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The Train to Zagreb

Huge and modern Prague Train Station For the second time this trip, we caught a train. This time we headed for Zagreb in Croatia.  W...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Another Mini Hen Party!


Rick Codina has taken off to south Texas and unlike me, he’s not going there to bird, he’s going there for his 40th (!) high school reunion. I had a look at his high school year book and he hasn’t changed at all. I mean it – he’s a tad older than I am but his hair is still jet black, and naturally so. Not at all fair really but what’ya gonna do?
Anyway, with the rooster out of the hutch, Nancy thought it might be fun to hold a mini-hen party in preparation for the one all of us hens will be going to in December. So Robyn, who is also a devoted Harry Potterhead, and I met at Nancy’s for dinner and a movie a la' Netflix -Becoming Julia. It wasn't a total hen party as there was a young cockerel in residence: 15 year old Adan. Being his usual sweet self meant the old hens weren’t even tempted to peck his eyes out or anything.

Friday, September 28, 2007

40th Annual Native American Day Celebration


The Color Guard at the Opening Ceremony



Only worked 3 hours; spent most of the day doing my docent thing on the north lawn at the State Capital. I worked the cash register for theState Indian Museum. We had SIM t-shirts, mugs. Also we had working facsimiles of Indian pump drills (left photo) and elderberry clapper sticks for sale - great crowd pleasers, especially at only ten bucks each.

But oh how I sucked at the cash register! Normally I have no problems at all, but at the end of the day the cash register showed that we’d made $10K, though that must have been in Pesos – in real $ we made a little over $400. Yikes! I guess I was a tad distracted chatting with the visitors and watching the wonderful traditional dancers.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

In Lieu of Talk Like a Pirate Day

Last week a great day occurred that I normally try my best to celebrate in at least some small fashion, but this year that special day entirely escaped my notice; horrors! I missed TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY. Bugger all.

Still, last night rather made up for it. I had an extra ticket to the Davis Musical Theater so took a buddy from ushering at the Sacramento's Music Circus. We saw The Pirates of Penzance. It was my first Gilbert and Sullivan musical, written in the Victorian era and it’s still amazingly witty, funny and cute.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Three to Go

Sometimes I manage to be in the right place at the right time as I was a couple of days ago. After a humongous all staff meeting at my office, I stepped into the elevator just in time to hear a co-worker, Rick, called over to me, "You know Wangari Maathai? She started a movement to plant trees in Africa?"

"The one that won the Nobel Peace Price?", I said.

I only knew a little bit about the Kenyan woman, but still can't manage to remember her name. Anyway, next thing Rick had given me a free ticket to see Ms. Maathai because he bought the ticket but then happily for 'moi' he ran into a conflicting obligation.

So... tonight, across the street from the State Capital at the Prespyterian Church, I had the pleasure of hearing a genuine, Nobel Peace Prize winning lady from Kenya speak.

She told amusing stories of how she got started in her tree planting, like when she requested trees from the forestry.


“How many do you want?”


“Um… 30, 32 million?”


“Sure, go right ahead!”


Of course the man thought she was kidding but he quickly found out she meant business. She didn’t take the number out of a hat, she’d thought one tree per Kenyan would be nice and she planted all of those and more.

She also asked if we have all planted our share of trees which ought to be at least ten. I gave it a thought… there’s the four tridents I put in the back yard (ok, I didn’t plant them myself but I did goad others into doing so for me). Ok, ok, the Tupelo tree died but that wasn’t my fault. And also in the back yard there’s the Hedge Maple, the Hawthorn. In the front yard there’s the Chinese Hackberry that is taking its damned time, in no hurry to grow. That’s seven trees! Ok, only three more and I’ve fulfilled my environmental destiny. How serendipitous - recently I was chatting with Mommy Nancy, who recommended I put more trees in the back yard for additional shading in the summer. Ok Mrs Maathai – you’ve convinced me. I’ll do my part - three more trees in the back yard. Now - what trees do I plant?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Birthday Week

[Management regrets the month of September has flown by and Ms. Miller has scarcely blogged at all. An executive decision was made by management that Ms Miller will be chained to her desk until she back fills all of the posts she did not make for September. Following her tardy entries, we shall all pretend she posted in September on time on the appropriate days. Any protestations concerning Management's decision concerning the dishonesty of pretending September's posts were on time shall be met with immediate and deafening silence.]Another week , another damned birthday. It was a fun birthday, happily coinciding with my annual mini-break up Highway 101 with my friend Barbara. I've been bored, and Barbara's been in desperate need of a break from the ongoing dramas at her household – you do not want to know. So after picking up Barb at her Father’s house in Napa we were off north.

