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Golda's 2007 Winter Migration

On Dec 18th, Olga, Bud & Golda will fly to Florida to visit Bud's mom for Christmas

Golda's 2007 Winter Migration Sycamore Pool
Bidwell Park is an enormous recreation area in Chico, California. The Sycamore Pool is a concrete swimming pool built into Big Chico Creek.

Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2008 · No Comments

We finally made it home late last night after a long day of traveling. Everything went smoothly: getting up, packing, loading the car, checking out, breakfast at the Floridian on Las Olas, fill up with gas, disassemble and pack Golda’s travel cage, rental return, airline check-in, TSA screening (No private room this time. They just looked at the cage and said “Yeah, OK.”), waiting and waiting, stuffed onto a super-loaded plane to Atlanta (No waiting there. Barely enough time to pee.), then another super-loaded plane to SFO, wait for the luggage, and then Mr. Hafiz’s 80 mph cab ride home. It was just a long damn eighteen hour day, and we were practically immobilized for at least half of it.

Golda under the seatGolda’s flight cage has to fit under the seat.

Big jet engine

We were happy to be home. Dinkel was waiting for us at the door. We said hello, dropped our stuff, and Olga jumped in the car and drove to the Safeway to get a bottle of champagne before they closed up at 11PM. When she got back, we sat down on the couch, turned on the TV, and promptly fell asleep. Oh well, champagne for breakfast I guess.

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Fort Lauderdale

December 30th, 2007 · No Comments

After a monotonous drive along Alligator Alley (We still have not seen a single alligator in Florida.) we arrived in Fort Lauderdale. We found a nice little place called Cocobelle Resort about two blocks from the beach. It was a lovely, warm, sunny afternoon, and we walked along the oceanfront strip, looking for souveniers.

Fort Lauderdale BeachLate Sunday afternoon at Ft. Lauderdale Beach

We still had time to go for a swim before sunset. The beach at Sebastian is pretty well eroded and steep, and there were a quite few jelly fish in the water; but we stayed safe and had a good time splashing around in the golden light of a late Atlantic beach afternoon.

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Fort Myers

December 29th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Good morning! Today, Saturday, we are in the Quality Inn in Cape Coral, Florida. We drove all day yesterday from Homosassa, arriving at Sanibel Island after dark, and there was no rom in the inn for us there. Everything was booked up, or didn’t take Golda (not “pet friendly”) or wanted about three hundred dollars for a room (and damn few of those, too).

Yesterday morning we went swimming with the manatees. We stayed at a place in Homosassa called the Seagrass Resort. We rented a rustic but charming little one bedoom cottage. And we learned that the manatee tour left from the dock right there at the resort!

A manatee seen from the boat
A manatee is seen in the water from the deck of our tour boat.

Olga in a wetsuit

We booked the 6:30AM tour in the resort office; but then we had to drive eight miles into Crystal River to the dive shop to get fitted for our wetsuits, and also watch a little “manatee safety” video. Olga bought a “throwaway” underwater film camera, which turned out to be a very good thing because our digital camera decided to quit working. This is the second time this camera has failed us on a vacation, and we think that it has outlived it’s usefullness: new camera next time.

Manatee head on

Touching a manatee

I am reluctant to mention this, but yeseterday, during our dive to here (Ft. Myers) we stopped in Tarpon Springs. We drove out to Howard Park, which has a small beach island way out at the end of a paved causeway. We stopped there on the causeway to rest and have a little something to eat. I thought it would be a good idea to let Golda out of here cage because “Where could she go?” way out here in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. So, over Olga’s strong objections, I let her sit on my shoulder while we were eating.

When a seagull flew low overhead, Golda freaked and took off. First she turned downwind and flew across the causeway right into the path of a large green family sized van that didn’t even slow down. I yelled. She glanced off the roof of the van and kept flying west, over the water and toward the island. I started running after her. Olga stayed to button up the van and follow me.

Baker Beach IslandOlga waves from our Dodge Durango on the Howard Park Causeway.

After at least a quater mile flight, I saw her land on or near another truck in the island’s parking lot. When I got there, I started walking around, looking for her, and calling her name. I found her on the ground next to the truck. She came to my hand. I covered her and walked back to our SUV. Olga was calm but angry with me for ignoring her years of experience with birds. We were lucky this time, and I sincerely promised her that I would NEVER disregard her bird handling instincts again. As for Golda, she was unharmed by the experience, but from here on out, she is so GROUNDED!

