Archive for the ‘family’ Category

My buddy


Kelly Mahan Jaramillo and Bobby D. the Crow photo by Tomas Hradcky

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The Parents were gone for 24 hours.  They went roaring out of the house in the middle of the night on Friday, and came back after one a.m. on Saturday – I mean Sunday morning.

The bird gets confused with the humans whole “time” thing.  For me, it is morning, then it is afternoon, then it is night.  Much more simple.

So, they make all of this racket coming into the house, and I’m a-hearing snippets of ‘New York” and John and Eve” and Aminta and Michael” and “Vietnamese Food” and “The Q&A” – any other crow out there on their laptop want to tell me what might have been going on?  The cats below me were just as confused, and we did call a meeting to discuss the issue, but no light was shed.

Well, I cannot worry much about it – the Mother has been exhibiting all of the signs of guilt, and that means I can take full advantage of her.  I have been treated like a king for the last 4 days.  Still, they are waking up a little on the late side.

I think I may start screaming really loud around 6 a.m., just to get them out of bed.  After all, they are still up until midnight in the room next to mine, making all kinds of noise, which they justify as “work”.  Ha!

I would caw some more about this, but it seems to be working out quite well on the ass end of the deal, and today I am writing my first book review, so, gotta go!

But, I have some kind of clue…..these fell out of the Mothers pocket, and I quickly grabbed them.  They have been keeping secrets.  From the looks of these, those two have friends! No one ran this by us, and that is just Not. Okay.

Bobby D. The Crow


I know that is the Mother on the far left. Those other two? Hmmm


Oh, it may be blurry, but it is her, alright. And it looks like New York.



Yep, the father too, looking guilty. Those Lucy's got some 'splainin' to do...


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Summer is hard everywhere.  My birthday is August 15th – when I try to find compassion, sympathy and understanding for my mother, what caused her to hate and abuse me, I figure she was not in the greatest spirits because she was in her last tri-mester in Summer, and flung me out in the dog days of August.

Of course, if I am to be totally honest about my severe dislike of her, I am glad she was in misery.

I guess we are both assholes. Although recently, on my end, there has been a change towards her.  It can be found on the “What Happened” blog.  This is Bobby’s blog, and he is  getting irritated that I am making it all about me, as usual.

For Bobby,  sumer is misery for him, also.  He molts in summer, and it makes him very snappy, angry, and unhappy.  Especially because he cannot fly, he molts more slowly.  I have been trying to come up with anything I can do to make him feel better, and nothing has been working all that well.  Although today, I just got a suggestion that is wonderful.  I am going to try it and will report how it goes.

In the meantime, however, please look at the picture below.  That is Bobby D the crow in August.


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There was a rabbit. He was running around in Koreatown, Los Angeles, where I was teaching English as as Second Language.

It was July 9th, ten months after my father, Bill Mahan, died.  July 9th happened to be Bill’s  birthday.

I saw all of the students, of every level, yelling in their native language and running around in circles in ninety degree heat.

It was lunchtime, so I did not want to be the bitch teacher screaming “English, people, English!” – but I was intensely curious and needed someone to have done enough of their homework  to clue me in.

(Granted, I had purchased every student a copy of Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” to show them that the English language did not always translate across every state).

They were chasing a rabbit.  I knew nothing of rabbits, and I was wearing the one good pair of pants I owned.

I waded in, and saw him under the ficus, loaded for bear.  He had big teeth and an attitude.

I grabbed him, and god help me, he went quiet.  The students and other teachers were in a circle, laughing.

“Now you own him!” or “You just caught dinner!”

I knew if I brought home another animal, Tomas’s patience would wear thin.

We all got through it.

Billy “The Bullet” Mahan lived with us for about 6 years. When we decided to get out of Los Angeles for good, we had a 5-week stopover in Ojai, California.   As my faithful readers know, Bobby the Crow, Billy “The Bullet” Mahan, Vito and Vinnie the cats, Tomas and myself relaxed and gathered our wits in Ojai, and began prepping for the trip one year ago this month.

The Bullet was old, and he did not make it past the first stop over in Ojai.  He enjoyed being there for a month, and had built up quite a little fan club when people would walk by and see him in his big round pen, relaxing under the trees outside, before we would bring him in for the evening.

