July 31, 2008
click on photo to enlarge
These were the pictures I was planning to post for last week’s Sky Watch, but that incredible sunset pushed them out. Since I am traveling when this will post, I will not have options to change it.
Chic and Chicklet got some bubble machine-things from Prince Charming after he went to his class reunion. I was outside taking pictures of them having fun. Though I really am not a scrapbooker, I often take pictures like one, and thought it would be fun to get some actual bubble pictures for the scrapbook layout that I will do when they have grandchildren.
Once that started, I totally forgot about scrapbooking and thought how terrific the bubbles looked for a SkyWatch post! The first is my favorite (it’s actually Prince Charming’s favorite, not mine, but I’ll save my favorite for another day), but the pictures go in reverse chronological order. I somehow could not leave out the pictures leading up to the actual one I chose for SkyWatch.
To see more terrific sky pictures, head to the SkyWatch blog hosted by Tom, Sandy and Imac and designed by Klaus. You will not be sorry you did!
By Louise Cannon
July 30, 2008
Posted by Louise Cannon under me
| Tags: meme
Sorry for another meme. It’s the “vacation” thing. I thought I would write two posts a day for a while, but life happened, and I did not have time. So this is what you are getting. (And again, the picture above has nothing to do with text of the post. It is a self-portrait I took on a beautiful beach in Bermuda in April of this year.)
Before I started blogging (and before I really knew much about it), I thought it was a lot bit narcissistic; that was one of the thousands of reasons I hesitated. Now I am not convinced that blogging itself is narcissistic, but I think I must be or why else would I think anyone else would want to read this stuff?
And Ducky, that is no slam against you, which is where I got this meme.
Top 100 Movies Entertainment Weekly for the Past 25 Years.
Bold the ones you have seen.
Put an asterisk after the movie title* if you really liked it.
Cross it out if you saw a film and really disliked it.
Underline the ones you own.
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)* — Have to add here that I was one of the lucky people in a theater for 13 hours on Trilogy Tuesday to see all three back-to-back when the last one was released.
3. Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
5. Toy Story (1995)*
6. Saving Private Ryan ( 1998 )
7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)*
9. Die Hard (1988)*
10. Moulin Rouge (2001)
11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
12. The Matrix (1999)*
13. GoodFellas (1990)
14. Crumb (1995)
15. Edward Scissorhands (1990)*
16. Boogie Nights (1997)
17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
18. Do the Right Thing (1989)
19. Casino Royale (2006)*********
20. The Lion King (1994)
21. Schindler’s List (1993)*
22. Rushmore ( 1998 )
23. Memento (2001)*
24. A Room With a View (1986)*
25. Shrek (2001)*
26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
27. Aliens (1986)
28. Wings of Desire ( 1988 )
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)**
30. When Harry Met Sally (1989)*
31. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
32. Fight Club (1999)
33. The Breakfast Club (1985)*
34. Fargo (1996)*
35. The Incredibles (2004)*
36. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
37. Pretty Woman (1990)*
38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
39. The Sixth Sense (1999)*
40. Speed (1994)*
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)
42. Clueless (1995)
43. Gladiator (2000)
44. The Player (1992)
45. Rain Man ( 1988 )
46. Children of Men (2006)
47. Men in Black (1997)*
48. Scarface (1983)
49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
50. The Piano (1993)
51. There Will Be Blood (2007)
52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad ( 1988 )
53. The Truman Show ( 1998 )
54. Fatal Attraction (1987)
55. Risky Business (1983)
56. The Lives of Others (2006)
57. There’s Something About Mary ( 1998 )*
58. Ghostbusters (1984)*
59. L.A. Confidential (1997)*
60. Scream (1996)
61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
62. Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989)
63. Big ( 1988 )*
64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
65. Dirty Dancing (1987)*
66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
68. Witness (1985)
69. All About My Mother (1999)
70. Broadcast News (1987)
71. Unforgiven (1992)
72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
73. Office Space (1999)
74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
75. Out of Africa (1985)
76. The Departed (2006)
77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)*
79. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
80. Michael Clayton (2007)
81. Moonstruck (1987)
82. Lost in Translation (2003)—Comment required: I can’t say I liked this movie at all while watching it, but it comes to my head all the time. It had some sort of impact on me.
