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on track Monday

I got a lot done at work on Monday. The resting I did on Sunday refreshed me. After work, I walked in Crowley Park.   I listened to the Linux Action News podcast and to Paula Poundstone's new NPR podcast..  We watched Penelope Keith visit small villages in Devon and Cornwall on PBS.  I thought about Saturday evening's finale to "Ashes to Ashes", which I had not see before. We found it a satisfying conclusion.

breakfast Monday: erewhon cereal and skim milk
lunch Monday: turkey sandwich and baked chips
dinner Monday: grilled chicken, fresh black-eyed peas, and salad

(cross-posted to DW because life is silly)

catching up

Yesterday I followed my morning routines--a walk in Chisholm Trail, a Weight Watchers meeting, another walk,and then church .  In the afternoon, I rested.  I've never quite gotten rid of the bit of Summer bug I started a few weeks ago. I hoped to rest it away.

Though I meant to get in a late afternoon walk or bicycle ride, a pop-up storm put a stop to that intention. I put a digital recorder on my back patio table, and caught a few minutes of the sound of the falling rain on the patio. I watched the second of the Divergent movies. I slept a good bit.

I read the current e-book I am working upon, a light sci-fi called "Constellation Games" by Leonard Richardson.  Now I am well along with this novel. I also watched an episode of "Grantchester".  Julie Benz starred in a holiday movie on the Hallmark Channel where July is a harbinger of Christmas. I read about bicycle paths in nearby cities.My wife went out to dinner with a former co-worker. I was pleased to hear that the co-worker, who had been a contractor, now works for a bank as an employee with good benefits.

This morning I woke up at 3, convinced myself it was 6, and ate a very early breakfast. Beatrice joined me. Then we went back to sleep. Beatrice went out to bark at the Monday morning lawnmower in a neighbor's yard.  A morning dove is calling from my chimney.

breakfast Sunday: toasted wheat-fuls and skim milk
lunch Sunday: two fried fish fillets and green beans with a roll
dinner Sunday: two turkey sandwiches on sandwich slims and baked chips
breakfast Monday: erewhon cereal and skim milk

(cross-posted to DW because life is silly)

Mexican Art

Friday I worked a solid day. On the way home, I walked in Shawnee Park. We had a quiet Friday evening. We ate Market Street, where I had roast chicken, turnip greens and green beans.

This morning I ate a breakfast of Erewhon cereal and skim milk.  Perhaps Erewhon is named for the lack of sugar anywhere. I walked Beatrice at 6:45 a.m. During our walk, I saw my first Yellow-Crowned Night Heron of the year. This brings my Collin County species count for the year up to 102 species.  At 8:20, I rode my bicycle on the Watters Creek Trail for 55 minutes.

My wife and I headed out at 9:45.  We drove my car to Parker Road Station. Then we drove to North Park Mall to meet our friend Cathy. We all consolidated into one car and headed into downtown Dallas. We had tickets for an art exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art. I was looking forward to the exhibit of Mexican art from 1900 to 1950.  

We arrived at the museum several minutes before its opening. A long line had formed. This was a really popular exhibit, nearing its conclusion. People were nice--the line snaked around in the shade, as lines should do in July in north Texas.

When it opened, we were able to by-pass the ticket line, because we had bought in advance. We wandered a bit, but finally found the exhibit. The exhibit was really wonderful. It featured lots of fascinating pieces. Some were familiar, like "Los Dos Fridas" and the Calla seller. Some were unknown to me. I liked Manilla's "Indian Woman from Oaxaca" and Olga Costa's "Fruit Seller". I found Manuel Rodriguez Lozano's "Autoretrato" painting in which he faces the viewer wearing a tie and a coat very well done.  It was great to see the Rivera, Orozco, Kahlo and Siqueros paintings.  This was the best Mexican art exhibit I have seen since a visit to Guadalajara some twenty or so years ago.

I was a bit intrigued by the crowd reaction.  One woman behind me in line assured the  docent she was only there for 12 minutes or so--to see the Frida Kahlo's quickly and see nothing else in this robust exhibition.  Several visitors focused on taking selfies next to the Kahlos. Folks kept tripping off the security alarm indicating they were standing too close to "Los Dos Fridas".  I really admire and love Frida Kahlo's work, but she seemed to trigger a fangirl reaction that none of the other amazing art invoked in the crowds.  The museum even held a Frida-look-alike event that drew 1,000 Fridas.

