Human frivolity cannot be contained by either winter skin cold or summer brain freeze.
It pushes Us at times. (Sigh.)
So glad ValueMine Days are done. All that comparative chatter among staff.
“Look at what I got! It must have cost a fortune.”
“Oh? Flowers? Only one dozen? Gurrl, you one hot commodity. How does he expect you to
brag face your friends? He needs to value you more.
Look at mine.” (Smirk)
Too much of ValueMine whines. Our ears are exhausted from all of it.
Now that the Fats have had their Tuesday…
How droll, this “everyone’s special”.
Any day We expect to hear of Skinny Wednesday or Tall-ish Thursday.
Humans. Any excuse to party and avoid work.
Staff shall be thrilled with Our next announcement.
We, RC of the Realm, are thrilled to proclaim this is the “Year of Our Dozens”
We know. It is difficult to believe: Twelve years. We are in prime ruff.
Our paw may be soft, as staff is directed to carefully select Our Facility’s filler, and while We insist on stretching paws towards the sun every day possible, We deftly guide the Realm with wisdom and firmness of paw.
Thought of Our “Year of Dozens” make us quite giddy.
What surprises will Our subjects create in Our honor?
We have subtly left suggestion post-its.
A lovely thought would be a dozen new mousies. On a dozen days!
Ah, now, you can see, We have much to do.
Starting with getting this post-it off Our back paw. Grab that, will you?
Ah, We shall remember your assistance. Perhaps with a front row spot during one of the Year of Dozens Events. Maybe. If you continue to be useful.
What? Oh, (soft purring chuckle) We do not consider it too late for a ValueMine tribute. We all know how common it is for mail to be late (Wink. Wink.)
Yes. Yes. Permission to withdraw granted.
Wait! We most certainly did not authorized you to take Our post-it note with you.
The nerve. Considering filching an item of Ours for eBay?
Just accidentally stuck under your foot?
Overwhelmed from being in Our presence?
Oh, yes. We believe you. (Cynical frown) But We are watching, evaluating.
Tread with caution now that the cat is out of the bag.
To earn back Our trust, We shall allow you to carry this message to others.
We are overjoyed to have recently received a welcomed announcement from a nearby realm.
Rowdy and Gwinn, after so many years of longing, have finally stepped into their Forever Home.
We are almost overwhelmed Ourselves with this note from their new staff:
QUICK UPDATE FROM GWINN & ROWDY’S MAMA: 2-16-2015
Gwinn & Rowdy are settling in nicely. I am trying to establish routine with them.
Yesterday was a fun day; we watched a movie together and spent some time outside, since it was so nice. They love being where I am and they want to know – what is going on.
I think – that they think that their Mama is the best hunter, because they have had their heads in the pantry and refrigerator, to see our supplies. LOL. They definitely have those two spots figured out.
The microwave can still be a bit scary, but this, like all the other noises, they will get used to.
They do not like when I do laundry, and that’s ok, because I don’t like it either.
They were a little restless on Saturday, but last night they slept through the night.
Thank you all for sharing and caring all these years, their going away celebration photos are very moving. They have a lot of people that love them. And a special thanks to The Forgotten Pet Advocates and all those associated with this awesome caring group of volunteers.
I am lucky to have found Gwinn and Rowdy, they fit into my life perfectly and we will make the most of our time together. As their video says “WE WILL NEVER LOOK BACK”!
Hugs to ALL,
Gwinn & Rowdy’s Mama (from FB page of The Forgotten Pet Advocates)
Such joy. A purrfect ValueMine gift for Us and a wonderful opening event for “Year of Our Dozens”
There is no greater gift than creating happiness for others.
Seems Rowdy, Gwinn, and their mom understand that completely.
Now, while We have enjoyed this little chat, duty calls. There are proclamations to compose. Post-its to place.
Our paw has waved.
Audience at an end. Dismissed
Out of Our presence, Dunderhead. We have not forgotten the post-it note theft attempt.
Fini. (We are noting your clumsiness and slow response.)
