Nest Stress

Every year, outside our bedroom windows, pairs of little red finches fuss at each other as they build their nest. The springtime chitter in the nearby tree is familiar to me now. One year they’d build on the west side of the porch and the next the east. They like the ledge on top of the column under the roof. You get to peer at them through the windows as the babies hatch and fly away.

But for the past several years, their little nests won’t stay up. I find them on the porch floor with the teeny tiny eggs splattered. So sad.

So this year, when we saw the industrious finch couple build their humongous nest in one day, I thought, finally, this couple’s gonna make it happen. Although the “Darwin Awards” parody those beings who guarantee their own extinction, the Darwinian Theory is that the best of a species will pass their best traits on to the next generation.

And then, two days ago, the nest was up there and then it wasn’t. I came in the bedroom to get dressed and I could see my husband’s dismay. “It was just there”, he said in disbelief. He’d just pointed it out to our son. There lay that huge nest on the porch floor as the bird couple argued and twittered, flying back and forth from where it was supposed to be to where it actually was.

My husband wondered if he should go get a ladder and put it back up. I envisioned the ladder precariously balanced against the little overhang and knew that probably would be a Darwin Award winning choice.

We felt guilty because, after last years scrambled egg tragedy, we’d pondered putting up an itty bitty guard rail to prevent the nest from scooting off again. But previous birds had made do and figured out how to work on the flat spots. Maybe there’s a grander scheme at play here and we need to keep our hands out of it. Maybe they knew the eggs they laid wouldn’t do well. Or maybe seeing my family’s ghostly faces peering out the windows at them scared the finch family so badly, they realized this was not the ideal location for raising a family after all.

Best of the Boyfriends

I remember a discussion I had once with someone about sucky mean people and it went something like this. Wouldn’t it be nice if all the sucky bosses and ex-boyfriends would all go live on an island together and make each-other miserable? And all of us nice people could roam around the rest of the world and not be concerned with bumping into them. I think I liked the imagery of that whole island imprisonment thing. And maybe one of them is Dr. Moreau.

Of course, those boyfriends had some good points. I remember thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if you could take all of the best qualities of all the ex-boyfriends and combine them into one person. The over-confidence of one, the thriftiness of another, the adventuress spirit and wanderlust of another. The artistic talent, good nature, awesome sense of humor, or amazing eyes of another. So many good qualities thrown out with the bath waters of the ex-beaus.

But none of them had the kind temperament and the patience that my husband shows with my son. In the end, I shopped for this quality in a man who would father our child. He’s got a lot of those good qualities as well. On our last date, I asked him,” What do you like about me?” He said, “I never know what to expect.” My answer to him was that he makes me laugh and he gets me (and he lets me be me). He’s also my friend because the other criterion of friendship was to be clever, honest, and kind. My ex-boyfriends weren’t ever a friend to whom I could entrust the gentle care of my fragile heart much less that of my child, my heart outside my body. Thanks, Mark.

Oooh That Smell

Only after I moved to the Eastern Shore, did I retain my very own Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor. He said the moldering corn stalks exacerbate the old allergies. And only here do you get accosted inside your car and house by random farming smells. Smells so bad, you yell out, “Oh my, what is that smell?” My son orders, “Roll your window up”, but it’s already  up. Hopefully, in seven minutes, our noses will adjust to the smell.

There are seasonal bad smells like that of fish emulsion on the farm fields which reminds me of stinky sneakers. And there’s the poop smells,  also a fertilizer on some future crop. And then there’s the chicken poop stench from chicken farms. As you drive the back roads, you may be accosted by this horrible smell, and decide you’ll never take this road past these chicken houses again. In my opinion,the only two worse smells are dead potatoes and paper factories.

Bad smells give way to happy smells.  Last week,. I walked out into my backyard and was overwhelmed by the rich smell of fried onions. There is nothing on the river with us except a church and a jail. The church looked empty so I guessed it was lunchtime for the inmates. That smell almost brought tears of gratitude to my eyes. When my husband comes home saying “It smells good”, we joke that it’s always onions and garlic.

