Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vacation Ospreys!

While on vacation, I spent some time at the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge. Coincidentally, my brother started his employment in wildlife management at Montezuma (he currently manages a refuge in Washington state) approximately 45 years ago - he is now getting ready to retire from a long and storied career. While at Montezuma, I went to the Tschache Pool, where bald eagles are breeding. I saw my first bald eagle at Montezuma several years ago, back when they were still very rare in these parts. I actually saw one in my hometown earlier this year; they've truly made a spectacular comeback. Here's the Tschache Pool:

I also visited the South Spring Pool. Right across the road, ospreys are raising their young on top of a utility pole:

What road, you ask? Why, this very busy two lane road:

While I was there, some other people pulled up and got out of their car to observe. Then this guy walked across the road and into the field to try and get a closer picture, which did not please momma osprey. It did not please me either, because pretty much the number one rule at wildlife refuges is, do not bug the wildlife. Do not feed the wildlife, do not upset the habitat, and do not try to get closer to a visibly upset animal so you can get a closer picture. Hello - they're called zoom lenses! You might want to try one!

So anyway, this guy is walking closer and closer to the utility pole, and momma osprey is all squawking and flapping her wings, and I did not speak up, because you know what? Ospreys are really big birds. With really big beaks. And I was seriously waiting for momma osprey to go all medieval on this guy's ass, swoop down, and take a big old chunk out of him. There's your vacation souvenir, buddy!

But finally, the guy's wife called to him to stop bugging the damn bird already, and they got back in their car and left. So all's well that ends well, but if momma osprey had swooped down and attacked? I would still be there, rolling on the ground, laughing.

If you would like to check out the live osprey webcam from a nest at the North Spring pool, click here. (Updated to add: On August 5, the babies fledged. So if you are currently clicking, all you'll get is an empty nest. And pretty soon Montezuma will take the web cam down, since looking at an empty nest is pretty boring. Sorry about that! It was fun while it lasted.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

What Not To Watch

Hmmm, let's see what's on tv tonight:

NBC - "Age of Love" - Various skanky young things/older women compete for the attentions of an aging tennis star.

ABC - "Wife Swap" (self-explanatory), followed by "Six Degrees of Martina McBride" - Various singers try to get a record deal.

Fox - "Hell's Kitchen" - Various chefs compete for a job while being viciously berated/humiliated by the head chef.

VH1 - "Rock of Love with Bret Michaels" - Various skanky young things compete for the affections of a washed-up former rock star.

OK, let's try the classier channels, then.

Discovery - "Great White Shark Uncaged" -Self-explanatory.

Bravo - "Kathy Griffin Show" - Washed-up, never-was comedienne tries desperately to make it onto the A-list by, among other things, hosting a gay-porn awards show.

History - "Modern Marvels: Sticky Stuff" - About duct tape and scotch tape. Probably involves no skanky young things, but does have the potential to bore me to death.

Sigh. Luckily, I am reading a fairly good book right now - "The Rapture of Canaan" by Sheri Reynolds. Unfortunately, I will finish it long before bedtime tonight. Time for a trip to the library!

Because What's A Vacation Without Buying Lots of Stuff You Don't Really Need?

I bought greeting cards:

And a button or two:

T-shirts at the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge:

And my "best" find, from an antiques store in Seneca Falls:

I call this my "fairy tiara". It's about six inches across. I actually bought two, because they just tickled me. I hung one on the moose lamp:

And that's about it, as far as vacation purchases (other than necessary stuff for the cottage). I try not to pick up too much stuff on vacation, because then I get it home, unwrap it, and go "WTF?! Why did I buy this? And where am I going to put it?" And then, of course, there's the sticker shock when you get your next credit card statement. I think I did pretty good this year.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Cats Need A Vacation, Too (OK, probably not, but I needed a post title)

Here is Rocky at the lake (that's my dad's memorial behind him):

When we got home on Sunday, Rocky scouted out his property, then found a shady spot on the lawn, curled up, and snoozed, and snoozed, and snoozed. Vacations are hard work!

Amazing Vacation Discovery!

Pre-mixed Manhattans! With the liquor already in them! By the jug! At the liquor store!

My life may have been changed forever. I am pretty much strictly a beer drinker, although I do enjoy the occasional mixed drink. However, because I am apparently lacking the mixology gene, I can only enjoy mixed drinks when someone else is making them. For example, I love a Manhattan. But I have no idea what goes into one, or how you would actually make one.