Our paw is waving again. Yes, We are sure it is! We feel Our shoulder moving!
And don’t forget to leave the tribute of an open can of food in the doorway.
I am RC Cat and I approve this message.
Bold or distraught?
Motivated by cold steel rage or heat-of-the-moment despair?
Will he be forced to wear a Scarlet Letter? “K” for killer?
People here are almost obsessive about tree trimming due to hurricanes. Branches torn from trees by hurricane force winds can easily pierce walls like a spear.
Homeowners new to the area grasp the concept quickly, but often it take a while for skills to catch up. Like a kid whose mom gives a bad haircut, a tree can be devastated by a bad trim, too.
Is this one too far gone for survival? Does it have enough heart left to even try?
Either this guy listened to some drunk’s advice on tree trimming, his neighbors hate him and offered destructive instructions, or he’s livid at the Home Owner’s Association for sending him a letter asking that the low hanging tree limbs over the sidewalk and across the street be trimmed.
The HOA does that: send notes if trucks or walkers are dodging too much.
He could be into that steam-coming-out-of-the-ears condition of “You don’t like my tree’s branches? You want tree trimming? OK, I’ll show you tree trimming.”
That happens, too.
That’s either going to be the ugliest non-shading oak tree around or he’s about to get another HOA note saying:
“We noticed your tree died. Please install another oak of similar size so there will be a uniform shady tree canopy along all the streets here. And get written permission from us before you do so. And do it with in this time period…or there will be fines. Oh, p.s. you’ll be getting a bill for this notification we had to send you.”
Maybe he’ll stare them down. Or learn how to spin it.
- Get an expert to say it was necessary. (Diseased or to encourage proper growth – of the tree, not homeowner. Although wild eyes and a bit of mumbling drool might back inquiring minds off….)
- Nail on some big brass street address numbers so people can find his house. (Simply saying “Look for the six-foot tree stump out front” might not be enough for some people. After all, St. Patrick’s Day is coming.)
- Plead a traffic assist. A lantern perched on top could be helpful in heavy fog. It is a corner lot with a stop sign and a school bus stop. (Who could question such neighborly benevolence?)
- Maintain artistic license. (Outdoor sculpture always increases neighborhood value.)
- Claim religious freedom. (“If thy limb offends thee, cut it off.” I think that’s in there somewhere.)
- Much easier to decorate with Christmas lights now. Certainly can reach the top now. (And imagination runs wild with potential for all the other holiday wrappings! Drape with a sheet and instant ghost and that’s just the beginning. We can talk turkey later.)
- It’s environmentally friendly. (Safer perch for hawks and squirrels.)
Some people can’t leaf things alone.
If he’s smart, the homeowner is frantically working to hide the evidence. Chopping, digging, hacking, backfilling, and finishing off with a fluffy green filling of sod. (“Tree by the curb? What tree by the curb?”)
Sticking with a post here.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
Thought you might like an update on the Ghiardi Compton Oak that was moved into a new park. Here’s a pix.
If you are confused or a new reader, click here for a previous post (with links to other posts with pictures) about a giant oak that danced 1500 feet to a new home after a huge community outcry when it was to be cut down so a road could be widened.) Video of giant tree’s move here.
Both so close they could taste it. Species apart. Results similar.
Flying under the radar doesn’t always work. Wings clipped by unexpected interference.
Two birdbrains reconsidering their actions about now.
Right of way being contested by “Lucky”. (The name fits better at second glance)
A pickup driver headed home unknowingly encountered a red-tailed hawk possibly in route to a late dinner.
The driver said he saw a flash of something, but continued his journey despite feeling a bump. (Maybe the radio was on loud? The road rough?)
Walking around the front of his truck the next morning, he noticed a large bird stuck in the grill.
A kind-hearted attempt to open the hood and assist the bird was met by an ill-tempered beaking.
Understandable. Pain and sleep deprivation tends to cause bad temper.
The Wildlife Center of Texas was notified, and since the truck certainly wasn’t drivable with a live hood ornament, animal rescue specialists came to him.
