Sunday, June 21, 2009

There is joy in the chase, zest in the pursuit


All week I have been pursuing a Groove Billed Ani over at the World Birding Center.  They have a nest there.  I say they because they live in small groups and all lay their eggs in a communal nest, kind of like a hippie bird commune.  They all incubate and care for the young.

A group of anis are collectively known as a "cooch", "orphanage", and "silliness" of anis.

They are not attractive birds to look at, but they have a beautiful song.

I think they look almost prehistoric.




They have this distinctive big grooved bill, and a tail that is half the length of it’s body.


Ani tail in the nest

Ani tail 

The pursuit has been frustrating.  Not because of the Ani, who has been very cooperative in posing for my camera, but in the use of the camera itself.  Somehow I have set a setting wrong, and most of the shots I have been taking have not been coming out.  That has frustrated me to no end.  I love my camera, a Nikon Coolpix 5700, but I suspect that, in reality, it is just too much camera for me.  I have read and reread the manual, to no avail.  It is probably something very simple, but I’m just not getting it.

I persevered, though.  I got a few pictures of the Ani, the Hooded Oriole, a mourning dove, and a hummingbird.


mourning dove

hummingbird hummingbird2 hummingbird3 hummingbird4

Phil says that I’m getting a little obsessed with my photo taking, and after last night, I might be a little more inclined to agree with him. As we were walking to happy hour I yelled, “Look!  A toad!” and proceeded to start snapping away.  Then I yelled, “It’s just a stupid piece of wood!”


There are those defining moments in your life, when you realize how stupid you really are!

We finally got our air conditioning fixed this week.  After two and a half weeks of only having the one air conditioner working, which can’t keep up with these hundred degree days, the repairman came out yesterday and replaced the motor.

I had fixed strawberry Jello salad to take to potluck because, with only one A/C working, there was no way I was baking anything, and it is one of Phil’s favorite desserts.

It hits the spot after such a hot day.

strawberry jello salad

It is a simple recipe but people seem to enjoy it a lot!

2 packages strawberry Jello

16 oz frozen strawberries, drained

1 1lb can of crushed pineapple, well drained

2 cups hot water

Dissolve Jello in hot water. Add partially thawed strawberries and pineapple.  Chill until firm.


I went back over to the park yesterday to see if I could get better pictures of the Ani, but none of the pictures I took came out.

I did meet a butterfly guy while I was there, and he showed me a bush that is a big attraction for all types of butterflies.  Having a guy ask me to go into the bushes with him was a bit strange but I’m a trusting soul. :)

I know absolutely nothing about butterflies -- I’ve just recently started learning about birds -- but I do know that they are beautiful to look at.

My new friend was quite knowledgeable and pointed out the many different species for me that were all on this one bush.

butterfly3 butterfly butterfly2

We have a Mexican Flame bush in our backyard, and the Queen butterfly loves this bush.  See, I did learn something from the butterfly guy.

butterfly2 butterfly

The scissor tails are still sitting on their nest.  I can’t wait until the babies hatch.



Today is Father’s Day, and I always make Phil a special dinner.  His favorite meal is turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy.  I also made him a angel food cake from scratch.

Angel Food Cake

As you can see, he got into it before I could take a picture!

I won a cook book this week!  Anyone that knows me knows that I love to cook and I love cookbooks. The cookbook is

Memorable Recipes: To Share with Family and Friends (Hardcover)

by Renee Behnke


and from just a quick glance I can tell that there are many recipes in there that I’m going to try.

My song pick this week


I watched four movies this week

Into the Wild
Breaking and Entering
Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Into the Wild, starring Emile Hirsch.  A different type of movie about a young man that gives away his life savings to go live in the wilds of Alaska.  I admired his having a dream and pursuing it.

Breaking and Entering, starring Jude Law.  A movie about second chances in life.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

I’m sure everyone knows about this movie. I had never watched the original and it was on HBO, so I watched it.  All I can say is that I wish I hadn't.  Even as outdated as it is, it is still a horrifying movie.

The International, starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts

From the previews I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, but it turned out to be a pretty decent action thriller.  One scene where there is a shoot out inside the GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM is especially good.

Books I’ve read this week.

Still reading Michael Connelly. I liked Lincoln Lawyer very much. But I couldn't finish Chasing the Dime. The story was too disjointed for me, and I couldn’t muster any interest in the characters.

Right now I'm reading Void Moon.  This one has a good story and interesting characters.