Friday, March 28, 2008

Dream job

I don't know about anyone else - but I have a great deal of trouble coming up with anything other than a daily diary to post. I do know that most of the other blogs I read seem to find things of either deep thought or great revelation to share. So instead of having a pity party (oh poor me I can't write deep thoughts), I started poking around in my picture archives.

One caught my attention today. I am a wildlife biologist by academic training. The best job I ever had was as an Interpretive Naturalist at the Michigan Audubon Nature Center near where we now live. In fact DH and I met there. He by the way also has a degree in Wildlife Biology and has been fortunate enough to work in his field until retirement. A couple of years ago we were invited to observe a team banding a pair of Bald Eagle chicks. It was a real treat. I had never been that close to a Bald Eagle let alone touch one. The biologist directing the operation was a young woman. Here is a picture of a gal with the job of which I dreamed. Back in "my day" the Department of Wildlife Biology was still a part of the College of Agriculture at MSU. There were not many women in the classes then. Those were men's jobs. Now there are as many or more women holding jobs in what was a man's world. The Director of Department of Natural Resources in our sate is a Woman now. She is the first woman to hold that position.

Along with the Biologist there was a photographer and a climber. The photographer's job was self explanatory. The climber did just that. He dawned a pair of pole climbers spikes, harness and rope and climbed the live White Pine tree to about 75 feet above the ground and peeked over the edge of the nest. There is always a danger that the chicks might jump when they were frightened by the climber. He then captured the two chicks, one male and one female and stuffed them in sacks head first to be lowered to the ground. There they were laid on their backs, weighed, measured, and blood samples taken before the bands were attached. They were about 2/3s grown and did not yet know the strength of their claws or beaks. Then they were put back in the bags and hauled up into the nest. During the entire operation which was carried out as quickly and quietly as possible the adults circled high above screaming their concern.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


The contents of the Kitchen are in the Living room, mostly. The doors are off the lower cabinets and the refrigerator and stove are sitting in the middle of the floor near the maximum reach of their cords. I can just barely reach the kitchen sink because the stove is in the way and I can't open the dish washer door for the same reason. The dog is shut in the sun room and bed room and can not go into the rest of the house. This is the area that our other two dogs were never allowed to enter because they were my Mother's apartment then and she wanted NO dog hair in her life.

We are remodeling, something I swore in 1996 when we added my Mother's apartment to the house that we would never do again and live in the house at the same time. SIGH - I WOULD want my kitchen remodeled. Not everything mind you. New floor, Soapstone counter tops, with new sink and faucets, new dishwasher and new tile backs plash. Now the cabinets are perfectly good, with the exception of one which had to be replaced. Of COURSE it does not match in color of wood, a lot lighter, or even style. Thank goodness it does not sit under or near any others. BUT the cabinets are almost 30 years old so they are pretty shabby looking. SO DH decided to refinish them. That involves buying an new type of tool to sand the fronts - so there was sawdust EVERYWHERE. Now they are sitting with the one coat of stain on the fronts waiting for three coats of marine Urethane finish. And the cabinet fronts have to be finished before the counter tops are to be installed on April 3. The doors can wait until AFTER we return from our trip to the southwest.

Why oh why do we seem to put off doing things until there is a schedule to meet and then doing them in a rush?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


No riding today. Unfortunately and fortunately my coach has an interview with a group that does therapeutic riding with Autistic kids. She is hoping to find a place for herself and her horses in the program. What a kick it would be for her to be able to find a place where Toby can be helpful to the kids and she can maybe get out of the dealership.

She offered to let me go take Cricket out on my own but I am still too chicken to go riding alone. Chris said if she had known she would have brought riding clothes to work and we could have gone together. It would have been a perfect trail ride day.

Here is hoping that Carol's interview went well.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sweet Maple Sugar!

Well it is still March in Michigan. Snowing most of the day again. The forecast is wonderful for the folks that are out in the Sugar Bush. Still days just above freezing and nights below freezing for the foreseeable future. This is going to have to be the longest sugaring season in history.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Work and Church

Back to work after a long Easter weekend taken off for Maunday Thursday and Good Friday.

BUSY is not the word. There was no school and "everyone" who ever comes to the library was there, and then some. And of course the drop box left a mountain on the floor and never stopped being added to. No chance to get bored today.