Rescuers were surprised that once the hawk was freed, he had no broken bones – only lost some feathers and his pride.
Well dosed with pain killers, Lucky, the bruised hawk, is recuperating comfortably in private accommodations at the Wildlife Center.
Not receiving visitors, though. He belongs to the wild and will be released in 6-8 weeks.
More video: “Hawk survives getting stuck in truck grill”
This red-tailed hawk will probably plan a different flight pattern in the future.
Ever seen a determined little bird angrily swooping around attacking a much larger one despite the illogical nature of the whole thing?
It was like that.
But with a minivan.
And one wounded predator happy to fly into the arms of authorities to get away.
A Dallas Mom had had enough. Instinct. Fury.
Jessica Liesmann had lost one little fledgling in the fall and wasn’t about to lose the last one in the nest.
“What are you thinking? This is a school zone,” she screamed at the driver after slamming him back into his car with his own car door.
Not knowing this career criminal/carjacker had been leading police in a high speed chase for some time, the angry mom wasn’t letting a man get away with smashing into her minivan.
Once they arrived, the cops had to pull her off of him as he begged.
Shortly after school started this year, her youngest boy, only 4 yrs, died. She wasn’t going to lose another one.
And neither was anyone else. She stopped him.
Ari Alexander is back in jail and waiting bail.
The Dallas mom’s protective instinct has touched the public.
James Seale, the general manager of SW Kia Mesquite plans to gift her with a new car to replace the family’s damaged old van. (More of how this “mama bear” is adjusting to fame)
Feathers. Fury. Gottcha.
That’s how things are flying around here.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
Desperately chipless. Selfies featuring Kale lodged in teeth. (You know it’s over when frozen dinners proudly announce “Kale inside!”) Not even the crumb of a Oreo in sight.
Times that try men’s souls: cabin fever. The liquor store never closes – maybe they have a pack of gum left. Perhaps that last bag of smashed pretzels – each tiny piece to be savored and treasured.
Grab it. Oh, too slow.
It’s a kid. Let it go. Let-it-go.
We’ll follow him. Maybe he’ll fall in a snow bank giving a shot for a quick pretzel rescue. Like liberating fallen Halloween candy after an unfortunate stumble.
Keep up now. He’s on the move…
But it’s not like that here. Upper 70’s bright blue. (No sobbing. Electronics don’t enjoy a bath.)
If Nature insists on balance, then we’ve been awarded the Good Weather Prize – this time. (Waiting for that other flip flop to drop.)
Hogging all the glorious, happy dancing sunshine.
Not wishing those stuck inside to be forced to gnaw their fingers off out of boredom, so here’s a little something to read.
You’ll thank me.
People will be envious you are so up on trends.
First adopter. Ahead of the curve.
A warming thought? Well, sample some and feel the heat.
Fluffy not stuffy sounds like a dream come true. And Kolaches are.
Kolaches have been recently tagged as one of the next trendy food for 2015.
Everyone polka! (Gotta be next. OK, as long as it’s a beer garden in Central TX after a long day of tubing.)
These little pillows of delight are made best by Czech kitchens preferably in the Kolache Triangle between San Antonio, Dallas and Houston but others are taking up the challenge.
Although some of the non traditional fillings might make some Central Texas grandmothers shake their heads.
One of the best Kolache bakeries outside of the Kolache Triangle is just down the block.
They open at 5:30 – but not on Mondays. And there’s no drive through. Although road food worthy, it’s slow down and walk in. Anticipation, warm coziness inside, and all the smiles build the experience. Celebs performing in the big city call in orders for delivery to be driven up I45. That good.
“Fluffy, not stuffy” is their motto and you can believe it.
You don’t know kolaches? How sad. Don’t worry. No doubt some coming near you soon…hope they are the good ones. No little bites better.
- Texas Monthly. “Kolaches are apparently the “It” food this year“. “..the migration of the kolache is something to be celebrated . If you can’t beat us or join us, at least eat like us.” Glad to share the good stuff. Hope the outposts bake them right….
