Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Well, here I am!

Arrived today around 2:30 pm and checked into my room. My roommate has already been here awhile so she was obviously in class. I would have liked to lie down in bed for a bit but I was unable because I did not know which bed was hers. So I putzed around, developed quite a good headache and ventured out to see if I could find a store and buy some Tylenol. I stopped in a Velaro and was directed to an HEB. Quite an interesting area. I was definitely a standout in the supermarket.

Not much more to say. Tomorrow is the medical and then we will go from there. I need some sleep!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Good News! (and a little sad news)

I will start class on Tuesday, September 16th. My recruiter in Dallas called this morning and said that she did not know why they cancelled this week's class. I can breathe again.

Sad news - The little hummingbird that was defending his feeder from intruders met his end today. You can say that he died defending his "property". I found him on the mat at the back door. He must have flown into the window on the door and broke his neck. With the way these birds zip around it surprises me that it does not happen more often. It probably happened within minutes of when I found him. I picked up the little guy and he was so light that I could not even feel his weight in my hand. I gave him a burial on the corner of our property. I also moved the feeder next to the other feeder in the yard. No glass out there. I will miss seeing him on his perch keeping an eye out for the competition.

And some bad news - Ian went to mow the lawn today. Lawn tractor worked fine for a little while and then it would not move forward. A trend developing here?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Visitor Counter

I just put the counter on the blog today. While I may not have a huge following I have had more than 2 visitors!

Hummingbird Update

I promise I will not blog about hummingbirds anymore but a most extraordinary moment happened to me when I was filling the feeder.

I noticed that while I was pouring the liquid into the feeder that some of the birds were flying around me - quite close. I put down the pitcher and hung up the feeder and just waited. I was about eight inches away from the feeder. In about 15 seconds a bird landed on the feeder and just looked at me, drank a little then flew off. After that another bird, then another. Pretty soon the feeder was at capacity (8 holes) and there were birds flying all around me. They were so close I could feel the breeze from their wingbeats. They would fly and hover right in front of my face, so close that I could not even focus on them. It was amazing and a little disconcerting. I hoped that all of them had passed flying school and that I would not be pulling a hummingbird out of my neck!

To see these birds so close was exhilarating. They look even smaller and delicate. I saw how their little beaks open and their tongues work the liquid into their mouths. At a distance it looks that when they confront another bird they just get close and make them move but this close I could see that they actually touch the other bird with their beaks or full body contact. I heard them actually smash into one another! I was hoping that I would not be next but they were so curious about this big thing in front of their feeder that they were checking me out throughly. The whole time I was standing there, maybe five minutes, I did not move and hardly breathed.

It truly was amazing.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


On Friday I tweeted about the insane number of hummingbirds that were at the feeder closest to the back door. It was quite an extraordinary sight. I had to fill the feeder three times that day - even after having filled it on Thursday. It generally takes about a week before this feeder will empty completely.

Normally, these birds claim a feeder and will not let any other birds anywhere near their feeder. Shawn and I have mentioned before that if they would spend less time chasing the other birds away they would not need as much food. But it is very entertaining watching their aerial acrobatics. So to have seen all this activity at a feeder was pretty amazing.

When I was talking to Shawn on Friday evening he suggested I blog about the hummingbirds because I was so bummed about the school thing and I needed to stop thinking about it. I began to look up ruby-throated hummingbirds and came across some very interesting facts.

They build a walnut-sized nest and the female will lay two white pea-sized eggs. The male does not help with the raising of the young (what a bum) and in fact, after mating will probably mate with another female. The mother will incubate and raise the young. By the time they are fully fledged they will actually weigh more than the mom because they have been fed insects instead of nectar. When the young do leave the nest she will tolerate them at her feeder for a little while but then she will treat them like any other intruder. Talk about family unity!

RTH's are also the most common species of hummingbird that breeds in the east to center of North America. They can be found as north as Canada. This makes their fall migration even more spectacular. Even though these birds have been doing this same trek for eons without our assistance, birders do encourage that we help these little guys along the way by leaving out the feeders. Southern states should leave their feeders filled until Thanksgiving. And no, having the feeders available does not distract them from migrating. Though there have been cases where a bird has over-wintered in a northern latitude this does not really happen very much.

Hummingbirds have incredibly small legs so they don't really walk or hop. The legs are used for perching and they can use them for scratching.

Hummingbirds drink water! Who knew!

While hummers do seem to like the color red they will also go to flowers of a different color. We have plumbago and yellow bells that they like just fine. Most feeders that you buy in the store do have some red on them but their is no need to put a red dye in the nectar that you feed them. Speaking of nectar - we used to buy it in a powdered form but now we just mix it ourselves. One part sugar, four parts water. Use really hot water. Does not need to be boiling, just real hot.

That's my hummingbird blog. Hope you enjoyed it.

Video can be found here.

Now for the rest of the story...

