Monday, April 20, 2009

What's New Pussycat?

Here comes another one of my disjointed, rambling posts. I started a two-week stretch of vacation from work today. This week off is to get ready for the New River Birding and Nature Festival in West Virginia. Finally, it's just around the corner and I have about a bazillion things to do. I brought my suitcase up ages ago and started piling things in and around it. The pile is now about four feet high and the suitcase is buried. Tonight I'll start making my list. A list of lists. Clothes for who knows what kind of weather, zip-lock bags full of every kind of little bottle from shampoo to soap, lotion to bug spray. One zip-lock just for a travel pharmacy! (One never knows what one might need) Rain gear including a Gortex jacket and one of those silly crumpled hats with a brim all around. Don't forget the vest with one hundred pockets so I can forget which pocket I put that thing in. My new hiking boots are pretty well broken in (bring a box of band-aids just in case). Will I have enough shirts? I hear there's a laundry there so I suppose I can stop worrying about that.
What about my gear? I've packed and re-packed my camera pack over and over. With every electronic gizmo comes a charger cord. I have cords and AC adaptors coming out of my ears. I'd pay big money for single universal cord for all of my stuff. I'll need to enter my destination into my Garmin. I fly into Charleston and then drive on to Fayetteville (I think) and I have no idea yet how long that drive is. I splurged and bought a teeny tiny new laptop to bring along. The one I have is cracked, taped and weighs a lot. The new one is not quite half the size and weighs less than two pounds. I'll need to load Picassa onto it for picture editing, add some of my favorite bookmarks and I'm good to go.
Tomorrow I need to pick up my new prescription sunglasses and grocery shop to stock up the frig and freezer for next week. I've never been away from my family for a whole week before. They're a very self-reliant group so I don't worry too much about that.
I haven't had time for much birding lately. I did stop by a local pond to get another look at the mutt duck. He wasn't around- but look!

Another mutt duck! Isn't this one pretty? She was a little bigger than the rest of the mallards. I'm assuming she's a she because there was a drake following her around constantly chasing other males away. Maybe he prefers blonds!

This is a leftover picture from the Sunday that Art and I drove to the heron rookery by the Mississippi River. Actually it's the only heron picture that I like from that day. Once I spotted the Turkey Vulture I didn't have eyes for herons any more. Speaking of Turkey Vultures, several of you have mentioned to me a link to an organization called The Turkey Vulture Society. I looked at their website about a year ago. There is some terrific information on their site and about two months ago I decided to join. I followed the directions on their site and made my membership payment on line using Paypal. I immediately received confirmation of my payment from Paypal and waited for my confirmation from the Turkey Vulture Society. Nothing came. I sent several emails and got no replies. Finally I approached Paypal and initiated a claim to get my money back. Eleven days later I got an email from Paypal stating that my money would be refunded. I'm not sure what happened to the Turkey Vulture Society, but I assume they have dissolved their organization. It's a shame. I'm especially disappointed because I really wanted to be a "card carrying member". I haven't checked but I would assume that Paypal has pulled their affiliation with them. It's still a great source of information but don't send money!

I wonder if I'll ever be able to get a good, sharp photo of a bird in flight? Maybe I'll find a willing teacher in West Virginia.
I took flowers to the cemetery today. It's been one year since my sister Phyllis died. The year of all the firsts is over and I'm hoping my heart will ache a bit less. Please do something for me friends. Tell someone you care about that you love them. Send a note, or better yet call or visit. Let them hear you say the words and listen to their voice too. We all save pictures but we can't keep voices. I miss Phyllis's voice.
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Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Sounds like a fun week ahead for you.

Shellmo said...

I really like that female duck - she's a unique beauty! The heron photo was excellent too!
Am so Sorry to hear about your sister - I imagine this year has been hard for you. I just sent my sister an email letting her know I love her. Thank you for the reminder. Hugs to you!!

KGMom said...

