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Cold Rainy Week

Saturday I worked on a couple of work matters. I drove to Russell Creek Park in Plano for a walk. I also walked in Glendover Park. Saturday evening we ate at AKA, a hibachi place. The food was pretty good. Saturday night we started "Parasite", but stopped watching midway through the film. The film was a good film (it won the Best Picture Oscar the next day), but it was a bit of downer for us that night. 

Sunday I walked on Watters Branch Trail. I was slightly up at Weight Watchers, but no big deal. I walked on the Hoblitzelle Trail as well.
In the afternoon, I walked in the afternoon.

I made progress on the ebook I am reading, "Sonic Writing". I begin to pick up the pace a bit. Sunday afternoon I went to the Atrium Arts event at our church. The guitar quartet did a pretty good job, playing classical guitar standards. I only know one or two songs on my can-jo from the set.

Monday through Wednesday involved cold, cold weather. A promise of wintry mix went unfulfilled, but cold rains fell until this afternoon.

Last night my wife went to the Baylor Hospital to stay with a co-worker who needed someone to keep watch, as her husband had to take care of farm animals at home. She is back tonight, a bit exhausted. I only spent one night in a hospital as an adult, but I remember from that and from relatives' stays that sense of never quite getting to sleep due to constant interruption.

Lately I seem to be watching reruns of television shows like Matlock and Columbo. Matlock is a very ordinary show, but I love the way it has 90s hairstyles, shoulder pads, and computer monitors the size of microwaves (my own monitor upstairs is roughly of that vintage)

We talked about vacation plans and visiting relatives.

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New shows and Old Cold

Thursday came up cold again,but no wintry mix arrived. I walked at lunch in Bradfield Park in Garland. I saw an Orange-Crowned Warbler. I have seen three of those this Winter, which is more than usual. I see fewer than usual of the ordinarily abundant Yellow-Rumped Warbler.

After my walk, I ate a lunch of roast chicken, a roll and green beans at Golden Chick. I think that restaurants offer either Coke product or Pepsi products when I prefer that they offer both.

We watched an episode of "Midsommer Murders" that featured Harriett Walter. I find her acting a pleasure to watch, even in a role with fewer opportunities to stretch her skills. I liked her best of all as Harriet Vane some years ago.

Recently I read about an area of the Ozarks called the Arcadia Valley in Missouri, A train stops there.

I watched two new shows. One, Katy Keene, dealt with a fashionista from the Archie comics universe. The second, Tommie, dealt with a likable police captain from the Los Angeles universe. I liked both shows pretty well.

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slow train reading

Last night the weather predicted that this morning promised a wintry mix,  The morning turned out instead a bit above freezing with a cold rain. By lunch, I walked in Salmon Park in Sachse without getting rained on.

Last night I dreamt of vampires. I remember only a little of the dream, but they appeared dressed like a cross between the fictional character Billy Munster and the folk-rock band Mumford and Sons.

I woke at 2:30 a.m. Beatrice came to my side of the bed. I put her up on the bed. She cuddled up with me, which we both enjoyed. I put on the 1955 film "Good Morning, Miss Dove", the sentimental Jennifer Jones vehicle that deals with a beloved teacher. Over the years, I had seen dribs and dabs of this movie over the years, but this time I watched it start to finish. I like decades-of-a-teachers'-life films. I think that part of their appeal for me arises from the narrative thread of passing constants through the generations.

One thing I like about ebook reader programs is the bookmark function. The package I use on a small netbook allows for multiple bookmarks, just as, I suspect, most ereaders or programs do.  I began reading Thor Magnusson's "Sonic Writing" since October 29, a rather lengthy
97 days. In that time, I placed 27 bookmarks but only read 270plus pages. That equates to a bit under a reading session every three days and ten pages per average session.

That reading pace feels very slow to me. Part of this comes from what I read now. I think that a fair bit of my reading time now gets devoted to social media. Aside from that, subject matter matters. When I read a sci-fi, a few hundred pages takes a few days to read. "Sonic Writing" mixes music theory, and philosophy into a deeply enjoyable but much slower-going read.  I wish that I practiced diary entry before the weblog era.

I remain interested in the Weinstein trial, the Iowa Primary, and people who are always and never for a given candidate.

Tuesday I went to my dentist to get a temporary crown to replace a crown that did years of good duty but wore out. Things went well. I wear a termporary crown now.   I knew my dentist in high school. Some of his staff has been with him for decades.

