Despite the heat (at least 100 every day), I had a great time in Texas. My kid sister Mary married her long-time boyfriend Jim in a lovely ceremony. I didn't take my camera because I was so busy helping Mary with everything from bustles to keys, but I got one decent pic on the cellphone right after we left the chapel and made preparations to go into the reception:
left to right: my niece Olivia (brother Ricardo's daughter), Jim (he wasn't ready for this shot), Mary, Ricardo, Mommy and Daddy
It was an exciting but exhausting weekend, as busy as it was fun. I saw a lot of my cousins I hadn't seen in forever, and we all exchanged "friend me on Facebook"'s for future contact, and I realized that keeping in touch with family and keeping the traditions going is now up to us, our generation, not our parents. We all live so far apart, but if we don't make an effort to get together unless there's a special occasion, how will our kids (well, not MY kids, but you know I mean) know each other? How will they realize they are part of a larger family? It was a lot to think about, and I feel I have a big responsibility ahead of me to start the ball rolling. I want to know my cousins, my nieces and nephews, and I want them to know me, but that can only happen if we all make an effort. Like I said--it's a lot to think about.
On the plane ride home, I took this photo somewhere over the desert (I guess):
(click for bigger) It's weird, isn't it? It looks like so many little rivulets. But I doubt we flew over anything but desert (New Mexico, Arizona, maybe Nevada a little). I thought it looked neat though.
It was so nice flying over California, seeing the miles and miles of fog rolling in onto the land from the ocean, the mountains, the lakes. It was also neat to feel so excited about coming home. I really like it out here, but I sure do miss my friends and family.
Niblet was very excited to see me. Here are some recent photos:
Just kidding! This is something I found at a cool little home and garden store in Guerneville! Here's the Nib:
My little guy, maxin' and chillaxin' in the Golden State.
Finally, I got some birding in on the last morning I was there; my mother and I went to Macallister Park and saw some birds, including this Black Vulture:
and a little Northern Cardinal family of a bald-headed daddy and his noisy wife feeding their two kids--here's the bald-headed daddy (click to embiggen) in take-off mode (lucky shot, though not too sharp):
and a LIFER! I'm 99.9% sure this is a Lesser Goldfinch!
Totally cool. We don't have Black Vultures out here, but we sure do have Turkey Vultures. I got a new birding book, The National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, and it says that TuVus' range is "expanding in East," which I think explains why there are so many more of them here than there were in PA. Not that there weren't lots in PA, but here one can see at least one TuVu in the sky at any given moment, anywhere, which is different than it was in State College or even Spring Mills.
Well--that's the latest, and if you care to offer any confirmation or disputation on the Lesser Goldfinch, please let me hear from you in the comments! Otherwise... it's 209!