and partially blind from cataracts. She is also very overweight, but otherwise healthy.
And what an easy bird to hold! Since she can't see well, she doesn't bate (try to fly off the glove) and she steps up like Lucy does. No chasing or ducking with this gal.
(Following two pics by Cindy Alverson)

Oh, yeah, I needed our walking stick to help hold her up. She's a chunker, all right!We tried to get the girls to get in the photo, but Isabelle was a little shy around the RAPTOR folk.
Helen is sure to become one of my regular program birds. One, she needs the exercise! And two, she is so much easier to handle than our other two Red-tailed HELLIONS, Two Socks and Scarlet.

We were so lucky to be at RAPTOR this morning, because Jeff brought in an injured red-tailed hawk that had been hit by a car. Here, Marilyn examines the bird as Jeff holds. The exam showed a cracked cere (that part of the beak around the nostrils) and maybe a concussion. And Jeff taught us a few things about determining the age of a bird: He pointed out the tail feathers, which were all red. If this bird had been hatched in 2006, the tail would be all brown. If the bird had been hatched in 2005, there would be no "old" red feathers, as this one has. So she is at least 2 years old. A "haggard" bird, instead of a "passage" bird.

Katherine, Jeff's daughter, looks on as her Daddy manhandles the scared, hurt birdie. This guy has forgotten more than I will ever learn about birds of prey. And he is fearless. He handles the birds like his hands are made of steel. I'm surprised he was wearing gloves today!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Gyrfalcon and cuteness on the loose!

I got this email from our RAPTOR Yahoo group:
Hello All !

Please keep a lookout for a Gyrfalcon that was lost yesterday by a falconer in Verona, Ky. (Boone County).
Last seen at Route 16 and Route 2850 in downtown Verona.
The Gyrfalcon does have jesses on.
Any sightings, please call the falconer Paul Bronc at ***(email me: capricorn1273@cinci.rr.com I didn't think the guy would like his phone number out there) right away.
Anyone in the Cincinnati area who reads this blog:
If you see a gyrfalcon, (which would be extraordinary) look at its legs. Jesses are long, leather straps dangling down on both legs. This bird may get into trouble while wearing jesses in the wild: They can become caught on tree branches, etc.
If you don't know what a gyrfalcon looks like, I put in a picture below:
A rather noticeable bird, huh?
Now for the cuteness:
These are Isabelle and Lorelei's school pictures for this year:

Wow. I make cute kids.

Be sure to check back here tomorrow night, oh loyal readers.

We have a new program bird, and I am taking the girls with me in the morning to meet her. So I will be taking a million photos, and hopefully will get some pics of her on my glove.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

There's always hope...

I have been doing Project Feederwatch for three years now, and I got an email newsletter today about avian conjunctivitis:
Project FeederWatch Electronic Newsletter-October 25, 2006Since mycoplasmal conjunctivitis was first observed in House Finches in1994 the bacterial disease has caused eye infections in several other species of wild birds including American Goldfinches, Purple Finches,Evening Grosbeaks, and Pine Grosbeaks.
The same bacteria is suspected of causing this conjunctivitis in House Sparrows, too.In October 2006, the Lab of Ornithology received information that there may be an emerging epidemic of conjunctivitis in House Sparrows in the Chicago area. In order to determine if an epidemic is beginning in House Sparrows we are asking citizen scientists across the continent to report sightings of House Sparrows with eye infections.
Wouldn't that be nice? All the house sparrows just dropping dead? As long as all the native birds are spared, bring on the conjunctivitis.
I didn't take any photos today. The weather was just too gray, too crappy, too depressing.
But I found my favorite picture of myself, the picture that makes me
both angry and hopeful, all at once.
Geoff took this outside the Blue Oyster Cult show at Annie's in Cincinnati in 1999, just a few weeks after we started dating. I was 26, full of hope for the future and this guy I had met. I was also full of dismay at a lot of bad, scarring relationships. I wanted so much for Geoff to like me for who I was, not the jaded tart I appeared to be. I used to be a Bum Magnet, finding every guy in a 50 mile radius who didn't deserve me. They were drug users, or abusive, or just plain stupid and unevolved, brow-ridge Neanderthals. I made choices in the name of what I thought was love, to change these guys into the men I thought they could become. I learned, eventually, that I couldn't change someone into something that they were not meant to be. Ever notice how a relationship that turns out bad, doesn't start out that way? It starts out all flowers and rainbows, because if it started they way it ends, we would never hang around.
Sigh...I didn't mean for this to become a therapy session. Sorry.
Anyway, here's my former hotness:
5 foot 6 inches, 130 pounds, 40, 28, 38. And the attitude to go with all of that. Brazen, free (at least outwardly), fun, with lots and lots of moxy.
I have changed, both on the inside and the outside. I may not be a hottie anymore, but my spirit has started to evolve into the person I wanted everyone to see, all those years ago.
Maybe I can re-attain some semblance of hotness. Growing two kids in my body morphed me into a body that doesn't feel like mine, but that old figure is in there, somewhere.
But what's more important? Being the life of the party and fitting into the below outfit (the photo doesn't show it, but the skirt was long, with slits all the way up, and I was wearing "hooker heels"...big mistake, by the way. Had bruises on my soles for days afterward)
or reaching for self-actualization, being a role model for my girls, being a better wife to Geoff, kicking ass and taking names in my life?
There's always hope that I can be and do both.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A birdy day, and I didn't have to go anywhere!

