Friday, June 7, 2013

Bye Bye Birdy

As you know, we had a robin's nest right outside our front door last month. It was exciting to get to watch this whole little experience unfold everyday, from the eggs being laid to them flying away. I kind of felt like they were my next door neighbors, The Robins. And they were pretty good neighbors at that. Not too noisy, kept to themselves. Just what everyone wants.

On the morning of May 16th, I noticed the parents were not on the nest and two of the baby birds were sitting on the edge of the nest. I thought "Oh, today is the day!" and just like that, one of them took off and flew away into the trees on the side of our yard. It was really amazing to see it happen.

I ran to get my camera so I could try to capture the next one before he flew away. I came back, got the next two shots, then left him alone so he could do his thing.

"Quit staring at me."

"I'll go when I'm good and ready weirdo."

Only he didn't. He sat on the edge of that nest for hours and by hours I mean like 5 straight hours. Every now and then I'd go check on him to see if he'd left, but he was still sitting there like he had no clue what do.

"Leave me alone creeper."

I tried giving him a pep talk. I told him I knew it was scary and it was hard, but he had to go out into the big wide world and make his own way, discover who he was and maybe have a family of his own.

And then I got sad from my pep talk and had to go lay down for a bit.

The entire time he was sitting there, I could hear his parents calling to him. That's when I saw them in the trees on the side of the yard where the first baby bird flew away to. They were trying to get him to come to them and he just wasn't having anything to do with it.

"Would you hurry up! Dinner is getting cold! Freaking kids."

But finally he took the leap and flew away to his mommy and daddy. That's when we noticed a third baby bird in the next who we thought at first was dead (it was just laying at the bottom of the nest not moving) but as it turns out was just taking a rest before he too flew away.

The nest is still in our rhododendron, just sitting there empty. I read online that some times robins will move into an empty nest and lay eggs. So far that hasn't happened and I doubt it really will, but I can hope that it does.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Life, In A Nutshell

I woke up this morning to find a note on my Facebook wall from an old friend saying "Just checked your blog...". My response? "Did you see a tumbleweed blow through?" because really, it wouldn't surprise me in the least.

My life, as of late, has been a tad chaotic. And by chaotic I mean bat poop crazy. This coming weekend is the first one in at least a month where we have no plans at all. None. Like I have two days wide open  with nothing going on and I don't know how to handle it.

"So what's been keeping you so busy Jen?" Here's a run down for you...

  • The birds that I wrote about in earlier posts flew away. I was lucky enough to see it happen and it made me so sad I had to lay down for a while.
  • I turned fourty...something. Meh.
  • Mother's Day was the weekend after my birthday and I spent it at home watching Doctor Who and drinking Prosecco (greatest Mother's Day ever).
  • My daughter went to the prom. All the work I put into getting her ready for it, I felt like I was the one going (side note: she had a great time and looked beautiful. All the work was totally worth it).
  • I tripped over the hem of a maxi dress while out on a romantic date night with my husband and went down like a ton of bricks. I hit my left knee, right hand and chin on the curb. I skinned my knee and hand and got a lump on my chin that made me look like Jay Leno. Lesson I took away? Hobbits shouldn't wear maxi dresses.
  • My husband turned and even older than me forty-something.
  • We took our daughter and a friend to Boston Calling over Memorial Day weekend. This was a big, outdoor music festival in Government Center in Boston. It would have been great had the first day not been rainy and cold. Only in Boston can Memorial Day weekend be lousy and awful. But I had a cute rain coat and kept my social anxiety levels in check despite being in the middle of a crowd of 20,000 college kids all smoking pot.
  • My daughter, who will be ending her junior year of high school in just a couple of weeks, has been occupied by all these wonderful tests like an AP Language, the SATs as well as these gems called Subject Tests that I've never heard of in my life but are the biggest pain in the butt. She took the Subject Tests this past weekend. I thought "Yay, we're done!" but apparently not. She plans on taking the SAT again in the fall in the hopes of improving her test scores (yes, she is an overachiever).
All this plus loads of laundry, sinks full of dishes and all the other daily nuisances of life have prevented me from keeping up on my blog duties. I really should do a post on all these separate things because I got some great pictures of each event (except the tripping and injuring myself. If I got that on film I'd cry for the rest of my life). Perhaps I'll be able to do that, what with the entire weekend open before me...

And since I hate a blog post without pictures, I'll leave you with this shot I got of my cat Cali recently...

