Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Meet Owly

Meet Owly, our beloved first ever Dwight Ranch barn owl resident who gave us many nights of pure wonderment and joy. She sat on her eggs with persistence and commitment, and waited patiently by the door for her love to bring food to their new baby owlets. She screeched, calling out when they were hungry, and danced in the air with her mate when she needed a break from feeding. Her partner was steady, beeping in each night, indicating he had treats to deliver. Back and forth all night with lovely calls to his family that he was nearby and working hard to provide.

We miss our dear Owly and her family. They had no choice but to find another home. 

After one night filled with multiple feeding frenzies (we could hear the chicks get excited every time food was dropped off), Steve noticed something wasn't right. Sounds of wings slapping the box, aggressive squeals and squaks filled the air...not the usual beeps and chirps that we grew fond of. 

The next night, no baby feeding noises - just long, sorrowful calls from Owly, over and over, all night long.  No indication of any feeding was happening, and Owly came and went from the box all evening. We assumed maybe something happened to the male Owl and they weren't getting any food dropped off and Owly was calling out, with no help coming!

The next evening, we watched out our bedroom window as we had grown accustomed to doing, hoping to hear the babies once again. But this time we saw the pair, Mom and Dad, flying around the box. Owly went into the box again and this time she sat at the door looking out, crying over and over. Her mate flew to a nearby branch and perched silently. We watched, waiting for him to dive down and get food for Owly and her chicks. But he just sat there - still and quiet while Owly bellowed and sobbed at the door. 

We knew then...her babies were dead. 

Owly continued to cry at the door for hours, while her partner sat patiently on the branch nearby, giving her occasional calls letting her know he was there with support and compassion and love.


The next day, Steve peeked into the owl box, and opened it up, and sure enough, three owlets were laying dead in each corner. No indication of starvation. We cleaned out the box, and said our goodbyes to these beautiful creatures who were just starting to get their real feathers - who were well taken care of by mom and dad, and who were the innocent bystanders of a cruel natural world.

That very night, a new pair moved in, and we realized in that moment, that these very owls took serious and violent measures to claim their territory. It's been a couple of weeks with the new mates now, and we are having a hard time hearing their calls without feeling sad and mad about what they did to the owl family that we grew to love. 

But, we know there are new eggs that are nearly ready to hatch, so we are eagerly awaiting the sounds of new baby owlets chirping for food and doing their best to learn how to survive in this unrelenting and precarious barn owl life. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

35

I smiled all day today.

  • Steve rubbed my back and made me delicious coffee. 
  • I woke up wondering if my mom thought it was neat having me as a Christmas gift, then she texted me "Happy Birthday to my best Christmas present ever"
  • The best music came on the radio on the drive to work. 
  • The leaves on the trees looked extra bright yellow. 
  • It RAINED!! 
  • I only worked half day. 
  • I got sweet birthday messages from my best friends and relatives.
  • I got pampered getting a haircut by my friend, sipping on a cappuccino. 
  • I bought myself earrings at the cutest local maker shop. 
  • I talked to my mom and my dad and got the CUTEST voicemail from my grandpa that I will save forever. 
  • Did I say it rained!!?!?!
  • I got a free Starbucks birthday coffee. 
  • I went grocery shopping at my favorite store. 
  • I made dinner while Steve played guitar. 
  • And now chocolate, tea, and a Fred Astaire movie. 
  • And tomorrow we leave for a peaceful, relaxing, calm holiday getaway to Big Sur! WOOT!
35 is off to a great start!!!!

Saturday, February 04, 2017

2016 was pretty...pretty...pretty good.

2016 was a tough year and I was tempted to skip my yearly video. But then, as I thought more about what made it a bad year, I adjusted my perspective and found beauty and happiness instead. My memories of Steve's ER visit turned into a thought about miracles and what it means to be a loving partner. Let's celebrate, honor, and protect our amazing opposable thumbs shall we?! 

There's little happiness to be found in the memory of Steve's mom passing, but look what she left behind for us to enjoy...beautiful quilts, delicious recipes, my amazing sewing skills, to name a few. But, mostly she will always be here in her incredible son whose affection, patience, teamwork, resourcefulness, curiosity, and kindness are genetic gems, passed down from sweet Linda.

Last week, Steve and I watched all of my yearly videos to date and I realized how grateful I am to myself for having captured and recorded where we have been. What a fun thing to be able to re-live those moments long forgotten in my memory. Looking back through my 2016 photos and videos reminded me of the many great travels, friends, family, and adventures that I was lucky enough to experience. 

This year I dressed up every Tuesday night in leg warmers and splatter paint spandex for 80's jazz class. I stayed in a pink house on a tree-lined street in the quaintest Illinois town. I ate to-die-for donuts in Seattle. I held my best friend's new baby. I jumped for joy to live music and smiled so much my face hurt. I saw So You Think You Can Dance LIVE and Jason Derulo blew me a kiss. I wore a ton of my favorite color, pink. I planted seedlings in my garden with my dad.  I slid down a rock slide inside a cave in Montana. I found a new talent in fancy pie crusts. I drank beer on sunny patios with my mom. Steve and I explored a palm oasis in the middle of nowhere. I ate giant s'mores over a fire pit next to my best friends.

