Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Just a Wednesday

 There's been precious little sunshine in my part of the world lately. Every day has been chilly, damp, and gray with only the occasional bit of sunshine peeking through the leaden clouds. I wish we'd get some snow. It's been three years since we've had any, and we've yet to see it happen in the new house. I've been dreaming of sitting by the fireplace sipping wine with snow falling outside the window since we moved in. Oh, well...the winter's not over yet, I suppose.

This afternoon between work calls and emails I took George outside for a quick walk around the neighborhood. About halfway through I noticed turkey vultures circling around a yard, and saw what looked like something small with brown and white fur lying in the dead grass of my neighbor's yard. A squirrel? A rabbit? Not  sure, and I averted my eyes because I really didn't want to know. Then when we rounded the next corner I saw more and more vultures showing up, and eventually counted 13 of them. Thirteen vultures seemed like a bad omen, so I hurried into the house and shut the door. I can't imagine why there would be so many of them for a single squirrel or rabbit or (god forbid) a cat. Maybe there are other dead things around. Turkey vultures will never make anyone's top ten list of favorite birds, but they provide a valuable clean up service and I respect that. I just don't care to watch them at work.

Speaking of birds, Neil mentioned American robins vs. English robins yesterday. When I went out later in the afternoon to pick up a few things at the grocery store the trees around our house were full of robins. A large flock of them seem to be moving through the neighborhood this week. Our yard teems with good juicy earthworms so it's probably like a robin's buffet after rain forces the worms up to the surface of the dirt!

 I was out back today thinking about where to put a bluebird box we've been saving for a few years, since my late mother-in-law gave it to us as a Christmas gift some years ago. She loved feeding wild birds and she and her husband kept several bluebird nesting boxes at their home in Raleigh, NC. I wish she could visit our home....not only would she love the house itself, but she would really love all the birds and animals we see here. I miss her. Even though she's been gone for three years I can't really write about her too much, yet. I spoke to her husband a while ago. He's in his eighties but seems a good bit younger. I like to call him once a month or so, just to check in and to let him know that we haven't forgotten him. He doesn't feed birds or maintain nesting boxes now that Edythe's gone, it was really always more her thing than his, but despite Covid restrictions (which he's been observing very strictly) he manages to have a full and busy life. He loves the internet and technology and is far more tech-savvy than I am, probably. He regularly has Zoom meetings with his "old geezer" friends to talk politics and eat meals together (but apart). He also takes part in a virtual version of a group that call themselves "Pints for Presbyterians". That's men in his church that meet up at a pub once a week (with the pastor!) to have beer and conversion. They've moved it to Zoom for the duration of Covid, and I'm sure they're all looking forward to getting vaccines so they can resume their in person meetings this year! Lou is a gem. My mother in law picked a good man to be her husband for the last 20 years of her life! We respect him a lot because of how tenderly he cared for Edythe when she was dying, and also because he's a smart and interesting guy. He liked hearing about how we'd be putting up the bluebird box she gave us soon (and finally!)

So that's it for my gray Wednesday afternoon in Florence, SC. Working from home, wishing for snow, missing my MIL. 

What's today been like for you?


39 comments:

  1. Jennifer,
    I enjoyed reading about your day. I don't like seeing turkey vultures either, they really creep me out. My day was okay. It was sunny and in the low 50s. Murphy and I went for a nice long walk. Fresh air does wonders for the mind.

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    1. When Gregg was undergoing cancer treatments, long walks with Ginger in the fresh air did wonders for his mind AND his body. I'm glad you have Murphy for a walking companion. The air and exercise is good for you both!

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  2. Turkey Vultures? They're always flying around here. A few months ago a two landed on my neighbor's garage roof. They are very big birds.

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    1. They ARE big! I was noticing yesterday how much bigger they seem when you see them up close. They're ugly buggers, too.

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  3. It's great that you have maintained your relationship with Lou. I hope you will keep it up. With regard to your last question, the highlights have been making our evening meal and driving to the German supermarket at 9pm to buy groceries. At that time hardly anybody else is there. During The Time of COVID you have to be thankful for small mercies.

