Tuesday, July 31, 2012

 Are you able to see the crow in flight just under the telephone wire, in the photo above? I took this picture last week, when I'd noticed a fairly large and noisy group of crows outside the kitchen window. Funny - I'd noticed several groups of large noisy crows last week, and now they've gone.

One can still hear the crows in a more subdued background sort of way, but nothing like the large presence they made last week. I wonder if the noisy visitors were in migration, and a little earlier than normal.

Crows are one of my favourite birds, they just touch me in a way I can't really explain, except to say I like their wild caws, and their jaunty selves, and that I remember watching them as a young child when I would sit and just contemplate things in our back lane.

These noisy birds swooped past the kitchen window and back off to the telephone wire over and over, to the amazement of Arthur, my black cat. I couldn't catch the look in Arthur's eyes adequately by camera - those crows put on a really good show!

After reading over at gardenpath, about sightings of large groups of crows, I decided to check for any news of early migrations of crows, but there didn't seem to be any current entries on Google for this. I did find a new book by John Marzluff, and Tony Angell, Gifts of the Crow. I've enjoyed two books by these writers. Tony Angell's illustrations are just absolutely lovely. I was able to order it and download it to my Kindle, so did this, and am finding it fascinating reading. The anecdotal stories of crow behaviors can be amusing and, the illustrations rewarding, although some of the scientific facts regarding the brain, and physiology of crows is abit of a tough slog, but worth it I think.

  Oh, and back to the photo of the crow in flight, my son has spread his wings and left the nest this morning; driving to Calgary, to find an apartment, get settled, and be ready for the beginning of the school year. He will be working as a substitute high school teacher. I'm happy for him, as he takes the next step in his life path.

My son and I have practise at saying goodbye, as he would travel every summer as a small child overseas, to visit his dad in the summer, and he'd already left home to attend university back in 1999. I'm really happy for the past two years of living together while he undertook his education degree. I think that living together as adult son, and mom made us closer. Not to say that everything was always perfect or ideal, of course - but in the end all had turned out right.

My son tends to like dogs better than cats, or so he says, but he bonded with Herbert and Arthur this past two years, and they with him. The cats were definitely concerned about the packing, and I just know they will miss him.

Does Arthur want to go along to Calgary too? Herbert sat in the box, as well, and then lay down for a long nap on Paul's suitcase. :) (Herb tends to be camera shy).

My  therapy for letting go, and saying goodbye to him, has often been finding a really thick, interesting book by a favourite writer, which I would read, sometimes for up to 14 hours until hearing that he'd arrived safely to his destination. This time Paul left as an adult - competent, and independent, and he just needed to drive 7 hours, but I still felt the need for a good book.

The book I choose to read, and downloaded to the Kindle, is Mudwoman, by Joyce Carol Oates - and it is working it's magic. Joyce Carol Oates is a prolific writer, and I haven't been able to read all her books, but enough of them, to know she would tell me a good story.

This past few weeks I've been borrowing books from the library, and enjoying the feel of a book in my hands, but I still love using the Kindle. I have used it for many tasks, I have downlaoded crochet patterns to the Kindle; articles I would like to read, instead of printing them; I downoad favourite pictures, a calender, and many free Kindle books stored in my Archives to read when I wish.

I tend to "purchase" free mysteries, cookbooks, and some personal improvement books. There is a wealth of free Kindle books available, and I find choosing a good book can be abit like shopping at a thrift store - it's such a pleasure to find one just right for me.

 Recently I read a free Kindle book, Don't Let Me Go, by Catherine Ryan Hyde, (who wrote Pass It Forward - which was made into a movie), and I loved this book. I would highly recommend Don't Let Me Go, and I notice it is still for a good price on Kindle at $3.99. It was heartwarming, and inspiring, and a good story full of endearing, slighty quirky characters, who I would personally like to know as friends.

Some other fun free books I now have stored in my archives are : "If I'm so Smart, Why Can't I Get Rid of This Clutter?";  "If Errands Could Kill, (Minivan Mom Mystery Series)";  "How to Find a Job When There are No Jobs"; The Temporary Detective, an Isobel Spice Novel"; "Julie Smith, Writing Your Way, the Great American Novel Track.";  and "Quinoa Recipes for Weight Loss" (with some wonderful recipes for anyone).

