Wednesday, April 22, 2009

BIG Shout-Out

Happy Birthday



So today is my brother’s birthday. I haven’t seen him in a very long time and I was going to try meet with him on my way to Maine but he is going to be out of town…Talk about timing. I am going to try to visit on my way back to Ohio in September.


This is one of the only pictures I have of him…..Hint hint.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Players So Far

So I thought I should introduce some the people that are likely to come up while I write this blog.

The first and most important

My Wife, Regina:

I have been lucky enough to  have been married to Regina for 18 years (yes I had to pause to remember).  We were married while I was in the Navy so she was unfortunately a Navy widow. She is absolutely the strongest person I know, without exception. As such she is able to live without me, a good thing I think. She also the smartest person I know if there is a problem I can’t solve I ask her and she fixes it in less time that it took me to ask her. She and I have three beautiful children together Erin, Quinn and Simon. These would be the next three most important people in my life.

Erin, The oldest

She LOVES her brothers, I don’t think that there is anything she wouldn’t do for them. Really anything! She is currently in her first semester of college. So there were a few challenges for her at the beginning. Now all the challenges are mine. She has found boys, UGH! please someone sympathize with me. She has found her a boy that she likes, Brad, but they are NOT boyfriend/girlfriend, just ask her.

Quinn The eldest son

Still young enough to be silly but almost old enough to realize that a girl might see him. Quinn is homeschooled too. he has never seen the inside of a school and never will. he is proud of that fact and he makes sure everyone he meets knows that he is homeschooled.

Simon, the youngest

What a handful, he is cute and knows how to get away with murder. but really what four year old isn’t . He loves Disney (just like the rest of the family) and every time he sees Walt’s signature he says that it came from Disney World. He will be entering the public (private if we can afford it) education world the fall of 2010. we can barely keep up with this one he is so smart.

So this is my family and the ones I will probably mention most often. I will post more people here as time goes by to  keep the list of players up to date. hopefully I can figure out how to use Live Writer better and learn how to append things to posts.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Journey Begins

Welcome to my Blog!

This is my first Blog and I am excited because it represents the beginning of a great adventure in my life.

The First person I need to recognize it my wife Regina, for with out her this adventure would have never began. She is the most amazing woman I know. She is strong and patient and trusting. She is the one to whom I owe all the pleasures in my life. So for you Regina a big huge




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I am going to start with an introduction of my self, my family and the reason for starting this blog in the first place. I hope you will enjoy and keep up with my adventures.

About me:

Ya I know it says this in the side bar right over there--->

but this is the full story

My name is John Williams, I am 40 years old and just finishing graduate school for environmental sciences, I sometimes wonder how I made it to this place in my life. When I was growing up the biggest influence in my life was my father, not because my parents were separated but my mom sacrificed a lot and worked night shift at the hospital to make sure my brother and I had what we needed, so that left Dad to take care of us. Dad was a full time naturalist for the local county parks, to say this had a effect on my life would be sort of an understatement.

I had the best most supportive parents while I was growing up. My brother and I were cloggers while growing up and we were pretty good too. We danced in several competitive groups and as such traveled a lot while growing up. We camped whenever we traveled, really can’t imagine doing anything else really, that was just how things were when I was growing up. people wanted to be out side  not hidden away in their climate controlled environments like they are today. Anyway, I camped a lot while growing up, Heck I camped when my family went to Disney World back in 1984, stayed at a KOA campground in Kissimmee and took a shuttle to the parks, Magic Kingdom and EPCOT back then. –As a side note you will see me reference and talk often about Disney, I am a proud Disney Nut as well as my Kids and wife, so don’t be surprised to see more about Disney in my posts—. Back on topic.