Boy, the feeders were busy today. The birds know that winter is licking at their heels and they are pounding down the sunflower seeds and suet as fast as I can offer it.
After this feeder hung out there for 2 weeks, a male downy finally found it and partook of the woodpecker mix: peanuts, raisins, figs, sunflower seeds.
And a most welcome visitor who I wait for all year until Fall...our first dark-eyed junco!
They are one of my favorites; 1. Because they are cold-weather birds, only here in late fall and winter and 2. They are so sweet looking and girly...pink beaks and feet.

The neighborhood bullies (the Blue Jays) cleaned up the peanuts I spilled in the mulch. Have you ever watched a jay stuff about a zillion peanuts in their throats to carry off and cache? Those big mouths aren't just for jabbering!

Sad for the feeder birds, great for the raptors:

A pile of mourning dove feathers...Geoff and I were alerted to a cooper's hawk flying over yesterday by its call, and I guess it got lucky...and perched in our crabapple tree, leisurely plucking a fresh, warm dove.

Yay! Raptor food!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Another 100 mile day...but worth it.

About three weeks ago, a volunteer just learning bird handling went in to help me load up Lucy. The volunteer moved too fast and too close and spooked the hell out of Lucy, and Lucy laid into her. See? Even sweet Lucy can hurt ya if you overstep your boundries.
Anyway, since that day, I haven't been able to get Lucy on my glove. She usually just steps right up and off you go. But she has been shy, actually flying away from me, etc.
I didn't want to have to force her and really ruin her.
But today, I was determined to take her along on a program, so I took lots of extra time with her. I stood there for about 5 minutes, talking to her and g-r-a-d-u-a-l-l-y bringing my glove closer and closer. It was so precious: She has such a wonderful expression...trusting, yet nervous. When I was confident that it would be okay, I picked up a jess and just held it. And up she stepped. She just needed me to make the first move, calmly and slowly.
I won't lie to ya, I got tears in my eyes a little when she did that. To have a wild animal trust you enough to come back after a scare...
Why the tears? Maybe I was just tired.
Or maybe I am, for all my bravado, a big softie.
Lucy and vulture puppet. Who in the heck put this in there! It startles me every time I open the barn door. It used to be on the desk, but now it's right inside the door! Ack!
I'm so glad I am back in your good graces, Lucy girl.
My program today was at an elementary school in Avondale, a suburb of Cincinnati. It's an inner city sort of school, and the group I spoke to was the "Gentlemen's Club", an after-school club for young boys. And they were the most behaved group of kids I have presented to YET.
The program was in a large, noisy cafeteria, with a total of about 100 kids. They had a microphone, which only worked half the time, so my voice is rather "butterscotchy".

Our cute little gray screech owl. She doesn't have a name. And the red one doesn't either, for that matter.

We could have a naming contest. Hmm...what do I have to offer as a prize?

"I am not amused."

Yeah, no kidding. Can anyone honestly say that they have seen a HAPPY owl?

They seem to have two emotions:




Monday, October 23, 2006

Happy Blog Anniversary to ME .....

Yep, it's been a year since I started this blog.
I began this journey just for something fun to do. I had no ideas of journaling my whole life, or meeting cool people, or getting involved in it so much.
That was a year ago. Thanks to this blog, I have learned tons about birds, plants, other's lives, got to meet Bill and Julie (and the kids and Chet!), and have found a community of like-minded souls. Thanks to this blog, I found Laura, my first non-family/friend commentor, a charter member of this blog.
Thanks to this blog, I found Birdchick, who helped me find RAPTOR, Inc. Thanks to this blog, Geoff has a blog. Thanks to this blog, Jim also has a blog.
Oh. Wait a minute.
Let's go to current events: This sign is posted next to a new church an exit or so down the interstate. This church used to be a movie theater.
Church folks can be clever, sometimes.

Isabelle FINALLY got her tadpoles. We ordered them months ago, but there are certain weather requirements that have to be met before the company will ship the little guys. The summer was just too hot for them to have survived, so we got them now.
This is one of the tadpoles. (We ordered two)
Isabelle has named them Tigger and Miss Frog.
They will grow up to be Leopard frogs.

