Tuesday, October 31, 2017



We got our muggy weather back.  78% humidity!


The hummingbird migration is over.  We’re down to one hummingbird feeder and one hummingbird; a resident buff-bellied.


I thought the hummingbird food level was going down too fast for one bird though; no way he could eat that much.  Then we discovered the problem.


A golden fronted woodpecker with a sweet tooth!



Monday, October 30, 2017

You would think


That getting 11 out of 12 games right would be good enough to win a stupid football pool, but nooo….


11 out of 12 right was just good enough for Judy to get first loser.  Somebody (John) got ALL of them right!


Sunday, October 29, 2017

The football pool


I’m pretty careful with my picks.  I pay attention to won/loss record, power rankings, whether they’re home or away, and whether each team is trending up or down.  Judy on the other hand tends to pick the team she’d like to win.


We track our results.  So far this week I have 6 out of 11 games picked correctly.  Judy is 10 out of 11 and her pick in the Sunday night game is leading in the fourth quarter.


Go figure.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Henry kicks it around for a while


And makes his choice!




Guess we can go ahead and get rid of the cardboard box now.


Friday, October 27, 2017

What the


Just as the weather was getting a little more mild, another minor front came through.  The breeze is back from the north and the temperature dropped from the mid-eighties into the seventies.  By time to grill the chicken for dinner, it had dropped into the sixties!  It was brutal.  I had to put on long sleeves and stand close to the fire!


Last week’s trip to Corpus got us a herd of white-tailed deer in the dunes.



And a sand crab (ghost crab).


Or two!


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fall weather sets in


The days are still warm, with highs in the mid-eighties.  The nights are cold though (for us), with lows in the fifties and sixties.  No more eighty-degree coffee on the deck mornings for us!  Humidity is low too; about 30 percent, but that’s only because the breeze is from the north right now.  We’ll get our humidity back when the prevailing winds shift around from the southeast.


We went to the dermatologist yesterday.  She was busy making dots on us with the liquid nitrogen can when all of a sudden I realized she was drawing lines!


Cool stuff happening at work.  Cool projects around the house.  Our days are full.


We got Henry a new bed for the front window.


So far all he’s done is push it out of the way.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017



The local grocery chain.  There are hardly any other grocery stores here besides HEB, but that doesn’t matter to us.  We love our HEB.  Great produce.  Friendly staff.  Our friend Michael is an HEB butcher.  He can always get us what we want.  They’re the ones doing the HEB to you website where we can pre-order all our food if we want, then just drive there and pick it up.  When we’ve been out of town, we’re always glad to get back to our HEB.


Not only that, the urinal in the men’s room has a bullseye painted in it.  They’re that good.



Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Jeep and the Mazda 3


They’re exactly the same.  One tank of gas gets almost 500 miles before we have to stop again.  They’re each fun to drive; for their own reasons.  They each get great gas mileage; for the kind of car they are.


Yeah, they’re exactly the same, with the one exception that when we’re fueling up, I have to stand outside the car next to the gas pump for twice as long with the Jeep as I do with the Mazda.



Sunday, October 22, 2017

Another great thing about Formula 1 Racing


You can tape it in the middle of the night and watch it later.  It doesn’t matter how much later you watch it, you don’t have to worry about accidentally seeing the results on the news or some other sports show, because nobody else cares!


Football might be a stupid game, but Formula 1 Rocks!



Saturday, October 21, 2017

There is a billboard here


It is advertising a local attorney.  It says


“Friends don’t let friends plead guilty.”


Is that how we roll; avoiding responsibility for our actions; ducking the consequences for what we’ve done?  How about “Yes, I did it, and I’m sorry.”  Or even “Yes I did it and I’m not sorry.”


This billboard suggests that if you are charged with a crime, and you did the crime, that attorney will advise that your defense should be based on a lie: “not guilty”.  Are there no ethical requirements to being an attorney?  (I know there are, but does this billboard not offend them?)



Friday, October 20, 2017



Maybe we should get Henry a better dog bed by the front window than a cardboard box lid.


Thursday, October 19, 2017



I have an opinion about the NFL protests.


I’m having flashbacks to “Love it or Leave it”.  I thought that slogan had been left behind in the sixties, but now I’m hearing the same sentiment expressed as “If you don’t like our flag or country just get out.”  (If you haven’t heard that, just scroll through a few Facebook posts and then you will have.)


This is an awesome country, but we should recognize that it’s not the same for everyone.  The NFL players aren’t protesting our flag, our soldiers, or our national anthem.  They’re protesting apparent unequal treatment by law enforcement and court decisions.  They’ve never said it’s about anything else.  All that noise is other people trying to deflect the message into something they’d rather defend.  It doesn’t even matter if the protesters’ perception of unequal treatment is right or wrong, their concern and comment is constitutional.  The first amendment to our constitution guarantees:


“ ... freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.”


