Monday, April 26, 2021

From cats to bats.

I have been watching every bat rescue vid I can find on Youtube. Meg, of Megabattie fame, does a bang up job of rescue and rehab for (mostly) flying foxes. I think I heard her say in one of the vids that her eyesight isn't what it was, so it's easier to see the 'bits' on the larger variety of bats. That and she doesn't really enjoy feeding meal worms to the microbats. (I, personally, find the megabats/flying foxes much cuter than the insect-eating bats and would prefer to work with them as well, were I to have a choice!

We do not have fruit bats, aka megabats, flying free here in the US. Our wild bats are strictly tiny, meat-eating variety. In fact, I don't think I knew that fruit bats looked a bit like a cross between a fox and a dog in the face until a few years ago. (Thanks, David Attenborough!)

All bats, whether large or small, fruit or meating eating, are extraordinary mammals. Bats spend a majority of their lives upside down. They eat upside down, give birth upside down and sleep upside down. What they don't do, appropriately, is relieve themselves upside down. Through a process known as inversion, bats flip right side up, hang on by their thumbs, empty bladder and/or bowel, then perform a little shake of their entire body before dangling once again by their feet. It's a little bit funny to watch the whole routine, but it gets the job done! 

Speaking of funny, I found a vid of Meg's from a few years' back in which one of her colleagues caught a naughty juvenile bat taking a milk bottle from a holder and absconding with it. The only problem was that without actual hands with fingers, the poor battie couldn't figure out how to tip the bottle nipple down in order to procure the milk. 

If  you're keen to have a chuckle, then take a gander at this botched milk theft video--




Saturday, April 17, 2021

News of late.

I was starting to feel a bit anxious re: Covid vaccination accessibility last month. Starting back in January, relatives and friends of friends who weren't immuno-comprised yet desperate to skip the queue were able to get the jab via somewhat questionable means. Some cousins of mine who are in their 30s claimed that they worked in the hospitality industry and therefore were able to get the jab. One had her hubby put her on the payroll at his restaurant, the other just said she tended bar, in fact she used to, but now no longer does. So did she need to bring proof of employment? And, if so, what did she show the folk at the vax center? Someone I know owns and runs an event space where beer and wine are occasionally served, so she was eligible and got the jab. I thought, should I be doing this, too, in order to be vaccinated earlier than others? Is that a correct thing to do? In the end, I felt it wasn't, but couldn't shake feeling nervous about not being able to easily obtain a vax appointment once they became available to my age group. After fruitless online searches, thanks to social media (said usually no one ever), I caught wind of an abundance of vax appts. at a local college. I was able to book online the very first go. The initial dose was administered on April 7th. I will go back for the second injection on May 7th. Those of us who booked at this particular site were offered either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine. I chose Moderna not for any other reason than it was the default choice on the website. 

My husband, who is a year younger than I am, is now able to be vaccinated along with everyone else ages 16 and over. He's tried booking an appt. for the past few days, but has so far come up short. I suppose if he were willing to travel some long distance, then he could possibly be able to book an appt. sooner rather than later, but who wants to drive 75 miles away to have a needle stuck in their arm? 

***

Since the start of lock-down, a portion of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park has been closed to vehicular traffic. As a driver, I could stomp my foot and talk about 'my rights' as a car owner and demand that all of JFK be re-opened to car traffic, but it's not just about me. Having this roadway in the park closed to all but walkers, joggers, skaters, bikers and parents with kids in strollers has been a real boon to those of us wanting to be in a leafy-green park, but with a decent amount of social distance between us. Now the folk behind the big-monied museums in the park just off this closed bit of roadway (note: buses are still able to drive through) with ample underground parking between them, are crying that barring car traffic from almost literally their front doors is a hindrance to visitors. Even with the partial street closure, through-traffic in the park still exists as do over 4,000 parking spaces. So, really, why are the museums squawking? You'll get your $$$. People are still showing up, ffs.

In addition to the museum heads, we've even heard from district supervisors in SE San Francisco, now predominately neighborhoods of color, complaining that the park closure represents some sort of 'recreational redlining'. I call bullshit on that. As someone who used to live in SE SF at the beginning of lock-down, I could either take a direct bus into the park or drive to the park and PARK IN or around said park. The only issue that I take with the partial closure of JFK is that it doesn't seem to take into account those with pronounced mobility issues who might wish to visit either the museums or the Conservatory of Flowers now that this institutions are beginning to re-open to the public. 

