Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chipmunk Playing Statues

Dave and I were birdwatching on the deck early one morning. Oscar sniffed around the edges and investigated the new package of potting soil under the hammock. I noticed a chipmunk standing in the walkway. I wanted a picture, but was afraid it would scamper off before I could reach for the camera. Slowly and steadily I picked up the camera, turned it on, and adjusted the zoom. Much to my surprise, the little fella never moved. He remained standing like a statue for at least five more minutes before turning around and racing off into the bushes. Then it dawned on me. My little hound neither saw nor sniffed out the chipmunk, but the chipmunk spotted him. His little game of statues worked. Oscar didn't see him until he was well on his way to safety!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Beautiful Saturday Afternoon!

What a beautiful Saturday afternoon! A gentle breeze makes the 76°F (24°C) temperature feel perfect. Big puffy clouds fill the sky. A quick thunderstorm is predicted to rain down on us later this afternoon, so Dave and I decided to take a little time to enjoy the sunshine out on the deck with Oscar and the mourning dove sitting on the line.

This little purple finch stopped by for a while. I think he is a young bird, it looked as though some of his feathers were still coming in or changing color. He spent part of his time eating, then turned to watch us while we were watching him.

There weren't many birds around. It was a bit early in the afternoon, but after the purple finch finished eating and watching us, a pair of evening grosbeaks stopped by. They also seemed to think that we were the dinner show entertainment, too, as they watched us while dining. A hummingbird stopped for a quick sip of nectar, but was off before I could get a picture.

Just as we were about to go back into the house, I noticed a big duck in the sky about to fly away. Can you see it?

I hope you are having a beautiful Saturday, too!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I Ran Into My Culture On TV

First of all, I want to make it clear that I love the different cultures of the world. I love the different cultures of the United States. I love our diversity. Our differences enrich us all.

But sometimes, when you least expect it, your culture appears out of nowhere. It calls to you. It's as if you are among people who speak a different language and all of a sudden, familiar words make their way through the many conversations in the air, to your ears. At once, you recognize the words and you are at home.

Last week, I saw many memorials and tributes to Tim Russert. I knew he was an excellent journalist, commentator, and interviewer. His peers remembered him fondly and with reverence. These tributes were heartfelt and allowed me to see sides of Tim Russert that I didn't know. His friends and colleagues wore the pain of his loss on their faces.

Friday evening, I turned the channel to MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews -- one of the political programs I watch regularly. Chris Matthews and his two guests, Mike Barnicle and Pat Buchanan reminisced about Tim Russert. Their tributes and memories were no less heartfelt than those of their fellow journalists. However, their manner of expressing their grief was different. They smiled and laughed. They even argued a bit. All good natured and every bit of it imbued with humor. I learned more about Tim Russert through their conversation and memories. They talked about Russert's roots, his upbringing in a Irish Catholic working class family and how that upbringing and those values shaped him. I understood more about Tim Russert. Matthews ended the segment, laughing as were Barnicle and Buchanan, stating words to the effect, "Well, there it is - three Irish Catholic guys paying tribute to another Irish Catholic guy."

That he meant Irish American Catholic is understood. I'm not a guy and my politics are not always in agreement with Matthews and Barnicle, and seldom in agreement with Buchanan. But I felt at home watching this tribute to Tim Russert. It was warm, loving, reverent and filled with humor and laughter. I understood it because it was the culture I was brought up in. I felt that comfort of recognition, of connection with my culture, history and a sense of belonging. I have been there. Laughter laced with tears expressed how deeply I felt the loss of my Aunt Eileen, my best friend. I vividly remember shaking with laughter as tears of grief streamed down my face when my cousin recounted a funny experience my aunt and I shared at the service. I knew my aunt was laughing, too.

Who would think that a political program with "three Irish Catholic guys paying tribute to another Irish Catholic guy" would immerse me in my culture? It did and I smiled.

Image Courtesy of Tangled Spider

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

An Award from Mary

Mary gave this wonderful award to her blogging buddies. I'm honored that I am one in that happy group. I recently realized that I have not been properly highlighting the awards I've received. I truly appreciate each and every one and each and every one of my blogging buddies. It seemed seredipitous that the first award I received after realizing my error came from Mary. We are dear friends from our Suite101 days. Mary contacted me to let me know that she and other Suite friends, like our dear friend Renie, were blogging here at blogspot. She encouraged me to join in and so Tina's Odds & Ends was born. I enjoy being part of this community with old friends and new!

Thank you, Mary, for this wonderful award and for bringing me into this wonderful community!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rainy Wednesday

It's been raining all day, which should bring the pollen levels down. So far the thunderstorms predicted earlier in the week have not materialized. It's just a pleasant, somewhat cool, rainy, spring day. I love to listen to the rain and to see how it makes the greenery appear greener. It doesn't seem to bother the birds. The birdfeeders are well visited by birds and squirrels alike!

Purple finches

and Evening Grosbeaks

are some of the visitors to the front feeder. The squirrels ran away! And what a surprise when I looked out the back window to spot a turtle in the grass.

This is a good sized turtle. It's hard to judge with nothing nearby as a guide. But I took this photo from the distance of a second story window.

All in all, it's a lovely day!