Friday, June 27, 2008

Nom Nom Nom. Doves are yummy

or so say the owls in my back yard this morning.

I've been watching them for an hour now, and they are still eating. There are two kids and one grown up. I wonder if this is the same owl I got a shot of last spring. Either way, I love their hoo hoo, ho hoooo sounds at twilight. I love that I have enough trees that they call this place home. I don't even mind that I'm going to have to clean up dead bird bones later today. I am blessed to live in an area that hasn't managed to wipe out all of the native species that belong here.

Update: I emailed the Illinois Raptor Center, and they very quickly responded to my query. Those are Eastern Screech Owls. I had been thrown off because my birds didn't have big ear tufts, but as it turns out, they can flatten them down sometimes, too. As an aside, I learned that the screech owls who live at the Center are named Mulder and Sculley. Their names match their mysterious nature, I suppose. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A few last vacation pictures

On Thursday we went to Wild Things, a wild animal ranch. We got to see several big cats, a hyena, a baboon, etc. Unfortunately, most of them are behind chain link fences, so the pictures aren't great. But we did get to get some good views of elephants and ostriches. The zebra would only point his butt at us and poop in our general direction. At least he didn't projectile pee on the tour leader like the bengal tiger did.

Well crap-- blogger is being pissy about photo uploads, and I don't feel like messing with Flickr at the moment. I'll try to fix this up again later.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Name that contraption

Hey you-- with your mind in the gutter-- it's not what you think. That's a Banana Bunker. It'll keep your lunch nanner from getting all bruised in transit. Pretty cool, eh?

We're all healthy now in the Deplume household, although I'm still not totally unpacked. Life is just as busy as before we left, with dentist appointments, t-ball games, story time at the library, and on and on and on. Once stuff settles, I promise a few more vacation pictures.

And by the way, I crocheted a hat while on vacation. Right now it looks really ugly. I'm hoping that blocking will prove itself a miracle once again. Cross your fingers for me!

Friday, June 13, 2008


The whole family has been under the weather. Nora is fine, but the rest of us, not so much. We'll live, though. We're staying at a hotel near the airport tonight and will fly out of San Jose at the crack of dawn tomorrow. Please pray that we're all pretty much fine by then.

We do have some more pictures of sights we saw in between the germ attack, but I'll wait to post them until we're home.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sorry there are no pictures for Wednesday

We were sitting on the couch with sickly Nora all of yesterday. She seems to be better this morning after a long night's sleep (in addition to the three naps yesterday), so we'll most likely see some sights this afternoon and evening. I might even get to go to a Trader Joe's and/or Whole Foods. For some of you that sounds just plain silly, but we don't have them where we live, and I'm giddy at the prospect of visiting these grocery stores.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fun with microclimates

Yesterday, we had a leisurely breakfast, then headed out to drive a bit on Highway 1 and take a gander at Big Sur. First we stopped at a Safeway to buy some new sunglasses for Nige. I didn't want him squinting all day and complaining about the sun (rightfully so-- it's really sunny out here). I got stuck in one of those express lanes that was anything but. First there was the lady who could not figure out how to use her credit card. I am not exaggerating when I say that she had to try the whole swiping process at least 5 separate times. I have no earthly idea why the checker didn't do it for her at some point, but whatever. The next guy didn't have a Safeway shopper card and needed one to get the sale price on his three packages of Starburst candies. The checker started off to the Customer Service desk to get a card application form, when an angel in the form of the next gal in line offered the use of her Safeway card. Nigel does love his glasses, though.

After that 20-plus minute stop, we were on our way. First, we stopped in the Carmel Highlands area and realized that it is very very windy there by the coast. Luckily, we all had appropriate jackets. Nora was afraid to get out of the car on this stop, as she felt like we were atop a sheer cliff. We weren't, but I can understand how her 6-year-old brain came to that conclusion.

