Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Today is Tuesday I think. Yesterday, Kev and I took a day trip to New York City. I think in retrospect taking a day trip to NYC isn't the best idea. By the time I caught up with the pace and got into the NYC groove, it was time to get the train back to Poughkeepsie. But all in all, it was a pretty fun trip. Got to see Bryce, who has gone completely Manhattan. It suits him to be a New Yorker. Also went to the Algonquin to revisit the scene of our engagement. On the train down I met a nice old lady who talked my ear off about her life and such. When we got off the train, she hugged me. She lives by herself in the Bronx overlooking the East River. She is widowed 3 times and has 6 cats. I didn't get her name. Alas, we did not make it up to 74th street to see Pale Male. Maybe next time.
There is snow here. It is pretty. There are also good dogs who sit on my lap and keep me nice and warm. There is not, however, a quiet spot to sit and read a book, which I badly need. So I have decided to blog instead. I would take a walk, but I can't get to my coat and shoes at the moment. Oh well, in spite of such complaints, it is fun being around Kev's family. And today I learned to play a couple of notes on the clarinet. So, there you go. In a couple of days when I get home, I'll probably be complaining that I am bored.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Just a quick blog as I have a few minutes of calm in an otherwise action-packed vacation. Arrived Monday, flew WITHOUT Xanax! Was very proud indeed, and didn't freak out too much. Snow everywhere and very cold the first two days, now just rain and mild temps. Sort of sad to have missed the rare Texas snow I heard about. Lots of family around. In our house there are 8 grown people, 1 toddler, 4 dogs, and 3 cats. Every morning, a flock of about 16 turkeys make their way down the hill in the woods behind the house, hop over the little stream, and continue through the front yard and across the street to who knows where. It is funny to see a conga line of turkeys parading by each day. Also had a deer in the front yard the first morning. Lots of wildlife. There is a bear in the neighborhood too, but no sightings yet. Turkey photos will be posted upon my return. Going to NYC on Monday to see PaleMale and my friend Bryce. Meeting some other friends for dinner tonight...Italian food in New York is always something to look forward to. Spent the better part of today wrapping gifts. It seems a shame to unwrap them when you know how much work went into the wrapping. Oh well. Having fun, but miss my family of course, and my pillow. Hope you are all well. Have a happy Christmas!
Sunday, December 19, 2004
I will let you all know how Pale Male is doing if I get to see him and Lola during my trip.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
New Yorkers Hear the Call of the Wild
Let's hope the stormy saga of evicted Fifth Avenue hawk Pale Male reminds city and country folk alike of nature's glories Pale Male's New York saga appears to be coming to an end. The Fifth Avenue co-op board that voted to remove the nest of this famous red-tailed hawk from their building appears to have relented in the face of enormous public pressure. It now says it will allow Pale Male and his mate, Lola, to rebuild their digs. I hope it isn't too late. The hawks have been desperately bringing twigs to their cornice ledge for days, only to have the wind blow them away. The building says it will replace the anti-pigeon spikes that anchored the hawks' nest, and add a guardrail around the 12th floor window cornice to prevent rat or bird carcasses from falling to the street. But after raising 23 chicks over 11 years at this fancy address, Pale Male may soon decide to move on to more hospitable climes unless the building moves fast. The saddest part of this whole spectacle is that the owners of these multimillion-dollar apartments still don't get it. They may be Masters ofthe Universe, but they can't see the beauty of the world. Red-tails are fierce, free hunters, with wings that span four feet, tails that blaze in a clear sky, and cries that pierce the air. Like bald eagles, red-tails embody much of the spirit of America. Pale Male's decision to make the cliff-dwellings of the Big Apple his home in 1993 was an awesome complement to New Yorkers. He gave them a chance to observe a slice of raw nature upclose.
CULTURE VULTURES. Many New Yorkers grew to love him. Birders, of course, spotted Pale Male flying over Central Park, hunting for pigeons and other small game. Children loved to line up at the many telescopes trained on the nest to watch Pale Male and his mates raise their families year after year.Watching small fledging hawks take that first jump and fly out of the nest was awe-inspiring to these kids. Yet for every wide-eyed child gaping in wonder at the hawks, many more adults are blind to them. Urban Americans don't get nature. They see it as messy, dirty, alien to them. City dwellers, historically, have been the builders of high culture -- museums, symphony halls, libraries,skyscrapers. They aren't taught very much about the wild in school, and with the exception of summer camps, don't have much real contact with it. But Eastern urbanites aren't alone in their ignorance of and even antagonism toward nature. Go west to Texas and other states that have frontier cultures and you find a similar desire to conquer the wild and replace it with civilization. Westerners just put down ranches and farms rather than put up skyscrapers. You have energy people wanting to drill holes into every mesa, mountain range, and canyon. You have loggers wanting to put roads into every wilderness and cut down every big, old tree in every forest. And everywhere developers are building on deserts or around lakes, on mountaintops andwetlands.
