Archive for the ‘ANIMAL DRAMA!’ Category

On Wildlife On Human Heads…

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Saturday, late afternoon, feeling my stream of NO-NO’s weaken from the continuous “Thomas” DVD requests, I suggested the 25 mile drive North—away from the smoke and ash of the fires currently raging—to Zuma Beach. My fatigued husband, who had battled his own personal firestorms all week as a worker back in the corporate world, surprised me with a quick, decisive, “Let’s f*%#*%# do it!”

He didn’t really say that, but that’s how my startled mind interpreted sudden enthusiasm from someone who actually needed a nap worse than me.

So we cooked up the Trader Joe’s cheese pizza, filled sippy cups, stuffed Infant Tylenol, Desitin, matches, scissors, sewing kit, packets of astronaut food, flannels (in case the next Ice Age hit while we were out) and everything else we could think of into the diaper bag, grabbed the “Thomas” obsessed little guy and took off, me thinking the entire drive up and over the baking mountain, Crap, what about vegetables, he’s not getting any vegetables tonight, he’s not—oh shut up!

Because sometimes you just have to go to the beach for dinner, even if you have no vegetables to take along. Because when it’s 105 degrees outside and the blow-up kiddie pool is shriveling and it’s late afternoon and grandma’s gone home and you and your husband slept for 5 minutes on your Saturday because that’s how long your son’s nap lasted and the little guy is moving on to the next thing and that’s going to include you getting up off the living room couch and following him from one end of the house to the other, you start thinking about where the coolest place with room to run a 21 month old is within driving distance that is NOT a crowded mall—and that would be: the beach, the one that everyone is leaving for the day just as you arrive.

Of course the toddler napped blissfully on the way there.

But that meant my husband and I could visit uninhibitedly and if we happened to utter an expletive, our little parrot would not repeat it. (Freedom!)

And when we arrived at Zuma, not only did we choose a lovely, sparsely populated bit of beach with a view of several pods of dolphins frolicking, but we happened to be sitting right where the man with the seagull on his head walks by every single dusk.

You really feel like you’ve seen it all when you watch your amazed toddler watch the man with the seagull on his head watch zany dolphins surfing Zuma waves. And then you talk to the man with the seagull on his head and you find out right away that he is not, in fact, crazy. His eyes are lucid and he tells endearing stories about the gulls—birds most people treat like pesky flies, or worse. I encourage every parent of a toddler to go to Zuma Beach near dusk, to Lifeguard station #12 and wait for the man with the seagull on his head to come along. He’s good at talking to children—all calm and happy-docent-ish, fielding goofy questions with a patient smile. When he said goodbye to us (and the rest of the amazed little crowd that had gathered), we waved as he strolled off up the beach into the sunset, kept waving even though he couldn’t see us waving—a man and a wild gull (occasionally unfurling her wings to keep her balance on his cranium) connecting. They made quite the catchy silhouette.

I glanced at the ocean as my husband and our son moved on to kicking the beachball around. The dolphins were still there, throwing up tails and flippers and making the water froth. I love dolphins. I wondered if I swam out to them, would they include me in their games? Would we connect?

I walked to the surfline, stuck my toe in the water, yelped. F’ing freezing!!! I hastily withdrew my feet from the tide’s reach, pretty sure the dolphins would try to sit on my head, anyway, and I’d drown, or they’d swim away from me and a shark would take their place and bite off my foot like that one bull shark did to that unlucky dude fishing in shallow water and then how effective a mother would I be, hobbling after my son because I was stupid enough to go dolphin seeking at dusk, when, as everyone knows, sharks feed…I breathed in delicious sea air and joined in the beachball kicking still going on, glad to have both of my feet. High above us, seagulls shrieked delightedly, circling our picnic dinner.

Break From Grieving For The Cat…

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Animals, animals everywhere at the world’s most exciting petting zoo!
Watch out!

And then the troublemaker came on the scene, eyeing my son’s tender fingers. Oh yeah, I’m talking about you, Mr. Goose.
Uh oh.

And I was all NOOOOOOOOO and moving in slow motion, ploughing through a sea of goat hooves and plump goat bodies.
Begin Jaws Music

Don’t. Touch. That. Toddler!
Get away from him, you b****!

