I Was Upskirted. And I Didn’t Call the Cops.

Chris and I are on our annual Mother’s Day vacation, and we’re at our favorite part of it: Our time with our dear friends, Katie and Paul, in Maryland. This is time that we treasure each and every year. We usually try to find a couple of fun or unusual touristy things to do, and Paul will take a day or two off of work to play hooky with us. Katie just finished up her first semester of nursing school, so I’m excited that she was done with her finals by the time we were pulling into their driveway. She kicked ass on her exams, by the way!

This year we took a little trip to Savage Mill to check out the shops, have a pint, and just hang out with our friends. We were in a particularly quaint store that sold only handcrafted items. A place after my own heart! As I looked at handbags and tchotchkes and jewelry I thought about the lovely things that my maker friends produce and how well it would fit in there. I thought about the makers of these products and made a decision to definitely buy a thing or two in order to support them in the best way possible. The shop is made of up three rooms that aren’t necessarily small or isolated, but there were very few shoppers in the mall this Thursday afternoon. As we entered the shop, the four of us split up and we wandered in different directions, towards things we each found to be interesting.

As I glanced at some too cute little signs on a wall, a man, maybe in his late twenties (I’m horrible at guessing ages.) or early thirties commented to me about how nice the artwork is. I smiled, like I do, nodded in agreement, and turned to continue shopping. I’m usually pretty aware of people around me when I’m in public. Not in a paranoid way, but I don’t want to get in anyone’s way. At the grocery, for instance, I like to know who is in front of me and who’s behind me so that I don’t block an aisle or something. I had noticed that this guy had been pretty close to me most of the time I had been shopping in this room, but I didn’t think much of it. He was a little closer than I like a stranger to be to me, so I turned to actively avoid talking to him any longer. When my back was to him I felt the hem of my skirt move. Skirts do that. They move when your butt does. It’s not unusual. What *is* unusual is when you twist around to fix your skirt and you see that the guy who had been next to you is moving into a standing position and is putting something behind his back.

I didn’t immediately realize what had happened. I saw that whatever the guy was putting behind his back had a light at the end of it. I was confused. Why would this stranger have a light of some sort near the hem of my skirt? I’m sure he saw the recognition dawning on my face as my brain put together the clues and formed an idea of what this cretin had done. I was between him and the exit of the shop and I started slowly backing away. I could feel the blood rushing to my face as I raised my finger at him. ‘You… you!!!’ I said, shaking. It was when he immediately got defensive that I *knew* that he had done what I suspected. I called out for my husband. ‘Chris…? Chris! CHRIS!! THIS GUY JUST UPSKIRTED ME!’

At this point a couple of things were going through my head: 1) Don’t let this guy get away, and 2) Let as many people hear the commotion so that they will help detain him. I was not embarassed. I was not going to be quiet. I think those first few moments helped define how I feel about the situation right now, a couple of days later. I think being outspoken about it right then helped me continue to be outspoken about it and not brush it under a rug. And I think that’s a good thing for me.

As Katie and Paul and Chris came to see what was going on, the guy was walking, backing actually, towards the door, talking, saying how he did nothing wrong, using lots of ‘Maams’, ‘No no no’, ‘You don’t understand’, backing away, on his phone, deleting the photos, hurrying to the door, walking, ‘Maam’, ‘It’s not like that’, walking, deleting, ‘I didn’t do anything’, walking. As Katie and Chris blocked his way in an effort to slow him down, Paul began video taping the confrontation on his phone.* Chris and Katie were trying to get the guy to hand over his phone. He would show them a photo or two, but wouldn’t hand the phone to either of them. We were out in the hallway part of the mall by then. The guy was still trying to walk away, still deleting, still defensive. Katie smelled pot on him. Walking. Deleting. ‘I didn’t do anything’.

Chris asked me what I wanted to do. If I wanted to report it. The evidence, if the guy even got a good shot, was gone**, there was no witness, I had somewhat humiliated the guy in public, and I didn’t even know if upskirting is illegal in Maryland.*** I asked Chris to just make sure there were no photos of me on the guy’s phone and that would be enough. Paul was still video taping. I was still confused. I was *so* pissed. I was pacing. Walking towards Chris and Katie and the guy, then walking back to Paul. Back and forth. I just wanted the guy and his phone to go away. The guy finally handed his phone to Chris, and among the seemingly consentual nude pictures of ‘his girl’, Chris found no upskirt photos of me or anyone else remaining. The guy apologized to Chris who in turn made the guy apologize to me. Whatever. Just go away. He did.

