Saturday, April 11, 2015

Birds of Spring & Happy Birthday

"I was talking with Little Brother Larry a couple of nights ago. I accused him of having better spring weather in Minnesota than here."

"Our birds are very late. We still have at least a dozen Juncos in the backyard every day and twice that many White-throated Sparrows."

"Winter birds."

"The bird list so far."
03/28/15 - Killdeer (7)  [Sandy Hook]
03/30/15 - Yellow-rumped Warbler (2)
04/02/15 - Common Yellowthroat (1)
04/07/15 - Golden-crowned Kinglet (2)
04/08/15 - Rufous-sided Towhee (2) [still here 9th]
04/09/15 - Brown Thrasher (1)
04/10/15 - (0)

"I thought I might get a glimpse of 'Our Bird' for your Birthday. Maybe tomorrow."

"I do have a new photo of you. It's new because I don't think you've ever seen it."

Good Night ... and
don't stay up too long

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Red Head

"I know I said goodbye to February and winter—a bit premature it would seem. So, I'll be cautious this time. I'll just post some crocus photos for you without gushing."

"Excuse my interruption for a minute there's a shirt on the clothesline that should come in. A few minutes tumbling in the dryer will make it wrinkleless."

"Blogger didn't like wrinkleless; tough."

"Listening to the Tedeschi Trucks Band recorded live at the Orpheum in Madison, Wisconsin. A great Bluesy "Bound for Glory". Far and away my favorite band right now."

"Did you remember our first anniversary?"

"Of course." 
"Today.Thirty-one years ago."

"I had to get the Subaru re-registered and so I thought I'd have to get new plates too. I reluctantly took the plates off; just felt so bad giving up those plates. They're almost antiques now. You had them first on the Explorer twenty years ago and no-one can ever get the Red-headed Woodpecker again."

"So I'm standing in line at Eatontown motor-vehicle and I figured, what the hell? The worst that can happen is they say no."

"After five techs, two supervisors, lots of discussion and $85 I walked away with the Red-headed plates!"

"Well I couldn't just put them back on the Subaru. They were rather dirty. I washed off miles of road grime but that front plate had taken more than its share of abuse from salt and gravel."

"There's a protective film on the plates but much of it is long gone from that front Red-head. So I put on three coats of polyurethane and have no idea how long it will last but we shall see."

"I know you would have blended the perfect shade of red enamel and touched up the bird. I didn't think I could do it justice so I opted for letting the bird wear its miles proudly."

"The pond fish love this weather too. The sun is warming the water at the top of the pond and that's where they are."

"Did I mentioning the sun?
Here's some crocuses from this morning's first warm rays."

"Happy Anniversary."
"Love you Susie."

Friday, February 27, 2015

Good-by February - We've Had Enough of You!

"Yay, Susie. Almost finished with February."

          "The longest month."

"Yes. You've always said that. And it's longer than ever this year. Maybe that's what's bugging Mouse. Hasn't laid an egg in 5 days. The other day she was looking at Florida travel brochures."

"The highest temperature this week was 35 degrees. You don't even want to know what the lowest temperature was. Poor Smeagol, his balls are the size of BBs."

"I think I can smell the bread or maybe just wishful 'smelling'. I should'ave baked it in the oven. It would look pretty pathetic - standing over the bread machine trying to warm my hands!"

"It's so cold, I brought a beer in from the garage and had to put it in the microwave so I could drink it!"

"It's so cold, the woodpeckers are using a chisel to get at the suet!"

"It's so cold, the birds are standing on the ice to warm their feet!"

"OK, OK. I's probably Not That Cold in New Jersey. The Minnesotans are arriving in droves. The word filtered back about our zero degree heat wave."

"Peachy hasn't had any grass in more than a month. So I bought some Wheatgrass seeds from Amazon. I sprouted more than enough. Too many maybe. Peachy might have share with the cats. I even stole some for the bread that's baking in the machine."

"Sad. It's all over the news and Facebook. Leonard Nimoy passed away. Today I think. He was 83."

"Remember I mentioned my appointment with the Shore Heart Group? After I spent months nagging you about going to a doctor, I felt guilty about never going to a doctor myself until it was almost too late - so I didn't really have much choice."

