Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lo Has Finches on the Brain and on the Porch

Well, yes, of course I have gone ahead and done it......you knew I would.   I certainly wasn't going to let that perfectly good, brand new cage go to waste, now was I?

 The Cat Lady is now aka The Bird Lady of  Califa St.   I am now the proud, somewhat rattled mother of two pair of lovely, delightful zebra  Finches.  I do not know why they are called zebra.....they do have  black and white patches or stripes on the head....at  least the males do.....the females are more subdued.  One has a sprinkling of black feathers and white here and there on a beige body;  the other female is all soft off white and they all have gorgeous vermillion beaks.  The males also have glowing round vermillion patches on their cheeks kind of like avian clowns......red noses, red cheeks, but nothing clumsy about these guys......they are delicate and graceful and OMG are they busy.  Flying from perch to perch, flitting hither and yon checking out their mansion.....60,000 square feet, two bedrooms, one bath, two servants constantly dropping bits of lettuce cucumber, grapes, eggshell through the bars like manna from heaven, seed and water dishes always refilled.  Today the head servant went out to gather grass and various select twigs to provide building materials for when they decide to construct their nurseries in the nesting baskets.  I was told to step back and let them do it themselves or hire their own contractor.  Sigh.

It was so funny when they were first introduced  into the cage....one pushy male immediately flew up and checked out and briefly inhabited one of the nesting baskets, little red  bill poking out.  This is ours, he said in no uncertain terms.  Didn't even consult his wife, the male chauvinist pig.  Hmmm....now that I think about it, I am not sure if he had even decided on which of the females he intended to claim and drag by the hair into their cave.  He may be like some of the men I have known,only briefly, who plan to appropriate both females for his harem.  I hope the other guy doesn't let him get away with it.......or maybe they will all share....who knows.  In all of the literature I have recently read about finches, nothing mentioned whether or not they are monogamous like Mourning Doves.   Well, that is their business I do not really care one whit about their sex lives as long as they are happy.  Of course I do hope thay are not all gay because I am looking forward to some eggs and babies, but I guess if they are all homosexual they can always adopt.

I think the head servant has been busier then the finches. To tell the truth, I am exhausted....mostly from anxiety that this process should all go well, but a good part from running/shlepping/limping around getting everything set up.  And last night, because they are on the open porch which is where the nitely buffet is set out for strays, possum, raccoons, I devised an intricate security system for them. No, it does not have a bell that rings in my bedroom.....though I wish I could have one of those.   I remembered having, in my garage, several of those 6 foot x 7 foot slat blinds which I used to have hanging in the sun room for reasons which I cannot remember and I decided that if I stood the thing on end and wrapped it snugly around the cage and fastened with a bungy cord that it would create a 7 foot tall pillar of an unimpregnable fortress.  I had to struggle a bit with it, but it did go up well and I went to bed praying I would not hear a resounding crash during the night with a few pitiful twitters of goodbye from my feathered children.   I did sleep, but not well I will admit and with the dawn I staggered out to peer out the window to see if the fortress was still standing.  Huzzah, it was!  Actually, Florence and I discussed this and she suggested simply bringing the cage inside and setting it on the floor in the atrium where they would be totally safe,.   I think we may do that tonight.  I will certainly sleep better,  I don't think the birds give a shit, if you will pardon the expression.

Now my main problem is that with my poor vision I cannot really see my precious pets very well in all their detailed glory.  I have to keep asking poor Florence whether there are still 4 birds in the cage.....she will undoubtedly end up hating me and them.....oh dear....I hope not.  I will have to start limiting my queries to just 5 or 6 times a day.  I am experimenting with tools to see them better,,,trying a pair of old opera glasses, binoculars, my old prescription distance glasses whatever I can find that will help.  Meanwhile I must be satisfied with whatever I am able to see........it is still fascinating to me.

By the way.....to all those naysayers out there I can state that they are not in the least bit messy....not a seed has been flung outside their cage nor are they noisy.....sweet little tweets and twitters now and them, hardly audible.  So there....nyah, nyah.  I appreciate all the words of caution I received, but, being this insufferable, incurable optimist, I am glad none of the negatives have surfaced.

