View From a Man’s Chair

Today I worked at OHA in Syracuse, and now that Sarah is gone, Mike was sitting at her desk for the first four hours, and I was sitting at Mike’s desk – sounds like musical chairs, huh? So I got his computer busy printing and saving files to the flash drives and meanwhile I started looking around and got the camera out. This is what I saw:
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This was given to the museum, I don’t know the history of this poor bird, I don’t want to know, because it really bothers me. Why did or do people have to stuff birds? And then why is this bird hanging upside down? I don’t know. The whole thing makes me feel bad.

To the right I was being watched over by:
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Was this guy killed for the sport of it, too? I’ll never know.

Mike plays Irish music, and this poster is really cool:
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And then I looked out the window (and plastic covering it) again, and saw the top of the McCarthy building I photographed last week:
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By the time I got home, the moon was in the trees – such a beautiful view – too bad the photos are still grainy using the AV Mode, ISO 400, FStop 6.3, hmmm:
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Vehicle & Jobs, What ‘They’ Say I Want for Valentine’s Day

Okay, it’s decided. I have to go back to an 8 to 5 job in an office somewhere (yucko) so I can make more money. I hate the whole interview process. Just hire me. I’m one darned good worker with strong work ethics and I’m multi-talented. I’m one of those rare people you don’t find around much anymore. My problem is I don’t toot my own horn at the interview (it just sounds so fake) so those people who are all talk and no action tend to get the jobs I would like.

What started this? I took my Explorer in today to get an inspection and new tires/alignment. It ended up needing upper ball bearings and shims. Well, that’s okay since it’s been a good vehicle and I did beat it up badly this past year with all of the construction I went through. So I’m thinking about a new vehicle within the next couple of years (before something major goes).

And Mom would like to go to England and on an African safari (and so would I), and so I’ve got to make more money to support my habits. That’s all there is to it! And before you beat me up for having an SUV – I have a standard shift, two wheel drive vehicle and it’s a sport model so it doesn’t suck up as much gas as other SUV’s. It actually gets very good gas mileage. And besides, the idea of driving a teeny tiny car on the road with all of the huge SUV’s (bigger than mine) and mini-vans (ick) scares me to death.

Last night an article came to the front of Yahoo’s news entitled “How to Pick the Right Gift for Valentine’s Day.” Of course I had to go look to see what it is they think I would like for valentine’s day, and no surprise, they’re pretty much wrong as far as I’m concerned. Where do they come up with this stuff?

First – flowers. Nope. I grow my own flowers. And IMHO flowers are outrageously priced for Valentine’s Day. I’m too practical.

Second – ‘A coupon for a backrub from you or drawing her the ultimate sensual bath, with no expectations!‘ Nope, I can draw my own bath (the water has to be just the right temp), and I don’t need a coupon to obtain a backrub.

Third – ‘A home-cooked meal by you…where you really do it all from start to finish.‘ Okay, not bad, just as long as it’s vegeterian and no hot peppers. I almost croaked once eating a raw hot pepper at a dinner made by a him for me. And vegeterian doesn’t mean a plate full of veggies with dip. I’m not a rabbit, argh.

Fourth – ‘A handwritten love note or a poem on fresh tree bark.‘ Nope. Please leave the tree bark on the tree. I wouldn’t be able to see the love note or poem for being torqued over the removal of precious bark from the tree.

Obviously whoever put this together didn’t get the memo that Kahlua chocolate-covered strawberries are where it’s at this year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very romantic, but I’m also practical.

How about you, what do you like to receive or give for valentine’s day?

“As You Like It Inn,” More Camera Practice

I received an email from someone looking for information on my Great Great Aunt Abbie who ran an inn in called “As You Like It Inn” in Waterville, VT.
Gr-Gr-Aunt Abbie is my great grandfather’s sister on my dad’s mother’s side. I have photo postcards of the inn, but I don’t know anything about Abbie. So I asked my Dad, who remembered a couple of things. Next thing I knew he pulled out a big photo album full of . . . more very old family photos! Awesome! I thought I was done with all of the old family photos. So last night I scanned in two pages of these photos, and I’ll continue tonight. I’m uncovering some awesome photos of old family members I’ve never seen before! Here’s a covered bridge I found, too, probably taken in Vermont.

I had every good intention of going to the lake to take photos today of the birds, but after running errands and washing my truck at the cheapie car wash using the sprayer I was completely frozen stiff and didn’t warm up for quite a while. It’s going in for a NYS Inspection and other stuff tomorrow, and I didn’t want the guys working on it to get all salty. Oh shoot, I just remembered I *left* my camera in the truck – all day – argh! I’ve never done that before.

Oh looky what I found when I went to get my frozen stiff camera! I am practicing with the AV mode, ISO 400, Fstop set at 6.3 instead of 4.0. The same moon that Mary saw last night! Hmmm, it’s kind of grainy, I have more work to do on learning this, and what’s with the spot in the corner? Just because I left it outside all day doesn’t mean it has to get attitudinal on me now! By the way, it was completely dark out when I took these photos.
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While you’re reading blogs, why not head on over and take Mon@rch’s Bird Quiz!

