Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bear River Bird Refuge

The southern migration has not quite started.  Normally we would see thousands of birds here.  This weekend we saw pelicans, Great Blue Herons, grebes, coots, white herons, and an assortment of gulls.  Here are a few pics from September 27, 2009.  I'll be back out when the birds are moving.

If you are a Facebook friend, you may have already seen these.  We start with some spectacular pelicans in flight.  All white while swimming, they have wonderful black markings on the ends of wings seen only in flight. Click pics to see large.

Pelican on still water. This guy was happy to pose, swimming to and fro for me.

 Pelicans far out, with coots and grebes.
Coots "running" across the water.  A coot is in the duck family, black with a white bill. I thought these were cute doing the Coot Scoot!
 Great Blue Heron. Couldn't get a good close up of any of these but saw maybe 8 or 10 of them.
 Great Blue Heron again, a beauty, deeply colored with black wing ends.
Great Blue in flight. Notice how herons fly with their head tucked back unlike swans and geese.

Heron hidden in the rushes.
 Beautiful reflective still water all over the refuge today.

Lunch at Brigham City Park with rainbow in the fountain.
And deer across the street from my house earlier this week. This photo just happened to get in with these photos.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Poetry Wednesday: One Art

One Art
Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filed with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day.  Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster;
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel.  None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch.  And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones.  And vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent,
I miss them but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied.  It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Visit Jacqui's Poetic Journey every Wednesday.

Just because

I'm posting today just to have something between my poetry Wednesday posts.  Nothing to say really.  I'm deep in thought about people in my life.  Some discordant thoughts, unfortunately.  When this happens, I think to myself, "Maybe I should move to Maine."  Yes, that should be far enough removed that I won't have to deal with the discordance here.  But there's probably some in Maine, too, isn't there?  Maybe I'll become a hermit.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Poetry Wednesday: Hot and Cold

Looking for something seasonal, I instead ran across something spicy and surprising from Roald Dahl. Enjoy.

Hot and Cold

A woman who my mother knows
Came in and took off all her clothes.

Said I, not being very old,
'By golly gosh, you must be cold!'

'No, no!' she cried. 'Indeed I'm not!
I'm feeling devilishly hot!'

- Roald Dahl

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oh dear, I shouldn't even read these things

If there's anyone who would make lists of their list, it's yours truly.  I actually save old lists and look at them for ideas for my new lists.  It's true.  Hmm, I may need to go lie down for awhile.

  1. CapricornCapricorn (12/22-1/19)
    The universe has temporarily bestowed super powers on you. What kind? Well, take a peek in your cosmic utility pack. There's even more of the ability to organize, categorize and systemize. Scary, huh? Just don't get crazy with it. If you find you're making lists of your lists, it might be time to lie down for a while.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Backwards and in High Heels

Well, there's good news and bad news. The good news is I chopped down a big bush and stuffed it all into the trash can in time for the extra trash pickup today. And then I got my weed whacker working again and managed to whack down the weeds on that upper level that were driving me crazy. Then I tackled the myrtle bed and found despite weeds growing in my lasagne mulched areas, underneath was lush new growth of myrtle that will be fabulous next year. This means no more weeding in the myrtle patch. Occasional weed whacking will take care of it.

Now the bad news: As I was edging along part of the myrtle patch, I got too close to the sprinkler valves, the string from the weed whacker grabbed hold of the little electrical wires on the valve and ripped the whole top of the valve off. Luckily for me, I always turn off the main supply to the sprinkling system after each use. Otherwise I would have had Old Faithful in the backyard. But as it is, I can't water the yard until I fix it. The part that broke was easy to remove just by unscrewing. But would I be lucky enough to find a replacement for that old thing? Nope.

I have a couple of options. I can take just that one valve out and connect in one new valve. Or I can buy a new manifold with all new valves for the four stations. That's more expensive, but was on my long-term list of things to do because the old valves were leaking. It just got moved up. I'm leaning toward the full replacement. It will cost me about $100. I can do the work myself.

I grew up in a household where the dad could fix anything - I'm not exaggerating. And the mom could fix nothing. My dad taught the boys to use tools and work on cars, but we girls learned how to make bread and wax a wood floor. When I married, I assumed all men were like my dad. Boy was I in for a rude awakening. Turns out not a lot of guys really know how to fix things any more than I do. And thus began my career of learning the things I never learned from my dad.

That includes repairing a sprinkling system. When Doug moved out, I discovered the sprinkling system he had put together was a tenuous tangle of add-ons and second thoughts, with lots of slap dash repairs. I had to learn to repair it myself and have babied it along, fixing this and that, experimenting with changes, keeping it going. Rarely is brute strength required to fix a broken sprinkler. More often it's logic, finding the right parts, and patience.

Which brings me to the title of my post: Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels. With no offense to the gentlemen who visit this blog, that saying is often true for other situations as well. We may have been taught girlish things, but we are finding we can still keep up with the boys--although we sometimes feel we are dancing backwards in high heels while doing it.

A few years ago I would never have tackled replacing the whole manifold and sprinklers for the back yard. Would not have dreamed I could. Now, I have no fear at all. I know what I need, and I know I can get it done and be watering again by Monday.  Maybe even Sunday.