I am not really sure what happened during High School, I was not involved in any other activity other then dancing, 7 nights a week at one point, and hanging out with my friends. During My senior year of High School I decided to be a chef. My dad cooked often for me and my brother. I enjoyed it and I love food so why not. I enrolled at Cincinnati Technical College (Now called Cincinnati State and technical college). I was double majoring in Chef technology and Hotel/restaurant management. to say that I wasn’t ready for school would be almost right. I went but only to the cooking classes and not so much to the accounting classes and other things. So in 1989 I was academically suspended from college for one semester. It was not a proud moment in my life but it certainly was a turning point. I worked as a bartender for nearly a year, great job and good pay. then I was let go. so I had no job so what does every person do when they have no job? Enlist in the Navy. Yep I enlisted, My parents where SHOCKED. I had never indicated that the military was for me, the only person I knew that was in the Navy was my Uncle Mike.

--Side story--

Interesting story, before I went to the Navy I tried the Marine’s while I was in taking there little test I overheard the enlisting Sgt. state that I was ‘fresh meat’. Well that made me mad so I tried extra hard to do well on the test (99/100) and they were drooling to have me sign. I told them that they should be more careful about what they say in the future concerning their ‘fresh meat’ and left. I walked into the Navy recruit office and signed up that day. I left a week later for boot camp in Chicago. I am not sure that my mom ever forgave me for leaving so abruptly.

--End side story--

So there I was a fresh recruit in the Navy stationed in GLakes IL (Great Lakes). My boot camp was more like a day camp. I had a great time. I had enlisted as an electronics specialist and was guaranteed a Rating school and automatic advancement. I was a firecontrolman, yes it is actually spelled that way and no I didn’t put out fires. In a very real sense I was the one who started them, you see I worked on weapon systems. specifically I was a Tomahawk Weapons Control Officer, I got to fire big, huge, honking missiles at bad guys, and it was fun. I really enjoyed my time in the Navy, in fact I would still be in today if I had not gotten sick. In the fall of 1997 I was having difficulty in running the mile and a half requirement for the Physical Readiness Test (PRT). I was sent to annapolis for testing and they found a spot on my chest x-ray. I thought ‘great cancer, and I just stopped smoking’. I was then sent to Bethesda, MD to the big Navy hospital for more testing. Two broncoscopies and a cat scan guided needle biopsy later they told me it wasn’t cancer but sarcoidosis. Yeah, but what the Hell is sarcoid? I still don’t even get it but it is not hereditary so my kids won’t have it and that is all that matters.

-- Side track--

Speaking of kids

My Daughter – Erin 20 and dating (not sure I like that, but I am happy)

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My number one son – Quinn 12

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My number two son – Simon

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-- headed back to the story--

So after finding out that I had this Sarcoid my Navy career was pretty much over. I was on high dose steroids for a year I looked like the Michelin  Man (Really I did, If anyone has a picture of me then post it here.) and being on steroids and in the military was a no no and having migraines was bad too (I have REALLY bad ones) so I was placed on the Temporary Duty Retired List (TDRL). I was Retired at 30, what the heck was I going to do now. I have tried the Chef thing, was sad but retired from the Navy. I know, get into computers. I used and worked on them while I was in the Navy so why not use those skills in the private sector. And I did, I went to work for a company in Ohio (living in Virginia at the time) called PC on Call. I earned some money there, I also worked 50-60 hours a week but it was a good job. I worked my way up in the company and eventually moved to North Carolina, Charlotte to be exact. I took over the staff of technicians and did a pretty good job of it. that is until the company realized that it had expanded too far too fast and needed to start closing branch locations. I moved back to Ohio to work on the new virtual help desk for the company. I sat in front of a computer everyday waiting for someone to call so I could help them. I had a lot on time on my hands. I surfed the internet, which is where this journey, of school, started.

I trip over a site from the Veteran’s Affairs (VA) that said I could apply to see if I was eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation. So I did, and holy hell I qualified. I was like ‘Shit what do I do now.’ I told Regina about it and said I should go to the appointment and see if I really do qualify. so down to ODJFS (Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services) I went I was seated in a room with about 15 other people all vets with someone telling me that I needed to sign paper work and I would be assigned . Low and behold I was shifting careers yet again. in January of 2003 I started at Miami University. I was originally going for Clinical Laboratory Science but realized very quickly that it was not for me.