Then there was Bell Practice. The tables are back at the front of the church - BAH!! I like them at the back behind the congregation, that way we are not a concert instead of just another part of the service. I am rather uncomfortable it when the congregation applauds after an Anthem is played or sung. And of course if you do not join in the Applause you are not appreciative - grrrr my rant for the day.

Sunday, March 23, 2008



Saturday, March 22, 2008


Today is the last day of lent. Holy Saturday. A day of waiting for the Joy of Easter. I can't say it as well as Tandaina. After a very emotional Good Friday service I am ready for Easter. We are attending the Great Vigil of Easter together this evening at a Gothic big city church with Tiffany windows and a pipe organ "to die for". The organist is a virtuoso who does world wide concert tours so the music will be "to die for". The Great Vigil is the first service of the Easter celebration, ancient in tradition, the kindling of the first light after the Light of the World was snuffed out on Friday. I am excited at the opportunity to use my Book of Common Prayer/Hymnal again as I have not been able to in several years. Traditions of a life time are hard to put aside and it will be very pleasant to share the old traditions with my daughter again.

more signs of spring

It is still chilly, 10* below normal, but bright and sunny. Out of the wind it is pleasant in the wind it is cold. But spring is in the air and officially on the calendar. So I keep looking for more signs.

  • The Turkey Vultures are back.
  • The Gulls have returned inland, waiting for the plows maybe.
  • Corn planters are being moved on the roads in preparation for the planting season.
  • The Red Wing Black Birds are scattered along the shoulder of the road, picking up gravel, for their gizzards I presume.
  • The bright red male Cardinals are chasing each other, building fences around their nesting territories.
  • The poppies are showing green leaves against the foundation of the house.
  • The very tips of leaves of some bulb are poking up through the still frozen soil.
  • My spring fever grows unabated.

Friday, March 21, 2008

movie review

Beowulf and Grendel.

Pretty good flick. The purists would not like it, again a story change to improve the audience draw. This time Grendel and his mother are both killed. But another character is added to include a bit of romance and a different twist to the story. A way to give Grendel a motive for his murderous ways.
The free use of the f word and the s word to appeal to the preteens I could have done without, and somehow it just does not really fit, the swearing is somehow too modern for the setting.
And the acting is not all that great
BUT the setting is worth putting up with all the faults. It is filmed in Iceland and is full of Icelandic Ponies. And the music is pretty good to.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

More progress

The "tile guy" was here this morning taking the measurements. He had gone to Home Depot to look at the tile I mentioned but he does not want to use that. He said he can get a much higher quality tile that will hold up better to movement of the house and just getting bumped. The tile he will get will also be finished on the edges so we don't have to use the bull nose stuff so it will look better in his opinion. Plus the price will not be much more, with his discount, around $60 he said. Of course his labor will be more but he said it would not be bad and will get us a bid this evening. He seemed to have a good handle on what he is doing.

Moon set

The moon was beautiful this morning. On my way to Curves at 6:30 A.M. the moon hung just below tree top level, full brilliant, and GOLD! The sky was crystal clear with a gleam of light, promising sunrise, showing on the eastern horizon and the moon hovering in the dark sky of the west, peeking through and around the black lace of bare tree branches.

I always wish for a camera that would capture the beauty of creation at moments like these.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More progress

The Counter top install is now set for Thursday April 3. I called the "tile guy" and we talked at some length about what I want done. He will come to measure, on Tuesday next or earlier if he is available.

Things are falling into place rapidly now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The template was made for the new counter tops today. It was a fascinating process. First he ran a strip of masking tape around all the front and side edges of the counters and measured and drew lines and marked distances on the tape.

Then he got out a roll of wide tape with large black dots and patterns of small black dots and ran them the length of the counters on the wall and placed some strategically along the edges. He also scattered around the counters, white metal "plates" about 8 1/2 X 11, which were covered with patterns of small and large black dots. He then took digital photos from all angles including as high as he could reach. He said that they have computer software that knows the distances between the dots and makes the measurements and template. He also made a detailed drawing with the measurements on paper.

