Saturday, January 31, 2009

The suckiness of Customer Service

This morning, Geoff realized that the Internet connection was not working. After calling our provider, and resetting the router, etc, the Customer Service Goon ascertained that the router was not getting a signal. He told Geoff to take the router to our local Time Warner store to exchange it for a new one.

After waiting in the store for an HOUR(Geoff said that there were wall-to-wall people in there, wanting Hi-Def cable for the big game tomorrow...nothing like waiting til the last minute, you morons) yet another Customer Service Goon told Geoff that they couldn't give us a wireless router ( like we have) and that we would have to wait for the Technician Goon to bring us one on Monday.

Now. Don't you think that information would have come in handy for Geoff to know before waiting in line for an hour?
So that's why I'm here, curled up at a Starbucks with the lap top.
If anyone needs to get hold of me from now until Monday, call me.

(Those of you who might actually need to talk to me will already have my numbers. I'm sure not going to give out my numbers ever seen some of the people who read this blog????)

: )

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The suckiness of ICE

So we are beginning to dig out of Ohio's Big Winter Storm.
Yesterday, after 3 to 5 inches of snow fell onto the INCH of ice and an older, 5 inch layer of snow, the sun came out. Like a cruel joke.
The birds were rolling in, with frantic darting of their eyes. Their natural food sources were buried. Every bird who landed in the crab apple tree slide down a few inches before being able to grasp the sucky ice-covered branch.

Shall we look at some ice?

Here we have an icy white-throated sparrow:
Icy White throated sparrow

And next is an icy white-breasted nuthatch:
Icy nuthatch

And an icy mockingbird. With ICE on his FACE!
Icy mockingbird

This cardinal doesn't look icy, but he was.
Close up icy cardinal

A day isn't complete without an icy robin butt:
Icy robin butt

Sure, the ice made the usual into pretty candy form,
Macro icy crabapple

and popsicles,
Icy perch

...and plain forms into works of art:
Icy branches

But in the end, it still sucks.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice sucks. Snow sucks. Closed schools suck.

You may have heard that a rather large winter storm is blowing through the country from Texas to New England. We are sort of in the middle of that. As I type this, BB's of ice are pelting the windows.

Our school system(s) are closed, and will be tomorrow too.
I don't like being forced to stay in the house. If I want to stay in the house, I'm fine. But force me to be here, and I am like a caged thing, pacing in front of the bars and growling at everybody.
It's not like I had any real reason to leave the house today, but I wanted to as soon as I realized the weather wouldn't let me.
I have a program on Thursday morning, but even if I can get across town to pick up the birds, who's to say that the cages aren't frozen shut? It's happened before. Oh, and there's the sheet of ice inches thick in the hallway between the mews. We can't put down any sort of salt or chemical melting agent, because of our feet tracking the gunk into the mews.
Imagine holding a bird (let's say...ISIS) and walking down a walkway choked with ice. You have to keep the bird on your arm and your butt off the ice. Yeah. It's a lot of fun.

When do the crocus bloom? When will the prairie grow? When do the Osprey return?
I hate Winter.

*thus ends my big ol' pissy rant.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Meme thingy

1. Do you like bleu cheese? Good God, no. That blue stuff is MOLD!

2. Have you ever smoked? Yep.

3. Do you own a gun? No. But my Dad did (made the boys a bit nervous).

4. What flavor Kool Aid is your favorite? Grape!

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? No. Except OB/GYN appointments. Yuck.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? I think I would like one right now. Covered in Skyline Chili and smothered with cheese and mustard.

7. Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Carol....the one with George C. Scott.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Coke.

9. Can you do push-ups? Do we mean bras or that exercise thing?

10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding ring. Geoff did GOOD.
(one of the many reasons I married him was because he had a "wedding ring" fund, before we even met. He just wanted to be prepared for when he met the love of his life.