As I went under a gazzilion little goat hooves, my husband swooped in to save the toddler—not before the offending goose took a swipe at my son’s outstretched hand with his beak, causing the little guy such shock, he cried.
Dadda to the rescue!

Fortunately grandad’s presence and powerful goat/donkey-attraction had us laughing in no time.
Ha ha!

Real Life…

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009


Two days in a row I carted us to a place on my beach: unpeopled, sand a sheet of fresh powder, pleasantly cliff-backed—meaning fragrant chaparral and birdsong. The ocean both days: sun-smitten, dive-bombed by pelicans, a mother of all blues, an island standing in as immediate horizon—arcing ocher land softly filtered through a morning’s lazy, leftover fog.

Two days in a row I had the beach experience with my son I’d been waiting for him to grow into: respecting and playing with the tide vs. helter skelter lemming behavior, exploring beach vs. fixating on the umbrella or eating sand, using rocks and driftwood as tools for creating. At the close of our romps and exploring, I changed him into dry clothes, loaded him and everything else back into the jogging stroller and headed not for the parking lot, but farther up the beach, into vaguely sky-slipping sun, just for a bit, as he worked on a ricecake and kept his head turned left, left, his eyes on the sea (thrilling me).

The morning of our departure for Los Angeles, we returned to the beach and walked aimlessly in semi-fog. I sipped a venti-half-caf and he munched pumpkin bread, halting to gesticulate wildly at the low tide, or gulls. For once, in July, we wore sweaters, jeans instead of shorts with our sandals. That air, flushed by salt breezes, never fails to ease his night-wakings. Breathe, baby, breathe, I thought.

Two hours later we were back in dry, molten heat, the main water line from our house to the city hookup on the sidewalk creating a fine, cascading rain in summer’s scald. My husband was speaking to plumbers tramping the front yard scratching their heads over the useless pipe and reformulating original estimates, and my husband was speaking to plumbers coming in through the Bluetooth curling Star Trek style around his ear. I hurried inside, but our bathroom, also a victim of plumbing disorders, was dismantled. I had to pee desperately and was told to use the garden and just then I discovered that my cat of 17 years was, apparently, dying: A troubled meow, then more, like a cavern’s echo’s despair.

The water stayed off for the next 24 hours. The vet: called and seen. Various estimates came, altered, went. My son refused to nap, hyped on heat and domestic chaos, all sea breezes memories, only, if that. When everything happens at once, where does the cool come from? Through it all, my husband and I exchanged glances, shrugged—his turn to argue, my turn to weep worry, aware, of course, always, of our boy, his 20 month old sensors ON, working overtime. I found out how it is to slip into a room’s closet, escaping radar, running away out of a sense of protection. Still, he found me. Mama, he said, tugging open the double doors, excited and curious. Mama.

How everything can happen at once. The arrival of water, a grandmother for my son’s delight, and, within minutes, my cat’s demise. Give her sugar water from an eyedropper, the vet suggested, and I did and that was the end of my cat. 17 years done. Over. When I see the world and do not see my girl…Sorry, Lady Gregory, for the drastic substitution.

I took a shower—not because I was afraid of her death on my skin, but because I am always afraid for my son. The shower thundered out water, the sound appropriate, song-like, also torture. Later, my husband and I buried her under the potato vine. I despaired: Why must a move UP, why must a good change, why must one huge positive mean a sacrifice? Don’t overthink it, my husband suggested. I turned away from the grave, saw the hummingbird feeder needed refilling, the roses begging for a drink, patchy grass suffering. I saw my mother in the house with my son, reading, or read to. A plane muttered overhead. Heat persisted like a warning ache, persistently melting perimeters. Always that heat. So late in the day for so many metaphors. I placed a garden chair near the grave. I stayed close to her for a while. I probably prayed.

In Memorian: Charlotte 2/1992 – 7/2009

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Darn it.






17 years is a long time to love a cat. RIP under the potato vine, Charlotte. I miss you terribly, Puffle. I keep expecting you to haul yourself up on the bed. Or come running because you’ve heard me open the refrigerator door. Or to cause a ruckus with Al and Rudy. Oh dear. I wish you could come back, Goose. I wish you were here.


Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Fire Santa Barbara May 2009

Gallerina Sister took this on her iphone. The power was out everywhere this afternoon, including her gallery, so they shut down and she fled to the Mesa, to Blood Sister’s house: aka Fire Central. What should have been a 10 minute drive turned into an avoidance of city gridlock and deposited Gallerina Sister over 20 minutes later (outrageous for our small town) on a street right above Blood Sister’s. She got out of the car and walked up the precious rise of a view-ridden park—a tranquil, greeny place resembling a little piece of the top of the world. Her legs were still shaky: From her downtown gallery she’d seen flames on the nearby Riviera, enough of the fire to give her a sense of its ferocity—enough to put the shake in her legs. She’d been evacuated from her home the day before, to her surprise. She’d tried to drive up her street and was told “no,” even though official mandatory evacuations hadn’t been made public, yet. Luckily a neighbor was able to grab some clothes and things for her and for her daughter. Luckily she doesn’t have any pets to worry about. Hopefully her house isn’t burning. Blood Sister joined her at the park and they watched the drama for a bit, then retired to Fire Central and watched the Jesusita rage on TV with Blood Sister’s family, Blood Sister’s ex-husband and his dog (also displaced), comfort food and the kind of libations you choose when shock is testing your norms. They’re still watching. This fire, both of my sisters assured me, makes the Tea Fire tiny.

Tomorrow will be interesting. The winds are supposed to abate for the day and the smoke clear until the next sundowner. No one seems to know exactly how many acres and houses have burned. Talk about a reveal…

jesusita fire from downtown

UPDATE: 5/7/09 Still no word on whether Gallerina Sister and her daughter have a house to live in. The winds will most likely kick up again later today. I can’t watch the news anymore after the reporting on horror stories about animals.
UPDATE: 5/7/09 (still!) Gallerina Sister’s house is standing. She viewed it through a friend’s birding binocs. Her daughter’s boyfriend’s family home, however, gone. Winds aren’t kicking up like yesterday, yet fire rages at the top of the mountain. There is scant local reporting and much confusion. Heartening stories of some animals being beautifully saved.
UPDATE: 5/8/09 The fire has launched in two different directions. People are being evacuated who never, ever thought they would be. If the winds come up again today as expected—-
UDPATE: Click here

Dead Bird In The Freezer…

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Wounded birds had a thing for me, appearing on doorsteps I frequented, pavement, balconies, my favorite beach, displaying their injuries, pitiful gimpings, tragic wing breaks, dangling broken legs. I could be out walking and my eye would be caught by a flutter I knew instantly was a message, a flutter-cry for help. I don’t know how I knew, but I was always right. I responded to every SOS, cradling the injured party in my hoodie or pocket of my purse, zooming it for rescue and a Bird Person or vet experienced in optimism and bird bodies. Once, I saved a house finch who had a run-in with a pop-up sprinkler when the pop-up popped down and took her leg with it. The vet I found was the same Dr. responsible for removing the voiceboxes from the peacocks residing on the green, green (and apparently bird-hushed) grounds of the Playboy Mansion. As this vet cooed over my bemused wild finch, he suddenly amputated the mangled leg. Snip. Just like that. The finch didn’t even flinch. He told me Amelia (I was prone to naming my rescues) would probably live two years in the wild if I nursed her back to health and released her, three years if I kept her in a cage. Of course I was going to give her an extra year of life! Once Amelia was hopping expertly around the cage I purchased for her (a definite mansion, a Tara cage–huge and white and perch-filled), hopping blithely from her swing down into her seed bowl for a feeding-frenzy, then back up to perches as though she’d never lost a leg, my conscience took over. Setting the cage on my patio, I opened the white bars and retreated inside my apartment. Amelia’s cousins (at least, I hope they were her cousins) sailed down from the trees and perched on the cage, tweeting madly, as if urging escape before the huge hairy monster watching at the window changed her mind. When they flew off, Amelia followed. Bye-bye, sweet house finch. Though I scanned the trees with my opera glasses, I never saw her again. For months her cage sat empty on my patio, gathering dust from the Hollywood Hills, the abandoned birdie-mirrors reflecting me solo in hideous smog-light with a glass of wine and a pen poised over the notebook on my lap, nervously watching the world zipping by, alone but for Charlotte (the man-hating cat), utterly birdless.

