Thursday, November 24, 2011

Duckpdate - Party for the Birds

This Duckpdate is brought to you because Sarge is hosting a Give Us the Bird posting contest this week.
The ducklings first swim in their new home

One summer evening, the dogs dashed into Dirty Creek and startled the ducks.. HUNDREDS OF DUCKS! Wha??? I started to count as they took flight and suddenly realized my efforts were futile.

As I got closer to the water and could see beyond the concrete barricades... My ducks were home! I counted...yes, they were all there. It appears, they were just having a party. And while some wayward dogs could easily startle newcomers, our little team stayed put. After all, it was getting dark...time for the party to end anyway!

Now that winter is here, the team in Dirty Creek has doubled...boy for girl! It seems they are pairing off, getting ready for spring. I just hope they forgot the way to my pool!

If you would like to join Sarge's contest, be sure to check out his blog!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Duckpdate - The Hunters!

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. I took a nasty fall in my own backyard coming home from Costco Monday night. I'm really banged up. Mabel did come over and kiss me and curl up next to me while I was writing in pain!

This Duckpdate is brought to you because Sarge is hosting a Give Us the Bird posting contest this week.

A few months back, I was hiking in the Tujunga River... one of those quiet, lazy, summer evenings. I heard a strange noise and the ducks nearby startled and moved up stream just a bit. I looked up on the levee and noticed two brats with pellet guns aiming at the ducks... but Bart and Mabel right behind them!

And even though those probably weren't MY ducks...Once you are a duck mom... they are ALL MY DUCKS! (Not sure I will ever be able to eat a Turducken again!) I promptly told those little criminals that they shouldn't be shooting at hand raised ducks and certainly not firing so close to dogs and a human. That didn't work! So I called the cops and the little creeps ran...

Just one more battle that the ducks have to face...

If you would like to join Sarge's contest, be sure to check out his blog!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Duckpdate - Fall Habitat

I haven't really been posting on the ducks because... the ducks are doing what they are supposed to do...growing up and moving on. But Sarge is hosting a Give Us the Bird posting contest this week and when Mabel Lou heard there may be foodables involved... well, she egged me on!

So, I thought I would post some duckling pics and tell you a few stories of the goings on at Dirty Creek this week. The biggest adjustment the not-so-little team had to make was the annual fall raping of their habitat. They are living in a flood control basin which is improperly controlled. As you can see in the photo below, all the tall reeds the ducks were living in are on the right are now trimmed to the ground!

Yet right across the water, where most of the flood waters actually go, the city did not cut or trim. Nor did they cut the tree that fell this year. It's all a bureaucratic mess! The Dept of Public Works blames Fish and Game who claim rare species in those waters. Yeah? Well if that's the case, why did you allow a five foot deep pond to fill up with sediment to maybe one foot deep???

The government agencies also blame the golf course, who - per their contract with said governing bodies - are supposed to maintain the trails and creeks. They've done such a crappy job that this week, another government agency is taking over. Grrrr. Don't get me started... back to my ducks...
Mallory Mallard enjoying her bath in my pool's waterfall while watching her ducklings.

I check on the ducks most evenings and I was there the very day the trimming was done. The ducks looked somewhat confused and mildly panic stricken. But this little team is tough. The next day, they seemed much calmer. In some ways, it's good the city no longer trims the area north of the pond...that's where predators must approach from! And I'm certain they make quite a ruckus going through the thick growth.

So the team made it through another hurdle.

If you would like to join Sarge's contest, be sure to check out his blog!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's Just Not Magic Anymore

What is it about the holiday season that makes it seem as if the days are barreling down a mountain chasing me as fast as my little legs can run? And why does it start sooner and travel faster every single year?
In all honesty, I planned to write this post in AUGUST.... when I took the blurry cell phone pictures to accompany this post... of CHRISTMAS TREES! My bestie - the shiny happy one - pointed out that these pictures were taken in a store that sells decorations to other retailers so, to her shiny happy point of view, the store I took these in was right on time marketing-wise.
Halloween trees

To my stop-the-world-from-turning-cause-I'm-dizzy point of wasn't the first store I had seen Christmas trees in... It was the THIRD! In AUGUST!

I was fascinated from a decoration point of view but I don't even understand that... I haven't decorated in more than a decade. There never seems to be enough time. It seems pointless to drag all that crap out of the attic to put it up for.. me... and put it back up again. Plus, I'm always going somewhere else... the lot of someone who doesn't have a family of her own.

Maybe it stems back to childhood - my mother always hated Christmas. My sister was equally determined to make it special. In the end, it always seemed to be a tug of war of wills and emotions. Once my sister's nieces and nephews grew up to have their own families and there were no kids around at all, it all got worse. 
I do love peacocks....
I've also come to resent the commercial factors of the season. It's hard work buying and wrapping all that CRAP. And really, most of it is stuff no one wants or needs. I'm trying so hard to clean out my house of all the superfluous junk I've collected that - while I appreciate the sentiment - I really don't need the soap / candles / sweatshirts that I seem to receive in abundance year after year. 

