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Indigo 101

The last couple of weeks involved lots of work to meet deadlines at work. I did see my 101st Collin County bird species for the year, the Indigo Bunting.  My on-line blitz chess rating is at 1476. I am reading R.M. Ballantyne's "My Doggie and I," after finishing "Beforelife."   The weather here went from slightly cooler than seasonal to roughly seasonal, but the Summer still seems pretty good to me.





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Results

I worked a bit late tonight. It did me good. My test results from my physical came out well. My nephew's daughter got to come home from the hospital.  When I walked in the park, a man discussed local woodpeckers with me. I need to deposit a check. We are a ways from our next dog adoption, but I find my petfinder.com browsing somewhat increased. I believe folks should adopt rather than shop, though I do not disparage those who shop. Looking at petfinder, I am convinced that even if one insists upon a particular breed, chihuahua and dachshund owners never need to leave petfinder.com.
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stretchering

Over the weekend I did some work for work, some work on family paperwork and some walking.

Sunday I went to WW. Then I went to church, where the sermon covered the second chapter of Mark and the idea of people who carry one's stretcher.

I played in an on-line 15/2 time control "rapid" chess tournament at North Texas Chess Academy. I scored 3 wins, 1 draw and a loss. I was pleased with my play.

Monday through Wednesday were full of things to do. I did get a chance to get my annual physical Wednesday afternoon. Nothing is ever known until the lab work came back. But my doctor and I agreed that boring is good.

Tonight I walked on the Watters Trail. I liked the Mississippi Kite soaring overhead.

We are watching an old episode of St. Elsewhere.


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4th of July Weekend

This past weekend was July 4th weekend. Though I like formal fireworks displays, we did not attend any fireworks shows. We did have a dinner out at Lila's, a Mexican/Indian fusion place, and at Rockfish Grill, a fish place. Both places had taken some steps to address virus safety. Neither place was crowded. I wear a mask indoor at businesses, except when it is time to eat. Though I am fully-vaccinated, the news reports of the Delta variant suggest it is a good idea.

CBS News featured my nephew and his wife and child on a recent episode. My nephew's wife contracted Covid-19 while in an advanced state of pregnancy. Her baby was delivered prematurely. Her mother's health was touch and go for a while. Fortunately, baby and mother appear to have come through in good shape, though I am no expert on such matters. I am pleased that after looking a bit dark, things presently look more light.

During the Independence Day weekend I got a little work done on Saturday. I also went to the Heard Natural Science Center. For the second week in a row, my bird count was low at the Heard. This is unusual. I did get some good pictures of Common Whitetail Skimmer dragonflies.

On the Sunday, I did the migration of our old Samsung J7 V phones to our new Samsung A42 phones. My wife is usually quite handy with devices, but she moved the task to me when the process involved too many ads and upsell efforts. I navigated through those and got the old phone settings and pictures and contacts and such migrated to the new phones. Though I preferred when the folks in the store did this, I have to admit the Samsung app for this, Smart Switch, worked well.  Unlike when the folks at the store do the migration, i was able to get all the things moved.

Monday I did a lot of family paperwork, finishing some important paperwork on Tuesday early morning before work. My wife signed us up for Disney+, so we will probably watch Hamilton in the coming weeks. She has been wanting to see that for a while.

Monday I walked in Towne Lake Park in McKinney. I saw 15 species. I listened to a podcast interview of Minne Driver.

Monday at 5 p.m. I played in a chess tournament in a field not limited to a given rating class. I scored 1 win, 3 losses and 1 draw. This 1 1/2 showing was a disappointment. I had hoped to finish a bit higher. But I had a lot of fun in the games. Only a blunder in the last game caused me disquiet.  My USCF rating just prior to this tournament was 1461. We'll see if it drops another 30 points from this result.





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Sausage and a grill

Tuesday night I cooked a turkey sausage in a skillet. The bit of canola oil I used failed to prevent (and arguably caused) a film of char from forming on the skillet.

Tuesday morning I took my car to the local Huffines dealership in Plano. I had two things to address: the car's plastic grill had gotten damaged through two taps--one caused by me, one caused in the parking lot by my law partner. I did not consider the grill issue worth repairing, as I saw that grills were an expense. I figured someday I would address it with an after-market solution or perhaps even a 3-D printed solution, But when my car developed another issue-a framing bit hanging and sraping a bit, I decided to get it all done. My wife strongly favored a new grill.  The cost of the grill was more than it should have been, but the remainder was essentially no cost.

The repairs went fine, with one exception. The new grill was in place in good shape, but the dealership had not put on the front license plate. I went back and forth politely with my service rep, who insisted the front license was not on when the car came in this morning. At length, I persuaded him to look again. He found it in the trash in the service department and apologized.  It was on the car in a matter of moments. I was pleased that I held my temper but asserted my position.  I thanked him for double-checking.

I logged into ebird.com my bird list that I created at A.R. Schell Park on Sunday.   One species on that list was the Cattle Egret. This proved to be my 100th species for the year. I am pleased to reach a century this year in June. I worried that I might have issues, as I saw few of the Spring warblers. But I made it.

I stayed up too late watching episodes from the old television show "The District." I am delighted that my wife is driving home again.

Monday I played in a chess.com US Chess Federation on-line blitz chess tournament. I only scored 3.5 out of 7, though one loss was to someone rated 2000.  My on-line blitz chess rating, with this tournament not yet rated, is 1493. I assume it will be closer to 1400.






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Loops and Trails

I worked a solid day. After work, in the early evening, I walked in Allen, starting at Waterston Park, walking to Spirit Park, and then making the loop on the Watters Creek Trail.

