Search This Blog

Friday, May 28, 2010

I discovered adoption doesn't always work when you step outside your species. Maybe it works hear about the dog who adopts an orangutan. Or the hippo who adopts the tortoise...The animal world is a crazy place. They seem to blend seamlessly.....

But that wasn't my experience......

When last we met I was trying to find someone, anyone, to help me with the 5 baby birds that were suddenly my responsibility. I did everything everyone suggested, I waited for the mother to return...she didn't. I called the local bird sanctuary....they were useless. They practically screamed into the phone....No! We do not know what to do, and No! We couldn't possibly give you any advice.

I hope they don't need any donations in the future. And at my first opportunity I will expose them for the impostors they are...sanctuary indeed.

My dear neighbor Cris told me to feed them meal worms. Meal worms? I couldn't find meal worms, but Cris found them at Wal-Mart. Yikes...

After we bought the meal worms I just stared at them for awhile...they were disgusting. How do I get the worms from the Styrofoam cup to the bird mouths? The worms needed to be smaller than they were, so I crushed them up and used my tweezers to put it in their mouths. I discovered a few things, my gag reflex and baby birds do not like to be held. Well, duh, mother birds don't hold them. And, wow, baby birds aren't above being pushy when it comes to food.

So I fed them, a lot. And they ate, a lot. And often...real often.

I was now the surrogate mother to five starlings, which oh by the way, turned out to be sparrows... I spent a great deal of time thinking "I am going to go through all this bother and work and get attached, and then they will die", mainly because I am a human without the ability to regurgitate insects and they are, well ......birds.

What am I doing and what do I know about birds? The truth is I knew less about birds than I thought. Through the bird grapevine I found out that sparrows eat every ten minutes. And that they are fed by both a mother and a father. I had no idea the family dynamic was so in tact in the small-bird world. After being with them for a few days it made sense to me to have a kind of tag team approach to whole affair. It was exhausting!! And this bird couple had been quite prolific. Mother Sparrow laid 5 eggs and all 5 hatched....the rest of the nests on my porch are underachievers comparably speaking. There are 3 eggs and 2 eggs had to be this group that fell out of the tree in front of my door.

So there I was....doing all I could to keep these little birds alive. A friend (thank you Jan) lent me a bird cage, my husband attached a light to the cage.....everyone really tried.

All of our intentions were great....but one day 2 of them died and then the next day the rest of them died. I wasn't nearly as effective as I was hoping to be, and it was really sad.

The experience caused me to wonder why I cared so much. But then I saw it was simple, it was life...and protecting life is inherent in all of us. Nothing more profound than that.

I realized again that life is valuable, and for that I am grateful to have had the experience.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mother nature is a mad scientist!

On either side of my front door are two quite fabulous ficus trees. In one of the trees a mother Starling decided (again) to build a nest.
Things were moving along just fine.

Nest built and eggs were layed....A suitable amount of time passed.....and the birds were hatched!...Yeah mother nature!!

As homeowners, our responsibility was to ignore the nest along with the mother bird's very bad manners. She considered anyone who came to the front door an intruder. And they were treated as such. Knock on my door and a half pound of mother bird fury with a kind of jack in the box effect would come shooting out of the tree. This sudden motion would certainly catch your attention.......more than one person screamed.

Startled by a Starling.....

So we all gave her a wide berth and graciously respected her brief encampment. I mean how long could this whole process take? With a nod toward fragility, Mother Nature can claim an absolute triumph in how quickly the system works. Stop watch in hand from egg to flying is about a month. So as long as the mother tolerated us, the eggs by the door was an interesting conversation point. If a frightened guest was even in a mood to hear the story.

But then one more wind storm and you guessed it, the tree fell over. That scary-baby-cradle rhyme came to mind. "When the wind blows the cradle will fall and down will come baby, cradle and all." Doesn't that rhyme trouble you?.....When you listen carefully you find out some psychotic mother has not only put her baby in a tree, but the tree top. Isn't that odd? At least this mother bird fastened down her nest, and bird nests, unlike babies actually belong in trees. However her due diligence didn't spread far enough to notice the tree was not actually in the ground but instead in a rather fabulous container on either side of a red door.

That's right my front door is red...

So now what? I put the baby birds back in the nest as per the bird people's advice. They assured me it was an old wives tale that mother birds won't come back. So I put the nest back in the tree..along with the love starved and worm deprived baby birds. (As an aside, mother birds need to get a little better choosing the components for their nest building. Poop as mortar is disgusting, and would never pass code.)

I have tried feeding them, because I can't just stand idly by while "nature takes its course". However, I am highly annoyed that the mother didn't come back. She did not finish her game. And I am left with 5 baby starlings. The mother bird and I had an implied contract that I would leave her alone and encourage my visitors to duck as she flew at them... and she would use my tree to add five more starlings to the world's population.

