Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Friendly Birdy Island

"Aunt Stew, you're spilling your beer!" 6-year-old orange-headed nephew. Gotta love a guy who knows what's important, hm?

Mom and Pedro gave me their old camera, so I took a bunch of photos. Unfortunately, the light was rarely right. Here are the best of the bunch. I didn't edit.

Pearly-eyed Thrasher*

Black-faced Grassquit*

Black-necked Stilts and White-Cheeked Pintails*.

Zenaida Dove

Lesser Antillean Bullfinch

Bananaquit!! (definitely the best bird picture I got)

Ruddy Turnstones

Green-throated Carib

*Lifer this trip!! (Also, a female American Wigeon and Caribbean Coots)

Other birds: Gray Kingbird, Antillean Crested Hummingbird (so tiny), Common Ground Dove (also tiny!), Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Booby, Common Moorhen, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Sanderling, Spotted Sandpiper, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret, Green Heron... I'm probably forgetting a ton. Ah well.

Oh, and check out this delightful surprise I found next to a beach bar!

(Yes, they were tasty.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sunscreen off season is pricy.

Who in their right mind gets an international flight that *leaves* at 6 a.m.?

Oh, me. Right.

SO! Saturday at 3:45 (yes, in the morning OMG), I'll be driving out to the airport, hopefully having a seat assigned, and jetting off to Sint Maarten, and well, Saint Martin also, via Miami.

Hm. Last time I went it must have been on my old blog, which has since vanished into the ether. Argh. Ah well, the first sinnoticiasdetstew lives on through the wayback machine. Or at least I hope it does. I've somehow lost the URL for that old blog. Anyone else have it? Wow. Argh. I just found the old link and the blog is GONE GONE GONE, do you hear me? ARGH!!!

It's OK though. Sad, but I'll get over it.

Cause I get to BIRD again. Yay Antillean Crested Hummingbird!

Male Antillean Crested Hummingbird
Originally uploaded by Alexander Yates

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No remembro how to say eleven.

The One-Semester-of-Spanish Spanish Love Song.

Thanks very much to a former colleague, I came across this hilarious video.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

ow ow ow ow ow ow ow

You know those hangnails that hurt and get red and hot? Not the ones that are just cuticle skin, but the ones that actually have a bit of nail at the side of the cuticle that hangs there until you yank it off. Which is a bad idea, but you do it anyway because....well, just because.

No, I don't have one of those. Instead, I have a ripped-from-the-nailbed area of my fingernail that exhibits the same red hot pain. And there's dirt under the nail, too, thanks to the garden.

The toothpicks coated with neosporin didn't help get that dirt out, either. But I poked around anyway, pain be damned. Now the finger is bandaged up with loads of antibiotic ointment and is throbbing. Ouch.


My darling friend the Peaceable Imperatrix put up a to-d0 list yesterday, which has inspired me. I think I especially like the way she sprinkled fun things in there to lighten it all up.

So here's mine. Pardon me if I put some done items on to make me feel better.

• Volunteer.
• Turn mulch pile.
• Fork excess mulch off front yard and wheelbarrow to the back.
• Eat the two red raspberries I find.
• Make a scarf.
• Read Prodigal Summer cover-to-cover.

• Clean up scraps of felted wool. in progress
• Put away large stash of felted sweaters.
• Put away sewing machine and accessories.
• Clean bathroom. (trash out, tidy, clean toilet, clean sink/vanity, clean shower)
• Put away dishes in kitchen.
• Put away laundry. In progress
• Find appropriate summer clothes for trip next week. (!!!!! YAY!!!!!) in progress. (Thanks Roommate, for sharing my size and letting me borrow things)
• Go look at neighbor's house.
• Put away yarn stash.

• Clean out car.
• Shower.
• Brush teeth.
• Shave legs.
• Find passport.
(I don't think it's lost. I just want to make sure.)


First update: 11:48 a.m. Things I added:
• Find books to take to St. Martin. in progress
• Put chili in freezer in ziplock bags flattened out,
• Do laundry. in progress
• Pay water bill
• Calculate utilities for Roommate.

Second update:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Rainy Day fun

I've been curious for a long time about eventually buying a house, I have today off, and it's raining. So just for kicks, I'm going to drive around to see (from the curb!) some houses listed for sale right now. Call it research.

Ideally I'd be wanting: no HOA, sunny enough yard for a garden, 3 Br and 2 Ba (for a roommate plus guest room), safe neighborhood, wouldn't make my commute more than 40 minutes one way, walkable, not stuck up, hardwoods, non-horrible kitchen, fenced yard, blahdity blah blah. They're mostly negotiable, these desires, but that list I gave tends to descending order of importance.

Neighborhoods I'm familiar with: Northgate Park (Hi Cristin!), Duke Park, Old West Durham, Watts Hillandale, Tuscaloosa/Lakewood, Forest Hills, Hope Valley, Trinity Park, Trinity Heights. Other areas that might be OK would be the Cole Mill area, around the intersection of Sparger and Hillsborough....

