Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A new magazine on the stands!

I couldn't help myself....
When Laura posted this picture of Delia and her HUGE catch, I just had to do it......

Delia's magazine


Even if the mid-summer lull in bird activity wasn't happening, I still wouldn't have been blogging much. A few days ago, I got so very sick...bathroom visits every 10 minutes or so...nausea that threatened to burn my eyeballs...and a few nights ago, I actually thought I would pass out. Now, I haven't passed out ever (unless you count that time I had 15 Amaretto Sours and then stood up to go play pool...but I digress...).

But the other night, I was in the bathroom and I felt that vomiting was inevitable, so I assumed the position. (Driving the porcelain bus) I suddenly felt as if my head was INSIDE OUT and I started to sweat like I never have before. I could actually feel the sweat popping out of my skin. I got up somehow and tried to leave the bathroom to go lay down on the couch. I had to hang onto the door frame. I made it to the front door, about 5 steps from the bathroom. My ears weren't ringing, they were roaring. I clung to the front door, then made the few steps to the armchair. At that point, I fell to my knees. At that point, I was scared out of my mind. I tried to call for Geoff, but I wasn't able to make my voice loud enough for him to hear. I expected to pass out any moment. Scared out of my wits.

Skin dripping, eyes streaming, I somehow got to the couch on my hands and knees. And once I laid down, all was still, except for the sweat still popping out of every pore. A few minutes later (or an hour later, I'm not sure) Geoff came downstairs and I explained what was going on.
He went into the kitchen to get me a glass of water. He added ice. And just before coming back in, I heard him turn around and get me a straw. To make it easier for me to drink it.

THAT little act nearly reduced me to tears again. THAT is why I married the fool. Because he thinks of stuff like that.

I spent the next day on the couch, managing only a shower and to eat a cup of soup. The children wrecked the house, but I got better.

Aren't you glad you visit my blog? See what you could be missing?????

Nellie update: Her eye seems to be better. The raised area is smaller and less angry-looking.

I don't know about you, but I need cleansing after all that.

Isabelle and her crickets
Isabelle has been putting her Bug Habitat to good use, catching and releasing some of the zillion small crickets that call the yard their home.

Even better than that sweet photo is this....

That print on her shirt?
Many, many wee Boston Terriers.
Wee little boston
Go ahead. Soak that in.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Did someone call for a doctor?

Poor, precious Nellie.
Yesterday, I was gazing into her big, soulful brown eyes, when I realized that something was staring back. A raised area on her right cornea. An ulceration? Foreign body? Oh, dear.
There have been very few times Nellie has given me cause to worry. The worse time...HERE. I thought she was going to die.

So, who ya gonna call? That's right...KatDoc.

A PSA for Kathi's vet practice: If you live in Cincinnati and are looking for a caring, fun vet, Kathi is the one to go to. The office is very clean (and smells great, if you can believe it), is staffed with nice personnel, and of course there's Kathi herself.
(I don't know how much info Kathi is comfortable with me sharing, so if you are interested, go to her blog and you can snag her email there)

Isabelle is becoming quite the photog. She has been practicing with my camera and she is responsible for the following photos:

Nellie waits for the doctor
Nellie waits impatiently for the doc to arrive.

The Good Doctor prepares her instruments
The good doctor prepares her instruments.

Nellies Eye boo boo
The boo boo is on this side....

Boo boo
Here's a close up...that whitish spot on the upper left quadrant of her eye.

After putting greenish stuff (I think that's the technical name for it) in Nellie's eye, first Dr. Kathi used a Wood lamp, then an eye shiner thingy (another technical name):
Holding Nellie in a bear hug
I had to grab Nellie in a bear hug (with both arms and one leg) to keep her still...

Looking at Nellie's eye
And here you can see the green stuff starting to leak out of her nose. Fun!

The diagnosis: A puncture of her cornea by something very thin (not Hooper's teeth, like I assumed) like a thorn or something in the yard (teasel, maybe? We have plenty of that). Treatment plan: Eye ointment, which should clear it up in 3 to 5 days. If no improvement, Nellie will need to be placed under sedation so Kathi can 'scrape' at the spot to see if there is a foreign body. Let's hope it improves!

Mommy Closeup!
Gratuitous picture of me....gee, Isabelle. That's not bad. At least my teeth look nice.

