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woodpecker

I sat on a patio chair in the morning. I walked in Glendover Park at Noon. I took pictures of a Red-Bellied Woodpecker.  We watched the live-action version of "Beauty and the Beast" again today.

The Texas governor softened much of the restrictions due to the virus today.  I felt his changes appear premature. But time plans to tell me the right answer.

Beatrice was in a good mood today. A short rain of huge droplets fell.Two masks from Etsy arrived. Both were lovably a bit wiggy.




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Wren Song and Holding Hands

My work proved very busy this week. One work day lasted well into the night. I met my deadlines. My work takes place almost entirely at home. I work at a laptop I keep set up in our television area. I sit in my easy chair and get documents done and calls made. I always wondered what would happen if I had to make filings and send out documents from home. Now I know. My assistant also works mostly from home. He goes to the office a bit more often than I do. We get things done.

At home, I work on a single screen. At my office I use a dual screen and probably could expand to three screens. At home, I use Libre Office and Okular instead of Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat.  Rather than the scanner in our office copy machine, I use the scanner in my home copy machine. One big issue that I solved was to sort out how to deal with the situation in which the printer has a glitch. For a while, my laptop computer would pause and I could not figure out how to reset it into action. But now I know where to find the proper resume in CUPS, the Linux-friendly printing software. I never appreciated the daily use of thumb drives so much as now. I also am thankful for Nextcloud and Firefox Send.

I still use a huge Envision monitor on my desktop computer, on which I create most of my music using Peppermint OS and a number of programs which work with the software WINE.  I must have had the Envision monitor for more than 15 or 20 years.

I've gotten used to lunches which are either a deli chicken or turkey on wheat toast or a bun, or a can of a healthy something or other by Amy's Organics. 

i always wondered what a bird-watching year would be like if, instead of visiting numerous parks in my area, I focused on a very few, and in particular on the two nearest our home. In effect, my wondering is rewarded by the current situation. I do a lot of visits to Glendover Park, Green Park, Story Park and Allen Station Park in my town of Allen. Each is chosen for the simplest reason--each has sections and walkable areas in which one can stay 10' away from anyone else. That's better for bird-watching anyway.

Last night my wife and I walked the Cottonwood Creek Trail about a mile from our home for 90 minutes. There were only a few others on the trail, mostly on bicycle. But we encountered our first set of determined scoffaws.  A group of perhaps 6 young teenage girls, each perhaps about 13, walked together in close proximity to one another with a kind of determined gaggle-ing approach. I hope that they are spared, and that their conduct does not spread infection from 1 family to 3 or 6.

Our local county had consistently diminishing outbreaks of the virus. But this week a couple of days spiked up to 26 or then to 30. Our red-state-favoring county originally implemented a very non-robust form of lock-down (exempting most businesses, and hence not a lock-down much at all),  The governor wisely put in a state-wide order to implement a mild but much more effective form of stay-at-home.

The first variances were announced last week--re-opening the state parks and allowing non-essential businesses to practice "stay-in-your-car" retail sales.  But Monday we are to hear of a new opening-up. I hope that he resists the somewhat cavalier approach of our lieutenant governor, who has given talks to Fox News  saying things that imply that old people should risk death for the good of the economy.  My hope is that the governor instead uses baby steps properly calibrated to address the situation. But we'll see. As one might expect in Texas, most urban areas are harder hit than rural counties which experience less county-to-county travel. But some rural counties are very palpable exceptions--a few in the Texas Panhandle near the Oklahoma border are very hard-hit if we measure that on a per capita basis. So we need a sound approach focused on the science as well as the immediate dollars. I hope we get it. I am not confident in our county officials in Collin County.

I prefer doctors to politicians. I always have and always will.

Some things are going to come out of this that will result in things I will miss. I believe that handshakes should be abolished, though I like hand-shakes. I  believe that hugs should be exchanged only with one's closest companions and family. I will not miss hugs with strangers or casual friends.
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When the churches re-open, I hope that shared communion cups and hand-shake greetings fade away. I will not miss being crowded into flights like sardines, and I assume from my reading that new seating configurations will be developed.

We ate dinner we picked up from Papa Lopez last night--two orders of Tex-Mex chicken enchiladas with tomatillo sauce. It was great.

