Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

Real Life and Writing

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Real life is so so so so in the way of my other life: The one in my head, that I imagine living, and that I actually do live every once in a while. The one where I ride bikes with my sister, walk on the beach, read a lot, and laugh til my stomach hurts. I got to live it for a few days last week, with the girls, on Tybee. Pics of that to come, maybe later today, maybe tomorrow. I have told myself I will get back to writing on my blog daily, but sometimes I have big ideas, and then don’t have the time to put them down on the page. I used to fill those spaces with the little gems – pictures of the kids, the dog, a link to something I love. Now those things invariable get tweeted or Facebook-posted. I am going to try to make sure they go on the blog again, because they are also part of who I am, and I’d like to see them categorized and archived. I miss them being in “my place.”

Today’s gem is an interview with Diana Gabaldon, via Authors Road. (Embedding disabled, so you will have to follow the link if you want to see it. Note: it’s 30 minutes! Poor Todd had to listen over my shoulder this morning. Also, this video is really only for those interested in the writing craft, Diana Gabaldon novels, or raven sculptures. (That last one is really just myself and Vanessa.)) She is one of my favorite writers, mostly because she created a crazy series that defies categorization, but also because she reminds me a bit of myself.

My favorite part of the interview, other than the awesome parts about how she actually writes? The fact that she loved Trixie Belden books as a girl. I <3 Trixie Belden.

“Don’t you wish that the Bob-Whites could just go on and on as we are now, just the same age as we are now?”

Trixie Belden, The Mystery of the Missing Heiress

Wow. I should really write about Trixie Belden one day.

Back to real life!

Love,
Dogwood Girl

The View from the Golf Cart

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Or: Of Friends, Sunset, Stars, Beach, Deer, Beer & Gator

I went to Fripp Island this past weekend with a bunch of girls from my Bunco group. (I wrote about them a couple of other times, like here and here.) They go to a beach house on Fripp for Mother’s Day every year. Can you think of a better Mother’s Day gift? Neither can I.

This was the first year I went, and while i did not feel 100%, and I didn’t get to go the whole four nights, and I did get my first speeding ticket since 1988 (I know the year, because I told the cop i hadn’t gotten a speeding ticket since i was sixteen, and he said, YOU WERE SIXTEEN IN 1988?! and I wasn’t sure whether he thought i was lying or he thought I was hot. I also know because I remember that Pierce, Mark, and Lisa were all with me at the time, and we were at the lake house. Side note: Mom and dad, what were you thinking sending the four of us off in a car together? Are you nuts?)

What was I talking about?

Oh, yeah. Bunco Mom’s trip. It was a blast. Megan hosted and the house is awesome and didn’t feel crowded at all, even with over ten people there.

When we got there, I needed a drink. (see aforementioned ticket.) So, i put my stuff down, poured a margarita and the rest is history!

It rained all day Friday, so it was really chilly on the beach, even before sunset. We took our drinks hopped in the golf cart (do you know how much i love golf carts?) and headed to the beach. Where we proceeded to drink and talk and be chilly. Then we headed back to the house and peed, before heading out to see the sunset, which is kinda their tradition, as I understand it. (You know me, pour me a drink and put me on a golf cart and say you’re taking me to the end of the island to watch the sunset, and I am in, even if you are a serial killer.)

Here’s some of us with the golf cart waiting on the sunset.

Emily, Jenn, Robin, Megan, and Moi

Emily, Jenn, Robin, Megan, and Moi

Here’s Megan, the hostess with the mostess.

Megan

Megan

And me being a little goofy. (Margaritas, duh.)

I can't tell you what Megan said that made my face do that.

I can't tell you what Megan said that made my face do that.

And then finally the sunset.

One of two amazing sunsets I saw while on Fripp.

One of two amazing sunsets I saw while on Fripp.

And another

So, after the sunset, we went back to the house to have dinner. Dinners with friends are so much more enjoyable than dinners with my kids. And then, it also always tastes better when someone else cooks it. (Learned that from my wise Mama.)

After that, i think we headed back out in the golf carts to see the stars on the dark end of the island (amazing) and more importantly, to play Deer Beer. It goes like this: See a deer, sip your beer. See a male deer, take two drinks. See a gator, finish your beer and run like hell! I totally enjoyed the golf cart tour and the company, and the stars and was not even disappointed at a dearth of deer and gator. There is no feeling like looking up at the stars from an unlit spot. I love it. Even if you can’t see the gators lurking.