Lynn--first, I will do something nice--and murmur Phyllis' name.
Second, have fun at your birding "vacation." Jeez--as much as you're packing, how long is this trip? A month? Oh, not? Hmmm.
It sounds as though the prep work far exceeds the actual birding trip! But, you are right--best to be prepared.

Montanagirl said...

I especially love the Heron photo. Good work girl!

Kelly said...

I recently lost a loved one too, and you're right...not being able to hear her voice is very sad. I can sometimes hear it in my mind, but it's not the same, and memory of it grows weaker each day.

Have a wonderful time on your trip. I hope to go next year. It's always fun reading your posts and today was especially nice.

Llinda in Erie said...

Oh, your upcoming trip sounds so wonderful. A universal adapter, charger? Is that too good to be true? For a wireless society we pack more cords and are more plug-in bound than ever before! I'll look up Garmin because I don't know what that is.

I have one of those laptops that is held together with industrial strength velcro to keep the lid from falling over. We'll be the Beverly Hillbillies when my husband and I check into our hotel on our vacation. Let us know how those little laptops do for traveling.

I tell people that, too, about saying you love them. There are so much I wished I had said to my Mom when she was alive. I know she knew most of it but she would have loved to hear it.

Have a safe trip!

Red said...

With all that work you're putting into preparing for this trip, I sure hope I don't hear you forgot something! LOL, I'm a last minute packer. I can't imagine packing more than a week before, let alone more than a day before.

That's a real shame on the TV Society. It doesn't make any sense :( There's links all over to it. Thanks for letting us all know.

I think I'll call my grandpa... it's been a few weeks.

Kallen305 said...

It sounds like you are more than prepared for your trip! So sorry to hear about your sister.

troutbirder said...

Thanks for the reminder Lynn. Have a great trip and I will look forward to hearing and seeing all about it.

Ruth said...

Time marches is hard to believe a year has passed already. Time also heals, and I know you are moving on, but continue to miss her. Have a wonderful vacation. I hope the 2 weeks feels like a month!

NCmountainwoman said...

I knew the anniversary was near so you have been much in my thoughts. I'm glad you have this trip to look forward to.

Great photographs. Too bad you forsook the herons. That was a nice shot. But then, so were the TVs.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Have fun on your trip…take lots of photos…and don't get overly concerned about taking everything you own, think you'll need, could possibly need, or once heard rumored someone else once needed. I've been to the area where you're going and it's beautiful (and probably a bit warmer!) and if you need any basic, you'll be able to find it locally, no sweat. Take your personal gear, meds, etc. You have to lug your luggage, remember (that's why it's called luggage.)

You'll have a great time!

Sorry to learn of the Vulture Society"s apparent demise. I was thinking of joining them myself. Maybe we'll have to take up the slack ourselves one of these days.

Finally, I'll do what you suggested in your sister's memory. And here's something you might do: when you find yourself at a particularly lovely, magical spot or moment during your trip, take a photo and tell your sister aloud this is for her, and then say something else—some special secret words or a verse between just the two of you. Connect those words with the image and say them again whenever you look at the photo back home. It's not "conversation" but it may give you solace for those times when you need something. (Just a suggestion.)

Lynne said...

Ruth- I'm sure it'll be a blast.

Shelley- Isn't she a pretty mutt?

Donna- Thank you for remembering Phyllis. I am a bad packer, always take too much stuff.

Mona- Thank you!

Kelly- I think it's the most difficult thing for me- that I can't always remember her voice.

Linda- I think we assume that our loved ones know how we feel. I just wish I'd told Phyllis more often thoughout our lives. I'll let you know about the mini-laptop.

Heidi- I am such an over-packer and last minute does not work for me. I was disappointed about the TV Society too.

Troutbirder- You'll probably get sick of hearing about the trip after a few posts about cackling women!

Ruth- That year went so fast. I haven't had two weeks off in a looong time!

Kim- I hope I'm prepared!

