Sunday, August 2, 2015

Part 1 - The beginning is still the beginning

Nearly every year on my blog, there has been mention of my plight with the barn swallows involving various degrees of both lunacy and success. This year things sort of spiraled a bit for us, and I became so concerned about how the tale was unfolding in our lives, and when I would have a complete story to tell, that I lost sight of the fact that the story still needed to start at the beginning. Now months have gone by, and the point at which to start is still pretty much the same, so let's go there, shall we? (If you need more background into my history with barn swallows, there are posts here, here, here and a little over here.)

I may have been slightly off my game this past spring. This could be due in part to the fact that on April twelfth...
...we were still unsure as to whether or not spring was actually going to arrive. As time passed by and the weather warmed up, I convinced myself that the barn swallows had found a better place to build their homestead. There were some tree swallows bothering a few of the neighbors by building simple nests in mailboxes while I just scoffed from the safety of my uninhabited porch. It may be worth mentioning that I had purchased new chairs for the porch and pondered whether the bright colored cushions were keeping my fine feathered nemeses at bay. (That was probably only worth noting if I was trying to give further evidence of my often fuzzy logic.)

"Hey, I like your new furniture!"

"What? She got new furniture?"
"Yeah, couldn't you see the color from like really far away? Like a signal, almost!"

I kept a close watch on things, and repeatedly shouted random indications that I was not interested in whatever these swoopers had to offer. My efforts proved to be as ineffective as one of our remaining deterrents from a previous struggle...
Cliffside living. Yep, that is what these exceptions to the barn swallow rules of nest building were all about. Apparently they were not discouraged by the previous season's building debris. 

 "We're baaaaaaaaack!" 
(and the flash makes us creepier than ever)

I alerted the Lord of the Outdoors and handed him the tin foil. Now sure, I have heard that if you want something done right, you should do it yourself. However, I also thought practice made perfect, so I guess I was expecting artfully crafted tin foil swans strategically displayed as the ultimate warning that we meant business. Why am I such a slow learner?
 Really? Okay, well that would suffice...
 …IF WE DIDN'T HAVE MORE THAN ONE CORNER ON OUR PORCH! Come on! What a rookie mistake, as if this was our first rodeo. Glad someone was amused...
"Shut your squawking face."

This seems like a logical stopping point for today…stay tuned!

Hey, remember when there used to be that Superhero Sunday thing around here? Well, let me tell you, it took superhero powers to force myself to sit my rear end down in a chair and actually work on this post that has been taunting me. Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An order of random, heavy on the photos!

We were on vacation in Cape Cod! If I had known what day it was at any point last week, I might have posted some of these last Tuesday.

The fishing was a little…

…well those fish are just little, and perhaps one has just a touch of the rigor mortis, but that didn't cause us to make waves...

(Seriously though, where were the waves that day?)

We tried not to be crabby…

(Clearly we embarrassed him.)
…even though some things were bugging us.
(One of my many kills, as I have never seen the green heads out in such force.)
I learned how to take panoramic photos on my phone. This does not serve as proof of that.

Flat Lillian and Flat Kari were there!
  We had treats!
Black raspberry chocolate chip yogurt…yummmm
Onion rings!
 We could barely share our onion rings with each other, let alone this intrusive seagull!
Maybe he could go find some Twizzlers like his friend did…mmm, Twizzlers!

My new favorite sign!

The day after we returned home from Cape Cod, we shuffled off to Buffalo for an overnight. Suffice to say, the re-entry into whatever the current state of normal is here at home has me moving at a pace much like this one...
(My husband found this guy in his mother's yard. The rare Buffalo Snail?)

Stacy Uncorked

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Back to random nature

I just realized that Tuesday had not completely passed me by. We successfully hosted my son's graduation party over the weekend, and as I perused my days of to-do lists, I realized that the kitchen floor never got cleaned. Outrageous, I know! It is amazing what people will overlook if you put out enough food to distract them. "Have another cookie! Eyes up here, please."

The other night when I was having trouble falling back to sleep, I started to think about our son leaving for college. One of my first considerations for how to best deal with the inevitable sadness was "maybe in the morning I will ask Siri how to handle this". Suffice to say, I have not checked in with her yet. (This is only due in part to the fact that I would have to ask my kids for help in getting a hold of her, and my iphone ineptness has caused them enough shame as it is.)