If it makes us uncomfortable that NFL players choose to protest during the national anthem, that’s probably a good thing.  I don’t think protests are supposed to make us comfortable.


If we need a slogan to get through this, let’s recycle an old one with a slight revision.  How about


Love it and leave it even better than you found it!



Wednesday, October 18, 2017



Remember when the kids were little, and you could sit in one place and track them through the house just by listening.  Every time they picked up something they weren’t supposed to, they’d say “No.” out loud.  It’s kind of like that with Judy, except she’s saying “Ow.” out loud.


We drove to Corpus and got her cast off today.  She says it hurts a lot less already without the cast pressing against the wounds.  She’s saying “Ow.” less, so she’s a little harder to track now.


First thing she wanted to do at the doctor’s office was get her left hand under water and wash it.

It hasn’t been wet for weeks.


Next thing when we got home was to take a shower without one arm in a plastic bag!


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Man with a camera


I sent my camera in for service so I’ve been without it for a couple weeks.  It was good to get it back and shoot some random pictures.


We’ve got neotropic cormorant.


A couple egrets, great and snowy.


And a loggerhead shrike.



Monday, October 16, 2017

I listened to an interview


It was with a 47 year-old man.  He said “I couldn’t join the military and fight for my country when I was 15.  I wasn’t mature enough.  I couldn’t vote.  They said my brain wasn’t fully formed.  I couldn’t buy a drink or even a pack of cigarettes yet.  I wasn’t old enough to be responsible.


But when I was 15 I made a terrible decision and killed another person.  I was tried as an adult and sentenced to spend the rest of my life in prison.  I understand that taking a person’s life is a horrible thing to do, but how is it that for every other thing I might have done when I was 15 I was not old enough to be responsible, but for that one thing, I am held responsible for the rest of my life?”


End quote.  This is me talking again.  I’m not in favor of the death penalty; I just have a logic problem with it.  “It’s so wrong to kill someone that we’re going to kill you if you do it.”  That doesn’t resonate for me.  I prefer something along the lines of putting the killer in jail for as long as the victim remains dead.


This however, is a different spin.  The thought of putting a person in prison for life for a decision they made when they were 15?  That’s tough.



Sunday, October 15, 2017

Judy negotiated an early out


We all know how it works.  You break something.  You get a cast.  You leave the cast on for as long as the doctor says.  Then you get it off.  That’s how it works.  You just do what the doctor says.


So is that how Judy does it?  Not exactly.  I came home and she announced that the appointment to get her cast off had been moved up a week.  She called the doctor and negotiated an early release.  We drive back to Corpus on Wednesday to get the cast cut off.  She’ll spend less time in the cast, and more time in the removable splint.


Who knew?



Saturday, October 14, 2017

We had an appointment today


With the grocery store.




They have a new online order/pickup service.  We shopped on their website the day before, paid for our purchase, selected a time today to pick up our order (a half-hour window), pulled up to the parking area marked for this purpose, and texted them the spot we were in.  The attendant came right out, confirmed who we were, and handed us two complimentary bottles of cold water and two cookies.  She returned inside and was back out in just a few minutes with all our groceries and put them in the back of the car.  Fruits and vegetables, dairy, bagels, meat, bottled water, a bottle of wine, even cut flowers.  We tried it all.  We checked our order when we got home and it was just right; it worked perfectly.


A five minute stop and we never even had to get out of the car.  That was the easiest trip to the grocery store ever.


It wasn’t free.  Well, it was and it wasn’t.  The cost for this convenience is $4.95, but the charge is waived during this introductory period (until the end of the year).



Friday, October 13, 2017

Teenage angst


Judy and Me.  We discovered each other early.  We were in our mid-teens.  We knew we were way too young to get married, but agonized at the end of every day when saying goodnight meant we each went our separate ways; to our own houses; each to sleep alone.  We longed for the day when we could say goodnight and stay together.


In 1966, four years later, and we were married by the way, the Beach Boys nailed it with a song.  “Wouldn’t it be nice.”  That could have been our theme song.


Wouldn't it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn't have to wait so long
And wouldn't it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong

You know its gonna make it that much better
When we can say goodnight and stay together




How did they know our words?



Thursday, October 12, 2017



Not much left for hummingbirds; just a couple a day.


But the hawks!


They rise in the morning about 9am.


By the thousands.


Mostly Swainson’s Hawks.


