I've been pretty out of it the last couple days... funny how not feeling well can so easily reduce one's *to-do list* to the barest of essentials, things like:
finding the very softest spot on the pillow to lay my head
keeping the tips of my toes under a blanket; my upper body was alternately (maddeningly!) hot or cold, but those toes had better be covered!
dreaming up something (anything!) that would make my sore throat feel better... chocolate pudding (somewhat)... popsicles (didn't last long enough)... warm saltwater (ick, but effective)... coffee (felt awful; you can imagine the state that had me in!)... chicken soup (nice, but the noodles felt like they were getting stuck way back in my throat)
TMI, I know.
Anyway... I was at the doc in a box place before they even opened on Saturday morning.
And back at the pharmacist on Sunday morning wondering if the darn antibiotics shouldn't have me feeling at least a little bit better by now?
I have to be desperate before I'll see a doctor. Once I've taken that risk, I expect to be rewarded with feeling better pretty quickly. Waiting on meds to work their magic is hard when you've hardly slept or ate or done anything without a small measure of pain for a few days.
Builds compassion for others who are genuinely sick though, I think.
I felt the first tinges of an appetite returning late last night and managed a whole bowl of cream of broccoli soup.
Then I slept like a zombie and this morning there was coffee again.
Today I'm aching to be out with my camera capturing more of that late summer light.
You know... that little tingle in the pit of your stomach... that something mysterious outside of normal perception?
I do, at least... I think it to be true. I hardly pay enough attention to it, to that part of myself that tries to warn me of something bad looming on the horizon, but I'm trying to learn to trust what my gut seems to sense, somehow.
Flaky and weird, yes, I know.
A most recent example... yesterday. Before the fire.
A routine home visit with a not so routine client of mine. Legally blind and bi-polar. She's not particularly communicative. Odd, most people would say.
Thank heavens she wasn't at home when the fire broke out.
This is, after all, the type of thing that would have my name in the paper, under an ugly large-type block headline.
We did paperwork and then I did my inspection of her apartment. There's a whole laundry list of things I'm to check for. Safety is foremost, but there's also cleanliness. Just two things stood out: her stove didn't work properly; two burners were dirty enough that they wouldn't light and she needed to do a better job of cleaning up the bird seed her pet parakeets were throwing everywhere. I made a note on my report and suggested that she clean the stove and vacuum her carpets better.
Almost on my way out the door, I backtracked to check the smoke detectors. They're high on my list, but often overlooked unless they're chirping away annoyingly with a spent battery. Her smoke detector (one, only) seemed okay, but I couldn't test it properly, even with a broom, because it was detached from the ceiling, for whatever reason. I tried like hell... even stood on my tiptoes, but couldn't get leverage on the thing.
Bugged me. That feeling, you know, the one in the pit of your stomach...
First thing this morning my intention was to call that landlord and get him out there to fix the darn stove and smoke detector...
Before I even sat down at my desk, the phone was ringing.
A detective from the AP police department. There had been a fire... paper was used to ignite a burner (and discarded carelessly in the trash.)
My client had wandered out to the store after cooking lunch without realizing there was a fire brewing in her trash bin.
A neighbor heard the smoke detector going off, though. Called the fire department.
My client's ok. Her birds aren't. My name won't be in the paper, at least.
Check your smoke detectors! Every month!
Photos from Jasper Knob overlooking Ishpeming Michigan. For any of you rock-heads, Jasper Knob is a bald-topped hill composed entirely of jaspilite (banded hematite and jasper).
All along the route their patience waned as the roads turned sandier down to the Jersey shore when back ways could not avoid the open bridge as one slow thin mast would paralyze the day and our front-seating it pushing crowding forward "not there yet!" then racing who'd see the ocean first pushing towards its vastness our young lives stretched out in unending summer and in one shell its mystery
"Before the Parkway" by Jerome Leary
The Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge, a 1240 foot drawbridge that spans the Shrewsbury River, is being replaced with a fixed-span bridge that will rise some 30 feet higher than its predecessor.
Gone will be the occasion to put the car in park and step out for twenty minutes while the bridge is open to watch the sailboats go by underneath. Gone will be that instant of panic when the light on the drawbridge turns from green to yellow to red and you wonder if you should chance it before the bells and gates descend to make you twenty minutes late for wherever it is you're meant to be on the other side of the crossing. Gone will be the convenient excuse of the bridge being up. Gone will be the pause on a summer day.
In the meantime, we have this mess of cranes and a crazy maze to navigate the way from here to there. I can't help but be discombobulated by the change.
Are drawbridges in your neck of the woods being replaced, too? Will you miss them?
Susan and Seamus came to their first-ever birdwalk without a pair of binoculars between them. As Field Trip Chairperson, I'm supposed to be prepared for this inevitable oversight on the part of the beginning birder with spare bins to loan out, should anyone need a pair.
