Tag: Jamison

  • Welcome home, Neptune

    Jamison has a new pet, or should I say, we have a new family member. After supper I took Jamison to the pet store where we adopted Neptune, a long-haired hamster. Jamison has been wanting a hamster for a while. Today he set up the cage with bedding, food and water, hoping that we would agree.

    Now that Neptune is home, it’s time to have some fun. This looks like a good start. Stay tuned…

  • Geocaching — Our first attempt

    I must have been a good boy last year: Santa brought me a GPS for Christmas. It’s a Magellan eXplorist 400 with mapping capabilities and a 512-MB SD memory card. Wow! I’d been looking at GPS units, but was considering the more basic models. Thanks, Santa, uh, Suzi!

    Jamison and I had fun using the GPS on the drive back from Sacramento on New Year’s Day. It’s amazing how quickly the elevation changes. Around Red Bluff, I handed it back to keep Jamison quiet and occupied. Well, at least occupied. From the back seat, “Dad, what’s the speed limit, ’cause you’re going 73.8 miles per hour.” And I thought I was doing good, staying within 5 mph. I guess not…

    Anyway, today I decided we would try geocaching. I’d downloaded some coordinates on local benchmarks and geocaches. We had looked a little yesterday while we toured the local parks to see the flooded creeks. Today, we would be serious geocachers, taking pictures and everything. Or so we thought.

    It made sense to me that we should start by trying to find surveying benchmarks. They’d be easier. After all, benchmarks are not intentionally hidden. We had a lot to learn.

    We started by looking for benchmark RD0391. Rather than read the hints, we were just going to use the GPS to find it. No such luck. We couldn’t find it after looking for about 15 minutes. All we found were paths of others who had tramped through the ivy, probably looking for the same benchmark.

    On to the next benchmark, RD0392. Even though my GPS said it had 16-foot accuracy at the time, I couldn’t find anything.

    I knew I was failing big time in my son’s eyes, but he was polite, saying “At least we’re having fun, dad.” And we were, but I was getting frustrated. Was my GPS lying to me? Did I have it configured in the wrong units?

    So we gave up again and went in search of benchmark RD0384. I had looked at the hints for this one and had seen the pictures of the benchmark in its setting. We were going to find this one. This benchmark is set in the steps by a door at a local school. I parked in the parking lot near where I thought it was and pulled out my GPS. Hmm, I must have been wrong, because my GPS was sending me away from where I thought the benchmark was. In fact, it sent us over into the bushes on the south side of the school After walking around, trusting the GPS, I gave up and walked over to the steps and found a benchmark, shown as the “X” in the overhead picture. I was ready to go home and read my GPS’ documentation.

    We’d try one more, though, RD0396. We could find this one. It has a sign marking its location. Success! We ignored that, once again, the GPS had us looking about 100 feet away.

    We were going to look for a real geocache, and drove to Dog Log #2. From reading its online log, we were there at the same time yesterday as Hoo T. Owl, who found it after waiting for some people taking pictures/movies to leave. Today, right near where the cache (probably) is hidden some people were rehearsing a sword fight with plastic swords while a mini DV recorder sat on a tripod nearby. We waited a few minutes, but they were clearly there for the duration, so we left for home where I jumped online to see why we had failed so miserably.

    It turns out that the coordinates for surveying benchmarks don’t appear to be that accurate. Huh?! Using the mapping capabilities at geocache.com, reading formal location descriptions, and then going once again to find the benchmarks, we found considerable distances between the supposed locations and the real locations. In the overhead pictures below, the Google call-out shows the supposed location and the red “X” shows the actual location.

    It looks like we can’t go just by the coordinates for survey markers. We’re hoping the coordinates for geocaches hidden by people with GPS are more accurate.

    Regardless, when I look at Jamison’s face when we finally found the benchmarks, I know it was worth it. Next time, we’ll be a little better prepared and will look for geocaches. Maybe we’ll even find a travel bug.

  • Jamison and Kevin


    Last night we went to the Faith Bible High School graduation. Jamison poses with Kevin, his favorite graduate.

  • Worth two in the bush?

    This morning I drove Melissa to school. She needed to arrive early for a field trip to the Oregon Coast. On her way out the door, she grabbed her lunch, her book bag, and then her shoes off the front porch. As I backed out of the driveway, she settled in and started putting on her shoes. Her toe discovered something soft and grayish-brown in the tip of the first shoe. She jerked the shoe away, held it in my direction, and asked what I saw. She had reason to be concerned. Recently, her mother found a dead field mouse generously deposited in her shoe by our insane cat (sorry, “insane cat” is redundant in all circumstances). I looked in the shoe and saw a small bird. I couldn’t yet tell whether it was alive. A couple of pokes showed that the bird was indeed alive, and now burrowed farther in the shoe’s toe.