In the end, 2016 was actually pretty great, and how can I deny myself (and you!) the forever memory of seeing the best band of all time, The Monkees, LIVE! 

Enjoy!


2016 Year in Review from Jaime Dwight on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Catalina Cherries all a Buzz

A few weeks ago, our Catalina Cherry trees were in full bloom and after an unusual buzz-free spring, the honey bees finally made an appearance and found paradise among the blossoms. These trees were covered with bees - I mean, you could hear the buzz from many yards away. These little guys were hard at work, as seen by the enormous pollen pouches they all carried at their sides. Their bounty almost too big to land the next bud, but too drunk on the sweet nectar to care.






Friday, April 15, 2016

Acacia my heart


This man adores his fully bloomed Acacia. I adore decorating with the lovely yellow bursts.
 
Win win.
 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

My Saw Hero

This video was featured on one of our favorite comedy shows, Tosh.o and it spoke to me so much I had to post it here too. This video was made for Steve. Made about Steve. It is hard for me to describe the depth of his love of working in the garage, playing with his tools, making beautiful wood crafts, but I feel like this video captures Steve's heart in just over a minute.

The music, the flannel, the sunglasses, the dance moves, the facial expressions, the beard, the pure comedy...come on people, how is this NOT my awesome husband?!



Saturday, February 13, 2016

5 years ago I stood up on two feet

It is hard to believe it has already been five years since my bunion surgery. Facebook reminded me today that 5 years to the day, I finally stood up on my two bare feet for the very first time after nearly 2 months post surgery. I remember this feeling like it was yesterday. The soft carpet under my foot was like a little bit of heaven. The sunlight on my skin was so comforting.  I recall the biggest struggle during the whole thing was the fact that using crutches limited my ability to do anything else. Both hands held the crutches, so using my hands to do LIFE was nearly impossible. I'd have to lean against the kitchen counter to hold myself up if I wanted to use my hands. The freedom of walking on two feet without crutches was so immense!

Even five years later, I catch myself being so thankful for walking. I try to be mindful and notice the sensations as I walk over the soft carpet today in my bare feet, or when I slip on on a new pair of shoes, and when I sink into the soft soil while working around the yard. I find joy in pampering my feet. I refuse to wear high heels. I rub peppermint foot lotion on my feet every night before bed, and I wear bunion regulators so that my left foot doesn't get to the point that my right foot did.

Looking back, I don't reflect on the surgery experience with bad thoughts or negative feelings. In fact, it was kinda fun! I loved the adventure of driving back and forth to LA in the rain (Steve may have a different perspective, as I was cozied up in my "bed" he made for me in the back seat). I loved the pampering and everything Steve and others did for me. I literally HAD to just sit there and enjoy hours of television, movies, books, and meals made for me. I loved having a pink cast. I loved wearing my robot boot. I loved driving the motorized shopping cart at the grocery store. It was a crazy cool experience to have to re-train my body to WALK! There was pain yes, but there was also this renewed appreciation for movement, for Steve, for driving, for shoes, for soft carpet, and for carrying things!! YAY feet!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

2016 Happiness and Love

On January 1, 2016, I wrote the following in my phone:

  • Be less selfish
  • Drink more water
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Stretch every day
  • Be mindful
Each year, when I think of my own resolutions, I ask myself, "what actions can I take to be a better person? What behaviors can I practice to live a more full, healthy, and happy life?" 

At a coaching training I recently attended, we were asked to describe the actions that we wanted to live into in order to be a great leader. I had a list of several items - things I wanted to do more of like listening, spreading positivity, and being approachable. And another list of things I wanted to get better at doing like asking more questions, considering the whole person, giving feedback more often, and so on. After I looked at my lists, I thought that I'd have a better chance of becoming this aspirational leader if I broke it down into a simpler statement. A mantra of sorts that perhaps would be more sticky than a list of 10 things that I am supposed to be doing. Thinking back on my happiness project, I was reminded of the phrase "love out" and it struck me that this was the perfect way to describe all of those things that I want to do. To me, "loving out" means approaching each conversation with a mindful decision to think, behave, respond, and BE in a loving way. If I acted with love, I would automatically listen carefully and ask questions because that's what you do in loving relationships. Loving out means sharing positive thoughts with others, helping them navigate their challenges, and being fully aware that they are human and not just a worker.

I think I am already pretty good at acting in a loving way at work. But this sentiment goes beyond the workplace and I think I can do much better in other areas of my life. For some reason, I have a natural tendency to be more lenient and concerned with the feelings of people I don't know well. And more critical and impatient with those that I am close to. I need to practice not being so critical of others who don't do things the same way that I do them. And I definitely need to work on not being so critical of myself when things don't go perfectly ("Wabi-Sabi" - there's beauty in imperfection). I want to show more patience with family and friends, and learn to let go of the small stuff. 

So, I plan on being less selfish...filling their cup fuller than my own, spending an extra hour of my time, or doing something nice for someone without expectations of a return. I plan to be mindful of how I express my being to others, hopefully loving out as much as I can. And to feel the best that I can each day, I want to stretch each day, drink more water, and enjoy an ice cold bev only when it's really calling on my tastebuds. 

So cheers to another year! And I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts and stories on my blog this year!!


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