Katie had asked the shop-keeper to call security. She kicked it up a notch and was on the phone with 911 by the time we made our way back to towards the store. I told her not to send the cops. She asked if I was ok. A couple of women who had been watching the confontation asked if I was ok. That helped. It somehow helped me feel better that strangers recognized a horrible situation and at least seemed to care. I don’t know why, but it did.

I felt myself start to cry, but I didn’t allow that to come to fruition. Fuck that guy. I didn’t want him to be able to make me cry. In the end, that’s exactly why I didn’t want the cops. I didn’t want this guy to have the power to ruin my day. I get just a couple of days a year to be with these people who I love, and I was not going to spend one of those days dealing with cops and paperwork and statements, let alone take the risk that this horrible thing that happened to me would be downgraded to a ‘Oh, sweetie, just you don’t mind. These things happen when you wear cute little skirts.’ I won’t forgive, and I sure as hell won’t forget, but I really just wanted to have a good day with my friends. Again, I didn’t want to give him the power to ruin my day, let alone my whole vacation, or this place for me.

So did I do the right thing? By not reporting the crime, I have failed the guy’s future victims. But I don’t think calling the cops would have stopped him from doing this next week. But I did do the right thing. I did the thing that was right for me at the time. It’s the decision I will live with, so it has to be the right thing. And if this ever happens to you, you will do the right thing for you at that time. At this point the only thing I can think of that I wish I would have done is this: I wish I would have thought to tell him, ‘For every disgusting act like this that you do, someone is doing this to your mother. Someone is doing this to your daughter. Someone is doing this to your sister.’ I wish I would have had the foresight to make it personal to him. That’s the only way he will realize that what he is doing is wrong.

*Fucking brilliant. That somehow comforted me.

***Even if the shot(s) he got had been crappy, if he hadn’t have had time to delete them, the tattoos on my legs would have positively identified them as being photos of my underskirt.

***It is. I think. Maybe? Frankly, it’s hard to tell.

Posted in Spock | 5 Comments

How I Used My Fitbit To Regain Control of My Smokin’ Hot Bod.

Since I posted this picture on Facebook and announced that my husband and I have lost about 135 pounds between the two of us, I’ve gotten several questions from friends asking for details, how we did it (Sometimes I like to tell people ‘Oh, you know, laxatives! And an occasional amphetamine.’), and how we use our Fitbits. I hope to answer some of those questions here! Today’s post is all about the Fitbit and how I use it and its app. The next post will be more about my actual diet.


My Story
Over the past year or so, I’ve dropped more than 45 pounds! And if I can toot my own horn (And it’s *my* blog, so I can!) I think that’s kind of amazing for me. I came by my weight gain honestly. As I became an adult, I just slowly gained weight as I drank more beer and ate crappier food. It creeped up on me, and it wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t have a bathroom scale for years, and when I realized that I had hit 140 right before my wedding I kind of panicked. Then I lost a few pounds, and when I hit 150 I panicked again. I lost a few pounds again, and this cycle continued until 169, my absolute maximum weight ever.

So for ten years I’ve been on and off the weight loss wagon, always losing ten or fifteen pounds, then gaining back even more before long. It wasn’t until Chris joined me in my weight loss journey that I was really able to get a foothold and start making the pounds come off. Him being the head chef around here, I needed him on board to ensure low-calories meals all day long, and not just during the day when I was on my own. The best part about that is that he’s lost about ninety pounds himself!

My Fitbit
So as a goal-reaching treat I’ve bought myself a new Fitbit. This ole beat up one has seen me through three years and 5.1 million steps and countless calories in and out. The new one will ring in a lifestyle of caloric moderation, weight maintenance, and some strength training.


So let’s talk about the Fitbit for a bit. :) I have always used one of the Fitbits that ride on my waistband. I don’t care for the look of the wristband pedometers on myself, and I’ve read that not only are most pedometers pretty inaccurate, but the wrist-worn ones appear to be the worst. Yes, most pedometers are inaccurate at best! Yet mine has helped me lose a third of my body weight! I think it’s all about consistency there. Because I wear mine every day, I recognize things like I shouldn’t wear it when I’m riding my bicycle because I get a crazy ton of non-steps logged as steps.