But then I saved Mr. Peabody, a cobalt budgie who fainted in front of my security gate. I almost stepped on him. It was as if he’d been placed there for me to rescue. I cupped him in my palms, ferried him to my kitchen and moistened his beak with water until he came to. And then I set him in Amelia’s cage. He clung woefully to a perch for 24 hours, then switched on. Alert, chirpy, checking me and his new digs out, Mr. Peabody proceeded to be delightfully trill and entertaining for the next 4 years.

Mr. Peabody and Charlotte were my homies. They moved with me up North for a year, moved back with me to Echo Park, were comfort when I came home from a dubious date or party that failed to produce Mr. Wonderful (oh yes, I was searching). Sweet, funny, full of whistles and fond of preening strands of my hair if I pushed them into his cage, Mr. P was the epitomy of affection. He would never let me hold him, refused to leave his cage (unlike Amelia), but he encouraged me to spray water on him for a bath and on rare, magical occasions, he would press his head against the bars and let my fingers sift his warm down. He thrilled visitors with his terminally merry, vibrant sounds, joining in the conversation during my potato soup parties, lemon drop socials, or poetry get-togethers.

Sometime during my sojourn in Echo Park, I had a blind date with Mr. Wonderful, S, my future husband and a year and a half later I was traveling with S before moving in with him. During my absence, bird-sat by a friend of mine, Mr. Peabody expired, fell off his perch, whether dead before, after or because of the fall, no one will ever know. My friend was devastated. He handed me Mr. Peabody in a white box we both sobbed over. Mr. Peabody was the Tom Hanks of parakeets, the Jimmy Stewart of budgies. Everybody f****** liked him.

Meaning to bury Mr. Peabody, but wanting a perfect place, I stored my dead bird in S’s freezer. And there he has stayed for three years. S suggested we bury him in North Hollywood Park, but what if a dog or one of the park’s aggressive squirrels dug him up and—? Too horrible to contemplate. S suggested a mountain burial, but we started trying to get pregnant and stopped going on hikes. We frequent the beach, but that won’t do. And although my mother offered a portion of her yard as funeral plot, we keep forgetting to take Mr. Peabody out of the freezer when packing the minivan for Santa Barbara. This time, we won’t forget Mr. P, S and I proclaim, but we always forget, our arms loaded with T and his million things. My sister the Santa Barbara gallerina contacted an artist who specializes in painting dead birds. This artist expressed interest in painting Mr. Peabody and his frozen cobalt glisten—but what would happen to my bird after the session? Cremation? Burial? Dumpster? I’ve never been contacted to organize a dead-bird-drop-off and I don’t ask my sister about this artist anymore. Although a portrait would be nice…

But soon we will be moving into our very own house with an extremely large yard. There I plan to bury Mr. Peabody. Finally, a resting place I am comfortable with! Also, S made it very clear that Mr. Peabody is not to go anywhere near our new refrigerator. For three years my husband has organized our freezer to make room for the white box, framing it in Trader Joe’s soy chicken nuggets, sliding slim packets of vegetarian bacon over the top of Mr. Peabody’s crude coffin. How I miss my bird! And yet I’m so relieved to give him a burial after all this time. “Yeah. Couldn’t come fast enough,” S says wryly, side-stepping Charlotte (even though she has decided not to hate S and tattoo his arms with her claws, but tolerate him, especially because he’s the one who feeds her). But S knew Mr. Peabody and he, too, was smitten. We wish he could have survived the transition to our married life.

Farewell, Mr. Peabody. You were immensely loved. We will hang hummingbird feeders and seedbags from our new eaves in your honor and a place a birdbath in our rose garden. I would, in a budgie’s heartbeat, save you again if I could.

Sweetest guy!

UPDATE: Dead mockingbird in the carport, saw it just as I was pulling in. I think it’s the same one that’s been dive bombing cats prowling the area. It’s birdie Spring madness around here, many swoopings and noisy complaints and birds on the wall holding twigs in their beaks. I’m sorry the MB was dead, but as a still fairly sleepless mother I am also a little relieved I didn’t have to do the rushing to the vet thing—although in the name of Mr. Peabody, I would have.

