Saturday, May 31, 2008

Prairie Therapy

A morning excursion to the prairie at Governor Nelson State Park produced one of my favorite birds – the Grasshopper Sparrow. Clear blue skies gave way to clouds and the sparrow seemed to be more prone to posing when light was obscured. Still, it's hard to complain. It's uncommon for this species to offer such a close-up inspection of the intricate detail of its plumage:

Bobolinks, Eastern Kingbirds and Eastern Meadowlarks complimented the sparrow's insect-like song to form a veritable grassland bird chorus. Content with what I could get for photos, I spent the remainder of the morning exploring the woods and oak savannah. But before leaving, I paid a final visit to the Grasshopper Sparrow and admired it through my spotting scope for a while. The bird's business of flying from one perch to another to belt out its song provides the kind of enjoyment and entertainment no movie or book can capture - it's just you and the bird amid a sea of waving prairie.

Governor Nelson State Park - May 31st, 2008:

Canada Goose
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Sedge Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Wood Thrush
American Robin

Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
American Redstart
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Field Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch

All images © 2008 Mike McDowell

Friday, May 30, 2008

World's Only Scuba Diving Cat

Meet the world's only scuba diving cat.

Vacuum cleaning our cat

This is a video showing us vacuum cleaning our cat. She is huge and totally deaf from birth. She's almost 14 years... The vacuum itself is on the lowest mode, just enough to get the loose hairs off, so no animal was harmed during the making of this vid ;)

Homemade Helicopter That Works

If you think that flying as a hobby is still a little expensive, these small relatively inexpensive helicopter proves that there is more than one way to fly. Some of the prototypes are presented here.

The Baby-Jumping Festival

We’re not joking, the Baby-jumping Colacho Festival is a real annual event celebrated all over Spain since the 1620s. It consists of grown men dressed as the Devil leaping over helpless babies. Why do they do this? They represent the devils that, when they jump, they take all the evil with them leaving the babies clean of evil. Here is a snapshot of one of the weirdest religious traditions.

Blast to My Past

My brother recently found some old photos of ours family's and scanned and sent them to me. Ahhh..the good old days.

Here's one of my dad walking down the road near our house. We lived outside city limits so the streets are unpaved.

This is the cute house we lived in while in Alaska. The entire inside was all wood and I loved it. The gazebo outside caused a friend's kid to call it "Amanda's Castle". How cute!

When we moved back to Colorado my mom, brother, and I went on an old family favorite cross-country skiing trip to Mayflower Gulch in Summit County. It's so gorgeous and I recommend it during the winter or summer.

New Challenge

I love challenges. Things that push me to do things I would otherwise be too lazy to do.

So since I've been doubted that I will complete all the books in my previous post, my new challenge is:

Amanda's In-the-middle-of-too-many-books Challenge

The List:

1. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood (Finished May 30th, 2008)

2. The Light of Day - Graham Swift (Finished June 01, 2008)

3. Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston (Finished July 15, 2008)

4. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins (Finished June 10, 2008)

5. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

6. Galileo's Daughter - Dava Sobel (Finished June 16, 2008)

7. The Yiddish Policeman's Union - Michael Chabon (Finished June 06, 2008)


I will keep you updated when (not if) I complete these books.

More Predictable Behavior

photo via nibs

I. Love. This. But of course I do....

Although I'm not sure what I love more, the fridge or the shopping list.


Oh and here's how you can make one of your very own. Happy weekend.

Friday Morning Paper – My Ongoing Obsession with Yellow Edition

I'm digging these yellow dahlia cards and wheat prints (surprised?) from Etsy seller Modern Printed Matter...

This yellow thing can't last much longer, right?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Books and more books

I love summer time because for some reason the daylight makes my mind more active. That and since I'm taking the summer off from classes I want to cram in as many fun books as I can. So here's the books I'm reading:

Right now my riding-the-subway book is Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. It's sort of an Orwell's 1984-ish type of book. My old riding-the-subway book was Graham Swift's book The Light of Day. It's a private detective mystery type story which is ok but wasn't really grabbing my attention. Thus the switch. I'll come back to it though.

My sometimes-I-read-before-going-to-bed book is Zora Neale Hurston's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. It's a thin book but slow reading because it's one of those books where the accent is written into it so it's a bit of deciphering to figure out what they are saying.

My book I read at work since it's free online (Google books full-view) is Wilkie Collins' classic spooky book The Woman in White. It's great so far! A mysterious lady in white, two star-crossed lovers, and wonderful narration.

And I'm still only half finished with Anna Karenina by Tolstoy and need to finish that sometime.

Oh and my book club book just came in at the library which is Dava Sobel's Galileo's Daughter. I'm going to pick that up tomorrow and start reading it this weekend.

Oh...and I'm only half-way finished with Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union. I stopped reading it when I went to Las Vegas for a vacation because, while a good book, it's not really a summer-time read. So I will come back to that one too.

My husband thinks I'll never finish all these books. What do you think?

Shopping List

Ever since the great spending hiatus, I'm pretty vigilant about purchasing mindfully and sparsely (i.e. my almost purchase of the polar bear rocker, which will more than likely be fodder for some future therapy session for Millie.) It's not always easy, and more than once I've succumbed to an impulse purchase, but generally I put a lot of thought into things before I buy them.

My strategy is to keep a running list of things I like and check back every couple of weeks to see if I'm still obsessing about them. Sometimes an item just falls off the list, leaving me to wonder how it ever made it there in the first place. Sometimes, I post about an item here and that alone somehow squelches my desire to actually purchase it (which is a rather nice money saving side-effect of the blog.) And every once in a while (usually with very little rhyme or reason), an item graduates from list-dweller to actual purchase.

Here are a few things currently vying for that position...

One of Jen's insanely dreamy photos...There are so many lovely ones, I literally can't chose (and every time I think I have chosen, she adds new ones that I love even more), but this one is a current favorite.

These shoes -- I know, I know...They're really tall and clunky, but I like them. A lot.

Glass decanter + funnel -- Really it's the little glass funnel that I'm smitten with, but it's pretty useless without the decanter, right? Do I need another glass decanter (or a little glass funnel for that matter?) No. But I never said the list was practical...

Wow -- Part Two

Remember her? I loved reading this little interview with her over on the Sartorialist...especially this:

"I build my daily look around?"

"My mood"

As it should be...

Link Dump

Hot Links
Traffic from hell
Home Made Slide
The Torture Game
Interesting Paint Ad
Carmen Electra Mega Gallery
Drunk Builders & Mad Architects

Waiting for the Bus Might Be Fun

A selection of funny and creative bus stops from all over the world! I’ve never seen anything like this in reality but I would not mind to wait for my bus in such an extraordinary entourage!

Celebrity Tongues

It’s interesting: no boobs, no butts, no other sexy parts of the body are revealed… But some of these photos do really excite me! Am I the only one here with such a problem?