The main function of your Fitibit is to simply count your steps. Simple enough. And that’s how I started my weight loss: by setting a step goal and doing whatever I could to reach that goal daily. I still do it! Along with the other common tips that you hear about gaining steps such as parking in a far corner of the parking lot and such, I walk laps around the conference room at work. I jog in place while I’m at the copy machine. I may look stupid, but I feel great! And who’s the one looking stupid in the long run, eh?! While many people get most of their steps in in one fell swoop during a morning walk or on the treadmill, I like to spread mine out. I made a little chart that shows me how many steps I need to accumulate every couple of hours in order to meet my step goal at the end of the day. Make sure you put your daily step goal into your Fitbit Dashboard!

Fitbit Online
You *do* use the Fitbit Online Dashboard, right? Not just the app on your phone. The app is great, and it’s getting better, but there are so many more tools in the online version. To add or change your step goal, logon fitbit.com and hover over the Steps box with your mouse. Click on the gear icon, and edit your daily step goal from there.

The Fitbit Diet
Once I was hitting my daily step goal fairly regularly, I began dieting. It wasn’t a ‘lifestyle change’. It was a diet. A diet to lose weight. I ain’t ashamed. It worked, and now my lifestyle *has* changed, but it didn’t start out that way. Remember that everything I’ve done has been an evolution of diet and exercise. I set a moderate goal at first. It was realistic, and at a pace I knew I’d be happy with. And here’s where the Fitbit tools work amazingly for me.

To set your weight loss goal, go to the dashboard online, hover your mouse over the weight widget, and click the gear icon. Click in the Goal Weight area and you will be walked through the goal setup. You tell Fitbit what you want to weigh, and it will give you options about how fast to lose those pounds. My humble advice is at first to not look at the projected dates for when you’ll reach your goal. Start off with minimal weight loss and wean your way into hardcore loss if you like. When you do, go back to the dashboard and click the settings button again.

From there it’s calories in versus calories out. Every day Fitbit will tell you how many calories you can eat based on how many calories you burn throughout the day. And this is where I love the Fitbit more than anything: You can *earn* food throughout the day. Just like a lab rat! The more exercise I log and the more steps I get in, the more calories I am alloted, all while keeping within my weight goal caloric budget. I love this! I will totally walk ten more laps around the conference room in order to eat a little piece of chocolate. Again, I ain’t ashamed. :)

Logging Your Intake
Now comes the pain in the ass part: Logging your calories. Every day, every meal, every time you put something in your mouth, you need to tell your Fitbit about it. This is time consuming. This is fiddly. This is a dance of estimating how many calories are in the pancakes you make at home as opposed to the pancakes at IHOP. And sometimes you have to fake that shit. But it is all worth it!

To log your calories on the app, open the dashboard, click the area where you’re told X in/Y out, and use the icons in the top right corner to either log your food by scanning the barcode of the item, adding miscellaneous calories, or searching for a food to add. To log your calories online, open the dashboard, click the X cals left to eat box, click See More in the bottom right corner, then at What did you eat? start typing in the food that you had. Fitbit will do the searching for you and allow you to adjust the quantity and such.

It is so important to be consistent and log your food. Even if you’ve over eaten that day, it helps give you an idea of what kind of calories are in the foods you eat, and this leads to the evolution of your diet. This is another area where it helped to have Chris on board with our weight loss. We talk about what we’ve logged, and he helps me count up the calories in the meals he makes at home. Because my chef is tracking calories, it’s much easier for me to as well. Logging your food is *so* eye opening. You may think, ‘Oh, I haven’t really eaten anything today.’ But you’ve had a cup of coffe with cream and sugar, half of a granola bar (We’ll talk about the health halo in the next post!), and have grazed on various stuff from the fridge. Those things really add up, so count them! Again, yes, it’s a total pain in the ass. I really do understand that. But you get used to it. And you may find that you eat similar foods often enough that they are easier to find in the app and such.

I hope this has answered some of your questions about the Fitbit and its apps. I am happy to answer any more specific questions that you have! Send me a note on Facebook or post a comment here. I’ll do another post in a couple of days about my diet, how it evolved, and where I’m at now with my meal planning and eating habits. Thanks to you, my friends, for your encouragement and cheerleading about my weight loss. I’ve never felt better!