I have been playing with names for my chillun and cannot decide whether to name them fancy names like Delilah, Elspeth, Nigel Fortescue, silly names like Butch and Spike or just Eeny, Meeny, Miney and Moe.  Since the only one I can really identify is the white female I may just name her and call the others whatever I feel like on a give day.....they will definitely not care nor will they respond to anything I call them......the ingrates......they will just order me around like the rest of my children never picking up after themselves and continuing to stay and mooch off of me even after they are adults with families of their own bickering away out there about how the mansion needs more bedrooms and an extra bath.

Good Lord, what have I done????  I might as well have had real children........no, no........for me this is the right path,  at least no dirty diapers.

Tune in again for the next installment............sometime soon.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Abducted by Aliens/ or Lo Still Has Finches On The Brain

I was abducted by aliens again last night and subjected to tortures unmentionable....they made me listen to my own audio recordings of myself singing off key thru every song written between 1930 and 1960.  Last time they nabbed me they apparently  implanted some kind of chip and what they wanted this time was to know what it was that caused the chip to register joy and happiness in huge spikes at odd hours of the day and/or night.  I am sorry....I am a coward........I could not hold out....I had to tell them what they wanted to know.   So some of you guys may be in danger.

This is to warn Joe of "Cranky Old Man", Mary Brewster of "MurrMurrs" and Pearl of "Pearl Why You Little" that I was forced to name names...yours.  It IS your fault that I keep breaking out into gales of laughter, giggles and hee-hees whenever I read your blogs, but I do not want anything bad to happen to you as a result of your  brilliance and wit so be warned.    Unfortunately, I do not have any advice about how to protect yourselves.........I do know that Garlic does NOT work.....I tried both eating it and wearing it and it was useless as a defense.  It did, however, keep a lot of mostly tiresome people away from me for days so it was not a total loss.  And, in all fairness, these alien abductors have never actually hurt me......so perhaps I am worrying for nothing....you may even enjoy the experience.  It sure beats the monotony of having to watch reruns on TV for the gazillionth time. 

And no, I did not get a good look at them, those aliens that is, nor was I able to see any details of the wondrous spaceship....it is all fuzzy, like a dream......so please do not nag me for details. .  The only thing that came across with dreadful clarity was the monstrosity of my off key vocalizing droning on and on.  Could it have been the pickles and ice cream I had before going to bed, do ya' think? 

No, I firmly believe it was caused by exhaustion and a lapse into temporary total insanity from single-handedly assembling an 18" x 18" x 30" bird cage before bedtime with nothing but a page of those infuriating assembly instruction (ha) with no words....just arrows and an assortment of letters of the alphabet which prove to be more confusing than helpful  (I should not complain.....at least the letters were in English and not Japanese or Korean.)   To my credit, I do not remember uttering a single crass epithet....well, not very many.......at least not until I got to the part where I decided to make a few new perches out of more suitable  finch size dowels I happened to have in the garage.  This required my notching the ends with a little hacksaw and I finally figured out the way to avoid sawing off my finger instead of notching the dowel was to hold the saw upside down and rub the end of the  dowel across it.......oh, never mind.........the main problem was being nearly blind and unable to see the end of the dowel, but I got 'er done.  Counted  my fingers afterward and there still seem to be 10 mostly attached.

Any of you who read my last blog must be either nodding your heads in understanding or shaking your heads side to side in utter disbelief.   Does all of this birdcage activity mean that I have succumbed to my wild whim to keep finches?  Well, perhaps....but then again, maybe not.... I have not actually surrendered to the act of purchasing any birds.  I thought I would first see how I liked having a bird cage on my porch outside of the window where my reclining chair lives (often with my plump bottom settled therein).  After a day or so when I see if I am enjoying my birdcage or hating it I will make a final decision on whether to take the next step in the project.  No.......to be truthful I think I took the next step today when I sent Florence out to Birds Plus to buy a nesting basket and  some Finch seed.  I will see how I like having a bird cage and some Finch seed and then I will take the next step.  Meanwhile I am amusing myself by making little bird swings out of old discarded plastic canula tubing from my oxygen feed system....... I KNEW I would figure out something to do with them rather than throwing them all out.......I just never dreamed it would be to make bird swings out of them.