So I shifted my focus to Zoology, much more my style. I realized that what appealed to me about this degree was the possibility of outside work, I love being outside. even when I was on a six month cruise I spent most of my time above deck. There I was a 30 year old in a class of 18 year olds. what was I doing. I hated chemistry, the Miami plan was ridiculous and this was only my first semester. Thank God I got over it. In my Junior year I took a class that came highly recommended, Ornithology. it was taught by Dr. David E. Russell. It was without a doubt the BEST CLASS EVER! Dave invited us out to his banding station to get a more personal and up close view of the birds we were watching through binoculars. I took him up on that offer and it changed my life. I was hooked from day one. Dave quickly became a mentor in my life. I started banding birds with him.

the end of school in sight (undergrad that is) I began looking for jobs. I really couldn’t find any. it was difficult and I was a bit depressed. I have finished school, which Gina let me go to and had made many sacrifices for, and I couldn’t find a damn job.

Regina said stop looking and apply to Grad school. So I did, and damn it all if I didn’t get in. so in the fall of 2007 I started Grad school at Miami’s Institute of Environmental Sciences. It was the most difficult thing in school I had to ever do. Thank goodness I have a supportive family and great friends. I would have never made it through with out Regina, Stephanie and Cristy. Thanks  to you I am going to graduate!

During my grad school I continued to band with Dave, he suggested once that I should go for my North American Banding Council (NABC) certification. So I did. I went out and started banding with him very frequently and as of November of 2008 I be came a NABC certified bander and  I am a federally licensed sub-permit with Dave.

So what do I do now???


That is where this adventure begins. I finish my class work May 7, 2009 I am then required to complete an internship of six months and then come back to IES and defend it. Not really sure why you defend that you have a job but whatever. it is now time for me to yet again look for jobs. Regina being the Most Awesomeist wife EVER said that I should get a job for the summer…someplace, anyplace outside of Ohio.


I was like


So I started looking through every bird job list and posting that I could find. I applied, and applied and continued to apply until finally I started getting some responses. nearly everyone was to turn me down. I was getting depressed, no job, end of school, this seemed all too familiar. and then one day I received a call from Regina stating that I had gotten a call at home from a guy named Bruce something, couldn’t understand him on our machine. so I got the number and returned his call. this was on Monday of this week. we had a long conversation about the job, if I was still interested and other things. By the end of the conversation I was very excited because the job sounded too good to be true. this Job is located in Bar Harbor Maine at the Acadia National Park.

The work that we talked about was Managing for Common Loons and Peregrine Falcons, basically watching both species and when their behavior changes to indicated nesting post off-limits signs so that they are left alone during there nesting time. then there is the great possibility that I could be working with Bald Eagles. Yep me banding Bald Eagles. HAHAHA I can’t believe it, I get so worked up even thinking about it. Bruce has also indicated that I could be working with Trout, Beaver and some amphibians during the summer. then to end it all up with a possibility of banding shore birds on some of the barrier islands testing for avian influenza. WOOOHOOO!!!!! Take that Dr. B I am doing work with birds guess being focused is not all that bad after all.

--Drum Roll Please--

I was officially offered the job on Friday April 17th 2009 at 1435 while sitting at home. WOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!


I start on May 18th, exactly one month from today.



so that is my story. You are joining me at the end of one adventure and at the beginning of another. I hope everyone enjoys this blog. I plan on keeping it as up to date as possible. more so once I get done with classes. I will post about ordering my uniforms when that happens and I will ensure that there are plenty of pictures, that is for you Dr. B I will never be able to do a plan presentation ever again thanks.

So just so everyone knows…

I will post infrequently until the end of school but I will post regularly after. I will have tons of photos, hmm maybe I should buy a new camera :) a little pocket one so I can take pictures while working :) hmmm will have to ask about that. Until then I am going to figure out how this blogging thing woks and try to post a photo album of birds that I have worked with and seen over the years.