11. Favorite hobby? Toss-up between birding and beading.

12. Do you have A.D.D? What? How can you ask that? I mean.....oh look! A chicken!

13. Do you wear glasses/contacts? No, but I am supposed to.

14. Middle name? Kay

15. Name thoughts at this moment? Isabelle's achievement (see below)

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Coke, Frappuchinos and milk with Ovaltine

17. Current worry? That the economy is drying up Geoff's assignments.

18. Current hate right now? That House, MD is NOT ON!

19. Favorite place to be? In bed, with 30 minutes until I have to get up

20. How did you bring in the New Year? Curled up on the bed with Geoff and the girls.

21. Where would you like to go? Germany (The Motherland)

22. Name three people who will complete this? I think everyone already did it.

23. Do you own slippers? No....I like barefoot

24 What color shirt are you wearing? Orange RAPTOR favorite article of clothing.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I have in the past, but flannel is nicer

26. Can you whistle? Yes

27. Favorite Color? Green

28. What songs do you sing in the shower? I don't sing there, but usually the theme song to "Go, Diego, GO!" is running through my mind.

29. Would you be a pirate? Hell yes! But I would be a nice one, kind of a Robin Hood sort of pirate.

30. Favorite Girl’s Name? Isabelle/Lorelei, of course!

31. Favorite boy’s name? Forrest (Geoff's grandfather's name)

32. What’s in your pocket right now? A one-dollar coin

33. Last thing that made you laugh? A certain email chain that involved how everyone is going to pee in the woods in West Virginia. You all know who you are.

34. What vehicle do you drive? Subaru, bay-bee! (Nicknamed "Baroo")

35. Worst injury you’ve ever had? Whiplash during car accident in '93

36. Do you love where you live? Yes, dearly. But I wish we had more land to protect and explore

37. How many TVs do you have in your house? Three.

And referring to Number 15:

honor roll

Isabelle made the HONOR ROLL.

Monday, January 19, 2009

6 Random Things about moi

This meme was going around sometime before Christmas, and I don't think anyone tagged me.

Harrumph. Fine. I tag myself.

1. I have a weird thing about those refrigerated dough know, the ones that "pop" open when you peel back the wrapping? I freakin' HATE those things. And they never open exactly like they are supposed to. When I do it, it stays closed and I have to put a spoon in the seam and twist. But I do it like this: I gently rest the spoon against the seam, then squeeze my eyes shut and turn away and then push the spoon in. Even when I know it's coming, that "pop" freaks me out. Oh, and the way I do it....makes a big smoosh of dough ooze out and when I get the rest of the dough out, I have to reshape the whole damn thing.

2. I have a weird thing about windshields. My windshield has to be very, very clean. If it is just misting, just a little bit, I have to turn on the wipers. If a bug offs itself on the windshield, I have to stop at a gas station to get it off.

3. I have an extra vertebra, in my neck. Never knew it until I had an MRI in my early twenties after a bad car accident. My Mom found out recently that she has an extra one, too. Maybe we are descended from birds?
Or maybe I just have more backbone than other people?
: )

4. I like to use words in inappropriate ways.
Like, instead of voila, I say VIOLA.
My grandmother worked with a broad who thought she was smart and effed up pronunciations all the time. The best ones:
When talking about the astronaut program in the 60's: "You know, those guys are in a very RIGID program (said like RIG-id, not RIDGE-id). They have to be smart and very MATRICULOUS (instead of articulate).
Even though Grandma is gone, Mom and I still get into hysterics about that broad from Grandma's office.
Another woman we know used to say potpourri just like it is spelled (POT POUR-EE). Now we say it like that just to be funny.
Geoff absolutely hates it. So we do it more.
: )

5. I count steps while I am going up or down them.
Huh. Mix that with the windshield wiper thing, and I taste a little bit OCD, don't I?

6. The other night, Geoff and I went out to a movie for his birthday. While waiting in the insanely-long traffic jam tried to get out of the parking lot, some idiot in a truck came flying out of a side lot and came this close to slamming into my new car. I threw the car in park and opened the door and started yelling at the fool, "What the F*** is wrong with you???? Learn how to drive, you stupid JACK A**!!!!!", and all the while Geoff is desperately plucking at my sleeve trying to get me back into the car. The crackers wisely stayed in their truck.
So I guess Random Thing #6 is that I don't suffer fools gladly.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hooper and a Cooper

I love that as a birder, I have learned a few things to help me be more observant.
When all the birds at your feeders just disappear, what happened?

Lorelei and I brought our lunches over to the front window to watch the starlings eat all of my Zick Dough. She was marveling at the tiny white chevrons that starlings have in the Winter (she didn't say chevrons, she actually called them "checks").
I was gritting my teeth and wishing quick death to all of the freeloaders, when they suddenly and loudly departed. And everyone else did, too.