Many SF families with young children have been able to enjoy the park together. I have seen more than my fair share of little'uns learning how to ride bikes without the worry of cars whizzing by and many parents on cargo bikes with their brood in tow. I don't need to be a parent to recognize that the park street closure is a good thing. Again, it's not about me as a motorist who wants to easily and quickly get to the other side of town via Golden Gate Park, it's about the majority. And the (vocal) majority are San Francisco families who want a car-free JFK. 

This past Saturday I attended a car-free JFK Dr. rally in front of the Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park. There were a good couple hundred folk in attendance. Most attendees were parents with children, but there were a few of us 'non-breeders' there as well. No one from City Hall showed up in support. Fortunately, state assembly member David Chiu (who lives in SE San Francisco, no less) took part in the rally and he also lent his voice to the cause. Here he is from behind in the picture below delivering a solid message of support to rally participants. 




Hope all of you are safe and well! x Bea








Monday, March 22, 2021

'Mamie Pink'

First Lady Eisenhower in a lovely pink gown.


I had mentioned to a friend that my husband and I are attempting to restore the tile in our bathroom to its original state. What was once a floor covered in white paint (why?!) is now one of two-tone fun: a rose-pink border with an extremely light sort of lavender/grey center. My friend asked when the house had been built. When I told her the year was 1944, she said, 'Oh! That's probably Mamie Pink!' Whose pink? 

From what I gather, Mrs. Eisenhower, 'Mamie' to her friends, adored the color pink. When she and President Eisenhower moved into the White House, she set about redecorating the residence leaning heavily on her favorite color: PINK. The White House was dubbed The Pink Palace during her tenure. Pink became the color du jour for decorators & Mamie Pink bathrooms began popping up all over the country. Given that Mrs. Eisenhower was First Lady in the 50s, my pink-bordered bathroom pre-dates the pink tile bathroom trend. And when I came into the world in the 70s, rooms in homes were awash in pea and avocado greens. Pink had been sidelined. 

Here are a few snaps of the bathroom tile renovation in progress---


Note the white paint and the newly uncovered lavender-ish tile adjacent.



The last remaining bits of white paint are now only in & around the grout.


Scraping white paint off the trim.







Thursday, March 11, 2021

Sticks and stones...



'Were your dad alive, he would be ashamed of you. Pathetic.'  I stewed on these words from my Uncle for a good hour, or so, before, as the Disney song goes, telling myself to 'let it go'. After years of receiving crap right-wing mails from him, I finally put my foot down yesterday. I think I wrote something like: Since you cannot seem to refrain from sending me emails of a political nature after I've repeatedly asked you stop, then I have no choice but to block your email address. Look, I realise that I poked the bear, as it were, but friendly entreaties to 'please refrain from sending political missives' were repeatedly ignored. I can't actually say 'ignored' because I think he either forgets to whom he's sending these emails or just doesn't care and 'spams' all of his email contacts with hateful content. Apropos 'spam', that is where all of his anti-Hilary/Biden/Obama emails landed. I couldn't be bothered to read them. 

His aggression when challenged struck me. My Dad, who was a life-long Democrat (as were their parents) spent his entire career working as a Business Agent/Union Rep. on behalf of the 'little guy'. It was as simple as: You had a beef with management? Call Doug! I know this as I was home many-a night when workers would call. And Dad always took the call. I am more inclined to think that Dad would be ashamed of the many things his elder brother has done. Let me outline a couple of instances for you---

My Uncle, a fairly decent-looking man in his prime, had quite the wandering eye. He's had many girlfriends and three wives. He was unfaithful to all of them. He slept with his best friend's wife, among other women, when married to his first wife. He then went on to divorce her at the time of her receiving a cancer diagnosis. She, unfortunately, died and he gained custody of the two kids. The elder one ran away from the family and never came back. After finding out that his second wife (on whom he had been cheating) had had a dalliance with another man, my Uncle decked her in the face. They then divorced. He left his third wife via kitchen table note. He'd packed her a lunch to take to work, as he always did in the morning, bid her farewell, then packed up his truck and bailed. She got the house in the settlement, at least. The woman that my Uncle left his last wife for is a minted widow whom he'd met on a cruise he'd taken with that last wife. Maybe it had been their Honeymoon even? Thanks to this last union, my Uncle has been living on easy street for the past twenty years. He wants for nothing yet manages to fill his ample free time with complaining about all that is wrong--according to him and FOX news-- in this world while jet-setting between various homes and various continents. Shame on him!






Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Horror flick; lock-down mane

Gregory Peck, Lee Remick and David Warner together in a film is ace, but I don't think The Omen (1976) holds up terribly well. Maybe it's that I had a hard time buying Lee Remick, looking every bit 20 years Peck's junior--and then some--, as his wife. The special effects are, to our modern eyes, fairly dated as well. The film's score, however, really sells the horror and suspense of the story. Discordant instrumentation does more to set me on edge than a barking Rottweiler any day. For the uninitiated, Peck's character is tasked with killing Damien, the Satan-spawn masquerading as his young son. If he does not, then that will spell the end of mankind. 

I'm just watching the tail-end of the film now. It's Peck against the kooky nanny who was sent by Satan to protect the boy. It ends badly for her. -lots of over-the-top deaths in the film, to be honest, and hers is no different. I recall there being more than one Omen sequel, so I probably needn't have to tell you if 'good' prevails over evil' here. 

***

I have not been to the hair dresser in nearly two years and it shows. I had feathered hair when I was a young teen. My feathers always drooped in the abundant coastal fog. Because of my sad-looking locks, some bratty kid/s decided to reward me with an unfortunate nickname: Lassie. 


Like my 'shiny coat'? Har-har.

Lassie is a pretty dog, but I did not and don't resemble her...or do I?







Friday, February 12, 2021

Statler

Not much gets me excited during quarantine other than beach walks and bike journeys through the neighborhood. I do, however, take some delight in watching animal videos via Youtube. The latest sensation to come across my computer screen was Statler, a 33-year-old fruit bat with one missing eye. Statler lives at a Bat Sanctuary in Texas. He looks like a wee canine with wings. I had no idea that bats could live as long as he has. I suppose his living in captivity has prolonged his life. Sadly, his having lived in captivity has also contributed to his arthritic condition and (probably) loss of eye ball! Anyway, here is a short, 3.38 min. about sweet, old Statler and some of his elderly bat-pals. 

This short clip is worth a look (provided his global fame has not yet reached your corner of the world), if you're so inclined. What's especially heart-warming about this vid is (spoiler!) Statler's helpers assist him in 'flying' by holding him aloft as he moves his arthritic wings up and down like an animatronic Disney creature circa 1962.



Saturday, February 6, 2021

Feb. 3, 2021

Does it seem like everyone is kicking the bucket right now? I don't even think all the deaths are Covid-related, but that is the first question to come to mind when I hear of yet another person's death. 

Speaking of Covid, my nephew, N., has contracted the virus as has his partner. They are both in their early 30s, but both have compromised immune systems. She is undergoing cancer treatment and he lives with hepatitis C. To be honest, I had thought that he would have already contracted Covid given his previous 'living situation'. When the pandemic began, my nephew was imprisoned in Chino, a state facility located in Southern California, for the duration. Just before Chino experienced a rash of Covid outbreaks, N. was transferred up to San Quentin before being released last year.  

I've signed up for a vaccine notification service for the county in which I live. I should expect to be contacted re: the vaccination in April. Fortunately, my mother and other folks I know over 65 have already obtained at least their first dose of the vaccine. The waiting period between doses seems to be about one month. Mom felt fine after the first jab. Hopefully, she'll not experience any adverse effects after the second. 

***

I was out tooling around on my bike today when I rode past an tidily dressed, mask-less older man sitting on the pavement. It looked as if he might have fallen. I dismounted and, staying an appropriate distance away with mask up, asked if he needed help. He couldn't articulate clearly if he did or did not need help. I told him that I would stay an appropriate distance away from him for a moment while he determined what he needed to do for himself. It quickly became clear that he was a bit disoriented and in a weakened state and could not lift himself up to a standing position. I offered him my arm, but no avail. Then I asked him if it were OK that I lifted him up myself. (I have to say that I was both worried that I might infect him--although it wasn't probable--and I did not want to emasculate him by hoisting him up to his feet.) As soon as I said what I wanted to do I realized that I probably wasn't capable of lifting him up without potentially injuring him or myself. It was at that point that a neighbor (also on his bike) asked if help were needed. I said that it was. He came over and easily and carefully lifted the man to a standing position. I stood on the other side of the older man and held his hand while he was being righted. The fallen man lived at the other end of the block. He may have been out for a walk...? I asked if there were anyone that I could call on his behalf. He said that there wasn't. The neighbor slowly escorted him down the block to his home. If we had an NHS, then I would have felt no compunction about calling an ambulance. Those with poor or no insurance are stuck with a HEFTY bill for services, so the thought of calling was never in my mind, to be honest. It may be, however, that the older man needed medical attention. I can only hope that the neighbor cyclist made the right determination re: potential injuries when dropping him off at his residence. 


From cats to bats.

I have been watching every bat rescue vid I can find on Youtube. Meg, of Megabattie fame, does a bang up job of rescue and rehab for (mostl...