Thursday, May 24, 2007

RIP Charlie

See you in another world brutha

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Livable Community

Sunday mornings are reserved for the wonderful CBS program of the same name "Sunday Morning". It used to be hosted by Charles Kuralt, now by Charles Osgood. One of the pieces that was on yesterday morning was about these new developments cropping up around the country called Livable Communities. They focused on one close to me in Kentlands, Maryland. I've never been there but it looks nice. They try to make the community walkable with little town squares for folks to gather. Some place to get to know your neighbors. What a concept!!

Okay, so I'm a little smug. I live in a community that has always been livable and walkable. I live a block and a half away from a co-op, corner store, vet clinic, gas station and firestation. I am about a 5 minute walk away from our little downtown area called "Old Town Takoma". I actually know my neighbors and we have a Labor Day weekend block party every year. Takoma Park was incorporated in the late 1880's. It was one of the first suburbs of Washington, DC. It was called a "sylvan suburb", high up on a hill it was cooler than the malaria-prone DC at the time. It is filled with old victorians and craftman bungalows. Almost everyone has a front porch that is actually used. Kids in my neighborhood have large backyards but they all play in the front yards, running between houses. For a single gal such as myself, it is a real comfort to live here knowing people know my routine, and check up on me if my car is in my driveway during the work week (such as this past week that I had off ;-), wondering if I'm okay.

Takoma Park is also known to be quite a quirky place. We are a "nuclear free" zone. We are home to many artists, college professors, non-profit workers such as myself and federal government employees. My brother-in-law once remarked when we were at the Takoma Park Farmers Market "I've never seen so many hippies since the 60s!" We are very proud to be a progressive community. I mean, where else will you find a statue in the town square to honor a rooster that roamed the streets of Takoma Park for 10 years (evading capture many times), only to be run down by a car with out-of-state plates!

Roscoe the Rooster


So, this is my last day of freedom before going back to work. My God, am I ready for retirement!!

Say, does anyone know the name of this flower? I bought it last year, planted it and it died. Then this year it came back about 3 feet away from where it was planted. Again, nature will do as she pleases:

Artsy, fartsy shot of same plant:

Opps, had the close up function still on taking a shot of Moochie

Well, I need to be off to Jiffy Lube. Last thing on my list of things to do while I'm off work.

Oh, a moment of silence please for my neighbor K. who had to put her beloved dog Honey Bear down yesterday. My neighbor is retired and a night person. I know better then to call her up before 9:00 am. So I knew something was up when she was up and loading her car with a dog bed yesterday morning at 7:30. Honey Bear was lying in the grass and I saw my neighbor take two photos of her, then gently picked her up and drove off. I had a lump in my throat at that point. Honey Bear was a sweet terrier mix, going on 18 years old! I don't care how old they are though, or what a long wonderful life they had, when you have to make the decision to let them go, it never gets any easier.

Namaste, sweet Honey Bear.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Quick Post this Morning

For me, it doesn't get any better than a day like today to work in the yard and in the house. Cloudy (dark actually), with a chilly breeze. Won't even make it to 60 today! My kind of weather!

Just wanted to steer you to the Elephant Sanctuary's website where they have posted a new video showing Dulary's arrival. I wish I could provide a link but I'm just not that computer saavy yet. Go to then look to the middle of the page and click on Dulary (in green type), then scrowl down till you see a listing "more information about Dulary" Click on that and then click on "Dulary arrives (a video)" The video is 5 minutes long and so sweet to see. If you have little ones, they will love it. Make sure your computer sound is turned up since there are a couple of loud trumpets! The Elephant Sanctuary is not open to the public and it is wonderful to see her interacting with the other elephants in total silence (except for the ele-noises). Also, the Sanctuary gives them free access to everything from the very beginning. They are not forced off the truck, or made to go into the barn. These animals have not been given control over what they do since they were captured as babies. As you can tell with Dulary, it takes some getting used to.

Another thing that has made me a devoted Elephant Sanctuary fan is that they not only rescue elephants, but take in any and all stray dogs and cats that find their way to the area. They are all neutered/spayed, given their shots, then slowly introduced to the other cats and dogs, then eventually the elephants. With over 2700 acres, and three huge barns, there is more than enough space to go around. ENJOY!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Embarassed? Me? Nahh

Does embarass have one r or two? I'm drawing a blank so forgive me if it is mispelled.

I'm always totally amazed at the individuality of all the animals I have known. They all have their own likes and dislikes, cats hang out with certain other cats, while swiping and hissing at another cat walking by. Then there are their eccentricities.

Take Sweet Pea

I took Sweet Pea in as a stray in 2001. At the time I already had two cats, Butterball and Apu. Sweet Pea was a little wild so I kept him outside during the day and brought him in at night (when he would terrorize Apu). Then in the fall of 2002 I decided to keep him in 24/7. This was not appreciated by any of the cats and it was a hellish couple of months but then things eventually quieted down.

I noticed that Sweet Pea developed a (how do I say this) kind of shoe fetish. My shoes to be exact. And, to put it delicately, only after I had been wearing them all day! I would take off my shoes, go in the kitchen to start feeding the cats and notice Sweet Pea burrowing his head in my shoes, then rubbing his whole head over them. So we started this little game. I would come home and take off my shoes, Sweet Pea would come for some shoe burrowing while I would say in a high pitched voice "stinky shoes! Sweet Pea loves my stinky shoes!" This has now developed into when I come home and Sweet Pea is no where to be found, all I have to do is yell in a high pitched voice "Stinky Shoes," and Sweet Pea comes arunnin!

