Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is The U.S. Postal Service Criminally Neglectful Delivering Parcels In Fort Worth?

Way back last year, on December 21, I blogged  The Post Office Is Very Sorry They Missed Me.

The mail delivery person had left a note in my mailbox telling me a parcel was not able to be delivered.

Despite there being parcel delivery boxes next to where my mailbox is located.

I followed the instructions on the note to request re-delivery via the USPS website. I made this request twice, both times getting an email telling me the re-delivery request had been received.

I stuck a note inside and outside my mailbox telling the delivery person to put parcels in the locked parcel box or deliver to my door.

No parcel was delivered.

I subsequently learned the undelivered parcel was a box of Christmas cookies mailed from Seattle. The person who sent those cookies checked with the USPS tracking system which told her the parcel had been delivered.

When, in reality, the parcel made it as far as my mailbox, without being delivered.

After three weeks of waiting for the parcel to be delivered I mailed a letter to the Postmaster of the Poly Station Post Office on Rosedale, that being the Post Office where undelivered parcels are kept.

In my letter to the Postmaster I detailed the problem, including scanned images of the postcard left by the delivery person, and the messages from the USPS website.

I have not heard back from the Poly Station Postmaster.

In my letter to the Poly Station Postmaster I pointed out that since the Postal Service failed to deliver the parcel, I thought a refund was owed to the sender.

Now that I have had time to think about this outrageously bad service from the US Postal Service I am thinking the problem may be much worse and much more systemic than one might think.

As I have already said, this type failure to deliver has happened multiple times.

One would think that a Postmaster, upon learning of such a failure, via a well-articulated letter from a customer, would investigate, would get back to the customer.

Perhaps with an explanation and an apology. And the undelivered parcel.

Is there something more sinister going on here? Corruption at the local level of the US Postal Service?

Are postal delivery persons failing to deliver parcels and then purloining them? This would not be the first time this type theft has occurred in the US Postal Service system.

Which is why it strikes me as a bit damning that the Poly Station Postmaster chose to ignore my complaint letter. Wouldn't a person legitimately acting in a position of responsibility take this type thing very very seriously and want to get to the bottom of it? And fix the problem?

Does not taking money from a parcel sender in Seattle, and then failing to deliver, not constitute some sort of act of theft? A theft of both the money paid to mail the parcel and the possible theft of the parcel itself? Particularly when that failure is not addressed when a complaint is made?

Why would a Fort Worth Postmaster not be concerned when a detailed complaint about multiple failures to deliver is made by a customer? Is ignoring such a complaint not just another failure to deliver?

Since making a complaint to the local post office accomplishes nothing. And making a complaint to the USPS website is also fruitless, I guess my only remaining avenues of complaint are to send a letter to the Postmaster General of the US Postal Service.

And to blog about it.

Yeah, I'm sure that will get results.

Walking Around Fosdick Lake With Turtles And A Wounded Muscovy Duck

The return of semi-warm temperatures, it is currently 64, mid-afternoon, had the Fosdick Lake turtles sunning themselves like a convention of preening South Padre Island bathing beauties, today, in Fosdick Lake in Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park.

Fosdick Lake looks very crystal clear blue, in the picture.

Photographs can be deceiving.

My eyes did not take the same picture of this scene when they looked at it.

In addition to the turtles there were also a lot of Fosducks enjoying the semi-warm outer world. Plus a number of humans.

A week or two ago I was at Fosdick Lake and talked to a nice lady who was feeding the ducks. She pointed out one duck who was badly injured, limping with a hurt duck leg. I'd seen this duck many times over the years, calling it a Lulu Bird, due to it looking like an odd morphing of a turkey and duck, like it was some sort of genetic mutation.

The last time I mentioned the Lulu Bird someone named Anonymous kindly pointed out to me that it was actually something called a Muscovy Duck. It did not take much Googling to discover that Anonymous was correct.

Today the Muscovy Lulu Bird was out of the water, very close to where I last saw her. Sitting at the base of the steps that lead to the Oakland Lake Park Pavilion.

The Muscovy Lulu Bird was trembling. I cut her a wide berth so as to not worry her. What injured the Muscovy Lulu Bird's leg, I wonder? Did the same type cruel person who murdered a Gateway Park armadillo, harm this duck? It would seem humans are the only predators who might harm such a creature.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Is Someone I Know A Major Creeper?

I am a big fan of strange coincidences.

For a day or two I have been trying to figure out the strange coincidence involved in the meeting between Gabby Goathead and a group of Secret Service Agents using the codename Goathead.

And then just minutes ago it crossed my mind how badly I would like to be totally rid of a creep or two, when I got an email from Stop The Creeps with the subject line asking Is someone you know a major creeper?

The body of the email follows, minus the two links, which I removed, because they appeared to be some sort of email address phishing attempt....

Local Arrest Records are Now Posted Online

We have the technology to find out virtually anything you want about anyone you want, at anytime, online, now.

See if there is danger lurking in your neighborhood. You can never be to safe or to sure.

Would you be interested in finding out what our background check says about you?

I really don't know all that many people who have arrest records, that I know of. I can only recollect one person I have known who has spent time in jail and under house arrest.

The last link in the email tells me to "Enter your name or someone else's name to begin."

I suspect if I entered a "name to begin" I would be quickly asked to provide credit card info to proceed from the beginning.

I know if I entered my name nothing would come up. Nothing as exciting as being arrested, tried, convicted and jailed has ever happened to me. I do not think I would react well to being strip searched and locked up.

I am thinking I must come up with a better idea than looking up arrest records to rid myself of major creeps being creepy......

Walking With My Mom While Singing Happy Birthday In Gateway Park

In Texas, a time or two, I have heard someone say something along the line that "if you don't like the weather in Texas, wait 10 minutes and it will change."

I am likely not even close to the correct wording of what it is I have heard Texans say about the Texas weather. But, I am close to the sentiment.

Yesterday morning it was 70 degrees when I went swimming soon after the sun arrived, with the outer world cloudy, warm and windy. This morning I did not go swimming, because it was 41 degrees and windy.

But, as you can see, via the picture, on this next to last day of January, the clouds have mostly evacuated.

That is not a lake you are looking at in the picture. It is the Trinity River, looking west, viewed from the Gateway Park trail that trails along beside the river.

My mom went walking with me in Gateway Park today.

I called my mom on the way to Gateway. This was not a getting gas related call. It was a Happy Birthday Mom call.

My mom's birthday, as long as I can remember, has been on the next to last day of the 1st month of the year.

My mom claimed, today, that when she called me a couple days ago that she invited me to today's birthday party. That sort of seems familiar.

Later today, my sister, favorite brother-in-law, favorite nephews CJ & JR, brother and favorite sister-in-law, plus an extremely distant relative, who does not speak the same language I speak, and likely a few others, will be helping my mom blow out the candles on her birthday cake.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Have Been Instructed To Watch Severe Thunderstorms While Being Advised About Wind

This afternoon the temperature kept rising, nearing 80, to the point where I turned on the A/C for the first time in 2013.

