Birds

Monday, May 10, 2021

Jalepenos for Mother's Day

 Okay.... 

This is funny! 

I am at my son's in Alabama so one of my daughters says for me to look for a delivery around noon on Mother's Day. 

I expected flowers and sure enough there was a dozen beautiful roses

More gifts? I open the next bag. It's a German Chocolate Cake! my favorite.... and another bag held two boxes of candy. One was Godiva and the other was Lindtl asst. pralines



This is just too much! But, wait, there is another bag.

I peer down in the plastic and see large dark green jalepenos ... seven of them. What the dickens?

I call my daughter to thank her for all the goodies, including the jalepenos

She didn't order any jalepenos. Not for Mother's Day, for gosh sakes, 

Now, we are wondering what poor soul is missing 7 jalepenos in an order they placed (and it got put in hers instead)

And, we have laughed and laughed at the SURPRISE gift. I hope I get a goofy surprise like that every Mother's Day. Laughter is great for your soul. 

Friday, May 7, 2021

Decoration Day in the Old South

 Cemeteries in the south have a 'Decoration Day', held not always on the same Sunday. The cemetery where my Mom and Dad are buried, (also my brother, infant son and lots of relatives) chose the 2nd Sunday in May for the day to decorate the graves. 

In years past, Decoration Day was a big deal, probably the most anticipated day all year except for Christmas. You bought new clothes, you got all dressed up, everyone was at the cemetery. Church would be held in the morning, baskets full of fried chicken, green beans, potato salad, chicken dumplings, etc, etc, etc. was spread out on a large table under the trees and you just helped yourself. The afternoon was spent with singing hymns. It was a grand time.

Now, all of that is gone except for the people who go (whenever they have time), place flowers on the graves and leave. A part of the old South is gone.

My son and I bought flowers and on Wednesday we drove from his home about 60 miles from the cemetery to where our loved ones are buried. We decorated the tombs, walked around a bit, looking at old tombs, being surprised at brand new graves. 

I just got this huge lump in my middle. I now live nearly 800 miles away. I am getting on up there in age. This would probably be the last trip I could make to pay my respects. My Dad was killed by lightning just before I was born. I never knew him but the ache of loss has always been with me. My Mom, the woman who struggled during the depression to make sure me and my older sister had a good life. My baby son, born into this world with problems he could not overcome. They were all here.. in this ground, their tombs marking the sites. I wouldn't see that again... It was an emotional moment for me.  




Thursday, May 6, 2021

Cinco de Mayo Celebration

 First of all, let me thank you for all the sweet and understanding words on my previous post about my Grandson's autism and the trials they go through. 

Owen had been transitioned into a residential home since his 21st birthday. But, then Covid hit and first place to be totally shut down was the town of New Rochelle, New York due to the high levels of covid affected people. His house was completely closed and he came home to stay with the family during the pandemic. He has increasingly gotten worse, at times unmanageable and seemingly no outside help available. He's 6'5" tall so he can be more than a handful.

Things are moving slowly toward Susan having maybe a couple/three hours twice or three times a week now. So, there's a wee, wee light at the end of the tunnel but the solution, of course, is to find another residential home. 

Now on another note. 

My sister is 96, living in a senior independent apartment where they do assist them with activities and prepare their meals. They keep those seniors busy. Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo and they had a celebration. Here's a picture of my sister.


and

Here is my son and I having a marguerita, salsa and chips out on his deck to celebrate.


Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Real Struggles of Autism

 Today is my youngest daughter's birthday. I haven't gotten to be with her for a year and a half, mostly because of Covid but also, because she is going through the most trying time of her life right now. Her middle son, Owen, was diagnosed with Autism at 18 months. He is now 27 years old. As the years progressed so did his behaviors. 

Noone, not even those who are close to them, know the struggles she and the entire family faces 27/7. Even going to the grocers or keeping a doctors appt is a huge deal. I was very taken by a post she did on Instragram and would like to share it with you. It wasn't done for pity or people to say 'oh, you poor thing' but to bring awareness to Autism.

