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railway station

Tonight below the moon, down and to the left, the planet Mars shone red.

I walked in Allen Station Park .  We ate salmon for dinner. We watched a documentary about Harper Lee.

I saw a wren in the back yard. The birds prefer the "songbird mix" to the smaller seeds I am currently using.

This morning I happened upon one of my favorite poems, Edward Thomas' "Adlestrop" .  I resolved to read more of his work once I finish William Dean Howells' "Their Wedding Journey".

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scrambled eggs and family

Sunday I got up and walked in little Green Park in Allen. At my Weight Watchers meeting, I noticed that the desk attendant during my weigh-in did not log my weight into the little booklet provided for that purpose. She remedied the matter, but said my smartphone application should show it. I told her that it never had, which led her to make entries into the computer to activate the sync. Now I have my historical weights on a weekly basis going back some years. I like having data points. I see that I have been fairly steady the past three years.

Sunday afternoon I worked a bit and watched sports. At 6 p.m. I drove to Uncle Julio's restaurant in Allen. I met with my brother and with my first cousin John and his wife Barbara. They live in Tallahassee.  They were driving to Montana to see their son Cory.  I like them very much--they are nice people. It was good to catch up.

Monday I tried the new Waffle House near my work for lunch. I walked after work in Glendover Park. I am about to hit a very busy patch at work, after a somewhat busy patch.

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The Trio

I slept in a bit until 8 a.m.  I contemplated going to the 9 a.m. Linux users' group meeting at the Dallas Makerspace. But I decided to take Beatrice for a walk.  She decided we would vary our usual route through the park. She instead turned left at a street in our neighborhood. Perhaps she was influenced by the cute white terrier who came up to us, independent of owner or leash. That dog sought to say hello to Beatrice, who felt a bit non-chalant about the whole matter. I tried to pet the dog and look at her collar, but the little white dog moved on. Some dogs do not want to be traced and returned. I think her owner must have called her in, as she ceased to be in evidence.

After we walked in a kind of rectangle for a few blocks, Beatrice stopped at a house. I looked at the house. It had yellow bricks like our house. I had to tell Beatrice it was not our house. She seemed at first not to understand--or perhaps she just liked yellow-brick houses and knew the real story all along. 

I decided to drive to Russell Creek Park in Plano. I hoped to walk near its small pond and its open fields. But when I got there, there were thousands of families in its parking lots. I understood then why the soccer fields had one million parking spaces, give or take 900,000.

I drove instead to Limestone Quarry Park in nearby Frisco. I walked the sidewalk trails there, which were much less cloudy. i had a radio station playing a sports contest playing in my headphones.

I enjoyed a pleasant walk, seeing some 10 species of bird. My favorite part was when a small Bobcat crossed the trail in front of me. She paused, mid-crossing, and looked back. Her two kittens came running behind her, and headed with her into the bushes. I regretted that it was all too fast for a photograph. But I loved seeing the kittens.  I did take a photo of a cool whiptail lizard and of a young and stylish Northern Mockingbird.

I went to Wendy's for a grilled chicken sandwich and chili.  I got a 1 dollar protective glass  for my over-wrought cell phone screen from Dollar Tree. I bought some bananas.  Then I went home, I did some paperwork on some family business, while listening to a football game through the headphones. My alma mater the University of Arkansas was soundly defeated by the University of North Texas. The world turned upside down. I resolved to be a rough-weather fan and not a fair-weather fan.

I walked in Glendover Park, still listening to the radio. My little pocket radio did the job. A spot of rain fell, but only a spot. We have had a rainy September.   I read some pages in my ebook.

We went to Jason's Deli, where I had a southwestern chicken chili.  Then we rented the movie Ocean's 8.

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Belted Kingfisher

I had a dream last night in which I was on vacation in a wooded place. As the vacation drew to a close, I felt regret that my vacation neared its end. I saw a sign directing traffic to a small road. The sign said "Glen Falls". I wondered if I could walk to Glen Falls before time to leave. I felt sure I wanted to see a small waterfall.