And now, an hour after turning on A/C, it is back again dormant, because, as you can see, we have quickly chilled to only 25 degrees above freezing.


The most recent National Weather Service Alert has the thunderstorming ceasing by 5.....







Connecticut Apologizes For Giving Birth To George W. Bush

I saw this on Facebook this morning.

Welcomes You
Birthplace of
George W. Bush
We Apologize

Some, on Facebook, were skeptical about this signage, figuring it was an altered image. Others confirm this signage does exist.

I have not been to Connecticut in all the years since George W. Bush became president despite Al Gore getting a lot more votes.

On Facebook, under the picture, were the words "Apology Not Accepted."

I really do not think it is fair to blame Connecticut for the birthing of George W. Bush. I do think someone, somewhere, should be doing some apologizing, though.

Or simply plead guilty....

The Late Arrival Of Tuesday's Predicted Major Storming At My Location In North Texas

Stormy Village Creek Blue Bayou
The weather predictors were predicting that around 1 this afternoon some major storming would descend upon my zone of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

In addition to very strong winds, the major storming was predicted to possibly include large hail, lightning and tornado action.

I was a bit dubious about getting in any salubrious outdoor endorphin stimulating aerobic activity, but decided a short, fast walk with the Indian Ghosts who haunt the Village Creek Natural Historical Area was doable.

I experienced a little drippage whilst walking. And then it was on to Walmart where suddenly a downpour was pouring down about the time I turned the ignition key to off. This downpour did not last long. It was well over with, a few minutes later, when I exited Walmart.

I am now well past a couple hours from the time when major storming was scheduled to arrive. Of the predicted weather calamity, only wind has so far made an appearance. And a little rain. No thunderstorming.

However, as I sit here typing the outer world has grown dark, water drops are now being blown against my computer room window.

This is suddenly way too strange.

Seconds ago I typed there had been no thunderstorming.

And now I've seen a very bright flash and heard a very loud boom.

I suspect the major storming may have arrived.

I must go batten down the hatches now...

Winter In Texas Is Sweltering With My First Successful Swim Of 2013

70 degrees when the sun showed up to begin illuminating the outer world this morning at my location on the planet.

I had my bedroom windows open all night long. Nearing the end of the first month of 2013 it is so HOT not only are windows open, no blanketing was needed last night in my slumber chamber.

Even though the temperature has risen another 2 degrees by mid morning, my windows are now closed, due to bouts of precipitation precipitating.

My longtime criteria for swimming, temperature-wise, has been that swimming is doable whenever the 24 hour temperature average is 50 or above.

With the 24 hour average temperature being around 70, I decided to give the pool a try this morning.

I can now report I have had my first successful swim of 2013.

The water felt pretty much the same temperature as the air, making for a very pleasant swimming experience.

I am ever so slightly concerned as to what these record breaking temperatures portend for the coming summer. I guess I will just enjoy the current balmy winter and worry about the ultra-balmy summer, when it, or if, it happens.

In the meantime, the wind seems to be picking up. Is the predicted major storm with possible tornado action going to happen?

Monday, January 28, 2013

There Are Currently No Plans To Add A Mountain To The Trinity River Vision

No, that is not an artist's rendering of what Pond Granger will look like if Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision ever becomes something someone will be able to look at.

The body of water, in the picture is Lake Tapp. That big white thing in the background is a volcano known as Mount Rainier.

Sampson of Sampson & Delilah had this picture on Facebook this morning. Sampson is having a bit of a bout of SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder) due to the lack of sun currently having Western Washington way too gray.

That is not a boat you are looking at in the water. It is a giant inner tube being towed by a motorboat piloted by Sampson & Delilah.

The mention of an inner tube brings me back to the Trinity River Vision.

The TRV vision has been trying to get clear for well over a decade now.

I would think that with this flood control project so vitally important in protecting downtown Fort Worth from the type flood that it is already protected from, that there would be more urgency with this project, with more evidence of progress, besides a lot of signage, Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats and property taken by abusing eminent domain.

Well, there is the very important Cowtown Wakepark, it being the world's premiere urban wakeboarding venue, and a humongous financial success, drawing wakeboarders from around the world to experience this world class experience.

I suspect that the Cowtown Wakepark is likely a good indicator of the quality of whatever the Trinity River Vision eventually becomes.

Will Pond Granger be big enough that motorboats could tow inner tubes like what happens on Lake Tapp?

On Wednesday I was watching Top Chef: Seattle. A ferry boat floated by whilst the judges were sitting outside judging fried chicken. All the water scenes seen on Top Chef: Seattle show a lot of boats, sail boats, ferry boats, cruise ships, container ships, dozens upon dozens of boats.

What will be floating on Fort Worth's artificial water feature if Pond Granger ever comes to be? A lot of inner tubes? I doubt there will be any ferry boats taking cars and walk-ons from one side of Pond Granger to the other.  I am almost 100% certain there will be no cruise ships docking on Pond Granger.

I don't think I've ever read a good explanation as to what the exact purpose is to create Pond Granger at the currently perfectly scenic confluence of the West and Clear Forks of the Trinity River.

To me it seems a town either has a working waterfront. Or it doesn't. Creating a small artificial waterfront seems sort of goofy.

I guess the vision could be even goofier.

Currently I know of no plans to build a fake mountain to give Fort Worth some artificial mountain scenery....

Chesapeake Energy Is Warning Me To Call Before I Dig

In the picture you are looking over the fence of the industrial complex that was added to my zoned residential/commercial zone about a year ago.

A Chesapeake Energy Barnett Shale Natural Gas Pad Site.

You are sort of looking southwest, in the picture. The building in the background is an Alberstsons, plus some strip mall type businesses.

My neighborhood gas pad was fracked recently. I don't know if this is what caused my bout of respiratory woes, or not. What I do know is the fracking is now completed and my respiratory woes have abated.

Years ago I got myself being all cranky over Chesapeake Energy's bullying tactics regarding pumping non-odorized natural gas under homes on Fort Worth's Carter Avenue. I found myself making an anti-Chesapeake blog and joining a protest at the Tarrant County Courthouse, supporting Steve Doeung's courageous court fight against the Chesapeake Energy bully.

Steve Doeung won that fight. No non-odorized natural gas flows under Carter Avenue.

I can not say the same for the two roads closest to my abode, those being Boca Raton Boulevard and Bridgewood Drive.

In the picture on the left  you are looking at a Chesapeake Energy WARNING, letting you know you are standing above a gas pipeline. No mention is made regarding the non-odorized nature of the natural gas flowing in that pipeline.

There are multiples of these warnings, due to the newly fracked well producing non-odorized natural gas that is being pumped somewhere unknown to me.

Today, for my daily walk, I took a tour of my neighborhood, which is when I made note of the new WARNINGS.

Walking across Miss Puerto Rico's parking lot I saw little round warnings embedded into the asphalt. The pipeline runs under Miss Puerto Rico's parking lot.

In the picture on the left that little yellow round dot in the center foreground is one of the "CALL BEFORE YOU DIG" warnings.

That is the back of the aforementioned Albertsons in the upper right of the picture.

