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Distractions

Though I prefer the virtual political convention better than the normal kind, I still watched Star Trek: Deep Space Nine during part of the speeches tonight. I aalso watched part of the Mavericks basketball game.


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Straight-line Winds

Sunday evening a surprise storm sauntered in from the east. The wind blew up to 60 miles an hour. Our trees were spared, but many neighbors lost a branch or even a tree.  Our decision years ago to use Crape Myrtles rather than large trees looks like a good one. The storm broke a spell of 105 degree F. days, a bit warm if not entirely unseasonal for us.

I remain busy at work, but plan to take a day off soon.

Last night in our backyard I saw a Brown Thrasher, which makes bird number 88 in this year's county list. I may not reach 100 species, though I have done so for the past five years, but we'll see.

Beatrice enjoys three meals a day from a canned food called Aging Care. She seems to be fairly
doing well, though signs of old age abound.








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summerland and another 8 12

Wednesday I celebrated my 61st birthday. I heard from folks. I worked a solid day. I opened a couple of welcome gifts.

Thursday and Friday I worked on work matters. Friday I had a frustrating situation after connecting to Zoom, and then learning the connection had been lost. I sorted it out, but it was frustrating to have technology fail me--technology is usually my close friend.

Saturday and Sunday I alternated hard work and relaxing walks. Saturday night my wife prepared a special meal of shrimp, with a dessert of a light blackberry cobbler.  The temperature is very hot this week--almost like the hot Summer we largely missed this Summer. The pandemic
continues to spread here, so we are all about the masks and distancing.

Saturday morning, after I took a quick walk in Glendover Park, my wife and I drove in separate cars to Stonebriar Mall. She had gotten me a new watch after the band on my Citizen Watch proved more expensive to repair than buying a new watch. I had to had the band sized down a bit.

But when we arrived at 10 a.m., we learned that the mall did not open until 11--a Covid change. My wife headed off to her 11 a.m. hair appointment. I went to Russell Creek Park to take an hour's walk.  I

When the mall opened, I was very impressed with universal mask use and liberal social distancing. The only exception was palpable. When I crossed through a JC Penney to get to my car, I saw a line of masked people waiting to check out, perhaps 10 in a space of 20 feet. I made a wide beeline.

Saturday night we rented and watched the Jessica Swale film Summerland. We enjoyed it very much. A World War Two blitz-era movie makes even a global pandemic seem less stressful.

I walked today on the Mustang Creek Trail in Allen. I saw three Snowy Egrets and a young Great Egret, as well as a Yellow Warbler. My overall annual bird count is my county is still a bit low, at 87, but I am able to add a Black-Chinned Hummingbird I saw on Thursday.

The current political debate is about funding the post office. I believe very much in post offices, city parks, state parks, national parks, public walking and cycling paths, and public libraries.

I forgot to go look at the Perseid meteor shower this year.





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1/3rd of a small can

I had a busy, stressful Monday at work. After work, I sent an email to an old friend, in light of her 60th birthday. I like the way that Beatrice comes and stands beside my side of the bed at 6:30, waiting for me to get her breakfast. She ate dry food for years. Her current breakfast is one-third of a can of a less dry food. She likes this breakfast.  It is followed by her medicines in a pill pocket plus a treat. The n she usually gets in a morning nap.



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A Warbler in august

I walked between small trees in Russell Creek Park.

A Yellow Warbler flitted from branch to branch, passing through early.

A Snowy Egret stood on a branch above Russell Creek, its

golden feet gripping the branch. People wearing masks and

spacing their seats watched other people playing soccer.

A female Neon Skimmer dragonfly perched overhead on a branch.

I read poems by Iris Tree. The Boston Market at Independence and Legacy in Plano closed. A hand-written sign directed customers to other outlets of this chain.

I will miss its staff's good service. I count this as a result of the pandemic.