So I took this video yesterday after Erin, Angelo and the kids left from celebrating Ian's very belated birthday. I was glad that I was able to locate the tripod because, well, you all know how things have been lately in my lost and not found department. I felt fairly confident early in the day that I would find the camera, which I did, and the charger. I charged the camera and all seemed to be working fine. Set the camera up, sat down in the shade, adult beverage in hand, I shot 27 minutes worth of video (aren't you glad I did not post all of it! I did zoom out twice and once filled the feeder.) I am happy that worked and I went upstairs to download my soon-to-be
masterpiece and...no cable!

Looked everywhere. We have about 1.2 million cables in our house but not one of them was the cable I needed. I am extremely frustrated at this point and wondering if this was the direction for the rest of my life. After spitting and foaming at the mouth for about a half hour I go online to look up what kind of cable it is that I need. Well, what do I know? To me this stuff is like a car. I put the key in the ignition and I drive it. Don't ask me how it actually runs. I don't know if it is four-pin or six-pin. I know that I put one end here, the other end there, I click "download" and it happens. I think that I may have found the cable that I need and it was about $8.99. I say to myself, "I will go to Best Buy tomorrow and pick up a cable." I'm pretty well soothed at this point.

So I go to Best Buy and even thought ahead and brought my camera. I walk into the store, the people greeter puts a sticker on my camera so no one thinks I stole it, and I tell him that I need a cable. He points out Devon and says that I should talk to him. I say "oh, the guy in the blue shirt?" I did quickly recover and said "of course, you all have blue shirts. Except you (people greeter) have a yellow shirt." We all laughed and one of the other employees pointed out that he had a black shirt (GeekSquad). I go to Devon, the cable guy, and he takes me to the cable rack and finds the one that would work and hands it to me. I look at it and say "I am supposed to plug this into my computer or lock up my bicycle with it?" No kidding, this thing is a gray cable encased in clear plastic that looks like the cable with the combo lock at the end. He tells me that it is for heavy data transmission and that is why it looks like that. I assure him that none of my data is heavy and asked if he had anything cheaper because the price of this heavy data/bicycle lock cable was $34. And also if they had anything less than 6ft because I put my camera right next to my computer and not across the room when I am downloading. No, of course, they did not. I go and pay for this thing and think that I will go to Radio Shack and see if they have anything a little more reasonable.

Well, their cable was shorter and it was your standard thin, black cord but it was also $2 more. I'll stick with the Best Buy cable. If I don't ever use it to download video again at least I will have a new cable lock for my bicycle!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Well, I am a little bummed right now

I was called earlier today and told that I would not be starting school next Wednesday as had been originally planned. The class has been cancelled. The recruiter that called from Memphis assured me that it was nothing to do with me - as if I would think that they would cancel the entire class because they did not want me to attend. No reason given and she told me that my recruiter in Dallas will call me when the next class would become available.

Well, it does make me a little concerned. All along I have been thinking why are they having classes if freight is down. It would make more sense to use their existing drivers instead of hiring on more drivers. My worry is that this may have just occurred to them as well. Or maybe I am just over thinking and the reason is because the instructors wanted to take a longer holiday weekend.

I am also pissed off because the things I have been looking for all week are just not being found. I have opened boxes that have so many pictures in them that I could open up a museum. While it has been entertaining I have still not found what I am looking for - my diploma because you need the stupid thing to avoid taking the Scholastic Level Exam; an exam which they insist is required by the state of Texas but, in fact, it is not. Never took it while I was at Schneider or CFI. What is really funny is that it has to be a HS diploma or GED. Apparently you can show them your PhD and that would not work. I have my DD-214 from the military that says I have a HS diploma buy that won't work either. No, they have to have their grubby hands on the thing.

In doing all this searching I was also hoping that I would come across my training books from Schneider (because Schneider's training was far better) but, no. I did come across a hopeful box that had some Schneider stuff but, alas, no books. In this same hopeful box was the box for the game "Civilization". I liked this game. Only played it on my laptop, not on this computer. So I said to myself, "cool, I will load this later." Opened the box, flipped open the jewel case, no CD. I searched the million cd's that Shawn has in his desk. Nothing. I am feeling a little beaten up at this point. I want to curl up in a corner.

Shawn told me that I needed to blog. He did not like my last blog and would like to see something else. Suggested I blog about the hummingbirds that have drank (or is it eaten. Technically, hummingbirds don't really drink) nearly three feeders full of sugar water today. He also said that I should take some video. I am not sure I can embed video in this blog but maybe I can get it on my mac gallery.

So in the next week I will blog about:

- hummingbirds
- my new diet (on which I have lost three pounds since Monday)
- the importance of organization

I will also try to:

- complete the painting in the dining room (because we will never put up crown moulding so I need to get rid of the pink and white strip across the top of the wall)
- mow the lawn
- sort through the pile of paperwork on the counter
- and get most of the quilting done on Conor and Amanda's quilt

There you are. Check back with me in a week.