Deer, Learning my Camera – finally

You know the drill if you’ve been reading my blog, I go to the bathroom, watch out the window which faces my backyard as I’m, well, you know, and see what I can see. Today I saw the two big babies and their mom! Right in plain sight. So I get done, grab the camera, and they’re out of sight except for part of this one (taken from far away through the sliding glass door):
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Some days I think I’m not going to blog because I have nothing of interest to say, but then these opportunities present themselves. Gotta love nature, always keeping us humans on our toes.

Last night I had dinner at Mom and Dad’s (mmmmmm) and then we went to see Fiddler on the Roof at Roberts Wesleyan College. I love that play, it is just a very long time to sit in theatre seats! I couldn’t wait for intermission to get a good stretch in (I didn’t think the guy behind me would appreciate me stretching in the middle of the play) and some fresh air.
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My seat was good except it was kitty-corner to the sound guy and I could see his mistakes – it drove me nuts to watch him and the play, too.

Today I started reading my camera’s user guide – what a concept, huh? So far I found a few mistakes I was making. I didn’t have the compression set to Superfine so my images haven’t been making me totally happy. Now that I did that, my flash card only allows 154 photos. Amazing how I used to think 36 photos would do me on a film camera. Now I know 154 won’t be enough at all because I can run through 154 photos real quick, especially when I’m on vacation!

Okay, before that, I learned how to do continuous mode (yeah, I know, it’s a *real* easy thing, I just never tried it) – I think some people call it sports mode. I can see a good use for this while trying to capture birds. Here’s some shots I captured of some birds on Animal Planet – I had to test the camera on the spot, you know:
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Now to find some real live birds to use this mode on.

And last for today I learned how to make movies. First I set it at the highest resolution and got about 11 seconds on my card (yes I ordered some bigger cards) and captured an elephant on Animal Planet. But then I figured I shouldn’t upload it to YouTube. I lowered the resolution per YouTube’s suggestion and captured it snowing. Oh, how exciting, I know. I made it quick. I have to learn to stop my living processes while I try to capture movies. Hmmmm.

I have so much more to learn about this camera! I can envision taking movies of the Gambel’s Quail or whatever else moves itself in front of me here or in Arizona.

Everything Is Quiet on the Bay!

Since we’re having a heat wave here today (hey 27 degrees F is much warmer than 0 degrees F), I stopped at LaSalle’s Landing Park again to see if I could find any new birds. The first thing I spied was. . . a tent in the bay. Alrighty then. I still see unfrozen water pretty close to this tent, so the ice has to be pretty thin. I don’t get the thrill of it.

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No Great Blue Heron hanging out here today:
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There were a bunch of gulls hanging out beyond this but I didn’t capture any good photos of them. Besides I’ve shown them enough for now. I love the way the water is freezing in swirl patterns:
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As I turned around to leave I captured this small barn. I have no clue if it is still being used for anything. 2007-01-27 028

While I was waiting at a red light I captured the side of a the Sticky Lips Pit BBQ restaurant:
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Why? Because I love old signs:
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Full Serve! Do you remember getting full service at a gas station? Actually there is a place across town that has the most reasonable gas and is still full serve. Too bad it’s too far away to make it worth driving there:

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Gambel’s Quail

There are several things my Mom and I like to see and do when we visit Arizona, and one of those things is seeing a Gambel’s Quail (Callipepla gambelii). We usually hear their familiar call before we see them; the male warning the female and babies to run for cover because those blasted humans are nearby again. Here’s one of the males we saw in 2005:
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We usually see them on the ground in the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ. This same year we saw a family of quail – the female and babies running for cover, but do you think I could get the camera going fast enough to catch those cute little babies? No. Sorry. Believe me, I wish I did, because they were so cute!

Last year we heard a Gambel’s Quail, but this time we heard it calling from a tree:

There were very loud and obnoxious people running through the gardens, and this quail was very unhappy with them. We got far away from those people ourselves while I stood far away taking photos of the quail. The next photo is fuzzy, but it shows his topknot:

I hate it when ignorant people don’t know what they’re doing to the wildlife by being obnoxious.

With the temperature here way below freezing and it snowing like crazy, I’ve been thinking about Arizona and Gambel’s Quail today. I can’t wait to see them again, the babies I saw in recent years all grown up now. There’s lots of other wildlife in this garden, but I’ll save that for another day!

Kahlua Chocolate-Covered Strawberries – Oh My!

Mmmmmm, I love Kahlua and I have ever since I first tried it. My current very fattening favorite is the Mudslide. My friend and I went to a restaurant in Geneva where the bartender was out sick, so some guy was filling in. We asked for Mudslides and he wasn’t sure how to make them, so we told him what to throw in them. I swear, that was *the* best, most intoxicating Mudslide I’ve ever had.

