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Work Sunday


I got up early and walked Beatrice while the weather was pleasant. She enjoyed meeting a white dog about her size that we had not met before. I am always pleased when Beatrice had a good dog encounter, as she is sometimes indifferent to other dogs but sometimes she liked to interact. We saw a toddler crying near us. So we walked over. The toddler stopped crying to watch Beatrice.

I rode my bicycle to Green Park. I listened to a podcast and walked in this small park. I listened to a podcast about kindness as I walked. At the end of my walk, I managed to drop my phone on concrete. Small cracks appeared on the top of the screen. The harm was fortunately not too bad.

I ate lunch at a Subway sandwich shop that was surprisingly busy. Lots of people were ordering a steak and cheese wrap of which I was unaware. I had a footlong veggie delight sandwich and apples instead.

I found myself near Allen Outlet Mall. I decided to see about some shoes. After last week's parking debacle at this place, my wife suggested I park in the auxiilliary lot near the back. This worked out well.

I went to Clark Shoes. For some reason, I find it easy to shop at this outlet store.  It's quite small, so it's not the expansive experience. The nice man who helped me told me that shoes were on buy 1, get 1 for half-price. But he told me some shoes marked way down on Clearance were not within the deal. I focused first on those shoes. I found a pair of business casual pull-on shoes and some walking shoes, for a little less than the normal cost of the former. I looked in the Columbia and Schechers stores, but did not buy anything there. I did buy some low-priced walking shoes at the Bass outlet. The Bass shoes were extremely comfortable. My well-worn green walking shoes will be relegated to the closet for rainy/muddy days. My current rainy/muddy shoes will go away, as well as the cool hiking shoes which now have holes in the soles. I get a lot of use out of shoes before I stop using them.

I also stopped by Dollar Tree to get a new screen protector to put on the screen.  This worked out well.

In the afternoon, I listened to mandatory continuing legal education seminars. I was pleased with my progress in getting this task a fair bit closer to done. I completed the 3-hour tech ethics seminar that I had begun on Friday evening. I should be on track to finish my continuing education requirements by the end of the week.  

I went for a walk in Suncreek Park and the Trail at the Woods. I did not see many birds, but got some great pictures of cooperative Eastern Phoebes.

Saturday evening we went to Shiawase in Allen for sushi. I enjoyed this meal quite well.


Sunday morning I walked on the Chisholm Trail in Plano, starting at Orlando Drive and on to the Plano Senior Center and back. I listened to my cousin's podcast, the Geddie-Dunn Podcast. At Weight Watchers I was up 6/10th of a pound. I walked on the Hoblitzelle Trail in Plano. Then I went to church, where the Reverend Jessica Wright gave a good sermon on giving.

I drove to my office, stopping for lunch at Church's Chicken on the way. I worked from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. I was pleased with my efforts.  In the late afternoon, I walked in Glendover Park and in my neighborhood. I listened to the Going Linux podcast. The podcast featured a review of Pinguy Linux which I considered a bit harsh. I saw a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird flitting near a tree.

In the evening, I listened to another legal education seminar. I watched part of an annoying exhibition football game. The news all weekend was understandably filled with tributes to the late Senator John McCain. Twitter divided between tributes and revulsion. I also saw tweets about a scandal in the UK Green Party arising from a pedophile who had worked at party campaign efforts. This matter, too, generated polarized tweets.

We ate hot dogs for dinner. I got a good night's sleep. I had a dream about a small Neanderthal woman whose English, while rudimentary, surprised me.

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mel and kite

I called my sister to wish her a happy birthday. She is five years my junior. She runs a variety of ventures that are more or less promotional strategy for authors. She always has interesting things going on.

After work I walked on the Chisholm Trail in Plano. I got a good view of a Mississippi Kite on a tree. I love those graceful insectivore raptors. But the nearby coterie of American Crows found the kite less to their liking. Eventually they appointed one of their number to go and ask the kite to leave.  Unlike larger raptors, the kite flies more gracefully than does a crow. So it was a pretty down-to-earth commutation and flyaway.

We went to Firewater Grill for dinner. I usually get a steak, but tonight I got flatbread. It was good. I watched a James Belushi film about a German Shepherd police dog. Mel Harris played the love interest. I remember when she was on the show thirtysomething.

I have an active weekend ahead of mixing rest, fun and getting work done.