UPDATE:  I may have just had a stroke of luck.  Examining the valves to see what's what and what I needed, I realized there are six valves there and I only use four--the other two just have plugs closing them off.  And instead of a regular manifold, my hubby had rigged it all together using short pieces of PVC and connector pieces.  So first I took apart one of the good but unused valves and used the part I needed to fix the broken valve.  Perfect!  Then I used my PVC cutter to cut off the two unused valves.  The newly-cut end of pipe now just needs to be securely terminated.  It only has only about a half inch of length into which I can slide the terminator piece so I'll need to do a very good job gluing that piece in.  The open pipe is wet right now with water draining where I cut it.  I'll allow it to dry thoroughly and then will make a very careful and secure glued seam with the terminator piece and will apply no water pressure for 24 hours.  If I'm lucky it will hold and the repair is done without costing me a dime.  Cross your fingers for me!!

SECOND UPDATE;  Got the gluing done, but not feeling very confident.  There's a small crack in the pipe in the area that was glued.  It may be near enough the edge that it won't leak, But I'm not counting on it.  I think I'll be buying the parts tomorrow just in case.  The yard is drying up with two days of no water, and there will be a third tomorrow if this fix doesn't hold.  But they're predicting rain for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday along with cooler temps.  We'll soon be through with watering for the season.  But it's best to get this done before snow, so I don't need to deal with it in the spring.  

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kitchen - no progress

I got the first design layout from the cabinet company and had to send it back to be redone.  They used the wrong dimensions.  Actually added three feet to the length of my kitchen.  Wouldn't it be nice if I could!  But not only does that cut into my dining room space, it moves cabinets too close to the French doors and I don't want the doors hitting the counter.  Nope, back to the drawing board.  I'm going to call another cabinet shop today and get another design.  I'm just starting to realize all the things to consider with the layout.  Ah, this learning process.  I have to do it, though I lack enthusiasm. 

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Things are definitely going to be different around here.

Not sleeping tonight I guess. So far, at least. It's tomorrow and a new horoscope:

September 05, 2009
 CapricornCapricorn (12/22-1/19) 
Change can be stressful, and that applies to changes for the better, too. It means leaving behind what was familiar and embarking on a new way of life. And you definitely have some changes (for the better) heading your way. So how can you minimize the stress and maximize the positive? You can acknowledge that things might be crazy for a little while. And that things will settle down soon. And, yes, that things are most definitely going to be different around here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Six-Word Memoir

A good friend recently gave me a copy of the article below that appeared originally in the LA Times.  I thought it might be a fun challenge for regular readers here and at Book Nerds on FaceBook.  So, give it a try. Read the article and then post your own six-word memoir here and/or at Book Nerds. 

From Los Angeles Times
Everyone has a story. That’s the tag on the masthead of SMITH, our online magazine. Yet until we asked the world to send us six-word memoirs, even we had no idea how true is was.

We took a page from Ernest Hemingway. According to legend, he was challenged to write a novel in only six words, and came up with For sale: baby shoes never worn. We posed the same challenge on-line, but we asked for true-life stories – in just half a dozen well-chosen words.

To launch the challenge, we posted examples from names we figured most readers would know such as Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert (Me see world! Me write stories! ) and celebrity chef Mario Batali (Brought it to a boil, often).

More than 15,0000 (and counting) submission later, we are continually struck by what proves possible in just six words. The short, short life stories keep coming in. As we type this, a quick glance reveals that Emily Hambridge “wanted to write but feared failure.” With half a doze words and a few clicks of the keyboard, she’s just rewritten the story of her life.

What’s yours?

Ex-wife and contractor now have house – Drew Peck
Found true love, married someone else – Bjorn Stromberg
Fifteen years since last professional haircut – Dave Eggers
One Tooth, one cavity. Life’s cruel. - John Bettencourt
Must remember: people, gadgets. That order. – Brian Lam
Made a mess. Cleaned it up. – Amy Anderson
Put whole self in, shook about. – Melissa Delzio
My second-grade teacher was right. – Janelle Brown
Well, I thought it was funny. – Stephen Colbert
Where the hell are my keys? – Brady Udall
Dad wore leather pants in Reno – John Falk
Secret of life: Marry an Italian – Nora Ephron
Little bit Lucy, tempered by Ethel – Tami Maus
I think, therefore I am bald – Dickie Widjaja
Took scenic route, got in late – Will Blythe
Being a monk stunk. Better gay. – Bob Redman
Became my mother. Please shoot me. – Cynthia Kaplan
Should not have eaten those mushrooms – Emilie Raguso
Was father, boys died, still sad. – Ronald Zalewski
It’s pretty high. You go first. – Alan Eagle
Me: consistently avoiding death since 1978! – Daniel Fowlkes

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Poetry Wednesday: Growing Old and the Red Hat Ladies, and Totally Missing the Point - Redux

(Originally posted 1/4/08) I think I was one of the first women in America who discovered the now well-known and well-worn poem “Warning”, by Jenny Joseph: “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me” (the full poem is found below). Years ago I reviewed the book by the same name for my book club.

Now the Red Hat ladies’ clubs all over the country have co-opted the ideas from the poem, and are wearing admittedly darling red hats and having luncheons – and totally missing the point.

First, the poem is about individuality and breaking the rules – not about getting together with all your chums, dressing alike, and doing conventional things. Second, and maybe more important, it’s about being an individual BEFORE you grow old. Thus, the last line that states, “But maybe I ought to practice a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised when suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.” And indeed, the title itself, "Warning", gives us a clue.

It’s about being an individual at any age. So while all the other old ladies are wearing red hats, I think I'll see if I can find something in tangerine.

by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Visit Jacqui's Poetry Wednesday for more selections.