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We woke up early this morning. My wife left to catch a plane to Kansas City. She will spend the weekend with family.  Then she will view the Monday total eclipse. I did not wish to take Monday off work, so I am staying here for the 75% eclipse. Perhaps I'll get to see the 100% when it comes a bit further south in 2024.

I took Beatrice for a morning walk.  The park was quiet. I suspect everyone was out preparing for the first day of school on Monday.  After our walk, I rode for 90 minutes on the Watters Branch bicycle path near our home.  August is a bit less active for bird life--nesting is largely done and not much migration has begun.  I had a good time pedaling slowly for several miles.

I ate lunch at Dickey's BBQ.  Then I decided I wanted to walk in the shade. I went to SunCreek Park in Allen. There I could walk in the shade and on the Trail at the Woods. In addition to woodland  birds, I got a good luck at a Velvet Ant, the flightless wasp with vivid colors.

The rest of the day I largely rested. I went to Subway to pick up some dinner. I meant to get some chores and hobby stuff done tonight. But right now I think I may go lie down and rest.

breakfast: Kix cereal and skim milk
lunch: BBQ turkey, green beans and a roll
dinner: turkey sandwich and baked chips

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I took the train to downtown Dallas first thing Friday morning. A bit later, I was walking to catch the train back to Parker Road Station in Plano. I saw police cars and emergency vehicles. I worried there might have been an incident. I was a couple of blocks from El Centro College, where in the past year or two a domestic terrorist sniper killed several police officers.

This time the ambulance nearby was helping a man with no obvious wounds who did not feel well. Police and EMT people patiently helped him into a gurney so he could get medical care.

Friday night we watched "Over Her Dead Body", a pleasant light comedy. I kept trying to place the lead actress. I did not figure out until the closing credits that she was Lake Bell. I should have remembered before then.

Lately I read social media political posts that show there is a fine line between a true believer and a bot.

breakfast: brown rice cereal and skim milk
lunch: turkey sandwich with baked chips
dinner: Mediterranean chicken, fruit, slaw
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Yesterday I could not reach someone by telephone. I will take the train downtown to handle a matter in person I had hoped to handle by telephone.  I walked yesterday in Half-Priced Books and in Best Buy rather than in a city park. I did my monthly intake of new clients at the Garland pro bono clinic.  We went until 9:15 or so, with lots of clients. I like that the clients were all nice people.

The national news continues to puzzle. Although I remain optimistic that things will eventually improve, it looks as if we will continue to have more absurdity before things improve.  I hope that voters turn out in 2018, and that voters vote the way I want them to vote in the next election.

Yesterday was Results Day in much of the United Kingdom. I "watch"  it every year on social media via Twitter. I find the UK system fascinating, in which university admission offers can be predicated upon achieving x grades on the A-Levels, a set of comprehensive examinations. We have some analogous situations here, but it all works a bit differently and a bit less uniformly here. Social media allows one to see folks discuss their results in real time. Oddly, one also reads annual tweets by Jeremy Clarkson, the former host of car show Top Gear.  He posts annually how he did poorly on his A-levels and now he is a rich and comfortable man. Though I think his intentions are good, I notice that lots of 17 and 18 year-old folks feel little need of tweets about how events they find heart-breaking were but a bump in the road for a now-middle-aged man who improbably found success as a media presenter, before he punched someone at work. Overall, I am not offended by use of examinations to assist with school admissions. But it is a lot of pressure for kids. I think that it's far better, though, than some other things kids that age have faced in recent history. It's a myth that kids reaching young adulthood have ever been sheltered from challenges.

People in this country and the UK can discuss applying to "reach" schools and to "safety schools". I never applied to a "reach" school in my life, with perhaps one exception, and always looked into "safety schools". Both my undergraduate school and my law school were schools a bit less selective than my grades and standardized test scores would have permitted me to attend. It's not a huge difference--my credentials would have gotten me into more selective schools than the state universities I attended, but not into truly elite, selective schools. But I think about how social class filtered into that outcome.

My parents were both children of folks who did not get to attend university after high school.  My mother's mother did get her normal certificate, which involved some teacher training, but did not get a university degree until my mother was college-age. My mother's father could not attend university despite high grades after he had to work to help support his family when his father died of tuberculosis.  My father's father and my father's mother never went beyond high school, and I am not aware of their aspiring to ever do so.

