Monday, August 11, 2014
Depression sux. Trust me when I say that if you recognize the symptoms in yourself, the thing to do is go directly to your doctor. Treat it as a medical emergency, because it is one.
RIP Robin Williams. Thanks for a lot of great memories.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
As they walked by one another, they had this converstaion:
Then they continued right on past one another and headed to their desired destinations.
Just one brief, perfunctory half-a-hiss, and just one "Well, I gotta grump back at you" half-a-bark. Progress! LOL
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Just as Baxter and I were a couple of houses from home, on our morning walk, we passed a raised garden that someone has on the pavement and suddenly, there was a fluttering. At first, I thought we had surprised a squirrel, since that has happened before on that very spot. (I also think the tree nearest to our house has a squirrel's nest in it.)
But then I realized that what we were looking at was a female mallard duck. She started dragging one wing and limping, and I thought, "Oh no, an injured bird!"
That was when I noticed, belatedly, five or six fuzzy ducklings peeping away. (It occurred to me afterward that many mama birds will feign injury to lead predators away from their chicks.)
This surprised me, because while we are less than a mile away from some man-made lakes, mama and babies will have to traverse multiple blocks of city traffic in order to get there. I have no clue where that nest was, but this is not the place where I would have expected to see one.
Baxter, meanwhile, was hauling at the leash, but I wouldn't let him anywhere near the ducks. I actually think he wanted to herd them, being part Corgi, but I wasn't taking any chances.
At this point, another lady also appeared on the scene, and when the duck family started to cross the street, she accompanied them in order to control traffic. I told her that I would have liked to help with traffic control, but I didn't want the dog near the birds.
So, that was my adventure for the morning so far. The duck family got safely across the street, and were heading in the direction of those man-made lakes. I hope they get there safely.
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
But one thing I categorically DO NOT want to take with me is this freaking HEEL PAIN. The Achilles' tendon area on my right foot, the one I need in order to drive, is swollen and is killing me, for no discernable reason. I didn't fall or have any memorable sort of mishap that would lead me to think, "Well, when that happened, I must have hurt myself." I just have this mystery freaking PAIN, out of nowhere.
Well, wherever it came from, it needs to go back. Like, yesterday. This freakin' issue had better be G-O-N-E by the time I leave for camp. I have no pressing desire to drive or four hours with this foot in this condition.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
There are two parts of my daily Walk With Baxter where we tend to encounter squirrels. One is right near our house, and in fact I suspect that there is a squirrel's nest in our tree. The other place is around the corner, and this morning, we saw Mr. Squirrel looking fit and healthy. And Baxter got his morning entertainment barking up a telephone pole, when the squirrel decided that the human and the dog had gotten too close for comfort, and climbed to safety.
Well, we just had our dinnertime walk, and the squirrel from around the corner is now climbing trees at the Rainbow Bridge. He must have had an unfortunate encounter with a car sometime during the afternoon, poor thing. Romp in the sun, Mr. Squirrel. I hope you know I never would've let Baxter close enough to do any harm.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Anyway, three times in the past two days, I have seen a squirrel in front of our house while walking Baxter.
Baxter thinks chasing squirrels is great sport, but THIS squirrel seems to be trying for a Darwin Award. I don't think he runs away anywhere near immediately enough when the dog starts barreling in his direction. He sits there and freezes for a few seconds, right in the middle of the sidewalk where there is zero cover.
It's a good thing that I have no desire to see what would happen if Baxter actually CAUGHT a squirrel, because at least two out of those three times, the only reason Baxter didn't get the squirrel outright was because I was hanging onto the leash full-force. The third time, Baxter spotted him from so far away and started barking, that a SNAIL would have had plenty of advance warning to take cover, lol.
Anyway, Baxter is teaching the squirrel (I hope!) how not to become a victim of natural selection.
Monday, May 12, 2014
So there I was, coming down from the second floor, when I heard a commotion in the dining room. I walked in to find Captain under a dining room chair, hissing at the barking dog.
I put one hand on each of Baxter's flanks and steered him toward the living room. "OK, you, that's enough. Leave your brother alone." Baxter stopped barking and walked into the living room.
Suddenly, a big orange BLUR came zooming out from under the dining room chair, ran up behind the dog, whacked his backside with the Paw of Doom, and then ran into the cellarway with the now-barking dog chasing him.