RED, BLUE -- AND GREEN. The weird thing about the West is that, unlikeEastern cities, it's full of hunters and people who love the outdoors. Yet the urge to exploit nature rather than protect and enjoy it dominates today's Western states. You could say that wanting to eradicate the wild is one of the few things that blue- and red-state cultures have in common. Yes, of course, this is an exaggeration. Plenty of birders, hunters, fisherfolks, hikers, skiers, runners, and others understand the majesty of nature. Even in New York. The push-back against the titans of finance and real estate who evicted Pale Male and Lola was surprisingly intense, and perhaps successful. I don't know if Goldman Sachs Chairman Hank Paulson, a birder on the boardof the Peregrine Fund, had a quiet word with Bruce Wasserstein, legendary investment banker and resident of the Fifth Avenue building that took downPale Male's nest. But I hope he did. I do know that actress Mary TylerMoore and her doctor husband fought bravely against the eviction and led the battle to get Pale Male and Lola back.
BIRD BY BIRD. Not much wilderness is left in America, not much of the"wild" left to discover and enjoy. Easterners and Westerners alike are destroying it. Pale Male reminds us all of what we're losing, what we'll soon be missing. The fight for his nest is a battle worth having. I've been birding in Central Park for a long time. I've seen Pale Male hunt for game, court a mate, raise a brood, and dominate the sky on a cloudless day. He is, in his way, a true Master of the Universe, and he should be welcomed as one. - - - - -Bruce Nussbaum is BusinessWeek's editorial page editor .
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
One major highlight of this busy-ness was our trip over to Fort Worth on Monday night to see the GREAT Doc Watson at the Bass Performance Hall. What an amazing show. If any of you guys are feeling a little low, put on some Doc Watson, and that should fix you up real quick. If you don't know who that is, go on over to Amazon.com and listen to some sample tracks, like Shady Grove, or Windy and Warm, and so forth. Doc Watson is 81 years old, blind, and one of the best guitar players you will ever hear. Hurry!
I give the city of Fort Worth, at least the downtown/Sundance Square area a solid A. They have it all decorated and festive, with a giant tree in the middle of the square. I am a big fan of Fort Worth. It is like Dallas-light. I would also like to recommend a restaurant across from Bass Hall called Angeluna, where you can get an appetizer called a Shrimp, lobster, andouille blini tower, or somesuch, which is one of the best things I've ever eaten. The next morning, I had lobster guilt as usual, but I got over it.
So, Yay for Doc Watson, Fort Worth, and blini towers!
Also, as you probably all know by now, the hawks are going to be able to rebuild their nest! So, those of you who signed the petition, your voices were heard, and it worked! It is a shame that there was some apparent harassment of some of the building's tennants. Such behavior was unnecessary. Anyway, way to go Audubon Society! I am excited that I will be able to pay these hawks a visit in a couple of weeks.
I am trying to get sick. Actually my body is trying to get sick, but so far, my mind and my juice/vitamin/salt-water combo is stopping it. I do not have time to get sick until at least January.
Back to work...
Sunday, December 12, 2004
I tried to go south on Skillman, my usual route. Blocked. There was a mini van in front of me blocking an escape route down a side street. There was a lady behind me who must have been a VERY important person, because it was clear she didn't have time to be stuck on Skillman behind me and my blue Buick. She had an ear-piece in her ear and a phone in her hand, and she was waving her be-jeweled fingers frantically trying to get my attention so that I might somehow get the minivan to levitate, thus allowing myself and her access to the side street. I gave her the "just chill" signal with my hands, but she did not chill, and continued her maniacal hand-motions until finally the van pulled up. Maybe she was doing a spell! Anyway, then I had a dilemma...should I cut down the side street so she could escape as well, or just move up and keep blocking? The milk in my grocery bag made the decision for me. I needed to get home too. So I made my way back north to Mockingbird, and west to 75, and south to Henderson. I went under the McCommas bridge which was carrying runners on the east/west route, and thought I was home free! Alas, as I cut east, I ran into the southbound runners at Matilda. Sigh. There was nothing I could do at that point, so I hoofed it home with my milk and tissues ( I left the soups in the car). This was not a long walk, maybe 3/4 of a mile, but I was defeated. My only happy thought was that the rich lady from behind me was probably stuck too, and might miss her manicure or her appointment to buy a vacant lot on my street where she could build yet another giant brick Plano-looking (west plano!) house. (East-side rules!) But that's another issue.
On my walk home, I saw many other frustrated drivers trying to find the way out. They're probably still out there. Next year, I'm having Stay-At-Home day on the second Sunday in December.
On a happier note, negotiations to return Palemale and Lola's nest seem to be going well. Thanks to all who signed the petition.
Also, saw Ocean's 12 last night. Good, but pretty confusing.