My parents valued education, in part because their parents valued, though they did not obtain (save one grandparent in later life), much formal post-secondary education. But their notion of the pinnacle was not to have a child in an elite school far away.  Their notion was to send their children to state universities. This was more affordable. But also this offered the possibility that kids who went to the state university would stay nearby after university. My father had gone to a more elite university than the state university, though not  quite a "top" school. He found the experience a bit of a mixed blessing, as his classmates included folks who had better educational backgrounds than what he had received in high school. He had been co-valedictorian of his high school class but university was more difficult for him. He ultimately did well enough to get into the University of Arkansas Medical School, though not into the medical school at Tulane, his undergraduate institution. But the experience caused him to have a lifelong belief that the local state university was a simpler way to get an education.  As applied to me, his new belief worked out pretty well. I retain, though, a lifelong prejudice in favor of public education, public libraries, and educational opportunity for all as a social equalizer.  I think one of the most pernicious things in our society is the concerted effort to shift more costs of post-secondary education onto kids. This has the effect of making it harder for kids who grow up poorer to get post-secondary education. I'd like to see that trend reverse a bit.

We have rain predicted again today. This has been a surprisingly "normal" Summer, except it's been a bit wetter than usual. I hope it is not cloudy on Monday, the day of the 75 percent eclipse here.

breakfast: brown rice cereal and skim milk
lunch: turkey sandwich and baked chips
dinner: three slices buffet pepperoni pizza, pickles, cucumbers and

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I mentioned to my law partner how I had looked up WWII enlistment records for my late uncle and distant cousin. My partner reminded me that his late father and his late uncle had both been crew on bombers in the Pacific theater of the war. His father had been on one of the first daylight raids upon Japan.  His uncle had been a prisoner of war in a brutal camp after being shot down.  Tonight I looked up their enlistment records.

They enlisted a goodish way but in the same state from where they were from. They came from Cherokee County in rural east Texas.  Their transition to India and flying on B-29s and being exposed to drastic risks, things outside their experience, must have been a huge culture shift for two twentysomethings. I read an issue of Life Magazine from the 1940s which contained a picture of the bomber on which my partner's father was bombardier. It looks primitive and dangerous and a marvel, as all airplanes do.

The news is full of odd things still. Meanwhile, folks on social media talk about unplugging and getting away from the news. I think this is not the right thing to do.  I am all for kindness beyond narrow political contexts. But this is a time when paying attention matters a bit more than usual--and it always matters a good bit.  I think it's a time when things will change swiftly. I hope things get better.

I looked up my late Great Uncle Jake's records, too.  He served stateside, working on airplanes. He saw the people go off to war, but did not duty closer to home.

After work, I walked in Bob Woodruff Park. I listened to the Late Night Linux podcast.  I watchded part of a baseball game on television. Later, we watched another episode of "'Foyle's War". 

breakfast: a mix of cereals and skim milk
lunch: three soft chicken tacos
dinner: fried chicken breasts, corn-on-the-cob, green beans and a roll

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I read this morning a bit about the Battle of Midway, the Battle of the Coral Sea, Guadalcanal and Pearl Harbor.

This evening I read about the prisoner-of-war camp my late cousin B.B. Lewis was interred in during World War Two. He started as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft 3.  This camp was the site of the Great Escape. But  my cousin just spent months there--from February 1945 when he was transported there after being shot down over the Czech Republic to April 1945 when the camp was liberated.

I also found the enlistment record from 1941 for my late uncle Colbert Stott. He joined the national guard and eventually became one of the people attached to a battery in Alaska. He was present during the 1942 Japanese attack on Dutch Harbor. The enlistment record suggested he enlisted in the National Guard in 1941, before Pearl Harbor.

I ate purple corn flakes for breakfast with skim milk
I had a subway sandwich and baked chips for lunch
I had a chicken breast, green beans, small blue potatoes and part of a sweet potato


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Last night the rain fell assiduously. My wife watched it flow like a river down the street. We live on higher ground. So we had no threat from the water. But an August rain this early with such volume is a bit unusual.

I started my morning in Shawnee Park. A Green Heron stood on the railings. Three Eastern Phoebes stood in a disc golf cage, as if they shot birdies. A spot of sprinkle did not deter me. 

