Thursday, March 24, 2011

What's wrong?

What's wrong with the picture below?

Here is a couple of them:
1. the window blind on the right is crooked.
2. instead of a window covering there is a blanket hanging from the left window.

well, you find the rest of them :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A surprise visit

It's been a while. I think I got stuck after a moody valentine's day. Moonjoo caught another humming bird the day before. By the time I made him to drop the little thing out of his mouth, it was too late. He got punished for it; Maybe he'll explain it in his own words on Catastrography. I am going to bury the little birdie today, as soon as the rain water gets soaked up a little more. That had put me in a really bad mood, but then a very strange thing happened today.

I looked outside and there was an old friend standing right out there by the door and staring at me. I call him Pasha. He is a very handsome stray kitty that used to come here all the time. At some point he was literally living here. He was my Michelle's favorite boy. The two of them loved each other and would always sniff each other's noses (only noses, my Michelle wouldn't tolerate anything else).

Pasha had a lookalike. The two of them looked exactly the same, and it was pretty much impossible to tell them apart. The only difference was their attitudes; Pasha was very friendly, but the lookalike was very wild and mean.

Shortly after my Michelle went to the bridge, Pasha disappeared. I thought he had followed Michelle, but then he showed up right at my door steps today. I wasn't sure at first if it was him or his lookalike, but then when I went out he came right to me and let me pat him. I brought out some food for him, and as soon as he started eating, I knew it was him. He's always been a messy eater. He opens his mouth all the way to inhale all the food and throws everything out of the plate.

I don't know where he's been for the past two years, but it sure is nice to see an old friend again.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Peeps in aid of squirrels :)

Probably most of you have already seen this, but I just had to share it again. Way to go kids.... nice job!!

You can watch it on youtube biggified.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Alicia's fall

One day I was sitting in my parents’ living room watching TV while Alicia was outside in the balcony playing. Next thing I knew, I heard this commotion coming from the neighbor’s yard down stairs. I immediately thought “Alicia”. I ran to the balcony with my mom on my tail. When we looked down, I saw there were bunch of the neighbors outside having a gathering taking advantage of the nice sunny day. They were sitting at this patio furniture set with a big umbrella opened on top of the table. The next door neighbor that was scared of moving furs was also there. She was standing away from the table and laughing hysterically. I saw Alicia, making a run for the higher levels, trying frantically to climb up a bush with a flat cut top next to the table. There were three cats behind her with their eyes wide open not paying any attention to where they were stepping. All they wanted was to get to Alicia, and all Alicia wanted was to get away from them as fast as possible. My mom and I kept calling Alicia. She managed to run over the bush and jump on the wall and climb up straight to our open arms. Once she was in safety she turned around and kept looking down to see what had just happened. She wouldn’t move from my barricaded arms on the retainer wall which had created a safe hug for her.
I asked the neighbors what had happened, but their laughter wouldn’t allow me to make sense of what they were trying to say. Finally I was able to piece things together. As Alicia was doing her crazy ride on the retainer wall in the balcony, running form one end to the next, she had either fallen down, or decided to jump off on the umbrella right under the wall. Either way, next thing they knew Alicia was on the umbrella, as she sled down and ended up on the table. When she had realized she was in an unfamiliar environment, she panicked and started running all over the place like crazy. The cats had seen her and took off after her. The one neighbor who is scared of moving fur had jumped off her seat to run away. The hostess of the gathering who is a very nice lady had tried to prevent from the cats chasing Alicia by smacking them on the tail, and in the middle of this chaos the closest thing to her hand was her husband’s bald head, so she had smacked him in the head really hard. They were all cracking up, except for the poor hubby who kept complaining that it hurt really bad.
That was one of Alicia’s incidents that everybody is still talking about. My little girl had created such a scene. She scared us and herself really good, but that was a lesson to be learned. I felt good in a way that she was able to run away from all those monster kitties, even though a couple of them had managed to jump on the bush after her. Later on, Alicia taught those cats how to climb up the BIG tree and get stuck on the roof of the building. It took four sets of neighbors to bring them back down. ** To clear things up, the cats were the only ones who were stuck on the roof. Alicia was on the tree unharmed and laughing at them.
I sure miss my baby. I wish I had more pictures to share, but they are all lost. The only one fitting to this story is a picture of two of the neighbor’s cats resting under the tree where Alicia was first found as a baby.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Alicia gets her name

Today marks the 3 year anniversary since I've last seen Alicia.

