Perhaps to the dismay of serious bird-watchers, I left the Roberts Bird Sanctuary with an image of a cardinal-singing Figaro in my head. I find it hard to move past “wow.”
With Minnesota in the midst of its two weeks of spring, I’ve been spending a lot of time outside. During my commute, I bike around Lakes Harriet and Calhoun. As you ride, birds are always fluttering away. For me, any small bird is either a sparrow or a chickadee.
(To clarify, when I say chickadee, I don’t mean that in any knowledgeable ornithological sense. Rather, all generic, Disney animated-looking birds that aren’t sparrows, I label as a chickadee.) Continue reading
During my last semester of law school at UNLV, as I prepared for finals, I would sit in the xeric garden just behind the school to study or take a break. Whenever a hummingbird appeared, I took that as a good omen. To borrow from a beer commercial, it’s not weird if it works. Since then hummingbirds have been like a lucky penny for me.
Returning to the Pacific Northwest for an internship for my final semester of law school felt good. And then after law school, I needed the laid back attitude of Portland. Plus, within Portland are two of my absolute favorite spots on the planet: the Purple Room in Powell’s City of Books and the footpath to Lake Zither in the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Continue reading
I had never given birds much thought until a few years ago.
I am a Midwestern boy who has lived in New England and the Pacific Northwest, and then a few years back I moved to Las Vegas for law school. When you mention a desert, I used to think of sand and nothingness, a barren landscape.
When you mention Las Vegas, I naturally think of casinos, buffets and bright lights. So I was a bit surprised that it was the plants and birds of Las Vegas that would leave a lasting impression with me when it was time to move.
The first year of law school is tough. Nonstop studying, and if you do stop, the guilt is horrible.
(It was during law school that I first willingly dusted my apartment. In general, I follow the Quentin Crisp approach to housekeeping in that after six months, the dust doesn’t get any worse. During my first semester of law school, however, I dusted because that seemed like an acceptable break from studying.) Continue reading
As you know by this point, my grandmother turned 100 last week. When I went to visit her before her birthday, she mentioned that her “big” chocolate bar was missing.
(I am fairly certain that my grandmother and I have very different definitions for “big” when it comes to candy bars. When she gets a box of Russell Stover chocolates – one of her favorites, she’s satisfied eating one piece a day. I, on the other hand, consider a box of chocolates a type of comparison shopping.)
She had been saving that chocolate bar for a “special occasion.” (I could see where one might consider a 100th birthday to be a special occasion.) As she said that though, she kind of chuckled, “Nearly 100, what was I waiting for?”
I would say that the universe is always sending us messages, some more obvious than others. It’s up to us to listen to them. In my grandmother’s case, she could have dwelled on the “missing” part of the chocolate bar, but instead she decided to focus on savoring the moment. Continue reading
We celebrated my grandmother’s 100th birthday this past week. Leading up to her party, I think most of us grandkids were looking forward to her birthday more than she was. Normally, I can be rather reticent; as my grandmother knows, I answer most any question with yes, no, or fine.
But for the past week or so, no matter what the question or conversation, I managed to work in that my grandmother was turning 100.
At the café, the barista might say, “Good morning.”
My normal response: “Good morning. I’d like a small coffee for here.”
My response this past week: “Good morning. Since my grandmother is turning 100 this week, I think I’ll have a cappuccino.” Continue reading
Jim’s sister took us to her favorite patisserie for the world’s best bran muffin. (Jim insists I pause after saying that.)
To her credit, it was the world’s best bran muffin.
Then Jim let her try a bite of his apricot Danish. It seems the world’s best bran muffin is no match for the world’s best apricot Danish. Jim ordered a second round for everyone.
Don’t let the location in the strip mall fool you; you must join us next time.
Just a week ago, we had yet another April snow storm in Minnesota. This was my first winter back in Minnesota in twenty some years. Walking home in that snow storm, I thought, “Yes, April, we all see you. Yes, very funny, you look just like March. Why don’t you go see where May is.”
I was beginning to think Minnesota wanted me to relive every winter I had missed. Then, April decided to give us the perfect day this weekend. Sunny and warm. Shorts-weather warm. As in, even non-Minnesotans would have worn shorts. (One of my brothers wears shorts all winter long. Most of us wait at least until it gets above freezing.) Continue reading
My dearest friend Max,
Please forgive me. The (April!) snow on Monday was my fault.
Last week, Jim said he stopped the snow in time for the evening commute by eating a cherry almond doughnut.
I didn’t believe him. I said it was a coincidence.
He was so angry; he refused to eat a doughnut on Monday. You saw the results.
This morning he decided on a key lime Bismarck. You should see the forecast for this weekend, let’s plan a picnic.
In my last post I mentioned that I had survived my fear of my tent blowing away – with me in it – on the shores of Olympic National Park only because the wind died down, so I didn’t really conquer my fear. It would be tested again a year or so later, but this time on the high desert plateau of New Mexico.
I was returning to Chaco Culture National Historical Park to see the great houses that were built in the 800s (not a typo, they were built more than a thousand years ago). On my first visit, I wasn’t staying in the park, which left me with little time to see anything, because I had to get to my lodgings. I had to leave, because this park is remote.