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Mute January 28, 2020

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I just am. Every day I make lists, and I get only a few things on those lists done. I can’t seem to write anything here but lists: lists of 153s, lists of birds (a good list), lists of activities. Like, I thought about saying that in 2019, I was away only 65 nights—a lot, but not the 91 of 2018: four nights in January (Portland, Maine, Tim’s photo shoot), three nights in February (two Portland, one near a Vermont hospital preprocedure), five in March (four in Maryland to see Mom, one in New Jersey en route home), seven in April (Portland, two trips), three in May (Old Forge, New York, Tim photo shoot), sixteen in June (eight in Pennsylvania, split between a friend’s house, Tim’s mom, and my college reunion; two in New Jersey en route to and from six in Maryland to see Mom), eight in July (four in Portland, two in New Jersey for a wedding, two in Pennsylvania for a Rolling Stones concert), three in August (Portland), five in September (Maryland, for funeral and to visit Mom), four in October (Northeast Kingdom of Vermont for anniversary, closest thing to a vacation in a couple of years), two in November (Massachusetts for Thanksgiving with cousins), five in December (one Saratoga Springs, New York, for Fred Hersch concert en route to two in Maryland and two in Pennsylvania for Christmas). But that would probably bore you.

It might also bore you to hear that instead of not vacationing, I attended a lot of live music events last year, including a couple of festivals and some intimate house concerts. I don’t know whether I’m not vacationing because I have tickets to too many things or if going to these concerts helps to ease the pain of not vacationing. But in 2019, I was in the presence of Lizz Wright, Tony Trischka and Bruce Molsky, Strangled Darlings, Liz Cooper and the Stampede, Hiss Golden Messenger, Erin Rae, Monterey Jazz Fest on Tour (Cécile McLorin Salvant, Bria Skonberg, Melissa Aldana, Christian Sands, Yasushi Nakamura, Jamison Ross), STIG (twice), Dave Gutter, SPAC Jazz Fest (Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Norah Jones, Django Festival All-Stars [with Edmar Castaneda and Grace Kelly], Joshua Redman Quartet [with Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers, and Gregory Hutchinson], Youn Sun Nah, Joel Harrison’s Angel Band, Kansas Smitty’s House Band), Upstate, Rolling Stones, Maggie Rogers, Natalie Merchant, Green Mountain Bluegrass Festival (Terrible Mountain String Band, Sunny War, Beg Steal or Borrow, Lonesome Ace Stringband, Dead Horses, John Reichman & Eli West, Lonely Hearts String Band, Rachel Baiman, Chatham County Line, Sam Bush Band, Town Mountain, Donna the Buffalo, Lula Wiles, Hawktail, Molsky’s Mountain Drifters, Mipso, Strength in Numbers Tribute, Darrell Scott, Jordan Tice & Friends, Robby Britt, Josh Oliver, Christian Sedelmyer, Mandolin Orange), Santana (with Doobie Brothers), Moose Crossing, Pink Martini, Ali McGuirk, Mary-Elaine Jenkins, Frances Blanchard, Ernest, Twisted Pine, and Fred Hersch. It was fun.

If I had a list of favorite cats, Gary would be at the top. I met him in 2011 (see item 10, with photo) and fell instantly in love. When his person, Esther, later sent me a photo of Gary, it went onto my refrigerator door and has been there ever since. Gary—who lived nineteen years and almost five months—left us yesterday. I made it back to Bloomington to see him one more time, back in August 2018. Now he’s gone. I’m sad. And mewt.

8BY4: Quarterly Report and Summation January 2, 2020

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In this odd and frustrating year, my bird count dropped a bit. I just wasn’t out enough. Despite the banner year for them showing up at feeders, I didn’t see a single indigo bunting. This is the first year it’s eluded me since starting these lists.

I only added three species in the last quarter. I didn’t include that odd warbler I saw in the woods in October (Nashville?), but I did count the unlikely pine warbler at my feeder last month.

The three additions: Cooper’s hawk, merlin, pine warbler.

My total is 139. Tim’s? 153.

This year’s list: downy woodpecker, house finch, white-breasted nuthatch, tufted titmouse, mourning dove, Carolina wren, American crow, mallard, rock pigeon, red-tailed hawk, turkey vulture, herring gull, great black-backed gull, European starling, red-breasted merganser, common eider, common loon, long-tailed duck, bufflehead, common goldeneye, black scoter, northern mockingbird, great black hawk, harlequin duck, wild turkey, Canada goose, hairy woodpecker, great blue heron, northern flicker, blue jay, northern cardinal, black-capped chickadee, red-bellied woodpecker, American goldfinch, dark-eyed junco, house sparrow, white-throated sparrow, American robin, common raven, pine grosbeak (my first ever), cedar waxwing, bald eagle, rough-legged hawk, northern harrier, pileated woodpecker, barred owl, hooded merganser, common redpoll, eastern bluebird, snow bunting, red-winged blackbird, killdeer, belted kingfisher, wood duck, song sparrow, black duck, Wilson’s snipe, American kestrel, fish crow, black vulture, eastern phoebe, common grackle, ring-billed gull, green-winged teal, blue-winged teal, great egret, snowy egret, yellow-bellied sapsucker, ruby-crowned kinglet, field sparrow, fox sparrow, brown-headed cowbird, purple finch, chipping sparrow, eastern towhee, red-breasted nuthatch, ruffed grouse, palm warbler, American woodcock, double-crested cormorant, sharp-shinned hawk, glossy ibis, greater yellowlegs, yellow-rumped warbler, pine siskin, barn swallow, tree swallow, eastern meadowlark, yellow warbler, Baltimore oriole, ruby-throated hummingbird, rose-breasted grosbeak, blue-headed vireo, black-and-white warbler, gray catbird, magnolia warbler, black-throated green warbler, ovenbird, hermit thrush, northern waterthrush, chimney swift, house wren, warbling vireo, blue-winged warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, bobolink, broad-winged hawk, northern parula, black-throated blue warbler, Blackburnian warbler, common yellowthroat, white-crowned sparrow, brown thrasher, eastern kingbird, eastern wood pewee, great-crested flycatcher, scarlet tanager, cliff swallow, red-eyed vireo, American redstart, least flycatcher, blackpoll warbler, spotted sandpiper, wood thrush, white-eyed vireo, eastern whip-poor-will, osprey, willet, common tern, little blue heron, Bonaparte’s gull, American oystercatcher, mute swan, peregrine falcon, solitary sandpiper, green heron, Cooper’s hawk, merlin, pine warbler.

