Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Goose egg

I mentioned recently that I found a goose egg on the side of our pond, and that Kev set up his game camera to monitor the situation. Good thing we weren't on pins and needles waiting for something exciting...

The most exciting part (not) was convincing Reilly, our dog, that it wasn't a ball... over and over and over and over...

The pair of Canada geese would visit the egg daily. They'd fly in and spend some time around the egg.

I watched them do this a few different times, and I never saw them actually touch the egg. They'd land on the pond and then swim over to, or near, the egg. Watching the pair fly in, swoop low, swing around and majestically land on the pond was awesome. When I saw them, they would then swim directly to the egg, except for one time when they swam toward it, then passed it, then back to it.

I believe they probably did this more than once per day, visiting their egg. I also believe they have a nest nearby. We hear them often, late at night or early in the mornings. It has been a puzzle to me... it had to be a mistake when she laid the egg there, like, oops, that one popped out by accident! (Maybe she bent over when she shouldn't have, like after having chili for lunch.)

But why the visits?

Anyway, the visits are over now. We finally retrieved the egg, and Sam, very interested, cracked it open last night, well away from the house. He said it didn't stink and it looked just like a regular egg, no big red spots or anything. I was tired of making sure the dogs didn't get to it, and with the days warming up, I'm pretty sure it'd be one stinky egg soon. I'm kinda surprised a crow or something didn't go for it.

Kev's game camera caught very few photos in the past 3 weeks. We're not sure why; we know there were times when the geese were definitely there at the egg, but the game camera took no photos. Maybe the lighting at the time wasn't enough, or maybe there was too much sunshine, to trigger the camera's action sensor. We got about 15 photos; half were of nothing.

A couple of the pics were kinda neat, though...

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Tdap, Tdap... Tdap, Tdap, Tdap... Tdap, Tdaaaaaaaaaaaap. TDAP.

Don't know why, but that's what happens when I think "Tdap" in my head. It becomes Pink Panther theme music.

If you do not know what a Tdap is, then FOR SHAME. Get thyself to thine doctor (or reasonable facsimile thereof) pronto and get it. It's a shot. Yes, it'll hurt. Ya big baby.

My niece, Chelle-Belle, was very, very sick recently. Thankfully, she was home from college for the weekend, so her parents were able to get her to our local ER very late one evening. Her struggle to breathe was painful in many ways... painful for Chelle and painful for my sister and brother-in-law to watch. Michelle did not have pneumonia; a day later it was confirmed she had Whooping Cough.

Michelle received a medical checkup and the shots required before she began her first college semester, including a Tetanus shot. But for some reason, though I believe the Tdap shot was available back then, Chelle got only the T. (Michelle is in her final semester of her 4-year college program, pre-med.) Tdap is Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis. We all greatly wish she had received the "p" along with the "T", and what the hell, the "d" too for that matter. She has it all now.

Pertussis, aka Whooping Cough, is extremely contagious. Since it's now been discovered for young adults, and us old adults, that the vaccinations we received as children have worn off, we all need to be sure to get re-vaccinated with the Tdap shot. Unfortunately, many parents are recently deciding not to vaccinate their children. So between these 2 factors, Whooping Cough is on the rise in the U.S.


I say "unfortunately" because I am pro-vaccination. And yes, I know this is a big ol' can of worms (I listened to the Momversation on it recently). I'm totally Old School. Shoot 'em up, baby. Coz I agree with 2 statements on that Momversation: 1) Vaccinations are one of the best medical breakthroughs of our generation, of recent generations, and 2) parents who decide not to vaccinate their children are relying upon the rest of us who do... otherwise, we would be back in epidemic city Big Time on many diseases. Also, I have a niece, Sara, who teaches Special Education, and Sara is certified in MI, MR & Autism (MI is mental illness and MR is mental retardation - I think, though I'm not sure if that is still politically correct). I have such awe of Sara, choosing that profession; I am so proud of her. I talked with Sara not too long ago about the relationship that seems to be made between vaccinations and autism. She explained one thing I hadn't thought about, which was that years ago, children were not diagnosed as autistic where they would be diagnosed as such now... it is not so much a situation of an increase in autism as an increase in diagnoses of autism.

I am not saying there are no risks associated with vaccinations, because of course there are risks. But, I believe that vaccinations have allowed my children to be free of the danger of many diseases that plagued children of my father and mother's generation and the generations before them.

Right before Michelle became so sick she had to be taken to ER, I got to visit with her, and since we're such a huggy/kissy family, I was hugging and kissing her. Thankfully, last May when my physician checked me out from attic to basement, I got the Tdap shot. I have no recollection of that, so I had a scary bit of hours between learning I was exposed and learning I was vaccinated. Whew. I wasn't up to another round of any kind of antibiotics.

