OK, so we're back in New York. Why do I feel like it's hotter here than in Texas? Answer: in Texas, it was so insanely hot that we stayed in air conditioning as much as we could. At home, our house has no air conditioning. As I have remarked previously, normally this is a point of pride. But having spent 8 days mostly in temperature-controlled environments, I'm having a hard time adjusting.
The Texas trip went well, but I've been feeling sad about the state of the Houston ecosystem. I had been looking forward to teaching Peter how to catch frogs. Even though I had seen very few the last couple of times I went to Texas, I still entertained the expectation of finding a lot of what my Texan relatived referred to as "toad-frogs." In the 1970s, they used to be all over the place in Houston at dusk. In 8 days in Texas, despite Peter's sharp-eyed best efforts we saw just one, and it was in downtown Austin when we were on our way back from seeing the bats.
At a World Fantasy Con, Sean Stewart and I got to talking about Houston and he became very interested when I told him I used to go there in summers the early '70s. He was working on Mocking Bird. I provided an anecdote about a frog which he worked into the book. I had not thought the frog itself would be a period detail.
Frogs are an indicator species.