Bird Signs and Progress!

Craig and I just finished our taxes this past weekend. Not fun.  Especially when I have to write out a check to the government.  It was nothing I didn’t expect, though.  I knew I’d owe – I just didn’t know how much.  Working as an independent contractor for Patty had minor drawbacks like that. 

I went to Hot Yoga on Friday.  Scratch that  – I dragged myself go to Hot Yoga on Friday.  All these months suffering with back pain has made me focus solely on caring for my back.  In the process, strengthening my legs have not been a priority.  My instructor had us do so many squat-related poses that by the time class was over, my legs felt like spaghetti. Nothing that would hurt my back if I didn’t do them – just my ego.  I used to be able to do all of those poses this time last year.  Now, not so much.   I have no choice now but to go every Friday and strengthen this wobbly body of mine.  Come on, muscle memory; show me what you’ve got!  Whenever I’m feeling like I’ve regressed I need to remind myself that progress comes with every little step, regardless of how small. 

A good example of such progress: my skills as a painter are indeed improving. I see it.  I feel it.  I’m more confident and I look forward to creating and sharing my work with others.  Birds seem to be my obsession lately.  I bought my first bird – a canary named Lady, when I was a sophomore in college.  She lived almost 12 years and was completely blind before she died, but that girl could warble her heart out.  Since then I have had a love affair with them and recently decided to paint a series of some favorites. 

I’ve been having run-ins with a few of the birds I’ve been painting.  Odd but wonderful run-ins.  Remember my sandhill crane?


A few days after I painted him I was walking the dogs at the park and noticed a flock of cranes swirling over my head. If you’ve ever heard these birds communicate with one another then you know they are impossible to miss (they’re quite loud!)  On two separate occasions later the next week when I went out to get my mail from the mailbox, there again were cranes hovering overhead long enough for me to stop and watch them for as long as I wanted before forming their traditional V pattern and moving on. Each time I saw them I think my heart swelled to twice its normal size. 

My second run-in happened right after I finished painting my red-winged hawk this weekend.


I put away my watercolors and grabbed my coat so that Craig and I could go grocery shopping.  While heading down the road a red winged hawk flew right in front of our car and into the woods, carrying a mouse. We both screamed out, ‘Did you see THAT??’ 

Tell me – when does that ever happen!?!?  To me, never!

This week’s oriole will likely be my last bird of the week because I am hosting Easter this weekend at my home.  Those of you who were here with me over Christmas will remember that I vowed never to have another holiday at my Mom’s again because whenever a certain family member is in attendance, I tense up and know that he will become angry, say hurtful things, leaving me sad and melancholy for the remainder of the day.  It took 42 years to step up and say ‘no more’ to my mother but I did, and now I’m actually looking forward to hosting Easter this year.  I’m even looking forward to Christmas already – words I’ve not uttered in over 30 years. 

And that’s progress.  When you’ve got it, grab on and run like hell.   

12 thoughts on “Bird Signs and Progress!

    1. Ellen Post author

      When in chronic pain, sometimes progress can be so small it’s like waiting for a faucet to fill a bucket one drip at a time. I have to compare my progress not in days but in weeks, too. I’m just glad you feel like you are finally making some headway, Carrie. Great news!

  1. Vickie

    Very glad you have sorted out your holidays. Have to ask – did you and your mother divide up the relatives? Is she coming (alone) to your house? You and your hubby alone? Your husband’s family? What is the plan?

    1. Ellen Post author

      I decided to have all holidays from this point on, at my home. My mother will come by herself and has made arrangements to see my sibling separately. As a compromise I’ve mentioned that we can see him separately either right before holidays or right after. Currently he will not be invited to any family gatherings at my house – it would be too disastrous. My husband’s sister (his only family in town) will now be able to join us for holidays if she wishes. Before, it just wasn’t fair to ask her. My sibling’s household always celebrates the holidays with meals and gifts so he will not be missing out at all, which is good and I really think this is a win/win situation. We’ll see how this first attempt goes to know for sure.

      1. vickie

        This sounds like a good plan.

        the only thing that alarmed me – “Currently he will not be invited to any family gatherings at my house”. Do not relent in this during a weak moment. The “currently” needs to be always/never. Because he is not going to change. He has been the same way your entire life. There will be NO magic.

        Your home needs to stay your safe zone, always. And with your back issues, one blow, landing you on the floor could possibly impact the rest of your life. Not to mention psychological damage of having your home compromised.

        I can picture that going to see your sib, for a short visit, on his territory, where you can leave at any moment, with your husband might work. But honestly, if that doesn’t work, or it colors the rest of your holiday, drop that too.

        Really good post on a boundary topic that many people ignore. Not only do they not talk about it, they do not change it. Holidays can be huge boundary issues that result in falling into food vats. . .

  2. Hanlie

    I am so glad you settled on a workable plan for the holidays. Let us know how it went.

    I love your birds! You are really good, woman!

    1. Ellen Post author

      Thank you, Hanlie. You must have been reading my mind – I’ve just posted my Easter update – and thank you for the kind words regarding my paintings :) You’re always so supportive. ((hugs to you))


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