B. was a nice kid (um - young man), graduated from the local Weslyan Academy in 1998, and was shocked by our new elementary school that is going in. He made me think of Nephew M. We also talked dogs, he has a 15 month yellow lab and is a waterfowl hunter, and he and DH talked shot guns.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Bell practice tonight and the tables were still in the back of the church. It sounds like they may stay there. I LIKE playing from the back of the church.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday

Altar Guild duties and Bell choir

Altar Guild - be sure to have the palms as well as setting the Altar.
I have been doing Altar guild all by myself this month because my sister Altar Guild member has been ill and can not manage the stairs in the "new" building. But after service I approached K. and L. (sisters) and asked if they had thought about joining the Altar guild. And they both said YES - no arm twisting, no begging. Just yes.
Hallelujah - oops sorry it is still Lent. yyyyaaayy

We played the bells with the tables set up at the back of the church. That way they could be heard in the Undercroft as well as in the Naive for the Procession of the Palms into the Naive. Then we played the Communion Hymn from the back too. I really liked the tables at the back.

I am sooo excited! I got two new Altar Guild members just by asking. Young ones too. And K. volunteered her fiance as well to help when needed.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Early Signs of Spring

  1. Horses are shedding like mad.
  2. The mare I ride is crabby, but a LOT less so than last year, Image is growing up at last!
  3. The Robins have been back for a couple of weeks.
  4. The black birds are back. The Starlings came a week ago, The Grackles and Red Wing Black Birds yesterday.
  5. A pile of black stuff on the corner by the old gas station that looks like a new delivery of top soil. I would believe it if I didn't know better.
  6. Lots of soft bird "twitters" - songs of small birds that I do not bother to identify. Some are surely House Finches and Gold Finches and various sparrows.
  7. The male Cardinals whistling their territorial fences into place.
  8. Mud under foot, over a layer of frost still in the soil.
  9. Swiss cheese pot holes in the dirt road between our driveway and the pavement.
  10. The same soft spot in our driveway that appears every spring as the frost goes out.
  11. The sun is back for more than one day at a stretch.
  12. Frost on the Silver Dog House in the morning.
  13. Maple Syrup boiling in the pans.
  14. The breezes feel softer.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring Fever!!!


A glorious sunny morning-chilly but SPRING is in the air!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

March in Michigan

Spring is on the way but the weather is typical Michigan. The snow that fell for a very few minutes this morning looked more like someone had torn open an old bean bag chair and spread those little styrofoam beads all around. And they stayed on the ground for hours. The sun finally came out mid afternoon to prove he was truly still around not lost after all.

Heard geese as I left the library after work at 8 PM.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Snow again last night. Fortunately not very much - wet and sticky. Just enough to catch the tracks of the local rabbits,

and Duncan,

And stick to the trees.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Life List?

We went for a walk this morning seeking out the Pine Grosbeaks that have been hanging around the area where DH takes Duncan for his walks. I did see them a couple of weeks ago in the tops of the tall trees near the parking lot. But I did not have my binoculars so it was someone else with binoculars that confirmed that they were indeed the unusual visitors this far south. So the question is: can I put them on my "life list"? I feel a bit guilty doing so because although I heard their calls and pointed them out to the couple that was looking for them, I did not get a close look at the birds.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Maple Sugaring

The air is still cold but the Maple sap buckets are hanging on the trees. Above freezing days and below freezing nights make the sap run. Hooray! Spring is in the air.

I wished for a camera to document the "drips" but I was hurrying to hand bell choir practice for the first time in our new church building. So many new firsts.

It is well.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

New House of Worship

We held our first Worship Service in your new space today. It was wonderful to have a dedicated worship space so that we have a real sanctuary. Now we have to learn new or relearn old habits of how to behave in a sacred space.

There are real stained glass windows in this church which was built sometime in the late 1800s.

