29 April, 2011

A Post That's Not About the Birds...But Does Include a Bird...Sort Of...

Do you ever have one of those moments where you look around and feel like you have stopped on the side of the highway of life and everyone else is flying past you in a shiny new car?  Oh no?  Me neither...

I had one of those moments earlier this week, and Scott and I agreed that I could have 24 hours to wallow ("it's like quicksand," I tried to explain to him, "you have to just be still. if you try to force yourself out of it you'll drown.").  It turns out I needed just about exactly 24 hours.  My rescue came in the form of 3 guys from China - ok, 2 from Hong Kong and 1 from Shanghai - and a strange and fun lunch.

There's a whole van full of the guys in town this week, taking a class from the training manager in my building (whose only connection to me and my job is a shared boss - it's a weird department!).  (guys, I WISH I could spill all about the class...and the classroom... it's so cool I wish I'd studied engineering or electronics or something in school. dang!)  The training manager invited me out to lunch "with the Hong Kong guys," and I figured I might as well go, if for no other reason than to pick on the baby-faced naive intern.  (Fridays are traditionally "Poke the Intern Day," but I had today off)

So I ended up at lunch at a table with the manager, the intern, and 3 guys from the other side of the planet.  The conversation ranged from their love of barbeque and Mexican food to geography and population density.  You know, just your average smalltalk!  Some highlights:

  • In Hong Kong, they use bamboo scaffolding when building high-rise buildings.  25 stories tall!  And there's no OSHA requirements for fall protection harnesses either!
  • The Hong Kong $10 bill isn't paper. It's paper-thin plastic that's sturdier than your average shopping bag, and it has a see-through spot on it.  The other bills are paper.
  • These guys must have learned their English from The Wizard of Oz.  Our conversation about the terrible storms north of us included the word "twisters."
  • China is shaped like a cock. (see the title of this post - I always get there eventually!)  The guy who currently lives in Shanghai was originally from Shandong Province. We asked where that was and he said "China is shaped like a cock. Shandong is in the chest of the cock."  I, thank the Lord, did NOT say "so is Florida!"  And also?  I couldn't remember the name of the province just now, only that it started with S, so I pulled up this map and was able to find it based on his description.  What do you know?!?
  • China has a desert. (this might be the part where I got to be the stereotypical ignorant American.  "there's desert in China?") Apparently it's up near Russia.
  • China has 31 provinces, and has 5 stars on its flag.  This came up because they said that they heard most Americans traveling abroad didn't know how many stars are on the US flag.
Anyway, it was great fun.  I left lunch with foreign money in my pocket (about $2 US) and had forgotten that I was sad.  I thought as a thank-you for the free money that I'd make some cookies for my new friends.  When I asked, one told me that he thinks chocolate chip cookies are too sweet, and I checked to see if they were ok with raisins and decided to make oatmeal-raisin cookies for them.  I dropped those off this afternoon.  I hope they liked 'em...

Also of possible interest to some of you, the 5-year pin from HKDL is the same as the domestic parks, but the opening team pin (they got them for the 5th anniversary celebration this year or last) and the nametag were very new and different to me.  Very cool!

19 April, 2011

Full Circle

It was November when I spotted this pair of bald eagles together for the first time.  In December, I realized that they were nesting.  The hatching probably happened in January, completely hidden from those of us on the ground.  I saw the chicks for the first time in February, and watched their fuzzy little heads sticking up more and more over the nest in March.  In the beginning of April, they all of a sudden looked like full-grown hawks.  And now, my baby birds are leaving the nest.  Today I saw both of them sitting on the tree where I met their parents.

I also saw something pretty awesome yesterday morning.  One of the eaglets was on the "daddy tree," and while I was watching took off on a short flight around the clump of trees.  In another few weeks, after they've learned to hunt and their wings get accustomed to longer flights, they'll leave the nest and never return.  Adults re-use the same nests fairly often, so maybe we'll get to do it all over again next year.  I hope so - I'm already lamenting the empty nest!

PotD: Triple Digits

Scott snapped this picture after work. On one hand, triple-digit temperatures (even in the parking lot) displease me greatly. On the other hand, we made it through most of April before the truly oppressive heat and humidity kicked in.

