Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Is Fort Worth Happy To Be The Scrappy Little Sidekick Of Dallas?

Last night I read a sort of amusing article in the online version of Texas Monthly.

Texas’s Cities: One Big, Dysfunctional Family
CHRONICLING THE RIVALRIES OF HOUSTON, DALLAS, FORT WORTH, SAN ANTONIO, AND AUSTIN.

My Texas experience in only about a decade and a half long, so a lot of the rivalry stuff between Texas cities was nothing I had experienced, or thought.

However, I have long made note of one rivalry. That being what comes across, at times, as Fort Worth's sort of, well, inferiority complex, caused by Dallas being the big kid on the Metroplex block, with Dallas getting bizarrely demonized by many Fort Worthers.

Three paragraphs from the dysfunctional article, with the first paragraph mentioning the Fort Worth hating Dallas dysfunction, and with the third paragraph including another of the few mentions made of Fort Worth, with that mention being an example of the type thing that riles some Fort Wothers...

Small towns have their vicious football rivalries, but for sheer volume of insults and homerism, the five cities of the Texas Triangle offer the most fertile ground for discussion today. Here it is in a nutshell: Fort Worth hates Dallas. Houston hates Dallas and Austin. San Antonio hates Austin. Austin wishes all the rest of us would just go away, and Dallas pretends that none of the rest of us even exist.

Dallas and Houston are warring fraternal twins. Houston has always resented Dallas for being better at football, hates how global pop culture sees Dallas as the world’s oil capital when it is not, and thinks he is a little materialistic for Houston’s taste. (You know what really galls Houston about Dallas? Creator David Jacobs was inspired by Blood and Money, an epic true-crime tale that took place in Houston.)

With the exceptions of Austin, which Dallas loves to try to impress with a new-found impetus toward coolness, and scrappy little sidekick Fort Worth, the city gaslights every other Texas locale. But especially Houston. “Rivalry?” Dallas asks. “What rivalry? We don’t have a rivalry with Houston. Nobody up here ever even thinks of Houston.”

Fort Worth is the scrappy little sidekick of Dallas?  Well, the scrappy part of that line is sort of a compliment, isn't it? I would take it as such if someone called me scrappy. Calling me little, that I would not like so much.

That paragraph where we learned Fort Worth is the scrappy little sidekick of Dallas took me some parsing before I think I figured out what was being said.

If I am right the writer is suggesting that Dallas plays mind games with most other Texas towns by acting as if Dallas does not feel any rivalry with them, with Austin and Fort Worth being exceptions, with, Austin being an exception because, apparently, Dallas hopes to impress Austin that Dallas is also a cool town, and with Fort Worth being an exception due to the town being the scrappy little sidekick of Dallas, like a little buddy.

I may have totally misunderstood that scrappy little sidekick Fort Worth gaslighting paragraph.

Could an article like this Texas Monthly article be in Washington Monthly about the dysfunctional rivalry between Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Spokane, Yakima and Olympia?

Likely not. I don't think one would read a line about Tacoma being the scrappy little sidekick of Seattle. Or Spokane hating Seattle. Or, well, you get the point....

Is There Really Something Called National Brothers Week?

I saw that which you see here on Facebook.

One can never trust what one sees on Facebook without running it past the Snopes filter.

But, in this instance, I am just going to choose to believe that it is true that we are currently in the midst of National Brothers Week.

I did not have a brother for the first 13 months I was on the planet. And then, there he was. I actually don't remember those 13 months before I had a brother. So, in my memory I have always had a little brother.

According to this thing, above, my brother was my first male friend for life. Actually, I think that was my dad.

My brother and I go through periods where we are not all that friendly.

Like the current period.

A couple months ago, out of the blue, my brother sent me a Facebook Friend Request. I wondered why now? We haven't spoken for a couple years. But I immediately confirmed the Friend Request.

This was most fortuitous, because that very day a mutual friend going back to our early childhood emailed me a message she wanted me to possibly share with my brother.

Because we were now Facebook Friends I was able to Facebook message my brother the message. My brother did not acknowledge receiving that Facebook message.

I figured he had not received it.

And then a few days later I get a call from Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew Jason, who is also my brother's oldest son, telling me that that Facebook message from me to my brother led to my brother sending a letter to the party mentioned in the email from our mutual childhood friend.

