A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rainy Day and the Love Birds

When Rainy Day decided to join Netflix, a good friend of hers suggested she watch the true story of The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. (Spoiler Alert!) Rainy D loved the movie about a bunch of parrots that escaped a pet store due to some catastrophe, until the end, when one of them died. Rainy Day cried.

Now, Rainy Day knows that there is a food chain, and that most humans think they are at the top. Rainy Day would argue that there are a few species out there that are higher on the food chain than humans, they just aren't as intelligent as humans. Well, maybe they are, but in different ways – sharks and bears come to mind. She is sure some of you can probably come up with more.

Love Birds studying Rainy Day and the Flash!
Anyhow, while Rainy Day and her friend were walking in the park, which is really a 'wash', they heard some screeching overhead and looked up to see a flock of wild parrots busy flocculating around a palm tree. And Rainy Day with no camera! That evening, Kay and Rainy Day went back to the park, and found the parrots in a bushier tree next to their palm tree. The flash unit on Rainy Day's camera came on as it was too dark in the tree, and the flash fascinated the birds. They would chatter, flash!, they would be quiet and study the camera and Rainy Day and then begin to discuss the strange human and her strange mini-sun.

After returning to the hotel room, Rainy Day did a bit of research before heading out the next morning to shoot the little buggers in the palm tree. It seems the wild parrots are Peach Faced African Love Birds. A breeding pair escaped in 1998 and there is now an estimated population of 100,000 in the greater Phoenix area. At first, people were afraid they would push the native species of birds out of their niche, but it turns out they didn't. The native birds were too smart to let go of their habitat.

Parrots in a Palm Tree
The parrots are slow eaters, and when they discovered bird feeders they would swoop down and chase the other birds away; it didn't take long for the other birds to force their way back to the feeders and now the parrots wait their turn and eat in peace. It was also feared they would take over the nesting holes of owls, etc. in the Saguaro cactus, but these are love birds and they prefer larger spaces where they can be together. They like to nest in attics, palm trees, under roof tiles. In short, they are living with, not against, the natives. Rainy Day is quick to note, these are in no way related to Starlings!

One of the fascinating bits about parrots, to Rainy Day's rather odd mind, but odd things fascinate her, as you well know, is that parrots recognize other species of parrots as parrots and will help them find food, shelter, and even invite them into the flock.

Gander who Dislikes Humans
Rainy Day likes birds. She had a grandmother who raised song finches and canaries, an aunt who raised parakeets, and a cousin who raised cockatoos. But she admits, she prefers them in the wild v. in cages. Even when those in the wild are big, white Ganders that don't like Rainy Day and would charge her every chance he got. Actually, he didn't like anyone who came near 'his' territory at the park. He would squawk at bicyclists and hiss at joggers, and if walkers didn't take a wide berth, he would charge them. He snuck up on Rainy Day a couple times because she'd stopped to take a picture of the Great Blue Heron. She turned just before he lunged for her legs and dared him to attack. Fortunately, he backed down from her dare.

Great Blue Heron who only wanted Fish
Rainy Day and Kay are now back in their respective homes. The 100 plus degree days of Scottsdale a thing of the past; the love birds and their fowlish friends memories held in photos. Once again, Rainy Day's puppy has a lap in which to nap, and the world of Rainy Day revolves on its axis.

Rainy Day truly hopes you are as richly blessed with good friends as she is.

If you wish to leave a comment, and there is no comment box below, please click on the underlined word, 'comments' to open a comment box.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rainy Day and the Walkabout

Rainy Day and her friend, Kay get up every morning around 6.00, get dressed, and go for a walkabout in the gorgeous park across the street from their motel. It isn’t that Rainy Day and Kay are gung ho about mornings (those of you who know Rainy D know she things mornings are about the worst time ever, and that even God doesn’t get up in the mornings!) but they do want to get their walking in before it gets hot. As it is, the night temperatures seldom dip below 85 degrees.