I stopped by a Dollar General. My car phone charger stopped being effective. So I got a replacement. Then I headed to Weight Watchers. I was up a pound and four-tenths. After work, I walked a bit in Hoblitzelle Park. Then I headed to church. I was pleased that the minister spoke firmly about the fascists and neo-Nazis in Virginia, and how this kind of bigotry has no place in our society.

In the afternoon, I walked on the Celebration Pass Trail. I liked the Snowy Egret with its golden feet, and the tiny rabbit that posed along the sidewalk. I fell asleep in the late afternoon, and slept until 6 p.m. I walked in Green Park, and then picked up take-out from El Pollo Loco.

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I stayed up until 2 a.m. watching an episode of "Foyle's War". I woke this morning fairly early.  I was going to hit the road early. Then I saw Beatrice's face. Her face said "please walk me". We walked together in Glendover Park. She enjoyed it. When we came home, some 45 minutes later, she sacked out.

I hit the road to Park Hill Prairie. This is a county park about an hour from my house. As I drove, I listened to a CD by Bill Nelson and a CD of part of a Jeeves novel.  Park Hill Prairie features one of the last remaining local patches of the original tallgrass prairie. I like to walk there a few times a year.  During this walk, I saw lots of Dickcissel birds. These prairie birds captivate me. They were my first sighting of Dickcissel this year.  I walked for an hour there. Wildflowers were in bloom.  Then I drove to another county park called Sister Grove. I spotted no wildlife there. I ate lunch at Dicky's BBQ in Princeton.  I enjoyed that walk. I also stopped at Caldwell City Park in Princeton, the old P.O.W. camp. I saw several bluebirds before a rain drove me from the field. I got a shower at home. Then my wife and I went shopping. My wedding ring fell off in July 2016 when i spoke at a conference in Washington, D..C.  We set off to get a replacement.  We went to Stonebriar shopping center in Frisco. The massive parking lot was nearly full. We had forgotten it was tax-free weekend
We decided not to go into the mall. We went instead to a nearby Jared jewelry store. A capable young woman helped us not only replace my ring, but get my wife a ring that fit her better. We left the rings with her for minor alteration. We drove to San Miguel in McKinney. for a nice Mexican dinner.

This was a very nice birthday.  My wife got me a charming card, and two CDs of post-punk and electronica music circa early 1980s.

breakfast: purple corn flakes and skim milk
lunch: BBQ chicken, green beans, jalapeno beans and roll
dinner: two chicken enchiladas, salad and bean soup

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I walked after work for an hour in Allen Station Park.  We went for dinner at Firewater, a nice small restaurant in our town. I liked the air conditioning and the excellent service.  We talked about a potential trip to Oklahoma. My wife described looking into getting us concert tickets, but that the standing-room-only condition of the show combined with its astronomic price deterred her. I often find that pricing for shows is the inverse of my interest in shows. I suppose I have a gift for enjoying less popular bands.

In the more popular musical category, the restaurant stereo began to play Seals and Crofts' "Summer Breeze".  My wife recalled the song playing when her step-mother drove her to the airport as she departed for university for the first time. I remembered the song as being a standard at parties I attended when I was 13 or 14. The song selections at those parties consistently were eclectic.  Curtis Mayfield's "Superfly",Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen", Three Dog Night's "Pieces of April", Steely Dan's "Reelin' in the Years" all come to mind. "Superfly" inspired folks to perform a dance called "The Frog". The Frog involved a lot of springing about from one's haunches upward, with suitably frog-like kicks.

I hope to enjoy the outdoors tomorrow morning.

breakfast: purple corn flakes and skim milk
lunch: grilled chicken breast and wing, green beans, a roll
dinner: tomato basil flatbread, a piece of chicken flatbread, salad


Aug. 9th, 2017 09:53 pm
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The fountain in the middle of the pond flowed freely, with the light illuminating the mist. Later, when I walked, I heard a staccato clicking. The sound reminded me of a kind of typewriter with melody. As I came closer, I saw it was the pinging of water against a portion of the water sprinkler. Before that, I passed people standing in the dark, speaking about vacation. Big lakes like Lake MIchigan are nice, one said, because there are no waves.  I walked in the darkness and thought about eclipses.

