Welcome to my humor blog where I offer my take on: Life - that crazy stuff that happens on the way to your dreams *** Liberty - to Snippet on any subject that pops into my brain *** and the Pursuit of Happiness - both yours and mine.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

One Tough Cookie


Clear the kitchen and block all phone calls…it’s time for my annual Christmas Cookies Bake-a-Thon.  
    
I love dessert but must admit I’m not the best baker in the world. Don’t have the “hand” as my Grandma used to say. If a recipe calls for yeast, kneading or rising, I don’t make it.  But when it comes to cookies, I taught that big blue crumb-munching monster everything he knows. 
 
Of course, there was that one unfortunate incident that almost caused me to hang up my apron for good. After numerous attempts to bake chocolate chip cookies had failed, my friend, Suze, called me for help. Frustrated and desperate to succeed, she asked if we could make a batch together. Cookie aficionado that I am, I agreed to show her how to make the easiest cookies in the world correctly. They flopped.

We decided her oven was haunted

It’s not that my oven’s humming all the time, mind you.  I’m no competition for Mrs.Fields. Once every few months you might walk into my house and catch the sweet smell of homemade goodies wafting through the house. But when the holidays approach, things change.

Every year at this time I vow I’m only going to bake one or two batches and every year it’s the same old story. The members of my family have their cookie favorites, but no one likes anyone else’s favorites.  So I have to bake fifteen different batches, which yields about 500 cookies.

Do you know how much Tupperware it takes to store 500 cookies? I had to become a sales rep just to get my supply at wholesale. Storage is another challenge.  Hint - don’t go into my garage looking for a hammer.

Then there’s the time factor. Can you guess how long it takes to bake that many cookies when you start a few days before Christmas? Hey, I was busy! 

Least favorite part of cookie baking? The clean-up. I don’t believe in the wash as you go method, so when the bake-a-thon is over, every bowl, spoon, wall and counter top in my kitchen is covered in either flour or batter splatter. It’s not a pretty sight. Last year at this time, hubby Garth hid out at the Holiday Inn for a week just to avoid the mess. Smart guy.

Some people ask, “Why bother?”

Obviously they don’t appreciate the finer culinary delights of five pounds of butter and six bags of white sugar combined into sheer bliss.

I might complain about the cookie baking stress and mess, but there’s no way I would ever celebrate Christmas without my beloved treats. So this year I’ve come up with a new method to get me through the bake-a-thon. Instead of putting the bourbon in the Kentucky cordial delights, I’m going to put it in a glass over ice. The cookies might not turn out just right, but I predict I won’t care in the least.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Re-Gifters


Christmas is coming and ‘tis the season for the re-gifters to be jolly. You know who they are - those little elves lurking in the shadows, ready to bestow rebound gifts upon unsuspecting friends and family members.  


Like an expert slight-of-hand magician trying to fool someone with the old shell game, I confess I’ve taken part in this elfish present-ploy myself.  I once got a ceramic tea pot with blue chickens painted on it as a gift. It was cute, except I hate blue, don’t drink hot tea and barnyard animals don’t match my home’s decor. I sent it to my cousin who lives on a farm in the Midwest.


Sometimes, re-gifting works really well, but it can also cause embarrassment.


I was at lunch with my friends Suze and Mary.  Suze said, “Great scarf, Marcia,” then turned to Mary and asked, “Didn’t I give you one just like it for your birthday last year? Guess we both have the same fabulous taste.”  Oops!


In defense of re-gifting, if budget is a concern, this simple solution can relieve your credit cards from getting overstuffed like the holiday turkey. And if by some weird twist of fate the giftee discovers you re-gifted their present, show them your bank statement and all will be forgiven anyway.


I equate re-gifting to garage sales - one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. If it’s not your taste, color, size or helps decrease the clutter on your end tables, go for it. 


One word of caution. If you don’t have the memory of an elephant or a six year excel spread sheet listing every gift you’ve ever given or received, don’t even think about jumping into the re-gifting fray. It’s dog-eat-dog out there.     
 

The way I look at it, there are only two situations that guarantee re-gifting will work:

            White elephant exchanges…the goofier the gift, the better the results.

            Sharing the Christmas Story of Jesus’ birth…the more you gift that Good News,
                        the better the results.


Yep, Christmas is coming and ‘tis the season for the re-gifters to be jolly. You know who they are – those little elves lurking in the shadows, ready to bestow God’s gift of “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all” unto their unsuspecting friends and family members.  


