Friday, May 06, 2011

IN THE SUMMERTIME

I guess it is almost summertime, though with the howling cold wind and torrential rains, it would be hard to prove that by the attitudes of most Central Indianans.  But you see, the thing is, wildlife, especially the birds, believe it is summer, and they have all returned to their old Indiana home.  

The finches, especially, seem a little put off by the weather.  The thistle socks have been filled half-a-dozen times for them in the past month, but the hardier birds, the robins and cardinals and doves, oh my, (you probably do not understand how funny that statement was if you are younger than 45 or so, but trust me, it was sort of funny), I have been forcing to hunt and fend for themselves.  It has rained so much that the worms are clustered almost on top of the ground to keep from drowning, so they are there for the munching, and even though the robins might be a little hateful about the fact that they have to work a little for their food while the others are hand fed, it isn't like I ignore them.  I have a worm bed out there for crying out loud!  Yes, you read correctly:  I actually nurture worms so the robins can have readily available food.  They think they are hunting, so they are maintaining that mentality for leaner times, and if you think for a second they are going hungry, think again.  The robins who live in my back yard are so fat that lifting off to avoid the wrath of Annie The Incredible Dachshund is a chore for them.  Annie has skinnied down.  The robins have fattened up. That makes for a hilarious situation when the chase is on.  

I am, however, feeling a little animosity almost exuding from the wingtips of the bigger, hardier ground birds, toward me and the gorgeous purple finches, American yellow finches, and the warblers who clutch to the socks and feast several times a day on expensive thistle.  I can, actually, prove that animosity. 

This morning, I went outside to clean out the bird bath because the doves, for some reason, think they need to use it as a bidet, when I heard a conversation between a fat, overfed, but ungrateful robin, and a fat, stumbling, drunken dove:

Robin:  Look, here she comes!  The bitch! (I know that is what was said because I have a loyal mockingbird who was sitting on my shoulder, translating for me, in that persnickity way only a mockingbird can - you know what I mean, I'm sure).

Dove:  Talk about a racist!  She doesn't even TRY to hide it!  Oh, and what's this??  She's putting out black oil sunflower seed!  

Robin:  She should be reported to the BSED! (Bird Species Equality Department).  That woman is trying to hand feed the WARBLERS now!  Hey, witchy woman, how about US, huh?  How about us starving robins who...

Dove:  (Laughing hysterically) Starving robins?  Look at you!  You can't even run fast enough to take off and fly because you're so fat!  

Robin:  Yes, I can, you stupid dove! (Robin tries and finds he is panting before ever reaching take-off speed).  Oh, my God!  What has she done to me???  It must be in the worms!  She is feeding the worms steroids!  I am going to go to a meeting tonight and turn her ass IN!

Well, upon hearing that they might all lose their free ride because of this one snotty, holier than thou robin, the other species called in reinforcements and surrounded the robin.  The Dove Mob squinted at him menacingly.  They looked deadly and wicked scary, to the robin, who found himself alone inside the circle consisting of even fatter and angrier-looking robins.  The Dove Mob boss moved forward.  Now, you have to understand that doves are pretty smart, and so this one whistled, and suddenly, the mockingbirds were out en force, dive bombing that poor robin, the cat who had wandered into the yard looking for an easy meal, and occasionally, Annie, the innocent, not really too sharp Dachshund, ruler of the queendom.  Three mockingbirds can sound like an army of every species in the world, and so, the circle began to break up, and the fat, holier than thou robin who had started this whole bruhaha, hung his head in shame and wandered back to the worm patch, which I had, during all this confusion, filled with fresh coffee grounds and stirred, bringing fat, gorgeous breakfast to the top of the ground.  

The last time I looked out the back door, the robin was holding up a little sign that said, "I'm sorry, Mommy," on it.  I said, "No worries, you!  Forget it.  Now, go do something nice for your family, like clean your nest without being asked, and I will see what I can do about maybe finding you a treat for tomorrow."

So, peace is restored among us, and the moral of the story is this:  Don't be pissy to the hand that feeds you, or before you complain that you are being left out of the feeding, look in the mirror, or you could look totally foolish and make many enemies.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

iPhone apps

Everyone who knows me, knows I struggle to sleep.  I use Ambien and fall asleep, then am awake over and over through the night.  I have done the ambient music route, the less caffeine route, nothing really seemed to be of much benefit.  Then, I ran across an iPhone app called Sleep Cycle Alarm.  