And so goes this odd Friday in the little Crazy Old Lady's house on Califa St.  Once again I have manged to come up with an idea to get myself out of bed in the mornings and save me from being bored to death by my limitations.  I am not ashamed of my craziness,  I think it is really quite a Good Thing.  I am actually grateful for it.

Oh.........And good luck Joe, Murr and Pearl.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

When Google Reader Disappears Where Does That Leave Me?

Please, do not make the mistake of thinking that any of the following words about Google Reader are being written in jest.....I have never been more deadly serious!

I am sorry if it disappoints you to discover the depths of my ignorance, but I am bamboozled by the news that Google Reader  will be snatched away from us on July 1.  From the shrieks of anguish and rumors of Petitions protesting and pleading and such, I assume that this will affect us (Bloggers, that is).

I need your help in understanding the how and what of it, but more importantly, I definitely need detailed help in guiding me as to what to do about it.  (never mind the petitions......Google has become the Monster that ate Apple......do you really believe they are going to give a good goddamn about what YOU and I want?

I have a multitude of questions, but I will try to control myself.

*  Will our current and our history blogs contained in the files at "blogspot.com" need to be copied/exported/uploaded/downloaded/carried in a wheelbarrow to some other site name?

*  I have heard that a thing called "Feedly" could take over Google's activities for us.  Does anyone know anything about how that would work?  (What a terrible name...I will be deeply ashamed to be associated with a thing called Feedly, but I am ready to bite the bullet if I must).

*  Has anyone already taken steps to transfer over to another Utility Program ?  (my term not theirs)

*  Does anyone know anything about what to do first?

I am attempting to attack this problem early because it takes me so long to understand some of these things and to finally get it right and I cannot face the prospect of fucking up and being unable to blog or be blogged to.

If the answers to my questions are too long and complex to be given  in comments, please email me.
I think my email address is around here someplace or maybe in my profile...if not, I will fix that shortly.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  (!)

And now for something completely different......

I feel compelled to respond to several of the comments on my last blog in which I mused about the desire (but not necessarily the act) to acquire a few Finches  (the birds that is)

For any of you who may not have been paying attention, I was NOT born yesterday.  Not only have I heard the rumor that cats and birds do not always bond well (to the birds' advantage, that is), but I
have even been in the position of owning or being owned by a cat and a bird simultaneously. 

The fact is that, with a little common sense and a bit of caution, the two can coexist very nicely.  After discovering that the bird is simply not available as  a toy or a meal, , the cat will generally come to totally ignore the presence of the bird.....or so was my experience.  My parakeet, Chauncey, and my Siamese, Whozit, lived together peaceably for many years.....Chauncey was often allowed to leave his cage, fly around the room, sit on my finger and give kisses, learn new words and phrases and other endearing activities without being devoured.  The cat was simply shut out of the room during these jaunts.  Simple.  It worked.  You cannot believe that I would put a creature in danger simply to satisfy a foolish whim of mine, can you?  Of course  not....you just did not think before panicking and becoming hysterical.

As for the one comment voicing the often expressed premise that wild animals should not be kept in cages........there are meaningful arguments on both sides of that issue and I will not get involved in that.  BUT, in the case of cage bred birds who were born in cages, lived their lives in cages, raised their families in cages and ultimately died after a peaceful, pampered, w  ell fed 5 or 6 year life in cages I have a different take on the subject.  Perhaps the wild finches (which are I have been led to believe) different species from the pet finch varieties) have a freer, happier life.....I dunno.  I suspect that if the cage bred   birds were set free they would have a very rough time of it, might starve while getting acclimated to freedom, might fall prey to a multitude of predators and might or might not have as long a life span.  The ones I observed on my safari the other day seemed quite happy, content, certainly pampered and well fed, busy playing, flying around the spacious cages,  raising their young and doing other finch-like things, and one must also consider the hundreds of thousands of bird lovers who get enormous enjoyment out of caring for and watching these charming little birds.  Are they really criminals or monsters.  I say not so.