The park they walk in is a long ‘wash’ most, if not all, man made to act as a catch basin for their flash floods. There are short golf courses, golf Frisbee set ups, a creek that runs through it (several miles from North Scottsdale to the Salt River). The creek empties into ponds before exiting as another creek, repeating their pond/creek bit until into the Salt.

If I’m remembering correctly, the Salt River is dammed, and the resulting reservoir is used for boating and water sports.

“Our” pond has a small island at the north west end. On the island are a couple trees, a bazillion noisy birds in the trees, a few ducks, and a gander with two gooses. (Rainy Day flunked grammar, can you tell?) That old gander does not like anyone coming near his harem. He hisses and charges at bikers (on the path), walkers (on the path), and dogs (on leashes). So far, he has only hissed at Rainy Day; however, she says if he attacks, she will hiss and attack back!

We had a haboob again last night. Not so bad here, but the western part of the Greater Phoenix Megalopolis area got quite a bit of sand. Rainy Day thinks it a bit funny that so many Americans suffer from Arab Anxiety, and yet we now call our dust storms ‘haboobs’ after the Arabian word for their dust storms. Rainy Day thinks it’s a miracle that anyone from a different language can ever learn American English the way we add words from other languages and don’t think about it twice. We took Typhoon from the Japanese, Hurricane from the Mayans, skosh from the Koreans, milch from the Germans, and how many words can you think of we took from other languages??? (Use the comment box and let me know.)

Mark is doing well. He does, however, look like someone has used him to practice slicing, dicing, and stapling. He’s got scars on the front and back, and oh-my. He is really doing well, as long as he takes it slow and doesn’t overdo it, which is hard when one is Mark;-)

The pictures below are from the Walkabout in the Botanical Gardens.  Alas, I brought my camera, not the cord to download to my computer. Gray hairs, you know????

 If you wish to leave a comment, and there is no comment box below, please click on the underlined word, ‘comments’ to open a comment box.

Some kind of cactus with yellow fruits

Palo Verde tree trunks

Sticker Plant

Flower hanging from tree

Teddy Bear Cholla

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rainy Day and the Green Lush

Palo Verde Tree

Rainy Day and her Sister of Choice, Kay, have once again hit the road. We left the Tri Cities Friday morning, and drove all day (not so bad when there are two drivers to share the load. We arrived in Scottsdale the next day, and are staying in a delightful motel, The 3 Palms. The reason for the trip is to spend a couple of weeks with Kay’s son, Mark, who has just gotten home from some serious surgery. Rainy Day is delighted to state he is doing well and looking good! He goes in to see the doctor today to possibly have all of his stitches removed.  Rainy Day volunteered to go to Office Depot and buy a staple puller; he grimaced and declined her offer. I wonder why!

Prickly Pear Cactus with Pears
Desert Duster

On the way to Scottsdale, we noticed the long winter, and cold spring has made for some lush green countryside. Utah, normally brown by now, at least where we traveled, was a lush green. The grasses were green, the shrubs were green – very beautiful!
Singing Cardinal

Saguaro with Two Birds eating Fruit

When we crossed into Arizona, all the Saguaro cacti were budding out, a few were in bloom. The Joshua Trees were lush and fuzzy (can you picture green Tribles on fuzzy sticks;-), some were blooming – long stalks coming from the top with flowers at the end. Looked a bit like Yucca only fewer flowers at the end. The Yucca and Prickly Pear were also in full bud and some bloomed. Made me think of Daddy’s short story, And The Desert Shall Blossom. Alfred Hitchcock bought it, and it is available on DVD, Season Four.

Although some of the days will be a tad over 100, most will be high 90s or low 100s. However, it’s a dry heat, or so they keep telling me. Actually, it’s rather pleasant at the moment but this is the monsoon season (if the dust don’t get ya, the monsoons will) so we get rain, which a dry heat does not make.

Rainy Day did get to go to one of her most favorite places in the whole wide world – the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. She calls it the Cactus Garden because most of the plants are cactus – and ALL desert plants have thorns! Even if it isn’t a cactus, it’ll reach out to stab you if it gets a chance. Honest. Trust me.

