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Category Archives: Personal

This band – The Turnbull ACs – is fronted by a friend of mine, Dan. This dude can WRITE some songs. He’s a current day Edgar Allen Poe, set to music.

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One of my favorite toys as a kid
(I think it was a favorite because my cousins had it and I didn’t, so it had that elusive quality to it – and you know, the getting is sometimes better than the having.

And, apparently, if you use the code on this page, you can play with Spirograph now, too. Of course, it doesn’t seem to be working right when I’m trying to put the code in this blog entry, so good luck.

Nice to see this in writing. It would help a lot of situations if more extroverts understood these things about introverts.

I started last Thursday the way I usually do.
I hit the snooze more times than I care to admit. I finally get up.
I go downstairs to drink some milk and take some vitamins.
I glance out my back door to see if (a) the bird feeder is still in the tree (or if the squirrels got it down again) and (b) to see if it needs to be refilled.
This morning, the punk squirrels have managed to get the new “squirrel-proof” feeder out of the tree again. It’s lying on its side in the grass. One of the squirrels is sitting there next to it, happily munching away, working his little hands and filling himself up.
There are a few birds on the finch feeder.

And there’s a toad at the edge of the patio, within just a few inches (6 or less) of the squirrel.

And he looks funny. Funny strange. His color is weird. He looks kind of beige. Most toads around here are dark green-gray.

Then I notice a series of dark reddish spots on the patio. The spots look distinctly like blood on concrete. The largest spot is at the end farthest away from the door. It’s about three times as large as the other spots. The spots start in the middle of the patio, extend a couple of feet, then stop. So I’m thinking “what the….?” and “who’s been bleeding?”

Then I get a better look at the toad.

He’s sitting at the edge of the patio, about a foot or more beyond that last large spot.

But he’s sitting in an even bigger spot that looks wet. Then I realize he has only 1/4 of one of his back legs. One leg is gone from what would be mid-thigh down. So, I’m thinking he’s dead since he doesn’t move when I open the patio door.

Then I got close to him and he moved. He didn’t hop (obviously) but he was able to push himself around. He pushed himself off the edge of the patio into the grass. He stayed close to the patio’s edge, though.

When he moved, I noticed that, in addition to 3/4 of his back right leg being gone, his other foot was missing.

As I moved around, filling the bird feeder, he pushed himself around a few times and seemed to be doing okay with it.

But I knew he was in big trouble. If I’d had any idea how to put him out of his misery, I would have done it.

Instead, I finished what I was doing as fast as possible so as not to stress the poor thing any worse. Then I left for work.

And I thought about that toad all morning long. I kept wondering what happened to him and why, if something had attacked him, hadn’t just gone ahead and eaten him entirely. It really bothered me. More than I can describe. I just can’t stand the idea of something suffering so much before it dies. I kept my fingers crossed all day that he would go hide somewhere and die as quickly as possible. I was worried he’d be attacked again.

And, for some reason, that injured and dying toad seemed to be an omen of bad things.

And, that day, my manager at work was laid off. Someone who I really enjoyed working with and for, who was a touchstone and a great person to bounce ideas off of. I’m really going to miss that someone. I don’t know if I’ll ever have that kind of relationship with a manager/supervisor/boss again – it will be a hard relationship to match in the future. I am sad.

So I guess the toad was an omen.

Oh, and when I came home from work, he was gone.

A twist on the whole positive mental attitude/positive thinking concept – maybe just another way of saying the same thing, a different perspective on it…

Anyway, I think it’s an interesting perspective.

How to accomplish things 16 minutes at a time….
A new approach to getting stuff done.
We can probably all use a tool like this to improve our abilities to get tasks done.

When I saw this headline the other day, all I could think was – NO SH*T.
The more stressed I get, the more stuff I can’t remember. Important or trivial.
I think it probably accumulates like compound interest.

I put up a little bird feeder in an evergreen tree in late February because it was SO COLD after it had been VERY WARM during January. At the time, the only visitors I saw were little gray juncos.
Then there were occasional visits from cardinals – always a treat to see! And a pair of mourning doves set up near the house, I could hear their sad songs pretty regularly.

Since early April, the list of regular visitors has grown significantly!!!

Regular visitors include:
Two mated pairs of cardinals – one pair even decided to nest higher up in this same tree – guess they decided “hey, the eatin’s good here, why not?” They laid two eggs, one of which hatched in the last couple of days. The baby does not look like a cardinal yet, except with a telefoto lens you can see the black around his eyes. Pretty cool!
The purple finches – the red boys and their grayish-brown girls – arrived next after the cardinals. And they’re always here.
A group of the busiest, noisiest little house finches. There are about eight of them and they usually frequent the feeder together – it’s like a busy lunch counter in a diner!
Song sparrows and vesper sparrows – they’re harder to count. Also, they’re difficult to tell apart.
Two more-unique looking tufted titmouses (titmice?) – they’re very cute – they just have this soft appearance, white and gray with big black eyes and just a hint of yellow in their white feathers – they are very skittish! I’ve had ZERO luck getting pictures of them.
One morning I discovered a VERY LARGE (well, compared to the usual feeder crowd) bird feeding. He had a red mohawk and beautiful black and white feathers on his wings. Very striking. He also looks like a huge moose-butt compared to the rest. He has to hang his body under the feeder to eat. He comes back about once or twice a day during the evening – he usually scares everyone else off, then doesn’t stay too long. He’s a treat to watch. It took a while to identify him as a red-bellied woodpecker.
Within the last week or so, I’ve discovered two new visitors – a pair of white-breasted nuthatches. When they are startled, they usually fly to a nearby tree where I can still see them. They creep up and down the trunk of the tree. Also really striking looking birds with sharply defined gray and white area and long bills for their size.
The most recent new visitors have been a beautiful pair of American goldfinches. They are also VERY difficult to get on camera – they move too quickly.

Anyway, I’m very much enjoying the visitors and their changing “demographics,” so to speak.
Now, if I can just keep the chipmunks ON THE GROUND and out of the feeder itself!!!

In blog form…

Pick one or ten from the list of all the ways we convince ourselves that what we know/do/think is right….