Here's a little Downy Woodpecker. I'd taken a photo through the window (and screen), which makes it a little duller. But he noticed, and suddenly turned to look at me for a sec. Then he seemed to decide I wasn't doing that much to be worried about, and worried about the predator potential from elsewhere.
My sister-in-law went back to college a couple years ago to finish her degree (while being the primary caregiver to the kids). When she first started back, she'd call and talk to me about her papers, and it was lots of fun to brainstorm with her as she was working on them.
As she's progressed in her Spanish major, it's been even more fun. We've been talking about Spanish poetry or lit; when we get together, she'll bring out a poem or short story, and we'll work our way through and talk about it. She's way better at Spanish than I am, but I'm pretty good with the poetry part, so we actually do well together and have a good time. Then when she writes her papers, I have to work hard to understand the Spanish, but I can give her feedback about making things better organized or giving mapping hints and such.
As a non-trad who's very smart, she tends to draft and work on her papers a lot and with more than diligence. So they're already interesting to read and fun to give feedback about. And the Spanish makes it a challenge for me, since she's so far beyond my Spanish. (I can mostly understand, but I can't produce written Spanish with much fluency.) But still, I think I'm helpful. And it's fun.
This evening, we talked about her final paper. It was already solid and smart, but I think I was able to help with some fine-tuning stuff.
I'm conflicted. I'm so very pleased that she's graduating. She's worked so hard, and now she's graduating! I would be proud, but my pride doesn't seem appropriate. I am more admiring than proud.
On the other hand, I've really enjoyed having Spanish poems come my way to struggle with, and I've enjoyed talking to her about the poems, literature, and her papers. I'm going to miss that, I expect.
Congratulations to my most wonderful sister-in-law!