When this pipeline was placed underground at this location the racket the process made was incredibly loud. It vibrated my location quite a distance away, to the point where I felt compelled to exit my abode to find out what was making the racket.

I asked Miss Puerto Rico if the people who park above this non-odorized natural gas pipeline were given any sort of notice as to what was being installed almost in their living quarters.

No notice was given.

I doubt many of the people who live here are aware of what is being pumped beneath them.

Texas has a long history of natural gas explosions, with the most famous explosion being the big bang at the New London School which brought about adding a telltale odor to odorless natural gas.

I have blogged about the exploding natural gas issue a few times...

Stairtown Latest Texas Natural Gas Explosion and Texas Natural Gas Explosion and Carter Avenue & The New London School Explosion.

I guess that whatever it was about non-odorized natural gas that caused disastrous deadly explosions in the past has now been fixed, which would explain why it is safe for non-odorized natural gas to be flowing underground at my location....

Stormy Last Monday Of January Butchering Chicken With Kentucky Fried Chicken's Original Recipe's Secret 11 Herbs & Spices

This is the final Magic Monday of the 1st month of 2013. Magic Monday is my favorite day of the week, my fun day, my I don't go anywhere and run day.

I may go somewhere and hike though, if the stormy looking clouds don't burst.

As you can see, via the view from my pool overlook patio, the stormy looking clouds look like they should already be dropping water.

We are breaking temperature records, heat-wise, in North Texas. I have my windows open again. 67 degrees, currently.

Changing the subject from my favorite one to butchering chickens.

When I was last in Tacoma, summer of 2008, I was instructed to instruct my sister-in-law as to how to cut up a whole chicken. We'd come into possession of two large free range organic chickens that needed to be sliced up.

As I recollect, the instruction session went well, with me cutting up the first chicken and then my student cutting up the second one under my close guidance.

So, this morning I cut up a chicken. I had not done this in awhile. But that is no explanation for how badly I butchered the bird. Some how I got a big chunk of breast on the back. One of the thighs also did not fare well.

I stood there looking at this badly mangled chicken wondering why the butchering had gone so badly, as opposed to the nicely chopped Tacoma chickens.

And then I realized the problem. My sister-in-law had really good knives. Very sharp. I am a bit of a hazard with knives. So, I like my knives to be a bit dull. I think when cutting up a chicken a dull knife turns the process into more of a risky hazard than having a really sharp knife.

Lately I've been having myself a craving for Kentucky Fried Chicken. I Googled to see if I could find the Colonel's 11 Secret Herbs and Spices.

Well, some guy reverse engineered the "Secret Recipe". His version shows up on multiple websites. However, just looking at it it seemed wrong to me, as in each ingredient was 1 teaspoon, with the guy not saying how much flour was to be used.

Then I found a forum where all these knowledgeable foodies were debating this serious issue.

Turns out the guy reverse engineered what went into making a piece of Extra Crispy taste like it does, not the Original Recipe.

Then someone who seemed to be quite knowledgeable detailed the history of the Colonel's Original Recipe and listed what this particular foodie believed to be the Original Recipe's 11 Herbs & Spices....

1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp sage
3/8 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp coriander seed
1/4 tsp summer savory
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp bay leaf
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp green cardamom
1/8 tsp cloves

2 teaspoons of salt is also added to the 1 cup of flour one rolls the chicken pieces in. I guess salt is not considered an herb or spice.

Of the Secret Recipe ingredients I only had black pepper, salt, ginger and cayenne pepper.

I am oven frying my chicken, not deep frying. I suspect my chicken will not be even remotely as tasty as KFC's.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Crowded Sunday Walk With The Village Creek Indian Ghosts

On MLK Day I saw my first wildflower of the new year, a bright yellow wildflower in one of the designated Wildflower Areas in the Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

Today there were a lot more of the bright yellow wildflowers blooming, along with curious looking cotton snowball-like wildflowers, one of which you see in the picture.

Sunday is my favorite day to walk with the Indian ghosts who haunt Village Creek, due to there usually being a lot of other people also walking with the ghosts.

With the outer world being heated well into the 60s, the Village Creek Natural Historical Area's parking lot had only a couple open spaces upon my arrival. This was the busiest I've ever seen this particular parking lot.

One of the ghost walkers had 6 dogs with him. None of which were on a leash. The dogs were all different breeds, ranging from a small dachshund to a big greyhound. The 6 dogs were well behaved. Except for a dachshund. Her name was Pepper. The guy walking Pepper kept yelling her name to get her back on the trail.

I did not see any armadillos today. I don't know how happy the armadillos would be to see 6 unleashed dogs. Except for Pepper. I don't think little Pepper would scare an armadillo. They'd likely just laugh at her in that high pitched giggle noise they make.

Sunday I also my favorite day to go to Walmart. It can be very chaotic, with a very amusing cross section of humanity to peruse. I think I'll go to Walmart in about an hour.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Foggy Hike On The Tandy Hills With Organic Coffee Yogurt At Town Talk

From the top of Mount Tandy, looking west, across the wagon trail that heads towards downtown Fort Worth, you can only barely see the aforementioned beautiful town's stunning skyline, due to fog diminishing visibility.

The temperature was somewhere in the 40s when I went hill hiking today. I thought the fog might make for some extra chilling, but it didn't. A t-shirt provided sufficient top coverage.

I got gas today on the way to the Tandy Hills. So, like I usually do when I get gas, I called my mom. No answer.

It appears, according to my computer based weather monitoring device that we are in from some rain over the next few days. With a return to freezing on Wednesday. I would prefer a return to the 80s of a day or two ago.

Today is the final Saturday of the first month of 2013. With today being Saturday and me being a creature of habit, I visited the zoo known as Town Talk. Today I got a lot of avocados at 20 cents each. I foresee some guacamole making in an hour or two.

On my last Town Talk visit I got a case of dark chocolate yogurt. I am not much of a chocolate fan. But I do like dark chocolate in small doses. Years ago I was shocked to discover that I really like chocolate cheesecake, so I thought there was a chance dark chocolate yogurt might be a good thing.

Well, it was. A really good thing.

Today I saw no dark chocolate yogurt in the Town Talk walk-in cooler. But, there were a lot of cases of coffee yogurt. I did not think there was a chance that I would discover this to be a good thing, so I did not get myself any coffee yogurt.

Thinking about dark chocolate yogurt had me heading to my refrigerator. I am looking at the yogurt container right now. Wallaby Organic Down Under Dark Chocolate Lowfat Yogurt.

With the Wallaby word and the Down Under phrase I assumed this was imported from Australia yogurt.

Then I looked at the the ingredients label where it says ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS: Organic Cultured Pasteurized Reduced Fat Milk, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Chocolate Liquor, Organic Locust Bean Gum, Pectin, Organic Vanilla Extract.

And then a sentence saying "Our premium organic milk comes from pasture based family farms in Northern California".

Not Northern Australia.

I am a bit concerned after reading the all natural ingredients to see that the pectin apparently is not organic. I almost feel as if maybe I should cease consuming this yogurt. But, it is just too tasty.

