Tuesday, December 27, 2011

397.

397. a clean house, including three clean bathrooms
398. free shipping, guaranteed delivery by Christmas

Thursday, December 22, 2011

392.

392. my rose bush blossoming in December
393.  lo, how  a rose e're blooming
394. Christmas cookies
395. Christmas shopping done
396. thank you's for Christmas goodies

Sunday, December 18, 2011

388.

388. the Prince of Peace
389. banana bread
390. a successful Nativity play
391. other people's cookies

Friday, December 16, 2011

383.

383. lunch with my bf
384. lots of birds in my backyard
385. addressing Christmas cards to the folks who pay our bills
396. a simple Christmas pageant
387. another Christmas party

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

380.

380. a less-busy day
381. safe driving in the rain
382. rain

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

374.

Wow, I missed three days in a row with my thankful list.  It's not that I haven't been thankful, but rather that I have been super busy with Christmas activities.  I'll see if I can get back on track:

374. the reason for the season
375. Christmas music of all sorts
376. angels who have messages to give
377. pageant costumes
378. a girl in my SS class asking me, "Is there anything I can do to help?"  (those are words of gold)
379. my "new" camera--a regift

Friday, December 09, 2011

372.

372. Christmas activities that revolve around Christ's birth
373. the chance to see old friends and relax with them

Thursday, December 08, 2011

368

368. the gift of a new day
369. lots of people in my life with a good sense of humor
370. neighborhood cookie exchange
371. a heart for a friend

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

363.

363. hearty/sturdy/heavy breakfast bread
364. seeing an old friend
365. cookies that remind me of my grandma
366. GLAD's Christmas album--still my favorite
367. people have been singing about Christ's birth for centuries

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

359.

359. a phone call from one of my kids doing well
360. free Christmas music from Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000453281
361. 16 different bird species at my feeders in 4 weeks
362. God's peace and promises for peace

Monday, December 05, 2011

358.

358. a sick day
357. the three wise men
358. feeling better

Sunday, December 04, 2011

357

I'm sick today.  I hope I didn't spread all my germs to my Sunday School class!  I'll probably stay home from work tomorrow since I've had a fever tonight.

357. Peace--the second Sunday of Advent

Saturday, December 03, 2011

350.

I think I've caught my coworker's cold.  Not feeling so great, just kinda low energy and stuffy/runny nose.  I did sleep pretty well, but I already feel like I need a nap.

I finished my Christmas card stamping projects--cards and gift tags--and if I get some energy, it is time to start the Christmas baking.  I want to do the baking so I can send some of it off with Christmas gifts that I hope to mail this week.

We're also busy at church--several choir activities, and I'm teaching Sunday School during Advent.

I've had some worries this week, but of course, worrying about them doesn't help much, does it?  God, give me the strength to let  you take care of it.

350. a beautiful fall tree outside my computer window
351.  gifts made for others
352. one clean room
353. leftovers--I just found two turkey drumsticks in the freezer
354. people who give without considering the cost to themselves
355. lots of rain today--will it make a dent in the drought?
356. a warm and safe place to sleep

Friday, December 02, 2011

347.

347. the Bible on the internet
348. wise men still seek him Christmas cards
349. MY painting being entered into a contest (I'm the patron, not the artist)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

345.

345.my sweet husband was willing to go grocery shopping with me during lunch
346. tamales are back

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

340.

340. the start of Christmas cookies
341. the fragrance of evergreen
342. fresh pineapple in winter
343. 15th century Christmas carols
344.  40% off coupon

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

336.

336.another beautiful fall day
337. cyber shopping--so much easier
338. another brisk walk with a friend
339. the reason for the season

Monday, November 28, 2011

331.

331.  another day, another (one hundred) dollar(s)
332. 11 bird species at my feeder
333. a washer and dryer--not everyone has one
334. Micah's healing
335. brisk walk with my friend

Sunday, November 27, 2011

326.

326. Sunday School kids interested to listen
327. taking Micah to his first children's sermon
328. not eating Ton's
329.  walking and talking
330. a G movie

Saturday, November 26, 2011

324.

324. my kids went out and got a Christmas tree
325. a family game of Boggle

Friday, November 25, 2011

320.

