Jill "xtingu" Knapp

Traveling musician. Singer. Road warrior in bursts. Dork. Easy to spot. Gauche eyeshadow fan. Unreasonably happy.

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I had this broken bird feeder in my backyard for eons (it's a platform-style feeder) -- it broke because it was cheap and the squirrels knocked it down a few too many times. It has sat empty for a year or two in my garage.

I always had pet birds growing up. I love birds. Seeing birds out in the wild makes me unreasonably happy. I just fucking LOVE birds. Any kind of bird. Common sparrow? Cute! Robin redbreast? Neato! Mourning Dove? I love your little hootie sound! And crows? OMG, they have my heart. What I would give to be adopted and trusted by a pair of crows

Anyway, I decided to fix and fill the platform feeder and place it outside the kitchen window, and the neighborhood birds have found it and they hang out there all the time. We have sparrows, mourning doves, a pair of cardinals (who are afraid of the tiniest thing), and the occasional little finch-looking things that I die over.  I always have the feeder filled with seeds, and occasionally I'll dice up an apple which they seem to appreciate.  I watch the Cornell University Bird Feeder Cam and saw they also put out oranges, but my birds gave no fucks whatsoever about the orange when I put it out, so I took it away so ants wouldn't discover it. 

I've been thinking about getting a bird bath/fountain (the kind where the water circulates) because birds appreciate clean water like anyone else, plus bathing birds are unfathomably cute, and it's also a sign of bird uber-trust and comfort, since wet birds can't fly... or, they fly as well as, say, a chicken. (Hello, run-on sentence.)

I was also thinking about getting a Ring Doorbell Cam but only aiming at at the feeder just so I can see cute fat birds all day. 

Or maybe I should just work on my goddamn courseware.

But.... BIRDS!


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I think I bought you a feeder at one point for all the reasons.

I _absolutely_ think you should get a circulating bird bath. They (and by proxy, you) will get a tremendous amount of value from it.

Same holds true for the Ring doorbell cam. Well, okay, they won't care about it, but if you set something like that up next to the bird bath? Well, you would have an endless supply of courseware distraction! ;P
It might be that same one, honestly. Once it fell and broke and was glued for the 97th time, I stuck it in the garage telling myself (LOL) that I would buy the replacement for the broken bit. But the birds seem to like it much better without the broken piece anyway (it was like a hard plastic "umbrella" kinda thing to keep the rain out), but it made it tricky for birds to land under it and onto the platform. So now that the umbrella-bit is gone and the feeder is in a dry place, it's BIRD TIME!
That's great! I love the idea that they have better access now. It makes it tempting to make you a new one that's long and low and has access all along the base so that MANY birds can get in at the feed at the same time.

ALL THE BIRDS!
My bird feeder brings all the birds to the yard. They used to bathe adorably in the puddle on my neighbor's pool cover. You are really awesome if you get them a special bird bath, but a plastic pie lid with water in it will make them happy too. Plus, pie.
Oooh, maybe I'll do that. I have several laying around, and since I add seed to the feeder often, changing the water won't be a biggie.
My mom used to have a dry bird bath next to our feeder. Basically a plate with fine sand. Little birds loved to roll in the sand. And it was sooooo cute.
Ah, I didn't think about the dry bird bath. That might be a good solution... I just have to make sure I put it where the rain can't get to it, otherwise bird mud packs. :)
It makes me so happy that you can feed and watch the birds all summer! I switched our seed feeder out (because bears) for a nectar feeder, so although all the song birds are gone, we get to watch the hummingbirds whizz around like alien helicopters now. But a bird bath! I could do a bird bath! Bears don't care about bird baths!

Also: Squirrels; sheesh. This winter, the squirrels kept absconding with our suet. First they just pawed it out of the cage. Then they figured out the cage latch and stole the whole cake. When I put a better latch on, they dragged the whole cage off into the brush and I didn't find it until spring!
My squirrels did the same thing with our suet cages! I have this mental picture of what looks like a squirrel forensics lab or operating room where the greatest squirrel minds dissect the suet cages the suet-cage hunters have lugged in. They figure out how to open it, have a community feast, and then toss they cage wherever, like a suet carcass. The squirrels feel mighty and triumphant, and we humans are just like, "Hmm. Weird. Look where this ended up... *shrug* "

My parents up in the NJ Sticks also had to get rid of their seed feeders due to bears. My dad also has an elaborate system for trash night. It fascinates me. :-)
I put our feeder out again this morning with a different kind of bird seed. It's for finches, titmice and chickadees, we'll see how that goes.
"Titmice." Huhhuhhhuhhuh.
 

Up until a few months ago, I hadn't seen my natural hair color since high school.  I decided to just stop coloring my hair and take advantage of the "shadow root" trend. Once the sides got long enough, I got it cut so it was cropped super-short all over except the fooge on the top/front of my head, which I need.  I let it grow and grow, and soon I had what looked like all nondescript brownish-blah hair with frosted tips (with surprisingly little gray, but who cares)... but I didn't feel funky at all. I missed feeling funky.

So I went to the local, indie, mom-n-pop beauty supply shoppe near my house so I could to restock up on mah hair stuff, and $3.50 later, I had everything I needed to go back to Jillish.  I kinda dug the two-tone hair, but I just didn't have my mojo.  So... TADAAAA, I'm back to all-platinum again. (And with a better color result and less breakage than I get at the salon, thankyouverymuch.)

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Once again, I am sick.