    Melissa unlaced her shoe and lifted its tongue. Now we could see a little more of the bird. I put my finger alongside the bird, and prodded it out. Not only was the bird alive, but it looked alert, unharmed, and quite young. It apparently ended up on our front porch, saw a cat, and took refuge in Melissa’s right shoe.

    We took the bird in the school to find Melissa’s science teacher. Maybe she would know what to do with a young bird. After not finding her, but being found by virtually every seventh-grade girl who was told the story of finding a bird in the shoe on the way to school, Melissa had to go in and sit down. I had the bird and needed a box to hold it on the way home. The kindergarten room yielded a box, and the discovery that the bird could fly, though apparently not too well.

    The bird serenaded me the whole way home, sounding healthier with each mile. The Audubon Society’s answering machine provided helpful information:

    • The mother, having a lousy sense of smell, would not reject the baby bird after it had been handled by humans.
    • It’s normal for baby birds to spend two or more days on the ground while learning to fly.
    • The Audubon Society would not take in a healthy bird unless we knew for sure it was an orphan.
    • Setting the bird free was the best thing we could do for it.

    After taking the bird home, showing it to Jamison, and taking its picture, I retrieved the ladder to look up in the gutter where we’ve been seeing some birds come and go. I didn’t find a nest, but did see an area where a nest might be, and set the open box nearby, where the bird’s parents would be able to find it and care for it.

    Before I could even get down the ladder, my new friend flew from the box, across the yard, and perched in a tree. Clearly, I had been sandbagged the whole way to and from school by this little creature. It was soon joined in the tree by a black-capped chickadee and a house finch (which I think it is). Its prospects look good.

    Melissa will be pleased to hear that this bird need not be memorialized by anything more than the new whitish stains in the bottom of her right shoe.

  • Play ball!

    Today was my son’s first baseball game; am I ever proud! Not only did “Bub” hit every time at bat (without the tee), but he had a blast and came home with muddy and grass-stained knees. I don’t think you could have pried that grin off his face with a crowbar (somehow, that visual doesn’t seem to work…). Anyway, only one more practice and then it’s just games until the end of the season.

    There’s gotta be a special place in heaven for coaches. These guys (and gals) donate a couple of evenings each week to teach first graders how to play baseball. Our coach is doing a great job, and with his wry sense of humor, he’s helping everyone else have a good time, too. You should have seen his face when three of the kids voted for the team name to be the “Green Lima Beans.” Fortunately, convention prevailed and five voted for the “Green Hornets.” (The “Green Grass” only received one vote.) Can you guess the color of their jerseys?

    I bought a baseball glove during lunch today. If I don’t blog as regularly, you’ll know what I’m doing.

  • CSI-Kitchen

    Forensic investigators can pinpoint the location a bullet enters or leaves a human body in three-dimensional space by analyzing the shapes of the resulting blood spatters on the surrounding walls, floors, and other articles. A droplet striking a surface perpendicularly results in a round droplet. At increasing angles from perpendicular, the droplet becomes an increasingly elongate ellipse. The angle of impact can be calculated from the ratio between the ellipse’s major and minor axes. A single droplet defines a line on which the bullet impact occurred. Multiple droplets define multiple lines that largely intersect at the impact location.

    Using similar forensic techniques, I could have determined the exact location(s) where my son mixed corn starch with water this afternoon. The kitchen cupboards, counters, fridge, and floor were plastered with little, white droplets from his science experiments.

    Fortunately, no harm resulted and the kitchen received an unscheduled wipe-down. I think I’ll go make my own cornstarch suspension.

  • Homeschooling Adventures

    My wife and I are homeschooling our 7-year-old son, Jamison. Okay, my wife is homeschooling him. I get to come along on field trips to OMSI and the zoo. Jamison loves math and computers, but isn’t too fond of writing. He’ll do his math in his head to avoid having to write the answers down.

    Today he learned a new trick. He scanned his workbook page into the computer, loaded Microsoft Publisher, and typed in the answers on the scanned image. It looks perfect, but sure didn’t do anything to help his handwriting. Maybe one of these days, writing will be a lost art.

    While I typed this, Jamison put a deflated balloon into a pop bottle, blew some air in it, and is now attempting to yank the semi-inflated balloon out of the bottle. What will he think of next?!

  • It’s Christmas Eve!

    Everyone is home and the Christmas music is playing. Suzi and I finished the last of our shopping this afternoon and most of the day’s purchases are already wrapped and under the tree. The rest are arrayed on our bed, surrounded by boxes and wrapping paper.

    Suzi and the girls made goodies this afternoon. Jamison makes sure the candles are always burning. We have more fudge, Russian tea cakes, and rice crispy treats than we should attempt to eat (but we will).

    Suzi’s parents are coming over for supper and a quiet evening. The food is simmering on the stove and the house smells nice. We have a 500-piece puzzle picked out.

    All of us will open one present tonight and then the kids will sleep under the tree.

    I love Christmas!



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