320. I received new photos of my faraway grandbabies
321. Thanksgiving dinner a day late
322. people to be thankful for
323. people to be thankful with

Thursday, November 24, 2011

316.

316. shrimp pasta on Thanksgiving Day
317.  Gary vacuumed the house for me
318. Rachel helped to make pumpkin cheesecake
319. a group Skype with both boys and grandbabies

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grackles Eating Spilled Birdseed in Parking Lot

311.

311.another beautiful fall morning
312. I live in the world's best neighborhood
313. learning a photo I submitted made it as a finalist
314. accomplishment of several chores
315. the Lord's abundance is so great, I can plan holiday meals with abandon
316.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

308.

308. I'm glad to be alive
309. my cat ate half of the pastrami, but there was still enough for us
310. http://neighborsgo.com/index.php?page_id=1000&site_page_id=5&post_id=77640

Monday, November 21, 2011

303.

303.the start of Thanksgiving week
304. lunch with a distant relative whom I hadn't seen in over 30 years.
305. young, well-behaved children
306. an afternoon walk
307. soup made by a friend

New Bird--Hermit Thrush

I know this is a crummy photo, but the 303rd bird on my life list came back to my tin of water so I could take a photo.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

299.

299.  an above average church service this morning
300. a bird that held still long enough for me to take its photo
301. Thanksgiving dinner at church
302. many people stopping to give thanks this time of year

Saturday, November 19, 2011

293.

293. a friend to talk to
294. a friend to listen to
295. a husband with a healthy sense of humor
296. talking it out in a calm manner
297. the calm before the storm
298. sleep

Friday, November 18, 2011

285.

285.His mercies are new yet again this morning
286. words of encouraging scripture all over the internet
287. hearing "Prayer is our strategy to accomplish these unrealistic goals."
288.God's invitation to cast my cares on him, not because he is strong enough to take care of them, but rather because he cares for me.
289. a walk through a cemetary
290. a symphony concert at Bass Hall
291. catching up with friends
292. believing God loves me even if he didn't answer my prayer the way I wanted

Thursday, November 17, 2011

275.

275.warmth on a chilly morning
276. cup of tea
277. beautiful skies
278. a new bird!
279. my life list is now 303
280. hope
281. "weeds" for dinner (aka baby salad greens)
282. M&Ms hidden in the underwear drawer
283. buying a fold-out turkey centerpiece to send to Isabella
284. my wrong online purchase worked instead for my friend

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

270.

270. his mercies are new every morning
271.unexpected lunch with my daughter
272. working hard to bless someone unexpectedly
273. being appreciated
274. remembering that even the prophet Elijah got discouraged.  More than once.

It has been hard today to be thankful, yet I acknowledge God's graciousness to me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

261.

261. Inca Doves
262. the biopsy was negative
263. no surgery needed
264. groups working together
265. a genuine thank-you from someone I've never met
266. Snopes
267. singing vegetables
268. Morty survived a cat fight
269. Christmas cards

Monday, November 14, 2011

251

I'm a quarter of the way to my goal of naming 1000 blessings, gifts, or other things I'm thankful for.  They are not rolling off the tongue/mind/fingertips as quickly now, though I acknowledge I have no shortage of good things in my life.

This week I'm still tempted to worry about things I have no control over, so this will be my goal for the week from Matthew 6:
25 "This is why I tell you: do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn't life worth more than food? And isn't the body worth more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren't you worth much more than birds? 27 Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it? 28 "And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves. 29 But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers.
30 It is God who clothes the wild grass - grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won't he be all the more sure to clothe you? What little faith you have! 31 "So do not start worrying: "Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?' 32 (These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. 33 Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. 34 So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.

251. God's promise to take care of today for me

And speaking of the birds that God takes care of, today I'm starting the Feeder Watch thing at Cornell University.  It is a citizen science thing that folks once a week count the birds that come to their feeders, and do this all winter long.

252. warm, clear November morning
253. red trees outside my window
254. work to do
255. God's hand at work even when things look dark
256. a clean room
257. a place to exercise creativity
258. seeing progress on a project just because I encouraged someone
259. a hand-written thank you note (even if it did have a fleur de lis on it :-)
260. Gary going to Walmart with me

Sunday, November 13, 2011

245.

