Thursday, May 6, 2010

Peeps, the baby hummingbird

In honor of the title of my blog, I share this little video for your watching pleasure. It's a friend of a friend, so I know, somehow, we're kindred spirits. Enjoy!
PS. - if you can't see the whole picture, click on the picture and it will take you to a bigger pic.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


My cat, Sylvester, is having...issues.

Sylvester, in calmer days...

You may recall that we adopted him from a shelter at the advanced age of  11 1/2, separated from his brother, (his lifelong friend), his family and well, a piece of his sanity, apparently.  Yes, it seemed pretty cute at first that he was hiding under his little blankie, sucking his thumb. I love him more than my luggage.

So cute, right? But as the years go by, well, Sylvester just becomes more, um, neurotic.

He's always been a crier. [read: yowler.] At night, maybe it's because he was declawed by his previous owners and can't jump up high to find our other [normal] cat, Maisy, he yowls for her. "Halllloooo??  Hallllllooooooo??"

Luckily, we have a beautiful, finished garage/gym/office area where he and Maisy, sleep at night. Because if they didn't, we wouldn't sleep a wink. Maisy, who is a perfect little lady, feels this is totally unfair, since she wants nothing more than to curl up behind my knees at night and blissfully sleep tight. But, because her love, Sylvester, can't do without her, Maisy is deprived of that coziness.  
Oh, the guilt.

Lately, he's started meowing compulsively during the day. From the minute he comes in until we hold him and let him suck his little paw. Which is fine, but we can't just sit there all day and hold him. Eventually, things like dishes,  showering and going to work intervene.

Anyway, we've been searching around for ways to deal with his "issues" which only became more profound after I went back to work. We've tried leaving the tv on for him. Aside from hiking our power bill higher, it didn't help.  Now, he meows at us constantly. Simply walking past his 'spot' on the couch brings on a session of  meowing that sounds suspiciously like "Mommy?mommy?mommy?mom?mom?mom?mom?"

Nothing deters him. Nothing. Sigh. (Note: Except when I pointed a camera at him to try to catch this disturbing behavior, he  politely turned away and stopped. Hmmmm. I may be on to something here.)

So the other day, we bought this stuff that you spray on the place where he sleeps or hangs out, called Feliway Spray. Cat pheromones. And I must say, it's helped a little. I mean, every now and then, he'll settle down and relax. Look content, even.

Then...."Mommy?mommy? mom? mom? mom?"

Ideas out there? Ever had a cat like this? 
It's not us, so much, you understand, but Maisy's delicate nerves are frayed.

"Mommy? Mommy? Mom? Mom? Make him stop."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring has Sprung and Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

For me, Easter has always been about flowers, spring, the birth of new possibilities. This year, with all of our rain, our flower season has been pretty nice so far. All the trees are in bloom, the azaleas are screamingly gorgeous and all is right with the world.

This photo is a little flowering plum or cherry tree at Descanso Gardens, here in La Canada. A very wealthy publisher who had a passion for gardening and particularly for camelias, purchased this huge track of land in the early 1900s and ultimately planted the entire estate with every imaginable variety of camelia. But that's not all.

There are ponds filled with fat coy, swimming under the clouds.

And this little sweetie hoping for a handout. This goose was so cute. Such a handsome fellow. Very intent on the little girl standing a few feet above him with promises of a few more kernals of corn.

There are hiking trails and strolling trails that you can almost imagine some knight riding through. (If you squint and forget you live in L.A.)

Fern grottos....
And walking spirals...

Oh, and Camelias...
This one's for you.

Have a wonderful holiday, my friends. I hope this season brings with it all kinds of new possibilities in your life.

xoxo Barbara

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mea Culpa. (Translation: Doh!)

See, this is what I'm talking about. Have you ever had one of those months where not only your sleep, but your short term memory starts to go? When you go on overload and start tilting like a spinning-- well, you know.

