Caturday: Floods and blinding sunlight

I feel like a vampire. I stepped out into the sunlight and expected to burst into flame at any second. Added to that is the fact that I couldn’t get my eyes open and the sunlight made me sneeze. Yes, I’m one of those who sneeze repeatedly in strong sunlight. I can’t complain too much though. We’re way over our normal rainfall amounts and I needed time to air out the trailer. It reeks of humidity and wet dog. Especially the wet dog part. Ewwwwwwww

Here’s a pic that Lastech took of the Walnut Creek flood channel. The creek is normally only about 12 to 15 feet wide. This isn’t the highest it’s been. It’s been at its highest late at night, so we’ve missed it.

Walnut Creek flood channel

I’m sure you’ve all seen the news coming out of the state with roads washed out and the Oroville Dam spillway FUBAR. It’s a mess out here. We survived fine, but many didn’t. I’m hoping the next round of storms won’t be so messy. Here’s a vid of the problem at the dam for anyone who may have missed it.

Now it’s time for the pointy-eared people and the floppy-eared one to shine.

Titanescu hogging a sunbeam
Miss Jenny
Tito: WHAT are you wearing?
Miss Pepi watching Titanescu in his sunbeam

The other day I was sitting at the laptop and heard a very loud ruckus in the shrub. It was the sparrows. The male sparrows are wife hunting. There were two of them trying to get her attention. The one on her left started to do his dance, but she wasn’t having it and ran him off. The one on her right was more persistent, but she still wasn’t having it. He wouldn’t go away, so she took matters into her own beak, so to speak. This all happened very fast and I barely got the two pics below. Miss birdy reached out with a claw and grabbed Mr. hotshot by the leg, dangled him upside down, and proceeded to peck the crap out of him.

Mr hotshot managed to get his leg free, but as you can see, she’s dangling him by a feather. Her beak is barely visible at the top.
And don’t come back! She dropped him and his fall was anything but graceful.
Today, the Towhee came to flap and preen on the fence. I love the soft brown and rust tones.

See you next week


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Caturday: Summer’s last hurrah

Yes, summer is over, but it didn’t let go without a fight. It’s going to be close to 100 for the next several days. I think we will all be happy to see summer go away. The beasties are not fond of the air conditioning. I’m not fond of it either.

Once the weather cools down again, we’ll have a couple of adventures. We are going to visit a different botanical garden in the Berkeley Hills. In the meantime here are the pointy eared people and some birdies.

Tito doing the dead-bug
Tito doing the dead-bug
Miss Jenny
Miss Jenny
Titanescu and the sunbeam
Titanescu and the sunbeam
Titanescu using Miss Jenny as a pillow
Titanescu using Miss Jenny as a pillow
Pepi and her green blankie
Pepi and her green blankie

And now for the birds pics and a couple of not-bird pics.

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret
Snowy egret
Snowy egret
Tugboat
Tugboat
Duck butt
Duck butt
Egret hunting for dinner
Egret hunting for dinner
Kites
Kites
Juvenile cormorant
Juvenile cormorant
Hahahahaha!
Hahahahaha!
The dainty look
The dainty look
Mystery berries
Mystery berries

With luck, we’ll have more variety coming up instead of just birds.

Just for fun, here’s a glamorous kitty


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Holy crudmosis! At least no one died

Holy crudmosis is the word. Seriously. CRUDMOSIS! dangit! We’ve missed several Caturdays because of the holidays and then life went really goofy on us. Lastech was putting in bunches of overtime and Pepi and I went off to house sit, and then…

In the midst of all that, the crudmosis kicked in. My mom fell and broke her hip. She had gone outside to the porch when she fell down the steps. She landed on the bricks under the roof valley. It was night and it was pouring rain, which meant she was in the path of the heaviest flow off of the roof. It was also very cold and rain was just short of icy. Daddy and a friend rushed to find an umbrella to shelter her until the paramedics showed up. Since they live in the desert and normally get little rain, umbrellas are not a normal household item. While in the hospital, she had surgery, after which she developed a case of delirium. It was more commonly called ICU psychosis in the past, but delirium is the more proper term for it. She finally got past all that and is in rehab. She’s sounding a lot more like her old self.

Just before I went house sitting, Lastech developed a rash on his face. It was getting better by the time I got home again. Then it got worse. A LOT worse. He got home from work on Sunday morning and his face was swelling, so we called the doc. He was in the doc’s office for less than 5 minutes. They walked us straight over to the ER. They kept him until noon on Monday, pushing meds through IV and orally. Between the dermatologist and Lastech, they were able to figure out the cause and treat it, so it’s healing nicely now. Oh and they also put him on meds for diabetes. Holy crudmosis all over again.

