florida sandhill cranes

baby's tired...sandhill crane momma and chick 5/1/12part 1–baby’s tired–sandhill crane momma and chick 5/1/12

“hey, honey–your sandhill cranes are out there”…the man and the boy refer to the crane family as “my” cranes…probably because i am so fascinated by them, still, after three years of watching them stroll back and forth through my yard as they live their day…but in three years i’ve never seen one sitting down…i’m not surprised that the baby would need a bit of a rest, their parents have made them walk a fair bit of the golf course (and adjoining yards) for most of the day in search of food pretty much from day one…but this little one decided that he’d take a break for himself…and good for him…the day was still early at this point, and he probably knew that he should take a breather while momma was busy eating…

florida sandhill cranes

IMG_8411babies’ first breakfast on the golf course–4/12/12

i was sitting at my computer, enjoying the morning coffee, checking on the facebook, talking (listening) to my sister on the phone (…oops, she sometimes reads this blog…if you see this, laura, i really was paying attention to you, promise…just a little multitasking…xoxo) when out of the corner of my eye i caught sight of what i’ve been waiting to see for weeks now…our resident sandhill crane couple with their new babies, out for a morning stroll…i squealed, “ooh, the babies, the babies…gotta go…” hung up on her, grabbed my camera and flew out the door to see…she called me back later while i was editing my images to say, “really? you hung up on me for some birds?” um…yup. sorry, love…you don’t understand. it’s the babies…and i’d been waiting for them…i didn’t want to spook or threaten them, so i kept my distance …not a bad shot, but not perfect…they’re so cute, it almost doesn’t matter so much that they’re just a hair out of focus…but it’s ok, now that they’ve arrived, they’ll be back…and i will be ready with my camera to give it another go 🙂

scenes from central florida

the view from my driveway at dusk--10/16/11the view from my driveway at dusk–10/16/11

i run out of my house to try to capture the evening sky colors and/or the sunset at least once a week…the view from my driveway at the end of the day is never the same, often amazing, usually worth taking a moment to witness…i should put together a collection of these images, and one day i will…’til then, here’s one from a few weeks back…

“Tweener” Halloween

We weren’t sure what the deal was going to be this Halloween; for several weeks leading up to the big day, we’d mentioned the idea of getting a costume and all, but the boy seemed distracted.  Tom and I took this to mean that maybe he was growing out of the whole “trick-or-treating” thing; his brothers had probably stopped making a big deal out of it by middle school, but we figured that given the fact that the whole Halloween night thing is sort of different now that we live in Florida (for one thing, there is no possibility of having to wear your winter coat and snow boots over your costume here…that part’s kinda nice…but there’s also not the big deal at school here, or the large neighborhood scene that we had going on in central New York) and the fact that our boy is 10-going-on 25, maybe he thought it was too childish to be going out trick or treating with your parents.

Wrong.

As it turns out, he was simply waiting for us to be more assertive about Halloween.  As in, “Come on, Dylan, we’re going to the Halloween store to buy you a costume today.” Meanwhile, we were waiting for him to be more assertive, too.  As in, “So, when are we going to go and get my Halloween costume? Like, can we go right now?”  A bit of a miscommunication, it would seem, but sorted out in time.  So on Saturday, two days before the big day, we went to Party City and the boy found the perfect costume for him. Dr. Zombie.

After coming home from Party City with a zombie costume and a smiling boy, we went for a bike ride on the abandoned golf course in our backyard.  There’s one part of the course where the tall oak trees are covered with Spanish moss, and it’s always a little creepy to ride through there.  I said to Dylan, “You know, if you dressed up in your zombie costume and walked through here, it would probably make an awesome picture.” Usually, the boy does not like having his picture taken; Dr. Zombie, however, loved this idea.

His dad helped him set up the shot…

…he adjusted his mask and costume…

…and then, the Dr. Zombie photoshoot began.

