February 20

Tuesday I did odd jobs around the house until the afternoon, when I drove down to St. Louis.  Naturally, it started snowing just before I left.  It stopped about halfway down.  I went to the Missouri Nature and Environmental Photographers meeting.  The speaker was a great photographer of wildflowers.  In the “Show and Share” portion I showed 5 images from the Galapagos.  There were a lot of eagle pics from other people. 

Coincidentally, Stacey was in St. Louis for a meeting of Christian Board of Publication, where she is on the Governing Board.  We couldn’t meet, though, as she was tied up.  By the time I got back to Canton, the snow had stopped, but I guess it had caused a lot of accidents in Quincy.   It was another late night for me.  Savannah had been cheering at an away basketball game.  It went into triple overtime, so she was home late as well. 
Common Goldeneyes are back on the river.  Note they are in the groups called ice ducks and divers.

Wednesday it was back to school.  I delayed an exam because half the students weren’t ready.  In the afternoon we went to another city park to look at trees.  I had a key to the trees, but they weren’t numbered, and the map was a bit dated.  We thought the eagle scout who made it should have his rank reduced.  Temperatures were in the single digits.  We did half the park and went into a coffee shop to warm up.  After a hot chocolate we went back out and finished it up.  Cold day!

This eagle isn’t sleeping, just grooming.  I stopped in La Grange on the way to work to shoot the mist rising off the river, but this landscape turned out better.

Wednesday night there was a lunar eclipse.  I didn’t even have to get up in the middle of the night, as it was 9 pm our time.  It was not quite in totality, which made a much better photo than last time I tried it.

Saturday morning I went to judge the Science Fair at Culver-Stockton.  I had the junior high zoology division.  When I was done I went up to see Savannah’s display and her competitors in the senior high zoology division.  I quickly found that one of the projects was exactly the same as a junior high one I had just judged.  I went back to the judges’ room and made the appropriate disqualifications.  That left only three in Savannah’s division.  She was assured of third place, which is what she got.  It was clear that the judge didn’t understand her project.  I had a free lunch in their cafeteria.  I sat by a couple of friends and said, “Hey, it’s just like old times–except I don’t actually work here!”

Later, Lowell and I went to the QU basketball games.  We won both, which was nice.  Near the end, Savannah and Dustin showed up.  Her soccer game had been forfeited, so her team finally won one.  They were going to go to the movies, but they had a couple of hours to burn.  They were wondering if we would take them out to dinner.  Lowell suggested Chinese, so we went to the big buffet and pigged out.  Lowell and I stopped at Staples on our way home. 

Sunday morning I went back to the brush dump and picked up another truckload of wood.  My back had already been hurting from sitting through two basketball games the day before, and after cutting, splitting and moving the wood, it was screaming.  After lunch I went to Russ Heindselman’s place.  He’s a retired guy that’s into lots of different things.  He’s the self-described hillbilly poet of Missouri, collects arrowhead and fishing reels, makes wine, and is crazy about bluebirds.  After I’d seen all his artifacts and operations, he gave me six bluebird houses of his latest design.  I’ll have my class put them out at Lowell’s.  On my way home I stopped to photograph an American Kestrel on a power line and a raccoon in a corn field.  Both were relatively rare catches.  You don’t see ‘coons in the daytime much.

Best kestrel shot yet.  Too bad it was overcast.  Darn corn stalks obscured the masked devil on every shot.

This missive should have gone out on Monday night, but we were a bit distracted.  It was a dark and stormy night.  Savannah had taken Dustin home in the Tracker and went off the road into a corn field.  Neither was hurt.  Perhaps the worst part was that they had gotten out and accidentally locked the doors with the engine running.  As they were closer to Dustin’s house, his family and half the Williamstown fire department was employed in unlocking the car and driving it out of the field.  Stacey and I stayed home and made frequent phone calls for updates.  I haven’t seen it yet, but it appears the vehicle suffered no major harm.  Perhaps it’s time I gave her some foul weather driving tips.  She’s at the district basketball championships tonight in her usual role as cheerleader. 

Today I met with a representative of TIAA-CREF, our retirement company.  I learned that I had been allocating my contributions in a manner opposite of my goals.  Oops!  Now I have a basic strategy to apply toward my goal of retirement at 62. 

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