Posted in lizard | 4 Comments

Bird Planning

You may recall that one of the biggest reasons I wanted to get a planner is to have a place to log my birding activities. I’m so happy to say that I have a place to do that now! My friend Tessa invited me to her house to make planner inserts, and I think I made the best bird planner in the whole world that has ever existed. Move over Audubon! IdyllicChick is coming through!

In preparation for my visit to Tessa I drew up an entry for my book. I want to record the date and the weather, and I want to have a few lines to write about who I’m with, where we are, and what birds we’re seeing. My Lovely Husband Chris was kind enough to scan that sketch, multiply it, and add a scan of some washi tape birds at the bottom. When I got to Tessa’s house she duplicated the .jpg and centered it properly for my little book. Tessa was gracious enough to not only print my pages on my choice of paper colors, but she gave me a couple of her original artwork screenprinted covers as well! (Check them out here.) She helped me cut the paper down to the correct size, punch holes in the middle, and sew the bindings up with some vintage crochet cotton that I brought from home. I left the ends of the binding string long enough to be able to incorporate it into a littel bookmark so that I’m always at the ready to record a bird.

So here’s the coolest thing about my little fowl tome: See the little birdy watermark there? When I see a lifer (A bird that I have never seen before, or at least haven’t recorded before) I get to put one of these adorable bird stickers there! How cool is that? I bought the artwork for these from Etsy as a download, then sent them off to Moo to have them made into stickers.

As wonderful as I think this whole bird book thing is, I certainly want to share it with you. To download the printable in Traveler size, just give a little clicky right here on this thumbnail.  BirdLog




And do take a look at the little video that Chris and I made that shows off my happy bird book!


Posted in paper | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

M-m-m-my Fauxdori

My Jendori has arrived! It is nothing less than fabulous.

While waiting for my real planner, I’ve been carrying around a little notebook that I picked up in Bruges. I think my life has changed already. Pre-planner-life I did tend to put a note or two in my phone if I needed to, especially if someone suggested a movie I should watch or whatnot. But having that simple little ruled notebook in my purse all the time has led to habits such as list-making (Gasp!) and writing (No!) and even some minor journaling (Crazy!). It’s a whole new world out there, people. I’ve switched out my little purse for my larger one (It’s actually more of a winter purse than my little lady bag anyway.) so that I can have my Jendori with me everywhere I go. The idea of filling up an insert, labeling the cover with the beginning and ending dates, storing it away, and starting a fresh new insert really thrills the organizer in me.

But I digress! My new planner really has arrived and I want you to see it! So here’s a video of the unboxing! Eeeeeep!

Post-video watching notes:
-This was pretty obviously the first video of this sort that Chris and I made together. There are a lot of problems with it. But we had *so* much fun making it! And Chris is a wonderful editor! So I think we might make another video one day.
-I was wearing my pajamas. I didn’t think they’d show. Forgive me.
-I honestly didn’t realize that the focus would be on me so much. I know that sounds ridiculous, as the camera was pointing right at me the whole time. But I probably would have worn a different shirt (And put on real pants!) if I had known that.
-I am so decorated from the elbows down!

Posted in paper | 5 Comments

Planner Planning

Making the move to purchase a hard copy planner is causing me to… plan for it. I’ve been researching how to get the most out of my planner, especially when using it along side my digital calendars and list-makers. One of the biggest realizations I’ve had is that I can upload a photograph of my planner page to Evernote and it’s still totally searchable! Once I make some improvements to my handwriting, that is.

But I also want my Fauxdori to be as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside. And I want to consider dipping my toe into art journaling. I need supplies! Stickers! Paint! Stamps! So I did some Small Business Saturday shopping last weekend.

The first place we hit was Reddi-Arts. Since Gainesville recently lost it’s last remining art supply store, Reddi-Arts was a welcome sight. The place is a maze of art supplies *and* art! It was refreshing to simply walk the aisles, browsing. Dammit, I meant to look at rulers and I forgot to! But I did pick up the pictured items that were on my list. Yes, I tried *all* of the pens. It was hard to choose! I’m especially excited about the watercolor supplies. The staff was quite friendly and offered help at all of the appropriate times.