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Cottonwood Greenbelt

Friday started early and ran late. My assistant pitched in, though he had scheduled to be off that day. I stirred a bit in my sleep. Saturday morning I got up early and got some work done. Then I played moves in an on-line chess game at chess.com. I played the black side of a classical Caro-Kann. I won a pawn in the opening, and then traded into a won king-and-pawn endgame. This opponent played a good game, but for the initial error that cost my opponent the game.

 
I like that on chess.com, the platform offers instant chess engine analysis of previous finished games. The engine rated both our play as relatively good, which gives me some doubt about the chess engine's acuity.

I walked in Bethany Lakes Park, where I saw 12 bird species and a few dragonfly species. Perhaps my  favorite was a Green Heron in a tree.
I drove over to Max Vaughan Elementary in Allen and walked on the Cottonwood Greenspace. I had been there once before. I had my customary problem in trying to identify whether the hummingbird was a Ruby-Crowned or a Black-Chinned. I will get better at that.

This evening I watched an episode of All Creatures Great and Small and two episodes of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. We ate great low-fat black bean tamales from Trader Joe's. I took a picture of a Blue Dasher dragonfly at the Glendover Pond.



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State Park Memory

Last night I worked quite late, and did not get to take a walk in the evening. A Facebook memory reminded me that three years ago my friend Gene and I went to Robbers' Cave State Park in the San Bois Mountains in Oklahoma. I had been there at age 12 or so during a family vacation. My father had not been able to join us on that vacation. But my Uncle Ivan, my Aunt Virginia and my cousin Morgan did--perhaps my cousin Bill as well, but my memory is imperfect on that. I have a recollection of this being my first time to paddle a kayak, on a clear lake. When we revisted the park in 2017, the vintage nature of everything stood out. The park had a feel of decades ago. The cave is very small, by the way, and less high up than I recalled from childhood.

We watched Season 1, Episode 2 of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I felt a day older when I realized that Marin Hinkle is years younger than I am. But age is just a thing.


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Mid-air flight

The sound of a Common Nighthawk far overhead near dusk, like a satellite in orbit. The planet Saturn looks close to Earth. The heat broke this evening, a bit, as this Summer proves to be neither hot nor cool as such things go. I wrote a tweet about the indifference of the virus,  and an on-line friend sent a private message to make sure I did not have it. I did not have it.  In December I would not have known about our collective March through July.

The Kansas politician Kris Kobach lost an election tonight, which made me happy. We are watching "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" on television. Lately I think of the Edna St. Vincey Millay poem "Recuerdo." 


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Forster's Tern

I've been working on some paperwork this evening, after earlier having a breast and wing, broccoli, corn tortillas and charro beans from the take-out window at El Pollo Loco. We watched the show on PBS today about the family trying to recreate a 1900-era Welsh fishing village experience. The hard nature of that life, combined with the less-favorable waters for fishing today, made the whole business seem difficult.

I got out early and walked in Glendover Park, where I saw 12 different species of bird. August is supposedly the slow month in our birding calendar, with only a bit of early migration and nesting largely wrapped up. But I like walking and seeing birds in August. Our Glendover Park pond lacked any ducks today--the Mallards tend to move over to another park in August, after apparently eating the local forage. They show up again in late September or so. The two domestic mallards also left--I suspect that they followed the rainwater upstream to the Twin Creeks duck pond. After all,they may have come from there at the beginning of their sojourn in our pond.

One of the Audubon Society members posted on Facebook that he had seen migrating shorebirds at Brockdale Park in Lake Lavon. When I arrived there in the late morning, I found that I had not brought along my camera. I had my binoculars, though, which helped me see my first Forster's Tern of the year. I only saw three species on this visit, which is quite low. I kept hearing a bunting singing in a tree, but never getting a look at it.

