Saturday, April 25, 2009

When a National Geographic Special Shows Up On Your Front Porch OR When My New White Pets Turned Brown

Back in the nest, the number of white eggs increased to five -- five blue speckled ovals that fit perfectly, with no room for more and no nest wasted.  

And then a week later...

Four of the five eggs had hatched and formed a mash of pink flesh and gray feathers.

And soon there were all five babies

A  ______-eye view of the nest

A visible beak, along with big black baby bird circles...  

Another shot of a beak and a head

And since I couldn't invite them in for some pizza...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Durham: Land of the Movie Stars

A few weeks ago, I had my first celebrity sighting in Durham.  And as much as "celebrity" and "Durham" don't belong in the same sentence, this one was for real: there in the bar of the downtown Marriott sat Colin Firth and Patricia Clarkson having drinks on a Friday night.

It was the second night of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, which is why I found myself in a hotel bar in the first place.  And if it hadn't been for the New York producer who was staying with us that weekend, Colin Firth and Patricia Clarkson would have slipped by me unnoticed. 

Granted, it wasn't a normal weekend in Durham.  The annual Full Frame Festival meant that lots of out-of-towners and movie people and hipsters invaded a three block radius of deserted downtown for several days; for once you couldn't just leave your car in the middle of the street and call it a parking spot.  People walked around with their giant VIP festival passes around their necks -- the volunteers, the pass holders, the people associated with the films.

By Sunday night, the hubbub had pretty much died down, and it was once again possible to walk down a main street in the evening and not see a single car.

Life returned to normal, and the celebrity sightings returned to the usual, "Hey, that's the woman who teaches the dance class right before the one I take," or, "There's my former neighbor who walks around with a lead pipe."

And then, this past week, a mere two blocks from my house, another celebrity showed up in Durham.  

Vans and trucks and trailers had been filling up the empty lot of the vacated rice diet center located just down the street, and once or twice I spotted the bright film lights as I walked by on my way to work.  I had assumed that they were filming a movie about rice or diets.

But then, this past normal Tuesday, as Fonzie took me on on our usual post-work walk, we passed by a closed-off section of Duke Street, where a couple of police officers were redirecting traffic to accommodate the film shooting.

I asked one of the cops what was being filmed.

"A film called Main Street," he said.

"Who's in it?" I asked.

"Orlando Bloom."

Yessiree.  Orlando Bloom had been hanging out (or working, as it were) just blocks from my house.  

The next day, word had caught on that Orlando was in town; a small but committed gaggle of girls and young women had planted themselves outside of the building where filming was taking place.

A little IMDB search later, and sure enough, Colin Firth and Patricia Clarkson are also in Main Street.

Willie said he would pay me $5 if I got a picture of Orlando Bloom, $10 if he was naked.

As of the posting of this blog, I am no richer than I was two days ago.

And even though I stupidly imagine that the film stars shooting in Durham are bored and eager to get out of this small Southern city,  there's one more little feather in Durham's Hollywood cap.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My New White Pets

For several weeks now, I've been trying to figure out how to best blog about spring.  I certainly didn't want to rub it in the face of my dear Midwesterners and Northeasterners, oohing and ahhing about the spring flowers and the 70 degree days.  That would just be mean.  

But, I'm pretty sure that spring is where it's at in North Carolina, that spring is one reason to live here (especially if you're not a fan of the heat).  And specifically because I'm not a fan of the heat, and because far too soon the bugs and humidity will arrive and stay, I'm actively forcing myself to acknowledge and appreciate spring, glorious, spring.

So with the aid of my little camera necklace, here is my homage to my first spring in North Carolina:

The new, and for real exciting, yuppie table and umbrella on the back deck.  It is my new goal to sit at this table under this umbrella as much as possible until the mosquitos show up.

Willie putting gas in his one gallon jug that holds gas for the purpose of....

mowing the lawn half shirtless.  (That lawnmower isn't ours, btw, but is very generously loaned by Willie's friend, Bobby G.)

Our mailbox actually has nothing to do with spring, but I've been trying to figure out how to work into some blog the fact that when you want the mail person to pick up a letter, you raise the little flag, and then he/she puts it back down after taking the piece of outgoing mail.  To me, this is probably in the top five good things about living here, even if it's just as suburban-y as country.  (P.S. That flag is just an actor; I actually have no outgoing mail at the moment.)

And, of course, the flowers.  Oh, for a scratch 'n sniff blog...

The second I realized it was actually spring, I just had to have hanging flower baskets for the front porch as proof that I knew it was spring.  At first, I felt a little guilty that they were from Home Depot, like I chose Walmart over the Farmer's Market.

But then, in one of the baskets that I brought home, I noticed a little bowl-like bulge sticking up above the dirt.  I thought it was part of the dirt and tried to smush it back down.

In fact, that little bowl-like bulge turned out to be a bird's nest that some Home Depot bird had worked hard to build.  It only took a week and a half before a bird on my street found this nest, kind of like a furnished apartment, and did her thing.  Friday, when I went to water the plant, I finally caught on that the bowl-like bulge was, indeed, a bird's nest, when I found one little white egg inside of it.

This morning, there were two eggs.

Voila, spring.