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Hawk and Dog

I saw a Cooper's Hawk during my morning walk on the Chisholm trail in Plano on Sunday. The hawk perched in a tree near Orlando Drive. I wondered at first if the hawk instead fit the profile for an immature Red-Shouldered Hawk, but I settled on Cooper's once I reviewed the photographs I took.

Last week the trial in the Senate of the impeached president took place. I gave it scant coverage in my weblog because I viewed the matter as a foregone conclusion that the Senate promised to vote to acquit on partisan grounds. Even the revelation of fact witness John Bolton, who alleges he heard quid pro quo behavior, failed to sway the partisan Republicans in the Senate.  The shift of the Republican party to a nativist party pains me.

Today the Iowa Caucuses take place. I dislike caucuses as a way to choose candidates. I prefer primaries. In addition, as much as I like the tradition behind the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary, I that that having two states to start things off detracts from the process. I think that a wave of states over several rounds promises to work better. I still hope that Iowa begins to clarify the situation. The candidate for whom I plan to cast my vote if called upon to do so today looks less popular than some other candidates. In the long run, I remain concerrned that the pragmatic choice for me portends to be one between two candidates I lack any strong preference for supporting. But I know I plan to vote for the Democratic nominee.

We watched the Super Bowl last night. My wife grew up in the Kansas City area, so we felt glad that the Chiefs won the game. We ate a Mexican chicken bake that my wife prepared as our Super Bowl meal. I see that WeatherTech ran a commercial about veterinary cancer research. My wife got me WeatherTech floor mats for my Hyundai Kona for Christmas. I felt connected to the commercial somehow.

I got a bit of work done Sunday, and walked in Glendover Park and in Limestone Quarry Park. I got Beatrice a nice new assortment of Pill Pockets.

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East Fork and Lavon Dam

I worked at home early this morning. Then I drove to my office and worked some more. A bit after Noon, I drove north on Highway 78, up towards Lake Lavon.

I stopped at a KFC for grilled chicken. A fellow a few years older than I am stood ahead of me in line. He got impatient with the counter attendant when he spoke too softly for her to hear his order. He questioned her sharply about whether she listened to other people talking through her headset while he spoke. She explained that the set remained off. He gave a more friendly goodbye than his more dismal middle-of-hello. When he departed, the attendant and I mused that his day probably started off poorly.

After lunch, I drove up to East Fork Park, on Lake Lavon. This park is on a kind of tiny lake peninsula. A road runs beside little picnic areas. Some folks come and camp. Some come and fish on the shore. I came and watched birds. I saw three first-of-year birds---Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow and Red-Breasted Merganser. I only realized I saw the Merganser when I looked at its picture.

I drove over to Lavon Dam. I thought of the time I took my 5ish year old nephew fishing there. We used cane poles. I taught him how to catch sunfish. I went to his wedding last Autumn. I saw Song Sparrows there. Double-Crested Cormorants flew in foundation. Fishermen fished.

I went to Bethany Lakes Park and walked further and listened to a podcsst. Then I came home and took Beatrice to Glendover Park.
We ate dinner at San Miguel. I ordered chicken enchiladas verde, refried beans and Spanish rice, with tortilla chips.

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long day short post

I spent a long day at work today. Tonight we ate Flatbread at Firewater Grill in Allen. The weather forecasts a hint of snow next Wednesday. I discussed with my wife my favorite fantasy Amtrak itinerary over dinner. A tennis player on television playing in Melbourne wore an orange outfit that led me to wonder if she intended to represent the Netherlands, but a quick look at a browser suggested she hails from Poland.

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mat happy

The temperature today stayed reasonable for January, but a chill in the air felt tangy. I woke up every hour nearly on the hour last night. A woman from Aruba talked about yoga on a podcast about happiness.
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Counting Backwards

Today I got up early and drove in the dark to the dentist. My dentist went to high school with me decades ago.  I pointed out that a back molar seemed a bit off. I learned that a years-old crown needs replacing. I learned also that zirconium rather than ceramic gets used for such tasks.

Sunday I walked Beatrice in Glendover Park. She still likes a walk in the park. She used to take 25 minutes to go around the park. Now it requires 55 minutes or more. The weather tuned warm. Sunday night I worked a bit. My wife watched the Grammys.

Saturday I got up very early to do some volunteer work. I tried to catch the train, but missed it when it pulled off just as I was seeking to get on.
That worked out, though, because my drive downtown proved easy. I served as a volunteer judge for a round of high school student mock trial.
Of the three judges in my trial, I served also as the judge who runs the trial and rules on the evidentiary objections. I typically prefer to be an advocate to a judge. I remember a poor experience in Little League when I mis-called a forced out at second base. I nonetheless tried and got the trial done. Both teams turned out to be pretty good and well-matched. The other two judges picked a different "winner" than I did--but all scores came out as close matches.