I would like to share this video of the song Changes, performed by Gordon Lightfoot, a Canadian singer and songwriter. This song was written by Phil Ochs. I hope you might enjoy!

Wishing you a happy August!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Simple Gifts - Just because

This evening I've had a song playing in my head, Simple Gifts, one of my favourite tunes.

The song has alot of meaning for me, we used it for my mothers' funeral, for the final processional. It just described for me, perfectly, how she was towards the end, and how "it turned out right".

I like the recording here, by YoYo Ma, and Alison Krause, and this is the recording I used for Mom.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Listening to some favourite music and house cleaning

This evening I searched for relaxation videos for a friend, and although I did find some good You Tube videos with soothing natural sounds, and some positive affirmational videos, what I personally found most soothing is some of the classical music I love. I haven't listened for some time, possibly several years, for one reason or another.

As I listened to Claire de lune; Moonlight Sonata; and Vivaldi's Four Seasons, I was brought back to my childhood when Mom and Dad would play this lovely music on a radio station every evening in the summer, sitting outside on the front step. We three children would fall to sleep listening to the lovely tunes, and the soothing low talk of our parents.
Here's the three kids in summer on the step. I presently live just a few blocks from this small house on Mullin Avenue.

This evening I decided to clean, and listening to good, music made the work feel light.I have a special fondness for the music below, Pachelbel Canon in D, so wanted to share it here with you.

I'm wondering what you find relaxing, inspiring, and soothing? I am still looking for my friend, so any suggestions are most welcome.

Cleaning the apartment was also good for my soul this evening, I like the sense of a clean house just cleaned, and it needed doing. It has been so hot I haven't felt like exerting myself, but it was necessary this evening.

Here's why - yesterday morning Paul was in bed, (he worked til 2 that morning), when he heard a crashing sound. He came out to the kitchen, to find the window screen had fallen, and Herbert was standing over a small robin on the kitchen floor. He had apparently grabbed the poor bird off the window ledge.

Paul went to find some paper towels to pick up the bird, and returned to see Arthur making a swift getaway with bird in mouth, to under my bed. I didn't hear about the accident until this morning, as Paul and my paths haven't crossed for two days. He's left for work when I get home, and then gets home from work in the early morning.

Cleaning, the floor on my hands and knees with a cloth and pail, listening to lovely music seemed to soothe the atmosphere. I was sorry for the bird, and have learned my lesson to keep the kitchen window closed when out of the apartment.

Please just click on "Read more" below, if you would like to hear the video. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Library

 I am sharing here a wonderful letter in support of a library in Wales, written by the author and illustrator Jackie Morris. Jackie posted this letter on her blog, "The balance of life as an artist and illustrator living in Wales; or how to avoid housework."

Jackie gives a lovely plea for a library which is slated to be relocated to a "parking lot". (?!) I think you will be moved by her defense of libraries just as I am. I just had to share this. Libraries play such an important role for children, and I know many people who remember the library as a "bridge" for them to a larger world.

If you click on the link below, you will be able to read Jackie's post.

A Library

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Do birds have belly buttons?

At the daycare center where I work, a co-worker was sitting at a table with one or two children, and visiting with our small white, budgie. This nice little bird, called Sweetie, is very vocal throughout the day, and seems to respond to the childrens' attempts to whistle, and tweet for her.

I joined the group, and we sat quietly enjoying our time while most of the children were napping. One small girl asked me, "Do birds have belly buttons?" Rather than attempt to answer her question, I told her that we could try to find out. It's always preferable to research a question together, rather than providing answers. My first thought would have been that because birds aren't mammals, they wouldn't have belly buttons.

This evening I decided to type this question on Google, and was abit surprised to find several entries on this subject.

The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, discussed this question in a section titled, Unusual and Interesting Questions. It seems that the very young birds do have a scar from the cord which attaches the embryo of the bird to the yolk, when in the egg. As the bird matures the scar disappears, so one could say that the baby birds do have belly buttons.

I'm now feeling a little excited about how we might make this subject into a project for the children. There are some good childrens' picture books on belly buttons, both whimsical and factual, so I'll be planning a library trip soon.

This is the best kind of curriculum planning I feel, when it comes from a sincere interest on the part of the actual children in the center. Hmmm, I can just imagine some interesting art, dramatic play, and movement activities that may develop from this....

Below, is a link with another answer to this question. I was really quite surprised to find these entries.