The night before we left, Little Bobby came over with his kids, Mallory and Charlie. The kids were very interested in Golda.

Golda and Mallory

Golda and Charlie

Little Bobby explains it allLittle Bobby explains it all to Landon and me.

A little later Landon and Linda, Victor and Sumi showed up. We all enjoyed some food and drinks, we watched some TV, and in the end we took a nice, moon-lit walk on the beach. It was a wonderful way to end our visit her in Jacksonviille, with good friends and a walk on the beach.

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Christmas Eve

December 26th, 2007 · No Comments

I was still pretty much under the weather for the Saturday and Sunday after the party. On Saturday we drove my Mom down to St. Augustine, and stopped for lunch at Cap’s by the Water on the way back. I’ve only got two things to say about that: 1) It was cold and raining, and 2) Cap’s was out of cole slaw. Olga dropped me off at the beach and then drove mom home. On Sunday we visited with Oscar Senn at his home. Olga brought wine and crackers, nuts and snacks. Oscar’s son Blake emerged from his room at some point and joined us.

Which brings us to Monday, Chrsitams Eve. Our first stop was in the early afternoon at Landon’s home. While there, we joined him for a walk with his dog, Sumi, down to the nearby St. John’s river.

Bud and Landon

You can barely see us, but we’re out there on the dock
The Dock on the River
at the end of the pier.

Olga and Landon

After a while, we had to leave to get over to Avondale to visit with Bob White at his new home. It was great to see Bob. His home is a delightful little two bedrom cottage in a charming neighborhood filled with large, old growth trees. Bob was just recovering from some horrible “super cold”. Olga and I had a great time yakking with him about local politics and general gossip.

As the afternoon turned into evening, we said goodbye to Bob, and drove down to Whyndam Lakes to pick up Mom. We drove all the way back out to the beach to have dinner at Parson’s Seafood Restaurant. Parson’s doesn’t look like much, but what it lacks in decor it makes up for in deliciouness. Dinner was some of the best seafood we have ever had. Mom was being a little snippy about something, so I can’t say she had as good a time as we did, but even she said the food was great.

We dropped mom off back at her place, and then drove over to Riverside to the Episcopal Church of the Good Sheppard for Midnight Mass. Landon and Linda played in the church’s six-piece Chamber Music Society orchestra.

Linda and Landon

The Chamber Music Society of the Good Shepherd

Linda’s son, Victor, sang in the eighteen-voice Chancel Choir.
Victor

The church is gorgeous, almost a hundred years old, and decorated in that very traditional Church of England sort of way with lots wood and stone and candles. It was a “high mass” so they really did it right with the vestments and incense and bells. It wasn’t more than half full of people, but when everyone sang together, they filled the church with music and song. It was a beautiful evening.

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The party’s over.

December 22nd, 2007 · 1 Comment

Last night we had a few people over for dinner. Olga picked up my mom and brought her out to the beach house. The first guest to arrive was my old friend from high school, Pete Lewis, who had driven all the way from Tallahassee on his motorcycle. Pete and I hadn’t seen each other for about twelve years, so we had a lot to talk about. He had just returned from a month in Southeast Asia and plugged his camera into the TV to show us his pictures. About half an hour into his slide show, Susan Aertker showed up in all her bubbly cheerfulless, bringing us a bottle of wine.

Pete and Susan

So it was just us five for about another hour.

Olga had spent two days shopping and all day today preparing an enormous amount of wonderful food. For appetizers there were a couple of sliced meats and cheeses, including a delightful triple-cream, oliva tapenade, Olga’s home-made scallop and shrimp ceviche and tostadas and crackers. Then there were chiles relenos, little cheese-stuffed zuchinis, Spanish rice, blackbeans and I don’t know what else. We were just getting ready to eat when Jeanne and Andy Goshen arrived bearing a gift basket of wine and chocolate and a beautiful bottle of personalized olive oil.