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
84. Sideways (2004)
85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)
87. Swingers (1996)
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
91. Back to the Future (1985)*
92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)
94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002)
97. Glory (1989)
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)
I am forced to ask why there are not more Chic Flicks here! Like…..
You’ve Got Mail
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Must Love Dogs
Of course I know why, but although I a somewhat well-rounded movie viewer, it seems I have watch a whole lot of Chic Flicks.
By Louise Cannon
July 27, 2008
Posted by Louise Cannon under me
- Click photo to enlarge
The above picture has nothing to do with this post. I just liked it and thought I would use it. It was taken in March of this year on our Bermuda trip.
I found this different-than-most-meme’s game on Shimmy Mom’s site and thought it would be fun. (And since I am out of town, it was something relatively quick to do ahead of time for a post.) May of us (including me) have our reasons for keeping our real names off the internet. But what if I needed a different name? What if I needed to go into the witness protection program? What if I wake up tomorrow with superhero powers? How would I come up with a name then? Well, here’s the answer:
1. Rock Star Name: Donna Caravan (first pet & current car) If you only knew how funny that name really is! Some of you probably do.
2. Gangsta Name: Cookie Dough Sugar (fave ice cream flavor & favorite cookie)
3. “Fly” Girl/Guy Name: L-Can (First initial of first name, first three letters of your last name)
4. Detective Name: Green Frog (Favorite color, favorite animal) Now THAT’S creative!
5. Soap Opera Name: Laura Mansfield (Middle name, city where you were born)
6. Star Wars Name: Louca Haman (This is a longer one- 1st 3 letters of your 1st name+1st 2 letters of your last name then 1st two letters of mother’s maiden name + 1st 3 letters of town you were born in.)7. Superhero Name: The Pink Passion Fruit Shaken Iced Tea Lemonade (“The”+ 2nd favorite color, favorite drink.) It was that or “water, OK?”
8. Nascar Name: Hugh William ( The first names of your grandfathers.)
9. Stripper Name: Gattinoni Skittles (favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy)
10.Witness Protection Name: Marie Raymond (parents’ middle names)
11. TV Weather Anchor Name: McWilliams Minneapolis (your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
12. Spy Name: Autumn Wildflowers (Your favorite holiday/season, flower) Don’t you love that one! Well, maybe YOU don’t, but I do!
13. Cartoon Name: Rainier Cherry Splinty (Favorite Fruit, article of clothing you are wearing right now+ “ie” or “y”)
14. Hippy Name: Cherry Tomatoes Weeping Cherry (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree) Thank goodness I’m not a hippy!
15. Rockstar Tour Name: The Rubber Stamping Storm Tour (“The”+ your favorite hobby/craft, fave weather element+”Tour” )
So what’s your name?
Meme by Someone-other-than me.
Answers by Louise Cannon
July 25, 2008
Posted by Louise Cannon under children
| Tags: children
This picture is of Chic and Chicklet at this year’s Independence Day Parade. That has nothing to do with this post, but I thought you might like to know when it was taken.
Today I thought I would tell you a little about those two sunbeams in my life. OK, one of them is more of a storm cloud a lot some of the time, but when she is sweet, she is really sweet. At those times she makes up for all the bad in the world, not just her own.
Chic is 6. In just over two weeks she will be entering first grade. I am not a big fan of the school year in general, and especially not fond of it beginning on August 11. I don’t care if school is out mid-May. The pool is not open then. It is often still cold then. I would be much happier starting after Labor Day and going until Memorial Day (and cutting a couple of days off of the newly-lengthened Spring Break.) But I do not make the schedule, and neither do the immediate administrators at the school, so I have to deal with it. But this was about Chic, not school.
Chic loves school. She thrives there. She entered Kindergarten reading (through no fault of my own. I try to provide a learning environment, but my attempts at “teaching” her anything have all pretty much been dismal failures.), and left reading rather well in my opinion. She can sit down and get through books beyond her grade level and can figure out most words. I would say by the end of first grade, she’ll be reading “real” books all the time and all the way through. She loves reading. She has always loved my reading to her, which I still do almost daily (unless it’s a pool day, and sometimes even then). And here is what she said to me this week before a story time:
“Mommy, I love reading. It makes me feel like I am inside the story and living a completely different life.”
