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hike and fire [May. 28th, 2016|09:25 pm]
I started my morning early. I originally intended to drive to Mount Vernon in northeast Texas, which promotes two birding sites. But rather than drive an hour and a half, I opted to go to Farmersville instead, about thirty-five minutes away.
First I went to Southlake Park. There I saw a Painted Bunting, two Dickcissel, and a Lark Sparrow, the three main things to see there, as well as some other cool birds. The recent rains and tall grasses caused me to get a bit soggy. I decided to head into town to walk the Chapparal Trail. The Chapparal Trail is a 130-mile rail trail that runs from Farmersville to New Boston, nearly to the Arkansas border. I wanted to walk its first few miles, which are paved.

I started walking at 9:20 a.m. Soon I was taking pictures of an Eastern Phoebe strutting its stuff. I saw a hummingbird tending her tiny nest. I saw another Painted Bunting, and lovely Northern Cardinals.

When I got back to downtown Farmersville, it was 11 a.m. This sight greeted me:

Farmersville is a small town with a traditional downtown of older brick buildings.
Two burned down today. The fire had begun at 10, while I was walking. I watched for a moment as the firefighters worked hard and reduced the open flames. Then I drove home. I am glad that most of downtown was saved but sorry to see this damage.

I got some soft chicken tacos at Taco Bell. Then I headed to Limestone Quarry Park, where I liked the little Common Buckeye butterfly I saw. I went back home and worked on a project that is part of my job. I looked up the manual for my digital camera to change some settings. The late afternoon was hot and sunny--a contrast with the cooler and overcast morning.

In the evening I went to Panda Express for mixed vegetables, broccoli beef and string bean chicken. I spoke to my wife on the phone. I walked a bit in Bethany Lakes Park. Then I went home, waited until the weather cooled, and then walked Beatrice. Now I am watching a Harry Potter move (again) and thinking about
tomorrow's plans. Today I walked more than 22,000 steps for some ten miles, though my intention was not to try to set some land-step record.
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Cuckoo! [May. 27th, 2016|10:41 pm]
I worked a solid day today. I dined on Church's fried chicken for lunch, and tok pictures of a Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher. After work, I headed to Bob Woodruff Park, where I walked a few miles and saw my first Yellow-billed Cuckoo of the Summer. I grabbed a supper of smoked turkey and vegetables. Then I took Beatrice for a walk in the park.

Tomorrow I plan to get outdoors, either driving to a state park or perhaps simply walking the local hike/bike trail. Maybe I'll see a movie.

I listened tonight to songs I created years ago,which is always an interesting thing to do--a personal history, in sound.
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first service [May. 26th, 2016|10:42 pm]
Wednesday we attended the graveside service for my late Father-in-Law. The minister did a lovely job of this service, attended by family. Though earlier in the day, rain fell, the sun had come out. We sat outdoors in those wooden folding chairs used for this type of event. After the service, three Purple Martins soared overhead. The family gathered afterward and we all visited and remembered. I like my wife's family. I show my 8 year old nephew how to code a sphere in the programming language Logo. He liked that. We all dined on a pork tenderloin someone had thoughtfully made immediately after the news of the passing went out. I also liked little fruit kebabs.

This morning I flew back, after a night full of rain. The turbulence jostled the plane. I worked the afternoon. I will go back next week for the church memorial service. I dined on soft tacos from a fast food place and took Beatrice for a walk. Tonight Beatrice and I are watching television, after I finished my call with my wife, who remains up north. I read a reference to protractors and watched a tiny terrier lick Beatrice on the nose.
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passing all understanding [May. 23rd, 2016|08:54 pm]
Saturday morning I got up early and drove to the nearby suburb of Carrollton. I walked on the Blue Trail and then on the Purple Trail. I like that the trails in Carrollton bear simple color names. I saw lots of birds.

Then I went to the Dallas Makerspace for the monthly meeting of the North Texas Linux Users Group. I like those folks. Meetings tend to be loosely structured. One fellow gave a great demonstration of the capabilities of his Raspberry Pi 3. I was impressed that he had loaded public domain Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films on his SD card.

After the meeting, I drove to Church's Chicken for lunch. Then I took Beatrice for a walk. Saturday evening our friends Cathy and Tanya came over for dinner. My wife made a great penne pasta with turkey-based sweet Italian sausage. we all had a great time. They stayed, talking with us, until late at night.

Sunday, I went to Weight Watchers, where I was drastically down in weight, a week after being drastically up. I suspect scale inconsistency, but I know it's probably instead water gains and losses. I went to church at First UMC, where the sermon was inspiring--I resolved to be more positive about the things I saw about people, rather than a bit satiric. After church, I walked in Oak Point Park. I hoped to see the male Painted Bunting, but instead I saw what a female bunting, either Painted or Indigo. I like both male and female, but they are very different. I did see a lovely female Eastern Bluebird who proved photogenic.

Sunday afternoon, we got bad news. My wife's father, 84 years of age, has spent much of late last year and this year fighting a serious health condition. My wife got a call that he was not doing well. I took Beatrice for a walk, where we spied a Common Nighthawk on a fence. When we returned home half an hour later, I was shocked to learn my wife's father had just died, a bit sooner than anyone had hoped or feared. I had earlier in the day helped my wife write his obituary, but I did not believe it was for immediate use.

We galvanized into action. I got my wife's plane ticket. We drove into her office to pick up her work laptop. Her office building is adjacent to the part of Richardson which holds the Wildflower Festival. As we gathered the things she needed, an ex-second-string-singer for the band Asia played that band's standard tunes. In another other time I would have been fascinated to see where my wife works, but we had other concerns.

