Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Chickadee's song says spring is coming!

The last few days, it has been clear that spring is on the way. The snow is melting quickly on the sidewalk, even when there is still a sharp wind. The sun is obviously stronger, and the days longer.

For someone like me, who loves to be outdoors, including in winter, who skis and snowshoes and hikes happily in the snow, but suffers what used to be called "cabin fever," and is now called Seasonal Affective Disorder, the long day and stronger sun is a welcome sign of spring. Despite my joy at a fresh snowfall and bright, cold days, so I can enjoy the snow, February is not my best month.

But today's springtime joy was hearing the chickadees in my neighborhood calling out to each other and searching out mates. I love chickadees, and don't mind the fact that they eat most of the seed in my feeders. They just seem like such sweet birds, not like the quarrelsome and seemingly sort of dumb sparrows. The chickadees will take one seed at a time and fly off to eat it on a branch, leaving room for another bird.

Most of the year the call of the chickadee is its name: chicka-dee-dee-dee. It is a little scratchy, though not unpleasant, and associated with the woods in my mind, a sound that I hear walking under pine trees, especially up north. But when they are looking for mates, the males have a song instead of a call. Fee-bee... fee-bee. Slow, the first note higher than the second. A bit lonely, but also hopeful.

And a clear sign that spring is coming.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Such negativity to good ideas!

Most of the news I consume these days is on-line. Sorry, newspapers, but not only don't I miss the clutter of the paper, but there is so much repetition between news sources that it makes it easier - via an RSS feed - to delete the duplicates.

I used to like the option of reading the comments posted after the articles in the Wisc. State Journal and Cap Times, but no more. Almost every one is filled with sourness, negativity, and bile.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Very strange and disturbing toy

Someone posted this to another forum, but I just have to pass this on, because it is so unbelievably absurd and weird. Apparently, you can no longer order this item from Amazon, maybe because people gave it great reviews, or maybe because Playmobil got some negative publicity.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Soup Kitchen Lunch - a deal, but also maybe a sign of real financial trouble

Last Tuesday I was looking for a quick lunch between classes, and headed to the Lakefront Cafeteria at Memorial Union. I wasn't thrilled with the soup that day, but I spied a sign saying that they were serving soup, salad, bread, and a drink for $2.00 in the Great Hall. Whoa. Not a bad deal.

What also struck me was the name for this event: Soup Kitchen Lunch. It's part of the Union's Delicious Deals for Tough Times. Now I'm always happy to get a deal on a meal, but are things that bad for the UW population?

For my part, I'm, hoping they do this again, because the soup was very good, the rolls were fresh, and the salad was fresh greens, not some pale iceberg junk. I can make soup and bread a meal almost anytime, and $2.00 is a price I welcome.

Thursday I was back at the Lakeshore Cafeteria, and had a great Mediterranean vegetable soup. The soup was great, but a bowl was $4.50, and no bread or salad.