I finished at Noon. I began to drive home. I stopped at Micro Center and got some inexpensive SD cards. Then I got a call from the luxury bus station Vonlane. They let me know that they found some health cards and the like that fell from my wallet. I drove to near Love Field to their Dallas headquarters, a modest building on Lemmon, where a nice woman brought my cards to my car.

Afterward, I went to a place off Northwest Highway called Pollo Campero for grilled chicken. Then I went to Bachman Lake Park. This park
sits just north of Love Field Airport. Southwest Airlines airplanes come and go.

I walked around Bachman Lake. I saw 15 species of bird. Two I rarely see in north Texas: Buffleheads and Ruddy Ducks.  The temperature turned out to be warm but the wind turned cold. So often where I live the windspeed matters the most.

Saturday night we rented the movie The Big Short. We enjoyed the film very much. We remember that era for lots of reasons, but one in particular stands out. For a time, my wife left technical writing for a corporate job with a mortgage servicer. That company proved unequal to its tasks, and we saw it coming. But I suspect lots of people saw it coming.

Friday night we ate Thai food. The waitperson explained that her mother worked for a time preparing dishes for a Lao/Thai place across town. She described how some customers asked to depart from that place's menu, just to get what her mother cooked off-menu. I liked the young woman, who reported her age as 18. After dinner, we watched the animated film "The Addams Family." I liked that this film used illustrations close to the Charles Addams cartoon characters. Movies about misfits fit something missing today.

Friday morning the 24th I stopped in A.R. Schell in Plano on the way to work. I saw my first Orange-Crowned Warbler of the Winter. I often do not see those.

Thursday I drove in Breckinridge Park when it proved too rainy for a proper lunch walk. I saw 90 Ring-Billed Gulls on an open field.

Wednesday I watched all three television shows set in Chicago. I go back and forth on which I prefer. I turned in my selection for the winner of a music contest involving Creative Commons licenses. On a side note, I recently learned that I earned $ 100 in royalties from a music outlet. I donated them away to support the project, but it was still fun.

Tuesday I attended a business matter in Austin. Then I walked along Lady Bird Lake until time for my bus. I saw a dog with non-working back legs walking with rear wheels That dog looked cool. I saw Lesser Scaup ducks, American Coots and Double-Crested Cormorants. In my area, Mallards abound. But not in this stretch of Lady Bird Lake.

My Vonlane bus home went well, except I dropped my wallet. I thought I picked all the cards up, but hindsight shows I thought wrongly.

Monday I went to my office to do a couple of tasks. Then I caught a Vonlane bus to Austin. I stayed in the hotel for the University of Texas convention center, where I got a good rate. I took pictures of Northern Mockingbirds in the evening sun on the Texas state capitol grounds in Austin. I slept a fitful sleep.

Sunday the 19th I saw lots of different species of ducks on the Chisholm Trail in Plano.

Saturday the 18th I took lots of park walks. I also spent hours organizing my office. That felt good.

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educating Robert

This week I keep my resolution to get my continuing education done. I completed the California requirements, but for turning in the eform, and now tackle the 2020 Texas coursework. The courses I completed so far all interested me.

Rain came yesterday. I drove in the park and took pictures of a bluebird during my lunch hour. I also took a picture of my car first thing in the morning, as I think it's easy to overlook the commonplace.

I contemplate working a bit this weekend, as well as enjoying the outdoors and working on some hobby projects. I bought a couple of  used bridge cameras (i.e., point-and-shoot cameras with high levels of optical zoom). My current system of buying at a deep discount on eBay cameras from a few years ago works pretty well, though every couple of years I have to refresh.

I sit at my computer listening to the singer Emilie Lund and contemplating the coming day.

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Cold then Warm

Today I ate 15 almonds. I walked in Shawnee Park and along the Chisholm Trail in the cold weather of the morning, and in Glendover and Green Park during the warmer afternoon.

I tracked two eBay packages predicted to arrive today on the internet, but failed to receive either of them. I put the 18th digital bookmark in the ebook I am reading, and seem to be averaging only 10 pages a bookmark.

My retired law partner's brother passed away this weekend. He ran Dallas' best independent bookstore for decades. He was always kind to me.

My wife cooked pork tonight with mashed potatoes. Beatrice likes her new dog-bed. My wife had the word "Bea" monogrammed upon it.

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