After that, it was back to the porch for some late night Apples to Apples action. Evidently, Lucy feels I am “too literal” in my apples to apples interpretations. This is funny, because before we quit due to drunkenness and exhaustion, one of us had more green cards, and it wasn’t Lucy.

LateNight

In the mornings, coffee on the porch. (Perhaps my single most favoritest activity in the world.)

Morning

Then, off to the beach! I had only one day there and it is very important to maximize beach time. Sunscreen at the beach is tres importante, aussi. So is champagne.
champagne
That’s Megan applying sunscreen to her champagne-drinking sister, Kristen. Kristen, the only non-mom in attendance, is moving to Bahrain and plans to marry a Bahraini Sheik, and we are all invited to the wedding.

Lucy might have been a little overzealous with the sunscreen, but it was cute.
Sunscreen Lucy

So, after a whole day on the beach, wherein we drank and ate our weight in alcohol and Spicy Thai Kettle Chips, all the while solving all the problems of the world, and looking at every People Magazine written since February, we headed in for showers and the sunset viewing.

Here is Lucy driving the limo cart with Stacey, Monica and . . Ashley. Hard to see. All you need to know is that it was the slowest golf cart in all of God’s Creation (God loves golf!) and it had nothing to do with being weighted down by a full cooler.
Lucy, Stacy, and Monica (and who)

On the way, we ran across this big guy. Picture doesn’t do it justice, but if I were to have lain down next to him, he would still have a good foot on me. I thought the picture was funny, because I was still in the golf cart and when he came across the pond at these girls, it would be all “objects in viewfinder are closer than they appear” and i would have the gator dinner on camera, and then I would floor it, because I am a coward. Also, out of view are the family of three deer about 20 feet away from him.
Gator

The sunset thing is not a bad idea: Spending every night taking a moment to note the passing of day into night, the sun disappearing behind the horizon so quickly, just a symbol of our fleeting time on this earth. . . What? No, i don’t do that anymore.

Mostly, I stand around and take pictures of people at sunset because it makes me look like a better photographer than i am. Like Stacey. Windblown Stacey.
Windblown Stacey

Or Megan and Monica. Aren’t they just glowing?
More pretty girls

Lucy, Jenn, and Ashley. . .
Pretty Girls

Or the boardwalk from which we watched the sun set.
The boardwalk

And a final sunset, because that is my current happy place.
Sunset over the marsh

Oh, and right before we left, we heard a Whippoorwill. I never hear those at home.

I had a great time and can’t wait to go again. (Assuming i am invited, as I didn’t break anything.) It was so awesome to get away for a while, and actually be able to relax. Also, Beer. And Beach. And wonderful conversation.

Oh, and I had a great drive back, too, with Lucy. We ate oysters on the way out of town, because that’s what you do. Good times!

Life really is just better at the beach, especially if you’re with friends, sipping a cold one, having someone drive your lazy ass around seeing the view from the golf cart.

Akumal & Tulum

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Todd took me to Akumal for our tenth anniversary. It was great, except that I got really sick (sinus infection) and had to go to the doctor. So, i spent more time dealing with Doctor crap than enjoying myself (all of my first day, then almost two hours the second day, and a quick visit on our last day there), but it was still great. Beautiful place. We had never done an all-inclusive before, but i have to say that it was pretty awesome. It is nice to not have to deal with the money stuff (except for the doctor, which is NOT included, unfortunately).

View from the plane over Cancun. The reason i am able to take photos like this from the plane window is that i pop Xanax like candy before and during the flight so as not to give in to my fear and run up and down the aisles screaming, "We're going down! We're all gonna die!"

View from the plane over Cancun. The reason i am able to take photos like this from the plane window is that i pop Xanax like candy before and during the flight so as not to give in to my fear and run up and down the aisles screaming, We're going down! We're all gonna die!


This is where we stayed. Love that towel duck we got every day. Except one day, it was a bunny instead. Talk about messing with my head people!

This is where we stayed. Love that towel duck we got every day. Except one day, it was a bunny instead. Talk about messing with my head people!