I asked Lorelei to look for hawks in the trees while I got my camera.

She called out that a hawk was in a pine tree, but it had just flown away. I went into the laundry room, which has a view of our "waiting tree" (where all of our raptors hang out waiting for a helpless morsel of food to fly by).

A juvenile Cooper's hawk was nicely fluffed out and conveniently perched in the sun.

No hunting, but it did stay around for about an hour and a half.

There was some pooping:
Poopin Coop

And plenty of preening:
Coops floofy bloomers
I love this shot...Coop's have such nice floofy bloomers. Another bird who has floofy bloomers? Great horned owls. Seriously...if you get a chance to watch one, you will be envious of the padding they have back there.

Birds are rather flexible, aren't they?
(All the better to reach the oil gland by the butt, my pretty)
Coop preening
A new species....the Headless Ruffed Cooper's Grouse.

I went on with my day, but as the laundry isn't capable of washing itself, I was drawn back to the laundry room again and again.
At one point, eye contact was made:
Eye contact
Ooooo. Delicious shivers. I snapped a few photos and then averted my eyes (raptors don't like to be stared at)

This pic is thrown in just because it's fun and cute....
Hooper is a very tolerant dog. The girls can wrap him in blankets, or use him for a pillow or kiss him a million times a day. He takes it all in stride.

He can also balance ducks on his head.
Hooper and the Duck

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Marilyn's Crane

It's not often that I get to see a non-raptor at RAPTOR, Inc. A few nighthawks, things like that.

A few days ago, Marilyn, one of our rehabbers (who is also licensed to treat non-raptors, is a retired art teacher, and a generally neat person), got a call about a "big bird" in a bad part of town. The person reporting it also said that some neighborhood boys were throwing things at it.

When Marilyn arrived, she knew what it was.
Crane foot
(I love bird feet....they have never lost their reptilian roots)

Anyone want to guess the owner of this foot?

Lorelei hand and crane foot

Here's Lorelei's hand next to the foot.

Give? was a sandhill crane.

It was a juvenile, suffering from a broken leg. A badly broken leg, with the lower leg just below the knee dangling by a thread.

Marilyn has been doing rehab basically forever, and knew this break would never heal properly. She took it immediately to one of our vets for euthanasia.

When I heard that we had a sandhill crane in the freezer, I had to have a look.

Juv sandhill crane in bag

Poor sweet bird....the neck was gently folded towards the back so it could fit into our freezer.
(This bird has gone to the Cincinnati Museum Center to be added to their collection)

It was so heavy....we are used to 3 pound hawks and a big 4 1/2 pound turkey vulture. This guy felt like it weighed about 10 pounds.

SHcrane 2

I couldn't stop exclaiming how beautiful it was. And how sad it was....and how enraged I was that pissy little boys were trying to hurt it as it trembled alone in the world, left behind by its flock.

Migration is so very rough on birds...Look at the ragged edges of the feathers:

Worn feathers crane

The more I think about it, the angrier I get.
I have two girls. I'm a girl. So I really don't get the mentality of human males.

WHY do boys do things like that? Is it nature? Is it nurture? What makes a little boy fry ants with a magnifying glass, or stomp bugs, or throw rocks at a sandhill crane?

I've had countless conversations with moms of boys, and they all say the same thing (and I don't buy it)...."Boys will be boys" and "It's a boy thing".

Someone explain this to me.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Local News

From the AP:

It started out as an uneventful day for two local girls today.
After visiting an older cousin at the Frisch's where she worked, the girls' mother decided to take a cute photo of them outside by the Big Boy.
The drama began when the innocuous-looking, playful statue tried to drop a large, metal hamburger on the girls.

Big Boy and The Girls

In a uplifting display of parental love and dedication, the girls' mother kicked Mr. Big Boy in the Wedding Package, grabbed her kids and ran for it.

Big Boy was unavailable for comment.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

It's fun to stay at the Y M C A .......