Several days after that I saw that my brother had de-Friended me on Facebook. I don't think he likely understands the massive social faux pas he has committed. I think he probably does not understand how the Facebook Friending and un-Friending thing works.

I forgive him. This is what brothers do. We forgive and forget. At least that is my Brother Policy.

My brother and I have always been our own unique characters. My brother was what is known as a jock in school, mostly baseball oriented. While I did not get what was so special about playing baseball. Or throwing, catching and hitting a little ball.

I have never been a jock, of the team sports playing sort.

I have always been in fairly good shape, without playing any sort of team sport. My brother was in good shape when he played baseball, decades ago. But the baseball playing resulted in multiple sports injuries, resulting in multiple surgeries, resulting in the 2015 version of my little brother not being in quite as good a shape as the 2015 version of his big brother, the non-jock.

My little brother and I have gone through periods where we get along just fine. I remember driving my brother and his now wife, Jill, down to Lake Cushman, so Jill could meet mom and dad for the first time. This was shortly before I moved to Texas.

My brother and Jill married after I had moved to Texas.

I do not recollect if I was invited to that wedding.

I think my brother and Jill should take a Roadtrip to Texas. There is much they would enjoy here. Like the Fort Worth Stockyards. And Jill loves hamburgers. I think the Dallas/Fort Worth zone may be the Hamburger Capital of the World. And if the timing worked out we could go watch the Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers in the very cool Ballpark in Arlington.

But, be warned, I have never made  it past the 7th inning without being bored to death, and leaving.....

Monday, August 31, 2015

HOT High Speed Tandy Hill Hiking On The Last Day Of August

In the picture you are looking west at the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown  Fort Worth.

Longtime listeners likely can intuit that this particular view indicates I was on the Tandy Hills today for an increasingly rare bout of HOT hill hiking.

I did not bring my digital camera with me today due to a pocket shortage. Which means this photo was taken with my phone, that being the device which has been taking selfies, of late.

I walked Tandy Highway for the first time since, for some unknown reason, the summit of Mount Tandy was peppered with No Trespassing, No Parking, No Loitering, No This That and Other Things Signs.

Few people used this as a parking location. Why did anyone go to the bother of putting up all those signs?

Anyway, I was pleased to see Tandy Highway has had some roadwork done since last I traveled that location. The two bridges across Tandy Creek have been rebuilt. Those crossings had become a bit annoying, due to unfixed erosion damage.

I was feeling quite light on my feet today, zooming up the hills. I think new hiking footwear may have been the cause of the lightness....

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Village Creek Indian Ghosts Led Me To A Selfie Trip Down Memory Lane

Sunday is my regularly scheduled day when I drive to Arlington to walk with the Indian Ghosts who haunt the Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

I talked to some fellow walkers today who were being perplexed by the clear cutting of the underbrush that used  to make the paved trail seem like a walk through a jungle, but is now like a walk through what remains after a hurricane blows through.

Soon after crossing the first dam bridge which crosses Village Creek I came upon that which you see here.

TEACH PEACE.

I wonder if this teach peace message is the work of the Indian Ghosts? They certainly were not left in peace whilst living in their village alongside Village Creek.

This seemed to me to be an odd location to have chalked this message. Writing it big on the bridge would have been a good spot. Or by the formerly blue Blue Bayou which is currently green, hence renamed the Green Bayou.

That is the Green Bayou you see behind me.

Making this the location for today's attempt to take a selfie pic. I think I am about ready to stop with the selfies. I think I must need a better phone to do the selfie thing properly. Someone suggested something called an iPhone.

Years ago, way back in the last century, my first digital camera was a Casio. It is shocking to think of it now, but at the time I paid $599 for that camera. It ate up batteries, could only hold  60 photos, had no controls, no zoom, no focus, no nothing.

Well, there was a timer. And one cool feature, that being the lens could be rotated to point the camera at the picture taker, hence enabling what are now known as selfies.

Just a sec, let me see if I can find a photo or two taken with that antique camera. One of them I am looking at right now, printed, framed and hanging on the wall above me. I'll go find that one and maybe another....

Well, I found the one I have hanging above me, and a lot of others. I took a lot of selfies with that antique camera. It was way easier to do so than with this newfangled supposedly smart phone. We will start this selfie tour down memory lane back before I moved to Texas.....


