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Old 03-05-2010, 03:42 PM   #3601
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Slept in late as usual, then got up and ate breakfast. Then it was a run to grocery store to pick up some "on sale" stuff that we use, stopped by the newspaper office to discuss a minor issue we've had with delivery, and then went down and mailed off my tax return.

Now watching 'Jeopardy' on TV, perusing some garden magazines, and checking a few things on the 'net. After supper this evening , we're going downtown to the last Bluegrass Jam of the season...they've been great while they've lasted, but many of the musicians are farmers and will be getting ready to get in the fields next month, so no more Jams 'til after harvest in the Fall. <sigh>

Life is great!
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:16 PM   #3602
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Nice pictures. I've noticed that one of the best places to bird watch in any town (or country) is the sewer treatment ponds.
Spent the afternoon birdwatching at the sewer treatment ponds in Irvine. Lots of teals: blue wing, green wing and cinnamon. The ruddy ducks where starting to look spring sexy. And shovelers were everywhere.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:31 PM   #3603
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Visited the USS ARIZONA Memorial Visitors Center [*ahem*] the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor.

http://www.nps.gov/valr/index.htm
http://www.wattsconstructors.com/arizonamemorial/

The USS ARIZONA Memorial itself was opened in 1962, but the visitor center/museum wasn't built until 1980. The landfill promptly began sinking, which by 2000 caused serious stability problems for the cramped buildings. The National Park Service and the Navy managed to acquire all the land around the old visitors center, from the USS BOWFIN Submarine Museum all the way to the base's Halawa Gate, and greatly expanded the site. The first thing they did was drive over 100 concrete pilings (over 16" in diameter and up to 200 feet long) into the landfill. They've just finished the main buildings of the new visitors center and begun demolition of the old center. They'll try to stabilize and preserve the 1980 theater but everything else is new construction with vistas all the way from shipyard over to the Ford Island causeway. The new center is open for business now and the entire project should be finished by September.
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Old 03-06-2010, 04:23 AM   #3604
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Took an hour long bike ride at 41 degrees - first ride this year. Practiced some woodworking using a plunge router. Bought some alder and walnut to make our niece's baby a toy box. Went to dinner with DW
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:24 AM   #3605
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Please forgive me if I have told this story before...
Houston in August is no fun, but one of my fondest memories of there is attending the reception for freshmen and their parents at the residence of the college master*.
We found the residence and rang the bell. The master (whom I had never met) and his wife came to the door and said something like:
"IndependentlyPoor, welcome to Rice, and these must be your parents. We are very pleased to meet you Mr. and Mrs. IP".
At that time each college had about 100 students per class. The master and his wife had taken the trouble to memorize our names and faces from the photos attached to our applications. It was the most flattering welcome imaginable, and a pretty accurate indication of how life at Rice was going to be.
The reception was super, and I think very reassuring for my blue-collar, high school only parents.
Anyhoo, unless daughter feels strongly about it I would go. Of course, things have probably changed in 30 some-odd years, but I hope not too much.
That said, Rice d@mned near killed me. I was in way over my head; some of the students there were just scary smart. I still have occasional nightmares about it.
*Rice has a "college" system. A college is dorm, but has a faculty member who lives there with his/her family. Colleges are a little like fraternities or sororities in that they are self-governing and have distinct personalities, but students are assigned randomly, so there is no social status associated with them. All in all, it is a great system.
We keep offering, she keeps smiling that "you guys, thanks anyway" smile and turning us down.

Rice has nine or ten college dorms now (they just built a new one) and not much more than 950 students. Maybe they're up over 1000 now. But I hear that colleges nationwide are starting to develop entire "parent indoc" 2-3 day programs for people who just wanted to ditch their kid and run. I don't think I'll learn anything I didn't already know, and I don't want to be herded into an auditorium or a dining facility with all the other clueless parents. So we're not sure there's any benefit to us or the college from showing up... only to the extent that our kid wants muscle help. And I'm not sure I want to encourage hauling extra stuff to a dorm room. We'll stay home and man the priority-mail packing room.

