I came across an old tube of Chapstick today. It brought back a memory of my excitement over the film version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Remembering the excitement was delightful, but not remembering the movie which disappointed me.
I was putting something away in the guest bedroom (Andrew’s old room) and looked out the window to see a squirrel munching on a walnut or some other tree nut. I snapped a photo with my cell phone through the glass. I think it came out nicely. Even through they eat my birdseed, squirrels can be delightfully cute.
Full disclosure — I did not necessarily see these birds today. I have no other notable delight for today.
Over the last week I saw some FOS (first of season) yardbirds (Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Sparrow) as well as the usual suspects (American Robin, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Northern Cardinal) and I snapped some shots with my new camera. (Can you tell I was excited about the White-throated Sparrow?)
I know I mentioned seeing a Dark-eyed Junco on our trip to Skyline Drive last week, but I had not seen one in Bethesda until this morning. I was unloading the dishwasher (check that off the list for today) and saw a flurry of movement on the deck. There, a few feet from the sliding French door was a Dark-eyed Junco. I don’t recall seeing them so early before, but they are ground feeders, so I probably missed them at the feeder when it was just outside the window, pretty much exactly where the Dark-eyed Junco sat. It must have detected movement because it flew away, white tail feathers flashing. I then saw several others farther back in the yard, some must have been feasting on zinnia seeds.
While the Dark-eyed Junco is a harbinger of colder weather (which I do not find delightful), the birds cannot help that so I find them a delight.
That song used to stop me in my tracks when it came on the radio or played over the speakers in a store in the days before Spotify and mp3 players. It reminds me of my days in London and the following summer, after I’d purchased the album it was on and played it over and over again to reminisce about that experience. I wrote about it on my song-blog years ago.
I really thought I could keep up and write every day, or at least keep up the illusion that I was writing every day, but I was wrong. I am not even sure I noticed all the daily delights since last I wrote.
Here are some that I remember.
I baked Italian bread twice. Both times it was delicious and once again, I was shocked that putting together flour, water, yeast and a few other ingredients made such delightful loaves. Note that I also baked sourdough, naan and sandwich bread, but they are less new than the Italian recipes.
Two memorable cocktails were the October 9 Tom Collins* cocktails in our republican presidents Tom Collins glasses (a tongue-in-cheek gift from my friend Catherine who was not republican either) and our Liberal** cocktails the evening after we voted.
The Pumpkin Murder
Remember the Egg Man’s Cinderella pumpkin? We murdered it on October 11 and recorded the gruesome act. Andrew is still working on the stop-action film, but above are some stills from the production.
After that we cooked it and ended up with over 30 cups of pumpkin puree.
*The gin we used is an amber color, that’s why the drink isn’t clear **We didn’t have the exact ingredients for the Liberal, cocktails, but made sure our cherries were held by blue mermaids.
As a way to get out of town and celebrate my retirement (and Dean’s 18-month-old promotion) we ventured to Washington, VA and splurged on dinner and a stay at The Inn at Little Washington. This included afternoon tea, dinner (and wine pairings), a night in a huge suite, and breakfast.
For dinner I had the vegetarian menu and Dean had the non-vegetarian menu. Everything was exquisitely delightful. Even Rupert dressed up for the occasion.
We took the long way home along Skyline Drive, purchasing a senior lifetime national park pass on the way in. I also saw my first of the year Dark-eyed Junco and Rupert took a hike on the Appalachian Trail.
Shadows, rainbows and clouds
Shadows of everyday objects that appear when the afternoon sun shines through the west-facing windows delight me. Any kind of rainbow delights me. Sometimes clouds delight me too.
Andrew and Alex found a small, but decent apartment in a diverse 4 story apartment building in DC. Their apartment overlooks a courtyard with trees and other greenery which creates a delightful view from every window of the apartment. One room is a sunroom that has tall windows on three walls. It looks towards another part of the apartment building.
When we were visiting last time we noticed birds going in and out of a chimney. I think it was Dean that identified them as chimney swifts. I wondered if perhaps it was more than just a place for a few families, and perhaps it was a local roost. The next time we saw the kids they said that, yes, it definitely seemed to be a roost.
We stopped by with dinner tonight (eggplant parmesan, caprese salad, wine, and cannolis for dessert) and got to see the birds in action for ourselves.
When we lived in Alexandria we lived behind an apartment building that had a chimney swift roost and would often walk to the corner where they were clearly visible. Here’s a video (sorry about my loud voice) of the Alexandria roost. I thought I took a video of the birds today, but I must have not pressed record. In addition my photo did not turn out well, therefore the photo above is also not from today, but from Alexandria, VA about two years ago.