Monday, February 12, 2007

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Packing flowers

After two months of wearing snow boots, today I wore flipflops around the house getting my feet accustomed to them again. In a few days I'm off to Mexico for a couple of weeks. Normally on the day I fly out, I've been up half the night before trying on clothes to see if they fit and then frantically stuffing things into my suitcase. This year I decided to pack a few days in advance. What a concept!
I've been leisurely hauling the "Mexico stuff" up from the cedar closet in the basement and deciding what size I am this year. I have a whole range of sizes and patterns to choose from. I hardly ever wear a floral print at home, but I'm not staying home. I get a kick out of dressing like a typical tourist. It's almost like going to a costume party and I actually have worn some of these clothes as costumes at Halloween. Of course, you won't find clothing like this in a Mexican department store. Most Mexican women dress like "norteamericanas" - they wouldn't be caught dead in this apparel. I'm perfectly happy to join the throngs of those who look like tourists, because I am one! And there's something about being surrounded by all the tropical colors - flaming bouganvilliea cascading over sun splashed walls, red and orange and yellow hibiscus, a canopy of yellow primavera overhead - that makes my usual blue jeans and boring white blouses a sacrilege.


The hard part is figuring out how to pare down the packing. I know there are women who throw on their Travelsmith reversible dress and hit Europe for two weeks with only an overnighter to haul around, but I can't conceive of that. On the other hand, do I need 8 pairs of capris for a 16 day trip? I don't know, I can't decide. Will 6 pairs of shoes be enough, or too much? After I return home each year I make an attempt to write down what I wore so I'll have guidelines for the next time. Each year I misplace the list. Well, I have a few days to decide, rather than the normal few hours I've given myself in the past. What isn't negotiable are the 6 or 8 novels I'll bring, a couple of bird guides, and my binoculars. That must be what's weighing down my suitcase, not all those flowery clothes!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Silver trees

How about this beautiful forest of silver trees? Actually, it was "Jack Frost" on my garage door windows. When I backed out this morning it was 6 below zero and as I idled in the driveway waiting for the car to warm up, I glanced up and saw this fantasyland of "trees" spread across all four windows, reflecting a neighbor's house and drifts of snow in the background. So the "trees" aren't real, but the cold and snow is. I heard Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow today so spring is right around the corner. We don't really believe that here. There's been some discussion about using a prairie dog to get a local reading, but they're probably all snowed into their burrows. Meanwhile I've taken to clipping fake birds onto my flowering maple which is wintering indoors. This makes me think of warmer weather.
I'm not sure where all the real outdoor birds have gone. Lately the only customers I've had at the feeders are squirrels. But I did see a large flock of robins the other day. I happened to be looking out the front window when I saw about 50 of them land in a tree across the street. I watched them for awhile and suddenly a truck out on the main road backfired and robins exploded out of tree after tree. There were probably 150. Though most robins head south like sensible birds we always have a population of them who over-winter. I think I saw the whole crowd.
robin photo credit