Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Heard on the phone...

 

..while talking with Becky:

 

“Conner, where are you going with the glue?”

 

Pause.

 

“Conner, maybe *first* you should decide what you want to glue, *then* open the glue.”

 

Conner is six.

 

 

Monday, November 29, 2010

When Casey was here for a visit

We went paddling together. I paddled my traditional kayak. Casey brought this goofy new-fangled thing. It has wheels on top, pedals, and paddle wings underneath that flap back and forth. Hard to imagine any respectable paddler would drive something like that.

Here is how it looked to me most of the day:


I watched from behind, Casey cruising along effortlessly about twice as fast as I could go. What a cool new-fangled thing.


We explored a small bit of the channels and mudflats of the Laguna Madre. Rivers of fish swam right underneath us in the shallow water. Sometimes there were so many fish in such a hurry the water ahead of us was a boiling wave. The birds out there seemed unusually tame, allowing us to glide right by practically within reach.

It was a great day.



Sunday, November 28, 2010

eBird

 

Until now, I’ve tracked my bird sightings on Thayer birding software.  This software does everything.  It describes the birds, it helps you identify the birds.  There is only one thing it doesn’t do well for me.  Its reporting options are limited.  It keeps track of my life-list for me, and I can extract other information I want from it, but it’s cumbersome to figure out where I am for intermediate measures, like day, week, or year lists.

 

There is an internet option for tracking sightings.  It’s called eBird.  It only does one thing, track sightings, and it does that very well.  Lots of birders track their sightings there.  Not only are the reporting options better, but there is a public benefit to it as well.  All the bird sightings recorded there go into a giant database that is available for ornithologists to use in tracking bird populations.  Seems like a really good idea so I’m going to use that from now on.  It’s a little tedious getting enough of my previous sighting transferred over, but once I get that done, I’ll have much more information at my disposal.

 

And something else.  I’ve gotten about 100 birds put in so far and when I looked through the reporting options I found eBird not only showed the year-lists for the top 100 birders in total and by state, but it gave me a number for my status.  I’m number 8,502.  8,502 with only about 100 birds put in.  I’ll keep entering data as I can and see how I move up.

 

 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The storm is gone

Calm. Warmer. Drove to the Valley and looked for that bird again, the Rufous Backed Robin. Just as the light was fading…



Got it!



Friday, November 26, 2010

The Cold Front

 

Finally made its way this far south.  We woke up to 47 degrees and gale force wind.  Brrr.

 

A good day for on-line shopping and turkey sandwiches.  The weather settled down in the afternoon, so we went out for some errands and to look at birds.  Got a Semi-palmated Plover and a Short-eared Owl flyby.

 

 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

 

…to all.  A nice weather day here; in the low eighties.  I have to point out that when we got up this morning we were 70 degrees warmer than our kids in Colorado.  A walk on the beach.  Some football on TV.

 

There are great group get-togethers here for Thanksgiving, but this year Judy and I decided to just have a quiet thanksgiving at our house.  We measured, and figured out that the microwave convection oven will hold a 12 pound bird, so we got a fresh one a couple days ago at a local butcher.  Know what happens when you go six or seven years without cooking a turkey at home?  You can’t find the turkey baster.  It probably ended up out in the outside cabinet to service the batteries.  No harm.  We thought our way through the process yesterday, noticed the missing piece, and bought a new one.

 

We’ve never cooked a turkey in a convection oven before.  We expected it to take less time than in a conventional oven, but how much less?  Hard to tell.  You just put the bird in the oven, punch the Compu-cook button, and trust the force.  We made our best guess as to when to start the cooking.  We punched the button.  Nothing.  Nothing happened because the turkey filled up the oven so we had to turn off the turntable.  It was too big to rotate.  Well, it turns out that if your bird can’t rotate, it can’t be cooked on Compu-cook.  No problem; we’ll just override that and tell it to cook manually.

 

Know what else?  If your bird is so big it fills up the oven and almost touches the top, it’s going to cook very weird in the convection oven.  After 90 minutes the top was crispy but the bottom was undercooked.  No problem.  We pulled the meal out of the microwave, flipped it over, and finished cooking it upside down.

 

We were happy we hadn’t invited anyone else over for Thanksgiving.  We’ll consider this a learning experience.  Next time we’ll cook something smaller.  The top part of the turkey was inedible; overcooked.  The bottom part of it was wonderful though.  We just didn’t end up with as much properly cooked turkey as we expected.  There’ll be enough for a turkey sandwich or two tomorrow anyway.

 

Turkey, dressing, cranberries, potatoes, gravy, and homemade pumpkin pie.  Football, good company, nice weather, a comfortable house, and a cozy faux fire.  It was a grand Thanksgiving.