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    1. Gregg's sister and her adult kids have maintained a close relationship with Lou. Her son goes over regularly and helps Lou with tougher household chores, and her daughter (the one who got married not long ago) calls him regularly from the other side of the country where she's attending law school just to catch up. They were babies when their grandmother married him and so he's the only grandfather on that side of the family that they've ever known.

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  4. lou sounds like a fun guy. we have turkey vultures up here too. I have been working on 2 knitting projects for which I am being paid.

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    1. He is a fun guy and he and my mother-in-law had a lot of fun together, I think.
      Wow, getting paid for your knitting projects?! How cool is that?! Can you tell me what they are? I'm curious.

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  5. Still so gray and cold here too. I doubt we'll get any snow anytime soon, though.
    I was glad to hear of the impeachment. Will it change anything? Who knows? Not me.
    Still- such behavior can not go unpunished.
    I hate it when older people are stereotyped as being completely tech-stupid. That's not a fair observation at all. I'm glad you're still in touch with such a nice-sounding man.

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    1. Lou really is a nice man. What's always impressed me about him is that he's very liberal politically. When he was a young man he took part in civil rights marches, and Edythe used to occasionally gently tease him about the activism of his younger years---because she was proud of him for it. They both hated (and hate) Donald Trump and are active old-school Democrats. For a white man who was born and grew up in rural North Carolina, that's saying something.

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  6. Once when I was out for a walk, something caught my eye: turkey vultures getting rid of a dead cat. I looked away immediately, but the image has stayed with me. That's a wise pastor who drinks a beer with the guys--whatever it takes to reach people. It's chilly and gray here. Not able to do much because of pain.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Yes, Lou occasionally attends church but I think it's mostly a social thing for him.

      I hope you'll have less pain soon, and I hope you're healing well and taking good care of yourself!

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    2. I'm trying! If I went to church, it would be a social thing for me. We used to go every Sunday, but my beliefs aren't as fervent as they were and I have more education now that allows me to question Christianity.

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    3. Beers and conversion?? Or conversation? ­čĄú

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  7. Lou does sound like a true gem, so active and on Zoom, etc. Sign me up for that Pints for Presbyterians. I think I will suggest that to our new minister when he arrives in February. I love bluebirds and that you are putting up the nesting box. The heater for the main part of my house broke on Dec. 23 and was fixed on Jan. 8. The second part of the fix happens tomorrow when workmen will be on the roof, while I have a Zoom meeting.

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    1. Ha! You should start a church group pub night when the new minister arrives! :) I was just thinking about what that could be called......

      Pints for Presbyterians
      Beers for Baptists (this would never happen)
      Cocktails for Catholics
      Brews for Jews

      Okay, I'll stop now! :) Good luck on getting that heater repaired! I hope you're not too cold without it.

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  8. We love our (European) Robins. We feed our birds daily and there is always a Robin amongst them at lunchtime. My late father trained one to eat peanuts from his hand.

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    1. I love the image of your father feeding Robins peanuts by hand. Small birds that can learn to trust humans are very special.

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  9. How wonderful to have Robins this time of the year. We never see them here until Spring. I guess it is too cold for them here. It is nice that you keep up with your Father-in-law especially in these covid months. Maybe this will be the year you get that snow!

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    1. We've seen lots of robins lately, but I imagine they're just staying away from the really cold areas north of here.

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  10. I saw a single robin yesterday (Wednesday) while I was out walking with Rick. We have a lot of blackbirds in the garden at this time of year. I too have been wishing for snow. Highlights of my day are mealtimes, dog walk and line dance sessions in my garden room with Paul!

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    1. Line dance sessions! Wow! That sounds like fun. I can't imagine Gregg dancing!

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  11. I hope you will show us the bluebird box when it is up!
    With your beautiful home, I can just imagine the scene - snow outside, and you cozily sitting at your fireplace with a glass of wine, maybe a good book, and George somewhere nearby.
    Yesterday was sunny in parts, but by the time I finished work at 5:00, it was gone and the sky was grey, getting ready for the night. I still went out for a walk of about an hour; I really needed to stretch my legs and air my head after having spent almost all day at my desk, talking to people in online conferences and working on spreadsheets and other documents.