Rainy Day has tried, several times to log onto her Charter Web Mail, and couldn’t get on. She tried calling Charter and got a busy signal. Finally, she managed to get the frustrating computer lady, who eventually transferred her to a very nice young man, Fred. Once Rainy Day explained how close she was to suicide, Fred managed to calm her down, and explain that Charter, in their on-going effort to make life more complicated, and therefore secure, for it’s customers, by enhancing their web mail. Therefore, he explained to Rainy Day, her old password wasn’t any good and she would have to have another one. Rainy Day thought of several, all blue-to-purple in color, and finally, Fred helped her out. She now has a new password. And if that wasn’t enough, she had trouble getting onto her blog site. She did manage to get today’s blog up on her old blog, Road Trips and More, but that wouldn’t do her devoted fans on this site any good. So, she persevered, muttered several more blue-to-purple words, and finally got logged onto the right site.   Rainy Day thinks computers, when they work, work very well. When they don’t work they work blue-to-puble word awful. And any time Rainy Day can’t make a computer work the way she wants it to work, it isn’t, by her definition, working.
Saguaro Skeleton

If you wish to leave a comment, and there is no comment box below, please click on the underlined word, ‘comments’ to open a comment box.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rainy Day and her Families of Choice

John Dalmas - a Manly Man (Photo by Jim Fiscus, used by permission of both Jim and John)

Rainy Day was an only child. Growing up, she had lots of friends, and the only ones she was truly jealous of (well, as jealous as she ever got, anyhow) were the friends who had siblings. When Rainy Day was a little girl, she asked her Grandma the inevitable question, "Where to babies come from?" Her Grandma told her they were the answers to prayers. So Rainy Day began to pray for a baby brother. She prayed, and she prayed, and she prayed but her prayers went unanswered.

So, Rainy Day did the next best thing. She went Sibling Shopping and now has a very large Family of Choice, known as Brothers of Choice, Sisters of Choice and the now and then Child of Choice. She even has a Mom of Choice. It makes for great fun at Winter Holiday time. (Now you know why Rainy Day makes her Winter Gifts rather than buys them;-)

She even has a Twin of Choice. Now,  her Twin was born on the same day as Rainy Day. The fact that three years and a continent separate their natal days is just a minor detail. Even Twin's Mom has welcomed Rainy Day into the family! Which is a super nice thing, because Rainy Day's Mom died several years ago, and she misses her very much, so now she has a Mom, and the missing isn't so bad.

Ah, but Rainy Day is not happy with just a family of choice. No, she has gone forth and found a few Lusts of Choice. (Have I told you that Rainy Day is a dirty old lady?)

She tells her friends that one of the primary reasons she moved to the Tri Cities was because John Dalmas lived just up the road in Spokane, and Rainy Day knew he was very happily married, but she figured that if there were a couple hours between.... Well, she moved to her new home, only to discover John had moved to Ohio! He's now two time zones away, not just two hours by car. Poor Rainy Day.

John is an ex logger, forest fire fighter, and I don't remember what all. You can read all about him, and the books he's written, at his website http://www.johndalmas.com/   John is a real man, by the way. He takes great delight in the fact that he has two women fighting over him (Rainy Day and her good friend, Ann), that we carry our fights through emails, making sure he is cc:ed. How does Rainy Day know he's a real man, a manly man, and not some girly man? Easy. How many men do you know who wears purple feather boas in public? (RadCon, the local SciFi Convention)

John has written several good scifi/fantasy novels, and offers much good advice to aspiring writers. You may download his e-books from The John Dalmas Free Book Emporium at http://www.johndalmas.com/area/Catalog/ Please check the site out, and read a good book. He's a hulluva damn good author! He's also a hulluva damn good friend! But, I'm blatantly biased;-)

If you wish to leave a comment, and there is no comment box below, please click on the underlined word, 'comments' to open a comment box.