That is Wanda behind me in the selfie, with that being Delicate Arch behind us. Delicate Arch is in Arches National Park in Utah. I think this was taken in 1997, October of. We'd been houseboating on Lake Powell.


The above selfie was taken on the same trip where the Lake Powell houseboating took place. In this selfie I am at Islands in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park.


That lady on my shoulder is picking blueberries in Schrieber's Meadow by Mount Baker. Wild mountain blueberries are good. Within a year or two, that woman on my shoulder would cause me to move to Texas.


Speaking of the move to Texas. The above selfie was taken somewhere south of Amarillo on Highway 287. I am driving my now dead van, loaded to the max. Behind me, in that yellow Penske truck, are the rest of my belongings. I am a bit appalled that I drove along at freeway speed taking selfie pics with my antique digital camera.

And now we move on to selfies taken in Texas, before my selfie taking camera was replaced by an Olympus camera in 2001.


That would be the blueberry picker on the left and Wanda on the right. This would have been four months after the move to Texas. I know this because for reasons still unfathomable to me, Wanda flew to Texas four months after the move. Her first and only time being here. I think Texas scared Wanda. I can see in this picture that four months in Texas was already putting weight on me. It was all the restaurant feedings that were doing me in. I'd never been to so many restaurants, so often, as I did the first two years in Texas. It was appalling. And many of them were all you can eat buffets. After the move to Texas my hair also got out of control, going through several bizarre iterations. I did not realize this til hunting for selfies.


The above is at Dinosaur Valley State Park, with Big Ed in the selfie behind me. We spent a few hours mountain biking the excellent Dinosaur Valley trails before heading south to a dude ranch where the blueberry picking lady was waiting for us to partake in a barbecue.


Now the above is an example of my hair going  through bizarre iterations after the move to Texas. I have no recollection of using a  huge amount  of gel product to create that mess. I think this was taken at the Fort Worth Nature Preserve, you know, that alligator infested location that occasionally supplies alligators to the tubing location of America's Biggest Boondoggle.


The above selfie has Lake Grapevine behind me. This was my favorite mountain biking location when I lived in Haslet in far north Fort Worth. Rockledge Park is where the trailhead is located. At the time this was the most popular mountain bike trail in the D/FW Metroplex. I do not know if that is still the case.

The last two selfies are pool selfies.


Which would make these skinny dipping selfies.


I do not believe I was purposefully winking in this selfie. I believe the sun was causing me to squint. I am not much of a winker. Or a smiler, but seem to be doing both in this selfie.

Well, now that ends this selfie trip down memory lane. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did....

Saturday, August 29, 2015

In Dallas Driving & Walking Across Impressive Signature Bridges To Trinity Groves

Til today I had not been to Dallas since the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge opened to traffic on March 29, 2012. I had been to Dallas while the bridge was being constructed, but never could tell where that was taking place.

So, I was surprised today to see where the bridge is located and what an attractive addition it is to the Dallas skyline.

Construction of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge began in spring of 2007, which would seem to indicate it took around five years to build.

Over water.

The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is part of the Dallas version of the Trinity River Vision. The Dallas version is a bit further along than the Fort Worth version, with Fort Worth currently having three simple little bridges under construction over dry land with a four year construction timeline. While Dallas has one of three actual signature bridges completed, with the second, the Margaret McDermott Bridge, currently under construction, with its main arch visible from the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

Does Dallas have some sort of rule that all bridges in town have Margaret as their first name?

It is fairly easy to find ones way to crossing the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge from downtown Dallas. The bridge sort of sticks up like a landmark, visible from multiple locations as one heads west from downtown. In the above picture we are crossing the bridge with me snapping a picture through the windshield, which is the reason for the blue tint at the top.

On the west side of the bridge you immediately come to Trinity Groves. Trinity Groves has a lot of parking spaces, but with warning signs warning the parking is for Trinity Groves patrons, not bridge walkers. There is another parking area for bridge walkers, accessed by the first right turn one comes to after crossing the bridge.


Above is a look at the outdoor dining zone of several of the Trinity Groves restaurants. Trinity Groves is a Restaurant Concept Incubator, a 15 acre entertainment, retail and artist district brought about by restaurateur investors, Phil Romano, Stuart Fitts and Butch McGregor. The goal is to foster startup businesses. Chefs and restaurateurs present their concepts to a team of experienced restaurateurs.