By this point, I was laughing too hard to reprimand either one of them. It's ineffective to scold a critter while you're laughing your face off. :-D
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Thursday, May 08, 2014
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Except to say that the time period did some internal damage that is still not entirely... repaired? Healed? What word would work here? I don't know.
To the point where I can spend a good day with everybody who I didn't hear from in all that time, like today, and still feel blue, left out, and disconnected within hours of the get-together ending. Like tonight.
I lost a lot more faith in people than I'd realized. I guess that, given that it took five weeks for the internal damage to develop, it's not going to just go away like flipping a switch. When a forest has been clearcut, it's not going to sprout back up into a big forest again overnight. I am going to have to let my ability to have faith in people start growing from the ground up.
Monday, May 05, 2014
Now I can post my links to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, as needed.
Emerald Green plus a Flower of Life pattern in the background is a perfect combination for me. But HOLY LINKFEST, Batman, did it ever take me time to copy over all those zillions of links that you see on the right-hand side. The good news is, all that work is done now, so I can go back to adding individual links as the mood strikes.
We had an interesting walk with Baxter tonight. The normal route takes us across the street from a diner, and lo and behold -- who was coming out just as I went by, but my parents. So we got to chat, and they got to dote on Baxter. (Till my dad tried to hold the dog, which upset Baxter and then they both had to Ignore The Dog for a while till he relaxed.)
My dad's got a dented rear fender, which he will have repaired later in the month. He was trying to back up and apparently a fire hydrant leaped into his path. He has a backup camera in the car, which is a great feature, but unfortunately, it doesn't spot obstacles that are beside the car. Oh, well -- the main thing is, nobody got hurt and the damage is easily fixed. Car repairs are painful to the wallet, but once they're fixed, you're good to go - unlike physical injuries, for which you might need some combination of surgery, stitches, a cast, and physical therapy, and even THEN you might not be 100% recovered afterward. We definitely prefer NO mishap, but if there's gonna be a mishap, fixing a damaged car is a lot less involved than fixing a damaged person.
And now, to celebrate my new format, I shall not only publish this post, but share it with Facebook. :-)
But I will have some interesting things coming up. For one, I have been accepted as an SSP (Support Service Provider, or interpreter/guide) at the Deaf-Blind Camp of MD in June. I just got the email a few days ago. This camp has taken off hugely in popularity over the years, resulting in campers and volunteers applying to attend from all over the country. So I hope to have some blog posts to share from that event, certainly.
And interestingly, I have chosen to celebrate having a blog for 11 years by... purchasng a fancy journal so I can record some musings on paper. One thing I am not going to fall victim to is the kind of over-sharing online that leads people into embarrassment. We've all seen it happen. Perhaps someone vented their spleen in words that then caused offense or hurt feelings, or shared something that would have better been kept offline, lest too many uncaring people find out about it and cause backlash. Rest assured that I am not going to be that person. I'm more than happy to share the things that are fit for public consumption on here, or on Facebook and Twitter. That's fine. But the things that would be better kept offline are most assuredly going to remain offline.
Yet, that doesn't mean I shouldn't process those things at all. So hello, paper journal. Welcome to the household. 288 sheets, or 576 pages. Lookin' good! :)
I have not yet made my inaugural post in said book, but I will.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Baxter the Smiley SO wants to play with his kitty brothers. I thought he and Stanley were going to have a play session right after I got home, but Stanley is still not sure what to make of the dog's attention. So it wound up as a session of I Sniff Your Nose.
Monday, November 11, 2013
He was NOT a Happy Camper while he was at PAWS, which I expected. He's very attached to his Mom, to put it mildly.
When I went to pick him up, I had a little surprise. I observed that another doggie in the waiting room looked a LOT like Baxter, and that's when I learned it was Pinky, Baxter's brother. OMG, they weren't kidding when they said he looks just like Baxter, only smaller! He looks like Baxter, but shrunk down to Mini-size (about half Baxter's size, in other words). I was disappointed to see that the doggies didn't recognize one another -- Baxter was too out-of-it from the anesthesia to pay attention, and Pinky didn't recognize Baxter because he's full of unfamiliar scents. Pinky's original foster was transferring him to a new foster mama, because she has four cats who weren't pleased at the addition of a pint-sized dog to the fold. She loved Pinky, though, and cried a bit at the transfer. :-( If not for the kitties' reaction, she'd have gladly adopted him. The NEW foster mama looked pretty enthused to be bringing him home, though, so here's hoping that this turns into a "failed foster" (an adoption)! :-)
Where Baxter is concerned, the Tramadol is not the only thing he's going to need for 7-10 days. They sent us home with a Cone of Shame. There are two problems with that. First, this freakin' thing is HUGE. Second, he had no trouble dragging it off. This resulted in my making a beeline to the PetSmart and picking up an inflatable e-collar, which he is leaving alone. I hope he keeps right on leaving it alone once the rest of the anesthesia wears off.
