kingbird on fence
Journal of a Sabbatical

January 6, 1999

mammal as marine allegory

Plum Island bird list

the book pile


Journal Index




Copyright © 1998, Janet I. Egan

Goldie and Lakota both got adopted since the last time I was at the cat shelter. Eddie's person came to pick him up today just as I was leaving. It's nice to see cats go to good homes. Goldie has been there awhile, he was surrendered by a young developmentally delayed man who moved into a group home where he wasn't allowed to have cats. He used to volunteer for us, so he knew Goldie would be in good hands until the right people came along.

Jaguar seems to be feeling better this week. He's eating and all that and he let me stroke his chin for a long time. He even purred and head-butted me. I've been repeating positive affirmations about his adoptability in a hypnotic voice into his ear for the past few weeks. Who knows, it could work. He's so old, it would be nice for him to have a nice quiet home with someone who loves him and has no other cats. He's really quite nice when he doesn't feel threatened.

Everything seemed chaotic today even though I managed to wash everything but the rabies room dishes and litter boxes. A relatively new volunteer was training a brand new volunteer and we never got into a real team rhythm. Whoever got there first pulled all the litter boxes and dishes so I wouldn't have to wait for them one by one, but he/she forgot to check off the animals' charts first - did they poop and pee last night? was it normal? etc. For some reason, the relatively new person blamed me for this and claimed the Wednesday people didn't have a system. And Dawna's replacement just started so she couldn't really straighten things out yet.

I went into the food storage room for a new bottle of dish detergent and discovered somebody had donated Palmolive Ultra, which has ammonia in it. Grrr. After I'd finally convinced people it was safe to use bleach, we get ammonia laden dish detergent. I took it out of the storage room and gave it to Bonnie with explanation. Fortunately there was some blue stuff that didn't appear to have ammonia in it. We're not washing glassware that needs to sparkle, we're washing plastic that needs to be disinfected! I made a note to myself to get some more Dawn so we don't run into this problem again. Egad! I've cathected dishwashing!

After the shift, I decided to have lunch at Angie's diner again since it's right near the post office and I needed to mail some stuff. I ran into Bob at the post office. He apparently left shortly after I did. He claims going to the post office is his second favorite thing after cleaning the sink trap. To each his own :-)

The river is full of buffleheads today. Tight flocks of 15 to 20 each, many flocks. Diving and surfacing all over the place. A fishing boat entering the harbor attracted so many gulls I couldn't pick out any rarities, it just looked like a white and gray whirlwind over the whole width of the river. With so much ice and so little open water, the birding on the refuge wasn't spectacular. I spotted two snow geese in among a huge flock of Canada geese - do they know they're not with their own kind?

I took a long walk on the beach, photographing shells and patterns in the sand. The stuff washed up on the beach today seemed to be mostly sea urchins, razor clams, really big clams inhabited and uninhabited, horseshoe crab shells, moon snails, shoe soles, and the odd black rubber glove. I found some bones that I didn't pick up for Roberta's collection because they were definitely mammalian and I don't mean from a marine mammal either - hope it's not more pieces of that poor man who drowned last year. I've never actually seen Roberta's collection, so I don't know what she has besides fish bones. She'd get a thrill out of the blue whale bones we saw at the museum on Sunday. Experts and putting skeletons together are reconstructing the blue whale who got hit by a ship in Narragansett Bay last summer. When they're done, the whole skeleton will be on display at the whaling museum in a new wing being built for it. Meanwhile, there's some space on the first floor where the vertebrae and a few other bones are displayed while the bone experts work on them. There's also a Quonset hut next to the museum being used as sort of a workshop. The bone project is going to take awhile. At least I haven't found any whale bones on the beach!

The sky clouded over pretty fast in the middle of the afternoon before I left the beach and it was just starting to snow when I met Philosophy Larry at Starbucks for further discussion of Moby Dick and the exploitation of state college faculty. The snow isn't coming down hard and isn't supposed to amount to much.