So! While on vacation, my sister Alabama and I stopped at a liquor store to buy some rum for my Mom, as she likes rum & coke. And, while I was wandering about the store, I found, to my amazement, pre-mixed Manhattans! By the jug! Thank you, Lord!

Of course, this then meant a trip to the grocery store to buy some maraschino cherries, because to me, the cherries & the cherry juice are what makes a Manhattan so tasty. Although, who knows, it could be almost anything, since I have no idea what is actually in a Manhattan.

I am pleased to report that I had no hangover whatsoever the next morning. Although I don't remember too much of the night before.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

More From Vacation

While I was on vacation, the owner of the marina and his wife came up for a few days (their place is right next to our cottage, which the marina owns). The owner's wife complained about the smell of the seaweed (oh please, you're right next to a lake!), so right away there was a backhoe (or maybe a skidsteer? I'm not really up on my heavy equipment terminology) and a truck by the water, clearing out the seaweed (which, of course, reappeared a few days later, in the form of new seaweed).

In the photo below, the owner's wife is on the left, and Saggy Pants is on the right. Saggy Pants works for the marina. I call him Saggy Pants because, well, look at his shorts! Yes indeed folks, that's not a weird camera angle; they really do hang that low. They are always just about to fall off his butt. And any time he bends over, you don't just get "plumber's crack", you get "plumber's butt". I am talking about his entire butt being exposed.
Now, I have two questions. First, can't he feel the breeze? I mean, his entire butt is exposed every time he bends over. How can he possibly not be aware of this fact? Is he an exhibitionist? Has he never heard of belts? I know that lots of guys experience plumber's crack; heaven knows, I've watched enough repairmen at work. Can they honestly not know that their butts are exposed? Are they having "out-of-butt" experiences? Please, I'm dying to know!
Secondly, if anyone has a better nickname for this guy than "Saggy Pants", please let me know.
I was going to do a post on ospreys today, but for some reason the whole butt question just seemed to need to be addressed. As you can tell, it doesn't take much to entertain me while on vacation! Oh yeah, and looking again at that picture, doesn't it look like if the owner's wife could just gift some of her butt to Saggy Pants, they'd both be happier?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Scenes from Vacation

While on vacation, I visited Buttermilk Falls. (For some reason, Blogger will not let me post all the photos I want to today, but here's a few.)
Buttermilk Falls has lots of interesting rock formations and deep pools:

You probably wouldn't want to go swimming in this particular spot, what with the rocks and the waterfalls and all:

But everybody swims at the bottom of the falls:

Monday, July 23, 2007

I'm Baaaaaaack

And I survived my vacation. Parts were very, very good, and parts were not so good. Here's a not-so-good part:

I got up there on Saturday, expecting that my sister Alabama, her grandkids, and my Mom would all be up there. Um, no. It turns out that Alabama had to go back south for a week, so she had taken my Mom back to TIB's house to stay while she and the grandkids were gone. Alabama and the grandkids got up to the lake shortly after I did, and Alabama said she would go to TIB's house Sunday to pick up Mom.

On Sunday, Alabama got very sick. The lying-in-bed, puking kind of sick. It turned out this particular illness had run its course first through the grandkids, then my nephew, and now it was Alabama's turn. I offered to go pick up Mom, but Alabama wanted to wait a few days, so that Mom did not catch this nasty illness from Alabama. Alabama said she would call TIB and explain the situation.

Alabama didn't call.

TIB's husband called the cottage Wednesday afternoon, absolutely furious that no one had come to get Mom. He read me the riot act and then hung up on me. Alabama called him back, at which point he read her the riot act, accused she and I of not loving our Mother, and other assorted crap. Alabama explained the situation about her illness, but of course TIB and her husband were mad about not getting a phone call, to which I have to say, the phone works both ways. Yes, Alabama should have called them, but why didn't they call her to see what was going on? Instead they let themselves get worked up into a foaming-at-the-mouth rant.

So Alabama drove down to TIB's on Thursday, did more explaining, blah blah blah. And she brought Mom back up to the lake. And TIB and her husband are still all pissed off and full of drama. And you know what? I don't give a shit. I am so sick of TIB and her husband's attitude that from now on, I just don't care. Which should drive them wild, because we all know that it's no fun to throw a hurricane-strength tantrum if no one reacts.

