Sunday, June 17, 2018

Lorrie Morgan

Donna and I attended the Lorrie Morgan concert this past Saturday night. We enjoyed the performance.

The show started promptly with about a 40 to 45 minute set by Jesse Keith Whitley, son of Lorrie Morgan and Keith Whitley. If you follow country music, you'll know that Keith Whitley is something of a country music legend, having recorded very few songs in his brief career but earning several hits. He died as the result of alcohol poisoning in 1989.

Lorrie Morgan is the daughter of George Morgan, a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He has the distinct privilege of being the last person to sing on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium before the Grand Ole Opry moved to its new location. He then was the first person to perform on stage of the new Grand Ole Opry House.

So, Jesse Keith Whitley has quite a bit of musical legacy coming his way from his father and grandfather. He played several songs over his solo set.

But the real show began when Lorrie Morgan appeared on stage. Morgan has enjoyed a string of hits over the years, and she played most during her performance in Angelo. Her set began about 9:00 and ran nonstop until about 10:30 or so. Her voice is still strong and rock solid, and she is supported by 5 talented musicians: a keyboardist, lead guitar, drummer, acoustic rhythm guitar, and bass guitar. Her son appeared on stage for 2 or 3 songs during Morgan's set.

Morgan on stage with her band. The white spotlight seems to wash her out.

I zoomed in for this closeup of Morgan, but again, she is washed out by the spotlight. It doesn't help, I guess, that she is very fair skinned and her hair is very blonde.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Doing Nearly Nothing

Ah, the slow and lazy days of summer are upon us. We don't do much during the summer except try to stay cool, especially when the daily temps approach 100, and sometimes exceed that. We don't even like to travel much during summer unless it is to cooler climes, like the mountains.

We've just about completed all of our medical appointments. Everything looks pretty good considering our ages. Donna has a final appointment Monday, then she has a couple of other appointments approaching, just routine updates.

Tonight, we go to a Lorrie Morgan concert at the San Angelo Performing Arts Campus. It should be a fun night. This past Thursday, we attended a dinner at the clubhouse in our subdivision and enjoyed music by the Divas, a local group of ladies who have attained a solid following in the community. They describe themselves as "a collaboration of solo artists whose sum is greater than its parts!" It was fun to visit with our neighbors, eat some good food, and enjoy the music of these lovely ladies.

Aside from that, we've not been doing much. We both continue to walk quite a bit. Donna has increased her mileage and is now doing 6 or more miles almost daily. I still do a paltry 5 to 6 miles, but I walk more frequently than the old woman. However, I can't keep pace with her. Those short legs are a blur. Around the community, she is known as "Flash". The other day, she passed an old man and her draft knocked him down. Luckily, I was there to help him up.

We seem to be having more animals coming into the subdivision. I suppose it is a result of the drought conditions. We are bordered by an FM highway to our east and a US highway to our south. The other sides of our subdivision border ranch land. I guess animals creep in to Rio Concho West for water, the soft green grass, and other reasons. We are accustomed to sharing our space with turkeys and deer, but the ring tail cats and other critters are a bit new for us. I am alarmed by the number of skunks we have roaming about. I see at least one skunk on almost every walk. I shared my picture of a possum in a recent post. On a recent walk, I came across a snake. It was still fairly dark, but I saw a shape in a driveway. I put my flashlight on it and saw a snake of perhaps 2 feet. It was too dark for me to ID it, and I'm not good with snakes anyway. I've killed 2 rattlers in our subdivision before -- one in my yard and another for an older man on his front porch. So, this is not that unusual. Still, it's a might unsettling.

I'll leave you with my poor pictures of my recent snake encounter.

This is more or less what I saw in the dark as I approached the snake. You can see my shadow at left in the dim glow of a nearby street light.
I held my flashlight in my mouth to get this partial shot of the snake.
So, if you don't hear from me again, you'll know the savage animals here at RCW have cornered me and put me to rest.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Keeping Appointments

We're about halfway through the two weeks of medical visits we had scheduled. So far, I've come through looking pretty fit, but the old woman is having to make a few extra visits. Yeah, her life of debauchery is catching up with her at long last. I think we can fix her, though.

Both of us are ready to take a trip some where. We haven't been anywhere in about a month and a half now; that's a bit long for us.

