Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween at our house



A table out front with buckets of little beers, some Mike’s Hard Lemonade, or a pack of M&Ms.  No kids, but plenty of friends and neighbors in good spirits wandering the park for a visit at each stop.  Some in costume.  The Halloween tradition.  A very social afternoon.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Mysteries of the Moon


How can there be a dark side of the moon; one side we always see and another we never do?


I’m told it’s because the moon doesn’t rotate.  How can that be; how can it circle around us and never rotate relative to us?  In a way, I think it’s rotating exactly once for each orbit around the earth.  One moon day equals one moon year.  That’s way too precise to be a coincidence.


I’m led to believe that the moon doesn’t rotate relative to us, because it’s just a piece of us.  It’s a chunk that broke off and tried to get away but only made it that far before it got caught in orbit.  Okay, maybe that works.


But if it’s a chunk that broke off, and it’s not rotating, how did it get round?  Why doesn’t it still just look like an odd sized chunk of us?  If it’s not spinning and getting pummeled by space debris from all sides for millions of years, what made it round?


Meanwhile, we got a full rainbow tonight.





I didn’t have a wide enough lens on hand to get the whole thing at once, but it was a glorious full rainbow.



Thursday, October 29, 2015

A day in the life


It’s a sad ceiling fan lying on the floor of our deck.


It has been outside on the ceiling for several years.  I guess the blades are brittle now.  A wind came up while we were gone this summer and blew them off.


But a new fan went up today.


A breeze on demand for sitting out on the deck in hot weather.


Smoke rising from the Bradley; hot juicy ribs inside.


Green Jays on the feeder out back.




Great Kiskadees in the yard.


The ground torn up by the back gate where we were visited by an armadillo overnight.  (File photo of an armadillo.)


That’s life in the Valley.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Scissor-tailed flycatchers



In a tree.


With a cactus growing in it.



Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Purple Gallinule



Number 398!  Two to go.


He’s not really purple yet, but he’s young.  He’s working on it.  He’s got a green sheen going on so far.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Also, from the archives


The Grizzly Giant.


…and, how to feed a camel.



Saturday, October 24, 2015

More photos from the seventies


Casting practice for a day at the lake.







Believe it or not, Judy is about 30 in these pictures.  Honest.  I swear she’s not 14.



Friday, October 23, 2015

We're sitting at home


…watching the most severe hurricane ever recorded hit the west coast of Mexico.  Unrelated to the hurricane on the coast, it’s already raining record amounts in Central Texas, between Austin and Dallas.  The remnants of the hurricane are expected to come through over the weekend and enhance the storms that are already here.


So far so good for our part of way South Texas.  Isolated local areas here have had double digit rainfall, but we’ve only had incidental showers directly on us so far.


This week’s Formula 1 Race is in Austin.  Formula 1 is not like NASCAR.  F1 races in the rain.  It was a wet practice this morning, but the afternoon practice was cancelled because of electrical storms.  They don’t race in lightning storms.



Thursday, October 22, 2015

When we were in Corpus on Monday


…we picked up another year-bird.  Wood Stork.



Number 397.  Three to go!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

It's a change of season


We like to sleep cool so we run the air conditioning at night.  When we get up in the morning, it’s always warmer outside than inside, so we just turn off the AC, and open the front door to warm up.


This morning was different.  It was colder outside than inside!  OMG; it was in the 60s!  We left the front door closed and turned on the electric fireplace to take the chill off.



I’ve been enjoying driving the Mazda since we’ve been back.  It’s a hatchback sedan, but it’s a sporty little thing.  It’s fuel-efficient.  So I’m out driving around; haven’t stopped for gas yet, and I realize I’m still driving around on fuel I bought last April!  How funny is that?  I know, we were gone all summer, but still, we’ve been back for weeks and I’m still driving on gas we bought in April.  Gotta love that!



The primary scheduling nurse called.  They’ve pushed the surgery back to the 18th.  No problem; that just gives us more time to anticipate.  It’s like foreplay.  Only different.



