Shana Tova v’Metuka!!

I’m a bit late in wishing everyone a sweet and wonderful New Year but those wishes have long been there! I promise to do some updates in the next few days.

Sending everyone love and hugs!


Baby bird back from the dead

So last night I checked on the baby bird at 1 a.m. It seemed fine and dandy. This morning at 6 a.m. it so did not. As in, it was laying on its side with one leg stuck up stiffly in the air. When I stroked it, it did not stir, it did not blink (the eyes were open). It felt cool to the touch –not stone cold but definitely cool. I stroked it for several minutes. Damn, I thought, it is dead and it must have died just a little bit ago.

So we did not make the trip out to the wildlife rescue at 9 a.m. Around 1 pm I thought, you know, I’d better go ahead and bury the poor little thing. I went into the closet, got the box, and came out of the bedroom. I lifted the top flap I’d not bothered to tape back down after the early morning check and …the bird was gone. The bird was gone!

Dead birds do not go anywhere! I raced back into the room, shooed away the interested cats and eased myself into the closet. There(!) on the floor of the closet was the very much alive little bird. It was seriously lucky I’d not stepped on it when I came in to get the box. I had to chase it around the walk-in closet (hop, hop, hop hop hop) before I finally was able to cup my hands gently around it and bring it out.

Back into the box it went. New tape was applied. I threw on non-kick-around-the-house clothes and out the door we went. The baby sparrow is now in good hands at the Wildlife refuge. It is with another baby sparrow that some folks were bringing in at the same time and both of them are on antibiotics. The staff member was confident that he is going to make a full recovery.

They say cats have nine lives…this little guy has at least 3!

Nightmare in the morning: Thank you to the Austin Police

This is the stuff of nightmares. At least, it is the stuff of nightmares I’ve had. Yesterday morning I had to open the place where I’m working part-time to fund my studies. All seemed normal when I unlocked the front door. My cashier and I went inside, re-locked the door, and started doing all the ‘opening’ things that must be done. My cashier left the office to install her till and I continued doing opening stuff in the office. I was just about to leave the office and traverse the cavernous dark space to do other ‘opening stuff’ in the far, dark reaches of the building. I’d just gotten up from the computer when there was a soft, but frantic, tapping at the office door and “mrph le mmrrrrr!”

I couldn’t understand a word my cashier was muttering on the other side of the door. I did get that the low muttering sounded urgent and frantic. I jerked open the door to see Tonya standing there, white as a ghost and, literally, shaking from head to foot. “Someone’s in here with us!”

I reached out, jerked her inside the office, and slammed the door, all the while thinking, “No, she’s imagining things.”

The place is, after all, damn creepy in the early morning and after the doors close at night. The lights are on a timer and they go off about half an hour before the closing procedures are completed and don’t come on again until official customer entry time in the morning, so you have to run around in areas that are semi-dark and in areas that are so dark you can barely see your hand in front of your face. I took a deep breath and didn’t need to ask more because she was already giving forth in frantic whispers: “I was going to the checkout with my till and I heard a really loud sound. Things fall all the time but this was different. It was loud. It was like someone ran into or knocked over something big. I saw a shadow.”

“A shadow?”

“Yes. I was going toward the checkouts. I heard the noise and looked. Toward the back, I saw a shadow of, like, someone walking the other way. Coming to this side, toward the office. Is the window bullet-proof?”

The office door locks automatically. There is a large, NON-bullet-proof window looking out at the front portion of the store. But, yo, the wall between the office and the store doesn’t come anywhere close to reaching the ceiling. It can, and has been, easily breached by managers who left their keys inside on numerous occasions.

I was already dialing 911.

It took less than 3 minutes for the first police unit to arrive but it felt like an hour.

As I sprinted to unlock the door for the first arriving officers, I felt a right idiot. We were going to open late. If it turned out to be nothing, I was going to be in deep sh*t with the powers that be, none of whom I could reach on the numbers we had for them.

The police asked us to wait outside and, once a couple more squad units arrived, they went in with guns drawn. They cleared the building. No one was in there. Then I asked about the seals on the emergency exit and loading doors. One of the police said, “You mean the door at the back down that long corridor? The seal is broken but there’s no telling when that happened.”

Oh, but there was. Whoever closes has to check all the door seals and log the time they checked to make sure that it was intact. It is checked again in the morning and, in fact, I had just been about to go through the dark building to check the seals when Tonya came rushing back.

I went back there with the police. Sure enough, it had been checked, though I was pissed off to see it had been checked 2 hours before closing instead of after the building was cleared of all customers. The seal was not only broken but it had kept the door wedged slightly open. The officer showed how he could go in and out of it. Hang on a minute! The door is alarmed and the alarm should have been screaming when the door opened at time one and it should still be screaming. We checked the alarm and someone had cut the wires.

Someone had definitely been in the building overnight. Tonya had not just been jumping at shadows, the shadow she saw had been a real shadow. Someone had been in the building with us. Someone had been coming toward the office where I had been and, when the cashier raised the alarm, made a U-turn and bolted for the emergency exit on the far side of the building.

The creepiest thing of all was when we reviewed the security camera footage. Whoever had been in there knew the layout of the building and knew where the cameras are located. The cameras are triggered by motion. We could see the front camera click on and record the evening crew exiting and locking the front door. We could see the security guard for the business next door doing his pace across the front again and again during the night. There was me and Tonya unlocking the door and entering. The next camera clicked on just as we approached the office door. The office camera clicked on when we came inside. The camera in the cavernous stockroom never clicked on. The camera trained on the aisle that is most-pilfered in the middle of the store never clicked on. Stupidly, there are no cameras at the back of the store where there are aisles and aisles and plenty of places to hide. There are no cameras on the far side where the emergency exit is located.