Also thankfully, Kevin just got a Tdap shot at work at his recent physical. Kev has to undergo a very thorough annual exam due to his new job at work, and the Tdap shot was not optional; get it or don't keep the job. Not that he wouldn't want it. And even more special for Kev was that his employer provided it, made the pain on his shoulder for the next 4 days that much more bearable... at least he didn't have to pay actual money for the shot. (Kev can be so cheap!) Joycie and Sammy also have had the Tdap shot within the past 2 years, so we are all good. But our Mike needs his Tdap shot, which he will get pronto. He needs the Tetanus anyway, because of the job he has now, where he works around older homes and buildings.

Remember: Renew your Tdap shot every ten years.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Why, hello there

Every once in a while, I like to look through Photo Friday. I like the Link Viewer they have, and I like zipping through the photos. I do this sometimes at work at my desk while I spend a quick 15 minutes eating my lunch, and it's a nice little break in the middle of a busy day. Especially when some of the photos are so spectacular, they can take one right out of one's dinky little cubicle for a brief second or two. Nice.

The range of photo quality, though, is truly amazing... from really great to really bad. A few years back, I used to participate, mostly as a means to try to learn how to use an Olympus that was my first real digital camera (I'm not counting my very old Sony Mavica). That Olympus had features on it that I never did get around to using. I think Photo Friday was booming then, this was early 2005... and it wasn't unusual to see over 600 photos posted for one weekly challenge. That's a lot of photos to look at, especially when we had only dial-up Internet access back then. I think now it mostly depends on the weekly challenge, some of them get a lot of interest, thus 900 photos, and some don't, so 120 photos. I find it all very interesting.

Mostly I enjoy Photo Friday just to find those few photos that really strike me for whatever reason. A photo I can't get out of my mind.

There's a lot of professionals or almost-professionals using it for basically free advertising, and eh, who cares. But they bore me. They bore me about as much as their polar opposites... the ones I see that are the half-assed photos of someone's little daughter, photos hardly in focus and barely able to be categorized as part of the week's challenge. Those all just make me bored. I mean, HELLO, it's Photo Friday, not show me your crappy quality photo you took AGAIN of your kid. And it's not all about you, Mr. $8,000-camera PLUS expensive lens selling photos and copyrighting everything because of money, money, money.

Photo Friday is about... well, here it is in their own words:

  • Each week Photo Friday posts a photo assignment. Your mission is the creative interpretation of the week's theme. When you're done, post the picture you took to your website and submit your link to Photo Friday.

  • Photo Friday is about challenging our participants to be original and creative within the constraints of the week's theme. It's not a competition. Anyone with a camera and a place on the internet to post pictures can participate.

I like the regular average Joes & Janes who take a great shot or set up a great shot for the challenge and post it. Those are the pics I look for.

Last week's challenge was "Extreme Closeup" and some of the photos were amazing. This one I just cannot get out of my head. I just like this little feller. He's my laptop's desktop background right now. Yes, I totally do that. If I find a photo I adore, I may use it for my desktop background. I mean, seriously, click on the photo and look at him large... how can you say no to those eyes?

I found one photo quite some time ago that was a black and white shot of a circle of dark stones on a beach, and there was just something about it that was awesome. But I can't locate it now, and so... I miss it. But not enough to go through a kazillion Photo Friday photos to try and find it.


OK, so... reminding myself of my penchant for copying the pics for using as my desktop background, I went to my old computer and found it!...

I sorely wish I could give credit to the photographer, but after finding the file and looking at the date of it, then spending a bit of time trying to find it again on Photo Friday, well... it seems an impossible task. If I find the photographer, I will totally update this post and give him credit (I seem to recall it was a him, and they were on vacation in Norway or Finland or something, and he lived in Switzerland or something, or I could possibly have dreamt all that up). Love the photo, though. Don't you? Do a Google image search on "beach circle" and you'll see some neat photos, but in my opinion, not as good as this one.

   I found the pic, "on the beach" on Photo Friday,
   in the "Best of 2007"... here's the link to it
   on the beach by urbanmonster
   Not the story I remember...
   But awesome photo.

This has been such a strange day. Good Friday, and a holiday by my company (whoo-hoo, thank God for those Christians, eh). But I did have to do a bit of work today, at least from home (been doing a LOT of that lately). Kev spent time outside stacking wood, and he came in the house to tell me there was a beautiful pair of Canada geese setting on the edge of our pond in the sun. So I grabbed Joycie's/my little Sony and snuck out there. It was pretty windy today, so I managed to get quite close to them.

