Killing Two Birds with One Stone: learning for all my jobs

I’m still at the annual Master Naturalist conference, and enjoyed getting recognized for achieving 250 volunteer hours so far. That does pale in comparison to the dude who achieved 10,000 hours. But I’m proud I got so much done in just two years.

I did this. So did a lot of other people!

I’m also proud of myself for signing up for a few of the more administrative sessions today. I did one on doing social media for your group and another on leading effective meetings. The networking in both was great, and much of what I learned will help with my other jobs, since they also involve social media and leading meetings.

This book was my door prize. It’s much smaller than it appears to be. There is loads of info in it, though.

The tidbits on dealing with folks who disrupt meetings and in how to actually get things done in meetings were invaluable.

Naturally I got books. I’m me. One is on things that are invading Texas and the other is on things that are in danger of disappearing.

But wait, there’s more

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From Exploring the Woods to Peering into a Microscope

Happy day. I am enjoying my second Texas Master Naturalist conference very much. It’s so nice to just enjoy learning with no pressure at all.

The prairie area

This morning I went on a field trip to the Spring Creek Forest Preserve. Wow, the people presenting me so much about the area. My head is full of little tidbits about prairies, forests, and riparian areas.

I also saw so many beautiful seed pods and fall plants. Lots of photos were taken by everyone.

Dew and webs.
iNaturalist says this is liatris.
Continue reading “From Exploring the Woods to Peering into a Microscope”

Hello and Look at My Flower Photos

I’m here in Rockwall at our Master Naturalist conference (starts tomorrow). We are enjoying the unnatural beauty of where we are. The place we are at is called Rodeo Goat. Here’s Jackie holding my beer.

It’s pretty amazing. It has a little lime in it and some herbs. Wow.

Because I’m here with the Master Naturalists, I want to get all my cultivated plants out of my system. I promise I took more native photos.

I must share the monarch and queen butterflies too. So pretty.

Queen

I’ll write more later, but I assure you it is quite pleasant at the Hilton in Rockwall.

Am I the Energizer Bunny?

Whew! I’m about worn out, but I’m finally getting a break from two straight days of nonstop work, fun, and volunteering to take a blogging break. I feel sorta like young Zack here looks. In fact, that rug looks mighty tempting right about now.

Vlassic is checking to make sure Mandi’s son Zack is still alive.

Yesterday was probably the busiest day we’ve ever had at the Cameron office. Luckily I crammed in a whole bunch of reviews and stuff for my “real” job in by showing up extra early to the office. After that, we had meetings, lunch meetings with Kayla our “corporate lawyer-elect,” decisions to make, etc., straight through until I had to leave for my next event.

Mandi took this to show I at least sat down a bit at the festival.

Before I could blink, my friend Paula showed up to drive us to the away football game in Jarrell. It was a weird drive, because pieces of gravel kept hitting her windshield and we were sure it would break eventually, but it didn’t. Road work is happening all over the area. We made it, though, and even had a light meal of caprese sandwiches (much better than football stadium cuisine).

Did I mention the temperatures fell? Thursday it was 99 degrees, and Friday is only got up to around 56. And we got more rain! So, it was a bit chilly and sprinkly at the game, but never mind. We had lots of fun watching the football and the band. By the time I got home, though, whew. It was late.

Today, Still Going and Going

Somehow I managed to wake up this morning and greet Kathleen and her husband, Chris, who drove over to see us and attend our new business’s first public event at the Steak, Stein and Wine Festival. As usual, I over-committed and ended up representing that business, Milam Touch of Love, AND the Master Naturalists. But, I had a good time.

Steak, Stein and Wine

Once I got there, I went into Social Suna Overdrive and networked my head off. I talked to every single vendor (and got some nice stuff). I talked to people who came by our booth. I talked to Master Naturalists, the mayor, other city officials, the Sheriff, numerous police officers, the wine vendor, the musicians.

See, Chris was here.

Once Lee, Kathleen, and Chris arrived, we went to the open house at the new Central Avenue Bistro, along with many other people who were DYING to see the renovation. It did not disappoint. The people who have been working on it went above and beyond to create a beautiful setting, indoors and outdoors. And the new kitchen is almost to clean and shiny to cook in.

Lee and Kathleen semi-impressed with the new bistro.

Following that, we continued to network and look at stuff. I think everyone had a pretty good time, and the weather was amazing. Such a relief from the previous couple of months. It makes you want to live in central Texas on days like this!

Some of the exhibit the Master Naturalists had in the museum.

Well, I’ve enjoyed this half hour break between events, but now I have to get ready for the fancy steak dinner downtown, where we’ll get to hang out with friends and, I hope, relax a bit. Tomorrow I do nothing strenuous!

Mystery of the Fuzzy Mat Plant

Sometimes you see something so often that you forget it is interesting. That’s the case for a weird plant I’ve been seeing on our driveway ever since we built it. It always looked like bits of cotton had gotten into one of the usual spurges that line our driveway.

Here’s the plant from a distance. You can barely distinguish it from the road base.

I finally got it into my head to take a photo of it an upload it to iNaturalist, so I could figure out what it was. I took the photo on our cutting board, hoping for better contrast.

Well, that didn’t go well at all. The plant simply does NOT photograph well, and the recognition algorithms couldn’t figure out what the thing was at all. It was guessing owls and such. I tried for a better photo, but didn’t get much further.

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Was a Little Out of It

Sorry for the absence. I was limiting my screen time, and dealing with “issues”. Then, out of the blue I got a very weird headache yesterday that lasted until 8 pm. Stress? Stroke? Jostling from the car incident? No idea.

It rained, so rain lilies and their golden cousins pop up.

I was no good to anyone in the meeting I was at in the morning. I mostly worried people. But the wildflower brochure is being printed now!

Thanks to that brochure I hit the first post-certification milestone for Master Naturalist. 250 volunteer hours. That’s me and Lisa.

I managed to get some “real job” work done, and then begged out and got my nails done. Of course, Yoe High maroon and silver. Tina did a great job making up a technique!

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Lesson Learned: Registering for the Texas Master Naturalist Conference

I’m happy to announce that my wallet is smaller, but I have successfully registered for the 2019 Texas Master Naturalist Conference! It’s in mid-October in Rockwall, Texas. I hear it’s a nice setting away from Big City stuff. Or it’s in a resort area. We’ll see.

Why do I say I learned a lesson? Well, last year, when I was a newby at the Master Naturalist conference game, I waited a few days after registration opened to go fill out my forms. I quickly learned that most of the sessions I was excited about attending were full already. I wasn’t about to make that mistake again, so at 10 am on the day registration opened (today) I was in there filling out screen after screen of information just so I could get to the session choices.

Here’s our group from last year.

As an aside, I am extra glad my job isn’t Conference Registration Form Maker. The small amount of experience I’ve had with the Cvent software when my team at work uses it makes me gasp. And a conference as complex as one of these is mind boggling. It has pre-sessions and post-sessions. And during the conference, you can take half day, all day, two-hour, or one-hour sessions, but once you register for a half-day session, you don’t want to pay any attention to the others in that time frame or you registration will be coughed back out for you to figure out the problem. I am sure it is quite a programming effort to set all this up.

And then there are the session descriptions! Kudos to the whole team that worked on that. Whew!

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