She grew up rather quickly, and after starting her outdoors training, I took her further out to be introduced to her new life savers; the trees. The first tree she climbed on was the very one under which she was found. It was a small tree and easy for her to stay within the reach. She learned very quickly to jump on my shoulders from the tree when I whistled. Within the same day we went further out onto the BIG tree by the side walk. It was a huge Oak tree which happened to have a very heavy load of acorns at the time; a true paradise for squirrels.

Alicia adopted to the BIG tree very quickly. She loved exploring it and would go all the way to the top and run back down to jump on my shoulders. In a few days she learned to stay on the tree unattended, and eventually discovered a route back to home. She was still a cici squirrel. There was not a single wild bone in her body. I had to leave her on her own for longer periods of time, so she could adopt to the wild.


One cold windy day I went outside looking for her to bring her in. The forecast had called for strong gusty winds and some rain. I kept whistling to have her come to me. She wasn't on the BIG tree, so I went around the corner looking for her amongst some other popular trees where squirrels hung around. There were a few nice tall palms in next door neighbor's yard. I had seen Alicia maneuvering in them before. Just as I saw her on one of them and started whistling to get her attention, the neighbor came out of her house. I said, " I'm sorry, I'm just trying to get my squirrel", and pointed out to my baby. She turned around with a smile and said, " Oh, that's Alicia, She comes here every day." Thus Alicia got her name. Until then we've been calling her by different nicknames, but she didn't really have a name. She came home with me and stayed in her warm bedroom during the stormy night. That was my cici girl. I could not help it but spoil her to death..... literally.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Alicia venturing outside

We started training for the outside world even before Alicia was fully grown. I figured if she started early the odds of her survival by herself would be greater.

The first day of training started with an introduction to the immediate outside world; the balcony. She surely acted like a complete rookie. I put her on my shoulder and we walked out there together, closed the door, so she couldn't go inside, and then just stood there and waited to see what she'll do. She didn't want to leave my shoulder at first and looked around with amazement for a while, and then figured this might be a new game. Either it was the excitement of a new game or the shear fear of an unfamiliar environment that made her jump off my shoulders onto the wall. She kept climbing straight up until reached the base of the ceiling then freaked out and stayed there for a while. The light fixture on the wall seemed to be very inviting, so she climbed her way over there and decided to stay there to clear her head. I felt sorry for the little fella and had to get on a chair to bring her back down. That's when I came up with a brilliant idea of creating a nest for her, one that could get attached on the wall, and she could use it as a base for outdoors 101.

We went back inside, so both of us could catch our breath. I got a shoe box and quickly designed a house for her. It had soft cushions inside and insulation outside for the rainy days. I attached it to the wall securely and was very proud of the outcome. We went back out again, and I put her right by the nest to help her discover her new house. I thought that would surely be the envy of all other squirrels. It was a cool house. She wouldn't even go near it. She simply hated it. That little brat took off to the opposite direction, and started climbing the wall towards the neighbor's balcony. Oh boy, that was a big no no. The lady neighbor was horrified of any moving fur, and Alicia was not only moving, but a jumping kind.

I started calling her frantically. I used every trick up my sleeve to get her attention, but she was determined to reach to the other balcony. She made it. She was out of my reach and hanging from the wall on neighbor's balcony. I guess the grass on the other side was simply greener, as both of balconies are exactly identical. My mom came out and both of us kept calling her and tried to lure her in with tempting foods and her favorite milk bottle. Finally she decided to climb her way back to us. The reunion was overwhelming for both of us. We decided that was enough for the day, and went back inside.

The same routine continued for the next couple of days. She felt more at ease in the balcony each day. She would get all excited and start running from one end of the retainer wall to the next. The Balcony had stucco walls, and that made it very easy for her to climb around using her tiny sharp claws. however, the top of the retainer wall was painted wood, and that made it very slippery. We had to throw an area rug over it, so she wouldn't fall down to the neighbor's yard. They had three cats staring at Alicia's tail and drooling all day.

She adopted to the balcony rather quickly, but we still had to conquer the rest of the big wild world out there. She had so much more to learn, and I had so much more to let go of.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Alicia growing up.