Frogs and toads give me the eebie jeebies. It is something about the way they sneak up on a person, and the whole hopping thing. I am not sure what kind of range they have, and find them unpredictable. As a result, this sighting almost caused me to exile myself from the family camp for the rest of the summer.
These ducks tried to lure me back in by making the new swimming platform look so inviting, although the seaweed tried to negate the good vibes.
Just when I started to look forward to grabbing a Twizzler (required camp snack) and a comfy lounge chair, I saw this picture that my mother posted on facebook... 
DEAD BAT ON THE CAMP DRIVEWAY! Gadzooks! Someone commented that it might just be Donald Trump's hair. I have been vacillating between being afraid of running into a live bat and being concerned about what killed this one. ICK!

We have taken our one with nature selves to the ocean, far from the batty camp near home. This little dead fish interrupted our search for heart shaped rocks, but was not overly terrifying. (We artfully placed him on the rock for a photo shoot, for no good reason whatsoever.)

On that note, the minutes are running out of this Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Randomly waiting

While you were patiently waiting... 
...for this week's random, I was juggling a series of tasks, distractions and procrastinations. I didn't even remember to eat any m&m's. I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Random ReCap and Gown

I showered and got dressed, in a dress no less. My pasty white chicken legs blended in, or may have even paled, against my new white shoes. My hair was fine. This was the big time, and I was confident that I had done well enough for the supporting role I was to be featured in. I stared down the mascara tube and decided "I've got this" and waved that dark brown across my dry lashes.

I had been walking past various parts of his gradation get-up for a couple of weeks…slowly desensitizing myself. A cap here, a cord there, the gown hanging in their bathroom in hopes of the shower steam taking care of the wrinkles. "Photos! We must make a first attempt at photos!" The glance into the camera's viewfinder was the first time I paused to truly take him in…

…in all of his goofy and sun-glared glory. Yes, this was a very special day, but this was still my boy. Take that mascara, as I still had this.

We survived the car ride downtown, got a parking spot, finally found some seats that were relatively acceptable, endured a forty-five minute wait for the main event and then…an announcement of the ceremony being moments away and something about bagpipes. Oh, there is something about bagpipes. Before I could finish texting one of my lifelines, the overhead lights were turned off and a spotlight shone on an amazing woman, who collectively spent six years teaching orchestra to my kids in middle school, all decked out, marching in, playing Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. I heard the mascara whispering its doubts, but I blinked them away. (Seriously though, bagpipes?) 

Over 600 caps and gowns filed in to take their seats. Do you see him?
And so it went. Less than two dry-eyed (okay, that is a lie as I did have watery eyes when they switched their tassels and whatever was said after that, but no drops fell) hours later we were outside waiting for our graduate. He came towards us looking me straight in the eye, and I knew from recent past experience that if I cried, he would as well. So I smiled, grabbed him and hugged for as long as I thought I could get away with before passing him off to his father. I certainly would have cried watching him hug his sister, but was spared...
Honestly, these two. The graduates were given roses after they walked across the stage and were told at the end of the ceremony to give them to the person who inspired them the most, and other nice things along those lines. After  announcing that he was going to throw his rose on the ground and let us all fight for it, he handed the flower to his sister.
Are you bored yet? Not much longer, and then it will be three years before we do this again. Oh, but there will be that thing in August…never mind! So proud, so happy…yes, happy!

Did you notice the fountain in the background there? Maybe the first mother whose son ran through didn't have time to tell her son to take his shoes off. Maybe she didn't see it coming. This mom did though, and held his shoes.


Andrea - 1
Mascara - 0

Stacy Uncorked

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mangia Monday*

*Also could be titled "That one where I try to make a blogging comeback-beyond the random".**

In an effort to declutter not only my brain, but the piles of paper that are once again threatening to take over our home, I stumbled upon a legal pad displaying a blog post for a Mangia Monday series that I considered back in March. (It started with a post about artichokes followed by one about risotto.) Not only was the story complete, it also seemed to have been put through some sort of editing process, as evidenced by stray ink marks making threatening jabs at my usual pencil scratchings. Rather than move the piece of paper to some other sorting system, only to be found a few more months from now, I figured I would throw havoc to the wind, sit on the couch for a little bit longer and do some typing. I might even make a morning of it and look for the photos I had planned to have accompany this post. Without further ado, before I don't...