245. this
246. prediction of 80 degrees today
247. God's word is true no matter how I feel
248. God's presence when I'm scatterbrained
249. my relatives making funeral plans on Facebook
250.someone's sense of humor to humor me

Saturday, November 12, 2011

232.

232. His mercies are new every morning
233. safe arrival
234. warm cup of tea on a chilly morning
235. being fictive Aunt
236. a washing machine (not everyone has one)
237. people on the other side of the world who pray for me
238. people who trust God even in negative circumstance
239. safe return
240. videos of my grandson on FB
241. baby Micah dedicated by his parents to the Lord
242. getting to watch baby Micah's dedication over Skype
243. smores
244. chores done

Friday, November 11, 2011

219.

On one hand, I don't feel particularily thankful at just this moment.  That's because I'm troubled about something, and envision a week of uneasy unknowing ahead.  That said, if I put my sadness aside I can quite easily see that my life is full to overflowing with good things that God provides.  I will list a few more, regardless how I feel:

219. a concert of prayer
220. the privilege of working with people who pray
221. a local church opening up its facilities
222. being treated to lunch
223. a best friend who has enough history with me to know why I'm hurting
224. the confidence that God is in control
225. the belief that God will provide one way or another
226. the knowledge that God loves me
227. the knowledge that God loves those whom I love better and more than I do
228. preparing for Advent lessons
229. some time alone
230. breakfast for dinner
231. a text message from my husband (who hates cell phones)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

207.

207. His mercies are new every morning
208. a beautiful fall day
209. breakfast
210. learning how someone spent hours to help someone without "needing" to
211. a walk with a friend
212. God's protection for my BF's grandbaby
213. catching up
214. homemade spaghetti sauce
215. caramel apples dipped in trail mix
216. laughter around the table
217. God's promise: I will never leave or forsake you
218. help with the dishwasher

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

197.

197. finishing a project
198. people who care about our ministry
199. God's grace in times of ugliness
200. an intentional thank you
201. homemade soup
202. birthday cake
203. birthday cupcakes
204. my friend traveling 8000+ miles to visit her dying mother, arriving 4 hours before she passed
205. on-demand greeting cards
206. handmade paper from Thailand

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

191.

191. rain last  night
192. more rain coming today
193. a tiny bit of fall color
194. dinner invitation so I don't have to cook
195. Ton's
196. a walk around the block with my daughter

Monday, November 07, 2011

180.

Well, I'm officially behind schedule with the number of gift/blessings/thanks I wanted to list each day.  I am finding the exercise is keeping my mind alert to naming the good things God does, but I guess I've picked off the easy ones!  I also keep wondering if I am repeating myself--entirely possible with my declining memory.  On the other hand, being thankful more than once for a good thing can't be a bad thing!

I finished reading the One Thousand Gifts book.  I hope I can cultivate a life of giving thanks well into the future, beyond this month and reading this book.  The main thing I got out of the book:  if your heart is filled with thanks, there is no room for all the negative things like worry, anger, fear, distrust, pride, and just general selfishness.

180.  the promise of a new day
181.  the promise of a little rain for our dry ground
182.  lunch with my daughter
183. news of drug addicts seeking the Lord
184. safe arrival
185. expressions of trust regardless of the circumstances
186. hearing "Lord, you give us prayer as an alternative to worry."
187. funerals turning into family reunions
188. the resources and opportunity for two trips last year
189. a place to write down all the passwords
190. enough leftover blueberry cobbler to share with a guest

Sunday, November 06, 2011

165.

165. churches which send shoeboxes
166. the steadfast love of the Lord never changes
167. his mercies never come to an end
168. his mercies are new every morning
169. Great is his faithfulness
170. enough to give
171. redeeming the secular for God's purposes
172. there is no longer Jew nor Gentile
173. I actually heard a young man say these words today: I'm courting Suzie...
174. the last chapter
175. Gary sleeping through the football games
176. packed shoe boxes for giving
177. teaching Sunday School during Advent

178. God's promise of peace regardless of circumstances
179. a friend coming to visit

Saturday, November 05, 2011

134.