Last, but not least. Pepita went in for her spay yesterday. She did fine and will not have to cope with being in heat ever again. Our sanity (and hers) are saved for the moment. Sanity is subject to change at any moment.

While I don’t have any good pics of our beasties at the moment, I did take pics of my friend’s fur babies. 🙂

This is Zsu Zsu. She is modeling her new raincoat. She absolutely hates the rain. What a sweetie.
This is Zsu Zsu. She is modeling her new raincoat. She absolutely hates the rain. What a sweetie.
This is Ranger. Once he got used to me, he turned into a purring, head bonking lover.
This is Ranger. Once he got used to me, he turned into a purring, head bonking lover.
This is Sparkie. She's also a sweetie. She's got long fluffy hair.
This is Sparkie. She’s also a sweetie. She’s got long fluffy hair.
This is Booda. Supposedly, he hates everyone. He and I had quite a discussion about that, as you can see. He was so funny. He would hiss at me and change it to a meow in mid-hiss. He's got magnificent whiskers.
This is Booda. Supposedly, he hates everyone. He and I had quite a discussion about that, as you can see. He was so funny. He would hiss at me and change it to a meow in mid-hiss. He’s got magnificent whiskers.

This song sort of sums up the last couple of weeks.


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When the feral turns fecal and the PITA grows major…

A riddle in a crap-doodle. Miss Jenny, our feral, decided to take a dump on our bed twice about three weeks ago. Technically, she left it there, but the point is we were scratching our head while pinching our nose.

Miss Jenny looking quite innocent
Miss Jenny looking quite innocent

Cats dislike change and recently, we had been moving the trailer, moving the dog crate and litter box, so these were things to consider.

Right about the same time, Pepita went into heat, so it is entirely possible Jenny decided to mask the dog smells with her own. We’ve been giving Jenny as much attention as we have been able to, in order to reassure her feral little soul. Naturally, Pepita’s timing meant we have to reschedule her trip to the vet to get her spayed. We’ve also purchased dog diapers to alleviate the need for constant laundry washing.

Tired doggie. It was also Pepita's first day in heat and she wasn't liking it at all.
Tired doggie. It was also Pepita’s first day in heat and she wasn’t liking it at all.

They both gave new meaning to the expression ” I wouldn’t kick her out of bed for eating crackers”. Challenges seldom come in onesies, however, as the Endurance life support systems also went haywire. Water pressure went down to little more than a trickle,  just as the furnace plain stopped working. As a temporary measure, the chief engineer cut cardboard inserts to mask the ceiling vents. This netted about ten degrees at night. Further research showed how inefficient and wasteful RV furnaces are, and we’ll be looking at alternatives shortly, before rain storms begin in earnest.

The water pressure issue was easier to identify and resolve. It was due to a clogged filter which was faulty from the factory. We switched to a spare filter which resolved the problem.

Elsewhere, progress: Tito continues to cozy up to Pepita, who herself is deciding that cats aren’t a bad sort after all. Their encounters now involve more gentle slapping, sniffing, licking, biting on the dog’s throat (but gently) and decidedly non-aggressive staring. Pepita is becoming calmer, even as she yearns for “boys”. Ever so slowly, she is finding her place, even as the catonauts themselves are getting accustomed to life aboard the Endurance.

Tito being his normal sweet self.
Tito being his normal sweet self.

Titanescu remains the curmudgeon from hell and continues to direct his stinkeye and ire at Pepi.

Titanescu and his resting stinkeye
Titanescu and his resting stinkeye

Oh, but those diapers? That lasted about four minutes tops, before she Tasmanian-deviled her way out of that…

diaper

Rudha-an here: Given the horrible events of the last week, I thought some joy was in order.

We've had some rain. There's a lovely green haze starting up on our hills
We’ve had some rain. There’s a lovely green haze starting up on our hills
This is how close Lime Ridge is to us. The arrow points at Costco. We live across the street from it (to the right, in the photo). You can't see our park because of the trees. It's less than a mile away, but with a large rail yard in the way, we have to drive  a longer distance to get there.
This is how close Lime Ridge is to us. The arrow points at Costco. We live across the street from it (to the right, in the photo). You can’t see our park because of the trees. It’s less than a mile away, but with a large rail yard in the way, we have to drive a longer distance to get there.

<Someone needs to quit chopping onions already>

And now for the other end of the age spectrum.