I also see on the yogurt container that the Wallaby Yogurt Company has a website. And that they are located in one of my favorite places, that being California's Napa Valley. I must muster the energy to find contact info on the Wallaby Yogurt Company website so I can ask why the pectin is not organic.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Getting Cold Walking With The Fosdick Lake Fosducks

The Shivering Fosducks of Fosdick Lake
Yesterday the temperature at my location neared or exceeded 80. Hiking the Tandy Hills yesterday the only outerwear needed were shoes and shorts.

Overnight a new cold front has breezed in, which had the morning starting off with light fog. If I am going to get to experience fog I like it to be of the dense sort. Light fog really is not all that interesting.

Years ago, driving on the Olympic Peninsula, after having hiked to the Pacific from Lake Ozette, heading towards Forks for the night, I found myself in the thickest fog I've ever experienced.

I think the technical term for this type fog is a Pea Soup Fog. This fog was so thick I had to drive really slow. The headlights almost made the visibility worse. Very scary. Eventually made it to an equally scary motel in Forks.

I have not been to Forks since it became famous due to those Twilight movies. I suspect the town has been rejuvenated. Thinking about Forks quickly had me thinking about La Push, which just as quickly had me feeling homesick for some good ocean scenery.

Changing the subject back to the beautiful scenery I see at my current location.

The temperature was in the upper 40s when I drove to Oakland Lake Park to walk around Fosdick Lake. Supposedly, according to my computer based weather monitoring device, the wind had it really feeling like it was 27. However, there was no wind blowing making the air feel colder than it was.

Even so, I did not get the right level of outerwear covering me to prevent getting cold whilst walking fast.

I walked around the lake once, and then got back into the climate controlled comfort of my mechanical transportation device.

Even though outside it is cold, I have had no inclination to fire up my interior space's heating device. This place is well insulated. But, I suspect within a few more hours the insulation will no longer be keeping the cold at bay.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Lonely Cowboy Searching For Air Filters With Frita

I am one lonely cowboy under a lonesome Texas sky this early Thursday evening.

The sweltering heat, near 80, tempted me to fire up the air-conditioner. I resisted the temptation and opted for open windows and spinning ceiling fans instead.

Like I mentioned I would, earlier, I called Frita Fremont back when I drove to Walmart this afternoon.

Frita talked so long she used up all her long distance minutes. This is tragic. Does this mean Frita will not be calling me anymore til she has some more minutes?

One of the things I went to Walmart for was to see if I could find some sort of air filtering device. I have not been liking the air that I breathe, full of particulants. And yesterday I learned that among those particulants, thanks to the bad behavior of Texas regulating agencies, and Chesapeake Energy, there is likely too much cancer causing benzene in the air that I breathe.

I wandered all over Walmart looking for an air cleaning device. Finally, about the time Frita's minutes ran out, I asked if she would have any idea where such a thing might be. Frita told me where to look. About 30 seconds later I was looking at air filtering devices.

Frita is very handy to have on the phone when you need information. Imagine how useful she would be in person.

Not Talking To Frita Fremont While Hiking Hot Hills & Making Tofu Chili

This morning was spent up north, in Hurst, on a scouting expedition. That went well, except for the fact that each week the drive through the 820/121 construction zone seems to get more treacherous.

When I got back to my abode I made Tofu Chili using the red hot and yellow hot chili peppers I got at Town Talk on Saturday. The hot peppers were not as hot as I thought they'd be. They are plenty hot in their raw state, but lose a lot of their hotness when cooked.

I guess I'm assuming that it is the application of heat that diminishes the chili pepper heat. I suppose this could be caused by the Tofu. I suspect not, though.

After I was done making Tofu Chili I let it sit in simmer mode while I took off to the Tandy Hills for a pre-lunch bout of salubrious, endorphin inducing hill hiking.

On the drive to the Tandy Hills I was talking on my telephonic communication device when I got an incoming call. Due to my technological ineptness I am unable, usually, to manage two calls at once.

When I arrived at the Tandy Hills I terminated talking and then saw that the called I missed was from Frita Fremont. I don't much like talking on my telephonic communication device whilst doing hill hiking, so I did not call Frita back. Figured I'd do so later.

After I was up and down a few hills I came to the collection of mushroom benches I've made mention of before. I sat down for a spell to enjoy the view from a non-vertical position. In the distance I saw what, upon closer examination, I was to later learn, was a family of four, mom, dad and two kids, hiking the hills.

As I got back vertical, to continue the salubrious hiking, my phone rang again. It was Frita Fremont again. This time Frita left me a message saying she urgently needed to speak to me. Well, as soon as it is convenient, I think, is what Frita actually said.

I think I am driving to Walmart in about an hour. I will call Frita at that point in time.

By the way, the Tofu Chili turned out to be really tasty.

And now, let us talk about the weather.

I've got my windows open. It was in the 70s when I went hiking today, nearing 80 right now in the middle of the afternoon. The only outerwear needed today was shorts and shoes. I do not remember this happening in January before.

As you can see below, this short taste of Summer comes to an end tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Need A Heavy Duty Lifting Device To Get Fubbo The Hut Off My Blog

Yesterday I got a call regarding the Fubbogate Scandal. The caller had read Fubbo the Hut's Facebook rantings and was also a longtime reader of my blog. The caller asked me what it is that Fubbo the Hut is so upset about and what it is Fubbo thinks I have done to her.

I told the caller that Fubbo the Hut's tantrums have been triggered by my blog posts.

The caller then rhetorically opined, but you don't ever mention Fubbo the Hut's actual name, how would anyone know this is her that you are talking about?

Good question.

Does the term paranoid neurotic mean anything to anyone?

The blog post that triggered Fubbo the Hut's recent display of bad behavior was from way back in June, titled You Pathological Lying Cheaters Are Easily Busted. The person whose pathological lying I was describing was not named. But, it was a Fubbo the Hut lie that I was talking about. Fubbo recognized her lie and then made a totally stupid comment to that blogging, containing more lies, which is what is known as irony.

In December I blogged about Fubbo the Hut's ironic comment in a blogging titled The Lingering Creepy Weirdness Of Fubbo The Hut.

It was the December blog post about Fubbo the Hut, with its details of more Fubbo madness, which set off her Facebook ranting. I blogged about this in a blogging titled The Lingering Creepy Weirdness Of Fubbo The Hut On Facebook.

Apparently Fubbo thought she'd blocked me from Facebook, which made her think she was in the free and clear to do some more of her pathological lying, in the Facebook venue.

I then got a call telling me Fubbo the Hut was blowing up again on Facebook. I had had enough of reading Fubbo's Facebook ranting, so I did not look at it, but I blogged Time Heals All Wounds & Wounds All Heals Including Fubbo The Hut.

A short time later I learned that this latest Fubbo the Hut Facebook blowup was not just attacking me, but that she was going after innocents who had done absolutely nothing to warrant the wrath of a creepy quarter ton sociopathic psychotic monster. I blogged about this in Contemplating Throwing Fubbo The Hut Off Fosdick Falls.