Little Coati dude. These are all over the resort and, of course, I got total Coati Tourette's whenever I saw one.

Little Coati dude. These are all over the resort and, of course, I got total Coati Tourette's whenever I saw one.


Lobby at the resort. Or one of the lobbies. There are three.

Lobby at the resort. Or one of the lobbies. There are three.


My feet. At the Pool. Good stuff.

My feet. At the Pool. Good stuff.


Todd was enamored of the many different types of Tequila offered at the hotel bar. I think he tried them all. I abstained. Because Tequila in large amounts makes me howl at the moon.

Todd was enamored of the many different types of Tequila offered at the hotel bar. I think he tried them all. I abstained. Because Tequila in large amounts makes me howl at the moon.


Waiting to eat some cheesy Japanese Steakhouse dinner, but dang, it was really good.

Waiting to eat some cheesy Japanese Steakhouse dinner, but dang, it was really good.

Honestly, the food, other than the steakhouse, was not stellar, but it was not bad either.

Sadly, this marketplace at our resort is the place at which I spent more time than any other location at the resort, because it is also where my good friends the Doctor and Doctora are located.

Sadly, this marketplace at our resort is the place at which I spent more time than any other location at the resort, because it is also where my good friends the Doctor and Doctora are located.

After trying the doctor that second morning (I needed another antibiotic shot), we took off for Tulum. We decided to drive (we rented a car) because those tour bus deals are just not our scene. I was glad. It is fun to explore and be on your own time. It also allowed us to check out Tulum proper (there is a town there, in addition to the ruins) and to grab ourselves some stuff at a local grocery store. Highly recommend the rental option if you like to explore. The roads were good and the driving was pretty easy there.

These guys crack me up. They are EVERYWHERE at Tulum, just hanging out. Very funny.

These guys crack me up. They are EVERYWHERE at Tulum, just hanging out. Very funny.


This building was one of my faves of the smaller ones. You could still see the paint from these really old murals - so cool!

This building was one of my faves of the smaller ones. You could still see the paint from these really old murals - so cool!


Hard to imagine what this must have looked like 200 years ago, or a 1000 years ago. Amazingly beautiful place. Also made me feel like I was either in the game Myst, or at Tikal with Indiana Jones and Sophia. ("Sophia, Let's Talk." "This is Crab Central.")

Hard to imagine what this must have looked like 200 years ago, or a 1000 years ago. Amazingly beautiful place. Also made me feel like I was either in the game Myst, or at Tikal with Indiana Jones and Sophia. (Sophia, Let's Talk. This is Crab Central.)


Me and Todd at Tulum. We swam below this later, in that very blue water.

Me and Todd at Tulum. We swam below this later, in that very blue water.


Todd at Tulum

Todd at Tulum


Here is me traipsing over rocks at Tulum. Seconds later a lady busted ass on the same rocks. I did not laugh.

Here is me traipsing over rocks at Tulum. Seconds later a lady busted ass on the same rocks. I did not laugh.


After the ruins, we had lunch at this little place. Simple tacos. And beer. Good stuff.
These pigs made us laugh. Kind of reminded us of BBQ signs with happy pigs on them that you find throughout the South. You know, the ones with a pig on them, wearing a chef hat or a halo and wings, holding a spatula and smiling real big? As if to say, Come on, Yall! Come eat me!

These pigs made us laugh. Kind of reminded us of BBQ signs with happy pigs on them that you find throughout the South. You know, the ones with a pig on them, wearing a chef's hat or a halo and wings, holding a spatula and smiling real big? As if to say, Come on, Y'all! Come eat me!


This little old-school Coca Cola awning at a restaurant at Tulum made me a little tiny bit homesick. And then I remembered i had no kids with me and i was in Mexico, and I got over it.

This little old-school Coca Cola awning at a restaurant at Tulum made me a little tiny bit homesick. And then I remembered i had no kids with me and i was in Mexico, and I got over it.

