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Tromped around Umstead park this morning with a buddy of mine, looking for birds. The birds, alas, were mostly hiding today--either we're not looking in the right place, or it was just a slow day for 'em--but it was a pleasant morning anyway. Birding in company is much more enjoyable. You can both stand around with your respective field guides open, going "Pine warbler, do you think?" "Maybe, or could be a first year magnolia...?" and bask in the warm glow of a faintly absurd hobby shared.  (Poor bastard. New to birding, and got hit with fall warblers right off the bat. It's a cruel world.)

The weather was cool, if humid, there was a low hanging mist over the forest for part of the morning, and the sun rising behind it was a flat white disk, no brighter than a sheet of paper. (I love atmospheric effects that allow you to look at the sun. It feels like you're cheating the laws of childhood somehow, like competing in the hundred yard dash-with-scissors.)

A mostly lazy day other than that. Got some writing done on Nurk 2. I do not know yet if there will BE a Nurk 2, but there certainly won't be if I don't write it, so I'm putting it together slowly but surely. Got another week of buffer done on Digger in the last few days, which is a vast relief. Putting the comic on hiatus galled me deeply.

Ten days until I take possession of my apartment, two weeks until I move in, at best estimate. I'm very ready, but I'll miss Deb anyway.  Also, the contents of Deb's fridge.  Her husband is a very picky eater. Deb's been able to buy a much broader variety of food during my stay, content in the knowledge that if he doesn't eat it, the resident starving artist probably will. "Sure, I'll eat quiche. Yes, and rosemary ham. And the lemon chicken breast, sure. Yeah, I can probably take that coffee ice cream off your hands. Mango cheesecake? Oh, twist my arm...."

It's a good thing the Effexor is damping my appetite, or I'd have gained back all that weight already. Going back to the frozen food aisle of Trader Joe's, and the traditional Ursula Bachelor Fridge (contents: iced tea, jar of pesto, package of pasta, lonely stick of butter) will be a hard transition. Maybe I can find a single's cooking class around here somewhere.

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Poor baby, Luckily I started birding 1n 1988 at the end of October when Fall migration had JUST ended. All I had to do was spend all Winter learning the few species that are present then. Then, That Spring, I took a college-level course on birds. We had one class and one field trip a week during Spring Migration. I picked up DOZENS of Lifers that Spring. Now after almost 19 years, I am up to 200 species by sight AND sound.

You could always go the utility route. Get someone with a Sam's club membership get you a box of skinless frozen chicken breasts and just go nus making up marinades! Um.. or something. (This also works with tilapia fillets.)

So, enjoying the bizarrely warm October?

Saw two Phainopepla males this morning, and some little brown jobbie that might have been a finch? Does the Sonoran desert have finches?

Hmmm. Having looked around a bit online, my LBJ could have been any one of a number of sparrows, too. Sigh. Getting better at this birding thing, got a long way to go!

The Sonoran desert has a number of finches, sparrows, and wrens. I am the wild bird advisor on the world's largest gardening forum and help people all over the world ID their birds. In many cases I have never heard of the bird and ID it just before I send them the description. Some of the birds in THIS category that I learned this year were the Yellow-Vented Bulbul, and the Hoopoe.

I've seen the cactus wren! She's such a big bird, I didn't believe it was really a wren. More used to those little things we have back east in Michigan.

I'm so new to birding that I'm still learning what to look for, in order to ask for an ID. Time. And time and some internet travel will fix that. I've got a few local field guides, too.

That Hoopoe is a flash bird.

You want to get Sibley's Field Guide to Birds of North America. That is the best guide available. Ursula featured it on her picture, "Birder Mouse". That is the one I use all the time. for birds outside the US and Canada I use Google Image Search.

Love the bit about looking at the sun and running with scissors!

How fancy do you want your cooking to be? I have several very basic recipes (with correpondingly basic instructions) which I wrote up for my sisters which I"d be happy to send to you. I consider most of these recipes to be virtually foolproof in that even if you manage to screw them up they still taste good...

Speaking of bird watching

I don't know if you've already been sent this (and it isn't *truly* about bird watching, obviously) but this made me think of you:



Cooking is simple fun. It's amazing how the basics can be learned easily enough, and the great thing is, you can usually eat the mistakes.

Singles Cooking 101: Learn to love your leftovers.

Yeah, I dealt with living alone by cooking as if there were at least three of me and boxing up the rest for lunches and dinners when I didn't feel like cooking. Worked out pretty well (it's hard to keep fresh fruit and veggies though, you end up just buying little bits and needing to go shopping a lot).

Exactly what I'd suggest (and do myself).

I have a metric ton of recipes that are a) excruciatingly easy b) tasty c) freeze easily for dealing with the pesky issue of leftovers.

Poke if interested? (No, you don't know me from adam, but I've read for awhile.)

Cooking for one really made me love my wok. Stirfry, chili... yum.

I'd go find a Whole Foods Market; they may have a cooking class or two over in the kitchenware zone. And every section attendant should have at least one idea what you can do with the food they're present for.

A singles cooking class when i was alone would have been wonderfull. All I had in my fridge was cold air and a lonely lightbulb.

Though it's amusing when people come over and claim you live the bachelor life with Cheesewhiz, beer and leftover pizza in the fridge :D

Eggs, bread and cheese slices my dear and your set for a lovely sandwidge!!


I swear by it. They've got a metric ton of recipes for just about everything you can want (and afford), and there's a built-in calculator for servings. So you enter "1" into the servings box, hit "change" and it automatically recalculates the measurements. No more having to sit there and manually redo every bloody recipe!

second to that one. My wife and I usually change the yield to 4, so we can have leftovers for lunches the next day. I do like the ability to change the measurements, and I also like www.foodtv.com for their recipe selections, but they don't seem to have the ability to change the yields, so I think allrecipes.com will get more of my business.

If you like I can give you a bunch of one person easy recipes. I love to cook, but on weekdays I like cooking QUICKLY, so I've got both types of recipes.

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