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    1. PS: Lou does indeed sound like a gem. Same as you, I try to ring my mother-in-law about once a month. Those conversations are rarely under an hour, and always interesting and fun.

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    2. The sun is out today! Even though it's cold it's nice to see a little sunshine after so many gray and cloudy days. If it's not going to snow I'd just as soon see the sun!

      Yes, Lou is a gem. He married Edythe about the time Gregg and I first started seeing each other, so he's a close to a father in law as I've got. Gregg's dad Bobby died before I got a chance to meet him, sadly. I like to check in on Lou, even though he's got plenty of family. His first marriage (he's lost two wives) produced two children and four grandchildren, and Gregg's sister and her two adult children are in regular contact with him. Not to mention his big circle of social contacts! So he's not lonely, but I like to check on him just the same.

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  12. I have 2 highlights in my life today. The first is my weekly visit to Waitrose...my local supermarket, to buy food (and wine) for over the weekend. ( My husband goes to a small local garage shop on other days for the newspaper and any other food we need). The other is the twice monthly zoom chat with my book club pals.
    We are having very grey days with rain recently, and as Steve will confirm ( he lives about 25 miles south of here) it is lashing down at the moment 8.45am with very little let up all day, and it might possibly turn to snow this afternoon! My husband is desperate for snow....I like looking at it from inside! Let us all hope for some sunshine.
    PS Don't tell the dog he will have to have his raincoat on soon for a very quick walk!

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    1. I hope the snow materializes for you and especially your husband! I think it's great that your dog has a raincoat. George HATES rain, and he also hates going out after a rain if the ground is wet. He's spoiled rotten!

      My book club has been having some Zoom meetings, but since I have a desktop computer without a camera I can only access them via my cellphone, which is no good. So no book club for me until we can meet up again, either after we all get vaccinated or the weather gets nice enough to meet outdoors again.

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  13. I had a mother-in-law like yours, I think. I'll miss her forever. Can we get those turkey vultures to terrorize the Orange Menace for the next week?

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    1. A good mother-in-law is a treasure! Especially when one's relationship to one's own family is complicated. Edythe made me so welcome in the family from the first time I ever met her, and we were great friends. I used to love visiting her and her husband for weekends up in Raleigh. They were retired and could always be relied upon to find fun things for us to do. Those were good days.

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  14. So good that you get/got along with Greg's parents even if not your own.

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    1. My parents and I have reached an uneasy truce, but our relationship will probably always be strained and complicated. My relationship with my in-laws has always been much easier. I'm thankful for that.

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  15. Ugh. Turkey vultures. They have been haunting our neighborhood for more than a year (up to 50). So much so that one neighbor couldn't park her car in the driveway (under trees) because her car would be covered with you know what each day. Another neighbor cut down no fewer than ten trees (tall pines and poplars) because the vultures were nesting in their yard and it always looked liked snow had fallen. Not. In other words, prolific poopers. V. dirty. They have protected status here, so not much that can be done, but they are definitely creepy.

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    1. Eww! Vulture poop sounds especially horrific. I respect their role in the ecosystem but wouldn't like having them nesting close to my house!

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  16. Fire watch again today. Long, tiring day but lovely talking to happy tourists and the best view in the world. Turkey vultures sound like a thing of doom!

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    1. And I counted 13 of them which made it all the more creepy!

      Your day sounds like a good one. Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!

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  17. What a sweet post. My day is busy. Boys, school, a beef pot pie to assemble. It has rained. Then it snowed. Now it is raining again. But it is gray.

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  18. I have tried putting suet out for the birds but the squirrels just eat it all up before the birds can so I have given up for now.

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  19. When I first moved to England and saw an English robin, I had no idea what it was. I'd never realized English robins and American robins weren't the same bird! Apparently American robins are actually a type of thrush -- I think they were called robins by the English colonists because their red breasts reminded them of the tiny robins back home.

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