Sunday, February 17, 2013

Great Backyard Bird Count

Isn't this little bird cute?!?  Tufted Titmouse, photo by Laura Perlick of the US Fish & Wildlife Service

Howdy!  It's time for the annual Great Backyard Bird Count!  Actually, it's been time for the GBBC since Friday, but I'm a bit behind in posting.

What is the GBBC, you ask?

Good question.  Here's the answer from the GBBC website.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are.
Beginning in 2013, GBBC checklists will be accepted from anywhere in the world!
Everyone is welcome--from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds. 
Participants tally the number of individual birds of each species they see during their count period. They enter these numbers on the GBBC website.

 This event can be enjoyable even for folks who aren't good at birding.  Trust me; I'm terrible at bird-watching, or rather, at bird-identifying.  But last year I did the GBBC with my mom at a big park, and we spent half of it sitting on a bench chatting (read: scaring away birds).  It gave us a chance to spend time together with just the two of us, something we don't often have a chance to do, and it gave us a sense of accomplishment, too.  We contributed to science!

So even if you're not much of a birder, but you're vaguely interested in finding out what birds live in your neighborhood, give the GBBC a try.  You don't even have to leave your house to do it!

And if you're in the United States or Canada, and you don't know how to start figuring out what birds you're seeing, GBBC provides a checklist of birds commonly found in your area.

So get and there and go birding!  (or stay inside and bird from your window)

Saturday, February 09, 2013

It Wasn't a Sinus Infection

Do you remember recently when JLR said she was sick, and we thought it was a cold?  It wasn't a cold after all, as it turns out.  As it turns out, it was the flu.  Neither of us expected to catch the flu, since we both had flu shots this year, and yet it was the flu for both of us.  I don't why she had to get it, but as for me, well, I guess that will teach me not to eat directly out of the peanut butter jar, especially if someone else (in this case, a flu-carrying JLR) is also eating directly out of the peanut butter jar.  Oh, wait.  Did that again today.  Dang it.  When will I learn?  I hope she hasn't been hanging out with sick people again.

Anyhow, we should have known it was the flu.  I have never in my life felt that bad in a "caught a cold" sort of way.  In a vomitty way, yes.  But not in the "feels sort of like a cold only not as wonderful and relaxing as a cold, comparatively speaking" way.  Everyone I know who's ever had the flu has talked about how exhausted and generally awful they felt, and I believed them, but I never knew how they felt.  Now I do.  So when my co-worker last week thought she might have caught the flu but was only out of work for one day, I felt fairly confident in telling her that she did not have the flu.  Maybe she had a rare, 24-hour version of it, but it seems unlikely.  Come to think of it, though, she is rather fit and eats well.  Maybe healthy people only get the flu for 24 hours.  Yet another reason for me to eat right and work out, instead of sitting around all day, eating a cupcake, half a candy bar, a bit of ice cream, and a large amount of peanut butter, which is how I spent today.  Hey, I got my car's oil changed, and I really don't like messing with an oil change.  Plus, I tried to drop off my old headboard and footboard at Goodwill, and they wouldn't take it, and I have been trying to get rid of this thing for quite some time so I don't have to be wasteful and throw it out, and no one will take it.  (Sorry about that long sentence.  Whiny = long-winded.)  Also, Wally was sick several times today and won't eat his food, which is cause for concern in an old cat.  Making sure I feel poorly tomorrow was my reward for things not going well today.  I'm sure tomorrow I won't regret my choices today.  Yeah.

But on the plus side, I did find some cheap (read: old) German-brand coffee beans at the store. 
Maybe they won't be as good as the beans I buy at the local hipster coffee shop (where I don't fit in because I don't have tattoos or a handlebar mustache, and I most definitely do not wear old-timey-looking hipster youth suspenders, but where I go despite feeling uncomfortable every moment I'm there because the coffee is oh-so-tasty), but they will taste like saving money.  And that's just about my favorite flavor.

The cheap stuff won't taste as good as the fancy stuff, but it won't make feel old and inferior, either.

Here's hoping all is well with the rest of you and that you are doing better sticking to your budget and your diet than I am.