Friday, November 08, 2013
Joe J. had a shirt made for me that reads "ARF" in the manual alphabet on one side, and 50 on the back. :) We are both insane and we bark at one another, and when we aren't actually barking out loud, I will spell "arf" into his hand (he's deaf-blind and communicates via tactile sign language). I think the shirt is hilarious and I can't wait to wear it.
Another classic gift I got was the tiara I'd been looking at and drooling over when Joe M., John, and I were at the RenFaire several weeks ago. :-) I came this-close to declaring the entire weekend My Birthday and wearing it the rest of the weekend. :-) But any time I plan to be Queen for a Day, that tiara is going on.
We had an unexpected visit from The Other Donna. While I was happy to see her, I was not too happy as to the underlying reason for her visit. Unfortunately, she was down here to attend the funeral of a longtime friend. :-( He was only 50 and died unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm. Sigh. It was not lost on me that while I was celebrating a 50th birthday, 50 years was all he got to live, period. So you won't see ME griping over this landmark. It's a privilege, not a burden, to keep adding to the total.
So anyway, they say that the first half-century is the hardest. We'll see about that. Bring on the next half-century!
Monday, November 04, 2013
Sunday, November 03, 2013
When he stood on his hind legs to look at the kitty, the sudden appearance of his head right in front of Captain's face, like a little doggy Jack-in-the-box, did not go unnoticed. Captain applied the Paw of Doom two or three times in rapid succession -- no claws, just the bopping paw. The dog withdrew, then jumped up on the sofa at the far end of the couch, well away from bopping Paws of Doom.
Now Baxter had a dilemma. The cat was stretched out on the sofa, right between him and me, and he wanted to sit with me. What to do? A tentative "Rrrff!" in Captain's direction had no measurable effect, and the dog stood there, perplexed.
Finally, I coached him a little, but he got the idea. He leaped up to the sofa back, and in that way, walked the length of the sofa to me without coming near the cat or the Paw of Doom. I hoisted him down and bingo. He's now sitting with me. And the cat is Ignoring him. :)
just had ourselves a little bark-fest in the living room. Mark was
kneeling by the drum table at the front window, updating the lamp's
timer for EST. Baxter woke from napping beside me, did not immediately
recognize Mark as the person who was kneeling on the floor, and had a
barking fit. He didn't stop until Mark came over and let Baxter sniff
his hand. Baxter dropped his ears and stopped barking the moment he
realized it was just Dad after all.
Captain remained curled up
at the other end of the couch throughout all this, though he was giving
the dog a "You've gone totally bananas" look. So I'm thinking that
Captain is not particularly unnerved by the dog. :-)
As one of my FB friends puts it, "Intruder! Intruder! Oh, wait, it's just Dad." Yeah, that about sums it up. LOL.
I have also discovered that there are multiple names for this particular cross-breed. My personal favorite is Chorgi. I have also seen Corchi, and the most popular one appears to be Chigi. I think I'll stick with Chorgi, lol.
I am not happy that the designer craze has taken over the dog-breeding world. However, I say that if you really want a designer dog, make a beeline for your nearest shelter or rescue, and find one there. Not only did I get Baxter from a rescue, but Karla got a Puggle (pug/beagle) from a local shelter, as well. Adopt, don't shop.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
He follows me around like a little shadow now. Wherever I go, he goes. When I sit on the sofa or loveseat, He hops up next to me. We had a moment tonight when I was watching the Phantoms online, and he was clearly bored of sitting on the sofa... and yet he wouldn't leave the sofa while I was sitting there.
He is such a great little dog, and very well-mannered. Someone clearly spent a lot of effort training him properly.