My dream shifted. I sat at the driver's seat of a car. I looked at a display on my laptop. The car stood still in a row of cars. The pop singer Sheryl Crow walked nearby, promoting an album released as a promotional. She recited artists who appeared on the album. When she passed my vehicle, she made a joke about how I looked at a computer instead of listening to her. I found the joke difficult to quite make out. I woke up.

Last night after work I walked in Allen Station Park. After 10 days, more or less, of overcast skies, the evening proved sunny and warm. I saw a Belted Kingfisher at the hydrous waterpark. She dive-bombed the water a time or two for fish.

We watched the show "Shetland" on PBS. I like this show. I looked up the wikipedia entry for the island. I thought that the show certainly shows a lot of murders for an island of 23,000 people.
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The days of rain gave way to partly cloudy skies. I bought 1 dollar notebooks at Dollar Tree so that I could file some records. I walked in the park after work. Beatrice is sleeping on her little Mississippi bed. The Mallard Ducks returned to Glendover Park, but no sign of the American Coot.

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6 days, more or less

Wednesday evening I went to a Weight Watchers meeting. One woman there was from my town. She explained to another woman how she was personal friends with the owner of the local good breakfast cafe and personal friends with the formal owner of the best Thai restaurant. I had never heard someone name-drop local cafes before, but I liked her nonetheless.

Thursday I worked all morning and took a late afternoon bus to Houston. I like the Vonlane bus for travel to Houston or Austin, as its spacious seat, on-board wi-fi, lack of hassle with check-in, and snack-bearing bus attendants makes the experience like but better than flying. I took a cab to my hotel, where a good restaurant Guadalajara was nearby. I had chicken enchiladas and charro beans. The next morning, I walked the 1.2 miles to my business meeting. The morning weather was slightly too humid for a walk, but it worked out. After my meeting, I had a giant slice of pizza at a New York pizzeria. I tried to check my small bags with the hotel, but the bellhop stood on ceremony about only serving hotel guests. I rarely encounter this attitude, which amounts to standing on ceremony to refuse easy money. I told him that I understood.  My bus arrived at 11:15 p.m. in Dallas, and I drove home.

Saturday I walked in Glendover Park before the rain began.I saw a huge Red-Tailed Hawk in a tree.  Then I went and got Beatrice so that we could walk before the storm. We only made it halfway before the rain began--light but steady. I asked Beatrice if she wanted to turn around and go home, but she assured me that she wanted to proceed. When we got back home, she waited patiently while I dried her with a towel.

In the late afternoon, we met our friends Scott, Donna and Kathy, as well as two individuals who were Kathy's neighbors, Karen and a fellow whose name escapes me. we all went to 'Crazy Rich Asians" at Northpark Mall AMC in Dallas. I had been looking forward to the movie, which i thought was "Crazy, Rich Asians" rather than "Crazy Rich" Asians. It was a good light entertainment.  I wondered how many of the cultural references I missed through my limited knowledge of Singaporean culture..  We all ate at P.F. Chang, where I had edamame, hot and sour soup, steamed shrimp dumplings and a spicy tuna roll. We all discussed politics.

Sunday I walked the Chisholm Trail and listened to podcasts. I went to Weight Watchers. One member named Lisa had been kind enough to bring bagel pieces made with "two ingredient dough". I liked the resulting bake, though it was a tad bit bland, as unsalted bagel pieces tend to be.  I walked in Shawnee Park under overcast skies. At church the sermon discussed the Apostles' Creed.

In the afternoon, I got a haircut at the chain place at Alma and Hedcoxe. My usual place at Alma and Spring Creek was closed for one day only. i watched the local team lose a sports game on television. I finished the book "The Chameleon" by Samuel Fisher, a good read about the power(s) of words and story. I downloaded a new book from gutenberg.org, William Dean Howells' "Their Wedding Journey". I went to bed fairly early after failing to get into an episode of Rowan Atkinson as Maigret. I think it was more about me than the show. I read a few more pages of the new novel, which I am enjoying so far.

On Monday, I walked in Timbers Nature Preserve, where I saw four American Kestrels. I took it easy after work and after a dinner of grilled KFC. I watched an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.  I woke at 4 a.m.Tuesday for no reason, and fell asleep until 7 a.m. I ate instant oatmeal.

