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Showing posts from April, 2009

House Sparrow Attack

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Today I get serious about the attack of house sparrows that I have on my bluebird boxes and Purple Martin house. Again, this morning I tore out a house sparrow nest in my Purple Martin house. That house sparrow is rebuilding that nest as I type this. One of the bluebird boxes has two house sparrow eggs in it. I was going to toss the nest out with the eggs but thought there might be a better way. I checked the Internet and found out there is several ways to deal with a house sparrow infestation. Some good and effective and some not so good nor effective. I have already found one bluebird egg pierced and destroyed. The bluebirds have since laid five more eggs and they are guarded by the biggest bluebird I've ever seen. Last year three Purple Martin nestlings were pecked to death by the house sparrows trying to take over their nest. This year three of the apartments have Purple Martins in it but I haven't checked to see what their status is. I'm trying not to disturb th

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

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Time for an upbeat blog posting. Too many of my recent blogs have been downbeat, reflecting my funk over the weather and the cold I just got over. Pictured is my third making of Buttermilk Chocolate cake. I found this recipe on the side of a Swan's Down cake flour box. I've never made a good chocolate cake before (except my German Chocolate cake, my father's favorite that I haven't made since he died in August of 2000.) This one called for 2 1/2 cups of buttermilk. Two sticks of butter. Two cups of sugar. Low calorie it's not. But it is GOOD! In the past two weeks I've made it three times. Company is coming tonight so this will be my piece de resistance (don't worry about the spelling, you know what I'm talking about.) On the menu is crock pot beef stew with mushrooms cook in Chablis wine. Vegetables are smashed potatoes and Caesar salad. Wine served will be Pinot Noir. Better than any overpriced Rehoboth Beach restaurant, that's for sure. And I

Swine Flu?

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A couple of weeks ago I had the worst cold of my life. Now I'm thinking maybe I had this strain of Swine Flu. I had all the symptoms. Usually when I get a cold it lasts no more than three days. This cold was going on ten days and I was sinking fast. I had no appetite at all. I was sleeping all day and all night and still getting up exhausted. I couldn't eat. Not even a bowl of cereal. The third day of my cold I tried to eat my usual breakfast of corn chex and a banana. It ended up in the garbage disposal. Finally, when I realized I couldn't eat and I was getting weaker, I decided to take the Big Step and go to the doctor. Never in my life have I gone to a doctor for a cold before. What really scared me was that I had trouble breathing. I felt like I was suffocating. I couldn't get a deep breath. So I called the doctor's office, which is just down the road from where I live. Of course the weather outside was cold, windy and rain. Just the kind of weather cond

Of Bluebirds, Purple Martins and House Sparrows

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My battle continues with the house sparrows that continue to build their nests in the lower levels of my purple martin house. I've been tearing out all three nests every morning. As soon as I tear them out the house sparrows go back to building their nests. On the upper level there is one Purple Martin nest with eggs. I wish the Purple Martins were more aggressive in chasing away the house sparrows but that's not happening. This year one of the gourds has swallows nesting in it. There is a nest in the other gourd but I'm not sure which bird is nesting there. I suspect it is another house sparrow nest. Tomorrow I'll go into a different mode in battling the house sparrows. I'll wait until they lay their brown speckled eggs then I'll throw the nest out, eggs and all. That's what happened last year when the birdman who put up my Purple Martin house discovered one of the bluebird houses had a nest of house sparrows. He threw the nest out, eggs and all

Hot Monday

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Another hot day today. This was one of those rare Mondays I didn't have to work at the hotel. First thing I did this morning was clean out the three sparrow nests in my Purple Martin house. I've been doing this for the past week, daily. Purple Martins are occupying the top three apartment of the six apartment birdhouse but the English Sparrow insists on building nests in the lower three apartments. That's not going to happen. First thing in the morning I tear out the nests. I don't want to have to wait until they lay eggs then tear out their nests but if that is what is necessary, I'll have to do that. The man who put up my Purple Martin house last year did just that. He threw the nest, eggs and all, in the adjoining corn field. The pesky sparrows didn't come back. They got the message....go somewhere else. I have three blue bird houses. Two have sparrow nests in them which I haven't bothered. They apparently aren't bothering with them either, p