I fulfilled my portion of the contract, she did not. Her portion of the contract is now null and void and I get to take back ownership of the tree. Only I don't want the birds.

So please, can someone come and get them? There must be a Mother Theresa of baby birds out there. My approach is mostly Elmer Fudd on this!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

10 Tips for writing a better blog, or 100 monkeys..

As always, I, your faithful servant, I look each day for a way to ease your pain, light your way and whiten your teeth....
Take this out for a spin......ten tips for writing a better blog....

It will of course be accompanied by my pithy and clever remarks, simply because I cannot leave well enough alone… After reading this list I thought for a moment that I was back in college listening to Maryilyn Arnold, and her shoes, yell at me for my long winded prose. (she always wore the worst shoes) So here they are, let me know what you think.

· Make your opinion known

This seems fair, we are all in the information business and we love to know how others are dealing with life. It is comforting to me to find out that just like the 100 monkeys someone on a far shore is cleaning their grapes too. Oh, you don’t know about the 100 monkeys? Hmmmm, that will have to wait for another blog.

Link like crazy

Read other blogs, leave comments, and they will read yours.

It is a great way to find out what works and what doesn’t. I have already found that people love to be inspired, they love to read about hope…and anything too long is a waste of time.

Write less

OK.....enough said.

250 Words is enough

I am already coming in at 283, and I am only half finished…..yikes!

Make Headlines snappy

This is the hallmark of the New York papers. And the shame of tabloids.

Write with passion

One thing I know about readers they can spot insincerity immediately. But they will read you forever if you are passionate. We all have our “better angels” and it is good to be reminded of them. Good writers help you look for your better angels .

Include Bullet point list

I am terrible at this, my computer skills are lacking, so I feel a constant struggle between what I can do and what I wish I could do on the computer. If only the computer would take verbal commands.

Edit your post

Dang. But it is true! Every little word becomes your child…however embrace the truth that most readers don’t care about your children the way you do.

Make your posts easy to scan

My favorite blogs are fast, easy and fun. See Crash Test Dummy on this. She is fast, clever and the pictures are great.

Be consistent with your style

This seems easy, however being consistent is a bear. It is part of the discipline isn’t it?

Litter the post with keywords

What does that mean? What does it mean to you? I am not sure I have a clear idea on this one.

Regardless of where you are on the blog scale these ideas can be helpful...or not. Let me know.

As ever, your faithful servant,


P.S. By the way, I formatted the blog this way today, because I could not do anything else. Even my blog won't do what I want.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Had to come back and let you know......IT'S OVER!!

I did it, I returned to the DMV.....I went at almost 4:30...they close at 5, this is a tip from my husband. If you are in near 5, they want you they work hard to that end.

The computer that was down was now up....all the hamsters were running the same way in the little spinner thing so they were able to verify my existence.

They allowed me to line jump, gave me a number, which came up immediately, I was seated quickly with a very nice woman who went through her questions fast, fast, fast. I took the eye side? 20/10... hooray! the other side? 20/200 - one eye for far away one eye for up close....they average it to 20/40.....hmm, don't ask.


...another line jump for my gorgeous picture.....

Back to the first woman who collected money for the whole process...she told me the drivers license will come in the mail.

Bye, bye!! Thank you for coming!!

Moral of the story? The DMV workers are like fireman when it is almost 5.

And because there is no education from the second kick of a mule, I will never go to the DMV before 4 PM again.

Another lesson learned..

Ripped off and stupid at the DMV

OK, here it is my ongoing grind with the DMV.....a sad and troubled tale of an innocent woman (me) forced to go to the is almost a country western song, certainly Ibsen, but mostly a crime!

Want to know what happened? Well here it is. Remember when I told you I got a ticket? For speeding and having better eyesight? That's right in Wherever Nevada I was going 10 miles over the speed limit and I didn't have my contacts in. I wasn't wearing my contacts because my eyes have been healed by a wonderful procedure called lasik surgery. I can see without contacts or glasses!! It is a miracle..but who knew I had to tell the DMV.

Wrong. So wrong. This is something of huge interest to the DMV..because your license must go from "needs corrective lenses" to "Oh my gosh this girl can see!"

So I went to the DMV to have my license changed so that perhaps the good people in Wherever Nevada won't carry out their plan to fine me 106 dollars for driving with better vision. I found all the information I am now forced to carry when going to the DMV...birth certificate, marriage license, social security card, 2 bills from utilities stating your address, your previous driver's license and a partridge in a pear tree. So much work and aggravation. But I have news for you, after all this I will not feel the least bit sorry about reporting my weight on my new driver's license as......125....I shall say it with no qualms, no guilt...after all I have put more planning into this trip to the DMV than Eisenhower did for D-Day. Noah had less stress looking for 2 of everything....