First it's little things. Like: "Now, where did I put that open bottle of wine we started last night? Oh, on the washing machine next to the Shout, tucked beside the Bounce dryer sheets.Yeah. That makes sense."

Or: Your keys show up on top of the cat box. Why?

Or you call someone at work you've already called three times to check on the same freakin' detail. Just because you really cannot recall if you've done it.

Or, even more embarrassing, someone you absolutely adore leaves you an award on her blog and (okay, maybe you have been a little out of touch) but THEN she leaves a sweet follow up comment on your blog and mentions it. And YOU SEE IT, and for a moment your brain computes it, but in the next instant, you think: "Award...award...Now where was that bottle of wine again? And why won't that damn phone stop ringing??"

And then suddenly, in the middle of the night, or in the middle of a letter to an important client about a deposition date, you suddenly think, "Award. From Debra. On March what??"

Debra at She Who Seeks, one of the funniest bloggers out there, who is also one of the sweetest and, for the record, is quite well informed on everything Goddess, Arthurian and England-ian (is that a word? Uh, No.) is the lovely person in the above referenced brain fade, for it was She Who Seeks, who kindly left me an award for Beautiful Blogger on March-freaking-9th. (What's the date today? I rest my case.)

And I'm here to humbly say "Thank you, Debra!" and please forgive me.

I will address all that this award entails (Seven things about myself, etc...) as soon as possible. In the meantime, please go visit Debra and say "Hi!" for me.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In The Moment

In case anyone wondered if I had fallen into some old well that was hidden in my path and was patiently awaiting rescue, without my computer, or means of communicating with you to explain why I haven't posted in weeks....

Well,  there was no well involved. At all.

I was, in fact, sick for the better part of  a month, with whatever horrid thing is going around, with only enough energy to drag myself to work, then fall into a puddle of fatigue at night. And frankly, facing my keyboard after a long day at work to post a blog here just wasn't happening. 

So, anyway, after a long gap, (I'm sorry!) I'm here to say "I survived!"

[I'm being dramatic. But that's just how I roll.]

But, no. Seriously. Yuk.

Have you had this mysterious kick-in-the-*ss this year? Was it H1N1? Was it the flu? Was it just some virus with ulterior motives?

Anyway, moving on.
I thought I should show you something that made me smile this month.

There was this.

This little boy always makes me smile.  He's looking out the window at the doggies, who fascinate him.  Oh, the concentration!

Then, there was this belly laugh...

Oh, dear...
And will someone please explain to me why those little creases in their arms are so delicious?

Some things just defy explanation.

Like this picture.


Give up? Okay, it's my cat, Maisy,  rolling in the hammock of our shade-cloth covered patio. She likes to run up there and show off when we're in the back yard with her. She's very excited to have company and likes for us to poke her and play with her through the cloth. She's a cutie.

Here's Maisy with a paw outstretched in invitation.

Wouldn't it be nice if all you had to worry about was a good play date on the patio cover?  What I love about pets is that they're just that simple. Like babies. In the moment.

That seems to be a concept that eludes me. But, as I roll through this thunderstorm of change in my life, I am working hard to keep it in mind.

Just put out a paw. And play a little.

Be kind to yourself,
xoxoxo  Barbara

Saturday, February 27, 2010


It's raining again.

Here in Southern California, we need the rain badly so there's no complaining about it, unless you live in La Canada, where the hillsides are sliding down because of the terrible fires we had here this year.  The rain washes the ash down from the hillsides and clogs up the streets below.

But here in the flatlands, clear rainwater feeds my thirsty trees and puddles in my uneven driveway, 

reflecting my giant Jacarunda tree on its glassy surface.