134. sleeping in a little
135. participating in citizen science
136. cheap cat shots
137. the service of others
138. blueberries
139. friends of friends
140. a reprieve
141. Gary's willing help
142. freshly mowed lawn
143. seeing Micah and Isabella on Skype
144. flexibility
145. invitation to a dinner party
146. cupcakes for a birthday ending in 0
147. email from a long-lost friend
148. a meal with friends
149. stories that mold us
150. recipes from childhood
151. hope for rehabilitation
152. "Happy Birthday" sung to voice mail
153. an extra hour to sleep tonight
154. a new birdfeeder
155. a empty laundry basket
156. you, Lord, are enough
157. Sunday starts in Fiji and arms raise in praise to you around the globe
158. clocks that reset themselves
159. slow but steady healing
160. God's strength when we are weak
161. God's peace when we are upset
162. God's wisdom when we are stumped
163. God's grace when we are selfish
164. God's mercy when we are guilty

Friday, November 04, 2011

101.

101. digital camera ease
102. hot showers
103. warm clothes
104. payday just in time to pay the high deductible
105. faithful friends and churches who financial support us each month
106. and they pray for us too, not just send money
107. receiving a profuse note of thanks
108. payment for services rendered
109. colleagues who work in hard places
110. for young parents who love their health-challenged children
111. postponed surgery
112. tea and cookies
113. unexpected opportunity for a walk in the park
114. beautiful weather for a walk in the park
115. friends who take the time to call to rejoice with yo
116. adopted kids
117. clean windows
118. ancient words of present truth
119. a new identity
120. satisfaction from simple things
121. the cat's predictable behavior
122. small potatoes
123. God's promises stand true regardless of my feelings
124. God invites my trust as an alternative to my worry
125. when people are patient with me
126. a shared bowl of ice cream
127. a chance to serve
128. a chance to be served
129. that which was lost has now been found
130. news of a good deal
131. chosen
132. alive
133. loved

Thursday, November 03, 2011

67.

67.  a warm cuddle on a chilly morning
68.  indoor plumbing
69. toast and eggs
70. a YouTube video of my grandbaby
71. crossing something off the to-do list
72. stories told by friends
73. expressions of thanks from others
74. text messages
75. $.37 dividend
76. a short work week
77. getting my desk cleaned off
78. ganache
79. extra space for visitors
80. a really good vacuum cleaner
81. second chances
82. people who care about me enough to read my printed newsletters
83. people who read my newsletters and then send a personal response
84. new recipes to try
85. meeting friends of friends
86. making something useful out of scraps
87. a phone call from David saying his interview went well
88. building a birdfeeder
89. birds immediately coming to new feeder
90. news of blessings others are experiencing
91. a walking stick that really looks like a stick
92. a second species of sparrow in my backyard
93. the furnace running the first time of the season
94. faithful pray-ers
95. paper letters with envelope and stamp
96. a picture blanket
97. greeting cards on demand
98. the first freeze of the season
99. God's command to trust
100.  God's promise to be trustworthy

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

35.

35. a morning walk
36. a safe neighborhood
37. clouds blowing by
38. memories of children's jokes
39. a best friend, even if we don't talk so often
40. bread and cheese
41. walking to work
42. wind in my hair
43. a bird I don't immediately recognize
44. people who forgive better than I do
45. coffee break with colleagues
46. house plants
47. chatting with friends
48. good news from afar
49. God's promise to do good
50. peace in my heart when I expect worry
51. young love blossoming (even if they aren't so young anymore)
52. old friends who support us
53.  handmade cards
54.  news of the safe arrive of a first child
55. news of God's work in Asia
56. a happy neighbor child
57. chocolate from Europe
58. safe arrival
59. a history of shared experiences
60. learning a new song
61. watching a foreigner enjoy Mexican food
62. unexpected gifts, even if not particularly wanted
63. singing harmony
64.  singing harmony between two women who sing better than me
65. hearing OT stories again for the first time
66. Mexican food

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A Month of Thanksgiving

I'm reading a book I was recently given called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. I'm not finding this book particularly easy to read due to its poetry-prose style. I have to slow down to read it, and maybe that's not such a bad thing.

And even if I don't like the writing style, I certainly am finding the point of the book to be meaningful. In a nutshell: giving thanks to God "solves" a lot of our spiritual, emotional, and social problems because thanks in one's heart means there's little room for anger, worry, fear, pride, etc.

