Time to Spare


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I sat around with time on my hands
post surgery for all that it stands
no bending or lifting and no heavy task
no driving while taking drugs till the last
one is gone and I’ll be drug free
to get back to some form of normalcy
as surgery not only has pain
the after effects are slow to gain
and you wish that you had not made the choice
that is while you still had a voice
in the move that you made to better your health
is the pain worth it you ask yourself
the bottom line is unless you die
then yes in the long run to help you fly
any pain and discomfort are a temporary thing
in a very short time I’ll be ready to sing
that even though a few awkward days
pass quickly and in so many ways
better I will feel than I did before
glad that I chose the pain to endure
pain is really too strong  a word
to think of it as pain is absurd
and like things uncomfortable in this world
it will get better as time unfurls.

Written 11/10/2017

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Feeling Low


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I went to see my Ear, Nose and Throat specialist a while back because of feeling light headed and sometimes a bit dizzy. Usually, these sort of balance problems are associated with the inner ear and although I have had them before, they usually clear up within a couple of weeks. This time though, they weren’t going away hence the visit to the Doc’s.

He ran me through the usual series of tests including having me on a balance chair where he was able to turn me upside down and twist me around in the hope of reproducing the symptoms. No such luck.

The next step was to schedule an MRI just to make sure there were no other bad things lurking in my body creating the problem. This was a simple enough procedure except that it was bloody noisy even with the earplugs they provided.The tests came back with no visible signs of growths or things that didn’t belong inside me. So, back to the Doctors for more discussions.

I first met this particular Doctor around 37 years ago when I was playing football, soccer to you Americans and managed to break my nose heading a ball and colliding with another player’s head. I just had time to see the ball fly into the goal before crashing to the ground after the impact so at least, it was sort of worth it, sort of. While he was treating me for the nose, he noticed that I had perforated eardrums and problems with the stirrup bones in my ears and told me in no uncertain terms, “I can fix that”, resulting in three more surgeries to partially correct the problem. He was able to improve my hearing quite considerably for which, I have been forever grateful. With the addition of hearing aids, my hearing is around 85%. With my playing days long behind me, and the ear surgeries out of the way, at least my visits to him were more of an annual checkup or the occasional ear cleaning for wax build up until the recent ones for the dizzy spells.

He then scheduled me for a Ct Scan to see what might show up. Again, another simple procedure and much quieter this time. I already had an appointment to go over these scans where he showed me the results pointing out what they all meant. The end result was the sinuses were almost completely blocked, he called them diseased, and he recommended that I schedule surgery which he would perform to open the sinuses back up. Luckily for me, I have a great health plan from my previous employer of 23 years which actually was one of the reasons for switching jobs at a lower wage in the first place. I also get a good pension. Planning ahead so to speak.

I put it off for a few weeks mainly because I was working with my neighbors schedule as she was going to drive me to the surgery and then bring me home.  They were out of town for a couple of weeks so we  finally arrived at a date and had a 6:30 am drive to the hospital where there was a long wait until my turn came.  Clara stayed at the hospital all the time that it took and then brought me home. She also took it upon herself to stay with me following the surgery, fixing me a meal and fussing over me until I was asleep. And she checked up on me first thing  the following morning. She lives directly across the street moving into her house the same time as we did ours and I am forever in her debt.

The surgery went smoothly enough as the last thing I can remember is the burn as the Anesthesia went into my arm and then I was out waking up a couple of hours later with a sore head. Today is Day 1 of the recovery. I feel pretty good considering and there is no residual bleeding and no real pain. Breathing is little awkward as it is mostly through my mouth as the sinuses gradually settle back down. I am able to check on the ponds and fix any filters and other problems.

Where would we be without friends and neighbors. I would certainly be up the proverbial creek if it wasn’t for my neighbors. Living alone by choice does have its drawbacks as a wife would be useful at times like this. She could also clean the house and do the cooking, maybe but is the end result worth it. Nah, I don’t think so.

Thank goodness for neighbors and friends.

Written 11/10/2017

The Downside of Age…


Jeff Price-52

This tree is made up of 5 different pictures in order show the whole thing. I wonder how old it is and if it ever got angry?

One of the many things that happen as I grow older is that it is much harder to control my aggravation when things don’t go according to plan. I’m a pretty level headed guy most of the time although I have had my moments when my temper got the better of me especially on the soccer field in my younger days. One thing I do have is infinite patience when it comes to computer related things probably because I see that as more of a challenge than say tying my shoelaces.

I generally show my annoyance in several different ways the first of which is to fill the air with the “F” word. Generally, this makes me feel a whole lot better and I am able to return to the aggravating task to give it another try. Like I say, generally I have infinite patience so when it doesn’t work a second, third or fourth time I keep on swearing and add “Oh Sh*t” to the swear words to give them more strength. If it still doesn’t work, I will give up for the day and tackle it again in the morning. I figure that overnight, I have built up the required amount of patience that I am ready to have another go at it.

