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song sparrow and songsters on television [Dec. 7th, 2016|10:07 pm]
I got up early and did some laundry. At work, I had a productive morning. Then I headed to Salmon Park. I saw my first Song Sparrow of this Autumn. I ate chicken and fries and 1/4 biscuit at Church's.

I worked until 6:30 and then headed home. We ate baked pork loin, fingerling potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts for dinner.

I watched a goodish part of the live TV version of "Hairspray", but grew bored. I read about the trial of Tamara Lovett, the Alberta mom who did not get her son Ryan proper medical treatment, relying instead on her own reading about "natural remedies". As a result,the boy died of a disease relatively easily solvable through anti-biotics. On the one hand, I see this as an example of what happens with anti-science folks. On the other hand, I felt for this woman whose ignorance stemmed in part from poverty and in part from an irrational anecdotal reaction to a dissatisfaction with her own medical treatment.

I read about Pearl Harbor and the casualties for each side from the engagement.

I looked up the FTC case against the odd would-be security firm Lifelock, and learned that past fines exceeded my expectations for this oft-advertised-yet-unimpressive group.

Now folks are looking for a new house on the HGTV show "The Property Brothers".
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modest efforts [Dec. 6th, 2016|11:25 am]
I got on the Walgreens.com site last night to create this year's holiday cards. I labored mightily, and finally got the task completed, after an initial feint at a Shutterfly.com card which I abandoned due to the shipping time.

Back when LiveJournal had the robust participation that was a glimmer of current Facebook participation, I used to solicit names and addresses for holiday cards, and get dozens of replies. In recent years, the participation here has declined. But I still like to send out cards to those who might enjoy them. They're a modest effort at community, but a modest effort I can modestly pursue.

If I may send you a holiday card, please fill in the poll. I am unconcerned about your private information, so feel free to give a work address or some such if you wish. If I set up the poll correctly, then the results will be visible only to me.

I am happy to send cards to distant places. I never expect a reciprocal card.

Here is the card address device, formatted as a "poll":

Please fill in your name and address for a card here, and I will send you a modest bit of simple, relatively creedless holiday good wishes, in card form.

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2 kestrels [Dec. 5th, 2016|07:44 pm]
Sunday I got up and ate my instant oatmeal in time to take a walk before my Weight Watchers meeting. I took a walk on the Chisholm Trail in Plano. The Lesser Scaup ducks were out in force in the creek. Also, some early December Fall leaves caught my eye.

At Weight Watchers I was up .4 pounds. The weekly guide they handed out had an intriguing recipe for a low-fat chicken tikka masala.

I went to church at First UMC of Allen. The sermon dealt with the magi in the Book of Matthew. I liked the nod to Longfellow's "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" with its theme of good triumphing over grim cannons. I picked up another plastic bag as I want to get more gifts for a Christmas for some kids in Honduras.

After church, I ate BBQ chicken, corn on the cob,a yeast roll, and green beans for lunch at Dickey's BBQ. My 11-year-old niece Quinn used my wife's cell phone to text and then call me, excited to tell me about a plan to visit my wife and I here in Texas in October 2017.

I had high hopes to get a lot of practical things done Sunday afternoon,but I found myself resting all afternoon. I did pick up some bananas and clementines at Kroger. I walked a bit in Green Park,but soon found it too chilly to endure long. It was a curious day--the temperature was not cold, but the moisture in the air was chilly.

I made myself instant Madras lentils and vegetable tikka masala for dinner.

My wife arrived home from the Kansas City area around 7:30 p.m. We enjoyed talking of her aunt's improved health, our nieces and nephews, and my step-mother-in-law's used car purchase saga.

This morning I ate Oatfit instant oatmeal. I got into work and had a productive day. At lunch, I walked in Breckinridge Park. I saw Goldeneye ducks, which I identified via the Cornell on-line site. But my closest sighting was of a pair of American Kestrels.

After my walk, I ate three soft chicken tacos from Taco Bueno.

My wife had a meeting tonight, so I stopped by CiCi's Pizza for dill pickles,
carrots, 2 slices of pepperoni buffet pizza and one slice of alfredo cheese buffet pizza.
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Chipping and Chippy Weather [Dec. 3rd, 2016|09:40 pm]
The forecast rain and colder weather arrived on schedule last night. I woke up to a light rain and a temperature a bit below 9 degrees Celsius. I ate my Kix cereal and skim milk. As I usually do, I slipped Beatrice little mini-milk bones as I breakfasted, balancing them on my knee area.

