Once the Storm is Over

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Margaret McDermott Bridge (cycle/pedestrian portion), Dallas, Texas

Monkeys Minding Machines

“For God’s sake, let us be men
not monkeys minding machines
or sitting with our tails curled
while the machine amuses us, the radio or film or gramophone.

Monkeys with a bland grin on our faces.”
― D.H. Lawrence, Selected Letters

I had heard that the new year was going to be bringing cold weather to North Texas. I opened the door this morning to bright sun and surprisingly mild temperatures. Best of all, no wind.

So I decided to go for a little bike ride – my goal was ten miles around the ‘hood. Comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt I packed up a Moleskine and my pack of portable fountain pens along with a thermos of coffee – so I could stop, sip, and write a little… if I found a good spot.

Wandering around my usual route, then a little off I decided to pedal into downtown Richardson. There are massive changes/construction going on there and I wanted to see. I was disappointed – it is all so car-oriented… and the traffic was fast and noisy. After wandering a bit I did find a little pocket park with some white metal picnic tables – a good place to sip my coffee, scribble in the Moleskine, and listen to a podcast on my phone.

The traffic noise was distracting and my Platinum Preppy spit out a gob of purple ink onto my page (as it is wont to do – have to replace it in my rotation) but otherwise everything was right with the world.

But as I wrote I didn’t notice the clouds rolling in, the strengthening wind switching around to the north, and the temperature dropping like a stone. By the time I made it home it was bitchin` cold, maybe close to freezing and the wind was howling.

Texas.

To make matters worse – my goal was ten miles but checking my Strava I had ridden only 9.92. I took the dog out for a walk and made up the difference, but only made it to the end of the block before the cold drove us back home.

Rona Pondick, Monkeys, Stainless Steel, Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans

Christmas, Bistro B

“when I left her to-day, she put her arms around me and felt my shoulder blades, to see if my wings were strong, she said. ‘The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth.’ ”
― Kate Chopin, The Awakening

Everyone has their traditions. The best traditions, especially the best holiday traditions… are the ones you establish yourselves.

I don’t remember how we started… probably inspired by the ending (after the disaster where the Bumpass’ dogs ate the turkey) of A Christmas Story….

Our Christmas tradition is to eat at Bistro B – a (one of many) Vietnamese restaurant in our city.

I’ve written about it before:

2018 Another Christmas, Another Bowl of Pho

2017 What the Pho?

2011 Bistro B on Christmas Day

The other members of my family order various things (the menu at Bistro B is literally a book – the menu items run into the seven hundreds) but I stick to the Pho. Today, I ordered number 37 – the beef and meat ball Pho.

This year’s Pho at Bistro B

It was too much food. I have been trying to eat less. With most of the broth, most of the noodles, and all of the beef consumed, I was full. But, what the hell… it’s Christmas. I went for it.

Empty bowl of Pho

There aren’t too many empty bowls left behind at that place.

I felt like I had swallowed a football. The rest of the day… well, it’s a bit of a blur.

Bistro B, Richardson, Texas

We did open presents – not the wild blowout of rending paper as it was when the kids were little.

My son did buy my a cool and interesting gift – Tickets to the January 15th Kansas-West Virginia Basketball game – so we will have a weekend road trip to Lawrence in our future. That should be fun – I’ve only been back once in the last twenty years or so.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Stampede

“He stood at the window of the empty cafe and watched the activities in the square and he said that it was good that God kept the truths of life from the young as they were starting out or else they’d have no heart to start at all.”

― Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Concrete Horses, Design District, Dallas, Texas

What I See When I Go For A Walk

“Don’t you believe in flying saucers, they ask me? Don’t you believe in telepathy? — in ancient astronauts? — in the Bermuda triangle? — in life after death?

No, I reply. No, no, no, no, and again no.

One person recently, goaded into desperation by the litany of unrelieved negation, burst out “Don’t you believe in anything?”

Yes”, I said. “I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”

― Isaac Asimov

Over break, I’m working on an addition to my exercise regime. In addition to ten miles a day on the bike (which is usually on my spin bike indoors) I added a minimum two mile walk outside. I increase that a little every day. Sometimes I take my dog with me, sometimes I go alone (the dog is very good on a leash, but holding the thing and not being able to swing my arms cramps my rhythm a bit).

I look for odd things on my walks – here is a strange and wonderful sign I saw today along the paved hike/bike trail.

Mark Twain Park, Richardson, Texas

Pastel Moonrise

“She didn’t quite know what the relationship was between lunatics and the moon, but it must be a strong one, if they used a word like that to describe the insane.”

― Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die

Moonrise at sunset, over the parking lot at my work.

I slipped out of work an hour early, the sun was just then setting. The moon was rising in the east poking through the thin pastel clouds. A beautiful scene. I took it as a good omen. We’ll see.