Breakfast:  organic frosted flakes and skim milk
Lunch: broccoli, carrots, dill pickles and two slices of pepperoni pizza
Dinner: beef patty and pork loin on sliders, salad

moving mud

Aug. 9th, 2017 06:30 am
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Yesterday morning I saw a little brown spot on the carpet. I reached down to pick it up. The little brown spot turned out to be a tiny gecko. It skittered away under a divan. I still have a bruise on my left elbow caused by sliding on a wet bridge on my bicycle some weeks ago. My wife arrived home from Kansas City, with tales of good times with family and eclipse planning. I saw a huge Cooper's Hawk in Salmon Park in Sachse yesterday at Noon.  In the late afternoon/early evening after work, I walked in Shawnee Park. A German Shepherd off-leash gave me a quizzical look until his owner put him back on leash. His companion, a Lhasa Apso, came up and barked, until his owner and I assured him that he need not bark. We ate more of the blue potatoes I got in Oklahoma from a farm. They tasted great roasted.

We watched an episode of "Foyle's War" and enjoyed spending a quiet evening at home.

Breakfast: organic frosted flakes with skim milk
Lunch: fried chicken breast and leg, french fries and 1/4 biscuit
Dinner: salad, baked salmon and roasted blue potatoes

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When I drove home tonight, I saw a pop-up storm fully-formed to my west. Our relatively flat landscape makes these purple-cloud extravaganzas a fun sight off in the distance. The rain pulled down like blue threads.  Soon I had driven into the rain.  Once I got to Collin County, I turned north on a side street, exiting the George Bush Freeway. I stopped at a Taco Bueno for soft chicken tacos, to stay out of the rain for a bit.

When I got to Allen, it was as if it had not rained at all. I put Beatrice's leash on, and walked her around Glendover Park. She had a great time.  I had a nice chat by phone with my wife. Now I am watching one of the Superman movies, and relaxing.

Breakfast: skim milk and organic frosted flakes
Lunch: turkey sandwich, baked chips and vegetable soup from Potbelly
Dinner: three soft chicken tacos.
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When my wife leaves town, I take charge of watering her back patio potted plants. My favorite plants are succulent plants.  The Christmas cactus in our downstairs bath rarely needs water, existing mostly on shower mist and indirect sunlight. The large tropical succulent in our bedroom thrives on very little water or sunlight.  My wife's plants require more care.  This year they include an annual tree that dries easily, a hanging plant with flowers that dries even more easily. and some small pots that require some water are not as thirsty.  On the brighter side, the milkweed in our garden bed requires light watering. I hope this year it again gets a Fall crop of Monarch butterfly caterpillars.

I went outdoors this morning and drenched my wife's potted plants. I used the little green watering can devoted to that purpose. I also spread birdseed for the birds on the little stone bench. I got a late start to Weight Watchers. I made up the time by  walking in small Green Park near my home. Immature American Robins abounded. August is the least bird-ful month in our area. The nesters are largely finished with their nests. Only the first hints of migration are in evidence. Lots of birds are in the shade, hiding from the heat. Some form feeding flocks which flock about. Still, Green Park was fairly active.

At Weight Watchers I was up .4 pounds. That is immaterial. I walked in Hoblitzelle Park. Then I went to church at Suncreek UMC. I liked the sermon, about expectations.  I thought about someone whom I perceive cloaks his or her thin self-confidence with a bluster of narrative. I thought to myself how my outlook was too harsh on the person, who faces severe and difficult challenges I do not face. I felt badly about how judgmental I have been, and realized that I should stop being that way.

In the afternoon, I got my oil changed on my car. The oil change came with a power wash. My car was not empty so I asked them to do the outside only.  I liked the pattern of the soap on my window.

I also I had a good call wiith my sister, and a great call with my wife. I picked up some food to make for dinner.

I wanted to cook some of the blue potatoes I bought in Oklahoma. I cut the little new potatoes in half, and added in broccoli crowns.
I put both in a plastic container, and covered it with plastic. I then microwaved it to "steam" the vegetables.  As the container cooled, I heated the cooked ham steak, after Google answered my question directly when I asked Google Voice how long I should microwave it (its advice was 5 minutes, but I thought it was ready in 3). The meal tasted great. The blue potato flesh was a bit blue.

I went for an evening walk in Glendover Park. I saw lightning in the distance.

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I hit the road  to southern Oklahoma at 6:30 a.m. During the nearly three-hour drive, I passed small towns in very rural areas. Non-chain businesses had names like Big Foot BBQ or Six Feet Under Gun Shop.  Every small town had a football field with a sign that said "Home of the [team name]".  A Greater Roadrunner ran in front of me. A horse in a very rural place was loose on the grass. I wanted to phone somebody, but then I realized I had no idea what town I was near or what county I was in. The horse did look reasonably safe and comfortable and not near the road. I spent most of my day in the Choctaw Nation.