It's so weird. There were years where I wasn't getting sick, and now I'm getting sick all the time, it seems. Maybe it's because I'm around more people since I'm at Penn all the time... I dunno. But MAN, this cold is extra awful.

Started with a sore throat, and now it's sore ears, a meaty lung cough of death where I'm coughing up a ton of yellow disgustingness... my lungs rattle and it's just gross. My ears are killing me. I hate it. 

I've been living on tea and Progresso soup since Sunday, which is the right thing to do, I suppose. 

I need to get better ASAP because I have an ITIL Foundation class to teach at Penn from Monday to Thursday of this coming week. 

Today is the first day I've gotten out of bed since Sunday. I feel like I've turned a corner, but I still have noooo voice. I hate having no voice, but I figure Matt likes the peace and quiet... tee hee.

Lindsay Harris-Friel had gotten us all tickets to see Steven Page and the Art of Time Ensemble on Tuesday night, but I was too sick to go, and she was too busy to go. We had those tickets since August-- we both so desperately wanted to attend... but the universe had alternate plans for us.

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In other news, The Eagles won the Super Bowl for the first time. I normally don't care about sportsball, but you can't deny it was a really great game. My mom emailed me to ask if we went to the game, but I don't think she realized that the game was played in Minneapolis and not in PA, and that the cheapest tickets were $4500. So no, we didn't go. :) I don't understand why Eagles fans celebrate my destroying the city... this is why we can't have nice things. 

[Pause]

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OK, I can't put off breaking this bad news any longer. I hate making small talk when there's a bomb to drop, so here it is:

We are very, very sad to hear that Matt's Uncle Greg (Betsy's older brother) died suddenly today. He was just diagnosed with lung cancer, so he had just started chemo. Sometimes chemo can cause pneumonia (who knew?) which he wound up catching... and then he had a stroke last night. His wife Elizabeth said it looked pretty grim, and she had hoped he wouldn't wake up... and he didn't. We just got the news this afternoon (Feb 7th) that he died at 4:30. It's absolutely heartbreaking. Greg was so amazing. We'll be flying out to California for the services next week. Greg worked at Boeing for most of his life as an engineer plus he had a lot of hobbies, one of which was birdwatching. He led tours for birdwatchers to see species that are native to the California coastline, and even led school groups through California's conservation areas. He took us on a private tour one time when Matt and I were in that neck of the woods as I taught in Irvine, CA. Something tells me that we will definitely see a bird or two at Greg's burial. 

It makes me sad that my parents will never get a chance to meet Greg; they really would have liked him.

But I am grateful to have had a lot of time with him recently, especially considering how far away he and Elizabeth live. We got to sing for his wedding, they came out for Grandmom's funeral, and they even flew out for Steve and Betsy's 50th Anniversary Party. They were well-traveled and well-loved, and I suppose that's all you can ask for, right?

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Also, just to lighten the mood a bit (and apropos of nothing) you probably didn't know that you needed a video of a bunny-jumping competition. So here ya go. 

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Anyway, I want to write more, but the cold medicine is kicking in and I'm feeling derpy. So... I'm off to bed.

Good night!

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I am so sorry. Glad you got to know him.
You especially would have freakin' LOVED him. Funny as hell, super-duper-ridiculously smart, dry humor (but not always), always using his body, insanely curious. Lots in common, you two. :)
Oh, I'm so sorry about Greg. And sorry you are sick!

On a lighter note, I sent the bunny jumping video to my daughter Nina, who will LOVE IT.

I am so with you on the hair color thing. I'm struggling right now. Still growing out the last of the "gray" from the play--which is now just white. I've grown out the bleachiness once before, went back to my normal color (there's proof of that in one of my storytelling videos). I eventually went shrieking back to my hairdresser because I couldn't stand it anymore. This time, I'm trying to grow my hair longer and have no idea what to do about the color, since I'm growing it so I can audition for a play I'd really like to be in this fall--and I have a feeling my short bleachy look wouldn't get me the part--but I don't know how long I can stand having Bad Hair. It's driving me batshit.
Anne Mollo 2/8 '18
I know the batshit-caused-by-hair very well.

How long can you grow your hair out before you scream ASDFGYUFGYHGYUJFGH and chop it all off again? You and I have similarly-short hair styles, and whenever I say "This time I'll grow it out!" I skip maybe two of my regular cutting times and I am so miserable that when I finally get it cut I get it cut REALLY short as if to compensate or atone to the short-hair gods for my foolish whims.

I sometimes wish it was more acceptable for white women to wear wigs in daily life. As for your role, wigs can look awesome on stage, so hopefully your director can look past your short hair and plop a wig on you. What part are you auditioning for? I love living my theater life vicariously through you. :)

(And thank you re: Greg and my plague. Xo.)
oh, i am so sorry. i'm sorry about Greg, i'm sorry you feel like crap, i'm sorry you missed your concert. but happy about your hair (although i'm sure on you it looked super-cool and you're being really critical :P). feel better, and miss you.
Jenn A 2/8 '18
"although i'm sure on you it looked super-cool and you're being really critical :P"

Written like someone who knows her well. :)
Thank you all around, m'dear. I hate being a whiner, but these are worthy whines.

Miss you too. :) <3
I didn't know Greg, but I'm sorry to hear that he's gone. Sounds like a good dude.

"They were well-traveled and well-loved, and I suppose that's all you can ask for, right?"

I sure as hell hope so.
You sir, are two for two, and then some. :-)
*lerv*
I'm so sorry for your loss. Greg sounds awesome.
Kate Haney 2/12 '18