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Archive for December, 2007

Yes, Bobby, it is. It all started out innocently enough, a little treat for Bobby the Crow, Bullet the Rabbit, and Vinnie and Vito, the cats. The Mafia Brothers, those two.

There was good reason behind it – bad parenting. Give each one their particular version of a Pop-Tart, so that Tomas could write without the brothers jumping on him every five minutes, and so that I could write without feeling guilty that I was not spending hours petting and playing, as much as I would like to.

Now, The Treat has become mandatory. It started out in the early evening, and has progressed to every ten minutes. I stop writing to go out and throw something together for the humans to eat (gasp!), and I have Vinnie winding around my legs, always fun until someone loses an eye, Bobby on his lower perch, where he can observe kitchen activities, glaring and pounding on it, and the Bullet down the hallway in my bathroom smacking his plate against the wall.

Vito sitting at Tomas’s feet, chirping and raising his big black self up to stick a claw in Tomas’s leg.

Okay.

Quick.

Bobby – give him a peanut.

Run to the cat food cupboard and grab a handful of the junk food dry (cat version of Cap’n Crunch), sprinkle some for Vinnie in his little sushi dish, sprint down the hall and leave the rest of the junk dry on the floor for Vito, hop over the bathroom door barrier and give Bullet a fast buffet of nuts, Quaker Oats, and bannana chips, then race back to the kitchen to check our food.

Bobby has finished his peanut and is glaring again, Vinnie has finished his sprinkles and is underfoot, and I am hearing a rather ominous sizzling on the stove.

And this is just the quickie, before everybody gets their last true meal and we call it a night.

Monsters. I have created four monsters, and in the process am losing both mind and body coordination.

I am so whipped. I am so owned. I am a slave, yet still cling to the idea that they belong to me.

I wish I could say at least they are not demanding an iPod or an X-box or whatever, but I am certain the digital peanut is being invented as I sleep.

Well, kids, enjoy it while it lasts, because things are going to change in 2008.

OH yes they are.

And to all a good night.

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Yes, I do, and I am sick of it. I had been saying for the last seven years that I wanted to visit my long-ago mother-in-law, Barbara W., who was not doing well. I kept saying it, and kept not doing it. I guess whatever I was going through was more important than visiting someone who is one of the kindest, gentlest people I know, a person who treated me better than I had ever been treated in my life, and I kept putting it off.

Thursday, I just got sick sick sick of myself and my poor-me bullshit, and my guilt that this houseful of animals and man won’t survive a day without me because I seem to think I am so important! It is the Irish Guilt at play, and although guilt is guilt, every background has a different delivery, I am guessing.

I used to brag that no one could guilt me. Look back to the Instant Karma post for that one – this time the Karma was not so instant, it is making up for lost time like it has a death sentence.

I went to the Motion Picture Country Home, which has expanded greatly since I was there, and refused to give into feeling bad about not loving up Bobby D. for the day. He was in my office today and he is fine.

Barbara is suffering a rare form of Alzheimer’s, but she remembered, due to a little bronze kitty keychain she gave to me 23 years ago. The reason I still have it on my keychain is because I lost the key years ago! Otherwise I would have lost the kitty. I told her she was going to have a roommate soon, and it would be me, do not worry.

She focused, remembered me, and we had a few good laughs. Then she would drift, then come back. We spent about 40 minutes together before she felt she should go back to the bingo game.

I went to my car and cried. I got home and refused to feel guilty over anyone here. Especially Bobby D. the Crow. He is Italian, and his ability to guilt far outweighs the Irish version.

I will be visiting her again, and again, until she is gone.

And no damned Irish Guilt is going to stop me.

Got it, Bobby?

(mean mother mean mother mean mother mean mother mean mother)

I can HEAR you……..

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written by Bobby D.  Article re-printed by permission of the author.

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Okay, that last post was the bird’s mother trying not to lose her mind.  She complained quite heavily about the Motion Picture Television Fund taking a day away from us hanging out, but, she could have hung out with me in the early evening, instead of blasting out that angry post.  Try telling her that.

