Thursday, May 17, 2007

Travel, The Mob, Pea Soup

Gentle Reminder (no: Attention!): The “Blogger Habitats” post I am planning is steadily growing in size and I’m so happy about it! There are a few of my blogger friends I am still counting on to participate and you know who you are… I’ll be away for a few days and hope to see your submission in my mailbox when I return. Everyone is invited and details about it are listed at the end of this post. I want to show it by the end of the month so please humor me?



That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. We are heading to Maryland tomorrow morning for a few days to see my Dad in his nursing home and to visit with other family and friends. Reports are that Dad is doing well, but I need to confirm that for myself. I always feel apprehensive before I visit with him… A year ago, when I spent days at a time living with Dad and caring for him, he wasn’t sure who was feeding him dinner. What should I expect tomorrow? Sitting with a man who you know very well and trying to make familiar conversation is something I will never become comfortable with because I know, in my heart, he doesn’t know me anymore. Small talk is heartbreaking, too, because, fifty-two years of loving memories flood your mind while you are talking about absolutely nothing. My heart is already aching but I’ll try my best to be sure he smiles and enjoys the company.

Traveling with DH isn’t a party, either. He’s agenda-driven to a fault. On the road, there’s no chance of making left hand turns, or a U-turn (God forbid), for bathroom breaks, drinks, or gasoline. It’s gotta be a pit-stop. In and out. Right side of the road, only. When I’m driving, he fiddles with the buttons on my dash then finds a static talk radio station he likes, and I want to eject him.

Because I have this strange desire to leave a clean house, whether I am away for two days or two weeks, I’m home today with a list of 23 things to do. Does the pet-sitter care? No. But, I do.


Another dilemma. Pea soup. Bad pump. No ecosystem going on here. When the pond installer did the work, I asked, “Where’s the biological filter?” His reply had to do with adding beneficial bacteria once a month. Now I know that’s bull. It isn’t working. Now we have another summer project to work on… The pond is pretty and the fish are growing but major work is on the horizon. Sigh…


All of us have seen Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. Well, welcome to my house for the same view. Forgive me for complaining once again, but they remind me of “The Mob”. Unbeknownst to me, I spoiled the starlings and grackles.


When I thought I was lucky to see lifers in my yard, my field guide burst that bubble real fast! These juvenile delinquent starlings were released on probation. They peck and poke at the adult starlings and grackles and the adults give it back. Beak wars. The constant screeching and discontent drives me insane enough to go out there and give them all the back of my hand. I muster all the control I have to keep myself from running out there like a crazed lunatic with a broom to knock their shrieking heads off! Instead, I grit my teeth and slam the screen door. Hmmmpf.

My wonderful blogger friends have given me suggestions and I just bought safflower seed today. By the time I get back from my twenty+ hours in the car trip, the feeders will be dry and maybe they’ll relocate. I’m learning.


Even the mockers are testy and raced this poor red-bellied away from his suet into a tree where the hawks usually perch.

I haven’t even been carrying my camera very often lately because I just got tired of stalking and zipping in and out of hiding places. Sitting back and enjoying the view is almost as much fun. I will, however, review some nice things I have captured.
First of all, after a chilly snap last week, the hummers are back! I bought another new feeder and I’ve seen them visit during the past few days. No bird in this photo but stay tuned.


This was probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve done with a camera. A dragonfly is resting on my right-hand pointer finger. I tried to take a photograph with my left hand. Hopeless.


Miniature roses are near the pond. They’re growing so fast this year!

My little Chickadees still visit when the coast is clear.


Mr. Biggins is showing his part-Boxer heritage. The boy needs to see a doggie orthodontist.


This sweet Song Sparrow visits me often as do the lovely little Chipping Sparrows. The woodpeckers, goldfinches, and hummingbirds keep me looking, too.


I really need to get away from home for a while but these girls will make me want to come back to witness another “attack of the floor monster”. Really, I dread leaving them.

While I was uploading photos for this post, I sat back in my chair, heaved a heavy sigh, and looked to the right through the window to the front yard. I saw some tail feathers in a tree that I’ve seen before – back in February.


To Chloe and Bella I exclaimed, “Cedar Waxwings!” I grabbed the camera, tripped over the dogs, and nearly fell through the storm door to get one shot. There were five and I didn’t even have time to zoom.

I think I’ll start carrying my camera with me again… I needed that!


Tonight, I’ll pray to be blessed with an uplifting weekend. Without a computer before bedtime for the next few days, I’ll immerse myself in Anne Lamott’s “Traveling Mercies”. It’s a gift from a friend.


Cathy said...

Safe travels Mary. May your journey of the heart be safe, also. I just had lunch with girlfriends - all 60 and up. Life is sometimes no walk in the park.

I so know the dread of leaving precious pups - just think of all the pup kisses you'll get on your return:0)

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I understand your mixed feelings Mary. I think you know from my upbringing that I firmly believe that one day our families will be reunited in heaven and your Dad will be able to tell you that he loves you and that he knew you were there. Safe home Mary.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
May you have Orioles and comfort as you travel.
Sending blessings.
Bird songs and butterfly wings,

Anonymous said...

Try to enjoy your trip, Mary. Look at everything blooming and take as many bird photos as you can.
My mom has recently gone to a new stage in her life, and it is very hard for all of us.
Catch you when you get back!

Ruth said...

I will be thinking about you, Mary and pray that all goes well. Another group of good pictures! I was terrified by Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds when I was young. I rented it recently, and still could not watch it.