 

 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Birding

 

When we go fishing and don’t catch what we’re after, we can declare that it’s called “Fishing” and not “Catching” for a reason.

 

We need a word for when we go Birding and don’t get what we’re after.  A word we can use in polite company.

 

 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Grackles

Sometimes we take a bath in the fountain.


Just a discreet dip.


A wetting of the feathers.



And then sometimes, we go free-diving!





Monday, November 22, 2010

Memory Foam

 

Brother David gets to sleep on a Tempurpedic.  I love the way the Tempurpedic Memory Foam mattress feels…..until I sleep on it.  Remember how it felt as a kid when you fell asleep on the naugahyde couch and you woke up with your face in a puddle?  That’s how it feels to me by morning when I sleep on memory foam.  I have to have a fabric that breathes under me.  That was my problem for all those years with a waterbed.  Same with the Sleep Number air bed.  When we buy a conventional mattress, the more money we spend on it, the more foam it is likely to have in it, the more likely I am not to be able to sleep on it.  I’m a memory-foam sissy.  This was never a problem in the olden days; everything was made out of cotton.  They had barely discovered foam rubber.  Now, when I explain my problem to mattress salesmen I get a blank stare.  All mattresses have foam in them.  I’ve had a custom mattress built for our motorhome, but it wasn’t any better.  Nobody understands me………

 

Until a few weeks ago.  That’s when I discovered this site:

 

http://www.coolingmattress.com/

 

I read their story.  They nailed it.  They understand me.  They describe why I’m uncomfortable on memory foam.  It’s because memory foam doesn’t breathe and heat builds up underneath me.  Then they provide the products to overcome that discomfort.  They were quick.  A few days later I had a cooling mattress pad and a cooling blanket.  Straight on the bed and…….. and…….. a terrible night’s sleep.  The 100% polyester “Outlast” fill didn’t regulate my body to a comfortable temperature by transferring excess heat away and returning it when I was cooler and needed warming.  It didn’t seem to breathe at all.  Maybe I shouldn’t have started with both the mattress pad *and* the blanket.  We slept another night on just the mattress pad; then another with just the blanket.  I called their help line.  Bottom line:  “Our product doesn’t work for everyone.”

 

It didn’t work for me.  We’re back to our 100% cotton mattress pad which is *almost* just right as long as we only sleep on the least expensive mattress we can get.

 

 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blooms

 

This is a very flowery time here.  I only sent out a few pictures.  I put more up on Flickr:

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/56032415@N07/sets/72157625435078626/

 

 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Poor Annie

She had to get some growths removed from her ear, side, feet and rear. They put her out and cut for three hours. Then they stitched everything back together, wrapped her up, woke her up (sort of), and sent her home.




That was Thursday. She’s much brighter now. One more week and she gets the stitches out.



Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fish

The Ling in this picture is not a Ling Cod, it’s a Cobia. It’s more closely related to a Remora.






In Texas, they don’t call them Cobia though, they call them Ling. It’s a local name. It’s like the elusive Montezuma Quail birders search for in Southern Arizona. Quail hunters there call them Mearnies.



Another big Redfish (Red Drum).


To keep a Red Drum for dinner, it has to be between 20 and 28 inches. You get to keep one larger than 28 inches, but only one per year. All the other big ones have to be returned to the water as sportfish.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Windmills


Some people don’t like windmills. They disrupt the skyline. They’re a hazard to bird migration. They’re too noisy.

They’re not a novelty anymore, there are windfarms everywhere, so maybe they do disrupt the skyline. They probably are a hazard to migrating birds, but so is everything else we do. At least a windmill is a moving target as opposed to a tall building with windows for birds to fly into.

Anyway, we were driving past a windmill farm out on the coastal plain and decided to stop and listen to see what they sounded like up close. We took this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUShQ3cLzbo

There is a steady powerful whooshing noise of the blades going round. I probably wouldn’t want to live directly under it. Given a choice between windmills or a smokestack though, I think I’d take the windmills.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Update

 

8:59!

 

I ran a sub-9 minute mile!  I just squeaked under.

 

Went to the cardiologist for a checkup.  He thinks I’m awesome.  (He didn’t actually say that, but I could tell that’s what he was thinking.)  Judy went to the Ortho for a follow-up on her shoulder and knee.  He thinks Judy is awesome.

 

 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Survey Update

 

We found another clock.  There is one on the blood pressure cuff.  The McKees win though.  They have a clock on their electric self-cleaning kitty litter box.