Blog Break: Whaleshark…

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Pretty sure this is illegal in many, many countries…

Whaleshark fry!

O Lot…

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Now that we are house hunting, the silly sad vacant lot that sticks around next door doesn’t seem so hideous. In fact, today our usual eyesore is not even a lot, but a beautiful, shimmering lake after the rains. We are suddenly the owners of a lakefront condo. Ah, life and all its quirky turns!


The white heron/egret elegant creature that decided to visit has made the lot a mini-wetlands. Perhaps I should take T fishing over there, or clamming…


I do like being NoHo lakefront condo owners as opposed to this charming previous view with the infamous squirrel killing pole in the background:

Charming Prev. View

Lakefront is a definite stress-lessening agent for the sleepless mommy as she reclines on the king sized bed forever (hah!) dominating the living room, notebook (I mean real paper) on her lap, pen poised, musing on the lake’s sparkle and profundity of the stunning wading bird—as her son—naps…

Prison? Noooooo. Paradise.

sparkle baby

It’s all in the sparkle, baby.

Man, add a little water to a vacant lot and the fowl just keep coming! This morning: a mad honking overhead and then touchdown—Canada Geese. I hope the water and its visitors stay for the winter—but I’m afraid our annual February heatwave will turn the lake back into a vacant lot, with steaming, stagnating puddles and madly darting larvae.

Amazing Geese!

But it’s beautiful for now and as close to Bradford-On-Avon as we’ll get this year.

Happy Barfing New Year!

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

2009 Baby!

The PF (pater figure) visited NYE and day, taking the train up from the fabulous ocean cool of Dana Point, arriving with a Trader Joe’s bag chock full of that store’s mmmmms, including amazing pecan toffee types and a tall bag of white popcorn to go with serious Rose Bowl watching 1/1/09. I’d had the foresight to drag my vaguely recovering cold/flu hiney to pick up potato soup fixings, remembering the cilantro, even, and cooking sherry and a super soft ciabatta bread tucked in garlic and cheese and lo and behold despite a stuffy head needing to explode, despite being a sleepless mother, I made my first potato soup of 2008, enough for left-overs in 2009. The PF arrived shortly after T’s morning nap and we headed for the inert trains of Travel Town, where my camera died just in time for T’s first miniature train ride, but the sun was glorious and Griffith Park green for a change and the train driver waving and friendly, so the camera was forgotten in lieu of family funnish things, like setting T loose in a train car, where he toddled delightedly from one end to the other as the PF expounded about steam engines so old they are disturbing ghosts unto themselves—even in the glorious sunlight.

Not to wax on, but perhaps it was all the running in the train car, or December sun overload, or just too soon after T’s cold (nose still leaking like a sewer) for him to be out. Because he ate the fresh yam I made him, enjoyed his post-dinner bath, ignited in a fever and, all changed into pajamas, barfed up his meal on me as I was carrying him to bed. S quickly ran the shower and I rinsed T, fresh pj’s were procured and all was well, meaning T went to sleep, and we even witnessed Universal Studio’s fireworks show from our balcony, and though we stayed up until 1am, all was okay, the PF jolly, myself: jolly-in-my-Advil—until 3am when one of the cats started barfing and wouldn’t stop until three separate barfings had been committed, fortunatley not on the king sized bed. Exhausted, we vowed to clean it up in the morning and S did so and an hour later PK(psycho kitty) was barfing on the kitchen table, right in the middle of the Rose Parade and the PF’s feasting on browned-butter eggs and during nap time T woke up sobbing and barfed over the edge of his crib onto the primary colored mat and shortly after that my bare foot stepped on a recently regurgitated hairball and then I really, seriously wondered why I’d greeted the New Year when I should have been sleeping having had the stomach flu and then the cold/flu and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and it was definitely time to lie down and I did, while S and the PF watched football elsewhere, and I tried not to think about being all on top of each other here in the NoHo condo with the terminally vacant lot next door and to remember all that I have—devoted barfing cats, beautiful barfing baby, a husband who is great with the shamelessly candid PF and previously barfing, irritable wife and so, so tender with his barfing son and we don’t live in a bombing zone or the wretched Congo and now we even get KCET since the TV turned digital.

