Twofer Tuesday: snow birds

We woke to a snowstorm this morning (hooray!) and it’s been fun watching the birds. The usual suspects have shown up — Eurasian Collared-dove parked in the feeder dish while a Mourning Dove perched on the rim of the heated bath — along with a visit from a Blue Jay. We do see them now and again, but they are a bit more rare, so it was a nice surprise when I spotted this one through the kitchen window.

January 25, 2022

Wildebeest and Zebu are coming for a visit and we’ve been spending lots of time cleaning the house that has become quite messy over the past months. “Wash windows” was on my to-do list but that hasn’t happened yet which means my bird photos suffer. This Red-breasted Nuthatch would appear more vibrant had I washed the window as planned.

Ah, well. As long as the glass doesn’t become opaque, I guess it’s okay.

Thankful Thursday

Today I am grateful for much, including:

  • My first walking boot-free day in which I walked about 1.5 miles in the neighborhood.
  • An overdue appointment with my behavioral optometrist who’s been taking care of my eyes for a looong time and who, as always, knew exactly what needed to be done to get me back on track.
  • Arriving home after my appointment to find Zippy putting lights in the yard.

Our somewhat haphazard display with bonus feature: Loki in the window.     Dec 2, 2021

  • Afterward, a nice visit with our neighbors and the beautiful and quite-large Rainbow Dash who put her paws on my shoulders to say Hello . . . without knocking me over!

Twofer Tuesday

Here are two of my favorite things: honey bees and lavender.

July 18, 2019

We still have a few late-blooming stalks of  lavender (this photo was taken a couple summers ago), but not a lot of bees around. Which is why I was surprised over the weekend while reading outside on a bench I’d pushed up against the side of the house to avoid the wind. Surrounded by concrete and brick, engrossed in the pages, I became aware of a faint buzzing that got louder and louder. A honey bee flew next to my outstretched leg before landing on my arm and then my chest. After a brief pause there, it flew to my collar. Much closer to my ear (bzzzz bzzzz ). And face.

Bees fascinate me more than freak me out, however, I admit to feeling a bit nervous about this buzzing visitor. Still, I maintained my calm, congratulating myself on the chill attitude. Until . . . the honey bee moved down to the end of my sleeve and crawled in my sleeve. Chill attitude officially over!  I shrieked and shook my arm to dislodge the bee, which seemed to take forever due to the layers I wore.

When the bee safely flew away-away, I chided myself for panicking. And then I remembered the terrifying bees-in-clothing experience I had years ago, and cut myself slack.

Fortunately, this latest bee interaction was entirely friendly and bees still rank among my very favorite things.

Thankful Thursday: new paint now peace

Today I am grateful the week-long paint exterior paint job was completed several hours before the season’s first snowfall.

Image by Wilfried Pohnke from Pixabay

I’m grateful we resolved a big mix-up. Turned out they’d matched the trim color incorrectly, which I didn’t realize until last night. I spent sleepless hours fretting about it and woke all out of sorts. When I spoke to them and didn’t get much satisfaction, I wisely went for a 38 degree run on the trails. The cold air and beautiful open space cleared my mind. Afterward, we talked more, they listened to my concerns, and agreed to return at a later date to repaint the trim the correct color.

It’s been 12 years since the exterior was painted and the southern and eastern exposures were brutalized by sun and weather. I hadn’t anticipated the incredible noise and disruption that would come with three guys sanding-drilling-pounding on various walls, often simultaneously. Not to mention occasionally being caught off-guard when I spotted strange men through the windows.

One more time: I am grateful the exterior paint job is complete! (For a while, anyway).

I’m very thankful for our home and our ability to pay for its upkeep. (And hooray that the supply chain issues only slightly affected the timeline for completing the job!)

It’s a good Thursday on the planet.

#Caturday editorial assistant

I was working on revisions in bed this morning when Marcel decided to check out the happenings. In true feline form, he chose to curl up on the very document I’d just set next to me.

As gently as possible, I removed it from beneath his vast bulk. Not to be dissuaded from his mission of chaos, Marcel began noisily licking the plastic bag containing my highlighters and post-its. I was less gentle in that removal.

A few minutes later, I relocated to the patio. Marcel is an indoor-only cat.

P.S. While they didn’t directly obscure my materials, a couple hummingbirds got into multiple dust-ups as I worked outside, distracting me with their darting aggression.

It’s pretty obvious that I deserve a medal for getting any work done today.

Marcel Monday

Marcel loves to sit in this window at night so he can watch and stalk the moths attracted by the light. Last night he generously paused long enough for me to take a few portraits.

July 11, 2021

Right after I left the room to put away the camera, there was a kerfuffle. According to Zippy, Emma became agitated when Marcel clawed his way up the screen to get at a moth and for some reason, Marcel thought that was a good time to jump down to the floor where the agitated Emma-pup waited. In a flash, Marcel went from predator to prey. Fortunately, Zippy intervened and all was well in this animal kingdom.

Wonder if Marcel would’ve posed for me with such disdain if he’d known the indignity in his very, very near future.

Thankful Thursday: in which we divest

Wildebeest and Zebu are both home for a visit. We haven’t seen Zebu since he moved to Seattle last August and it’s been five months since we last saw Wildebeest. I’m grateful to spend time with them, laugh at old jokes, and create new memories.

