Big Year December 30, 2011Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
Tim and I were in Pennsylvania over the holidays, visiting with family and friends. On Christmas Eve, the two of us took a walk in a state park with Danny, Tim’s mother’s husband. We took our binoculars. We did not see a lot of birds, but we did see one of note: an immature bald eagle.
And Danny suggested that we attempt a combined Big Year in 2012.
Here is Wikipedia’s definition of a Big Year:
A Big Year is an informal competition among birders to see who can see or hear the largest number of species of birds within a single calendar year and within a specific geographical area. A Big Year may be done within a single U.S. state, a Canadian province, within the lower 48 continental U.S. states, or within the American Birding Association area (i.e., the 49 continental U.S. states [including Alaska], Canada, and the French islands St. Pierre and Miquelon, plus adjacent waters to a distance of 200 miles from land or half the distance to a neighboring country, whichever is less; excluded by these boundaries are Bermuda, the Bahamas, Hawaii, and Greenland).
As none of us has any money or any big trips planned, Danny’s suggestion of a combined Big Year is a good one. Given our lack of time and resources, I figure the three of us will be lucky to list maybe a third of the record number (748) of species.
All of us have read Mark Obmascik’s The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession, which is completely enjoyable, at least if you have an interest in birds. Tim and I went to see the movie adaptation this fall (starring Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black) and loved it. It did quite poorly at the box office. I’m guessing nonbirdnerds just didn’t get it. Danny hasn’t seen the movie, and I’m hoping it will be out on DVD in time for his birthday in a couple of months.
Of course, thinking about listing birds (I have never done this, for various reasons) makes me want to head to some places I’ve never been (Arizona’s Patagonia, Cape May during spring migration, Nebraska for the crane migration, Texas) and to some I haven’t seen in a long time (Assateague/Chincoteague, Florida).
But I spent a lot of money in 2011. I may just have to be supervigilant in Vermont. Have binoculars and field guides on me at all times. Keep the feeder full. Go outside more. Start playing my Peterson CDs in the car so I can remember what warbler that is calling in the treetops.
I am going to have to force myself to study sparrows and gulls. Beyond knowing a few species of each, I am admittedly lazy.
Our Big Year starts in thirty-nine hours.
Shhh! December 24, 2011Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Some lucky person on Route 153 is getting a mountain bike for Christmas.
I know because I helped hide it.
Ten Things I Like Unabashedly December 23, 2011Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
2. Eating fresh (grilled) sardines whole—bones, head, and all
3. Working out
4. South Park
5. Jon Stewart
6. Stephen Colbert
7. Flight of the Conchords
8. The works of Joss Whedon
9. Barstools, sitting upon
10. Roller derby
2. Musical theater (Good musical theater exists!)
3. Rabbit (as food)
5. Dried plums (aka prunes)
6. Harry Potter (books and movies)
8. Bill Clinton
9. Reading People magazine (in waiting rooms, on the elliptical, or during pedicures)
10. Leroy Anderson (odd, given my insistence that I hate pops)
Ten Things I Don’t Like But Wish I Did December 21, 2011Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
1. Whole olives
2. Blue cheese
3. Staying up reaaaalllyyyy late
5. Being in a sauna for more than 10 minutes
6. Air travel
7. Being on small boats in open salt water
8. Baking (I don’t actively dislike it—it just would never occur to me to do it)
9. Financial planning
10. Almost any serious planning, really
Ten Things I Don’t Like and Probably Never Will December 20, 2011Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
For my “Ten on Tuesday” friends: a series of four Tens starting on Tuesday (to be completed Friday).
1. People talking over each other
2. Most TV “news” coverage
3. Sugar in coffee
4. Having blood drawn
5. Maraschino cherries
6. Being micromanaged
7. Sweet relish
8. Circle dances
9. Excessive clutter
10. Miracle Whip
Finding Em December 18, 2011Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
She comes to happy hour armed with Happy Happy, the fuchsia feline. She wants to play hide and seek. There is no counting. I will place my hands over my eyes, she will hide Happy Happy and then hide herself (or does HH hide on her own?), and when they are both hid, she will call, “Come find us!” I circle the first floor, leaving the TV room, passing the bathroom, through the kitchen, Martini Lounge, Tim’s studio. I know she is probably in the bathtub—she has hidden there before; the morning after, I washed away her footprints. On my second pass, I find her there, but I can’t find Happy Happy, who is behind the now-open bathroom door, which I figure out after a hint.
Next, I hide in plain sight in a tight corner behind an open French door, hoping Em will move clockwise through the house and I’ll have a chance to be missed, but she comes counterclockwise and I am immediately busted. Happy Happy is once again the holdout, hiding under the dining room table.
Tim hides Happy Happy atop the God Cod, and Em very nearly doesn’t find her.
But when Tim can’t find Em, I whisper, “Have you tried the bathroom?”
He hasn’t. He goes to draw the curtain.
The Poetry of Gin and Bourbon December 7, 2011Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
On Friday, a poem titled “Gin,” by Jacqueline Berger, was featured in the Writer’s Almanac. Most of you know that I enjoy a good martini as much as the next gal, and this was a lovely poem (not just about gin, of course). These lines appear in the middle of it:
But that moment
when we climb into bed
on a winter’s night,
letting our bodies lie down,
letting the day be over,
it’s not unlike the way gin
loosens the rope, lets float
the raft into its stillest waters.
Happy hour, when the landscape
loses its daylight meaning
as it slips into the silk of dusk
before night pours down its jazzy notes
in a cathedral of crushed velvet.
Ah, happy hour. I had to forward this to some of the people I most enjoy happy houring with. They appreciated it too, and Martha e-mailed back: “That’s really lovely. Do you have one about bourbon?” Martha and I are both on a bourbon kick. I wrote back: “I think I should write one about bourbon.” But before I could even seriously consider doing so, I received this back from her:
There once was a girl quite suburban
Who drank too many glasses of bourbon.
They made her feel happy
Til she woke and felt crappy.
She found the whole thing quite disturbon.
And now I may never write a poem about bourbon. I mean, why mess with perfection?
Friday Morning Ride December 5, 2011Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
How pleasant it is to go to the gym and run into Andrew, who wants to chat about all the Friday night social events in these parts and about what our mutual liberal outspoken Facebook friend has been posting lately, and also to run into Karl and tease him about getting buff for curling as he pulls weight on the lateral machine, and to then sit on one bike and have Karl sit on the next bike, and to have him point out the weight he has gained, and to tell him that it is something that he in fact has to point out, that he is hiding it well, and to have him explain that he has spent the past two years spending energy hiding it and has decided maybe to spend energy changing it, but he is being careful not to set impossible goals that will only cause him to believe he is failing, and for me to reiterate that the gym shouldn’t be about losing weight, which is a nice potential side effect, but should be part of one’s lifestyle, to keep the body moving, to help one age gracefully, and at the same time trying to believe that with all my heart, which I do, but acknowledging that if on the other side of menopause I’ve gained twenty pounds I can’t seem to do a thing about that I might in fact be frustrated and have trouble calmly applying this philosophy to myself, yet meanwhile, it is pleasant taking this bike ride with Karl, whom I hardly ever see, and we chat away, the fluorescent light blowing through our hair.