Thursday, June 16, 2011


About the time our plum tree blooms the bright colored Bullock’s Orioles come to visit.
I like the black eye liner this guy wears.

 We’ve had too much rain and too much cold this year.  
This weather isn’t even for the birds.

Another visitor I see in the late spring is the Western Tanager. 
I watch them from the window over my desk.

Sometimes they watch back.

 The red pigment in the face of the Western Tanager 
is rhodoxanthin, a pigment rare in birds.

 It must be acquired from the diet, presumably from insects 
that themselves acquire the pigment from plants.

These little guys eat wasps!  Something that hot would turn my face red.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

BICYCLE, BICYCLE (revisited)

A re-issue of a post from 2009.  Since this time said son has upgraded his bike and now goes riding at break-neck speeds with a group who casually put in 50 mile rides as an evening's entertainment.

“Mom, can I go with you on a bike ride?” Since he is over a foot taller and his legs much longer, I wasn’t sure how this would work. But, since he was interested in spending “quality time” with his mother I agreed. I told him the route I was planning to take, and that I wouldn’t care if he passed me and went on at his own speed.

For most of the ride we maintained a single-file steady pace. He had his music in his ears so he made LOUD comments. “Awesome sunrise! Cool horses!” The hills were a challenge. He was kind enough to wait for me at the top.

He was great about staying behind me. The last mile or so was a narrow bike path and a couple of blocks of neighborhood streets. “Hey, I’m going to try and make it home before this song is over!” In my mind he was listening to, "Fat bottomed girls, they'll be riding today, so look out for those beauties, oh yeah.” I let him go. I was already on the edge of exhaustion.

But my brain said, “Hey! He’s getting ahead of us! Don’t let him do that. Faster! Faster!
Legs and Lungs: Are you insane? This is a grandma’s body!
Brain: C’mon. You can’t let him beat us!
Eyes: Narrow bridge ahead! Slow Down! SLOW DOWN!
Nose: Aaaack! Bugs! A cloud of gnats! -- NO! I’ve sucked some inside.
Eyes: There’s a bug behind our glasses. Don’t let it get us!
Nose: I’m sending these aliens down to the mouth.
Mouth: What am I supposed to do with flying bugs? Hawuuuuccck.
Brain: No spitting! Be a lady.
Mouth: Ptewwy.
Eyes: Ewwwww!
Legs and Lungs: We’re dying here!
Eyes: RAILROAD TRACK! A—rr---rrr—gh—H!!!!
The dear boy was two blocks away by now. I came to my senses and slowed to a reasonable pace. He had his helmet off and was pulling the music out of his hears when I coasted into the driveway. “Made it! The song is just finishing!”

(more off-color lyrics), then, “Fat bottomed girls you make the rockin’ world go round.”

Monday, June 13, 2011


Ninety days ago, on March 15, I was in surgery for two and a half hours.

It was three days before I was recovered enough to go home. 
This was one time I really needed that wheel chair to get me to the car.

Today I rode my bicycle over the speed limit down the hill past that hospital.

Last week I was jumping on the king sized bed in our motel with absolutely no problems.

My surgeons did an incredible job.  I find the human body’s ability to heal itself astounding.

Photos (except for the bicycle) taken at a wetlands game reserve near here.