In short, I have become one who counts blessings and have determined I have everything to be grateful for. 2009—the year of the family. I’ll give it all I’ve got. Happy New Year!

Eve Ensler’s VDay Campaign
Mia Farrow in the DRC via UNICEF: Help!

Ornament Alley

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Because T’s been walking since he was 11 months old, we’ve modified our Christmas tree this year to fit on top of the piano, the keys of which we encourage him to tinkle as he toddles to and from the living room, the back of which he can’t reach. Yet. S fixated on a live tree from Target. Somehow, it wasn’t until we got it home that we discovered the needles are of the blood-drawing variety. I wore oven mitts to help hang the lights. Tucked in his high chair, T practiced the finger foods thing while S and I decorated, using select ornaments from the Xmas Box due to lack of tree mass.

Brace for favs (it’s late–I’m up–insomnia brought on by getting barfed on by T right before we put him in bed–he won’t throw up in his bed, will he? Jimi Hendrix style? I worry, I worry…Bring on the eggnog…):

Oh! A penguin straight from the Galapagos Isles, delivered by bro and sis-in-law who went Darwinian for a week last year. He’s been sitting on a bathroom shelf just waiting for his first tree hanging (the ornament, not my bro-in-law). Little guy! Little Galapagotic wonder. Galapagos penguins breed three times a year and predators include sharks and fishing nets. I love him. (More eggnog, plzzzz…)

Galapagos Penguin!

My sis-in-law reported disturbing tales of massive Galapagos Islands underfunding and poaching and I hope I am able to litter the sacred volcanic landscape with my footprints before the whole archipelago is completely ravaged and the wildlife poached to extinction, including the Galapagos penguin and the Blue Footed Booby. Which brings me to the seahorse from Bloodsister:

seahorse from bloodsister!

As everyone knows, male seahorses carry the “fry” (babies), possibly 200 fry at a time. Pregnant for two or three weeks. Then intense, color-draining labor. It’s a wonderful world. Enter mousie:


For an Xmas boutique in Honolulu. I created 5 mice, sold one—to a stately looking woman-psychiatrist the chick in a mumu next to me (selling Xmas leis!!!) knew. I’ve given the other mousies away over the years, but kept this one to remind me, I suppose, of that other life I lived so long ago in the tropics (I could have used that psychiatrist in a big way then). There are, in fact, Boobies on Kaui. I’ve seen them. En masse.


S and I had known each other barely a year when we picked this up on Martha’s Vineyard. We rode bikes by beaches that made me think of “Jaws” and we hunted for James Taylor in Edgartown. It was post Labor Day. The island was preparing to shut down. The two elderly spinstery ladies who sold us the sailboat ornament said they chopped wood for cash during the no-tourist Winter months. Island life. A far cry from Honolulu. Or the gritty Galapagos. Martha’s Vineyard hosts the little known Red Footed Falcon, which has caused “justifiable excitement” island-wide. The hero in my children’s novel sports the tail of a Great White Shark. Rumless eggnog is still potent, in its quiet way. And now, a final couplet:

To bed, to bed! I leave you with my 71 year old mo-in-law
standing on her head.


Oh yes—and the tree.
Nighty night—better you than me!
(wait, I take that back)


Fodder While I Ponder—–

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008
My Pyrate Boy

He’s next to Smudge-The-Family-Rabbit’s cage, being walked by a generous auntie. Noho relief in Santa Barbara. Seeing things such as: 18 finches—i.e., real live birds—vying for seeds on droopy sack birdfeeders outside my sister’s windows. Fog floaty, pleasingly surreal, veiling beach as we walked and talked softly. Over baked yams, faux-sausage, smoky wine and a sippy cup, much was discussed among many, including pending debates, the SNL parodies, of course whether the economy would be—solved?—by today, Monday. Back to NoHo. Despite the fog, everything is so clear up in Santa Barbara. Easier to move, to breathe, to get to the beach. Hello, NoHo condo. Now what?

