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Eve December 24, 2013

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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1. Totally blew off work today.
2. Prepped food.
3. Delivered an ornament.
4. Exercised.
5. What will I wear to tonight’s party?
6. Company coming. Any minute. For a few days.
7. Baked a cake yesterday—me!—even though most of my guests tomorrow don’t eat gluten.
8. (In fact, have a private stash of Earl Grey shortbread cookies that are just for me. And maybe Tim.)
9. Was that the sun I saw today?
10. I hear it’s gonna get cold. Way cold. Again.
11. Happy Christmas!

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Christmas (Tree) Bird Count December 23, 2013

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For Cedar Waxwing

I haven’t added a bird to my list since September. It’s as if I’ve stopped trying. Maybe I have.

Each year, Audubon holds a Christmas bird count, which they call, at 114 years, “the longest running citizen science survey in the world.” On more than one occasion, Cedar Waxwing has suggested a Christmas tree bird count. That’s about all I can muster these days. I decided to try it.

It’s easier said than done. The field marks of some ornaments can be as confusing as those confusing fall warblers. (Alas, because of time constraints, you will not be getting the photographic evidence as provided by Ms. Waxwing, other than links to previously posted photos.)

And just when I’d think I was done, I’d see another bird. So did I get them all?

3 northern cardinals
1 gold-covered bird that I have decided to call a turtle dove
1 flamingo
1 saw-whet owl
1 eastern screech owl (I think)
1 snowy owl
1 American woodcock
1 hard-to-describe stuffed white bird in a put-a-bird-on-it (maybe the bird on toast) shape
1 peacock
1 common loon
1 indigo bunting
1 barred Plymouth Rock chicken
1 toucan
1 multicolored tropical-looking bird in nest
2 woodpeckers that look more like laddered-backs than anything else in the book
1 yellow-bellied sapsucker
1 black-chinned hummingbird (with Santa on its back)
1 California quail
1 black-capped chickadee

Twenty-two.

Limited-Time Offer December 22, 2013

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If you would like a physical holiday card from moi, one that features the shaded visages of me and a Certain Someone Else, please message me your physical address. Otherwise, simply stay tuned, and said image will appear eventually.

Solstice December 21, 2013

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It’s dreary out, this winter solstice. Raining. It is about 65 degrees F warmer than Tuesday. The snow is sublimating, the fog is thick. It’s the perfect afternoon to sit by the tree, perhaps try a new cocktail, maybe even follow Cedar Waxwing’s advice to do a Christmas tree bird count.

A sweet solstice to you all.

It’s Time to Light the Lights December 20, 2013

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In the midst of the stress of December, it’s good to go to the community school’s holiday play, even if you don’t have any kids, because many of the kids are, after all, your friends, and their parents are your friends, and you don’t want to miss out on their Big Moments even if it does mean overflow parking in the snowy-icy cornfield across the way and standing-room-only conditions and you wonder if you will ever stop attending these things, and it’s likely that you won’t, not only because you like things like Muppets, but because once Nolan and Emily and Ben and Jade and Lucy and Harlow and Lang and Chaeli and Cosmo and Tully and Kai and Ilsa and Brett and Finley(s) and Orynn and Gretchen and Helen and all the others I have failed to mention have moved on, then Eugenia and Edith and Evelyn and Emmeline and Addison and Leif and Teo and Jasper and Winslow might be there, and I couldn’t possibly miss them.

Spirits December 19, 2013

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When my high school buddy Pat and I headed off to the memorial service of an old friend and former teacher, the one who brought the two of us together in the first place, I brought along my workhorse Stanley flask, filled with what I like to think was bourbon but was probably Jameson, maybe as nod to Dewey, and the plan was to take a swig in the high school parking lot before we headed into the auditorium, but when we got there, the place was packed, and after finding a parking space, we forgot, and we went in and claimed our seats and settled in and then I headed to the bathroom one last time before what was sure to be a lengthy service, and it was crazyheady being back in my high school, in that corridor, in that bathroom, and there in the stall I realized that the flask was in my pocketbook, so I unscrewed the top and took that big swig, toasting my friend, certainly, but also thinking Isn’t it odd that I never did this in high school?, that is, break the rules by drinking on school grounds—or did I? could I possibly have gotten through the years without at least swilling a bit of beer behind the bleachers at a football game?—I don’t remember, but surely I never had a sip of alcohol within school walls, not when I was 15 and the act was more age appropriate, but that night, newly 51, it felt utterly freeing in the sweet singular way that being bad can.

stanley-flask-green

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say . . . December 18, 2013

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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. . . don’t say anything at all.

Below Zero December 17, 2013

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It’s scary cold. It’s the kind of cold that means my kitchen will likely never hit 60ºF today, no matter how far to the right I turn that thermostat. It’s the kind of cold that makes me fear the trip to the post office, seven doors down—too cold to walk, but maybe too cold to drive, unless I resign myself to warming the car up for a ridiculous number of minutes relative to the errand at hand. My hands are cold. Today I will wear those fingerless gloves in my office, the ones with the skulls on them. I could drive to the gym for a workout, but I’m cold, and I could work out right here, on my own appropriately named NordicTrack elliptical. But if I drove to the gym, I’d be driving past the post office, and then I wouldn’t have to walk to the post office. I could even be one of those Vermonters who leaves the car running while I’m in the post office! (All these years, I’ve only done that couple of times, usually the lone sleeper among the still exhausting.) But what if my car broke down somewhere in this cold? This is not the day for getting stuck somewhere. Cuz you know what? It’s cold.

 

Addendum: My next-door neighbor Lynda sent this after reading this post.

Addendum: My next-door neighbor Lynda sent this after reading this post.

Give December 16, 2013

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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December overwhelms me. Too many holiday chores, too many birthdays, too many financial decisions to be made: health insurance signups and tax-related activities. It’s too much.

I try to get to a certain dollar level of charitable giving each year, and in December, I check to make sure it happened. In reviewing the books today, I can report that I’ve reached my goal, which is good, because I’m not sure how many more dollars are hanging around to get donated before December 31. But now I also see that there are several organizations (all based within the state) that I usually send something to, and I haven’t yet. Why?

Well, because 2013 has been a banner year for death. My giving this year has been very in memoriam: doing something when nothing can be done, except maybe something can be done for others because you cared enough about one someone to make a gift out of love or respect.

So do some of the locals lose out this year? Or do I dig deeper?

I am hopeful that 2014 will require fewer memorial donations. Hopeful, but perhaps not exactly optimistic.

Falalalalalalalala.

Snow! December 15, 2013

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It’s Tim’s birthday, and it snowed! We just got back from a quick x-country ski on the rail trail. Happy birthday, Tim!