Have I just grown old and turned into a hermit crab? I'm just so sick of this family member not getting along with that one and the arguments over...nothing that really matters. I'm tired of giving and receiving gifts that have no real meaning. I'm tired of pleasing...

I need a little magic. But I'm not sure it exists anymore. I sure haven't felt it in a long time. To me, the most magical thing is feeling connected to someone I love. And yet, year after year, we gift some purchased token to one another and plan to have dinner "when things settle down." Then the very next year, we find ourselves making the same hollow promises. 

Shortly after I took these pictures, I found this photo circulating on Facebook. It was actually taken in 2009... But I like to think the classy Nordstrom's department store is still doing this. If not, I'm glad they had the guts to do it once. 

Do you remember going into the store the day after Thanksgiving (NOT Thanksgiving Day. NOT midnight the morning after!)? It was magic how the store had transformed! I wonder if kids today even notice... Or do they just expect trees in August?
Upside down trees - more room for all the gifts... yay that's great

I know a lot of parents struggle with kids who get too much.  My best friend from childhood comes from a Catholic background. She always told her kids, "Three gifts were enough for Jesus, it's enough for you!" Her list usually involved "something you need, something you want and something just because." And it worked. Her now grown children grew up valuing the things they received and being very generous and thoughtful themselves.

This year, I want the gift of time. Time to check in with friends. Time to really enjoy a moment with someone I love. Time to laugh, time to cry, time to just BE. That would be magic!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Need Some Help from the Bakers

I found these at our magical thrift store... the one I've composed a half dozen posts about in my head but never actually posted here...sigh.

They are baking pans of some sort... I thought they would make pretty little tea cakes for the niece's wedding showers. I brought them home and washed them and started searching for recipes for.... what? It would help if i knew what the pans were actually called! I've googled "recipes for vertical cake pans" and different variations... but NO answer.

They come in a variety of shapes: stars, trees, playing cards (spades, clubs, diamonds and hearts):

And they come with lids for each end. If anyone knows what they are and where I can find recipes, I would be SO grateful!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meet Baconhead!

No I don't have a new pet... As IF Mabel Lou would let me consider such a thing! I'm just having a little fun with the girl I have.

I tossed her a piece of bacon off my bacon cheeseburger from my favorite local Mom and Pop and it seems that burger was so juicy delish that the bacon stuck to her head... Excuse me while I try to stop laughing...

She looked and looked for it but couldn't figure out where it was! When she followed me to the shop with the bacon still on her head... well, I HAD to have some fun! 

I did finally show her where that yummy bacon smell was coming from... I'm such a mean mommy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Horse Corral at Angeles National

I may live near the metropolis of Los Angeles but I actually live in the boonies... Our little mountain town  has one main drag and is only 10 square miles. So a shindig at the golf course makes for a good Friday night!

The bestie and I went out to the corral opening at Angeles National a few weeks ago. She insisted we dress up. I do as I'm told even though some part of me suspected we would be grossly overdressed for a horse crowd. We were!

The golf course has built a corral for folks on horse trails that might want to stop into the restaurant or bar (or play a round?). I made a new best friend while we were there. Meet Dotty:
I had some serious bonding with her... she just kept staring at me. Finally, we met her owner who let me pet her and feed her carrots!

The golf course has water and carrots and apples for the horses.

For the people, they installed video cameras that feed to the tv screens in the clubhouse so they can see what the horses are up to!

After photo ops and speeches, there was a barbeque dinner. Fun times in a small town!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Autumn Guard

Rescue Me Week - Grumpy

Mayzie is hosting a Rescue Me week blog-a-thon in honor of her human Grandpa J who crossed the bridge recently! Since all my babies have been adopted, I thought it would be fun to play along.
This is our second entry in the contest! ;-)

We are playing for the Rottie Rescue of Los Angeles, where I've gotten most of my girls from. Today, I'm writing about a dog named Grumpy who apparently isn't... You know, you can change a dog's name. I often feel that I should... I want my dogs to think of their name as a happy song and I'm often concerned that their old name may have come to mean something negative. But back to Grumpy:
From the Rott Rescue site: 
Grumpy - he isn't - has a good temperament, very social dog. An outside dog in his former home, big, very handsome boy. Sold as a potential show quality dog, disqualified due to medical condition called cryporchardism, an autosomal recessive trait. Cryptorchid dogs are not candidates for breeding/showing because the condition is heritable. Click here to fill out our adoption application.

For those of you reading along (I can't wait to read what Mango has to say about this!)  Cryporchardism means... his 'nards didn't drop. While this makes him unbreedable... don't we have enough dogs in shelters anyway??? It doesn't require medical treatment. The boy just needs a good home!!!