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The meme of listing places I have lived

San Antonio, Texas (birthplace/
Amarillo, Texas
Sparkman, Arkansas
Gurdon, Arkansas (11 years)
Camden, Arkansas (graduated high school)
Fayetteville, Arkansas (graduated college)
London, England (10 weeks--may not count)
Little Rock, Arkansas (law school)
Dallas, Texas
Mesquite, Texas
Los Angeles, California
Montrose, California
La Crescenta, California
Plano, Texas
Allen, Texas (16 years)

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short note

I walked after work in Oak Point Park in Plano. I saw a cool turtle,but I need to research more for its species. The heat seems to have broken a bit.

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less sugar less fat

I picked up two new brands of cereal to try. The faint Moon hovered in the end-of-day sky. A rabbit posed in watercolor portrait fashion. Today the feeder was filled with birds. Northern Cardinals paused in frustration while Brown-Headed Cowbirds monopolized the feeder. I spread some seed atop the fence, to make things a bit more fair.
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8 twice

Tuesday the news brought word of the conviction of political operative Paul Manafort of eight criminal counts and the conviction of fixer Michael Cohen of eight criminal counts including committing campaign violations in concert with a candidate.  I believe that this may mark the beginning of the end of this current presidency. But time will tell.

I walked at lunch in Heritage Park. I like that it's a quiet sidewalk around baseball fields. Only one other regular Noon walker ever appears. I have not seen him in a month or two. We say hello as we pass as if we were acquainted. We never say more than hello.

My wife had a work dinner last night. I ate at Panera Bread. I thought it curious when the bread store lacked wheat bread at 6 p.m., but my wife latter assured me that this was understandable. My bowl of black bean soup was good. I forgot to order fruit instead of chips. When I saw the chips on my tray, I handed them back to the server.

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Adios Frijoles

Friday evening we went to Vision Works to pick up my new glasses. I am pleased with them. I find non-wire-frames much more comfortable.

Saturday I woke up a bit later than I intended to wake up. I took Beatrice for a walk at 9:35 a.m. The day was on the warmish side for her walks. I try to shield her from days below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and days above 85 degrees Fahreheit. It must have been near the upper range.

Boys of twelve or so were practicing football.  Their families were on "the sidelines". Some kids came up and asked to pet Beatrice. I 
told them to be gentle. The kiss were very gentle--the one little boy of 2 or less was so delighted to pet her. A young girl of 6 or so told me about her 4 dogs, 2 now deceased. Two cute girls in little dresses had seemed so fond of Beatrice, but found the idea of petting her mind-boggling.

In the late morning, I walked in story Park. I had hoped to take photographs of butterflies in the section of that park called Pat's Garden, which was all abloom with flowers. But no butterflies were to be seen. I contented myself instead with watching and listing birds. I ate a lunch of grilled chicken at KFC.

In the afternoon, I worked on family business and listened to legal education seminars for my annual mandatory continuing legal education requirements.  In the early evening, we drove to my wife's work so that she could pick up a laptop. A storm blew up as we drove. When she had gotten her laptop, we headed back north from Richardson to Plano.  We headed over to Alma Drive. North of Plano Parkway and south of Parker Road, we found trees and braches were down.  It looked as if straight-line winds had hit this area, with devastating results. Fortunately, the llamas on the Hagerman Farm fields were unaffected and non-chalant.

We went to Holy Frijoles near our home in Allen, our favorite Tex-Mex place, for dinner. We found to our dismay a notice from its landlord on the door. The business had gone out of business. We were sad to hear this news, and we liked the people who ran this place very well. We went to the new Mexican place near our home, where I had shrimp enchiladas.  The rain fell.

we had planned to see the movie Christopher Robin but we changed our plan. We spent a quiet evening at home.

Sunday I walked on the Chisholm Trail near Rainier Drive in Plano. Here, too, many trees were down. I was nearly the same weight at Weight Watchers. I walked in Shawnee Park prior to church. After church, I skipped the ground-breaking on the new church addition. I ate lunch, and then went home and listened to another legal seminar. In the late afternoon, I walked in Glendover Park. I saw two Yellow Warblers, signs that the migration is already underway, even in August.

I wanted to go to the Allen Outlet Mall to see about some shoes, but the traffic there was too thick to permit me to park. I went to a J.C. Penney and looked there instead. Then I picked us up El Pollo Loco and called it a day. My wife and I  walked again in the park, and the week gently came to a pleasant beginning.

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Long Beach and a Bluebird

Tuesday morning I left my office in mid-morning. I flew to Long Beach. My flight was via Las Vegas and LAX airport in Los Angeles, as the usual DFW to Long Beach flight was not well-scheduled for my travel times.

As we landed in Las Vegas, the two women in my aisle, who were visiting Las Vegas for the first time, were able to recite all the casino names by looking at the shape of the buildings. The myth of Las Vegas became reality for them on descent.