After lunch, we headed to the cenotes. I admit that i felt so under the weather that I almost begged Todd to skip it, but I’m glad I didn’t, because it was my favorite part of the trip. We failed to bring an underwater camera with us, so there are no pics of the Cenotes. We went to this place called Hidden Worlds. You can take a gander here. They take you out in the jungle on a truck that can only be explained as looking like something out of Mad Max. You stand up in it (if you want to ride comfortably) and then bump over miles of hard, rocky, rough roads in this truck with an exposed engine. Complete deathtrap. I loved it. Then we put on snorkel gear and went down this very steep ladder and we were in a cave (cenote) and off into the water.

It was amazing. At points, the stalagmites (tites?) came down all the way to the water and you had to weave your way through to get to the other side. Definitely not for the claustrophobic. There were fish and we had these high power flashlights and we used them to see when we were deep in the caves. Lucky for us, it was just me and T and the guide. He took us into some parts that they don’t take large groups into, and we did fun stuff like sit in the dark caves and turn out all the lights. It is so dark you literally cannot see your hand in front of your face. Bats swoop when you light them up. And then we came out on the other side and saw these amazing birds! Again, i didn’t get a really good look at them, or a photo (disappointing) but it was amazing to see them.

We spent our last day at the beach.

Yes, I finally got to spend one wonderful day on this beautiful beach. Fish swam all around us and it was absolutely crystal clear.

Yes, I finally got to spend one wonderful day on this beautiful beach. Fish swam all around us and it was absolutely crystal clear.

That night we had dinner, then wandered, people watching and then checked out a free show. It was a Michael Jackson impersonator. It was awful. And funny.

Michael Jackson show at our resort. OMG. It was so funny that I could only take two songs and then we had to leave.

Michael Jackson show at our resort. OMG. It was so funny that I could only take two songs and then we had to leave.


. . . So that we could do our best MJ impersonations on the sidewalk outside. I am doing the moonwalk. Yep.

. . . So that we could do our best MJ impersonations on the sidewalk outside. I am doing the moonwalk. Yep.


Todd is doing that other MJ move. Awesome.

Todd is doing that other MJ move. Awesome.

The next day, we got up and packed and went into Akumal proper for lunch on the way to the airport. It is REALLY nice, with some beautiful homes all around the bay and great snorkeling. I could handle a rental there on the beach in Akumal.

Our last meal, in Akumal

Our last meal, in Akumal

And then we came back to the Real World. The End.

p.s. Huge shout out to my parents, The Big C and Virginia, and my Sis, who took care of the kiddos (and The Precious, Q) while we were gone. Round of applause also goes out to awesome neighbor, Lauren, who helped them out. Y’all are the best!

Good Day Sunshine

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Woke up yesterday with a slight headache, but once I had lunch I felt fine. Spent the whole day outside with the family. Todd (finally) put up my Bulldog bird feeder. I moved Eddie Rabbit back to the edge of the treeline in the backyard, so that he will peek out at us on the patio. We cleaned the patio off, and I moved my new planters where I wanted them. We put out more birdfeed. Checked on the hydrangea I put in (it was one of my birthday gifts). Hung some wind chimes. Todd cleared out a huge section of our ivy and some ugly bushes (no idea what they are, but neither of us particularly like them). Talked about ideas for bed plantings in the future. Looked at bulbs starting to poke up through the ground. Oohed and aahhhed over the yellow crocus popping up around my Redbud. Picked up sticks. Poured pea gravel in the walk near the garage where we get a lot of runoff.

All the while, the kiddos ran around doing a “scavenger hunt” in the yard that I set up before we started. Then, Todd showered and we took the kids to St. Bede’s for some bike riding. One thing I hate about my house is that my street is a cut-through and jerks drive over the hill two houses up from me so fast that the kids wouldn’t have time to get out of the way of a car speeding. Our driveway is too steep to really ride. So, we take them to the park, or to the cul-de-sac up the street to ride. St. Bede’s is the best, though. A large, flat, shaded parking lot where the kids can ride in big sweeping circles. Rollie has gotten great at riding without the training wheels and Tiller is a daredevil with her training wheels. She almost flips that bike over three or four times whenever we take her out. It is gut-wrenching and thrilling to watch them.

Came back home, had a beer while grilling chicken and asparagus, and then ate that with scalloped potatoes. Yum.

Good day. My kids watched ZERO television yesterday. I LOVE warm weather.