On the way we enjoyed the usual side trips, like this mini-jaunt near Klamath to visit one of the former Highway guards, a giant ce-ment California golden bear.

Add caption

The above bear and its matching mate are forced into retirement where they dwell on some land just off Highway 101 by the town of Klamath. They were replaced by rugged, young, shiner golden whippersnapper bears that now guard the bridge over the Klamath River.
Newer, Shinier Klamath Bridge Bear

Likewise, both myself and Barb are feeling like we could use some shiner brighter aspects to our lives and we chatted about such things for hours on the way north. We briefly stopped at Prairie Creek Redwoods where the wild elk roam.
Cruising the Giant Meadow at Prairie Creek Redwoods

Once in Crescent City we stayed our usual cute little spot on the beach. We took several walks along the beach combing; finding shiny new sand dollars and such.

I was walking along in the surf when Barb called me and ignoring her, I looked up, assuming she was pointing out to me the bird that swooped overhead - a Turkey Vulture. "Claire!" Barb shrieked urgently. "It's just a Turkey Vulture," I yelled back. "Not an Osprey."

"C-L-L-L-A-I-R-E", Barbara shrieked insistently.

"Wha....?" Finally I looked over. There, only a foot from Barbara, floated a Common Murre! The bird looked at Barb with a definite air of curiosity, as though sizing her up. I hot-footed it over and stood looking at the bird, assuming, as did Barb, that the tiny mite was in some sort of distress - perhaps a broken limb. I was already calculating how I was going to scoop it up, pinning down its wings when I heard, a clear voice, saying the bird was uninjured.

I was stunned - the critter was an accomplished telepath. I 'heard' the bird inform me that it was fine, and I should back off. I'm not nuts, it really relayed a message to me. Nope. I didn't make that up. If I'm lyin' I'm dyin'.

I was gob smacked. The surf retreated leaving the bird seated on the wet sand. It tilted its head to look up at me, mildly curious, utterly unperturbed - its little head was brown and as sleek as a seal. The surf returned, lifting up the bird and it began to paddle it's funny webbed feet. Sitting up on the water it flapped it's wings and headed back out to sea.

The following morning we found a dead Common Murre, its chest pecked open by gulls and my heart sank. But, we went on to find two more dead Murres as well. Barb insisted 'my' bird had died, but I know the cheeky little imp had was alive and well. Hell -why would it have lied to me?

It was a great week. We visited a true daughter of Crescent City, our friend Inez. We spent an afternoon touring Inez's beautiful garden and chatting.

Barbara and Inez
Two other drop-ins to Inez's Garden
The following day we went for Sunday Brunch at Patrick's Creek Inn. Afterwards Inez took us for a drive up to Oregon with a few stops along Smith River and Pacific Ocean.

Treking back uphill after beach combing for agates.
Barbara and I enjoyed our four days in Crescent City. On our drive back we stopped in Napa for a froo-froo lunch at a marvelously pretentious restaurant where, as Barbara pointed out to her Aunt Judy whom we visited, 'The usual were there - the older men lunching with their young girlfriends."

Tee hee. It's fun to be catty.


Lily pond at the Blox restaurant

Saturday, September 01, 2007

1776

It's nice to know the founding fathers can still pack 'em in! Tonight I was surprised what a large audience assembled to see 1776. It was the last of the Music Circus productions for the season. It was interesting to realize the compromises haggled over to get the leaders of the 13 original States to shut the hell up, adopt a constitution & declare independence. These days our leaders are haggling over who did or did not adopt a 'wide stance' in an airport restroom. I'd love to see a musical about that.

While I was out, Jeannie et al. come by for a dip in the pool. I'm sorry I missed them but as hot as it's been I'm sure they'll be by again. We dodged the bullet as the summer has been relatively swelter free. Unfortunately the weather went 180 in the opposite direction and now the weather has gone Sierra Leon hot and there's now't for it but a dip in the pool.

[God grant us strength - Management will not cooperate with this thinly veiled charade. A dip in the pool? As if! Ms Miller has not set one fat toe in the pool in several years. Why? Is it not clean, cool and refreshing? Yes, as a matter of fact it is. Then why hasn't Ms Miller partaken of its cool waters for the occasional dip? Who the hell knows! If it were for the occasional dipping of friends the poor pool would go completely unused. Abominable situation and Management is at a loss to explain why. If anyone has any light to shed on the situation please inform us, because Management is effing clueless. ]