Dr. Zombie attacked his father (who was busy “Tebowing” just before his demise…)

…and his photographer momma (Tom was finished “Tebowing” so he took over camera duties here. 🙂 )

When we were finished with the zombie pictures and he took off his mask, I asked the boy if I could get one more picture of him.  He grudgingly obliged with the “Mom-you-know-I-hate-having-my-picture-taken” look:

That’s ok, though; before you know it, he’ll be done with the whole Halloween thing…at least the part that he’ll let his parents participate in. But for now, and hopefully for the next two or three years, he’ll still let us enjoy a “tweener” Halloween with him.

Happy Halloween, everyone!!

“kitchen window” stanley


I am, at times, easily distracted.  Those who know me well know this, and understand that I can be focused and on-task one moment, and in a totally different place the next. The population of brown and green anoles that inhabit the area surrounding my home provide me with a constant source of distraction, the cause of many an “oooh, shiny!” moment for me.  I am fascinated by the little buggers.

Since moving into our Palm Bay home I have named all the lizards I see Stanley; it’s a family joke, taken from the GEICO commercial where a woman sees the trademark gecko in a hotel lobby and mistakes him for her former boyfriend, Stanley.  My son Dylan thought it was funny when he was 8 and we were new to Florida; now that he’s almost 11, he just shakes his head at me when I tell him about the latest “Stanley” I’ve seen.  His pre-adolescent mind has grown somewhat immune to the charm of the anoles, and I can tell by the roll of the eyes and the sigh that he figures his mom’s lost it.  He’s a good boy, though, and he humors me when I tear him away from his computer or his LEGOs to show him “Big Daddy Stanley” on the back window screen, “Teeny Tiny Stanley” in the palm fronds out front, or “Ginger Stanley” with his little red head, sitting on the wide brick sill of the bedroom window. He gives me my moment of deference before slowly backing off to return to whatever more exciting thing he was doing before I called him to join me in staring at a lizard out the window.  He’s kind of outgrown the Stanley thing; I continue to be fascinated.

The screen in my kitchen window was old and full of holes, and it finally blew off the window completely a few months ago during a crazy thunderstorm.  I should replace it, but I keep putting it off because it has become a hangout for a steady stream of my little lizard friends, and I enjoy watching them while I wash dishes and cook dinner. This “Kitchen Window Stanley” kept me company for an entire morning last week, and, safe behind the glass window pane, let me shoot its picture.  Close up, to my eye, they look sort of prehistoric.  And fascinating.

saturday night rainbow

We had just finished our dinner, and were lingering at the table over a glass of wine an a little small-talk, when my husband remarked at the weirdness of the early evening sky.  There were dark clouds in the southeastern part of the sky, and the rays of the sunset shining in the western sky.  “This is the kind of sky that you’ll find a rainbow in,” he said, as he walked to the back sliding door to check.  Sure enough, there was a rainbow in the sky, and he’d barely gotten the words out when I jumped up from the table and grabbed my camera as I headed for the door.  I walked through the wet grass in the back yard toward the abandoned golf course that backs our property, chasing the glimmer of color that had shown through my back window until I reached the open field.  Looking up, I was treated to a full rainbow over the expanse of the golf course. The light drizzle (which I hadn’t noticed until I got outside) and the humidity made my camera lens fog up, but I kept wiping it off and shooting from different angles, hoping to capture it before the light changed and it was no more.  It was a beautiful sight, and as I sat on the wet ground trying to capture the whole thing in one shot, I wondered how many of my neighbors had noticed this awesome sight in their backyards.  I felt special, sitting there in the rain with this gorgeous rainbow overhead, as if it were a gift just for me.  However, I am not comfortable with those sorts of gifts; to me, such beauty isn’t meant for only one person to enjoy, but should be shared and enjoyed by many people.  I hope that at least a few of my neighbors were blessed with the gift of this rainbow last Saturday night.  If they missed it, well, I can at least point them this way.