Since I knew Kev was going to head out back with the 3 dogs shortly and would scare the pair away, I tried to get even closer. They got up and got agitated, and then got into the pond, like swimming kind of toward me. I taped it with the little Sony, but between my walking on uneven ground, the strong wind, my facing the sun, and the little Sony wiggling at every move, the movie file is awful (Joycie said like "The Blair Witch Project"... ugh!). I would walk a little closer toward them then stop, then walk, then stop... and at one point they really started squawking at me. Something caught my eye and I looked down at the edge of the pond and saw this:

Why would she lay an egg on the edge of the pond like that? Freaked me out. I stopped the taping, and right about then, the 2 geese took off from the pond... talk about a grand exit. It was gorgeous. And I wasn't recording any longer. Sweet.

So Kev and I, and the 3 dogs, took another 4-wheeler ride out back and retrieved the game camera. I convinced Kev to plant a fence post near the egg and set up the camera there... I wanna see what happens to it. When Kev was setting the metal fence post, Barney and Reilly were with us, getting into the pond. Reilly suddenly noticed the egg and started for it... Kev had to yell at him quick. Reilly thought it was a ball, and he surely had to get it before Barney! That would've been a let-down in so many ways.

Can't wait to see what the camera shows tomorrow. Full moon tonight, too. Very beautiful on the pond. And how do I know this? Because it is right now almost one o'clock a.m., A.M.! I am wide awake at 1am. This is not like me, and I'm not sure how this happened. I am the one trying to stay up until at least 8:30pm lately. Especially now, working so many extra hours on quarter close (work stuff, y'know). I'm pooped by 7pm. But today, I'm all wide awake. Well, wide awake for me. Tomorrow should be very interesting.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Odds and ends again... mostly odds...

Meryl Streep is my favorite actress ever. (Or am I supposed to say "actor"?... seems like I heard or read somewhere that actor is to be non-gender specific and thus more PC. Whatever.) She's amazing. I have loved every movie I've seen with her in it. Meryl Streep has more talent in her little finger than most of the actors (actresses) out there. Seriously. For one thing, this:

I loved that movie. And I can't imagine doing that move at my age, let alone her age. And speaking of age, she is aging better than any other actress also. I greatly admire that woman. No, it's not a crush... well, maybe a little... Anyway, I bring this up only because she must have somehow been featured in a dream I had last night or something, because I woke up thinking of her. (Hey, gotta be a good day when you wake up thinking of Meryl Streep, right?) And thinking how she has more talent in her little finger than, well, you know.

And then I thought of her little fingers... Have you ever noticed how Meryl Streep has very small little fingers? I mean, her little fingers are small... they're half the size of her ring fingers (or 3rd finger or whatever the technical term is for the finger between your little finger and your bird). I noticed it years ago and now look for it on occasion in her movies. (Ever do that? Notice something and then can't help but look for it over and over. Yes, you do.) So I've been scouring via Google images for Meryl Streep and her extra little, yet still gorgeous, little fingers. And it's been amazingly difficult. Most photos I've found don't show her hands very well, or if they do, she's doing something like this...

But I did find these...

So, that's what I find interesting at 4:30am.

This week is our son's school's spring break week. If we were normal, we'd be on a nice vacation somewhere with our son, leaving his hard-working older sister home to attend her college classes. But, we are not normal. I am not, anyway.

Fortunately, Sammy was lucky. And Lucky Sam has some good friends... A good friend, Austin, who invited Sammy to go with him and his family to the Kalahari Resort in Ohio. Sam is half fish, and I'm sure he is in heaven right now. I miss him, but am oh so happy for him. Austin's family and 2 other families all went there together, so there are lots of kids. Some younger kids, but Sammy likes little kids. I'm so happy that Sam is getting to do something so very, very fun for spring break. And they're staying in the "Village Suite" at the Kalahari... pretty freakin' awesome.

In light of Sam being gone most of this week, he and I made plans for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I took Monday as a vacation day to spend with Sam. We started on Saturday with a tanning session for Sammy. (I let Sam do about 4 or 5 tanning sessions... a local tanning joint has a deal where you get 6 free to see if you like it, then you can sign up if you want. Awesome.) Then on to the Hollister store at the Saginaw mall.

Words cannot express how much I hate Hollister stores. I am far, far too old for them. They play the music too damn LOUD and they spray far too much perfume EVERYWHERE. And they sell cheap stuff at ridiculously high prices. But, words cannot express how much I love my son, so... to Hollister we went.

Sammy and his friends are what Joycie (lovingly) calls "label whores." Joycie and her friends would happily hit the local "Salvo" for t-shirts (Salvation Army store). And since we live in a town that has many world travelers, they'd find some cool, like-new t-shirts from places like Belize, Ireland, Australia, China... Sammy wouldn't be caught dead in anything from Salvo. Even if no one could possibly know it came from Salvo, HE WOULD KNOW. And since we were not spending any money on a family vacation once again this year, I agreed to Hollister. What will $230 buy at Hollister? 1 pair swim trunks, 2 pair of shorts, 3 t-shirts, 1 t-shirt with a collar and 1 bottle of Jake cologne. Yes, $230. (Kev, if you're reading this, I know you're croaking right now, so get over it.) This desire of Sam's to wear The Name Brand clothing is definitely not something he got from me or his Dad... we got home and Kev met us in the garage... and Kev had on a black t-shirt that I got free from my employer back in 1979. Yes, 1979.

