Saturday, May 05, 2007

Squirrel verses Tiggie, and we have a (cheap) date night

With the snake now out of the picture, the squirrel is perfecting his bird feeder dining skills.
Friday morning "Scamper the Snitch" was on the ground.
Tiggie made a bold move, and for the first time in the seven years he has lived here, he CAUGHT the squirrel"
The two of them rolled around in the mud, then they broke apart, stared at each other in shock, and then retreated to their usual spaces.

Tiggie came inside, covered with mud, and spent the morning washing up and giving us proud looks.
Maybe he secretly is part of the "catch and release" squirrel program.
That would be so like him.

The squirrel spent the morning screaming at Tiggie from a tree branch.
It got on our nerves after awhile, and we considered trying to go find the snake, and give it another shot at this particular critter.

Tiggie is keeping an eye on everything. And an eye is about all he is willing to offer, apparently, judging from the distance between him and the bird feeder.

Note that Hart did not get involved at all.
He had spent the night before keeping us up, so he was just trying to catch up on his sleep. Catching squirrels didn't interest him.
We kept finding him snoozing, and we'd toss him outside, but he kept sneaking back in.
Sometimes it is a really battle around here just to keep everything semi-normal.

By late afternoon things had settled down, we were out of milk, and I decided we should go on a date.
You know, "Friday Night Date Night?"

Between still being pretty tired from our Denver trip and Hart and all, going to get some milk sounded like about all I was up for.

But we rallied. Wearing matching white shirts and seer sucker bottoms (shorts for B., skirt for me) off we went, like a couple of dorks, to the store.
We knew they have wine tasting at the grocery store on Friday there's a romantic way to start the evening.

They even have cheese and crackers to go with the wine.
Lovely, lovely, lovely.
After that we did our weekly grocery shopping and headed home to unload our groceries.
But the fun wasn't over yet!
Bernie would like his own digital camera, so we each can have our own for an upcoming trip.
So we headed over the bridge to Best Buys to look at cameras.
While we were there, we took in a movie and got a massage.

The movie was something about camels in the wild or something.
We didn't stay for the ending.
The massage chairs were making us sleepy, and we still needed to drive home.
Cheap dates.
Yeah, they rock.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

More fun in the library

Email in my inbox when I arrived at work today at 5 pm:


At 4:45 this afternoon, a female student reported to me that a man fitting the description of last year’s foot fetish guy was in the library. She reported that he lay on the ground and looked at her feet as well as her friend’s.

And she sat there while he did that????
Did kicking cross her mind????

Moving right hour later the skies outside are dark with heavy storm clouds.
I check the weather report on, and learn that we are under a tornado warning, and we should take cover immediately.

Now I am at a desk on the third floor of a building that is all glass. The weather service folks say to take cover now, and to stay away from windows.
My co-librarian and I consider our options.

I think we should just walk around and tell everyone in the library that we are under a tornado warning. They can decide what they want to do about it, and we will thereby be free of any liability that might come about if we don't inform everyone.

Meanwhile the sky is turning an ugly blackish green. The weather channel on the computer is stating that a tornado is very likely. My co-worker and I fan out through the two floors of the library.

Getting student's attention, I tell then we are under a tornado warning and that they should do whatever they feel comfortable with about that fact, and probably at the very least they should move away from the window.

I get polite thank you's and no one moves an inch.

Meanwhile the rain begins, the lightening begins, and downstairs on the first floor a girl lays back on an upholstered bench in front of the windows and her boyfriend drapes himself over her. We discover this when my co-worker asks what all the noise is about drifting up from the lobby. Our floor plan has open space in the front of the building from the ground floor up to our floor, so we are able to follow all conversations that occur in the lobby.

I guess if you want to have a romantic moment in a wild storm without getting rained on, this is as good as it gets.

Stay tuned....two and a half hours to go. Tornado warning is currently reduced to merely a watch.

Squirrel-proof bird feeder my fanny!

We have had an Old Yankee Squirrel proof bird feeder since Christmas (a gift) and have been congratulating ourselves that at last the squirrels have been outsmarted.
A little spring causes a door to slide shut on the bird seed if anything heavier than a bird lands on the feeder.
This morning Bernie called out "Look! The squirrels have figured out how eat at the bird feeder."
And indeed, by hanging upside down on to the wires surrounding the cylinder holding the feed, the little buggers can reach into the windows and stuff their little cheeks.

Alas. Oh well. The squirrels are awful cute.

You don't want to go any deeper on this blog post if you don't like snakes.

I am not kidding. Go do something else.

If you think you just want to read, but not see the pictures, I will put five ***** at the end of the writing part before the pictures start.

