Caturday: Spring is here, no foolin’

It appears that I have survived to see the onset of Spring. I’m still mostly deaf these days, but this latest round of antibiotics seem to be doing the trick. I’ll believe it when I can go for week or two after the round without getting another ear infection. My fingers are crossed, at any rate.

The pointy eared people and the floppy eared one are enjoying the Spring weather. The kitties are finding the birdie watching to be excellent, while Pepi enjoys spending time outside on the porch with us.

Tito
Miss Jenny looking lovely as usual
Titanescu watching the birds
Pepi: Yes, I eated my bed.

Spring has definitely arrived. Heavy rains have given way to pretty sunsets, pretty birds, wildflowers, and even a turkey.

Sunset from the pier

Female lesser Goldfinch
Male lesser Goldfinch
California poppies and lupines on Mt. Diablo
Just a turkey walking down the road

My ears were good enough to make going to the top of Diablo a safe trip. From the top, we were able to see across the Central Valley to the snow topped Sierra. Here’s a slideshow with the rest of the pictures. It was a beautiful day.


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Caturday: is it Tuesday yet? and what is that racket?

Is it Tuesday? It must have been when the doc prescribed Cipro to counter Rudha-an’s (aka Julie-the-nose) sinus infection. I was nodding off in the waiting room, since I’m now back to working nights, drifting off to a scene of the doc plunging swabs painfully up nostrils, expressing a professional opinion summed up as “ewwww!” and listening to faint gurglings and wheezings from whence he plunged his apparatus.

“Is that you?”, he asked her. I’m not sure what he expected. Amoxycillin’s for amateur night, we were talking New York City in 2020, on Tuesday, Soylent Green day, when there’s no damn Soylent Green to be had.

Up that nose, the crushing masses of microbes (the most common first name for male microbes is Mike, Becky for females, as in Bacteria) could not even get out of the swab’s way. In truth, some were already dead, but those sinuses being standing room only, who would know? In came the swabs, like the sanitation trucks brought in by the riot Police, punching through starving crowds of Mikes and Beckys in the sweltering heat.

Cipro might be our only hope, our “Charlton Heston for the truth” shooting Mikes with his .38. Swabs… No wonder Joseph Cotten (no pun intended) couldn’t take the guilt….

Tito enjoying a bit of sun
Miss Jenny looking beautiful, as usual
The stoic Titanescu
Pepi having a run at the arboretum

Rudha-an here. Lastech is currently sleeping, so I’m going to add the bonus bits. He’s on graveyard shift, but he had to go in early on Thursday. On his walk from the train station to work, he came across a bunch of people taking pictures of a tree.

Just some birds in a tree

When he got a closer look, this is what he saw.

Make that some parrots in a tree
slightly blurry closeup

Yes, it was a whole bunch of parrots. While both of us have seen the parrots, it’s only been in very small numbers. I’m envious of his luck in seeing so many at once. For anyone who doesn’t know, back in 2003, there was a documentary and book released called The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. The author of the book agrees that the title is a misnomer as the parrots range as far away as Brisbane. Still, the bulk of them hang around Telegraph Hill where Coit Tower is located. No one is quite certain how they came to be there. As for the type of parrot? This is what KQED (our local PBS station) had to say.

The wild parrots in and around San Francisco are called cherry-headed conures. At one point, a mitred conure joined the flock and bred with the cherry heads. Now the flock is dotted with hybrids.

Here is a video he took that afternoon and you’ll notice that in the middle of the vid, one of those parrots told him to FECK OFF!

This is a vid he took the next morning. It’s mostly to show how many there are and how loud they can be. All those dark spots high in the trees are parrots.

This is the trailer for the documentary. I recommend it if you get a chance.


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Caturday: Playing in the snow

Ok, we didn’t quite play in it, we did manage to hike in it. While there has been plenty of snow in the Sierra Mtns., the snow level rarely drops enough for it to cover the top of Mt. Diablo. Last weekend, it was cold enough. I was afraid it would be rained away Sunday night, but nope. It was still there on Monday, so off we went. We had a snow day. I know many of you live in snow country and are probably rolling your eyes. 🙂 This was the first time I touched snow since January of 2002.