I walked in Story Park this morning, sighting my 71st species in Collin County this year, the Chimney Swift.  Then I walked in Green Park, where I saw yet another Franklin's Gull.

Our neighbor Jeanette, who is very nice, asked me to ID a bird from an audio recording. "Carolina Wren", I texted back, after checking to make sure I was right.












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The Weekend of the Franklin's Gulls

When I attend my virtual WW meeting, I no longer am clear if my microphone works, But I participate so rarely that being able to type in comments pretty much suffices.

I walked in Green Park in a light rain.  I saw 11 species, including a Franklin's Gull. If my life were a young adult novel, it would be called the Era of the Franklin's Gulls.

In the afternoon, I watched once again that chestnut of a movie, the Rosalind Russell version of "Auntie Mame." I like that the movie feels more like a stage play than a movie, as it should feel.

I got some work done this afternoon and evening. We ate chicken and rice for dinner. I read about a good recipe for small-quantity banana or orange bread.

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story to wetland

Today I walked in the morning in Story Park in Allen. It remains nearly empty, as desired, though a few people discover it each week. I like the way that parents and kids bicycle together more than before this crisis. I saw 9 species at Story Park.

I worked a bit on some matters today, and got some family business done as well.

In the afternoon, my wife suggested we drive an hour north to Hagerman National Wildlife Reserve. The traffic was light to Grayson County. We got there in an hour. We stayed in our car, by and large. We saw White Pelicans, Greater Yellowlegs and worlds of Snowy Egrets. We drove around the reserve, hunting places without traffic or many people.

We got back to Allen at 5:30.  My wife made a home-made pizza, and now we are watching a recorded version of hte Global Citizen event.

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Ghostdown

I got a good early start to my meeting in downtown Dallas. The traffic from my town to Dallas proved reasonable but not heavy. My meeting went until 8:30 Friday evening. The vibe was neither zombie movie nor a crowd.  The road work workers downtown almost all wore masks. I arrived so early that I had to pull into a parking space to wait before I went to the building where my meeting was held.

Beatrice went for a vet visit today. I hope the course of treatment will help her fur loss issue. I Iike her vets. I was glad she could see us during this crisis. Already, my doctor's office called to change my May appointment to a video appointment.

I got some new WW snacks in the mail. I was glad to get them.  We ate Thai food from Thai Pan tonight.





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Downtown bound

We walked in Allen Station Park after work yesterday. The part of the trail we walk usually stays nearly empty. Yesterday a few people did happen along, but all concerned kept wide berths from one another.  We saw my first Western Kingbird of the year, bringing my annual county species count to 70.  This pace is a bit behind two of the past three years, and a bit ahead of one of the past three years.

Work matters require me to drive to downtown Dallas today to attend an event with a handful of attendees. I dislike the bit of added risk vis a vis the virus. I recognize, though, that other folks in essential businesses take daily risks involving far more than a meeting with a few other people.

I attended one matter in California via the CourtCall service recently. I've used that service for years, and it works pretty well. I felt interested when I got a notice from that vendor that one administrative forum had elected to depart CourtCall and just give each judge a conference line with a password. I see that at least a few commercial conference services face challenges due to volume. I feel a little badly for Zoom, a reasonable way to have a platform-agnostic video chat, as it appears not quite ready for prime time as a business video forum due to security and interoperability issues. The spate of negative articles about Zoom that appeared all at once in different forums looks like in part the work of large competitors. But some critique is warranted.  My WW meetings happen by Zoom,  which would be great except it fails to pick up audio from my headset microphone. I am probably better by comment line anyway. I opened a ticket with Zoom, and heard, as so often happens, nothing after the original "copy of your bug report" instant email.

Our county virus counts look like they might spike up for a moment, but are not heading back down. They remain modest compared to other counties.   Though our county officials proved timid about stay-at-home orders, the local folks stay home on their own. Mask use, though,looks very spotty. Given the relatively light testing, though, it's not clear what our exact situation may be.







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silent slumbers

I fell asleep on the sofa last night. When I woke, the late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon appeared on my television screen. He played a game via video with a woman I never saw before. In the game, she said the name of a song while her audio stayed muted. His task involved reading her lips to guess the song. He ultimately got the song right. I failed to recognize the song. I went to sleep again.