Really, how much happier could any mom be than to have a statement like that come out of her 6-year-old’s mouth? That’s exactly what I love about reading (doesn’t everyone?) and exactly why I want my children to love to read. It was definitely one of those “success moments.” There are always rewarding things about motherhood, but most often, at least to me, they are unexpected. This was so rewarding, I suppose, because it was a set goal in my own mind a long, long time ago, and I actually got there.
Here are a couple of other amusing things to come from Chic’s mouth recently, totally unrelated to the above…
At Vacation Bible School this summer our church was participating in a nationwide project called “Bottles of Love” in which each child was given a water bottle to drink, then refill with loose change to raise money to build wells on Navajo reservations. They were supposed to bring change back every day, so I had Prince Charming get a bunch of change from the bank in order to fill the bottles (for both girls) about 1/3 full each day. The first day when we were getting ready to go to VBS, I noticed Chic’s water bottle was more than half-full. I was concerned she had found the money and used more, meaning we would not have enough for the whole week without another trip to the bank. So I asked her where she got the money. She replied, “From my piggy bank.” Now let me state that she does not get regular contributions for her piggy bank. Prince Charming and I give the girls a little once in a while, but definitely not often, and our girls do not have friends and family with pockets full of change for them. So I asked, “Did you use ALL of it?”
“No,” she said. “I left a little. I have to keep something to live!”
Had to admire the generosity, yet sensibility of her thought processes there!
Another amusing thing she said was in regard to a babysitter coming to watch the girls while I had a meeting and Prince Charming was out-of-town. Usually babysitters are called (4-6 times a year) for our “date nights.” So Chic asked, “Since we’re having a babysitter, is Daddy coming back for a date night?” I told her he was not and like I told her before I had to go to a meeting. She remembered. Then she said, “Why do you have “date nights” anyway? Don’t you already know each other?”
Chicklet is four. She is the storm cloud, but she actually started life as a hurricane and has improved with age. I have been known to say on more than one occasion, “She became tolerable after she turned three.” Sounds horrible of me, doesn’t it? But it is true. Maybe sometime I will write about her early days, including before she was born, but for now I will just stick with the fact that the older she gets, the more wonderful she gets. I do not ever miss the passing of time with her. When Chic went to Kindergarten last year I was concerned Chicklet would regress to one of her former selves, but she actually got even better. I think she was meant to be an only child. She is an absolute JEWEL when it is just she and I at home.
Chicklet is clever and savvy. She doesn’t give a rip about learning, and she will not start Kindergarten until she is six. She has been able to roll her eyes appropriately since about 18 months. Her sense of humor is beyond her years. She warms up to men better than women most of the time, and she pretty much wraps everyone around her finger. (Except her mommy.)
When we were in Missouri in May, some good friends had the girls over for an afternoon. That would be the girls without their mommy, which meant Mommy could go shopping alone. (Louise hates shopping and usually only does it when out-of-town.) I cannot remember the details of this story, but it was something like I am telling you. After a fun afternoon, there was talk of bringing the girls back to me. Chicklet was astounded, and said she was going to spend the night with the friends. The wife of the couple said, “Well, we were not really planning on having you spend the night.”
Chicklet: That’s OK, I can stay anyway
Wife: Hmmm… we really don’t have a place for you to sleep.
Chicklet: That’s OK. I can sleep in your bed.
Wife: I don’t think there is room enough for three in my bed.
Chicklet: That’s OK. You can sleep on the floor.
By Louise Cannon
July 24, 2008
click picture to enlarge
My SkyWatch photo for today is another product of the desert southwest’s (USA) monsoon season. This is probably the most textbook “monsoon season” we have seen since moving here nearly six years ago.
Every afternoon it gets cloudy. It rains a little somewhere. Actually, I would usually call it a “sprinkle,” but sometimes there is real rain for a minute or two.