Oh, and tonight, we had the first couple of encounters with Captain. He and Captain sniffed noses right next to me, and Captain was OK with that. Later, Captain was facing the other way and Baxter sniffed his rump. He studiously Ignored this, though I could tell he wasn't particularly enamored of the canine greeting. Stanley responds similarly -- he is OK with sniffing noses, but he'd rather not have similar attentions paid to his opposite end.
Critters. :-) Endless entertainment.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Seems "Baxter" was a name assigned to him at PAWS, which explains why he occasionally seems to take a moment to respond to it.
He was brought in as a stray to ACCT, the city shelter, on 10/7. I am taking a guess that he was found with the other dog that PAWS said was his brother, because of the names the two dogs have. PAWS told me that Baxter's brother was named Pinky. Well, Baxter's intake paperwork at ACCT calls him "Brain". As in, "Pinky and the Brain". I am extrapolating some details, but my guess is that PAWS left Pinky's name the same, but changed Baxter's name, when they pulled the two of them out of the city shelter.
So I don't exactly know WHAT name my little guy grew up with. But he recognizes Baxter well enough that I'll keep that name. Not only has he been stressed enough already in the past 22 days, without having to learn a new name, I now THINK of him as "Baxter". So Baxter he will remain.
Monday, October 28, 2013
We have discovered that Baxter only wants to eat his dog food if there is a slice of turkey lunchmeat shredded up and mixed in with it. This was determined on Friday.
So, we dutifully mixed in a slice of turkey lunchmeat on Saturday's and Sunday's dog food. This morning, I thought, "Let's see if he'll eat less of the turkey." I only shredded up HALF a slice of turkey.
Baxter ate half the food, then came over to give me Sad Eyes. He persisted in Not Eating, so I broke down and shredded the other half of the turkey slice into the remaining dog food.
Me: "Is this more to His Highness's liking?"
Baxter: NOM NOM NOM NOM.
His breakfast is now fully eaten, and he is parked next to me on the sofa with his head on my lap. He has barely been here four days, and we are already catering to his whims. Pampered pup. :)
Oh, and His Royal Smileyness has discovered the joys of rolling in the grass. :)
Sunday, October 27, 2013
After visiting all the vendor booths and walking the course, I stopped by the tent where the adoptable dogs were returning. I loved them all, of course. And then I saw this little smiley face.
When I got home, I called Mark and let him know that I had, in fact, met a dog that I wanted to adopt. He wasn't looking to add a dog to the family, especially not so soon after Mini, but he agreed to let it happen.
PAWS called me on Tuesday and we made an appointment for Thursday, October 24, for me to see Baxter. At least, that's how they phrased it. So I was more than a little surprised that they were about to let me take Baxter home on the spot. If I'd known, I'd have had a carrier ready for him. I would have had a leash, too; fortunately, PAWS has leashes and collars coming out their ears, so they were able to give me one. As it was, he wanted to sit in my lap while I was driving home. Oh, dear, lol. See, this is WHY I insist on using a carrier to transport pets in cars. I kept shifting him to the side when he started climbing in my lap. Eventually, he parked himself between the two front seats and rested his head on my leg, and that's how we drove the rest of the way home. :-)
Baxter did sniff noses with Stanley, at which time I discovered what PAWS meant when they said he was "rude" with cats during his cat-compatibility test. Baxter sniffed a few times, then got over-exuberant and shoved his whole face into Stanley's face. Stanley responded by doling out one bop upside the dog's head, and Baxter immediately backed up. The next time he went to sniff Stanley, a few hours later, he stood somewhat back and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d his neck way forward to reach the cat. He wasn't going to risk getting too close again, lol! They've sniffed noses a few more times in the ensuing three days, and there have been no more bops, nor any need for bops.
Since Thursday, we have been reaching landmarks gradually. I have been able to leave Baxter and one/both cats unattended on the sofa when I have had to use the Smallest Room in the House. No growls, hisses, nor hostilities have ensued; they have all ignored one another. Yesterday, Baxter went on a walk with his tail horizontal, instead of drooping down; tonight, that tail was up and waving like a banner. SomeDoggy is getting happier. I also got the first full-fledged belly display a little while ago.
And of course, there are the little smiles that made me melt into a puddle of mush in the first place. We are starting to see those, more and more. And that makes ME smile.
