I've had a good weekend so far. Friday night I had a good telephone chat with my father, while Saturday morning my sister and I puzzled by telephone over airline reservation things for a trip she plans to take to a small town in Tennessee. Saturday morning I also got the chance to enjoy our new backyard landscaping. We have a postage-stamp back yard, which we had a local nursery come out and plant with hip native plants and swinging immigrants from friendly countries. The transformation from squared-off grass to little beds of shrubs and trees along the fence border is striking. I saw a cabbage butterfly flitter among the plants, which suited me fine. Saturday afternoon I worked a bit on two things that needed doing. Late Saturday afternoon I took our dog for a walk in the local park, where a father and son fly-fished without notable success, while another two men used a baitcasting net to try to catch mosquito fish for bait purposes. We went to San Miguel, our favorite McKinney Mexican restaurant, where I had shrimps done in a chipotle sauce and salad.
I like that old folk song "The Cuckoo", which features in Appalachian music. This bird, called the cuckoo, is celebrated in the song as a faultless harbinger of Spring (in fact, the UK has cuckoos, but not Appalachia, so the song is still sung thoug the context is lost). The cuckoo, the song theorizes, only sings when Spring is truly here, which I believe is an old folk tale made melodic.
We don't have a cuckoo here in north Texas, but our harbinger of true Spring arrived yesterday. The scissortail flycatcher, with its light blue body and yellow breast, and tail feathers nine inches long, arrived here in Allen in profusion. It's a curious bird, because it looks as though it belongs in a South American exotic clime. In fact, during the winter, that is just where it stays. But each Spring it returns to Oklahoma and far north Texas in profusion, and elsewhere in light quantity. It's even the Oklahoma state bird. I loved seeing them, as I know that the scissortails, at least, believe it's Spring. The weather yesterday was high 70s with light wind, which made me believe it was Spring,too. Maybe I can write a folk song about the scissortail flycatcher.
I'm on the second week of healthier eating--creamy chipotle sauces aside--and I have not missed the bad food a bit. Today I must exercise in earnest to ease forward with the weight loss.
This weekend has been punctuated by incessant blitz chess. Although I feel good about my chess, my rating stays abysmally low. But chess is a far superior anti-depressant than was chocolate.
My favorite moment was when I lost ten games in a row to a player called Haley. Haley and I have played on the Free Internet Chess Server (FICS) before, in which she beat me 5 games to 2. But yesterday I could not win a game against her. She won ten straight. About half of the games, I got good positions, but lost on time. In the other half, she simply beat me outright. She struck up a conversation by the FICS equivalent of chat. She asked me if I ever lost 10 straight before. I had smiled at earlier declarations, such as "tic tac toe, 3 in a row", but this seemed to me a bit like taunting. When I told her I thought her a bit unkind, she said "it's only a game sweetie". I said I knew that, as I'd played for 30 years.
Then Haley said something which amused me: "I'm nine and a half. I've played since I was 7". Clearly, I had been facing an old pro, and not realizing it. I do not know her true age, or really anything about her (indeed, I like FICS because it is mostly about chess and not personalities), but if she is 9, she sure types well for nine.
I also like the idea that my chess is just two notches below the average third grader's.
I saw, too late, that yesterday a big tournament was in Abilene. There's something stirring about the idea of a big tournament in a famous "wild west" town. I'll saddle up another time.
Next weekend my in-laws come on Saturday. Sunday I go to NC for a hearing on Monday.
I will have a very busy work week, so it's good to have this down time this weekend.
Today I may hike or fish, or look at flowers.