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ordering ebooks

I am pleasantly busy at work. Yesterday I walked after work in Allen Station Park. I took video of a young Cooper's Hawk on a bare branch in a distant tree. This morning I finished the novella "The Undefeated" by Dr. Una McCormack. I found it a good read. I find the space opera novella a pleasant way to spend a day or three.

I ordered my next intended read, Roy Baysfield's "Performance Cleaner".  The website from which I purchased it offers the necessary DRM-free ebooks. But the delivery of the ebook is not instantaneous, but depends on a later email enclosing a link. I am amused that the lack of instant gratication in the form of instant ebook delivery concerns me a bit.  In the age prior to ebooks, and in the current age when an eBay purchase is made, the wait for the mails was/is not concerning, but actually slightly pleasurable, a deferred joy.

I've grown accustomed to flavoring my water lately.   This has helped me reduce my consumption of plastic bottles storing soft drinks. I also have managed to switch to using a Hyundai shopping bag I got at the Dallas Auto Show for a shopping bag to use fewer throwaway plastic bags. Now if I can get a higher MPG car next time, I will approach a trifecta of tiny reforms.  My current car, by the way, is at 146,000 miles, so perhaps I will come closer to 160,000, my goal, before switching vehicles.

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myrtle tales

The weather forecasts call for a cold front.  This front promises no cooling in any real sense--just a degree or two cooler. This Summer turned out to be mild, even though in this context mild feels a bit hot anyway.

In 2005, we planted two crape myrtle trees in our front yard. The tree our builder planted a few years before that proved unsuitable, and an experiment with Eve Necklace and Mexican Plum--two native understory trees--turned out to sunny to succeed.

Our theory revolved around the idea that large trees fit poorly in small yards. So we planted trees that worked better. We followed a similar strategy in our back yard. A storm took out a fine live oak tree. We planted a saucer magnolia in its place. Years later, that tree remains small, but grows larger every year.

Our front yard crape myrtles all bloom at once now.  This rarely happens, because they work on different sequences. The sequences all align now, like stop lights that synchronize by turning red at slightly different times.  The two side-of-the-house trees join in the display. I like the sign of crape myrtles in bloom. Our across-the-street-catty-corner neighbors Myra and John use crape myrtles to particular advantage in a more densely gardened yard than ours.

I am reading the novella "The Undefeated" by Una McCormack. I downloaded it last night after buying it from the publisher's website (or, more precisely, a website to which the publisher directed me).  I read the first 47 pages, a bit over a quarter of the novella. My idea of buying a low-price Dell netbook as an ereader worked out very well. I like that Twitter lets one easily acknowledge a good book by an author. Eleanor Anstruther retweeted my capsule appreciation tweet for "A Perfect Explanation". I doubt that this helps her expand her readership, but perhaps it is good to confirm at least one Texas reader for a rather English novel.

I heard a good podcast interview on the Planetary Society podcast  with Poppy Northcutt, the Apollo-era engineer who worked at the Johnson Space Center, then became an attorney and an activist for equal rights for people and in particular for women. She has had quite an active life.

Today I walked in Timbers Nature Preserve in Murphy and in our local Glendover Park.  A woman walked by with her German police dog. That dog was as happy as a Welsh dog.

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Slice, Hook Explained

Saturday morning I walked on the Cottonwood Creek Trail, starting from and returning to Allen Station Park. I went all the way to the Cinemark Theater before I retraced my steps. I saw 10 species of bird.  I re-watched a bit of the film "Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindewald".  Saturday evening we met our friends Scott and Donna at the local Top Golf. We played two games at this target-shoot driving range.

I had looked forward to playing TopGolf for the second time, because a few months ago I had enjoyed playing and felt I was getting the hang of it. This time, I did okay, but my skills regressed. I sliced and hooked balls all over the course. Among our foursome, my wife won one game and Donna won the second game. But we all did okay. We all enjoyed speaking with one another  We speculated on who will be the Democratic Party's candidate for president. I have not chosen a favorite, though I have some I like better than others.