With a few turkey vultures mixed in.


This is all right from our house.  All we have to do is look up!











Wednesday, October 11, 2017



I’d rather just send out pictures of puppies and birds,


… but uninvited thoughts keep popping into my head.


I think, for analysis, I can split the in the 2016 presidential election voters into three kinds.  There were people who supported Trump.  There were people who didn’t support Trump.  And there were the Trump-curious.  The curious didn’t know if they really wanted Trump, but figured it was time to try something different.


I think the Trump supporters still support him.  I think the people who didn’t support him still don’t.  I don’t think anyone is still curious.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

I'm confused


I can’t figure out when independence is a good thing and when it’s a bad thing without a playbook, and I don’t have a playbook.


Our independence; the United States of America declaring independence from the British Empire; that was a good thing.  We were a population with common interests wanting to break free from a system that didn’t work to our benefit.  We revel in our independence and celebrate it every year.


Independence for the Catalonian region of Spain?  That’s different.  It’s not a good thing.  Independence for the Kurds in Iraq?  No bueno.  We declared our independence then fought a war to secure it.  These are populations trying to separate by peaceful democratic means, but both the referendums have been declared illegal in their home countries.  Do you have to fight a war to prove you really mean it?


I’m sure glad it was a good idea for the U.S. to declare independence, and we did.  Separation might be inconvenient for the mother country, and I suspect it was for England when the colonies left, but I don’t understand why it is a bad idea for other states or regions to do the same thing it was a good idea for us to do.



Monday, October 9, 2017

I could be wrong now



…but what this statement says to me is that the Vice President supports the First Amendment right to protest perceived injustice peacefully, as long as the people protesting do it the way he prefers.


(It also says to me, he had to fly a long way to walk into a situation he knew was going to happen, so he could be offended.)



Sunday, October 8, 2017

Poor Henry



If he could just learn to relax…



Saturday, October 7, 2017



A flash of lightning.  A clap of thunder.  A downpour.  We head for the door.  We want to be outside on the deck, as close as we can get to the rain without actually being right in it.  Even when the storm is not a thunderstorm, we sit outside and listen to the sound, savor the clean fresh air, feel the spray.


Funny, we don’t remember ever delighting in the rain like that when we lived in Seattle, but rain in Colorado, rain here in South Texas, that a whole different thing.



Friday, October 6, 2017

Oh darn


The hummingbird migration is letting up.


The four feeders aren’t always busy.  Sometimes there are only half a dozen birds; sometimes none.  They’re not drinking a quart of food a day anymore.


There will still be a few birds year-round, mostly buff-bellied,


but we’ll miss the swarms until next spring.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Defining moments


Sometimes we don’t recognize them when they happen.  The images of paper towels casually tossed to people desperate for help brought back bad feelings for me though, and I realize that memory was a defining moment.  It was long ago, in the Army, in basic training.  We’d done a long march; maybe it was the 20 mile march.  At the end of the trek, we were not back at camp, we were at our destination from which we would be trucked back to camp.  Tired and hungry, there was food waiting for us.  Our meal consisted of individual cans of C rations on the back of a truck.  There was no orderly distribution, there were a couple soldiers tossing out cans of food from the back of the truck and watching the hungry trainees scrambling for them.  I don’t think it was a sanctioned event.  That was the first and only time we were ever subjected to that novelty; but the Army training did have a way of getting in your head like that and making a situation feel desperate, even if it was really not so bad as it seemed.  I walked away from that free-for-all for food.  At that moment I resolved that I would never scramble like that.  Not for food.  Not for safety.  Not for anything.



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

South Texas Wildlife


On our deck.


A vine sphinx moth I believe.



Tuesday, October 3, 2017



Sometimes Judy lets me do everything, but those times are fewer as the days go by.  More and more, of course, she has to do stuff herself, even if she can only do it with one hand.  I still brag that I’m her left-hand man, and I am, but only when I can get to whatever it is she wants before she does.



Monday, October 2, 2017

Fall is in the air


In the mornings, it’s below 80 outside, and we have more humidity than Fahrenheits. 


The high will still be in the nineties though.  Fahrenheits for sure.  Humidity, maybe.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Here is the problem



There is a puzzle piece missing.


On the map that shows counties in which we have reported birds, there is one blank county, surrounded by counties where we have reported birds.  One county, that close to where we live.  (We live in the reddest county below it.)(In this case, red just means more birds reported.)(Although from a political perspective, this is Texas, they’re probably all red.)


The solution:



A drive to Jim Hogg County.  Nine species reported, including white-tailed hawk.  Problem solved!


Now, to deal with those other approximately eight thousand counties in Texas…