During my layover, I did not have a mountain of time. I had a protein bar and some chipotle chips for lunch.  I decided not to gamble, inspired by my flight seatmates, who said they were there for the shows. I am not much of a gambler, anyway. I set a limit at 20 dollars lost or won. A man beside me in the waiting area won 60 dollars at a Wheel of Fortune slot machine. I felt fortunate vicariously. He cashed in his chips, or rather, got a slip of paper that said he won credits.

I landed in LAX after the second leg of my flight. It took an hour for the shuttle bus to come and deposit me at the Budget Rent-a-Car Fast Break area to pick up my Hyundai Elantra. I lived in Los Angeles County from 1990 to 2000, so I remain semi-literate in driving there (I was 4/5 literate when I lived there). Rather than pull up a google map to Long Beach, I got on that five p.m. parking lot south called the San Diego Freeway.

The drive to Long Beach is only 30 miles or less south. I drove in bumper to bumper traffic moving slowly and listened to good radio on KXLU, as a collegian DJ named Braden played an eclectic mix of electronica from here, there and yon. I came upon one of those LA Story electronic highway signs. It told me that I still had 20 minutes just to get to the Long Beach Freeway, also a parking lot at that time of day. I tired of going at less-than-bumper-car speed.

I decided to head down to the Pacific Coast HIghway. I thought at first that this was a mistake, as the drive from the 405 to the PCH was longer at this point in the south bay than it would have been at, say, Manhattan Beach. But after zipping through Torrance and into Lomita, I came upon the PCH. This was a breath of fresh air--storefronts and fast food places of all kinds and little traffic.  Eventually, I went through San Pedro, Wilmington and to Long Beach, leaving the Pacific Coast Highway and getting on that highway with an number like 47 which goes right by the coast and involves impossibly high bridges. I passed thousands upon thousands of shipping containers at the port, as the hard-working sea port areas came into view.  Finally, I was at Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach.

I checked into my hotel, the Renaissance. I called my wife.  I had trout and grilled zucchini at a place with Pier in the name that was very good. I saw a seagull on a flagpole. I fell asleep quite early, as the travel exhausted me.

Downtown Long Beach, by the way, is now a proper destination. I had last been there almost five years ago. Then it was being fixed up a bit. Now one could easily spend a four-day-weekend there and find plenty to do without a car. I was amused when one of my fellow vehicles on a side street was a 30something man on a skateboard. It's too  bad I did not get a chance to visit the aquarium or go walk on the beach. But I chose dinner and a bit of sleep.

Wednesday morning I got up early and went to attend to a business matter. This and a call or two afterward took until Noon. Then I walked back to my hotel and got my rental car. I headed to El Dorado Regional Park. This Long Beach park features reclaimed land which has a nature center, a walking path in the woods, and picnic areas, all of which are rare in Long Beach. I saw both American and Lesser Goldfinch, but in general did not see much wildlife. I enjoyed the walk, though.

I used google maps to get to LAX.  The map took me via the Marina Freeway. I made it to the rental car place in good order, and on to my flight in plenty of time. I walked in LAX prior to my flight, looking for something to eat. I lamented that although once one could only get a hot dog or a slice of pizza at most airports, now it's hard to find something similarly fast. Just when I made my tidy mental conclusion, I saw that a place offered hot dogs to go. I bought one and enjoyed it thoroughly.

My flight took off late. I watched television on my laptop via Southwest Airlines. I got home nearly at eleven.

I overslept a bit on Thursday, which is unlike me. I got to work at 9:50 a.m.  I had a busy day Thursday, with lots of client work and lots of administrative things to do. I walked in Travis Farm Park at lunch. I had my "new" eBay zoom camera, a used Fujifilm S9900W I got very reasonably-priced on eBay. I had had a similar but earlier model one before, so I found its use easy. I got a good picture of an Eastern Bluebird, a bit young, enjoying the shade of tiny tree.

Thursday night I went to Dallas Volunteer Atttorney Program at the Garland Salvation Army. We had 36 clients attend. We had 3 attorneys attend. I did not get home until 11 p.m.  We watched Ariana Grande sing "Natural Woman" on television in tribute to the great Aretha Franklin, who passed away Thursday.
Aretha's music really was the soundtrack to an era.

I am tired this morning but eager to have my Friday. Two of the three pairs of new glasses I ordered are ready for pick-up. I hope the third pair gets ready today.