So this afternoon, just minutes ago really, Bernie and I were sitting in our living room after our walk, drinking some water, when suddenly Bernie YELLS "OH MY GOSH!! OH MY GOSH!!!"

I start yelling "WHAT IS IT???"


(Various sounds of horror from both of us.)


(Amazingly I off three shots before the snake drops to the ground.)

"Here, YOU take the pictures. Wait, let me get the video camera"

(I race to the closet for the camera, and hand it to Bernie who heads outside to film.)


(I run to the computer, putting in the search terms "Texas Water Moccosin" in Google images, knowing I am spelling it wrong and trusting Google to correct my spelling. I'm looking at snake pictures, then I run outside to look again at this monster slithering through my ferns.)

"I'm going to have to kill it."

"What kind is it?"

(We race back to the computer, and decide it is a Diamond Back Water Snake, a big snake that is thankfully non-venomous.)

"I'll capture it in the trash can and take it down to the woods."

(I stay inside.)

"Go get the lid to the trash can, I've got him."

(I take a peek...focusing on the head. Race back inside. Yup, it is a Diamond Back Water snake. Bernie caught the snake by its tail, put it alive in the trash can, then wheeled the trash can down the street, into the woods, and down by the lake where he released the snake. The snake was almost six feet long.)

Beware: Pictures below*****

Moral of the story:
You friggin' squirrels want to up the ante on the bird feeder?
Just you wait until you see the TEXAS version of squirrel proof!
With the exception of one tiny green grass snake and one small stripped garter snake, I have never seen a snake in our yard or in our immediate neighborhood.
If Bernie hadn't been home, I would have immediately gone to a hotel and called a real estate agent.
I still might.
The last few weeks the cats have periodically gone crazy at the window, meowing and looking really hard out at the ferns. I wonder if they were seeing the snake?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Laura wasn't the only one....

A while back we need to get a new dish for the cat's kibbles.
The old divided bowl had cracked and part of the bowl had broken off, so it was time to get the boys something new.

I had NO idea there was so much to consider when buying a cat dish!

I settled on the bowl pictured above, mostly due to the fact that the wrapper informed me about a heart breaking situation that was occurring because of the shape of most feline food dishes.
I had been totally unaware of this kibble time nightmare.

According to the designer of the above food dish, cats were experiencing whisker problems with regular bowls.
The designer pointed out how difficult it was for cats to put their little muzzles into regular bowls without (sadly) bumping their whiskers during the eating process.

I'm laughing out loud as I type this.

I thought and still think that whisker bumping REALLY isn't that big of a problem for a cat.
I've seen my boys with their muzzles shoved into a small ice cream carton without any apparent discomfort whatsoever.
So a one inch deep bowl just didn't seem like that big of an issue to me.

But perhaps I was just insensitive.
After reading the literature attached to the little grey and orange FLAT cat dish, I decided that my cat's whiskers were special enough to warrant non-whisker bumping bowls.

(Plus the bowls didn't slide around easily. I saw that as a real bonus. Our boys routinely shove their cat dish into the middle of the kitchen if it isn't filled enough to suit their demands.)

Anyway, I blissfully went off to Denver, thinking that "Uncle Scott" would approve of my tender consideration of my cat's dining needs.

I was wrong.

"Uncle Scott" pointed out in a hand written note that apparently my taste in feline dinnerware left something to be desired.
He pointed out what I already knew, that our two boy cats chow down like pigs, making a huge mess as they toss back their kibbles.

To solve the problem, while politely citing a fear of insect invasions, "Uncle Scott" treated the boys to NEW CHINA!!!!


Now Laura and Tiggie and Hart ALL have new china!!!!

I'm going to make the boys write Uncle Scott a thank you note for their nice new food bowls with the cute little kitty cat paw prints and fish bone designs on the side.
And they are not to say ONE WORD about their whiskers being bumped.

And after that, we are going to start working on their table manners.
Even if they do eat on the floor.

Gosh Darn cats.

Even with these nice new bowls there are still kibbles everywhere after they eat.
I hope Uncle Scott didn't notice.
How embarrassing!

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More Denver and home again.

Each morning Bernie would head off to his conference, and we girls would head down for breakfast.
Barbara ordered oatmeal, and the bowl that was served for one person must have held three cups.
She never finished it...but it was good!

Laura had to report for hospital orientation, so Barbara and I walked over to the Brown Palace Hotel.
I got to stay there once on business a few years ago. The place is just so cool, antique and so historical.
If we would of had another day, we would have had tea there.

