VirgoVoice

I'm just sayin'

Gopher Update

I have not seen ANY gopher activity in the backyard for more than 24-hours! Yippee.However, the operative word here is the BACKYARD. There seems to be some gopher activity in the front yard, again. Well, I’m gonna be on that as soon as it stops raining!

In case you missed the links to a video in yesterday’s blog, regarding the taunting Gopher, now’s your chance. If you want to see how a terrier gets the job done, check out the video of  Phoebe hard at work! She has at times dug holes so deep she can get her whole head in it.

*Click on Gopher or Phoebe

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High Rating On The Yukky Scale

phobe digging

Phoebe (left) working hard to get a gopher. Reba hanging out like a foreman. She just goes over once in awhile to see what’s going on but she’s not interested in working that hard.

Our backyard has been plagued with gophers for years. They have killed plants on the property that have been here for decades. They have ruined an entire lawn. They have created an underground burrow system that is reminiscent of Caddyshack. They have taunted my terriers over the years, who in turn have helped in the destruction of the lawn. Terrriers, all kinds of terriers are bred to be ratters; a dog which goes into tunnels to flush out and catch varmints. Varmints like badgers, rats, weasels, gophers. It’s instinctive to them. Like a Labrador Retriever is to water. Truthfully, if there is a varmint burrowing underground in my yard I don’t stop my dog who’s natural instinct is to get the destructive, little *&%$#. I let ‘em dig. Kind of hard to stop them. They’re just following their dream. Being themselves. Doing what they do.You get the picture.

Well, recently, as foolish as it seems, we decided to, again, combat the gopher problem in our yard. I had done more research and I was given some hope. I thought because there were at least a hundred gopher holes throughout our backyard there had to be a herd of them down under the surface trolling the burrows of the gopher underground. But, the newest info I read said one or two can be devastating to a yard. One or two? That’s it? Bring it on. Off to the hardware store to check out the options. First instinct was to trap ‘em. Not trap ‘em like a feral cat. But trap ‘em as in a mouse trappy kind of way. All right, a death trap. One that kills ‘em. But then I saw the traps and they look pretty barbaric. Plus, someone has to check on the trap to see if one is in there. YUK factor. In addition to thinking about the cruelty to the gopher there’s the the flip side; if one is killed in the trap, where do you dispose of it? YUK. Second of all, if there is one in there, it has to be disposed of somehow. That means having to have pretty close contact with a dead gopher. YUK. So, now you have to get a gopher body-bag, I guess a Safeway bag will do. Then what? Let it set in your garbage can decomposing until the next pick-up day? Double YUK. Do you dispose of it sans a bag and put it in the green-waste can? Again, what if you have several days until your garbage is collected? Decomposition is a smelly issue. Really. So, maybe traps aren’t the way to go.

I continued to peruse the gopher extrication options at the hardware store. There were boxes of sonar emitting devices that are supposed to send out a sound every 28 seconds that sounds like a distress signal to gophers. (What the heck would that sound like? Like a pitchfork piercing the earth? Fran Dresser’s voice screeching, “Run Run?”) Someone told me once that the sonar things worked in their yard. Yet, some online reviews say “Don’t bother.” But with new found hope of maybe there only being one or two gophers. And the plus side,  nobody would have to man the traps, what the heck  let’s give ‘em a try. The first couple of days I didn’t see any gopher activity. I really thought the sonar thing was working. I couldn’t believe it. But, and that’s a big but, the third day, I was standing at my kitchen window looking at the backyard dreaming of all it’s potential without the gopher presence. And lo and behold right before my eyes I watched a gopher pop it’s head right up out of one of it’s hole and take it’s sweet time looking around and nibbling on the weeds. Weeds were all that were left after it had destroyed the lawn we once had.  They’re not a scary critter, just a nuisance. Obviously the sonar thing didn’t work. I pulled that thing up, wiped it off, removed the batteries and took it back. But I didn’t buy the traps. I bought a pellet gun. Yep, I was going to get it. I went home, loaded that baby up with pellets. I was ready with pellet gun in hand, the gopher popped it’s head out, I had it in the site and I couldn’t do it.  Just couldn’t pop a cap in it’s tiny little head. I just wish it would go away. Go away, little gopher.