This little beauty is beginning to get me on track.  You set the alarm, choose a sound you would like to wake up to, and before going to sleep, tap it to start, slide your phone, glass side down, under your fitted sheet in the corner of your bed, and then sleep.  It records your sleep cycles.  And, get this, instead of waking you up when you are in a deep sleep, it watches for a light sleep and then starts playing very softly, and by the time it is at full mode, I have woke up anyway, gently.  

I have learned about myself.  I need to be in bed and ready to sleep by 10 p.m.  That is in direct contrast to my normal bedtime, which is anywhere, usually, between 11:30 and 2:00 a.m.  Watching my graph on the Sleep Cycle Alarm has shown me that I need to have the book closed and the lights out by 10:00.  Not only that, but sleeping past 7:00 a.m. is not good for me.  Last night I was in the dark, so to speak, by 10:00, and at 7:00 this morning was up and ready to face the day. 

Springtime may have something to do with my better energy, too.  The birds are singing, I have been walking a lot, and have just generally been staying more active.  However, I am a big advocate of this alarm.  I have read that people are saying they can lay it on a desk at night, and it still generates a graph, but the thing is super sensitive and will pick up other movements besides your tossing around in bed.  I spent eight hours last night in sleep or deep sleep, and it did show me that at 1:00 a.m. I was awake.  I know that is correct as I got up to visit John at 1:00 a.m. and made it a point of looking at the time.  

I have used this alarm now for a week.  The first 2 nights I rarely went into even light sleep.  One morning it basically laughed at me:  "Because of the short duration of your sleep, this nap will not be averaged into your final weekly numbers."  What do you MEAN, "nap?"  That was a night's sleep for me!  I do feel I am learning my patterns now and intend to keep following this yellow brick road to getting off Ambien and sleeping deeply most nights.

Another aid?  Whole Foods Market.  Yes, I spent a ton on organic foods which some will tell you is just a waste of money, but within a week, eating nutritious, non-additive foods, my energy level increased, my metabolism sped up, and I have begun to drop a few pounds almost effortlessly.  Feeding my hyperactive grandson this way seems to be making him less grouchy, as well.

Another good app is the Whole Foods app.  With this one, which is free (can you say FREE?), I find recipes that sound easy and tasty, touch the "add to list" button so that all the ingredients are put on a shopping list, touch a button to add the recipe to my "favorites," and drive off to the Whole Foods Market in Louisville.  

So, this post is just a little catchup post.  I have a lot of photos and would like to share some travel experiences, and I will do that soon.  But if you are an insomniac, I am interested to find out if you have tried this app and what you think.  

Happy Dreams to you!  I will see you all around the bend.  xxoo

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Waiting on Kathy

Hello, I'm Kathy.  

I recently spent a few weeks in Arizona, borrowing some space in my cousins' Bill and Tracy's beautiful home, and even Sadie, the Cocker Spaniel, made room for me in her life and daily routine. 

All three of the humanoids were stuck in the nightmare of having to keep up with our jobs, even though we really wanted to just be playing, but the last weekend, Tracy made arrangements for us to take a road trip to Tucson where were would hike in the Saguaro National Park, take in the Free Flight Raptor Show with the Harris Hawks as the stars, and snap hundreds of photos.  That night, we were going to have the pleasure of staying with Tracy's brother, Tom, and sister-in-law, Donna, and doing that brought back so many childhood memories for me.  It seemed fitting that we were all together again, laughing, shopping, eating, drinking.  

The following day, Sunday, Tom and Donna took us out into the middle of the desert, telling us there was a beautiful mission built out there.  I was doubting that, the further we drove, but suddenly, up popped this unbelievably gorgeous white building! Being Sunday, the parking lot was full with worshipers, but as soon as the last Mass was over, we were allowed in to tour the ornate building.  

  
San Xavier Mission, Tucson, Arizona

Breathtaking view when walking into the church

Yes, there was a gift shop.  When you put me into a place like this with a gift shop steps away, then a theme quickly arises, and this was it:  Waiting on Kathy.

Looking for Kathy:  Tom and Tracy

Waiting on Kathy:  Tom, Tracy, and Donna

Waiting on Kathy...again:  Tracy and Donna

Waiting for Kathy after sending Tracy to bribe her with Indian flat bread
 We had an awesome time.  There was so much to take in, so much beauty to try to capture with the lens, that I was awestruck, so I do not think anyone minded too much that I was disappearing.

This post is dedicated to my patient family, Tom and Donna Cox, and Tracy Pierson.  xxoo to all of you! 