The clouds produced are always amazing. This picture was taken last night and edged out what I was going to post today. When monsoon season is over, I’ll choose some other things. But for now, I have to go with what the sky seems to dictate.
Please be sure to pop over to the SkyWatch Friday blog to see the skies of the world!
By Louise Cannon
July 23, 2008
In a few days Prince Charming, Chic, Chicklet and I will head out for our annual family vacation. (The picture here is from last year’s vacation, not long after getting on the road.) When I was a kid, we did not take annual family vacations. My first out-of-state trip that could be labeled a vacation (not visiting close friends or relatives) happened when I was in seventh grade. After that there were several, but certainly not every year. They were worth the wait, however, as my dad did nothing in half-measures, and we got to see a lot of the United States plus a few other countries.
Back to now. We take a vacation annually because I go to a convention every summer for my business. I used to fly there, but as Chic got older, and we moved closer to the Convention location, it just worked better to make a vacation out of it. (I do not have to find childcare for my absence, and an annual vacation would never happen without the stimulus of Convention.)
Now of course I know you are wondering to yourself, “What am I going to do if Louise is gone and not posting??? What am I going to do with all that extra time that I usually spend reading her monstrously long terribly entertaining posts?” Never fear, I am working on posts to go up while I am gone, but while we are en route (3 days) we might have sketchy internet. And while I am at the actual Convention, I will have limited time. Probably I will use my free time (if I find any) to check my Google reader, but probably not respond to comments on my site. Of course that could all change once I am actually there looking at Prince Charming’s laptop at 1 a.m. (Rest assured I realize the above questions were not really running through your head, and that more than likely, you might have been a bit relieved to not see these lengthy posts, often about little that is important, regularly. I cannot seem to accommodate you there, but the posts will likely be less frequent.)
One of the posts I plan while I am gone is about gardening. I think it will compare what I do now to what I used to do in Missouri, or could do if I still lived there. But today, I want to show you just a few things from my garden this summer.
My tomato plants are more than six feet tall. They are loaded with tomatoes. They have tomatoes from top to bottom, but so far, I am barely harvesting fruit. I have gotten a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes, and that is it. I have two early-bearing plants which I think will start being ripe while we are gone (but should have produced red tomatoes a month ago). It is frustrating. I’m DYING for homemade salsa, but I would never dream of making it with store tomatoes. I have heard this is the case all over our area. Maybe it has to do with how cloudy and rainy it has been. What makes me the most frustrated is that I am a very good tomato gardener. But this year it is not helping me.
The peppers are doing better this year than last year. I have jalepenos ready to pick. Nothing else is ready, but they will be soon.
The cucumbers are just now setting fruit. They will probably be loaded by the time we get back.
Sunday I found my first tomato worm of the year. I looked it up in Bug Guide (inspired by Marvin’s blog), and it is a California Tomato Worm, Manduca Sexta. (I have never before used scientific names for bugs, or probably anything except possibly a flower or two, so I am feeling quite accomplished right now.) I despise these worms. I despise most types of worms (good or bad), but these top the list. Before I moved to New Mexico, I had never seen such a giant, fat, wormlike creature. Last summer I fed one to a black widow. It was gratifying to watch her wrap it up. I tried to feed another to the same black widow a couple of days later, but she seemed to be too full to care. Two summers ago I watched for 2-1/2 hours as a preying mantis killed a tomato worm. (Sorry no pictures. I hope against hope I someday have another opportunity to get some pictures. It was one of the most disgusting, yet wonderfully intriguing things I think I have ever seen.) Below is a picture of some of the damage the above-pictured worm did to one of my tomato plants.
So when I get back, in AUGUST, I will have lots of tomatoes. But for now, no salsa. No anything with tomatoes in it. It is kind of like the Rainier cherries, I guess. At least I have something I can anticipate.
And for now, I am contenting myself with this weed I allow to grow every year in my yard. I love these flowers. It is a Small Flower Globe Mallow, sphaeralcea parvifolia. They are quite common, but I love the color and the delicacy of the flower so let two or three plants grow in my yard each year. The one in the picture is over seven feet tall.