From the Trinity Groves website....

Our incubator program has been successful in attracting diversity to the area; we are currently incubating a variety of concepts including Spanish Tapas, Middle Eastern, Latin-Asian fusion, Central-American, Italian, and sushi. In addition to restaurants and retail, Trinity Groves features a microbrewery and a culinary events center. We also host many exciting events such as art and theater shows, live musical performances and chef cook-off competitions.

Below we are on the other side of Trinity Groves from the covered patio you saw above, looking at the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, which as you an see, has a rather dominating presence on the Dallas skyline.


I can sure see why Dallas legitimately refers to this bridge as a signature bridge, as in a one of a kind bridge which will become recognized as part of the Dallas skyline, like Reunion Tower. I am fairly certain Fort Worth's three simple bridges, being built in slow motion over dry land, which  Fort Worth propagandists also refer to as signature bridges, will not tower quite as tall as the three Dallas signature bridges.

With all this bridge talk let's become a bridge walker. I decided that even though I had been advised that one can not park in the Trinity Groves parking lot whilst bridge walking, that it really would do no harm, nor rob a potential Trinity Groves parker of a parking space, due to there being many available.


The bridge which the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge replaced, Continental Bridge, has been converted to being a pedestrian, biking, blading bridge, which also seemed to be a linear park. I was so impressed with both bridges. I was not expecting the Continental Bridge to be something special. I had seen this bridge up close on the most recent conclusion of The Amazing Race, with it being the final destination.


No, that is not rainwater soaking the deck of the Continental Bridge. That is a water feature. See those round spots on the pavement? LED lights were inside those spots. And somehow when kids would step on the spots random shots of water would erupt. The kids seemed to be having themselves a mighty fine time. Note the green lounge chairs to the right? They also have a water feature.


Above we see an elderly gentleman enjoying sitting on one of the aforementioned lounge chairs whilst that pole to his left gently administers a cooling mist, that at times got a bit aggressive with the misting. The Continental Bridge provided a lot of seating opportunities as one walked across the long bridge.


Above are some of the seating opportunities. Note the landscaping of the drought resistant, low water, low maintenance sort. Several sections of the bridge were thus landscaped.

I only made it halfway across the bridge, going as far as the center of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge arch to take the requisite selfie photo.


I am not getting any better at taking the selfies. In sunlight it is hard to see the screen, and the picture taking button. I must be doing something wrong.

Anyway, I must say, I was very impressed with the Dallas signature bridge today, and the bridge which runs parallel to it. I saw a lot in Dallas today which impressed me, including an amazing number of bikers rolling around town. That looked like something I might try.....

I Tried To Visit Jefferson Davis Today But Dallas Would Not Let Me

Saturday is my regular day to go to Town Talk after hiking the Tandy Hills or biking Gateway Park.

Well, I had a successful stop at Town Talk yesterday on my way back from the Stockyards, finding 10 pounds of Italian sausage and a lot of tortillas and whole wheat pita bread. And blueberries.

Today I decided to head east, to Dallas. My intention was to go to Pioneer Plaza, park there, then walk through the cemetery to the huge Confederacy Statue that honors Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis and another Confederate notable or two I am not remembering.

Following taking photos of Jefferson Davis my intention was to hike around downtown Dallas, something I have enjoyed many a time previously.

Well.

The parking lots for Pioneer Plaza were full. A block or two distant I found a metered street parking space. I had a pocket full of quarters, figured that'd be good for a couple hours.

Well.

That is the meter you see above. On the meter one is informed one can download the phone app to enable  paying for parking using ones phone. There also was a slot for quarters, though no mention was made that one could, or should, insert a quarter in that slot.

But, I felt daring, so I stuck a quarter in the slot. Immediately the meter registered .25.

Was that .25 referencing that quarter? Or a quarter of an hour? I inserted another quarter. Nothing happened.  The .25 did not change to .50.

I decided I did not need to visit Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis today, and so I got back moving through downtown Dallas, heading to my next destination.

Trinity Groves.

