Archive for April, 2012

April 29, 2012

Bud, the Bird

A member of the Frost family who doesn’t get a lot of ink, but should, is Bud, the bird. Bud is a budgie, a parakeet. Bud lives in his cage which is hung in a corner of the living room.

For the first years of Bud’s life, he was allowed to fly free around the house. He loved to fly up to the top of the mirror in the dining room. There he would sit on a perch and admire the incredibly beautiful parakeet he saw in the mirror. He would stay up there for hours and on his perch was a clip to hold a spray of millet. Our cat, BuzzBomb, was mildly interested in Bud, but she never tried to eat him. They co-existed remarkably well. Sadly, we lost BuzzBomb to old age and Bud could fly with no feline worries whatsoever.

Then we got the cats.

At first all was well. The cats, Zena and Zoe, were kittens and they couldn’t really cause much trouble. But that tranquil period ended. That is why Bud’s cage is now hung from the ceiling in the corner of the living room. There is a carefully constructed open area around the cage. No furniture or launching pads are near Bud to keep the kitties from leaping and hanging on to Bud’s cage–as they were want to do. It must have been a terrifying experience for poor Bud.

We have had two near misses with Bud and the cats. Zoe once had Bud in her mouth and he suffered a puncture on his chest. It was horrifying for everyone, but Zoe. We were so worried about Bud, but he recovered. Bud is a very strong and brave bird.

Bud joined our family in August of 2000. We got him in Canaan, CT and for a long time Bud traveled back and forth to the country with us in a portable cage. He was a very adventurous Bud. Bud is a very friendly bird. He loves it when his “flock” sits in the living room with him. He sings a lot. He will sing when music is playing or just a cappella. When Jim plays the piano, Bud will often sing along. The best moments are when Dakota joins in and we have a trio with Jim on the piano, Bud singing his birdsong and Dakota chiming in with a doggier sound.

Bud is a pretty old bird. The average parakeet lifespan is 5-9 years. Some parakeets have lived as long as 20 years, but that is very unusual. Despite the rigors of living with two cats, Bud seems quite healthy and happy. Although many times we might seem almost to forget Bud perched in the corner of the living room, he is an integral part of our family. Our house would be much emptier without him. Here’s to a long, long life, Bud, the bird!

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April 25, 2012

Pinterest

Pinterest is kind of like a visual blog. At least, that’s how I see it. I have been having fun making boards which can collect visual images of things which resonate for me. I can’t really see the enjoyment of the platform for posting fashion, shopping, etc. but then I am not that much of a shopper. I see it as an extension of what I think and write about here.

I have 11 boards now. They cover Things I Love, Books and Reading, Philanthropic Interests, Knitting (of course), Gardening and Dakota has his very own board. He is a Pinterest pin-up.

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April 23, 2012

29 Glorious Years–And Counting

Today is our 29th wedding anniversary. As Jim and I are want to say, usually with a grimace, “29 glorious wonderful years…” The grimace is actually for show. The years have had their ups and downs, but there is no one I would have wanted to spend them with than Jim. LOML is his nickname. Love of my life. It is accurate.

Jim and I actually met 31 years ago. I was working at Warner Books as an assistant and this new guy started as an assistant to the publisher. He was pretty cute. My friend, Jill, and I decided to check him out and we invited him to lunch in the cafeteria. He spent the entire 45 minutes working on a crossword puzzle. I decided he was a loser and ignored him for the next six months. Finally, in late winter a bunch of assistants all went out one evening and I ended up sitting next to Jim. You know, he wasn’t actually that bad. He was funny and smart and not the complete dork I had thought he was.

Continuing his streak of cluelessness, nothing happened. Hours were spent with Jill and I discussing why this guy wouldn’t ask me out. Did he not like me? Was he gay? What wasn’t happening here? Finally, I got tired of waiting and I asked him out and I also asked him what the problem was that he hadn’t asked me. He said he didn’t have enough money to buy me dinner. I told him I could jolly well pay for my own dinner and that was that.

We began to see each other. Jim lived at Riverside and 105th Street. His apartment was the top floor of a brownstone and he had roof access. The view was fantastic of the Hudson River all the way up and down the West Side. That was the only good thing about the apartment. It was a dump. There was a hole in the middle of the kitchen floor. An actual hole. The bathroom sink was cracked and he and his room mate had to keep a bowl in the sink to catch the water. It gets worse. The place was infested with roaches. They would crawl on them at night and they had a special hairbrush called “Killer” to deal with the problem. Needless to say, I never even sat down in that apartment. My apartment was much cleaner.