Rice has a roommate-matching questionnaire but assignments are still largely out of the student's control. Our kid says that two new members of Rice '14 have met on Facebook, realized they were from the same town, and already started dating. Talk about ruining the college experience before it's even begun!

Our kid has a sponsor in the NROTC unit, plus another hundred or so early-decision Facebook friends, and she'll probably be visiting the campus again for next month's "Owl Days". I could go along and spend a couple days in Houston but I doubt I'm wanted, let alone needed. Anyway spouse will already be elsewhere that week traveling with a shipmate and wouldn't be able to make the Houston trip. Besides I don't think our kid will have any trouble with the college transition and she's already flown cross-country on her own.

I have another reason for staying home next month. When kid & spouse are out of the house on travel, it will be the first time that I've lived alone in our personal residence in at least 18 years. As far as spouse can tell, anyway.

Despite the jokes about BlackHawk parenting, no college that our kid has considered has ever heard us parents communicate with them via phone or e-mail. We've funneled all of that through her and made her stick to her guns until she got answers. (I think the communication skills she's had to develop have been one of the biggest benefits of the college search.) If it wasn't for our tax data on the FAFSA, the colleges would think she was an orphan.*

We're pretty sure that Rice will be an academically- and socially-humbling experience. In fact we're counting on it! From our kid's comments on the high-school dating scene, I'm pretty sure she's counting on a considerable deepening of the gene pool too...

*Hmmm, I wonder if that would make her eligible for more financial assistance. Gonna have to think about that one. There's gotta be a catch.
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:36 AM   #3606
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndependentlyPoor View Post
Went bird watching at Hornsby Bend (nice name for a sewage treatment facility).
Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I've noticed that one of the best places to bird watch in any town (or country) is the sewer treatment ponds.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
Spent the afternoon birdwatching at the sewer treatment ponds in Irvine.
When you get interested in a hobby you often discover there are a few down sides.
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Old 03-06-2010, 11:00 AM   #3607
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Spring is knocking on the door. Playing in my first golf tournament of the year later this afternoon. And the weather is beautiful. Hopefully my partner and I will play well enough to avoid an early tee time tomorrow morning.
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Old 03-06-2010, 12:16 PM   #3608
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Yesterday, the Bradford pear that Madam Cardinal is perched in was covered in buds. Today it is covered in blooms. Spring happened here sometime last night.
Attachment 8422
She has something green in her beak. I wonder what it is.
Apologies for the slightly fuzzy photo.
Looks like a scene from my back patio. I spied, and heard, our annual male/female Cardinal pair at the feeders yesterday. They were a bit angry (I believe) that their favorite eating place was not full of seed. I quickly filled it up and apologized to them for my lack of attention.
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:15 PM   #3609
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Yesterday we spent two hours at the Navy uniform store shopping for... uniforms.

Well, technically I personally only spent about 10 minutes in there, which brings my total time in uniform stores since retirement to about 10 minutes. Then my spouse took charge while I went out to the car and settled down with a good book.

But our kid learned more about uniforms in that two hours than I learned during my first month in the military. She got to try on everything that she'll be wearing at NROTC and she figured out exactly what sizes she is. She was able to read the posters and watch the videos about how to wear the uniforms and care for them. She took cell-phone pictures and made notes. She was fitted for a proper size of combat boots and various covers, and in a couple months she might even buy a pair for herself to break in before she shows up at NROTC PT. (How many of us got blisters from our new military footwear?) Best of all, among my spouse and the (women) clerks our kid had plenty of individual attention and was able to ask all those icky girl questions that neither I nor my daughter want to discuss with each other.

The Navy's uniform regs are online now (of course) so she spent a few minutes last night regaling me with her newly-acquired trivia. It turns out that in most foreign ports you're not allowed to wear your body piercings or get more body piercings. I said that might be offensive to some cultures as well as dangerous in the engineering spaces.

She said "I don't want any more body piercings than the two I already have..."
[my parental antennae perked up and my brain belatedly thought "Hunh?!?"]
"... in my earlobes."
[Oh. Whew. Glad I didn't learn more than I already knew.]
"Or, as you always say Dad, 'as far as you can tell'..."

I think she's going back to the uniform store next week to do insignia.
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Old 03-06-2010, 03:23 PM   #3610
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Today I gave blood. BP: 124/74 not bad for a geezer.

