The Noisiest Birds On the Block

Lately, every morning, just before dawn, we are greeted by the very noisy call of some obnoxious birds. In fact, these so-called feathered friends are so loud that one day Murray woke up, climbed on his bed to look out the window and cried, "What's going on out there?!" This rude awakening prompted me to do some Googling. Here's what I found:

The bird in question is known as the Common Grackle. They are longer than a blackbird and smaller than the American Crow. They eat anything and love to congregate in trees and make people's lives miserable with their early morning parties.

After several crack-of-dawn observations, I've come to the conclusion that the Grackles are holding a sort of religious ceremony. The leader begins with a long, solo, cackle which includes variation in tone, pitch and timbre. When he/she is finished, hundreds of others reply by screeching as loud as they can; each seem to have a different call. If the leader goes on too long, his/her "congregation" cuts him/her off, only to cause a cacophony of very angered birds. I've noticed that they'll retreat only when you've finally managed to fall asleep again and just a few seconds before the alarm goes off.

Sheesh, and I thought the cat was annoying in the morning.

Has anyone else experienced the attack of the Grackles?

Dear Mom, It's Me, Marie

Warning: This is a pretty maudlin post, so if you aren't in the mood to feel down or cry, don't read it. Some may say that it's inappropriate, but it's my blog, and my blog is my therapy, so I'm posting it anyway.

Dear Mom, it's me, Ree,

I woke up this morning thinking of you; wishing that I could feel your arms around me just one more time. Oh, how I would give anything for a hug and a conversation. Since I couldn't speak to you, I did what you've always told us to do when we're far apart: I wrapped my arms around myself and pretended it was you. And then I pondered how things would be different if you were still here. If Heaven had an airline, I would be on the next flight. I pose the following questions knowing that you can't answer me in person, but with the faith that you are answering in spirit.

What would you have done when Murray woke up at 5:30am this morning demanding to watch a movie? (we said no)

How would you have reacted when he threw an enormous temper tantrum when I said "no"? Lord knows, you've dealt with more than your fair share of tantrums when Maggie was Murray's age and when I was Maggie's (current) age. Ha! (we took the dvd player away and let him cry it out)

What would you say if I asked you how to make french dips for the millionth time? We're craving them and although you wrote the recipe for me, it would be so much easier just to call you. (You'd laugh and patiently explain every step and detail)

Did you know that our phone bill has decreased by 50% since November 3, 2007? I miss our multiple daily chats more than I could ever have imagined. (although Craig used to complain, even he wishes our phone bill was high again)

What would you tell me to do if I called and said that I'm sad? (you would probably tell me to look around and find something, anything, to be happy about, even if it's the dead of winter)

What would you say to Murray if you could speak to him? (my guess is that you would tell him how much you love him and you would teach him things that only Grandma's can)

What would you say to Craig if you could speak to him? (I think you'd tell him that he's doing a fine job as a husband and father and that you are proud of him)

What would you say if you could speak to Mags? (OH, so many things, but mostly how proud of her you are and that she's turned into a fabulous woman)

Do you visit us in our dreams? (I think so)

What's Heaven like? How's God? How's Mary? (I don't have an answer for this one, but my guess is that everyone up there is watching out for you, for us, for our loved ones)

I have so many more questions, but I think you get the idea, Mom. How would we all be different if you hadn't gotten sick? I heard a quote the other day: "God makes no mistakes." It struck me dumb because even though I'm horrified that you're gone, I have to keep reminding myself that you really aren't gone, that you are with Him.

In a conversation with Grandma Kate while I was in labor with Murray, I started to cry and asked how I could possibly be a good mom without your help. Her answer was simple. She said, "Marie, she's already taught you to be a mom; by raising you!" So though your life was infinitely too short, I am so blessed to have had you for the time that I did. We all are.

I love you mom.