Carolyn- Thank you for thinking of me. I'm glad to have yesterday over. Herons are nice but TV's are AWESOME!

possumlady said...

Oh, I'm SO jealous of your trip!! I'm hoping next year to be able to make it. What I wouldn't give for just some FUN time outside.

Yes, the first year without a loved one is incredibly hard. I've kept an old land line telephone base because it has a few words from my mom "Hi Chris, this is mom" is all it said before I picked up the phone, just a few days before she died.

Lynne said...

Griz- Thanks for the thoughtful suggestion. I'll do it!

Now I'll go take the waffle iron and tiara out of my suitcase.

Christine- I wish you were coming. I'm sure looking forward to meeting you later this summer though. I would give just about anything to have a recording of Mom, Dad and Phyllis's voices.

Susan Gets Native said...

A big one over, dearie.
But think...just as around the One Year Mark of your Mom's passing and you were surrounded by loony, bonkery mean warm, caring friends....again we will all be together and if you have to go off in the woods and throw your shirt over your head and have a good cry, we will understand.

Susan....who hasn't started packing yet.

Bird Girl said...

You are one busy girl and you are so right about all those things we have to have to 'do' a trip - especially electronics - geesh - it is terrible!
Love your heron shot and the mutt duck (whatever that is ;-) And I think your flight picture is pretty darn good - it is far up and you can see lots of color and detail! Keep it up!
By the way...funny you said that about your sister Phyllis and missing her voice. I have only one sibling...a sister also. I often think about that when I delete her voice mail from my cell phone. And my hubby too...I've always loved his voice and think about how I would miss it if he were gone. You always miss those very little things that we all take for granted. I'm glad all the firsts are over for you. And glad you have such a beautiful hobby to distract you from your recent losses.
Good luck gettin' ready for the big trip!

Cindie U. said...

Miss mutt duck is so cute...
Sorry about your sister...
I wish I could go to West Virginia...I'm not even that far away. It's bad timing though.

The Early Birder said...

Hi Lynne, I know someone else who tries to take everthing but the kitchen sink..just in case!
Have a great trip, you deserve it.
Lol FAB & Anita.

Anonymous said...

You're packing already?

Mary said...

A year. Wow. Hugs to you, Linne.

I'm as frazzled as you are. Somehow, we'll make it. At least I don't have airlines to deal with. I don't have a crumply hat. Oh, well.


Mary said...

Oh, forgot to say, sorry about the TV club. We know you're honorary and you know it, too. That's all that matters. Tee-hee!

Love that GBH SHOT!

Lynne said...

Susan- I love you for saying that.

Bird Girl- I'll admit I've saved a few voice messages this last year. It makes me feel better that I have them.

Cindie- I wish you could go too. Maybe another year.

FAB and Anita- Thank you. Who's the big packer in your house?

Wren- I've been packing for WEEKS!

May- Nerves or no, we'll get ourselves there and hae a BLAST! I'll let you borrow my crumply hat.
It's sooo cute. (not)

Leedra said...

I was thinking the Turkey Vulture Society was a neat thing, had it did not work out.

I hope you have a very good trip, I know you have planned around this one. I wanted to go, but the baby is sooooooooo due. We are on baby watch, hopefully will have a new grandbaby by the time you get home. If not, I could have gone!

I am so sorry about your sister.

Leedra’s Photos For FunLeedra’s Greeting CardsPhotography By Leedra

Daniel Spurgeon said...

Nice, active blog. It is good to get out and watch and photography nature, isn't it? :) Your Hasty Brook photo looks a lot like Cypress Creek (way down here in the northwest part of Alabama) that I write about some on my blog. I look forward to following the goings on at Hasty Brook. :)

Marsha said...

I was smiling away listening to your narrative about getting ready for the trip and seeing the mutt duck. When I got to the end and read your favor request and tribute to Phyllis, I was reminded once again what a wonderful, caring person you are.

So today, I would like to say how much I appreciated getting to "know" you through blogland and how much I enjoy the time and effort you put into your blog as well as commenting on others. Have a wonderful and safe trip to the birding festival.

