ADVENTURES DU JOUR – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Adventure

Life is a pure adventure. How can it not be?

First awakened by barking dogs (they think we’ve slept more than enough and we should get up and play with them or at the least, give them something to eat!) … and then the doctor’s office (recorded) called to remind Garry (me, because Garry doesn’t “do” phones) he has an appointment — next Friday by which time I’ll have completely forgotten the call.

Snow

And just when I had one leg in my pants, a call from the oil company that they’d be at the house in less than 5 minutes so I should get the dogs in the house. I hopped down the hall and told Garry (who hates being interrupted while peeing) that we have to get the dogs inside because the oil truck is on the way.

Final December Friday – the landing Chickadee

A call from my son who wants to know if I have any small potatoes, good for soup (will real but microwaveable potatoes do? I have them).

Wondering if I can make a lamb curry without raisins. Writing letters to old photographers to see if anyone has a second-hand (but sturdy, with a ball head) tripod that will hold a medium heavy camera with a long, 2-pound lens because I think all my pain and agony is related to trying to support that camera and lens for hours every day.

Yes, life is an adventure.

It starts with murderous thoughts of barking dogs, even more murderous thoughts of early morning recorded messages which are a week too early to be useful while wondering how I’m going to pay for the oil. I think maybe they do know something I don’t know. They like to deliver before snows. Driveways in the snow get slippery. Sliding oil trucks are huge and heavy and make a godawful mess of what we humorously call “the backyard.”

Oil prices have been dropping. Maybe it won’t be so bad. I have not looked at the bill. I’m afraid.

A quick read of today’s “news” of what our Great Leader is doing. Oh yuck.

The birds have been hitting the feeder like a plague of locusts. I’m hoping that doesn’t mean they know something I don’t know, like the big rainstorm on its way won’t be rain but something much whiter.  I hope at least snow remains white even though it’s racist. Medium tan or brown snow would be icky and the photographs wouldn’t look as classy.

So that’s it. Adventures du jour. Shortly, we are off to see The Kid.  I have to remember to bring the potatoes.

EAT, DRINK, AND TRAVEL ON – Rich Paschall

Selfies, groupies, and foodies?

There are probably a few derogatory comments on social media about people who take food pictures.  OK, there are probably more than a few.

I may have even made one or two myself.  After all, these people are not writing reviews of the local restaurant for the New Yorker or Chicago magazines.  They are snapping pictures of their overpriced food from some overcrowded food court.  We, on the other hand, are snapping pictures of our excellent meals and truly excellent selves. If my brother were computer literate and online, he would probably be excited.

When I headed off on our recent adventure with a roommate who previously thought you could not have a meal without rice, we learned there are many things you can serve with your main course.  Below are just a few of from our gastronomic adventures.  You may even have seen some of this in our recent review of Frankfurt or will see soon in our Alsace travel report.

Be sure to click on any of the pictures to go through the full size of each.

Related: Frankfurt am Main

RELAXING WHILE THE BIRDS HIT THE FEEDER – Marilyn Armstrong

Relaxing With the Birds – 12/28/2018

I love watching the birds. I peer out of my bathroom window to see what they are doing when I’m getting up in the morning, but unless I’m getting up unusually late, there’s usually not much happening.

Birds are on a schedule.

They come by for breakfast just after sunrise. I’m not usually awake at that hour unless the dogs have been unusually noisy, in which case I might be awake. I might even take a few pictures, though I’d really rather be in bed.

Nuthatch and Chickadee

The shy birds — the ones who avoid people and barking dogs — visit the feeder early in the day, so unless I happen to be up, I don’t see them. By the time I’m ready to take pictures — about midday — it’s the usual suspects. Warblers (several kinds). I still can’t tell which is which without a photograph and my book). Tufted Titmouses, Chickadees, Nuthatches and depending on luck, one of three different woodpeckers — the Hairy, Downy, and Red-Bellied varieties all come to the feeder. Not to mention the Juncos — all those who live in the area.

Birds not of one feather

A Cardinal came, looked around. So did a few Blue Jays. When I buy expensive bird food, I also get a variety of finches. They eat different food than other birds. The current food selection is (alas) not to their taste. A pity because the finches are a colorful and adorable group of little birds.

The squirrels must come early in the day. I know they’ve been here because a lot of food is missing from the flat feeder. Sometimes they drop by in the late afternoon, just before dark. I don’t always see them because when they are around, I’m tired. I’ve already done my shooting by then.

Landing Chickadee with a sitting Warbler

I realized today that at least part of the reason my arm hurts is from holding the heavy lens still and ready to shoot. When the birds are busy and I’m waiting for them to settle down, I keep the camera up and ready. There’s a Murphy’s Law involved in this. I know the second I lower the camera, half a dozen birds will be all over the feeder and by the time I get the camera back in place, they will be gone.

Not all the birds perch on the feeder. Many of them fly by. They dive to the feeder, grab a seed, and fly off. It’s hard getting pictures of diving birds, but I got one this morning.

Yay me!

Coming in for a landing

So all the typing and working on the computer is only part of the problem. The rest of my problem is hoisting the big camera into position than holding it at eye level, trying to keep it steady.

This is difficult with a long 2.5-pound lens. I try to wedge my butt against the dining room table and prop the camera up by doubling my right arm and pressing it against my chest. Today, I felt that old familiar ache and realize “Oh, there’s that pain.” It was a revelatory moment for me. Suddenly, I understood why — out of the blue — my arm was bothering me. It was all about the camera. My wrist is an old, familiar pain. The arm problem is new.

I’ve known a lot of camera people (Garry used to hang out with the tech people). They all had shoulder and arm problems. Of course, television cameras are heavier than my camera, even with a heavy lens, but the camera people were younger than me when they were working. It all evens out.

Woodpecker and Warbler

It made me remember being a kid and going bowling — duckpins rather than the bigger balls for tenpins — and two days later, I thought I was going to die. Every inch of me hurt. I had no idea what was wrong with me.

No fever, just pain. Until my uncle said “Hey, remember we went bowling a couple of days ago? I bet that’s why you hurt.”

Chickadee landing

I’m a “two days later” sufferer. I feel fine the same and following day, but the next day … oh boy. I don’t know why my body delays the pain for an extra day but apparently, it isn’t so unusual either. It does give me extra time to take a couple of hot showers, and with luck get some sleep.

If I know what’s coming, I can “do stuff” to take the edge off.

Tufted Titmouse

I knew I was becoming a pretty good rider (of horses) when I could ride for a couple of hours and even a few days later, I felt fine. I developed muscles in places I didn’t know you could develop muscles. Interesting muscles.

Just saying.

I have not developed any special muscles for hoisting a 5-pound camera and holding it steady for an hour a day. I’m not sure I will, either. What can I do?

There are the birds and there’s my camera, right at the end of the table with the lens in place. How can I not take pictures? The birds are waiting. The feathery flutterers need me. I need them.

The world is waiting! Isn’t it?

A DAILY MIRACLE – Marilyn Armstrong

Dawn of a new day, as indeed it must

Every dawn is a little miracle. An expected miracle. We know there will be dawn because there is always dawn and then sunrise, right? So, let’s go with the expected.

The sun will rise and the earth will turn because it always has and that’s the way we like it.

Sunrise over the ocean in Ogunquit, Maine – About five in the morning

Thus we greet the day.