I decided to walk in Spirit Park near our home. This park is of recent construction. I used to bicycle by it when it was an empty field. The ballfields there were largely empty. Two older fellows sat at a distance on a park bench, each wearing a mask. A father and his children played on the swing-sets. I walked around the park a few times, past largely open fields and a bit of Watters Creek. I saw ten species of bird there. Then I went to small Green Park and saw six more species.

I remembered how Friday evening we ordered delivery from Tian An Mien wok. I tipped the young man when he brought the food. A few moments later, he rang the doorbell. He told me that my wife had already tipped when making the order and returned my tip. I appreciated his integrity.

I read a few pages of Sofia Samatar's "A Stranger in Olondria."  I prefer my books in 250 to 300 ebook page increments rather than 640, but it is holding my interest quite well.

I saw that more of my music is on Spotify now, after Lee Rosevere posted the songs from our collaboration. Maybe someday I will write
30 3-minute melodies and release them for streaming without a Creative Commons license. Those licenses are my favorite, but they do nto work well with the terms of service of Youtube and some other outlets. That is an issue that Creative Commons should have addressed, in my view, with a streaming-service-friendly and artist-friendly license. But it remains largely unaddressed.

I started a new chess game with a 3 day time control at Chess.com. This time I am defending a Caro-Kann Defense. I used to play that defense regularly. We'll see if I remember any of the moves..

I attended my virtual Weight Watchers meeting. I was down a bit. I reread one of my favorite poems, Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Recuerdo." from Dreamwidth, because two posts of the same text are twice as nice
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July in the Pandemic

Saturday I went to the office to get some work done. I use dual screens at work, but only individual screens at home, so sometimes my office is preferable.  Our building is not heavily tenanted so social distancing there is easy. Still, sometimes one sees an unmasked person in the parking lot, though that is less common now.

One aspect of our local Glendover Park causes more concern. A youth sports football team holds practices there a couple of times a week. A few kids wear masks. Most do not. Their parents, who come in a small but material contingent, fail to wear masks or socially distance. I joked with my wife that the team name was Community Spread.

I heard an NPR interview about how school re-opening went well in Denmark. A teacher's union representative explained that all the stakeholders got together to work on safety, protect the vulnerable and implement common sense guidelines. I wish we lived in a time of stakeholder cooperation in this country.  The core thing the story did not cover, though, was that Denmark made material strides to contain the virus.

I like Facebook memories because it reminds me of great trips we took in the past but may not take for years to come.Yesterday the memory was of visiting Yoho National Park in British Columbia, Canada. I wonder when next I will fly in an airline.

I also like the Dreamwidth "search posts" feature. This morning I searched to find that I purchased the laptop on which I type this post some four years ago. I got it used for $ 102 on eBay. I have replaced the hard drive once, but otherwise it has worked out well. Similarly, I bought my desktop computer over four years ago used from a Microcenter. It also still runs well though it runs a Core 2 Duo processor and probably had some years' life before I got it.  I run Peppermint OS on my desktop and Q4OS on my laptop.

Yesterday I worked a good bit. At lunch I walked in Heritage Park and in Dave Sanford Park. Then, in that time when the late afternoon turns into early evening, I walked in Limestone Quarry Park in Frisco and its surrounding neighborhood, near Liberty High School. I saw 12 bird species. New homes were being built in new subdivisions.  On the park's trail, known as the Taychas Trail, the masks were fairly evident on many but not all and social distancing was largely strictly maintained. 

Thursday I did not sleep well, and watched the first Harry Potter movie again at 2 in the morning.

My 2020 eBird statistics through the end of July: 
85 species seen in Collin County, 13 species behind my 2019 pace.
65 species seen in Dallas County, a record for me in any full year, much less by August 1.

I think the latter is because my lunchtime short walks are now coordinated to occur in conjunction with take-out windows. Since my office is in Dallas County but adjacent to Collin County, perhaps I went afield from my office into Collin County more prior to the pandemic. We'll see if the gap closes any through Autumn migration.
 






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