Thank G-d my cashier did not second-guess the bump in the dark and the shadow because I had just been about to go back into the camera-less dark reaches where someone was lurking.

Baby bird rescue, flying the Israeli flag

I’n not sure where to start, there’s been so much going on, and I’m talking about just today.I guess I’ll work backwards and hope nothing else of note happens this evening! I’m still in shock over this morning. I’ll post about that next.

I’ve got a baby bird in my closet. It is a ‘hopper’ — that is, it is in that 24-hour space between being able to hop about and to fly. A couple of hours ago, I heard one of the outside semi-feral rescue cats making unusual cat sounds. At the same time, a momma bird was in the pecan tree making frantic ‘come to Mamma” sounds. Then I heard a baby bird make a very, very not-good sound. I ran out of the front room, off the porch, and discovered Liberty with a bird in his mouth. Clap, clap, ‘shah, shah’ and, thankfully, he dropped his prey and retreated. With the Mama bird still shrieking her lungs out above, I collected little Hopper and brought it inside. It does not appear to have been injured but in the morning it will go to a Wildlife rescue as soon as they open at 9am. Unfortunately, they had just closed when we called but they can take the baby in the morning. They will give the baby a course of antibiotics (in case there was a bite puncture or scratch) and release it when they are sure it is ok. In the meantime, it is in an enclosed cardboard box (with air holes) and some water and ensconced in my closet.

My huge Israeli flag is in the wash. Tomorrow, after Baby Hopper is delivered to the bird experts, I’ll be hanging it up to fly off the porch in preparation for Yom Ha’Atzmaut.

Tzofia (Sophia) is sick

Poor little Tzofia is nearly scratching herself to smithereens. She looks worse than a cat with the worst mange you’ve ever seen. She’s had an allergic reaction to …something…and that caused her to get the auto-immune pemphigus syndrome.

We don’t know what caused the allergic reaction so we’ve changed the kind of litter she uses, the kind of food (she’s now on an insanely expensive anti-allergin food). We’ve changed our dishwashing liquid, clothes washing liquid and stuff we clean the floors with. In fact, the floor in the room she is isolated in is getting a ‘water-only’ cleaning. It may be an allergy to sunlight…

She’s been to see a specialist (the two vets we took her to prior had never seen anything like it before). The poor little 3-legged wonder is now getting major doses of prednisolone twice a day, an antibiotic pill once a day and pain meds twice a day. She is running and hiding, hiding, hiding when she sees me. She is also supposed to have frequent baths (daily just can’t be done).

We are hoping to get the meds compounded with a marshmallow flavour (she can’t have the fish oil compound as she can’t eat anything she’s ever had in her diet before). That way, it will be less stressful than getting pilled constantly. It may take up to 8 weeks before we see any improvement. In the meantime, the poor little thing is just miserable.

The growing garden

I’m going to try to post up some pics later today of the spring garden. We are finally starting to ‘eat good’ from our garden greens. After the ‘killiful,’ as one of my Ema’s students used to say, freezes we had, the garden pickings were slim. Today is the first day I was able to pick an entire salad’s worth of young swiss chard (both Lucculus and Bright Lights). I’ve also harvested a heap o’ radishes and the very first (just 3!) sugar snap peas.

I’ve got 4 different kinds of lettuce growing and they are growing by leaps and bounds: two kinds of leaf lettuce that make big fluffy heads (and that I’ll do cut and come again on), romaine lettuce, and our beloved buttercrunch. The arugula got off to a slow start but is catching up. We’ve got 2 cilantro plants, a dill, green onions, a bunch of kohlrabi, mustard greens, turnip greens, spinach, 6 kinds of radishes, malabar spinach (including a whole host of them that re-seeded themselves and I’ll need to dig up and move to the trellis area), collard green seeds started, and two cherry tomato plants. I plan a lot more tomato plants, eggplants (of course), cucumbers, melons, and squash, and peppers.

Next week I’m going to be volunteering at a transplant sale and will get a bunch of free transplants for my labour 🙂 I plan to snag some grapes and a fig tree transplant as well as toms, peppers, and eggplants.

Two weeks ago, I volunteered at a local CSA and my 5 hours of pulling tops and roots off of carrots let me take home a huge box (worth $50!) of all manner of veggie goodness — we are still eating on them this week. I’m planning to volunteer with them next week, as well, as I was able to pick up a lot of great organic gardening tips (did you know that adding beer or soda to your compost will dramatically speed up the composting process?!).

I plan to do a blog post on our Tzofia, the 3-legged wonder. She saw a specialist yesterday and we are hoping that we’ve finally found the cause and treatment for the illness that has had her at death’s door for the past week. The second vet we saw at the weekend said she’d never seen anything like it.

planning this gorgeous day

It is an absolutely gorgeous day today and very warm, so I’m in heaven. I’m especially in heaven as today is a day off for me. This morning, I’m doing some garden work. I’m going to plant some more radishes and swiss chard directly into the garden, transplant some lettuce and arugula seedlings, and start some seeds: Hungarian Wax Peppers, summer savory, oregano, parsley, New Zealand spinach, coriander and sweet marjoram.

This afternoon, I’m going to my favourite cafe and going all techie. I’m planning to put in an hour on Java, an hour on Python, get the server-side framework in place for a new app I’m planning, and take a look at Redux and see if it is something I want to add to my toolkit sooner rather than later.

We’ve got a friendly raccoon — very cute, comes right up to you, and has taken over Shali’s cat-house for sleeping in at night –and so we’ve had to bring the unwilling cat into house (my house) the last two nights. We also have an entire Opossum family rummaging around the yard at night. The cats are doing well. Shyla is still going strong, even though, at this time last year, they told us she had pancreatic cancer and only 6 weeks to live. Eh, obviously she does not have pancreatic cancer!