- Bon Appetit. “13 Food World Predictions for 2015.” Andrew Knowlton. Kolaches beat cronuts – even in Brooklyn
- Washington Post. “Popular Texas food makes its way to DC” Republic Kolache Co. opens and says “Howdy”. You may still have to search for good Tex-Mex, but kolaches are here. The Texpats living in Washington owners give a bit of Kolache history and fun. (And what’s inside their kolaches.)
- NY Times. “The Kolache – Czech, Texan, or All-American? (All three)” Humble soft Old World pastries are dressing up for NYC. (nice article, 2013.)
- Texas Highways. “Czech out the Texas Kolache Trail” (I vote for Schulenburg…grew up knowing some Czech grannies there.) Need an outing? Eat your way along, little doggies.
- Texas Monthly. “We gotcha Kolache.” 1998 article. All about history, kolache festivals like Westfest on Labor Day Weekend.
- Mother Jones. “While West, Texas, burned, it’s famous Czech Bakery kept the kolaches coming” The bakery hadn’t closed for 29 years, a
massivelittle fire wasn’t going to stop them. Czech descendants retain that hardy spirit and determination.
So that should be enough for you to chew on for a bit.
Remember, done right, kolaches are fluffy not stuffy, so you pig out and still feel like going out to play.
And that’s the plan now.
Promise to not hog all the kolaches or the sunshine forever.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
Do butterfly shrimp fly? If so, today the seagulls would be performing aerobatics to grab dinner without frying.
Bright blue sky like the Simpsons’ cartoon opening. 70’s. Mardi Gras. Perfect reason to bare all.
Chairing the idea of a post today.
Spring teasing. Leaves shedding.
Yes, the oaks hear and toss leaves at this time of year so not to be left out of the party. (They modestly cover themselves quickly. Been around long enough to resist Island Mardi Gras Fever.)
bead it beat hits by stormy summer hurricane eyes.
Between Super Bowl and Valentines Day, it’s chainsaw
massacre tree artists in the area shaping things up. Nothing like, say, a little off the top? And a scissoring of flirty bangs thinning to make sure strong winds blow through instead of bullying the whole thing down and with it all the power lines.
Just the friendly thing to do. Out of consideration for others – to protect them from loss. Sort of like measles vaccines. Everyone wants to protect the littles and those soon-to-be-mommas-to-be.
Offering one super story for a quick smile. (Just to keep a hand in.)
Marvel Superheroes, Rice University, and Shriner’s Hospital wanted kids to get a grip.
So they invited in some kids, added some 3D printers, and gave some Dad’s an early Father’s Day gift.
Some wire, some plastic, and plenty of excitement. The machines swooshed. The adults actually followed directions (OK there were pictures, too….so much excitement!)
And before you know it little kids who needed a hand, had one – and they are super.
Fill your day’s smile quota by clicking to see more.
- “3D Printed Hands give children the power to play” (News article)
- Rice University bioengineers use 3-D printers to give kids a hand – at a reasonable cost ($50.00) and the kids get to help build it, too!) Listen to parents, doctors, bioengineers. As one said, we’ve now got these 3D printers – it’s like the early days of computers. Now we are figuring out what’s a good use of them.
- “Marvel, Awesome Scientists Help Kids Build 3D-Printed Mechanical Hands and Bring Out Their Inner Superhero. “(Article)
One thankful dad said, given the plans and this experience, he can make a new one as his daughter grows. She’ll never be without a hand. (Useful when, as you parents know, “princess pink” loses some appeal in those middle school years.)
No doubt the Rice’s bioengineers/students are already back in their world musing over how the next ones could be better. Kids are good at pondering from different angles and poking progress. Lucky a fresh batch is always showing up.
So a simple out of the blue post.
Now out to go see the snowy ground.
(Although ours may differ from that near you.)
Smiles to sparkle your week.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
It doesn’t matter if the snow is nose deep. Time to get started.
Now it’s always good to take a few things along: notes on preferred choices, a list of correct sizes (by brands), and cash or credit cards. Local shoppers here might consider taking one other item.
