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A Pileated Woodpecker Came a Knockin’

So…we were sitting in our living room, enjoying one of our favorite tv shows as dinner was cooking, when…BAM…this woodpecker flew right into our living room window.

Now we’ve had many birds hit our window.  You see they think it’s a through-way as our deck door is on the other side of our living room.  Most shake their heads as if to jumble their brains back in place, and fly away.  A few don’t make it.  We try to pull the curtain on the opposing window which seems to help but yes, we need to put something shiny on the window so they stay away.

Back to our woodpecker story…

Tim and I both, for some reason, happened to look out the window just as it was flying fast toward the window and hit.  Talk about a shock!  The moment it hit the window I think the three of us jumped 2 feet into the air!  Our hearts now in our throats, Tim and I both commented ‘Did you see that?’

Now those of you that know me, know that I’m a caregiver at heart and can’t stand to see anything or anyone hurt.  So off my chair I jump and I’m out the door.

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Gabi joined me as we checked on Mr. Woodpecker as he was lying on the grass.  His eyes were blinking, but he wasn’t moving – obviously stunned.  We said a little prayer that it would be ok.

I called one of our local Veterinarians (who lives a few blocks away). He gave us the instructions to put it into a box or paper grocery bag to give it a quiet, dark place to rest.  Gabi and I gathered the bag and headed back outside.

While I have empathy and want to make everything better (a trait I continually need to work on resisting), I’m not entirely blind to danger.

Just as I started to lower the bag over the woodpecker in an attempt to ‘trap and scoop’, he started to flap its wings and move around.  All I could think was ‘I’m going to get pecked to death trying to save this woodpecker!’  It reminded me of a plaque that I used to have that read ‘Raising kids is like being pecked to death by a killer chicken!’  I think substituting the term ‘kids’ with ‘teenage girls’ would be even more appropriate, but I digress…

Picture this…

As Mr. Woodpecker flutters around, Gabi yells “Mom!” and I just about jump out of my skin.

We decide maybe we should just observe him for a while…now that we know he isn’t dead.  Then I start talking to him, at which point Gabi rolls her eyes.

“Hey buddy, it’s ok.”

“We’ll hang out with you for a while.”

“You’re not alone.”

“We just want to make sure you’re going to be ok.”

The woodpecker sat in one place for a long time, so long that I thought maybe I should try again (yeah, well, I didn’t say I was a brain surgeon).

As soon as I started moving, the bird started hopping until it hopped up onto our tree.  I couldn’t help but cheer on Mr. Woodpecker!  (At this point I decided to take photos of this beautiful bird.)

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“Way to go!”

“Look at you!”

“You’re doing so much better!”

I was just in awe.  I’d never been this close to a woodpecker.

They may be a homeowner’s pest, but they bring back memories for me.  Living out in the country, we often heard one of these birds knocking on one of our many trees.  I chuckle as I remember this one time that a woodpecker decided to peck at our light pole..while it wasn’t metal, it was like a huge telephone pole.  Now that was loud!

As I kept talking to my new friend I saw Gabi out of the corner of my eye, head back into the house shaking her head.  (Yes…it’s official…all three of my girls now think I’m losing it.)

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Mr. Woodpecker and I hung out for a while longer.  He perched on the tree, me sitting on the grass.  I think somewhere along the line we came to an understanding.  He seemed to warm up to me and let me sneak a few inches closer before he’d hop up a little farther on the tree.

Finally I decided I should call Peter, our friendly neighborhood Veterinarian, back.  I was concerned that there still might be something wrong with my little friend so I asked him if he’d come and take a look.

The moment Peter drove up, the woodpecker flew off.

I shrugged my shoulders as I laughed and yelled to Peter, “I guess it’s ok!”

I’m pretty sure he shook his head as he drove away.

I’m not so sure the woodpecker didn’t too.

All in all, it was a very cool encounter.

Have a good day everyone!

Your thankfully imperfect friend,

Patty O


September 11 – There is Beauty

Ever since 2001, 9-11 has brought sadness to the hearts of many.

On that iconic day, so many lives were lost.  So many dreams were shattered.  So many families grieved.

And we grieved with them.

I’ll never forget where I was when the first and then the second plane hit.

I saw the pictures of the devastation of the first plane just as I was about to leave the house that morning.

I saw the second plane hit just after I got to the babysitters.  I had told her to turn on her TV and we watched it together.

The feeling of sadness is still overwhelming when I watch the shows depicting what happened that day.

The feeling of heaviness and fear.  The knowledge that there is true evil in this world.  The feeling of insufficiency, wishing there was some way to reach out to the families.

Then I take a step back…

A step back from my sadness to remember.

To remember and revel in the love that was spread that day.

The show of caring, of bravery, of humanity.

Not only from the rescuers, the fire fighters, the police, and the EMTs.  These people were incredible and I hold them in the highest regard.

But the everyday person.  The people who opened their arms, their hearts and their stores and restaurants, to help everyone.  The people who made food for the rescuers, the people who joined the rescuers, the men and women who fought back, the friends and relatives that surrounded the families in their time of need and fear.

This is the beauty of that day.

The day that beautiful buildings which held beautiful people were destroyed.

The day that changed so many lives.

The day that changed our world.


While we must never forget, we must not linger in that sadness and pain.

We must look for the good…

There is beauty.

For you it might be a ray of sunshine.

Or maybe a call from a friend.

For you it might be the smile of a young child.

Or maybe spending some time with a relative.

For me, it’s remembering that on this day in 1999, I attended a barbeque where I was introduced to my husband.