Sounds good to me. I’ll take the “reason for the season” over a hand-knit vest,  adorned with scary Santas, any ole day.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Black Friday Blues


It’s been an interesting ten days. The pre-sale Black Friday (BF) e-mail specials started rolling in on the 19th of November. Sixty-eight of them accumulated in my delete file by this morning. Not too bad. The lady on the news said she'd received over one hundred of them. Guess I’m ahead of the game.
Some of the online BF sales sounded pretty good. Amazon had 40% off books like The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. Could’ve  come in handy at the family dinner gathering. However, Wine for Dummies had more potential to get me through the day. 
I considered redeeming the coupon for the local Big Box Booze store, but $30 to $50 for a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon didn’t seem like much of a sale. I lean towards the $16.99 Buckhorn Bourbon. More bang for the ‘buck’ and great paired with the Groupon Coupon for the set of four Mason jar shot glasses for only $9.99.
My in-box had BF sale enticements for everything from motivational webinars trying to motivate me to buy motivational seminars, to duplicate checks with my family photo or Disney characters printed on it…which ever looked less scary.
Best Buy almost had me with their “Mystery Door Buster” offer. The catch was, the only way I could find out what mystery items were on sale was to go into the store on Thanksgiving night after 8pm. However, if I wanted a sneak-preview of the items, I could check online after 10pm, to see what was on sale earlier that evening. I got confused and forgot about the whole idea.
Did I forget to mention that Thanksgiving morning the paper on my driveway was almost two inches think (I measured)? Nope, it wasn’t the newspaper, it was the stack of BF sale fliers. There were ads for some stores I’d never even heard of, much less seen around here.
Admittedly, there were great deals on items that were difficult to pass up. I could have opted for an $850.00 toilet & sink set, or taken $30.00 off an automotive battery. Hold me back. Some music store thought sending me five fliers would be enough to brainwash me into buying a seven piece drum ensemble or a mini recording studio in a box. It didn’t work.
There was a weak moment when I almost gave in. The Macy's sale flier was the clincher. The lure of finding boots for $29.99 or cashmere sweaters for only $39.00 nearly put me over the edge. But I managed to control myself and bypass all the BF sales.
 What saved me from all this madness was the news. Footage of people camping out in pup tents in the freezing cold to be the first one through the doors when they opened,  lines a half mile long to get into the stores, masses of humanity clawing their way through store aisles, knocking over displays and each other was too traumatic for me
I stayed in, cleaned house and did laundry instead. Guess some Fridays can be Black even if you don’t shop the sales. Sigh.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Turkey Trot


Brace yourself. The average person consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. I find this most disturbing.
Who can resist all the scrumptious food-stuffs we stuff in our faces on that one special day?  I know I can’t.  But according to one chart I read, I’d have to walk 70 miles to burn off all those delicious calories. At the rate I walk, I might make it by the time my first grandchild graduates college.   
Maybe I’ll sacrifice eating those tempting dishes like yams smothered in pecan crunch topping, booze soaked cranberries, bacon infused stuffing or triple chocolate pie with real whipped cream and shaved chocolate swirls on top. Nawww … ain’t gonna happen.
I’d rather pass on Aunt Jean’s sautéed beets &broccoli mélange or cousin Harriet’s mincemeat & allspice pie.  

It’s comforting to know I’m not alone when it comes to Turkey Day indulgence. The line outside Curves on Friday morning is longer than the one in front of Macy’s. Guess misery loves company.
My husband, Garth, he of super will-power, started his preparations for the calorie laden feast weeks ago. He’s existed on broth and water and scheduled a colonoscopy two days before Thanksgiving.  What a guy!
I’ve made no such plan. Instead, I’m going to be thankful for all that deliciousness, dig in and eat ‘til I drop into a tryptophan coma.
The way I figure it, I’ve got two ways to burn off all that food. I can make a mad dash from the table at 6:00 pm, when Walmart opens its doors, and fight the Black Friday crowd for all the hot holiday bargains or I can restrict my feasting to 200 calories, which is about the distance I can cover in an hour of walking.
Pass the celery, please.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Copious Catalogs