Toast is Simple

Do you remember the super thin bread made by Arnold? Long before sandwich thins and other ways to reduce the carbs in a sandwich came into fashion, there was that bread you had to practically peel from the loaf. I recall sitting at my grandparents' kitchen table in the Bronx, opening that plastic outer bag to get to the inner wrapping. It was a very downstate New York thing for me, like some sort of tourist experience, as we didn't typically have that melba thin bread at home in Central New York.

The puzzling question at the time was just how many slices of toast were appropriate to call breakfast. It seemed to take at least four to equal two regulation sized slices of bread. I can still see my cousin sitting across from me at the table as we delicately navigated the cooking time to as not to burn our wafers.
My toaster companion cousin and me with my grandmother, who I always remember smiling just like this, and my hairdresser grandfather.
If there happened to be leftover Italian bread, the adults would step up the game...stove toast. Now I have always had a soft doughy place in my heart for bread, especially Italian bread. When I say I enjoyed bread, I mean that dunking bread in milk was often a highlight to end my dinner with (ew, shudder). Back to the toast...the Italian bread would get cut into things more resembling hunks than slices, far beyond what a toaster slot could accommodate. The bread was speared by a long handled meat fork and then toasted over the open flame of the gas stove burner.

Oh, how I wanted to savor that taste, joyfully partake in the stove toast event. However, no amount of butter could override that faint taste of gas. I swear that's what it was. Plus, let's face it, nobody was really toasting their bread campfire marshmallow style, slowly roasting to a golden perfection. Call it blackened if it sounds more gourmet, but that toast absolutely had burnt to a crisp spots. I know that burnt is a taste some have acquired, but the mix with the gas stove taste was too much for me to enjoy. This did not stop me from trying, nor does it make me cherish the memories of my father, aunts and grandparents holding out that fork any less.
The stove toasters!  Gooda-gooda Grandma, Grandma, Aunt Fran, me, Aunt Bea, Dad and Grandpa.

**Perhaps also could have been titled "Lotsa Links"

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Borrowed random

Just a brief check in as I continue to unravel. I have unlimited energy, but of the wrong variety. Nervous energy does not go far in the way of being conducive to getting things done, or at least not the things on my list. No, this form of energy is the "just keep moving" brand, as opposed to the sit, think, plan kind. So instead of finishing my son's scrapbook, which would require me to stand still and risk an emotion overload as all that remains is writing him a few messages, I purged the linen closet. I am having trouble taking five minutes to order some photos for my son to give his friends as gifts this weekend and to fill the empty multi-opening picture frame on our family room wall because I feel like I just climbed out of the photograph sinkhole and fear falling back in! Instead I went to the store for the ingredients I need two weeks from now. Twirling, twirling, spinning, spinning! Just keep swimming! Find some random!

Just in case you've been concerned about how cell phones have impacted teenage relationships, I offer this gem...My son went golfing with some of his guy friends yesterday. Last night he mentioned that his friend had broken up with his girlfriend before they started golfing, "but they were back together by the tenth hole". I was disappointed that a six month relationship was terminated via text messaging, but was also perplexed as to how the fences were mended via the same system. Mostly I was just amused by the report.

Technically this is another gem from the monkey in the field since she was the one to give my aunt this gift...
Obviously this item was for big spenders with that $19.99 price tag...and obviously it was a big seller with that markdown!
What?! Discontinued?! Hmmm, how else could one POSSIBLY take a drink from too hot to just right in minutes? Maybe by looking at it? Blowing on it? I have a sneaking suspicion that these will keep your hot drink lukewarm, as in room temperature, for awhile. Stay tuned for further reports on these "beverage temperature regulators" from Just Right Joe (not to be confused with Average Joe).

By the way, the barn swallows? Out. Of. Control. I am maintaining a slight edge...very slight. It's just a matter of time before I gather up the evidence for a full report.

Stacy Uncorked