I resolved to get outdoors notwithstanding the inclement weather. When the rain calmed a bit, I wrapped up in layer upon layer and headed to Limestone Quarry Park in Frisco. I walked there for 80 minutes. When I began, it was barely raining but by the end it was raining quite steadily again.

During my walk, the bird life was pretty active, as it often is on this Taychas Trail sidewalk path in Winter. My favorite was the flutter of Chipping Sparrows, roughly ten in number, who flew into two small trees when I approached.

On my way to the park, I stopped at a Dollar Tree. I was hunting some one dollar gloves to wear in the rainy cold. I did not see any. But I did see lots of things perfect for another project. One of the couples in our church runs a home for kids who need medical care in Honduras called Send Hope. This year I picked up a plastic bag I am supposed to fill with small toys and other useful things to be gifted to a child. Say what one likes about dollar stores, they are perfect places to find fun little things small enough to fit into a plastic bag. I got
coloring books, colors, colored pens, a little drawing pad, a balsa airplane, a bouncing ball, and a little package of plastic horses, all aimed at a 6 year old or so. I must still buy from a non-dollar-store the practical things to add, but I was pleased with what I found.

After my time at the park, I stopped at Subway on Custer Road for a sandwich. The weather meant the usual Christmas crowds were absent. I had a veggie delight sandwich, with cucumbers, dill pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and sauer kraut, all on wheat bread, with my usual "a little salt on top". I also had baked chips.

I went home. I walked Beatrice when the rain abated a bit. A Cooper's Hawk stood atop a tree in the park. An American Crow began to mob the hawk, which proved only indifferently effective, 1 accipter hawk v. 1 crow being a fairly even match, with a nod going to the hawk for talon sharpness. When two more crows showed up,though,things changed. Soon the hawk sought out less crowsome climes.

I took our next door neighbor a router that UPS dropped off for her at our house.
I bought the Bill Nelson album "New Northern Dream" on bandcamp. I have been a listener to Bill Nelson since I was 17, some 40 years ago.

I spoke to my wife on the telephone. I was sorry to hear that her beloved aunt is very ill in ICU at the hospital. By chance, she was there, so she got a very brief visit in.

I stopped by Green Park, where I saw only 2 American Robins during a short walk, but accomplished my goal of exceeding 10,000 steps. I stopped by Kroger, where
I got Powerade Zero, three apples of varying provenance, a box of Corn Pops cereal (nee' Sugar Pops cereal), and some Kroger low-fat instant oatmeal.

I drove to get dinner at Holy Frijoles in Allen, the kind of little Tex/Mex place that sounded like just the ticket on a cold, rainy night. I ate two chicken enchiladas with verde sauce, a little salad and refried beans. I accidentally left my wallet in my car, so I had to go out and get it, a bit embarrassed to have to tell them "wait, my wallet is in my car". The restaurant was nice about it. At home, I ate one of the apples, a variety called Pacific Rose.

At 7 p.m., I went to First United Methodist Church of Allen to hear the Allen Symphony Chorus do its Christmas program. The first half was all John Rutter Christmas carols and hymns. I thought I knew the John Rutter Christmas songs,
but the only one very familiar to me was the organ solo "Toccato in 7". The chorus did a lovely job with these charming pieces. The second half was a sing-along carol time. I enjoyed singing along, except the part when I began to sing during the brief instrumental interlude. The concert lasted until 8:50 p.m., whereupon I came home, told my dog Beatrice I loved her, and sat down to type this entry.
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Sargon is a bit smug [Dec. 3rd, 2016|08:45 am]
I spent much of Friday on long telephone conference calls on a family matter. I worked a bit into the evening digging up some interesting information on a work-related matter. I wrote a certificate of formation for a new non-profit I am among those forming. For breakfast, I ate two packages of Oatfit instant oatmeal. At lunch, I had a roasted chicken breast and wing, a yeast roll and green beans from Golden Chick. For dinner, I cut up asparagus, small "roaster" potatoes, and broccoli and microwaved it a huge glass bowl. I also ate a corn muffin and a skinny cow vanilla bean confection. I also microwaved some acorn squash, which was a bit less successful. Acorn squash seems to do better with a proper oven bake.

I spent much of the evening watching episodes of Star Trek, the original series. The shows are all very watchable, but the variability in their quality from season to season stands out a bit. The enormous debt that the show owes to the Twilight Zone also struck me last night. I fell asleep with episode after episode playing, but managed to return from 5 year voyages by turning the television off in the pre-dawn.
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radar cookery [Dec. 1st, 2016|08:56 pm]
This morning I drove my wife to her work. She had an early evening flight planned to her childhood home in the Kansas City area. She arranged for a shuttle service to take her from her work to the airport, so I could simplify her travel this way. Before we left, I breakfasted on Quaker Lower Sugar instant oatmeal.