Forgive me if I get a bit nasty here, but I suspect that if you ask any wife, who married for security and the pleasure of being "kept", whether she was content with the deal, she would say "yes-mostly"............I merely point to the fact that, if those wives decide they are not content they almost always go out and find another "keeper" to feather their nest for them  (sorry....couldn't resist).  Rarely do they opt for the freedom to find some menial job, struggle, toil and ruin their manicures with dishwater.  But then, I could be prejudiced......the human pet happens to be one of my pet peeves.  Oh, dear...I do apologize......If I had an ounce of decency I would delete that last bit of fun with words but I obviously don't.

And on that note I will sit down and shut up.

Just don't forget my plea way back at the beginning.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Just Another of My Bird Brained Ideas....Please Save Me


Everyone, drop whatever you are doing this instant, grab the nearest coil of rope, a few lengths of sturdy chain and several pairs of handcuffs, if you happen to have any lying around left over from your work or perverted sex play.  Perhaps a few sturdy gags would  be useful too, in case I could manage, though properly restrained, to inch my way to the phone and activate it with my teeth and tongue.  I have just noticed myself galloping off in a very dangerous direction and must  be stopped by any and every means possible.

"WTF" ??, you say, "what has that crazy broad gotten herself into now?"  Well, I am not into it yet, but I know the signs and it means Trouble Right Here in River City.....also in Valley Village, otherwise known by its less snooty inhabitants as North Hollywood.  This is one of those cases where I find myself giving myself advice by saying, "Now,  if I were you, Lois...."  But I do not seem to be listening.  Dammit, I never do.

Oh, hell.....here's the straight poop......it all began a few days ago when I went out to the front porch upon arising ......the porch wherein the nitely free buffet is set up for the night critters....... because I saw something a bit peculiar lying there.....a leaf perhaps...no.....horrors, a dead bird obviously left in generous payment for his buffet meal by one of my nitely cat visitors.   Nature can be so cruel though I had to appreciate the gesture.   Sorrowfully I picked it up and gazed in wonder at its beauty.  It was quite small, bigger than a hummingbird but not by much and I decided it might  be a type of finch which I see passing through my yard fairly often tweeting their lovely high pitched tweets.  With a beautiful pale yellow belly and shades of pale green here and there....I had never seen anything quite like it.....so after being quite sure it could not be revived by a drop of brandy or mouth to mouth, I carried it indoors and put it into a baggie and into the freezer for further study later. 

And then began the endless hours spent on Google doing ever more dangerous searches.  Innocently starting out with merely trying to identify it among "finches" I determined that the closest I could come was perhaps a wild bird called a "goldfinch".  And then my eye strayed to a sidebar item which said.....gasp..... Finches as Pets, and then to a more insidious and fatal entry,  "Finches For Sale".  Today, when my back was turned, I found my incorrigible self calling one or two of the phone numbers in my local area to find out  about what they had to offer and for how much.  To make matters worse, I spent the afternoon perusing listings for cages and pondering possible sites for setting up same to enable me to watch the little darlings.......that I have absolutely no intention of acquiring, you understand.  None, Nada, Zilch!

During this investigation I have learned some interesting bits of info like the fact that, rather than an upright cage they require a horizontal cage because Finches need to fly for exercise and it needs to be in a more or less horizontal flight path.  Nothing was said about landing lights or a control tower, so I assume the birds take care of those details for themselves.  There was one article that put me off a bit by mentioning that, in addition to seed and things like hard boiled eggs with the shells mashed up for calcium, Finches need some protein like insects or live little worms.  But other articles calmed my fears by assuring me that there were pellets available that provided all that sort of thing in a less wriggly way.

I was also warned that one species, called the Zebra Finch I  believe, can be a sort of Nazi of the bird world, so vilely aggressive as to kill all the other Finches within his view and flying space, an event too dreadful to contemplate.  But yet another article assured me that this can be solved by having at least 6 Finches in the cage.  Perhaps the little fucker can count and knows that 5 against one is not a percentage in his favor.  Who knows.

All fascinating stuff......but, of course, this is all academic because I would have to be totally out of my friggin' mind to even consider adding birds to my menagerie, wouldn't I?  And even if I were considering it, all of you good people would grab your ropes and chains and handcuffs and gags and come to my rescue by restraining me in my madness before I did any real damage to myself, wouldn't you?  Of course you would, so we can all sleep soundly tonight.

