Friday, October 24, 2014

Opera, broken laptops and a costume idea

I'm not a big opera fan, probably because I don't know anything about it. If there were a translator like this guy there, I would be way more interested in going.

 

The number of times I've seen Amy's laptop on the floor...

Oh no!!

If you're already black and white, just add ears:



Happy weekend!




Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I think it's a... bird

Remember the Steve Martin/Owen Wilson/Jack Black movie, The Big Year? The main characters’ stories play beautifully off each other, the writing and acting are excellent and the scenery is gorgeous. But to get to all that cinematic goodness, the movie-goer had to wrap his brain around seeing a film about birding. Yep, it was about the three bird watchers’ quest to see or hear the most birds in a year.

I loved the movie but couldn’t believe there were people who spent their time crossing the country, looking at birds.

But this week, I meet a real life birder.

Our friend, Stacey, Rebecca’s zoology teacher, took us to the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is in the path of several birds’ migration routes, so she said this was a great spot to see lots of different birds. Rebecca, an owl expert, is now learning other types of birds. Stacey is an avid learner, and she’d done lots of research before our trip. My knowledge of birds can fit in a teaspoon – like, I know they fly – so I was merely along as the driver.

There’s a 6 ½ mile auto route we planned to take, and stop when we wanted to see something up close. Turned out we weren't the only ones out on the overcast Monday looking for birds.

Halfway through the route we came upon a woman with a serious scope who was serious about her birds.

She was stopped across from a large water area, so we stopped to see what she was seeing. And she was seeing all kinds of birds. She let us look through her scope as she told us all about the birds on the water.

She was happy to share and said birders love to talk about birds. She seemed pleased someone as young as Rebecca was taking an interest in birds. 

We followed her on the trail, and when she stopped, we stopped. It was a most educational 6.5 miles.

It was also surreal. I mean, I like birds, but I have no idea if I’m looking at a wigeon or a mallard. (Until yesterday, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a wigeon.) But this woman, with bird book in hand, could differentiate birds that looked exactly the same to me by the smallest spot of white on a wing, or shape of the head or beak.

Made me wonder if this is how people feel when they go to car shows with us…

It was an adventure, made more enjoyable because someone who loved birds shared her knowledge with us.

I think it's time to show Rebecca The Big Year. And maybe this time, I’ll appreciate the birds as much as the acting.
  
Our first sighting of the day - a large red-tail hawk.

Rebecca and Stacey, viewing the hawk with their binoculars.

The explorers in front of an eagle's nest.

This is where we met Ms. Birder. The man to the right just happened upon the trail that day and said he was up for an adventure. He was excited to take pictures with his new camera.

Ms. Birder and her friend check out the bird book with Rebecca. The first thing Sean said when he saw this picture: Nice Suburban.

Rebecca looking at... birds.

I figured I should put at least one other picture of a bird here.



Friday, October 17, 2014

Gluten free, sick babies, and running humor

Looking for an eclectic laugh? Look no further!

These guys just make me laugh:

 

 Hey Amy - looks like Jim Gaffigan thinks you're a communist...

 

Lots of our friends are running in the cross country meet today. Hope y'all run fast. As fast as I would with the proper motivation:



Happy weekend, y'all!



Thursday, October 16, 2014

No good deed

My husband has a long fuse. Long. Near eternal. No one believes he actually gets angry, and the truth is, it takes a lot to push him over the edge. But over the edge he went this week, thanks to Dish Network and their inept, third-party representative.

Back in June, we switched from DirecTV to Dish. A young man from our neighborhood was working as a rep for Dish, and in an effort to buy local and support a DeWitt grad, we switched. In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman: Big mistake. Big. Huge.

He promised he’d cancel our contract with DirecTV, get us all set up with Dish and lower our monthly cost. He did get us set up with Dish. But cancelling our contract and lowering our monthly cost weren't on his to-do list, so we got stuck paying DirecTV for a month and a half. And thus began our quest to be reimbursed because he didn't cancel our service.