And not to leave this post with too much worry or "Eeew....I can't look at sick eye pictures!", here's a fun little bit:

After a program today, I dropped off the birds and a small white thing caught my eye.
The one who got away
Explanation: When a bird is preparing for release at RAPTOR, a "live-prey test" is performed. A bird is placed in a flight cage that is encased in steel around the bottom few feet near the ground, so nothing can get out. A handful of live mice are put in the cage. The next day, someone goes in and counts the mice. If some of the mice are gone, we know they are in the bird and the bird is ready to leave. Wellllll.....the cage either has a hole somewhere (that happens) or this is the cleverest, most determined mouse in the world.
I thought briefly about catching her, but after the ordeal she muse have gone through to escape, I think she deserves to be out.
Of course, she won't last long....with that new family of red-shouldered hawks that are hunting in the woods around RAPTOR. Enjoy that freedom as long as it lasts, little one!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hello. My name is...

No No and Me
(Like my shirt? Got it at Target.)

It came down to two names:
Storm and Valentino (good one, Lynne!) Cindy liked Storm because it's easy to say and it fits this bird. Valentino, while a really good name, would be hard to explain to small children. (The "Latin Lover" and all that...and St. Valentine doesn't fit this guy at all. He's a fighter, not a lover...hee hee)
So Storm it is. Thanks to all of you who voted....and Dave? Maybe for the NEXT bird, we will consider that name. : )

The other names we will revisit for the next bird. Cindy liked my suggestion of "Steel" for the male kestrel...because male AK's have steel gray wings....and when I thought of "steel", I thought of AK Steel, a nearby steel plant. See? AK? American Kestrel? Steel?
We have a female kestrel, soon to be a program bird. She was our "foster mom" until this year, when she decided that she didn't want to raise any more babies. We shall see how her personality is....probably snippy, just like the male!

Program birds I would love to work with:
1. A Northern Saw-Whet Owl. A huge amount of adorable-ness in a teeny package.
2. A Great Gray Owl. Holy cow. A bird that is almost half as tall as me? Suh-WEET!
3. A Merlin. Because most people in the public have never seen one.
4. A Turkey Vulture who actually likes me.
5. A Bald Eagle. That one is self-explanatory. But I would have to hit the weights hard...'cause they weigh 10 pounds or more. Eeep.
6. A Harpy Eagle. Just kidding. Holding one of those would make me pee my pants.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Name That Owl!

The permit holder at RAPTOR is the decider when it comes to naming the birds. Cindy and I talked about some possible names for Mr. Barn Owl. As I mentioned previously, "No-No" has a negative connotation, and we want a name that is positive and that also has meaning for this particular bird. I asked if I could put this out on the ol' blog. So, loyal readers: Let us know if there is a name on this post you really like. Or come up with your own. Cindy will be the final vote.

Quirks/behaviors of this bird:
1. Really, really loud screaming.
2. Gorgeous.
3. Very, very curious about his surroundings, constantly checking out everything.
4. Barn owls are a world-wide species, with many myths and legends about them.
5. This bird is uber-feisty. To take him from the mew, I just put my hand down to him, and he attacks my hand with his feet and I pick up his jesses and we are on our way (one of the easier birds to take in hand). And, when he is put in a carrier, he doesn't just step back onto the perch....he attacks that, too!

I was a big-time Greek Geek in my younger days, so I started brainstorming all the Greek heroes I could remember with any connection to the bird's attributes: (Too bad he's not a female...Athena is a great name for an owl)

Pericles (A magnificent orator with a reputation for scrupulous honesty)

Orion (The Hunter)

Orpheus (Son of Apollo, whose song was so mellifluous it brought inanimate objects to life.
Well, the barn owl can make a whole roomful of children jump about 5 feet out of their skin)

Hermes (God of flight, travelers and commerce. Messenger of the gods)

Euros (God of the east wind...the barn owl was from a county east of Cincinnati)

Ares (God of war...and the barn owl was one of his sacred birds!)

Other names we threw around:
Adam (from the county he was rescued in)
Titus (Get it? Tyto......Titus? And it also sounds macho)

I checked good old Owl Pages and others, and found this:
In British folklore, a screeching Barn Owl is believed to predict that a storm or cold weather was imminent. During a storm, if a Barn Owl was heard, it indicated that the storm was nearly over.
? That's a cool name, too. He's definitely loud enough.
And you lurkers out there? Now's the time to let your voice be heard! I get a lot more hits on this blog than the handful of comments I see. Come on! Let me hear you!