.......Oh, um, by the way.....have you ever or do any of you now keep Finches???     Just askin'.......

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dolt, Dumbkopf, Brainless Idiot..........That's Me Not You

I  just stopped beating myself  over the head with a cudgel I keep around for just that purpose......I stopped only because I need both hands for blogging.  Otherwise who knows what further damage  I might have done.  I am reminded of my oldest friend Stella's Aunt Fanny  (no, no, I swear to you that was her name) who would look at us when we had done something less than bright and say, ...."so how many more colleges?".......(we were both grads and Stel even had a Masters Degree but they say you can't fix stupid. 

Why, you may ask, this self abuse?  Because I screwed up, bigtime and I am  not sure if I can ever forgive myself.  I know I will have to try, but I will get to that sometime later. Right now, back to my confession.
Awright, already .........enuf ,  enuf caterwauling.  Cut to the chase,  Lo.  See, it was like this.

The stupendous, splendid blogger,  Joe Hagy of Cranky Old Man, kindly allowed me to participate in a joint blog with him on a subject close to both our hearts.........fixing things that needed fixing in the world.  Together we developed a fine blog and he advised me that he would post it on Wednesday.  I fully intended to post a bit of a teaser here to point you all in his direction on the big day.......a blare of trumpets and an order/plea to run- do- not- walk to Cranky Old Man, but a few things came up in my life to distract me (I am one of  those folks like dear old Pres. Gerald  Ford who, they said, could not walk and chew gum at the sam e time, and I did not realize my blunder till the middle of the night last night 20 hours after publication,whereupon I leaped out of bed (metaphorically speaking) and staggered to the computer only to find that my favorite laptop had completely died of some strange recurring disease that happens often when it commands me not to turn off my computer because of urgent updates.  So, in my frenzy I moved down th3e table to my back-up laptop and, while trying to plug in the power cord I dropped it a just the teensiest bit and it told me in no uncertain gterms that it would not toleratge such rough tgreatment from tghe likes of a nonentity like me  and it promptly went black and lost all signs of life, and no matter what buttons I pushed nor what epithets I uttered would not revive.  There was nothing left to do but make my way to my old desktop which has been neglected for so long that I doubted it would ever speak to me again, but I bravely pressed on and pressed some more buttons and, the blessed creature responded grudgingly but with signs of life.  Howev er, my travails were not over.  When I tried to log on to Blogger it slapped me stingingly on both cheeks and the side of the head and insisted that I had the wrong password and, for some reason, known only to the cyber Gods, refused to let me reset it while leading me a merry circular chase with tempting prompts but no results. 

At this point I had no recourse but to write an email of abject apology to Joe, stuff my face with Gingersnaps, swallow a Vsalium and go back to bed.  In the morning, I figured, either it will all have been a bad dream, or I might have turned into a frog and need no longer worry about anything except wherfe my next delicious bug was coming from, or perhaps  Florence would have some answers.  Needless to say.....none of the above came to pass, but we did manage to get the backup laptop working by tricking it back to life by removing the battery, having a mock funeral, then reinstalling the battery causing a miracle resurrection.  (the problem with using the desktop computer is that I can not see the keyboard on that one well enough to do any extensive typing/correcting/typing etc.)

So, here you find me a pitiful wreck, a shadow of my former vigorous self,  a skid row derelict begging for a handout.  I just called my computer guru begging him  to make an emergency call and fix my trusty main laptop and to impress upon him the urgency I told him I had just tried to jump out of the window to commit suicide, but failed because I forgot I was on the ground floor.......another painful defeat on  top of everything else. 

So, what can you do for me, you ask?  (I assume that is what you are asking).  Very simple...won't hurt a bit........just rush your sweet blogging fannies over to Crank Old Man's blog of Wednesday, March 13, enjoy the blog and do leave a comment  if you can find it in your hearts to do so.  Right now I plan to swallow a few more Valium and go back to bed where, hopefully,  I cannot do any further damage.