Local Ojai folks liked to stop at the little wooden fence and talk to him.

At dusk one night, I went out to bring him in, and he was not feeling well.  He died very suddenly about an hour later, to my shock, disbelief, and tremendous sadness.

He is buried under two huge, beautiful oak trees on the land of Lisa and John Adair.  We miss him every day.

There will never be another Bullet.

Lady? I could arrest you for hitchhiking......

"Lady? I could arrest you for hitchhiking....." .photo: Kelly Mahan Jaramillo, The Bullet

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He was hopping around, when he saw this on my laptop.


It takes a mighty storm to scare Robert.  I really have to stop with having certain politicians so easily accessible to my kids.  Hide them in the porn closet, I guess.

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Arriving just in time for dinner.  




Could someone hit the lights, please?  It's late.

Could someone hit the lights, please? It's late.


One would not think it was possible to transport two cats and a crow across country, but I have to say, The Bob behaved better than most peoples human children.  How many crows can say they stayed in seven motels and drove through ten states in the dead heat of Summer?

Although, every once in a while he would stick his beak out of his carrier and poke Tomas in the leg. Not being bad, just reminding us that he was down on the floor and getting bored.

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I started a post on my old friend and employer, Mrs. C, full name – Dr. Marjorie Carpenter, and managed to accidentally delete it. Twice.  I have a feeling I was being too maudlin, and her ghost would have none of that.

Where to start?  She was unique in her wrath and tenacity, long after it mattered.  She knew how to be a friend, yet never seemed comfortable with affection.

She was educated long before it was allowed.  By her mother, from what I gather.  Mrs. C. kept personal information close to her chest, unless she was on her third martini.  That, however,  did not guarantee information, generally, she simply waved a knife in he air and bellowed profanities at whomever was in her path.

She loved to lie about her age, generally rounding up, so I do not know if she was 95, 98, or 102 years old.  I believe I am in the ballpark there.

For those of us who worked for her and had a love/hate relationship with her, she mattered, so much.

Her best friend and confidante, JF, had a poem that was Mrs. C’s favorite. It involves daffodils.

A long time ago when I was broke, my mother, clueless, asked me if I had ever considered being a maid.  I laughed, hard and long.  I asked her if she had ever cleaned houses as her job.

I was met with my mothers classic brand of stumbling word salad that deftly manages to change the subject.

Mrs. C. treated me with more respect than any employer I have ever had.  And yes, I was a “maid” a “House Keeper” an employee.

I have been dreaming about the house on Bonvue Ave., it is a recurrent dream, and I wake up sweaty and sad. In the harsh morning, I am tired, I feel old.

ACK!  2008 there were so many people who are no more. We go on until it is our time, whenever that is.

Just because I am able to acknowledge it does not mean that I accept it with dignity, or even resignation.

Death makes me angry.  However, for those who are out of their failing bodies and minds, I imagine Death is a welcome friend.

I believe it was for Mrs. C., and for her to be free from the limitations of old age and being bedridden, I am happy for her.

For myself, JF, Rover, and a number of others, we will miss her terribly.



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So far, it is a perfect New Years Eve day. It is snowing, the indoor animals are curled up by the radiators, the outdoor wildlife are burning through food faster than I can put it out, and tomorrow we are driving an hour up the state to eat a slow roasted pork with sauerkraut (for luck) meal. Yum.

The outdoor group will just have to consider themselves lucky that they get such a fabulous buffet of food everyday since we moved here. Seriously, we spend more at the feed store than at the grocery store.  

This is just a Happy New Year everybody – it is the beginning of a whole new administration, out with eight years of an administration that has almost destroyed us, but hey, we’re still standing.  

Cause for much celebration.

Bobby is barking at his brothers outside, who are gliding around in the swirling snow, making a racket over the dog food and peanuts scattered out for them.

Tonight the deer will come for their nightly corn mix, and Tomas and I will celebrate by watching the last episodes of “Dexter”.

What better way to usher in the New Year?

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I am not really much of a Christmas Person.  This is not set in stone, it does not define who I am or am not, it is just an overall generalization.

The Holiday season seems to rouse otherwise dormant little elves who come bearing gifts of “what could have” and “what might have been”.  They are wild little storytellers, and at any other time of year  I can put them to good use, have them churn out a page or two of fiction.