After we had been seeing each other a couple of weeks, I had a planned tennis vacation to the Caribbean. I would be gone a week. When I got back there was a postcard in the mail from Jim. I don’t remember what it said exactly, but I knew what it meant. To celebrate my return Jim wanted to make dinner for me. Obviously, this would take place a my apartment, not his. He pulled out all the culinary stops and made overcooked Shake-N-Bake. A gourmet triumph it wasn’t, but it was an example of this sweet and thoughtful fellow I had met.

My mom visited at Easter and was the first family member to pass judgement on my new beau. We walked Fifth Avenue in the Easter parade and had a good weekend. She returned home and filed a positive report on Jim with my father. He was due to visit shortly, but his initial curiosity and parental concern was partly satisfied by my mother’s report.

Two days later my father died. I was at the office when the call came. He just hadn’t woken up. To say this was earth shattering would be a tremendous understatement. I flew home to a complex and grief-stricken situation. Things were very complicated with my step-mother and all the attendant strains and misconduct that can take place in difficult situations. After two days I called Jim and asked him to come help me. I needed someone in my corner and my mother couldn’t do it.

Jim didn’t have enough money for a downpayment on a phone. He lived in a dump. He had work obligations as an assistant. We had only been seeing each other a few short weeks. He didn’t hesitate, but got on a plane and flew to Chicago. He had my back. With unfailing thoughtfulness and concern, he helped me through this difficult time.

When we got back to New York, Jim moved in with me. I was in deep grief and he lived across town without a phone. So he just stayed to be with me. He has never left. That is the foundation of 29 glorious years. We’ve had our share of troubles, but we have only grown closer. We are a team and we are best friends. Jim has taught me much about the value of quiet and constant support. Over the years we have grown kinder to each other and learned to cherish the things we love about each other and to accept the things we love less. I could not and would not want to imagine my life without my LOML.

We have been lucky to have three deeply-adored and cherished children. I wish for each of them that they, too, can find a life partner. Someone to share the days and nights and months and years with. I could not wish anything more previous for them.  Thank you, Jim, I am so very fortunate.

April 22, 2012

Kiss of the Sun

“Kiss of the sun for pardon. Song of the birds for mirth. You’re closer to God’s heart in a

garden than any place else on earth.” — Dorothy Frances Gurney

Yesterday was one of those absolutely perfect weather days. It was sunny. The sky was blue with just a few puffy clouds. The temperature was hovering just over 70 degrees. The spring flowers are in bloom and, despite our lack of rain this year, everything is just bursting forth into bud and leaf.

It was the perfect day to plant my garden and putter in the yard.

This year I am changing things up a little. The garden is still the same circular plot, but I have decided to forego the center fountain of sunflowers. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is that it is time for a change. This would be the third year and, while I loved the sunflowers, it will be fun to try something new. The second reason is that I have run out of space to rotate my tomato plants into and the only previously unused space is where the sunflowers were. I could not tell you which was the dominant reason. I wrestled with the “where to put the tomatoes” issue all winter long.

I am changing up the contents of the garden as well. This is radical stuff I tell you. There will be fewer tomato plants this year. I have skipped the small Black Pearl tomatoes entirely. Instead I am concentrating on your garden variety (sorry) big red, luscious tomatoes. I don’t have the space for so many and some of the more exotic heirloom varieties just didn’t produce that well. Also, the Green Zebra tomatoes confused me because I could never tell when they were ripe. They were always green!

In addition to tomatoes, I am planting eggplant, peas (for Jim), cucumbers (with trepidation since the last time we were swimming in cucumbers), carrots, lettuce and herbs. The rosemary, sage and oregano made it through the incredibly mild winter so I am adding three basil plants. I will also have chive, but I have that in a pot because it will otherwise spread everywhere.  I have completely abandoned the spoke pattern I used previously. This year’s garden is planted in concentric circles. Everything I have planted is from seeds except the tomatoes, eggplant and basil.

Last week Peter was essential in helping me rent the roto-tiller and get the soil ready. I spent some time yesterday removing any weeds around the edges, the stubborn grass which insists on growing through the fence. I raked the soil smooth and began planting. It was just warm enough to work up a sweat, but the breeze was fresh. It was a potent reminder of how much I love working in the garden. As with my knitting and so many other things I love to do, it is the process rather than the end result which gives me the most satisfaction.

As always when just planted the garden doesn’t look like much. It is more a promise for the future. But soon the seeds will sprout and it will become a garden, rather than a promise. Today we are supposed to have rain and that will start things off.

April 21, 2012

Poor, Lonely Blog

I am a poor, lonely blog, all too long ignored by my blogger. She should feel very naughty for letting me sit with nothing to say for so very long. Perhaps if you, my readers, would all write my blogger notes, she would be inspired, encouraged, guilted into writing me again.

Please write her, tell her she needs to mend her ways and write me again.

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