Though the exhibition was crowded, it was still a good time.  Kahlo-surdity aside, folks were quite polite and friendly.  Though I  knew a bit about this era of Mexican art, I learned a lot as well. I was not up to speed on the Mexican take on futurism, the Stridentist movement. We all enjoyed this exhibit a lot.

We went to Dallas' downtown park Klyde Warren Park. It was built on a highway bridge. It's got food trucks.  I ate a tasty sandwich with chicken, jalapenos, and Texas toast. My wife and Cathy had lobster rolls. Cathy and my wife dropped me off at the St. Paul station. They went on to the Farmers' Market. I rode to Parker Road Station. I walked in Green Park until a storm blew in.  I went home and read my book. Then I fell asleep. Meanwhile, the severe storm damaged our crape myrtle trees a bit.

We went to Thai Noodle Wave for dinner. I ate a Thai noodle soup and summer rolls.  It was a bit hot but a good meal. 

After dinner, we walked around Glendover Pond and pondered the trees.

(cross-posted to DW because life is silly)

rain alleviates heat

The afternoon featured an unexpected rain. I read about John Williams, the author of "Stoner". I read and liked that novel a few years ago. I knocked a few pages off as to Constellation Games, a sci-fi I am reading.

breakfast: instant oatmeal
lunch: three slices of buffet pizza with broccoli
dinner: sockeye salmon, salad and whole wheat rotini

(cross-posted to DW because life is silly)

back home and thinking about away

I enjoyed being back at work today. I felt rested and relaxed.  Beatrice woke me periodically starting at 4 a.m. or so.   She felt the need to lick the back of my head, to  help me wake.

I thought about some of the things we saw in small town Wisconsin. Almost every town featured a Friday night fish fry. Car shows seemed to pop up here and there. Huge, modern-style bare-blade windmills were common. Horicon is the home of the John Deere lawn tractor factory, so it was not a huge surprise to see the little green lawn tractors in abundance. I found my mild southern accent and the rural Wisconsin accent do not always permit perfect ease of communication, though the issue was slight. I thought the folks we met were all great.

Most of the bird life I knew from seeing it here in Texas. Some birds, like the sparrows and American Goldfinch, winter where I live but Summer up there. I saw some Wisconsin birds we rarely see in Texas, like Gray Catbird, Tree Swallow and Sandhill Crane. Some of our birds do not live up there, like Scissortail Flycatcher and Northern Mockingbird.  I enjoyed seeing all the variety of animals at the marsh. I always like seeing Bald Eagles, who are more rare in my part of Texas. The abundance of Wild Parsnip, a toxic-to-touch invasive plant, served to keep people on the trails. The whole terrain was post-glacial.

During our trip, I had with me my "travel" laptop. I like that its screen is a bit less than 12". When I travel, I read different ebooks. This trip, I finished Mrs. Oliphaunt's "Last of the Mortimers".  I began Edward Bulwer-Lytton's "Paul Clifford". "Paul Clifford" is the fabled "It was a dark and lonely night" opening passage, to which a contest is now devoted. I knocked out the first 50 of its 1,000 epages, and look forward to the rest.

I read an appraisal of the Modi administration in India in an issue of The Economist. I went to Weight Watchers tonight. I gained two-tenths of a pound on vacation, which was a good result. I walked the Chisholm Trail on the way home.

Breakfast: toasted wheatfuls and skim milk
Lunch: turkey sandwich, vegetable soup and baked chips
Dinner: cube steak, sweet potato, salad

(cross-posted to DW because life is silly)

Kayak Kids

Monday we picked up breakfast.  My wife had a morning massage. I drove around the countryside. I saw cornfields and giant modern-style windmills.  I bought beach towels in Fond Du LaC.

I called to see if we could rent kayaks to kayak on the Horicon Marsh. Unfortunately, the kayaks were booked up. We drove to the Horicon National Wildlife Reserve section.  We had been there Friday evening after closings hours. We wanted to see the interior of the center. It had a few nice things, making for a quick visit. We decided to drive to the nearby town of Beaver Dam.  We stopped for a sandwich in the town at Cousins' subs. I like going to local chain places.  The back of the chip bag told us that the chain was founded in 1972.