This morning I woke up with a sharp awareness of the loss of my wife's father, who was a great and good guy. Sunday we had been too busy on logistics to go much past shock. A Super Shuttle picked up my wife for her plane trip. I will go up later. I drove through the driving rain to an early meeting at work. I made my own plans to go north, as my wife arranged for someone to watch our home and Beatrice.

As I started to go to the office, I noticed Beatrice was trying to catch a tiny bunny in our back yard. Beatrice is slow now, but this morning she had a spring in her step. I diverted her, and the bunny escaped. But little bunnies have no common sense, so I will have to keep an eye out.

I worked a solid day, taking a break for a t-k-y sandwich, baked chips and garde vegetable soup. At day's end, I stopped at Dickey's BBQ for BBQ chicken and green beans.

Tonight I took Beatrice for a walk, and talked to my wife about this sad time. She is hanging in there, and being supportive of her family, as is her nature.

I had gotten to see my father-in-law a few weeks ago, when he was quite ill but feeling well enough to enjoy visitors. we will miss him very much. He was the last of our biological parents to pass away. The next few days will be deeply meaningful, but not easy.

But if one part of Heaven is being remembered by one's friends and family,then my late father-in-law inhabits the most exalted paradise of my fondness and esteem in my memory.
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but no nilla wafers or pudding [May. 20th, 2016|11:09 pm]
Last night the weather said la nina is on the way back. This El Nino was mild.
We dined tonight on Dickey's BBQ.I lost several games of chess to the Fairy-max computer chess engine. I put Linux distros onto DVDs late last night. I am hungry for bananas.
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fledgswallow [May. 19th, 2016|10:37 pm]
For lunch, one of my partners and I headed to Gloria's, where the Mexican chicken soup is grand. After work, I stopped by a sports field park in Garland. I liked the Western Kingbird and the little fledgling Barn Swallow. At the Garland Salvation Army, I met with intake clients at the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program session. I stopped by Big Lots for blank DVDs and a box of Kix Cereal.
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Spring sin-sation [May. 18th, 2016|10:30 pm]
This Spring features lots of rainy days, lots of temperate days, and only a few of the scorching days that sometimes come when the droughts arise.

We watched an episode of the TV show "Nashville", which ends next week. I sent a birthday note to a friend. Beatrice loves walking in the cool weather. The Barn Swallows fly 5 inches above the ground, swooping after insects.

Now we are watching "The Americans". I followed a car with a "Trump" bumpersticker today, and it was as if I were in a bad horror movie featuring Mia Farrow.
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nighthawk at the diner [May. 18th, 2016|05:59 am]
At Noon, my car would not start, I could not sort our what light or other thing I had left on. I walked to a place near my work for chicken mini-tacos and a slice of cheese pizza. At the end of the day, I asked my law partner to help me with a jump. But my car started, and I found the light that had been left on. At first, my power steering seemed sluggish, but eventually things sorted out fine.

I took a walk in Oak Point Park in Plano. A Painted Bunting, a miracle in red, green and blue, landed in a tree in plain sight. I took five pictures of him, all too blurry, and kept walking.

When I got home, I saw a Common Nighthawk sitting on our black fence. This bird leads a double life. By day, it is a drab bird hard to distinguish from the place it sleeps. It hides in plain sight through its blend-in camouflage. Near dark, it flies high in the air, its huge wingspan showing, capturing insects. I was glad to have the rare treat of seeing one in my backyard. My wife enjoyed seeing the one on our neighbor's fence.

I made an appointment for a June medical check. I thought about learning a chess opening called the Rubinstein French. The mosquitoes were out, reminding me it's the time to start using the repellent.I want to avoid any chance of contracting West Nile Virus. Last night I picked us up Subway sandwiches because my wife was home getting our central air checked out (result: easy fix) and getting a new living room chair delivered (result: she loves her new chair). On Beatrice's morning walk yesterday, we saw two tiny bunnies.
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uncarded [May. 16th, 2016|09:34 pm]
The rain this morning fell lightly and briefly. At lunch I ate a skinny t-k-y, baked chips and a cup of soup. In the late afternoon, I found I left my smart card for my camera at home. This deprived me of a chance to get a photo of a handsome Great Crested Flycatcher on Plano's Chisholm Trail. But it's okay. There are always more birds to see.

Tonight we went to Thai Pan for my wife's birthday, watched a AAA guy repair a flat on my wife's car, and then settled in for a quiet evening.
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of blue jays and 1 1/2 kilograms [May. 15th, 2016|08:51 pm]
The day was more like very late Winter than early Spring--pleasant and warmish but not really warm.

After my Kix cereal with skim milk, I walked on the Chisholm Trail in Plano. I got lots of photos of a Blue Jay, and pictures of a young Red-Bellied Woodpecker. I went to Weight Watchers, where I was surprised to find my weight up 3.8 pounds. Even plan-approved bananas and fresh pineapple can drive weight up when consumed in quantities. I never worry too much about week in/week out weight loss or gain, as I am a human metabolic roller coaster disguised as a Mad Hatter teacup ride.

I had two slices of Pepperoni buffet pizza, dill pickles and baby carrots for lunch at CiCi's pizza. I walked in Bethany Lakes Park. I went home and took Beatrice for a walk. As we walked home, our friends Scott and Donna drove up. They were dropping
a birthday gift off for my wife. My wife came home while they were there, and she opened a great, huge Nordic cookbook. "Herring for everyone!", I cried.

I rested most of the afternoon. We dined on leftovers for dinner. We watched "Call the Midwife" and are now watching "Wallender". It was a good, quiet day.
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