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A tribe called sparrow [Feb. 12th, 2017|09:49 pm]
cinnamon oatsCollapse )
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Verde Day in Watters Creek [Feb. 11th, 2017|09:04 pm]
I wondered last night if I would get up and go this morning to the Heard Natural Science Center for the Audubon Society second Saturday bird walk. I like that walk, which is led by knowledgeable and patient fellows.
walking and enjoyingCollapse )
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delayed gratification [Feb. 10th, 2017|10:19 pm]
Today featured taxed work servers leading to slowed email traffic, unwelcome news about a friend's new health challenge, and a Turkey Vulture gliding overhead. Today's meals: organic frosted flakes and skim milk, grilled chicken breast and wing, half a roll, green beans, cube steak, a sweet potato and salad.

I researched bus rides to the desert mountains and daydreamed about a train.
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recovery and falconry [Feb. 9th, 2017|07:45 pm]
My long sleep and time conspired to make me feel much better today. I still feel a bit under the weather, but things turned discernibly better. I ate Kix cereal and skim milk for breakfast. At lunch, I walked in Timber Narrows Park in Murphy. The weather was cooler but less windy and thus more pleasant. I thought the day would hold little interest, when I saw a small accipter hawk in a tree. It probably was a Cooper's Hawk, though it looks a fair bit like its near cousin, the small Sharp-Shinned Hawk. I will post it on the American Birding Association "What's this Bird?" Facebook page and get more opinions.

While I watched this hawk, a nearby American Kestrel on a power line issued alarm calls. I thought that this little falcon would be unwilling to take on a hawk,
but it soared on its swallow-length raptor wings and the hawk took off. Score one for falcon power. For lunch I had a turkey sandwich on wheat and baked chips.

After work, my wife had a dinner with some alumna of her high school. I stopped by KFC for grilled chicken, a taste of cole slaw, green beans and a biscuit. Now I am watching an episode of "Shadowhunters", grateful for health rebounds and a good federal court system.
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under the windy weather [Feb. 9th, 2017|07:49 am]
The hay fever I thought I had turned into a bit of a cold instead. I went to work, but avoided my co-workers. Today I may work from home for a good part of the day.

Last night I fell asleep before 8:30 p.m. and slept on and off until 7:25 a.m.
I originally got up at 1:30 a.m., thinking it was 7:30 a.m., and then realized my mistake. My last dream involved being on a very crowded airliner with a nephew half his current age sitting near the front, where the airline crew quoted costs for the in-flight movie that were so high that I must have been in the future. I was also uncertain that I had the right luggage with us. I am glad I woke up before take-off.

I walked at lunch in Breckinridge Park and briefly after work in Shawnee Park. Both times, chilly winds on basically a temperate day drove me indoors. For breakfast I had organic frosted flakes and skim milk. For lunch, I had broccoli, carrots, pineapple cubes, and two slices of pepperoni pizza buffet pizza. Our dinner featured a pork loin chop, a sweet potato, and salad.

Last night we watched an episode of Nature in which robotic creatures mimicked wildlife to try to enhance the nature footage. The show stressed how human the creatures were in some ways, but failed to stress the more interesting part about how differently from humans some creatures behave, and the advantages of this approach. I liked the show a great deal, though. I am waiting for a robotic paramecium to tour the euglena part of the creek someday, as micro-technology and drones improve. I don't expect the world of Fantastic Voyage, the 1966 film with a microscopic crew sailing the bloodstream, any time soon.
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waders and friendly, unrestrained dogs [Feb. 7th, 2017|09:21 pm]
Last night Roy Bayfield's Desire Paths mentioned Noneaton and Weddington and George Eliot. This sent me off to refresh my knowledge about her life. I was intrigued by the palpably unflattering and obliquely flattering ways in which her contemporaries described her looks, often focusing on the superficial. I thought a bit about how history remembers great writers longer than great beauties.

Before work I walked the Chisholm Trail off Orlando in Plano. When I walked over the little pedestrian bridge, I saw a Cooper's Hawk cooling its feet in the shallow trickle of a creek. I wondered if it were really a Northern Harrier, but when I checked a reference it was what I first thought, a Cooper's Hawk. Perhaps this bird-hunter thought the creek-wading position was a good place to surprise prey.

The argument of an appellate motion to review the stay of the President's immigration-freeze executive order captured the national imagination. It is a rare moment when a motion to stay an temporary restraining order stimulates so much interest.

Today's weather was so warm it felt like late May. Ring-billed Gulls swam on the little lake in Breckinridge Park. Two large dogs ran pacifically off-collar until their owner called them. "Jan! Eve!", he called, and they came to him.

I am sneezing often, which I think is hay fever but I am not certain.

Breakfast: instant oatmeal
Lunch: three soft chicken tacos
Dinner: a pork loin chop, salad and a sweet potato
Extras: hummus chips, skinny cow ice cream snack, sargento cheese sticks
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some summary [Feb. 6th, 2017|08:49 pm]
Salmon Park, Sachse
Shawnee Park, Plano
Glendover Park, Allen, with Beatrice

Kix cereal and skim milk
Church's chicken: breast, leg, 1/4 roll, fries
Salmon, rotini, salad with pears
Skinny Cow: chocolate
Low-fat cheese stick

Dry cleaners before work--shirts to be ready at 5, but I did not check
The woman in Glendover Park who feeds the ducks at night came up to tell me the coyotes had killed what she called "the baby goose". I told her I was sorry to hear that, which I was, but withheld that I have nothing against coyotes.