Now, to celebrate the first anniversary of Susan Gets Native, I have news.
I have heard rumors that Cinnamon the Disapproving Rabbit, and Chet Baker, Wonderdog of Whipple, have been seen together in compromising situations. I didn't want to believe the rumors, because some folks would be uncomfortable with a mixed relationship, even in this day and age.
But then, I found the proof that sealed it.
They had a love-child.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

It's that time of year again...

...to take the kids out to find the perfect Halloween costume.
We went to two stores this morning, but all we found were expensive, yet crappy, costumes. Isabelle wants to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and Lorelei wants to be either Tinkerbell or a cat.
Lorelei really likes hats...

All hail King Lorelei!
"Yo, G! Gonna pimp my ride?"

Oh, what a disturbing store. This refrigerator was stocked with body parts. Like fresh Leg, heart, hands. But the "food" labels were funny. The leg was labeled "Cannibal Meat Market...naturally flavored leg". Eeewww.

How's this for an ego boost? Lorelei threw her arms around this skeleton bride and said "Mommy!". Oh, dear.
And since this is a birding blog, I thought I would add a photo of some birds feeding.

Like vultures feeding on a freshly dead man.

Aren't you glad you stopped by?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Because sometimes you just need a giant fez

Ever notice that you rarely see a pigeon by itself? Pigeons know that staying with their peeps is a good idea.
That's how I feel about all of you who read this blog on a regular basis.
You're my peeps.
Thanks for all the nice comments about Dad.
At first glance, this tree seems to be on fire.
The Fall peak seems to be happening right now.

I have wanted crows to come to our yard for ever...

And they have finally shown up, but they don't come too close.

I guess I should figure out what they would like to eat.

We had two golden-crowned kinglets in the crabapple tree this morning.

Take my word for it when I say that the bird in this photo is one of the kinglets.

Not the shot I really wanted to get, but hey...I was driving.

Down the street from RAPTOR is this old Shriner's float.

Because sometimes you just need a giant fez.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Glenn Joseph Kailholz July 11, 1938-October 19, 2004

Okay, I'm ready.
Warning: I'm on some serious cold medicine...this may or may not make sense)

Dad was born on July 11, 1938 to my grandparents Oscar and Ruth Kailholz. He was the middle child in a family of five kids.
They lived on a working farm in Western Hills, a suburb of Cincinnati. Nowadays, it's all shopping plazas and pizza joints and medical buildings, but in 1938, it was small and intimate and pretty rural.
The farm had pigs, cows, my grandfather's homing pigeons and crops like corn and veggies.
My dad had chores to do before school every day. He only wore shoes during the school year, and would be barefoot all summer (best to save money for shoes during school time).
What they had, they worked for. What they didn't have, they did without.
Dad went to West High, but didn't graduate. He got a GED at night school, before joining the Army. He was stationed in Korea right after the Korean War, and just before the Vietnam War. He had a photo album of photos he took and developed while stationed there (he wanted to be a photographer). He made the mistake of telling my brother and me that to get out of unpleasant duty, he would go get a haircut for a quarter. (We used that against him more than once!)

He met Mom (Alice Eileen Vieth) around 1964, but they didn't get married until 1969, 6 months before my brother Steve was born. Ahem.

They lived in Western Hills until Steve was one, then moved to Bright, Indiana. They welcomed me into the family in 1973.

Dad worked his way up at an industrial heating/cooling company until he eventually owned it with a partner. His work ethic: Get it done right. Work hard.

My Dad vowed, after my Mom and he got married, that he would never dance again. I got him to break that promise twice. Once, at the wedding of a friend, while I was still small enough to stand on his shoes, and again at my wedding. We danced to a song called "My Daughter's a Bride".
He was the kind of father who could fix anything and he passed down to me mechanical know-how and the genes to let my brain understand machines, engines. He once saved a family of mourning doves who had been blown out of a tree and made them a new nest from a milk jug. He said that he didn't like cats, but we would catch him talking to and playing with my cats early in the morning when he thought we were all still asleep.

In September 2004, he was diagnosed with leukemia. It was discovered after his blood sugar got out of control (he was a Type II diabetic).
He began chemo in early October.
A month later, he was gone.

Turns out that he had had a mild heart attack in the remote past, which was found as he was getting worked up for the chemo. As far as we can gather, he chose not to deal with any heart issues before starting the chemo, and the doctor respected his wishes, but thought that Dad would make it through the chemo okay.
The night he died, Mom took him to the ER after he started a high fever and didn't feel right. The hospital told Mom to go home and come back in the morning. Just as she was drifting off to sleep, they called and told her to come back immediately.
He was in cardiac trouble when she got there with my brother, and she called me and told me to come right away. This was at 2:20 am. I was out of the house in 3 minutes. Dad died while I was driving to the hospital. At 2:25 am.

