Daily Archives: April 27, 2008

Popular! You’re gonna be popular!

When I was a teenager I read teen magazines searching for the secret to popularity. One word of advice that I actually tried one day was to wear a pendant hanging down your back instead of on your chest. I spent an entire school day wearing my pewter “Shalom” pendant backwards. By the end of the day I was not only not any more popular than I’d been the day before, but had been laughed at by many of the popular kids. I concluded the author of the article was nuts. Wearing pendants backwards does not make you popular.

I solidly believed that until today when saw this in a Macy’s catalog. I guess the author of that long ago article was right after all. At least it works for some people:

Nicole Kidman wearing backwards pendant

$72.05

The second week I stayed in Illinois with my mom earlier this month was spent running errands and cleaning out her attic. We didn’t get far with the attic, but I found a few pieces of my past.

One of the pieces was a bill from my birth. I don’t think it is the full bill, but the bill for part of my nursery stay. I think I stayed in the hospital for nearly a month after I was born because I was underweight (3lbs 9oz).

Two weeks stay in the hospital for an underweight newborn in 1956 was cheap! $72.05
I was born on August 23 and the first date on this bill is September 2, which was for nursery charges. It also lists charges for drugs on September 2. I wonder what drugs they gave me as a week old infant.

Peepers, an Owl and Possible Woodcock, Oh My!

Last year, this same week, incidentally, I commented on a weblog post about spring peepers. I’ve been thinking about spring peepers lately, and mentioned to Dean that I’d like to find some singing some evening.

Dean thought about it and then said he knew of a pond we could visit and maybe hear some peepers. I almost said no, but knew that I’d regret it if I just spend the night longing to hear peepers and searching the Internet for their sounds. Besides, it was due to get cold again and this was a perfect evening to walk in the woods.

Barred OwlWe got to the park at dusk, but because there was a huge party going on and we didn’t see any parking spots left we nearly turned around and went home. Luckily Dean spotted a place to park. After securing the parking space we walked into the park, along a creek. I saw skunk cabbage, which I’d just read, shares the same habitat as spring peepers, so my hopes of hearing spring peepers began to rise. It was still too light to hear any, I concluded, but darkness was on its way.

A few cars passed us, probably Boy Scout leaders heading to the nearby campgrounds. Another couple, walking their dog, passed us. We nodded hellos and continued walking.

As we rounded a corner onto a narrow path, Dean pointed to a large bird that had just landed on a branch in a tree. I thought it was a heron and began looking for a roost. Dean wondered if it was, perhaps, an owl. We got closer and saw that it was, indeed, an owl. He hoo hoo hooed at us, posed for a photo and flew off across the creek.

After our owl encounter I looked back at the ground and realized we were now next to a pond. We walked a bit further and I heard the first peeper call. Then another answered. They got louder so we sat near the pond on a rotting log to hear them for a few minutes.

We then walked further along the pond and creek. The sounds of the peepers died down as we left the pond area. We walked back after hiking to the end of the trail and by this time it was much darker; the peepers were louder. We paused again to hear them before we headed home.


As we walked past the place we’d originally seen the owl, I looked up and saw it again, staring down at us as if were were intruders. He then hooed at us again. Dean called back and the owl called. This went back and forth for a while.

I vaguely wondered if there were any woodcocks in the area and suddenly heard an animal sound I’d never heard before, it was in the distance, but loud enough to be heard over the call of the peepers and hoo hoo hooing of the owl. It sounded kind of like a cardinal, but I was surprised to hear cardinals singing so late in the evening. When got home I listened to some bird calls, including the woodcock. I think I might have heard the woodcock’s “whistle dance“, but I cannot be sure. Although, earlier, I heard what I thought was the sound of a chipmunk chirping, but didn’t see any chipmunks.

Who knows? I guess I’ll have to go back.