Now, here is where it gets even more amusingly ironic. One of Fubbo the Hut's lies has been that I have been stalking her. Near as I can tell, by stalking her, Fubbo means I read her blog and then blog about what I read.

Truth of the matter is, Fubbo the Hut's now dead blog was not even remotely interesting, with her writing being borderline illiterate. There was nothing there to stalk.

Have I made fun a time or two of something ridiculous on Fubbo's blog that I read myself or was told about?


Is that stalking?


One would need to be an idiot to think this is stalking.

An idiot. Or Fubbo the Hut.

With Fubbo the Hut, what she accuses someone else of doing she is likely the one doing it. Like stalking blogs. She's been caught more than once making rude anonymous comments, about me, on various blogs. Of late she has been stalking this very blog you are reading right now, over and over and over again throughout the day and night. The below shows up on my blog stats multiple times 24/7...

The blog posts about Fubbo the Hut's sociopathic madness are being a bit interesting, stats-wise. As in the number of pageviews of the various blog posts about Fubbo the Hut have been way higher than is the norm. For instance, the blog post that triggered Fubbo's paranoia, The Lingering Creepy Weirdness Of Fubbo The Hut has had well over 1,000 page views. The most recent post about Fubbo, Contemplating Throwing Fubbo The Hut Off Fosdick Falls has had over 600 pageviews.

What is causing all these pageviews? It can't be accounted for by Fubbo the Hut's chronic stalking.

It is very perplexing.

Janice The Bibliotechnician Cursed Me With Insomnia

Yesterday afternoon I was peacefully minding my own business when suddenly I found myself confronted with what I believe to be some sort of subliminal message, delivered to me by Janice the Burlington Bibliotechnician.

That is the subliminal message you are looking at where usually you would see a photograph.

I think this subliminal message entered deep into my sub-conscious and caused me my first bad bout of insomnia in a really long time.

It was well after midnight when I finally passed out. And then slightly after 5, this morning, I was back awake again, tossing and turning in my malfunctioning slumber chamber.

Sometime before 6 I gave up on the notion that I was going to be doing any more sleeping. And so I got myself vertical and made coffee.

I have a bad feeling that this next to last Wednesday of the 1st month of 2013 is going to be a very long day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Shadow Of The Tandy Thin Man Thumping Trucks

The Shadow of the Thin Man was long on the Tandy Hills at noon today.

With today being the 22nd day of the first month of 2013 we are already over a third of the way through Winter.

I had a strange hike on the Tandy Hills today.

Human sightings are very rare on the Tandy Hills. Today, near the Tandy Bamboo Teepee Grove I heard really loud thumping, sounding like a mallet hitting rock. It sort of spooked me. I did not try and find the source of the thumping. Instead I walked away from the thumping quickly.

A short time later I was heading north on the Tandy Highway, when, in the distance, I saw a guy coming towards me.

When the guy saw me he looked to be startled.

As the distance between us narrowed the guy started looking increasingly odd. He was not dressed like someone getting in some salubrious hill hiking. He said hello to me from about 20 feet away. I howdied him back as we passed by each other.

Is this who is living in that campsite I found a couple days ago, I wondered? Was this who was making the thumping noise?

When I got back to the summit of Mount Tandy I turned around to look west at the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth.

Instead of the stunning skyline what caught me eye was a white truck driving on to the Tandy Hills via the trail in from View Street.

That is a zoomed view of the white truck you are looking at in the picture. White trucks always make me nervous. I have a troubling history, in Texas, with white trucks.

Dozens Of MLK Day Escalator Rides With Spencer Jack

When I woke up my computer this morning there was email from Spencer Jack's dad documenting, via video and photos, yesterday's MLK Day with Spencer Jack, his girl friend and his dad.

I'd heard from others that MLK Day was incredibly foggy in Western Washington, foggy and cold.

You can sort of tell it is foggy and cold in the picture of Spencer Jack and his dad in Jennings Park, in Marysville. Apparently Spencer Jack's dad had trouble finding Jennings Park. I am losing memory of Washington places. I can not remember how to get to Jennings Park, even though I went to that park with my nephews many times.

Below is the majority of the email from Spencer Jack's dad, along with video of one of Spencer Jack's dozens of MLK Day escalator rides....

FUDurango ---

Thanks for the recent blog posts of Spencer's use of my Great Grandma's blankets. I thought you'd enjoy seeing that.

Spencer's flu bug is nearly almost gone. But playing in the snow was probably not a good choice today. I'm glad. Cause playing in the snow is really not that fun, unless your a kid.

Instead, we took off on an adventure. Similar to those outings that you took myself and FNJoe on generations ago. With never a destination. Just with a plan to have fun. And we did!

Spencer and I, accompanied by shared girl friend Brittney headed south. My goal was the new Ferris Wheel on the Seattle Waterfront. We attempted it once, but the lines were too long for my 5 year old's attention span, so we bailed. And today, we failed to ride on the wheel. Never made it that far south.  But still had fun.

On our southern adventure today we pulled off of I-5 in Marysville.

Then off to Jennings Park.

But before such we passed a McDonald's across from a Fred Meyer on State Street that had a huge kid's 'playplace' so we pulled over and had ourselves lunch, while Spencer played with all the other school children who were not in school today because of MLK Day.

Then resumed the attempt to find Jennings Park in Marysville.

We were aided by my Google app on my Iphone, as I didn't quite remember where the park entrance was to be found. But once I we got there, all was the same, as I remembered when you took FNJoe with CJ and JR and myself there. Multiple times. That place is really cool. Fishing pond was under reconstruction. No big deal to us. We didn't bring our fishing poles. And the pond was nearly frozen over.

My Iphone, and close proximity bank clocks, concurred that by 2 pm in Marysville, the temperature dropped to a chilling 30 degrees. Spencer and I were fine, but our small little girl friend was freezing.

Pretty cold for us Western Washington folks. And unbelievable foggy. Some of the most dense fog I have ever seen here in Western Washington.

Spencer, myself and our girl friend had to run to keep warm.

We were forced to make a gas stop in downtown 'run down' Marysville.  If one was to take a short drive on State Street in Marysville to understand why one thinks the town is 'run down' well...just do such and I think you'll come to the same conclusion. Nothing but pawn shops and adult video stores and vacant shops. I thought I was in Reno, Nevada.

I was out voted because neither Spencer or our girl friend Brittney were interested in shopping in the pawn shops or adult video stores, so we furthered our venture south to Lynnwood.

Next venture: Toys-R-Us in Lynnwood. Great store. Hasn't changed a bit since you took me and FNJoe there years ago, except for the prices.

Had fun playing with all the toys.  

After Spencer realized that his dad was not at Toys-R-Us to purchase anything for him, Spencer Jack was eager to get across the street to the mall.

For obvious reasons.

He had been there before and knows that this mall sports 3 escalators. The Macy's, Nordstroms, and Sears shopping venues each have one. We were only privileged to enjoy those at Macy's (13 times) and Sears (4 times). The Nordstrom escalator will have to wait for another trip.