Jeanne and Olga mug the camera

My good friend Oscar Senn came too, although I don’t seem to have caught him in any of the pictures. And then finally, around nine o’clock, Landon Walker and his brother Scott came on board. Everyone had something to eat and drink. Mom really like Olga’s peanut butter-chocolate chip cookies.

Jeanne and Mom

Susan was the life of the party, occassionally tossing out one of her provocative non-sequitors such as: “You know, Lincoln was really a bad president.” or “Brown v. Board of Education was wrongly decided.”

Pete and I recalled how an old stoner party game we used to play had wound up in a recent national televsiion commercial. We called the game This is a Cigarette, and we tried to get a round going as a sort of demonstration, but apparently not all of us were quite stoned enough.

Olga and I gave little Chritsmas presents like boxes of Joseph Schmidt Truffles or San Francisco City Calendars to everyone.

Party trash on the counter

At some point, Landon and his brother drug out their instruments and began to play through their lively repetoire of jigs and waltzes, ballads, and other folkish, European inspired music. The sound was delightul, enchanting even. Landon was apologetic becasue he is still working out a few things with his new found instrument, the accordian.

Bob White couldn’t make it. God knows where J.J. Buchholz is right now. And Little Bobby Harris called to say he couldn’t come.

Golda listens to the Walker Family Band

I guess Mom was the first one to leave, slipping away to her bedroom at some point. Then Susan, and Pete, and Oscar called it quits. Golda and the rest of us stayed up late and enoyed the music.

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A visit from Landon

December 20th, 2007 · No Comments

Later this afternoon Landon stopped by to visit. We walked on the beach and talked about stuff, but mostly we talked about Olga, who was out in the world trying to wrangle together everything we need for the dinner party. She called me to tell me that she had lost her credit card, she was looking for it, but that we might have to cancel it. Not a big deal, but a hassle. After a few tense minutes, the missing card was located at Costco. Olga finally got home after eight o’clock just all beat up from all the driving and shopping.

Right now, well past ten o’clock at night, she is driving to Winn Dixie to pick up a few more items that she forgot. Of course she will not allow me to go, “because you’re sick.” If I’m supposed to feel guilty about being sick, then it’s starting to work..

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A visit from Mom.

December 20th, 2007 · No Comments

Today Olga picked up my mom at the old folks home (assisted living center) and brought her out here to the beach to see me, her sick son. We figured that was better than us going over there and infecting a bunch of her neighbors and friends.

Olga shows cage

Of course mom was as charmed by Golda as everyone is. Although she had seen her before in videos, this was the first that they met in person.

Olga, mom and Golda

Over the last few months I have been collecting some of Golda’s dropped feathers in a small bag, which I brought with me. I thought one or two of them might make a nice souvenier for anyone who took a special interest in the bird, so I am pleased that mom took a few feathers with her when she left.

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A visit from Oscar

December 19th, 2007 · No Comments

Today Oscar drove out here to the beach to visit me. Of course, I was fried, by which I mean tired and achey and feverish and all of that. He brought his dog, Annabell. He also brought a picture of his new girlfriend, Mary Lea. It seems that they found each other a couple of months ago on e-harmony, and he has been all a twitter ever since. Unfortunately, she lives in North Carolina, and so they plan to meet for the first time on New Year’s Day in some place called Folly Beach (how appropriate!) in South Carolina.

I shouldn’t make any snarky remarks because I love Oscar very much, his heart is tender and true, and I wish him all the best in his new relationship.

Oscar waves.

Here we are sitting on a little porch that runs along the east side of our beach house. I am definitely not looking or feeling my best in this picture.

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Arghh!

December 19th, 2007 · No Comments

My brain hurts while I am doing this. Sick in BedIt started as a sore throat on Sunday. Monday, I knew that I was sick, but kept thinking to myself, “just get on the plane. All you have to do is get on the plane.” Tuesday, yesterday, was one of the worst plane rides of my life. The actual flight was OK, but I was miserable. Now, here at the beach, Olga is taking good care of us (Golda and me); but I am required to spend today in bed and to rest, which is what I am going to do as soon as I finish writing this.

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Dinner at Olga and Bud’s

December 19th, 2007 · No Comments

You are invited to dinner at our beach house this evening at around 5-6PM. Please let us know if you are coming. We would love to see you.
Olga 415-609-6564; Bud 415-307-5368

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