I’m also grateful they cooperated with my plan to get rid of some things. We carved out time yesterday to go through the enormous double closet in the basement that was filled with games, toys, LEGOS, dress-up clothes, etc., etc., etc. It was definitely a trip down memory lane to sort through everything. There was much laughter. We ended up keeping most of our board games, but it was an easy unanimous decision to say goodbye to TWISTER. Zebu commented that he’s always thought it was a really weird and uncomfortable game.

All these things will be loaded in the car and donated to ARC. More items are ready to go, but I’m going to check with the local elementary school to see if they can use them in the preschool and other classrooms. There’s also an electric guitar and bass plus an amp. Maybe the high school band would like them? Either way, we’ll find a home for those, too.

Hooray for letting go of possessions! I’m thankful for the many hours of enjoyment they brought us and wish them well in their new homes.

Mixed messages

Emma is a dog of contradictions. She’s small and lovable. Those floppy ears that bounce with each step always induce smiles as we walk the neighborhood. Her big brown eyes ooze emotion. Looking at her, you’d never guess Emma can instantaneously transform into a rage-aholic.

May 8, 2021

I took this photo yesterday moments after she’d gone bonkers when someone dared to walk two dogs past our home. Check out the raised ridge along her spine. Emma flashed me this innocent expression, trying to play it cool and pretend she hadn’t just erupted. But I’ve got photographic proof.

The hackles tell the whole story.

#Caturday at the movies

Marcel thinks that if he blocks the screen with his considerable bulk, I will focus on him instead of Netflix or Hulu. And maybe that ploy did work a couple months ago when this photo was taken, when I was feeling more tender-hearted and giving.

Marcel doing his best to make me even more visually impaired than usual.

Tonight is a different story. He has been warned.

Shadow painting

Shadow is a colour as light is, but less brilliant;
light and shadow are only the relation of two tones.
  ~ Paul Cezanne

April 3, 2021

I was bustling about the home today, tending to neglected domestic chores, when this lovely shadow painting appeared. I had the good sense to stop what I was doing and grab the camera. I’ve lived in this house for nearly 24 years and have never seen such a thing.

Maple tree branches, the window frame, and a hanging light fixture turn out to be a compelling composition. Who would’ve guessed?

Sunday Confessional: expiration dates

I add food scraps to the worm bin every weekend which has become a bit of a challenge now that it’s only Zippy and me. When a son or two lived here, there’d be more fruit and vegetable matter for me to chop up for my worm friends. Now I have to search the refrigerator to ensure they have enough to eat during the week.

That’s why when I found a bunch of cilantro past its expiration date today, I was really happy. Slightly slimy cilantro in the drawer? Excellent! Now I didn’t have to rely on feeding the worms a ton of coffee grounds (which the worms love but I sometimes worry hops them up too much).

Image by Gábor Adonyi from Pixabay

While I chopped those greens and added them to the cauliflower and zucchini pieces, I thought about how I welcome stuff past its expiration date. Not only furry fruits and rotten veggies, but also coupons. Why? Because expired coupons are a no-brainer: they go into the recycle bin. An expired coupon means one less item in my problematic piles of paper. Straight into the recycle bin.

Sometimes it’s good to let things go, you know?

#Caturday from days of yore

June 20, 2019

Here’s Marcel watching a scrub jay through the window screen, flowers blooming in the background. A photographic reminder for me on this January day that no season is forever. Soft spring air is in my future.

#Caturday napping

December 26, 2020

I was just in the basement, tending to the worm bin, when I heard a sound I assumed came from the dog and/or cats upstairs. Nope. It was Marcel, shifting position in his sun-soaked napping place.

Glad someone’s getting use out of the treadmill.

I’ll huff and I’ll puff

. . . and I’ll blow your fence down.

Did the Big Bad Wolf pay us a visit last night? No. But we did have wind gusts strong enough to repeatedly slam a tree branch against the side of the house, causing our doggo much anxiety and me much grumpiness. I put a pillow over my head and eventually fell asleep.

December 23, 2020. Photo by Wildebeest

I was the last one awake and upright this morning. However, I was the first to notice something was not-right. Zippy and Wildebeest somehow both failed to see the fence was down. When I pointed it out to him, Zippy replied, “Oh, that’s probably why it took Emma so long to come back inside this morning. Guess she was out exploring.”

Fence companies are VERY busy right now. Zippy erected a temporary fence across the thirty-foot gap while we wait. It may be months. Prediction: Emma has several more adventures in her near future.

#Caturday with Marcel

Here’s another installment of Marcel and the ever-blooming geranium.

February 5, 2020

This photo is from February, but could’ve been taken today or yesterday. The familiar serenity of the image evokes peace and contentment.

Wishing a good #Caturday to all the feline-lovers out there.

#Caturday shenanigans

One day last week, son Wildebeest and I had our cameras out to practice photographing a black cat and a white cat at the same time. It’s difficult to land on the correct settings that will allow the black cat to have definition without also blowing out the white cat’s fur. This photo is proof of my ongoing struggle.

Marcel and Loki basking on their box condo. November 20, 2020

However, capturing the moment Loki launched the attack on his brother from below was a small victory. And if you look closely, you’ll see a hint of trepidation on Marcel’s face. Every picture, even a poor one, tells a story.