Small favors, right?
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17 April, 2011


The dog next door was barking like mad a little while ago.  She's not a barker by nature, so I figured there was somebody outside.  When I looked, there was Harley walking along with a fish in his beak that was about the size of my hand.  Harley's head, as you probably remember, is about the size of a ping pong ball.

I was upstairs and immediately galloped downstairs (yeah, about as graceful as you're picturing) to grab the camera.  When I got to the side window and opened the blinds, Harley was there but had put down the fish.  There was no way he was going to swallow this thing whole, so I guess he was going to pick at the flesh?  And so I focused the camera as well as I could through the screen and waited.  Before I could get a single picture, he flew away.  Without the fish.

What the...?

...and then an eagle landed on top of the fish!  That son of a gun is poaching fish from other birds!  OK, I get that he has two increasingly large mouths to feed that can't quite leave the nest to hunt for themselves, but it just seems such a cruel way to make a living.

(at this point I will refrain from pointing out how interesting it is that our forefathers chose the bald eagle as the symbol of our country - the predator that sees something it wants and takes that thing away from the 'lesser' creature that did all the work in the first place)

Anyway, I did manage to get two other pictures before lunch flew back to the nest.  Hope you enjoy them!

09 April, 2011

PotD: Ready

In the event of the Japanese Radioactive Tuna-pocalypse, we'll be ready to sell these babies on ebay for $50 a pop.

In our defense, we buy it when it's BOGO, and it's been BOGO a lot recently! 21 cans of tuna? Yeah, I'd say that's excessive!
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08 April, 2011

Vultures? Hawks? No, Eagles!

It's been just over a month since the last time I stopped and took pictures of the babies.  They're so big! And kind of ugly! But also kind of cute.  They sit up on the edge of the nest and occasionally flap their wings. It won't be long now before those wings start to work for real. I only hope that I'm able to get a picture of one of them actually out of the nest before they go away...

05 April, 2011

PotD: Hidden Mickey

Before we painted the garage, Scott had a spray-painted X on the wall that he'd use as a guide to know when his car was properly backed in.

We painted over the X.

And last night, on his first backing-in attempt, he hit my bike!

This Hidden Mickey is just a temporary fix, but one I have faith in. Fingers crossed...

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

04 April, 2011

Happy Birthday Christina

I realized this morning that today is my baby sister's 10th birthday.

I haven't seen her since she was two.

This is the last picture I have with her.

I think we'd all agree that I don't casually toss around the word 'hate.'  Like most hateful words, I think it's a little stronger than is generally appropriate.  But today Christina kept drifting into my mind, and every time I had to make a conscious effort to not hate her mother.

This isn't the first time I've asked for strength to stop hating her.  See most of March 2006, or this extra-special entry from April of the same year for past examples. 

But unlike my fiery-hot rage of five years ago, this is different.  This is the quiet defeat of someone who has quite literally lost her family.  It's heart-break.  It's knowing that, in being the bigger person and not complaining to my dad about her back-stabbing and manipulation when I had the chance, I let her win.

This afternoon, I read a painfully beautiful account of how one of my favorite bloggers said goodbye to her dying father.  I cried for her, and then I found myself crying for me.  Honestly (and it's my own blog, so screw anyone who calls me selfish for this) I was jealous of her.  I was jealous that she had that kind of relationship with her dad.  And I was jealous that she was able to say goodbye.  I'm pretty sure that if my dad died tomorrow, I wouldn't be on the list of people who'd be notified.  Whenever I run into him, I find myself overwhelmingly grateful just to know that he's ok.  It's a pretty crappy way to go through life.

I don't know what Christina looks like now, how tall she is or whether her hair is still curly.  The last time I asked about her, Dad said she was on the honor roll.  Maybe she still is. I hope that she's happy, and that she turns out ok, despite living in Mother Gothel's alternate universe.

Happy birthday, baby sister.

PotD: Halfway There

Next weekend, I plan to tackle my half of the garage with (powder room) purple.

Can't wait!

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03 April, 2011

PotD: Work in Progress

We painted the garage yesterday - a beautiful solid coat of white. So today I'm scribbling all over the walls.

What do you think so far?

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