We drove to Waterworks Park on Beaver Dam Lake. A nice young fellow rented us kayaks.  He was great. He made sure our life preservers were cinched right. The park had a contraption called a kayak launch which allowed him to propel us into the water on little rails.  Had we gone out on the marsh, our experience might have involved eagles and pelicans and perhaps a friendly muskrat. On Beaver Dam Lake, we kayaked along the shore past lovely lakefront homes.  We did see Mallards and Double-Crested Cormorants, Canada Geese and a Ring-Billed Gull. We headed home.  We kayaked for around 75 minutes.

On the way back to Mayville, we stopped by the Nitschke Mounds. We viewed a couple of the sixty animal effigy mounds dating back over a thousand years. The mounds were longer and shorter than I expected.

In the evening, we ate a dinner at the excellent restaurant at our hotel. Then we walked to Mayville City Park.  The city hosted its annual Rock 'n' Boom Independence Day celebration. We watched an excellent rock covers band play songs like "Locomotive Breath" (complete with spirited flautist, albeit a flautist playing on both legs) and "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" (with a fiddle player belting it out  while wearing black pumps. The rock covers band was followed by a country covers band.

Meanwhile, an American Legion baseball game was in session on a nearby ballfield. The locals were taking a bit of an independent shellacking. When the game ended, the fireworks began.

The fireworks were grand. The crowd loved it. The crowd was several thousand folks strong, in a town of 5,000.  We had a great vantage point. It all ended in a boom. Then we walked back to our hotel.

This morning we drove back to Milwaukee. We browsed in the used bookstore run by the Milwaukee Public LIbrary. We ate at a lunch place run by Miller Beer.  We ate turkey sandwiches but drank no beer. When we landed in Dallas, we returned to hotter temperatures. A little black dog named Beatrice greeted us at the door, delighted to see us.

(cross-posted to DW because life is silly)

bald and red-headed

After a fast-food breakfast, we headed ten minutes over to the town of Horicon., population 3,500.  We made it to Horicon Boat Tours quite early, as we were reserved on the 20-hour pontoon boat into the huge Horicon Marsh. A rainstorm delayed our trip and shortened it from 2 hours to 1 hour. But the hour that a dozen or so of us had was grand indeed.
We saw lots of birds--two Bald Eagles, Great White Pelicans, Eastern Kingbirds, myriads of swallows, and others.  We saw the interesting marsh. The guide was expert.. We arrived back at the landing just before the rains set in again. Though we originally had kayaking reservations for the afternoon, the weather caused us to cancel.  We got lunch at a local lunch place. Then we headed to the visitor center for the marsh run by the state. It was quite good, and gave us a chance to see more birds.  Then we headed up to the non-profit Marsh Haven Visitor Center at the most northern part of the marsh. We liked this down-to-earth place just across the road from the federal wildlife preserve.

We learned that new hiking trails had just opened at the reserve. We walked the Redhead Trail and the Red Fox Tra Wil. It was a grand thing to do--we saw Whitetail Deer, Ground Squirrels, Common Yellowthroat and Yellow Warblers, Eastern Kingbird, Gray Catvird, American Goldfinch, swallows of many varieties, and Northern Leopard Frog.

We headed back to our room and took it easy. We dined again at the nice restaurant attached to our hotel.  Wehave had a poor run with the Direct TV supplied to our room.Tonight we used the internet to watch the Great British Baking Show on my laptop. This worked well.

We had a grand day, filled with wetlands meadows and feel that things were not too hot nor too cold but very pleasabt,
Breakfast:: egg-white McMuffin
Lunch: grillecken, kernel born, baked potato, salad
Dinner: margherita flatbread and gumbo
Dessert: 1/3rd of a pecan pie tart.

(cross-posted to DW because life is silly)

more moraine

We had a great breakfast at a neighborhood place near our hotel. Then we headed out to Theresa, Wisconsin. We stopped in a cheese factory there.  We hoped to see cheese being made ,but we instead only saw a roomful of idle machinery.  There was no browsable space, as the cheeses were in a small area.   So we headed off across the way.  After watching a pair of Green Herons near a river, we went into a chocolate artisan shop, The staff was great there. I had a caramel sea salt small chocolate. My wife had a coconut chocolate item. We liked the place. A kind soul at the shop showed us some local things to see, and corrected when I pronounced Theresa like the American 20th C. name when the real way is more like a European way sounding the 'h' and making the second "e" a bit like an "a" sound.

