Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Frustration, but...

OK, three entries in one night might be a bit much.

Internet communications can be so frustrating sometimes. Especially when the only known method of communication results in a "no-reply@..." message, so one still doesn't really know whom one is communicating with. GRR.

Then again, as per one of my fave guitarists, perhaps I can turn a disadvantage into an advantage. I've never been to Eloise Butler Gardens, a wonderful flower- and bird-watching spot in the heart of suburban Minneapolis (OK, "heart" and "suburban" don't quite go together, especially here in Eagan). I will just pull up a bench (or a plot of ground if no benches exist) and hope that someday said person will stop by to enjoy with me the sights and sounds of spring. If not, I hope it doesn't get too cold at night...

Still reeling from my 16-hour day Monday. 'Nite, all...

Must be...

Despite the somewhat cool and rather wet weather, a robin is singing in a nearby tree. Hurrah for the sounds of spring!


Perhaps this is a common phenomenon, this way the mind works. Perhaps it's just the strength of the situation involved. Psychoanalysis, anyone? Or perhaps I should say: psycho analysis, anyone? I'll leave that up to the studio audience.

Without further ado...

Memories that, when re-thought, still make me cry (not from joy): 4
Memories that, when re-thought, still make me laugh myself silly: 0

Thank goodness for

Memories that, when re-thought, still make my heart sing and smile: 2, including 1 from the last Birds and Beer.

Have to hang on to the latter until graced with new. Perhaps someday that 0 will change, too! I'm trying...

Surprise #1

I noted in yesterday's post the "thanklessness factor" to some aspects of my work. Well, yesterday proved me wrong. I received a number of compliments from fellow workers. It made the 16-hour day (starting at midnight) worth it. But oh, was I sore physically; my head was making my shoulders ache. I was pretty well done mentally, too. One could have told me 2+2=87 and I'd make a case for it.

To prove my point, yesterday's post was really two days ago...

Only 30 more days 'til vacation season!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

And thus it begins...

Tomorrow (whenever I can drag myself out of bed) begins an intense four-week grind of upgrades, upgrades, new software and more upgrades. It is this kind of time that leaves me pretty much useless at the end of said period. And people wonder why I'm "out standing in the field" so much in May... It is the thanklessness of this work (nobody says much if everything works, but...) that is the most wearing; being "happy to have work" isn't that inspiring when folks want to throttle you. We shall see how it goes.

Into the abyss!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Uh, spring?

Seems like all thoughts of springtime are out the window up in these parts, as the flakes and flurries fly. Then again being born in a blizzard almost 53 years ago should let one know what to expect this time of year.

In honor of said momentous occasion (YAWN), and before "major upgrade week #1" begins, I'm headed to Ma's for a quick R+R weekend and birthday goodies. Don't ask me why, but a menu of hash and spice cake sounded quite good. That and a bit of birdwatching; she still has 100+ redpolls frequenting her feeders.

Best wishes to all, dear readers! Send good thoughts and vibes to those west of here fighting the rising waters...

Monday, March 23, 2009

On mute?

I wish I could mute the sound of the wind a touch. A gentle zephyr in one's ears is one thing. The gale-powered roar of bare trees is something else.

I wish I could be less mute with two of my friends. One situation is a simple lack of alternate methods except face-to-face; if I am someday blessed then alternatives will be freely shared. The other is a simple lack of dialogue, even when face-to-face. I guess silence is communication, in a way the strongest of all.

I wish I could mute all the shouting, the hate, the fear in this world. Perhaps, in my own tiny little corner, I can...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy birthday tomorrow to

Kathy Heidel, friend and mentor. Some 30+ years ago she "pulled me out of the fire" and I can never thank her enough. Below is a photo of me and her in 1990, when I had earned a Distinguished Volunteer Award from Three Rivers Park District (then Suburban Hennepin Regional Parks, I think).