I arrived in Wilburton, Oklahoma at 9:25 a.m.  Wilburton is a town of 3,200 adjacent to the San Bois Mountains. I liked its vibrant downtown, and the brick buildings of its small university, Eastern Oklahoma State University. I drove to the Belle Starr lodge. I stayed there once when my mother took my siblings and I there when I was 11 or so. I remember enjoying that trip. I paddled a kayak on lovely Carlton Lake on that trip. It was my first time to kayak. I can hardly imagine a more lovely or safe place to do a first kayak then little Carlton Lake..

Robbers Cave is amid small mountains.  The San Bois chain is the western end of the Ouachita Mountains, It is what happens when a mountain range moves west and drops huge boulders of sandstone.

My old friend Gene drove down from northwest Arkansas. We linked up and drove to the park store. There we got maps of where to go and some good guidance. We drove my car to a parking lot and parked it.  Then we headed to the cave trail.  The cave is a small cave, not one of those caves with stalactites and stalagmites. It was instead reputed to be a hideout during the 19th Century for outlaws like the James Gang and Belle Starr. Belle Starr was killed by gunfire mysteriously not that far away. We enjoyed the 8/10th of a mile trail. It involved lots of huge boulders. I wore my walking shoes and not my hiking shoes. Once I fell because a rock was too slippery. I seem to be okay. Hiking in prairie made me forget to wear my hiking boots to this rocky hike.

The cave was smaller and less steeply placed than I remembered as a kid. But it was great to see a vista of the San Bois Mountains from the top.  The park was lovely--lakes with stone panoramas, deep woods, and lovely hiking. We hiked the short learning center trail. We took a longer hike on the Belle Starr trail to Coon Creek Lake, which involved lots of climbing down and climbing up.

We headed into town for lunch. The Chinese place had a sign that its owners were gone for 3 weeks. The bakery reputed to have great sandwiches was not open.  But Adelita's, the Mexican place, was open and great. I had caldo de cameron. After I ordered, the young server repeated my order, "shrimp soup".  My soup was great--just the right amount of hot seasoning.

We both headed home after lunch. I took the wrong little country highway, a bit by accident and a bit on purpose. In one rural area, I passed a sign that said "Farmer's Market" and "this is the real kind--we grow everything on our farm".  I pulled over onto a gravel road. At its end, a small house and a smaller building that served as the vegetable market were there. I went in. It was air-conditioned and full of fresh produce. But nobody was inside.  I looked at the great wares---watermelons and tomatoes and onions and blue potatoes. I decided to buy blue potatoes. They were five dollars for a sack.  A hand-written note signed "Liz" invited buyers to buy what they want and leave the money in a little locked box. I slipped a five into the box and took my potatoes. A camera apparatus in the store made it all less quaint than a picture-book but it was charming.

My on-star navigation service could not get a good cell to give me a map home, but ultimately my Verizon phone gave me a google map. I had lost a little ground in my wandering but only a little.  I drove on lovely rural roads until I got on Highway 69. I found myself driving by massive Lake Eufaula. I decided to stop at Arrowhead State Park, near Canadian.  I had hiked there with my friend Gene four years ago.

A nice volunteer at the state park office told me how he felt a bit weary but he was still there. "That's the spirit", I said, but he said "I'm not sure I have that spirit". He gave me great directions on where to hike.  I hiked for 90 minutes. The last 45 I switched from trail to road to try to see more birds. I did not see many, but I saw more on the road than in the woods.  This is not unusual--Summer birds like to flit from tree to open space to catch insects. 

The afternoon turned a bit hot. The road was longer than I expected. I kept passing signs for the Narcanon rehab facility on site. I also passed great sets of families having fun on the beach, on playground equipment, or, in the case of two fellows, walking down the road with fishing rods. Lake Eufaula is a lovely large foothills lake. I saw Barn Swallows waiting for a cooler evening by hanging out on telephone wires. I drove to Atoka Lake. I did not spend much time there. I did see a small wild canine. I thought at first it was a fox. But then I decided it was an immature coyote--more than a pup but not very far grown.  It ran to cover before I got a photo. I wish I had a picture to be sure.