Any other ideas? Tell me about some nice neighborhoods here in Durham!

Monday, November 10, 2008

From excellent to yicky in less than a week!

I haven't talked about the election returns yet, have I? Suffice to say that overall I'm extremely pleased.

Some specifics:
1) No more Liddy Dole. My mom and my friend Michele both called me* when that race was called. Not only did I (figuratively) wish to spit on the woman who took over the seat of another loathesome guy, but I was also very proud to vote for Kay Hagan. She has some sound ideas about sustainable ag and local foods, and I'll always love her for her support of raw milk. Have you tasted that goodness yet? It's a gorgeous sensation.
2) Obama. I doubt I have to say much about this to any of you, but I'm even more impressed that he's planning to recind many of the immoral policies Bush implemented. I volunteered on election day in a county that eventually went for McCain. I didn't do very much at all, but I was glad I took the day off.
3) Anti-choice initiatives failed. Thank goodness.
4) Can you say NC is blue? Yes! Me too!
5) Bad news: Proposition 8 in California passed, as did a number of other anti-gay initiatives. Gotta love people taking away civil rights, ya know?

I spent the night at my friend Ian's place, after going to the NC Dems victory celebration downtown. The energy there (as well as some champagne) gave me a fantastic buzz, and there were celebrations in the streets. So wonderful. Walking downtown the next morning I was so grateful to see people still beaming and making small talk in the street with strangers about how happy they were.

The next day I met with the group of teens I work with, and they were excited as well. They did share some unfortunate experiences documenting the racial tension that still exists even now. I'd expected as much, sadly, so I had prepared a "teachable moment" plan and showed them The Children's March. I was so proud to hear them talk about ways they have already and could continue to stand up to bigotry as it happens today.

So yeah, election week rocked.


There always has to be a but, doesn't there?

Yesterday started out well. I was super productive and did dishes, cooked, and gardened. I'm landscaping most of the front yard, and I realized at Maria's birthday party the night before that I really had to get the irises in that Jamie and the s.o. gave me back over labor day weekend.

While I was doing this, though, I noticed an oddity on the street. Someone had pulled up in front of the house next door for a bit, and then turned around and parked again, this time directly across the street from me. I was a bit oblivious at first, though I did wonder briefly what this person was doing. Were they lost?

Nah. It was a young guy who decided to jerk off to my yardwork. Once I figured that out, I walked out in the street towards him a bit, but really more towards the back of the car. To get the plate number, see? And I did. I got the entire plate number, even before he peeled out. The police were very nice, and I felt strong, proud, and confident. I was happily surprised that my reaction was so matter-of-fact and oriented towards justice. I didn't show him any response beyond first being puzzled and then calmly (not even forced calm...I was zenned out) observing and memorizing as much info about the situation as I could. I emailed two neighborhood listservs with the details as well, and many residents cheered me.

Unfortunately, that pride and calm dissipated as the night wore on, taking me to a place of fear and worry. What if he retaliated? What if he broke in or vandalized my car? My god, he knows where I live, after all. What if Bubba's barking (Loud! Mean-sounding!) compelled this asswipe (and the friends I imagined would accompany him) to shoot Bubba?

I read By the Shores of Silver Lake last night, and didn't contain my tears when Jack died in his sleep.

I'm going to the police department in the morning to check on their progress. I've contacted local sexual violence crisis centers for advice and support. I can't imagine the horror that a more serious act of sexual violence would be like. I'm glad I haven't had to. This was gross enough.

Lotta tags for this post, hm?

*Michele actually texted me, and I then called her.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Last time the victory wasn't so much of one. I hope this time it is!

This is where I'll be spending part of the evening tonight. Then I'm crashing at a friend's house, where we'll watch the presidential results roll in.

Is Obama President Yet?

I'm going to keep checking this site today!

Civil Duty

Dear Stew Readers (all 20 of you.)

Today I took a personal day. I got up nice and early and went to my polling place to find some neighbors who could direct me to a volunteer need. Locally they have more volunteers than they even need. I believe "glut" was the word they used. So instead, I'm going to go north to a smaller, more rural district at about noon. They are lacking volunteers, and frankly, I'm hoping we can do more good there anyway. I know people in my neighborhood are voting Obama almost without exception. Up there? Not so much.

I'm really, really excited about what may happen today. Please please please let it be Obama. Locally, let's get Dole out of Washington in favor of Kay Hagan (who, btw, advocates for raw milk!)

And please let it be No on Prop 8 in California, as well as No on Prop 4. And I'm begging that South Dakota reject Measure 11. And in Colorado, please quash Amendment 48. Arizona, keep your constitution off the rights of the queer brothers and sisters I stand up with.

I'm sure there are more ballot measures that I oppose or support, but for me right now, it's time to get ready for action here in NC.