So, the weekend was okay, it was really cold for us Southern California Crows, and the mom spent a lot of time making sure that the rabbit, Wullith, was not freezing, and she made sure I was not, too.  This was very thoughtful of her, but she still spent a lot of time in her office, trying to juggle her idea of priorities.  Poor thing.  She just makes herself crazier every day.  But, she did watch a movie the other night that seemed to vindicate some of her crazy, and it rocketed to her personal top ten.  It had a weird name……

“Rosencrantz and Guildenstein are Dead”.  Something based on “Hamlet.”  Whatever, she woke up in a good mood but had had weird dreams. So did the Dad.

Anyway, back to her Karma – she was in the shower this morning, and had an idea – the mother, like most of you humans, seem to get your great ideas in the shower, but mostly when you are on the toilet.  Good Gods of Flight, if I had a great idea every time I pooped, I’d be a genius.  Well, I am sort of a genius – after all, we are the smartest wild birds out there.  Not to brag, just saying it is not because we poop so much.

She decided to give Mr. Juan Oliva one more call, kind of like “three strikes you’re out” – and after all of her ranting and raving that he was an idiot,  that the lady Jennifer was horrible, on and on, either out loud or in her head.  I can tell when it is in her head because she does not blink and a muscle in her jaw jumps.

Mr. Oliva called back within an hour, and they wound up having a really good talk, she got some answers she needed, it turns out that he is just as confused as she is on this Pension issue, that both he AND Jennifer went to their supervisor, both pretty flummoxed.

He was a great help, and she apologized for being so cranky and sarcastic with him on the first call.  He was very gracious, and heard her point about just needing to hear some information, that being ignored was driving her up a tree – she had no idea that they didn’t know either, and they did not want to call her saying, “This makes no sense.”

I am kind of proud of the mom, because her instant reaction after the good phone call was to delete the angry post.  My best guess is, she is owning up to when she screws up, rather than pretend it doesn’t happen.

I hope her ego doesn’t kick in, because she really does have instant karma, and she will get her ass kicked within 48 hours, trust me.

Bobby D. the Crow

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I could be paying attention to Bobby today, I took him outside a few days ago, and his bad wing bled a little again. I decided to put some Neosporin Triple Antibiotic ointment under his wing and on the crippled blood feathers that keep trying to grow back in, but fall off after they have grown to be about two and a half inches.

He did not seem pleased with this gooey business under his wing, and has not been quite so demanding of my “juh guh boy” scratch the head love love.

He has a new hobby, which is to meticulously tear off the paper glued onto a prescription bottle. Time consuming and challenging, plus, when I hear the plastic bottle fall onto the floor, it does not give me a heart attack like the tossing the rocks phase did. I go out and pick it up for him, he is happy, I am happy, and he seems to slowly be forgiving me for the Neosporin.

I miss him today. We have had an amazing phenomenon here in Los Angeles today – a full day of rain. We have not had a full day of rain in two years, and one thing the San Fernando Valley is famous for is the street flooding that goes on during the “rainy season”. Our last “rainy season” was Mid- November, 2005. For the global warming dissenters, sorry, this is not normal. Even my dear friend R., who had (until recently) lived in the Valley almost her whole adult life, admits it is “a little weird”. She and I would have strident debates about Global Warming, but, true friends can debate and stay friends on almost any issue, if they try hard enough, and the friendship matters enough. At least in my experience.

As usual, I have wandered off of the point. This would be a perfect day to have Bobby in the office, or to bring him into the living room, really give him some good indoor attention, not just a “hey buddy” when I walk into the kitchen.

I am tied to the office because I am waiting for the Motion Picture Television Fund to return my call.

“Why don’t you have a cell phone?” is the most common question, and a totally acceptable one.

Because I despise them, because they are too expensive, because the day I saw a homeless man pantomiming talking into a cell phone, my head swiveled like Linda Blair in “The Exorcist”. I admit, my head does that often, but this was a particularly memorable three-sixty.

The Mom and the Dad are trying to save money. The land-lines, (AT&T, Verizon, etc) are just too expensive, although in our experience, Verizon is a much better company. Unfortunately, in the San Fernando Valley, you get AT&T.

We decided, after too much fruitless dialogue with customer service concerning the phone bill, to request being disconnected and go with Internet Phone service. It does not work very well, and we cannot find a good hand held phone, so we have pulled out, brace yourselves, a telephone with a cord. Granted, it is a long cord, but it plugs into Tomas’s studio, and can reach into my office next door, to halfway down the hallway.

AT&T sent us a disconnect notice, then kept charging us for two months. Another dispute underway. This is so tiresome.