It continues to be hot and dry out here. The grass is drying out around our house. If the 100+ degree heat isn't enough to dry it out, those hot, blistering winds surely are. But that's life in West Texas.

We continue to walk early in the morning. The critters are really taking over out here. This morning, I had just started up our street when a ring tail cat crossed in front of me and darted between some houses. A little later, I saw several deer grazing along the edge of our subdivision, and a skunk was doing its daily patrol along some houses near the entrance. The skunks are a daily sight now, and that bothers me because of their susceptibility to rabies. I suppose the dry conditions are causing the animals to come in where there is some soft grass to graze and some puddles of water from the sprinkler systems. I've even seen some jack rabbits bounding about the place lately.

I'll leave you with 2 grainy pictures of critters. The quality is poor because I took the shots with my phone camera, and the hour is still early and the light not good.

Stay cool!

This possum made himself at home at someone's back door. 

Skunk patrol

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

We're Keeping Cool

The heat wave continues out here. We did have a slight reprieve on Sunday and Monday when the highs were only in the mid-90s. Otherwise, we've pretty much stayed with triple digit temps, including a reading of 107 one day.

The heat is certainly taking its toll on the grass and plants. It's taking its toll on us, too. We are not going out and sitting on our patio very much. The heat is really oppressive right now. We'll go out during the afternoon to water the plants on our patio and to see what activity is going on in the neighborhood, but we don't stay out long. We usually go back out right before bedtime, when the evening has cooled things off. Even the early mornings are hot, with night lows sometimes hovering around the 80s. I much prefer walking in the morning when it is 65 or so.

We did get out to San Angelo State Park early one morning, around 6:15 or so. We did our regular 5 mile route out there, and it was pleasant enough. Fortunately, there was a cloud cover, so the sun never really emerged to cook us. We were finished with our walk by 8:00.

To change course a bit here . . . .

I've always been intrigued by how light plays upon natural features. I've posted such pictures over the years. The mountainous desert terrain is one of the best places to observe this. Depending on the time of day and the angle and amount of sunlight available, the same place can take on quite different looks.

For example, note the picture below I snapped of the Colorado River in Laughlin, NV, about 3 years ago. I love how the setting sun lights up the top of the Arizona mountains, while the rest of the landscape is bathed in shade.

The sun sets on the Colorado River in Laughlin, NV.
A few entries ago, I shared some shots of the full moon rising early so that the rooftops of homes were still bathed in sunlight. The other night some clouds were moving through to our south. We didn't get any rain from the movements, but I did enjoy the play of light and dark upon the clouds. Here are some of those pictures.

This view looks southeast, so the sun was behind me, probably just barely above the western horizon.
I zoomed in for this shot of the clouds only.

This shot is from our walk in the park early in the morning. There is a cloud cover above, and the sun has just begun peaking above the horizon in the east. You can see a bit of the lake in the center.

Friday, June 1, 2018

A Couple of Busy Weeks

As a retired guy, I enjoy my freedom. I hate when something horns in on my schedule. After all, I have a lot of nothing to do, and I don't want anything to interrupt my quality loafing time.

As a result, the next two weeks really have me upset. We have lots of medical appointments upcoming. We try to schedule everything at the same time so that we can be done with everything. That way, it is easier to schedule trips and other fun things.

We start the week on Monday with lab work. Later that same day, Donna sees one of her specialists for a test. Donna has another appointment on Wednesday, and we both see our family doctor on Friday. The following Wednesday I see my rheumatologist. We finish the following Monday when Donna has her final appointment. We are then more or less finished with doctors for another 6 months with one or two exceptions.

We seem to be doing well as regards health. Donna especially is doing fine. She's kind of ageless. We see our family doctor together, and he always compliments Donna on the fine shape she is in. Then he turns to me and asks if I have all my affairs in order and if I've made peace with my Maker.

We have some other events coming up soon as well, such as a Lorrie Morgan concert at the San Angelo Performing Arts Campus and a nice dinner at the clubhouse. With hot summer weather on us now, we are thinking about making a run to the mountains to cool off.

I'll leave you with a few pictures I took on recent walks. The quality is not all that good because of the early morning light. Also, I forget to take my real camera when I walk, so I end up using my phone camera instead; I find that it just doesn't zoom as well as my regular camera.

