Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mystery hairs match no known species; Yeti may exist

The Yeti may really exist. How freakin' cool is that?


excerpt from this article
[T]ests at Oxford Brookes University on hairs said to be from a Yeti in India have failed to link the strands with any known species.

Ape expert Ian Redmond, who is leading the research, said: "The hairs are the most positive evidence yet that a Yeti might possibly exist.

"It may be that the region this animal is inhabiting is remote enough for it to remain undiscovered so far."

The two hairs - 33mm and 44mm long - were found in a jungle in the mountains of north-east India five years ago.

A forester claimed to seen a Yeti, known locally as mande barung or "forest man", two days in a row breaking branches off trees and eating their sap.

another similar article



You know, I wouldn't be at all surprised if one of my kids grows up to be a cryptozoologist. They eat this stuff up.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Yesterday's little dogs were reunited with their humans at about 8:30pm last night. Yay!

Got home from a morning errand at about 11am today and found this old lady waiting for us in the front yard. All I could do was laugh. I mean, come ON!



She's sweet, loves the kids, drools a ton, and most of her teeth are worn down to little nubs. The kids say they saw her roaming on Saturday when Grandma took them to the parade, so she's been loose for awhile.



I'm working on tracking down her people from her 2006 city registration tag.
PSA: Put collars and tags on your dogs and make sure the info is CURRENT!


Monday, July 28, 2008

Safe House

I think the local animals have all marked my mailbox and tree with big urinary indicators that flash "Safe house! Safe house!"

Look who was waiting for us at the mailbox when we stepped out today.


Pardon the crappy pictures. They were a bit squirmy.

Surely these sweet little Maltese girls are missed. We've canvassed the neighborhood with no takers yet, but I'm hoping their people are just at work. The girls' feet are dirty, they were hungry and thirsty, and the little one is thin and matted. I'm printing fliers as I type.

Wish them luck!

This is Charley

Charley has cerebellar hypoplasia (like my Toby). Charley is not one of mine, but this is one of the best educational CH videos out there.

Human Tetris

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bed el madhi

I just watched this Soaud Massi video on "Nat Geo Music" and was sucked in completely. The rhythms are intricate, the melody enchanting, and the singer so expressive that I couldn't look away. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Al Gore's Challenge to Repower America



Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs

Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs is one of the funniest books I have ever read. I drew unnecessary attention to myself countless times while reading this in public, because I inherited my mom's belly laugh. Thanks, Mom.

While I related to the stories because the author is a 300-lb lesbian with a cat, I think anyone could appreciate her quirky humor, her way with words, and her unpredictability.


"Fat Girls is a gay Erma Bombeck meets A Girl Named Zippy in a hilarious collection of true stories about the misadventures of a woman of size"--Kathy Patrick

Friday, July 25, 2008


It's been a critterful couple of days.

Yesterday I visited the cats at the shelter and found that a former foster of mine, Honey, was terribly sick. Her eyes were glued shut, her nose hermetically sealed with dried snot, and she was a bit dehydrated because she couldn't coordinate drinking and breathing in her condition. Weak and snotty, she accompanied a human to the vet and they came back with interesting instructions that Frank and I had to implement. Have you ever had to medicate 20 cats at a time? Okay, imagine it. Now imagine that not only do they receive meds by mouth, but also nose spray and eye drops. Twenty cats. Twice a day. Can you believe I do this voluntarily?

So for the past two days, I've been the official cat restrainer, and we have five more days to go. The good news is that the Honey, by far the sickest, is already improving, so all this hard work should result in a big roomful of adoptable cats again.

The same vet that diagnosed Honey and sentenced me to a week of cat wrestling, also fixed up a wounded foster dog earlier in the day. A tall, wiry, terrier mix, Fish is not my foster, but he and I really connected when he was at the shelter prior to going into foster care. (Yes, Fish. I know, I know. He came with the name and now I can't think of him as anything else.) Anyway, Fish has major issues that extend far beyond his name and he bit the crap out of everyone at the vet's office. After they did his surgery, they refused to let him recover there and shelter folks had to come pick him up; this is the first dog I've known personally who was banned from the vets office for life. He also bit the shelter guys as they got him ready to come to the shelter and again after they let him out of this carrier so he could lay on blankets. I arrived awhile later and loved on him a bit (I could tell he remembered me), and by the time evening rolled around and it was time to close up, I was unanimously nominated to be the one to get Fish back in his crate. I think others may have gotten impatient watching me with him, but I coaxed him into his crate with love and patience and cheese, and he ended up going in on his own, with no trauma or upset to either of us. Mission accomplished!