There are so many spectrums of Autism and so many levels of behavior. Mostly in the news one hears about the kid who is autistic who ends up going to college. Or even gets a job, has a career. The success stories. There are no success stories in the Murray household. Success, to them, is one or two hours where things are fairly quiet. 

So, here's Susans post:

Today marks the last day of April’s Autism Awareness Month so I thought I’d share with you what most people experience with autism when they see their friends/neighbors out and about with their child who has autism. They often see the more calm moments that led us to actually be in public. I know for us we have had the struggle of a lifetime this past year and it’s had its dramatic ups and downs. I post pictures of Owen smiling. I’m not posting about the behavioral issues, the physical struggles, the ER visits that lead nowhere. The self injurious behaviors that are new... the holes in our walls that we have had to repair from those unimaginable moments. Everyone has been stressed beyond reasonable limits daily just to try to hold on to wherever normalcy they can. My other children have stopped their needs for his & done work & homework through severe times.
Life has focused almost entirely on Owen and getting him more stable and finding a new best support & home again. With well trained staff. I share this not for sympathy but Awareness. Autism awareness is more than a blue puzzle piece or light... it’s about the reality of everyone’s experience with autism. Owen & so many others need care 24/7.... there aren’t off times. This is the reality for so many families out there but you don’t realize it unless you live it. I’m not sure what lies ahead right now...I pray a lot for him. To save him from his struggles. My heart breaks a thousand times a day. Guess it always will. This awareness month has come & gone. So much is needed still... services, training, understanding, acceptance....the list is far too long. Im so proud of my children for stepping up in ways they should have never had to!! I am so proud of Owen for doing the best that he can in these trying times. He has had it harder than the rest of us and I hope he knows we will do whatever we can to make his life the best we can!!
I’m forever grateful for my family and my sweet supportive friends. You all have been my rays of hope and sunshine. I count my blessings every single day.
💙💙💙


I just ask that you please keep this family is your prayers. Like Susan said, my heart breaks a thousand times a day. 

A Robin

“If I can stop one heart from breaking

I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.”
                         ― Emily Dickinson



Saturday, May 1, 2021

Wildflowers in Bloom

 I used to have a wildflower identification book!

Gee, I wonder where it went? Like a lot in my life, it just disappeared over the years.

I remember once, back in the late '80s, my husband and I took a less used road traveling through North Carolina, iding wildflowers along the way. That's when I had that book.

So.... no book but lordy mercy, who needs a book when they have google!!

On my and Michael's travels this time we identified some flowers that I had often wondered about. 

First was the yellow flower, tall on a thin stem, that looked like a dandelion. Dandelions don't grow on tall stems. So, what was it?

Michael pulled over and broke a blossom off for me while I got a couple snaps from my car seat. Those two look so much alike but this is a dandelion.



low to the ground with jagged leaves

And

here is the Meadow Hawkweed


on a long stem. The leaves are long and skinny. 

We also found out that a tree with purple blossoms blooming alongside the road ... no leaves yet... was a Purple Robe Black Locust. 


I hope I did not bore you to death with that. I just love learning new things. How many of you already knew that the yellow flower was a Meadow Hawkweed? 

Oh, and just look at the back row of petals on that blossom.
the rest of the petals are yellow but that back row is greenish/brown. So pretty when the sunlight shines through it.


Thursday, April 29, 2021

A Picnic by The Side of the Road

 I decided to tag along with Michael when he headed home, 750 miles away.  One of these days I am going to realize that distance is not an option for these old bones!! It's more sooner than later! 

We had gotten to the mountains of Virginia and Michael was looking for us a shady place to eat the picnic we'd packed. Wasn't having any luck!!


So, he turns down this little side road and lo and behold, there surrounded by woods, was an electric substation. He pulled in, we got out and stretched our legs, let Sadie do her thing and then he opened up the cooler. 

Ham and cheese sandwiches, chips, peanut butter on club crackers and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. We ate underneath the canopy of trees, surrounded by wild flowers, moss and solitude. Such a wonderful break in our journey. 


Michael taking pictures of vegetation at our picnic site.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

A Visitor From Alabama

 My son is visiting. So, I've been absent from my blog.