After a while of driving around and finding that the Henry Miller Museum was closed, we stopped for lunch. It was only a few miles from our original stop, but holy crikies was the weather different! It was probably 90 degrees and still. We ate at a bakery/sandwich shop, then spent a few minutes enjoying the cacti and other succulents in the area.

We got back in the car, feeling very thankful for the air conditioning, and set back off for points north. We drove over some really tall bridges, most of them built in the early 1930's. Now I feel the need to understand 80-year-old road-building technology. They certainly didn't have the giant machinery that we see laying mile after mile of Interstate highway these days.

Then we got out at another point to take in the view. Again, the jackets went on. The cool wind was definitely back. But this time Nora got out and really enjoyed seeing the coastline. She said, with a giant smile on her face, "I'm sorry that I didn't get out the first time." Nigel remained inside the car, though, as he was having fun "driving" it.

We decided it was time to head back to Carmel and go stick our feet in the ocean. It was the first ocean-touching for both of the kids. That water is c-c-c-cold! But the air was warm everyone had fun. One rogue wave came up and soaked my pants from the knees down. That'll teach me not to wear shorts like everyone else. After a bunch of playing in the sand, we headed off to find the yarn store (nothing fabulous to report there, though) and come back home.

Unfortunately, vacation tragedy struck later last night. Nora has come down with a stomach bug. She's currently snuggling with daddy on the couch, and watching cartoons. We were supposed to go to a wild animal park (complete with lions and elephants) but I doubt that will happen at this point. Ive got a good book, and two yarn projects to tend to, and it's a sunny day. Nigel seems to feel fine, so I'm guessing he'll spend a lot of time on the swing set and slide outside.

Till tomorrow, I bid you adieu.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pictures from Yesterday

We went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is as fabulous as I remember it. Maybe even better, because we got to watch the kids see it all. I didn't have offspring yet the first time I was there. We spent most of the day at the aquarium, watching otters and crabs and tuna and hammerhead sharks, touching limpets and starfish and bat rays.

"Hey Look! It's the fish from Nemo!"

Penguins are so cool to look at. I could have spent all day just going back and forth between the penguins and sea otters.
Some seals having a nap out in the Bay.
I got quite a lot of practice using the manual settings on my camera to get shots of the tanks without a flash. I just might figure out this photography thing yet. These particular guys are mediterranean jellyfish.
And super duper surprise for Norm here, there is a Dale Chihuly installation. I have a deep and emotional love for art glass, so I was as happy as the proverbial clam to happen upon this. Squee!
In addition to the sea otters, we met a few river otters, too. These guys are fast! And really hard to get a decent picture of.
We came back home, had a little rest, and another fabulous home-cooked dinner, courtesy of our hosts. The kids are still sleeping now, and when they get up, we'll head out for 17 Mile Drive and Big Sur. Nora is really looking forward to stepping her feet into the ocean.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The view from my breakfast table

I was informed yesterday that I'm a bad person for not updating my blog. And I'm sad about that. So this morning I woke up determined to update. I need my "good girl" endorsement back.

We are on a vacation in California, staying with Mr Deplume's Aunt Linda and Uncle Mike. They are wonderful hosts. They fed us a great dinner last night, lots of fun conversation, and then, when the two children were just about to fall asleep in their dessert, we wandered back to our quarters for a deeeep sleep.

Mr Deplume got up early this morning and got a run in. Having driven the hill that he had to climb to get the run started, I'm duly impressed that he managed to get three miles in. Sheesh. I'm a flatlander through and through, so this hilly terrain makes me a bit twitchy.

Once he got back, we came outside for breakfast on the porch. This is what I ate (that's yogurt and raspberry granola:

And this is what we looked at while eating:

Not too shabby, eh? It's a little cold though. About 50 out here right now, and my fingers are really chilly from all this typing. After the hot spell in Illinois, I'm really happy that we've had to take a sweater everywhere so far this week.

Once the kids awake, we'll head off to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I don't know who is more excited, the kids or me.