Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Second Look--May 4, 2016

The birds have been very busy this week, so this is going to be a bird only Second Look. The plants will have to wait.

Here are somethings I saw this week 
during a Second Look.

 We had a lot of rain this week, but the birds came out anyway. You can see this female cardinal looks a little wet.

This blue jay looks soggy also.

Blue jay on a drier day.

It may have rained a lot this week, but the real event was a visit from a pileated woodpecker.
One reason for the excitement was that these are big birds. I'm guessing that this one is about 15"-20" long.

Compare the pileated woodpecker to this little chipping sparrow that is only about 3" long. (You can use the suet feeder as a scale.)

Male cardinal


Male bluebird and white-breasted nuthatch.

Speaking of bluebirds, their eggs hatched this week. This picture was taken on Monday.

By Tuesday, all five had hatched.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A-Z Wrap Up

or What am I doing with all of my free time?

Last Saturday was the final post for the A-Z Challenge that I participated in during the month of April. Some crazy people had three blogs going during that challenge. One was plenty enough for me.

Upon reflection, this year was easier than last year. Even my husband noticed that I wasn't as stressed trying to keep up with daily posting. That's not to say that I wasn't stretched doing it or should I say stressed, but it was better. However, I can't quite put my finger on the reason.

Many people had a theme for their month of posting such as a travel log or writing techniques (many of the participants were writers). And I swore, after last year, if I ever did this again, I would only do it with a theme. However, that didn't happen.

Then I said that I would look ahead and have my alphabet planned out with topics. Well, I tried to do that but, I couldn't come up with much. Actually, it was easy to come up with words and topics, but thinking of something to write about them was difficult. So that also didn't happen.

So what did happen? I think, this year, I didn't try as hard to make the words and topics fit the letters. For example, the letter O was about M&M's. Logically that topic should have been under M but I stretched it with the title, Only the Red. In addition, I tried to get ahead on Sunday, our day off. I usually wrote Monday and Tuesday then which took some of the pressure off at the beginning of the week. Also, friends were suggesting topics for me which helped. I couldn't always used them, but they did help spark my thinking.

So the same question as last year. Will I do this again? Maybe. I think it took me out of my comfort zone with both topics and frequency and that was a good thing. Also, I enjoyed  the challenge. Let me rephrase that. I enjoyed completing the challenge. I wasn't always thrilled with the work and time it took, but it's good to say that I did it. But a month was long enough for me and I need to resurface and catch up on some things that were neglected. However, I hope to maintain some of the momentum I gained during April.

Now it's time to get ready for tomorrow's Second Look. :)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z is for Zany

Z is for Zany or Crazy

So when I did T for Toes, I talked about pedicures and how many people got one. This was brought about by the news that Kate (of British William and Kate) had had her shoes off in public and revealed that she had bare toes. Oh, the horrors according to much of the press.

Well, a couple of days after that, more news surfaced about the new fad in pedicures--individual, painted toes on stockings. Since it's on the stocking and not your toes, you can change it out every day. Apparently, it's all the rage in Japan and is spreading to the rest of the world. As fashion fads go, it's pretty cheap selling for $15.  (Now whether it's worth that is another question.)

From Belle Maison 

As long as we're on the subject of stockings, there is another questions that my inquiring mind wants to know. When did panty hose become a bad word and have to be referred to as stockings or tights? Only having boys, I missed the transition somewhere along the way. When I learned those words, stockings were individual hose that were held up with a garter belt. Panty hose were stockings where the legs were connected to a panty that eliminated the need for the garter belt. Tights were opaque "panty hose" that little kids wore to keep their legs warm under dresses. Now I am looked at strangely if I say panty hose. What words do you use for this kind of leg apparel?

So many questions, so little time. I haven't even delved into the bare legs trend yet. As for the pedicure stockings, do I think I will get some? If you look at the title of this post, I think you can guess the answer to that.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for Years

Y is for Years, Five Years that is

April marks the 5th anniversary of writing this blog and I am amazed that I've been doing it for that long. When I first began, I wasn't totally sure what a blog was except it stood for Web log. I just knew that I walked around with stories in my head that I wanted to tell, and a friend encouraged me to start a blog as a place to record them. Funny thing about that. Once I got it going, I realized that this was not the place for those stories, so I wandered around other topics and tried to find my blog's voice. I'm still looking for it just like I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

However, there is one area that has found a place here. That's my Second Looks. They are one of the best things that have come from my blogging experience. I have learned so much and really enjoyed my time exploring my yard each week.

Also, there's a question I have often thought about. How much of my world do I reveal? You really don't know where I live, what I look like, or the real names of anyone. You don't know about the intimate conversations I have with my friends and family. You don't always know what keeps me awake at night.

But on the other hand, you know many other things. You know that my father died and my mother's in a nursing home. You know that we are empty nesters, and there have been many health crises with close family members. You know where we have been on vacations and what food we've wasted. You know that I don't like to spend time in the kitchen and we have cats. And you know I don't get pedicures.

At various times, I get bored with this blog and feel like I don't have anything else to say. I think that I need to change things up with both content and appearance. But those things never make it to the top of the To Do list. So for now, or least until I recover from this A-Z Challenge, I will keep blogging in the same way and share a little of this and a little of that with you, my wonderful friends, that I have found during this blogging experience.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X is for X

X is for X, the unknown variable

The other day Miss Landers was telling me about something she thought was really interesting. She had heard an explanation about how the unknown variable in algebra became symbolized by the letter X. She told me just enough to confuse me but also pique my interest. (Yes, we may be a little nerdy here.)

After poking around, I found a TED talk by Terry Moore that I think Miss Landers had heard.
In the talk, Moore explained algebra was developed by the Arabs, and in the original algebra text, the variables were called unknown things and that word started with the sh sound. Algebra made it to Spain and when the Moors translated it to Spanish, the sh sound became the ck because they had no sh sound. That was represented by the Greek chi, which was represented by X and later a small x in Latin. Or something like that.

While this is a nice theory, there are other opinions. First, others contend that there is no proof for the phonetic switch idea. They propose that the x symbol comes from DesCartes and his use of letters from the beginning of the alphabet (a,b,c) for known variables and letters at the end of the alphabet (x,y,z)  for unknown variables. And as time went on and more things were printed, typesetters found it easier to use the x instead of y and z. Or something like that.

So if you haven't gone to sleep yet with these explanations on a topic that you aren't interested in, here's the part I found interesting. For some reason, even though I knew that x was used as the unknown as algebra, I never connected it as representing the unknown in other things.

For example:
x-rays-- Roentgen didn't know what he had, so he called them x rays
Malcomb X-- calls himself that for all of his unknown ancestors from Africa
X Files--They worked on strange cases with unknown origins

So I had a light bulb moment with this, and I'm going to put my new awareness to good use. I think dinner tonight will be known as Dinner X. :)