I’ll post more but right now it’s time for the stars of the show. In light of the fact that this last week highlighted International Women’s Day and A Day Without a Woman, Miss Jenny gets to lead off the show.

OMG! WHAT IN HECK ARE YOU DOING!
Tito: Me? I’m just watching the neighbors
Titanescu: I do nothing. I see nothing
Pepi: What? I didn’t do anything! I swear!

Back to the snow day. We lit out before noon. It was a beautiful day. We were careful to dress for the cold though as we knew it would be cold and wet at the top.

At the foot of the mountain, the hills are bright green
The birds were out having snackies

The road to the top was closed to cars at the Diablo Valley view point, so we parked and hiked from there. We decided to take the hiking trail up instead of the road. Lots of people were there along with their kids. We decided that some people are just stupid. I mean really stupid. The temps were nice at the base of the mountain. However, it was cold and wet at the top. Idiots were wearing shorts and sandals. Oh well.

As we climbed, we could see sparse bits of snow
The higher we got, the more snow there was. We were also in the clouds, so visibility was low
We finally made it to the top. It was a bit under two miles and a climb of about 950 feet.
This is a view from the top

Out of view on the left side of that last photo, there was a microwave tower. It was mostly hidden in the clouds, but there was no doubt about where it was. Chunks of ice could be heard falling though the structure with very loud crashing noises. After taking the trail up, we decided to hike back down via the road. The upper part of the trail was very steep and icy and while we managed it without a fall, we didn’t feel that going down that way would be as lucky. All in all, it was a 4 mile round trip and I’m so glad we got to do it. I’ve included the rest of the pics in a slide show.


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Caturday: More rain, with kitties and a dog

Yes, more rain. It’s not a deluge this time, I don’t think. The storm isn’t really here yet though, so the cloud watching has been fabulous. We honestly don’t need more rain, but as long as we’re not talking floods, I don’t mind.

Ear report. I’m on day 22 of antibiotics. 5 more days to go. The doc gave a stronger one on Monday and so I think I’m making some good progress now.

A week ago, we made a trek to the lake down at Heather Farms. I posted the pics on Caturday last week. After we were there, it happened that three of the geese got into a bit of a pissy match with some poor guy. He fell and injured his knee escaping them. Maybe one of the culprits was my “lonely goose” from last week. You can see and read the story here. While geese can be very dangerous, they don’t normally go on the attack unless you startle them. Right now, they’re rather territorial as they’re getting ready to lay eggs soon. We heard several goosey spats when were were at the lake. Obviously, keep children well supervised. Oh, the vid is great. I totally lost it with giggles at the end, though I feel bad about the guy’s injury and I hope it heals quickly. 🙂

Anyhow, here are the stars of the show.

Tito looking intense
Miss Jenny as a drawing (photo effect)
Titanescu in the pike position for maximum sunbeam soaking
Pepi taking herself for run

Since I’m still fighting an ear infection and Lastech is still fighting the flu, we haven’t gotten out much. Still, the arboretum showing signs of spring and bird watching from the trailer is still fine.

Seeds. Photo by Lastech
Yellow sneezy tree. I love them, but I honk and sneeze. Photo by Lastech
Arboretum kitty. Lastech detoured around with Pepi while I got a pic. Kitty wanted scritchies, so I provided some.
This is how the pic came out of the camera. The only thing I did was resize it. The sky is crazy blue
Oxalis. photo by Rudha-an
Tufted titmouse in the mulberry
A couple of Towhees came to visit.

That’s it for this week. I’m hoping we’ll get out next week, but Lastech needs to be feeling better.


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Caturday: kamikaze hard drive and crappy hearing

Yep, I’m losing my hearing and my hard drive bit the dust. In the middle of all that, Mother Nature was trying to reshape half the state of California.

My hearing was always tenuous at best. I was born mostly deaf and even had an eardrum replaced back when I was in high school. I managed my later years without too many problems, learning how to avoid ear infections and things were going well. Then last November when we got the flu, the resulting infection migrated to my ears. It’s been an ongoing battle ever since. On Monday, the doc will probably prescribe a more powerful antibiotic as one of the three bacteria critters is a bit tougher and really, really likes me. Once we get rid of the infection, we can schedule some tests to see how bad the damage is and I don’t expect it will be good news.