I'm only half way through the book, but I'm determined to finish it soon. I've seen other bloggers do it and I will too: use this space to list 1000 gifts from God that I'm thankful for.*

  1. a month to give thanks
  2. a warm, safe, comfortable place to sleep
  3. too much food in my freezer
  4. fall sunshine--not too hot, not too cold
  5. fall flowers reviving after a hot summer
  6. a peaceful evening
  7. the sparrows have returned
  8. green grass after a dry summer
  9. the internet
  10. the world's two cutest grandbabies
  11. a hot shower to ease away a headache
  12. leftover pumpkin pie
  13. the Bible in a language I can understand
  14. toast and butter
  15. technology to help Gary read
  16. IRL friends
  17. internet friends
  18. green cat eyes
  19. my commissioned portrait
  20. the family who liked #19
  21. people who like their job
  22. afternoon sun through the bedroom window
  23. fall birds finding my backyard feeders
  24. being invited to a business dinner
  25. high-speed internet
  26. clean kitchen floor
  27. half-time job
  28. leftover zucchini cake
  29. God's provision in so many ways
  30. people who listen
  31. people who care
  32. picking up with old friends many years later
  33. the crows' antics with pecans
  34. a little time to read
 *Big and little, important and insignificant, immediate and eternal--there are no real rules on what can or cannot go on this list--just that I am thankful to God for them.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wrong Person Again

I continue to get email for another person with my name. Our gmail addresses differ only by one repeated letter.

Today I responded to another one of these emails not meant for me and I got an autorepsonder message containing the phone number of the other Linda Simons. So I called it! I'm not sure anything will prevent me getting her email in the future, but at least we've discussed it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hummingbird Moth

This morning before church I went for a short birdwalk. I found a patch of morning glories and thought I saw a giant bumblebee collecting pollen. No, not a bumblebee, it looked like a humming bird. But wait, this is October and there aren't supposed to be hummingbirds here this late.

I took a closer look. It really did look like a green hummingbird with a white band, but I know hummingbirds don't have antennae. Hmm, if that is an insect, it sure is a strange looking one.
Sorry, these are crummy photos--my crummy camera and the "bird" was moving 100 mph--but with a little imagination, you might get an idea of what I saw.




So I came home and did some research and found there are a class of moths that feed in the daytime which are called Hummingbird moths or Hawk moths. And, naturally, there are dozens of them so they aren't any easier to identify than birds are. My closest guess is Hemaris diffinis.

In other birding news, Gary, Rachel and I went to see The Big Year on Friday night. It was pretty funny, in a geeky sort of way. Any birdwatcher (like me) or birder (the serious guys) will enjoy the movie.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

What Price Fall?

There's some Iowa farmers that will think this is either hilarious or unbelievable. Photos from Home Depot and Michael's craft store.








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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Drummond Rain Lily


I discovered a "new" wild flower and have added it to my collection. My totally beat up wildflower book says they pop up when it rains, and yes, that is what happened after the nice slow rain we got last weekend. I hope we get more soon.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Orchard Orioles Again

video
This is a 6-second video taken with my new camera (which I don't like) through my spotting scope.  I'm trying to figure a new way to attach the camera to the scope, but it isn't as easy as it was with my old camera.

Anyway,  the oriole pair was here again last week, and they are strikingly beautiful birds.  Even if my photos are rather crummy.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Is "Heaven Is for Real" for Real?

I'm a person of faith. I'm a Christian. I read the Bible and I believe it.

I'm also a bit of a skeptic. I'm the first to check Snopes.com when I read one of those "unbelievable" stories people send me in email forwards. After all, they are "unbelievable" for a reason!  (I've also caught a couple of preachers using faulty illustrations this way, but that's for another blog.)  In other words, I try not to be gullible.

I just finished reading Heaven Is For Real. I won't give a synopsis, because you can find several of them online, both by those who accept this book and those who think it is a bunch of hooey..