I apply lipstick in anticipation of a gorgeous picture that will stay with me for years and go boldly into the bright Nevada day - destination DMV.

I wait in the "information" line for one hour. When it is my turn (yea me!!) I don't even have time to show how completely prepared I am for this visit with all of my papers and documents when the woman behind the counter tells me the social security computers are down and they cannot process my request. NEXT!!!

WHAT???! I am I patiently ask, "are you telling me I have waited in this line on the last possible day I can pay my ticket, for one hour, only to be told I cannot possibly be helped because the social security computers, that have nothing to do with driving, are down?"

"That's right...Next!"

(evidently the social security computers are in charge of verifying your card. So why do I have a card? I should spare myself the added weight of carrying the card and just let a computer verify me...oh wait the COMPUTERS ARE DOWN!!)

I stand there and look at her, not yet willing to give up my hard fought place at the counter....I do not believe what I am she repeats it. Sort of like when I speak to someone who only understands Spanish and I think I can fix our language barrier by talking louder.....

"you can talk to my supervisor.....NEXT!" I think she yelled...

"Is she as charm-free as you are?"

The DMV woman is strangely quiet and I am not sure she what she may do....but she simply glares at me and says again..."talk to my supervisor."

They must have all gone to a rehearsal because the supervisor says the same thing, only adds I can wait to see if the computers come back up. So more waiting....I wait an additional hour and a half, I buy a diet coke, it is a fountain drink - no refills - $1.75....what? I am ripped off and stupid at the DMV.
Still waiting....but now I realize I have to go....this is just wrong.

So I leave the DMV. For now, I will be back.

I wish Donald Trump would take it over. He could fire all of these people and put Sharon Osborne and Cindy Lauper in charge....I would enjoy that. It would be fun to see Donald, Cindy and Sharon working at the DMV......But this is no fun.

Now I have to go the end of the day. There is still no guarantee I will get my drivers license renewed today. And no phone number to call to save a trip. I must go there, and ask if the computer is back up.

And here is the funny part, I prayed before I went in that I would have patience during my incarceration at the DMV!!

Failed at patience, failed at getting a license....that's why I put chips and salsa on my blog.....
all is well with the world if there are plenty of chips and salsa.

Stay tuned....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

We both like Tomatoes.....

I grew up in Kemah Texas about thirty miles south of Houston, right on the Galveston Bay. My grandmother Minnie lived next door with my grandfather, the noble Horace, and his mother., Mee-Maw, lived out back of their house in the cutest little cottage by the chickens and the grapes.  My Aunt Alene and Uncle Hugh lived across the street with my three crazy cousins, Michael, David and Craig. I was my grandmother's only granddaughter, a very good position to have.

My grandparents had a business in their home and employed lots of folks.  These people were wildly divergent, they were from China and Mexico, French people from Louisiana (that is also where my Mee-Maw was from) and one person from Oklahoma....which according to my grandfather was a very bad place to be from....and that's another story. Then there were the women who worked in the house and took care of me.  It didn't occur to me that we were all that different. We ate together, worked together and laughed together.....I thought we were the same.  
And then I got a little older, and realized the world looked at people differently than I did.

One day my dad took me to the quarter horse races. It was a great time, with lots of Barbecue and as many cokes as I wanted.  It was also the first time I saw a sign that said, "white bathroom" and then another sign that said "colored bathroom".  And the same sign over the drinking fountains... White drinking fountains, colored drinking fountains.  I didn't understand what that meant but didn't ask anyone. I felt like I had walked in on a big secret, a really confusing secret.  Our personal histories dictate how we react to life and my history was I loved the people I grew up crazy cousins, my uncle Homer who drank all the time, Tom from China who grew the most beautiful roses, the men who took care of the horses, the women who worked for my grandmother.....they were all family. But these signs stated that half the people in my life couldn't drink out of the same water fountain, or use the same bathroom as I did.  It made no sense.  And then one day the answer came in a way a 6 year old could understand. My mother and I were taking Rosie, a woman who worked for us, home.  After we dropped her off we went into a black grocery store and my mother handed a brown paper bag to me so I could pick out some tomatoes.  I started putting them in the bag and as I was getting the last one I needed a black woman reached for the same tomato.  She pulled her hand back in deference to me.  Everything seemed to stop for a minute and then a voice came into my head...."See?  you aren't different, you both like tomatoes."  That was the way a simple truth was taught to me.

I wish we were further ahead, we can always be better, but it isn't what it was.