Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Latest Carnage

Can you say enterovirus?

I can.

Can you say strawberry colored rash over you entire body, itching and scratching, low grade fever, swollen wrists, knees ankles and fingers, and a cloudy head?

I can.

Can you say stiffened neck from a swollen brain stem?

I can.

Can you say viral meningitis?

Yep, it's ugly.

Another virus, complements of the nine and under population on our "compound," has made its way through our ranks. As always am the last one to succumb with the most severe symptoms.

I'm better today but my wrists are KILLING me. This must be what arthritis or other rheumatoid conditions feel like. I am sorry for those of you who have joint pain. My sympathies are yours.

I have to scratch some more and rest my joints...

I will part by saying that my little friend, my sweet daughter has kept me company the past few days and we moseyed around doing nothing.

Climb a fence here . . .

Climb a fence there . . .

Have a break with creature comforts . . . I swear I'm going to have to take the passer away when she turns 4. I don't care how much she screams about it.

I have earplugs.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

What Bingo Does on Summer Vacation

The sweet dry air of the late afternoon makes me happy as I sit in the tall grasses and think about the day that has past and what the night shall behold.

But then I see someone I know! He is a friend. A very good friend who I am always glad to see. He was nice to me when I first came here, even though I thought he might have been mean. He blends in with the yellow grasses with his best camouflage apparel. But I guess he can't help it. It's pretty hard to change your fur being a cat.

I can't resist a good joke on my buddy. Who does not like the surprise attack once in a while. It's those startling jumps of adrenaline that make me glad I am a cat! I love the feeling of crazy kitty energy pulsing though my veins. I will focus on him and hope he does not notice me crouched low.

However, Jimmy just ignores me. He is a mature. He is not as feisty as me. He does not get worked up over my antics. He stoically waits for me to pounce. That is no fun. I want to wrassle.

Well, this is more like it! This small human is entertaining. He likes commotion. He is in constant motion. If I swat at him he won't leave. He likes it!

This little human is silly. He keeps poking me with a piece of grass. Maybe I should just bite him and see what happens . . .

Or I could rub my face on him so he smells like me. I LIKE things that smell like me. I want everyone to smell like me. In fact I think my perfume is the BEST! The small human does not seem to mind either . . . some people don't like it when I put my perfume on them!

The small human is concentrating on petting me for some reason. I think my fur must be the softest around. He must really like me. Yep. I must be right about this.

Well, I've had enough. I am a cat and I bore easily of the small human. I need to find something else to sniff, something else to inspect, something else to do. I think the small human does NOT like me leaving him so soon. But I don't care. I need to leave and he can't stop me.

Well this sand box is really nice. I appreciate having such an expansive place to use the bath room. In fact, I think all the cats in the neighborhood use this sand box. I have heard the Tall Lady say she is not happy about this use of her "arena." But it can't be helped.

Now who is this other cat down here! I have never met him before. He is like me only . . . only all gray colored! Hmmmm. I think that I'd better watch my back around this place!

Bye for now!

PS. The Tall Lady said if you have not bought your copy of Bingo's Big Adventure, my first book, and want your own, you can jump over to my website and get yours using PayPal or go right to Amazon.

Also, the Tall Lady has requested I ask those folks who have a copy of my book, and have an Amazon account, to please, please, please put a review up about Bingo's Big Adventure on Amazon. Amazon loves reviews. Amazon recommends books to other customers based on reviews. I would really like it if your review helped more folks to purchase my book. I think it would help the Tall Lady too, and she feeds me, so I ask.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Belated Botany!

Happy summer Bloggers and visitors! Here we are in the heat of summer and I am finally posting a series of photos that I took back in late April in serpentine grassland near our home.

I dragged Wyatt and Ella up the hillside to see flowers only their mom and maybe 10 other people care about. But they're gonna learn about these flowers if I have my way!!

Mush children!! MUSH!!

Let's forget the fact that we were trespassing on private property and I helped my kids climb over a barb-wire fence to get out here. But in the name of BOTANY and my being an intrepid botanist, this place needed to be inspected. (I knew what was going to be blooming up here as I had done a survey a few years ago on this land for work).