No No in the sun
"Whatever you decide to name me, I won't like it and I will NOT come when called."

Sunday, July 20, 2008


My absolute favorite nursery had a going-out-of-business sale this weekend. They liquidated their entire stock. Everything was half off...That equals paradise.

My prairie had these plants:
Black-eyed Susans
Swamp milkweed
Cup Plant
False Indigo

Today I added:
Two Pawpaw trees: (Asimina)

Paw Paw tree and hooper
There's another one back farther in the grass. I chose Pawpaw for one reason: Isabelle. She is bonkers for caterpillars and butterflies, and the Pawpaw is the sole host plant for zebra swallowtail caterpillars. I hear the fruit is pretty good, but I don't see us eating a whole lot of them.

Queen of the Prairie: (Filipendula rubra) Huh. A member of the rose family???
Queen of the Prairie
Queen of the Prairie is a strikingly beautiful plant. It can reach heights of 6 or 7 feet, and the hot pink flower panicles can be 8 inches across. As a native plant, it has nearly NO problems other than foliar disease (a few spots on the leaves). The panicles resemble pink foam. By far, my favorite native plant. I planted three, and under moist conditions, it can form colonies. My prairie can be quite soggy in spots, so I am hopeful for lots more! Can you imagine a whole field of this stuff???

Big Blue Stem
Big Blue Stem. (Andropogon gerardii Vitman)

This was the chief grass of the tallgrass prairie, is very nutritious for cattle, and is being investigated for a forage/commercial hay product. This gorgeous grass can get 3 to 10 feet tall! The two specimens I have are about 4 feet tall now. I can't help but think of all of Julie's prairie posts when I look at this beautiful thing.
The stalks form seed heads in three spikes, giving us the common name of "turkey foot". Birds love the seeds and the stems turn blueish purple as it matures. I tried little blue stem in the front of the house last year and I already have volunteers popping up in areas that birds have dropped the seeds. Oh! In the fall, the stems are a orange/yellow hue and rustle in the wind.

Macro Queen of the Prairie
(Macro of the Queen of the Prairie)

Black Swallowtail on Butterfly bush with wasp
Hello, sweet little black swallowtail! (And little wasp!)
Another good plant to put in your yard....simple butterfly bush. It smells great and the butterflies can't resist it.

Now that my native plant supplier will be gone forever I need to find another. What am I going to do? (If you have some cool plants native to the Eastern US, please send me cuttings!)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Feathers and one big sassy gal

For the latest installment of Friday Feathers:

One individual family of this species of bird can eat more than 3000 rodents in a single nesting season.
This bird is the only representative of its genus in North America.

Friday feather 071808
*that small freckle is a clue*

And check out the foot on this gal:
Big GHOW feet
This great horned owl was caught in a soccer net. She is huge, too. More than 1600 grams. (for you non-mathical types: One pound translates to 453.5924 grams. It's a lot easier to just round it up to 454 grams per pound. So this bird is approaching 4 pounds. And she is probably a young bird, as you will see below. Look at that foot! Stretched out, it's nearly the size of a human hand.
She is being prepared for release and we like to band the birds who are going out. It's a good way to judge our success at rehabilitation. One really great band recovery I heard was a red-tailed hawk...eight years after its release, it was found dead. In Michigan. Sounds like it resumed its life and then some. But this GHOW is so huge, we didn't have a band BIG ENOUGH to fit around her leg.

To mark her, nail polish was used. An owl manicure.
GHOW manicure
Hot pink. Cause she's a girl. Will this bird end up in another soccer net? We will see...of the last four GHOW's who have come in, three were out of soccer nets.

Here's why it is thought she is a young bird:
Peacock Owl
Big time mantling. She looks like a peacock, doesn't she? That's a young bird thing to do.
"I'm a big scary bird....see how huge I am? I will kick your *ss if you come any closer."