Today is 3rd day of full sun, last stretch of 3 sunny days was early November '09. It's been a cloudy winter.
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Old 03-06-2010, 03:48 PM   #3611
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I did some armchair quarterbacking today...I showed a friend how to cruise around the M* site, logged in using my Premium subscription. He's invested in a small group of individual stocks as opposed to Miss Mutual Fund Only here.
He explained a lot of the stock parameters to me, so I lernt sumpin' today.
Sun is shining brightly, nary a cloud in the sky. Still a bit chilly out. I saw the very first tips (1/4 inch) of tulips peeking out of the ground. They are already green, so they've been out for a few days already.
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Old 03-06-2010, 04:45 PM   #3612
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I called my mother and chatted with her for a while. Then went out and pruned some bushes. I like to do that chore in Feb. But too too much snow. Nice day in the 40s. Pruning is a good upper body workout.
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Old 03-06-2010, 05:28 PM   #3613
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I baked a drunk cake. No...I wasn't drunk, but the cake slid a little...

Gonna make poblano peppers stuffed with sausage, spinach, mushrooms and cheese. Then I'll wrap a piece of bacon around the peppers just for good measure.
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Old 03-06-2010, 06:24 PM   #3614
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Took my coins to the CU counting machine: $4.53 into MMA
Before I retired (I like the sound of that), I always put my change at the end of the day in a large jar originally used for a water cooler. The other day, I needed a penny for some reason and when I turned the jar on it's side to get out a penny, the jar broke, what a mess. A few hours later, we had sorted out the change from the glass and we're in the process of rolling the coins- we have nearly $1500, $1200 in quarters alone. We'll use it to splurge on something for our new house but we were surprised by how much we had. All in all, a good days work.
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Old 03-06-2010, 08:24 PM   #3615
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Spent the day at a continuing education course. I had started a boneless pork loin roast in the crock pot this morning (they were on sale, buy one-get one free yesterday). So nice to come home to yummy crock pot cookin's! I packaged it all up into individual size portions (with gravy I made and the onions/garlic/mushrooms I cooked with it). Nine servings now in the freezer and ready for quick homemade "frozen meals" when we get home from a busy day at w*rk!
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Old 03-06-2010, 10:33 PM   #3616
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Went out for breakfast with the gang this morning, and then came home and sat out on the patio for several hours enjoying the warm weather and sunshine!!! While I was out there, I did a little bit of clean-up in the gardens, and brought some containers out of the shed so the plants in them could start enjoying the great outdoors again!!!

As soon as I get done surfin' the E-R forum, I'm gonna put in an order for a whole passel of daylilies!!! The first garden order of the new year!!!
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Old 03-06-2010, 10:41 PM   #3617
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As soon as I get done surfin' the E-R forum, I'm gonna put in an order for a whole passel of daylilies!!! The first garden order of the new year!!!
I got excited today when I saw my first dandelion! Ohhh man, I ache for spring...
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Old 03-06-2010, 11:08 PM   #3618
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Went to the Salton Sea - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia to bird watch and rock hunt with my sister and her young nephew. Quiet on the birding front, but saw a verdin making her nest, an Abert's Towhee, and lots of ducks and snow geese.

The sea did not stink as much as the last time I was there. Interesting place. Did not check out slab city or bombay beach this time.

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Old 03-07-2010, 08:47 AM   #3619
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Went to the Salton Sea - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia to bird watch and rock hunt with my sister and her young nephew.
Thank you for posting this. I will certainly add this to my list of places to visit.
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Old 03-07-2010, 08:55 AM   #3620
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I didn't do anything yet. Well, other than household chores. Am primping, however, to drive in to Pittsburgh this afternoon for the symphony. I have to get out of jeans once in awhile in my personal life.

Nords, thanks for the update on the Arizona Memorial. I visited in 1974 with my Dad who insisted on stopping over in HI for a few days after a trip to the Far East with the express purpose of paying respects at the Memorial. The attack on Pearl Harbor was the event that pulled him(voluntarily) in to WWII for four years of service. We were both teary thinking about the young lives lost.
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