Bird Week

IMG_20160620_103146I’m happy to announce that this is Bird Week in my yard. It happens every summer, but I never know exactly when, because it’s based on a tree.

The tree is officially called Amelanchier, but here in western New York it’s more commonly called shadbush, or serviceberry, or several other names. I recently found out that it’s in the Rose (Roseacea) family. My tree blooms pretty little white flowers in the spring, and develops edible seeds in the summer. It’s a popular tree for squirrels and birds all year, but when the seeds are ripe it becomes The Most Popular Tree in the Yard for about a week. And thanks to my cats, the Bird Week is easy to spot.

The top part of the tree is right outside a second-story window. A cat occasionally will stop and look out at a squirrel, or sit on the window sill on  a pretty summer day. And then, suddenly, all four cats will be by the window at the same time. They’ll be quiet, and look relaxed, but their attention is totally connected to the shadbush tree. It’s full of birds, and surrounded by birds. There’s a lot of chirping and wings humming, and the occasional ping when a seed falls on my car. The cats seem to love the sounds as much as they love the birds.

One day soon I’ll notice that it’s getting quieter, with less flying and less furry observing. The Bird Week will be over, but I’ll have next year’s tree adventures to anticipate!

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Thanks, Sam Waas!

One of the things I enjoy most about being online is meeting people I would never be able to meet in person. There are friends on Ravelry and Facebook that live many miles away, sometimes in other countries that I will probably never have a chance to visit, and there are friends who live close enough that I can meet them for lunch.

I joined OnlineBookClub.org about six months ago, and have had a very enjoyable time meeting other readers, reviewers, and writers. I was sorry to hear today that one of my favorite people, Sam Waas, is now deceased.

He has written a series of private detective novels, and I recently read and enjoyed the first in the series, called Blood Spiral. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series as well. But what I really appreciate most was Sam’s sharing information and giving suggestions to solve problems. We did some posts about James Joyce’s Ulysses—Sam’s favorite and my least favorite book—and he gave me some information that I hope will make this book more understandable and enjoyable. He also gave me–and other members—good ideas about doing a good job with writing.

So thanks, Sam! It was good to meet you, even though it was only for a brief time.

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My Historic Neighbor

I just found out that our local library has been renamed! It is now the Frederick Douglass Community Library, and its location is one where Douglass actually lived. I’m very pleased with this renaming, since Douglass is one of my favorite historical people.

One of the things that impressed me when I moved to Rochester was that he had lived here. For many years now I’ve actually been in the neighborhood myself, and it’s not unusual to walk by his house. But I’m not talking about the house that was burned near the library. The only house Douglass owned that still exists is about a block down the street from my house.

It’s easy for me to imagine that if I had been sitting on the porch back in the 1870s, I could have seen Douglass walking by. I could have said hello to him, and let him know how much I appreciate the work he did in abolition and women’s rights.

Here’s an interesting article about his house becoming a city landmark in 2010. Many thanks to the Preservation Board!

http://landmarksociety.org/2010/01/recognition-for-a-forgotten-frederick-douglass-site/

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A Beautiful Thing

IMG_20160111_094935

I belong to a family that loves antiques, especially if the antique used to belong to someone in the family.

I’m lucky to have some wonderful things from different generations. There is a chair, a small shelf, and a clock made by my dad’s great grandfather. I don’t think that Antiques Roadshow would find them impressive–they all need to be fixed and refinished–but I’m very pleased to have them. There are other things, too. I have photographs, old glass, dishes, and an old iron that I use as a door stop.

Just a few days ago I received a package from my mom. I opened it to find an old petit point purse, made in Austria. It came originally from Aunt Ruth (my mom’s aunt!) and it’s been in the family long enough that we don’t remember if it was given directly to Mom, or whether my grandmother had it first. What I do remember was seeing it when I was a little kid, and loving it even then.

Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Aunt Ruth. I’ll take good care of this!

 

 

 

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If You Can Do It…

For me, there are two possible ways to spend time. There’s the serious, business-like way that happens when I’m doing Stuff That Must Be Done: going to work, organizing papers, working on income tax–I could continue this list for awhile, but I think you see what I mean.

Then there’s Stuff I Like to Do. I’m always thrilled to have a day when I can spend hours reading. Or knitting. Or gardening. Sometimes I can even do two things at once, like knitting and watching a movie, or listening to an audio book and knitting.

Right now, it looks like I might be able to spend time both ways. I’m going to be doing some actual work, but it will be very part-time. Since it’s January, I’m getting ready to do my taxes. I’m trying to get some knitting WIPs (that’s Work in Progress) done. And reading? That’s at the top of my list.

One of my recent projects was to review a book for the Online Bookclub. The book was The Paperhanger, by Jack Burbank. This is a good example of doing both serious and fun things at once! You can check out the review at http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32458 .

I’m looking forward to picking another book to review!

 

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Another New Year

If you think about it, it’s kind of amazing how a new year begins. One minute it was the end of 2015, and a minute later it was 2016. There’s hope that old issues are resolved, and curiosity about what might happen next. There are things to remember. Maybe you had a good visit with a friend you don’t get to see very often. Maybe someone gave you not one, not two, but three books you’ve been wanting to read. And there are things you’ll never be able to forget, like the birth of your first grandchild.

Now there are 366 days waiting for you to show up (yes, 2016 is a Leap Year!). You’ll be expected to do the right things at the right time, even though you probably don’t know what will happen. There will be a few wonderful things that you never imagined, and a few miserable events as well.

True, most days will probably be normal, with not much happening except breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Personally, I’m hoping good things happen–for everyone–and that I can make excellent choices. I hope that if bad things happen, we’ll be able to deal with them.

A happy new year–really? I’m crossing my fingers!

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Winter and The Web

It’s Friday, December 11, 2015. At 9:30 this morning I was sitting outside on my porch. OK, I was wearing a jacket–it was only (!) fifty five degrees at the time. It’s sixty two this afternoon.

So far this has been the winter season I love, but never expect. Even though the temperature has gone down into the twenties a couple of times, there’s been practically no rain or snow. We’ve had just over an inch of snow–total–so far. At this time last year, we had over a foot. I’ve finished raking leaves and cleaning up my plant beds. I’m knitting Christmas presents and reading audio books (yes, at the same time–why not do two favorite things at once?) And I’m spending some interesting time on my computer. I updated to Windows 10 about a week ago, and so far I like it so much more than Windows 8.1.

I’ve also found a book-related site that I’m enjoying a lot. It’s OnlineBookClub.org. There’s a lot you can do there. Among other things, there are forums about books and authors. There are forums where poets and short story writers can post things they’ve written, and get interesting responses about their work. As a member, you can make a list of the books you own–it’s called “Your Shelves”–and indicate what you’re reading currently. I haven’t done this yet. I’m trying to decide where to start. Should it be the pile of unread books in my bedroom? The books on my Kindle? Then I look at the entire wall of bookshelves in my living room, and decide I need to come up with a plan–a serious plan!

There’s also an interesting book review program. I’m not going to go into the details here, but you can visit and check out the Review Team on FAQS. My plan is to work on reviews, and see how it goes. I’m intrigued because this is a time-consuming process–in a good way, I think– that deals with one of my favorite things. So far I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent on the site, and I’m looking forward to doing more!

 

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