Monday, January 26, 2009

Florida's Fantastic Flora and Fauna

I can hear the groans of relief already. After years of begging for pictures of my life in Florida, here they are! I must confess, however, that my family's repeated requests for images of my Florida life are not the only motivator for starting up a blog... there's another very powerful motivator, who happens to reside in Michigan. Long distance relationships have a way of calling for creative forms of communication. So, be advised: even though your cries have been heard, you might not always be the primary audience of these posts!

One other thing before I post pictures of my life in Florida... if there is any doubt about my age on my profile picture, please note that this photograph was taken in 2007... really, not that long ago, all things considered. Okay, that last sentence was directed at one of my family members, not Laura :^)

Eight days ago, I decided to ride a bicycle to a camp fire that was taking place out in the country. I took my binoculars along (they are equipped with a digital camera, which although not of exceptional quality, is functional), and I was not disappointed. I encountered no less than three armadillos on the way. I nearly put the thick armor of one of these creatures to the test, as I had to swerve to avoid one in the road.

I took these next two pictures from a few feet away.

And then, there were the sandhill cranes. I saw four of them altogether on this day; two were too far for a photograph.

Temporal realities meet eternal truths:

Is this a cooper's hawk? One of my ornithologically inclined brothers (or my father) might be able to help me out with this one.


  1. Well, well, lookey here! Another family member on the blogs --now we only need Jonathan! (Spare the thought that Dad or Mom enter the blogworld --"Ruth, my 'dashboard' disappeared!") A promising start though, and I rather like the crane/ sign picture!

  2. Jer, great blog, great pictures, but a few remarks are necessary:
    1) Biggest "criticism:" you plagiarized the title of your blog from your brother and sister-in-law's blog. Although imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

    2) You STILL must be a real estate agent, using a picture of yourself from 15 years ago. Not only have you kept the same picture on Facebook(when on the average, people change their profile pic twice a day), but now you put in your blogspot profile on a fresh blog! That's sad, very sad. But I guess, its all part of the flattery.

    3) We broke into blogspot account. The password is "ilovelaura." New posts coming soon.

    4) When you coming back to Ontario?

  3. Oh, and by the way, I think the bird on the last picture is a canary.

  4. I love the armadillos! Can't wait to see one in person. It'll be almost as exciting as alligators!

    Hmm, yes, a canary...or maybe a baby starling lost in Florida: "Tweet, tweet! Is that my mom down there ['mum' if it's an English starling]?"

  5. "TO ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: I have used the same blog title that Curt and Jen used on theirs." There. Having appropriately credited you, Curt, the charge of plagiarism is a moot point.

    I'm not 100% certain of what you meant in the third remark, but it isn't too hard to guess... you broke into MY blogspot account. Well, if this is the case, it certainly isn't the first time something like this has happened... Matt and I will have to start a support group, although his traumatic HWCN memories might not be quite as acute as they were ten years ago. Then again, perhaps cousin Steve could bring them back pretty quickly by sharing some of the impressions that he developed of Matt as he communicated with 'Matt' by email. Poor Matt. He's still running interference, trying to negotiate the impressions that you gave of him so many years ago.

  6. And here I was thinking that "desperate optimism" sounded Piper-esque. :) I was tempted to start a blog myself this morning ("confidentpessimism") but then realized that 10 inches of snow every night soon ceases to be newsworthy.

  7. My second attempt at posting a comment (those profiles are confusing me). Nice blog, Jer. My dark ages dial-up internet can handle these pics better than your full-size attachments ;) He he, Ruth, you're right, it probably is a good thing Mom doesn't attempt to blog. Jer, maybe you can convince Jonathan to occasionally post to your blog, since he lives so far away we need to hear from him too? -Laurie

  8. Since the gang's all here, permit me to formalize the introduction: Van Dyken's, meet Laura. Laura, meet the Van Dyken's!

  9. Jonathan, you are welcome to post to my blog. Contact me directly for further details.

  10. Laura,
    Don't pay attention to my older brother's comments, particularly about the 'canary'. Curt has been feeling a little defensive about the whole subject of beauty recently, and in his confusion has been projecting beauty onto random objects, hence his belief that the bird above is a canary. This picture was taken at twilight, hence the yellowish tint. I think I'll stand by my original comment... this is a Cooper's hawk.

  11. Btw, what's up with the incident of stolen identity? What with genetically induced sleep-walking plus Curt's skills in raiding accounts, how am I ever going to know who 'Jer' is? Rabshekah!!

  12. A great pleasure to meet you, Laura! We look forward to the greater pleasure of meeting you in person. Any friend of Jeremy's is a friend of ours (with a few exceptions). As for getting to know Jeremy, the best way to know him is through his family rather than himself. We can present to you the REAL Jer, whereas, what the image he might present to you is quite concocted and all in all, a stolen identity. He tends to adopt to himself multiple personalities from his previous "clients," most notably Dixie, Mildred(she has a sister named Mildew), and a guy at Pinerest that broke his glasses. We will be happy to give you all the information you need about Jer.

  13. Thanks Curt! I think you have most of your details mixed up, not to mention a few of your suggestions. Ummm... one thought, Curt... feel free to refer to Laura as my 'girlfriend.' Really, there's no need for diplomacy here... if you truly do want to tell Laura everything about me, you're going to have to show a little more candor than you did in this last post!

  14. Hello to all of you! I'm so relieved to be able to consult the authorities; and, of course, I'll believe everything I'm told! :) Speaking of which, I tried that password you mentioned, Curt; but it didn't work. So then I entered 'iloveflorida'...

    Do you suppose Dixie is still in the picture?

  15. Jer, this is the last comment we're putting on this post. You need a new post if you want any more comments from us.

    Laura, about the passwords, don't feel bad about Jer having more affections for Florida than for you, he has long been endeared more to Florida than his own family. Also, if "IloveFlorida" doesn't work, maybe try "IloveDixie."

    And Jer, in response to calling Laura your girlfriend(which I'm happy to do) would you have preferred me write: "Any GIRLfriend of Jeremy's is a friend of ours...?"

    Not to mention Jer, with your looong history, I don't think I could make such an inclusive statement. ;)

  16. IF I want any more comments from you? Thank you for that qualifier Curt... it's a wonderfully tacit acknowledgment that your comments might be a little too harsh for Laura's gentle ears :^)

    In regards to your second last post, I'm sure that there are plenty of ways that you could have communicated your thought while referring to Laura as my girlfriend, instead of choosing to go the diplomatic route as you did. Goodness! What does Jen teach you these days, anyways?

  17. I'm dying to hear about the exceptions, especially since I now understand the scope of the statement. :)