It's considerably cooler today, but it's a nice one. Tomorrow is supposed to be perfect, mostly sunny and a high of 78°! Most excellent!
I went to the store today to get a few things, including a relish tray that my sister asked me to bring. I took a look and said, "15 bucks?! I can make it for cheaper than that!" So I started gathering some baby carrots--better get 2 bags--grape tomatoes, looked at the price of the broccoli...and realized that I really couldn't make it for cheaper than that. Go figure. I really wouldn't have minded chopping stuff up, but why spend the extra time if it's not really going to save you anything?
I knew it would be busy at the store today, but wow, it was pretty crazy. I had to park in BFE, and of course, as I'm walking up, people are pulling out of spots just a few cars from the entrance. No big deal, I never mind the walk, and pushing a full cart back to my car was some good exercise! It was crazy-busy, but they had lots of lanes open, and Surly Grocery Clerk either had the day off, or I didn't run into her. Everyone was extremely pleasant and nice.
Well, I had to do something last night that I really kind of hated to do. One of my uncles sends me a lot of forwards. A LOT. I just don't have time to read them all, and I'm not especially fond of the tone of some of them. For whatever reason, I opened one he sent me last night, and it was about Barack Obama. Someone had taken quotes from his books and laid them all out as if he were Lucifer incarnate. Of course, the quotes were all out of context. So my uncle sent it on to me. Now, I love my uncle dearly, and I think he's a wonderful, loving man. But I sent him an email saying that the quotes were taken out of context, and very misleading, and I'd rather he not send me things like that anymore. I wrote that Ken and I have both read both of Obama's books, and neither of us question his patriotism, or his wife's. I wrote that I didn't want to hurt his feelings, that I love him very much, but please don't send anymore forwards like that to me.
I felt really bad. I would never want to hurt my uncle's feelings, but I just couldn't take it anymore.
He wrote me back immediately, and he apologized! He wrote that he shouldn't send stuff like that without checking in to it, that he's old enough to know better. He also asked for the titles of the 2 books, said that he loves to read and has plenty of time to do so, and he might have to check them out. He asked if I'd please forgive him. Awwww! Bless his heart! Have I mentioned that I love my uncle and that he's a great guy? I don't know if he'll read the books, but that's beside the point. I really appreciated him making an effort, and giving me an apology. I wrote back and gave him the titles, and told him that I love him very much. So despite feeling bad about having to do that, there was a happy ending.
I think I've also mentioned that my family knows that I can be a little...outspoken. I know! Can you believe it?!
On to other things. I've been exchanging a few emails with my niece Jen in San Diego. We want to get together with her and her sister and her family. So we've been setting up a day and time and place, and she mentioned that if we wanted to do any touristy things like the Zoo or Sea World, she could get us discount tickets where she works. I said thanks, but about the only thing we've talked about doing is heading down to Tijuana for a day. I really enjoyed our stop in Playa del Carmen last summer on the cruise, and when Ken suggested Tijuana, I said, "I'd love to do that!" Well, Jen's work is affiliated with the military, and she said that she knows we'd be smart and safe, but she'd feel better if we read the letter that went out about border cities. Here's a portion--sounds all military and junk, doesn't it?
VIOLENT CRIMINAL ACTIVITY FUELED BY A WAR BETWEEN CRIMINAL
ORGANIZATIONS STRUGGLING FOR CONTROL OF THE LUCRATIVE NARCOTICS TRADE
CONTINUES ALONG THE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER. ATTACKS ARE AIMED PRIMARILY AT
MEMBERS OF DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATIONS, MEXICAN POLICE FORCES,
CRIMINAL JUSTICE OFFICIALS, AND JOURNALISTS. HOWEVER, FOREIGN VISITORS
AND RESIDENTS, INCLUDING AMERICANS, HAVE BEEN AMONG THE VICTIMS OF
HOMICIDES AND KIDNAPPINGS IN THE BORDER REGION.
IN ITS EFFORT TO COMBAT VIOLENCE, THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO
HAS DEPLOYED POLICE AND MILITARY TROOPS IN VARIOUS PARTS OF THE COUNTRY.
