Look At That Girl Go!

September 2, 2017

David sent this short video of Emma, who just turned 4 last May, riding a 2-wheeler like a pro. (I think those kids got their athletic abilities from the other side of the family!)  Click the triangle to start the YouTube video.

For us this was a do-things-around-the-house and taking care of details kind of day: scrubbing the deck, killing a wasp nest, laundry, weed-eating, fixing the garden hose, finalizing details for our upcoming trip, and buying Gary a new phone.


So far we have survived the Great Gas Panic of Thursday.  Both our cars have half a tank.



Confused Hummingbird

August 31, 2017

Look what flew into my kitchen when I opened the back door this morning. It seemed to be going after something at the top of the light. We first tried to shoo it out, but it wouldn’t go, so I got a stool and climbed up to the ceiling and cupped it in my hands.  Of course, it tried to get out and stuck its bill out between my fingers, so I stepped outside in case I couldn’t hold it.  But I wanted to get a photo so Gary managed to do that and then I let it go.

Another thing to check off my bucket list: holding a hummingbird. 🙂

First Day of First Grade and the Yankees

August 30, 2017

Micah has survived his first day of first grade with a smile. Here are before and after photos. The new location and new school will be a transition for everybody.

Isabella hasn’t started 4th grade yet, but will soon. Today she and her family, including Abuela Miguelina, went to a half-priced baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Grandpa Wendell, please note what she is reading. While eating ice cream. At Yankee Stadium.

In other news, my replacement freezer arrived yesterday and it is nice to have all of that mess cleaned up. Let’s hope the new one lasts longer than 13 months.

Birding Report from our trip to OR and WA

August 23, 2017

I had a great time birding while we were on vacation/doing PD/having a family reunion last month in Oregon and Washington. It has taken me quite a while to go through all of my photos–and Andrew’s photos–to see if I missed any IDs. Today I actually found a Green-winged Teal that we had not had in the list. Here are my highlights, followed by (mostly crummy) photos:

  • David and Sarah bought me a new birding scope–a late Christmas/birthday gift, so that made viewing the sea birds slightly less impossible than it really is!
  • It was fun having Andrew to go birding with, since he is kinda the one who got me into birding in the first place
  • I added 5 birds to my life list, 4 of which were sea birds.  My life list is now at 419.
  • I saw a total of 66 species while I was in OR and WA.  I know Andrew saw a slightly different set because his family went further north after they left our family reunion.
  • It was great to go back to the Tualatin Wildlife refuge near where Teresa lives–such a wonderful birding location.

I had too many photos to post right here, so go to the album to see them. Click here.


A Few Troubles

August 23, 2017

Some days things go your way, and some days they don’t.  Today’s troubles include an unhappy ETH customer, the disappearance of all accent marks on a Spanish e-publication, too much email, pollen allergies, and a still-broken freezer.  Nothing earth-shattering, just stuff to deal with.

In other news, this cucumber plant just keeps on giving!  I need to check it everyday because some are getting overgrown.  There are still new blossoms and bees are around doing their pollinating job.

Solar Eclipse 2017

August 21, 2017

I left work early so I could go home and build a pinhole camera thingy to “view” the eclipse. It worked pretty well, but was a little fuzzy. We also did the standard pinhole against a white surface. We found ways to stand in the edge of the shade so we wouldn’t roast to death–pretty hot to be standing out in the midday sun!

We also saw these very cool crescent shapes in the middle of the tree shade, a hundred little pinhole projections coming thru the leaves. Click on the photos to see a larger version so you can see the shapes.

We even turned Rachel’s shirt into an eclipse shirt!

David sent a couple photos from their viewing party.  They had proper viewing glasses and were in an area of near totality.  So cool!

Congratulations to Micah!

August 20, 2017

Micah has graduated from Kindergarten and will be going to a new public school near their house for first grade. He looks happy but not as happy as Emma who is celebrating with an ice cream come.

More Freezer Problems

August 17, 2017

The problem Gary has with lawnmowers I seem to have with refrigerators and freezers. Ugh. My upright freezer is only 13 months old and it quit working on Wednesday. Of course, it was Thursday before I realized that was the case, and by then the ice cream was soup but other things were not quite thawed.

The good news is I bought the 5 year extended warranty. The bad news is they can’t find a technician for up to a week. Fortunately, we still have a small unused refrigerator in the apartment, so we’ve moved everthing out and lost only the ice cream.

This was the low point of my day; the high point was receiving a nice thank you note from the teachers and students at childcare who were thanking me for my invited talk last Friday. They all drew pictures of birds with smiley faces.

Another nice thing is that Rachel’s cucumber bush just keeps producing and we’ve had an unusually cool and rainy August, so that helps. (By cool, I mean 95 degrees instead of 105.)


August 14, 2017

We really try to do our part as far as not adding unnecessary junk to the world’s landfill, but when it comes to lawnmowers, we’ve trashed quite a few. 😦 Gary got too close to the stump (maybe we should have paid for stump grinding) and messed it up good. He tried to straighten the crankshaft with a sledge hammer, but, uh, that didn’t really work.  So off to Home Depot we go, and once again, Rachel’s tiny Scion serves as our pickup truck.


In other news, a 16 year old boy from church asked if I could give him some cake baking lessons, so he spent the afternoon at our house yesterday and helped me make a birthday cake for colleague Tom.


In still other news, Rachel went to our clinic today to get a TB skin test and was told she needed two immunizations as well, so she rolled up her sleeves!  She managed (barely) not to faint by asking them for Dr. Pepper to revive her!!  She more than spent her week’s paycheck while there, but it would have cost more at a real doctor’s office. Speaking of childcare, I was the invited expert guest speaker there last Friday to teach the 3-5 year olds about how to go birdwatching. It was kinda fun and I left them with a pictorial checklist so they could practice.  They had been studying birds all week, and one of the teachers had a real (empty) ostrich egg for show and tell!  (Ya never know what those missionaries are going to come up with…)

DIY New Sink and Faucet

August 9, 2017

It was approximately 32 years ago that Grandpa Wendell installed a bar sink in our apartment bathroom. He made it work double duty as a kitchen sink by cutting the hole in the countertop far to the right so there would be a tiny bit of counter space.

But after 32 years the faucets were getting a bit worn out, so I bought a replacement. This will be easy, I thought, since the new one is exactly the same size as the old.

And indeed the two sinks were the same size. However, the new sink had longer strips of the channeling along each underside which holds the clamps, and because of that, the new sink wouldn’t go in the same hole.  Ugh.  I tied two different ways to solve the problem, but in the end I hacked it. I hacked the countertop hole with the hacksaw to be just a little bigger and a little squarer to fit the new sink. It was a big ugly mess, but once the new sink was installed, you can’t even tell.

The new faucet is taller than the old, so that is even nicer. This one hour project took 4.5 hours.