Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Continuing education


It was a long day at the computer, but I’m now officially 8 hours smarter than I was yesterday.  I so appreciate being able to attend classes virtually.


Meanwhile, the news goes on.  Watching Trump so far ahead in the polls and so confident a year before the election, I’m reminded of another runaway republican candidate that “knew” he was going to get the nomination:


December 1, 2011




WEST DES MOINES, IOWA — A very confident Newt Gingrich asserted to ABC News Thursday afternoon that he will be the Republican presidential nominee.

“I’m going to be the nominee,” the former Speaker told ABC News. “It’s very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I’m going to be the nominee.”

As I recall, New Gingrich wasn’t the nominee in 2012.



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Know that old question


If a tree falls in the forest and there is no-one there to hear, does it make a sound?


Well guess what.  We know the answer!  We were there!  In an oak forest at South Llano River State Park.  It was late, and dark.  There was no-one around.  Suddenly there was a great sharp crashing noise about 50 feet behind us when a tree just split in half and the entire top of it fell to the ground.  It made a really big sound.  Scared the hell out of us.



Now we’re at Goose Island State Park on the Gulf Coast.


2015 summer trip map


Tonight’s view:




If anything falls into the ocean with no-one around, we’ll report back.  (The sun might have made a slight hiss.)


Monday, September 28, 2015

I loved the Pope's visit to the U.S.


The religious stuff he says doesn’t resonate with me.  I don’t believe in god, heaven, hell, or the devil.  I believe in reason.  Thousands of years ago, we had legends, myths, and religion to explain what we didn’t understand.  I don’t understand why we are still relying on those solutions today.


But I’m loving this pope.  Even when he says stuff I don’t agree with, like a woman does not have the right to choose what happens to her body after intercourse, even if she didn’t have a choice about the intercourse; he goes on to say we should be consistent in our reasoning.  If we are going to insist on the sanctity of life, even before birth, why are we killing people with the death penalty?  Why are we so involved in the arms trade; creating and selling the implements of death?  Why do we let the slaughter of our own citizens go on so long with unregulated access to weapons for mass killings?  Where is our insistence of the sanctity of life?  C’mon people, let’s be consistent with our reasoning.


He believes in compassion.  When confronted with refugees, don’t see a number and look away, look into his or her eyes and see a fellow human being.  Treat them with dignity and respect.


He points out that we are all immigrants, or children of immigrants.  What were we all looking for?  A better life.  We should deal with immigrants humanely, as we would choose for ourselves to be treated.


He has a problem with unfettered capitalism.  So do I.  So many people work hard all their lives to get by.  Some people, in spite of their efforts, can’t even find *enough* work to get by.  Our system of capitalism is awesome for the people that thrive under it, but there seem to be no limits.  It produces star athletes that get 100 million dollar contracts, or even worse, feel disrespected by a 100 million dollar contract and insist they’re worth 125 million.  Really?  How can so many people work so hard for what they get, while a fortunate few get so much?  Where is the provision for compassion in capitalism for those left behind?


Global warming.  He thinks we should pay attention to the planet and take care of it.


He’s the moral compass for a billion people.  He believes in reason.  So do I.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

When last we saw the packrat


He was peeking over the air cleaner at us.  Here is how far he got on his nest before we interrupted him.


We haven’t seen any sign of him since.


From Balmorhea State Park, we went on to South Llano River State Park for a couple days.  Edge of the hill country.  Very scenic.  Oak forest river bottom.  Birdy.  Here is a black-crested titmouse….


..with a field sparrow.


We’re back in Texas.  We officially retired the trip humidifier that we needed so much in the high dry air of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.


Now we’re in San Antonio for a couple days.  Almost home.  Looking at the trip map, you can’t even tell we’re not all the way there.


2015 summer trip map


Saturday, September 26, 2015

What a difference a day makes


When we went to bed Thursday night we didn’t have a packrat nest on top of the air cleaner in our engine compartment.  Friday morning, we did.


He was still in there building when I opened the hood on Friday.  When we all finished admiring the rat, we evicted his stuff, started the car and left it running until we left. 

We didn’t want him to be comfortable in there again.


Now we’re at South Llano River State Park.



Hopefully the packrat isn’t.


No cellphone.  No internet.  We’re subject to radio silence (until we drive into town (Juction)).  In Junction, it’s limited at best.  (I couldn’t get the packrat picture.)


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Now we've done it


We’re back in Texas.  Working our way east on Interstate 10.  The trip is winding down.


2015 summer trip map


We were treated to another sunset.



And scaled quail.


We hardly ever get to see scaled quail.


This is the best look we’ve ever gotten!


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bosque Sunset


Last night.


Sunrise this morning.


A little morning mist in the dawn.



We saw this strange thing in the grass.


It was scuffling around in the grass for something.  We got a little closer for a better look.


We got as close as we could.


Then it waddled off.


We shuffled off as well, to get to Las Cruces.


2015 summer trip map


Tomorrow……..  Texas.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015



Albuquerque was nice.  Spent a couple days.  Had a visit with Shannon and Jela, our Albuquerque contingent.  Got the Remco transmission pump in the minivan replaced at Tom’s RV.  They did an outstanding job on short notice.  Headed south.  Stopped at Bosque Birdwatchers RV Park.


2015 summer trip map



We might have gotten the best spot.


Popped over to Bosque del Apache.




Saw some critters along the way.










Can you spot the hummingbird in this picture?















And a fine sky for evening coffee.



Tomorrow, Las Cruces.


Monday, September 21, 2015

While we were in Denver


We got to go to a gymnastics practice.  Alex has moved up to level 8 this year.  It’s considerably different from level 7.  Level 7 was required moves with extra credit for bonus moves.  Level 8 is open to a lot more skills.  I don’t think any of them are required.


Alex has a lot of new moves, but they’re not polished yet.  Here he is practicing on the pommel, working on traveling the entire apparatus, and the handstand dismount.


Alex, pommel practice, level 8.


On the floor, every tumbling run includes something new.  There are twists pretty much added to every flip.


Alex, floor practice, level 8.


The twists happen so fast, it’s hard to count rotations.  It’s not smooth yet, but exciting to watch.


Roman has been the primary guy that coaches all the boys.  While we were there watching, he introduced us to the new coach they just hired to work with the level 8 kids, Alex Somethingveryrussian.  He pronounced the name for us several times to no avail.  (Svitlychnyy.  Way too many consonants.  Not enough vowels.)  Okay then, coach Alex went to the Olympics in 1996 and again in 2000 at which the teams won bronze and silver.  That’s Alex’s new coach.  It looks like Alex is going to get a lot more direct attention.  While we were watching the pommel, we watched Coach Alex catch Alex’s legs and walk him all around the pommel, explaining what should be happening, where his balance should be, where his shoulders should be, what his hips should be doing, what it should feel like, at every stage of the process.  It was way cool.


We get to go watch an invitational meet in five months.  Houston in February.  That should be fun.


Sunday, September 20, 2015



2015 summer trip map


Rio Grande Nature Center State Park




Roadrunners, wood ducks, and a mute swan.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

What a difference a day makes


Lathrop State Park yesterday.


Northern New Mexico high desert today.



Completely different.  Both wonderful.  We’re at Santa Fe Skies RV Park.


2015 summer trip map


Home of rusty old farm equipment




Odd artwork


Strange things in the sky



…and sunsets.



This is the farthest south we’ve been in months.  We’re so far south, if we were farther east we could be in North Texas!