By Louise Cannon
Note: I feel compelled to point out that I just previewed this post and saw no glaring spacing issues. I totally do not understand why sometimes I have problems and sometimes I do not. I guess I should just be happy when I don’t.
July 22, 2008
This was not the post I planned to do today. This is a post of desperation springing out of the fact that the one that I thought I was doing last week had technical difficulties. But I never posted it last week. Then today, the one I thought I was doing was missing. Yes, it is just gone. I have no idea where. I have no idea why. I am glad this one was in my draft folder. I was going to put it out tomorrow, so it is just a day early.
On Saturday weeks our family is heading out for our annual family vacation, the stimulus for which is my annual stamping convention. The convention is usually held in Salt Lake City. That is twelve (ish) hours from here, and there is a whole lot of beautiful scenery between here and there. So instead trying to find daytime childcare so I can go to this, we make a vacation out of it and have a blast.
At the Convention, there will be thousands of stampers which to the naked eye would appear like a pit of lunatics. On the first day there will be a frenzy of “swapping.” “Swapping” is trading samples. This is one of the best ways to get cool ideas, and for me, it is a way to get a lot of samples to use in my business. Swappers make a certain amount of identical cards (or whatever moves them), then trade with others. There are extreme swappers who bring 1,000 cards to trade. Louise would not fall into that category. I take 100 cards to trade because 100 cards fit nicely into my sample basket. (AfterConvention I have an Open House, and one activity for that is to allow my customers to pick through the basket and take whatever they want which makes room for the new things I get.)
In years past I have stayed up until midnight or later the night before leaving for Convention making these swaps. Or I have done them on the airplane or car on the way. Now I have a much better system. One of my customers is a terrific stamper and loves to do it, so I just get her the stuff, and she makes them for me. No stress! Done on time! I took her the supplies last week, and she will be making 100 of these cards. I “pay” her in stamps and supplies. It makes us both unbelievably happy.
My rules for making 100 cards for swapping is that they look good, but are relatively simple and not super-expensive. This one fits the bill. And lest you think I thought this up on my own, this was my inspiration. The changes I made were to make it not look like the original and to reduce the cost. The heart in the original is made of chipboard and chunky glitter. That would have added quite a bit of expense to the project.
As it is, I am happy with the results, although it is not the post I was hoping for today.
By Louise Cannon
July 20, 2008
click on picture to enlarge
This morning I could see a really good sunrise brewing. Sometimes it is hard to get good pictures here because we live like cockroaches in a giant development. When we first moved here, the proximity of other houses made me claustrophobic. But it is far from convenient to just pack up and find a better place to watch, so I just take what I can get.
(There is space here. I cannot remove this space. This is the exact same problem I had a couple of days ago and skipped posting. Today I just decided to try to fill up the space with something else and see what happens.)
This morning, however, being encased on all sides by houses was not a terrible burden. (It was probably better elsewhere, but I loved it here.) What I love about these two pictures is that they were taken about two seconds apart. The top one is looking east where the sun was just peeking over our mountain. The bottom one is looking west. I think they are both beautiful, but how different for the very same sky.
click on picture to enlarge
Last week I got my first blogging award! It came from Madge at It’s a Mad Madge World. I was so honored to get it from her, because HER blog makes MY day. Madge’s blog is funny. Madge is funny. It is not a hilarious sort of funny, but a quieter humor, and I love it.
There are some rules associated with this award, but I decided to change them. I am supposed to pass it on to 10 blogs who make MY day, which I am going to do just because I want everyone to know ten blogs I love. But the rules I am changing are this:
If you get this award, you can do with it what you please. You can pass it on, or you can do nothing. You can put it on your blog, or you can do nothing. You do not even have to acknowledge you got it from me! For my part, I just want to share it, but I completely do not expect anyone else to do anything with it because I know you probably already have plenty of awards, and do not have plenty of time, and you may not even know I exist. So follow my rules about it and make your own rules.
Here is my list of people and blogs which make my day:
Jennifer H at Thursday Drive. Jennifer is an amazing writer. Her topics are funny, heartbreaking, lovely, anything. But no matter her topic, she writes it well. Also, Jennifer H is the one most responsible for forcing encouraging me to blog. (Maybe I should hate her for that!) Whether a sense of duty or genuine niceness, she makes sure she reads all my posts, which are definitely not as eloquently written as hers.
