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Warmer Monday

Monday the weather warmed a bit. I saw 100 Ring-Billed Gulls at Breckinridge Park. I want to read for pleasure tonight.
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Foggy Weekend

Saturday morning I got some work done. I took a walk in Glendover Park, and later took a walk in Story Park. The weather hinted rain all day, but little rain fell. I dropped off shirts at the dry cleaner and picked up shirts at the dry cleaners. The rain saved itself for Saturday night. Saturday evening we ate sandwiches and watched two episodes of the latest Martin Scorsese series of Fran Lebowitz vignettes.

Saturday I finished the science fiction novel "Caleuche" by Jonathan Ward. I began reading my next book, Gavin Maxwell's "Ring of Bright Water." 

Sunday morning I walked in small, foggy Green Park. I saw eight bird species. I listened to a podcast about a collage artist in Shrewsbury in England. Then I listened to a podcast interview with a woman who entered the ministry after being a teacher. She was not an Episcopal deacon in the Texas Panhandle town of Amarillo, after moving there with her wife.
I watched a video of a sermon by Tom Are, a Presbyterian minister in Mission Hills Kansas. He dealt powerfully with the events of terrorists on January 6.  I watched another sermon by our church's minister.

I drove to Mustang Creek Trail, where I walked and saw 20 different species of bird. The Belted Kingfisher brought my count for January up to 51 species. At home, I laundered trousers for the coming week. I watched some of the two football playoff games. We watched "All Creatures Great and Small."

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light days and dark novel

I felt pleased that the presidential inauguration went forward without any further crises.  For the second time in 12 years, a Democratic president assumes office after a Republican administration left things in imperfect condition.

I read the first 400 pages of Jonathan Ward's science fiction novel "Caleuche." The novel is a pretty good read, but is turning out a bit dark for my tastes.

Work remains busy and active. The weather forebodes rain.

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Ruddy Science

Last night we watched Lulu Wang's film "The Farewell", which we both enjoyed. The subtitles were difficult to read--I wish the film had been letter boxed with the subtitles underneath.

This morning when I weighed myself I found that my weight was the same as one week ago. I usually fluctuate a bit, so hitting the same point (in tenths of a pound) was interesting.

I walked in Russell Creek Park in Plano, which I added Ruddy Ducks and Tufted Titmouse to my Collin County 2021 list, bringing the list count up to 48.  I listened to a podcast about World War Two, which described the unorthodox government contracting process that led to invention of the Jeep.

I bought two new ebooks, each from a different vendor. I began reading the first one, Jonathan Ward's science fiction novel "Caleuche". I am off to a good start on the book. I look forward to reading the rest of it.

WW created one of those user-data videos for me. The video advised me that I logged in 1.5 million steps in 2020. I watched a WW leader do a meeting via Zoom. She explained that her skills included mixed martial arts and obscure on-air media appearances. My skills include neither of those things.

Tonight we watched "All Creatures Great and Small."  I liked this second episode better than the first episode, and both episodes seemed quite good to me. I want them to stick with the book, though somehow my mental image of Alf Wight (James Herriott) is that he would not insist on his text if another text were more fun.

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Hometown Breeze

Friday the wind tore through me as I walked after work in Breckinridge Park. We watched an epidoe of the reboot of Magnunm P.I. in which a hurricane hit the islands. We dined on chicken pho and Summer rolls that I picked up from Pho Que Huong in Plano. It was easy to social distance during that takeout experience. A few patrons were eating in, but they were very widely spaced and few in number.

Work Friday was busy and a bit stressful. But I felt that I got things done.

I just looked up Que Huong, and my translation program says it means "Hometown."  I like the idea that the neighborhood place is called Hometown Pho. But perhaps the translation is nuanced--perhaps it means "pho that makes me feel at home" or "Pho My Home" or simply "Town Pho."

This morning I got up early and read Helen Kitson's "The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson."  This was my 12th reading session with the novel. I read some 172 of the 453 e-pages at this sitting, finishing the novel. I found the story a very good read.

I took Beatrice for a couple of trips to the backyard in the pre-dawn. Once I put her purple jacket on her, but once I simply trusted in her fur.

My wife made us each a croissant from a dough she received in dry ice sent by her immediate supervisor. Today the wind appears to have tamed.  Perhaps I will make a bank deposit, and take a walk or two.

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Reading, Listening, Watching

Yesterday I completed my choice of artists to nominate for a Creative Commons music award. I heard a lot of good music in the process, in addition to learning some heart-breaking stories.

I worked solid days on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday night we watched the Chicago Med/Chicago Fire/Chicago PD shows. I've been enjoying the current novel I am reading, Helen Kitson's "The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson."  I'm nearly half-way through, after some nine sessions with the novel. I like that the bookmark function of ereader software lets me keep up with how many bursts of reading each book involved.

Meanwhile, I  graze through chess books on the Old Indian and Dutch Defenses. I go to internet sites to follow the latest post-election news. I took a good picture of a Yellow-Rumped Warbler. I never tire of this bird, though it is somewhere between common and abundant in Winter here.

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Choosing Tracks

The weather turned a bit warmer but not quite warm. I walked in Timbers Nature Preserve. There I saw Pine Siskins. The Pine Siskin irruption resulted in local places having them where previously I had not seen them. Before this year, I mostly saw them at the Heard Natural Science Center. Now I see them in other places.