Update on "hawk in barn" being "handled and hugged by well-meaning people":

The people were unwilling/unable to drive to meet a volunteer half-way, but they said they would give $25 to whomever came out to get the bird. I had to call in reinforcements and get Peggy (our dispatcher) involved. Hopefully she is able to find someone willing to go that far. Hurrumph. Dave at Bird TLC has airlines at his disposal. I understand the reluctance to drive that distance with gas at $4 a gallon. If I hadn't driven nearly 800 miles this week, I would have done the trip. I did a program every day this week, with an average of 100 miles per program. And the Adams County program was 270 miles. I wondered if we would have to take out a second on the house to pay for all that fuel.
Oh! Funny story:
Today's program was at the Cincinnati Nature Center. The guy who sits at the desk at the visitor center was excited that I had brought Lucy the Peregrine. He has hoped to stick his head in to see her, but he wasn't able to. After the program, I asked the guy if he would like to see Lucy. I got her out, and it drew a crowd (as these beautiful birds I work with, tend to do). I put her back after a few minutes and asked if he would like to meet the BARN OWL. I took him out and he did what he does every time he comes out of the carrier. Well, needless to say, it was loud. Really really loud. And people started pouring out of the offices. The looks on their faces was priceless. Even Bill Hopple, the president/ executive director came out to see what was going on. It was great. Everyone loved it.
It's not every day that a owl screaming like a woman being murdered is heard inside that building. It was huh-LARRY-us!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bob Marley saved my life today

8:15 am: Drop off girls at summer camp.
9:30 am: Pick up birds for program.

11:00 am: Stop at home to collect my thoughts and print out paperwork for evening's board meeting.

12:00 pm: Start my drive to Adams County Fairgrounds.
1:30 pm: Arrive at fairgrounds.

2:00-3:00 pm: Program.
3:15 pm: I get to talk on the RADIO about RAPTOR!

3:30-5:00 pm: Drive back to RAPTOR to drop off birds.
6:00 pm: Arrive at home to change clothes and knock off the stink.

6:30pm: Leave home.
7:00 pm: Board meeting.

8:00 pm: Get a call from Geoff who says that Isabelle has a problem and I am needed. Must stop at store to buy new shoes for Isabelle. And band-aids. And a frozen dinner for myself (the only meal I will have today).

9:00 pm: Get a call on cell phone about a hawk who has been living in a barn for three days, being handled and hugged by well-meaning people and being fed CANNED DOG FOOD.

9:15 pm: Arrive home and corral children to bed.
9:30 pm: Try to reach well-meaning people with pet hawk in barn. No answer. Leave a message that I will call in the morning.

10:15pm: Eat only meal of the day and chronicle my day here.

In the middle of all this, I was cross-eyed with fatigue. But just as I thought I would keel over, a Bob Marley song came on the radio. "Buffalo Soldier". Smoothed me out quite a bit.

I'm tired. Two more days of programs and then I get the weekend off. Thank goodness.

Monday, July 14, 2008

There's a first time for everything

Today was the barn owl's first program. I was scheduled for a presentation at the Cincinnati Museum Center (they do a "Harry Potter" camp every summer...owls, owls, owls) and it was a perfect opportunity to try him out. A small room, mostly-behaved children.
I am happy to announce that he was great. Awesome. Better than I expected.

I asked one of the counselors to take a few photos for me. But she failed miserably.

When I brought the owls back, I set up the camera to catch the action I knew was coming. You see, the barn owl doesn't like the "second glove", i.e. the glove that sometimes is worn on the other hand, especially if the bird is a bitey-sort. Which the barn owl is. He was in rehab for months as our rehabbers tried to save his wing. They were always coming at him with both gloves on, and you can imagine that he is not a happy camper when he sees two gloves.
Anyway, I use two gloves to handle him because, while he usually holds back on the actual bite, he has landed a few.

As I wound the tether up on my left hand, he was watching my right hand like a...hawk.
And screaming.

Another first today was a new caterpillar for our yard. There's something to be said for not yanking up every single Queen Anne's Lace plant.

black swallowtail cat first instar
Credit goes to Isabelle for this find. She saw this little spiky guy and called me over. Then, I saw another one on a nearby plant (turns out that these are the same species, just different instars.

black swallowtail mad face
Black swallowtail caterpillars! This one is even showing us his osmeterium! He actually looks mad, doesn't he?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's the 90th anniversary of the MBTA!

On this day in 1918, a very important treaty was signed.
( I have seen the date instead as July 3rd, but I am going by a date from the NWF.)

