December 3 – last week of class

Wednesday I got out of the office as soon as I reasonably could, as it was snowing pretty hard.  Not much had accumulated yet, but there was a truck overturned in the median on the highway.  Several cars had already stopped.  I didn’t think I could help much.  I passed the ambulance, fire truck, and state trooper coming the other way.  The pick-up in front of me lost traction for a bit.  I knew the road was slippery.  Stacey called me about when I got home.  She asked me to start dinner.  When I entered the house, Savannah was reading a book (Harry Potter).  I told her that Mom wanted her to make dinner.  I pretty much conned her into doing it, but I helped a little. 

Thursday afternoon I went to say goodbye to Lori Lori.  She’s moving to Switzerland, and her going away party is next Saturday, when I’ll be on my way to Ecuador.  We had a long talk about many different things.  It was a lesson in impermanence; another friend leaves.  I went to the QU basketball games in the evening. I had a nutritious dinner of hot dog, pepsi, and snickers bar.  The women’s game was a blow-out, as we won by a large margin.  It’s still fun to watch our star player, Jessica Keller.  Three minutes into the game she missed two free throws.  When she came back down the court, she said to the coach, “That’s a guy’s ball.”  She was right.  Later she was knocked down, but kept the dribble going about 4 inches from the floor.  The men’s game was an exciting come-from-behind win. 

Friday I stayed home.  I took the first eagle photos of the season, and cruised around looking for other raptors.  They were suprisingly cooperative.  Later I went to Monticello to register the truck.  That night I went to our high school basketball games.  The girls won by a large margin.  The boys stayed with it long enough to give us hope, but lost in the end. 
 
This eagle didn’t mind me as long as I stayed in the car.

It was a little ruffled when this juvenile, perched nearby, suddently took off.

American Kestrel–didn’t set still for long.
 

A Red-tailed Hawk watched me for a minute, then bailed.

Saturday Stacey and I went to Quincy.  She went shopping after dropping me off at QU for the basketball games.  Once again, our women blew out the competition, scoring 108 points, about 40 more than the other team.  It’s great to see the bench get to play.  Several of them are biology students.  Keller had a typical game.  This time she made a one-handed backward shot from under the net.  The men’s team traded the lead until the second half, when the other team ran away with it.

Sunday we stayed home.  I spent most of the morning working on the fire department Christmas video, but I went deer hunting in the afternoon.  It was the last day of muzzleloading season.  I took down my old treestand, which was a lot easier than putting it up.  On the way out there I spooked something that crashed away in the woods.  Probably a deer.  I was walking to the stand when I saw some tracks by the pond.  I photographed them because they looked like bobcat tracks.  I tooks some measurements with my swiss army knife too.  I walked out to my spot and spooked a big flock of turkeys.  In a few minutes they were yelping at each other trying to regroup. I sat in the woods for a couple of hours.  It was cold, but the sun came out for awhile, just before it set.  I looked up periodically from my reading to see if anything was around.  Nothing but the usual squirrels.  It got pretty dark, but was still shooting light when I started to pack up.  I reached down to put my camera in my pack, and spooked a deer behind me that must have been less than 20 yards away.  Oh, well.  That would have been my last chance of the year.  Driving out, two deer crossed the driveway in front of me.  I’m cursed. 

The lack of claw marks was the first clue.  The size and shape are consistent too.  I’ve never seen a bobcat or its tracks, but they’re around.

At 1:30 in the morning, I got a call from one of my students.  She wanted to know whether the final exam was Monday or Tuesday.  I knew it was Tuesday.  It’s been on the schedule all semester.  Then when I was driving to work I got another call.  There were seven students there waiting for me.  Apparently, I had told them it was Monday at some point.  I wrote the exam in record time and gave it to those present.  It pays to be adaptable.

That night was the Fire Department Christmas Dinner.  We had a lot of good food, and my video went over really well.  I put some animations and morphs in it that got their attention, and a variety of fire-related music. 

One night Savannah had a plate full of mini cream puffs.  She was sitting on the couch and Boots was with her, staring intently at said cream puffs.  Then he made one of those little cat coughs.  I think he sprayed cat spit over all of them.  I was dying with laughter.  She ate them anyway.

Today I had the final meeting for the Galapagos trip.  I leave on Saturday, so I don’t know if I’ll get another one of these out before then.  It will be at least a couple of weeks, most likely. 

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