I, however, am waiting for a call from either the Motion Picture Pension Plan or the Motion Picture Television Fund. (MPHW – Motion Picture Health and Welfare; MPTF, Motion Picture Television Fund.).

I have over $21,000 in my Pension, and I am not allowed to withdraw it because I am “Vested” in my union, Local 700. Editors Guild. If you are even remotely interested in reading more on these special folks, go to my blog What Happened?!. It’s not pretty.

I need this money now, and they have been playing hot potato with me for the last week, the woman I spoke to at MPTF, Jennifer George, told me I was ineligible for financial aid because I had not made enough money.

Digest that for a moment.

I started to lose my temper on the phone, that great combination of crying and scathing rage, and she seemed to get a little bit rattled. She said she would look further into the matter, get my records from the Pension folks, and in the meantime, gave me her direct phone number. She asked if I was suicidal. She seemed concerned. And I bought it. I am a fool.

That was Nov. 8th. I waited and heard nothing, so I left Jennifer George a polite message on November 27th, as I did not want to interrupt her Thanksgiving holiday with my problems. My call was returned by Juan Oliva, who was now my social worker.

How did this happen? I am trying to withdraw money that belongs to me, and now I have a social worker. A social worker who keeps repeating “I’m sorry” and have I tried any other institutions?

I get sarcastic, saying, “No, stupid me, I went to my Union Pension Plan, Editors Guild, what should I do, go to the Teamsters?”

“You could,” he says, clearly bored.

I start to lose it again, accusing him of being condescending and placating, and does he have a list of what or who I call next?

No, he does not. I tell him he is in the wrong line of work, and he quietly hangs up on me.

These folks jobs were created by US, the workers that belong to the unions. And this is the quality of treatment.

I forced myself to calm down, and left a message for Jennifer George, telling her that being pawned off onto an inept social worker was unacceptable.

Mr. Oliva returns the call the next day, seemingly quite contrite. Unfortunately, I was out, and it was much too late to call him back.

So I returned his call today, left a message, and waited. I left another message four hours later, just to be more clear and leave my phone number in case I had forgotten to in my agitation.

So, what does this have to do with Bobby D, my Crow? Due to the Internet Phone funky service, I do not want to miss the call, and have to stay in my office.

I remember stories of teenage girls sitting breathlessly by the phone, waiting for the boy to call. I was not one of those teenagers, it happened briefly when I was in my thirties, but good old answering machines were reliable, and I did not mind missing the call, I could call back.

Not this time. I miss this call, I will be chained to the office again tomorrow.

It is now five thirty. Juan Oliva’s message states that he leaves the office at four-thirty.

I am holding onto my temper by sheer will, and as each minute ticks by, it feels as if cocoa butter is being rubbed onto my palms, and my grip on civility is starting to slide.

I could not have Bobby in the office, because if the call came in I would have to focus 100% on what was being said, and am sorry to report that I could not risk a Bobby distraction.

I am so happy that he is enjoying playing with the bottles, because I am kind of hogtied here.

This is no way to spend a day. This is no way to be treated. I am not asking for a handout, I am asking for money that belongs to me, and have wound up sitting by the phone, waiting for an uncaring social worker to return my call.

Well, for once in my life, I am not going to cry and scream and threaten to kill someone or try to kill myself – it is very strange, but I feel bone cold and icy, and am going to go head to head with the most impossible institution I have ever dealt with in my life.

If there is one thing I learned from my father, it is not to let that temper out – you will just get written off as a nutcase, and then the Pandora’s Box will have been flung open, destroying everything in it’s path, including the host.

I had a perfect day to spend quality time with Bobby, and this was how things went down.

What is that old, possibly Mafia, saying?

Go after me, fine. Fuck with my family……..I suggest you start getting your long term papers organized.

I think I made that last part up.

The funniest thing to me in this “gotta use the magnifying glass to find the humor” situation is – Bobby was mellow, doing his thing. I wanted to play with him. I wanted to work on the prologue of the novel, and get it up as a teaser on the web page, and I wanted him in the room with me so we could take breaks and play.

Well! We are not losing a good day to MPTF and this nonsense again, now are we?

I hope I do not wind up on the local news. The bird does not want the Dad to have the burden of being a single parent. Bobby informed me that they probably won’t allow him to visit me in jail.

Dear Whomever, help me not lose my temper.

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