Southern Way

Southern Way

Monday, May 4, 2015

Bye Bye Birdie

Ann Margaret made the song famous in the 1963 movie musical of the same name. (Most folks these days just know it from a short scene in Mad Men).

Bye bye Birdie
I'm gonna miss you so
Bye bye Birdie
Why'd ya have to go?

My little orphan Cut Throat chick has no where to go. Such a sad tail of woe, given he was the chosen one (ie the only survivor of multiple clutches). Since I do not want incest among my Cut Throats, and I fear they being red necks that may not be an issue with them, I needed to find him a new home. So I was on a mission.

I had stopped by a pet store in Columbia I knew sold finches. They were interested in procuring him but first I needed to speak with the owner who would not be in until the following Tuesday. I got her name and phone number and went home. My DH and I discussed the situation and the pet store. I was not happy about the way they kept their cages - or rather didn't. They were filthy. My birds are used to an extremely clean cage. The final verdict was to move on to Plan B.

Plan B was a pet store in Charlotte we had visited a year ago that was immaculately clean and knew a lot about keeping finches. Going all the way to Charlotte to deliver one little finch seemed a bit much but I wanted to make sure he was taken care of. Money was not really the issue, a safe home for the chick was.

In the mean time I removed the chick from the flight cage and put him a smaller cage in my office next the Owl Finches who were still in quarantine until the end of May. At least I could get him out of the communal cage. He was not a happy camper. I'd give him a day to settle  down.

The following morning, I found him frantically flying from one side of the cage to the other trying to get to the Owls. Since he had never been alone, that made sense. After watching him  for a while, against my better judgement,  I moved him into the cage with the Owls. I would rather take a chance having him be exposed to any random disease they may have than beat himself to death in the smaller cage.

That seemed like a good idea until I checked back on the three of them and saw he was terrorizing the Owls. Every time the Owls tried to eat from a dish, drink, or bath the Cut Throat would swoop in and shoo them off.  It wasn't long before the two little Owls were huddled together on the end of a perch looking at me with this, "Please save us" look.

So Jr. was relocated back into the communal cage - back to square one.

Then my DH announced one morning he would be going to visit that pet store in Charlotte and would be glad to take the Cut Throat for me. I called the shop and spoke with someone. They indicated they were interested, but once again I needed to speak with their manager who would be in later. I packed my feathered chick in a carrying cage and sent him on with my DH, relieved he was going to a responsible shop that would take care of him and see that he went to a good home.

As my DH drove out of the drive, it suddenly dawned on me, why was my DH going to the pet store? Maybe I should start looking for books lying around the house on an exotic animal I was not familiar with. Or see if there was some new cage or critter compound stashed in a corner. Rather than all that, I just went into Ostrich mode and put my head into the sand. From years of experience I found it easier to adopt the "Ignorance is bliss policy". Then if I happened to walk in the kitchen and find a pygmy hippo soaking in the kitchen sink or a baby ocelot curled up on the couch life would go on. Don't laugh - stranger things have happened. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Rebirth of The Towel Nazi

So shoot me. I'll admit I have resumed my role as the "Towel Nazi". Let me explain.

Years ago when our daughters were in their teens I found that our nicer towels were wearing out much faster than they should have and our hand towels and wash clothes were getting trashed with makeup stains. We had a closet full of towels, yet I could not put a set together for our bathroom that matched without at least one having a stain or a ragged edge.

My standard procedure is to clean our bath and put out fresh linens once a week. Not so much for our daughters. They mistook their bathroom for one at the Hyatt - albeit without the maid. Towels were only good for one day. Every bath or shower deserved a clean towel. 

After much ado, lecturing on the wear and tear on linens, explaining how towels (if hung up after a bath) were good for several more, and some most unpleasant words, I did what any sane woman would do - I took my nice towels and removed them from the linen closet. 

"My" towels stayed in our room. We had just purchased two sets of nice heavy cotton spa towels and I figured now was as good a time as any to stop the madness. All was good until one of my daughters came in my room, spotted the towels, and asked, "Why are those in here? I wondered where they were?" I calmly explained that "those" were for our bath and were out of the "general" rotation of towels.

One would have thought I had declared from on high that our daughters would have to use burlap sacks to dry their fair bodies and dish rags to wash their faces. Oh, the inhumanity! That night this was brought up at supper. My DH was appalled that I would do such a thing (segregate the towels not force burlap sacks on the girls). The winning comment came from our oldest daughter who declared, "Yeah, Mom's the Towel Nazi".

I did this for a year and enjoyed fluffy towels with no stains or worn edges while the rest of the lot slowly disintegrated. Finally I threw the proverbial towel in and integrated the linens. My DH commented that he was glad I had finally done the "mature thing." Whatever.

Of course that attitude changed the morning he realized that the only wash cloth he could find had stains on it, there were none of his favorite bath sheets clean, and the  towel he was using was frayed on the end. "We need new towels," he stated.