By then hunger stuck us. And our girl friend gets cranky if she doesn't get to indulge in late afternoon happy hour.  So we left the escalators for a beer or two and feeding.

We enjoyed dinner at the Lynnwood Red Robin courtesy of gift cards received from Einar & Doris's annual Xmas festivas.

Good day.

Just like an Uncle Durango Day I remember from years ago. Less the happy hour.

Thought you'd enjoy the story, and the photos.


Is America Making A Case To Kick Texas Out Of The Union?

I don't know if most Texans pay any attention to what the rest of America, or the world, thinks about Texas, or Texans.

If they don't, maybe they should.

This morning the Seattle Post-Intelligencer had an amusing article, well, amusing to me, article about Texas titled Should Texas secede from the U.S.? A case can be made.

Below is that article in its entirety....

A total of 125,746 people recently signed a petition on the White House web site asking the Obama administration to allow Texas to secede from the United State.  It was, of course, rejected.

The reactionaries who rule the Lone Star State have been restless ever since Obama was elected in 2008.

"When we came into the nation in 1845, we were a stand-alone nation, and one of the deals was, we can leave any time we want.  So we're kind of thinking about it again," Gov. Rick Perry told an early Tea Party rally.

Perry has since rejected secession.  He sought to become America's 45th president in 2012 only to find himself, in a Republican candidates debate,  unable to identify the three Cabinet departments he had pledged to eliminate.

It begs a question, however.  What would the rest of America gain -- and lose -- were the Texas Nationalist Movement to achieve its goal of secession?  The gains:

--Fewer awful presidents:  Lyndon Johnson orchestrated the Vietnam War, in which the United States was stymied by what LBJ called "a raggedly ass little fourth rate country."  George W. Bush took us to war in Iraq on a lie, at a cost of nearly 5,000 American lives and as much as $1 trillion.

If Rick Perry ever moves to the White House, the governor  already defined his governing philosophy:  "I think it's time for us to just hand it over to God and say, 'God, you're going to have to fix this'."

--Greater respect for the law:  Texas has resisted efforts to clean up dirty air in its petroleum-producing regions.  Then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay once likened U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials to Hitler's Gestapo.

Rick Perry has opined:  "Frankly, I pray for the President every day.  I pray for his wisdom. I wish this President would turn back the health care law that's been passed, ask that his EPA back down these regulations that are causing business to hesitate to spend money."

Just last week, Texas State Rep. Steve Toth introduced a bill in the state House that would allow police across the state to arrest any federal law enforcement officers who tried to enforce a federal ban on military-style assault weapons and/or high capacity magazines.

--Fewer awful members of Congress:  Former Sen. Phil Gramm championed letting Wall Street run free.  Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, has threatened to introduce a bill of impeachment against President Obama for using executive powers to promote firearms safety.  Tom DeLay tried to impeach President Clinton. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, reacted to assassinations at Sandy Hill Elementary School in Connecticut by saying of the slain principal:

"Chris, I wish to god she had had an M-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out . . . and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids."

Those are the doofuses.  Others are dangerous.  Under chairmanship of Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2006 tried to strip away tanker safety requirements and oil spill protections from Puget Sound -- and every place else in the country.  Sen. Maria Cantwell and then-Rep. Jay Inslee threatened to raise hell, and stopped it.  (Barton is the guy who apologized to BP after the Gulf oil spill.)

--Less climate idiocy:  As energy industry strumpets, Texas politicians have turned a blind eye toward climate change . . . even when Texas was hit in 2011 with a massive drought, prolonged 100-degree plus temperatures and wildfires that scorched hundreds of thousands of acres.

Gov. Perry proclaimed three days of April, 2011, as "Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas."  Then, he ran for the Republican nomination as a global warming denier, claiming scientists "manipulated data" that human activity is contributing to climate change.

If Texas were to secede, in sum, the rest of the United States would have fewer wars, enjoy a higher proportion of smart politicians in Washington, D.C.,  and be better able to tackle issues ranging from climate change to gun violence.

The case against:  America would lose on the technology front, the literary front, the culinary front and the music front were Austin, Texas, to be taken from it.  Texas would depart just as changing demographics -- the rising Hispanic population, emigration from the north -- promise to loosen the good-old-boy grip.

Of course, there's also what to do with the 3.1 million Texans who voted for President Obama, and the state's non-Tea Party Republicans.  George (Sr.) and Barbara Bush could enjoy dual citizenship, and decamp for Kennebunkport, Maine.  It wouldn't be that easy for the state's enlightened folk, who need help from the outside.

God help us and spare us what Gov. Perry would let happen to air and water quality if set free to work his -- oops, God's -- will.  What improvements there are now come almost entirely courtesy of federal law and the hated EPA.

The number of people executed in Texas, not all of them guilty, would soar without the Supreme Court-imposed inhibitions on executing youthful offenders and mentally ill defendants.

Still, the let- 'em-go temptation is there, particularly when America is forced to listen to the theology of Rick Perry or the science denial of a Rep. Barton or Rep. Ralph Hall, absurdly the chairman of the House Science, Space Technology Committee.

Then, too, the attitude of Texas' rulers is, "Never say never."  The Texas Nationalist Movement  met last week with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.  And House Speaker Joe Strauss III declared:

"Our economy is so vast and diverse that if Texas were its own country -- and no, don't worry, that isn't something we're going to do this session -- but if we were, we'd be the 14th largest economy in the world."

Hey, don't tempt us.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Martin Luther King Inauguration Day Walk With The Indian Ghosts Of Village Creek

For my Martin Luther King Inauguration Day walk I thought it appropriate to walk on this day with the Indian Ghosts who haunt the Village Creek Natural Historical Area in Arlington.

I listened to the President's Inauguration speech before leaving my abode. I thought it was a good speech.

Walking with the Indian Ghosts on MLK Day had me wondering why we have no national holiday that in some way honors Native Americans.

Maybe Crazy Horse Day, or Sitting Bull Day, or Wounded Knee Day, or some other day that recognizes the Native American Indian role in the history of the United States. This could be a very enjoyable holiday, with powwows wowing people all over the country.

Changing the subject from Crazy Horse Day back to Village Creek.

I am really liking seeing all the big trees without their leaves. I think I've already mentioned this. The above big trees without their leaves is a good example.

In just a couple months the leaves will return, turning the leafless trees back into a jungle.

Today I saw the first sign of the upcoming return of color, my first wildflower of the new year, that being the bright yellow beauty you see on the right.

This yellow beauty was obediently sprouting naturally in the Village Creek Natural Historical Area's designated "Wildflower Area."

If I remember right, last Spring's wildflower season in North Texas was not as colorful as others have been since my exile in Texas. I suspect this year we are in for a bumper crop of wildflowers. I have no clue why I suspect this other than being surprised by the January appearance of the yellow beauty I saw today.

Today, Hoppy the Armadillo was in the same location he has been on my previous 3 visits to his home.

As soon as Hoppy hears my camera turn on, with its telltale beep, he turns his back on me.

Then when I move to get a better side view, Hoppy turns again.

