Blogging from A to Z: B Blogging, Boulder, Birds and Baking

In her blog, Write Along with Me, Lois Roelofs mentions Blogging from A to Z and I like the idea; perhaps it will get me out of my non-writing mode. I haven’t been able to “officially” sign up, but I’m going to start anyway. The challenge is to write using the letters of the alphabet as prompts. Start April 1 with A, take Sundays off, and finish April 30 with Z. Being a day late, and perhaps a dollar short, my current plan is to start today with B, and insert A this coming Sunday.

Today is April 2. The letter of the day is B. Now I’m feeling a bit like Sesame Street. Today is brought to you by the letter B. B is for blogging, Boulder, birds, and baking.

Blogging. I haven’t been blogging much, as I’ve been doing other stuff, like dealing with the pandemic, caring for my dying father and then administering his estate, dealing with a partner who has her own health issues, doing some work as a therapist, and contending with all the turmoil that life in the world and the United States in particular has been enduring. I’ve been pretty overwhelmed at times, spending much of my time and energy in necessary but non-restorative ways. Writing is often my way of coping with life, but over the past year, it hasn’t been working. As I reflect, some of it is due to distraction. For me, I need a feeling of spaciousness and quiet to write, and with a longer than usual to-do list, my style and more accurately, my motivation, was cramped. I’ve made a number of drafts, and published very little.

Boulder. Boulder, Colorado is my home town. A week ago Monday, on March 22, there was a mass shooting at the Table Mesa King Soopers grocery store. I have a lot of connections to that store. My childhood home, where my younger brother still lives, is three blocks away. My mother campaigned hard with both King Soopers and Boulder city officials to get that store opened, and she was delighted when it happened nearly 50 years ago. Its been my family’s “local” ever since. My brother shops there regularly, and both my sister and I visit if we’re in the area. Two of my nephews worked at the store as students. My brother shopped there shortly before the shooting. So yes, this hit very close to home.

I have been affected or connected to other similar events in the state and around the world, and this strikes more deeply. I’m not bothered by increased personal risk, I don’t perceive that. I am very bothered by the culture of violence which is particularly pronounced in this country, and by the idea that firearms are the solution to problems involving safety. It doesn’t work for me, and I’ll likely write more on this in the future. But not today. The muscles in my body are already tightening up, and I’m ready to cry again. I see more of why I’ve not been blogging.

Birds. One of the few exercise options available during the pandemic has been to go outside to walk or hike. I am so grateful to live in an area where there is easy access to open space. We have a bike/walking path directly behind our house, and from there arise many options. My intention has been to get outdoors daily, and more often than not, I’ve succeeded. Sometimes I walk a lot, sometimes a little, sometimes I ride my bike, and other days I shovel snow. Occasionally I run. There are two small lakes, really just ponds, nearby. It’s been a joy to visit them regularly.

This morning, BA and I walked to the smaller of the two, known as Warembourg fishing pond. Its very small, with a tiny man made island in the center. Despite its small size, today it was the site of a lot of avian activity. Canada geese were honking, squawking, hissing and chasing each other, while others wandered quietly or sat stolidly on the island. Its mating season, and the behaviors were quite something. A few mallards were similarly active, with flaps and quacks and chases in air and on the water. A chorus from smaller birds, red-wing blackbirds, robins, and swallows provided background. We really enjoyed the activity and displays. En route to the pond, we also listened to a flicker showing his prowess to potential mates–quite the rat a tat tat, and were impressed by an enormous red tailed hawk gliding between trees. It’s been fun to watch the birds through the seasons, and I’ve purchased a bird book to learn more, and sometimes even remember to bring binoculars so I can see more.

Baking. I’ve enjoyed baking and cooking since I was a child. I haven’t done much baking in recent years, as its been quite clear to me that as much as I enjoy baking and eating the results of same, its not the most healthy food choice I can make. I started baking more as my father’s health failed. He had quite a sweet tooth, which he was careful not to overindulge, but as his available pleasures decreased, cookies were a good thing, as was homemade soup. As the pandemic arrived, I did more cooking baking, since shopping was limited and eating out virtually non existent.

Sometime in there, we discovered The Great British Baking Show on PBS. Dubious at first, BA and I quickly became hooked. It was fun. A group of twelve amateur bakers starts out, one drops off each week until the final three compete for the title. The “trophy” is an engraved glass cake stand. No money. The contestants are real, and while they are competing, they also are friends and supportive. It’s not over the top drama or excessive as so many “reality” shows are. And it’s baking. They are making interesting stuff. A wonderful antidote to the stress of pandemic and politics and painful violence. I subscribed to Netflix so we could see all the episodes. In the US, we can’t see the first two seasons, but we’ve seen all the rest. More than once.

I’ve been inspired and have made some of the things we’ve seen. Ginger biscuits and Koign amman among them. Varying degrees of success with my “bakes”, and I and some of my neighbors have traded baked goods, leaving treats on each other’s porches. A fine way of connecting during this time of social distancing.

It appears, that for today at least, I am back to blogging. We shall see what the rest of the month brings, and I am hopeful that I will enjoy this challenge.

21 thoughts on “Blogging from A to Z: B Blogging, Boulder, Birds and Baking

  1. I’m very happy to “read” you again.

    Writing my blog daily during this surreal year has helped keep me grounded in a routine that has some meaning for me along with a community that has evolved as all of us have been writing to each other in a way. And the dogs are so used to it that if I don’t sit down at this table with my coffee first thing after they’re fed, they think something is wrong. Bear, especially, since her way of knowing everything is fine is a very structured life.

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  2. Nice post. I like you are back from a long break from blogging. Birds are always fun. Some of my favourite birds are Australian as they tend to be colourful. Im not a big baker but my wife loves to bake


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  3. The pandemic has created a new enthusiasm for birds by many. I think that is wonderful because it leads to more enthusiasm for the broader eco system. Much better than the gun fetish. I’m horrified by tbe killing. Another community deeply traumatised. I hope some day that gun laws will change in your country, Steph.
    Welcome back to blogging.

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  4. I also come from a community which suffered an active shooter event 11 years ago today (April 3, 2009) and my heart goes out to you. I’ve only been to Boulder once, briefly, but one of my co workers’ oldest daughter and her husband live in Boulder. Her daughter is a runner and she loves it there. So. Welcome to the A to Z Challenge and good luck! I’ve found a lot of enjoyment in watching and learning about birds these last few months. I discovered the Great British Baking Show on PBS about three months ago and it’s part of my TV viewing now.

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  5. We love the Great British Baking Show. I love that it doesn’t have the competitive mean spiritedness of some of the other type of reality shows. Everyone is so kind and nice to one another on the show. We just adore it. I actually ordered prints from the artist who does all the images from the show for my kitchen. A great reminder of one of our favorite shows. Weekends In Maine

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  6. Happy to see you blogging again! The Boulder tragedy has really affected us, hasn’t it? I am glad that you addressed it, but so sorry that it is so difficult. I will be following you in your blogging challenge!!

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  7. I’m happy to read that you’re picking up blogging again! You’re so right in that writing can be therapeutic, but it’s also hard to stay consistent when there’s so many other things in life going on. I just started myself, but have already been struggling ( Looking forward to following along in your AtoZ challenge!

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