It was a blind date.

For me, it’s realizing how blessed I am.

And for me, it’s looking at the beauty that comes from nature, from age.  From hardship, from joy, and even from tragedy.

The picture you see is the bottom of a metal cabinet that I pulled from a dumpster.

The cabinet had obviously sat in water or was left in a damp environment.  The rust was taking over the original shine.  It had been neglected.  There was a little rust visible on the outside, but I didn’t see this until I turned it over.

There, is the beauty.  A beauty that came from age and neglect.

Find the beauty.

In the tragedy, after the tragedy, in everyday life.

There is beauty.

Patty O



The Toilet Paper Caper

On a lighter note,

I have an apology to make to my adorable, funny, devilish, littlest daycare girl.

About a week ago my daughter Sam found her in the bathroom where she’d unrolled all of the toilet paper.

Sam said “Did you do this?”

To which Nic responded “Yes”.

Sam promptly had her roll it back up.

Fast forward to the next week.

I find Nic in the bathroom where the toilet paper is once again rolled out and on the floor.

I gave her ‘the look’ and she quickly said “I didn’t do that!”

I believe I gave her a ‘hmm, mmm’ and said ‘let’s clean it up’.

Two days later, when the girls weren’t here, I walked in to find the toilet paper roll unrolled again!

Just then a strong wind blew in through the open window and I saw the toilet paper flutter.


It was the wind.

Nicole wasn’t fibbing.

I’ll be apologizing to her and I think extra hugs are in order!

My little devilish, funny girl was telling the truth!

I love that little peanut…

I hope your day brings a little quirky adventure~

Patty O

On Love and Semi-Automatic Weapons

Today I’ve decided to join the gun conversation.

I just watched Samantha Bee’s conversation on the issue of semi-automatic weapons and the Orlando shooting.  You can find it here, it’s called:  Samantha Bee says Fuck It to the NRA

I agree completely with her that people who are on the terrorist watch list shouldn’t be allowed to purchase guns.

I know this post will not be popular with some of my friends and maybe even family.

But here goes…

I’ve never understood why people ‘have to have’ or are allowed to buy semi-automatic weapons.

I grew up in a hunting family.

Yes, I took gun training.  Dad wanted us all to know how to shoot a gun.  Even if we weren’t interested in hunting.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against hunting.  I fully respected my family that did/do – that’s what we ate.  We grew up on Venison.  It was a treat when we could get hamburger from the grocery store!

But my Dad, Mom, sister or brothers didn’t need a semi-automatic weapon to hunt deer, geese, or ducks. And yes, my Dad bought my Mom a little handgun for when she walked along the highway (which is where we lived)…because a car full of men had harassed a friend of hers that was walking along another highway not far away.

I believe in our right to own guns…just not semi-automatic ones.

Yes, I understand that criminals don’t follow by the rules, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ban them anyway – and then the powers that be can start finding/cracking down on illegal gun sales as they do with drug busts.

The system isn’t perfect, but dear God, is your right to own a semi-automatic weapon more important than people’s lives?

No, you’re not going to do something this horrific…and some say they will use it to defend themselves.

The question then is…do you sleep with it by your bedside? Is it loaded and ready to use? Do you have it with you at all times? Because if you don’t, it’s not going to do you any good. Is a world of people carrying around their semi-automatic weapons the world you want to live in? A world you want your children and grandchildren to live in? What happens when someone with anger issues has a bad day and someone pushes their last button?

Let’s be honest with ourselves…you want to own that semi-automatic weapon because it’s a bad-ass weapon.

Well, shit.  I feel like I live in a circus, but I can’t own an elephant.

How cool would that be?  Well, until it’s time for cleanup…then it’s really not so cool.

I’d ride that thing around town and feel pretty BA myself.

Or hey, if I could have a really tame Lion…and maybe if it had gingivitis or some other gum disease and had all it’s teeth removed…I could walk all over town and even if you knew it didn’t have teeth…you wouldn’t F with me either, would you?

But alas, reality is, there are things I cannot have…

Because it wouldn’t make sense…and it’s not practical.

That is how I feel about semi-automatic weapons.

I have no issue with someone carrying around their handgun in their purse/on their person. But if you haven’t had enough training or don’t feel confident enough that you will make the shot…and so you want your semi-automatic, then you shouldn’t have a gun.

Learn how to use it, be confident, be responsible, and make sure you have an even temperament. If you go into a panic or just get pissed off…as horrible as this sounds, that will be one life you affect. Not 49 plus 53.

Yes, that one life counts too.  That’s where the even temperament and responsibility come into the picture.

Now my next question is why are we losing so many innocent people over hatred.

Where is our tolerance?

Everyone keeps saying we need to love each other.

As much as I wish that were true, the word bullshit comes to mind.

Telling everyone that they NEED to love each other is unrealistic.

The reality is we need to be tolerant of each other.

We don’t have to always love our neighbor or love how they live their lives, but you know what?

It’s their lives…not ours.

While I have NO issue with others sexuality, religion, political beliefs and gender, I will NOT push my beliefs on you or anyone else.

(No I don’t support ISIL…but I do respect the Muslim religion…it is NOT based on hatred.  There are people in EVERY religion that take things too far/change the rules to suit their own desires. In my mind the ISIL organization is a cult.)

Will I encourage you?


But your beliefs are your beliefs…I may not always understand them, but that’s not my job.

My job is to live a good life to the best of my ability.

I’m not perfect, neither are you.

This is my opinion.

Maybe it gives you some food for thought, maybe it doesn’t.

Enough said.

Patty O

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