Then we drove just a scootch down the road to The Write Touch. I was afraid that they may only have wedding invitation suppllies, but I ended up having to make a point to take it easy, because I wanted to go home with *everything* in this shop. They carry stationery, leather bags and folios, planners, Filofax, antler-handled desk accessories, fancy fountain pens, washi tape, and… I can’t even say what else. All kinds of… stuff. Cool stuff! Stuff with curse words on it! I can’t wait to go back and see what else they have. I know I missed lots of things. And here’s what I went home with. The skull and crossbones stationery was a no-brainer, but the flower press was an impulse buy.


The washi tape set was my favorite purchase. The rolls are so big I’m going to have to share them with friends! The Victorian feel of the designs is going to mesh perfectly with my new planner. When it arrives. If it ever arrives. I know it will arrive! But I’m anxious. So very anxious.


Posted in paper | 1 Comment

Holiday Thoughts

I may be repeating myself, but vacation and holidays are so inspiring to me. Chris and I rarely spend a holiday at home because his family is pretty close by. So while I’m away I spend time reading and knitting and generally surfing Pinterest and Etsy and such. I get myself so worked up and excited to get back home so that I can start sewing and spinning and playing with new ideas and just Getting Shit Done. And then I get home and… crickets. It’s not that nothing happens. The costume *will* be done in time for the event. The spinning wheel *will* get tuned up before Spin In. Things happen, but not in the uber-productive way that I expect.

This holiday (Happy Thanksgiving!), I’m all about the planner. The idea started when I wanted a pretty way to track my Life List of birds. And now that I’ve ordered a cool little fauxori (Google Midori planner. I got a beautiful knock-off one on Etsy.), I’m thinking that it will change my life. Before we left home yesterday I started clearing a space to work on my planner. A little secretary desk in a bookshelf where I can put a chair and hide away all of the new stickers and buttons and washi tape and stamps and paper punches. And this is already sounding like it’s just an excuse to buy more stuff. To consume. But here’s the thing: Chris and I (and YOU) all work very hard for our money. We deserve nice things. And if consuming this thing makes me happy, possibly for a long while, and encourages me to produce (And also helps a small businessperson to realize her dream), then I’m all about spending the money and spending more time on me. So here’s to the smell of new leather and the possibility of a more creative, pleasing life. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Posted in paper, rock | 1 Comment

15 Tips for Traveling to Bruges and London

My husband and I just got back from an amazing trip to Bruge and London! We did a lot of things right this time, and we screwed some things up as well. Since I felt like I wasn’t able to find a lot of practical tips before we left, I’m anxious to tell you what we learned! I imagine many of these tips will be appropriate for other international travel, but since our trip was so specific, I don’t want to generalize.

2014-09-21 03.54.32

1. Minimalize your luggage. This is now my number one rule for all travel. Squeezing down to a single carry-on bag and a medium sized purse was the smartest travel thing I’ve ever done. Packing cubes were a great addition to this, but now that I know for certain that I can do 12 days away from home in one tidy little bag, I’m sold. If you can get it down to that, you’ll feel vastly superior to people in the airport lugging around four huge suitcases. Imagine carrying those from the airport to the tube to your apartment and back again. Whether you choose a backpack, a roller, or a spinner, you will be amazed at the ease with which you can zip around London and get *all* of your luggage quickly and easily up those tiny little staircases in Bruges.

2. Upgrade your seat. It cost us about 10% of our ticket price to upgrade to Economy Plus. That four inches of extra leg room was amazing, especially on the longer, exhausting plane trip back from Europe. I also noticed that you have a better chance of having an empty seat in your row in the slightly upgraded section. Six to eight hours is a long time to sit in one spot. Having some room to jiggle my legs was totally worth the extra money! And you can upgrade after your ticket purchase so that you can spread the money spending around a little bit.

3. Fly direct. If you can get to an International airport, do it. Drive there. Layovers add to travel stress and increase your chance of missing that last flight that takes you to paradise! 20140916_095804

4. BYOE. Bring your own earbuds or small pair of headphones that you know you like. The headphones on the planes are total crap, and you are most likely going to want to watch a movie or TV show on your long way across the Atlantic.

5. Don’t put all of your monies in one currency. We were convinced at the airport to exchange our dollars for Euros only, which kind of screwed us when we got to London. We should have at least had 50 pounds or so in our pockets when we got there. You can exchange everything back to US dollars at the airport, or exchange your Euros to pounds or vice versa in a bank on a weekday. So be prepared!