Trinity Groves and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge will be in the blogging after this one. But, before I get to that, I must say, driving through downtown Dallas never disappoints, adventure wise. The I-30 freeway on the south side of downtown remains as big a mess as when I first experienced it. A lot of road construction on the west side of downtown Dallas made for some fun confusion.

But, what is up with the Dallas parking meters? Pay by phone app? Using quarters causes a malfunction?

Dallas owes me fifty cents. I'd send the city a bill but the stamp to mail it would cost almost another fifty cents...

Why No Residential Towers Are Currently Planned For Fort Worth's Imaginary Island

Continuing our popular series of bloggings about something I see in a west coast online newspaper, usually the Seattle Times, that I don't see in my current local newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, we have what you see here, from the aforementioned Seattle Times.

I have mentioned before that rarely does a week ago by where I don't read about some new construction project in downtown Seattle; new skyscrapers, convention center expansion, Pike Place expansion, or, like you see here, new residential towers.

The text under the artist's rendering of the two tall towers says developers are proposing a slew of new residential towers over 400 feet high seizing on the City Council's rezone of South Lake Union to allow for greater height and density. And that developers are high on building Seattle high-rises.

I have not seen a high rise rise in Fort Worth since I have been in Texas.

A  few weeks ago Mr. Spiffy made an observation regarding the current stagnant state of development in downtown Fort Worth. Mr. Spiffy suggested that no developer is going to be wanting to develop anything while America's Biggest Boondoggle has the status of downtown Fort Worth in a state of confusion.

Will the imaginary island be where new growth will take place? Will that be where the focus of downtown Fort Worth will shift? Those are the questions a developer would be asking. That and when is that project slated to be completed?

And then when the developer learns America's Biggest Boondoggle has no project timeline, will that would be a real deal killer?

The Trinity River Uptown Central City Panther Island Vision Boondoggle is supposedly an economic development project, combined with an un-needed flood control project.

If this project was projected to be such a boon to the economy of Fort Worth, then why is it not already completed? Why is the project being built in slow motion?

Well, we all know the answer.

America's Biggest Boondoggle became such because the project is funded in a piecemeal fashion.

America's Biggest Boondoggle is not a public works project approved by the voting  public approving a bond measure to finance a project for the public's benefit.

It was thought by the Perpetrators of the Boondoggle that hiring local congresswoman, Kay Granger's son, J.D., a lawyer with no project engineering experience, would motivate Kay to secure federal pork barrel funding via earmarks.

But, that plan fell apart when the era of earmarks came to an end. So, Kay has not been able to secure as much federal money as was hoped.

Lacking the money to see the Boondoggle's Vision in a timely fashion, the Frat Boy hired to motivate his mother to get money for the project began to initiate events like Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats. Along with goofy things like naming the area where the floating beer parties take place, Panther Island Pavilion, along with calling a chunk of land Panther Island, where there is no island, and where there will only be a pseudo island if the long delayed flood diversion ditch is dug to go under the three bridges being built in slow motion over dry land to connect the mainland to that imaginary island.

The Frat Boy also helped bring the popular sport of wakeboarding to Fort Worth by having the Trinity River Vision build a pond so an enterprise called Cowtown Wakepark could provide the wakeboarding experience to the Fort Worth masses yearning to stand on a board while a cable drags them over dirty water.

As we learned yesterday, Cowtown Wakepark is now closed. The first of what will likely be many failures in the ongoing debacle that is America's Biggest Boondoggle.....

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Visit With Stockyard Longhorns Before Finding Part Of America's Biggest Boondoggle Under New Management

Yesterday I made mention of my pathetic attempt to take one of those selfie photos that seem so popular these days,  particularly on Facebook. At the end of that blogging I said...

Anyway, tomorrow morning I am going to be at the Fort Worth Stockyards, taking photos and maybe video. I will be using my old-fashioned digital camera to take photos, not this new-fangled phone method. And no selfies. Well, maybe one attempt with a longhorn.....

To which Elsie Hotpepper text messaged me with...

I definitely want you to take a selfie with a longhorn.

I almost always do what Elsie Hotpepper tells me to do.

In this instance I did not follow Elsie's instructions precisely, in that this selfie is not with just a single longhorn, but is, instead, with many members of the Fort Worth Herd, resting before their daily trail drive duties.