Here is what I want to say about the book:
  • Very interesting story, easy to read, captivating page-turner.
  • If the telling of this story is honest and truthful (that is, not made up or embellished by the author or his editor), then this is a pretty amazing story.
  • I say "If" because I know people exaggerate (since I do) or tell stories with a personal bias (since I do). On the other hand, I know some Weslyan preachers, and I have a hard time imagining they would make something up just to make lots of money from writing a book. One honest question I have: how did the Burpo family keep track of all that their son told them over the 18 months he revealed his story? Did they keep a detailed notebook with careful entries written as soon as the conversation with Colton was over? I ask that because I know we all have faulty memories and often can't get the details precisely straight after only a few days after the event.
  • Having said that, I'm going to now say that, unless evidence appears later to the contrary, I accept this book as an honest account of what happened to the Burpo family.
  • Having done that, I can now say that I found many parts of the book very inspiring to my own faith:  Jesus really, really loves the children.  Jesus has a cousin.  Satan isn't in hell yet.  Jesus wouldn't let me have a sword because he said I'd be too dangerous.
  • I was a bit disappointed when I went to their website to see that now there will be a kids version, and a DVD Bible study version.  What next--tee shirts?  Ah, that smacks of making a quick buck and cheapens the actual story, IMO.
Yes, I'd recommend that you read it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You On 9-11?

We were in Thainland at a conference on language assessment.  I don't often travel with Gary, but I did this time.  Part of my fare was paid in exchange for being one of the conference secretaries.
We had been out to eat and in the elevator on our way to our hotel room, someone told us to turn on the TV as something was going on in NYC.  That turned out to be a frustrating excercize:  there were three TV channels--one in Thai, one in French, and the only one in English was a business channel that could only talk about the unthinkable possibility that the stock market would be shut down.
It was irrational of me, but I immediately wanted to know if my kids were OK.  There was no reason they wouldn't be because they were no where near NYC, but I was still worried until I could contact each of them:  David a freshman at Taylor, Rachel a sophmore at Southern Nazarene University, and Andrew home in Dallas applying for grad school.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

New Hummingbird Feeder Hangers



I got these two new hangers in the mail today--much easier than climbing to the roof to install new fishing line which held them before. One in the front and one in the back. We'll see if the hummingbirds notice anything different.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Body of Christ is Gluten Free

Last Sunday we attended church in Houston with David (Sarah stayed home with Micah) at a church with a very original name, Ecclesia.  It is a great church that has five services each weekend to accomodate lots of different schedules, and it looks like they're moving to a new location soon.  The visual arts are appreciated there and they even have an artist on staff who paints during the services.

When it came time for communion, one of the stations offered gluten- and dairy-free bread.  That kind of struck me as funny or odd, but of course it is neither.   Lots of folks today have celiac disease or are allergic to dairy and this is a way to be culturally sensitive to them.  That made me think back to communions past, like the one in the Solomon Islands where the bread was coconut meat and the wine was green coconut juice poured out of a spout made from a spiraled piece of a palm leaf poured into disposable cups made from folded leaves.

The communion I went to today used recyclable plastic cups--at least I hope they were recycled, but probably they were just tossed.  I guess that fits our culture too.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Internet In A Box

--minus the pornography!

This is a cool idea for the developing world.

Of course, it isn't really the internet, more like a huge digital library, but a great idea.






Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Google Mess

Since forever (and remember that forever isn't all that long in electronic terms) I've had two Gmail accounts. I've managed them fairly well, but recently (maybe when Google+ came along? Or was it when I had to pay for extra storage in both accounts?) I decided I was tired of having two accounts and I'd try to merge them.

Ugh--not so easy, and actually not even totally possible.

Here is what I have done and what I have learned:

  • I still have both accounts and don't actually plan to delete either
  • I'm making my linda.simons account my primary account
  • A Gmail account and a Google account are NOT the same thing. I suppose that is obvious to all you geeks out there, and I learned this quite some time ago, but I think when I signed up for Gmail I thought my Gmail account WAS my Google account.
  • I fairly easily moved a couple things from my unwanted to my new one: Contacts and Reader subscriptions.
  • I'm having a heck of a time moving my million emails from one account to another, although I did find a way to do it. Unfortunately for a compulsive sorter like me, I lost the labels when the emails moved.
  • Google Docs are not able to be moved; you just have to share from old to new. Messy, but workable.
  • Picasa Web Albums seem to be somewhat messed up, and I"m not sure what to do. I have learned that you must SPECIFICALLY log in to Web Albums to make the profile look right.
  • I never did understand the Google page about Multiple Sign In. :-( I think Google themselves got mixed up with acquiring so many applications from other people in a less-than-principled way. They don't all work seamlessly.
  • I don't want to have two Google+ accounts, so I deleted my circles in my unwanted account and kept them in my linda.simons account. I hope nobody got mad for being deleted!
  • And lastlly, this blog cannot come from my linda.simons account.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Awkward Juveniles

No, I'm not talking about 13 year old humans. I'm talking about all the odd looking birds I'm seeing in my back yard these days.