Susie said...

Believe me, I know how hard it is to see a loved one in a care home.
I'll be praying for safe travels for you. Your pond and bird photos are always a day brightener for me!!

Annie in Austin said...

Maybe your dad will know something is special when you are present, even if he doesn't have a way to express it. Your other family and friends must miss you! Good luck with the trip, Mary.

I'm not a good traveler, and to see our families it takes 1200 miles of driving/flying or 2200 miles of flying. But at least my husband will stop and we pick out a stack of CDs to alternate with NPR.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose
[sorry Mary - no photos of this place are going online!]

entoto said...

Have a safe journey.

I love your Carolina Chickadee and Cedar Waxwing. And the floor monster!

Come back with loads of stories for us.

KGMom said...

Quite a jumble of things in your life.
It is hard to watch our parents grow older, and more infirm.
And an agenda driven road trip is no fun.
Cleaning before you leave? OK.
You do need an uplifting weekend. I'll be thinking about you.

RuthieJ said...

Have a good trip Mary....I'll be thinking of you. Even though the journey will be hard, once you get home again, I hope you will be glad you took the time to go.
Cedar waxwings always cheer me up too!

Anonymous said...

Do have a safe trip and we will miss you! Did love your photos!

Anonymous said...

whoops, that previous comment was from me! Pushed publish too quickly! Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your time with your Dad, Mary. Maybe take him out someplace special and make some new memories to replace the ones that have been misplaced.


You do seem to have an awful lot going on down there! That beautiful potted plant is a great centerpiece for the backdrop of pea soup. Sorry for your pond woes - it's still gorgeous and so long as the fish and other wildlife are happy - who cares!

Be safe on your trip. Love the doggie pic - they are even more ferocious than my bunnies with the vacuum. lol!


Susan Gets Native said...

I am still giggling about your dragonfly picture. Does your camera have a macro function?
I thought you had a scorpion on your finger!

Have a good trip and try not to eject the DH.

Unknown said...

Have a safe trip! -llm.

Dorothy said...

Have a safe trip Mary!!! May your visit with your dad put some joy in your heart..
Enjoy your visit and your journey!

Jayne said...

Be safe Mary... would have commented sooner, but woke up with NO power this morning... ugh. Hugs to you dear friend. Enjoy Anne. :c)

nina at Nature Remains. said...

The library lady in me can't resist a suggestion for making your drive easier: check out a book on tape or CD.
Almost every popular writer has their works available this way, and for a trip of this sort, it's the perfect way to pass the miles.
We stock up whenever we travel monotonous roads--and sometimes when we arrive at our destination, we don't want to get out of the car!!

NatureWoman said...

I agree with Lynne, Mary. Safe travels to you, I'll be thinking of you with your Dad.
Those darned engineers (yup, even me) are so focused on getting the job done aren't they? My Dad was the same way, and I am, too, about travelling. Gotta get there NOW! You gotta pee, hold it until I need gas. Sorry Mary, it's the nature of the beast. I'm trying to be better with my Mom's help. I hope you don't eject your DH.

NatureWoman said...

Oh yeah, and I'm one of those embarassed bloggers who hasn't sent you my workspace photos yet because my workspace looks like a pig sty with all of the photo albums, photos, negatives, slides, letters, notebooks, etc. etc. I've been asked to scan in of my Dad for my family that is slowly getting done a little at a time. Hmmm, either I need to clean up my act or photograph my other less used workspace.

thailandchani said...

Oh, gee. You should have your camera with you always! My day isn't complete unless I come here and look at your photos.

Enjoy the book. It's a good one. :)



Larry said...

Have a safe trip-thanks for more great photos.-I like the term beak wars-lol

dmmgmfm said...

I don't think I'll have a chance to send you my habitat picture, although I could take a photo of my little space in Wolf's apartment. What do you think?


sonia a. mascaro said...

I hope you have a nice travel and that your Dad is fine!

Love all photos and I always laughed with your great sense of humor!

Cuppa said...

I am reading your blog a tad late, but am sending you heart hugs for the trip anyway even if the trip is half over.

I remember the heartache of visiting my ailing dad in a faraway city, and the trauma of it. When I was in the hospital I just wanted to go home, and when I was home, I felt like I needed to go back and visit. Unsettled is the perfect word to describe it.

Hang on, you are doing what you can and that is enough.

Mary said...

You all are Chicken Soup for the Soul. Thanks. I hope to catch up with everyone real soon.

kate said...

I hope your weekend is a restorative one ... I can understand the apprehension you feel before visiting your dad. It is tough ... he is and isn't the same person you grew up with.

Thank goodness we have flowers, birds, ponds and sunshine to lift and heal our spirits. Your pond looks great to my unpracticed eye as does the foliage surrounding it.

As always your birding pics are gorgeous ... your dragonfly attempt made me giggle... that's exactly something that appeals to me. Good going!!

dguzman said...

God, Mary--your posts just rock so freakin' hard. Beautiful photos! I too have done the left-handed blurry photo of my ring hand--not good.

As for your father, I went through the same thing with my grandpa, but it hurt much more to see my poor father try to talk to grandpa (his dad). It was one thing for grandpa not to know his Little Curly Girl, but seeing my dad remind his father of who he was and why he was visiting was just heart-breaking. I wish I could tell you it gets easier, but...

...and tell the DH to keep his radio-button-pressing hands to himself!