I’m nervous. It’s not even turkey time and I have over thirty holiday gift catalogs stacked on my table. These things reproduce faster than fruit flies. Last week my mailbox was stuffed so tight I had to use a crowbar to extract a single item. Yesterday I lined it with Vaseline so I can slide those suckers out in one motion.
I felt sorry for my mailman until he told me he gets a group discount on hernia surgery from hauling all those catalogs for two months.
What I can’t figure out is why I get so many. I haven’t ordered something from a catalog since Sears quit mailing them to your home.
More puzzling …why am I compelled to look through each one?  Must be the neighbor’s- house-for-sale-look-ee-loo factor. You know you’re not gonna buy it but can’t resist looking to see if they have something in there better than you do.
Some of the catalogs I get are really weird. Like the one that has a Dungeons & Dragons chess set made from something that resembles bone fragments, chiseled stone gargoyle book ends and toothpick holders disguised as swords.
I once used a catalog to buy a pocket knife for my hubby, Garth. Big mistake.  Now I’m on the mailing list for catalogs like Moose Hunter Outfitters and Fisherman’s Fatigues. However, I did think the rubber one-piece jumpsuit and wader boots combo was kind of kinky.
Catalog prices are outrageous, too. Does anyone really need a fruit basket of six hard oranges and a dozen figs for $85.00 plus shipping? And what about the catalogs selling resort wear clothing? Do they really think I’d spend $72.00 for a polyester muumuu when I can buy two for $9.95 from any newspapers’ insert ads? Get real.
I think these companies need to save a forest and switch to internet-only catalogs. Although, I’ll be the first to admit, squinting at a computer screen for seven hours a day trying to Christmas shop is not my idea of a good time.
Truth be told, there’s nothing quite like thumbing through reams of catalogs, feeling sheets of thick paper ripple between my fingers, staring at glossy colored pictures of cashmere sweaters, velvet dresses and Victoria’s real secrets, to get the ole shopping juices flowing.
So go ahead, make my day. Sign me up for all those catalogs.  When the holiday hoopla is over, they make great bird cage liners.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Luv U...and Goodbye


Has anyone noticed the phrase “Love You” seems to have replaced the word “goodbye” in the English language?  Maybe it’s my imagination, but I swear I hear those two little words used for parting greetings wherever I go.

Lady to esthetician after Brazilian waxing, “Looks great. See you next time. Love you.”
Man to coach after kid’s soccer game, “Great game. See you next time, Bro. Love you.”
While it’s great to love thy neighbor as thyself, I don’t think I’m ready to verbalize that love to the entire world. Sort of loses its meaning in translation.
“Yes, doctor, I drank thirty seven gallons of prep juice and I’m ready for my colonoscopy.  And one more thing before you put me under and probe my interior with that fifty foot roto-rooter…Love You.”
Call me crazy, but I have to wonder where this “Love You” thing is headed if goodbye is banned from the dictionary.
 “Thanks for being a valued customer of Never Works Cable Company, Mr. Smith.  I’m happy we were able to solve your sixteen hour connection problem. If we can help in the future, don’t hesitate to call us. Love You.”
Let’s face it. If we don’t get control of tossing this expression of affection around so casually, where will it all end?
“Attention Super Store Shoppers!  Don’t miss our special in aisle three - buy one can of peas and get six for free. Thanks for shopping with us today. Love You.”
Next time you’re out and about, listen for people loudly expressing love through their cell phones, across parking lots or when leaving restaurants. Then tell me it’s a figment of my imagination.
I may be old fashioned but I think the “Love You” endearment has more impact written on a card tucked in an unexpected bouquet of roses, scribbled on a Christmas present tag or uttered as a breathless whisper in the clinches.
Still, I don’t want to seem unemotional, insensitive, or hardhearted.
So, in closing, may I say, “Thanks for reading. Love You.”