And then springtime put on an olfactory show this week. And the smelly symphony of the heady and perfumed tulip tree next-door, plus the jonquils,  and  my head filled with a melodious smell extravaganza that, again, filled me with gratitude.  I love the random smelly moments of life. It’s like getting away with something. Especially since I expect my nose to betray me every year with the allergies. I certainly do enjoy any smell that doesn’t make my eyes itch and my nose tingle and run.

The aroma of a recent rainstorm, my son’s morning breath, June bugs left in a jar in the day’s sun, and someone’s Sunday laundry, are all smells which can, and have, evoke a strong feeling from me. Some smells, like hot coco or coconut suntan oil, you have to seek out to immerse yourself in the nostalgia. But I can not imagine my life without the olfactory addition. I look forward to waking up tomorrow to the smell of coffee. And knowing my husband is downstairs waiting to chat, or not, as my day begins again.

She’s Crafty

As promised, I brought the crafty. Wanted to give my friend’s sister something to celebrate her newborn. I love the keepsake box idea. Joanne’s had photo-boxes on sale. So I grabbed two, as I decided to make another for a pregnant woman at church. Grabbed ribbons and coordinating fabric and some batting.

Supplies included scissors, exacto knife, roller knife, ruler, spray glue, hot glue, iron, and the cardboard backing off a used up paper tablet. And the screwdriver to pry off the metal box label thinger.



 The trick was to figure out the design and then in what order to assemble it so you hide edges. The cardboard got wrapped and inserted it inside the top and bottom. I padded the inside bottom and the top of the box.

The ribbons tie in the front but if you turn it around, those bows act as hinges to get in and out quickly.


And so you have it, two very different yet unique memento boxes to save all that stuff you didn’t  know what to do with but you knew it was too important to throw out. Like the cape he wore in the parade. And the cards from the baby shower. That’s what I have in my box at least. And sadly. mine isn’t as kickin;’ as these two.





Happy Crafting and to all a good time.


























Willful Willingness

As I have intimated, things are feeling a lot different for me than they used to. Where I was once fueled by my general anxiety about my life, the world, or that look you just gave me, now I’m not so much.

Recent events have really shown the vast difference between the then and now versions of me. There’s the general travel anxiety which wasn’t there on my recent trip to Philly. And the lack of upset I felt at my first submission rejection for my third. I couldn’t tell you I felt anything but an “uh-huh, yup, of course”.

My two other examples of not spazzing out have to do with car incidents. The first included Johnny Law. And the second, today, introduced me to Mr. Roy, his dog Gizmo, and his nice tow truck.

At my house, I don’t do cars. I thought that was an understood when I got married to this husband.  Although I might clean a car, registrations or gas mileage or tire rotations just ain’t my thing. A month ago, I forgot to put my cruise control on as I headed to the soccer game and got nabbed doing 64 in a 50. My mother and my son were both in the car. And I was as cool as a cucumber.

He gives me a ticket but not for the speeding. He said my stickers on my license were wrong. After a bit of research, I figured out I’d been the one to put the doggone stickers on and why wouldn’t you put the 12 over the 11. What do you mean there’s colored ones and black and white ones? What was I doing putting the stickers on anyway? Still, I didn’t cry or shake in front of the nice officer. That was huge.

The second incident was today when I went to turn the key in the ignition of the truck and nothing happened. Husband even told me he’d experienced a moment of this the night before. Best news was the insurance sponsored roadside assistance had been auto deducted. Yeah! So me and my groceries only had to wait 20 minutes before tow truck Roy showed up. He handed my grocery bags down to me at my house on his way to the dealership.

It was the starter that went up. And the timing belt needs replacing while they’re in there. But since I’m planning a return trip to Philly after Easter, it is better it happened now.

Long and not so long ago, I would wince at every perceivable possible glitch in my life. Christmas tree shopping was notoriously the most stressful event of the year, especially, and maybe only, with the ex. Now it’s all easier.

Because of my willingness to have it be less stressful, I take care of phone calls and chores and whatever else pops up more quickly than ever before. Springtime rolls out in front of me and I am here to see it. I’ve probably only got another short 40 years to go in life. I intend to get the most out of life’s perks while I avoid paying the price for the perpetual fear of unknown everything. It’s about time.


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