"Well, it was so much fun I made three more appointments with Dr. Spano. The first one was this past Tuesday. It was an all day 'Thing' from 11:00 am 'till 4:00. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get a chance to be examined by cute Ms. Spano,"

"Anyway, it was a Myo heart stress test. Myoview is actually the name of the radioactive isotope that was added to my blood. My heart didn't really get much stress. Most of the time I was either sitting around or trying to stay awake while lying on my back during most of an hour of 'imaging' my radioactive heart. It's no wonder it was hard to stay awake - I wasn't allowed my morning coffee! The stress part of the test was mostly walking on a treadmill for about 10-15 minutes followed by a few minutes of jogging."

"So my heart's in great shape like the rest of me. Actually, a lot better than my hearing, my memory, my knees, and well, some other parts. So I've got great genes and a lot of years left."

"Really wish I could exchange some of those years."

"Good-night Susie."

Monday, February 16, 2015

$59 Dollars worth of Sprouts

"I've lost misplaced my glasses. How annoying is that. I'm trying to get by with these ten year old "Reading Glasses." Why should I bother cleaning them? They're short term, temporary, transient, impermanent ... and now I've misplaced the dictionary as well."

"That was days ago. I could use some help here Susie."

          "Where were you when you last had them?"

"I somehow knew you were going to say that."

"I'm sure I had them on when I looked up and noticed I was buying $59 worth of Brussels sprouts."

"I was in the 20 items or less fewer check out. Although I noticed the clerk examining the sprouts in the produce bag, I probably chalked it up to curiosity. After all, she didn't know what those little green things were called. She asked. I joked that I doubted they were from Brussels." 
(Did you notice that little trick with the strikethrough? As MS Word calls it.)

"Anyway, that's the last place I was at. I had no problem seeing the $59 price on the overhead screen. That's when I realized she wasn't curious. She was counting them."

"I knew there were 10 in the bag because the price tag in the produce department was an outrageous $3.99 a pound. So I counted them. It turned out that the price was an error. They were less outrageous at $1.99 a pound."

"I can also say for certain that I've tried putting a $59 loss in perspective. Next to something I've often taken for granted ... a simple touch. The void that's left when a simple touch is forever lost." 

Friday, February 13, 2015

For My Valentine

Clever of us to have our wedding anniversary on Valentine's Day

For Susie, my special Valentine

And for all the Lovers out there.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Stir Fried Memories

"Just finished washing dinner dishes. I made one of your all-time favorite meals this evening. A stir fry with lots of vegetables."

"Carrots, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, onions, garlic, cilantro, Chinese noodles and a hot dog of course."

"What do you think about a combination of four sauces? To die for."

"Roasted Raspberry Chipotle, Mango Coconut, Sesame Garlic, and our home-made Chipotle sauce."

"We made a stir fry a lot on Eighth Avenue. There never was a real recipe though, just what veggies were in the frig.

"What gets found in the refrigerator has changed a bit in 35 years but our stir fry has one constant, besides the hot dog, It is seasoned with love. What memories."

"Good night, Susie. Don't stay up too long."

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Workin' on Mysteries Without any Clues

"I've spent a lot of time this week getting utilities, auto insurance, Amazon, lawn irrigation and other accounts updated."

"I heard that Amazon stock took a slide when you stooped ordering."

"For the most part everyone has been caring and helpful. But I think I've come up against a brick wall with Verizon. What can go wrong with setting up automatic payments?"

"A lot actually."

"So many "agents" seem poorly trained, unable to deal with anything beyond the most basic situations. And they are quick to transfer the call to another department."

"It's not everyone though. The people at the Verizon Wireless store were able to fix the problem in minutes. I went there after the "Chat" agent spent an hour making things worse"

"But I did have fun telling stories to Donna, in billing, about even worse customer service with Qwest in New Mexico. She gave up with the parting words, '... just turn off the computer ... maybe it'll work in the morning.' I'm just fool enough to try it."

"Workin' on mysteries without any clues. - Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band - Night Moves"

"Where's my Good-night kiss?"

Monday, February 02, 2015

Lord, just let me get back alive.

"I've really tried to focus on getting things done. It's not working. I'm just too distracted."

"For months Tita was being neglected and lost a lot of weight. I've increased the protein in her diet and have seven meals a day scheduled -- so she has gained a little of it back -- but only because she constantly reminds me to feed her another meal. And I forget her medication even though I put up sticky notes. Good thing we're not in California. I'd be arrested for sure."