In my next life, I want to come back as a cat so I can lay around in the sun and sleep all day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bird Paparazzi

It is beautiful in my neck of the woods today. It's so sunny and warm it makes you want to go outside, running around like Julie Andrews in The Sound Of Music, singing your brains out and looking certifiable. Which is so much better than it was yesterday, which was so cold and rainy and wrong that all you wanted to do was hide in a cave until it passed.

Of course, this made me worry about the robins nest in my rhododendron. I was afraid the little eggs would be cold and shivery and wouldn't incubate properly (yes, I thought this even though I knew the mother or father bird sat on that nest all day long). When I voiced my concerns to my husband he sighed and said "They're fine Jen. Don't worry." But he knows me and knows that was a useless thing to say.

As it turns out, he was right (but don't tell him I said that). The mama or daddy bird was right back on the nest today, and sitting in a really great position for me to get a great shot:

I mean this the most considerate bird you've ever seen or what? I'm fairly certain it saw me hanging out the window (now that's a picture I should get and share here), but it didn't fly away or start yelling at me which I'm sure is what I'd do if someone were hanging out a window trying to get pictures of me.

I just found this great site online. I'm fairly certain the eggs were laid Friday to Sunday time frame, so it looks like I've probably got a week and a half before the little ones make their big debut.

Is it wrong how excite I am about this? I don't care. I feel like I've got the greatest science experience happening right in my yard. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Birds Do It, Bees Do It...

I live in an area that is fairly heavily wooded. Not that I live in the middle of Burkittsville, but there are a lot of trees and vegetation in my area and with that comes a fair number of wildlife creatures as well. In my yard alone I can tell you I have rabbits, skunks, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, groundhogs and about 3 kabillion varieties of birds. If the chupacabra  walked through my yard I would not be surprised in the least.

And with it being spring time (at least I think it is, today is rainy and 40 degrees so it doesn't feel particularly springy) all the critters have come out to play, if you know what I mean.

Next to my front door is a big rhododendron that I'm certain has been there since the Jurassic period. It's huge I'm sure that if we ever got rid of it we'd find the most complex root system known to man. There are always birds flying in and out of it, but the other day a robin bolted out of it when my husband left the house and that's when I noticed a nest built in the branches.

This is not the first time we've had this happen. We had a nest there once years ago (it caused me great distress when it appeared that the parents had abandoned it and the babies right after they hatched. I was sure they left because I was watching the nest 24-7 and I called my husband at work in tears. That is an absolutely true story. I was beside myself and as he recalled the story to a fellow coworker said "I'm now going to have to get Jen a dog or a cat that she can take care of". Yes, I am certifiable). We also had nests in a large shrub on the side of our yard as well as a small tree in the center of the yard. I don't know what I've done to make my yard so hospitable to robins, but I'm glad I did.

I've been trying to give Mr. and Mrs. Robin their space, trying not to freak them out too much when I leave or enter the house. I tried getting pictures of the nest by just standing on the stairs next to the rhododendron, but it didn't work. That's when I became enterprising and realized the window of my office room was right over the bush and if I put my 70-300mm lens on my camera and hung out the window, I could get a pretty good shot without disturbing them too much. Of course anyone driving by would see me and think I'd lost my mind. And they'd be right.

See? There are three little eggs in the nest and they're so tiny and cute I may pass out. I even got a shot of Mrs. Robin (or Mr. Robin, I'm equal opportunity here) sitting on the nest. It's just so sweet I can't handle it.

I'm really looking forward to the babies hatching and getting pictures of them. Be prepared to see more pictures just like this in the coming days. I'm off to Google robins and find out as much info on how long it will take for the eggs to hatch and how long they will stay in the next once they are born. I'm getting way too into this, aren't I?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Amazingly They Don't Bounce

A few weeks ago (probably more like a few months ago since I have no linear concept of time...maybe I'm a Time Lord! How cool would that be?) I had my camera and my favorite lens in the universe (my 50mm) in hand, ready to take a few shots (of what I don't recall and you'll see why). I needed to put said lens on my camera so I sat the camera down on the back of our arm chair (bad idea) as well as the lens (even badder idea).

The lens, being round and having the ability to roll, rolled right off the back of the arm chair where it plummeted toward my hardwood floor at an alarming rate.

This all took about 3.6 nanoseconds to unfold, yet it seemed like I stood there for a week watching it fall, unable to do a flipping thing about it.

Once it had completed it's journey, I bent over and gingerly picked it up, silently praying that it was okay because this was a really expensive lens and my life would be on the line if it wasn't.