He's planning to eventually move from Alabama to Virginia to be closer to family. He's all alone down there in Bama and misses us, as we miss him. So, he looked at one plot of land while here. Beautiful land, beautiful view, quiet, peaceful and next door to my granddaughter (Shirley's daughter. Michael has no children). How cool would that be!! 

But the house had once been a hunting lodge, laid out strange as all get out and quite unlivable so that was a bummer. If he bought it... he'd just bulldoze that thing and build a new house. A lot to think about.  

While on the eastern shore (Virginia) I saw an oriole for the first time that I can ever remember. That was exciting. 


and so much was blooming! 





Friday, April 16, 2021

Slow as a Snail

 I had stuff I could have eaten!

But, I didn't crave one single thing that was in the cupboards. 

                                                                What to do?

I've been using Instacart ever since the pandemic started and have a choice of grocers I can get an order delivered right to my door. This time I chose Aldi's... I'd used them before. 

Placed my order at 2:30. Delivery to be made no later than 4:30. I got the notifications ... You know, 'We got your order'.... ' your shopper has started your shopping'....'your shopper has checked out' and so on. 

And, I waited and waited. Got a text from her saying she was on her way. And, I waited some more. Finally got a text saying they were sorry for the delay that she would be at my apartment around 5:15

5:15 came. I mean, I am a mile from the store, folks. How long does it take for someone to buy a few groceries and get to my place? Just asking. 

It was 6:30 when I finally got my groceries. I was starving! 

I do have to say that in the months I have used Instacart I have been very happy. Have no idea what went wrong with this order. Did she have a wreck? Was she trying to fill a bunch of people's orders before she headed out? Was she just a slacker? I still don't know and I really don't care anymore. But, yesterday I was about ready to jump down somebody's throat. 

The chocolate covered mini donuts soon had my ruffled feathers all smoothed down, though! 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Washing That Pollen Away

 It came a big rain the other afternoon! 

I am always amazed at all the water that comes rushing out of the drainpipes and floods into our pond. And, with it comes trash!! I do wish people wouldn't throw trash down. But, with the water and the trash, there was a ton of yellow pine pollen washing into the pond as well. Gotta be happy about that. 

So I grabbed my camera and dashed out on the balcony to snap a few pictures. Got a little soaked! But, that was refreshing! 

Just look at all that pollen. The birds don't seem to care.

Maybe these mallards thought all that pollen was the gold at the end of the rainbow!

I'll swear I thought this looked more like an oil painting than a photograph! 




Some of you may remember that my daughter had a blog sometime back where she featured the lunch outings that she and I took and the fun we got into. With Covid that stopped. But, we got out the other day. I sure hope you will hop over Here and see what we have been up to. Be sure to bookmark her as we have plans to do that much more in the future. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

In Search Of Spring!

 I awoke to the sound of thunder and bright flashes of lightning on Sunday morning.

Guess Shirley and my late breakfast plans just flew out the window. 

                                                  The weather did clear up. 

We had a nice early lunch at Panera Bread. Catching up on the latest with the two of us. 

                                     Then we set off in search of some signs of spring. 

Neither of us had our cameras! When will We ever learn to not leave the house without them!!!

                               Cell phones sufficed. Here is a portion of what Shirley took.

I sat in the car. We were on some pretty uneven ground and at my age, I can't trust my feet on unevenness. 

                                                     BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY






The tulip that Grandson Chris had given me is bringing me great joy these days.
Just look how pretty it is!



Monday, March 22, 2021

Lobsters On The Loose

 


So much of my life now is encased in memories. With the pandemic and not having social outings to look forward to that has helped put me in this frame of mind. And, too, I am going through all my pictures (and believe me they count in the thousands and thousands) making sure each is identified, dated, etc. 

So, memories flood my mind. 


Like the time a big box was delivered at our door. Susan had said 'open it right away'.

Well, there was something live in there!!!! I could hear the scratching and crawling around. 

                                     Box said Maine Lobsters

I was not going to open that box and have lobsters crawling out and running all over the place. I'm scared of crawly things. 

Luckily we had recently moved next door to Shirley and John. I picked up the telephone and yelled,

                        'Help... I need Chris to come open this box'. 