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Mannogram


As my annual mammogram approaches, I can’t help but ponder how different this test might be if a man had to have his parts squeezed between two x-ray plates.
“Okay, Sir, take everything off from the waist down and put on this dressing gown, open in the front. Bring your wallet with you. Yes, sir, I realize there aren’t any pockets in the gown. You’ll just have to carry the wallet. Yes, I know that might be a bit difficult while you’re trying to hold the front of the gown shut, but it’s necessary for security purposes. When you’re ready, have a seat on that chair and I’ll call you as soon as I can. Yes, sir, it could be a bit drafty, but I’ll try to get to you shortly.”
 “Mr. Jones, you’re next. So sorry for the wait. That’s true. I’m sure twenty five minutes seemed like a long time to sit on a cold chair wearing only a flimsy gown, but there are many mannograms scheduled today and we’re doing the best we can.”
“Please put your wallet down over there and stand in front of the x-ray machine for an adjustment. No,sir. I mean adjustment of the machine…to the proper height. Keep your arms at your side, stand straight. Just relax, Mr. Jones. I’m going to lower the machine now so it’s positioned properly.”
“Ready? Here we go. Lowering…a bit lower…oh my…lower still. Wow!  I mean, good, it’s in position.”
“Can you stand bit closer, please? Thank you. Now I’m going to pull and stretch to be sure we get a good shot of the glandular material. Oops, sorry. Did that hurt? I’ll try to be more gentle,  but I need to be sure I get a clear shot of all that dense tissue. We don’t want to have to re-take the photos, now do we?
“Okay, perfect. Now here’s what will happen. The plates are going to lower and compress your…things. It might pinch a bit and you could experience slight discomfort from the pressure of the plates smashing your…errr…as the x-ray plates compress. But it shouldn’t be too painful.”
“Ready to go, Mr. Jones. Please don’t move while I duck behind the lead lined radiation protective wall. What’s that? Oh no, Sir. I assure you there’s no reason for alarm. The radiation zap will not cause any harm or dysfunction…at least I don’t think so.
“Hold your breath…don’t move…one, two, three – done. You can exhale now and I’m going to turn your…I’m going to re-position things to get another view.”
“Let me just twist this a bit to the left…excellent. Hold your breath again, Mr. Jones.  What’s that? You already were? No need to do that prematurely, Sir. Just wait until I’m finished.”
 “Taking the picture now.  Exhale. That’s it, Mr. Jones. A photo finish! That wasn’t so bad, was it? What? Oh, yes. The redness is perfectly normal and the soreness should dissipate within a few hours. You did a great job, Mr. J. see you next year.”
Yep, I’m convinced. If men had to get their stuff squished on an annual basis, I’d bet a new procedure would be developed within a week.  I just wish some inventor would bite the bullet and give a mannogram a try.  If for no other reason than to report to other inventors to get the show on the road and come up with something better.

 I’m sure I speak for every woman on the planet when I say, “We’re waiting.”

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Scarlett Syndrome


I’m suffering from chronic Scarlett Syndrome, aka: procrastination.  The symptoms are easy to identify. When pesky tasks nag for completion, the words of Scarlett O’Hara echo in your head, “I won’t think of it now. After all, tomorrow is another day.”

Memory indicates that the Scarlett Syndrome must have infected me when I was a youngster.

“Marcia, did you mail that thank you note to Aunt Mary for the birthday present she sent you last month?” my Mom asked for the umpteenth time.

“No problem. I’ll take care of it tomorrow.”  One week before my next birthday, Aunt Mary held my note in her hand.

The syndrome reached epidemic proportions in my academic years. For example, a months-long book report assignment, now due in a few days, necessitated my spending an entire weekend reading three Pearl Buck novels in Reader’s Digest Condensed Books and missing a date with the senior class president. I never forgave Pearl Buck and never did understand what was so Good about The Earth anyway.

Over time, you’d think I’d have recognized the symptoms and consulted a specialist on how to cure the syndrome. But, like Scarlett, decades later I’m still putting off until tomorrow what I should be doing today.

“Did you call the washer repairman? I’m running out of clean underwear,” my husband Garth asked six days after the machine stopped working mid-wash cycle.

“No problem. I’ll take care of it tomorrow. And don’t worry, push comes to shove, you can always wear a pair of mine.”  I try to be helpful.

It’s not that I don’t want to handle those annoying tasks. More important things seem to crop up in the mean time - like plucking my eyebrows or clipping coupons.

Then it dawned on me. The reason I haven’t cured myself of this perverse syndrome.

I work better under pressure.

Back in the day, I could finish my kid’s science project (complete with exploding lava), bake six dozen brownies for the school sale, type up three months of PTA meeting minutes and pack my husband’s suitcase for a week long business trip, in one night with time to spare. No problem.

Of course, I was much younger then and operated at warp speed on three hours sleep. Now it takes me a lot longer to accomplish something as simple as going to the supermarket once a week.

 “Uh, Marcia, when are you going to the store? We’re down to one box of tuna helper and a stalk of wilted celery.” Garth nags for no apparent reason.

“No problem. I’ll take care of it tomorrow. Have you checked the freezer?”