The poor man was trying to get his shopping done before the rush.
Stopped at a
adult specialty “lingerie” shop full of, uh, Valentine potential. Happily, he quickly found the perfect gift and smiled all the way back inside his car.
Then he was shocked as he saw gun barrels pointed at him from both sides. There was yellin’ “Git outta the car!” and such. But he’d not give up that perfect gift on the seat beside him or his car. Jerked the car in reverse and things looked good. Put the hammer down.
Seeing their prize rapidly disappearing – and one of them had just promised his sweetie a new ride – the desperate pair started shooting at the car.
Now, more than a tad irritated, the driver wheeled the car around and began chasing the would-be carjackers who were running out of bullets. The terrified pair managed to get away. The car owner was unharmed, kept his perfect Valentine purchase, and police told him he was lucky. Looking at all the shattered windows, he wasn’t so sure.
(In the old West they used to say, “Don’t take a knife to a gun fight.” From this episode, it would seem that a car might be considered a suitable option?)
So, in conclusion, when shopping for Valentines, be careful. Some may pack some cold heat, or remember what they say about another dangerous activity, swimming: “Always take a buddy. Never go alone!”
Moving down the road a bit – about five miles actually – another guy took that buddy idea seriously.
The annual Show and Tell Valentines Reveal is so much pressure. All that stuff the ladies want is so expensive – and a guy can’t lose face by cheaping out.
So this one got an idea and called in his crew to assist.
(And promised it would be worth their time.)
First they located and “liberated” the perfect heavy pickup truck. (Full tank of gas. Perfect!)
The Shell Station Stop and
Rob Go would do. At 3am, plenty of room to manuever the truck into position and get a running start backing into the store. No problemo to jump out, tug and lug the ATM to the truck (OK so it took some effort…It would help to put the tailgate down, guys, before loading attempts. Lifting with super thievery strength, they chunked it in. And jumped inside the car ready to step on the gas. Valentine cash secured!
Only the truck wouldn’t start.
A tiny bit of hesitation and the crew melts into the night while the driver continues to try and start the truck. No such luck.
Hey, guys, just a preliminary trial run, right? Still time left.
They all got away. So their sweeties can continue to hint and hope.
Cops are reviewing the security tapes. (Might suggest checking the local ERs and hospitals for guys showing up with hernia complaints.)
These next shoppers were terribly anxious to beat the Valentine crowd.
Unwilling to believe that old “the check’s in the mail” – or terribly anxious to start before the shelves got picked over – they hurried in.
Only they must have been in too much of a hurry. Confused. They hustled into a Check Cashing Store instead of a bank.
Sadly the crowbar they tried to use to pry open the security door to the back – and to the cash – just didn’t have enough bite.
After a little polka around the place, they must have gotten an important phone call – or realized they forgot an appointment elsewhere – and left.
None of them should be in distress, though. There’s time! Plenty of time.
Besides real shoppers wait until the last minute. Oh, the thrill of the hunt! (Stolen credit card numbers do much to lessen any anxiety over paying far too much at the last minute. Nothing but the best for Valentines!)
Ah, the joys of the Hallmark season and the Dunderheaded.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
Illuminated by a straight from the movies shaft of light, she stood in the circle of trees. Although pines, not ancient oaks. Still. Posed like a statue.
I saw. They jerked me away.
I whinnied at her as they shoved me back into the line of marching campers. Just to let her know.
There was a tiny smile. Message received.
A worried “takes one to know one” look flashed between the scout camp counselors.
That shy sideways glance from the figure in the clearing didn’t make them feel any better.
“Who told you?” her therapist asked later after she searched me out at lunch. She had hoped the new outdoor therapy would unlock communication with that child, but this was unexpected.
Eyed her scornfully. (Seriously, Lady? No complex mystery: that raised
hoof foot and bent knee. The tossing mane hair.) “I saw her. Anyone could figure it out. Obviously, a horse. Why are you keeping her from making friends?”
Creative people see more. By design.
“It’s the structure,” a rather famous painting instructor told me once. “Eyes set farther out on the skull.”
