Friday, August 9, 2013


Let's see. I've read and responded to all the submissions that my co-editor sent before she decamped to England for a fortnight (sigh). I've reviewed the edits on my Tolkien paper that came back a few days ago. I'm listening to the music for my Sunday reviewing assignment. After three weeks of running ragged, I think I'm pretty much caught up on current work tasks. Just don't ask about any of the longer-term projects I need to undertake to keep up.

And that, also, is after taking most of two days off to celebrate B's birthday. First I went out and bought the Nook book presents (you don't want to get those in advance, as they send the recipient an e-mail), and baked the second annual sugar-free chocolate birthday cake. Then, on the morning itself, we indulged in the birthday meal at one of the local breakfast specialists, and then went to the small San Jose zoo, which we hadn't visited in quite a few years. It's been markedly rebuilt since then, but it still has meerkats and a capybara (a Rodent Of Unusual Size), as well as tiny foxes with giant ears, from North Africa (the foxes, not just their ears). There were a lot of lemurs, but there were also some lemur displays that appeared empty. Maybe the inhabitants had gone to lost Lemuria. In the barn/petting zoo area was a corral with 20 goats. I don't believe I have ever seen so many goats live at once. And in their midst, a man endlessly sweeping up pellets, because that's what you get with 20 goats.

Better even than the displays was an animal show. The keeper who ran it talked and talked and talked and talked, and talked, but he did manage to show a few animals. Many of them were rescue critters that had been bought as pets by foolish people who quickly realized their unsuitability and begged the zoo to take them off their hands. Like a Burmese python. B. was particularly taken with the barn owl. The keeper urged us all to build owl boxes and we'd soon get residents who'd clear the area of vermin. I kind of doubt we'd get an owl, as far into the urban buildup as we are, and if we did, it'd probably first eat the fence lizards which we like. Most unusual of the animals was a young orphaned kangaroo joey. He had been named Sasquatch, so I can now say I've seen a Sasquatch, live and close-up.

After that, as long as we were in the general area, we stopped off at my favorite little old tamale vendor in Alum Rock, in east San Jose, for a couple dinners' worth of what I call Eastern Tamales. (To distinguish them from the different-style ones I get from a vendor in Mountain View, which is west of here, and which I therefore call Western Tamales.)

Call it a successful day out.

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