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59 and a shrike and a cat

Sunday I turned 59 years old. The day was rainy but not raining. I walked on the Chisholm Trail in Plano. I went to Weight Watchers, where my weight was neither up nor down. I walked in Shawnee Park, where I saw a Loggerhead Shrike, my 99th Collin County species this year. I 
had been surprised that this was my first, as I see one just across the border in Dallas County at Heritage Park almost every week.

I ate catfish at Chicken Express. I watched a snippet of a legal seminar about the exoneration of a wrongly-convicted man. I walked in Glendover Park. My wife had to work all day, so I checked in with her at her office via telephone.

In the evening, I had dinner with my brother, his wife, their son and their son's girlfriend. We ate at Little Hunan, a modest Chinese place in Plano.  I was surprised that they got me presents--bongo drums, a collection of harmonicas, and some sketch paper for birding enclosed in a monogrammed loose cover.

Sunday night we had an adventure. We had been hearing curious sounds all weekend. We thought we had a cat just outside our window. Sunday evening my wife saw we had a cat in her office. The cat, a handsome black number wearing a collar, hid out under a desk. Eventually, when I tried to coax it out, it ran into our dining room and hid under the odd French furniture piece that serves as our china cabinet.
I tried to convince it of my honorable intentions, but it understandably was skeptical. Ultimately, we left out water and closed off our bedroom and office doors  and blocked the way upstairs. Then we went to bed.  The next morning, while Beatrice and I were having breakfast, I thought I heard a sound  by the doggy door. I could not find the cat. My hope is that it went out the doggy door, and not that it is still hiding somewhere. I feel pretty confident that it left. But we'll see.

I am grateful that Beatrice is now an older dog, or Beatrice might have been more concerned about the cat. Other than letting me know that she sniffed something odd, the whole event left her unphased. I suppose days of rain made our hour an appealing stopover. Better a cat than a bobcat, I suppose.

Monday I worked a solid day. I walked at lunch in Dave Sanford Park. I walked after dinner in Glendover Park. I found the right used camera on sale at eBay. I may sell off a camera i already bought, but we'll see.

Today, Tuesday, I have business travel to do. That will be easy, but it will take much of the day, between check-in, a one-stop flight, and a drive from the airport to a destination an hour away.  I packed for the one day trip in a neat little bag that my wife's step-mother got me for Christmas, years ago.

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new glasses and ducks

Friday I worked a solid day, and walked in Shawnee Park in Plano in the evening. My wife worked late. we ate at the cafe area of the local Market Street.

Saturday the rains came again. I woke up and took Beatrice for a walk in the sprinkly rain. At 9:30, my wife and I headed to Vision Works to replace my eyeglasses. I got three pair--a first string, a back-up and a set of non-bifocal sunglasses.  The cost for 3 was only a bit more than I paid for 2 pair nearly 4 years ago. This was because we chose sturdy, non-designer frames. I want to get away from wire frames.
The woman at Vision Works who helped us was perfect--stayed out of the way, but then, when asked, made great contributions.

My wife helped me choose. If eyeglasses are a metaphor, she thinks of me as more square and less like an aviator, and more like brown and less like blue than I see myself.

In the afternoon, I ate a grilled chicken sandwich and a small chili. I watched a legal education seminar about United States Supreme
Court decisions. I walked in the rain in Russell Creek Park in Plano, trying out a 60x zoom camera I got used on eBay. It worked fine, but not having an electronic viewfinder is a huge drawback. I mistook 28 Mallards for early-arrived teals, and figured out my mistake the hard way, by posting "what is this bird?" on the requisite Facebook site. It's embarrassing when someone has to name a mallard for me.

This evening we went to El Fenix in McKinney. The original El Fenix is in downtown Dallas. Like lots of cities, Dallas has a Mexican place that opened between 1900 and 1925 that kind of defined Mexican food for the city. In Los Angeles, El Chollo serves a similar role. El Fenix was Dallas' first Mexican restaurant.  I used to eat at the flagship downtown Dallas location often when I was 20something and would go after work in downtown.  It holds a restaurant-sized place in my heart.

Tonight the McKinney location served me a meal of Hatch chili chicken enchiladas and served my wife chicken fajitas. It was all okay, but the service, the food and the whole feel of things was a bit warmed-over. Our attendant, Liz, seemed nice enough, and fairly attentive, but my dish came out wrong, my wife's looked less than appetizing, and so forth. The table next to us had to advise the wait person that their tacos came out cold. I missed the old, classic days of eating at the flagship. I may go back to this location again, but I have better places I prefer.

I started a new novel, "The Chameleon" by Samuel Fisher. I got this from Salt Publishing, being the third novel I have gotten from this indie English publisher. The first section of the book was a good read. I hear the rain began again outside.

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