If you can give Grumpy a home, please get in touch with the LA  Rottie Rescue.

If you would like to play along too, today is the last day.  Mayzie is going to draw names and choose FIVE winners and donate $100 green papers to the rescue organization of the winner's choice.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rescue Me Week - Milly

Mayzie is hosting a Rescue Me week blog-a-thon in honor of her human Grandpa J who crossed the bridge recently! Since all my babies have been adopted, I thought it would be fun to play along.

We are playing for the Rottie Rescue of Los Angeles, where I've gotten most of my girls from. I was particularly drawn to Milly because that's what I named my first rotten. Isn't she gorgeous??
Milly is a 3-year-old female. She came to us from an animal shelter in central California with her mixed breed puppies. She is a sweet, gentle soul who has had a difficult life. Milly is hoping for a home where she will be safe and cared for. Click here to fill out our adoption application.

Here's a better look at her beautiful face:

If you can give Milly a home, I know just how grateful she would be. My Milly hated when I took off her collar... she knew that meant HOME!

The folks at Rottie Rescue ask you tons of questions - it seems down right annoying but... it's really a personality test to match you with the best fit possible. I've loved and adored the babies I got there!

If you would like to play along too, Mayzie is going to draw names and choose FIVE winners and donate $100 green papers to the rescue organization of the winner's choice.


Friday, November 04, 2011

Lost in the Yonder

I caught her daydreaming today - this odd, Piscean dog of mine. She was here in body but her mind was... elsewhere. I sat there on the side of the stream watching her, mesmerized. Her pupils were dilated, not focused on anything as she stared into the distance, lost in her own mind.

I watched her for several minutes as she stood there in her reverie. Time seemed to stop. And then, she was back with me. I  saw her eyes focus; she became aware she was standing in the stream. She looked around quickly to get her bearings and, realizing I was watching her, tucked her head and shoulders in embarrassment.

No need to be embarrassed old girl. Don't you know??? Your human mother has Piscean blood. I used to get lost between worlds.

Time would stop as that doorway opened before me. I could get lost in there for hours. 
I would plan and dream
Wonder and wander
Make alibis and scheme
I was happy there, lost in the Yonder.

But I grew old and I grew tired.
I got lost in work and busy
Day to day, my powers dimmed
The doorway to my dreams closed. 

I had not time to plan or dream
Wonder gave way to what I know
The need to wander wanted a good home
with no need for alibis or schemes

But I see you there lost in your Yonder
making plans and dreams
full of wonder and the need to wander
creating alibis and fixing up schemes...

And I start to wonder...

Is that doorway to my soul shut tight? 
Or is it open just a little?
Can that be... a sliver of light?

Could I go in again?
Do I dare to plan or dream?
Do I dare to fill my soul with wonder?
Can I allow myself to wander?
Will I need alibis and schemes? 
Will happiness find me there, lost in the Yonder?

So dream on my sweet girl.
Make your plans
Wonder and wander.
Conjure your alibis and schemes
And no matter what life brings, 
I know how to find you, 
You're never really lost in the Yonder.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

One More Pawty Pic

Forgive me... But I just HAD to share ONE MORE pawty pic from Chloe's Mom! I was browsing through her facebook album from the pawty...seems like all the humans took around 150 pics each... and found this Bart gem:

I have no idea what is going on in the upper right of the pic but Bart's expression KILLS me!

Maybe it's that so many people look at a rottweiler and see... something vicious. I never have... Even the most serious of rotten faces make me want to roll around on the ground and give them big blubbery kisses! And since every rotten I've ever known is an ultimate prankster of the highest level... this pic sums that up for me. Bart's gorgeous face says it all!!

Almost an Angel

My Maggie May LOVED dressing up for Halloween and loved seeing all the kidlets at our door even more.

So naturally, I tried that with Mabel Lou. Here she is in the fall of 2002 - not even a year old and letting me know what she thinks of Halloween costumes!

Maybe that halo just needed polishing, eh??

Here's one of my Halloween favorite shots of Maggie May:

But I have to admit, I loved Maggie in the angel outfit! The Halloween that Maggie was an angel, a girl of 10 or so knocked on our door after most of the trick or treaters had gone. Maggie was first to the door, as always. The girl had dropped to her knees and was making out with Mags through the screen by the time I got there.

As soon as the girl saw me she asked, "Can I hug your dog???"

"Sure!" I said.

I opened the door and Mags took a step out on the front porch into the arms of her admirer.

They kissed and hugged and chatted for several minutes. You would've thought they were old friends. A man on the sidewalk cleared his throat, indicating to the girl it was time to move along. She stood up and only then did I realize she was dressed as a dog... a black and tan, no less!

She held out her bucket to me and said, "She is a dog dressed as an angel and I'm an angel dressed as a dog."

I dumped all the candy I had left into her bucket.