Remember that saying, “be careful of what you wish for”? My terrier, the ratter, Phoebe Rae, got the gopher. killed it. About 4 a.m. Phoebe woke me up to be let outside – I got up, unlocked the doggie door and out she went. I went back to bed. I was still awake when I heard her come back in and realized she’d been out there a long time. But all seemed normal. So I didn’t get up, I knew she was back asleep. But when I got up about an hour later something made me take a look around the room with a flashlight and YUK. There was a dead gopher on the bed. YUK YUK YUK. It’s probably one of the first times I did not want to take a picture for documentation. That is a Kodak moment in my mind. Forever. That’s probably another 15-years of therapy. A dead gopher on my bed. I know it wasn’t like its head was cut off and I woke up to a bloody scene. But, I’m just saying. A dead gopher on my bed. I can’t think about it anymore. But I bet Phoebe does.

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I Love A Silver Lining

I’ve been thinking. I’m pretty sure the people who read my blog have in some ways been affected by this countries “Economic Down-Turn” “The Recession” “The what-the-heck-happened-to-all-my-money?” situation. Crisis. Issue. Call it what you want, it still stings a little. Okay, a lot. It seems to me and I’m only a couch-philosopher, that this economic hardship in America has a silver lining.

This is how I see it; it brings back a simpler time when families were close-knit, helping each other in a time of need, looking after elderly parents. Little ones being raised with two generations (it takes a village concept) getting to know their heritage. Building relationships; caring for others. (cue violin music) Seriously, does that sound all that bad?  Certainly, to live like that now, communally-multi-generational, would have to include technology. I’m not saying we return to “Little House on the Prairie”, but it takes a lot to run a smooth household with two adults and kids and work. Working outside the home for most women today is not a choice. I’m not gonna go soapbox on you regarding how hard women work; at home and outside the home, raising children and making things run smoothly on the home-front. I’ll save that for another time. :)

What I am saying is, so many baby-boomers; people born between 1946-1964, planned their retirement around their houses/real estate, once considered the biggest asset the average adult would own. Well, guess what? That ain’t so true right now and the baby-boomers are retiring. Millions of baby-boomers lost money in investments, 401-k plans, deflated real-estate, over-inflated real-estate, what’s left? The threat of there being no money in social security? WTHeck are they gonna do? I have an idea. Surely you saw that coming.

I’m calling it the “Platinum Pyramid Plan”. It has all the elements for an exciting retirement life. It certainly has some kinks, I’ll work them out later. But I thought I’d share the ’3 P’s’ with you as it develops. I just thought I’d plant the seed. The major criteria of the plan requires you to have a desired skill/trade/vocation. The added bonus element of this plan is, it helps keep your brain sharp and your body mobile. Picture a pyramid divided horizontally, of course Platinum is at the top followed by Gold, Silver and Bronze. The second criteria is; you should have younger than you people in your life, kids, grand-kids  bowling teammates, ultimately, younger people and of course, they have to like you. ( No Grumps Allowed!)

PYRAMID 001So here’s the plan; you get these younger people, the ones who like you, to sign up for one of the levels of the pyramid and commit to a time period of which you can stay at their house. If you have a recreational vehicle, a home away from home, if you will, then you have to be able to park it at their place. So let’s say, the family picks the Bronze level and your skill is being a great cook and you love to cook. Let’s just say they have children and both parents or a single parent works outside the home. It’s difficult keeping up with everyday life; child rearing, meal planning, grocery shopping, paying bills, dog walking, you get the picture. Well, that’s where you step in. The family chooses the Bronze Package, that package includes, you staying at their place for one week with no money out of your pocket.  However, in return, you will plan meals, grocery shop and prepare the meals for one week and you get to eat the food you prepared. Bronze also might include some laundry duties. Get the picture? The old barter system. All-righty then, If you’re not a cook but you can repair a cabinet, replace a toilet, do windows, cut hair, dog sit, can vegetables, any skill you have that someone else wants relief from or help with. Maybe just boredom. Maybe someone would take you under their wing for a week just to have company. Who knows?

The Pyramid is built personally by you. What are your skills worth? Are you willing to stay a month at your cousin’s brother-in-law’s mother’s house in Montana for room and board and you repair her fence and muck out pig stalls? That would definitely be on the Platinum side of the pyramid. Well, for me it would. Actually, that would not be one of my strengths. That would be a deal breaker. One of the kinks; know the job before you sign on the dotted line! So without defining exact bartering rules right now, just try to grasp the age old sayings; you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. Just think, if you are not spending what little income you have coming in and can save it up for when you need a break from ‘retirement’ you can take that money and put it towards a little vacation at an all-inclusive resort! I’ll have more on that subject in plan B of the Platinum Pyramid Plan.