I like this contrast picture. It shows the moon setting in the west in the early morning light. It's still fairly dark out, as evidenced by the street lamp being on. The full moon this month has been beautiful! I also like the glow on the tree from the street light.

I caught this pair of stinkers (extreme left and extreme right) about 6:30 AM a couple of days ago. We really have a skunk infestation here.
Here's another shot of the skunks I took once I got past them. Notice how close they are to houses.

After lunch on Thursday, we drove through Spring Creek Park on Lake Nasworthy and spotted these deer grazing in the edge of the timber.

I don't know what this plant is, but I love the rich vibrant color. It is growing beside a home on my walking route.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Concho Valley Weather Report

It's finally turned West Texas hot our here in the Concho Valley. We really had a pretty mild spring, but summer seems to be arriving in our neck of the woods.

We hit the 100 degree mark last Friday or Saturday. It's been 100+ every day since, and every day for the next week is expected to hit the triple digit mark. The nights aren't getting that cool, either. When I get up for my daily walk, the temps are now in the mid 70s.

When the weather gets like this, I often wish I was full-timing in an RV so that I could hook up and head to the mountains. I better now say that too loud. If Donna hears me, she'll start making plans to make that happen.

I see no chance of rain anywhere in our future, either. The positive effects of our rains from a couple of weeks ago are now disappearing and things are drying out once more. It could be a very long, hot, and dry summer here.

I'll leave you with a few photos I snapped last night of our full moon rising. It is just setting in the west when I go out for my morning walks. I do enjoy walking along with the soothing light of a full moon.

I really like this picture. The moon is centered in the picture. I like the contrast of colors, from the blue sky at top to the green grass at bottom. And I like how the setting sun is just brushing the top of the houses. Finally, I like the white clouds hanging in the sky.
This picture was taken just a minute or two later. The sun atop the houses is quickly disappearing, and more clouds have moved across the sky. 

For a different contrast, I moved to my left to include our little oak tree in this shot. The moon is now directly over the tree in our neighbor's yard, and the setting sun is barely hitting the roof tops now.

In this final shot, the sun has now set pretty low in the western sky behind me. There is a nice hill on our western perimeter, so it blocks the sun quite a bit late in the day. Notice how the clouds are now darkened. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

How to Celebrate an Anniversary

So, in the last post, I mentioned that Donna and I were celebrating our 41st anniversary. So, how does a debonair Don Juan such as myself impress a gal after 41 years?

I woke the old girl early this morning. I needed to allow her plenty of time to get dressed. About 6:45, I loaded her in the car and drove her downtown to the Farmers' Market, which is located just across Oakes Street from historic Fort Concho. We stocked up on some of the fresh produce available there, then returned home.

Our farmers' market as seen from the south end.

As seen from the north end.

Our score from the market. From left to right: banana peppers, basil, eggplant, zucchini, squash, red potatoes, radishes, red onions, and white onions. Yum, fresh from some local farmer's field.
But wait, I wasn't finished yet. I do know how to show a girl a good time. You don't live to be my age without learning a few romantic moves. Next, I drove her about 2 miles away to San Angelo State Park and made her walk almost 5 miles despite the fact that she wasn't feeling well. I really thought the walk would help.

Woodpecker atop a dead tree in the park.

Bison and longhorns in the park. Park staff is feeding them in background. Notice the bison calf front-center.

Good close picture of bison showing how they are losing their winter coats.

Iconic Texas scene: prickly pear cactus, bison, and longhorns.
And if that wasn't enough, I then brought her home and had her cook me a nice lunch.

Now, I know what most of you ladies out there are thinking. "How do I get a guy like this in my life?" Well, I'm sorry, but I'm taken, so you'll have to look elsewhere.

Seriously, our anniversary is today, May 26, but we actually celebrated on Thursday. Since the Memorial Day weekend fell on our anniversary, we really didn't want to try to eat out today, so we went to a nice place on Thursday and had a delightful meal. When we wed 41 years ago, I did not consider that our anniversary would have to compete with Memorial Day for the rest of our lives. And before I start getting hate mail, I must confess it was Donna's idea to go to the farmers' market. She's as romantic as I am, it seems.

Morning is breaking at Rio Concho West. I snapped this shot yesterday morning during my walk. This is at the entrance of our subdivision.

In closing, here is a neighborhood shot of some mountain laurels in bloom.