So, grandson Chris came running. He wasn't a scaried cat like his grandmother! 

So, here we are with lobsters, live ones! And, I am supposed to do something with them. But, What!!!

Chris is an excellent cook so he got the job as chef. Shirley and John brought over some steak. With Chris manning the stove, we all had a wonderful surf and turf dinner that night. 

We've never gotten another gift like that... thank goodness! Chris doesn't live next door anymore.  

Friday, March 19, 2021

Fortune's Rocks

                                           What I'm Reading


To begin with I could not get into this book. I'd read Anita Shreve before but for some reason I couldn't figure out where she was going with this character, Olympia. But, I persevered and suddenly it was like I could not read fast enough to find out what was happening next. 


I don't want it to be a spoiler for you so won't tell you much. Time frame: turn of the century (1899-1900s) and this 15 year old girl makes a decision that changes her life and those around her. 


I got deep into the book and liked how she was moving along to alter what had happened to her and then she ups and does something else stupid. (at least in my eyes) and it made me so angry. That's not how I wanted it to go. But, I still have about 1/4 of the book to go yet so I will continue on. That girl had better make me happy again!! 


I like happy endings. This book has had so many twists and turns and surprises. Glad I stuck with it. 




Wednesday, March 17, 2021

St. Patrick's Day

 


'tis a wee bit of an Irish wish for ye t'day. 

In 1996 my oldest daughter, Marie and I flew to Ireland where we joined a bus trip, touring the Irish countryside and the cities, as well.

It was a grand time. Once in a lifetime... and one I will never forget. 

I just thought I'd share some of our photos from that trip.


Our trip riding in a jarvey.

Peat bogs are spongy.. here I am bouncing
up and down on a peat bog.





Cliffs of Moher. Beautiful Irish lad playing hauntingly beautiful melodies

Here's wishing a Happy St. Patrick's day to all who are Irish and all those who wish they were! 


Friday, March 12, 2021

I Love Paris..... in the Springtime.

 I knew that I needed to get rid of some of my 'old fashioned stuff' and get more up to date. Shirley said to me, 'Mom, I know you miss Paris and you can't go so why don't you bring a little bit of Paris into your living room?'

Well, that did it!! I have begun making some changes. Still have more to do. 

                Before                                                 After

 

I've always wanted something sitting on the floor by my tv console. The sliding glass doors are there and it just needed something....                                                    Here's what I chose. 


I used to have a heavy, dark color fruit painting over my couch. Then I brought in a Kinkade painting that just didn't do anything. Too blue/gray, cold, wintery look. 

This, when it is framed, is gonna brighten up that spot.


It reminds me of what I love about Paris. The sidewalk cafes, the flower vendors along the sidewalk, Now if I could just add a musican to play some French music.

Hey. All I gotta do is say 'Alexa' play some French music and I've got it. 

Perfect!




Sunday, February 28, 2021

Dead Snake or Deaf Snake?

   So little happening these days so there is so little to post about. 

                                 Think I will tell you a story. 



After my husband's retirement from the Navy, we moved to the countryside in Alabama on a 40 acre farm. Quite a different setting than what we were used to but I set about being a 'country' girl.

I wanted a flower bed so Elbert dug up a spot and edged it with cross-ties. ICYDK (That means In Case You Don't Know) cross-ties are the large wooden supports that the rails are attached to in making a railroad. 

I'd planted some flowers and one day went out to check on the first blooms when a snake came slithering by and wiggled down into a hole in between two of those cross-ties.

Now, you gotta understand... I HATE snakes. I scared of them, have always been, don't like them around. 

I was home alone, no one to ask to come take care of this snake for me so I went into the house and got my husband's revolver. I was nearly as skittish about guns as I was snakes so I walked toward that flower bed holding it out in front of me with both hands, like I thought the thing was going to bite me. 

I got back to where I last saw the snake, didn't see him, figured he was still down in that hole so I aimed that revolver straight at that hole. I emptied that gun, bam, bam, bam, etc. the bullets flying right into that hole. 

I headed back to put the gun away feeling pretty proud of myself. I either had a DEAD snake in that hole or...

I had a very DEAF one.