And then when I keep persisting, Hoppy starts hopping, his trademark 3 or 4 hops, and then dead still, in playing possum mode, hoping I will go away, which eventually I do.

Is there an armadillo exhibit at the Fort Worth Zoo? I've only been to that zoo once and I do not remember an armadillo exhibit.

I don't remember seeing armadillos at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo, either. Or the San Diego Zoo. I think that covers all the zoos I have ever been to.

I hope everyone is having themselves a really fine Martin Luther King Day.

The Flu Has Spencer Jack Jumping Like A Grasshopper

Spencer Jack Under A Grandma White Blanket
Last night Spencer Jack's Grandma Cindy emailed me with further documentation that Spencer is being well covered by Grandma blankets whilst he is sick with the flu.

This is what Grandma Cindy had to tell me...

Here is Spencer keeping warm under a blanket made by his Great Great Grandma Dorothy White.  (My mom’s mom)  So Great Great Grandma Vera and Grandma White are keeping him warm.  Cindy

And now this morning I heard from Spencer Jack's dad that Spencer is now in recovery mode.....

Spencer is feeling much better.  It has been 2 days of hell. But now he's recovering.  His girl friend Brittney, myself and Spencer Jack had previously planned a trip to Stevens Pass today to play in the snow. We did such last year on MLK day. But trying to be good parental units, we may alter our plans tomorrow.

Spencer Jack's dad sent a video, along with the email telling me that Spencer is feeling a lot better. The video seems to provide evidence that Spencer has recovered enough to head to higher elevations for some fun in the snow....

Sunday, January 20, 2013

On The Tandy Hills Thinking About Frita Fremont & Cattle-Ranching Fashionistas

Since I'd not been on the Tandy Hills for 24 hours, I thought I'd go there, for the 3rd day in a row, to get myself some salubrious endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation, to work up an appetite before returning to my abode for a Thanksgiving-like turkey lunch, minus anything to do with pumpkin or stuffing or sweet potatoes.

Typing 'potatoes' had me remembering when we had a vice president who thought that word should have no 'e'.

I thought my personal Pacific Northwest trainer, Frita Fremont was going to call me whilst I was on the Tandy Hills today so she could do some virtual hill hiking with me and urge me to go faster up the hills.

Frita Fremont has diagnosed the reason for my malady, of the past couple months, as being caused by a decrease in the amount of exercise I usually get, in part caused by the water in my pool being too cool to pleasantly swim in.

So, Frita Fremont has prescribed amped up hill hiking and mountain biking for me. I am hoping this increase in activity will alleviate me of my bulging beer gut before April, when Frita Fremont is tentatively scheduled to fly to D/FW for a roadtrip to South Padre Island.

Changing the subject from Frita Fremont back to the Tandy Hills.

As you can see, in the photo above, via the view from atop Mount Tandy, looking west across the wagon trail that heads towards the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth, it is a blue sky Sunday in North Texas, with a bit of a smoggy, pinkish haze in the mix.

It is another semi-warm day, almost 70, at this point in the mid-afternoon. It is so warm that I have opened my computer room window. I don't recollect doing that in January before. I'm still not feeling cool. I really don't feel like turning on the ceiling fan. Or the air-conditioner.

Changing the subject again, this time to Cowtown Fashionistas.

For awhile now, on my way to Oakland Lake Park or the Tandy Hills, driving west on Bridge Street, by Nolan High School, I've noticed a billboard advertisement has replaced the former one about not speaking out of ones tailpipe.

The message now on this billboard is CATTLE-RANCHING FASHIONISTAS LISTEN TO npr.

I believe npr is National Public Radio.

Fort Worth is known, locally, as Cowtown. I don't know if that has anything to do with cattle-ranching fashionistas.

Is the point of this message that I should be listening to NPR because well dressed local cattle ranchers listen to public radio? And that I should want to emulate the local well dressed cattle ranchers? Who listen to NPR?

Would this billboard ad work in other towns in America? I'm thinking it'd make even less sense in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle or Miami. It might work in Dallas. Or Oklahoma City. Or Amarillo.

Okay, I am really starting to seriously over heat. Could this be that dreaded male menopause thing I've heard about? Maybe I should go for a quick dip in the cool pool.

Einstein's Generation Of Idiots Propagandizing False Hitler Quotes

Yesterday, Betty Jo Bouvier sent me an amusing email that had a series of photos of people using their smart phones, rather than doing some human, in person, social interacting, in places like restaurants, museums, theaters, trains, sporting events, at the beach, and other places.

These photos of people smart phoning was followed by the Albert Einstein quote about our current generation of idiots, apparently made so by technology.

Albert Einstein is widely believed to have been a genius. But, I really don't think an idiot can figure out how to use a smart phone. I can't even figure out how to send a text message.

I thought this Einstein quote might be bogus, and so I Googled to see if it had been Snope-isized. Nope, Einstein did say words to this effect, but the exact words quoted somewhat vary, though the meaning remains the same.

And then on Facebook I have been seeing Hitler references regarding the recent gun ban brouhaha. I sort of knew without Googling that these quotes were bogus, due to the sort of obvious historical inaccuracy. But, I Googled anyway.

From the Propaganda Professor, in an article titled The Myth of Hitler's Gun Ban we learn.....

Whenever a politician, or anyone else, starts talking about regulating guns, it’s a safe bet that someone will bring up how Hitler supposedly outlawed guns in Germany, which supposedly enabled him to do all the mischief he did.  As we’ve noted before, Adolf is a staple reference among propagandists. It’s become an automatic response to compare anyone you don’t like to Der Fuhrer, on the grounds that since he was evil incarnate, everything he ever said or did must also be evil. People have even been known to suggest that since he was a vegetarian, vegetarians are evil. It’s not surprising, then, that you often see this quote pop up:

“This year will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!”  –Adolf Hitler, 1935

Trouble is, Hitler never made such a speech in 1935. Nor is there any record that he ever spoke these particular words at all.  This little “speech” was obviously written for him, many years after his death, by someone who wanted you to believe that gun registration is Hitler-evil.

And the truth is that no gun law was passed in Germany in 1935. There was no need for one, since a gun registration program was already in effect in Germany; it was enacted in 1928, five years before Hitler’s ascendancy.  But that law did not “outlaw” guns, it just restricted their possession to individuals who were considered law-abiding citizens, and who had a reason to own one. And there’s no reason to consider that law particularly significant, either; the NAZIs didn’t seize control of their own country with gunpowder. They used a much more potent weapon: propaganda.

Using propaganda to try and take control of a country. Why, that sure could not possibly happen in America...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Spencer Jack Has The Flu Which Has Me Thinking About Spencer's Great Great Grandma Vera

Bad news from Spencer Jack's dad, he being my Favorite Nephew Jason, telling me that Spencer has come down with a bad bout of the flu. The flu is hardest on little kids and elderly people, such as myself.

This is what FN Jason had to say....

Your favorite Great Nephew Spencer Jack has fallen victim to this year's flu bug. The little guy was quite cold, despite sporting a high fever all night. I had to dig out one of Grandma Vera's hand made blankets. I kept two of these one of a kind knittings. I believe FN Joe still has some of her stocking caps that he uses for wintertime fishing.  