"Oh, no. We have nice towels, but since the girls use a different towel every time they bath or wash their face and don't care about stains, all the towels are in the wash."

Fast forward ten years. I went this morning to get fresh towels for our bath (that is still being renovated) and could not find a clean set of our nicer towels. Instead I found a basket full of towels in the girls bath. Obviously some things have not changed.

Not wanting to fight this battle again, I simply gathered all the towels, separated the matching sets we use and headed for the washer. After laundering all the towels, I put them all back in the linen closet. Well, all of them except the ones we use. Those went back in our room. 

Once a Nazi, always a Nazi.  In my life there are few bright spots - knowing there is a fluffy stain free towel waiting when I finish my shower is one of them. My conscious is clean - as well as my towels.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Go Away Little Bag, Before I Beg You to Stay

That evil bag of crunchy and sweet and salty dark chocolate, caramel, and sea salt pretzels thought it had one over on me. 

Go away little [bag]
I'm not supposed to be alone with you

But, no! I prevailed. I was not going to let him get the best of me. I would not succumb to his siren calls as he sat on the corner of my desk, all 24 oz and 17 servings. I am stronger than that. I learned from that dastardly bag of dark chocolate covered almonds my DH gave me for Christmas. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Danny Collins - a Movie Review

Well, maybe I jumped the gun by saying The Water Diviner was the best film of the year. Or maybe I should have said best film so far - the year is young.

OK - today's best film is Danny Collins. Al Pacino plays the title role of an aging rock star who decides to change his life upon getting a personal letter from John Lennon - 40 years after it is was orginally sent. The plot seems predictable, but just like Danny Collins himself - nothing is really predictable. The cast is deep with Jennifer Garner, Annette Bening, and Christopher Plummer among the actors. 

A Failure to Communicate

Once again the miracle of analytical computer programs amazes me. Finding jobs these days involves using online aggregators that ask a million questions - OK I exaggerate, but a lot - about everything from your educational background to your employment history to your playground reputation in third grade. Oh, and do you have experience with the DLC, RLK, and FG processes dealing with the fanooking value?

After all that they ask what areas of employment you are interested in and locations in which you are willing to work in. This is where a person with any intelligence takes their experience and education and lists jobs they either have done in the past, have been trained to do, or know they can handle. For example "Rocket Scientist" and "Math Professor" are two occupations that would not be on my list. However just to make things interesting I added "India" as a location I was willing to relocate to. (Everyone has a mid-life issue - sue me!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hell Hath No Fury As A Southern Mother's Wrath

There is something to say about being raised reared southern. When we were coming up if we got caught doing something wrong we knew there was Hell to pay. As my Daddy used to say, "You may as well give your heart to God because your bottom belongs to me" - as in spare the rod and spoil the child. Now my parents never "beat" me and I was never abused. Nor were any of my friends, but we were reared with the power of the "switch".

This all came to mind watching the events in Baltimore last night. A young mother was caught on camera grabbing her son, who was dressed in a hoody and out on the streets where his mother did not think he should be, slapping him across his face, dragging him away from the crowd, and giving him a piece of her mind. Comments were made by the pundits saying everything from she was abusing him and she was out of control, to this was just another example of the chaos going on in the streets, to the amazement that the mother would take control of the situation. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Water Diviner - A Movie Review

Yes it is early, but The Water Diviner may be the best movie of 2015. Russell Crowe makes his directorial debut in this story of an Australian father who looses all three of his sons on one day during the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915. After his wife dies he goes to Turkey determined to find their bodies and return them to Australia. 

Although the film was just released in the US (April 24, 2015) it was released in Australia in December to wide critical acclaim. It took home Best Supporting Actor, Best Film, Best Costume Design, Best Lead Actor, and Best Supporting Actress in Australian Film Institute Awards (down under's version of the Oscars). 

The beauty of the film alone is breathtaking in many scenes. The characters are well developed and the story moves along well. There are flash backs that are most effective in filling in background information as the story unfolds. The costumes and locations are colorful and make for a sensory experience.

Movie Review - Woman in Gold

Some critics were not kind but that did not bother me, or even give me pause from wanting to see this film. Only other things in my life delayed my seeing The Woman in Gold. That said, it was good, no it was much better than good. It was well worth the wait.

Helen Mirren, as Maria Aultman, the Austrian Jewish lady forced to leave her home in Austria to escape the Nazis does not disappoint. And Ryan Reynolds as Randy, the young attorney she hires to help her get her family's art back from the Austrian government holds up his part. Katie Holmes plays Randy's wife as a supportive spouse.

This is based on a true story which makes the film even more fascinating. Like many Jewish families, Maria's was a well to do cultured family with many famous expensive works of art. The Nazis came through and just took the art. Eventually the Austrian government set up "Restitution Committees" that would take into consideration claims from families about art that was stolen. The issue Maria ran into was that one piece of art she was claiming happened to be a portrait the Austrian people had come to love and treasure as the French do the Mona Lisa.