I give up- I can not get the pictures of the windows to go where I want them.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Worth Watching

I work at a small Township Library - 30,000 volumes - . We have a rather extensive DVD collection, from whic I am forever taking something home and then never getting the chance to watch it. But this one I am - "Planet Earth" a documentary by BBC Video showing on TV on the Discovery Channel. It is well worth the time to watch and I am glad I got started on it. There are 5 DVDs in the set. The photography is awesome. They use helicopters as well as other high tech methods to get pictures from fascinating angles. It is a bit jumpy in parts sort of like Sesame Street but all in all it has been a very enjoyable experience so far and I fully intend to watch all 5 discs, something I have not been able to manage so far with any other extended series so far.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Speaking of birds - (see the post about the eagle cam earlier today) - we have had two intersting visitors to our front yard. Two Robins Wednesday morning. But more exciting, a couple of days earlier a Red Shouldered Hawk landed in the front yard and then hopped up on the stump I have sun dial mounted on. The stripped tail was very evident. After sitting there awhile he flew up to the power pole and surveyed the area for a few minutes before flying off to the east. The buffy color under his wings was very visible.

Now the Robins are supposed to be the first bird of spring and maybe this year they are. But a few Robins have been staying in the area all winter for the last few years. This year they may have all left and are now returning. But I think of the true first bird of spring as the Red Wing blackbird.


This entry is from a message board I subscribe to.

A friend sent me this "Eagle Cam (" link...pretty cool. It's a live stream of an eagle sitting on a nest with eggs that were laid last week on Catalina Island ( off the coast of SoCal. I guess it takes about 35 days for them to hatch...but it's pretty amazing to check in and watch them (momma #K-26 & poppa #K-10) taking care of the nest. Every once and awhile I caught a glimpse of a white egg in the nest. I leave it running on my computer at work and listen to all the nature sounds while working....Ahhhh, signs of spring - at least somewhere!!!

Here's some more info ( about it ~

The Eagle Cam is awesome and now I am letting it run in the background at work on my computer.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


It is one day closer! Missed the snow storm yesterday and the water in the parking lot at Curves was liquid not solid, in spite of the big feathery snow flakes that were drifting down. And it has been a mostly bright day out.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


As I have noted before, our Church is moving into a new space, from a rented office building to a rented church building. There are real stained glass windows.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Spring Fever

50* this morning. No more pretty white snow. Instead puddles on the ice, dirty piles of snow on road sides with soil thrown up by the plows melting and running over the pavement. Rain pockmarking what had been the white blanket hiding what is beginning to peek out of ragged holes. It is so warm at work that we propped the back doors open to let fresh air inside the building. A sudden downpour of rain mid morning had me rushing to close the doors - oh well only vinyl floors and metal and glass doors, all will dry. When the rain quit the doors were opened again to let in the air. {I hate the way they build modern buildings with windows that can not be opened. The air is either heated or air conditioned, the same air we have been breathing for years, it seems, just recycled}. Patrons calling to ask "please let me renew my movies - I can't drive on the back roads" The rain on the packed snow has turned the roads to the slipperiest surface possible - wet ice. They decide to close school early and send the kids home. I shake my head - how does that help? Wet ice at noon or wet ice at 4:00. By afternoon the patrons are talking about the next storm on its way due Tuesday night - 9 inches of snow predicted for mid Michigan between Mt. Pleasant and I-69. That's us. Ice south of I-69.

Hey its still winter in Michigan, Spring does not arrive until Maunday Thursday this year. Three weeks away almost. But spring fever was in the air this morning we have had a enough winter this year. After all the road commission is out of road salt.

Tandaina was also thinking of Spring today.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

10 Commitments For Parents

I have been carrying this little piece of laminated newspaper around in my purse for years. My mother gave it to me. Our children are grown and there is no prospect of grandchildren on the near or even far horizon. so I plan to pass this on to someone who can use it.

In the meantime I am gong to post them here because they are still as important today as they were when my children were young.

1. I will read to my child daily.
2. I will listen to my child read daily.
3. I will help my child start a word collection of at least on un-known word daily.
4. I will take dictation (talk written down) of stories, poems, and sayings my child creates.
5. I will help my child pursue an interest and find five books to read on the topic.
6. I will praise my child for at least one success daily.
7. I will arrange for my child to use the library and visit bookstores to select books independently.
8. I will help find listeners to whom my child can read.
9. I will encourage my child to buy books and educational games.
10. I will listen to my child when s/he talks about the books s/he reads, or about what is happening at school.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


In like a lion out like a lamb? Or is it in like a lamb and out like a lion?

Sunny blue sky with near thawing temps, water dripping off the eves and puddles in some sunny places? Looks like a lamb to me today.