Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Just a quick post to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving day.  This afternoon it was a bit dreary out and rainy.  I would never have thought to go outside to photograph anything, but, as I was typing on my computer I glanced out my window and saw.......a hummingbird darting near my Cape Honeysuckle bush.

I think it was a female Ruby Throated, since she had no ruby throat.  That's about the only kind of hummingbird you see in South Florida in the winter (they are migrants here) - that I know of. She - or her kin - has been here before.  Last year, to be exact.  There was a tiny female Ruby Throated last spring who was so tired she was resting with her eyes closed on a branch in our yard.  Even though she was resting, she rocked side to side a little bit, kind of like a child with ADD who can never sit still.

We have lots of bushes that hummingbirds like.  The Spot Breasted Oriole loves the same things.  While he chews the whole flower to get the nectar, the hummingbird pokes her long beak into the center of the flower to sip.

I'm going to have to keep a sharp eye out because I know there are lots more critters out there than I ever see.

For instance, after I came back into the house, I happened to glance out the same window again - and I noticed a "flower" on the bougainvillea that didn't match the colors of the other flowers on the same bush.

I got a closer look and knew it was an unusual and beautiful moth.  Back out I went to photograph.

I'd like to say I got a good photograph of the hummingbird, but I did not.  I can prove she was here, but the photo is from way too far away and is blurry as well as shot against a too bright background.  But I've got time and patience and I'll be looking for her every day now that I know she's here.  The photos of the moth came out MUCH better.  Here they are.  Remember to click on each to "embiggen" them.

Yup - you can tell it's a hummingbird, but that's about it.  I'll be watching for her and for better photos!!

A beautiful Io moth.  Above - wings closed.

I touched her/him - and he opened his wings so I could see his "eyes", meant to scare off predators.  After that I left him alone, not wanting him to feel in danger here.  How beautiful!!!  I love the fuzziness of the head area. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Musical Words

Some words are just fun to say, aren't they?  Words like "serendipity" or "jaguar" (pronounced the British way, which adds a syllable - Jag-you-are).  Some word combinations sound like something else and if you have a punnish sort of brain, you'll immediately think of the alternate meaning.  For instance, you're in a prayer group and the leader says, "Let us pray".  In a split second I see a head of lettuce in my mind's eye and the words look like this in my head, "Lettuce pray".  And I absolutely LOVE the name of those huge orange industrial machines that you see on the road every now and then - Asplundh.  Aaahs-ploond!! 
like a German sneeze.  Every time I see one of these vehicles I HAVE to say the name out loud.  Several times.  Yes - I'm weird.  I know.

One of my all time favorite word "treats" is the names, past and present, of most UN leaders.  These names, many of them, are just SO fun to say, so musical. 

The first one is pretty normal in an English way, so no fun there - Gladwyn Jebb, although the name ,"Jebb" brings to mind Jed Clampett (I know Jed is not exactly the same as Jebb, but it sounds similar).   "Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Jebb,  poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed".......

The next name?  I have no idea how to pronounce it.  Trygve Lie.  It looks like it might be fun, though.  Since both Mr. Jebb and Mr. Lie are from the late 40's to early 50's I did not hear their names repeated on the news (I was born in 1956), so I have formed no attachment to their sound.  Hnmmmmm - Trig Vee Lie (or Lee??).  That definitely has great promise, if that's how the first name is pronounced.  The last name could sound like either Lee or Lie and it would still be cool.  I think TrigVee Lee is going to be a new fun name to pronounce for me.

Dag Hammarskjold.  Hammarski-old.  Dag.  It's ok, but it doesn't light my word spark. The "skjold" part makes me want to yodel a little.

U Thant.  NOW we're getting somewhere.  "Hi, what's your name?"  "U".  "No - not me, I'm asking YOU what your name is"  "U". 

Yeah - I love that one. 

Kurt Waldheim.  Boring.  German with possible shadows of Nazi Germany over it.  Wald means "woods" in German.  I don't know what "heim" means, but it's unattractive sounding.  Many German words are silly sounding, like a run-on word.  For example - "Schutzstaffel", which was the full word for the feared "SS".  "SS" is evil sounding...."Schutzstaffel" sounds like a German dessert.  Blitzkrieg sounds like what it is - powerful, awful, frightening.  How about the full word for Nazi?  Nationalsozialistische.  Nazi sounds scary.  Nationalsozialistische sounds spitty, like there is spray when this word is spoken (and there may have been, who knows?). 

Javier Perez de Cuellar.  Totally normal.  Lovely name, Spanish and very musical, but no fun whatever.

My all time favorite - Boutros Boutros-Ghali.  You think I'm weird?  Wait until you hear this.  One of my 10,000 nicknames for my cat Squeebles is "Boutros Boutros Ghali".  Why?  I have no idea.  I like to make songs out of my cat's names and nicknames, so this particular nickname for Squeebles goes like "Boutros (2 low notes the same)  Boutros (2 same notes one step up) Ghali (the "gha" part is one step up and the "li" part is one octave and one step up - I'm NOT singing this for this post).  Then the song ends with "golly golly gee, golly golly gee" - use your imagination for how it sounds.  Note to self - need to get a music program for my computer that will allow me to insert simple tunes into my blog posts.