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
But this morning, when I got up and Mark was at work, it was the first time that I had to confront the changes to my normal routine. Ordinarily, I'd have started my day by getting up, walking the dog, feeding the dog and the cats, and then eating breakfast. As such, I was really feeling Mini's absence, and I greatly missed the fact that I won't be walking and feeding her anymore. My little Munchkin Pup. I really miss her a lot.
Later on Monday, I drove to Chalfont for a sign language lesson. I am tutoring a blind couple, one of whom is also suffering from hearing loss, in sign language. As a result, I rediscovered the fact that the *fastest* route suggested by the GPS is not necessarily also the *shortest* route. The GPS's suggested route involves using the Blue Route, the PA Turnpike, and Rt. 309. It's about 38 miles to go that way. But because we were using Rt. 309 on Friday, for an entirely different reason (driving from the cemetery to the funeral luncheon), it occurred to me that I might be able to make an adjustment to my Chalfont commute. On my way home, I decided to use Rt. 309 to get all the way into the city, eliminating the use of the PA Turnpike and Blue Route entirely. Well, what do you know? Using Rt. 309 all the way into Philly cut 7 miles off the distance. It did take about 8 minutes longer, but I ran into a little bit of slow traffic on the way home. I would be willing to bet that if I hadn't encountered that one stretch of congested road, the time differential would've been negligible or even come out in favor of the Rt. 309-oriented commute.
So basically, using Rt. 309 means a shorter distance, no Turnpike tolls, no dreadful traffic patterns at the Turnpike entrance and exit, and NO excruciating off-ramp going from the Turnpike to the Blue Route. That has got to be the worst freaking exit ramp I have ever encountered in my life, and I deal with PennDOT's handiwork on a regular freaking basis. Yeah, methinks Rt. 309 and I are about to become very good friends, lol.
Finally, here is what I have to say about the governmental shutdown:
"But I fear that in every assembly members will obtain an influence by noise rather than sense, by meanness rather than greatness, and by ignorance and not learning, by contracted hearts and not large souls. There is one thing, that must be attempted and most sacredly observed, or we are all undone. There must be decency and respect and veneration introduced for persons of every rank, or we are undone. In a popular government, this is our only way.” -- John Adams
Sunday, September 29, 2013
The long and short of it is that a week ago today, both my mother-in-law and my dog passed away. We had our hearts broken twice in the space of one hour. Here is the timeline.
On Friday, 9/20, we got a call from my sister-in-law (my husband Mark's sister). My mother-in-law's health, which previously had been pretty stable, was suddenly failing acutely. Hospice, which is a service dedicated to end-of-life care, had been consulted and a hospital bed was being delivered to my MIL's house that afternoon. This all started happening so abruptly, everyone was blindsided, even my sister-in-law who lived nearby and saw her daily.
During the course of the same week, my little elderly Chihuahua, Mini, started showing signs of a reduced appetite. But until Friday, every time she seemed uninterested in food, I found something different that she WOULD eat.
Friday night was the time that I couldn't get Mini to eat anything but some nutrient gel from a feeding syringe. So it was time to see the vet.
We visited my mother-in-law on Friday night, and she was lucid enough to know everyone who visited. If we spoke to her, her responses were clear and made perfect sense. But her breathing was terribly labored and she was incredibly weak. It was clear something major was wrong.
On Saturday, 9/21, I took Mini to the vet. He diagnosed an infection and gave me meds, plus an even more potent nutrient gel to feed her. Then we went to see my mother-in-law; she slept through most of the visit thanks to the meds she was on. They'd had to provide morphine as she was getting extremely agitated and increasingly confused, trying to get out of bed even though she hasn't been able to stand unassisted in about seven years. She couldn't get comfortable and she was really having a hard time, so the meds were a necessity, but sadly that meant we couldn't really interact with her anymore.
On Sunday morning, I got up to find that my dog had taken an abrupt downturn. But I was able to get food and medicine into her. We went to Mass. Upon coming home, we saw that Mini was even worse, so we headed to the University of Pennsylvania emergency vet clinic.
At about 2:05 PM I was in a consultation room discussing Mini's condition with the vet, wile Mark remained in the waiting room. She said an emergency bloodwork showed Mini was in acute renal failure, and there was no real hope for Mini to have any more quality of life. As this news was being broken to me, Mark appeared in the doorway, and I gestured for him to come in. He said "Mom died." His sister had just called; my mother-in-law had just passed away at 2 PM. So of course we hugged as I reacted to this sad news.
