Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bird watching

OK, this blog is supposed to be about Zeke, and there have been precious few Zeke photos or mentions lately, so I am posting this very cute photo of him from a few days ago over at my mom's house. We stopped by to pick up mail and check in on her birds while she's gone. Not pet birds. She's not a weird bird lady. These are wild birds that are nesting in one of the geranium baskets in front of her house. Every year the female builds a nest in the basket in the corner, and last year the eggs were demolished, but this year they survived, so now there are five very fat little baby birds just hangin' out in the nest, eatin' worms and waiting to grow enough feathers so they can blow that pop stand. Zeke likes me to take the basket down so he can see what they're up to. We don't touch. Just look for a little bit. And talk to the birdies about how one day they'll be big enough to eat goldfish crackers and pasta and potstickers...and go to school. I think they're excited.

No big deal

OK, the party hosting thing wasn't that big of a deal. I shouldn't even have mentioned it. It's just that last weekend was gorgeous and Zeke was playing in the pool, and it seemed like he'd have so much more fun if his cousin Jacob was in the pool with him, so I called his mom Patti and asked her if they wanted to come over for lunch and a swim. Only Patti didn't pick up. And she didn't get my message for another hour. So by the time she and Jacob and her husband John did make it over, it was late. Two o'clock. And that was cool. We were thrilled they could make it. But now lunch was over. And a couple hours later my tummy started growling, which made me think that my guests tummies were probably growling too, which led to a mental inventory of the food situation, and the conclusion that the guests and myself were hosed because I didn't have any guest-appropriate food. Unless you call leftover chinese or peanut butter toast appropriate for an afternoon spread. Bad hostess. Bad, bad, bad. I mean, I'm never really a great hostess—if I get the food right the decorations are missing, or I get the decorations right and the stemware is filthy, or I forget to pick the dog poop off the lawn for my lawn party, or...you name it, it has happened—but this case was especially egregious because Patty is an awesome hostess. Always remembers everything. Good food, clean plates, parting gifts—you get the idea. And now she and her family were visiting, and we had squat. Even Shanti, who is generally unconcerned about things like this, was aware that the total absence of food was something of a problem. So, to his credit, he emptied the last handful of broken pretzels from a month-old bag into a pretty little bowl, then did the same thing with the last handful of chips, and threw some cheddar goldfish in a third, and brought those out to our guests along with a big pitcher of what looked like real lemonade, but was in fact Crystal Light.

So that's all that happened. No big deal. Just us sucking as hosts and squirming in total awareness of our ineptitude.

We're actually going to Patty and Jon's tomorrow for a Memorial Day BBQ, which should be fun, because as Shanti said, “You know it's going to be perfect, right?”

I do know it's going to be perfect, and I am going to take diligent notes. Here's hoping that by the time you come to visit I will have elevated my game (but you still might want to toss a snack into your purse just in case).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Got Anteaters?

What's the deal with all the ants down here?

They are everywhere. Our corporate housing condo was positively riddled with them. No matter how much time and energy we spent trying to stamp them out, they always came back. And while our new pad is practically ant-free, a sentry did make an appearance at our breakfast table today, and I am seriously concerned that he is the first of millions that will be parading on in once they realize the house is occupied again.

Where is the predator that is supposed to be eating all these guys? And what predator is it anyway? Are anteaters all nature has to offer in this department? Does all ant eradication fall upon his humble shoulders? I find that hard to believe--although it would certainly explain the current state of affairs.

I know, I know—we are at least partially responsible for the situation. Obviously ants don't come to sterile, food-free homes. But we like food. We're not ready to give it up yet.

So we need an anteater. Or several anteaters. I looked on Craigslist for one, because you can find anything on Craigslist, but no, they have no anteaters. So now I'm putting out a plea to you, my friends and family. I need an anteater. Find me an anteater. One of you has got to have a friend that works at a zoo. And every zoo has its bad actors. Its troublemakers. Its discipline problems. I'm not saying steal an anteater. I'm just saying that if you were to offer to take a problem anteater off the hands of the zoo that your friend works at, and were then to ship that anteater to your good friends the Amagasus, well, we'd be grateful. And we'd keep him well-fed. I promise. As far as I can tell, Thousand Oaks is the all-you-can-eat buffet of the anteater world.

Monday, May 18, 2009

We're in!

In the house. We've actually been here since the 4th. And we're about 70-80% unpacked. Which is to say that the furniture is generally in its place (although some rooms are conspicuously furniture-light), and the boxes are more or less in the right rooms, (although a good number are still full). We've met the neighbors (awesome people), scoped the local supermarket, and had friends over for a swim visit (an event that needs to be blogged about later). We've gone to the Home Depot (about ten times already). We've walked the dog to the neighborhood dog park. I've joined a new gym—and a new book club. The dog has learned how to use the dog flap. Zeke has made friends with a kid across the street. Shanti has made his inaugural bike ride into work.

So there you are. The Northern California Amagasus are now officially the Southern California Amagasus. Easy as that. I hope we get to stay here for a good long while.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Music Update

OK, I know that some of you think I’m exaggerating about the 80s music thing. And that’s reasonable, because I’m not above stretching a detail or two in the interest of a more engaging story. But I am tellin’ you, swearin’ on everything dear to me that I have not embellished the way the citizens of the greater Los Angeles area love their 80s music. Come down here and turn on your radio. You will hear the truth.

Seriously. When was the last time you heard “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake? “Why Can’t I Get Just One Kiss” by The Violent Femmes? “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners? Or “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard?

I heard them all today. In one day. And I don’t even have a commute.

The peculiar thing to me isn’t so much the appearance of “Come On Eileen” or “Mickey” (Oh Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind…” –that Mickey) on radio playlists, because love of those tunes is almost universal. It’s the shameless playing of hair bands that’s such a stunning thing to witness. Grinding, yelling, chaotic hair bands. Poison, Bon Jovi, KISS, Scorpions, Quiet Riot. They are all disproportionately popular here. Still getting oodles of airtime. I don’t understand what is going on. Did the guys in these bands all retire and buy the local radio stations? Are they foisting their music on an innocent populous? Or are my new friends and neighbors actually submitting requests for this stuff? Don’t get me wrong. I’m actually enjoying the whole thing—ain’t nothin’ like a little Whitesnake on the Stairmaster—I’m just curious about what seems like a very illogical state of affairs.