Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Jersey Firsts

The first person I saw in the Newark airport was a guy in a polyester jogging suit, gold chains, slicked back black hair and no neck. Laura said he was a "Guido."
The first person who spoke to me after leaving the airport (another Guido) tossed me the F-bomb.
The first bird I saw after leaving the plane was a Common Yellowthroat (I think) and it was on a chain-link fence right next to two people making out. A little culture shock in New Jersey!
I saw my first Common Loon that was NOT in breeding plumage. The other birders were VERY excited to see a loon. Loons are quite common here in summer when their plumage is divine.
More than one person snickered when I took this picture of my first barnacles.
I almost stepped on my first black rat snake. I was too excited to be seeing my first Black Vultures! Not just one, not just two, but a kettle of them swirling over my head. They made me giggle with glee.
Earlier in the weekend I also saw my first box turtle. I mentioned it during a field trip but accidentally said that I'd gotten a life mammal. The field trip leader gave me the hairy eyeball.
I had THE BEST pecan pancakes at Uncle Bill's Pancake House. I also ordered my first scrapple. It was described as pork mush, formed, sliced and fried. I'll try nearly anything once, but no thanks to seconds on the scrapple. If you look closely you can see Katdoc hiding behind a post taking a picture from the other side if the sign.
Speaking of Katdoc, she gave me my first buckeye. I think it was supposed to be a good luck token for the OSU football game but sadly, it didn't work. Susan tried to crack her buckeye in her cleavage but that didn't work either...

The first bird I saw at the condo in Cape May was a Yellow-rumped Warbler. They were everywhere, popping up out of the grasses and bushes. In fact they became kind of a distraction. Butter-butts are just so cute though.
I got my first look at a grass called Phragmites in New Jersey. I made the mistake of saying on how pretty I though it was. It's an invasive species and everyone there hates it.
(I still thought it was pretty)
I took my first walk along the ocean before anyone else arrived. It gave me a chance to gather my thoughts, relax from the stresses of traveling alone and think about the weekend ahead of me. I was so excited to meet the bloggers coming together at Cape May. What would they be like in person? Would I fit in? What would they think of me?
Of course I thought of my Mom. It would be one year on Sunday since she passed away. With my sister's illness and death so closely following Mom's I knew that I hadn't dealt with my grief very well. I wondered how- if I could handle being away from home on that day. She was so excited for me to go last year. She'd want me to be here this year.
So I headed back to the condo and waited to meet the Flock for the first time.


KGMom said...

Lynne--I thought of your mom, too, and the passage of one year. That first year is never easy--but time passes, and with even more time the grief eases a bit. But, in my experience, the longing does not. One more day--something many of us could wish for.
But I am so glad you had a good Cape May trip.

KatDoc said...

What did we think of you? That you were absolutely wonderful, of course, since you are!

It was great to share our pancake breakfast and to get Black Skimmers for dessert. I had so much fun birding with you and just hanging out with you.

I know first hand how hard the first year is after losing a parent. I didn't know your mom, but I'm sure she would have wanted you to spend this anniversary celebrating life instead of dwelling on your losses. I'm so glad you came!

~Kathi, even more excited about next year's New River trip

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, wonderful reports from this trip. Your stories about the "Guidos" are hilarious. I think it's wonderful that you got to go this year -- I'm sure your mom was so proud of you.

Mary said...

And your Mom and Sister are both smiling on you now, knowing you had a wonderful time with good friends and sweet memories to hold and share.

Love you,

Linda in Erie said...

What a wonderful story of your weekend. The butter butt is adorable. The cleavage-cracking person, I don't know about that, ha. That grass, invasive or not, is pretty and I bet it sways gracefully in the wind. The snake, not my favorite thing, but the barnacles are cool. The pecan pancakes are making my mouth water. I'm glad you were able to enjoy your weekend and I bet your mom would have wanted that.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

I'm really enjoying reading the different renditions and styles of describing the same trip: it's the quintessential Bob Dylan line: "we all saw things the same, we just saw them from a different point of view." One event, many views.

Eve said...

Great firsts Lynne!! Don't tell anyone but I like that grass too, everyone has it around here in their ditches...I can't even get an invasive species to grow in my ditch!!! Can't wait to read more!

Jayne said...

Loving your series on the Cape May adventure Lynne. :c) I am sure there will be so many first for me in WV that I'll hardly be able to contain myself. I thought of your mom and Phyllis too. I know they were happy you were happy, and made sure it was a great time. Love to you.

nina said...

A weekend of wonderful firsts!
And a nice way to reflect on your losses of the year.
I always feel very thoughtful at the ocean--its rhythm,...

I'm so glad your time was a good one!

Shellmo said...

I couldn't stop looking at the loon photo - I miss them so much now that they've left me for the winter!.
Your last photo was perfect to reflect upon your mom & your sister who you obviously loved very much - blessings to your family.

NCmountainwoman said...

Wonderful post, Lynne. I'm so glad you decided to go on the trip and I am loving reading everyone's posts about it.