My Free Stuff Haul

Friday, February 19th, 2010

So, i like estate sales. Mostly, i dig old stuff. (Nikki, I know you’re with me.) I also love to dig through other people’s stuff. It’s a sickness. A goatman sickness.

I dropped Tills off at school last Friday, and it was supposed to snow that afternoon, and it was colder than a well-digger’s you-know-what, but I just couldn’t help it when i saw that sweet, sweet poster board with “Estate Sale” on it. I had to drop in.

They had some decent stuff, like the dollar Vince Dooley print I bought as a housewarming gift for my Daddy, and the awesome bird pillows (Yellow Warbler and Towhee!) But it was those magic words that really drew me in.

Free.

As in, “Honey, you can have anything in that backyard you want for free. You just have to haul it off.

These words would strike fear in the heart of Todd if he heard them uttered in front of me. Me? I took it as a dare.

So, here I am in the low-30s weather, out in some stranger’s backyard, fighting an older Italian woman for garden ornaments. Luckily, our tastes really didn’t meet anywhere in the middle, so we were able to divvy up everything out there in about one minute, then we started figuring out how the heck we were going to get it out to our cars.

Those suckers were heavy.

I ended up having to go home, get a wheelbarrow, bring it back and get Todd to meet me during lunch to help me and Pina (my Italian buddy). He is a good husband. He puts up with me, and my junk problem, and he even enables, er, supports me in the endeavor. Most of the time, anyway.

This is what we got:

There is also a plant hook thing (one of those metal things you stick in the ground with two hooks, for holding hanging baskets or bird feeders), a beat up birdhouse, and a folk-arty looking set of wind chimes. Yeah!

Since then, I also went to my parents, where they gave me one of my grandfather’s old clocks (Pop collected clocks), Grandma’s old bread box (white-painted metal with a red trim – so cute!), and an old handmade rolling pin. (Yes, Annelle, I bake. Once a year. Christmas cookies.)

I think Todd’s patience is wearing thin. I better put all this stuff away before I bring anymore in. Wish me luck.

At the Birdfeeder

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

I think this guy is a Baltimore Oriole, and a male, based on what i read on my Peterson’s Bird guide for the IPhone. Second day in a row I’ve seen one! So glad I moved my feeder to my sink window. I spend half my life there washing dishes anyway, so might as well nerd out on birds while I’m there.

Homemade Suet Recipe

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

I’m making Walter Reeves’ recipe for homemade suet for my winged friends. Don’t want them going hungry in the snow, and i love the variety of birds a suet feeder gives me.

He also has a neat idea for making your own feeder. Not going to undertake that today. . . .

The Bigass Bulldog Birdhouse Birthday

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Why, yes . . . yes, I did get a $100 dollar Georgia Bulldog birdhouse for my birthday. Funny story behind that, which I will get to in a moment. But first, I have to say that I had a lovely morning, getting to sleep late, which for people with kids means eight a.m. (Screw you, childless folk.)

I woke up to Todd and Tiller climbing in bed with me (Rollie had already caught the bus), and Todd doing a darn good version of The Beatles’ “Birthday,” with Tiller grinning like a cheshire cat and a cup of coffee materializing on my bedside table.

Coffee. In. Bed.

Then I was informed that I should finish my coffee get dressed and go downstairs. I did, and I found this:

Hundred dollar Georgia Bulldog birdhouse with hydrangea and cards.

Hundred dollar Georgia Bulldog birdhouse with hydrangea and cards.

I was a little caught off guard. That is one big ass bulldog birdhouse. Did the Tiger husband really buy me a bulldog birdhouse? Is this a joke? (Also, let’s be honest. While I am a bulldog fan, I don’t want to be those people. You know, the ones who have UGA everything. That being said, if those folks at the lake ever die, I am so going to try to buy their huge Bulldog statue they have in front of their cabin, right on the lake.)

We opened the very sweet cards from the kids and Todd, and I oohed and aahhed over the birdhouse and the hydrangea. I asked Todd, “Am i really allowed to put the birdhouse in the yard?” It seemed to pain him as he replied, “yes, baby, you just tell me where.”

“Where on earth did you get it?” I asked.

“Echo’s garage!” Tiller replied with glee. “Echo” is what Tiller calls Mr. Echols, the old man who lives next door to us. Some things you just don’t correct, because they are too cute.