As you can see, the views from up here are awful.

Awfully GOOD!

This fuchsia-colored annual is called most beautiful jewel-flower (Streptanthus albidus ssp. peramoenus) and it's a rare plant species native to California. As this pretty flower grows on stems that reach three feet, I did not harm it to get this photo. I was really happy to see it live and in person this year, since it's declining in the San Francisco bay area due to the development of the native serpentine grasslands where it grows. This habitat has a special soil type which supports native plant species, or rather the soil type here tends to exclude the non-native species thus natives persist.

My children share my sadness at the invasion of the non-native grass species . . . well maybe not. But you might say they only object a little bit to the forced botanizing. I am such a slave driver. . .

These Chinese houses (Collinsia heterophylla) made me crazy happy since they are so bright and beautiful. My kids are really getting used to their mom hopping up and down every time she finds a native plant in bloom. By the time they are teen's I think they'll be all, "Yeah, that's my Mom again. She get's a little strange in the spring. Just ignore her. . . "

This yellow beast was the mystery plant for the day. I had no clue what it was. That is strange for me as I like to think I know most stuff in our region. But obviously I am wrong.

Wyatt found time for reflection in this outcropping of common monkey flower (Mimulus guttatus). These annual forbs grow from seeps emerging off hillsides and make me smile with their sunny warm faces.

At the base of the rocky outcrops lies a plenitude of native grasses and annual broadleafs. The flowers and grass blooms provide me with a delicate composition to photograph.

Now I would like you to meet Santa Clara County dudleya (Dudleya multicaulis) above. This perennial succulent is Federally endangered and very little of the habitat in which it occurs remains. This dudleya grows only from rock crevices and is found no where else in the world but Santa Clara County. It's one of our famous endemic plant species.

This red flowered beauty is called California figwort (Scrophularia californica). It's a tall perennial species that reaches six feet in height. It's common throughout grassland and woodland habitats in our area. I still appreciate the bright red flowers that are unmistakable for any thing else.

Here's the close up for those who are interested.

From this rocky outcrop above there was so much happening that I was going into botanical shock right in front of the kids. They almost called 911 when I went into hysterics over the little pink-colored onion flower. It was gorgeous, and although I had never seen this species in person before, I immediately knew what it was from previous studies I had done in the region.

Allium falcifolium or sickle leaf onion was a lovely sight on our treasure hunt for flowers and a fitting end to another great outing. It's amazing what you can find in your own back yard when you really try.

Stay cool folks. Hope your summer is going swimmingly!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why I am a Bad Mom: According to Wyatt

I present exhibit No. 1. A happy portrait of a child with VERY long, unruly hair.

Mom says, "Wyatt your hair must be cut. You look like a long-haired hippy child at this point. Your hair is almost touching your buttock." Maybe I exaggerate just a bit here.

Wyatt says, "NO NOOOO NO! No No No No No NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"

But Mom says, "It's in the chair for you! Sit it down or it gets busted!"

Exhibit No. 2: Wyatt in tears after haircut. The agony of the sinister black clippers snipping away his hair is just exhausting.

Exhibit No. 3 While in the Chair of Doom Wyatt was heard saying, "I hate you mom!"

Exhibit No. 4 And he was heard to wail, "I HAVE TO PICK MY NOSE!! You have to stop! I itch too much!"

Exhibit No. 5 And he said, "I like the haircut lady MUCH better. I won't scream or cry if SHE cuts my hair. . . "

Exhibit No. 6 Then he was heard sputtering, "I can't get the hair out of my mouth."

I replied, "IF you'd just be quiet and not TALK or SCREAM you wouldn't have hair in your mouth!!!"

I am such a bad mom. I am an evil, torturing, MOM! It's obvious how much my kids suffer under my care. Nuff said!

Post Script: Just so you know. . . this child was observed not three minutes after "his ordeal" playing jovially outside like the banshee child he is. He does put on quite an act when he feels up to the task.

The Day the Swallows Came Home

The tree swallows are here already.  They arrived January 30 much to my dismay.  Swooping and calling and chirping their merry song over my ...