"Thought I should round up some of the "stuff" from your super-fund site before the hazmat suits arrive.  But before I got upstairs I remembered a few Christmas decorations and put them away. Of course I forgot why I was going upstairs."

"I'm working on a never-ending project to get the dozens of photos off the posters and into something resembling an organization. No organization so far but I get to spend hours looking at the photos. There are so many of you that I've never seen before."

"There's one of you and Cindy standing in front of a Christmas tree. You're both in, what could be, red prison uniforms and look like you just woke up."

"You and Elaine are in another one.
It might have been taken in the spring. You have your signature red hair in that photo."

"I missed a lot in those years."

"There is one photo I took of you when we were on a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota. We set up camp on at little island on Cummings Lake. It's July, 1981 and you're wearing a sweater. Did we have cool weather that day or were you just keeping the mosquitoes at bay?"

"You have a big smile and I think you were getting ready to put that oar to work."

"Our destination was Buck Lake and a mess-of-fish."

"Little did we know that the recent drought, plus a change in the weather, had a big surprise for us. Our map had a quarter mile portage but the low water made it closer to three miles. The water was calm when we started out but on the way back we were bucking a head wind. The white caps on the water were soon joined by a thick fog. But with a good compass, a great guide - yours truly, and a lot of luck we made it back safely. I remember you kissed the ground and crawled on hands and knees back to the tent."

"When I asked if would might like to have some fried fish before we turned in for the night, you just groaned."

"There's some distractions I wouldn't want to miss. Over and over again"

"By the way, I was trying to get some mail from your MacBook the other day. Phooey, when are you going to get a real computer?"

          "When are you going to get a hair cut?"

"What? Just one hair?"

          "Wouldn't want to over-tax your math skills."


Friday, January 30, 2015

Please Don't Go

"Richie stopped by the other day to give his condolences."
"He's not coping well with the death of his girlfriend."

"There was a moment like looking at my reflection in a mirror."
"Disconnected, unhinged, afloat, lost...oh Susie, what would I do without these conversations with you?"

"I've recovered fairly well from Wednesday's procedure. I was remembering that this was the one I was most worried about."
"For months I worried I couldn't be your caregiver for a few days. Worried too, you wouldn't let anyone else help."

"What a damn fool I was. You were so willing to sacrifice comfort, dignity, anything so you wouldn't be a burden on me."

"A burden? I was shocked. What the hell did I miss?"

"So many voices droned on and on how great I was; how well I took care of you."

"Who in hell were they talking about? Not me. Not me."

"Worse than inadequate - undeserving. I was so damn selfish I needed you to stay. I needed to make up for all those years that I couldn't give what you needed."

"And what I wanted. Wanted and needed."

"Then out-of-the-blue. We had a storybook fresh start. Didn't we."

"It was so wonderful. I had to pinch myself to know it wasn't a mirage. I couldn't contain how lucky I was."

"And now you thought you might be a burden?" "How could I have underestimated your love for me?"

"Still, I only thought of me. Let you go? No way! I needed you more, more I guess, than I could fathom."
"I don't even know how many times you tried to talk to me about leaving. I wasn't listening."

"You remember. Years ago I let you go, once or twice. I never understood."

"The worst, darkest thing I would do."

"When you wanted to come back. I've regretted it, over and over again. I said no. I said no when you pleaded with me. When you needed me the most I turned my back."

"I am so sorry Susie. Forgive me."
"I can't forgive myself."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

We called that little warbler "Our Bird"

"A photo on Facebook today made me start thinking about Our Bird."
"I don't remember how we ended up walking on the train tracks behind FEL but you would remember."
"We were on our break. Was that our first date?"

"That little scold interrupted whatever it was we were talking about. We surprised each other because we both knew exactly what bird it was."
"That little Yellowthroat held center stage and made sure we were properly introduced to each other. He instantly became Our Bird."

"I was already in love with you and now, with that blessing, there was no turning back."

"We were lucky the little dynamo is the Common Yellowthroat. We get to relive that moment often."

"I made a comment on that photo today (it was three Eastern Bluebirds) and said I had some serious birding to catch up on."
"It took me a while to realize just how close to impossible that's going to be. I can't bird without you. I can't hear anything smaller than a crow and that's the least of my problems. The only thing worse than birding alone is birding with a group of strangers."

