Saturday, February 28, 2015

Credibility = Integrity

This little pic made the rounds of Facebook this week.  Locals know that our "huge" snowstorm turned out to be . . . a cold rain.  With maybe a tiny bit of sleet mixed in.  So people chuckled at this.

But -- it is a sad picture also, as are the similar ones I've seen of the same man, with other funny captions.  Because, in the space of a couple of weeks, Brian Williams has gone from being a respected news anchor to being a laughingstock in the nation.  All because he had a need to exaggerate details about his career - a career that was stellar and needed no embellishment.

The fact remains that without integrity, a person's credibility is deeply hurt, and his good reputation is lost.  And it doesn't take much dishonesty for a person to lose credibility.  Honesty is everything, in a person's career or in his personal relationships.   I guess Brian Williams sees that more clearly now.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday's Fave Five 2/27/15

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog.
1. The snow day that wasn't.  Supposedly we were to get anywhere between 3-8" of snow.  All the stations, all the models, were forecasting that much.  Schools called the day off the night before.  And--we were right on the dividing line.  The temperature was 2 degrees above freezing.  So, we expected to wake up to a winter wonderland, and instead woke up to - a little frost and minimal ice.  Mostly a cold rain.  I graded papers most of the day and got 3 1/2 sets out of 4 completed - including poetry projects and book reports.

2. A pot of cheeseburger soup.  Mom sent it home with me on Tuesday night, and it was nice not to have to cook.

3. A tight roof, plenty of blankets, gas logs and a heat pump, food in the refrigerator.  Simple things for which we are not grateful enough, especially on cold, wet winter days.

4. A great day in church last Sunday.  Our assistant pastor preached a great message, and the missionaries who came that night gave a sweet program with many memories for our church people who had visited them on two separate missions trips.  We went home, as did many others who commented later, refreshed and filled.

5. Birds are eating me out of house and home!  I found a 50-pound bag of sunflower seeds last weekend at a feed store, for a great price - and may have to get another bag within the next week!  I enjoy watching them.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday's Fave Five, 2/20/15

Link to Friday's Fave Five host blog

 1. We survived the ice storm this week with minimal problems.  Power was out from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. Tuesday night, but that was all.  When I heard it go out at 1 a.m., I thought "Well, that's that for two or three days."  So it was a pleasant surprise to hear it come back on so quickly and so early.  Apparently that was the case, and time frame, for many people in our area.

2. No school Monday for President's Day, then no school Tuesday and Wednesday for an ice storm, then a delayed opening on Thursday because of the severe cold - makes for a nice week of school.

3. Andrew made it safely back to his city in China about 24 hours ago.  He stayed with a family we know in Beijing for almost a week, because there were no flights due to the Chinese New Year.  It's always a relief to know that he is back OK.

4. Very good open house last week.  We do "double school."  The first year the students weren't excited about it, until we did it once and they liked it.  We have a day of school, then actually come back that night for three more classes!  Anyone from the community, or parents, can come sit in on classes and observe what goes on.  And the trade-off?  No school the next day!

5. We saw this goose last Saturday in a cove on the lake.  At first we thought it was just a generic farm goose among the Canadas; then we thought it was a snow goose; but, after studying it, realized it was a Ross's goose - a rare bird for our area.  I've been back several times but have not seen it again.  After posting it on a couple of lists, I've received emails from several other birders, more avid than I am, who thought it was a good find and some who want to try to find it themselves.  My gut feeling is that it is a one-time viewing and has gone on to other places.  But it's always a treat to find a rare bird.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Feeders Going Crazy During Ice Storm

Mike put a flat feeder out this morning before he left for work.  This is what it looked like by half an hour later.  (Eventually I am going to use this feeder for mealworms for bluebirds.)

Feeders have been crazy.  About 60 goldfinches at a time, with about half a dozen pine siskins mixed in.  After all those finches move out, then there are downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, pine  warblers, cardinals, two kinds of nuthatches, Carolina wrens, as well as chickadees, juncos, and titmice.  They are eating me out of house and home.  But in this weather, I'm glad to feed them.

Pine siskin hanging sideways on the suet feeder.  It is similar to a goldfinch (same family) but is heavily streaked, with yellow on wing and tail (easily missed) - in this picture fairly visible.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

"His Love"

This is the song Andrew wrote during the dark days of last winter in China.  He recorded it at our church last Monday.  He then played with it in GarageBand here at home to add the harmonies to it as well.  However - we were getting supper ready as he was doing that, so there are some occasional background noises, especially toward the end.  He told me I can upload it as long as I put in the disclaimer that it is not a professional recording!  There is also a fairly long delay - maybe 10 seconds - before the song begins, so do not think it isn't working if you don't hear it at first.

The only way I can upload audio clips is to import them into iMovie and play with them there, before exporting to be uploaded.  I had hoped to put in a collage of China pictures, but am hopelessly lost in iMovie and have to keep it as simple as possible.  Therefore - when this one picture worked, it stayed.  I took it as we were returning to Andrew's apartment one afternoon.  These are the workers at the fine dining restaurant that is in front of his old apartment.  They are apparently having a break, and are grilling skewers of chicken hearts and other meats on a small charcoal hibachi.  This is a common way of grilling in his area.  I liked the artistry of how it turned out, even though when it was taken, it was only meant to be a snapshot of Chinese life.

Rare Bird! Ross's Goose

We saw a rare bird this morning!!  We drove to the Dobbins Farm Ponds . . . didn't see anything.  At the Fork Bridge we did see a great blue heron huddled against the wind.  Other than that - no ducks, nothing interesting, just a lot of small grass birds that flew too fast to be identified.

We got breakfast, then decided to check out the new Green Pond boat landing, which has just been completed for next week's Bassmasters Classic on the lake.  Afterward I suggested - let's go see what the old landing is like now.  There was a flock of about 15 Canada geese - with a little white goose walking, and then swimming, in the middle of the group.

At first we thought, just a common tame farm goose.  Then - snow goose.  But the more we watched it, the more we realized it was much smaller than a snow goose and did not act like a tame goose at all.  We studied it carefully, and realized it had none of the black of a snow goose on its bill, but it did have the gray at the back of the bill, like a Ross's Goose.  We both determined that that is what it was!!

They are not common around here at all - in fact, you won't even find them on the range maps.   I turned it in to eBird and to the Carolina Bird Club, and got agreeable confirmation on both.  Very exciting for a couple of casual (though hopefully careful) birders!