As for the hard drive? It was working fine and then it wasn’t. It’s dead Jim. I went out and got a new one, put on my computer repair hat, and went to work. As you can see, I’m up and running again. I lost a lot of pictures that were on the drive. It’s my own darned fault. I’m going to be setting up an account for online cloud backup. That way I’m covered if this ever happens again. Lucky for me, most pics were backed up to Google Photos, although not in their original size. I want to be able to save everything as is. I kept the old drive and when the budget permits, we’ll look into having a pro look at it to see if the files can be rescued.

So that’s why we were missing for a week or so. We didn’t wash away. In spite of the frustrations listed above, life isn’t bad. We rode out the storms and we’re fine here in our little trailer. We’ll see what kind of crucible 2017 turns out to be.

And now for the stars of our show.

Titanescu giving Lastech a stinkeye…with drunk overtones. Hahaha!
Miss Jenny looking reflective. Seriously. Look at her eyes. 🙂
Tito was thrilled with the sunbeam.
Pepi nomming away on her chewie.

In spite of the rains wreaking havoc, we managed to get out and commune with mother nature. It was cold and wet, but good.

The creek which is usually a trickle, was flowing nicely. Photo by Lastech
Lastech got this cool pic
Yes, spring is coming
Green Heron: run away! run away!
Mystery sparrow
I’m just a lonely goose
Yes, we saw river otters with fishy noms
If you look closely, you can see the other otter peeping out on the left side of the one in front.
Duckies
Bufflehead ducks
Bufflebutt
Black Phoebe. They’re graceful gnat catchers.
Cormorants

Now for a few birdies viewed from the trailer window

Female Sparrow
Tufted Titmouse gathering nesting material
Male sparrow

Between the time I started writing this and now, I set up an account with Backblaze and my files are backing up as I type. Here’s a good review on Backblaze as well as another one (same author) comparing it with 23 others. So far so good.


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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: A view from the window

Yes, the kitties enjoy the view from the windows. They spend a lot of time there watching the world go by. The only view out of the old apartment window was a busy street. They like it much better here.

Tito bird watching at the window
Jenny was watching the birds from the screen door
Titanescu was watching and wishing he could chase the birds
Pepi wasn’t watching out the window. She was enjoying her chewie.

I’m always posting pics of the fur kids bird at the window bird watching. I thought I might share some of what they’re watching.

While I’m not thrilled about the pruned shrub (it will grow back), we have had a variety of birds come visit and sit on the fence. We’re still having storms rolling through, so we’re finding it harder to get out. As a result, I’m quite enjoying watching the birds along with the fur kids.

Sparrow
Hummingbird viewed from the screen door
This not-a-bird was perched on the fence earlier
Pretty California Towhee

I’ll keep watch for any different birds that might show up.


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Caturday: sadness, anger, refugees, and fur kids

Before I get to the kitty pics, I have to speak up.

I’m beyond sad and angry that the country of my birth is refusing refugees again. Yes, again. My country has a very sad history when it comes to refugees and non-white people. Slavery is the first to come to mind as we’re taught about it in school. Once the slaves were freed, it was followed by segregation. In the middle of that, we had the awful Trail of Tears. Native Americans were thought of as “savages” and were treated as such. Later, we didn’t want the Chinese and other Asians coming, so we built Angel Island as place to keep them while trying to refuse them entry.

Now let us fast forward to WWII. Thanks to George Takei, many have learned more about the Japanese Internment camps than might have otherwise. Out of fear that there might be an enemy hiding among them, my country rounded up Japanese men, women, and children and confined them to camps. Most lost everything they had. They lost homes, businesses, and even lives thanks to inadequate medical care. Pssst, they weren’t the only ones we put in camps. We rounded up the Unangans of the Aleutian Islands and put them in camps as well. As for the Jews? If they weren’t already here, tough. We turned away many Jewish refugees and Anne Frank was one of them.