Grandma Vera was my mom's mom.

Grandma had really bad arthritis as long as I can remember, resulting in gnarled hands that were very painful. Keeping busy with her hands kept the arthritis partially at bay. So, Grandma Vera was a crocheting machine, churning out big afghans and knitted caps, among other things.

Grandma would see a hatless kid walking by on a snowy, cold Lynden, Washington winter day and go give the kid one of her knitted caps. This eventually had Grandma's signature knitted caps on a lot of Lynden kid's heads.

A couple weeks ago, during our first Texas cold snap of the year, I went exploring in my walk-in closet to find my stash of Grandma Vera knitted caps. I found 4 of them.

I did not have to go hunting to find my Grandma Vera afghans. I have 4 of them, stored in another closet, until I need one, like the one you see via the picture, currently on the bed in my slumber chamber.

Grandma Vera would be so pleased to know her legacy of yarn products lives on, covering Spencer Jack, born 4 or 5 years after his Great Great Grandma Vera died at age, if I remember right, 94.

I last saw Grandma Vera in 2002, if I remember right. I don't remember why the aforementioned FN Joey and I were up in Bellingham, but we were, so we stopped in for a visit with Grandma Vera in her 3rd floor apartment in her assisted living place.

When we left, on the way back to the parking lot, Joey told me Grandma would be at her window waving at us. And so she was. This was the last time I ever saw my Grandma Vera.

I just got hit with a very rare wave of feeling very sad.

Enduring Big Ed Malfunctions On The Tandy Hills With Lost Shopping Carts At Town Talk

Big Ed recovered from his most recent bout of Extreme Gooberitis, to a wellness level that allowed him to go hill hiking with me on the Tandy Hills today, for the first time in a long time.

Big Ed got a digital camera for Christmas. Apparently this is a complicated digital camera.

The camera has Big Ed totally bum puzzled.

Big Ed tried to take a picture of me taking a picture of him, but he somehow got his camera into some sort of delayed timer mode that results in a lot of beeping and red light flashes before the picture gets taken. And then the resulting photo is in some strange landscape format tinted blue.

I remember when Big Ed had to give up mountain biking because of repeated incidents where he'd get his shorts somehow caught on the pedals, resulting in all sorts of embarrassing mayhem. This camera malfunctionizing sort of reminds me of that.

Other than making the mistake of taking Big Ed to the hills today, today was another absolutely perfect day to be outdoors in North Texas.

Because Big Ed went to the hills with me today that meant he also went to Town Talk. I asked Big Ed to watch my cart while I ventured into the super packed, human gridlock, warehouse area, where I'd find stuff and then send it back to the cart via Big Ed. That was working out okay, til Big Ed lost the shopping cart.

With the shopping cart lost I had to start over again, re-bagging a lot of hot peppers, of bright red and a yellow varieties. These peppers are shaped like jalapenos, but I have no idea if these are of a similar capsaicin level, or way hotter. Or cooler, than jalapenos.

I also got a lot of avocados, making this a sort of Mexican themed day at Town Talk.

Speaking of jalapenos, I have discovered a burn free method to deal with the little firecrackers. I  slice off the top and then remove the innards with a potato peeler. This works real slick, with no burning eye or other burning delicate areas, ever since discovering this method.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Camping On The Tandy Hills With Giant Mushrooms

Looking West at Downtown Fort Worth
I was back on the Tandy Hills today for the first time in about 2 weeks. I can not remember when I had myself a finer time doing hill hiking than I did today.

The temperature was nearing 60. The only outer wear needed was cargo shorts and a t-shirt.

It is a clear, blue sky Friday, as you can see in the picture, looking west, towards the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth, with the phalanx of Fort Worth skyscrapers barely peaking up above a Tandy Hill.

Why do I have such a liking for run-on sentences? Writing them is like careening out of control in a car with broken brakes. Not that I have ever had that happen.

Soon after I took the picture of the stunning skyline I looked down the ridge you see in the foreground. I saw something large and out of place. As I got closer I saw more odd things. It crossed my mind that I may have stumbled upon the mysterious VW Bus of Witchey Tree Fame.

When I was about 30 feet away it became clear I was looking at a homeless person's campsite. There were clothes hanging from branches. Stuff stored in plastic bags, also hanging from branches. Piles of camping material, like blankets and a tarp, on the ground, along with an assortment of other stuff.

Gang of Four Hiking
As I stood there looking at this campsite I reached to get my camera. At that point I heard a noise, the type leaf rustling noise armadillos make. I saw a large object move behind a tree. I was spooked by the large object behind the tree, who I also think was spooked. I quickly walked away.

A very short time later I was back on the View Street Trail, heading south, when I heard voices, then saw the group of 4 guys you see in the picture.

They were coming from the direction of the campsite, but I don't think these were the campers. I think it was just a coincidence they showed up at that point in time.

Eight Mushrooms Sprouting in the Distance
Continuing on, about 15 minutes later I looked up to see what looked like 8 very big mushrooms, un-naturally sprouting out of the ground of the Tandy Hills Natural Area.

We've had some precipitation precipitating of late. Were the damp conditions of the sort that caused giant mushrooms to sprout, I walked and wondered?

As I got closer to the 8 giant mushrooms it became clear this was not natural vegetation sprouting on the Tandy Hills.

These were manmade mushrooms.

Eight sturdy benches anchored to steel posts stuck very solidly into the ground.

Is this the amphitheater where outdoor concerts are rumored to take place this summer?

Eight Rectangular Mushroom Benches
Is there any relationship between the 8 benches and the bamboo teepee a short distance to the north?

There seems to be a lot of construction going on on the Tandy Hills Natural Area.

Recently directional signposts have been installed, after which I have not gotten lost a single time.

And now the construction of 8 benches.

What's next?

In my own selfish interest, I would not mind seeing mushroom benches installed at various locations throughout the Natural Area. It'd be a good thing to be able to sit down for a spell to enjoy the scenery in a non-vertical position. I sat on one of the mushroom benches today for at least 5 minutes. It was very pleasant.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Discovering The Hidden Grotto Of Village Creek With An Armadillo

Walking today with the Indian Ghosts who haunt the Village Creek Natural Historical Area I saw a trail I'd not noticed before, likely noticeable, now, because of the diminished amount of view blocking foliage.

The trail led to the view you see in the picture, a heretofore hidden Grotto on Village Creek.

The water in Village Creek was looking so clear today I would have felt a swim were possible, if it were a hot summer day, and there were no turtles or other reptiles of the snake sort who like to play in Village Creek.

The only critter I recollect seeing today was the same armadillo I first saw a week ago. I am fairly certain this is the same armadillo due to it being in the same location and exhibiting an odd behavior I'd not seen in other armadillos. That being this guy does not cut and run when he detects a human.

Instead, this guy does a couple hops and then freezes, like a possum playing possum, and then resumes his foraging, stopping to repeat, when once again the presence of a dangerous human is detected.