And then?  Just when you think it's never going to stop?  This:

I know...  Seriously.
Have a great weekend!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dear Renee

If you can, please ignore the storesfronts and the streetlamps and the pedantic clumbsiness of this photograph.
Instead, if you will, notice the beam of sunlight streaking between those two banks of clouds, like a pillar of energy. As if God had taken a magnifying glass and aimed it between the edges of two worlds. Guiding something powerful upward, toward Him.
This is for you, Sweet Renee. May God's guiding hand find you and give you peace. I will miss you.
xoxoxo Barbara

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What else is out there?

What is it?
1) Microscopic salt crystals.
2) A  Hollywood sound stage in a futuristic saga?
3) A Fly's POV of a landing strip atop a grey-haired man.
4) None of the above.

If you answered 4, you're right.  I found this online today and  was awestruck. This cave in Mexico is deep and very hot (near magma) and was filled with boiling hot water before miners discovered there was lead and silver to be mined. So they pumped out the water and look what they found!

Naica Crystals!  Weighing hundreds of tons!  Apparently this stuff is gypsum, the same stuff they use in drywall. But this has been 'cooking' for millions of years into this amazing display of crystal.  A real crystal cave!

A filmmaker decided this was too good to miss, so he went down and filmed the exploration of this chamber. (coming soon to a PBS station near you.) They had to wear cooling suits just to be in that room, which averaged 120* F. So there was a limited exposure allowed.

Isn't that crazy beautiful?

Sadly, whenever they finish mining that silver, they'll stop pumping out the water. It'll fill up again and disappear.

But you have to wonder: If something this beautiful exists deep in the earth, what  other hidden wonders have we not yet discovered?  What have we blundered over or destroyed without even noticing?

How delicate it all is.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Were you watching?

1.Did you watch the Superbowl?
2. Were you rooting for New Orleans? (I love an underdog!)
Or, 3. Are you female and you only watched it because it was on every television in the house?

Okay, that doesn't really matter, because I know a lot of women who love football. I don't happen to be one of them, but I can be wrangled into watching playoffs in most sports, namely, the BIG KAHUNA OF FOOTBALL, unless it conflicts with "Big Love" or some book I'm enthralled with.

Last night, I had no such conflicts (luckily "Big Love" was on later where I live. (Do you watch that show? Do you love it? I can't stop watching it!)

Still, I thought, at least the commercials would be entertaining. I used to do commercials. Did I tell you that? Okay, it was a long time ago. But I tend to watch commercials with a slightly jaded discerning eye.

So which ones did you like?

I know a lot of people liked the Jay Leno, David Letterman one, but my favorite?
The GOOGLE ad about the guy moving to France for a semester abroad. Click, click, click.  Ends up looking up how to build a crib?
Even though, as a traitor to my fellow actors, since no actors were involved...I loved it because it let me use my imagination. And that made it so much better than the ones that tried so hard to grab my attention by being idiotic.

Which ones were your favorites? C'mon. I know you were watching.

If not, what did you think about BIG LOVE???

Sunday, January 31, 2010


It's January (okay, almost February.) But still. This is what's sprouted in my garden in the last week.

I know in many parts of the world, it's snowing.  Miserable. Cold. Icy.

And I show you this, not to rub in our moderate weather in California (because we've had our share of ugly stuff this winter) but, rather, to share this little piece of sunshine with you.

These little babies sprouted with full confidence that they were doing what they were meant to do, when they were meant to do it.  And even if it wasn't perfect timing,  their effort was going to be their best.

Nighttime frigid plunges? 
Flooding rain predicted?
Who cares? I'm here, World! Look at me!

Likewise, my camelia has joined in on this optimistic impulse.

Season after season, it waits until the dead of winter to share a little beauty with my fallow garden, dressing itself up with jewels like this one.

They're sturdier than they look. And they don't whine about the weather. Or the nighttime dips.
They welcome them as part of their journey, apparently. Expect them, even.
They simply bob their heads in the breeze and impart a little sunshine as we human's pass.

