Monthly Archives: May 2009

Spec nest?

[Update 5.25.09] She’s gone and left two eggs in the nest. Husband tossed some balls off the roof and I heard that they landed very close to the nest. I suspect one landed on the nest because one of the eggs has a crack along the side. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.

[Update] She’s sitting on the nest now, so hopefully we’ll have a brood. I can just barely see her from the kitchen window. Yay.

Last week I looked out the back window and saw a robin hopping around the back yard carrying what looked like a bunch of white paper in her beak. She hopped across the back yard, flew to a rose of Sharon bush and then onto the branch of the ginkgo tree, all the while holding onto the wad of paper. Then I thought that perhaps she was carrying a white azalea flower instead of paper — it looked the right size and we have a few white azalea bushes in the yard.

Robin with flower
Robin with flower

I posted it on twitter and got a few fun responses.

In the rose of Sharon bush

About an hour or so later I looked outside and saw the robin again — she still had the azalea blossom in her beak. This time I saw her fly into the pink azalea bush and I suspected she was building a nest there and this was a new azalea blossom. I looked up robin nests on All About Birds, but saw no mention of robins using flowers to build their nests, although it said they might incorporate paper into their nests sometimes.

A nearly hidden robin — look for the white bit. That’s her with her flower.

I posted on twitter again and someone wondered if it was stuck in her throat or maybe she was going to prom.

The next morning Dean mentioned that a robin was hanging out in the bush that kept coming back. He thought she might be building a nest. Sure enough, there she was — this time bringing long bits of grass with her each return trip.

That afternoon I couldn’t stand the suspense. I wanted to see if the nest had white azalea blooms in it. I waited until I was sure the robin was elsewhere and peeked in the far side of the bush — I could barely make out the nest, but it did look like it had some bits of white in it. I tip-toed around to the side nearest the nest and wasn’t disappointed. She had, indeed, used some white flowers to pretty up her nest.

a decorated nest
a decorated nest

I think this is the same robin that built a nest under the eave of the neighbor’s porch but abandoned it the day after Mother’s Day. I hope that she does raise a brood in her decorated nest, but I’m not all that hopeful. She returned the day after I took the photo of the nest, but I’ve not seen her since. Maybe she just likes building nests with no intention of living in them. I’ve heard of spec houses, but never spec nests.

Unfortunately, although the pink azalea bush looked like a great place to build a nest when it was in full flower — it might prove to be a poor choice once the flowers are gone because it is not hidden as well as it could be and is quite low to the ground.

[Apologies for the poor quality of the photographs. I took most of them from inside, through a window.]

What is hate?


When I was a child and used the word hate (I hate spinach or liver or Devon or home ec), my mother would almost always counter my statement with, “Hate is a strong word” which meant, “don’t say it”. Once, when I was very angry at my mom because she was pressuring me to say hello to some popular kids at Ben Franklin, I used the word at her. “I hate you,” I hissed but immediately felt ashamed for using the word hate on my mother. I didn’t mean it. I meant, “I’m angry and embarrassed and too shy to talk to the popular kids. Leave me alone.”

My son used it on us a lot when he was younger, and occasionally I still hear him mutter it under his breath. I doubt he ever meant that he hated his dad or me. He probably meant he was angry or embarrassed. Whenever he said it I was transported back to 1974 and the costume jewelry aisle at Ben Franklin where I used the word at my mom.

Over the past couple of weeks because of two incidents involving the high school my teenagers attend, I’ve had reason to think about what the word hate means.

One incident involved a group from a “church” in Kansas protesting the name of the high school because it is thought that the poet after which the school is named was a homosexual.

Members of this “church” protest, among other things, schools and institutions the group thinks are accepting of homosexuality, Christian denominations it considers heretical,  synagogues, and funerals of people killed in plane crashes or while on military duty or who were murdered. They carry signs meant to cause anguish or anger. One says, God Hates You. They taunt and dance and do whatever they can to make their targets react. I’ve read that this group is not a religious group, but an organized group that makes its money by taunting people, then suing them if the people they are protesting react in any way illegal.

The other incident involved a former student making death threats on the Internet against students and teachers. He posted a poll on a website called People’s Dirt asking who of 10 students and teachers should die. The student’s first post included this passage, “…ynot jus die now nd take a couple people i hate out wit me…” [sic]. This student, who now lives in Tennessee, was taken into custody and could serve up to 60 years for this incident. Interesting, his mother says that the students mentioned in the poll are his friends and that the whole thing was blown out of proportion. Based on what I read, I find it hard to believe that he is still friends with these kids.

So, back to my question, what is hate? I think hate is a weapon. The person doing the hating, or announcing the hate wants to harm those they claim to hate, knowing that no one wants to be hated. I used the weapon on my mom in 1974, my son used it on his dad and me many times in the past 14 years. The Westboro Baptist Church members use it on just about anyone but themselves. The former Whitman student used it on several people. The intent was the same in all cases — to cause pain.

My mom was right (again). Hate is a strong word.


No thanks

403453Costco is selling a Backyard Bug Cake Pan:

“Imagine a table full of edible and adorable bugs! Enjoy these delightful cakes sprinkled with powdered sugar, or have the kids (and adults!) decorate their own cakes with icing, frosting or colorful candies. Durable cast aluminum ensures sharp detail and uniform baking, and a premium non-stick interior provides quick-release and easy cleanup.”

I think I’ll pass…