On one of my first days here, a bird flew overhead carrying a fish at least half its size. It was a raptor, and the first name that popped into my head was “osprey.” I didn’t even try to catch a picture–I just watched in awe and wonder as it glided past me.

Then I looked it up. The app I’ve been using to identify birds is seriously stupid. This bird was obviously, unquestionably, without a doubt, a raptor. I knew it was some sort of hawk. But the method of narrowing down the options is by location, size, and color, so my first list of birds included ducks and geese and other totally inappropriate choices. My second list was just as bad. In the end, the app’s only close-to-reasonable choices were peregrine falcon or red-tailed hawk. I was grumpy about both of them. It didn’t look like a red-tailed hawk to me and it seemed too big to be a peregrine falcon. Today I remembered to look it up when I was on my computer. It was totally an osprey. I’m both pleased with my own bird identifying abilities (score!) and ready to look for a new app, one that lets you choose “type”. Maybe even food supply.


No app required to identify this bird.

The wind yesterday was strong enough to shake the van. This morning it was strong enough to blow Zelda sideways when we were walking and to turn her fur all sleek and spiky. There’s something exciting about wind. It feels rejuvenating. I’m not going to be trying to sit outside and write in it, though, because the gritty sand is getting everywhere.

But that’s okay, because with the wind came a twenty-degree temperature drop. It’s glorious. The first thing I did when Z and I got back from our walk was open all the shades and take down the window covers. I’ve been trying to keep it cooler inside by keeping it dark, but wow, the light really makes me happy.

I’ve been thinking about the rules of communication recently. Text, emails, messaging… Partly it’s because I got an email from a friend that made me unreasonably happy, which in turn sort of annoys me. Quit being so silly, self. Partly it’s because I have not gotten a return text from R, which makes me (possibly unreasonably) annoyed. Quit being so unsympathetic, self.

But also it’s because I joined OK Cupid a while ago, thinking I could find people to do fun things with along the path of my journey. I can tell already that’s not going to happen — it’s surprising how many people are looking for their One True Love rather than someone to go kayaking with, but perhaps I chose the wrong site. My ideas about the rules of online politeness are evolving rapidly, though. And I’m finding it sort of gratifying to realize that I don’t owe a stranger on the internet who calls me “sweetie” anything at all.

I think I’m letting go of two ideas: 1) that it’s polite to respond to people who talk to you and 2) that I have to be polite. I would never be mean or unkind, of course — I’m not going to troll people. But I was so well socialized to be a “nice girl” and I’m finding it very freeing to realize that silence is sufficient reply. It still seems to me that a polite rejection ought to be kinder than no reply at all, but sadly, I think the entitled assholes of the world have ruined that for everyone.

Also — unrelated thought — I am seriously mystified by the number of men who start with something like “hey, beautiful/cutie/sweetie/pretty woman/angel”. Is there a planet on which it’s appropriate to call women you don’t know by pet names? Because on my planet it’s patronizing as anything. If you walked up to me in person and said, “Hi, sweetie,” I would not respond positively. Why should that change online?

None of that, of course, has anything to do with feeling annoyed at R for not responding to my text. I have agreed to change my summer plans to give him a ride anywhere he wants to go, and while yes, that agreement did come with a lecture about initiative and settling, it is still a pretty damn generous offer. I deserve a thank you, even if it’s a sulky thank you. The longer I go without getting my thank you, the more I want to rescind the offer. On the other hand, I’m quite enjoying the uncertainty of having absolutely no idea where I’m going to be headed after June 2 or 3. It feels really freeing, even though I quite liked my June/July plans.

Last random note: I just put yogurt starter into the insta-pot. In approximately eight hours, I will be moving my homemade yogurt into the fridge and tomorrow morning, assuming this is not some total disaster, I’ll be eating my own yogurt with my breakfast. My happiness practice of appreciating my morning food is turning into a very entertaining creativity exercise in optimizing yogurt and granola. As with the granola, I really like the idea of not having to settle for lesser yogurt when stores don’t have the ones I like. It sort of defeats the mindfulness part of the exercise — I’m not exactly practicing acceptance by insisting on really good yogurt, not just average yogurt — but it’s going to be fun to see what I can make.

And now… to work. I really just meant to write about the osprey, but the sunshine in the van instead of darkness and the cool breeze instead of air-conditioning is making me feel really cheerful and chatty. I hope that translates into some good Grace words, too!


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