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As Always, Just Thinking

Golden Gate

A nice vantage point, but not the vista I am looking for. A beautiful winter day in San Francisco. January 2013

You know how when you’re daydreaming and one thought leads to another? And next thing you know you are thinking about something way different than what you started out thinking about. And it can take you from one spectrum of the emotional level to the extreme other side. Like when you see the ice cream truck coming up your street and you have a flash back to when you lived on Butler Street and the Good Humor guy came around, ringing the bell and you and Patti Smith would stop him and buy a drumstick or ice cream sandwich. That memory gets you thinking about Patti Smith and what’s she doing nowadays? Hadn’t thought about her in a long time. Then you remember her brother and how cute and fun he was. Oh, you remember now, her brother Michael got drafted and went to Viet Nam. He was over there for a year. He came back a whole lot different. Freaking war. See? See how a person could go from Good Humor Ice Cream to war? That happened to me recently. Not the ice cream and war thing. The thing that has one thought leading to another thought that doesn’t seem relative at first.

While touring San Francisco recently, the abnormally co-operative winter weather offered up some nice photo opportunities. I’ve been trying to find a photo spot near the Golden Gate Bridge that I have been to once before, but I found it by accident. I have come close to finding the spot, but never exactly. But close. I will continue to look for that place when ever I have the time to cruise around the city taking photos. Okay, so on this particular day while driving in the city, watching for street signs, getting honked at, avoiding pedestrians and wild bicyclists I ended up in a totally different place then I was trying to get to. I followed signs I thought would take me there but  I ended up ( no pun intended ) at the San Francisco National Cemetery at Presidio. I have been to several National Cemeteries in my life but it is always a moving experience to see all those headstones lined up row after row; headstones commemorating servicemen and women who served our country. A percentage of those buried there died fighting during war time for our country. Of course, that thought led me to thinking about all my family members who have served in the military. And there were a lot of them. Our family has been a strong Navy family for at least three generations, but we had others who joined or were drafted into the Army and at least one Air Force enlisted man. ( I don’t know what you call an Air Force person – I think of Army as Soldiers and Navy as sailors, but what’s an Air Force person called? Humm.)  Anyway, standing among that backdrop of precision spaced headstones, it’s impossible to not give some thought of all the families whose children went off to war and didn’t return or those who did return and have scars that will never heal. That is kind of a bummer to be reminded of all that when I just wanted to take a picture. Then the happy thought came – all these service personnel buried around me made it possible that I could freely drive around a city, where there is not a war and photograph wherever and whatever I wanted!  There’s the silver lining. I’m just saying. I’m sending out a ‘salute’ to everyone who served our country in such a selfless manner. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I better get going I hear the ice cream truck!

Presidio

Some people got to pick out there final resting place here at The National Cemetery at Presidio in San Francisco,  but I bet most of these people buried here never got to enjoy this view. Thanks to them I get to and so do you.

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Almost There

49ers

 

F Y I:

  1. In 2010,the final season for Jim Harbaugh as head coach of the Stanford Cardinals, he guided them to 12 victories and a #4 national ranking. His coaching skills relived as he coaches the 49ers in the 2013 Super Bowl.
  2. Which player had a team-high 72 receptions for the 2011 49ers?
  3. The 49ers of the 1980s are the only NFC team to win four Super Bowls in a decade.
  4. Against what team did the 49ers score a season-best 40 points in a game in 2010?
  5. Of 65 all-time games played on Monday Night Football, how many did the 49ers win : 30,33, 40, 44?
  6. What payer led the 49ers in scoring in 2010?

 

 

 

ANSWERS: 2) Michael Crabtree  4) Seattle Seahawks beating them 40-21   5) 40  6) kicker Joe Nedney – 50-points in nine games.

 

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How much Do You Know About the 49ers?

49ers

With the impending Super Bowl one week away I thought I’d share some facts about the 49er’s so you can impress your friends while rooting for the “niner’s”  as we like to call them in the Bay Area. I’ll give you a few facts today and more throughout the week.

  1. In 1985 the 49ers won the Super Bowl for the second time in four years, beating the Miami Dolphins 38-16.
  2. Joe Montana attempted 122 passes in four Super Bowls with the 49ers. How many were intercepted?
  3. Wide receiver Jerry Rice (1985-2000) played 238 games in a 49ers uniform. That’s the most in franchise history.
  4. Can you name the two cornerbacks drated by the 49ers in 2011?
  5. What year and what round of draft did the 49ers pick Colin Kaepernick?

