Wanted! Dead or Alive

The guilty band leader!

I watched this guy, with about 80 of his buddies, make repeated sorties to my neighbour’s cherry tree yesterday. They were so cheekily rambunctious that it was like being caught in that Hitchcock bird movie. Before this lot showed up, the tree was laden with delicious, yellow-red fruits, ready for the picking. And these little shaggers did the picking. As they flew off, each with a cherry jammed in the beak, they looked like a mocking flock of feathered lawn darts in flight. From where I sit this morning, enjoying another beautiful sunrise, I can’t see a single cherry remaining!

My cat was thoroughly entertained by this same flock yesterday. She spent much of the afternoon sitting in the window, tail swishing back & forth, in eager anticipation of being allowed to go out to play. I should have let her out!

In between visits to the cherry tree, you see, they were visiting my back yard. I’m not sure if it was chinch bugs or grasshoppers, but they were having a serious party out there. And if it was either, or both, of those lawn-destroying bugs, I was happy to have the birds do the extermination for me.

What I didn’t realise at the time was that, during their moments of respite on my deck, they found another snack!

Thieves taking a break!

My seedlings!

The little monsters treated my deck-rail planters like the peanut bowl at some avian nightclub. They’re destroyed. Done for. Devoid of plant life now.

I’m seriously re-evaluating my “don’t even hurt a fly” philosophy of life now! And while I do that, I’m online-shopping for some stainless steel mesh to protect my ripening blueberry crop!

By the way, anyone know what species of bird that is? Might as well pick up some new knowledge on the back of the whole affair!

Stay safe out there.

Ten Things I Discovered in Lockdown

1. It seems that it wasn’t that I didn’t have the time to do all those backburner projects … I just didn’t want to do them.

2. Might be the same situation when it comes to getting some exercise.

3. I’m pretty sure that those people who tell me they’re loving retirement are lying.

4. Who knew doorknobs could be this clean!?!

5. And that some politicians could be such doorknobs.

6. You can turn anything from the freezer into an edible meal with pan frying … by adding a can of curry sauce at the end.

7. The internet is even more important than I thought … I never knew you could do this much, right from the couch.

8. I didn’t hoard toilet paper & it still hasn’t run out. Am I not doing it the right way!?! 😜

9. Long charging cables, that reach the couch while in the supine position, are more prone to fail when you most need them.

10. Putting your stuff in the dishwasher still works … and it’s one of the best cures for social isolation!!!

11. My scale has artificial intelligence! The bloody thing knows when I eat chocolate chip banana bread.

12. You start forgetting little things … like how to count! 🤪

How are you guys doing out there? What are you discovering during your shelter in place experience?

A big digital hug to everyone! 🤗

Stay safe & stay home, all y’all & tout le monde.

Meditation & Diet?

Ponder the Puffy Clouds!

Lying on a beach, under the shade of a palm tree, cold one within reach … now that’s calm-inducing, stress-alleviating & the best kind of meditation, & medication, I can think of. Can’t do that, in Canada, during the Canadian winter, without some serious risk of frostbite!

But there must be an app for that, right?

I tried a few meditation apps & they just didn’t work for me. Worse, I actually found them stressful to listen to. First one I tried starts out counting a breath in on one, out on two, in on three & then this soothing voice tells me to carry on doing that up to twenty. On my own! Is she kidding me or what? Am I going at the right pace? Maybe she counts more quickly than I do? Will I get all my breaths in before she’s back with the next activity? What if she’s slower? Do I have to hold my breath ’til she catches up? OMG, I’m hyperventilating, this is driving me nuts!

I was a trembling wreck by the time I got to twenty. Enough of that nonsense, let’s try another one.

This time it’s a guy. Great voice. Calm, soothing, very relaxed & reassuring. We’re going to do this body thing, a routine that goes from the head to the toes. With some pretty peculiar internal organ stops along the way, I might add! But this turns out to be even more excruciating. First, he tells me to get comfortable & relax. Next he’s telling me it’s okay to move uncomfortable body parts. Pick one for cryin’ out loud! I know it’s really not okay though, & I’m just screwing up, am I not? And he’s just saying all that to make me feel better about it. Right out of the gate, he knows that I’m no Zen master & that I’ll almost certainly have to move. Maybe even all the time. That’s exactly what I did, of course. I just kept squirming. And I hated every second of that little medication exercise. Next!