Sunday, I took Sammy back into town for another tanning session, a hair cut and then a "date" with his girlfriend, Julia. We picked Julia up and went downtown where I stayed at a local coffee shop, using their super fast free wi-fi to get some work done, while Sammy and Julia just walked around together. I managed to hack it out... I say that because I felt awful. When we got home Saturday, I felt awful... Sam was afraid our Sunday plans would be cancelled, but I stuck it out. Not easily.

Because once again, I caught some damn bug. Been sick again since early Saturday, with a stomach flu or something, reminiscent of April '08. Ugh. Ever since I had that Augmentin reaction, I have felt weird and/or sick. Weirdly sick. Sickly weird. Vertigo is crazy. Also, my sense of taste is greatly diminished. Very odd. I have been putting more salt on things lately without thinking about it, because I can't taste it until it's too much salt. And salt doesn't help with vertigo (I read that somewhere, I think). Too much salt doesn't help a person's body at all. So I've been trying to be aware of it, and not use it. It's like food is so-so and coffee is simply hot. Today, I can taste coffee more, so I know my sense of taste is returning, slowly though.

Monday, Sammy needed an allergy shot, and then we had plans to go out to breakfast and then a bunch of other plans. I did get him to his shot, and then to breakfast as promised... to an iHop (allergy shot in one town, iHop 30 miles away in a another town, oy!). Sammy wanted iHop because he loves their cornmeal pancakes. Guess what... the cornmeal pancakes are no longer on their menu; can't get 'em. He was disappointed, and I was like, "OMG, I drove 30 miles for this and I feel like CRAP." And then we had to cancel all the rest of the day's plans because I had to hurry home, and then I spent the rest of the day pretty much between my bed and my bathroom. What a sweet way to spend 8 vacation hours. I was telling my best friend, Sandy, all about my troubles, and she said, "It's like they said in that movie The Bucket List, 'never trust a fart'!" That's my Sandy, she can still make me laugh even when I don't feel like it.

And now I've been up and done with my shower since before 5am, sitting at our dining room table with all my work spread out - it's all staring at me! Been writing this blog post all that time, on and off, with several interruptions... But also having enjoyed the coffee Kev made this morning, talking with him before he had to leave for work, and enjoying what I can see of a gorgeous sunrise down our long hallway, past the kitchen, through our small window...

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Riding with the dogs

After Kev felled the big oak last weekend, he and I took a short ride together on our 4-wheeler. We drove out back so Kev could show me where he cut down some more trees. Out back by our little pond, there are 2 clumps of witch hazel growing there. I have a fondness in my heart for those witch hazel, and Kev knows this. The past couple of years, some small poplars have begun growing up too close to the witch hazel. I've been hinting, asking and outright begging Kev to clear those away. And he did! Have I mentioned lately how much I love that man?...

On our way back to the house, I used Joycie's little Sony for another video. I am amazed at how well that little thing records. And yes, my skills are not very refined, I'm afraid. But I was riding on a 4-wheeler. Don't expect too much.

The fun part, which is also at times very irritating, is Reilly's behavior. Reilly loves, loves, LOVES a 4-wheeler ride. He likes to be right in front of it and jump and act all weird. He used to bark at it and act like he was trying to bite it, but we got him to stop that behavior. Most of the time. Usually Kev will holler at him and tell him to run on ahead, and since Kevin is the ONLY person Reilly will mind, that's what Reilly does. I asked Kev to let him be coz I wanted to record Reilly's madness so we could laugh at it later. You can also hear Barney huffing and puffing behind us. Now that he's blind, he follows the 4-wheeler right on our tail. Betty makes her way however she wishes. Now, from her you'll usually hear some major huffing and puffing... but she stayed back away too far to get it on this video. The ride was fun. Enjoy...

Kev had moved both the pickups away from the polebarn in the event the big oak wasn't convinced to fall in the direction he wished. Squash the pole barn, just don't squash the trucks! I loved his comment when we were riding along side the pond and could see both the trucks parked in the front drive... Kev said, "30 years of technology right there between those 2 trucks." I thought that was a cool observation... we love the old pickup. Kev traded in his 1999 Chevy truck for this 2008 he has now. I think Kevin really tried to love that 1999, but he just could not. Me, neither. This new one, we both love. She's a keeper.