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Sunday we headed  for the Smokey Bear Historic Site in the small village of Capitan.

I liked the little historic museum, with its tales of a rescued bear cub and an ad campaign for bears who fight forest fires. I liked the small exhibit and also seeking Smokey's gravsite.

We had lunch at the Oso Grill, where service was not speedy but the food was good and the people friendly.

Then we drove east through Carrizozo and on to the Valley of Fires Recreation Area. We found the miles of dried lava fields here fascinating.
We saw a lovely Texas Horned Lizard. It was a great place to visit. We drove around a bit. I caught a glimpse of a Pronghorn.  We drove back to Ruidoso.  On Monday, we drove to Roswell.  We got a great view of a proud Pronghorn on a levee.

We walked in Cahoon Park. We stopped at the Stellar Coffee Shop in downtown Roswell. Then we flew back to Dallas Forth Worth.

Monday night we went out for dinner with my brother's family in celebration of my brother's wife's birthday.  We all had a delightful time.
Today I enoyed working a solid day.

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mountain gods

We started our morning at Grindstone Lake.  The lake sits in a beautiful location.  Folks were out fishing, stand-up paddling on kayaks and boating. We walked around the lake, which was fun. A woman walked by with three retrievers on leashes.  They enjoyed their walk. One dog had only three legs, but kept the pace just fine.

We drove next to the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort, which is on Mescalero Lake. This resort is operated by the Mescalero Apache Tribe.We liked the setting very much. I think it could be fun someday to stay there, and to have a carless resort experience. We walked part-way around the lake and enjoyed the view from the hotel.   We ignored the casino. Rain threatened but never made good on its threat.

We went to lunch at Casa Blanca, which sits, not suprisingly, in a white building.  We ordered the chicken enchilada lunch, a house special. The retaurant was swamped, with attendance for Labor Day weekend increased by quarter horse races at Ruidoso Downs, a country-music festival in Ruidoso, and the holiday weekend. We had a good time  sitting and talking and looking at the mountains out the window. Our food was good, with the chiles adding a subtle ,memorable flavor.  During our meal, someone from Ski Apache called me and got my information for our refund from the inability to take our zip line trip due to Friday weather.

After lunch, my wife dropped me off at Cedar Creek Trail in the Lincoln National Forest, on the edge of town. I walked for a couple of hours while she shopped for a couple of hours. It started raining at some point, but I had my rain-jacked in my backpack. I had a really good time. I saw lots of bird species, and enjoyed seeing the late Summer flowers like purple aster.

In the early evening, my wife sat on the cabin's front porch. She told me she saw the biggest buck she had ever seen. The buck was mot a buck but instead a young bull elk. It  was fun to watch him walk past.

We dined at Great Wall of China, which gave good service on a busy night and served good food. Now we are at our cabin, enjoying a restful evening.

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the rainy day off

August 29 was a good, solid, hard-working day. At home, I packed for our trip. Thursday the 30th we caught a Super Shuttle Bus at 7:30 a.m. after  I said goodbye to Beatrice by giving her a dog biscuit treat.

Our shuttle driver was a great guy. Our fellow passengers were two New Yorkers heading to a wedding upstate. I felt a little guilty, because my first cousin twice removed is getting married this weekend, but we did not get an invitation until we had already set up our vacation plans.  So the happy couple in California will have to make do with the cool gift we got off the registry. But I feel badly about not being there.
I liked the driver and the New York bound couple, so the shuttle drive was easy.

We arrived at the airport early, For some reason, TSA;'s machine could not read my wife's boarding pass, but she replaced it in good order. Flying on the Thursday before Labor Day is far less hectic than flying on the Friday evening of Labor Day weekend.

We caught the 11 a.m. to Roswell, New Mexico. The 90 minute flight was uneventful and pleasant. I liked the mini-pretzels and little biscoff cookies.  When we landed in small Roswell, a slide show played just above the tiny baggage claim area. This show had pictures of all the things to do in Roswell. We are not big on alien conspiracy stuff, a Roswell tourism staple, though we both believe in extra-terrestrial life.  But we believe in contemporary art. We decided to go to the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art. This free museum was in a huge but unassuming building that looked like it had an earlier life as a business of some kind. Local artist and business guy Don Anderson started an Artist-in-Residence program in 1967. Ever since, artists have come to Roswell to participate. Lots of intriguing works by these artists are on display in the museum. The collection is extremely eclectic. We enjoyed spending time there--we could easily have spent a couple of days, but took only part of an afternoon.