6. Get a chipcard. America will be moving to chipcards (Credit cards that have an electronic chip embedded) in 2015, but until then you may need to ask your bank or credit card company specifically for a chipcard. There are a few places in Europe that will not accept a credit card without the chip in it, and you don’t want to get stuck. Purchasing train tickets at the kiosk was iffy at points, even with a chipcard, so have a back up plan. Our chipless ATM card worked fine in every cash machine we tried, though.

6. Tipping is optional in Europe, but appreciated in small amounts. When paying cash I’d leave the server with the jingly change and that seemed to work well. Oh! And be patient in restaurants! You may want to order your drinks and food at the same time, as it is sometimes hard to flag down a server. You will have to specifically ask for the check when you are ready to pay, and it may take a while for that to happen. But relax! You’re on vacation!

20140915_0806517. While you’re tipping your server, talk to them. Just chit chat. Hell, talk to everyone! My friend got one of the Harrod’s counter sellers to totally dish on some of the super rich customers that she’s dealt with and some of the crazy questions they ask. And we got a great cab recommendation from our pub server one night.

8. Know that pay toilets exist. Keep a pound/Euro in change on you in case you have to pay to use the only toilet available.

9. Get out and about. Not just in town, but through the country. Take a bus tour or a driving tour outside of London or in the Belgian countryside. Europe is gorgeous, and you’ll get to glimpse a bit of the lifestyle of the out-of-towners.

10. GoogleMaps is your friend. If you won’t have cell phone access overseas, learn to use the ‘save map offline’ function of GoogleMaps. You can mark all of your must-see places while you’re at home, leave your GPS locator on, and at least be able to see where you are in relation to your landmarks. Here are Google instructions for saving those maps.

11. Learn about VAT before you leave. If you want to get your VAT money refunded to you, you will need to ask for a VAT receipt for each transaction at the time of purchase. Each of the VAT receipts will have a form to fill out, and you’ll want to do that before you get to the airport when you are leaving London. When we were there the line for VAT refund was about 20-30 minutes long. You may want to set your VAT priorities before you leave home so that you have a game plan and know whether requesting the refund is worth it to you or not.

12. Know where to stay. Bruges is only about a 40 minutes walk from one end of town to the other. Staying in the middle of town in an apartment found through Home Away (Similar to Air B&B) was perfect for us. We were able to have breakfast at ‘home’ each day, and pop in on the apartment often as we were out and about to drop off jackets and purchases, or to take a nap or have a nibble. In London we stayed in an apartment near the King’s Cross and St. Pancras Underground stations. While London is huge and we weren’t able to use that apartment as a central location, being near those two large stations gave us direct lines to nearly any place we wanted to go. We planned our sightseeing by location and were able to minimize our travel time. Those stations also have a couple of grocery and pharmacy stores, as well as restaurants and take away kiosks for a quick dinner on your way home each evening. 20140920_100910

13. Take a tour. The double-decker bus tour in London gives you a good lay of the land and helps you find points of interest that you might want to check out later. Or just hop off the bus for instant gratification, then hop on another one when you’re done at that site. I do recommend the live narrated tour, and I do recommend sitting in the top of the bus. You’ll be up there with the tour guide and be able to ask them questions. The canal tour in Bruges is pretty short, but you’ll get to see parts of the city that you won’t be able to otherwise. It’s a great, relaxing history lesson as well!

14. Get the app. We found the Android app Tube Map London Underground to be very useful as we were able to use it offline. And using the Kabbee app we were able to schedule a reasonably priced taxi to the airport in London. Speaking of which, flat fee cabs are the way to go in London. The Kabbee app allows you to schedule these on the fly.

15. Get away from it all. This may go without saying, but try to walk the road less traveled. Skip the Hard Rock Cafe and get take out from the chip shop down the alley. Find a small chocolate shop a few streets away from the center of Bruges instead of elbowing your way through the hoards at the shop in the center of town. These are the shopkeepers that will have time to chat with you. They can give you recommendations on restaurants and pubs and other things to do in general.

Posted in rock | Leave a comment

Cardinal Afternoon

So. I had a fucking crap day. It’s all good, but it was like someone was throwing rotten vegetables at me all day and I had to duck and dodge and deal with all these unexpected erruptions. I kind of surprised myself when I got home by grabbing a beer and the nocs and heading out to the back yard. I’m kind of pleased that I found myself backyard birdwatching for relaxation. It’s something I’m really growing to enjoy!