I won't try to describe the damage. I'll let a photo illustrate the damage:

When one has just dropped a pricey piece of equipment and thus does not have the ability to use their camera, they turn to one that is still working. In that moment it was my iPhone and Instagram.

I honestly thought for a minute that I could fix this. That passed quickly when I realized monkeys are smarter than me, so I had to muster up the courage to let my husband know that this had happened. I also planned to dye my hair black and go to Mexico.

I worried for naught...he was sweet, he said accidents happen and we'd send it in to have it fixed. I married a saint people. A SAINT.

I just got my lens back today and I am happy to report that it works extremely well.

So learn from my mistake children. Although camera lenses are round, they don't bounce. And they will break if dropped. They're kind of fickle like that.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Freaking Out Level: Boss

So I was sitting here at my desk, looking at all the glory that the world wide of webs has to offer, when I thought "I haven't written a blog post in a while, I should do that!" I even had the perfect subject for said post, along with a photo I took this morning...

"Coming Out Of My Winter Hibernation Just Like My Hydrangea"

Only when I typed my blog name into my browser it didn't take me to my blog. Instead it showed me a message saying something along the lines of "Hey! This blog has been removed! Click here to find out why!"

Now, a normal person would just click on the link and rectify the situation. But I'm not a normal person. I'm an Abby Normal type person, so I freaked out and when I say freaked out I mean my heart started pounding and I was sure Kim Jong-un was behind the whole thing (he seems to be behind everything these days so it made perfect sense to me). 

When I stopped being weird about the message (I never stopped being weird, do not fear) I clicked on the link and it told me to provide Google with a phone number so they could get a hold of me and see what was going on.

Okay...freak out still on...thankfully I'm married to a man who is smarter than the average bear so I shot him off a text trying to paraphrase this whole predicament. Being the sweet, level headed man that he is (and after 20 years together knows how to handle my crazy) he explained that this is what Google does and assured me it was totally fine and the world wasn't going to end.

So I provided a number and was immediately given a security code to get my account back. I punched that in and was strongly urged to change my password as the existing one was "weak". That made me feel a little bad about myself since I had come up with the password in the first place, but I acquiesced and gave them a new one that they verified as being "strong". So apparently my new password could kick my old password's butt.

I have to admit...this story I just told is way better than my original idea for a blog post. Dear World Wide of Webs, Keep freaking me out and I'll have some great stuff to write about. Love, Jen

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

By Popular Demand

So, one of my New Year's resolutions was to learn how to play my ukulele, or at least learn how to play a song that people know. If I'm being honest, I can actually play two songs: Jambalaya and Little Liza Jane. They both use the same two chords (C and F) but the strumming pattern is different for each one so technically they are different. 

Last night I busted the ukulele out along with my Ukulele for Dummies ebook and decided to try and progress beyond the C and F chords I already play like a pro.

The next lesson was to learn how to play I'll Fly Away. I don't know this song, but I'm sure someone does so it falls into the catagory of a "song that people know". Bonus to this? I got to learn a new chord! 

And to make this all the more interesting (yeah, that's the word to best describe this), I video taped myself trying to play it. 
I wasn't sure I would share this with anyone outside of my husband and daughter (because they know the level of my oddness and love me despite it), but I had a group of weirdos friends on Facebook that wanted to witness this for themselves.

So this is for them. Just remember, you asked for it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

To Blog Or Not To Blog

It's a new year...time to start anew, to make a list of resolutions and be the super human you hope you can be!

That seems like a lot to expect out of a few resolututions, but we can all hope and dream, right?

As 2012 was coming to a close, I began to think about some of the things I'd like to try to accomplish this year. Some were pretty basic (exercise more) some not so much (really learn how to play more than two songs on the ukulele or at least one people know) but one I kept thinking about whether I wanted to return to blogging or not.

When I first started blogging way back in 2005 (or maybe it 2004...I'm too old to remember such things) it was still shiny and new and exciting. But, as with many things, the shine wore off and I became bored with it, too caught up in the mundane aspects of daily life to remember to sit down and write (I also joined Facebook around this time...coincidence? You be the judge). 

But I had been thinking lately about how much I missed it. Missed sharing my photos, my stories, my mundane life. And I thought to myself "Yeah. You know you want to start blogging again Jen. Just do it."

So here I am. Blogging and sharing a photo of my mundane morning of coffee in front of the computer.   Believe me, there's more where with this came from, lest you thought you'd be disappointed...

Here's to 2013 and keeping resolutions! freaked me out to write 2013. That just ain't right.