Sherry at Sherry’s Place. Sherry has a green thumb and a beautiful garden and beautiful potted plants. Every picture I see makes me envious of her flowers. Plus she is quite apt at taking amazing pictures of it all.
Christy at My Photography, My Passion. What I love about Christy’s blog is that she photographs her life and shows it to us. The places she goes, the things she does. She loves nature photography (as do I), but there is no real theme (that I have detected anyway.) Plus she and her Prince Charming have the same timeline as me and my Prince Charming, so we have a little bond there.
Michelle at The Rocky Mountain Retreat. How this woman can find so many beautiful and different pictures day after day is beyond me. She lives in a beautiful area and lets us see it up close and personal. She is dedicated to making her blog something to be shared and enjoyed. She is also a genuinely nice person.
Suzanne from At Home with the Farmer’s Wife. I love the country and want to live in the country. I live there vicariously through Suzanne who has a terrific way with words to cover everything from sewing tutorials (with cool projects) to being able to determine which animal barn it is at the County Fair just by taking a whiff.
Lynn at the the VintageNest. Can I just say, “Pink!” She loves pink, and so do I. She is a riot. She is nice. We share extremely similar tastes.
Hilary at The Smitten Image. Hilary is another nature photographer whose topics vary, but I love them all. She’s clever, and she has some dragonfly pictures I am dying to find time to duplicate as a stamping project.
Holly at June Cleaver Nirvana. Truly I cannot think of a place that makes me laugh more. There is no other blogger like Holly. My favorite thing that she does is called “Holly’s Animated Life,” in which she illustrates her post with whiteboard drawings. Monday Potlucks are always a surprise. She is also a good photographer and has innovative ways to present her pictures.
Ducky at Hints and Guesses. Well, I just have to say that WHEN Ducky posts, it makes my day! Ducky knows many, many things about blogging, but unfortunately does not put them to much practice herself. So when she does, I am elated. She has a lot to write about. So DO IT, Ducky! Go ahead. Make my day! (By the way, I will be doing the meme she has posted there in a few days.)
Marvin at Nature in the Ozarks. I was first attracted to this blog because I’m from the Ozarks, though from a different state than Marvin. But I have come to love this blog because it is so thorough and educational, and Marvin has quite a sense of humor. He has definitely made me pay much more attention to the buzzing, crawling things around. I even try to photograph a few, but alas, Marvin is one of the bloggers that has given me “lens envy.” ( I cannot begin to capture things as he does due to lack of appropriate lens. And probably talent, actually, but right now I can blame it on the lack of lens.)
Klaus at Virtua Gallery, A Photographic Journal. My last post mentioned this website. Klaus is quite a birder, and if you do nothing else, go check out this photo. His pictures simply amaze me every. single. day. And he always has more than one to amaze me every day. (I have a lot of lens envy when I visit this blog, too.) Besides his terrific photography, I love his attitude about lots of things. (You will have to look around his blog a bit to understand what I mean by that.) He is also quite encouraging, and makes me laugh.
That was eleven. Oh well, I said I was changing the rules. I have a few others I would like to share, but if I ever get another award, I will do it then.
By Louise Cannon
July 18, 2008
A few days ago I wrote about something I try to do as a legacy for my mother. Today is something that falls along similar lines.
My mother loved birds. It was actually a strange kind of love. She was terrified of being near birds outside, something about their wings flying around her . I have no idea where she got that phobia. I cannot think of anything else that frightened her; she was one tough broad. But although she did not want birds flying around her, probably in her top three favorite things in the world to do was watch birds. She had lots (I mean LOTS) of bird feeders. At the last house in which she lived, the lawn was 3 acres. She had feeders of all sorts scattered under and near trees throughout that yard and hanging from the porch eaves. She would also put cracked corn on a wide spot of the driveway by the garage to feed the mourning doves.