My sweet little squirrel was getting bigger by the day. Everything was new and exciting to her. Every day I would go to my parents to learn about the lesson of the day. One day my mom told me to give her a little piece of banana. Oh, the joy of munching on that soft yummy treat seemed to be too much for her to handle. By the time she was done with it, we were both covered with sticky goo. I had to give her a quick wash to clean her hands and face. She had learned to grab her milk bottle with both hands and suck on it until it was empty. At times I would be afraid that her tummy would explode. 
I kept encouraging her to come out of her hat, but my mom was very happy to have her stay in it. After couple of weeks, one day as I was sitting next to her, she decided to take a leap of faith and jumped on my arm. I got so excited that I gave her a little push to help her get further up to my shoulder. She did. She discovered the wonderful path of arm to shoulder to another arm and back again.  What an exciting thing that was. It was as if she was on a roller coaster. She kept running up one arm, across the shoulders, and down the other arm, and then kept repeating it over. My mom kept watching in horror and telling me to stop teaching her bad habits. It was too late. She had learned a wonderful lesson, and it was way too exciting for her to stop now.  That was her first move of coming out of the hat, but she kept it to just that. If we sat next to her, she would jump on us and do the roller coaster ride, but if we stayed away from her, she would stay either in her hat, or get out and stay on the chair which the hat was placed on.
In a few days she was ready to venture further but wasn’t sure what to do next, as she was getting mixed signals from us. I was always encouraging her to take a risk and go for the ride, but my mom would tell her to stay put and be a good girl. She would crouch and stare at us while we were away from her chair, trying to decide whether to make the jump or not. After a few trial and errors, finally she learned to jump from her chair up to the other ones. In no time she became an expert in acrobatics, constantly jumping up and down the furniture and walls and of course us. We had to wear hoodies around her to cover our necks and shoulders. She had really sharp nails.
She had to learn to go outside, and she had to learn it fast, and that was a scary moment for all of us. My parents kept pressuring me to think of something. We all knew she couldn’t stay in an apartment. She was spending the nights sleeping in my parents enclosed shower stall. I had placed a baby blanket in there for her and turned it into her bedroom. Later on, she had learned to come home and go sleep in her bedroom when it would get too cold outside.
Here is a picture of her resting in her bedroom catching up on her beauty rest.

My little baby was growing up too fast, and I had to think like a mama squirrel to teach her the survival skills she would need for the outside world. I was heart broken. I wanted so badly to just keep her, but there was no way. It wouldn't have been fair to her. She deserved a chance to life as nature intended it. I knew it would be tough and challenging, but it had to be done. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Alicia's hat

It seems I'm taking a direction towards my rescue stories, so let's keep on going, shall we? .....

Ah, my cute little Alicia. She was one of most adorable rescues ever.

One hot summer day I went to visit my parents. They live on the second floor of an apartment building. It was a day no different than any other, but I had a very special appointment with faith that day. I went out to their balcony for no apparent reason, and as I was standing there, I heard the words "it's a baby" echoing in my ears. The rescuer in me was awakened immediately. I leaned forward, and looked down to see what's happening. There were 3 or 4 of neighboring kids gathered right below the balcony and examining something on the ground. They could barely contain their excitement, and kept repeating "it's a baby".

I had to run down the stairs as fast as I could to see what kind of "baby" they were looking at. Once I got there they gave me way to get closer. There was a tiny little baby squirrel curled up under a tree and just sleeping like an angel. It was the most adorable sight I had ever seen. I kept looking around to see where she came from, but I couldn't figure it out. I waited around for a bit to see if her mommy would show up to rescue her, but she never did. Poor little baby was left all alone. Finally I had to give in and picked her up. She was so tiny she could comfortably curl up in the palm of my hand. I noticed that one of her eyes was closed up and it had an infection. That was enough to make me take her inside, so I could wash her eyes.

The neighbors' kids followed me upstairs. I washed the little baby's eyes with some black tea, and in no time she opened both her eyes. She was to die for. I didn't know how long she's been down there all by herself, but I knew she had to be hungry. We warmed up some milk, and I fed her using a tea spoon. She drank up the whole thing making the cutest munching noises. Right after she was full she simply curled up in my lap and fell asleep again.

I had come in that day wearing a straw summer hat. Not being able to find a better fitting nest for her, I placed her inside the hat and covered it with a light towel. She loved it there and made herself right at home sleeping like a baby that she was. And she slept, and she slept, and she slept....