KatDoc said...


There are stores, if you need anything (batteries, Immodium, etc.) plus, you know you can always count on me to have rubber bands, flashlights, or the kitchen sink if needed. Just bring you!


PS: This was supposed to be a surprise, but I just bought a little net-book computer (so tiny and cute!) so that I can download photos and access my blog while at New River. I'm still learning how to work it. (And, the words on the screen are itty-bitty.) Maybe you can help me work it.

Anonymous said...

I see why you like the heron shot. I do, too.
Have fun in West Viriginia, it should be warm, but who knows. I just heard there might be snow showers in
Tennessee today.

Mary C said...

Have a great trip, Lynne. I'm looking forward to your great reports on the New River Birding Festival. And remember, your sister is looking down on you, expecting you to enjoy life and enjoy your trip. ;o)

Weeping Sore said...

Your heron picture is spectacular! These protected species consider my koi pond to be their private all-you-can-eat buffet, so I generally don't consider them as good guys.

Aunt "B's" Backyard said...

Hi Lynne...I can't get past your comments about your sister, Phyllis. My heart aches for you and I have a huge lump in my throat just reading this. Time never heals, it just hurts a little less and your memories become more happy than sad. I saved phone messages and placed them on a cd of my Mom, and I'm glad for that. I'm sure you have wonderful, tender memories of your sister and they will carry you through!
Your photos are just beautiful!
Enjoy your trip!!

The Early Birder said...

Lynne, if I say it's no me then I'm sure you can guess who!!

Have fun & I wish I was coming with you. Lol FAB

NatureWoman said...

I can't *wait* to read all about your trip and see your photos. I'm sure you will all have a great time!

Oh my, I didn't realize anyone else felt the way you do about missing your sister's voice. I miss my Dad's voice something fierce. I was planning on taking videos of him, but he passed before I had a chance.

Kathleen said...

It aches to miss someone so much. I love the idea of taking a special photo and making a secret with you sister. That will be very special.

I'm glad you are so excited about the trip. I've not started to pack yet, but I won't be able you join the flock until Thursday night so I have a little more time. I'm looking forward to meeting you!

Tina said...

Do hope you have a wonderful trip..and enjoy EVERY MINUTE of your festival.
Can't wait to see everyone's pictures and hear all those stories that are just waiting to happen!

Relax and enjoy your week..sounds like you deserve this one...time to let nature help you heal.

Laurie said...

I have the last voicemail Cousin Dale sent me saved to my cell phone and also recorded on my computer. It was just dumb luck that I saved it, but I am so glad I have it. I save a voicemail of everyone I love now...

I'm sorry for your loss, Lynne. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose my brother. I pray that it gets easier for you.


Mel said...

Hola Lynne,

I wish I could go to WV too.

About Philis, all I can say is, you've got an angel closer to you, the pain may never go away but it will be easier to carry on in time.

I send you all my love and best wishes, and I'm following your advice, as often as I can.

Besos gigantes,


Larry said...

I used to be a packer like you but I would get frustrated because no matter how much I tried to be prepared with packing I would always forget something.-Now I purposely try to simplify my packing list. Nice photos Lynne. What you say is true. It can leave you with a hollow feeling if you feel that you've left some things unsaid to a love one before they're gone. Expressing feelings is not always easy but I think that is worth the effort.

Philip said...

WOW! amazing shots the first one I really like very well captured indeed :)

RuthieJ said...

Oh Lynne, I can't believe the New River festival is almost here for you finally! Good luck with finishing your packing and not forgetting anything. I'll look forward to reading everyone's posts.
I called my brother in CA and we talked for almost 2 hours! yesterday afternoon. He will be going in for the BMT sometime after May 16. I was glad for the chance to visit him in March and can certainly understand how much you miss Phyllis (and your mom and dad).
Have a good trip--I'll be thinking of you.
XO, Ruthie