We drove to Long Lake, in Kettle Moraine State Park, Northern Unit.  We climbed Dundee Mountain, which sounds like a feat, but Dundee Mountain is not a mountain but a kame. We liked learning about kames and moraines and eskers and drumlins. We learned a lot about how the Wisconsin glacial advances shaped this area. We saw a beautiful White-Tailed Deer fawn in a wetlands field. Then we walked the Lake-to-Lake trail, which was lovely. We saw a Baltmore Oriole and an Eastern Phoebe, among other birds. We went to the Ice Age visitor center, where we saw a film that helped us understand some basics about glacial activity.

For a weekend near the 4th of July, the park was not crowded. We had a good time.

We took a nap and each of us grabbed a shower.  Then we ate dinner at a local little family restaurant. The staff talked about how business was light, because the Saturday evening "first church service" patrons had not arrived yet. We liked our meals.

Then we drove to the Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Reserve. The visitor center was closed.  We had a good time walking the trails and a boardwalk. We saw Tree Swallows, Red-Winged Blackbirds, a Common Yellowthroat, Eastern Kingbirds, and a turtle. We had a good time. We look forward to much more marsh tomorrow.

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, ham, "American fries" (i.e., skillet lightly-fried home fries), and sourdough toast
Lunch:  gone hiking
Dinner: french dip sandwich and a cup of vegetable soup

(cross-posted to DW because life is silly)

A-Line Clothes and Gumbo

We got up by 3:45 a.m.  I gave Beatrice her medicine. We got ready for the shuttle. The shuttle arrived at 4:25 A.M. We effortlessly made our morning flight.  Beatrice stayed behind,  where a kind soul is watching over her.  They fed us Chobani yogurt and 6/10ths of an ounce of fresh granola as part of our elite business class seating. A lot of people at the airport at both ends cut in line and committed other misdemeanor oversights But they were all obviously errors of sleepiness and not errors of malice.

We landed in Milwaukee at 9:30 a.m.  We got our bags and our rental car in good order. We hit the road to West Bend. Not far out of Milwaukee, in the town of Hales Corners, we saw a sign for a botanical garden. We detoured and walked in the Boerner Botanical Gardens. This garden turned out to be well-planned. It featured lots of plants which only grow in very cold places, as well as other plants. We loved watching the little chipmunks, and walking in a nearby wood.

We headed on to West Bend, a small town on a river.  We went to the Museum of Wisconsin Art.  This was a really great museum in a really cool building.  I liked best the pieces by Carl Von Marr and in particular the huge painting "The Flagellants" (or "The Procession of the Flagellants").  My first thought on seeing this late 19th Century painting was that it must be from the 1980s.  We also liked the Florence Eisemann exhibit about hip childrens' clothes in the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. My wife recalled Eiseman designs of her childhood.

We went to the Lac Lawrann Conservancy. We walked by a marsh, where we saw Northern Flickers, a Song Sparrow, and some great rabbits. 

We drove to Mayville, where we are staying at the lovely Audubon Inn.  We dined at its Creole restaurant, NOLA. I loved my gumbo, which was a bit spicy but in a measured Creole way, not in that "just make it burn" way that some non-Louisiana places utilize to try to be "authentic".

We walked in town and watched the Rock River from several vantage points.

Tomorrow may involve cheese.

Breakfast: yogurt with granola, fruit
Lunch: None (gone hiking)
Dinner: gumbo and a half-chicken with quinoa and a truffle jus.

(cross-posted to DW because life is silly)

flying from pasture to pasture

Another day of feeling steadily better.  I ate Weetabix cereal and skim milk this morning. It is pretty stiff-upper-lip stuff. I walked in Shawnee Park in Plano after work. Cattle egrets flew overhead.  I wake early tomorrow. for fun reasons. We are packed and ready.

breakfast: weetabix and skim miik
lunch: grilled chicken, green beans and a roll
dinner: turkey sandwich and chips

(cross-posted to DW because life is silly)