Here is a picture of her sleeping in her hat. It was taken with a crappy cell phone, and it has the worst quality ever, but after losing all my pictures due to a computer crash, this is the only evidence of her hat I could find.

It seemed like she was not interested in anything else but sleeping and drinking her milk. I had bought her a little milk bottle which had become her life line. She just absolutely loved her bottle. She was such a good baby, and never even left her hat. She loved it there, and would stay put even if we encouraged her to come out to stretch. She would come out to relieve herself on the pad provided right outside her hat and then would go right back inside and curl up to sleep. What a sweet little angel, and they have this bad reputation of being so crazy.

Well, she had us all fooled just right. As if she knew my parents were against keeping her, and I couldn't take her home to my monster kitties. She had to keep herself on her best behavior, so she did just that. She became the baby squirrel in the hat. That was her little world for the first week or two of her life. And then, she discovered something new..... a world outside the hat..... The monster in her was awakening very little by little.

She was truly an angel sent from God.... in her hat, and then with a slight modification after leaving the nest....  . The story continues.... stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The snoring Raccoon

For the last few years I had the privilege of sharing my house with a mama raccoon. She lives under the house, and the rest of us are inside the house. She comes out after her babies are grown enough to start their life training. The mama introduces the babies to the entire neighborhood, and teaches them the life skills they’ll need. They all get fed in my back yard at the beginning, and then mama forces them to go further and further away for food. I believe she does this for three reasons; one, she doesn’t want to share her food source with them after they’re all grown. Second, she wants the babies to learn how to find food in different locations, so they won’t be dependent on just one source. Third, she has to alienate them. After all, they are her future competition for survival.

Each time she has a litter of 4 to 6 babies. Last time there were 5. I have actually videotaped them while eating food in my back yard, but it doesn’t have a very good quality. You can see it below. Mama is the one to the farthest left.

 All of these babies are gone now. Last time I saw them, was about a month ago when they tried to get some food, and their mama came charging after them to make them leave. She must have been in heat or something. She acted so viciously I had to run inside to stay out of their family feud.
It seems like the mating season is over. The mama is back to her regular place awaiting the arrival of her new litter. I can hear all the commotion she makes under the house trying to make herself comfortable. She seems to have settled under my bedroom this time; right under my bed. The funny thing is that I can hear her snore at night. Sometimes she gets so loud that it wakes me up in the middle of the night. If she doesn’t stop I have to thump my foot on the floor to wake her up, but most of the time that doesn’t work. I have learned to sleep with a snoring raccoon under my bed. I can’t wait until she has the babies, and they are all grown. Sigh… things that I have to put up with……

Saturday, January 1, 2011

To do or not to do

Once I’ve been told when you get the writers’ block it helps if you write the same word such as “the” repeatedly to help clear up the block, so here it goes… the the the the the the the…… hmm, I think it’s working…. The the the the the….. I’ll keep working on it offline J
  I found an even better way; red wine. It has to be sweet and delicious. I’m not promoting any products here (not yet J), but I would strongly suggest this Kosher red wine called “Mogen David”. It has the perfect texture and taste for me. Most grocery stores have them, and it’s not costly at all.
Charlotte hasn’t been moved yet, talk about a failed New Year’s resolution. I still have time, even though the lemons all around her are getting bigger and better looking. That is putting her in a greater danger of being destroyed by a neighbor. The red arrow on picture below shows her location on the tree. Check out those lemons, nice....

I don't know what it is that's keeping me from moving her? Today was a beautiful day, and I really didn't have any excuses, but I didn't do it. Instead I spent hours on preparing pickles for winter; typical procrastination. I think I'm worried about sticking my nose where it doesn't belong. Maybe I should leave her alone, and let her face her destiny, but then I keep worrying about her well being. The truth is that she is very content where she is right now, and if I try to change anything it might disturb her terribly. For heaven's sake, it's an ugly spider we're talking about. Why is it so complicated for me to make a decision. You know what; every time I get like this, when I can't decide on what to do, it turns out that the best decision would have been to do nothing at all. Most situations have a way of working themselves out. Am I making excuses to not do the responsible thing, or should I just leave her alone? I wish I could get some feed back on this.

Maybe this video will help everybody on their most appreciated guidance.