I stared at Todd and then the truth came out.

Mr. Echols likes to show us stuff in his yard. He has a friend, who made him a couple of birdhouses, huge wooden deals, kind of more on the side of what Todd and I call, “Country Christian” or “Ducks in Bonnets” style than cool and funky folk art Finster-style birdhouses. Meaning, not exactly what I would choose, but neat enough.

So, Echo was showing Todd the birdhouses and telling him about the friend who makes them, and all the different styles he makes. “He also makes Georgia Bulldog birdhouses,” he said.

Todd replied, “Oh, Anne would love that!” Being polite, you know.

So, a few days before Christmas, Mr. Echols pulled Todd aside to show him my new birdhouse. That’s right. He just went ahead and had the guy make me the birdhouse. FOR A HUNDRED DOLLARS.

Todd had already bought me Christmas gifts, and he didn’t want to hurt Echo’s feelings, so he decided the birdhouse would be my birthday gift.

And what a gift it is. . . I will never look at that birdhouse without thinking that my husband, the Auburn Tiger, is sweet enough to just cough up the hundred bucks so as not to hurt Echo’s feelings, and that he loves me enough to put up a bigass Bulldog backyard birdhouse for me.

Already this birthday is pretty bitchin.’ Thanks, Toddler!

A Solstice Story

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

As i mentioned briefly in another post, I have been a little stressed out. A little anxious. Todd and I decided to go to the lake this weekend to blow off some steam and relax. And by relax, I mean relaxing in the time-honored Palmer way, which is to work your ass off to near-exhaustion performing manual labor.

We went down Saturday afternoon and got there in time to warm the place up. (It was 40-something degrees when we walked in.) Todd started some yard work, the kids ran around like wild animals (a good thing), and I started some John Maghetti for dinner. After it was on, the sun was setting, so I grabbed a couple of beers for Todd and I, and went outside to play with the kids, watch Rollie hit the tennis ball with Todd (no we don’t have a tennis court), and shoot some pictures and enjoy my favorite time of day at the lake.

We took photos and ran around, then went inside and ate dinner while watching Elf. You can’t beat John Maghetti, and the fire going, and belly-laughing at Elf with your husband and kids for stress relief. Honest to God, I just about bust a gut when Buddy says to Jovi, “It’s just nice to meet another human that shares my affinity for elf culture.” That is some good stuff. Just kills me. I also love that Rollie would laugh along with me and think it was hysterical just because we thought it was hysterical.

So, we got up yesterday and had breakfast and then Todd and I worked in the yard all day long, cutting shrubbery back to tame the wilds and pulling vines out of high pine trees, and tearing mistletoe from dogwood. And the kids played. Now, usually they play and then fight for a while, then play some more. This was almost pure playing. Almost zero fighting. Just running around, and rosy cheeks, and noses running and then wiping their snot on their sleeves, and yelling to hear their echoes across the lake, and tiller being the master of all the dogs in the area – Choco, and Josie, and Quint all a swirling mass of furriness following her around. They threw rocks and earned two dollars hauling clippings up to the burn pile. We were all cold when we started, and then warmed up with play and work.

I felt tired but good. We worked til we just about fell out and it started getting dark. We made two absolutely huge piles of limbs and vines and leaves to be burned. We had windburn on our cheeks and blisters on our feet, and scrapes and sappy fingers.

And I had no anxiety.

We cleaned up and took showers and had a couple of beers. We warmed by the fire. We went to town with the kids and had pizza and then to WalMart to let them spend their two dollars. We went home and tucked in two tired kids and Todd let me watch four episodes of Friday Night Lights.

And I had no anxiety.

Todd went to bed during the last episode of FNL. I guess he just couldn’t take the mental turmoil of Saracen and Riggins, and Coach and Tami, and the rigors of living the west Texas high school football life. Or maybe he was just tired. I was fifteen minutes from midnight. I had places to be.

I opened a last beer and made that “let’s go outside to pee” sound that I make to the dog at night. I think i got that one from my Daddy. Some of you know the sound. Quint struggled to his feet (he is old and has arthritis), while I put on a hat and a sweatshirt and my old wool plaid barn jacket that I leave at the lake because it is ugly, but I love it and still like to wear it.