I wondered if that planet in the sky is Jupiter.
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Requiem for a Ficus [Feb. 5th, 2017|03:56 pm]
mock trial, plants and planters, tikka fajitasCollapse )
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end of the Austin sojourn [Feb. 4th, 2017|06:09 am]
Friday my morning started with a breakfast of eggs, a few roasted potato fingerlings and fruit from a buffet. A kind staffperson not only let me know a vat of eggs was made with cheese,but also brought me simply-cooked scrambled eggs.

The Friday seminar talks were very good. I also enjoyed saying 'hi' to lots more people I have known over the past thirty-two years of law practice. Though there were perhaps only a few dozen out of 200 attendees that I really "knew" or "should have known", I felt like I knew lots of people. When one's mix of introvert and extrovert runs a bit on the introvert side, it does not take many contacts to feel joyfully inundated with acquaintances and friends. I enjoyed seeing my former law partner Kathleen, for instance, whom I perhaps had not seen in a decade, though we are social media contacts. She has done well out in Los Angeles, but has worked on similar things but in different states than I have done. As she said, it's odd to work long hours with someone for years and then not see them for years. But it was good to talk with her this trip.

I spoke with a few of my former colleagues, and was pleased that one seminar featured one of my former law partners explaining what sounds like excellent work he did on a matter out east. I liked that he told the story in a way that kept the story central, and not his important role in it.

The seminar ended at 12:30 p.m. I gathered my roller bag, shouldered my little computer bag (bought at Goodwill for a few dollars) and walked a mile or so to the Hyatt Regency on Barton Springs by Lady Bird Lake, the huge river-looking lake that runs through Austin's downtown. On the hiking path there, I reached for my camera because I saw a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, but when I had it in hand, I saw this Northern Mockingbird:

The mockingbird was singing, but I had not seen him at first because he was nearer eye level, i.e., "right in front of me".

At the hotel, I ate a bowl of chicken tortilla soup at the little cafe/bar there. They accidentally served Dr. Pepper instead of Diet Coke, but we soon got it corrected.

Due to a scheduling error I made, I was on a 6:45 p.m. bus and on standby for the 2 p.m. bus. To "stand by", I elected to go stand near the line for the bus.
To my delight, a seat came open and I got to go on this bus. This let me get work done, have a pleasant journey, and get back to Dallas by 5:00 p.m. The Vonlane bus line quite sold me, with comfortable seats, a bus attendant handing out tasty snacks, an AC plug per passenger, and free wi-fi suitable for email and light internet tasks. I enjoyed sitting back, absorbed in work tasks and a bit of avocational business, but also able to just look at the February central Texas fields out the window.

For dinner, my wife and I tried Saravanaa Bhavan, a new outlet of what I learned was an Indian chain vegetarian restaurant, which recently opened one town over, a few miles from our home. We ordered a combo platter to try a sampler. We got metal plates with some things familiar to us--masala dosa and carrot halwa--and some things unfamiliar to us--Idly and Riva Kichadi. We liked it,though I found it hard to convert it to Weight Watchers points. I enjoyed reading at home of the composition of each of the dishes. We went to sleep early. I watched an episode of "Blue Bloods" and turned off the television.

Soon I put on a suit and head to catch the train to downtown Dallas, where today is the high school mock trial regional semi-finals. I will sit in the jury box and rate the participants. Some of them will be more polished at trial than I am, and that's pretty cool.
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austin sojourn [Feb. 2nd, 2017|10:43 pm]
My work as an attorney deals with a few disparate somewhat arcane aspects of civil trial and receivership law. A description of one of my cases might make the average eye at the average dinner party glaze over. But my work interests me, which is, I theorize, the essential thing.

Today I was in downtown Austin for a conference in my field. I breakfasted on fresh fruit and scrambled eggs. I really enjoyed the speakers. I got to see old friends and business acquaintances. Contrary to custom, I signed up for this seminar by specifying a dietary restriction--"low fat". When I checked in last night, the seminar folks gave me a special card to give to the lunch serving staff to let them know I was special. I duly did so when my salad was served. This bold step netted me a truly non-fat entree--a second dry salad, but with nice little orange pieces and a bit of almonds. I rather enjoyed my double rabbit meal--the orange pieces, the almond bits and the wheat roll were great.

At dinner, I went with colleagues to Perry's, a restaurant known for huge pork chops.
I ordered a grilled salmon with a dry baked potato and asparagus and the heel of a sourdough bread loaf, but a friend gave me a couple of ounces of pork chop, which lived up to billing. The portion was so large that I would have to be accompanied by three companions to order that dish.

In the margins of today, I got some work done, and mapped out more things I need to do. But for now I am enjoying learning things and seeing people I like. Tomorrow afternon I will be glad to catch my bus home.
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