Monday, June 27, 2011


Normally, I'm not a big fan of errands. Running here and there, dealing with parking, dealing with stores and salespeople who never have what I want, can't answer my questions and are just generally unhelpful is not my idea of fun.

However, there's always one exception to every rule. Picking up the parrot food and treats for Zuni entails going to a special store (no run of the mill pet food crap for Mr. Feather Britches, oh no.): Omar's Exotic Birds.

Besides having every kind of parrot food, treat, toy, cage and other paraphernalia under the sun, Omar's has birds. Lots and lots of birds. And they are not in cages, but are out on play stands where you are encouraged to pet them and pick them up.

And right now, it's baby the store is chock full of brand new baby birds and they are SO CUTE.

So, I thought I'd take you on a quick tour:

This is a Apricot Caique (pronounced KAI-eek). They come in this variety with the yellow/orange head and then there's another variety that has a black head. They are fun, bouncy (they like to hop like bunny rabbits) bundles of energy. This one was on the floor when I first got there and crawled up my pant leg begging to be picked up so I held it for a while and scratched its head (birds love that) and it kindly offered to pose for a picture.

Aren't these guys pretty? They are one of my favorites as far as coloring. You can see some baby Congo African Greys on the platform next door.

Here's a better view. They are called Queen of Bavaria conures. You can see that these are quite young and still growing into their feathers because the second one back with the seed in his beak has kind of a "nappy-headed" look to his head feathers.

And here are the African Greys close up. They are not as colorful as many of the other species, but they are widely acknowledged to be the smartest. Intelligence estimates put them in the range of 2-5 year old human children. Don't believe me? Google "Alex" and "African Grey Parrot" and learn about Dr. Irene Pepperberg's amazing experiments in language with these birds.

They were so cute! They all wanted head scratches and were FASCINATED by my camera...but since parrots do their exporing with their beaks, I really frustrated them by not letting them chew on my camera LOL!

Now we move up to the bigger guys. This is a Yellow-Crowned Amazon parrot. Amazons come in lots of different varieties including yellow-head, yellow-nape, double yellow-head, etc.

One of them was on the floor when I first came in and boy did he make a beeline for the sparkly beads on the sandals I was wearing. I scooped him onto his perch before he could try out my toes as appetizers. I would rate these guys as second in intelligence and talking ability after the Greys, but they tend to have much more raucous (and loud) personalities. Some friends of my parents own one who sits at his own place (complete with plate and utensils) at the dinner table every night and shares dinner with them.

And then there are the macaws. I always think of this species as the "UCLA Bruin" parrot, but they are actually Blue & Gold macaws.

These are Scarlet Macaws.

I had to take another picture of them because their colors are just so gorgeous.

And then there's the REALLY big guy - this Hyacinth Macaw. And yeah, that beak? It's even bigger in real life. They use it to crack open things like Brazil nuts. Right after I took this picture, this guy stretched WAYYY out and tried to take my camera. I guess he didn't think I got his best side. If you're thinking this looks like the bird for you...I should maybe tell you that they START at $15,000...y'know, if you happen to have some loose change lying around.

(Oh, and if you look really closely, you can see Ryan in a light blue shirt standing by the counter and turning his head because he didn't want to be photographed...he was busy playing his DS because Grandma bought him a new game for it)

All the birds are captive-bred (not wild caught and not from wild caught parents, etc.) and are hand-raised so they are generally sweet and very well socialized from all the traffic and handling in the store.

So, if you're ever in So Cal and want a quick, fun, free experience with these amazing birds for yourself or your kids, I recommend a trip to Omar's. He's got the location that I go to in Lake Forest and another one in Brea.

And if you're thinking about a bird for yourself or your kids (I didn't photograph them, but he has small birds like cockatiels, lovebirds and finches), then I definitely recommend a specialty place like this or going direct to a good breeder. The birds are much healthier, well fed and socialized than those at regular pet stores.


Monday, June 20, 2011

A Birthday Dinner View

I spent my birthday at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Lots of pics and hopefully (if I worked the camera thingamajig right) some videos to be posted this week as soon as I get everything downloaded off the camera and edited.

However, in the meantime, check out the view from my dinner table Saturday night:

This is from the patio at Gladstone's restaurant. Sunset...looking over Rainbow Harbor. And yes, that IS the Queen Mary in the distance across the harbor.

It could not have been a more beautiful, perfect evening. This was the only day the entire week that wasn't fogged in with June gloom.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

After Rings 'N Things

Yeah, so, Julie and I decided at lunch after the R&T show that we hadn't quite gotten our fill of beady goodness so we tried to figure out where the closest bead store was and could we make it there and still each get home in time for our other commitments (i.e. the time I was scheduled to pick up the kid).

After pondering on it, we realized that Brea Beadworks was not too far off and, oh! Lucky us. They just happened to be having a Kazuri bead trunk show that day, too.

And don't judge...I didn't get to go to Bead & Button and this shopping spree (plus my iPad) was kind of my early b-day present to myself since my birthday is tomorrow ;-)

I really love using closed rings as components in my designs. They give such an airy, open look and the rope design on these copper rings will add great texture, too.

I picked all through a bowl of these beautiful kyanite teardrops trying to find a pair that matched well in size and coloring. Still not as exact as I would like, but pretty close. I think they are going to make really stunning earrings.

And then it was time for the room with all the Kazuri beads:

I guess I was still thinking about earth tones after the R&D show because this grouping of beads caught my eye right away.