Sean has called and texted and texted and called the rep. The rep has promised the check’s in the mail so many times it’s laughable. Tuesday night he promised to put cash in our mailbox. When the latest promise went unfulfilled, Sean just lost it. You do not want to be on the receiving end of Sean losing it. He doesn't yell. He doesn't cuss. But you know you are in a heap of trouble.

In an attempt to help my husband control his blood pressure, I took over. I went to Twitter to see if Dish could help us out. A help desk person almost instantly tweeted back and asked me to DM him the issue. Progress at last!

After explaining the issue, the Dish guy kept asking for more info. Account number, PIN, address. And after gathering tons of info, he came back and said he couldn't help because a third party originated the sale.

Um, Dish? I told you that IN THE VERY FIRST MESSAGE!!

My homemade protest sign.

And this is where I lost it. Took Sean four months; took me four hours.

We've had nothing but problems with Dish – from this issue to the signal going out with great regularity. And we only turn our set on a few times a week. I can’t imagine how often we’d be greeted with the Signal Out screen if we were regular viewers.

Thankfully, Sean's BP is back in normal range. I've recovered from my Twitter message session. But I am now on the warpath to convince Dish to let us out of our contract. At this point they can keep the money they owe us. It would be worth it to be done with this company.








Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Random Thoughts

The Northwood University International Auto Show was a huge success. Michael did a great job interacting with the various TV and radio station representatives. We even got to watch one of his interviews:

What you don't see in this picture is the group of four grandparents, two sisters and two parents, acting like tourists, snapping pictures like crazy people.

Michael did meet Frank Beckmann – this is the text I received after they met: “…he has been extremely accommodating. You would not be disappointed!” 

Knowing people who seem friendly on the radio are also friendly in real life is so refreshing.

We got to chat with some of Michael’s friends, including Jon and Tanner. The three of them have been buddies since their freshman year. Sean and I are happy Michael’s made such good friends. We’re always hearing stories about stuff the three of them of are doing.

I think they see themselves as The Three Musketeers, or maybe Jeremy, James and Richard of Top Gear.

Based on the stories we hear, I wonder if their professors see them more like The Three Amigos…




I jest, I jest!

Sort-of…

Seriously, though, those guys are going to own the auto industry one day.

After the car show, we drove the grandparents over to Amy’s school. She showed us around, and because a show was happening that night, got everyone into the costume shop and theater.

It was a long day with lots of walking – I’m embarrassed to say the 70 year-olds held up better than I did!

And now, random pictures of the weekend:





I cannot count the number of times I've seen them in this position...

One of the many cars/trucks Michael got to drive.

Amy's dorm room.

A fun weekend was had by all!













Thursday, October 09, 2014

NUIAS, here we come!

That we are going to a car show this weekend is not surprising. What is surprising is that Michael will meet us there, sporting a coat and tie, walkie-talkie firmly in hand. Because he's helping run it.

And "it" is the Northwood University International Auto Show, the largest outdoor auto show in the nation. Over 60,000 people will wander the grounds of NU, viewing more than 500 cars, trucks, SUVs and other vehicles. At least 600 students help put on the show, and Michael is one of them. He's the Public Relations chairman, so he's gotten to an opportunity to record radio spots, write press releases and do television interviews.

A friend commented that this is an amazing combination of both his mom and dad. And she's exactly right. Sean often jokes that he's going to quit work and go back to school with Michael. I'm not heading back to school any time soon, but I would adore hanging out with Michael all day tomorrow while he interacts with different TV and radio crews, including the incredible Frank Beckmann, an icon in Michigan radio.

If you have any interest in cars, you want to be in Midland this weekend. And if you see a handsome guy driving a golf cart around looking all official, tell him is Mom is really proud of him.

Michael and Kristin Hammond, General Chair, in the studios of ESPN radio.

Photo: Videos in the making with our PR Chair, Michael Duffy! #thatvoice
Michael cutting radio spots.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Friday Fun

Oh, y'all. I have not laughed this hard in a long time. He's so funny that I'll even forgive his Pepsi reference at the end. Those pants, though... the 80's were rough.



For Michael:

Jeremy clarkson putting the facts straight


This is very scary. Very, very scary:

(HT: dumpaday)

Happy weekend!