My wife drove to Oklahoma City yesterday to attend a funeral. Today she drove to Kansas City in the rain. I read about the Flint Hills Trail on the way there and resolved to try to go there someday.



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Staying busy

Work is very busy right now. When I came home yesterday, I did not feel like taking my usual walk. I just crashed out and watched an episode of the reboot of "Lost in Space." 

The US Chess Federation correction to its on-line rating system appears to have raised my on-line blitz rating from 1350ish to 1540ish. Since ratings are not medals, the increase is of no consequence. But for me the new rating is closer to my over-the-board rating, so it feels more "right."

I learned last night of the collapse of a condominium building in Miami, causing many deaths. That is very sad.



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Ratings Adjustment

The June heat broke. Days are simply warm now.

The US Chess Federation posted a notice that the federation discovered two errors in its on-line ratings system. I had thought this might be the case, because the ratings felt a bit different than my own estimations projected (both as to player strength and as to the change in ratings per game). The announcement said most ratings will go up, while some will go down. I will be interested to see which way my rating goes. If I were guessing at my current rating, I would put it at 1500 rather than its current state a bit above 1350.

The webserver postal chess tournament I entered concluded. I finished second out of 4, with 2 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses. Each of my two wins took place when my opponent made a major blunder. So while I had fun and am not too disappointed in the result, I know that my play was ordinary.

I have three busy work days ahead.

The cell phones we chose Saturday before last were finally shipped. They sit in Newark now, with an estimated delivery time to us in Texas at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow.  Two other pandemic-delayed things are upcoming. Tuesday, the dealership will finally have a slot for my car. My primary care physician's website gave me an opportunity to move my appointment there from early August to mid-July.  I am a bit amused because I have never had to wait more than a day or three prior to the pandemic.

Lately I like a lower-sugar breakfast cereal called Three Wishes.

The house is a good bit less lively with Beatrice gone.






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Wading Deer

Saturday afternoon after we left the vet's office, I went for a walk on the Cottonwood Creek South Trail in Allen. This trail had few people on it. Two who were on it were a grown man and a little boy, each of whom was riding an off-road motorcycle. The boy's motorcycle was very small. I do not like it when people put motorized vehicles on the non-motorized paths. But I understood why they chose this hot, quiet day as a day for a trail transgression. I walked and thought of our dog Beatrice.

Saturday afternoon we met our friends Scott and Donna at Season 52 in Plano. The food was great. Then we went to the Angelika film theater. This was our first movie since the pandemic began in March 2020.  We saw Edgar Wright's documentary "The Sparks Brothers." I have been a Sparks fan since I saw them on a late-night concert show when I was 14 years old  They sang two songs from Kimono My House that night--"This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us" and "Talent is an Asset" (which I misheard as "Terence is on Acid" that first night).
The film caught everything I like about the band, and was amusing. The brothers Mael proved to be interesting subjects.

Sunday I went to the Heard Museum Natural Science Center. I hoped to see an Indigo Bunting or a Prothonotary Warbler. But I saw neither. Two young boys walking on the wetlands boardwalk with their parents pointed out to me something interest. A deer waded nearly shoulder-high in the water seeking foraging for lake weeds. I do not often see deer at the Heard. I loaned the boys my binoculars so that they could get a better look.

Monday I worked to meet deadlines. Then I walked in Allen Station Park and, with my wife on the Cottonwood Creek Trail.





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Canis Major

Our canine friend Beatrice came to live with us on January 8, 2006. We adopted her at the McKinney SPCA. The McKinney SPCA occupied a very good building. We met Beatrice there. She was a bit like a black labrador mix puppy.  But soon we realized she was not a puppy. Beatrice was a full-grown small dog. We decided to adopt her. We brought our other dog, Teddy, to see her. They got along fine. We later learned that their relationship would always be a little distant. Beatrice acted as if she were an only dog.

The shelter had called her "Momma,", as she had had puppies. But we could not imagine calling her "Momma."   I envision shouting into the back yard "Momma! Come inside!" We named her Beatrice instead. Rather than being Dante's Beatrice, she was named with a story from the novelist Charles Willliams' life. He had had an office crush on a woman he called his Beatrice.

When we adopted her Beatrice was 16 pounds, a bit underweight. She proved to have hypothyroid, one of numerous maladies for which we medicated her over the years. We learned she was a puggle by chance, when someone at our vet's office told a vet assistant her breed.

The vet at SPCA and our vet both thought Beatrice was six at the time of her adoption. Fifteen years later, we said goodbye to Beatrice today.
She experienced a dose of maladies and losses of control too dreary to recount. We finally reached the point in which we felt her life involved pain and discomfort. I feel both guilty about making that decision, and guilty for not making that decision sooner.

I never see pets as children or child-surrogates. I see pet dogs as friends. Beatrice was certainly a friend to my wife and I. I will miss her all my remaining life.

When we first saw Beatrice, her cage had a note on which someone wrote "very sweet."  People experienced that sweetness. Local rabbits and mice did not, but that is another story for another day.  I faced a rough patch personally with a health issue some years ago. That little dog helped with my morale.

We feel grateful for 15 years with Beatrice. I recall one 4th of July in 2014 in Bonham State Park, an hour away, with Beatrice. Workers were painting our home, so we had to be somewhere else. Beatrice and I had never been to a state park hiking, but she immediately hit the trail. Perhaps she had been hiking in the six years before she came to us. Perhaps she knew the park. She and I went back there years later, and had a good time once more.

Perhaps the next time I have an afternoon, I will drive to Bonham State Park, walk the lake loop trail, and think of Beatrice. Tonight I am immersed in memories of a small black dog I love.


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