So! More new about the vacation another time. Right now I am staring at a huge pile of work on my desk that I am slowly wading through (taking a break right now). And I wonder why the temps always, always have to rearrange the desktop on my computer. This last temp actually took my sidebar of blog favorites and re-arranged it into separate little header categories, totally out of order from the way I had it. Sigh.

On the bright side, it has been pouring rain all afternoon. So I feel much better about being back to work. Speaking of back to work ...........

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Last Day

Holy cow! First of all, internet access at the lake!

This is the last night of my vacation, and while parts were good, my family is really starting to wear me down. Even the good guys. Right now, due to a misunderstanding that was not my fault, my sister TIB, who already considers me a "bad guy", now considers me to be basically the Antichrist. And I'm getting really, really tired of that.

So I go home tomorrow, and will hopefully have some happier posts regarding my vacation! Just wanted to try out this wireless internet access thing - and this is such a stress reliever.

Back home tomorrow! Yay!

Friday, July 13, 2007


I will be on vacation as of 4:30 this afternoon. Which means that very shortly, my boss will wander into the office, ask for a cup of coffee, look through a couple of magazines, call some of his buddies and gab, and just waste time in general until about 2:30 this afternoon, when he will decide, "Holy shit! The secretary's going on vacation! We've gotta get this report done, and this information e-mailed, and this letter to this person completed, and we've gotta run a couple hundred drawings and get them FedExed" and blah blah blah. We, of course, means me. And even though I have hired a temp for next week, God Forbid that my boss actually make her do any work.

Which means that at 2:30 this afternoon (or thereabouts; the actual time may vary), my boss, after farting around all morning and half the afternoon, will give me approximately six hours of work to complete in two hours' time.

Now, I am capable of working extremely quickly when necessary. So I will work my butt off, and by 5:30 this afternoon, I will be exhausted and miserable, but all the work will be done. And my vacation can start. With me practically in tears.

How do I know this will happen? Because it happens every fucking time. No matter how many times I remind him that I am going on vacation, no matter how hard I try to get his butt in gear the week before, he waits until the last minute every time.

Ha ha! Only a few more hours to go! I'll be back on the twenty-third, unless I kill a few family members while on vacation (or my boss this afternoon). Bye!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Catholicism, Part 2

A while back, I did a post about how the Catholic Church expounds that you will not go to heaven unless you are Catholic. And I got some disagreement, which is great! I want to hear from everybody, whether they agree with me or not.

I opened up the newspaper this morning, and underneath the headline "Pontiff says Catholicism only true path to salvation" was the following article from The Associated Press (I'll quote the first paragraph only, for brevity's sake):

"Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to Salvation".

I rest my case.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Deer Antlers, pterodactyls and other random stuff

Here are the deer antlers I got at Jimay's Flea Market. Thanks, Jimay's! And thank you, deer. I'm really, really sorry about that. Check out the size of that tree in the background behind the right side of the antlers. You can get an idea of the scale by looking at the lawn furniture at bottom right. If that tree ever comes down in a storm, it's gonna take out half the neighborhood.

My neighbors two doors down have these pterodactyls (or maybe they're vultures?) in their backyard. They are made out of concrete and about 5 feet tall. Very cool, no?

My next door neighbor's backyard. Come set a spell! For some reason, these chairs just fascinate me. And check out the belly-up yellow duck pool!

Because I cannot stop buying shoes:

Ludlowville Falls:

Monday, July 09, 2007

According to Rolling Stone . . . .

I've been reading Rolling Stone magazine since I was in high school. For a while, I borrowed issues from the library, then I subscribed. A while back, they were running a special - a lifetime subscription for $99.00. And even though I am incredibly cheap, I signed up.

You know how when you subscribe to a magazine, the expiration date of the subscription appears on the mailing label? Well, according to Rolling Stone, my "lifetime subscription" expires on October 11, 2055.

Hmm. Well, at least they're willing to bet I'm gonna make it to 91. But not 92.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

When Siblings Attack

I was talking to one of my nephews a couple of weeks ago when he reminded me of one time when I was babysitting him and his younger brother. I had a pet tarantula at the time (don't even ask), and he wanted me to take it out of its cage so he could see it, even though it frightened him. Well, I was terrified of that stupid tarantula, so I cooked up a scheme. I told him that the tarantula didn't like to be picked up if other people were in the room, so if he would go wait in the bedroom closet (!) I would take out the tarantula and bring it to him. While he was in the closet, I grabbed a hank of brown yarn, kind of fluffed it up, then opened the closet door and thrust the yarn into his face. I will never forget his look of sheer terror, right before he burst into tears and collapsed. Ah, memories! I am in my forties, he is in his thirties, and we both vividly remember that one.