"Imagine this scenario: Our Bird pops out of the briers and I just stand there 'cause I'm reliving that moment, all choked up. Some busy-body birder stops to lecture me on how to identify that particular warbler. Well, what are the odds that I'll smile and say thank you? Nope, I'd say, 'Piss off you mangy magpie. That bird and I were intimates before you were even a wet dream.' Nope, won't work."

"At least that group of birders are likely to remember me."
"So birding alone is off the table."

"How about an add in the Press? 'Cranky old hippy, looking for 1 or 2 old birders that can actually hear birds smaller than a crow. You can't lecture him about your great birding skills but must be able to smile when he does it.' Can you visualize them, slipping away, going into hiding?"

"What if they don't slip away? Well then you're left with the elephant in the room."

[Common Yellowthroat image by Dan Pancamo]

Monday, January 26, 2015

Love Those Weather Alerts

"It could have been a Steve Martin stand-up."
"Not just one weather alert but two. One from our Blessed Borough and the other from some God-only-knows Higher Authority. Plus, and get this, a Formal Reading of our Blundering Borough's new Snow Ordinance. It was very verbose, but I understood the Ordinance forbid allowing snow to fall on sidewalks; that is if we had sidewalks. In that case, if I got it right, we are to bring it indoors along with our pet chickens."

"You won't believe this. It's another alert. Our Governor just declared a State of Emergency for the entire state. I had to go outside and look. It's the same half-inch of snow that was out there 5 hours ago."

"What passes for Civilization in New Jersey can be very very confusing."

"I was going through a bunch of months old papers destined for the recycling bin."
"Don't give me that look. You know I do, on occasion, throw things out."

"Anyway, there was a December 15th reminder to schedule a follow-up appointment with Dr. Spano. You remember, the cardiologist. I told you she was cute. Ebani worried my EK-whatever didn't look right."

"And anyway it was a false alarm."

"But I looked at that letter. I couldn't stop thinking about all the times I pleaded with you. Nagged you to tears to see a doctor."

"There was so much ... I don't know, drama maybe ... in that one little paragraph."

"So I made an appointment."
"I won't mind if you come along."

"Where's my good-night kiss?"

"A bit of excitement this morning. I went out the east garage door to top-off the triple feeder. On the sidewalk I saw where a large bird left its wing print. Second clue: not one songbird in sight."

          "Cooper's Hawk."

"Snow was blowing and drifting so fast. Knew it had to be a very fresh print. Immature Coop holding its breakfast flew to the back fence but it could see me and was too nervous to stay. Went west out of the yard. Didn't even thank me for keeping the feeders full."

"It's snowing pretty steady now. About 30 degrees and a strong wind. About the best scenario we could hope for if ... Big If ... it stays cold."

          "Groan, lecture alert!"

"You love it and you know it."
"Take notes."
"Our eminent Weather Channel, perverted purveyor of Storm Stories and other Bull-shit, predicts a steadily rising temperature until 5 o'clock. If it turn to freezing rain you might have to help me hold our trees up."

"Now here's something that should give you a tickle. I am actually using the Keurig. Yes, actually using it to impersonate a coffee maker."
"But there's a twist. I'm grinding beans super fine like an espresso brew and refilling the used K-cups."
"Look, it's your fault. You left me a year's supply of Newman's Own Special Blend - specifically designed to mimic Pearl Rebehn coffee."
"You know there is no way I could trash all that plastic. That's even worse than drinking all that N.O.S.B. Now all I have to do is convince Elaine to use the Newman's stuff and trade in the empties."

"Oops, weather alert coming in - gotta run."
"Love You"

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Can you believe it's been ... what, six months since we last had Chinese? So I brought home the same as usual. Orange Beef."
"I thought about ordering something different, but, I'd still be there. Still undecided."

"Mouse laid an egg today. I did tell you, she laid one Friday?"
"I should have expected it; I just bought a  dozen the other day."
"Of course, Snowball tried to claim it was hers. That bird is seriously missing a few brain cells."

"If you love someone ... You know, I still hear that song in my head."

" I played it over and over for you that last night."
"And I played it again for you the next morning."
        "If you love somebody, set them free."

"What's your cat complaining about now?"

          "She's not my cat."

"Ah, you spoiled her rotten. So now the princess is your cat!"

"I think she smells Orange Beef and wants some lap time."

"Good night."