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Kitties, a dog, a sunset, and a bird

We missed Caturday again. Life gets strange. We’re making up for it this time, with kitties, dog, sunset AND a beautiful bird. Aside from still adjusting to graveyard shifts, we’re prepping for a short move. For whatever reason, to be designated as an RV park (as opposed to a trailer park), no one can stay beyond 6 mos. without moving out for a day (two nights). It’s a bit of a PITA, but our little abode will be towed out to the street behind the park for that time, after which we’ll return for another 6 mos. It’s worth it.

I can’t believe that it’s been almost 6 mos. already. We haven’t killed each other living in such a small space. In fact, we’re adapting well. I’m still getting rid of stuff. I avoid buying anything new (other than food stuffs) without seriously thinking about it first. I’ve done odd things like dump my two pyrex measuring cups and replace them with a plastic 2-cup measuring cup. Enough little things like that and it really lightens the load. I think the only glass or ceramic items we have left are our coffee cups, the Melitta coffee pot, and the cat food dishes. We no longer buy in bulk, except for the canned cat food. Both of us are still MUCH happier than we were before.

The kitties are happier too. In spite of adding a dog to the mix, they have adapted and learned to relax a lot more than before. Even though trailer walls are anything but soundproof, it’s much more quiet here. They like that. Speaking of kitties, here they are. Miss Jenny’s pics are a short series. They aren’t perfect photos, but we thought they were funny.

Tito: Yes, I'm slowly shredding the window dressings. Is it a problem?
Tito: Yes, I’m slowly shredding the window dressings. Is it a problem?

Miss Jenny

Hmmm?
Hmmm?

What?
What?
Noooooo, you don't say
Noooooo, you don’t say
HAHAHAHAHA!
HAHAHAHAHA!
Thath thilly
Thath thilly
Titanescu: Hungry eyes. I would say evil eyes, but he wasn't on nip at the time.
Titanescu: Hungry eyes. I would say evil eyes, but he wasn’t on nip at the time.
Miss Pepita: Gimme the cookie! Gimme the cookie!
Miss Pepita: Gimme the cookie! Gimme the cookie!

After sleeping and listening to some rain off and on, we went off to watch the sunset last night.

The nearby hills were aglow
The nearby hills were aglow
Beautiful color
Beautiful color

While watching the sunset, we saw a pair of birds hunting. They were not as large as the hawks I’m used to watching and their color was different. However, they are incredibly beautiful and manage a very graceful hover before diving on their prey. I didn’t know what they were so I asked some friends on FB and was told that they were White-tailed Kites.

White-tailed Kite
White-tailed Kite

I went off to find a vid that would show the beautiful hovering and found two videos by a local documentary maker named Alex Burke. Both were filmed in the East Bay hills and are a joy to watch. Both vids end with the Kite eating its kill, so if that bothers you just avoid the very end. 🙂


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Every puddle a book, every turd a story

The Whizzers of Oz…
Puddles and turds, oh my…

Such explorers dogs are… Every time the red heads leave the Endurance for a walk, Pepita dashes out, reading the neighborhood nose to ground. Someone aptly coined the expression “reading the newspaper” and that’s exactly what she does.

Reading the paper
Reading the paper

Hmmm. A middle-aged shepherd mix with a diet slightly too high on protein, suffering from abandonment anxiety and an imperceptible limp in the right hind leg, stopped right here 6 days ago. His owner feeds him table scraps at times, real refried beans mashed in bacon grease, not the canned stuff. But the dog food itself is mostly dried stuff, from a poorly sealed bag making it too soft.

All this and more from a desiccated turd on a sun burnt patch of grass. Sherlock Holmes got nothing on this hound. Much like people have done on the Internet, dogs who never see one another communicate without really interacting, but absolutely need their olfactory landscape like we do good books and foods.

20150916_164610
At the Lime Ridge open space, Pepita stopped dead in her tracks. Could it be? This patch of dead grass around this fire hydrant..! Oh the rich, full characters, their histories,diets and desires! The stories may well be familiar, but they offer all the comfort and affection of a certain edition of “the Count of Monte Cristo” with just a touch of excitement.

You must remember this,
Louis Armstrong was misinformed,
A piss is more than just a piss…

20150916_164404

20150916_164504

20150916_164515

20150916_165130


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Cock up at the park

Given the construction, we avoid leaving the kitties alone when the workers are doing their thing. Instead, we left very early and went to the park at sunrise. The last time we were there, we got to watch ducks, geese and robins. This time, it was very quiet.