“Gives a wider view of the world.
Artists see more: all the subtle differences. All the clues.”
Too bad most people don’t see what they see and certainly don’t listen much to them.
That’s something creative types and autistic kids have in common.
Dr. Temple Grandin says, “Nature is cruel. We don’t have to be.”
Grandin is writer, an animal behavior expert, and an autism advocate.
The last one is a natural as she, herself, is on the autistic spectrum.
It was a long time before she realized others didn’t think in pictures or movies.
And that others don’t consider “Words” as a second language.
In college she could test run equipment designs in 3D in her head. Completely surprised others couldn’t.
Cows are glad she thinks like they do. Visually.
Not like “reading their minds and thoughts”
She processes information about the world around her like they do: without emotion and heavily meshed with the sensory input.
A baffling world of overwhelming smells, sounds, touch/feeling and confusing visual mesh of shapes, colors, and shadow.
She explains it here: NPR interview.
Her ability to process the environment this way is a valuable asset in her work.
Many say she has done more to improve animal welfare than almost any human alive.
Only she could have realized it.
After crawling into the fenced yards of cattle feed lots, taking the path cattle take up chutes, she realized it was all wrong.
All the cattle could understand is fear: Strange dark shadows. Bright lights hitting them right in the face. Pressed into tight places where their legs unnaturally cross or feet are shoved together. All wrong. All fearful.
Fear and stress released more hormones, raising anxiety levels even higher. Bad for cattle. Bad for human consumption.
Under Grandin’s guidance, structures were changed to eliminate scary dark shadows, lighting altered, distracting visual details like reflections off truck bumpers eliminated, and squeeze chutes redesigned to be more comfortable and soothing. (She even tried the chutes out, and discovered certain squeeze levels are calming for autistic individuals, too.)
Screaming, yelling and electric prodding of cows became unnecessary.
Grandin says it’s unlikely people will stop eating meat, but people owe animals humane treatment.
Currently she is working with agribusiness to improve the breeding practices in cattle and chickens focusing on ending up “with the best animal, not the one with the most of what you want. Moderation.”
How can anyone not be intrigued by her books?
Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior, or Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals,
Different – not Less, or Thinking in Pictures. (More books, DVDs, presentations)
Not surprising, she is also in great demand as a speaker in Autism conferences.
One of her biggest concerns is that parents and educators give too much emphasis on a child’s deficits instead of developing their strengths.
Other researchers have suggested autism is an adaptation, rather than a disorder.
Her autism website is a respected source for practical things for autistic children and adults.
As Temple Grandin says, the world needs all kinds of minds.
And she is positive if you removed the autism gene, the world would lose many creative writers, artists, musicians, dancers, engineers, and computer geeks, and……
Check out Temple Grandin’s TED talk here.
Or the HBO movie about her life starring Claire Danes.
Life’s a bit like musical chairs with everyone trying to find their just right seat.
In a chaotic world, people look for guarantees.
Especially publishers: wanting writers with ready-made star quality like Temple Grandin or the reclusive Harper Lee.
The 88 year-old author of To Kill a Mockingbird announced that publisher HarperCollins will release her “new” novel Go Set a Watchman in July.
Actually this manuscript was written before Mockingbird, shoved aside by an editor, and forgotten for some 50 years.
The announcement caused something of a buzz as Harper Lee’s competency was questioned last year during a public spat with a biographer.
The publishers are annoyed anyone would think this novel was being released without the approval of the author.
Harper Lee, who suffered a stroke in 2007, and now lives in an assisted-living facility, is supposed to be “surprised and delighted” that the manuscript survived and someone considers it worthy of publication.
Harper-Collins is guaranteed a best seller – no matter what.
Hopefully some brainy lawyer is watching out for the elderly author’s rights and finances.
Don’t have to be a branic to recognize a whole bunch of Harper Lee fans will be furious if the publisher puts out a novel that doesn’t add to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s legacy.
No one will be happy if this title is only being published to guaranteed money in the publishing house’s bank.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge