Wildlife in the City

Riding the subway sometimes feels like a wildlife journey. This morning as I waited for the train to arrive on the outdoor platform, I heard the quacking of ducks. The sun hadn’t risen yet. It was dark. I couldn’t see the birds, but I heard them  quacking to each other incessantly. They had a lot to say and were passionate about it. Finally they took a breath and that’s when the geese started in with their honking. They were loud and vociferous. The ducks couldn’t take it and flew over my head with jet-engine speed.  FullSizeRender (23)

Yesterday as I boarded the train to go home a woman told me not to sit down. “Why?” I asked. “There’s a rat in here!” she said horrified. I look behind me and sure enough the rodent was zig-sagging across the aisle. The passengers were screaming, men and women alike, jumping out of the way. The rat scampered as fast as his little legs could take him in and out of the rows of seats. Women were lifting their legs. The screams got louder. It ran past me and onto two seats by the door. It found a hole in the back of one of them and disappeared.

We stopped at another station. People got on. The seats were filling up. The only two empty ones had the rat in residence. “Don’t sit there!” a man said to people who wanted to sit down. “There’s a rat in the seat,” he said. The riders walked to another car.

At another stop a woman got on and sat down. The same man warned her, but this time in Spanish. He just knew she was Hispanic. She shrugged her shoulders and said, “No me da miedo.” She was right. There was nothing to be afraid of. The rat was in its hidey-hole with a palpitating heart hoping nobody would rip the seat out and extinguish it. The rodent had nothing to fear. There wasn’t a soul on board with the courage to do that. Even the men, some in hard hats and fluorescent vests, big burly construction guys with tool belts around their middles, might as well have been ballerinas in tutus for all the help they provided.

It showed me I better be my own warrior.

It also occurred to me that the easiest way to hold a group of people hostage would be to unleash a few rats on a subway system. The entire system would be paralyzed in no time. 

Calvin says, “You humans. What’s a stupid rat going to do to you? Now snakes, there’s a thought.”  beagle

Moose in the Air

 

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At this time of year I like to search for unique Christmas tree decorations. Not to buy, but to enjoy looking at. Typically office lobbies don’t have them. Neither do department stores. However there are places that make an effort to showcase the novel and the unique.

My favorite store that tops my list is Carrigg’s of Carmel. At this time of year they have more than a dozen decorated trees in the store that delight and transport you to Christmas heaven. Forget the shopping, the eating, and the staying in Carmel. I go just for the design therapy at Carrigg’s.

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I stroll from room to room. When something catches my eye, I take a quick picture with my camera that I keep hidden in my jacket. After the second room of sensory enchantments, I stop being stealthy and keep the camera in full view. There’s so much to photograph and I don’t care who sees me. I’m like a child in a magic castle.cropped-photo61.jpg

Whoever decorates the store is a genius. There’s so much to absorb it takes several hours, but I limit myself to drooling for 60 minutes. Besides, Alf is waiting for me on the street reading headline news on his phone. Calvin is pulling at his leash attempting to meet and greet all the other pedigree dogs walking their owners.

Calvin says, “Carmel needs a pop-up store for dogs with Christmas delicacies like rabbit jerky.”  beagle

 

 

 

 

Stagecraft

I watched the last debate. Alf left the room saying, “I’m exhausted.” He was right of course, the entire nation has been on a marathon run of insults, lies and scandal.

We have arrived at reality TV status. Not surprising since we thrive on this genre. Why would we expect our candidates to be anything less than entertaining?

What was missing for Trump was a hair stylist and a script beyond toscarhe one-liner attack. There were moments, especially up close, he looked like the Grinch in pancake make-up.

Clinton looked starched and at moments scared. Behind her rehearsed poise, she was bracing herself for the inevitable questions about the disgraces in her life. However, she was so well scripted that she pulled off the performance of a lifetime. She deserves an Oscar for the best performance of an actor in a leading role. It’s no surprise that her personality type either goes in for acting or politics.

If Trump wins the presidency, we will get all the glam and eye-candy we crave. The media will drool capturing Melania’s every model move. She will light up the White House and elevate it to mogul status. That in itself will distract Putin and ISIS for a while.

Clinton, on the other hand, will be returning to her old digs with her scandal-worn philandering partner. A rather stale spectacle in comparison.

Calvin says, “Do you know what’s really a shame? There’s no mention of a dog coming to the White House. But then again maybe they’re too many already.”  beagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctora Doolittle

Yesterday was my day for lost animals.

It’s funny how things like this happen in bunches.

I came into the office to discover a yellow cockatiel in the kitchen peering out of its cage. As the story goes, he flew onto the front steps over the weekend and one of our co-workers, who lives up the street, discovered him, rushed to the store for a cage and food, and is now caring for it until she can find its owner. He’s well socialized and beautiful. Somebody loved him. Did he fly in from the surrounding neighborhood or from Mexico? He’s not talking and so we’ll never know.

