Monday, July 2, 2012


I love birds. I always have, but I never really had the opportunity to study them up close until recently. I have several very clear memories from when I was child of seeing and identifying particular birds, and they stand out in my memory like photographs, unfaded over time. But I was always a city girl, and I didn't know that the pastime of birding really even existed beyond some nerdy guys in vests and safari hats with huge binoculars.

Then we moved to Minnesota, and everything changed for me. I would have to say it was the bald eagles that did it. They are lovely and majestic and untouchable. I began to notice the world of feathered animals around me, and I was hooked. Like a child, I make silly mistakes, but still, I am eagerly soaking up everything I can learn about them.

Since this blog is supposed to be about my husband, I guess I'd better get to him. He has lived outside virtually all his life, picking weeds in the garden and feeding the animals for as long as he can remember. So I suppose it isn't surprising that he knows a bit about birds. He noticed my fascination with them, put up bird feeders around our house, and bought us a few monoculars and pairs of binoculars. I bought him a Birds of Minnesota book for Valentine's Day.

Together we identified the little pretties eating from our feeders, but it wasn't until I ventured out and started identifying birds at a nearby lake that I discovered how much he already knew.

I spent 20 minutes trying to identify the trilling sound of an elusive bird late one afternoon and finally recorded it and played it back to him. "I can't find this bird. Do you know what it is? Listen." He replied without judgement, "Yeah, that's a tree frog." (I told you I've made some stupid mistakes.)

I called him from the car: "This goose just flew over, and it had a funny pouch under it's neck, and it's tail had this strange feather on the end." Again, he replied, "It was a blue heron." He didn't bother to correct me on the strange tail feathers; they were the bird's feet flying out behind him. He knew I'd be on my Audubon app looking for it anyway.

We were camping and this eerie, screeching cry came out of the woods. "What the hell was that?" said everyone. It sounded like a cross between a cat and a child. "An owl," said my husband. The next day we looked it up, listened to the bird sounds, and sure enough it was a long-eared owl.

I'll bet even he didn't realize how extensive his bird identification skills were until I started asking questions. I certainly didn't. Yet another thing I didn't know about my husband.

Friday, June 15, 2012

About time

My husband and I have been married for 15 years. We have two children and love each other very much. But I realized some years ago that just about every couple months I found out something completely surprising or unexpected about him that I didn't know before. These revelations become less surprising as time goes on and I realize what a multi-layered onion the man is. It isn't that he's secretive, just that he has lived so much, and neither of us is the kind to idly recite details of our past without good reason.

To be fair, he's 18 years older than I am, so he lived a good portion of his life before I was even born (kinda creepy when you put it that way, isn't it?). Then I didn't meet him till he was 45, so he has a helluvalotta life tucked under his belt. After all these years, I'm still learning new things about him on a regular basis.

I finally decided to start keeping track of them, and hopefully I'll be able to remember and record a few of the tidbits that he's come out with in the past that totally blew me away. On a less dramatic note, he still, from time to time, will hear a phrase that unlocks a memory, and he'll start singing some old railroad song or blues tune that I've never heard before, complete with lyrics. After knowing him for over 17 years, he is still able to surprise me with new old songs.

Where does he keep all these old songs? I have no friggin idea. If you asked me to sing a song off the top of my head it would have to be the "ABC song" or "Happy Birthday."

It saddens me, actually, to think about how many times I've discovered something about a place he's been or an activity he's done or a person he's met that I failed to record somewhere. I've probably forgotten more things about his life than I can recite right now from memory.

For example, he's saw Stevie Wonder singing when the legend was just a boy in some old bar somewhere, and he's jumped out of a plane X number of times (I don't remember how many, but I was surprised to know that he knew exactly how many and that he'd done it so many times).

So what DO I know about him?

I know he's a loyal friend, and he's the one you call when you've got hard, physical work you need help with that no one else wants to do. I know that he can fix just about any mechanical or electrical item that goes haywire. I know that he acts tough, but he's actually a big marshmallow, and he's the best husband and father a woman could ask for.

I'm writing this blog mostly for myself, I think, because I just really like him and think he's cool, and I love it every time I find out something new about him. I'll probably never even tell him this blog exists.