All told, it was a grand day. Now the closing credits of Pearl Harbor are scrolling, I threw Beatrice's stuffed red lobster doll.

breakfast: frosted flakes and skim milk
lunch: caldo de cameron and chips
dinner: 3 pieces fried catfish, a roll and green beans.
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My wife  caught a plane to Kansas City early this morning. She had to make a last-minute airline switch when normally-dependable  Southwest canceled an early morning flight and offered alternatives that did not fit her plans. She found a decent last-minute fare on American and took the Super-shuttle out to the airport. I got on a long call to Kansas City for a meeting my wife attended and I "attended by phone". I liked the meeting, but parts of it seemed to squeeze one hour of content into two hours of presentation. I usually flatter myself that only lawyers do that, but I am wrong in so flattering. A Facebook casual acquaintance posted something about how "most lawyers are slimy" which makes me think of tadpole ponds.

I wrapped up the day at work a bit after 6 p.m. I grabbed a sandwich at Subway. The afternoon was quite pleasant, in the low 80s. So I took Beatrice for a walk. She maintained her aloofness around other dogs, although feigned disinterest is closer to the right term.  She had a good time. She got close to a rabbit.

I bought 2 albums on bandcamp by artists I like, Lee Rosevere and C. Reider. I wanted to buy today because today Bandcamp donates proceeds to the Translaw Center.

I watched a video last night of Sparks performing "Edith Piaf (said it better)", the kind of song that reminds me why I listen to Sparks after 40+ years.

My friend Michele had her birthday today. I first met Michele when she was 18, 2 and 4 years, respectively younger than her son and daughter are now. She dated a close friend of mine for years, which close friend has since passed away. My friend did not treat her well, while she treated my friend extremely well. Michele married someone else, which was probably a good decision and in hindsight looks very wise. Michele is one of life's good people--kind and a bit sunny, but not pollyanna-ish.  Her outdoors hobby is bicycling. I wish her every happiness.

I drive early tomorrow, camera and binoculars on board.  I hope I see things--and not "dead people".

breakfast: gorilla munch cereal and skim milk
lunch: 2 slices pepperoni pizza, broccoli, carrots and dill pickles
dinner: turkey sandwich and baked chips

before that

Aug. 3rd, 2017 10:50 pm
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Tonight I made some great plans for Saturday to spend time with an old friend.  Before that, I walked in Bob Woodruff Park, where I listened to the Ask Noah podcast and took photos of Cottontail Rabbits and American Coots. Before that I worked until the early evening.  Before that, I had an afternoon of conference calls and drafting. Before that, I ate lunch and walked near my work. Before that I worked a solid morning. Before that I spread birdseed for the birds. Before that, I woke up after falling asleep again. Before that, I got up early and ate breakfast cereal, while slipping Beatrice mini-milk-bones, balancing them on my knee.

breakfast: organic frosted flakes and skim milk
lunch: whichwich turkey sandwich and baked chips
dinner: two fried chicken breasts, green beans, a roll and corn on the cob

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August 2 felt a bit like May 2. Last night a feather-light rain fell. I walked in Shawnee Park in Plano and in Heritage Park in Sachse. We took Beatrice for a walk in Glendover Park in the dark.

I sent an old friend an invitation to get together on Saturday. I got some family paperwork done this morning. We watched a show about wild nature footage in Ireland.

breakfast: organic frosted flakes and skim milk
lunch: turkey sandwich and baked chips
dinner: 2 chicken sliders and a salad
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The news tonight had video of an attack by teens and young adults upon a man on a DART train (i.e., the local commuter rail). The attack took place on late Sunday night. The perpetrators look young, and reportedly were high.  I felt the incident was unfortunate, and also that the DART Police need to make solving this crime a priority. The attackers are readily visible on the film, so it should be a solvable mystery.

I tried to go to Travis Farm Park at lunch, but it was being mowed.  After lunch, I walked near my office instead.  After work, I walked on the Chisholm Trail.  I saw my first Spotted Sandpiper of the year. Its non-breeding plumage features very little in the way of spots.
That brings my Collin County bird species count for 2017 up to 103. Facebook reminds me that a year ago I was in Yoho National Park in Canada. I saw a Spotted Sandpiper near Canmore a year and a day ago.

The temperature was not cool, but it was cloudier and cooler today than the prior heat. As I drove home, a bit of sprinkled rain fell--a rarity in early August.