Now we’re refusing Syrian refugees and more because there might be terrorist among them. We’ve banned refugees and people holding Visas from several Middle Eastern countries. Our 9/11 terrorists came from countries that have no restrictions placed on them, so using them as an excuse doesn’t fly with me. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an attempt to start a Muslim registry. I would hope it doesn’t happen, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m a white woman and fairly safe throughout all this. However, my grandparents were immigrants (one from Mexico) and Lastech is an immigrant. I can’t sit still while my friends and neighbors are afraid of the future and I won’t keep my mouth shut. I will do anything and everything I can to help, even if it’s just calling my congress critters.

Ok, that’s my rant. I would say more, but I’m not eloquent. I’m just angry as hell.

Update: A Federal court has granted a nation-wide stay on the ban of Muslims and refugees. It’s only a stay, but it’s a step in the right direction. The fight is just beginning though. In addition to Muslim refugees, Mexicans and my LBGT brothers and sisters also have targets painted on them. 

Now I can get to the pics.

Tito doing “the sexy”.
Miss Jenny getting cheek scritchies
Titanescu looking worried (he’s not)
Miss Pepi: I didn’t lick the street! Honest! (She licks everything)


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Caturday: Pointy eared people stand with women

We stand with women, men, and “those people”. “Those people” being anyone considered different or foreign, women or not. I would have loved to go to the women’s march today. Alas, I’ve a serious tendency to have panic attacks in large crowds, so I watched via the internet as my friend and her wife marched in DC and my heart joined in. To see the huge crowds all over the world made me feel better about my place in it.

Since my last post, we’ve had rain, rain, and more rain. While we’re safe and snug here, there has been a lot of damage. Trees have gone down, roads washed out, and areas flooded. There’s another storm moving in as I type. Lastech took some nice wet weather pics that I’ll add after the fur people have their chance to shine. In keeping with the march colors, I’ve added a bit of pink and purple in solidarity.

Miss Jenny in black & white
Sweet natured Tito
Haughty Titanescu
Pepi in motion

Now for some wet weather and between-storms pics by Lastech

Rainbow and Pier 39
Embarcadero at night
Wet pavement
Rainbow

Bird
Karl the Fog
latex glove floating in water. This is one of my favorite pics by Lastech

We’ll be back next week, provided all goes well. I’m having an adventure in propane as the hoses that hook up to the tanks went bad, followed by the regulator, etc. Parts are ordered. We’ll see how easily it all goes back together. 🙂 Ta ta for now.


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Caturday: We can haz flood?

Yep, mother nature is wreaking havoc and a flood is a very real possibility. We’re fine where we are. However, many of the burn areas are subject to mudslides, and some major rivers are expected to overflow their banks. We may not flood here, but it’s likely elsewhere. In addition to flooding, the winds will be high so I’m sure there will be plenty of trees going down, and yes, we’re safe from those too. Pepi won’t like having to go outside to do her business in horizontal rain. Ugh!

I hope everyone had a great New Year. It was quiet here and Lastech had to work. Even so, it wasn’t too crazy even for him. There are far less fireworks to terrorize the fur kids here in Concord, which is nice. Pepi doesn’t get fearful either, thank goodness. She’ll snarl at trash bags and tree stumps, but fireworks are ok. Go figure.

Speaking of the pointy eared people and floppy eared one… We had a cold spell. It was down in the 30s, which isn’t bad considering the temps elsewhere. However, our little trailer wasn’t built for winter, so it gets cold. We have two oil-filled radiators and they are much loved.

Titanescu as a purrito
Miss Jenny and those beautiful blue peepers
Tito on Pepi’s blanket snuggling up to the heater
Pepi dragged her blanket to the heater.

Yes, the heaters are loved.

We’ve managed two trips to Mt. Diablo in the last few weeks. It was in the low 30s and rather nippy both times.

Photo by Lastech
Tree in fog, by Lastech
The bay, by Lastech
Wild turkeys by Rudha-an
Tree by Rudha-an
Turkey vultures by Rudha-an

Here’s a slideshow with the rest of the photos.


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