This act was written in a time when people wore hats adorned with egret feathers....and signed documents with pelican quills. If you click on the above link, you will find that it is a bunch of legalese, but the basic premise is to protect over 800 total species (I think that's the number...there have been many additions and subtractions over the years) from intentional harm, killing, taking of eggs, nests, feathers, live birds, etc.
If you are bored and want to count them all, this link will show you the current list of protected birds.

A funny/cruel thing I do to kids during my education programs:

I ask: "Okay. We all know what this is, right? (holding up a feather from one of our birds) Yep, that's a feather. Who's found a feather before? (most of them raise their hands).
Anyone have a nature collection? Like rocks, feathers, moss? In a jar at home? (most of them raise their hands again) Okay. Did you know that you are committing a crime?"

Their. Faces. Are. Priceless.

I explain that the "nature police" is not going to break their doors down for one feather. But I make it clear that, because of the MBTA, no one may possess a single feather from any bird of prey or a bird that migrates. I give them an example of poaching that I heard from David, the former Ed. director at RAPTOR: A few years ago in Canada, wildlife officials found 50 bald eagles, shot and killed, with their heads, tails and feet sawed off. The bodies were dumped into a pile and left to rot. If there is a more saddening or rage-inspiring example of poaching, I haven't heard it yet.
Kids always try to get around it:
"What about turkey feathers?" (not illegal, since they are a game bird)
"What about a sea gull?" (I flummox them by saying that there is no such bird)

I remind them that even ornithologists sometimes have to look up a feather they are examining, in a feather atlas, so someone in the general public would usually have NO idea what kind of feather they were looking at. I also tell them that if they find a feather, by all means they should pick it up (they aren't as dirty as some neurotic moms would like to think), examine it and appreciate it. There's a lot to a feather...more than just prettiness. But then, they must put it back.

Someone always asks: "So why do YOU have feathers and stuffed specimens?" And I talk about the special permits that RAPTOR, Inc. and other centers (such as nature centers, museums, etc)
MUST have to possess them. If you are to do it all right and legal, it's a very complication process that includes listing every single bird you possess, how they are used, who uses them for programs and so on.

Speaking of permits and programs....Tomorrow is a big day. The Barn Owl, affectionately known as "No-No", will be presenting at his FIRST education program! After two months of training on the glove, and Saturday's first try in his carrier (he was PERFECT), he is all ready for the public! I am so thrilled!
By the way, the name "No-No" doesn't resonate well with some at RAPTOR, due to the negative connotation. (Barn owls do that no-no-no move, called toe-dusting, when they feel threatened).

I buy that. But what shall we call him?

No No and his bad side
Take a bow, little guy. You are about to be very, very popular.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

There's more at RAPTOR than just birds of prey

I was loading the great horned owl today for a program. He kept swiveling his big impressive head around and actually leaning towards me to see over my shoulder. Was he trying to kiss me?

: )

As GHOW's are like feathered satellite dishes, I knew something was up. (Maybe I should take him birding...I bet I could find more birds)
I looking behind me, and saw a very, very, very large BUG caught in a spider web by the door. I tried hard not to do a full-body shiver (I was holding a three-pound owl, you know) and put the bird in his carrier. I peered down at the bug and was delighted to find it was a stag beetle. (Delighted because I had never seen one. And Isabelle is a big-time bug girl, so I was so excited to take pictures of a real live stag beetle for her.)

RBstag beetle caught
He was only stuck by one of his hind legs, but stuck he was.

Not one, but two tiny spiders attempted to go in for the kill.
spider coming in RBstag
(See the little spider at top left?)

I finished loading all the birds and checked on him. He got free! I debated briefly about helping him out of the web, but as we all know, I am on the predator's side in any conflict.
face shot RBstag
He was all messy. And PISSED. He's all reared back and full of attitude. I bet he was tired...who knows how long he had been struggling to free himself.

Free at last  free at last
To give you some perspective on how large it was:
Look at your thumb. If he was on your thumb, you wouldn't be able to see your thumb. Ew.

top view RBstag
That fringed thing on the left is one of his antennae. A very cool bug, even if he was nightmare-sized. Know what this kind of stag beetle is called? Real complicated name:
The reddish-brown stag beetle.

I lasted one whole day of posting bird stuff. But a ginormous beetle capable of capturing and eating a small child is blog-worthy, right?
To see another post about stag beetles (the exact same kind as this one!), go check out Nina.