Not a cloud in the sky as Karl The Fog was on a short vacaion. Photo by Lastech
Not a cloud in the sky as Karl The Fog was on a short vacaion. Photo by Lastech
Stow Lake
Stow Lake
Only a couple of quiet ducks were out
Only a couple of quiet ducks were out
Duck and ripples
Duck and ripples
Even with no clouds, the colors were pretty
Even with no clouds, the colors were pretty
The spires of St. Ignatius
The spires of St. Ignatius

Since a couple of ducks were the only wildlife we found at Stow Lake, we wandered off to another lake for a walk.

Eucalyptus in bloom
Eucalyptus in bloom
Closeup of the Eucalyptus blooms
Closeup of the Eucalyptus blooms

It had been a very quiet morning, all things considered. While slighty disappointed that we didn’t see more wildlife, we were very happy with the sunrise and eucalyptus and lack of other humans. In other words, it was peaceful. It didn’t last. Our peace and quiet was abruptly shattered.

Nameplate a 1

We headed off around the next curve in the trail and came face to face with the rare and elusive Golden Gate Bawk-Bawk.

Here you see them investigating the noms that some human left for them
Here you can see them investigating the noms that some human left for them
This Bawk-Bawk has paused long enough to pose for me
This Bawk-Bawk stopped long enough to pose for me
Abandoning the noms left by humans, they can be seen scratching in the grass
Abandoning the noms left by humans, they can be seen scratching in the grass

Our very quiet morning turned into a rare event and will be much remembered. As we left, the Bawk-Bawks were safely roosting in the nearby shrubbery.

Bawk d


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Duck, duck, goose, goose, goose!

Here are just a few ducks and geese I’ve found at Golden Gate Park. 🙂

Mallard duck
Mallard duck (male)
Female Mallard ducks
Female Mallard ducks
Juvenile Mallard (male)
Juvenile Mallard (male)
Juvenile Mallard and Canada Goose
Juvenile Mallard and Canada Goose
Canada Goose
Canada Goose
Another goose
Another goose
yet another goose
yet another goose
Last goose (for now)
Last goose (for now)


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Spellbinding

The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever ~Jacques Cousteau~

Once in a while I like to take a stroll in the cold sea water. Earlier today, the water at Baker beach was a nice warm 59 degrees and the air temperature, a balmy 67. Karl The Fog was draping the Golden Gate Bridge in a lovely shade of gray. To put it bluntly, it was a very beautiful time by the shore.

Only a wee bit of the Golden Gate Bridge is visible
Only a wee bit of the Golden Gate Bridge is visible

I thought the weather was great and I wore a short sleeved t-shirt. However, it was cool enough that you could tell the tourists from the locals.

Beach b

I watched a seagull wading in the surf and then flapping away.

Beach c

Beach d

Then my phone went off. I usually turn it off when I’m out, but I forgot. Then I realized it was Lastech who was watching from the parking lot up above. I answered to hear him giving me a “fins in the water” alert. The bottlenose dolphins were out romping.

Beach g

Beach e

Beach f

It was amazing to watch them. I wish I had been faster with the camera, but I did better than the last time. 🙂

Now for some bonus pics. We were on our way home and we stopped at a red light. We were right next to the freeway. I saw movement to my right and saw a hawk land on the ground just on the other side of the chain link fence. It was less than ten feet away.

Hawk a

Hawk b

Hawk c

To be honest, I never know what I’m going to see when we go out. I’m always amazed. 🙂


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The Maltese Falcon?

Well, no. This IS San Francisco and the home of the Maltese Falcon, but not this time.

We went to the Japanese Tea Garden to soak up a bit of Zen. Instead, the main pond had been drained for maintenance. Bummer. Still, we decided to walk around it to see what might be blooming. Then we found this:

Red shouldered hawk
Red shouldered hawk

This is not the same bird that we saw across the street at the Arboretum. I meant to take only a couple of pics, but it turned into a regular photo shoot. The birdie was working it for the camera.

From the tree, the hawk dove down to catch a crawdad
From the tree, the hawk dove down to catch a crawdad
Wow
Wow
Om nom nom nom
Om nom nom nom
After eating, the hawk flew over to sit on a lantern and modeled for us
After eating, the hawk flew over to sit on a lantern and modeled for us
Looking coy
Looking coy
This is my good side!
This is my good side!

I think I took about 90 pics. These were the best. I’m still in awe.

Here’s a vid that Lastech took with his new phone. The sound is awful, but I’m too impatient to edit it out for now, so hit the mute button. 🙂 We’ll get better at this. We just need practice.


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