Hot Sunday

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Just as I had feared, the cold winds and rain of our long delayed spring has morphed right into the August like heat and humidity. I sit at my computer now, drenched in sweat lightheaded from my short excursion a bit of yard work this afternoon. I cannot work outside in this heat and humidity. Perhaps the temperature will be more hospitable early this evening. This morning I made another attempt to find the Odd Fellows' Cemetery in Milford to full fill a Find a Grave.com photo request. This is the first cemetery I have visited that is not identified by a sign or some kind of marker. Bill and I asked several people who live in the area and they didn't know the name of the cemetery either. The cemetery is located at the intersection of several busy roads and next to a low income housing project. This is another "first." No quiet, tranquil country setting searching for peaceful souls in repose this hot Sunday morning. I pulled into the unmarked cemetery and parked m

Trouble in Mom Land

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Enough with the torture blogs for awhile anyway. The whole subject is getting me depressed. I'm going to address another depressing problem. My Mom. My Mother is 85 years old and lives with my younger brother in Pennsylvania at the old family homestead outside of Downingtown, Pennsylvania. She has lived there sine 1958, when she and my father built their one bathroom, three bedroom, 1,100 square foot ranch house on three acres of a former cornfield. In Early 2006 I decided to move from my home one road away from my Mother's house in Pennsylvania because I could no longer afford to pay the high school property tax on my property. My Mother has never forgiven me for moving. Over thirty years ago my youngest brother moved to Greenville, South Carolina to pursue his calling to the ministry. She has never forgiven him for moving either. My Father died of lung cancer August 22, 2000. My parents were married sixty years. My Mother has never been the same since he died. She lost

The United State of America Tortures People

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This morning I awoke at 4 a.m. I was wide awake. Something was on my mind. Normally I have no problem sleeping. When I go to sleep at night, I’m unconscious until about 6:30 or 7 in the morning. This morning was different. As I lay awake, I reviewed in my mind what was bothering me. Then it came into focus. Our country tortures prisoners. The United State of America tortures people. Never mind that torture has never proven to elicit useful information, our country tortures people. Yes, the United State of America, the self appointed “moral authority” in the world who lectures others countries on human rights abuses, tortures people. Credit must be given to the Obama administration for releasing the “torture” memos. These twisted logic legal memos that attempted to legalize torture and thus provide cover for the Bush Administration. Last week an additional 2,000 plus photos were released of prisoners in Iraq being tortured and humiliated. What in the world did the Bush/Cheney and C

Torture and Miss California

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When I started this blog, my intention was not to have a political blog. There are more than enough blogs on the Internet expounding the whole spectrum of political views. What difference would mine make other than to add to the cacophony of angry voices? However, recently several hot subjects on the political landscape have made it almost impossible for me not to add my voice to the range of opinions being expressed in the public forum. One subject is same sex marriage. I will address that subject in a future blog. The other subject is torture. Ironically, the recent news has connected these two subjects. Last week, Miss California answered a question about same sex marriage this way: At the Las Vegas pageant, Prejean, 21, was asked by judge Perez Hilton how she felt about legalizing gay marriage. "In my country, and in my family, I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman," Note the phraseology that Miss California uses: “in my county, and in

Big Bob Visits

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My long time friend Big Bob visited me and Bill this afternoon. I've known Big Bob longer than I've known Bill, my Partner for Life. Big Bob and I met in April 1960 at Ft. Deven, Massachusetts while attending the Army Security Agency School. Big Bob and I were not only friends, we were best friends. We did everything together from going to the movies to doing out laundry together. Now here is the ironic part to this story of our friendship. I didn't know Big Bob was gay (nor did he know I was gay) until I "came out" in April of 1963 (see my previous blog posting.) You see, I never thought about it because I was never sexually attracted to Big Bob for was he to me. We were just friends, albeit very good friends. Perhaps we were friends because we came from the same area of southeastern Pennsylvania. I lived near Downingtown in Chester County and Big Bob lived in Norwood, Delaware County. We used to share rides home on the weekends with another fellow soldie