Sunday I walked on the Watters Branch Trail. I went to Weight Watchers. My weight was up. My wife and I went to church. We like the new pastor. She gave a sermon about loneliness.

We ate lunch at Mom's Cafe. I ate the grilled catfish, beef vegetable soup, navy beans and green beans.

In the afternoon, I walked in Glendover Park and in Green Park. We watched episode 3 of the current season of Grantchester.

Today I finished Eleanor Anstruther's novel "A Perfect Explanation". This novel took a few months for me to read.  I found it a very good novel, which despite my slow pace through it held my attention.

Tonight I purchased the ebook for the science fiction novel "The Undefeated" by Una McCormack.

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Hot clinic nights

Though the days prove seasonally hot, this Summer we experience lower temperatures than the usual Summer. I do not believe we faced a 100 degree Fahrenheit day yet. Usually, they begin around July 1, and we experience 13 such days by the end of the Summer.

Last night I went to the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program free legal clinic in Garland. On the way there, I stopped for a Subway sandwich. The family of four in front of me sought to make the most of their sandwich customization. Meanwhile, the woman behind the counter induced a young man to make further payments. Her exasperation suggested to me that perhaps his credit card got rejected, or some other thing.  Nonetheless, notwithstanding a slight feeling of exasperation over the delay for all this to occur, my time from arrival to sandwich proved reasonable.

We comprised three intake volunteers.  We met collectively with 42 clients. I arrived at 6:30 p.m. and worked until 9:30 p.m. I told the helpful woman who runs the clinic, a paralegal named Carmen, that I will see her next month. She serves to encourage people like me, telling me "you're the best". I wish I were the best.

I walked in the morning in Shawnee Park, at Noon in Heritage Park, and in the evening in Bradfield Park. We begin to enter the part of the Summer when sightings are fewer, but the butterflies and dragonflies compensate.

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Passenger Hawk

Monday and Tuesday were solid work days. The weather is a bit hotter than during our vacation, but fairly reasonable for our location and time of year. 

My slow read of the Spring and Summer, Eleanor Anstruther's "A Perfect Explanation" proceeds at a more rapid pace. I am intrigued at how a novel I basically like can take a long time to read, while another novel I basically like can take a day or three to read. I will be glad to finish "A Perfect Explanation", a literary novel, so that I can get a new science-fiction book.

On Tuesday morning, I stopped at little A.R. Schell Park on my way to work. I saw a young Cooper's Hawk on a nearby branch .  Tuesday evening we watched the Morten Tyldum film "Passengers", the 2016 sci-fi film with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence.  We enjoyed the film.
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A trip to Wales

On Thurday July 3 we came home from work and packed.

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I saw a Common Whitetail Skimmer dragonfly at Allen Station Park.I ate 20 roasted almonds. We watched the US Women win their soccer match with England.

I like diet ginger beer.

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trips to the afterlife and to Story Park

Saturday morning I drove to our bank to try to exchange some money for an upcoming vacation. The bank was unable to exchange funds without several days' notice. The helpful woman at the intake at the entry to the bank directed me to a store at Stonebriar Mall.

I drove to Stonebriar Mall in Frisco. There an exchange kiosk had a low transaction fee but a below-market exchange rate. I exchanged fund,though a bit less than I would have exchanged had the rate been better. 

I stopped by a Big Lots nearby, and picked up USB/mini-USB cell phone charging cables. I stopped by a Half-Priced Books and bought a book-on-CD. I had meant to buy a Karin Fossum mystery, but got mixed up and instead bought  a Karin Slaughter mystery.