I was in the Stockyards area for an early morning meeting, so, since I was nearby, I decided to do a quick walk through for photo documentation of a theme that has been bugging me ever since a brouhaha has arisen over a new development proposal for the Stockyards.

Today's Fort Worth Stockyards blogging went on my Eyes on Texas blog, with the blogging titled A Look At The Fort Worth Stockyards Before They Are Possibly Ruined By New Development.

My route away from the Stockyards was over Northside Drive. Northside Drive drives by the Cowtown Wakepark. The Cowtown Wakepark is one of America's Biggest Boondoggle's products  that I have long said was doomed to fail. I believe the Cowtown Wakepark was the first of The Boondoggle's products to become available for public use.

Since I was in the neighborhood I decided to take the turn to the Cowtown Wakepark parking lot to watch all the people enjoying the great sport of wakeboarding, which J.D. Granger so proudly announced as such a wonderful thing for the people of Fort Worth, and beyond, to have available, so that the masses can enjoy the sport of wakeboarding in an urban setting.

Well.

When the Wakeboard pond came in to view I was not too surprised to see no one wakeboarding.

And then I saw the trailer you see above. A food truck, I wondered?

On closer look I found that which you see below, taped to the side of the trailer.


What a shock. Cowtown Wakepark is closed. This is likely the first of what will be one failure after another of America's Biggest Boondoggle's products.

Has the closure/failure of the Cowtown Wakepark been reported in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, with me somehow missing that bit of news?

Is the Coyote Drive-In still showing movies? That product also seemed doomed to failure once the novelty wore off.

Spencer Jack's Hometown Values Gets Him On The Cover Of A Magazine

Who is that holding a big Deluxe Cheese Burger on the cover of something called Hometown Values Savings Magazine?

If you answered "Spencer Jack" you would be correct.

Behind Spencer Jack and his big burger is the Fidalgo Drive-In sign, advertising 2 Deluxe Cheese Burgers for $5.49, which is another clue that that is Spencer Jack you are looking at, what with the Fidalgo Drive-In being Spencer Jack's and his dad's restaurant in Anacortes.

I saw this this morning on Facebook, via Spencer Jack's grandma, my favorite ex-sister-in-law, Cindy.

This morning when I woke up my phone I saw that Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew Jason, had called me last night around 8.

At the 8 o'clock time frame I was disconnected from my phone due to being in the pool zone getting ready for an after dark swim session with the Yonker twins, Millie and Billie.

I suspect Jason was not calling to tell me about Spencer Jack's first magazine cover, but was calling to ask about his grandma, whose cancer bout he likely learned about via reading my blog.

Currently in the Fort Worth zone the Annual Burger War Tournament is underway. I'm banned from  reading the results due to this being a Star-Telegram thing. But I could glean from the front  page that the tournament has now reached the Sweet 16 stage, and that there have been multiple upsets.

I suspect Spencer Jack's Deluxe Cheese Burger would make it to the finals....

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mom Post Successful Surgery At McDonald's With McCafe

For years now it has been an annual tradition for my mom and dad to send me a birthday card, with me calling mom and dad on my birthday to wish them a happy birthday of their eldest son, with mom asking me if I got the card they sent, with me informing them that no card had arrived.

This is then followed by a week or two of asking me if the card has arrived, with the mystery then ended by a phone call telling me the card had arrived back in Arizona. We then figure out what went awry with the address, with the card then getting stuck in another envelope, and then successfully delivered to Texas.

This year the problem came from using the number 403 instead of the correct number of 433.

The card arrived at its final destination last Friday. I then text messaged mom and dad, telling them "Thank you. The card has arrived in my mailbox."

As soon as I sent that text message mom called me back. After going over the details of this year's card journey mom told me the news that she was going in for a surgical procedure today to remove a cancerous tumor of the melanoma sort, I think. Mom did not have many details. But has had such things removed  previously, though this one sounded worse, with some left ear involvement.

So, yesterday I texted my sister while I was not watching a baseball game at Yankee Stadium and asked her to keep me updated like she did a couple months ago when dad got a pacemaker.

That would be part of the update, above, with mom, post-procedure, bandaged, in McDonald's enjoying a McCafe.

Included with the picture of mom in McDonald's was the news that the procedure did not take as long as expected.

I suspect mom is in recovery mode now, being sleepy. I will wait til tomorrow to call to hear how it's going...