Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Goin' On a Jetplane

"Goin' on a jetplane....weeooohee, goin' on a jetplane......"

I'm heading out for the Northwest Monday. Less than 4 hours to get there. Window seat so I can see the mountains and stuff we pass over. Meeting good friends in Portland. For 11 days. Yeow!!!

I've never been there. Always wanted to. Visiting good folks I've loved for 35 years. Get there about noon: sightseeing begins immediately.

So much to see and do. They have set up trips to cover Oregon. Three days on the beach at a time when tides are low and we can inspect the tidepools. Forests. Mountains. Seafood. Falls and rivers and falls. Their family. A visit with my best friend from second grade whom I haven't seen since we were 17. Relaxing in their hot tub in the evenings when we are tired and sore after a day of sightseeing and feasting on grilled fresh tuna right off the boat. Oh. And visiting a winery or two in the Willamette Valley.

Got a good sales price on a Nikon digital camera with a 1,000-pic memory card. Should be enough....

Purchasing a last-minute pair of dressy bermuda shorts (thought that was an oxymoron) earlier this week, my jaw dropped when the saleswoman offered me coupons good from Aug. 9-20. I refused politely, saying I would be out of town.

"We're national," she replied. "You could use them where you are going."

"Going SHOPPING?" I protested. "On VACATION?"

Well, maybe. I do intend to stimulate the souvenir Tshirt economy some.

And I definitely won't be blogging till I get back in a couple weeks.

I'm going on a jetplane. And my spirits are higher than the plane's altitude will be.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Afternoon of the Roadrunner

Question: and I don't know the answer--when the pioneers moved west, what did they call the bird we all affectionately call the Roadrunner? For that matter, what did they call a lot of things? I know bluebonnets were buffalo clover, but not much else.

Last summer my neighborhood was inundated with skunks. This year, thankfully, it is roadrunners all over the place. There is one that comes within two feet when I sit on the porch, cocks his eye, and walks or trots on. Sometimes he announces himself with a sharp sound like a half-broken buzzer. Sometimes I see three at a time--absolute riches of roadrunners.

One recent afternoon, a single bird was walking around, eyes peeled for tasty insects, when a white butterfly fluttered by (and yes, I like the old name flutterby better, I think), about three feet above the grass. The bird and I spotted it at the same time, and he took off, running like an Olympic sprinter with a clear track ahead, legs straight, each step a little faster than the last.

The butterfly saw him at the same time and took off in straight flight at maximum speed.

The bird ran even faster. The butterfly was pulling ahead. The roadrunner launched himself into the air, wings beating, neck stretched forward....and SCORE! one pretty little butterfly fulfilled its function as bird food.

Landing, prize in beak, the bird finished off the prize in about two bites. and calmly began walking around again, looking for bugs in the grass, on the bushes, in the air. The birds are a fair size, about the size of a pullet (half-grown chicken), but they don't seem endangered, and I've never heard of anyone eating them.

Could be they don't taste too good. Probably. They are great entertainment, so I'm glad they are around. For some reason, we all love to watch them run.