Category Archives: A Day In The Life…

Phoebe

State Birds

My newfound appreciation for bird watching has been a fascinating walk down a feathered path of fun. Perhaps unsurprisingly, with my bird appreciation came bird judgement.

I can’t help it! Some birds are beautiful rare sights, others are everywhere and not exciting. The Mourning Dove is the perfect example. While I will forever love their sorrowful call, we’ve nicknamed them pig-birds. Mom D is famous for describing them as being so fat they have no option but to squeak every time their feathers squeeze their bodies in flight.

So it was with trepidation that I looked up the state bird of Connecticut. I secretly hoped for the feisty American Kestrel or the predatory Northern Harrier. Perhaps the shimmering ruby-throated hummingbird or the adorable Eastern Phoebe (a scraggly little Phoebe is shown as the feature image to this post)!

Nope. It’s the American Robin.

Okay okay, American Robin. Not the worst choice. We didn’t choose the Mourning Dove. Now let me see what other state birds are out there…

(note: to view chart below you’ll have to ‘read more’ of this post)

WHOA REPETITION! WHAT?!

Two other states have the American Robin! 29 of the 50 states have shared birds! 26% of all states are either the Northern Cardinal or the Western Meadowlark.

HOW CAN THIS BE?!? There are TENS OF THOUSANDS of birds to choose from. Why would any state ever duplicate a choice?! I agree that most people are drawn to the popular birds but what a travesty that so many states lose a chance for distinction. I think it would be far better to choose a bird that personifies the state than to choose an obvious name that all will immediately recognize.

American Robin? At first it was a weak choice. But knowing that it’s a duplicated choice makes it worse. Come on Connecticut! You can do better!

Read More

What is your news source?

I use Flipboard on my phone for quick access to basic news. I’m subscribed to the following:

News, 99%, Business, Fast Company, The New York Times, Art, AlJazeera, Business Insider, In the Boardroom, Leadership Unstruck, Apartment Therapy, Food52, and Sports.

When I’m in front of my computer I tend to use AlJazeera and CNN (so sensationalized!)

I’m always looking for better news sources, anyone care to share their favorites?

Read More

Procrastination Nation

Hello Internets!

I have been a horrible poster! I have been procrastinating the Italy picture posts for AN ENTIRE MONTH. Horrible.

In the mean time plenty of exciting things have happened that warrant sharing:

A trip to Gillette Castle! Beautiful hikes! A visit to Essex! Garage painting! New guitar efforts! New exercise efforts! A weekend at Cape Cod!

And a wealth of cooking adventures that all warrant a few words on this faithful site.

Yet here I sit, procrastinating these as well.

Excuses and rationalization pour through my head, but honestly I think it comes down to the fact that writing posts is a lot harder than watching the newest episodes of Sherlock on Netflix.

Read More

Binoculars

My in-laws, in support of my growing bird watching fascination, graciously purchased for me a set of binoculars for my birthday.

I have never owned binoculars.

All of my historic magnification viewing has been through telescopes or camera lenses. When I first tried out my new binoculars I was stunned! Depth! There was depth!

I agree that this is really obvious and something I probably should have anticipated. Still, this fascination got me wanting to learn a bit more about the history of Binoculars.

Without looking, take a guess as to when Binoculars were invented! Once you make your guess, proceed to the comments where the rest of this post pans out.

Read More

Language Play

Singular masculine Italian words often end in the letter ‘o’. When you pluralize those words the ‘o’ is switched to an ‘i’.

For example, Concerti would be the Italian pluralization of a Concerto. Nonno (grandfather) becomes Nonni (grandfathers, or grandparents).

Presumably then I am a DiDonato but together my family are DiDonati

Extra credit: Feminine words end in ‘a’ and their plural end in ‘e’. That means you might have a pizza tonight, or you might have four pizze tonight.

Double extra credit: Why is the word ‘beer’ feminine and the word ‘wine’ masculine in the romance languages? This seems backwards to stereotypical beverage choice.

Italian: Birra Vino

Spanish: Cerveza Vino

French: Biere Vin

Other language varieties don’t contain the same gender choices, for example I think Irish languages have both beverages as masculine.

There’s a pretty good wikipedia article on grammatical gender that explains some forms of gender origination, but as to how these particular words claimed their gender? I haven’t a clue.

Read More

Car Game

I invented an awesome car game!

Name: Person, Place and Thing Recommended number of players: Any number that is not divisible by three Game structure: Letter shift (Letter shift is a classic car game structure that uses the last letter of a word for the start of the next. This game plays off that general concept, but with a unique twist.)

Game play: Players alternate naming a person, a place and a thing. The last two letters of the previous provided answer must appear in sequence anywhere within the following word.

The following string of words would be acceptable:

Person: Mick Jagger (letters to use: er) Place: Nigeria (letters to use: ia) Thing: Kia Sorento Person: Tom Waits Place: Botswana Thing: Sonata etc…

The two letters are allowed to span a space between words. As with nearly any letter shift game, repeated words are not allowed.

For the more advanced game the group must work together to try and use all the of the letters of the alphabet at least once as the shifted letters. What makes this extra fun is that the easiest words with which to generate crazy letters are the Things. Unfortunately, this will leave the individual who has to come up with a Person’s name (the hardest of the bunch) with the most challenging letters.

Jen and I tried this over the weekend. In a 45 minute drive we could not complete the alphabet. We also had a few stump words, specifically names with J’s: LL Cool J. and Robert Downy Jr.

Can anyone think of places with an LJ and JR sequence?

Read More

The Toddy Coffee

This weekend we cold brewed some Toddy Coffee.

The Toddy Coffee kit consisted of four parts: a large plastic steeping container, a glass carafe, filters and a plug. Per the instructions we started by placing the filter into the steeping container adding water and coarse coffee grinds.

It was a bit of a back-and-forth between the grinds and the water. Ultimately, the recipe called for 6 cups of water and 12 ounces of coffee.

Once everything was in: a 12 hours wait.

The following morning we placed the steeping container over the carafe, pulled the plug out of the bottom and watched the coffee drip through!

Once brewed, Jen and I prepared our blind taste test.

We ended up first pairing the toddy against a Keurig K-cup brewed directly over ice. We let the temperatures stabilize and put the beverages into unmarked glassware.

We did three tests: 1. black 2. with cream 3. with cream and sugar

Results: The Toddy Coffee was WAAAY stronger than the Keurig. The internet was all about smoothness of Toddy compared to other brews, but the Keurig tasted so watered down smoothness never entered the picture. Black, with cream, or with cream and sugar the Toddy dominated on flavor.

We’re going to have to try brewing the same beans with traditional methods vs the Toddy.

Read More