Rainy days with books and birds

Given I received sobering health news over the past few weeks, confirmed yesterday by a heart specialist, I am in a pretty good mood.

Perhaps, I am basically an optimist.

Perhaps remembering to have an attitude of gratitude works.

Perhaps over time, I will experience a range of emotions.

Perhaps I am in denial.

My new heart specialist says I have an aneurism in my ascending aorta.  Where the aorta should be three centimeters, it balloons into four centimeters.  When the aneurism  reaches 5-5.5 centimeters, he will operate.

“And I am very good,” he said confidently.

For now, we wait and watch with periodic CAT scans, and keep my blood pressure under control. Yesterday it was 122/68.

Thank goodness for Medicare.


I finished Pilgrimage by Mark Shriver and have several other books on the go.  I reset my Goodreads goal to 55 for 2017. Fifty-five is the average goal for Goodreads participants. I figure I am at least average.

In making book selections, I harken back to the instructions of my seventh grade teacher who told us on library visits to pick books from fiction, nonfiction, and biography.

Biography was most difficult for me, until I stumbled on a series of biographies about western heroes like Wild Bill Hickok, Kit Carson and others. I read that series followed by all of Zane Grey’s books, where I discovered the word “bosom”in Riders of the Purple Sage.

I thought western heroes were great until later in life when I read E.E. Cummings poetry.

All these years later, certain lines by Cummings pop into my head, such as his poem about Carson (or Custer)  “how’d you like your blue-eyed boy now, Mr Death?” and “yes m’am, even General Sherman said, War is Hell.”

Ever since, those days, I try to vary my choices so I am not reading all one kind of book.

Lately, having recently read nine of ten Henning Mankell Wallender stories, I’ve read too many police procedurals.

Over the holidays, I switched gears and began reading One Wild Bird at a Time: Portraits of Individual Lives, by Bernd Heinrich, an ornithologist living in the Maine woods.

I gave David a copy of this Audubon recommended book for Christmas and he began crying.  He, who spent his life indoors with various technical jobs has, in retirement, become very fond of birds. We now have several feeders out back. The birds especially a pair of Cardinals, hatched last spring, flock when they see him.

This is good thing I tell him because I intend to get back out to Huntly Meadows soon and look for ducks. I’m hoping I can get him to walk out to the boardwalk over the pond. It will do us both much good.



Male Cardinal






27 thoughts on “Rainy days with books and birds

  1. Watch and wait …a mantra we’ve used for several medical issues. As long as you have those good doctors watching with you and yes thank heavens for good insurance….(what is wrong with people to elect Ryan et al) ….
    it almost made me cry thinking of David and watching birds … I understand how he thinks and feels. Me too. I’m going to Amazon to look for the book right now….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve probably mentioned before how much I love cardinals and have always had some nesting around my house (even when I was a little girl) … until I moved to Denver 10 years ago. There are no cardinals in Colorado and it’s almost scary how much I miss them.

    Love your doctor’s confident reassurance. That what I’d want to hear from my doctors. Whatever the problem, I want to hear “I’ve got this.” Your doc sounds like a keeper!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dr Garrett is the tops. He’s head of the Thoracic Cardio Pulmonary area at our hospital.

      ‘Northern’ Cardinals range from Maine to Mexico, but are really East coast birds and state birds for VA, WVA, NC, KY, Indiana and Illinois. There are many birds in the West, especially along the Pacific coast. When I visit my son, I always spot a new Bird for my life list.

      I lived on the west coast in the 1950s and became horribly homesick for the East coast flora and fauna, so I sympathize with you.


  3. All the best with controlling the blood pressure. I have to monitor my own as well, and many of the tablets I take are to keep it down – my mother refused to take tablets and so far I have beaten her by four and a half years!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Beautiful Cardinals so pretty against the snow I recall from Midwest Great Lakes years — some bird species declining in number for a variety of reasons — we need to treasure tthem as your& David clearly do.

    Your approach to coping with events in your life bode well I should think. Am with you for seeking activities to release our bodies healing benefits from natural endorphins — laughing, humor go a long way, so watch a few comedies — whatever tickles your funny spot.

    I enjoy a variety of book types, too — based largely on whatever happens to strike my fancy at any given time. Read a lot for a period of time, then may have a lull. Always seem to be more books that sound interesting to read than I get to.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I go through spells of more or less interest in reading. I love to read. Mom taught me to read when I was three. I have several good books lined up to entertain me.

      Yes, laughter is the best medicine.

      Cardinal is our state bird, so plenty around here. Photo by someone else, taken years ago. I love it too, but forgot where I got it. Snow is mostly a thing of the past around here. Climate change you know!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I got G a bird feeder and some seeds, and he hasn’t hung it.

    Yes, I wouldn’t be worried but I would be very antsy. LOL I’d want it don’t now not later. LOL
    You are wonderful.


  6. I’m so glad you are a reader. I know that it has been such a help for me during difficult health issues. You sound very positive and that is critical while going through all this. I’m sending lots of good vibes and please keep us all informed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So glad it was caught early and can be treated in a non-emergency way and you have a great doctor. The bird book sounds fascinating, the author must live in a lovely place. I’ve read all of the Wallender books too. Liked them very much; they are dark. Have you read Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs mysteries? I like those a lot. They begin just post WW1.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I began reading Jacqueline Winspeare when she published the first book, Masie Dobbs. Love her perspective. Have her latest on order.

      Yes,very good to have caught the AAA early on. Now if I can find a cure for my cold…ate chicken veg soup for lunch. 🍜

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi, Schmidley. I worked for 20+ years as a pharmacist in the cardiac OR of a large teaching hospital. AAAs were very frequent cases and I cannot remember one that had a bad outcome. As long as you have an experienced cardiac surgeon when the time comes, all should go very smoothly.
    I’ve set my GoodReads goal at 60. We shall see how it goes. The birding book you gave David sounds like one I would like too.
    Hope you have a good day.

    Liked by 1 person

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