Answers : 2) None 4) Chris Culliver  (round 3) &  Curtis Holcomb ( round 7)  5)  2011 in the second round

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Just for Laughs

Today seemed like as good of a day as any to share some of my favorite emails and photos I have received and kept just for a day like this when a good laugh would outweigh the winter blues. Hope they tickle your funny bone.

Here are a few referencing seniors that have come my way.

Maybe you’ve seen them before,  but they are still worth passing around.

___________________________

  1. I very quietly confided to my best friend I was having an affair. She turned to me and asked, “Are you having it catered?” That’s what old does to ya.
  2. Just before the funeral services, the undertaker came up to the very elderly widow and asked, “How old was your husband?” “Ninety-eight, ” she replied. “Two years older than me.”  “So, you’re 96,” the undertaker commented. “Hardly worth going home, is it?” She responded.
  3. A reporter interviewing a 104-old woman asked, “What do you think is the best thing about being 104,”  “No peer pressure,” she replied.
  4. “I feel like my body has completely gotten out of shape,” said the elderly woman. So she asked her doctor for advice. He told her to join an exercise class. She decided to take an aerobics class for seniors.
    She reported back to the doctor, ” I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But, by the time I got my leotards on the class was over.
  5. My memory is not as sharp as it used to be. Another thing, my memory is not as sharp as it used to be.
  6. It’s scary when you start making the same noises as your coffee maker.

——————

Some guys would do just about anything to get their hands on a classic car. But not many would do this to it !

I took this picture driving through Tennessee. I really have no words for this!  WTHeck?

Greeneville, TN 375
I LOVE the ingenuity of this one. I imagine this woman will never again say to her spouse,                                                                ” I have nothing to wear.”
redneck_tank_top
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What’s There Not to Love About California?

Our orange trees are coming to fruition a little late this year. Why? Not sure. Global changes? The trees were given as much attention as any other year which has yielded oranges sweet as a woman's heart! As we get closer to the harvesting of the 2013 crop the oranges are better and better.

Orange trees were introduced to California in 1873 and have rivaled the Florida Orange market ever since. There are two orange trees in my backyard.  This year’s orange crops are coming to fruition a little later than usual this year. Why? Not sure. Global changes? Who knows? The trees were given as much attention as any other year which in the past has yielded oranges as big and as sweet as a woman’s heart! They are taking a little longer this year to ripen. As we get closer to the harvesting of the 2013 crop the oranges are tasting sweeter and sweeter! Take that Anita Bryant!

There’s an old saying about Californians, ” What ain’t fruit and nuts are flakes.”  I’m not going to defend us ‘prune pickers’ ’cause I know ignorance is bliss. However, I will help educate all of you with some facts you just might not know about California and our fruit and nuts. Hold on to your teeth ’cause y’all might loose them when you take a bite of these California facts.

You cheese-heads in Wisconsin, which is called ‘The Dairy State’, it says it right on their license plates, let it be known you are not number one in cheese production. What? you say.  Well, think again, California is the number one dairy state. Its leading commodity is milk and cream! And if you love a little wine with dinner, well, thank a Californian. Grapes are the second leading commodity. There are some crops that are exclusively( 99%) grown in California. For one, almonds ( our number one export ). Eighty percent of the worlds almond productions is from California. Ninety-nine percent of pistachios, figs, prunes, raisins, artichokes, olives, persimmons and dates are grown in California. Most of this fertile agricultural land in the ‘fruit and nut’ state is in the Central Valley, which includes the San Joaquin Valley and the Sacramento Valley. The Central Valley runs about 450 miles, from north to south, starting a little south of  Bakersfield area ( north of Los Angeles) to the city of Redding, not too far from the Oregon border. It has been said that the Central Valley has the richest soil in the world. With that kind of results who’s going to argue with that?

Those strawberries you put on your cereal in the morning? You got it, probably came from California. Eighty-three percent of this nation’s strawberry production comes from, you guessed it, California. One crop California grows but is NOT number one in, but surprises most, is cotton. It’s pretty cool to see it growing along the highway in the Central Valley. I think most people associate cotton growing down south. It is actually grown from sea to shining sea, with Texas yielding the most cotton crops in the U S . This one might surprise you also. California is the leading producer of short and medium grain rice in the United States; exporting it to Asia and the middle east. Who knew?