I’m kidding of course although I do bust out in the occasional cuss word. What I have found as I grow older is that I do get much more aggravated much quicker than I used to. There is a sharp reaction of anger when something doesn’t work quite right after several tries and I feel like throwing the computer through the window. Luckily common sense prevails and although I could use a new computer,  I don’t want to replace the big picture window as well. Anyway, those sort of temper tantrums are for little kids and I am definitely no longer one of those.

Wait a minute here, I wonder if having enough temper tantrums will make me younger? Maybe I should follow that train of thought for a while and see where it leads…

Written 12/18/2017

Reamers Ranch 10-29-2017


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I went for another walk at Reamers Ranch this time to get in a good walk and to take a few pictures along the way. I still have hopes of seeing the Osprey again but am no longer just concentrating on it’s location although to be truthful, my walking plan did include the area I had seen the Osprey before. I planned to walk along the Multi Use Trail towards the North end of the Park and to go all the way along Confluence Trail until the trail ends at the boundary of the Park Property. I have walked this several times previously and always have the hope that I might see deer or a turkey as I have before although much too slow with the camera to get the pictures. Along the way, I found some flowers that were absolutely covered with bees and butterflies.

I tried something new by only using one walking stick so that I could carry the camera in the other hand, just in case. Even though I was ready this time, the animals and birds obviously did not get the message as none appeared to have their picture taken on the first part of the walk to the end of the trail.

I cut back through the lower trail which the Parks people have spent some time on and now it is much better walking as you can see from the pictures above and followed right alongside of the Pedernales River with a good view of the water and the opposite bank which is all private property. Some of it is well maintained as the Panorama below shows. I kept my eyes open in the hopes of catching a view of the Osprey but all I saw were buzzards.
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I continued along until I came to the area popular with the rock climbers and took some pictures of them on the wall. Better them than me as it is not my idea of fun.

I carried on walking along the Lower Trail until I reached the exit to get back to the third parking lot. This too is a difficult climb to get out. I met a young lady who was coming down and we chatted for a bit about the trails.

When I got to the top, I headed north along the gravel walkway towards the last parking lot known as North Bank. Along the way, I met a young gentleman and we exchanged pleasantries as we crossed paths. I noticed three buzzards in the tree in front of me and at first, couldn’t make out what they were up to. Then I figured that they were a female and two males and were going through a mating ritual of a sort I guess for the female to make a choice. I managed to quickly change settings to video and got this very short one. I would have thought that it was too late in the season for mating but maybe these are younger birds finding their first mate. I stood and watched them for a bit until they flew off. You never know what interesting picture is around the next bend.

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I arrived back to my car tired and happy and changed into some dry clothes and sat for a while eating an apple.  It is so quiet and peaceful there and it is very easy to slip into a state of reverie and just letting the world pass on by. Altogether, I covered 6.5 miles, not bad for a day’s stroll in the park with the added bonus of a lot of pictures.

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Written 11-10-2017

As We Grow Older…


Jeff Price-31

I was thinking this morning about growing old
and all of the things that it brings so I’m told
wisdom and knowledge are all things gained
even though a much slower brain
tries to keep up with whats going on
looking for clues where the thought has gone
with all this knowledge that we possess
the brain has trouble in trying to digest
and to recall the very thought that you need
turns out to be much harder to succeed
given the brain still works but is slow
it links to the body just a little below
it too is slower and weaker and in pain
which matches the saying no pain no gain
although as far as I can see
the only gain is in years to our history
as we are far past our prime both in body and mind
when we finally figure out what our brain has defined
and to find the strength to complete the task
sometimes turns out a very big ask
and so we get grumpy and in our mind
yearn for the days when life was kind
the choices we have are very few
accept what we are and what we can do
or wait for the time when we curl up and die
what’s the purpose in that I tell you no lie
I would rather put up with the slowness in thought
and the aches and pains the years have brought
just to spend a few more years on this earth
living this life that I have had from birth…

Written 12/17/2017

Looking and Hoping. Cheerful pictures for a winters day…


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After my recent encounter at least from the viewing perspective of the Osprey, I made another trip to Reimers Ranch in the hope of spotting it once more. I wanted more pictures and hopefully this time, a video that in my excitement the last time out and not wanting to miss a single moment of the display the beautiful bird was putting on for me, did not try to change my camera’s settings.

I was all prepared this time and even brought a tripod with me ready to go but someone, somewhere forgot to tell the Osprey about our appointment. Consequently, no Osprey shots as it wasn’t there at least at the same time as I was.

I wasn’t about to waste the opportunity for another camera shoot or a hike. I had parked in the next to last parking lot, known as River View Parking Lot that had access to one of the climbing areas and there was only one other vehicle in the lot besides mine. As per my usual routine, I slipped into my gear, grabbed my water bottle and walking poles and set off on the gravel trail that follows the Pedernales River from the very top of the gorge towards parking lot number three known as River bend Parking Lot.  The gravel trail does not necessarily keep close to the river bank and in some places the trail is probably up to several hundred yards inland.  There are a couple of spots where it is close enough to actually see the water and I spent some time taking pictures of the far bank with its cliffs all in the hope of spotting the Osprey.