When I got home that evening Alf announced he’d found a lost kitten. He was sitting on top of our backyard fence making loud cries for its mother. If you want to see me spring into action this is it. We scooped him up and walked over to our neighbors who have several cats. The kitten was not theirs, and no, they didn’t want it. We brought it home, fed it some tuna, and tried to calm the little thing down. He was shaking from fright from nose to tail. The rest of the evening I was on the phone talking with friends and marketing the heck out of the little thing. Nothing worked. Every one stood their ground while I tugged at their heart strings. IMG_3147

We kept him overnight and this morning Alf returned him to the fence. We’re hoping the mamma cat will come around looking for him and they’ll be reunited and I can go back to a good night’s sleep again.

That’s in a perfect world.

Calvin says, “Hey, you didn’t consult me about this. It stinks. He’ll consume your attention and affections. And don’t count on me to cat-sit. I’ll be sulking.”  beagle

Equidae

My son spent a morning with two donkeys on a ranch in the hills.

He knew nothing about donkeys. He’d never met any before so he didn’t know what to expect. They were not used for anything other than ornamentation on the property, like trees.

They were in a corral. My son went inside softly and stood there to gauge their reaction. He didn’t want to frighten them as is so often the case with horses that don’t know you.  donkey

“Go up and pet them,” said the ranch manager.

And he did. They came up immediately to his side and allowed him to pet them, talk to them, and feed them a treat. They were happy to stay there all day with him.

“They’re like children, actually worse. They’ll eat themselves to death, they have no sense of when to stop. And these two like to wander. If you let them out, they’ll take off and won’t come back,” the manager said.

The property manager was hoping to find them a new home.  I guess he was tired of chasing them all over the hills. They had become a nuisance.

What did he expect from ornaments?

They had no purpose in life.

We’d be traipsing all over the place, too if we didn’t have things to do.

At the end of the visit, my son declined them. He already had two dogs to take care of, he didn’t need two bigger ones.

Calvin says, “You’re close to hurting my feelings. Am I a nuisance like that? I thought you adored me.” beagle

 

 

 

A Kitchen Visitor

Here’s another bird story:

I visited a friend on Labor Day.  She lives on top of a mountain in a sprawling house, with a pool and several studios. She’s an artist and bird lover. We talked about the many species of birds that inhabit her world which she feeds – woodpeckers, ravens, blue jays, sparrows and a slew of others I can’t name. I don’t know my bird kingdom.

She also owns two dogs and two horses. The occasional fox shows up at night looking for food as do many deer. IMG_0205

The next day a hawk flew into her dining room, and smashed all her vases by the windows in its attempts to flee. Without breaking into a sweat, my friend threw a blanket over it and took it outside. It stood very still for a few seconds, she said, and then flew into a nearby tree and glared back at her.

I’m calling her the bird whisperer.

I couldn’t have done that. I would have panicked, and then the bird would have flown all over the house, crashing into things, the dogs would have gone after it, leaving loose feathers and flesh all over the place, and I would have ended up calling 911 and all of us going to the ER for stitches.

Calvin says, “A hawk? You’re kidding me, right? Why don’t you take me with you on these visits!?” beagle

 

A Ringless Night

Yesterday on the subway, I unzipped the compartment in my purse where I keep my phone, and discovered it was missing.

My heart stopped.

I searched every nook and cranny. Nada.  cellphone

I began to hyperventilate.

Had I dropped it on my walk to the station? Not unless my purse bottomed out and disgorged its contents onto the street like a piñata.

Did a pickpocket steal it? No, nobody came near me, bumped me, or distracted me, unless you call a series of cute youngsters walking their even cuter pooches a distraction.

I slumped down in my seat and mentally went through the steps I take when readying myself to go home.

That’s when it hit me.

I left the phone on my desk.

How is that possible?

It’s my right arm, my lifeline, my entertainment, my reading, my video watching, my Internet searching, my photo catalog, my music, my note taking, my contacts, my phone numbers, my camera, my clock, my calculator, my calendar, my memory and my brain!

I was devastated.

Sweat beads appeared on my upper lip.

I told myself to calm down.

It was only a phone.

Millions live without one and are quite happy.

Right. But I wasn’t millions.

I needed my phone. Now!

I tossed the idea around of going back to retrieve it, but I was too far into the commute home by then.

Oh well, I said, you needed some peace and quiet so here’s your chance.

Okay. Let’s see what life is like while being shut off from the world.

Alf picked me up at the station and as soon as I climbed into the car, I said, “I need to use your phone, to call the kids, to tell them they can’t call me because I don’t have my phone with me tonight.”

Calvin says, “You’re a nut case. I don’t need a phone. I come with an internal clock that notifies me everyday when it’s dinner time. What else do you need?”

beagle