Love ya' all.
the wreck who used to be Lo


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Wow and Gezundtheidt

This is just to say "Thank you" again to every wonderful one of you who have been so kind and supportive and given such great reviews of my video/vocal blog.  I am truly amazed and still almost speechless.

If you really meant your praises, I promise I will sing for you again.  If you were fibbing, it'll serve you right when I do.

I have had to remove a long comment from that blog, seemingly in German, the only two words of which I could understand were "wow" and "fuhrer".  Though it may have been an innocent rave, I can't be sure.......it might have been something indecent....like an indecent proposition or an invitation to join the Nazi Party.  Sorry I am too old to party and I am much too old for indecent propositions.

(If any of you can translate German let me know.)

And now I have to go and get ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Holy Moly......This BlogGrammy Is So Heavy !

I am a bit  bemused today....last night I ordered in some lovely Chinese food (Honey Walnut Shrimp and MuShu Chicken......blessings from heaven and Bamboo Village) and, of course there were Fortune Cookies.

One was perplexing and a bit unsettling or maybe encouraging.....I don't know which   
                                                                                                              IT'S NOT THE END YET...

Actually, that is the kind of thing an 85 year old likes to hear.

The other one made me chortle.  (I love that word) 


The answer to that one is easy.......BOTH, of course, if you are offering.  
It would only be "neither" if the choice  required an answer to a question  like, "would you have sex with him for......?

But enough of this shilly-shallying..........I am totally ferblundget today.  (That, I believe, is somewhere  between fercocktah and ferdreydt).  (  If my beloved Mama were only here she could correct my spelling on those,,,,,,, I do not think spellcheck would  be up to it. )

Why, you ask, am I ferblundget?  Well, this has been a momentous week of firsts for me both in the way of experiences and honors.   You probably all know that I summoned up my courage and published a singing video blog earlier this week and that did leave me a mite weak in the knees at my seeming arrogance not to mention with a monstrous shiver of apprehension as to how it would be received.  

The truth is, even though I was married to a jazz musician with a band, I have never sung in public in my whole gonsa life. (of course, that does not count singing The Star Spangled Banner with the class in Assembly or Take Me Out to the  Ball Game).  I have always loved music and have sung for my own pleasure only and the  idea of singing in front of even one person would have completely nonplussed....nay.....paralyzed me when I was younger.   I really do not remember how this whole singing for my beloved followers developed and I am too lazy to go back and research how it all began.  But, it seems to me that I innocently promised it somewhere along the line and I try never to break a promise.  Then when the roadblocks developed to my accomplishing this feat technically.....well.....being the stubborn bulldog that I am, the die was surely cast. And so, I did  it.

All of which leads me to this morning, when I was still basking in the glow of your delightful, enthusiastic, (if muchly undeserved ) comments and praise,  You are all angels and I love you dearly.  Your support has meant a great deal to me.......words cannot express.......I was actually prepared for a few polite catcalls and snickers and to my amazement and delight did not detect a single one.  So THANK YOU ALL from the bottom of my heart.  (Bow, bow, curtsy,  flinging of kisses here while  I clutch your cyber bouquets to my ample bosom and skip lightly off of the stage without tripping and/or falling down )

Before you start clamoring for more, I must tell you that I will, indeed, sing to you again........perhaps more often than desirable or necessary even, but there are still a few technical bugs I want to iron out first so you will have to dine on nothing but my mostly edible words for a while.

********And now the the other HUGE event.   And I can hardly speak intelligibly about this.*******

This morning, one of my blogging Idols, the incredible, brilliant, lovable  Joe Hagy of Cranky Old Man
handed me the biggest honor of my life, a combination Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, People's Choice award when he devoted his blog to me, praised me to the heavens
(and recruited a whole bunch of new followers to my site.)  I told him and I repeat it here.......there are simply no words to describe how I feel much less to thank him properly.  However, if you happen to be so wretchedly deprived as to not know of his fantastic, perceptive,intelligent, FUNNY writings, run- do not walk to:


Now I have to go and lie down and put cold cloths on my feverish head.  What a day this has been.......hmmmmm.......that reminds me of one of my favorite songs.......look for it in your future somewhere.....it is called "Almost Like Being In Love".