I haven’t been feeling very good about myself lately.   Although it shames me to admit it, much of my low self-esteem has to do with my suddenly and rapidly aging appearance.  All I see when I look in the mirror are the jowls and sagging eyelids.  It doesn’t help that I’ve also been having bad hair days every single day for quite a while now…

I don’t have a huge ego, and never thought of myself as a great beauty, or anything like that.  In fact, I’ve always been quite insecure about my looks, especially because of my tendency to carry some extra pounds.  However, for a long time, I did at least feel that I didn’t look my age, and was very grateful for that.  But, lately I’ve been feeling like an old, fat hag.

Yesterday I received a compliment from a young man (forty years my junior) that did my heart (not to mention my battered and fragile sense of self-image) a lot of good.   His Freshman Seminar class has been spending a fair amount of time in the computer lab, so we are pretty familiar with each other, and get along quite well. Still, it took me by surprise when Mr. Freshman greeted me with, “Hello, beautiful.”  He took his seat across from my desk and went on to say, “You know, you really are very attractive.”  I could have wept with gratitude.   What a wonderful pick-me-up!  Thank goodness for small favors and kindnesses that come along exactly when you need them most.

Moving right along… Here’s a real beauty.

My baby (Leigh) turned 22 yesterday.  I can hardly believe it.

I also want to post these photos of a bird nest that was built in a butterfly net I keep on my back porch.  The porch (it’s more of a mudroom, actually) is enclosed. The birds were getting in through a gap at the bottom of the door.

Ya gotta love nature.  Enjoy the weekend!

Song of the day:  Vanity by Lady Gaga

“Nothin’ wrong with being just a little bit vain
We need a little pretty ‘cause this country’s insane.”

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I’ve had some interesting experiences since I last posted here… For one thing, there was a trip to NYC on December 31st, which included lunch at Katz’s Deli and a visit to the National Museum of the American Indian to see: 1. the Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian exhibit, and 2. the Identity by Design: Tradition, Change, and Celebration in Native Women’s Dresses exhibit. Then there was jury duty on January 5th.  (Actually, I only got as far as sitting through the selection process, and didn’t even get called up for an interview.)

However, I don’t feel like writing about those things.  Instead, I want to talk about a fine-feathered friend of mine – the pelican, my favorite bird.  The recent news about an increase in the number of sick brown pelicans in California is quite upsetting to me, given my affection for these creatures.

I suppose it’s strange that I should develop such a fondness for pelicans…  My fascination with these birds began during a fishing trip in Fort Lauderdale, Florida approximately twenty years ago. When we returned to the marina, at least a dozen pelicans settled themselves all over the boat, begging for handouts. I was enthralled.

Despite their ungainly appearance, there is something graceful about the way they dive-bomb the water in search of a meal. I could watch them for hours. In fact, I did just that on El Capitan Beach in Santa Barbara, California, during a cross-country trip in 1996.

Pelicans aren’t exactly a common sight in New York (although I have seen them in New Jersey), so I have to make do with some figurines and stuffed pelicans.  Here’s a sampling of my collection.

A few weeks ago, I was delighted to come across this pelican calendar.

My favorite photograph is featured for the month of March.

Now if only I could see a white pelican, I’d be a very satisfied bird watcher.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt (1879 – 1972):

“Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week.
But I’m darned if I know how the helican.”

Song of the Day: King of Birds by R.E.M.