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When I reached the third parking lot back towards the park entrance, I made my way down towards the river. Both this entrance and the one by the fourth parking lot are difficult climb downs even though they do have semblance of steps. I took pictures of the climb back up at the fourth parking lot where I had parked to give an idea of the difficulties at least to old men like me. Maybe not so much to younger and much fitter people with a far better sense of balance than I currently have.

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After having safely making my way down, I took the lower trail which actually takes you along on the river bed. At this time of the year, the water level is low but it is still a bit muddy in some places. I came to a large rock that did not have a way around without getting wet feet that I could see so I scrambled back up the bank until I hit the middle trail and made my way along it towards the fourth parking lot where I had parked my car all the while looking for the Osprey.

I finally came to the trail leading up to the exit and as I climbed, I took the pictures shown above. As soon as I got back to my car, I changed out of my wet clothes into something more comfortable and was sitting and enjoying a piece of fruit when I heard voices and the clink of metal which I guessed to be from the occupants of the other car in the lot. Sure enough, two guys appeared followed by a young lady bringing up the rear all carrying their climbing gear.  The clink of metal was from the pitons that the guys carried on their climbing belts. We exchanged pleasantries as I continued to pack up my gear.

What to me seemed very odd was that the young lady was dressed only in the skimpiest of bikinis. The rock face is some distance from the river so I did not think she had been swimming and there was not enough sunlight under the trees for her to work on her tan. As usual, it was difficult not look at her as she and the two guys horse played around a bit. I wanted to ask her if she had been climbing wearing only a bikini but didn’t have the nerve and was left wondering. Seems to me that the rock face could be awful painful on her body and although regular clothing is not very protective, it at least help prevent the scrapes and cuts. This turned out to be the mystery of the day that is along with the non appearance of the Osprey.

I jumped into my car, taking one last look at things I can only dream about and drove off. I pulled into the second parking lot where I had noticed some yellow flowers that were covered with butterflies and bees and took some pictures.

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I made my way home after having covered a couple of miles on this hike. As I was there for the purpose of getting more pictures of the Osprey, I was perfectly content with the small hiking numbers. After all, it doesn’t always have to be about the walking and the fitness. Most of the time it’s about the pictures and the opportunity to take them.

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These are all panoramic shots made up of several pictures.

Written 10/28/2017

Austin Pond Society Meeting – January 2018


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So starts a New Year for the Austin Pond Society. What will it bring, I wonder? We usually follow the same pattern every year. All of our meetings are set up to incorporate different things and we pretty much stick to the same items year after year. The Speaker that Barb Lenhardt, our Programs and Special Events Board Member had originally set up for this meeting had to withdraw at the last minute. This meant that we had to improvise which, as it turned out was no problem as we spent nearly all of the meeting discussing our lack of a Pond Tour Director and what to do instead.

But, I am getting ahead of myself. The meeting was attended by thirty members and as usual, Steven Monfrini, our Hospitality Volunteer put on a spread for us to enjoy. This time, we had many choices in which to make our own sandwich or in some cases, sandwiches. Our members absolutely outdid themselves with the choices of deserts and there was a whole table just loaded with goodies. I was torn between a sandwich or desert and resolved the issue but having both.

Keith and Locations Jan 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

As is normal for the start of a New Year, we had a couple of new faces in the Board positions. Actually, that is not exactly true as Margaret Boeneke is our Librarian and was temporarily sitting at the Welcome/Sign In table due to the untimely death of Keith Neuse and the resignation of his Partner Rodney Lewis. Both will be missed. The Austin Pond Society wants to install a permanent memorial to both of them in the form of each of them having an engraved brick in the walkway at Zilker Botanical Gardens. We passed the hat around at this meeting for which the Members donated $210.00, enough to purchase the two engraved bricks. Thank You Members, you always come through for us.

2018 Pond Tour Discussions from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

What this means is that we are short two Board Members as Margaret is only sitting in the Welcome chair temporarily, so if any of you are interested in joining the Board of the Austin Pond Society as either Secretary or Membership, please contact Jeannie, our President at this link. For information on the duties of each of these positions, use this link.

More Discussion Jan 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

For not having a prepared agenda, we did really good at filling up the time that would normally have been taken up by a Speaker. We had several items of interest among them, Tribute to Keith and Rodney, major discussion about our lack of a Pond Tour Director, a discussion on cleaning out the ponds at the Hyatt Regency at Bastrop, our annual budget upon which we needed to vote and which incidentally without a Tour, will put us in the red for this year.

Finally as per usual, we ended with the drawing for two door prizes both of which were cute (if you like that sort of stuff), Fishy things to use to hold letters, pictures and other similar stuff. I was fortunate enough to win one of these “things” but turned it back for a redraw as I had no use for it. I already have enough stuff.

The meeting closed around 8:45 pm.

The next meeting will be on February 19, 2018 at Zilker Botanical Gardens starting at 6:30 pm. Check the website to see who the Speaker will be.