I was a terrible kid. Another time, I hid my sister Ditzy's glasses the night of her junior prom. She was resigned to going to her prom in her old glasses, which literally had a big piece of adhesive tape on the nosepiece holding them together, when I miraculously "found" her other pair of glasses. Nobody was fooled by that one.

Of course, I do come by my childhood torture techniques honestly. Here are two of the things my older sisters did to me when our parents weren't around:

1. Telling me the berries on the bushes in the front yard were poison, then grabbing a handful and stuffing them in my mouth, holding my mouth shut and forcing my jaw up and down to make me chew.

2. Picking me up, holding me over the kitchen sink, turning on the water, turning on the garbage disposal, and then telling me they were going to feed me in, feet first, while I screamed and begged for mercy and tried desperately to squirm out of their arms.

Good times!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Always The Last To Know

My sister Ditzy called me a little while ago. Here's the first part of the conversation:

Ditzy: Hi! Have you heard anything more about (our sister) TIB?

Me: What? What about TIB?

Ditzy: You didn't hear?

Me: Hear what?

Ditzy: Nobody called you? She had a heart attack yesterday!

Me: WHAT????

Sigh. Nobody ever tells me anything. As it turns out, TIB had chest pains (which she had been having for weeks, but told no one, including her husband, because she didn't want to cancel their trip to Atlanta. Um, hello?). They became so severe yesterday (pain in the chest running down the left arm, shortness of breath, dizziness - um, hello?) that she finally called her doctor, who told her to go directly to the hospital. So now they are running tests to determine exactly what is going on and what will need to be done. But as of right now she is resting comfortably, and I'll go see her during visiting hours tonight.

This reminds me of the time TIB and her husband threw a long-planned cookout for the family. When I got there, several family members were talking about "the funeral", "calling hours", etc. When I finally blurted out, "Who died?", somebody responded, "Grandma died! Didn't anybody tell you?!". Um, no.


Possibly the World's Most Pretentious Catalog

Blurbs from my boss's The Territory Ahead catalog:

"The poplin has a crisp canvas-like hand that's nicely broken in and already fade-savvy by a good old-fashioned garment wash". A nicely broken-in hand? Ouch!

"deep piped besom pockets"

"... then garnished the placket, neckline and side vents with fine twill backing".

"With a boat neck and godets front and back ..."

"Trapunto topstitching accents the angled patch pockets".

Gah. Pretentious bastards. Or maybe I'm just confused, since I have no idea what the hell they are talking about. Maybe they're really discussing molecular physics, and I'm just out of the loop, vocabulary-wise.

Nope. Pretentious bastards it is.

Monday, July 02, 2007

When It's Good, It's Very, Very Good

The view from the cottage (I zoomed in for that second one):

What the Hell Do You Say to That?

My Mom has Alzheimer's. My sister Alabama has her up at the lake for the summer, so I went up this past weekend to visit. Mom's most popular phrases:

1. I can't find my purse.
2. I can't find my wallet.
3. I lost my glasses.
4. Why are you mad at me?

Now, 1 through 3 I can handle. We all know that if you just tell her you will help her look when you have a chance, and then just kind of blow it off, she will go retrieve her purse/wallet/glasses from wherever she hid them, because the game is no fun if only one person is playing.

But what do I say to number 4? If I say, "Oh, Mom, of course I'm not mad at you", she says, "Oh yes you are. I can tell". If I say, "Oh, Mom, why would you think that?", she says, "Just by the way you're acting". If I say, "What way? What specifically am I doing that makes you think I'm mad at you", she says, "Oh, it's nothing specific. I can just tell." If I say, "Tell, how?", she says, "I just can."

And then she will sulk, and pout, and ask me over and over, "Why are you mad at me?". Of course, by that point, I pretty much AM mad at her. So what the hell do you say to that? I know that it is senseless to try to reason with an Alzheimer's patient, but I really need some kind of reply that will get her off that whole line of thought. I really need to know, because it is driving me crazy, and preventing me from enjoying my time with her, and I'm supposed to go up there very shortly to stay for a week, and at this point I'm starting to re-think the whole thing.

Any help would be appreciated. Please!