Monday, January 31, 2011

THE DESERT LIVES

I have 2 homes.  I live in Indiana until I cannot tolerate winter for one more minute, then I hop on a jet and show up at my cousin's door to wait winter out in Phoenix, where it is perfect.  But in all the years I have been coming out here, I never really took the time to get out and explore the desert.  This time, though, Tracy had graciously planned, and friends Nancy and Annie graciously accepted to be tour guides for an all-day, round trip desert ratting experience into the desert world where, at first glance, it looks like nothing could live.  Upon second glance, though, not only do you realize the desert lives, you realize it lives beautifully and graciously and awe-inspiringly.  

I took many photos, but the one I am posting today just keeps drawing me to it.  The burrowing owl.  Do owls live in the desert?  No, would have been my answer yesterday morning, but yesterday afternoon, as we walked through a beautiful desert cemetery, out of a hole popped...an owl.  A real owl.  He posed.  He let me get closer, then finally he said, "Okay, close enough, lady, take the picture, here I'll pose, ho-hum, then hike the other direction before you make me upset and I come and land on your head and pull out your hair with my beak."  

After that, I decided I was close enough.  I zoomed in and got this shot of The Guard of the Burrows at the Cemetery.  I love him.

 Thanks to Tracy for arranging this fantastic day and especially to cousin Nancy and her best friend and forever resident of the desert, Annie, for being the driver and the knowledgeable and fun tour guide.  I love you all. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

MY Week in Photos...Inspired by my cousin.

First, it snowed.
Then I had my 54th birthday lunch at Black Buggy.
And dessert I did not need, but man was it good!
Then we had a full moon.
Then it snowed.
And it snowed the next day, too.
Then it got really icy.
Then it snowed.
Then I started dreaming of Spring!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Feathered Community - A Short Story in Photos

"Okay, I think we might be lost...don't panic! WHERE ARE WE?"

"Look, Bozo!  I saw that seed first so technically it's mine!  Hurry and get your feathery little, ahem cute, red tail off of my food!  Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!"

"Why would I be embarrassed?  Embarrassed?  Me? Those stupid Finches were just wasting this food.  I am NOT too big for this feeder, just leave me alone!" 

"Uh, Mrs. Cardinal, see me?  This is how we do it.  We find a large Cardinal bell that we can comfortably hang on without tipping it upside down...like this.  See me?  Are you looking?  Over here!"

"Still not embarrassed, but a little claustrophobic."

"Oh, my, I hate it when they fight.  It just ruins the cadence of the whole day!  Oh, my, oh, my!"  "Look, sweetheart, don't let it ruin your day and...hey!  Don't bury yourself again!  THAT was embarrassing!  I looked all day for you!" 

Monday, January 03, 2011

CHRISTMAS COMES AND CHRISTMAS GOES

I am at a loss to explain how quickly life moves along when something fun, like the Holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, with family and friends filling the house, snow softly falling outside, a fire in the fireplace, and a great deal of commotion from all the mini-Me's in my life.  

I did come to a couple of conclusions about that jolly time of year, though.  See if you might agree with a couple of these:

1.  School is out way too long.  It was out even longer than necessary in our home because we mistakenly thought the winter break started one day earlier than it actually did.  In retrospect, that one day was about what it took to finish me off, but the five-year-old took it in stride and took the opportunity to see how long he could be bored and disgruntled, and I will tell you, he can carry it off for quite a few days in a row. 

He did make this nice card on the computer from one of my photos, a happy New Year card, and took on many other artistic endeavors during his vacation.


2.  Laundry has a way of procreating during winter break.  I do not do all the laundry.  My daughter and the above-mentioned grandson live here, too, and Jamie definitely does her share, but when she is too busy, I am back to clothes sniffing.  I really thought I was past that time in my life. I sniffed clothes that enabled my gag reflex for eighteen years, give or take, to determine their re-wear worthiness.  Now, I am doing it again.  Luckily, my grandson is sort of a clean freak, and he rarely has clothing lying around that is too grossly aromatic, but I have to admit, I will be pretty happy not to have to do that anymore.  

3.  You can only do Wii bowling for about ten hours total before you throw all gutter balls.  Enough said.

4.  I seem to have more headaches the longer everyone is on winter break.  I mean, forgive me, everyone, but ten or twelve days are just a little over the top to have to bunk with you all twenty-four hours a day.  Enough said.  

5.  Buying groceries is now ranked up there with one of the most depressing things I have to do, and there is not enough Xanax in the world to make it okay.  

Now, I am going to post a rather unclear photo of most of some of my family and some friends together on Christmas Day at my house where, despite all the gripes above, I cherish very much.  We just are all so lucky to be dropped into one another's lives, not randomly, either, I don't believe, and days like Christmas just slam home the beauty of that plan.  

Hope you all have a very happy New Year in 2011, and hope you all had a fantastic Christmas season.