But when they spin their tales around this time of year, I am often susceptible to falling into a suspended state of belief, which can render me feeling both mentally and physically ill.

I have to tighten my grasp on my own reality, what I experience as my own life, and pull it, taffy like, out of the bowl of the elves tales.

It is never easy, but when the two are separated, and I come back to life, I can see, smell, taste, walk and run again.

When that day happens, that is Christmas day for me.

And when I can see the Sun shining through the Sun from the forest above me onto my front porch, the New Year is here.

Happy Holidays everybody – however you spend it, it is yours to spend.  I hope it treats you well.


Hay siempre otra manana para todos

Hay siempre otra manana para todos


Photo courtesy of Tomás Hradcky

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It is long past Thanksgiving, so I am behind on posting the pictures, but it got a little bit crazy over here right after Thanksgiving, a lot of things happened at once, and we are still trying to prioritize.

BUT – here are a few glimpses of Thanksgiving Day at Ross and Jolene’s house. Tomas was not happy with how his picture turned out, so he will turn up later when he is ready.

We also celebrated Jolene and Ross’s oldest son Sean’s birthday, he turned twelve a few days before Thanksgiving. He doesn’t have to wear a helmet when he rides his bike anymore!  Boo-yah!


Off we go, and, yes, it is COLD!

Off we go, and, yes, it is COLD!


Everybody is watching, and I am about to hyperventilate.  Swell.

Everybody is watching, and I am about to hyperventilate. Swell.


Grandma, who is renowned for her pumpkin pies, looks on.

Grandma, who is renowned for her pumpkin pies, looks on.


"They wanted me to have dusted under the bed??!!  Who does THAT?"

“They wanted me to have dusted under the bed??!! Who does THAT?”


"Got A Pen?  GET A PEN!!"

“Got A Pen? GET A PEN!!”


"I got you" "No, I got you first"  Nuh-uh, I got YOU"  "Did Not" "Did too"

“I got you” “No, I got you first” Nuh-uh, I got YOU” “Did Not” “Did too” 


Barb, Brianna, and Bill - Self-proclaimed "Always the Gracious Guests"

Barb, Brianna, and Bill – Self-proclaimed “Always the Gracious Guests”


Children Of The Corn - "Attack Grandpa!"

Children Of The Corn – “Attack Grandpa!”


Cameron, "I see dead people...."

Cameron, “I see dead people….”


Jolene, The Stuffing QUEEN!

Jolene, The Stuffing QUEEN!


Sean rocks the house with a "Black Sabbath" tune

Sean rocks the house with a “Black Sabbath” tune.


Grandma, Bill, Tomas, Grandpa, Billy, and Cameron, "More Pie, Please!"

Grandma, Bill, Tomas, Grandpa, Billy, and Cameron, “More Pie, Please!”


Ross, his mother Alice, and son Sean discuss chord changes

Ross, his mother Alice, and son Sean discuss chord changes.


Ross Williams - Chef Extraordinaire, musician,Renaissance man

Ross Williams – Chef Extraordinaire, musician, Renaissance man.


Ross and his younger sister Callie share a moment by the fire.

Ross and his younger sister Callie share a moment by the fire.

It was such a great meal, Ross slow cooks the Turkey outside with special wood – I have never in my life tasted such a Turkey.  Ross’s parents Alice and Bud were his right hand in the delivery and carving, Barb’s yam dish was gone before I had a chance to get there, so you can figure that one out. Jolene really is the queen of the stuffing, it was absolutely perfect, with no silliness added – you know when people put apples and raisins in stuffing? That is So wrong! I do not know who was responsible for the brussel sprouts wrapped in bacon, but it was a triple helping hit with me.

And finally, yes. Tomas’s mother, Mrs. H, really does make the best pumpkin pie I have ever tasted.

Besides the food, Ross treated me to a nip of his homemade Brandy and LoganBerry wine – it was so good, I have to admit I had more than a nip. Having become the “special occasion” imbiber, I knew I was in for a headache the next day, but it was totally worth it.

The overall best time for me was the company, enjoying Tomas’s family, and the quietly nice feeling of being welcomed in.

Thank you Ross, Jolene, Mr. and Mrs. H, Alice and Bud, Barb and Bill, and the rest of the whole crew for a great Thanksgiving.

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