Although I was never afraid of birds and did not mind looking at them occasionally, I never really got into watching them. She would love to point out a new one that would come to the feeders. (Once a strange sort of hummingbird was way off course and was at her house for a few days. Some people from a local conservation office came to check it out.) I would be interested, but only casually. The only time the interest became greater is when my parents would leave town and yours truly got the posh job of filling the feeders. My mother filled the feeders three. times. a. day at a minimum of 30 minutes for each round. I did it twice a day in her absence, on the way to work and on the way home.
When Prince Charming and I got married, he expressed an interest in having bird feeders. One year for a birthday or Christmas, I purchased a very nice pole and feeders for him. It was his job to keep the feeders full. I liked watching the yellow finches come to it, but I preferred watching them on my giant sunflowers that took up half the garden. (I have always loved looking at flowers.)
We moved to the desert where there were no songbirds at all, at least none where we lived. We did not put up our feeder after we moved.
Last year (nearly 5 years after moving), the homeowners association patrol noticed our bird feeder lying by the side of our house (where it had been since we moved) and sent us a none-too-friendly letter about it not being appropriate there. This was just a couple of months after my mother’s death, and I had already been thinking I wanted to watch birds a little more. We decided to put it up. (Prince Charming’s father had also been into feeding birds, and had passed away recently as well, so it was easy for both of us to decide to put up a feeder again.)
During the summer I fill the feeders twice a day and could probably do it three or four times, but I refuse. What kinds of birds we get? House finches and pigeons and a few mourning doves. The house finches are OK, but they are everywhere. And the yellow finches do not come much when the house finches are around. The house finches will eat almost anything, so it isn’t like I can change the diet out there to make them leave so something more interesting will come.
But we have a jewel that comes to our house. Bullock’s Orioles.
The first time I saw one I gasped. (I guess I gasp a lot when things are beautiful. I do that all the time when I open Sky Watch Friday pictures.) We do not have cardinals or blue jays here (the showier birds I was accustomed to from southwest Missouri), but periodically we get a glimpse of the orioles.
We have a yellow Bird of Paradise tree/bush not far outside our back door. Little did I know when planting it that Bullock’s Orioles come there for a feast. They are terribly skittish birds, and nearly every picture I have of them is from inside the house, through the window. (The pictures in this post are the best I have from this summer and last. I do not believe the scarcity of good pictures is due only to my lack of ability to take good pictures!) When I first saw them last year, I did not know what they were eating from the tree until I enlarged some pictures and saw the worms in their mouths.
The tree only blooms for a short time, then the birds go elsewhere. This year we got an oriole feeder. The orioles still come since the flowers have gone, but not as frequently. But what do you think eats most of the jelly from the oriole feeder now that the orioles are not here as much? The house finches! I do not want to go so far as to scare the finches away, but it does get a little irritating to see an oriole finally light on the feeder, only to fly away (before I can even move toward my camera) because the finches ate all the jelly!
Last week, however, I received a special treat. A male was on the tree getting the last of the worms from the tree and a little grape jelly from the feeder, then taking it to a young oriole in a nearby tree. The male was so busy that I actually got the lens of my camera out the door and took a couple of pictures before they both flew away.
The orioles have made me interested in watching birds. They have made me want to build a life list of birds. They are the reason I started going to blogs like 10,000 Birds and Virtua Gallery. I wish my mother could have seen them.
By Louise Cannon
July 17, 2008
click picture to enlarge
For today’s Sky Watch I chose last evening’s sunset. Our “monsoon season” is active this year, and we have had a lot of clouds to make our skies interesting. In a month or two that will be gone, so when we just had a nice sunset, I think I should post it. (Later, there will only be deep blue skies, which is beautiful, but always the same.)
The sky is something I have always loved to watch and photograph. What I especially love about the skies in New Mexico is that even when it is overcast and rainy, there are always holes in the clouds. And for sunsets like this, there are so many different colors and layers, including the bright blue, as if it was not time for sunset at all.
If you would like to see some other really incrdible sky pictures or post one or your own, head to the new Sky Watch blog!
(Other news: Prince Charming is home. It was warm enough to go swimming this week. All is right with the world. Except I did not post yesterday because I had too many time-consuming technical difficulties. I realize those were probably user error difficulties, but the same user has been posting in the same way all along without that many problems.)
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