One of the Biggest Lessons in Life

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A friend sent me this prescient message in an e-mail that I received from him this morning: I think that one of the biggest lessons to learn in our lives is to be happy with who we are. We all spend so much time trying to be something or someone else and are never happy. When we can accept who we are and look at life through our own eyes, then life unfolds before us and we welcome the challenges and joys. What a beautiful, life affirming message. This message has much more relevance to me than the “you are a sinner and you must be saved” message from my other friend and former classmate from my school days. My former schoolmate friend thinks that I should be attending church services in order to save my soul. I tell him that I cannot attend most Christian church services because they condemn homosexuality and since I am a homosexual, I am automatically discounted the moment I walk through those church doors. My friend berates me by saying “Why do you always have to bring up the s

Why Does Susan Boyle Mesmerize Me So?

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I dream a dream in time gone by When hope was high And life worth living I dreamed that love would never die I dreamed that God would be forgiving Then I was young and unafraid And dreams were made and used and wasted There was no ransom to be paid No song unsung so wine untasted But the tigers come at night With their voices soft as thunder As they tear your hope apart And they turn your dream to shame I continued to be enthralled by this modest, unassuming woman from Lothian, Scotland. What does the beauty of her voice and soul say to all of us? I find it hard to put into words my feelings of joy when I watch her video again and again. Susan is much more than the Pop Flavor de jour. She represents something in all of us, the desire to be accepted as we are and for our own unique talents whatever they may be. There is so much pressure in this world from the time we begin school to conform to someone else’s notion of what we should be that it is almost impossible to be ourselves. S

Choosing a Lifestyle

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This evening a co-worker was having a discussion with me about his 12 year old cousin. He was telling me that he was correcting his cousin from referring to their gay Uncle Dennis as "that fairy." My co-worker (who is straight, I am gay) told me with self-evident pride that he told cousin "You shouldn't refer to Uncle Denny that way. He chose a gay lifestyle and he should be respected for the person he is." Uh....... chose ? I quietly corrected my co-worker and said "Your uncle didn't chose the gay lifestyle." My co-worker's face crinkled up in puzzlement. He said "He didn't?." I said " No. He no more chose to be gay than you chose to be straight. Do you remember when you chose to be straight?" I felt bad for my friend because he obviously felt he was doing the right thing by correcting his cousin from referring to their uncle as a "fairy." He asked me "Then, when did he become gay?" I tol

Susan

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“Then Susan opened her mouth and sang. Her voice was so powerful, so achingly beautiful, and so full of yearning that even the usually heartless Simon Cowell was blown away. As were the other judges, and audience, all of whom gave Susan a standing ovation. And now online and elsewhere, Susan’s voice and the story of her triumph on that stage are known throughout the world. (Dennis Palumbo 4-16-2009) As most are aware of now I am referring to the You Tube sensation Susan Boyle , a 47 year old, unemployed, plain looking, woman who lives alone with her cat “Pebbles” in a small village near Blackburn, Scotland who appeared as a contestant on “Britain’s Got Talent.” I just finished watching her video again. It touches all my emotions. Joy in listening to the pure beauty of her voice. Inspiration in knowing that even someone from such humble circumstances as Susan can break free of the societal imposed rules that only those who are attractive enough and have the right connections can s

