December 5th, 2020

abstract butterfly

Thanksgiving and 98

We spent our Thanksgiving weekend at home without seeing our relatives on either side of the family.  The smoked turkey we got from Elke's Cafe in Allen tasted just lovely.  I spent a lot of my holiday watching Mandatory Legal Continuing Education videos. I make it a point to take courses in areas of the law in which I do not specialize. This way I learn completely fresh and new things. I walked on the Cottonwood Creek Trail and the Cottonwood Creek Trail south.  On Thanksgiving morning I walked in Allen Station Park, where I saw my first Golden-Crowned Kinglet of the year. We got on a Zoom call Thanksgiving afternoon with our friends Heidi and Ken in Los Angeles as well as their friends in a "drop-in open house" kind of Zoom.  I traded Facebook messenger messages with my siblings.

During the holiday weekend I saw my 98th bird species in Collin County. At this time in the each of the past two years, I had 104 species in Collin County in each year. It is possible that I will see two more species to get to 100 this year. Perhaps I will see a Merlin or a Northern Harrier or an Eastern Towhee or a  Bald Eagle. Perhaps I will not see any new species at all. 

Friday we went for a hike at Oak Point Park. We saw a squadron of White Pelicans overhead, migrating south. The weather was perfect.

Tuesday I drove for a business trip to Houston. I watched a movie at roughly two in the morning during one of my business trips called My Sister's Sister (Director: Lynn Shelton) which I enjoyed it very well.  I drove back Thursday night.  I have a whole routine worked out going south: Walker County rest stop, stop for a drink or a meal at Buffalo or Madisonville, then Navarro County rest stop. 

Friday at Noon I walked in Salmon Park in Sachse. Saturday morning I worked on a matter for work. Later Saturday I drove to Sister Grove Park, a Collin County park about 25 miles from our home I walked on a trail called the Puppy Dog Loops. I walked there for eighty minutes. Then I drove to Southlake Park in Farmersville. I enjoyed walking there. I saw a lovely beagle out on the litlte lake's waters standing on a paddleboard with its owner.  Saturday mid-afternoon I walked at J.M. Caldwell Park in Princeton. This park recently added both a disc golf course and a walking sidewalk. Though I am not a disc golf player, I can see the disc golf course is perfectly lovely. I was pleased to see many golfers out playing.  The park offers lots of scope for social distancing.

The past two evenings we have eaten a lovely sweet potato and apple soup. It tastes a great deal like a soup we had at a restaurant called The Riverside in Dunblane in Scotland. My wife aimed to recreate a soup we had there a few years ago, and she very nearly wholly succeeded.

The weather settled into a nice December rhythm. In Houston it rained one day this week. I was glad I had my rain jacket. Today the weather turned milder. I saw three hot air balloons hovering in the sky over Allen. 

Sunday we got our Christmas tree from Plants and Planters. We got another Fraser Fir, as we usually do. When I was a boy, our family almost always got Scotch Pine. One year, trees were very expensive, and we got a local pine--perhaps a loblolly. It was a less effective pine for holiday use. My brother, my cousins and I spent a good part of two Christmas holidays in my youth planting pine trees. I rather enjoyed that.

The staff was masked at Plants and Planters and everyone kept a proper distance. The day was suitably wintry, though not truly deeply cold.

Beatrice is hanging in there. We have to watch to make sure we take her out, as she is not reliable about remembering to go out the doggie door. She's still a grand, lovely old dog. We take her on very short walks in the neighborhood. She likes those.

I am reading the short story collection "The Innocence of Father Brown." I had read it before, but it is an interesting read upon re-read.

I noticed that my current laptop computer that I use at home, an HP 8440p, is one I have had for five years. I bought it when it was used, on eBay, so it may be 9 or 10 years old. I have changed out the hard drive, but otherwise, it has relied little attention. Lately I edit a lot of .pdf documents. I am grateful for Okular, which permits easy editing of this form of document. My little 11.5" laptop an HP 2540p has also done very well. The only issue I have had during my travels with it is that I have a 32-bit version of the operating system installed, which was insufficient specs for a Microsoft Teams video meeting.

We finished the series The Queen's Gambit. We loved this series. It made me want to play more weekend chess, which apparently is a wide-spread reaction to the show.

Business travel remains a different thing when one no longer goes into restaurants and one no longer flies. My little Hyundai Kona has done me proud so far.

Now we are watching the Great British Baking Show. from Dreamwidth, because two posts of the same text are twice as nice