Sunday, June 01, 2008



Yesterday, we went out on a biking-and-birding trip with the East Bay Regional Parks. We rode around Alameda and Bay Farm Islands, chatting with the naturalist, and looking for birds.

The highlight of the outing was the egret rookery on Bay Farm Island. It was incredible to see dozens of Great and Snowy Egrets, nesting in two pine trees, smack in the middle of the suburbs. Some of the birds were in full breeding plumage, and we speculated whether they had found mates yet or not. I like to think that birds don't lose all their sexy when they settle down and start families.

The day was quite overcast and foggy, so photographing white birds against a glaring white sky posed a big challenge. Robb and I already have a date to revisit these birds some night next week, after I get home from work. You cannot imagine how impressive this sight is. Huge white birds, in huge stick nests, on the skinniest of branches. At least one youngster had ventured out onto a branch and looked completely stranded. Poor thing didn't have this flight feathers yet, and has clinging onto the branches in the most pathetic spraddle-legged manner. I hope that this bird would eventually make it back to the safety of its nest. (The birds pictured above are babies, probably Great Egret chicks.)

When we got home, Robb was in pretty rough shape. Because we were out with a group, and didn't know the planned route, Robb wasn't able to cycle at his own pace, or take breaks when he needed. He was in quite a bit of pain, and spent a significant amount of time flat on his back.

I had the opportunity to tackle some much-neglected housekeeping chores during this time. I'm a pretty poor housekeeper under the best of circumstances, and since Robb's accident I've become worse, rather than better. I have no excuse for this, other than being lazy and feeling sorry for myself. I need to get over this, because the apartment isn't going to clean itself, and we certainly can't afford to pay someone to pick up the slack for my own laziness.

The pathetic part is that I just look at all the projects that need to be done, and get really depressed and do nothing. Not a very good strategy for keeping happy.

I'm going to try to find a way to tame these demons, and keep the apartment in better shape. It is, after all, the season for building and maintaining nests.


sarcasmo said...

Beautiful pictures! You must have alot of patience when bird watching and must be a magician to get them to pose perfectly for you!;) Do something creative at home to keep those demons away. Declutter one small space at a time. I set smalls goals instead of being overwhelmed by the big ones. -Sarcasmo A/Q

Beach Gal said...

We have the egrets here on the east coast also. One summer, they made a nest in my mom's backyard pine tree. Boy, do they poo a LOT...and stink. They drop their discarded clam/mussel shells everywhere! My parent's were not happy campers :)

And I'm a lazy housekeeper. I hate cleaning, my little guys don't help much unless I yell, and my husband is a slob. Therefore, my house is usually not in tip top shape. All of my friends seem to be able to keep on top of housework, which makes me a bit depressed. Sigh...

Anonymous said...

Hey... I have found out that the housework is ALWAYS going to be there. As I get older...I realize that nobody appreciates all my efforts to keep a perfect house... there are just so many more priorities. Gotta live your life! If the dust offends anyone...I give them a dust cloth at this point! How I would rather be out in the woods than dusting and cleaning indoors! So that is what I do... give me some notice if anyone is dropping over...okay?


Anonymous said...

One of the things I've learned about housecleaning from is to use a 15-minute timer. If you commit to working on a project for 15 minutes, and stopping when the timer rings, it's easier to stay focused on getting something accomplished. And if you do 15 minutes here and there every day, you can make progress against the whole big project.
Not all of the ideas on that site work for me, but the fifteen-minute timer does.

The Dread Pirate Queen,
fellow theater gal and perfectionist.

shiloh said...

I know what you mean about the apartment not claning itself.I keep waiting for my little house to do that but so far no luck.

I'm not sure the 15 minute timer would work for me. I think I can clutter more in 1 minute than I can pick up in 15.

Marcie said...

Bay Farm Island - thanks for the tip! We tried to get out to Bolinas to see the nesting egrets there, but our navigator is 11 years old and so we missed the turnoff to Audubon Canyon.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way about both cleaning and cooking - why do we need to eat every single day? One way I bribe myself is to get an audiobook or podcast that I really want to listen to (like This American Life) and only play it while doing things like that.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I like Spencer's idea. Sometimes if there's a song or a monologue that I need to be memorizing, I'll make or obtain a recording of it and just let it play on repeat while I wash dishes and things. It's a way of letting it sink in to my subconscious. But I like the idea of listening to podcasts while working; I can't ever seem to find time to listen to things like that ordinarily.

The Dread Pirate Queen,
faithful blog reader.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lisa, frankly I am a horrid hosuekeeper too- IMHO, as long as no one gets sick from a dirty kitchen or bathroom, and we have clean clothes; the rest of the clutter can just pile up. Seriously, who cares if there is some debris on the carpeted stairs 'cause I didn't vaccuum, as long as it isn't bad enough to cause a trip & fall LOL. Your physcial & mental health is impportant too and that means nice long bird walks!
PS check out The Fly Lady website. She helps you set the small goals and develop a system for home cleaning & decluttering. I think it's
Suzi of SuziLivvi

Zorket said...

Ha. Someone beat me to it. I was also going to suggest

It has been a lifesaver for me, for sure.

Don't be too hard on yourself - I think what makes the artistic type of people what they are - doesn't lend itself very well to having that super clean "model home" look - and who really cares anyway? You take the most beautiful photographs, and seem to do a great job focusing on the important aspects of life.

I, myself, skipped out on housecleaning to go see nesting Eagles with one of my adult sons, whom I rarely get to spend time with. Laundry will get done... but it isn't the end all of life.


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