The high shine on the beads makes getting a good photo kind of tough, but I had to try to show these colors close-up.

And, of course, you know I had to get a set that was more "ocean-y" looking.

Still having a hard time getting a good close-up because the beads are so reflective.

One of the things I love about Brea Beadworks is their wide selection of art beads - way more than I see at other bead stores. This is a cute spiral earring pair from Marsha Neal. They blended into my normal wood background a little too much so I grabbed a brick that was sitting nearby and used it as a background instead.

More Marsha Neal - I just love the cute, small charms. Perfect for earrings!

A lovely enameled copper clasp from C-Koop. Again with the shine issue, though!

One of my favorite purchases from Brea a few years ago was a group of gorgeous dichroic glass leaf pendants made by Carol Fonda. So I couldn't resist the chance to pick up a couple more while I was there.

Here's what I made with one of the original leaves I bought there. No one else likes this necklace, but I it's a personal favorite of mine.

And this was my big splurge for the day - a Margaret Zinser lampwork (yes, it's lampwork) butterfly wing pendant. Iridescent purple with teal stripes and could I resist?

Now, what I would REALLY like for my birthday? The time to play with all this stuff.


Sartre Was Wrong

L'enfer n'est pas les autres. L'enfer est les autres au DMV.

Translation: Hell is not other people. Hell is other people at the DMV.

I swear if one more person coughs on me, I'm going straight to the ER.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Now, it's a well known fact that I loathe baseball. It's sooooo slooooowwwwww.

Like watching paint dry.

Only more boring.

However, when a work aquaintance very nicely gives you 4 FREE tickets right on third base for the Angels vs. Kansas take them.

And when nobody else will go with you (because see? baseball is BORING), you take your 70-year-old mother and your kid.

See? Awesome seats (although the transfer from the cell phone camera to blogger has distorted the perspective - we were close enough I could've reached out and touched the back of that KC player's jersey).

Unfortunately, to make things even worse, the Angels were playing about the worst game I've ever seen them play. They had to change pitchers by the 3rd inning and by the time we left at the top of the 9th, they were losing 8-0.

So, how do you make up for a really, really lackluster game?

Cotton candy, of course!


Friday, June 10, 2011

Rings 'N Things Show

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Rings 'N Things trunk show with my friend Julie from work. Much fun was had and many beads were bought. I also finally got to meet Dave Robertson from R&T in person.

Dave was the one who was kind enough many, many moons ago to invite me to be an R&T blog partner. I was so flattered (OMG...someone is actually reading this crap I'm writing about!!) and had a great time being part of the program. I promised Dave at checkout that I'd blog about the show...ummm...probably a little more timely than this, but I have been busy with floods and broken teeth (more on that in a future post), etc., since then.

So here is my belated trunk show report:

Got this gorgeous strand of bronze keshi pearls. There were some AMAZING quality white ones that I wanted, but even with the generous trunk show and wholesale discount, they would have blown my entire budget so I had to go for this less expensive strand. The color is just stunning, though, and I'm excited to play with them (if I could just get some beading time!)

Okay, at first glance, these don't look like much. But wait...

Just warm them in your hand and check out the amazing color shift! Years ago I bought some color-shifting "mood" beads at the L.A. Gift show, but they didn't have patterns on them like these do.

Okay, who asked if I'm still hoarding them? Oh wait, yeah, I am.

You guys know me too well.

And then I saw the teardrop shape...

Look at that gorgeous purple...

And then they start to cool off and fade...

And you get some green and orange...

And more yellowy green...

My only question is, when designing with you design for what color they are "at rest" or do you design for what colors they turn when warmed by the skin? I smell a design challenge coming on...

These are some nice jumbo-sized rondelles of snowflake obsidian (top) and sodalite (bottom). I just thought the size and very nice uniformity in cut would make them great as secondary beads to go with fancier art beads or even by themselves with some touches of Bali or Thai silver.

I have to admit - this was purley a color purchase. I can't seem to stay away from anything in the turquoise/teal color scheme. The label on these beads says they are "multi-stone." I don't know what that means and I don't really care because they are just pretty. They actually have an almost glittery effect running through them that you can't see in the photo.

Although I'm not usually drawn to earth-tone beads, the incredible high polished shine on this strand of wood opalite was too pretty to pass up. I wish it showed in the photo because that's really what made this a special buy.

This is another "out of my comfort zone" purchase. I don't think I've ever worked with stones this color before, but this brecciated mookaite (say that three times fast...I dare you!) really blew me away. Those darker bands running through the stone are actually nearly transparent. They look like maple syrup or dark honey criss-crossing the stones. YUMM!

And last, but not least, my favorite purchase of the day was this strand of unusual jasper. I can see each bead being an individual focal because they are all so unique.

This is one of my favorites - like winter branches against a pink sky.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Overheard Last Night

As Ryan and I were lying on my bed last night, he in his neon yellow Spongebob pajamas and I in my sweats, watching the" Great Fairy Rescue" (his pick and yes, my son likes fairy stories, so what?) on Disney channel, we had the following conversation:


"Yes, sweetie?"

"I'm wearing double underwear. "

"Really? Any particular reason why?"

"I don't know. Just go with it, okay?"


I thought more explanation would eventually be forthcoming, but as of this morning, I am still in the dark.

And, since bedtime came before the movie was over, I don't even know if Tinkerbell got rescued or not.

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