I went in to say goodbye, kissed him on the forehead.

I've gone through all the stages of grief, like denial, anger, sorrow...but I am still pissed.
He was 66 years old. Not nearly enough time for us, for him.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

It was supposed to be a day of reflection

Today is the second anniversary of my Dad's passing. I was planning on putting together a post reflecting on all that I feel about Dad, how much I miss him.
But instead of a quiet day deep in thought, I spent the day in my car.
(FYI: My car is not working, again, so we have one car.)
6:30 am: Alarm goes off.
6:59: I realize that I turned off said alarm and am now oversleeping.
7:00 to 7:05: Took fastest shower ever.
7:45-8:00: In car, driving Isabelle to dentist appointment.
9:00-9:15: Driving from dentist to home, to pick up Lorelei.
9:15-9:20: Driving Isabelle and Lorelei to school.
9:25-9:45: Getting shampoo, conditioner and cat food at the store.
10:00-11:00: Only time all day to sit and do nothing.
11:00-11:30: Driving to RAPTOR to pick up birds for afternoon program.
11:30-12:30: Chasing, packing up and stuffing car with birds. (And the car seats are still in there...again, only one car, and that's the small one.)
12:30-1:00: Driving from RAPTOR to preschool.
1:05: Drop off girls at home, grab RAPTOR book, etc.
2:00-3:00: Educational program.
3:10-3:40: Driving back to RAPTOR with girls and birds filling the car.
3:40-4:30: Putting birds back in mews, and keeping track of girls at the same time.
4:30-5:30: Driving back home with girls, no birds, trying to get there in time for Geoff to take girls to the Y for swimming class, through rush hour traffic.
And finally...
Home. Alone.
I cleaned the living room, which totally needed it. And then I laid down on the couch with Nellie and Boomer, and fell asleep until Geoff and the girls got home at 8:00 pm.

Isabelle's dentist has "banana chairs".
Isabelle may very well be the best dental patient ever. She jumps up and down when I tell her it's time to go back to the dentist.
Above each banana chair, the lights are covered with a picture of a blue sky and clouds. And they have a million flavors of toothpaste, fluoride, etc. Very cool. I wish I could go there for my teeth.

I have been trying to get a picture of this sign for weeks. This is down the road from RAPTOR, a pet store called "The Animal House". They are advertising Wolf Hybrid pups.
Um, hello?
Now, I have met dog/wolf hybrids, and while they are beautiful, I wouldn't trust one with my worst enemy, much less my kids. Kathi, want to chime in on this? What's your professional opinion?
I found a neat photo of my Dad today, between all the chaos. This was taken in 1939, when he was about 9 months old. What a life he had...and how short it was.
When I am more mentally ready to post about him, I will.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lorelei and I ended up on a road today that I didn't know the end result of.
Turned out to be Mariemont...
A very pretty, affluent community on the eastern side of Cincinnati.
I remembered that Dave from Alaska had worked there back in the day, so I took some photos.
I looked for stuff that had the look of being there for at least 35 years...
Dave, recognize any of this stuff?

Fountain across from the Mariemont Inn.

Mariemont Elementary

The Mariemont Inn

The Mariemont Strand. What is this, a place to get stranded?

A dumb ass guy on a motorcycle, with no helmet and wearing freakin' sandals. Now, I have been on enough motorcycles to know why you need to wear boots or at least SOCKS. Those exhaust pipes are HOT!

I need to write a letter...if you want to own and operate a street bike, you should have to be able to pass an IQ test. Ever notice how many bike riders (not bikers, that is a different breed altogether) are complete morons? Passing in between lanes going about 120 mph? The guys I see with the leather, the boots, the helmets...now THEY deserve to ride a motorcycle.

Okay, rant over.

After the RAPTOR meeting tonight, I was yet again serenaded by Junior. His hoot is so beautifully deep, and his white throat patch flutters when he hoots. What a cute bird. At least I know he isn't going to come too close to me in the dark...unless I happen to be holding a big, juicy rat.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Invasion of the Mind Snatchers (otherwise known as blogging)

Good grief! I haven't posted photos of Boomer in days!

One of the dogs' favorite pastimes...chewing each other's faces.

Sweetness in profile

Boomer likes Charley Harper, too!
For those who don't know who he is:
An artist who calls his work "minimal realism".
And if anyone is stuck on a Christmas gift pour moi, I give you two words: Charley Harper.

Blogging has done something to me. I am taking pictures of things that just really don't need to be photographed.
But this is really cool.
I have a confession. I have an addiction to car washes.
And a new one opened near us, and it's amazing what it can do for my car.

I am really out of control. I am taking pictures of soap.
But it's it pretty?

This is the coolest car wash ever. This grid moves forward and back, scrubs your wheels, dries the car with huge blow dryers, and it's all lit up like a video game.
I felt like an extra in the movie Tron.