Then I gave the vet a quick explanation of the fact that we actually had TWO family crises simultaneously: my mother-in-law's failing health and the dog's extreme sickness. I swear, I thought the vet was going to burst into tears right in front of me. Here she was, most likely doing the hardest part of her job (telling a pet owner their beloved pet has no hope), and suddenly she was witnessing the pet owners getting a massive amount of OTHER bad news right at the same time. God bless that nice vet -- it was clear that she cares a lot about both the pets and the people who come through the emergency clinic.
But the fact remained that there were no medical answers for what Mini was going through. So we made the merciful decision to have her put to sleep. Mark and I were with her right through till the end.
But between 2 and 3 PM on 9.22, the world lost my mother-in-law, a sweet, kind, loving woman, someone whose devout faith made her en even NICER person. And the world also lost a tiny little bundle of pure affection. I don't think I know which end is "up" right now.
Mark made me smile, though, when he said, "I bet Mini waited until Mom went first, so she would have a lap to sit in." I just bet she did. My mother-in-law loved people and animals, and Mini took her calling as a lap dog VERY seriously.
Anyway, do please send some prayers my family's way. We could all use it.
Saturday, September 07, 2013
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
I even caught myself tonight using an expression that someone used on the show recently. A local guy from Voorhess, NJ was doing a stress test, to determine if he was going to even be able to take part in the program, and he said, "It doesn't matter WHAT they set this machine on, because I'm gonna KILL this thing." Tonight, when I started getting a little muscle tighness while on the treadmill, I said the same thing: "I'm gonna KILL this thing!" and I completed the session.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Today, after successfully keeping up a workout regimen 4-5 days a week, I have decided that it's time to go one better. The gym where I go has two levels of membership; currently, I have the lower-level membership. It lets me use their equipment any time I want, but that's it. Tomorrow, I am going to upgrade so I can have access to their trainers. It's not like I plan to train for the Olympics or anything, but my intent is to get fit, and it's not going to happen by sitting on my rump.
Good-freaking-bye to excess pounds. Out they go!
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
In order to read my ereader.com content on the Nook, I had to transfer my ereader.com books onto a micro-SD card and install that into the Nook. Done, and done. I can now read said books on my first-generation Nook.
In recent weeks, however, I have had some issues with the charging port of the Nook. It's long past its warranty date, and I saw a back-to-school sale on the Nook SimpleTouch with Glowlight. So I thought I'd better procure a backup device, and I went for it.
My new device arrived today. It's lovely and portable, and of course all my B&N books came right up when I logged into my B&N account. However, I discovered a few things that will ensure that I keep my first-gen device as well.
1. First-gen devices have a daily free article, as well as a link to a free weekly ebook on Free Fridays. There is no evidence that the newer device has access to that content. (It's probably available on the Nook tablet, but I already have an iPad so I didn't spring for the tablet.) And even though the newer device has a microSD slot, it isn't able to read my ereader.com content off the card I already have.
So I will now proceed to make use of the features on BOTH devices: the touchscreen, integrated light, greater portability and reliable charge port on the newer Nook, and the free daily/weekly content and the ereader.com accessibility on my first-gen Nook (whose third-party cover has a built-in light). I shall call this a WIN on both counts.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Thursday, June 06, 2013
The first thing I noticed was an unfamiliar rasping songbird call. It sounded like the combination of "reeee, reeee" and running one's fingers along the teeth of a comb. I can ID a lot of birdcalls, but this one was new to me so it caught my attention. Then I realized there were NO OTHER birdcalls nearby. At all. That's VERY uncharacteristic for that intersection. The closest normal birdcalls I could hear seemed to be coming from at least half a block to a block away.
So I looked up and saw a hawk on a lightpole. I had to zoom the iPhone camera to get a recognizable image, so sorry about visual noise.
Shortly after I took the first images, I saw the bird that had been making the rasping call. An irate mockingbird started buzzing the hawk. I think they have a nest in one of the nearby trees, as it alternated between rasping in the trees and flying at the hawk.
When I turned my attention away from this interaction, and toward picking up after the dog, the hawk flew away. I didn't see what direction it took. But I will be on the alert from now on for absence of songbird calls (except for hostile calls), since that was my first clue that something was going on. If I notice that again, I'm going to start looking around to see if a hawk is around.