I AM the Crazy Neighbor Lady!

A few months ago I was a bit bored and when I’m bored, I sometimes decide to find something around the house to take pictures of. While meandering around, I found a little dandelion in my front yard growing up against the landscape block in front of my house. I decided that since this little guy had somehow escaped the perfectionist yard tending of my detail oriented husband, G1, I would see about getting up close and getting some pictures of it. In fact, I had decided to see if I could somewhat, re-create this .

So I went and fetched a cup of water and G2 (my beloved camera) and proceeded back outside to my front yard. I glanced around,  saw that my neighbors all seemed to be inside, so I, a grown woman, laid down on my stomach, reached my hand in the cup, submerged it in the water, then pulled it out to sprinkle it on this tiny dandelion. Soon, as I was sprawled on the front yard, facing a block wall, G2 and I were snapping away, trying to find the ‘just right’ angle at which to shoot this little guy. I was in my own little artistic world, both creating and at the same time marveling at the intricate detail and the frail beauty of this God forsaken weed when suddenly I was pulled back, into the dimension of consciousness with the words “What are you doing?”

I, flat on my stomach, feet stretching towards the street, turned my head to see my neighbors, a nice, young couple standing next to each other in their driveway, her, with their precious one year old son in her arms, looking at their crazy neighbor lady with bemused smiles on their faces. Initially, I felt my whole body as well as what dignity I thought I had, cringe at the thought of how I must look. I clumsily got to my feet and stuttered out “T-taking a picture of a, a um, dandelion?”

They looked at each other, chuckled to each other as if their previous conversations about their “not right neighbors” were somehow backed up by this newest piece of evidence and said “Ok”. I, started laughing at myself (with them) and told them I’d email them the link to my picture. I promised them that as ridiculous as I know I looked, I hoped that they would see that something so tiny could be a thing of beauty. We ended with a good laugh as they took their son for a walk around the neighborhood.

Yes, I too think I am crazy at times but honestly, once I get past that initial cringe of self consciousness, I don’t care. I enjoy getting down and close up to things most pass by. It brings me peace, and reminds me of the beauty in all things, even the little ones.

Ever Changing

Good morning!
Ever had one of those moments in life, where you go somewhere, and then decide you were better off where you were? Yep, me too. Luckily some things are flexible.


This is a picture of a tree near the entrance of a conservation area I frequent. I’ve taken many pictures of this tree and it never ceases to amaze me how the same tree, on different mornings, with an ever changing sky, can look so different.
I love that about nature! Ever Changing, yet always present.

I think I’ll post some of the other pictures I’ve taken of this tree from time to time.

The Family That Lived Outside My Door

I have been lucky to have a sweet family live outside my sliding glass door for the past several weeks.

I have watched their personal journey and felt at times like a giant gawker.

Here are the links to Post 1, Post 2, Post 3 and this is my last installment of the story of this miniature family.

I considered having a huge goodbye party like Oprah, but, well, didn’t want to detract any attention from her. After all, she had her show for 25 years, the Robirdsons haven’t been around quite that long.

When opening the squeaky screen door, one of the babies, who was considering leaving the nest, jumped ship so we were down to 3.

 

Then, just a day or two later, I could see that baby #2 was stretching his legs, trying to gather the nerve to make that big leap.

Then there were two. 

 While at work, the other 2 left. I came home to this:

We humans can become so self-absorbed that we, at times, forget about the other creatures we share this earth with. The Robirdsons are a family, different from ours yet the same. It truly makes me wonder if they are they more like us than we will ever know. After all, in the matter of a little over a month, the Robirdsons have had a family, cared for it, raised it and sent them on their way. It takes humans 20 years (more or less) to do the same thing.

I literally stare at my empty nest hanging outside my window and feel that bitter-sweet set of emotions. I miss seeing the little ones snuggling together all sweet and adorable and yet I know that this is what nature intends for every living thing.

Goodbye Robirdsons, thank you for sharing your precious family with me. Sorry if the goofy lady with the camera freaked you out at times but you reminded me that this world is full of wonders both big and small and they exist right in front of our eyes if we take the time to see them.

Thank you for that.