The woman who assisted explained that she and her husband were artists, and her husband had been an artist-in-residence years ago.
We liked so many works that we saw by so many artists. The museum was a must-see.  Best of all, we nearly had the museum to ourselves. I tire of being crowded at museums.  I had some work-related calls and emalls to handle on Thursday, but I seemed to get things done in good shape.

We found a neat Thai place for a late lunch called Lemon Grass. It was delightful, with great, casual service.  We almost went to Roswell's other main museum to see the Hurd and Wyatt paintings, but we decided to head to our ultimate destination, Ruidoso.

The 90 minute drive to Ruidoso was pleasant, with light traffic. The elevation went from 3,600 feet above sea level to 6,900 feet. This made things cooler when we arrived. We checked into our cabin, which is very nice. We watched a Mule Deer and her two fawns walk by.. I worked while my wife explored the neighborhood.

Then we headed to the Ruidoso River Trail, a paved sidewalk trail through pinewoods by a creek. We saw Stellar's Jay and a profusion of Acorn Woodpeckers. We met a nice couple of birdwatchers from the Austin, Texas area, retirees who brought their casita behind their vehicle and stayed at an RV park for a month. They told us about places to eat, places to walk and places to bird. We enjoyed their company.

We went to walk some more at Cedar Creek, a trail in the Lincoln National Forest.  It was a nice place to hike. The weather showed clouds, but no rain fell.

We had dinner at a steakhouse which had a great salad bar.  We had a quiet evening.

Saturday morning I walked around the Upper Canyon neighborhood where our cabin is located. I saw several Mule Deer, several Acorn Woodpeckers, and a charming Olive-side Flycatcher. I liked the way the neighborhood and deer seem copasetic with each other.

After I got a little work done, we drove to Ski Apache. We took the gondola to the top of Sierra Blanca Mountain.  At the top, we saw White Sands in the distance.  We hiked a bit on the Lookout Trail, but a lightning warning sent us indoors.  My wife was intrigued with the zipline, so we decided to go  back down and sign up for it.

Our first effort did not succeed, because a new lightning warning came out.  We got some lunch at the very good outdoor grill cafe. I liked my hot dog ,and my wife's chicken breast sandwich looked great. I liked watching the birds at the base of the ski area--Mountain Bluebird, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, and Dark-Eyed Junco, among others.

A second lightning warning kept us indoors. Finally we could sign up, and pay our fee, and get trained on their zipline equipment.
But then the lightning came out  again, and they closed the Ski Apache facility.  We hope to go tomorrow, if weather permits. Even though we did not get to do the zipline, we did get to hear a great presentation from a zipline guide about the Mescalero Apache people. Also, all the staff and all our fellow patrons were really nice.

When they used a sports utility vehicle to slowly evacuate us from the mountain, the driver pointed out to us hundreds of elk grazing in the distance. It was lovely.

My wife handled the rainy drive down the mountain with skill. A motorcyclist allowed us to pass so that the rider could follow us and have better visibility. When we all made it to the bottom on the 12 mile mountain road, the female rider flashed a heart sign to my wife.

We went tonight to Alto Lake around the lake. We saw lots of cool birds, hiked on the trail, and saw still more Mule Deer.

We dined at a charming neighborood Italian place. We chose it after other choices were swamped with customers. We had a great margherita pizza. The day went nothing like expected, but it was all a great day.

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Hawk fan

Monday I walked in Breckinridge Park at lunch. I saw a White-Breasted Nuthatch, This was my 100th bird for the year in my home county.  In the evening, I walked in local Glendover Park. I saw a huge Red-Tailed Hawk perched high in a tree. It seemed to be watching kids play sports in the team practices in the field below.

I knocked out another half-hour of seminar video this morning. I hope to complete all my legal education requirements for this year during this week.

I had a dream in which I had a confrontation with the leader of my Weight Watchers meeting over close to nothing.

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