Mark and Kathy

That spring thing

Bird banding at Lowry Nature Center yesterday was a fun, intense day. When all was done, encountered 51 birds of 7 species, giving us over 100 birds for the last two sessions! Winter has not been that kind to the banding crew in recent years, so this has been a real treat (tweet?). The final tally for the day:

Species New Retrap

Common Redpoll (CORE) 2 0
Black-capped Chickadee (BCCH) 11 7
Dark-eyed junco (SCJU) 17 0
American Tree Sparrow (ATSP) 8 1
White-breasted Nuthatch (WBNU) 2 1
Downy Woodpecker (DOWO) 1 0
Red-winged Blackbird (RWBL) 0 1

Also on a bright note, long-time volunteer Linda Zimmerman (LZ in my last post) is out of the hospital as of late Friday afternoon and feeling much better. Apparently the pains of Friday were more related to gall bladder than heart.

Treasure every moment!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Just a couple things...

Yet again, I have received notice that a dear friend's life has taken an unexpected turn. Friend and bird banding volunteer Linda hospitalized herself this morning with chest pains. She seems OK, but the hospital has been keeping her for observation. As I told her when we talked today, "...a little drastic to get out of having me for dinner!" Get well, LZ!

Last night's conversation with hopefully-new-found-friend Kathy was a Blessing. Heartfelt give-and-take, out of nowhere. A thousand thank-yous, KC!

Bird banding tomorrow (transition time, could be very interesting or a bust). First of many upgrades Sunday. I will probably be a zombie by Sunday night, but both of the above will be on my mind.

Treasure every moment you can, dear reader...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Birds and Beer bliss

Just returned from a fine evening of Birds and Beer at the fabulous Merlin's Rest. A night of great laughs and conversation, especially with one fellow reveler, that was very exhilarating and very needed. Hopefully the glow will last, as with the next couple work weeks some glow will come in handy...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sibling love...

As I'm going through old photos trying to make sense of the other branches of the family tree, I came across this fun shot. All I can say is, I really do love my sister! I'll let the readers be the judge for themselves... The photo was taken in Portland, Maine in July 1963.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Year YiR

Although it's only mid-March, perhaps it's time for a "Year in Review" because this has been anything but dull. I think so far the goods have outweighed the bads, but I leave that to the reader.

On the good side:
1) Redpolls, redpolls, redpolls!
2) My tax refund from the Feds (offset by owing to MN, of course!).
3) VT Jackie and I making some genealogy breakthroughs.
4) The AZ trip to see Tom and Sheri, with Blue Mockingbird, Ruddy Ground-doves and super-mucho Sandhill Cranes as bonuses.
5) Not worrying about all the financial craziness (even if I should).

On the bad side:
1) Being told my work was "worthless to the organization".
2) Being told I was trying to "sabotage projects".
3) Being told a photo of me was "repulsive".
4) The maladies and mishaps of close friends and co-workers.
5) Too much winter!

Can't wait for the rest of the year!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Never dull...

Found out a bit ago that a good friend and co-worker was involved in a car accident during our most recent bout of winter weather. Said friend is alright although somewhat worse for wear, but car is a total loss. If not for the airbags... Another moment that one can never anticipate but must keep in mind.

Spring can come any day now...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Bye, spring!

Thankfully this will be short setback, but another two wintry days in store is about as much as I can take. I already know what sort of commute awaits, probably PM as usual. As the rest of my hair falls out from stress...

Friday, March 06, 2009

Get out!

With spring finally making a sneak peek (not for long, however), this will be a good weekend to actually step outside and BREATHE.

Can't do it for too long, as the last of my tax statements finally arrived so the best time for that will be Sunday, when semi-winter will be hovering beyond the window.

Also have received some wonderful communications from Vermont friend and Niles relative Jackie, so I want to start making files of these various newspaper articles she has shared with me. Such fun!

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Redpolls III

Belaboring a subject, I know. Thanks to my ever-researching mother, I have a graph of her observed counts of Common Redpolls in January and February of 2009. Surprisingly, the first individual was seen at her feeders on January 1, none were observed in 2008.

Common Redpoll graph