They’re Growing Up Quick

Days 5, 6 and 7 of the Robirdsons

If you missed it, here is my first post on the Robirdsons.

And here is my second post.

I will have one last post after this one about my little birdy family.

Seriously, I try so hard to stay away from this little family in my back window but I just love to watch them.

 Does this mean I need to get a life?

Um, nevermind, don’t answer that, it was a rhetorical question, I don’t think I really want to know.

 

These hungry little piglets seem like they grow by the hour.

 

We had a couple of days of damp and colder than normal weather and momma took her place on her nest in order to keep her babies warm.

 

I feel as though I am truly blessed having a front row seat to this little life event. 

 

 

It’s rare to see momma and pappa at the same time on the nest but I was happy to get the rare shot. 

Ok, now admit it, they are (finally) adorable!

 It’s getting close, I can feel it, they are getting old enough to go out on their own.

 

My first Quadruplet newborn session – The Robirdsons

Ok, so my quads aren’t exactly human newborns but still amazing and adorable (eventually) in their bird way.

 Earlier this spring, about a week before Easter, I had planned on replanting a new batch of flowers in the hanging pot outside my back door. I admittedly let the darned thing hang outside all winter long where the dainty annuals from last year became nothing more than withered sticks.

My plans for fresh new annual colors soon changed as I noticed one evening while cooking dinner that the flower pot had new residents moving in, Momma and Pappa robin were making a new nest in MY flower pot.   As I watched their hard work I through the upcoming days I eventually dubbed this sweet little family, the Robirdsons.

Every day for close to a week they flew back and forth, several times a day, carrying sticks and grass and the makings of a new home for their little ones that were soon to arrive. They placed their building materials carefully and packed them down.

Easter morning, I climbed up on the kitchen chair and peeking into their nest from my side of the glass saw this:

 And then I re-focused my lens a little past my original target and saw an Easter character standing close by.

 Could the Easter bunny have dropped these here? Surely not.

 So as this was my first close up experience with this species, I wondered how long it would be until we had little baby Robirdsons in our nest.  Curious I was,  so I did what any modern human would do and I Googled it to find out that our babies were due 12 – 14 days after the last egg was laid.

Momma was a good momma bird and barely left her nest, especially during that second week and I, strangely enough, found myself growing excited and impatient in anticipation of their arrival.

Sure enough, 2 weeks later, on Mothers Day none the less, our hatchlings arrived, 4 in total and lets just say they were definately the kind of face only a mother could love.

 

Momma Robirdson sat on her nest to protect her new flock but would occasionally fly off to find food and bring it back to her babies. 

 

 Momma also didn’t really like the fact that I was standing on a kitchen chair on the other side of the glass so I would try to get my pictures quick, then leave them alone. Only over the next few days, my quick little picture jaunts have become more and more frequent because I am just so fascinated. I tried pulling my fake Ficus tree out of the corner to cover me and to try to make the Mrs. more comfortable but this is one smart momma who can still see me taking quick peeks into their little family world.

The last 3 pictures above were taken on May 11th and as I write this only a few days from then, I am amazed at how fast my babies Mrs Robinsons babies have changed, you will be too. 

More details to come soon!

Days That Weren’t …. Winter

Although I do love living in a place with a change in seasons, this winter has been longer and tougher than most in my memories past.

A few weeks ago I showed you some picts from last spring, now I will show you a few that I took of the Missouri countryside before it turned blah and wintery.

A beautiful day in Autumn.

I should have been at work that day, but took a vacation day.

I wish I could get paid to drive around this beautiful country of ours and take in all of the beauty.

Now THAT would be awesome.

 

But wait, 

I guess since it was a vacation day, and I got paid for it, I did (technically) get paid to drive around and take pictures.

Sweet!

Always have to look at the bright side!

Cheese Stuffed Chicken

4 Skinless chicken breast filets

4 oz goat cheese

Sundried tomatoes, diced

1 red pepper cut into strips

garlic salt

black pepper

8 slices of bacon

toothpicks

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the chicken breast (start at the thickest part of the side) and fold open as pictured below:

I must interrupt this recipe to point out the new pan in the above picture.

 It was a gift from my Aunt Cheryl.

