Category Archives: puns

Cheep thrills

When it comes to building a home, some say location is everything.

house finch nest

house finch pair

Just ask Mom (right) and Dad (left). Can you guess what birds they are?

house finch nest

Look at their finch-astic creation and its “pebbled” rim.

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Tucked in a carport nook

My apartment community has 3 banks of carports with a total of 70 nooks (possible nest sites). Fourteen of those nooks have nests in them. Carports closer to the tree-lined property edge and adjoining field have four times as many nests (12 of 42 nooks) as those near the interior (2 of 28). Makes me wonder if easy access to twigs and leaves (building materials) drove nook selection.

house finch nest

Short on neatness, big on warmth

house finch nest

The other nests are mansions compared to this one, but its Birdie B&B listing reads, “Cozy nook offers eggs-cellent shelter and total privacy.”

house finch nest

Talk about green building!

I walked over to the two adjoining sister properties to check their carports.

house finch nest

That “pebbled” rim again

house finch nest

house finch nest

Active recyclers with a zero carbon footprint

By building nests in carports, house finches enjoy protection from raptors and tree-climbing kitties, as well as shelter from the elements. I’m in awe of the little fliers for their design skills, building prowess, resourcefulness and strategic thinking. And they sing! Their chirpy tweets help me greet each day with a smile.

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What’s that bird?
I turned to this most awesome field guide to narrow it down.American Bird Conservancy's Field Guide: All the Birds of North America

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The range maps for redpolls, bramblings and Cassin’s finches don’t include Texas, so those birds are out. Besides, the male redpoll has a small red cap, but Dad has a lot more red on his head. So it comes down to purple finch or house finch. Given Dad’s red head and chest (but no red on his back), it’s a house finch pair.

house finch pair

This photogenic pair made identification a snap.

20170620_052236I have an older edition of All the Birds of North America, the American Bird Conservancy’s Field Guide. One of my most loved books. It was prescribed for an Intro to Birding continuing ed class I took at UT Arlington several years ago. I love the guide for ease of identification, water-resistant pages (in case you drop it in a pond), and small check boxes in the index (think life list). Amazon has a newer edition.

All About Birds by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is an amazing online resource. I learned that house finches “nest in a variety of deciduous and coniferous trees as well as on cactus and rock ledges. They also nest in or on buildings, using sites like vents, ledges, street lamps, ivy, and hanging planters.”

The print and online guides were my ID mainstay for the longest time.

But now there’s an app for it!
The magical Merlin Bird ID app (North America) suggests a location-based “bird pack” upon download. Five easy questions on location, date of sighting, bird size, main colors, behavior — and boom! — house finch.

Do I like the precision, speed, and convenience of the app? Absolutely. But I still have a soft corner for the print guide. Using range maps and matching coloration/markings on birds I see to beautiful illustrations works the brain and brings a different kind of thrill. Call it finding as much joy in the journey as in reaching the destination (that’s my bird!).

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P.S. I made sure to take nest photos when the parents were out foraging so as not to startle or alarm them. As an extra precaution, I took the pics sans flash, and all from below.

Daiso detour

Ever been to Daiso? The Japanese chain has four stores in DFW. I popped by their Plano location for rainy day inspiration. Here’s a tiny sampling of the cute stuff on offer.

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thumb-sized toothpick holders

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purrse-friendly prices

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mug shot

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pot shot

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i oink, therefore i ham

Daiso also has stationery, bento boxes, itty bitty dressing bottles, pretty Japanese paper fans, and loads more. Oh, and snacks! And Marukawa fruit-flavored bubble gum 🙂

Lettuce rejoice

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I turnip at a signature Kroger and faint at the fantasticality of the produce wall. Herringboned carrots and parsnips. Carefully curated collard greens. Rowdy radishes wrangled. Bunches of spinach, white-belted soldiers in rows.

The stocking crew didn’t miss a beet. Their painterly care leaves me artichoked with emotion. Way to embrace their work endive into it with devotion.

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Thanks for being here, dear reader. Here’s to a fresh start in 2017!

Bob Woodruff Park, Plano – North Pavilion

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It’s a Sun-day!

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Wakey, wakey

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Behold a bunch of Bob Ross do’s.

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Plan a party.

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Enjoy the pier and now.

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Jog the 0.9-mile trail around the lake.

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Have a beautiful day!

These shots are all from the North Pavilion side of Bob Woodruff Park. Here’s a location map. As I was driving home, a gorgeous grove by the South Pavilion called to me, but my to-do list was louder. Stay tuned for a separate post with photos.

Added 27 November 2016: Bob Woodruff Park, Plano – South Pavilion

Data pints

Now that summer’s over—sob—what better way to remain in denial than by indulging in Ben and Jerry’s treats, all perfect pairings of dreamy dessert within and double entendre without.

A quick survey of the Kroger freezer returned this three-item sample.

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The best things in life are FREEzed.

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Now that’s rich. Gets my vote.

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Totally t(r)opical!

In puns in the freezer section, I gushed over Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, Mission to Marzipan, and Karamel Sutra and signed off with the promise of additional data pints documenting the company’s other puntastic delights. It took me five years and change to make good on my promise, and some might even say I’m not doing anyone any flavors. But if your day just got a tad bit sweeter and the punny ice cream names made you smile, this data collection exercise was not entirely pintless.

Roll with it, baby!

For most problems in life, I like to use my noodle. But sometimes, it takes another’s noodle—or noodles, to be precise—to soften a tough situation. Enter Master Wok. This family-owned Plano restaurant at the southeast corner of Plano Parkway and Jupiter Road cranks out consistently good Chinese. Among the best I’ve had.

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I’ve tried the Vegetable Lo Mein (noodle-icious), Vegetables With Hunan Sauce (loaded with zucchini, broccoli, celery, carrots, water chestnuts, baby corn), and House Bean Curd (pictured). For just a bit more coin, I ordered extra broccoli and an egg roll to up the ooh-mph.

House Bean Curd! So damn delicious and deeply satisfying. What yin-yang technique gives the tofu its crisp exterior and pillowy interior? How is the broccoli bright green but the food blistering hot? How do the brocco trees soak up and hold just enough sauce to then rain salt and spice and other things nice on my taste buds?

I’m afraid I don’t have answers. I’m rich nevertheless. Just look at my good fortune:

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Come wok with me.

Seriously seeking stir-fry? Or stuck in a bit of a soup? Get a roll with it, baby!

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Post title inspired by this Steve Winwood hit