It seems that the wing feathers grow out faster on baby birds and the feathers on their heads and necks look very strange for a few weeks at least. I've seen this odd cardinal, and a very odd-looking mockingbird, too.

We continue to get a large variety of birds in the back yard looking for water during this drought.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bad Day? Depends...

It started out with what I considered to be an inappropriate and somewhat threatening email that made me angry. Then there were the "you're invisible" interactions. Then, I overdrew my checking account.

I was beginning to think I was having a bad day.

But, to be fair, I must also say that a cheerful colleague stopped me in the hallway to ask about my new grandchild and to pray for him and his parents right then and there. Then I along with 300 of my closest colleagues celebrated the 89th birthday of one of our own scholars. Lastly, the guy at Taco Bueno gave me the "young lady" discount.

I remember someone once saying that if you have a hangnail, you're not really having a bad day. Being told you have cancer, or your child announcing he is gay, or your house burning down--those things qualify as having a bad day.

It's all in your perspective.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hot and Dry


Today actually wasn't so hot and dry. In fact, when I woke up this morning and looked outside it took me just a second or two to figure out what that stuff was--a little bit of misty rain. It stayed overcast all day, so we didn't get to 100, though more of triple digits is expected next week.

This Box Elder tree has just had its fill of the the hot and dry weather--it has turned colors and the leaves are all falling off. On the other hand, the Isabella tree to the left is doing well because Gary has been giving it a couple wheelbarrow's full of water each weekend.

I decided it was cool enough outside to resituate my bird feeders. I'm happy I keep seeing the juvenile painted bunting. The pair that have been here since spring have had at least one baby.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Photos--the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly






I got a new camera recently, and I'm not entirely happy with it, but I'm giving it an honest chance by actually reading the manual so that I know I'm using it to its fullest capacity. My main complaint is that normal photos seem too dark.

It might not take great regular photos, but iit does take "magic" photos. Rachel may quit speaking to me after she finds that I've posted these!

Speaking of photos, I got a new driver's license photo taken this morning. (So much for trying to do it online--I got a letter saying I had to appear in person anyway.) Wow, just looking at the photo makes me feel old and ugly!

On the other hand, didn't Sarah Forster do a great job with this photo?"


If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I recommend Sarah if you need photos for any occasion. She's rather new at this, but she does a great job and she's a jewel to work with. Her prices are very reasonable, too. Her photo business is called Photography by Sarah , email address is dfwphotographybysarah@gmail.com, and it can be found on Facebook, too.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Orchard Oriole



OK, I know these are dreadful photos, but they are MINE, and are proof that I saw a family of Orchard Orioles on my backyard feeder. Shortly after I posted my previous post, the father and mother showed up together. Whohoo!


Since I finished this post they returned and I got a shot of father and 1st year male together:

New Bird--Orchard Oriole



(Not my photo, linked to from the internet.)

I saw it a second time today. It is so hot and dry here I'm getting a few non-feeder birds to the water on my platform feeder. Yesterday I saw a female and today a first-year male. Yay! My life list is now 302.

I've re-setup my digiscope finally, so now I'll be ready for a photo if this guy shows up again.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Birding in Michigan--New Bird!



I took my scope and tripod in my carry-on suitcase on our vacation to Michigan in hopes of finding some good birds to digiscope, but alas, it was not to be. It seemed there weren't all that many birds around, but mostly we were busy being good old-fashioned tourists.

