How to Love a Mockingbird

Before you get too excited, this is not a post about Harper Lee, her new book, her old book, or anything so noble. This little tidbit is simply about… a mockingbird.

I’m a Texan, and mockingbirds are our state bird. I live out in the country, where the birds are more common. We have one that resides in the field beside our home and keeps us entertained constantly. We have, on occasion, listened to him mimic the bob-white quail that scurry from one mesquite tree to the next. We’ve heard him “mock” the feral kittens in the area, with a tiny mew mew mew. He even trills the song of the frogs after a rainy night. He has quite a large repertoire.

But last week we were shocked at the new song he was singing. My husband and I were leaving for church, early on Sunday morning, and as our garage door finished its obnoxiously squeaky ascent to the open position, we heard the mockingbird’s ballad. Squee-ee-ee-ee-lumma-lumma-ee-ee-lumma-lumma-ee-ee-chirrup. That’s right; it was our annoying garage door noise, reflected back to us in song.

Now my husband is set on WD-40-ing the tracks to eliminate that whine, but I don’t want the bird to stop his serenade.  While I hated the squeal before, and was all in favor of  ridding the world of the din, I now enjoy that our little bird has turned it into something lovely and sweet.

I’m grateful for, and love, our mockingbird.

Just One Little Weird Thing

I do this one weird thing. I write. I like to tell stories about things that haven’t happened, that won’t happen, that could never happen. Unless they do.

I’m a big fan of Ian Fleming, Ray Bradbury, and Gene Roddenberry. I’m a gadget geek. I love to look back at what these writers imagined– impossible and outrageous things– that are now commonplace in our lives. I marvel at their foresight. I enjoy every last little detail they include. Of course some things didn’t work out just as they wrote, but many others things did.

My whole life I’ve had ideas that I have suggested to people, only to be dissuaded and told my ideas were not practical, realistic, or marketable. And now years later I can go to the store and purchase those products. I have a trunk full of stories that I have written by hand on lined notebook paper (some from when I was in junior high) that people thought were silly or “out there.” But today I can go to the store and buy DVDs of Van Helsing, Enough, Eight Days and Seven Nights, and a few others as well.

What this tells me is that I need to trust more in my instincts. Do it anyway. Put in my earbuds and sing. (figuratively speaking– not literally– nobody wants that)


Chocolate and Coffee

I am a terrible cook. I can follow a recipe just fine. And lots of things I fix taste good. But since Mrs. Spurgeon’s 7th Grade Home Ec class at Crockett Junior High School, my kitchen skills have not increased substantially. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I became a writer.

I don’t mind cooking, but it’s definitely not my favorite thing to do, nor is the cleaning that follows. I have one, and only one, special thing that I make that garners an “ooh” or “ahh.” It called Black Magic Cake, from my Hershey’s Cookbook. It’s the best. The best. It’s so yummy that you don’t need frosting.Black Magic

It’s a dark chocolate cake that you make with coffee and buttermilk in the batter. (And I never have buttermilk, so I do the milk + vinegar trick. Thanks, Mrs. Spurgeon!) You can’t really taste the coffee in it– well, that’s what I tell all my friends who don’t like coffee. You can totally taste the coffee, and it’s amazing. It’s so delicious that my lied-to friends always say, “Wow! This is really good! And you’re right. You can’t taste the coffee.” I’m evil.

But after all, it’s called Black Magic Cake. Click here for the recipe!

Bucket List

My Bucket List is not too long– or perhaps it’s infinite– I’m not sure. I like to try new things every once in a while, but I can’t say that I’ve ever made a real list of Things I Must Do Before I Die.

I’ve already done some pretty cool things in my life. I’ve visited ancient ruins in America, Mexico, and Belize. I’ve cruised the Caribbean. I’ve visited 30+ states in the US and I’ve seen Niagara Falls from the Canadian side. I’ve ridden an elephant. I’ve been part of a mission team in Ukraine during war. I’ve given birth to two boys, and been blessed with a daughter-in-law. I have dozens of cousins, nieces and nephews, and even some greats. I’ve been married to the love of my life for 30 years.

I’m blessed. But I’m not done.

I’d like to see Paris, Scotland, London, Ireland, the Pyramids of Giza, Australia and New Zealand someday. I’d like to try zip-lining. I’d like to cruise the Mediterranean. I’d like to make a movie. I’d like to be a stand-up comedian. I’d like for my writing career to enable me to do all of the above.

Do you have a Bucket List? What’s on it?