I next drove to Russell Creek Park in Plano. I walked its grounds and around its little lake. I saw my first Little Blue Heron of this year there. I do not often see LIttle Blue Heron.  This became my 97th species in Collin County for the year. I typically see between 100 and 110 species of the 250 or so possible in Collin County each year. True to form, by mid-year I have already seen what will likely be 85% or more of my total.

Saturday evening we had my wife's former co-worker Cathy and her friend Rick over for a "surf and turf". My wife made tasty tenderloin and lobster tails .Rick made a very good fruit salad, while Cathy brought a cherry pie from a bakery called Humble Pies. We all had a nice time talking. Cathy had just retired from a 22-year-long run at Verizon. She hopes to work a bit longer for another employer.

Sunday I walked in Hoblitzelle Park. Then I went to Weight Watchers, where I was 8/10ths of a pound up. The woman who weighed me, who may be named Amelia, asked if I had expected the gain. I let her know that I had no fixed expectation.

After Weight Watchers I walked at the Watters Creek Trail in Allen. Then I went to church, during which service the minister, Jessica Wright, told us a story about her childhood growing up in Arkansas. She explained that she went to a friend's church after a sleepover.  She found herself sitting next to an adult. During the meet-and-greet section of the service, she had shaken this man's hand. Seeing she was a guest, he asked her where she usually went to church. She said "We don't go to church--we're Jewish".  The man responded with "Your family is going to Hell". I have often felt that the "shake hands with one's neighbor" phase of the weekly church service is  most effective section at helping to put distance between people, though I admit it can be nice to shake hands with a familiar face. Pastor Wright's story,though, supported my feeling that it is a flawed process. The sermon addressed the meaning of the metaphoric language in the Book of Revelation, and was well-done.

In  the early afternoon, I walked in Story Park in Allen. I listened to a history podcast which focused on the governance of Ireland and Wales in the 16th Century.  The days of castles and kings make for interesting stories, except that that kings and lords and dukes and barons all come out sounding like complete scoundrels. I saw a young Cooper's Hawk in a tree, causing consternation to the local Northern Mockingbirds.

I wanted to do constructive things in the afternoon, but I found myself resting instead. We'll see what practical things I can get done when the workday is over.

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bathing cardinal

My wife called me after work to tell me that she was working late, getting a deadline met. She suggested I grab my own dinner. I extended the walk I was taking at Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve in Plano.

The walk had already been a good one. I had seen a large Green Anole Lizard, which puffed out its puffed chest-portion. I got some nice video of a Northern Cardinal bathing. I saw a cute rabbit resting on a trail.

After my call with my wife was over, I walked a bit further. I heard two birds singing. One was a Northern Cardinal. One was a Painted Bunting. I looked up in some nearby trees, and saw each.  I am not as good with identifying birds by song as I am by eye. But some songs I recognize.

I went to TianAnMien Wok in Allen. I like this small, very casual cafe. I ordered my usual chicken and broccoli, with hot-and-sour soup. My fortune cookie told me it is a good time to take a trip, and that I should take a vacation. Those were my own feelings exactly.

I stopped by Kroger and got some bananas, some wild bird seed, and some low-fat, part-skim string cheese. I get the string cheese with only 45 to 50 calories a stick. Such bowdlerized cheese probably is not satisfying to those who love cheese. But I am not one of those who love cheese, so this mild and adulterated product tastes good to me.

My wife arrived home. I threw Beatrice's toy. She had a great time. I am watching the second Harry Potter movie.

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debates and 23

Wednesday I got the news that something I had believed was solved for 701 reasons remained unsolved. I compiled some information that I needed to compile, and felt good about that.  I walked tonight on the Chisholm Trail and saw 11 species of birds.

I watched 10 Democratic candidates in their first debate last night . I am watching 10 more tonight. I am undecided as to which Democratic candidate I will support.

My niece turned 23 today. She is a good person. I ate a hot dog and two bananas for lunch. I watched part of the movie "To Hell and Back".  Near dawn I watched a Bette Davis movie in which she played a vain beauty.

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