Yes, I suppose if they'd waited until April or May, they would surely have found a more welcoming climate, less adversity. 
 But the truth is, the timing of this bloom is perfect.
Absolutely perfect.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Eenie, meenie, minie, mo...

Awww. So cute. Right?
Fuzzy little grey squirrel. What's he eating anyway? A nut? Sure. Nuts abound here in our neighborhood.
Fifty years ago, it used to be a walnut grove.

Walnut trees spring up in my flower pots all the time where some cute little squirrel has planted them. Sometimes jaccarunda trees too, with their little hard-shelled seed pods. Little gifts. Taking over my pots.

But they're sweet little things, aren't they?  So fuzzy. And grey.

I feel sorry for them in the rain. I mean, out there in the miserable cold?  Looking for that walnut they buried in one of my flower pots?

Cute Little Squirrel:  Now...which one was it? No. Not that one. Not that one... Oh,wait! What's that? Yum! That looks tasty!

Bleckkkk! Phuttt!

Yes, that would be my phone line.

My phone has been out for almost a week now. My internet is sporadic at best, and works when the rain stops for a while. (Hence my absence on all of your blogs!) I would like to thank that fuzzy grey squirrel who lives in my bottlebrush tree for mistaking my phone line for a walnut.  The poor phone repairman is supposed to show up today, in the middle of the worst rain storm  in years, to fix my dead line.

The phone repairman and I would like to send a shout out to you, sweet little grey squirrel.
No, really. Thanks. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Not Forgotten

Even if we can only do something small, that small bit becomes something larger that carries our prayers and hopes with it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


What if we all just quit banking with them?

What if we just stopped using these loan sharks' freaking credit cards and paid cash?

What if we let them sink as they've done to us?

What if we took control of our destinies?
What if we did?
Then, what might happen?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Smoke Signals

Cybermation. \n. cy-ber-ma'-shun [2010] - facts perported on the world wide web; 2. \v. broadly : the validation of facts through cyber-means.

I'm inventing a new word. (At least, I think I am.)

Have you heard this word before? No, me either. But I think it's a valid word. And maybe it will end up in the lexicon someday as we're all doing it.

Need a restaurant? Look it up on the web.
Need to know who played Clarence in It's A Wonderful Life?" Google it.
Need a map to a job interview? Yahoo map it.
What the heck kind of bug is that crawling up my rose bush? Who knew garden clubs have websites!!
What's for sale on E-bay? Forgetaboutit! Hours are gone in a blink.

Oh, I've done it all. I don't have the phone yet that has the touch screen or the fun keyboard, (I'm still in the Stone Ages with my little AT&T ABC keyboard.) But at work or home, I rarely call 411 anymore. I look it up on the web. And once you discover this treasure trove of information at your fingertips, it's hard to stop . Some of us are a little obsessive.

I'm not naming names.
No, I'm not.

But along with all this wonderful access, I wonder if our own common sense is in danger of being trumped by the common opinion.

For example:

I was standing in a store line the other day with a woman who began chatting with me as she picked up a Mommy book for her daughter who was due to deliver this woman's first grandchild soon. We started talking about all the 'do's and don'ts' that have suddenly changed the face of pregnancy for our daughters. Mostly don'ts. Don't eat soft cheese. No fish. Don't sleep on your back. No this, no that.

Our daughters, both recenly pregnant had signed onto birth clubs online. And they had access to copious amounts of information that we'd never heard of wayyyyy back when we ourselves had had babies. How did our children ever survive without all of these warnings heeded??

We found ourselves laughing in that store line. Not that we were discounting this new information, but that we often found our own experience as moms trumped by online opinion.

The other day, my grandson had his first runny nose. Here's how that went:
"I think the baby has a cold," she said.

"Maybe it's a cold," I suggested, "or maybe he's just teething."

"Teething doesn't have anything to do with a runny nose, Mom."

"Where did you hear that?"

"Online. Doctors say it has nothing to do with teething."