At long last, I’m proud to announce that things are gonna change. I’ve taken a vow to rid myself of that nasty Scarlett Syndrome once and for all. I’m swapping my “World’s Greatest Procrastinator” badge for one that reads “Do it NOW.”  I’ll clean the house, wash the clothes, read my book club book and finish my to-do list on time and on schedule. No problem.

But I’ll take care of it tomorrow.  After all, tomorrow is another day.”

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Gadget Queen


My friend Ellie loves cooking gadgets. She loves them so much, Ron “Ronco” Popeil’s phone number is on her speed dial. Rumor has it she once offered her daughter-in-law two grand if she named her first born AsSeenOnTV.  Ellie has so many gadgets, QVC sends her two dozen roses on her birthday.

This fascination with teckky stuff eludes people like me, who are still having a hard time calling out on their Jitterbug cell phone.

One time when I was visiting Ellie for a week, I offered to make my special shrimp fried rice for dinner.

“El, can I borrow your blender? Just need to mix a quick sauce.”

Before I finished my sentence, the Kung Foo Ninja Mega Blender Kitchen System was on the counter. It had so many attachments the Starship Enterprise could use it for spare parts.

I was stunned. I still have the Osterizer I got for a wedding present in 1970.

“Do you have a smaller blender, El? I really don’t need all this equipment.”

“Don’t be silly,” she said, “the Ninja can blend in a flash and even wash itself when we’re finished.”

Too intimidated to give it a try, I left the sauce making to Ellie and asked for a pot to boil water to make the rice.

“Oh no, use this instead. My Induction Heating Pressure Neuro Micron -ZX2950 rice cooker and warmer is much better than a pot.”

Houston, I think I have a problem.
 
The ZX2950 was the size of a small bathtub and Ellie explained that when you’re not using it to make rice, the cooker doubled as an essential oil aromatic facial sauna.

Impressive.

I left the rice steaming to her, found the cutting board and selected a knife from the holder on the kitchen counter.

“What are you doing?” she asked.
 
Uh, oh.

“Just need to chop a few veggies for the meal.”

“With a knife? Why would you use that when I have a Supersonic Nicer Dicer Electronic Easy Vegetable Slicer?”

Why indeed?

Exhausted from watching Ellie haul seven hundred pounds of cooking gadgets on and off her kitchen counter, I called it an early night.

“See you for breakfast,” Ellie said. “I’ll have a surprise ready for you in the morning. I’m going to make it with my Single Gear, Single Auger Masticating Fruit Juicer.”

Can’t wait.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The 15 Minute Solution


Know how to Balance the federal budget? Hand the bill to six female Baby Boomers having lunch. They’ll get it balanced in fifteen minutes and include a tip for the Secretary of the Treasury.
The discussion might go something like this:
“Ladies, as your designated accountant, here’s where the budget stands.  We have seventy-five billion dollars to divide up between us.  Mary, you ordered the extra asparagus so you need to give up three billion of your Agriculture Dep’t. dollars and give them to Susan for her Dep’t. of Energy.”
“Why should I be penalized for having an extra vegetable? That’s not fair.”
“Yes, it is fair because the asparagus was imported from Timbuktu instead of grown here. You should’ve stuck with the corn. Susan ordered the protein shake, so she needs the extra money for her Dep’t of Energy.”
“Sally, you got the low-cal lunch – good job. As a bonus, we’re deflecting seven billion from the Dept’ of Education over to your Dep’t. of Health & Human Services. Obviously, you’ve educated yourself enough on health issues and are doing your best to defray Medicare expenditures.”
“Linda, you drove all of us here, so you get a boost of ten billion to your Dep’t. of Transportation allotment to cover your gas and carpool pick-up costs. And let’s not forget we need to set aside an extra 15% of the total budget to give to Trixie and her Dep’t. of Labor for waiting on us. Sally, you have a question?”
“I object. We didn’t get good service. Why should Trixie get a full 15%? That’s over eleven billion dollars. I don’t think we should give her department extra money for poor service.”
“Good point, Sally. But fiscal trends point towards twenty percent labor charges now - bad service or not. Why don’t we compromise on 17%. That gives Trixie a bit less than thirteen billion?  All those is favor?  Good.”
“Last but not least we have to determine which department gets the overflow billions. Personally, I think it should go to Anne’s Environmental Protection Agency. She did some amazing research to find this restaurant that specializes in organic food.”
“Excuse me, Madame Accountant, but Jane’s pick for next month’s luncheon location has the most divine décor. I think we should award her Dep’t. of Interior the extra billions.”