(139 species. 2018: 147. 2017: 147. 2016: 118. 2015: 125. 2014: 118. 2013: 173. 2012: 115.)

A Birthday Limerick December 29, 2019

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Alas, I missed her party in September, which I desperately wanted to attend, but I sent this limerick along, and today is her actual birthday:

Congrats go to fabulous Gladys
on her nonagenarian status.
Her vast progeny
and her friends—A to Z—
know that Gladys is there when it mattahs.

153: Just Sayin’ December 22, 2019

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From today’s New York Times:

In light of Mr. Murphy’s long-awaited homecoming, we plotted the tenures of all 153 comedians who had been officially credited as [SNL] cast members — those who lasted, and those who flamed out.

Happy Text December 20, 2019

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From April. One of my walking buddies, who runs the food cupboard, wrote, “Sharing because I can’t get this out of my head this morning. Yesterday a fantastically Irish gentleman in his 80s was here volunteering. In his brogue he says to another volunteer who is in in her 90s, ‘’Tis not a bad thing to be doing with our last days on earth.’ Hope everyone has a great day today!”

153s December 20, 2019

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I clicked on a fly-fishing video called “John Gierach’s Secret,” which clocked in at 1:53.

On the season finale of Survivor (yes, it’s my guilty pleasure), Jeff announced that Boston Rob had played the game for a total of 153 days.

Still in Hiding/153s November 22, 2019

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Clearly, the writing thing is not happening in 2019. Sorry, blog buddies. I miss you. I miss me. So that I put something up this month, no matter how dull, here are more 153s:

  • In October, I added up interrupted time logged on a job over the course of the day and once again came up with 153 minutes.
  • When I was shopping for an iPhone 11, I watched some promo video that clocked in at 1:53.
  • The other day Tim told someone that his bird species count for the year so far is 153. Really, dude? First, so far ahead of my count; second, 153.
  • Two days ago my work-notes log for the year hit page 153.
  • According to a recent TV Guide, the show Gilmore Girls made 153 episodes.

Riveting, I know.

8BY3: Quarterly Report October 28, 2019

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My birding life has taken a nosedive, not only because things always slow down as the year progresses, but also because I have generally disappeared as life’s distractions take over. (E.g., I meant to post this 27 days ago.)

I did not see an indigo bunting this year. Everybody saw indigo buntings this year. I saw so many photos of buntings at feeders and never saw one on my own.

I added only ten species in the third quarter, six on a July work trip to Portland, where not only did I see the rare-and-much-sought-after little blue heron but also, for the first time in many years, American oystercatchers. Another highlight was a pair of peregrines hunting above the skyscrapers of Philadelphia, which we saw from a rooftop before heading off to the Rolling Stones concert.

This quarter: osprey, willet, common tern, little blue heron, Bonaparte’s gull, American oystercatcher, mute swan, peregrine falcon, solitary sandpiper, green heron.

Year-to-date count: 136. (2012: 110. 2013: 173 [which turned out to be that year’s total]. 2014: 116. 2015: 124. 2016: 113. 2017: 141. 2018: 138.)

Cool Gray Khaki September 14, 2019

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That is the name of the color of the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek I ordered. The thing is, I’d never seen one in person, at least not one sitting still. They didn’t have that color on the lot. In fact, they didn’t have an unpurchased 2019 on the lot, so I couldn’t even test drive one.

In some photos online, I liked the color. In others, I wasn’t so sure. You know how that goes.

I did the paperwork and put down a deposit that gave me right of first refusal, as it’s apparently a difficult color to get. If I didn’t like it, I’d get a dark gray.

I rented a car for a week, went to Maryland, visited my mother (out of the hospital, back in rehab), went to Mary Helen’s funeral, went to church. Made some connections and reconnections.

Dropped off the rental and headed to the dealer on a day when I was having strange dizzy spells. I hope that doesn’t turn into a real story in my future.

I think I like the color. I thought I did enough to buy it. But Tim had to drive it home. Those dizzy spells scared me.

Cool gray I get. Khaki I don’t get. In the bright light, it’s bluer, but I think it’s a blue I can live with.

Now I have to learn how everything works. It’s like a computer in there.

Brown September 13, 2019

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That was the color of my beloved 2008 Subaru Outback. With a new clutch and brakes, it could have easily lasted a few more years (despite the not-nice things its own dealer said about it at trade-in!). I worry I let that car go too early. I didn’t even get a proper goodbye. I was attending to an appointment when it was towed, and I never saw it again. This makes me teary. Eleven and a half years.

 

*And some of you were here when I bought that car.