Then I tried this one with an irritating little bell chime thing. I’m sure if you had a real bell, while sitting cross-legged in the Himalayas, it would work far better. You know what I mean, you’d have the right atmosphere for meditation all the way up there. With the monks & robes & whatnot. But the mind-numbing consistency of a mathematically accurate & repeatable digital ding just did my head in.

I know, I know … I’m probably doing it incorrectly. I know I should probably chill out & just try it again. But my heart rate is up, I’m sure my blood pressure is too, so I’m going to resort to something I have more practice with. Something I know works.

A slice of deep dish cheesecake. With a big blob of whipped cream.

And afterwards, when I’m cheesecake-calm, maybe I’ll try that meditation thing with the sound of the waves lapping on the beach. 😜😁

PS … Happy International Women’s Day to all the ladies out there. And to the National ladies too! 🤪😁

Learn a New Language … Now!

Le chat est noir et blanc!

This is a bit of a diversion from my usual dietary woes but I thought I’d share a little something that could have turned into an even bigger regret than it already was. About thirty odd years ago, I was paralysed by my inability to decide between learning French, Spanish, German, Japanese or Chinese. So I didn’t start learning any of them. Inertia is a powerful thing!

Since Canada is a bilingual country, & I already had the English bit, I thought I should probably try French. Finally! After all, it would be easier to find francophones to practice with. We have plenty of local language resources. And we have French TV channels & radio that I could learn from. Logical, eh!

After 30 years of deliberations, I then did what everyone with an engineering background does … I did another comparative evaluation exercise on which French language course might be more useful for me. I lost another year doing that. But I finally picked one & splashed the cash. It was my 2017 Christmas gift from me to myself!

I did the first lesson the day I purchased the course. And then I did nothing. Again!

It wasn’t ’til after a family trip to Québec that I was reminded of some things I’d forgotten. Seeing things through another’s eyes, those of my daughter, was an eye opener! She loved Montréal &, no surprise this, the stunning beauty of Québec City too. She began learning French. Towards the end of last year I blew the digital dust off off my French course & got stuck in. But this time, so far & fingers crossed that it continues, I’m staying the course.

I’m lucky enough to have to travel to the francophone regions of Canada for work &, finally, I overcame my reluctance to speak my first few words of French in public. In a restaurant, of course! I had diligently practiced my opening lines. Those that warn people that I’m just learning French & to please have patience with me! They worked. People took their time, they spoke slowly & clearly, & they helped me. And I managed to get breakfast to boot!

There is a quote, a touch inaccurately portrayed as something said by Nelson Mandela, that says … If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.

That is one of the true joys of speaking, no matter how poorly, another’s language. I am awed by the tolerance, the patience, & the kindness elicited by my early efforts to speak French. I hope that, one day, I’ll be able to make it sound like the beautiful language it is. Meantime, my fingers are hurting from being crossed so that I might sustain the effort.

You know that I like to beat up on myself from time to time, so I’m just a tad annoyed that I didn’t start sooner. But I’m also kinda quietly proud of my progress so far.

I wonder if I shouldn’t think about doing a little Spanish on the side too? I really like the food in all the Spanish speaking countries I’ve been to too. And, who knows, maybe it’s not too late to give up on the notion that I might aspire to, one day, play that old dusty guitar like Carlos Santana!

Hope you’re all having a great weekend! 😜😁

PS … If you’d like to try something a little different for your next vacation, I highly recommend a visit to Canada’s French-speaking regions. It’s like a little touch of Europe, right here in North America. And give it a try, test drive your few words of French! And wait ’til you try the food, I’m going to do a post later on the fast food in Québec. Mmmmm! ! 🤪

A Wry Eye on Snow

Casting a wry eye on winter’s beauty!

A softer mantle blankets all,
The earth a virgin white.
One of nature’s wonders,
The crystal snowflake’s flight.
A winter’s day, so dull & grey,
By magic, made so bright!

Despite the gentle words I use,
To praise this wonderous sight.
I’m really not a fan of snow,
In fact I think it’s shite!

Paul Walsh ©2020
TheWryEye.com