Marsha said...

What a wonderful post filled with lots of "firsts", I think your mom was looking down with pleasure that you were there this year experiencing all these firsts.

Kathiesbirds said...

Lynne, joy, humor, excitement and grief all in one post! I don't know if I can take it. You make me smile, rejoice, cry, and laugh all at the same time! Bravo to you for going and enjoying yourself. I think your mom and sister would be happy for you. Now, can I get you to come to a birding festival down here next?

jalynn01 said...

Your firsts were funny from Guido to invasive grass!! It's so nice to meet new friends and have such a great time. I'll be looking for more pictures and stories!

bruss1510 said...

Lynn, my thoughts & prayers are with you at this sad anniversary. I know your mom & sister are looking proudly upon you and whispering words of love in the breezes at Hasty Brook.

Mary C said...

Lynne, I'm so happy for you, and I'm thrilled that you were able to go this year. Aren't you glad you went? I am enjoying everyone's posts about the trip. That was fun to experience so many firsts, too, wasn't it?

MojoMan said...

What? No buckeye-in-cleavage photo??

Yes, it's wonderful you got to go this year. I'm sure your mother and sister were with you.

Are you SURE your first New Jersey bird wasn't a mosquito?

Red said...

THat's great to read about all your firsts! LOL, especially the "Guidos". An interesting people for sure.

Lynne said...

Donna- I had my moments over the weekend, but still was glad I went. Longing is such a good word to descibe it.

Kathi- Sharing the skimmers with you will be one of my favorite memories.

Liza- I had never heard of a Guido! One guy looked just like Paulie Walnuts from the Sopranos!

May- I made new friends and LOTS of good memories!

Linda- Lots of memories, new and old.

Robert- You made a good point. We were all really different people and all had different takes on the weekend.

Eve- I made some comment about taking seeds home because it was so pretty. They all screamed "Nooo!"

Jayne- I found a church first thing Sunday morning to start out the day close to Mom. Now I can't wait to meet YOU and hatch some more new memories!!

Nina- The ocean draws me in and makes me feel small. I love it.

Shelley- I though of you when we saw that loon! Our summer loons are so gorgeous and this winter plumage loon looked so PLAIN.

Carolyn- I'm glad I went too. It was good for me.

Marsha- I agree.

Kathie- The whole weekend was a riot of mixed emotions, but just SO MUCH laughter. I would LOVE to come out there and see your western birds!

jalynn- There's more to come!

Beth- Thank you for such kind words. Meeting you was terrific and I can't wait to spend more time with you in WV!!! I lost your email. Would you send it to me please?

Mary- I am very glad I went. Meeting all those wonderful people was just the best. The birds were fun too, but really it was all about the people.

Mojoman- HA!! There is a picture of the buckeye in the cleavage floating around somewhere, but I didn't take it!

Red- Coming from Minnesota it was a bit of a culture shock!

KatDoc said...


You didn't mention ordering your first steak sandwich!

~Kathi, wondering what is good to eat here in this deli

Bird Girl said...

That was an interesting post...I didn't get the Guidos thing??? However - I am sort of blonde ;-)

You had so many neat 'firsts' - but the 'first' year without your Mom and sister is certainly not one of them. So sorry you had to deal with that - but going on a wonderful birding trip to Cape May is a wonderful way to keep from going down that 'dead-end' road in your mind.

Love the barnacle shot and the butter-butt, too!

Can't wait to see more!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Lynne,
I'm glad you got to make the trip to Cape May this year and that you were in the company of supportive friends. It was good to see you smiling and I'm sure your mom and sister were together and smiling down on you too.

ivars krafts said...

My goodness you were busy, right from the start! But it's obvious from the variety of pictures and your comments that an excellent time was had. Keep the posts coming!

Larry said...

I love this little fish out of water post! F-bomb dropping Guidos-You gotta love it! lol! Black vutlures are cool to see. It's fun to distinguish them from the others. Sounds like you had a lot of fun firsts.

LauraHinNJ said...

I've been meaning to post a pic of you and something about your mom. I know she was heavy in your thoughts, Lynne.

Leedra said...

This is a great post. Love every bit of it. Buckeyes, some men put them in their pockets every morning with the change. Our new 'home away from home' has a buckeye tree. Hope you saved yours if even it didn't help your team. Does sound like the post was probably hard for you at the end, but made the whole post sound like a tribute to your mother (good thing!)

Anonymous said...

Glad you had such a good time. I have been to Laura's page too, to see photos. Love your shots except for that snake.

Owlman said...

Lol, great post Lynne. I experienced culture shock when I arrived in the US and much of it was chalked up to American culture. Having been here nearly 10 years I've come realize that each area of the states has its own culture. I had to laugh at your experiences of shock in NJ. Sadly much of the shock you experienced is old hat for us. I wonder what someone from NJ would be shocked at in your neck of the woods. Maybe grown men wearing purple outfits? ;-)