I ate lunch at Chicken Express, where I had catfish. In the early afternoon, I went for a bicycle ride. I rode the short way to Green Park. When it seemed a bit quiet, I rode on to Suncreek Park. I rode on its sidewalk trail until I reached its end. A man tried to tell me that part of the trail to the park ahead led to private property, but I corrected him on that. The entire trail was Suncreek Park. Perhaps he was confused by the fact that a tiny pocket park at one trailhead of a private park. It was not an acrimonious discussion, so my tentative verdict is to acquit him of misstatement.
Once I got to the end of the Suncreek Park trail, I decided to try to ride to the Plano trail system. I had looked up a google map suggesting that Plano's Hoblitzelle Park, a long greenbelt cycling trail, was a few streets away. Sure enough, in a matter of moments I was able to navigate some suburban residential streets over to Hoblitzelle Park. As I pedaled into the park, a Red-Tailed Hawk flew by at a fairly low altitude. She landed in a nearby tree. Soon, four American Crows arrived, seeking to harry the hawk. The hawk stood its ground--or perch--to the consternation of the crows. A Blue Jay came over to lend its voice of disapproval to the hawk's presence. Red-Tailed Hawks eat primarily rodents, not birds, but crows and jays find hawks of all stripes unacceptable.
I enjoyed my ride. Post oak trees and maple trees had red leaves. I saw another Red-Tailed Hawk, perhaps the male mate to the other hawk, being harried by a single American Crow in mid-air. The hawk was much larger than the crow, and the crow's one-crow-show gave it none of the tactical advantage that a murder of crows has against a hawk. But the Red-Tailed Hawk did not turn and attack the crow, though it could have done so. Instead, it soared, above it all, rather like someone gracefully rising above an over-talkative guest at a party.
I had a nice list of birds I saw in Hoblitzelle Park. I also saw lots of birds in Suncreek Park on my way back. I was pleased to find that my whole round trip only involved about an hour of riding. I accomplished my goal of sorting out how to link up with the huge Plano bicycle trail network without riding on any busy streets. I crossed two busy streets, but found the way to a mother lode of tails in the huge suburb just south of my suburb. Someday, one will be able to ride much of the metroplex without setting wheel on a busy street. I felt a step closer to that day today.
The weather was warm and windless. It is amazing to be riding a bicycle in December in warm weather. It's not good news, overall--it portends a likely drought next year. But I certainly enjoyed my ride today.
I noticed that I have a couple of spokes a bit off-kilter. I hope I can get a few more years before I have to change the wheels.
In the late afternoon, my wife and I walked to the Latter Day Saints church to see the Christmas display. Our neighbor Jeanette from down the street came to our door Thursday night with her teen daughter. She gave a little postcard about a Christmas nativity scenes of the world display. We went to see it. In the church's fellowship hall, a gymnasium, dozens and dozens of nativity scenes were on display. One set of tables displayed nativity scenes from around the world. I liked the different styles and materials used in the scenes. A second set of tables showed scenes made by members of the local ward. Many of these were particularly charming, made a diverse materials--wood, felt, ceramics, rocks, and so forth. Many were amazingly well done. I would like to make a nativity scene someday. A third set of tables featured an entire panoramic (or dioramic) village nativity scene. One of the members of the ward had commissioned an Italian sculptor to create a set of figurines showing the village of Bethlehem at the time of the nativity. Hundreds of figurines were on display. I liked the display.
A string quartet played holiday tunes at one end of the gymnasium. I was pleased that the whole thing was free of proselytizing, as a similar event might have been at our own church. I must remember to thank Jeanette next time I see her for suggesting this event.
In the evening, we went to Gloria's a Mexican/Salvadoran restaurant. I had a lovely bowl of their chicken soup. I discuss ed with my wife the videos I had watched about cell phones. Both my wife and I have older models which run Android 4.4. Though we both like our phones, our manufacturers are no longer updating our models. Because of the vulnerability of the unpatched phones, I feel we need to get new phones.
I am resistant to the price escalation that comes with smart phones these days. Many of the flagship models now retail at $ 800 to $ 1,000. But our phones do well for us and phones with similar specs retail for much less. . We merely need to upgrade a bit, but a mid-range phone will be as powerful as what we use now. So I focused on narrowing my preferred models. I want to spend less than $ 300 on the upgraded phones. This sum will get us phones more powerful than our current older models. I wish Android had a proper long-term-release to help avoid those end-of-life issues one can get with hardware. I liked the video that showed that the two mid-range phones I was comparing, a Samsung J7 V and a Moto 5, each turned out to have very similar specs in many ways. So that helped take some of the pressure out of that decision-making.
Now I enjoy being home. This was a nice Saturday. We drove around our area, and looked at the first great wave of Christmas lights and decorations.
cereal and skim milk
chicken express fish, green beans, corn on the cob, roll
chicken soup, tortilla chips
from Dreamwidth, because two posts of the same text are twice as nice