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Boy was I surprised

when I got the photos of the butterflies onto the computer and they were much prettier than what I saw in the viewfinder. There was only backlight from the sky, so in person I could hardly tell the clusters of monarchs from leaves on the eucalyptus trees. And they looked dull and colorless. But in the XnView they were pretty decent, and Photoshop let me boost the saturation which made up for the lack of light. 
 

It was a long day, though. Managed to get out of the house by 11, at the farm by 11:30, and then walked to where the butterflies had been the last time I got good pix (2001, I think) but I only saw one in the air, and none on the trees. So I went to see the animals, and there was a sign that there would be a monarch presentation at 1:30. I ate the lunch-like objects I had brought with me, and waited for the show to start.

It was a good talk, and they let us into the cottage where there was a single milkweed plant, which had some monarch eggs and a caterpillar on a couple of the leaves.

Then we went out to the grove of eucalyptus where the butterflies were, and I kicked myself a little because it was on the other side of the railroad tracks from where I had given up looking. Odd, because that side is close to the outside world, I would have expected the insects to stay further inside the farm grounds.

It took a few minutes and some other photographers pointing before I saw them. It was dark, the light was coming from directly above, which put the butterflies in the shadows. And it was cold, so they weren't moving. They looked like leaves.

Once I learned to spot them, it was easy. There were hundreds. As we watched, it warmed up and more of them started flapping around.

I'll have to go back later in a month, especially if it warms up.  I'll keep watching their web site for hints.

Back across the bay, traffic was insanely fast over the bridge. 55mph zone, cars were passing me by at 80. Some were racing each other. But 101 was at a standstill, blame the USC-Stanford game at Levi's. I took surface streets to MV, 50 minutes for a 10-minute trip. The Prius claims it got 48 mpg, though.

4 pm, got dibs on a seat at Starbucks, Janice was supposed to join me at 5. Read from the Kindle app, but the story went way longer than I was willing to follow, so at 5 I skipped to the next one in the anthology and closed up. Janice didn't show till 5:20, and she had one of her children in tow. She claimed we were supposed to meet at 5:30, but had she been on schedule she would have dropped the kid with the Mom before showing up. Very short chat, because she had to drop off the kid.

Home, delivered was a huge box, 14x14x14 which weighed next to nothing. It was the Seagals 2016 calendar. Major waste of box & packing paper.

In the mailbox was yet another prescription, not the one which I need the most. Also in the mailbox finally was a package from USPS, the stamps I had ordered before Thanksgiving. So I sat down in the office, got organized, and put stamps on all the envelopes and the stuffed them with a calendar each. There was a little bit of WTF, because the International ones needed $7.24, and I had ordered pretty penguin 22¢ stamps (I already had 2¢ stamps) but it turns out the penguins are for an extra ounce, to be used with Forever stamps on overweight domestic mail. They don't have a price on them, so, like the forever stamps, cannot be used for international mail. I found enough 23¢ stamps in my stash, and I had a lot of 1¢ stamps, so that worked out okay. Canada was $3.46 which was less tricky than I expected, since I had a bunch of 44¢ Hepburn stamps.

Glad to get that out of the way.

In the background was the USC-Stanford Pac 12 championship game, envelope stuffing was done in front of the TV. Stanford won handily. Both teams have had an inconsistent year, which made more of a game of it.

Dinner was a smoked turkey leg and corn on the cob, and the last piece of birthday ice cream cake.

Spent the rest of the evening making the photos presentable and uploading them to flickr.

And I'm kinda nervous, because Yahoo, which owns Flickr, is self-destructing. Again. I don't think anyone else has as good (for me) a photo storage site for a reasonable price.

In other news I have started using amazon smile. The charity de jour is Sunnyvale Community Players. If somehow the idjits in Congress manage to defund it, I'll switch it to Planned Parenthood. Maybe.

I forgot to mention that Friday in the mail was a letter from my mortgage company, saying they have been over-charging me for taxes & insurance for 2 years, so here's $1k and a lower monthly payment. This comes after not hearing from them when I sent a package telling them to pay my tax bill because they certainly had taken more than enough $$ from me for that, and then my insurance company faxed them a reminder that I had changed to a less expensive company which included flood coverage.


Plans for tomorrow:
Mail calendars
Deposit check
watch football
Sit on the porch and watch it rain. Except it probably won't.

 

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