Of course I always forget the box of loaner bins that's buried in a closet somewhere. Luckily someone else in our little group had an extra pair to share. Beginners are such fun and really make these walks for me. They're enthusiastic about every bird and are curious about everything. I think I'm so used to birding with people that know more than me that it's nice to feel like an expert once in a while.
We birded in the rain, but did pretty well considering the lousy weather. Rocky Point has an interesting history as a coastal defense site and the views on a sunny day can be dramatic. This morning, the ocean and the river and the sky were all gunmetal gray.
The shrubby fields around Battery Lewis held the expected redstarts and cat birds, a baltimore oriole and lots of vocal carolina wrens, plus some massing tree swallows and a lone chimney swift overhead. We had a nice look at a Peregrine and a couple Osprey, too.
Down at the fishing pier at Black Fish Cove, we found a yellowlegs and a couple oystercatchers, plus a very wet and cranky-looking red tail perched along the river.
Our species count for the couple hour walk was only 35, but for these beginners willing to be out in the rain, each was a small, wet joy.
Monmouth County Audubon's first Fall field trip is this Saturday at 9 am at the Rocky Point section of Hartshorne Woods.
I'm not sure that we can expect to see very many birds, but I think this is the best time of the year to be out looking for them! The nights are getting chilly, beach plums are ripening, dog-day cicadas are in full chorus and goldenrods, boneset, and asters are in bloom.
I learned to drink tea with my grandmother. I like it now the same way as when I was a kid - mostly milk and plenty sweet. Tea smells especially delicious, I think, if you're used to drinking coffee.
A cup of tea shared with grandma was a recipe for happiness, as I remember it. All I need now is that first sip to be carried back to her small kitchen; the clink of spoon against saucer recalling my grandpa in the next room, the parlor, listening to a ballgame on the radio.
I don't think my grandmother and I ever did anything especially memorable together, but I remember drinking tea and feeling very loved. Her memory is a joy and one that usually surfaces as a surprise. A cup of tea is the only way I know to will it.
I'm not a cat person, but I suspect they're more like bunnies than dogs. A well-trained dog can be disciplined with a stern voice, a severe look even.
Not so the misbehaving rabbit.
How might a sweet little bunny misbehave, you wonder?
I'm not sure what it is that comes over them, but once in a while a bunny decides to act up and there's just no dissuading them from whatever it is they're up to.
For Peeper that usually means eating my books or jumping on and off the couch or clanging things around in her cage in the middle of the night.
I don't mind the noise-making so much; usually I interpret it as a call for attention, some bunny-specific need that I've failed to meet during the course of the day and the banging in the dark is just her way of getting revenge.
Book-eating, though, makes me mad. She knows it, too.
The other morning, she got it in her head that she was going to tear up the dust jacket of one of my books. She was in full view of me as she hopped innocently toward the bookcase. I called her name and she stopped for the briefest of moments, then went ahead and tore off a corner piece. I needed only to stand up from my computer before she was headed in the opposite direction. No sooner had I sat, then she was back on her way to the bookcase.
We went on this way for a bit... me threatening her with my approaching steps and her retreating behind her cage, just out of reach, with a bit of glossy book jacket as her prize. I'd sit and forget about her until she did it once more. Then I'd be up after her again. Up and down. Back and forth. She had that cheeky look bunnies get when they know they're being bad, and that saucy little way of turning her back to me.
Just plain fresh.
If it were Luka misbehaving, I'd only need to call him over with that voice, my teacher voice, and maybe wag my finger in his face to correct him. But a bunny? What to do?
Putting her back in her cage to discipline her, after the ordeal of catching her, would only cause a Terrible Mad Bunny Tantrum.
So I did what I always do with Peeper... the most awful penance imaginable... I scooped her up and kissed her. Over and over again.
I'm not exactly sure where to find a wood duck at this time of year anyway.
Other than its mind-numbing effects, the TV isn't doing much to make me feel any better. On the one hand, NCIS reruns (more specifically Mark Harmon) and House (Hugh Laurie!) do have a way of making me smile.
I'm wondering what it is about grumpy almost-gray-haired men that I find so amusing.
On the other hand, watching an episode of What Not to Wear this afternoon and seeing a little too much of myself in the awkward, she-really ought-to-wear-some-makeup woman, that didn't improve my mood much.
Are there any normal, well-adjusted people on TV? Are there any normal well-adjusted people who watch TV?
God it bores me.
I found a neat little used bookstore and self-publishing place in Asbury the other day. I went in shopping for a retirement gift and came home with this, and this, and this.
So much for not buying any new books. I felt a little guilty, but happy to have discovered a book shop where the proprietor was a reader herself and capable of making book recommendations. Probably I'll go back there often.
My clients are one-by-one going off the deep end and threatening to take me along for the ride. I can probably predict the full moon by the number of phone calls I get on any given day.
I'll save that rant for another time.
In the pizza place the other day, a man "selling" toys out of a very large duffle bag approached me by asking if I had grandkids. Grandkids.
I gave him some friendly sales advice.
Probably my camera lenses are "for sale" in a similar fashion in some other pizza place or chinese restaurant.