One time, years ago, before my present husband (who is equally nutty) and I were married, but dating, I thought he was on the phone when it rang.  I picked it up and said, "Boutros Boutros Ghali" and the person on the other end made a funny noise, stuttered and said my name tentatively and fearfully, like he'd dialed the insane asylum by accident.  I was extremely embarrassed and proceeded to try to explain my nuttiness.  It did not go well.

Then there's Kofi Annan.  Lots of coffee jokes there. 

And now (drumroll) - Ban Ki-moon.  "By the light......of the Ban Ki-moon"  "I want to spoon", etc. etc.
I've just begun to play with this name, so that's all I've come up with so far, but it is DEFINITELY fun to say.

And that, my friends, is all for today.  (Oh - I meant no disrespect for any of the above named gentlemen).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Beautiful Day!!

Today South Florida got it's first real cold front.  The past few days it rained quite a bit and felt quite summery - humid and warm and wet.  Then yesterday morning, the wind began to blow from the northwest and it had a slight cool feel to it.  The clouds began to move away fast.  By the afternoon, the sky was clear, deep blue and the air was crisp and bright.  A total about-face in weather!  Last night I lit the Chiminea in the back yard for the first time this year.  It was windy and cool and the stars were quite clear, even in the city where it's difficult to see stars because of the light pollution.  The wood smoke smelled so wonderful - I could just sit and watch the flames for quite a long time - so soothing.  We're going to light it again tonight - maybe I'll take some pics of that.

Meanwhile, since I knew it was going to be brisk today, I knew hubby and I would want to get away into the out of doors, so on the way home from work yesterday, I made sure we had sandwich and other picnic items.  When I arrived home, I made sure our camera batteries were all charged up and packed the digital cards, lenses and lens cloths in preparation.  Now all we had to do was get up with a minimum of preparation and off we could go!

We left the house this morning at around 7am.  It was still windy and the air was very cool.  I had on a short sleeved shirt under a long sleeved sweatshirt and we still had to put the heat on in the car.  Mmmmmm - it felt delicious!!

Once we got out of town, it felt like a burden was lifted.  We could see out over the Everglades grasses;  there were great blue herons and little blue herons in the canals.  There were hawks and belted kingfishers on the electric wires.  We decided to drive I-75 to the Snake Road exit, which is also known as route 833.  Once we passed the Indian town, we were out in the beautiful boonies on a two lane road, very little traffic - and lots of lush trees lined the road.

Here are some pictures I took.  One is of an orange moth I happened to notice clinging to a plant off the road.  I was able to pick him/her up and put the moth on my hand.  What an absolutely gorgeous moth!!  Well - here come the pics:

Isn't that a cute face above?  I love the feathery antenna and the fuzzy orange body.  It's called a Pink Striped Oakworm Moth.  I'm not sure if this is a male or a female.  The female is supposed to be brighter and a little larger, but since this is the first of this species I've seen, I have nothing for comparison.

Next up is a White Peacock butterfly.  One of these pictures shows the face clearly and the others focus on the lovely green spot on his/her back.


Next, farther west on route 833, we saw these two unlikely "friends" munching on some roadkill.  The black bird is a black vulture - pretty unattractive bird;  but the other is a Crested Caracara.  Great name and distinctive looks.  I believe he is the best looking carrion eating species in the Western Hemisphere, but I could be wrong.  Love the big red "nose".

I was too far away to get a good sharp closeup of the Crested Caracara, but you can see his eyes and coloring pretty well here.

 Above are a few ducks that were in a canal as we entered Immokalee.  I think they are Blue Winged Teals, but I see no evidence of the little blue wing spot, so I don't know.

We continued driving, turned onto route 846 and headed past the Hendry Correctional Institution, where we've seen deer before, towards Immokalee.  We had never seen Ave Maria, a completely new town built by the founder of Domino's Pizza, based around a very Catholic college.  Ave Maria is a conservative Catholic college.  The professors and everyone who works there must acknowledge that they are practicing Catholics.  The campus is lovely.  My husband took pictures which I believe he will post.  There is a town center with lovely shops in three story townhouse type buildings.  They are painted bright yellow or ochre - all earth colors and are quite attractive.  The 2nd and 3rd stories are living quarters.  There is a Publix, a Fire dept and EMT dept., an urgent care facility and a few neighborhoods of new houses.  There also appears to be a school - perhaps elementary or high school - we couldn't tell from the name of it.  The whole area is just beautiful.  It looks like someone just plopped a pretty new town right down in the middle of nowhere, which is pretty much what they did.  Ave Maria isn't far from Naples, so the beach and city life is nearby.  After getting coffee at the Ave Maria Bean and touring the college bookstore, we decided to head home.  It's just about time to light the chiminea and toast some marshmallows - hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!