A Gorgeous Spring Day

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It had to happen! We finally got a gorgeous day at the beach. I just returned from my walk in Oyster Rocks. It was wonderful to feel the warm sun on my bare arms and to hear the birds chattering and getting things sorted out for their nesting season. This morning Bill and I drove to Milford looking for the Oddfellow’s Cemetery to fulfill a FAG request that I received last week. I thought I would kill to birds with one stone this morning; do our weekly Wal-Mart Super Center run and take some cemetery pictures requests that I received from Find a Grave.com. Of course, as is usual, we couldn’t find the cemetery we were looking for. We found other cemeteries but not Oddfellow’s. Think of it, two “oddfellows” looking for the “Oddfellow’s Cemetery.” Bill was getting agitated (he has no patience) so I cut the hunt short after the third set of directions we received were different from the first two. Even the map instructions we had from MapQuest were confusing. Again, there were no surpr

Five Steps to Not Being a Jerk

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Recently several things happened to cause me to reevaluate my life situation. The most recent was my near brush with pneumonia (I'm still recovering from that one.) The second one being a couple of cruel and inconsiderate comments made to me about my personal blog. And the third being a continuing argument on religion I have had over the years with my long time friend whom I respect very much. And just yesterday I saw the You Tube video of Susan Boyle's amazing singing performance on "Britain's Got Talent." Ms. Boyle to me epitomizes the triumph of grace over circumstances and others attempt to pigeon hole her based on her physical appearance and social circumstances. In spite of all the strikes her fellow human beings have attempted to beat her down, her grace and goodwill and talent overcame all. A friend sent me the following e-mail listing the Five Steps to Not Being a Jerk. While I would like to think that I don't fit into the Jerk category, the past

Brush with Pneumonia

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Thursday, April 9th is when the symptoms of my first major cold since 2001 began showing up. The usual suspects; chest congestion, clogged sinuses, coughing, runny nose, and body aches all over. Ironically just days before I was bragging I never get colds. Well, I can no longer make that brag. This time I got the worst cold I ever had in my life. In fact, it was so bad that, for the first time in my life, I went to the doctor. After four days of trying to sleep the cold off and only seeing it get progressively worse, I called my doctor and made an emergency appointment. Of course the day I decided to go out it is cold, windy and rainy. Then I go to my doctor’s office, which is called The Clinic by the Sea and I find it has moved. Thus I had to wander around in the wind, rain and cold trying to figure out how to get in her new office. I find her office and await the good doctor. She asked me my symptoms. Then, as if on cue, I cough up a hunk of green phlegm. She looks on with horro

Reevaluation Time

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Last Thursday morning I woke up with a cold. Just last week I was bragging how I haven’t had a cold since I moved to Delaware in November of 2006. In fact, I haven’t had a cold since 2001, when I caught a horrific cold attending a Christmas memorial service at the Terry Funeral Home in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. I knew I was going to catch the cold of my life at that time when I entered the little room packed with folks of all ages who were coughing, sneezing and sniffling. Oh did I ever catch a cold. I thought I was going to die. At times I wish I did. But, I survived to tell the tale. Now here I am again eight years later struggling through each day with deep hacking coughs, runny nose, watery eyes, and aching bones. Thank goodness I left my address canvassing job with the Census Bureau. There was no way I could be out there in the wind, rain and cold. I surely would have pneumonia. I think I caught this cold from a co-worker at the hotel. She came into work last Monday with a te

Easter Sunday

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Finally, I think I am recovering from my week long bout with a cold. It was just a little over a week ago I was bragging about how I haven’t caught a cold since I moved to Delaware in November of 2006. Well, that is a claim I can no longer make. I caught a cold big time. I’m not sure where I got it from. One of my co-workers at the hotel was diagnosed with pneumonia last week. I didn’t know pneumonia was contagious. If it is, then that's what I got. Lovely. When I lived and worked in Pennsylvania I caught my worst knock me to the floor colds from fellow workers (the phones are a notorious transmitter of germs) on the commuter train I used to take to my job in Philadelphia. Invariably I would catch a major cold after a trip with fellow passengers who were sneezing and coughing all the way into Philadelphia. We all would pass around and share those colds all winter and into spring. I thought I got out of that trap when I moved to Delaware. Apparently not as long as I'm around