Whimbrel at Asilomar

Whimbrel at Asilomar

Whimbrel at Asilomar

It was a quiet day at work today. Most of my colleagues had taken the day off, either to get a jump on holiday travel or simply to extend their four-day holiday weekend. Anne didn’t have school again, but today it was part of the regular schedule and not missed school due to the troubles in Ferguson. When our kids were in school, they never got the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off, although, we frequently pulled them out of school in order to drive to Grandmother’s house. Enough other parents must have been doing this too so that the school district finally threw in the towel and declared it an official day off. If there are not enough students in school for a quorum, then the school district doesn’t get paid by the state for that day.

We received our first real property tax bill today, which is not to be confused with the personal property tax bill that we have been paying every year for thirty-four years. For us, personal property is our fleet of cars. We have been paying our real property tax bill for thirty years too, but it was kind of hidden from us, because it was rolled into our monthly mortgage payment. We paid off our mortgage this year, so now we have to pay our real property taxes ourselves. One interesting aspect of paying your property taxes yourself, is that you get an itemization of where the money goes. The lion’s share of it goes to education, about 5/6 of the total. The next largest item is our city government. Interestingly, the third largest item is the zoo and museum district. Those tourist attractions that we regularly enjoy, aren’t as free as I once thought that they were. Still, they are all enjoyable destinations and I would gladly pay for them out-of-pocket, if I wasn’t already being taxed to support them.

I drove home through the second snowstorm of the season. I don’t have a very good feeling about this coming winter. Normally, we don’t see snow until after Thanksgiving and this year, we have already seen it twice. Last winter, we were all introduced to that meteorological term, the polar vortex. We here in the Midwest remember how God awfully cold that phenomenon was. That was so last year though and with a new season, we need a new term that we can use to describe how bad the weather is outside. Fortunately, we already have one and we have already experienced it. It is called the Omega Block. It is called this, because the jet stream is contorted into the shape of the Greek letter omega (Ω) and once it is in place, it blocks the normal regular progression of low and high pressure systems and tends to hang around for a long time. That spat of unusually cold weather that we experienced earlier this month was caused by an omega block. In that one, the jet streamed dived south from Siberia, almost to Hawaii, before turning around and heading back north again and circling across the top of Alaska and then delivering all of that cold air to us. Isn’t the Weather Channel just grand?

The photo with this post of a Whimbrel at Asilomar is part of a collection of shorebirds photos that were taken in Monterey on our California vacation, earlier this month. I’m a little amiss for not publishing more of them already, but plan on metering them out over the coming weeks. Asilomar is part beautiful beach and part rugged coastline. This seashore is just across the street from the conference center where the TED Talks are held.

4 thoughts on “Whimbrel at Asilomar

  1. well, Bubs mis-spelled Mark, so there’s that….
    On the tax bill topic – I was shocked/impressed by the uber-timely receipt of mine – on Saturday 11/29, so I actually do have the entire month of December to pay it.

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