Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

warblers and handshakes

This morning I got an early start so that I could attend the 8 a.m. session of Weight Watchers. This is a small group, but with a good leader. I attended it so that my afternoon would be free. I had to bundle up, as the temperature was under 30 degrees. I was down .4 pounds, to keep my pounds lost since March a bit over 39. I like this slow, steady progress, and not more radical loss.

After Weight Watchers, I went to the church to which we belong, First UMC in Allen, to attend the 9:30 service. I liked the sermon about managing anger and the closing hymn about tolerance. I think that managing anger and being more
tolerant are important virtues. After the service, the person next to me on the pew,Laura, introduced herself. Apparently, she and her husband Randy sit in the same place every Sunday and had never met me. She wondered if I were a visitor. I told her I was a member, but did not explain that I usually do not sit so far up.

I sat near the front in part to find an isolated place to sit, and to avoid being a back-bencher. I like other people, but I do not like the stylized thing in which everyone has to stand and shake everyone's hand with a heartiness I never quite feel. I am a huge fan of handshakes, almost always preferring them to hugs (which are not really my style and hence, when I give them, I am always self-conscious that I am too enthusiastic in doing so). I am not a huge fan of forced cordiality. It is my own flaw, though, and not a flaw in the design of the service. I dislike being curmudgeonly in this instance, and record it all just as a matter of note rather than anything more profound.

After church, I stopped by a Big Lots and then by a Wal Mart, buying four pairs of gloves and a toboggan cap at the latter. I looked at an Android 2.3 tablet at the Big Lots, but did not buy.

I originally had meant to drive up to Hagerman National Wildlife Reserve, a bit over an hour away, to try to see the wintering bald eagles. A bit of fatigue, though, and the bitter cold convinced me to stay closer to home. I went instead to Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve in Plano. It was very pleasant to walk the woodland trails there. I saw:

a. a red-tailed hawk;
b. cardinals;
c. a yellow-rumped warbler;
d. false garlic flowers in the beginning of bloom; and
e. a sulphur butterfly braving the high thirties temperature.

Here are some photos I took:

winter trail, Oak Point Park, Plano, Texas

red-tailed hawk in winter

After a bit over half an hour, I drove to Bethany Lakes Park to see what ducks I could see. Today was a day full of ducks, but in particular northern shovelers admixed among the abundant mallards.
Here is one:

northern shoveler duck

I also liked this grackle:

Great-tailed grackle foraging

After my visit to that park, I drove to Barbecutie's, where I had a turkey sandwich and green beans. I decided to drop by the Allen Public Library, where I read a National Geographic article about minor genetic variations in dog breeds,
and a poem in the magazine Poetry in which the metaphor was carried by a bird who flew about indoors.

Then I came home, and put in a few hours of work on a couple of matters, getting some things done.

Tonight we will eat lentils and watch "Downton Abbey", happy as grackles on a well-seeded lawn.

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