So what brought this up? I’m not a lush, I haven’t had a mudslide in quite a while. But just as I was about to log off for the night I saw an email from Kahlua for, oh my, among other things, Kahlua Chocolate-Covered Strawberries.


Oh my. Chocolate covered strawberries are *awesome* in and of themselves (and I could say more but I have to behave myself even though it is *my* blog), but Kahlua Chocolate-Covered Strawberries, somebody please save me now. Forget the flowers – I can grow those,
Kahlua Chocolate-Covered Strawberries are on the top of my wish list now! Don’t they sound sinfully delicious?

P.S.  The images are from Kahlua’s email, and the strawberries in the photo don’t have enough chocolate on them to suit me!

Baby It’s Cold Outside! Cummings Nature Center

I just got done roof-raking and shoveling snow *away* from my house (the snow plow man plows snow up against my house – for some reason that really bothers me), and I froze my hiney off! I’m sitting here unthawing as I write so I can climb into the shower again and warm up. We got 10 inches of light fluffy snow, except when the snow plow pushes it together it becomes very heavy. The wind chill factor is 0 and it’s supposed to get to -28 tonight. I think I’ll put another quilt on my bed tonight! So no, I’m not going to go looking for any birds today.

Instead, I’m pulling out my Cummings Nature Center photos I took on July 3, 2004. We walked The Conservation Trail, which is a trail that explains about the different conservation and management practices in the forest. Even though these red pines look too perfect planted like this, I still like the effect that it gives when looking down this path:

Then I turned around and looked the other way:

And then I looked up:
I think I was using my old camera to take these photos, and didn’t realize I could fit the whole sign in one photo:

I upgraded to WordPress 2.1 and my writing interface is a bit different than I’m used to with the older WordPress (older being let’s see, 10 days older) so it’s a little bit of an adjustment, but I guess I’ll live! I hope you’re staying warm wherever you are today!

Up Building Photos of McCarthy Building

After lunch today Sarah and I walked down Salina St. in Syracuse so I could capture photos of the old McCarthy store building for my friend Michelle. Michelle is working on an article about the Lincoln store that used to be in this building at one time because it’s where her parents met while working there. And there’s much more to the story than this, but Michelle will tell it best (as she always does, she is a born storyteller). She doesn’t know I was going to take photos for her today, so hopefully when I email her with a link to all of the photos I took, she’ll be surprised!
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Michelle sent me a list of questions and while I sat next to the historian at lunch I didn’t want to make the man work while he was eating lunch! And besides the lunch was a going away lunch for Sarah, the OHA research librarian, who is also my friend. Sarah’s position was eliminated due to budget issues at OHA. So today I am very sad. I drove through a really bad snowstorm so I could work with Sarah one last time and go to Sarah’s lunch.

This is the same building taken from Fayette Street:

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I’m going to miss Sarah very much next week when I go in to work at OHA.

There always seems to be so much change all of the time, people come, people go. Another person in my life that left recently to go to Denver to be with “the love of her life” was my hair dresser Colleen. Argh! Do you know what it’s like to find a new hairdresser who can do your hair so all you have to do is wash, towel dry, brush it straight, and flip it around and it looks great? Im-freakin’-possible. I hired one to give me a bang trim and she didn’t give them the wispy, sexy look that Colleen used to do (‘wispy’ and ‘sexy’ are Colleen’s descriptions, not mine) – she cut them straight across like a child’s bangs. I wasn’t going to let her touch the rest of my hair. As my hair gets longer and longer, I’m figuring out who I will try out next. Again with a bang trim. Hey, I figure if they can’t get my bangs right, they sure aren’t going to be able to handle the rest of my hair.

Looks like I need to retake this photo to get the entire building in the photo!

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And hopefully tomorrow I’ll be checking out some more water birds!

Irondequoit Bay, LaSalle’s Landing Park

I heard on the radio this morning that there were some ice fishermen on the bay – huh? As far as I know the bay hasn’t even iced over yet – except maybe the south end. So I had to check it out again this morning. I first stopped at the parking area with the big historical sign I showed you before. There was ice underfoot, and it was cracking with every step I took. I looked around and saw the standard birds.

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I did see these poles with red flags at the top. But I didn’t see any ice fishermen this morning. I wouldn’t walk out there!
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I pulled into another parking lot that was pretty close to the end of the bay and saw more birds.

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Then as I drove down the road a little ways I spotted LaSalle’s Landing Park – I didn’t even know it was here! You can see how much it was snowing by looking at the sign.
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It’s not a very big park, but I did walk out on that stone platform:

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It was hard to tell if it was flat walking or not, and as I was walking down there I scared away a Great Blue Heron: 2007-01-23 036

See it flying away? Here’s a closer photo:

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I saw this swan:

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Then I spotted this grebe or loon (thanks Mon@rch!) next to the swan, but when I tried to get a closer photo, it was gone!
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And there were more birds hanging out:

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And flying around:

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And honking loudly:

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And showing off beauty:

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My photos didn’t come out as good as I had hoped, but it was fun seeing all of the birds here again! I also discovered some other places I need to check out soon!

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