“Great suggestion, Linda.  All those in favor? Good, that was easy. Budget balanced. Shall we order dessert?  It’s on the House.”

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cougar Town



Had an interesting talk about cougars with my daughter the other day. Not the four-legged mountain kind, the two legged she-cat kind. 
            “If I wasn’t married, I could be a Cougar,” I said.
Composure regained after a five minute laugh attack, my daughter dabbed the tears from her eyes. 
“No, Mom, you can’t.”
I tried not to be offended but it wasn’t easy.
            “Well, why not?  I’ve still got some game … kinda.”
            “Not to make you feel bad, but you’re missing the top three requirements necessary to be a Cougar. One, you’re not rich enough. Two, you’ve never had Botox. Three, you’re too old.”
Not rich enough? Doesn’t a good sense of humor and cooking a mean pasta sauce count?       Oh …yeah. Older woman + younger man + no money = no honey. Made sense.
No Botox? Maybe I should call Angie at the dermatologist’s office and swap my age spot removal treatments for poisonous injections into my forehead. No good. that would ruin my chances of winning the Only Middle Aged Woman in the Los Angeles Area Who Never Tried Botox Annual Award.
Too old? Okay, that hurt.
            “Well, exactly how old is a Cougar?” I asked, my curiosity getting the best of me.
            “A cougar is a forty-something woman dating a twenty-something guy, Mom. Think you missed the boat on that one.”
“Only by a decade or two.
            I wasn’t going down without a fight. I had to rally for all those non-cougar-wannabes who got their senior discount at the carwash.
            “Then what would you call someone in my age bracket dating a young guy?” I asked in desperation.
            She shuddered. “Scary.”
I gave it one last shot.
            “C’mon, it’s not that horrifying. Work with me here. How about Silver Fox or Golden Gazelle?
“Give it up, Mom.”

 “Maybe Post-menopausal Panther or maybe … wait, don’t walk away… how about……?”

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Jurassic (South) Park

 
Happened to notice a re-run of Jurassic Park on TV the other day and chuckled to myself. If I want to watch “dinosaurs”, all I have to do is step onto my patio. I’m convinced our back yard is a magnet for all God’s creatures that creep, crawl or fly.
           We have psychic reptiles …
Even though I don’t live in the desert states of Arizona or New Mexico, beyond the safe-haven walls of my house, a plethora of reptiles lie in wait to flash their sneaky smiles when I least expect it. Various lizards (I think they’re related to each other) have staked their claim to the East and West walls, wood pile, and storage shed areas of my yard. If you dare to approach their territory, they squint their beady little eyes, then slither around in a frenzied reptilian dance that seems to warn, “Come any nearer and I’m gonna run into your house, hide under your bed until you get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, then strategically position myself at the base of your toilet.”  Note: I get their message loud and clear - I’m staying away.


Strange birds ...                                                                                                           We love the hummingbirds that bathe in our little waterfall and gather round our five feeders. Sometimes, hungry hummers will fill a few feeders to capacity, while others hover in a holding pattern waiting for their turn. It’s true, I have photos.  But misguided bird species have appeared in our yard as well. Like the huge white heron I spotted taking an afternoon stroll on the lawn or the gray egret perched in our plum tree. Note: These are both water fowl. Those crazy birds would have to fly over a mountain range to get from the ocean to our house.
        Mutant bees…
One day I was busy playing “hearts” on my computer when I heard an odd buzzing sound. Thought I’d pushed the wrong button, butt-dialed You Tube or needed a hearing aid. As the sound grew louder, I noticed a few bees gathered on a low-hanging tree limb outside my window. In less than five minutes, the group of a dozen or so bees ballooned into a swarm of millions. Okay, maybe not millions, but definitely hundreds. After several calls to local bee exterminators, I was informed that the swarm probably stopped to take a little “siesta” as they migrated south but should disappear within twenty-four hours. However, if they were still hanging around, I needed to call the nice beekeeper again to come out and rid my tree of the swarm for only one hundred fifty dollars. Such-a- deal. Note: This unusual phenomenon occurred three times in our yard.
        And don’t even get me started …
On the savant raccoons, opossum Adams family, wily coyotes or phantom squirrels that wait until the dark of night to plunder our garden, pillage our fish pond or prune our avocado tree.

I heard Jurassic Park IV comes out in 2015. Oh, Mr. Spielberg, have I got a location for you!