Monday, January 18, 2010

You fly back to school, Little Starling. Fly, fly, fly...


They're considered pests around here. Their flocks can be huge and noisy. Sometimes they chase other, more delicate birds away from the feeder. On a cloudy day they are very ordinary-looking; a black bird with a yellow beak like so many other black birds with yellow beaks. They don't sing prettily.

Let the sun hit their feathers, though, and they show every color of the rainbow for those willing to look.

I can relate to the starling. In fact, I think I come from starling-esque stock. Noisy, scrappy, infinitely durable. We shove each other around and bring on the vapors in those of a more delicate constitution. You can try to scare us away, annoy us away -- some have even tried poison; but we keep on.

And in a certain light we show every color of the rainbow.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Be careful what you wish for

On Dirtman's side of the family, the New Year tradition is to eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. On my side of the family, the tradition is that the first thing you eat in the New Year has to be herring ("Many different herrings.").

Up to this time we have ignored both these traditions. In fact, I don't believe we even have a New Years tradition. Now that the kids have social lives of their own, we pretty much stay home and stone cold sober in case we are needed. So far, we never have been.

This year we figured, ya know, flying in the face of tradition hasn't gotten us very far; and who are we to argue with hundreds of years of fish and beans? So I sent Dirtman to work with the directive to collect these bizarre talismen.

Well, we are apparently not the only ones falling back on susperstition this year. There was no herring to be found -- sold out, both the herring in wine sauce and the herring in sour cream. He was considerably more successful with the black-eyed peas -- and we didn't even have to resort to dried or canned.

So this morning I went on line to find the least painful black-eyed pea recipe and decided -- in for a penny, in for a pound -- on Hoppin' John.

"Ya know," I pointed out to Dirtman as the recipe emerged from the printer, "if this works and we have a good year, it means every New Years Day for the rest of our lives we're going to have to choke down black-eyed peas."

"We've never had black-eyed peas on New Years Day before?" he asked.

"Nope. I haven't had black-eyed peas on New Years Day since the New Years before I met you," I said casually.

Then I said -- because the realization took me unaware and I blurted it out before I knew what I was saying: "Oh no! I think you are the result of the last time I ate black-eyed peas."

I'll spare you his response.