I am still busy, but it is fun to be a bit busy.

breakfast: gorilla munch cereal and skim milk
lunch: grilled chicken, green beans and a roll
dinner: chicken and salad
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I walked around the shopping center near my office during lunch. Back at home this evening, I let Beatrice know she is very important in this household.  I walked in Glendover Park before dinner.

Breakfast: organic frosted flakes and skim milk
Lunch: garden vegetable soup, turkey sandwich and baked chips
Dinner: low-fat hamburger pattys on sliders

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I  woke up too early.  But I managed to get back to sleep. I took a morning walk on the Chisholm Trail. I went to Weight Watchers where  I was down a pound and a half. I walked in Suncreek Park on my way to church.

At church, the kids and teens led the service. This was apparently a kind of logical conclusion to the Vacation Bible School.  They all sang and made hand gestures with enthusiam. The fellow who works at a children's healthcare center in Honduras spoke about raising money for his mission endeavors.

In the afternoon,I got a haircut at Classic Cuts in Plano. Then I walked in Crowley Park. I took lots of pictures of an Eastern Phoebe. The temperature stayed a little cooler than in prior days.
At night, we watched an episode of "Grantchester" and a DVD of an episode of "Foyle's War".

breakfast: gorilla gulp cereal and skim milk
lunch: two pieces of fried catfish, green beans and a roll
dinner: two pieces of grilled chicken, corn tortillas, pinto beans and broccoli.

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I got up this morning with the intention to hop in my car and drive to a rural state or county park. But in the event, I felt starting the morning with a walk with Beatrice provided a better start to the morning. Beatrice and I walked in nearby Glendover Park, a short walk from our home. The walk takes a mile and a tenth of a mile to traverse. Beatrice used to take half an hour to do this circuit. Today, as is the routine lately, the walk took fifty minutes. I cannot testify with certainty whether this new timing is all the physical effects of old age, or in part the wisdom of old age. We got a mild break from the heat today, though a "cold front" here translates into hot but not quite as hot rather than cool.

During our walk, we passed near the trunk of a tree. A fox squirrel clung to the tree, a few feet up. Beatrice felt excited to see this creature, but through my efforts, Beatrice got denied the chance to make a proper leap.

I went back home, did a bit of work, and began listening to music. I listened to ambient music in the main. In the late morning, I went to Home Depot. I had missed last week on a couple of nut and bolt purchases to do minor front fender repair on my bicycle. But in my failed effort, I had gotten the right width to put a bolt and wing nut.  I acquired that bolt and wing nut, and got checked out by a nice woman whose ID badge said Edna.

At home, I successfully re-affixed the fender to the frame. This repair replaced the stick that replaced the stick that replaced the stick that did years of service as a repair stopgap. I was delighted with myself for getting it right.  In our family, my wife is the handy and efficient one. I wish I could say I am completely inept, but the truth is more time-consuming. I can do many handyman things, but I am slow and a bit more subject to trial and error.  So I feel the need to slog in, but in slogging I am not rapid.

When I saw the bike was in such better shape, I felt I had to try it out. I headed out at 11:55 a.m. for a ride. I rode on the Watters Branch Trail and the Urban Center Loop Trail. I rode for 2 hours and 15 minutes. I saw a few bird species. I only got one decent picture of a Great Egret.
I thought I saw a White-Eyed Vireo, but camera work suggests it is either an Eastern Phoebe or an Eastern Wood PeWee. I must parse it out a bit.

I went to Taco Bell for lunch. After lunch, I went home and listened to more music. I got into a discussion on Twitter with a Twitter person I follow about the day job v. the artsy job issue.  I am grateful that I like my non-artsy day job.  I know not everyone has the good fortune of a job or a job they like.

My wife had gone to see the new Charlize Thereon action movie "Atomic Blonde" with a friend. I passed on that movie because it looked too violent to me.  When she came home, we headed to El Pollo Loco for dinner. The staff at El Pollo Loco seemed a bit overwhelmed on a busy evening, but the chicken was good. 

We walked after dinner in Glendover Park. Now we are watching an episode of "Foyle's War".  This has been a good day.

breakfast: frosted flakes and skim milk
lunch: three soft shredded chicken tacos
dinner: two grilled chicken breasts (skin removed), one grilled chicken wing, two corn tortillas, broccoli

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