Now, the big news. About two months ago, I brought home Banjo. Since then he has become a romping, affectionate, playful, obedient, loving little dog. At home. When out and about, he's still very timid, but will let people pet him if I'm holding him. He adores me completely, thinks he's my dog, and more than once I've caught myself thinking of him as mine as well. Last night we had a little photo shoot, and then he slept in my bed because his beloved crate had been usurped by an escaped shelter chihuahua that I'd finally caught and brought home until I could return him this morning. (Usurper went to a great foster home today.)

The Usurper:

Banjo Beans, last night. Feeling playful:

He hasn't put on a lot of weight, but is otherwise doing very well. Here he is in all his sweetness.

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When he got neutered last week, I spent the whole day missing him and kept looking for him in his usual spot, only to be surprised when he wasn't there. With his existing issues, I figured I'd foster him for several more months at least, and was concerned about his ability to find a home when he was already so attached to me. We had an extra fun and bonding night last night, which was quite serendipitous.

Well. Today he got adopted. Adopted! It was so hard to give him up, and I know he's so scared and will be for awhile, but the couple who took him have kind eyes and gentle hands and patient spirits (and all my contact information). I know he is in a good family. They know that he can come back to me if for any reason it doesn't work out for them. And I know that I can foster dogs without keeping them all, which I would never have known if I had kept Banjo. I love him and miss him and there is a hole where he was. His presence also helped curb my ache for Penny and now I feel as if it has been ripped open again.

I'm all raw and sore inside. I know I did the right thing, I know this is what we were working toward, but I need to go off and have a good cry.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Smells like Nirvana

A Suki With a View

"On the other side of the everlasting Toyota, there is a yes! And a yes! And a yes!"

Okay, so only the literary geeks will get that blasphemous paraphrase, but I don't mind.


Suki is my beloved, crotchety, moody old car, whose molecules hold memories of my family in good times and bad, on road trips and in town, in burning sage and in vomit. We stroke her soothingly when she has a hard time starting, we reassure her that we don't mind that she's slowed down in her old age. 18 years and 270,000 miles and she's no spring chicken, but she's OUR wrinkled old hen and we love her.

To you, Suki. We'll get you to 400,000 miles yet.

Elmo! Elmo! Elmo!

Take a deep breath and be prepared to concentrate:

Now, relax, and enjoy the 20 second cuteness.

Hole in One

Damn, I'm lucky to hit the ignition with my key some days. Check out what these girls can do.

Cowboys and Indians

No, my kids don't play Cowboys & Indians or Cops & Robbers, but today they invented a new game: Bacteria and Antibodies. They were chasing each other around the house and fighting over who had to be the evil bacteria. Love it, love it, love it. (And by the way, if they did ever play Cowboys & Indians, I have no doubt the cowboys would be the bad guys.)

They were also quite upset with me for throwing away the moldy orange juice bottle I found in the fridge last night. Turns out it was a science project about which I was unaware. I told them to let me know next time so I don't mistake a plate of growing fuzz for garbage in the future.

Did you know that tarantulas can go 2.5 years without eating? We just learned that today. Thank you, Beakman's World.

Marian and Leo both completed a couple of reading assessments today; I'd stumbled across them and they looked quick, so we gave it a whirl. Marian (age 8) came in at a grade level of 4.8 (8th month of 4th grade), and Leo (age 6) at 4.0. The San Diego Quick Assessment just used whole grade numbers and Marian scored grade 4 and Leo grade 2. Both assessments measured only decoding (being able to read the actual words), not reading comprehension, and who knows how much worth they actually have. However, I can certainly see numbers coming in handy the next time I'm cornered by a rabid homeschooling/unschooling skeptic who's convince I'm ruining my children's lives.