Friday, December 10, 2004
This is the second time I've hit a squirrel. The first time, I cried and cried, and it took me about a week to get over it. This time, I was sad, but there were no tears, and I think I can get through today without giving it too much thought. I hope I am not becoming desensitized. I think I feel worse about not feeling worse than I do about hitting the squirrell.
I sentence myself to going outside right now to fill up my bird feeders and throw some nuts around on the ground.
or got to
He's not hurting anything. They just don't like the "unsightly" nest or the poop...solveable problems. I've got news for the people of Manhattan...the birds were there first.
Monday, December 06, 2004
- Japanese Maple
- Other Maple
This morning's walk was a sensory extravaganza. I have found that the repetative motion of walking is very condusive to mindfullness/paying attention. This morning, the temperature was delightfully cool, but not cold. It smelled fresh because of the rain. There were occasional wafts of fireplace-smell. The birds were very vocal, especially the bluejays, who I think are plotting something. It looks like fall outside, just in time for Christmas. The maples put on quite a show this year, and the oaks are trying their hardest to catch up. Our oak's leaves are turning a sort of orangish color that will soon be brown, but it's a good effort anyway. There was also the sound of leaves crunching underfoot as we walked, which is in my top ten favorite sounds (which I will eventually probably list on here). By the way, I welcome reader lists via the "comments." There was a squirrel who I witnessed make a very daring leap from a fence to a telephone pole, and there was a black cat on the very top of a house (this was pointed out by Kev.) Some not-so-pleasantries this moring included siren noise, lawn equipment noise and stepping in poop, but one has to take the good with the bad I suppose.
Anyway, time to get to work.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
Today was my annual Christmas Toy Party, which has become our toy party, as Kev is a big part of it these days. This was the ninth toy party, so next year will be the big Tenth Anniversary Toy Party. Pretty amazing it's been going on this long. Anyway, it was really fun, but I have to admit I was a little worried that no one was coming this year. A few staples of the party couldn't make it this year, and not many people RSVPed. But we ended up having a good crowd, and a good mix of people...some old, some new. And most importantly, got quite a haul of toys for the angel tree kiddies. I really made an effort this year to sit down and talk to people during the party. Usually, I am in a sort of frantic hostess mode, and the whole thing is a blur and I feel like a loser for not spending enough time with people. I have a lot of cool friends, and I enjoyed seeing them today. And it put me back into the Christmas spirit. And no-one got locked in the bathroom which is always a plus.
Now, that the party is over, it is time for me to get serious about shopping. I am not even close to being done, and we leave for New York in two weeks. Luckily I feel a post-party groove, which should get me through New Years. Then, all bets are off. I will very likely take a nose-dive into a big post-holiday funk. But maybe knowing it's coming will make it less funky. I hope so. How I hate the funk.
I've just been informed that the Grinch is about to come on TV. Think I'll go spend a little time with the Who's down in Who-ville. By the way, does anyone know the lyrics to the Who's song? What are they saying? It has always bothered me.
Hope you all had a good weekend!
Friday, December 03, 2004
"How can you miss Christmas when everywhere you go, Christmas is thrown in your face?" you ask.
Yeah, I know. It's everywhere. But that commercial stuff is not what I'm talking about. I mean the GOOD stuff about Christmas. And so tonight I decided to take a time out and appreciate it. I spent the last 45 minutes or so sitting in my living room looking at my Christmas tree. It is very pretty, especially at night. This year, we got an artificial tree, since we are going to be out of town for 10 days. Not ideal, but we got a nice one...pretty realistic looking. I know lots of people like multi-colored lights, and some like blinking lights and chasers, but I prefer plain clear lights on my tree. There is something about white lights in a green tree that is just really good. Our ornaments are all over the map. Martha Stewart would hate our tree. We have some really nice ornaments from World Market and Crate and Barrel, mixed in with a bunch of home-made ones from when I had no money. These include Luke Skywalker and Wonder Woman action figures-on-a-string, as well as Old 97s stickers and pictures of Elvis glued to cardboard and hung on the tree. On the top is an angel that we used when I was little. My dad used to pick me up and let me put it on the tree when I was a kid. I like it. It's old school, and I'm sentimental. You can be sure a few tears were shed today as I helped Kev decorate the tree. So that's what I mean about good Christmas stuff. I love remembering Christmas from my childhood.
Anyway, all the crabby shoppers and loud annoying over-played carols were getting me down, so I knew I had to do something to find the Christmas spirit. I am going to now make a list of things that are good about Christmas-time:
- There is generally more soup and pie
- Christmas-tree smell
- I get to shop and buy fun stuff for people I like
- It is not hot outside
- Vince Guaraldi
- Extra time off from work
- Egg nog
- Sometimes it snows
- People visit from out of town
There is more stuff, bet that's a start. I feel better already. Maybe if you are feeling blue and the holidays have got you down, you could make your own list and remember that it isn't ALL crabby shoppers and over-played carols.