When I had pulled into the driveway a hawk that’s been hanging out in our yard lately swooped my car, so I headed towards the copse of trees I thought he had landed in to try to find him. I didn’t see My Hawk, but I did see one of the little lady cardinals that usually hang out at the bird feeder. As I am prone to do, I whispered, ‘Hello Mrs. Cardinal!’, and watched her for a bit through my binoculars. Then I realized that Mrs. Cardinal doesn’t have an orange beak. It’s black. Hunh?! So I Sibley’d (Hey, if ‘Google’ is a verb now…) Cardinals and found that juvenile’s have black beaks until they come into their own and get orange beaks. So I’ve now met Young Cardinal!

I looked for more movement in the trees. I saw my little girl again, then heard something shuffling in the leaves under the trees. Probably a squirrel, but I’ll take a look. At the base of the trees was the ugliest cutest cardinal I’ve ever seen! His beak was shades of black and grey with orange at the base. His coloring was so mottled he looked like he had been painted by Jackson Pollack if he had had an ugly grey and red phase. This bird was so awkward and looked so much like the teenager that he is!

I know I get overly excited about these things, but I’m so stoked to have a whole family of Cardinals living in my trees! I hope I can catch these teens at the feeder this week!

Posted in lizard | 1 Comment

Woodpecker Afternoon

Or, A Post for Lala Because a Text Message Would Have Been Too Long

I took a little walk around the yard with the dogs early this afternoon. I don’t know if it was the coming rain or just the time of day, but the birds in my yard were going nuts. Totally cray-cray. I’ve never noticed so much birdsong and little ones flitting around from tree to tree in my yard all at once. I thought I spied a little black and white bird that doesn’t frequent my feeder, so when I took the dogs in I grabbed my ‘nocs.

I headed back out to our little pine forest and realized it’s a great place for spotting birds in the trees. The birds seem to run from tree to tree and there isn’t a bunch of cover so I can spot them pretty well for a n00b. I caught sight of the black and white bird again, noticed the red spot on top of its head, and recognized it as a woodpecker. But it wasn’t a Pileated, so it was a new one to me! Very exciting! I kept seeing more flitting, and as I checked out the new birds, I found another unPileated woodpecker, this one without red on its head. Very very exciting! I need to run inside and check The Book!

So I check The Book and I’ll be damned if there aren’t a shit-ton of non-Pileated, black and white woodpeckers with and without red heads. Jeez. I was smart enough to actually take The Book outside with me this time.

20140623_193042 (2)

I take my urban wilderness spot again, and watch for the bird… watch for the bird… found her! No red on her head. Check the book. Lots of woodpeckers. Book. Bird. Book. Bird. Back and forth, checking checking. That’s it! Downy! Downy Woodpecker! Definitely it, unless… unless it’s this other woodpecker on the next page, the Hairy Woodpecker, that looks *exactly* like the Downy. What the fuck? There is no difference between these two birds, and they are both in Florida year-round. Oh, look, the Downy has a note: Conspicuous tuft of nasal bristles. Bristles? Dude. Sibley. I have some pretty kick-ass binoculars, but how the hell am I supposed to see fucking nasal *bristles* at 50 feet? Seriously? Seriously. Jeez.

UPDATE: In the ebirds.com log there is an entry for Downy/Hairy Woodpecker! Ha! I don’t have to choose! Take that, Sibley!

Posted in lizard | Leave a comment

A Little Something That I Forgot

Tonight I was cleaning up some posts that had dropped their photos, and taking a big look at this here blog overall, I noticed that in the ebb and flow of me going back and forth between blogging and not blogging, I missed a few things. I missed a *lot* of things!

While I posted a play-by-play of starting the makings of the costume that I wore to the Medieval Fair in 2013, I never posted a single picture of the finished product! I can’t say that I’ll ever get around to writing up the details on this, as that was quite a while ago, and lord knows my memory is pretty damn shot. But here are the pics from when I was getting dressed:

DSCN5644DSCN5648DSCN5650 DSCN5652 DSCN5653DSCN5656





















And here are the nice shots that La-la took of us. Sophia’s dress was graciously made by my mother-in-law!

IMG_5832 (1) IMG_5834 IMG_5845 DSCN1077
















So there’s that, and here’s to catching up and staying on track!

Posted in scissors, Spock | Leave a comment