We joined the local YMCA as a Christmas gift for the girls, and one of the perks of a Y membership is all the classes they offer.
Both the girls are in a swimming class, and Lorelei for the first time is taking a dance class....Ballet/Tap/Jazz.
There was a scheduling snafu on Tuesday, so Lorelei took a make-up class today so she isn't behind.
Since the child dances every waking hour of her life, I knew she would do well. I was surprised at just how well she did.

There's natural grace there, but also a desperate need for more balance. You'd think, with that dinky, Italian-shaped body and its low center of gravity, she would be more stable. Like a Weeble-Wobble. But she does need to practice on keeping herself righted.

Ballet 3

After warming up, the teacher led them through a series of "Graceful" exercises, some pantomimes like putting on rings, and make up and doing up their hair.
Ballet 2

A chorus line
A chorus line!

During the hour-long class, I went to get my membership card's photo taken (UGH) and wandering around the Y....

Found this:
Knitting group
Look, Ruthie and Trixie! A knitting group!
(Where the Heck is Trixie, by the way?)

I saw this poster and immediately thought of some of my...ahem...more mature blogger friends:
Older Americans day
May is "Older American" Month?
Huh. Who knew?

I have two days down on my Marathon Week, tomorrow's the last day.
While bringing the birds back yesterday, I was behind this goofy vehicle:
Some people are just asking to be slapped
Read the names of the kids and the dog......

You know, some people are just begging to be slapped right in their heads.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


I just don't even feel like blogging. I must have post-Holiday letdown or something.

Saturday found me at RAPTOR for a little owl parade. One of the curators? skinners?...well, I'm not sure of his exact title, but anyway....this guy from the Cincinnati Natural History and Science Museum, who collects all the bird bodies from our freezers came by to pick up what we had. A visiting family member of his is really into owls, so I perched a few out and gave a quickie talk about each one.

The nice man also said that any time I want to come and see the Museum's "collection"
(i.e. drawers and drawers of prepared bird specimens, like 41, 000 of them) to just give him a call and he could let me loose back there. I don't have the words to describe how cool that would be. They have ivory-billed woodpeckers, Carolina parakeets, Passenger pigeons and an Eskimo curlew. I think I might have just wet myself a little.
: )

A few photos of yummy birds:
Sylvester 1
It's photos like this one that make me yearn to know what our birds are thinking.

"I only put up with you because you feed me."
"I can crush your hand without batting an eye feather. Feeling lucky?"

This could/should be a screensaver:
Priscilla close

And how sisal perches work:
Sylvester close up talons
If you click on the photo and blow it up, you can see how those little fibers can gently and slowly wear away a bird's talons.
That's Sylvester's foot, btw.

A Sunday Sketch:
My harpy eagle scribble
It's a harpy eagle.

Okay, stop laughing. I only had a green crayon and a blue one! And they were broken and blunt.
Everyone's a critic.

Tomorrow begins my Marathon Program Week, with three days of programs, seven programs a day. I like to talk...well, a lot...but 21 hours of talking is a challenge even for me.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Happy New Year, my little (snow)flakes!

I'm not one for big-time listing, but the day was so gorgeous I had to go out and begin the New Year with some nice birds.

I was sitting at Armleder, trying to get up the nerve to brave the cold when Kathi called. She just happened to be coming down to Armleder from the CNC, so I waited. It's always nicer to bird with a buddy.
My first bird of 2009 was a goldfinch at our feeders, but I was anxious to see my first raptor of the year.
Two marvelous red-tailed hawks wheeling overhead at the park, just as Kathi was pulling in.

First raptor of 2009 RTHA
Not a Big Deal bird, but beautiful nonetheless.

Second raptor of 2009 was the single Northern Harrier haunting Armleder:
Second raptor of 2009 NOHA

N harrier
(Another bird I would love to handle...the hawk who thinks it's an owl)


Kathi's dogs waited in the car while we birded...but not before greeting me with exuberance.
Holly close up
Holly! No nose prints on the lens!

Grace about to knock me down
Ever see a Rottweiler smile? Grace does it all the time. I do love that dog.

Song sparrow
(Song Sparrow, ignoring us...)

A list of what we saw:
Red-tailed hawk
Northern Harrier
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Song Sparrow
Tree Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
American Crow
Mourning Dove
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
White-breasted Nuthatch
(Kathi's first bird of the year? A hooting Great Horned Owl at her house. Stinker.)

No lifers. No Big Deal birds. But a nice walk.