RECENT FIGHTING BETWEEN MEXICAN ARMY/POLICE FORCE AND HEAVILY-ARMED
NARCOTICS CARTELS HAS ESCALATED TO LEVELS EQUIVALENT TO MILITARY
SMALL-UNIT COMBAT AND HAVE INCLUDED USE OF MACHINE GUNS AND
FRAGMENTATION GRENADES. CONFRONTATIONS HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN NUMEROUS
TOWNS AND CITIES IN NORTHERN MEXICO, ESPECIALLY TIJUANA, THE MEXICAN
STATE OF BAJA CALIFORNIA, CHIHUAHUA CITY AND JUAREZ.
THE EXISTING VIOLENCE DUE TO THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE
MEXICAN GOVERNMENT AND THE DRUG CARTELS HAS CREATED POTENTIALLY
HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS FOR ALL PERSONNEL ALONG THE U.S.-MEXICAN BORDER.
THE HIGHEST RISK AREAS ARE TIJUANA, NOGALES, JUAREZ, NUEVO LAREDO,
ACUNA, PIEDRAS NEGRAS, AND REYNOSA/MATAMOROS.
AS OUTLINED IN THE ABOVE REFERENCES, SEVERAL ARMY AND OTHER
SERVICE INSTALLATION COMMANDERS HAVE PLACED AREAS ALONG THE U.S.-MEXICO
BORDER OFF LIMITS DUE TO FORCE PROTECTION CONCERNS.
DUE TO THE INCREASED VIOLENCE ALONG THE BORDER AND BORDER
TOWNS, CDR USARNORTH ADVISES ARMY COMMANDERS TO RESTRICT DEPARTMENT OF
THE ARMY SERVICE MEMBERS TRAVEL TO THE FOLLOWING AREAS ALONG THE
U.S.-MEXICO BORDER: TIJUANA, NOGALES, JUAREZ, NUEVO LAREDO, ACUNA,
PIEDRAS NEGRAS, AND REYNOSA/MATAMOROS. USARNORTH RECOMMENDS THAT TRAVEL
TO THESE AREAS REMAIN RESTRICTED UNTIL SAFETY AND SECURITY CONDITIONS
FAMILY MEMBERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY CIVILIANS, AND CIVILIAN
CONTRACTORS ARE URGED TO AVOID TRAVEL TO THESE AREAS AS WELL.
Well, hell. That bites, doesn't it? Sounds pretty alarming. I don't know if we should skip it or give it a try. I think I'll talk more with Heather and Jen when we all have dinner and get their honest take on it. They've lived in San Diego for years, so they'll know the score. But if the military is advising personnel not to visit there, I have to think that it's not a real great place to be at the moment. What a shame--that used to be such an easy place to go to. Now you need a passport, and apparently it's not safe any longer. Times have changed, haven't they?Okay, on to happier topics. I have a couple of pictures for you.
I didn't take this picture, but I saw this guy this morning! He's an Indigo Bunting. I looked out the window, and he was sitting on one of the deck hooks. He didn't linger, so I didn't have time to get my camera. I was thrilled to see him, because I've only seen an Indigo Bunting once before, and that was the summer of the first full year we lived here (2003? I think). I've never seen him since. I'm excited to know that they're still around!
They really are shockingly blue, even bluer than bluebirds. Although here's an interesting factoid for you, from my Birds of Indiana field guide: "Actually a black bird, as it doesn't have any blue pigment in its feathers. As with Blue Jays, the sunlight is refracted within the structure of the bunting's feathers, making them appear blue." Kinda cool, huh? I think they're gorgeous.
I got a picture of Tommy Tutone! I took a few the other day, but they were kind of dark, and you really couldn't see the different colors of his fur.
See how it looks like he's all muddy on his belly? For some weird reason, his underside is black. I mentioned that Tommy acted kind of weird and skittish, and wondered if the poor little guy had some brain damage or something.
I happened to look out later this afternoon, and there was Tommy out by one of the trees at the back of the yard. He would hop up in the air, then hop onto the tree trunk. He'd jump off the tree, run a few feet away, then run back to the tree and hop on. Sometimes he'd change it up a bit, and just hop in the air a few times, then he'd repeat the running and jumping.
I'm not sure what Tommy's deal is, but he's definitely one of the odder critters we've seen around here! I kind of like him. He gives new meaning to the word "squirrely." I put out the corn cob in the picture yesterday. It survived the night, but when I looked a moment ago, the entire cob was gone. Not just stripped--they pulled the whole thing off of the nail.
I wish I would have seen whatever squirrel nabbed it, running off with an entire corn cob in his mouth. Ha!