We watched "This is Us" last night, which turned out to be a good episode. 

I listened to an album day before yesterday by an artist who died in the middle of making the album. I listened to an album yesterday morning by two artists who stopped making music together a month after the album's release due to intrusive fans. The creative life on the artistic fringes is a demanding thing, I say, without first hand experience. This morning I completed my emails and submission of nominees for Creative Commons artist from Canada after a final listening session.

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Raccoon and Snow

Tuesday the 5th of January found me on the road to Houston for a three-day business trip. On the way down, I stopped at the Walker County Rest Stop and walked around the misty pond on a cold day. I saw lots of birds during that short walk--the ones that stay with my memory the longest are a Chipping Sparrow in a tree and a charm of American Goldfinches feeding on the ground. Hotel life on the road is thankfully still an isolated experience. Few people were in my hotel, and everyone properly wore masks. I still eat only take-out, so meals are a bit like high school Summer meals.  One evening during my Houston stay I saw a Raccoon foraging on the grounds of a building .

Wednesday I went to CNN.com to figure out what congressional objections were being lodged to Mr. Biden's victory in the presidential election.I found instead that a mob had violently taken over our nation's Capitol.  This story, including the incumbent president's incitement, occupies the news and our thoughts. I feel strongly opposed to the actions of those rioters and those who aided, abetted and incited them. I 
lack any particular detail to add to enliven the dialogue.

Saturday I walked on the Watters Creek Trail. Sunday I walked on the Cottonbelt Creek South Trail and at Story Park. The Sunday walk was particularly pleasant, because I was able to walk as a fairly heavy snow fell. We went a few years with little real snow, though the local average is 6 inches a year.  Nine years ago we had an 11 inch snow. Sunday's snow would have been about an inch, but it was too warm to stick.

In the snowy conditions, I saw a Barred Owl high in a tree, as well as a Hermit Thrush standing atop a cut log near ground. It was a grand walk.

Now the work week is back in session. Yesterday when I woke up early I put on the movie "The Glass Bottomed Boat."  Those silly Doris Day movies are surprisingly watchable.

I listened to music this morning for a Creative Commons 2020 music awards contest in which I am one of several judges. Finding eligible works in an area as large as Canada has been more of a challenge than I prefer, but I have heard some nice albums. I must finish up my nominations by Friday.

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Meetings and Parks

Sunday morning I attended one of the large WW meetings via Zoom. The switch to large meetings rather than regional meetings does involve some loss of interaction with others at one's regional meeting. But I like the convenience of being able to attend a meeting virtually any half an hour.  At 09:30, I attended another Zoom call with members of our local group. The local group plans to start resuming in-person meetings next Sunday. That is too early for me. I  plan to wait to begin attending live meetings until I feel better about the pandemic risks. Perhaps that time will come before I have had the vaccine, but perhaps not until I have had the vaccine.

On Sunday I walked at Allen Station Park. I saw a Brown Creeper there, actively creeping up a tree. I listened lose a football game on the radio as I walked in Story Park. While I walked around the school and open fields of that park, a man and a woman sat in the parking lot, while a young boy rode a motorized scooter (as in blade scooter, not small motorcycle) around the parking lot. I thought to myself that this was a Christmas gift at work. 

I put our Christmas tree out beside the back driveway for pick up tomorrow by the city.  We thought it a good tree. Later, my wife and I walked in Glendover Park.

I finished the weekend with my eBird species count for my county at 34 species. Last year I had 8 more species at this time, but each other year I had fewer.

I got some laundry done. I spent time with our dog Beatrice. I fell asleep early. It was a good New Year's.  A busy week lies ahead.

I follow the news a bit about the upcoming congressional hearings about the electoral votes for the election.
The media covered news of an effort to derail the Georgia vote that was real, while some senators plan to launch a more symbolic effort.

Even though the latest efforts to derail the vote are probably theatrical rather than real, I will be glad when Mr. Biden is installed as president and these anti-democracy efforts come to an end.

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Warmer day

The first day of January proved cold and windy. I walked in Glendover Park and in Bethany Lakes Park, with each walk featuring a bit of bracing wind.

On the second day of January, I began organizing my family year-end paperwork. I drove to the drive-up window at the bank to make a deposit. I drove to the post-office.  The outside dropbox was full to the brim, so I went indoors. The new Allen post office just opened this year, and it appears to permit slightly later Saturday mailing times. I drpped off some shirts at the dry cleaners, and picked up other shirts from the dry cleaners.

While I was near the bank in McKinney. I went for a walk around Towne Lake. The rains made some mud creep over the sidewalk, so I had to deviate a time or two into the grass. The weather was in the 50s, with very little wind. It provided a nice contrast from the prior three days.
I saw a Cooper's Hawk and a Red-Shouldered Hawk, as well as Northern Shovelers, American Coots and other lake-dwellers. My eBird list reset to zero with the coming of the new year. Now my Collin County species list stands at 27 species.

Last night I  re-watched most of the fine old Movie Mrs. Miniver and we watched an episode from Season 3 of the Marvellous Mrs. Maisel. This  morning I got up, ate some kind of healthy version of cocoa cereal, and gave Beatrice her pill pocket full of pills and some wet food. I read tweets about the Open University and contemplated my day.

I like that in this time of year each day has roughly one minute more daylight than the day before had had.

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