“Writing fiction is...about passion and endurance, a combination of desire and grunt work often at odds with each other.”
Maureen Howard

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

getting stuff done is for the birds and also weekends
Fri 2015-05-29 23:24:17 (in context)

So I took today off. It's the fifth Friday; I get to do that on fifth Fridays. Especially in the case of a day completely without scheduled obligations and nobody home but me. I pretty much slept until I woke up, then grabbed a book of Cordwainer Smith short stories and read myself back to sleep. It was glorious.

In between short stories, there were breaks for watching grackles raid the bird feeder. The bird feeder is the sort with a nut-and-seed compartment in the middle and suet cake compartments on either side. The grackles like the suet cakes, especially the one that came labeled "no-melt formula." They have a Method. It goes something like this:

  1. Land on the roof to scout out the scene.
  2. Announce intentions via a single chirp/croak.
  3. Flap over to the feeder and stuff beak as full as possible with suet cake crumbs.
  4. Flap down to railing or floor of balcony to spit out the loot.
  5. Eat the loot daintily from this secondary location.
  6. Except for the last crumb, which they will take away with them into the trees.

Basically, they're like diners at an all-you-can-eat buffet who still get to take leftovers home in the doggie bag. It's hilarious. I love watching them strut around the balcony, all crow-like, full of exaggerated decorum.

The house finches are hilarious, too, especially when they arrive in groups, scolding and fluttering at each other in a mobile, airborne quarrel. They look like they're fighting over who gets the best spot on the feeder. They may also be engaging in their typical mating ritual, which as far as I can tell involves the male finch showing off how fantastically red his head and butt are, and the female finch demonstrating how fantastically fed up with him she is.

Sparrows show up less frequently and act a little shy. They're more easily scared off by my movements inside the house, and they give way to the finches without argument. Strikes me as weird, considering that most of my interactions with sparrows involve them mobbing my feet on outdoor patios at cafes and demanding to know whether I'm done with that muffin.

And then there's this little tiny bird, maybe two-thirds the size of a sparrow, that I still haven't managed to get a good look at yet. It makes an aggrieved, high-pitched, descending "peep!" noise and hops around the tree branches with a movement that reminds me of the way woodpeckers hop around on tree trunks. It has a relatively thin tail for its size, which is all I can see when it's on the other side of the bird feeder from me. The moment I try to get a better view, that sucker is gone.

So that's about all I've been doing today. Reading, watching birds, eating leftovers, and fighting off that vague sense of guilt for not having spent today Getting Things Done. It has been long and arduous, that fight, but I think I am winning.