 

 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Motorhoming

 

A British perspective on motorhoming.  Three car-guys each create their own, then put them to the test.  We stumbled across this on the BBC channel on television, then found it on the internet so we could share it.  We thought the motorhomers or anglophiles among us might appreciate it.

 

http://videos.sapo.pt/VNIGPgkpSNRhRhupEJw8

 

http://videos.sapo.pt/0vYrguTa4aFZ0enbghjv

 

It’s in two parts.  If they’re slow to load, just hit pause and go do something else for a while.  The downloading will get way ahead of the playing and you can watch it uninterrupted later.

 

 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Conner's News

Grandson Conner decided to publish a daily newspaper. He has subscribers in the cul-de-sac. He writes the paper every day, copies it, rolls them up individually, gets on his bicycle and delivers them.


He’ six. I don’t know how he gets a compulsion like this.


And my favorite:



Monday, November 8, 2010

Mystery plant

What do you suppose this plant is growing wild? It’s inland, off the coast. Big leaves; leaves bigger than a dinner platter.

Blooms.


Turning to nut balls. Not quite burrs.


And end up looking kind of like chestnuts!







We found another clock.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

A survey

 

Remember when we were kids, and the only clocks in the house were clocks or watches?  Now, there are too many clocks to keep track of.  If something is digital, they put a clock in it even if it doesn’t need a clock.  It must not cost anything at all to just add a clock.  Our Indoor/Outdoor thermometer has a clock!

 

We should know how many clocks we have, since we travel across all the time zones, plus change from Standard Time to Daylight Savings time and back.  Sometimes we change time zones and daylight savings time the same day and get really confused.  We should know how many clocks we have, but we don’t.  We keep discovering more.  When we’re just moving from one time zone to another, we usually only change a few clocks and don’t worry about the rest.  In a few days or a few weeks we’d just have to change them again anyway.

 

This year, losing daylight savings time, we’re going to try to find all the clocks and change them.  I’ll list the ones I can think of:

 

1        Dashboard radio clock

2        Aladdin clock (the digital controller for motorhome systems)

3        System Control panel (for the generator and inverter)

4        Front room table clock

5        Microwave clock

6        Coffee pot clock

7        Two cell phone clocks

9        Digital voice recorder (for recording bird sightings) clock

10      Indoor/Outdoor thermometer

11       Itouch

12      Ipad

13      Three laptop computers

16      Bedroom alarm clock

17      Wristwatch (in a drawer somewhere)

18      Printer

19      Two cameras

21      Land-line telephone

22      Television clock

23      Landscape lighting clock

24      Landscape sprinkler clock

25      Jeep radio clock

 

A few of these clocks don’t have to be changed.  They just change themselves.  Now I’m offended by the ones that don’t.

 

How many clocks do you have in your house?  Do you even know?

 

 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Never know...

…what you’ll see going up and down the ship channel.


Towed by three tugs.


Held in place by two more at the rear.



Thursday, November 4, 2010

My calendar.

 

…has to run on Mountain Time.  I filled in our future plans in my Outlook calendar while we were in Colorado on Mountain Time.  When we moved back to the beach in the Central Time zone my Outlook calendar was suddenly scrambled.  Everything that was scheduled for one day was now scheduled for two.  I had changed the time zone in my computer.  I tried changing it back to Mountain Time and my Outlook calendar made sense again.

 

So now I think it’s still early in the day but it’s not.  My computer is on Mountain Time.

 

 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Update

 

Remember my story about talking to the surgeon just before I went back into the Cath Lab?  I asked him to not only save me, but to make me better than I was before.  He did.  He put in a couple new stents, and he also opened up that collateral artery that had been blocked off by a stent the first time around.

 

I have better endurance now.  If I’m slow and careful, I can run a few comfortable miles on the beach; no chest pain.  Sea level.  No shoes.  It works.  It works well enough that I’ve started checking my measured mile times.  At first I was barely breaking 20 minutes.  Now, though, I’ve broken through the 10 minute barrier.  That’s not my long-distance I-could-do-this-all-day pace, just my one mile speed, but my last timed mile was 9:40.  That’s actually running, not just shuffling along!  I have my energy back!

 

 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More fish pictures

A 48 pound Ling.


And a 42” Redfish.




Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy anniversary to us

Six years on the road. This morning we start on number seven’s adventures.

We unhooked the motorhome from our site and drove it to Aransas Pass for a new windshield. The old windshield took a rock in Oklahoma on the way down.

Aransas Pass Glass.


A truck, a ladder, and four guys who know what they’re doing.


They almost make it look easy.


All done in half an hour. A new Imax for us.



Casey and Laurie are here visiting from Durango. Fish and chips on the deck at Snoopy’s. Ice cream at Scoopy’s next door. It’s all good.