I have to give a shout-out. We may have a new reader on this ol' blog. My Mom's friend got my blog address from Mom today. (They were watching the infamous flatulence video)
Sharon is a big bird-nut (while rescuing a baby robin, she was told by the rehabber to keep it warm, so before putting the baby in the car, she warmed the car up. YEP. She's one of us.)
So, Sharon, if you are reading this, WELCOME! As in, welcome to the nut house!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Return of the Birding Blog!

I have missed birding so much. This blog has become a pit of random, sad attempts at humor and flatulent children.
But no more! (or, at least until I run out of bird pictures again)
The girls' summer camp is in the middle of a gorgeous field, with a creek on one side and deep forest on the other. I've done programs there before (they liked me so much they wrote an article in the local paper about it!), and the school is high-end. I feel good sending them there for fun-in-the-sun.
And their weather vane ROCKS:

Weathervane at Summer Camp

A sweaty yet lovely walk through Kelley's Nature Preserve yielded a few neat things:

Someone tell me. Is this a vireo, and if so, what kind?
unknown vireo
I also got to hear a common yellowthroat. Thanks to Kathi, my Audio Birding Guru, I was able to ID the "witchety-witchety-witchety".

The air was thick with indigo buntings. And I mean that.
A male was followed everywhere he went by chipping young ones.
Male indigo bunting and youngin
"Hi, Dad!"

Dad!  Where ya goin
"Dad? Dad? Dad? Daaaaaaaaaaad? Where ya goin'?"

Indigo male and young
"Hee hee! Found you, Dad! Dad? DAD? Daaaaaaad?"

A display of manhood out on the prairie trail:
Manhood display in the prairie

A very cool find that made Isabelle oh-and-ah when she saw the picture:
Millepede - Apheloria virginiensis
I nearly stepped on this dude. I thought, "Hey. A caterpillar that looks like a millipede."
Then: "Whoa. It's a MILLIPEDE that looks like a CATERPILLAR."

I looked it up when I got home and it is Apheloria virginiensis. A pretty name, isn't it?
And thank goodness that I am not the "pick up that bug and hold it close to my face to examine it" type. This pretty thing exudes CYANIDE compound when threatened. Holy CRAP.
If you click on the photo and enlarge it, you can see small droplets of something on its back.
Holy poop on toast.

Monday, July 07, 2008

That sweet, sweet air!

I've been watching my two different batches of milkweed with baited breath. The common milkweed will bloom a few days from now, but the winner was the swamp milkweed IN THE MESSY, "UNATTRACTIVE", PROPERTY VALUE-DECREASING prairie. : )~

Macro swamp milkweed
I think that if I had been given the choice, I would have picked milkweed blossoms for my wedding bouquet. I bent down to get a big whiff, and it was sweet-smelling like cotton candy ice cream.

Today was one of those marathon get-the-kids-to-where-they-need-to-go, then go-get-the-birds-and-do-a-program, then a reversal of everything to get back to where I started. Since we were down to one car, all the driving was left to me. Dropped off the kids, went to RAPTOR to get owls for a "Harry Potter" program at the Cincinnati Museum Center, then drove HELL BENT FOR LEATHER back to Loveland to get the girls by 3:30. And I had to somehow squeeze three bird carriers, a cart, my dead-stuff box and both of my children into a relatively small-sized Saturn. The girls barely had enough room to get enough breath to complain.
Oh, did I mention that the Saturn's AC is going out, too? So add all the above to 90 degrees today.

Looking at Lucy helps...
Lucy up close
After two years, I still don't get tired of looking at that face. Aren't peregrines just beautiful? (And her cere, eyelids and feet are bright, sunny yellow....she's been gettin' vitamins.)

For Lynne. Sigh.
Big Girl Earl
A little test....anyone see anything up with Earl's toes?

Baby RAPTOR robin
A baby robin at RAPTOR. A RAPTOR Robin.....hee hee.

In the midst of racing with the birds back to RAPTOR (sans kids....I dropped them off with Geoff), I called the dealership to check on my car. (They have had it since WEDNESDAY.)
My car was all finished. And the AC WORKS. It freakin' WORKS!!!!!!
Why is this such a big deal? Because it has taken three summers, one hotter than the last, for a mechanic to finally figure out why it didn't work. And we finally had the moo-lah to make it happen. Life does not suck.
My Car is BACK!
(photo by Geoff Williams)
It's cold inside even when it's hot outside. Such a small thing to make a girl so sublimely happy. I will never, ever take air conditioning for granted. EVER.