Yesterday I came in from working in the yard to have some lunch and check the internet. When I was ready to go back out, this is what I found

He was practically asleep in this photo. And, yes he does have a boo-boo on his head but it is healing nicely. Oh, and if you haven't tried Keene sport sandals, they are the most comfortable every day walk around sandals I have. Pricey, yes, but worth it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Nature will do as she pleases

Alright, so I'm supposed to be taking this week off to paint my bedroom and do some yard work, but I just had to show this gorgeous photo of my spiderworts

I can't think of a more beautiful color. The problem is, I have been trying for years to get clusters of spiderworts to grow around my birdbath. I dig up stray ones and plant them around the birdbath. When they go to seed I sprinkle them around the birdbath also. You want to see what it looks like this year?

While just a couple feet away, I have this:

And right next to my driveway I have this:

Sooo, I just tell folks that I've planned it this way! Okay, one more photo of my coral bells and the last of my bleeding hearts then I'm off for more brush clearing! (Oh, and I know, I need to clean and fill that birdbath!!

Friday, May 11, 2007


Some of you know that long ago I spent a vacation in the South of France, volunteering for a restoration project. The group that sponsors the trips is La Sabranaque and they are located in the tiny village of St. Victor La Coste (near Avignon). They rebuild and restore 10th and 11th century buildings, cisterns, and paths by hand (as they were done back then). It was an amazing experience. Also the food and wine wasn't so bad either. You're in Cotes du Rhone territory and when you need more wine you just bring your large 5 gallon jugs with wicker around them to an area like a gas filling station, where they literally pump wine into your own jugs.

Anywho, I still get email newsletters from them on the projects they are working on and I decided to look them up on the web. Oh, it brought back so many memories looking at the photos of the village that for two weeks one summer, I called home. Then I saw this photo

This was where we ate every day. The photo is grainy and a bit elongated but I started looking at the people and I kept thinking "I remember her", "is that what's his name?" Then I saw ME! Can you find me in the photo? Remember, it was over 15 years ago, but I'm there!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Oh, Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

If you had $500 to spend on anything you'd like, what would it be? No, you can't use it to pay off a bill or use it for something you need. It needs to be something extravagant, just for you. I had been thinking about this with my tax refund that was a bit more than I had expected.







I can't tell you how great this sounds. Being such a musical person, I'm surprised I lasted this long without one. I have been listening to a cheap ($25.00) portable Memorex CD/stereo for the past 10 years. I generally have it tuned to the classical station all the time. But when DC's only classical station went under and the old station that used to be classical, went back to classical in January (are you following me), the reception on the new station was so bad that most mornings, I just had to turn it off and apologize to the kitties (they are classical cats and listen to music during the day when I'm at work). With the Bose, the reception is crystal clear. The first time I turned it on I was listening to a classical piece. When the announcer came on afterwards, all the cats JUMPED up frantically looking around as they thought someone else was in the house! That has never happened before.

Okay, your turn. What would you buy?

Friday, May 4, 2007

Okay, just one more post on Dulary!!

The past three days have been filled with new adventures and blossoming friendships for Dulary. Finally, her need for sleep caught up with her. The amazing thing is that less than 48 hours after meeting the first Sanctuary resident, Dulary felt comfortable enough to lie down and sleep in their presence. Misty adores Dulary and stood over her as she slept, obviously providing the sense of security Dulary needed to have a restful nap.

(Did you know that elephants only sleep 4 hours during a 24 hour period? And not all at once either, instead, they take little 20-30 minute ele-naps throughout the day.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Update on Dulary -- She is home in Tennessee!

This is copied verbatim from the Elephant Sanctuary


After more than 4 hours of waiting, Dulary finally left the trailer and set all four feet firmly on Tennessee soil. But she did not stand still for long. The minute she touched ground she was interacting with elephants, sampling the vegetation, dusting and exploring.

Tarra caught her attention right away, in fact Tarra was the reason Dulary left the trailer. After a brief interaction with Dulary still standing in the trailer, evaluating Tarra’s intention, Tarra walked away and Dulary stepped right out of the trailer and hustled after her.

With Dulary in hot pursuit, Tarra hesitated long enough for Dulary to catch up and they both burst into vocalizations and gentle trunk touches. They were immediately comfortable with each other with Dulary following whenever Tarra moved. The two could not get enough of each other…and then Dulary discovered the vegetation…and dirt…and trees…and the exploration began. Every few minutes Dulary would look around to see where Tarra was and rejoin her to share more chattering and touches.

Then Dulary decided to check out the area on the far end of the barn. She grazed her way down the elephant trail until she came to a cross roads; to the right was the north road where, several miles away, Bunny and Shirley were engaged in their own habitat exploration, and to the left, the road that leads to the lake. How exciting it was to see Dulary start out on the lake road…all by herself.

But then it was time for Dulary to meet two more sisters. Delhi and Misty had been patiently waiting, literally for hours, to meet Dulary, so when Dulary turned around and headed back towards the barn, Misty got very excited. With much composure Misty approached Dulary. With Misty and Tarra on either side, Dulary was showered once again with sweet affection from both.

Dulary noticed Delhi at the water trough and without hesitation headed over to greet her. Misty, in a show of over-protection for the elder of the herd, raced over and squeezed between her old friend and new friend, but Dulary took no offence; Delhi and Dulary were still able to interact and the introductions were complete. Since this time, Dulary has remained in the constant company of her new sisters; eating, napping, sharing affection, and exploring her new habitat. Her assimilation into her new life has been remarkably instantaneous.

Dulary and Tarra getting to know each other. At 41 years old, this is Dulary's first contact with her own species since she was captured at 4 months old!