I went down to the lake, and purposely left the lights out so that I could see the stars. I debated getting a ladder out and trying to disable the damn security light, but a) I had consumed at least six beers at that point, and I’d probably fall off the ladder and b) Dad would see the light was out and I’d end up back up the ladder fixing the damn thing within weeks.

It was clear. I thought to myself, “Which way is East?

Easy. I had seen so many sunrises over that side of the lake, mornings fishing with Pop and Dad, up before dark, Grandma making me a thermos of hot sugar and milk with a drop of coffee, that I knew it by heart. I sat down on the far side of the dock, back to the pontoon and the power plant, on the narrow walk. I sat cross-legged, Indian style, criss-cross applesauce. I tucked a hand in my wool plaid pocket. Occasionally, I switched off hands in the pocket and hands on the beer. Mostly, I gazed up at a clear winter sky, and looked for meteors.

Quint came to sit near me. He wouldn’t lie down. He stared at me. He wondered what the fuck we were doing out in the cold midnight, when we could be on the couch near the fire. I saw it in his eye and the attention and cock of his ears.

I shushed him and rubbed his cold ears. I looked out across a glass-like lake, not a ripple on it, with no wind in the trees. i heard the plant occasionally, and wished I couldn’t hear it. I imagined what it would have sounded like on a lake with no power, what it would be like with nothing but natural light, the light of stars and moons. I couldn’t. There were Christmas lights across the lakes. I heard geese, and nothing else. I saw a couple of planes, the only other sign of life in this strange December 20th night. One day before Winter Solstice, ushered in by the Ursids.

The lake was so calm that I could see the reflection of the brightest stars on its surface. And oh, the stars!

A blanket of stars in a swath across the eastern sky, for me and me only, reflected on my lake. It was five after midnight. No meteors yet. And then there was one. And then it was gone.

I sat for almost an hour, sipping my beer slowly, staring at the sky until my eyes grew tired. I would see a shooting star and it would be gone, and I felt that familiar star-gazing feeling of relief that I was really seeing something, and awe that I knew to look that night, that man has learned so much about something so boundless.

I wondered about the other folks who might be out looking up that same night, the night before the Winter Solstice. And yet I was so alone, just me and my dog. I could slip into the lake and no one would ever find me. I stood and walked back to land. I stood there at the edge of the lake shivering, Quint sitting patiently at my side, and told myself I would go in when I saw the next meteor.

I saw it, streaking across the sky, and then it was gone. I went inside and crawled into bed with my husband and I was happy and satisfied and feeling small and big all at the same time.

And I had no anxiety.

I’m Back!

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

And still alive. So is Pop. Spent the week at the lake with Dad, the kids, Lisa, Dash, Mom, and the three pups. Todd worked his butt off in Atlanta.

Seeing Pop was hard. I know he knew me, but couldn’t tell me my name. Mom and Dad are hanging in there. The kids and i took full advantage of the great weather. I worked at the lake (mowing, getting rid of junk piles that have been there for thirty years, tearing down that deathtrap of a swing set that my grandfather made when i was about three) while the kids swam. We took breaks to tear up the lake on the JetSki. Okay, I tore it up. The kids took leisurely tours with Mama, looking for goats on Goat Island, spying cool long-legged birds, and looking for the strange aeries in the tops of the power lines. Hopefully some knowledgeable birder can tell me what the heck bird lives up there! For the time being, the party line is that Big Bird’s southern cousin, Bubba Bird, lives up there.

And another thing, I really want a GPS thingie for geo-cacheing. I know that is geeky, but there are caches all over the lake and what better way to go look for them than on the JetSki. And yeah, I want a fancy Garmin for running too. Can i use the same one for both purposes, i wonder? Hmmm. Something to look into.

Snake count: 0 (Yes! A great count for almost a week there.)

We did get a little sunburned this morning. I thought i had us covered. This is your heads up that you should be buying stock in that spray sunscreen; I used four cans this week.

And I know, skin cancer, blahblahblah, but is there anything better than that feeling of having spent the day in the sun, being active the whole time, climbing all over boats and jetskis, in and out of the water, and just plain feeling waterlogged. I didn’t even miss my computer. And the Fat Tire I am drinking now tastes better than I could have imagined.

Still working on race report.