"Hmmm. You guys always got little runny noses when you had a new tooth breaking through."

"No, mom. That's just wrong information. Maybe an old wives' tale."

Was it? Wait a minute... It couldn't be just me... (And did she just call me an old--? Never mind.)

"Wait," I said, stepping into her camp, "let me look it up."

Naturally, I Googled. And I found information to back up my claim. Yet, even as I'm doing this, I'm laughing to myself. Why do I need the internet to back up my own experience as a mom? (And to be fair, I found information to back up her claim as well. )

I forwarded her my carefully selected quote. She emailed me back a consession. We both laughed. And as soon as that darned tooth broke through, his nose miraculously stopped running.

Maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe it is an old wives' tale. In the end, it wasn't really about who was right and who was wrong. It was either a cold or not a cold.

But it really made me think: am I actually second guessing my own real-life experience in favor of the common opinion??
I love the internet.
The internet is scary.
Now, excuse me while I google that pancake recipe I saw the other day online...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Our Christmas Vacation ( Part Deux)

(Part II)
Tucson was amazing and seeing my sister, Anne, again was so fun.  But, then, we were off to New Mexico to accomplish the real reason we packed ourselves up in our car and drove 900 miles.

The official cuddling our Grandson on his first Christmas!

We were lucky enough to be invited out to spend that first Christmas with our son-in-law's family (it was their turn this year to get the kids) . Our in-laws were wonderful hosts.  We arrived on Christmas Eve when the whole family gathered to exchange gifts with  our son-in-law's dad and  step-mom.

(Note: Yes, that IS an entire buffalo hide draped over the back of the couch!)

They had the biggest tree I'd ever seen in a house. And probably the highest ceilings. A real New Mexico  casa. Beautiful, with great views of these:

Here was our first glimpse.

And later, our second.

These beauties, called the Organ Mountains, (supposedly, because they resemble pipe organs) were, by then,  tinted pink with the sunset, and when the sun finally went down, the stars blanketed overhead across a black sky. I tilted my head back, tempted to break into Don Maclean's "Starry, Starry Night!"

Thankfully for all involved,  I refrained.

I wish I could have gotten a shot of that, because you really haven't seen the night sky until you've seen it in New Mexico. (Well, maybe you have. But not if you live in L.A.) But my camera wasn't quite up to that task of capturing it. Sigh. I'll just have to rely on my starry sky memories.

The real star of the show, however, was the little boo. (er, Ryan).  Here he is opening presents.

Being the one and only granchild, he was showered with toys, clothes, books and hugs. He had fun. Particularly with this:

This yummy doggie  he received for Christmas from his parents is strangely reminiscent of the one we got our daughter on her first Christmas. (see below)

(Note: Please try to overlook my hubby's yowsa striped bathrobe, circa 1980 in the background. It's hard I know. There's no accounting for 1980's fashion taste.)

Can you see the resemblence? It's in the smile. Whew, that takes me back!

But I digress.

So, over the next two days, the 'boys' played tackle football (and could hardly move the next day), went skeet shooting (bruised their shoulders and thumbs) and generally accomplished male bonding.

The girls cooked, shopped and visited the old-town square. (where Billy the Kid was reputedly incarcerated and shot down by Pat Garret!) The town looks almost exactly the same as it did then, with old adobe buildings and original glass windows.  La Mesilla was beautifully decorated for Christmas with paper bag luminarias on every rooftop and sidewalk.

That was gorgous. And then we all had wonderful New Mexican food.
Ry was happy.

He really enjoyed his sippy cup lid.
And we enjoyed him.

All in all, it was a fabulous trip with only one (minor) speeding ticket involved. ( FYI: In Arizona, if you see one of those radar jeeps with its antennae up, don't think for a second they aren't watching you. They're armed with cameras, baby!)  But it was a small price to pay. We had fun.

Hope your holidays were wonderful and filled with relaxation, friends, family and fun!
xoxox B