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It's not easy


It’s not easy getting to surgery.


First we go see the surgeon and he tells us we need surgery.  We say okay.  All set, right?


Wrong.  We have to get clearance from our G.P. that we’re healthy enough for surgery.  We go there and get an E.K.G., a chest X-ray, and a note from our doctor saying we can do this.  No problem.


Also, it will be more complicated going in through my neck this time.  My neck is not a virgin anymore; there may be scar tissue and adhesions.  Our surgeon has asked an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) guy to scrub in.  So we go see the ENT.  He looks in my ears, nose, and throat.  We have a nice visit until he decides to stick a Go-pro up my nose until it’s all the way down my throat so he can see my vocal cords.  So now he’s seen everything he needs to see, except he wants some lab work.  We’re scheduled for a blood test to monitor thyroid function.  He wants to be sure we have a baseline because they’ll be working all around the whole thyroid complex while they’re in there and he wants to know what home base is in case something gets screwed up.  He also wants an ultrasound of my throat so they know right where everything is.  It might be different from how it was originally because they were just in there last January pushing things around.  And lastly they want some active imaging while I’m swallowing barium.  Now we have something that sounds like fun; a barium swallowing contest.  Count me in.  Do you think they have ever seen someone gargle barium before swallowing it?  Hands down.  I win.


So once all that is done, we’ll know everything we need to know.  I’ll have received all the medical clearances I need.  Both doctors are on board.  My surgery will be on November 4th.  We went back to the spinal surgeon to deliver the good news.  Oops.  Both doctors neglected to mention our plans to the scheduling nurses.  Each doctor has his own scheduling nurse.  Nothing happens until the scheduling nurses say it does.  Now we’ve put the scheduling nurses in touch with each other.


So my surgery will definitely be November 4th.  Unless they have to move it to November 5th.  Unless that doesn’t work, then the next available date will be November 18th.


Stay tuned.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Near Beer


Water is nice, but it can get boring.  I like the taste and fizz of a Coke, but I don’t like the sugar rush I get.  I like the taste and fizz of a beer, but I don’t always want the alcohol rush.  Funny thing, beer and coke have about the same number of calories, but I don’t get a sugar rush from beer.  I looked at the labels and coke has 39 grams of sugar.  Beer has 0.  Same carbohydrates, same calories, but no sugar in beer.


So, what to drink during the day?  Near beer.  There are lots of no-alcohol beers, like O’Doul’s, Beck’s and St. Pauli Girl.  No-alcohol beer doesn’t really mean no alcohol though, it means low alcohol.  They have about a 0.5% alcohol content, so they probably wouldn’t be a good choice for alcoholics trying to avoid alcohol altogether.  It would take ten near beers to get the equivalent alcohol as one regular beer though, so I think I’m okay with that.


So that’s it, my preferred lunchtime drink, even when we’re traveling.  My challenge though, is not to drink conspicuously, like in the middle of town, or when there is a police car next to us on the highway.  Better to not get pulled over at all, than to get caught drinking from a beer bottle while driving, then have to explain that I’m drinking and driving responsibly.  Can’t tell a near beer from a real beer at a distance.



Sunday, October 18, 2015



We’re really glad to live somewhere there are fireflies.  I didn’t grow up with them in Southern California.  Judy had them in Missouri when she was young.  We spotted them a couple times in Colorado, but that’s not a natural place for them in that altitude and dry air.


In South Texas, they’re here all summer.  We see them at night when we’re out for a walk.  When we sit on the deck in the dark, we see them in the yard.  Once in a while they fly up on the porch with us.  Yesterday evening, one was even in the house, blinking his way from room to room.


We just like them.



Saturday, October 17, 2015

Speaking of Spring Break camping trips


Here is how we rocked them; with a VW Bus, pup tent, supplemental tent in the later years, and a glorious desert.





















With a look at the Grand Canyon along the way.