Another little thing to make a girl happy: I have no programs tomorrow or Wednesday, and the girls will be at summer camp all day. Guess what Susan's gonna do????

Sunday, July 06, 2008

It's just a jump to the left

Since Laura didn't get the "Dammit, Janet" reference from the other day, I wanted to share a few videos from the Greatness that is the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It's probably the worst movie ever made. But you can't deny the cult following...and the music is kickin':

And a bonus:
You can call me a weirdo, but I think Tim Curry is Oh-So-Hot. Don't know why...maybe because he's so darn confusing:

Thursday, July 03, 2008

It's enough to make ya puke.

The optimistic outlook around here is getting sort of sickening.
I've been acting a bit like Patty Simcox from Grease. You know the one who's all teeth and like, "Call me!".

There's so much to look forward to: Florida with my family. Cape May. Summer camp for the girls starting on Monday.

The only smudge in my clean and bright sky is my car. I took it in yesterday, and they had to order a part for the AC (the body control module, a thingy that runs the accessories) and they told me it would be Monday before I could get it back, because it's on an exchange program and they have to pull the old one and send it in. Dammit.
Then they call today and cheered me up for 10 seconds, with news that the part came in today. BUT. The AC still isn't really working. The compressor isn't kicking on. And they attempted to sell me a new one. I got all huffy and told the dude in no uncertain terms that I knew it wasn't the compressor that's the problem. So they are going to look for leaks, though I am dubious as to what that will prove. The thing is, the AC works sometimes. It's getting it to switch on that's the problem. So it's still gonna be Monday. Dammit, Janet. (If you get that reference, I will be so proud of you.)
And I seem to be on a self-improvement plan.

I started hitting the tanning bed (which is way nicer than I remember it...instead of laying there cooking like a hot dog in a microwave for 25 minutes, they can zap you in 12).

I finally got some God-awful frizzed hair whacked off my head today (I'm all curly-springy now!).

I made a conscious decision to not eat meat at least 3 days a week.

I finally visited a dentist and got my teeth cleaned (it's been 5 long, stain-filled years...I have had the three most nightmarish dentists on the planet, but this one is all about gentleness and DRUGS). Of course, we may need to take out a second on the house to pay for the two fillings and two crowns and IV sedation to take care of the rest.

I'm not even taking my anti-depressants anymore. About a month and a half ago, I forgot to take a few doses. Then, a few days later, I forgot again (I think it was a subconscious thing, since I had begun to resent them). I realized that I was halving my dose, so I halved it again, and eventually I wasn't taking any. After about 16 years of not really being me, the meds gave some of me back. But I got to the point where I was angry that I needed freakin' pills to be a normal person.
So this is me. UNLEADED.

I'm all chipper and effervescent and mildly annoying. But in a good way, I think.

"What the Hell is up with you?"

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

If you can't laugh at yourself, everyone else will

Saturday. Chilo Lock #34 Park. RAPTOR program.
Kathi was there, and took pictures, but she said most of hers were pretty bad. She was right.
Keith, the naturalist at the park, took some photos....I don't even know why I am sharing them with the blogging world. Maybe because I am watching "A Clockwork Orange". That movie does tend to make one a bit barking mad.

Barred Owl
This one of the barred owl, was just about perfect. But it's not the birds that made me howl.

It was the expressions on my face that I had to share.
It's like once he started shooting, he caught Every. Single. Goof ball. Look. On. My. Face.

Beating my chest like King Kong
Why was I beating my chest like King Kong?

And for some reason, I had a "TA-DA!!!!!" moment:
Ta Da What the Hell

And I guess in a former life, I was a back-up singer:
"Wooo....What you want....Baby, I got it....Wooo....What you need....."

This one is kind of cute. A flycatcher of some kind was right above our heads, pissed off that Lucy was in the area, and was cussing her out. I was trying to point it out to the audience:
Lucy checks out the flycatcher
The audience loved watching Lucy watch the flycatcher. It's always interesting to see one of our birds doing something....birdlike. And Lucy and I are sort of mirror-images of each other.

What the Hell is up with my face
W T F ?

My favorite of the bunch...I think it shows just how I feel about doing programs. Happy, relaxed, and at home.
God, I love what I do. Even if I look like a maniac sometimes.