For Cinco de Mayo, my fiance and I celebrated with a margarita on our neighbor's balcony. The balconies in our apartment building overlook the building courtyard, as well several buildings across the street. We find it very entertaining to watch the activity of our often-crazy "in transition neighborhood" neighbors. Robert, across the street, appears to suffer from schizophrenia and obsessive/compulsive disorder. On many evenings you can see his light switch on and off over and over for sometimes hundreds of times. On another night, another male neighbor decided to toss all of his girlfriend's possessions onto the sidewalk. Around 11 pm she showed up, shouting and crying, and slowly sifted through the items and put them in her Jeep. Around 12:30 am some friends showed up to help. Finally, with quite a bit still left on the sidewalk, everyone left. She apparently moved back in several days later.
One of the things I like about this building is that it has a frenetic energy similar to Chicago, but also has a large grassy courtyard with several large old trees that you don't see too often in the windy city. One thing I didn't like about Chicago was the lack of green. That being said, I'm surprised it took me so long to finally admit my favorite color is green. I mean, if I'd been paying attention I could have made the switch years ago! One tell could be that an abandoned lot was my favorite place in Chicago. I passed it every time I got off the North bus at Clybourn and walked to the Trader Joe's. In the spring and summer it was overgrown with grasses and wildflowers, and often times there were enormous bunnies bouncing around. It was amazing. After all the overwhelming-ness of the concrete and modern humanity that is the city of Chicago, this little plot was a breath of fresh air. I always had to stop and just breathe in the smell of wild vegetation. It rooted me.
Ooooo! Speaking of which, amazing news! Omaha, NE is finally getting its own Trader Joe's! I will no longer have to spend my entire paycheck to get decent food at Whole Foods. I can get just as good or better at half the price! Hurray! When Jeremy told me the good news I jumped up and down and kissed him. They are going to make a killing here. Whenever I carry my Trader Joe's recycled shopping bags around people race over and demand to know where it is. Now I can tell them! I just verified the truth of this by doing a search on my zip code, and it came up under their locations as a future site. I want to sing Hallelujah to the heavens!
Alright, calm down. Back to Cinco de Mayo. So there we were, sitting on the balcony, when I noticed a bird and what appeared to be a bird's nest in the V of an evergreen in our courtyard. My neighbor grabbed some binoculars and we were able to verify that yes, it is a nest, and yes, there are baby birds in it! I couldn't believe it! I've never seen such a thing in real life! Today I went down with my amazing new Canon Digital Rebel camera with it's telephoto lens (an amazing package price at Best Buy, kids) and snapped some shots without pissing off the mother. The babies really look like a cartoon, they are so typically baby bird-ish. I had to sit for quite a while waiting for her to move. That must be one of the most boring and tense jobs I've ever seen in the animal world. She finally got up because she had to chase a Blackbird off and I managed to snap some pics of them. I believe she is a Red-Breasted Robin.
Also bird-tastic, today we went on a walk with the dog at the Con-Agra headquarters campus downtown. It's situated on a small lake/large pond with about a mile of path around it. Today it was like a bird party. There were Canadian Geese, Embden or Pilgrim Geese (not sure which), Goldfinch, Swallows and so many more that we didn't even try to identify them. One mated pair of Canadian Geese gifted us with a little paddling show of their 4 babies. They treaded water for a bit near the shore where we stood, then when they were ready to head to shore the mom and dad gave a little honk and the babies lined in a perfect little paddling row behind daddy. It was about the cutest thing I've ever seen and gave me a happy smile all day long. :)
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