Putting On A Display

Red-winged Blackbird Making a Territorial Display

Dan and Britt arrived at the cabin, late last night. In an epic day of driving, they drove strait through to the UP. Today, Maren and Dave leave upstate New York for the cabin. They don’t plan on driving straight through. They’ll make a brief stop in Ann Arbor to visit Harry, before continuing on to Bay City for the night. While visiting Maren’s parents, these newly engaged lovebirds have also been scouting wedding locations. They now have a venue and a date, but I am not permitted to disclose either of them. I’ve probably said too much already.

Here in the Lou, our all too brief respite from the heat has drawn to a close and each new day is warmer than the last. With weather like this we strive to get out and do our daily walk earlier and earlier. Tower Grove is our go to destination. With its many paths and many more trees, a mostly shady stroll can be counted on. Today, we were talking politics, until in disgust Anne changed the subject, “Let’s talk about all of this green stuff around us instead of politics.” And we agree on our politics. I can’t imagine being together if we didn’t. Before leaving the subject altogether though, she lamented about this year’s census and how the Coronavirus could be affecting its count. Then in a segue that still has my head spinning, she asked, “Do you think that there are more squirrels or robins in the park?” I would have guessed robins, but we did see more squirrels.

When we walk, either in a park or the neighborhood, most of the people that we see are not wearing masks. Anne religiously wears hers, while I only pull mine up when someone approaches. I read in the news today that 83% of Americans say that they wear masks. I’m guessing that they mean like when they are in a store, where wearing one is required for service.

Part of the problem is that initially health experts were saying that wearing a mask wouldn’t protect you from the virus. I learned this week why they were saying that and have since changed their story. Dr. Fauci testified before Congress this week that they were saying that masks didn’t prevent the spread of disease, because at the time there was a severe scarcity of such masks and the government didn’t want people hoarding them and further exacerbating the critical shortage of masks for health professionals. Remember toilet paper?

They are uncomfortable to wear, especially in the summer heat and humidity. That is why I pull mine down when no one is around. I do tend to wear it up longer if the people who are approaching are also wearing masks, peer pressure. It would be nice that enough people wore their masks that one would feel naked without one, because other people were starring at you. It would become similar to the phenomenon of why women wear bras in public. 😉

Four-Eyed Frog

Four-Eyed Frog

I made the maque choux last night for dinner and it turned out well. I followed the recipe, until I didn’t. Wanting to make a meal out of it and not just the side dish that the recipe called for, I added some Trader Joe’s soy chorizo, keeping the dish veggie. I think that it is a keeper, although I did have one little problem. The dish calls for a variety of peppers, from sweet bell to the spicy serrano chile. It was with the later that I had my problem. After cutting it up, I touched my face, which on its own wouldn’t have been a problem, but I then decided to wash my face. This only spread the pepper’s oil around and some got in my eyes. It really stung, but what was worse is that the skin around my eyes also felt burnt. Later, my hands also felt burnt. I ended up tossing half of that chile, for being too hot, which turned out to be a good idea.

Crested Anole

Crested Anole

This is the fella that cost me my belt. We were visiting Trunk Bay in the Virgin Islands National Park, where I used the outdoor changing stall that he was also occupying. I had changed into my suit and was photographing him, when another person knocked on the door, wanting to also change his clothes. In the resulting hubbub I forgot my belt that was hanging on a hook in the stall. That was the last time that we have visited a National Park. Last weekend, Anne rectified my mistake when she gifted me a new belt for Father’s Day.

Also in that Father’s Day haul was a t-shirt that lists all 61 National Parks, along with this t-shirt came a fabric marker that I used to color in the 28 parks that we have visited. Leaving 33 more parks yet to go. There are a few low hanging fruit left to pick, like Cuyahoga Valley and Indiana Dunes. About half of the yet to be seen National parks are in the Continental United States. Then in the next tier of increasing difficulty to visit are the Alaskan and Pacific island parks. I’m not saying that I am going to try and collect all 61. That smacks a bit too much like tilting at windmills. Still, there are some that I yet plan on visiting and running up my park score totals a bit more before all is said and done.

These days we content ourselves with visiting nearby Forest Park. This park is not a National Park, but it is the largest city park in the US. Yesterday, we rode our bicycles in it for the first time in way too long a time, where we bumped into friend and fellow Kaldi’s cyclist Mary. We snagged an invite from her for a socially distant happy hour this Saturday, in her and Bill’s backyard. I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out. Today, we returned to the park, but drove instead of biked. We saw Mary again, riding her bicycle still.

In the Judy Garland movie, Meet Me in St. Louis, her character takes the trolley out-of-town to Skinker’s Swamp, future site of the 1904 Worlds Fair. After the fair, the city redesignated the land as Forest Park, but much of it was still a swamp. Today, we followed the winding water features that are all that remain of the original river that once flowed through the park. Bushes and brush lines many of these waterways, providing cover for wildlife. We didn’t see anything that was amazing, but there were plenty of the usual suspects sighted.