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Easter indoors

Saturday morning I walked in Story Park in Allen. I saw lots of birds, including a first-of-year Lark Sparrow in a grassy field, and 15 first-of-year Franklin's Gulls migrating overhead. I also walked in Green Park, but saw a bit less.

Saturday late afternoon I went to pick up our grocery order at Kroger.  My order was not ready on time, but it was only a half an hour late. A few items were substituted. About twenty percent of the items I ordered were not available. But I did get bananas, chicken deli meat, wheat bread, a drink flavoring and other things.

Easter Sunday morning we watched a Youtube of our church's Easter service. Then we watched the Easter service at the church at which we were married in Kansas. W ate pot roast for dinner.

I still work mostly at home. Friday I have an in-person matter in downtown Dallas. I will keep my distance as far as I can do so. I wear my mask when I go out. I find myself productive at home, but prefer my office.

I went to a Panera last night to pick up groceries. Panera sells groceries now. My bananas were very ripe, the grapes were perfect, and they had to substitute 2 percent milk for skim.

I am grateful that I experience only mild discomfort and hassle from all this. I feel badly for others who experience this in a more awful way.

Tonight we walked in Green Park and then in Glendover Park. After an unexpected cold streak, the weather was perfect tonight.




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Virus Weekly

I spent another week working at home, though I did go to my office to pick up some things. I kept my matters working well despite working at home. I feel pleased with the fruits of the planning my firm members and I did when the crisis first came clearly in view. I feel pleased that I keep rolling along.

I usually get busy in the Spring and complain about not seeing as many birds during Spring migration as I feel I ought. This year I confine my walks to nearby neighborhoods---Glendover Park, Green Park, Allen Station Park, and, a bit more distant, Story Park. These parks all lack that much foot traffic so it is easy to stay a long way from people. My bird count steadily increases despite the closer confines. This week I added White-Crowned Sparrow, Killdeer, and Green Heron to the Collin County list, bringing my count for this year up to 67. I usually hit between 100 and 110 distinct species each year.

Last weekend I completed a set of songs constituting some 30+ minutes of music which I call "Seclusion." I plan to release it with Creative Commons licensing in the near future. I believe I placed it with a label, but as always, nothing is done until actual release. Small netlabels and independent labels share a kitchen-table ethic I admire, but until the work moves from the kitchen-table to release, it remains tabled. This work contains both the simple lullaby melodies and curious dissonant plods that constitute my spectrum of sound.

A list of things:
1. My bandanna mask, with rubber bands;
2. My dollar-store wash cloth mask, with a shoestring.
3. My pick-up order at the grocery store, made days ago, ready for pick up Saturday at 4.
4. The Tex-Mex place which got our order slightly wrong.
5. How good it is to spend time with our dog Beatrice, though her issue with fur loss and regrowth, apparently a failure of her hypothyroid medicine to fully remedy her chronic condition, causes a bit of worry.
6. My satisfaction with my home computer system. Until the current crisis, I had let a lot of little issues arise here and there. Given the advantage of necessity, I solved pretty much all of them. I feel pleased that in the past 6 years I have become much more nimble at trouble-shooting computers. I am nobody's expert (in almost anything) but it feels good to solve my own issues.
7. The odd joy of a mcmuffin maker we got for Christmas, which we use a surprising amount of the time.
8. a coming storm for Easter weekend.
9. the uncertainty of the immediate future.
10. The taste of propel powder, which helps me keep from falling down when standing up.
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colder day

This week went pretty smoothly work-wise. I find myself busy, which seems to me preferable than being idle at home. Last evening after work we walked in Allen Station Park. The weather turned chilly. When I was a kid, the columnist for the now-departed much-lamented Arkansas Gazette used to call the  first week of April the Snow Tire and Jonquil festival.  I took a picture of an Eastern Bluebird, who looked cold.  In general, I find birds less worried about the cold than my own feeling. But this bird saw things similarly to me.

We watched the an episode of the new Chef Vivian Howard series "Somewhere South." I liked the coverage of Gullah culture, and the one dish that she did not personally like but respected.

The CDC just issued its mask recommendation. That makes sense to me. I lack a traditional mask, but perhaps a bandanna or scarf can assist.
I see eBay carries cloth masks, as, I feel sure, etsy offers an avenue as well.

That sense of being at the beginning of a wave that remains weeks from crest stays on the fringes of everything. I hope for good health and better times for all.






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