Once Laura got back, we went over to the Molly Brown house which is less than two miles from downtown Denver.
Margaret Brown, (AKA "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" of the Titanic fame, and the old movie by the same title) was a fascinating woman who was not at all like the character "Molly." Margaret was a very well educated woman, who traveled the globe and worked diligently to help the poor and needy of Denver.
She also worked very hard to get women the right to vote.
The Brown home on Pennsylvania Street was just one of their estates.
It is now a museum, and I enjoyed seeing how homes of the era looked.
Also reading a copy of her insurance claim list, that the Titanic went down with 14 of her hats, and 3 dozen of her gloves.
The woman loved hats, and was not the least shy about wearing some hats were fantastically huge!

Denver was quite warm most of the time we were there. On Tuesday afternoon it clouded up, and as I was being driven to the airport, Bernie called me to say the hotel had gotten quite a lot of hail. The sky was quite dark, and Denver proved its motto: If you don't like the weather, just wait an hour, it'll change.
(That is a very loose paraphrase! But oh so true!)

Back home the garden had a surprise for me: The gardenia bush had bloomed!
The moist humid Houston air felt good on my sinuses and skin.
And between the Jasmine and the gardenias....
Oh, how sweet it is to be home!

Denver: Laura's place

Fun is going to Ross and buying everything needed for a new apartment.
What colors do you want to do the bedroom in?
Let's see...this or that?
That. The blue and yellow quilt and a coordinating duvet cover.
OK. Now find pillows and a throw.
Down duvet.
(I love how cool and restful that blue and pale yellow looks for summer. Laura will be working three nights a week and will need a nice place to sleep during the days!)
Now for the kitchen.
Oh look, a cute red pots and pans set!
That settles it, the kitchen colors will be red.
Check out these fun towels!!!!
Gotta have a tea pot, and a neat red toile apron too...

Picking out dishes and silverware and glassware is a little harder.
The white will go with everything, and the set of four is $12.
The glasses have press on plastic words, how fun it is that?
And a set of four, $5.
Silverware...hmmm....this set will work.
Oh, and of course a vase for flowers.

Check this out!
A big piece of art for 99 cents!
Yeah, it has a little scuff or two, but who cares!
It's perfect!

Laura has been in San Diego for a year, and had her own furniture in her last apartment.
Most of her stuff she sold or put into storage.
So it has been a while since she got all new stuff...a whole year.

(How many ladies out there are thinking "Why can't I just go buy all new stuff every year???
What's stopping you?
It's fun, and you can always donate the items after a few months!)

Denver 16th Street scenes

Saturday evening we just sat and enjoyed watching the 16th Street scene in downtown Denver.
It must have been prom night for some school, as guys and girls were walking on the street in the formal wear.
Laura was amazed at how many couples had matching colors, particularly pink.

And then there were those in alternative "formal" attire.
And a juggler to watch as well.
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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Off to Denver!

Downtown Denver Hyatt...I like the textiles!
Bernie is here for a conference.
On Thursday he worked as a volunteer at a Children's Home doing some painting. Oprah Winfrey and some other organizations combined to upgrade both the grounds and interior of this old building.

Denver, Friday night

Bernie, Barbara, Laura and I all headed downtown Friday night for dinner. We went to "Ted's", Ted Turner's restaurant, and had buffalo (actually bison.)
Laura is holding the left overs wrapped up in foil in a swan shape.
We walked along downtown Denver's 16th Street Mall, where there is free transportation, and a colorful collection of people enjoying a warm spring night.
It is just amazing to think that there was a BLIZZARD here just four days ago!

Denver: Laura's new place

Laura is a traveling nurse, she works in bone marrow transplant units. She has accepted an assignment at St. Luke's hospital in Denver for three months. Part of the assignment includes free housing. Laura and her grandmother Barbara drove out together from San Diego, stopping in Las Vegas for a night to catch a Cirqued' Solei show. Then they stopped and saw Jeff in Salt Lake, and then drove on through Wyoming and arrived in Denver on Friday.
Friday she got her new housing.

She has to get her own sheets and towels, but hey, FREE HOUSING!
And a washer dried in the huge walking in closet. Sweet!
A pool and jacuzzi is just across the parking lot.
This is going to be great!

Denver Botanical garden, flower show, and Laura's new pad

Bernie loves anything japanese related when it comes to flowers.
Cloud garden, humid. Same plants as in Houston...

This is the lobby of Laura's new apartment.

Denver Botanical Garden

Love the shadow!

Hey! What are you doing here? Go back to Canada! Take your poop with you!

(Actually he was very sweet and I liked the shadow.)

Tropical lovely.

Denver Botanical Garden

Interesting variation of daffodils