She saw my recipe for Italian Sausage Stromboli and the pathetic cookie sheet I was using (that I had hoped no one would notice) and she felt compelled to buy me a new baking sheet.

 Thank you Auntie Cheryl! I can now hold my head up high!

Now back to our regularly scheduled recipe.

After you have split the chicken breasts, spread with goat cheese,

Take your red pepper slices:

Place a few slices on top of the cheese,

sprinkle a little of your diced sundried tomatos, sprinkle black pepper and a little garlic salt

 and fold the chicken over.

Now, take 2 pieces of bacon per filet and wrap around chicken using toothpicks to help keep the chicken secure.

Put in oven and cook for aprox 30-35 minutes, make sure chicken has no pink color left to it.

You should believe me when I say YUM!

Let me know what you think!

Half Way to Spring

 

Snow.

There’s been a lot of it this year. Even the U.S. South which closes schools and roads when there is only an inch or 2 is just recently melting from several inches which totally shut them down (Cough-Wimps-Cough) for darn near a week. Here in Mo, they’re calling for more snow this week.

 Sigh.

 After the snow there is always the soggy, muddy mess that is left behind until the warmer/drier days reappear to dry up the mush. Days are still gray and dull here in mid Missouri and I am looking forward to the signs of life, the sprigs of green to appear on the ground and in the trees, when spring is on our doorsteps.

Here are some pictures I took last spring to remind us all what is just around the calendar corner. Spring waits to greet us in the matter of more than a few weeks.

 Hang in there!

Goodbye 2010 and Bye to My 30’s

  When I was little, I used to think that people got the day off because it was MY birthday. It just so happens that my birthday falls on New Years Day, that may have been the real reason,

 just possibly.

So every year I guess it’s a little different for us New Years birthday people, we not only look favorably on the new year as a fresh start, but its also mixed with checking yet another year off the old age meter.

This year is a big one for me, I turn 40.

Goodbye to 2010 and goodbye to my 30’s. (sigh)

I’ve heard so much about 40 and how its all downhill from here.  I’ve even recently bought my first readers glasses because I’ve noticed that for some reason every label, set of directions and even some menu’s have decided to ‘Go Green’ and conserve ink by printing much smaller type. Sometimes avoiding the truth can be uplifting, so let me be in my little happy denial bubble!

Most people make resolutions on New Years, and I’m among the masses that have made a few myself over the years. Last year I actually accomplished one resolution, I quit smoking and I can proudly say I’ve been smoke free now for about 5 months. Yay me! It feels good to tackle a goal and then reach it.

The past few weeks have reinforced one important thing that I really took to heart about 10 years ago,

life is precious & it’s short.

It’s shorter for some than for others and we really don’t know what our future holds or if we hold much of a future on this earth.

I’m not depressed or crying over this,

I want to take life and grab it by the ears and just…

LIVE.

That one word can mean many different things to many different people. In my case, I don’t need to lead an exciting, action packed, adventurous life but I do want to do my best to lead a happy, peaceful life. I want to stop worrying about things that really don’t matter. I want to be kinder.

Instead of making new resolutions, I hope to instead just keep in mind everyday that I don’t want to waste my life crying about my eyesight waning or a line on the face appearing or the fact that I’ve reached a big milestone birthday. I want to thank God for my life and the people he’s blessed me with. I will thank him for everyday, even the ones that suck.

I don’t want to worry what others may think of how I look, what I say, etc.  Now I’m not saying that I go to Walmart in a Moo moo with my arse hanging out, I do want to present myself in a positive light. At the same time I refuse to obsess over the little things that don’t matter in the big scheme. It’s all about finding balance, the right balance for your life.

Life is a gift to every single one of us.

If you find yourself crying or depressed, fight it.

 I’m not saying that sadness isn’t a part of life, and creeps up on everyone at times, but let it out,

then fight against it.

Live

Laugh

Love

There’s much wisdom in those 3 words.

May your new year be filled with Peace.

May you laugh more, cry less.

May you count your blessings, and learn from failures.

May you see the beauty that is everywhere and thank God you can see it.

May you take the time to see it.

Be good to others and forgive old hurts.

Be good to yourself, and don’t just exist…

 LIVE.

Happy New year to all of you!