On another topic, my foster cat had her babies the other day and has proven to be one of the most idiotic and inept new mothers I've ever known of any species. She is so clueless. I hate interfering with births and maternal-newborn relationships and have always been very hands-off, but I have no doubts that both her babies would be dead right now without me. She finally is getting the hang of it though, if finally nursing well, and hasn't forcefully (and accidentally) flung one of her babies into the side of the cage recently. Oy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Censor Bar Art

Alternately interesting, unique, funny, and naughty. Not a bad way to spend a couple minutes.

Thanks, Joe

They find me.

When we arrived home from our outing, the kids and I were greeted by a stray in our front yard. My dog-smart kids avoided contact and actively pretended he wasn't there while I checked him out. Nervous and flinchy at first (thus having the potential for fear-biting if startled), he didn't take long to trust me completely.

I found his happy spots, the kids brought him food and water, I pulled out tons of his winter coat, we hooked him up to the mailbox, and we all hung out in the front yard for several hours waiting for Steve (animal control) to come by. (He was scared when roaming, his pit face might cause others to see him as a threat, and the shelter was closed today.) Leo named him Joe and we'll see him tomorrow. Thanks to Joe, we had a nice afternoon outside in our shady front yard.

Here's our afternoon benefactor:

Half shepherd--

Half Pit Bull--

He was happy and grateful and lovely with the kids and cats both. When did I become such a dog person? How the hell did that ever happen?

While we waited, Marian practiced her new skill.


Baby sister Sophie looks up to her big sister--can you tell?


Note the lack of training wheels on Leo's bike.

Note the lack of teeth in Leo's face.

Helmet hair to counteract the fluffy pics posted awhile back.

Monday, July 7, 2008


When I was 8, I fell in love with my sweet Gizmo gremlin stuffed animal, after seeing the movie in the theater.


Unfortunately, I vomited all over him on one of our annual summer nausea marathons (aka road trip) and he was not salvageable. My grandmother had seen how much I loved Gizmo while we were there visiting, so she sent me this replacement. (Brace yourself, Mom.)


He scared the crap out of me, but resulted in hours of fun for my dad, who used him to play practical jokes on my mom. Fun times.

No idea why this is all so vivid in my head right now, but I decided it was the universe telling me to blog.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Love & Hope

Laundromat time is prime reading time in our family and we always pass the time by reading stacks and stacks of books. Among many others, some of yesterday's reads included:

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Yesterday while reading Moon and Otter and Frog, we came upon a section that talked about the existence of things we cannot see. I asked the kids, "What exists that we can't see? Can you think of anything?" Without missing a beat, Marian answered, "Love." And Leo simultaneously said, "Hope."


When asked yesterday if I was happy with my life, I responded with a resounding YES! I love my life and see way more positives than negatives. I'm very fulfilled with motherhood, homeschooling, pet fostering, my work, my school, my friends, my family, my community. I love my temperamental and crotchety home and car, my small town neighborhood, my stark valley. I'm putting down roots and spreading my wings and it is lovely.

(forgive the cellphone cam)

So. Are you happy?


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I Kissed A Girl

Okay, so it's been awhile. But I heard this song on my road trip last week and it's been stuck in my head so I tracked it down to share. Not my usual style, but it's catchy. Anything related to kissing girls has to have some merit, right?

A Stroke of Insight

How it feels to have a stroke


When I awoke later that afternoon I was shocked to discover that I was still alive... Light burned my brain like wildfire and sounds were so loud and chaotic that I could not pick a voice out from the background noise... Because I could not identify the position of my body in space, I felt enormous and expansive, like a genie just liberated from her bottle. And my spirit soared free like a great whale gliding through the sea of silent euphoria. Harmonic. I remember thinking there's no way I would ever be able to squeeze the enormousness of myself back inside this tiny little body.

But I realized "But I'm still alive! I'm still alive and I have found Nirvana. And if I have found Nirvana and I'm still alive, then everyone who is alive can find Nirvana." ...

So who are we? We are the life force power of the universe, with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds. And we have the power to choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world. Right here right now, I can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere where we are -- I am -- the life force power of the universe, and the life force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form. At one with all that is. Or I can choose to step into the consciousness of my left hemisphere. where I become a single individual, a solid, separate from the flow, separate from you. I am Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, intellectual, neuroanatomist. These are the "we" inside of me.