Oh Smudge!
The Family Rabbit

Pardon My Interlude

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Cocky Peacock

Squirrel Error

Friday, June 6th, 2008

This is not something I wanted to see, nor was it something I could look away from and carry on with giving T the left boob, say, or attempt the trick of making a pot of coffee with one hand. I watched, horrified, the squirrel-circle free fall from the top of the pole downdowndown to——-weeds. If I’d looked out the window a second earlier, or later, I’d have missed it. But no. I gaped the gape of shock and dread. Not a weed shimmied. The whole world was Sunday-still. Even, for once, my son was still. So was I, for about two seconds.

I had my husband up, dressed and the three of us out the door in about seven minutes. Because of T, we took the long way around the ugly blank space vs. crawling through gaps in hideous chain link. Here was my thinking: one of the squirrels was hurt or dead, one lucky squirrel survived, cuhsioned by landing on top of the other one. My husband stopped laughing and feeling carefree and became a believer when I pointed out the squirrel on the ground. He said, quietly: oh my god. I said: it can’t move. And this was true–the squirrel was alive, lifting up its head, eyes bright, but couldn’t seem to wrench to all fours, much less scamper. I covered T’s eyes.

Back home, I called the NoHo Animal Rescue–which, as it turned out, was a user-friendly name for The Pound. An hour after my initial phone call for rescue, I redialed the troops. There you are, they told me. We’ve been trying to call you! Where is the squirrel, again?

Shortly after this phone call I had my husband hightail it across the ugly space to chase away a stalking cat. On his way back, he met up with Animal Rescue–a woman in her late thirties carrying a cardboard box. From the window, endlessly rocking T, I watched Rescue and my husband make their way to the squirrel. Ah, I thought. That’s that. I confess: although I knew better, a part of me really believed that NoHo Animal Rescue was just that, the squirrel would be saved, my work done. I turned from the window, took T into the bedroom and lay down, completely wiped out.

The gun shot had me back to the window so fast T’s lips were still in the shape they make when wrapped around the spigot.

There, in the center of the ugly space of desolation, stood Rescue and my husband, his hands on his hips, her hands wrapped around a gun pointed into the space’s crater, where, I presumed, the squirrel had been deposited. The gape returned as I watched her raise the gun and shoot again. Then Rescue tramped down into the crater and disappeared as my husband made waving motions at her with his arms and shouted things I was too destroyed to decipher. I took my gape and my boy into the bedroom and waited.

Just let me explain, don’t, don’t say anything! Shh! Don’t! Let me talk, let ME talk, for the love of god, please!

He was pretty frantic. So I bit back most of my nasty slang and, drawing upon lessons of patience I’ve tried to apply to my life since last November 12th (vs. fighting patience with screamed gibberish while assuming the fetal position), I listened to my husband.

The tale of the squirrel as told by my husband: She shot it!

Me: I heard.

The tale of the squirrel as told by my husband: She f****** shot it!

The tale of the squirrel as told by my husband as he paces the bedroom: The NoHo Animal Rescue would have euthanized the squirrel, babe. It was worse than when you saw it–going all stiff, alive, but rigor mortis-like. But Rescue–I think she’s German, babe–told me she wanted to shoot the squirrel because cats and dogs come first and squirrels wait and this squirrel could have waited hours before its turn to be euthanized, babe, hours and hours of pain or a painful death–so I told her okay, shoot it and she put the squirrel in the crater and climbed out and took aim. But she missed. I saw the bullet hit dirt several inches away from the squirrel. She asked me: Vy eez it still alive? And I said: because you missed it! And she said: But vy eez it still movink? And I said: because you missed it! And so she shot again and this time, babe, she hit it and I have to say, babe, she wasn’t happy about doing the job, she was shaking and upset, which is why I think she missed it in the first place. Anyway, as I was leaving some lady came out of her condo and asked me what happened. So I told her and she said to thank you for calling Rescue.

I’ve always heard squirrels aren’t very smart. They’re prone to heart attacks when they get too excited and plus they have diseases, I guess. But they’re cute and I’m sad and responsible for so much. Soooooooooo f****** much. So, you’re very welcome, but.

Rhino Dreams

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

On a recent trip to the Los Angeles Zoo, T and I saw an amazing rhino. We hoped he was happy in there. I was jealous of his nap.