I thought I’d start off the new year with a little knowledge, get the brain going again after the holiday dormancy. There is so much more to us in the Golden State – like mining for one. Well, that will be another lesson! Now you can only hope these agricultural factoids will come up in your Jeopardy try-out!  Or you can up your image and sprinkle your conversation around the water cooler with your newly acquired trivia. Oh by the way, You can believe what you want about the flakes! I’m just saying…

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I was Just Thinking…

I’ve been doing a lot of baking lately and there’s lot of time to spend thinking about stuff as I’m rolling dough into little balls, dozens of little round cookie balls.  One thing I wondered – again – why does vanilla extract smell SOOOO good and taste SOOOO bad when you taste it by itself. What is up with that? I bet every kid who has ever baked with vanilla for the first time has tasted it. It’s one of Mother Nature’s cruel jokes. However, I was tempted to try it again after sniffing the bottle of pure vanilla extract. It smells so good.

One other thing I thought about as I checked on the baking cookies, is the fact that recently the San Francisco Board of Supervisors had to make a decision on whether to ban public nudity in their city. There was no law against public nudity in San Francisco. Seriously, I mean, I KNOW in San Francisco public nudity is acceptable during special events, like the  Bay To Breakers Marathon, for one example. Or your in-laws are coming to town. you know, special events. I experienced public nudity first hand at Bay To Breakers this year. Ahh, no, not first hand participant, but first hand witness. I saw public nakedness at the Bay To Breakers run. But I didn’t think it was lawful to just be naked any day of the week on the streets heading to the local coffee shop for your morning caffeine. I just thought every city in America would have a ban on public nudity. Apparently not. Who knew?

I guess nudity in public adds a new meaning to every woman’s comment, “I have nothing to wear.”  Surely it shaves some time off that getting-ready-for-work routine. Public nudity didn’t seem to be any big deal in San Francisco before the topic of the ban was made public. It wasn’t a big deal because most people didn’t know it was legal, until Supervisor Scott Weiner ( real name, you can’t make this stuff up ) in 2010 made a proposal to force nudists to sit on handkerchiefs or towels  in public, according to the San Francisco Sentinel.com. That comment opened a can of worms. Following Weiner’s statement there were more than one nude-ins. Not sure what you call it when a bunch of people show up on a street corner and just hang out, figuratively. Well, you could call it frightful. Whacky. Not something I want to see on a regular basis. But the nude-ins were happening. Imagine this, if it gets to 70 degrees any day of the year in the city by the bay, it’s considered a heat wave. So, who wants to be naked on the street, especially in cool temperatures? Actually, more people than I thought. But do we really need a law to tell naked people to sit on a towel – that sounds like one of those weird but true laws still on the books in some backwoods southern town, population 186, where it’s written, ‘A woman must avert her eyes when approaching a man in leather chaps on Sunday.’

I swear, it seems to me, a lot of the people who want to go naked in public aren’t the bodybuilders, marathon runners or any other type of well muscle defined, toned bodies. There’s nothing really wrong with the ‘other’ types of bodies – it’s just human nature to appreciate the Adonis style bodies. Anyway, as of  last month, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, narrowly passed, 6-5, the ban on public nudity measure. So the proposal to allow nakedness on my city bus bench, but only with a cloth to cover your behind is moot. I guess I can stop thinking about it now. Maybe I can start thinking about what has happened to Randy Travis after his naked  DUI/fighting/car crash incident. :)

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Wishing You Inspiration

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time when people spend time, energy and money on gifts for others – who in return spend time, energy and money to give back to those people who gave to them. It’s kind of like a gift exchange. Well, I guess it is. There’s really something special about gift-giving. And then there’s something not so special about gift-giving at Christmas time. A time when so many people feel pressured to give a gift to someone they may not even like; that could range from a bratty niece to a grumpy father-in-law. But you have to do it.  It’s not very fun wandering the mall just hoping an idea will pop into your head.

In recent years the internet has made that a whole lot easier – when an idea pops in your head, bam – type it in and you’ll know within seconds if it’s affordable, available and deliverable within your time frame. Seriously though, if you are trying to come up with ideas and Christmas is only a week away, the better that fruitcake is looking. ‘Cause you’re not gonna find that Excalibur Extra-Fancy 5000 what-ever-it-is. Plain and simple. Well, I suppose on e-Bay or craigslist you might find one, but you’ll have to drive in rain, snow or sleet to get it and turn over the title to your car just to make that special someone’s Christmas extraordinary!

And what about giving to non-profits and lending a hand to someone in need at Christmas time? What about the other 364 days a year?  Do you think that on February 6th or March 21st, or June 26th and the rest of the days of the year people in need are still people in need? This year give yourself the gift of giving throughout the entire year! I’m just sayin’.

“Let Christmas inspire each of us to give a little of what we have, to share a little of who we are, to help make this the kind of world it was meant to be.

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