At my office I worked a solid day of interesting work. Each of my colleagues also did interesting work today. At lunch, I walked in Heritage Park in Sachse. The Eastern Meadowlarks hunted seeds on the baseball fields but, as ever,were skittish about a human nearby. I ate raw broccoli, raw carrots, cubed pineapple, dill pickles and two slices of 12" buffet pizza at CiCi's Pizza.

After work, I spoke with my wife on the phone as she waited at the airport. Then I headed to the supermarket Kroger. I bought fresh vegetables: bananas, two honeycrisp apples, asparagus, broccoli, an acorn squash and steakhouse roaster potatoes.

I followed instructions I read about microwave cookery. I sliced the broccoli, asparagus, and potatoes into small pieces. Then I cooked them in a covered glass bowl. I lacked the plastic wrap dictated, so I used microwave-ready parchment paper. In roughly 4 minutes of microwave action, punctuated by some testing, I had suitably cooked food. With some salt and pepper, it all came out very good. I ate a sandwich slim for accompaniment. I also had several bananas, an apple, and some string cheese, as well as a Skinny Cow ice cream bar and a few walnut halves.
Later, I had some baked ruffles.

Now I am watching a sports game on television while Bea rests on her Mississippi bed beside me.
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Words and Phrases [Dec. 1st, 2016|04:16 am]
This morning I ran my first and last name through the anagram generator located here. Here are my favorite results so far:

Blur Yon Lantern
Antler Burn Only
Real Burnt Nylon

I'd like to create a song set based on anagram titles.

Lately, I think about the list of words our dog Beatrice understands, or at least attaches a meaning to similar to the meaning we use. When she first joined us, some ten+ years ago, she mainly knew the word "ball". Now she knows:
"go outside"
"go for a walk"
treat and "want a treat?"
"give me a kiss"
"bring me your ball"
"bring me your [insert noun]
"drop it"
"what a good girl"
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vulture overhead [Nov. 30th, 2016|09:03 pm]
Today the cold front arrived but the lack of wind kept things pleasant. I walked in Salmon Park in Sachse at lunch. A Turkey Vulture lazily flew overhead. An Eastern Phoebe flitted from little cane branch to little cane branch. At home, I watched "Arrow" on television for part 3 of a cross-series story, and then watched "Modern Family" and "Blackish".

Today Magnus Carlsen held onto his world chess champion title during the tiebreaks. Both players played well. Karjakin exceeded all expectations. The match felt like something from the 1920s more than the 2020s.

Today my meals were:

Breakfast: Kix and skim milk
Lunch: Church's chicken breast, chicken leg, fries and 1/3rd of a biscuit
Dinner: Quarter Chicken White from Boston Market, new potatoes, cornbread and mixed vegetables.

In addition, as usual, I ate bananas, grapes, skim milk string cheese and hummus chips.
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first goldfinches [Nov. 29th, 2016|10:24 pm]
The weather today was idyllic. A cold front is predicted, of course, for tonight.
I wore my suit to work due to a morning meeting. Usually I am in business casual.
I miss, sometimes, the days when one wore a suit every day, but I do not miss them enough to wear a suit every day.

I read up on things to do on Saturday. Right now I am leaning toward a Christmas program of John Rutter hymns by the Allen Symphony Chorus. But this could change.

At lunch I went to Breckinridge Park. The little concrete ditch-thing had birds bathing in it--Dark-Eyed Junco, Eastern Bluebirds and first-of-season-for-me American Goldfinches.

Eastern Bluebird

Today's breakfast--one package of Quaker Lower Sugar instant oatmeal and one package of Oatfit instant oatmeal.

Today's lunch--a turkey sandwich on wheat from Subway, along with baked chips. I was surprised when the price had climbed from the usual 6 dollars and 50 cents to a bit over 8 dollars.

Tonight's dinner: turkey chili and a corn muffin.

Tonight's television: Flash, This is Us, and Chicago Fire
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watching watching [Nov. 28th, 2016|10:01 pm]
Early this morning the rain fell in large, rushing drops. I left for work, after eating my Kix cereal and milk, giving Beatrice her morning meds and taking out the trash.

The clouds were still heavy when I got to work, but it did not start raining again. At lunch, I walked in Heritage Park in Sachse. An Eastern Meadowlark watched me watch it. I ate broccoli, carrots, dill pickles and 3 12" slices of pizza at CiCi's.

At home, we ate turkey chili and a cornbread muffin. We walked in the dark in Glendover Park. Then we watched time travel on the TV show "Timeless".

I did not take advantage of CyberMonday.
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