I was surprised how often I saw Cedar Waxwings--they were all over the place. I nearly hit a couple wild turkeys hanging around in the median as we returned from the Upper Peninsula. There were probably a few common birds I saw and forgot to write down, but here is the list I came up with, recorded in Birdstack:
Common Tern
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Mute Swan
Killdeer
Northern Cardinal
American Crow
Turkey Vulture
Wild Turkey
American Herring Gull
Ring-billed Gull
American Goldfinch
Canada Goose
Cedar Waxwing
Barn Swallow
House Finch
Red-winged Blackbird
American Robin
Chipping Sparrow
House Sparrow
Mourning Dove
Common Starling

But I did actually managed to add one new bird to my life list, a Common Tern. I am about 95% sure on this identification. We saw many gulls and terns while on a boat tour through the Soo Locks. The conditions were not ideal for observing, but I'm pretty sure I saw one or two unfamiliar terns.

Friday, July 29, 2011

On Vacation

We've been on vacation in Michigan for 8 days, so this blog has been neglected. I had wanted to do some birding, but I really didn't see that many birds. However, I did see some beautiful nature. The green color of almost everything was refreshing after hot dry brown Dallas .




Tuesday, July 19, 2011

May I Have This Dance?



Don't you like it when you take an artistic picture completely by accident? :-)

(Click photo for a larger view.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chickadee Update


Isabella is here with me for a whole week!



We are having fun with birds and other things. I got my new Squirrel Buster Plus bird feeder (a birthday present to myself) and Isabella helped me fill it up. About one third of the bird seed went on the kitchen floor.



Isabella found my two big Audubon picture books too, and found the ostriches--big birds she knew from Ethiopia.


Friday, July 08, 2011

Yellow-billed Cuckoo



The Yellow-billed Cuckoo came back to the water on my feeder again this afternoon, and this time I got to my camera and scope quicker.



Thursday, July 07, 2011

300!!!

I stayed home from work today to bake a cake for a coworker's birthday, so I've had plenty of time to glance out to the back yard while baking. I saw a bird sitting in my bowl of water, flicking redish wings. Hmm, those looked like female cardinal wings, but that wasn't a cardinal head. It took me a second or two to realize I was seeing a NEW BIRD!

I observed decurved bill, black eye, white below, gray above, rather larger bird. It played in the water, and stayed only about 1 minute--no time for a decent photo, so I've stolen these from the internet:


I got a good, but brief look at the tail and knew it must be a cuckoo, and sure enough, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo lives here in the summer.

I immediately logged it into my Birdstack account which informed me my life list was up to 300! Yay!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

You're Wrong

Wow, it has been a day of me being wrong.

First, I did one of my financial transfers at work incorrectly, which took a bit of doing to correct and several emails of apology.

Then I did the software testing wrong, which took a phone call to apologize and have someone fix.

Then I bought the wrong ink cartridge, and even though it wasn't entirely my fault, I still had to pay for it. The point of buying a new one was to print out a new passport photo, which also has a wrong look to it:


Then we decided to be nice and go wish Florence a Happy 90th Birthday, which we did in fact do, only to learn that I had the wrong day--I was a month early.

Sigh.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Four New Birds!

I was able to do a bit of birdwatching on my recent trip to Michigan to attend my 40th HS reunion. I actually ended up with four new birds on my life list, now up to 299. These photos include only one of my lifers.


Mute Swan pair with cygnet


Rose-breasted Grosbeak


Canada Swan families


female Hooded Merganser (terrible photo!)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

fulltermbaby

Today was a day to change my password. When Sarah was hospitalized with early contractions I changed my password as a way to remember to pray for her. Now we are thanking God for the safe delivery of a full term baby.

A New Bird (and a New Chickadee)


I saw a new bird for my life list on our short trip to Houston. But this isn't it! This is a photo of a little blue heron that got close enough for me to digiscope nicely. I even got a short video of him catching something and gobbling it up.

My new bird was a red-breasted nuthatch, but he wouldn't stand still long enough for a photo. And legally-blind Gary saw it first!! My slowly growing life list is at 295.

But the BIG news around her is the birth of our grand-chickadee Micah! We give thanks to God for a safe and healthy baby after a very difficult pregnancy. If you're interested in more details, click over to my family blog.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Andrew's Birds





I'm jealous of the birds Andrew gets to keep seeing. He finally got his new camera battery working properly, so he's got some new photos to send my way. The first bird is a Pintailed Whydah and the second an Abyssinian Ground Hornbill.

Speaking of birds, a new grand-chickadee is being added to the nest tomorrow, Lord willing. We're driving to Houston to welcome Micah.