Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Happy Easter Village Creek Bike Ride

Those are my handlebars on the Village Creek Blue Bayou Overlook, looking over the Village Creek Blue Bayou on this last day of March of 2013, which also happens to be Easter.

A lot of people were in the Village Creek Natural Historical Area today getting exercise in various forms; biking, walking, roller blading, jogging, playing volleyball, soccer and sitting at picnic tables engaging in the endorphin inducing activity known as eating.

I called my mom and dad on the way to Village Creek to wish them a Happy Easter. At that point in time my parental units were not available, so I left a voice mail.

Earlier today I mentioned that I'd not heard from Spencer Jack's dad confirming that Spencer Jack was going to go to Phoenix to visit his great-grandparental units tomorrow.

Spencer Jack's dad read the blog and then emailed me to tell me that he had emailed me earlier in the week to tell me Spencer Jack was visiting Arizona, April 1 through April 6.

Changing the subject back to riding my bike.

I'd not been in bi-pedal mode for quite some time, not since an incident at Gateway Park where I saw something unseemly the likes of which I'd never seen before whilst on my bike. Or off my bike.

I was feeling real strong on wheels today, zipping up the inclines. I think I will be adding way more bike rides to my exercise mix.

Happy Easter

In my mailbox this Easter morning I found a "Happiest Easter Wishes!" card from my mom and dad.

Happy Easter, mom and dad.

If my information source is correct, with that information source being my favorite ex-sister-in-law, Spencer Jack's grandma, Spencer Jack should be arriving in Phoenix tomorrow.

I tried to confirm, with Spencer Jack's dad, that he was going to be in Phoenix tomorrow, but I got no confirmation.

I have not called my mom and dad since I learned that Spencer Jack was going to be in Phoenix tomorrow, to find out if my parental units were aware of this. My mom always tells me about any expected incoming visitors. The last time I talked to my mom there was no mention made of Spencer Jack's upcoming visit. An incoming aunt was mentioned, but no Spencer Jack.

I will make a Happy Easter call to my mom and dad later today. I suspect I will then be told that Spencer Jack is arriving tomorrow.

Changing the subject to something else.

I had myself a long swim this morning, with some slight drippage adding some water to the pool. The clouds looked as if they were about to deliver a downpour, but no downpour poured down. And now, a  couple hours later, the sky is mostly blue.

I have not been on my bike for well over a month. I think I will put an end to the lack of bike time today.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Periwinkles & Crayon Castles Pre-Easter Blooming At Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park

A Crayon Castle has been erected in Oakland Lake Park since I last visited this location a week ago. There appeared to be one person trapped inside the Crayon Castle, bouncing up and down, as if trying to escape.

The number of people walking around Fosdick Lake was way above the norm. I suppose this may be caused by this being Easter weekend.

Tomorrow, on Easter, parks like Oakland Lake Park and River Legacy Park, in Arlington, will be seeing a lot of people having Easter BBQ picnics.

I remember last Easter going to Oakland Lake Park and seeing all the picnic tables being used, with some people bringing their own "furniture" to set up a home away from home.

At Oakland Lake Park the Easter picnickers do so with no running water available. Or restroom facilities. Unless one counts an outhouse as being a modern restroom facility. This in one of the Greatest Cities in the World.

Last year by the time I was done with my Easter walk around Fosdick Lake rain began to fall, putting a quick damper on all the Easter effort that multiple families had put into having themselves a fine time.

Today, in the vegetation that surround Fosdick Lake I saw my first non-yellow wildflower of the year. A colorful bluish purple bright wildflower who I think may be known as a Periwinkle.

After I had myself enough wildflower gazing I drove on to Town Talk where I had an interesting conversation with a guy in a Smart Car. That and I got 8 loaves of Ezekiel Bread, Orange Peppers, Rutabagas, Asian Pears and a lot of other good stuff.

So far, none of the predicted rain or lightning strikes has rained on or struck me at my location since this morning's 3 AM bursting flashes of light and big booms.

I suspect the current peace and quiet is only a temporary respite, with fresh booming and downpouring happening at some point in the coming hours.

A Thunder Booming Night Before Easter Looking For Chocolate Bunnies

Coming up on 11 in the morning on this next to last day of March the outer world, at my location, is currently heated to 64 degrees.

When I went swimming this morning, a little before 8, the outer world was chilled to 55 degrees.

Overnight a couple inches of water were added to the pool, courtesy of Mother Nature.

About 3 in the morning thunder started clapping and rain started pouring down. The thunder clapping and rain pouring did not last too long.

As you can see, via my computer based weather monitoring device, more sky-based electricity is being predicted for Today, Tomorrow and Monday.

Currently I am seeing no clouds that seem capable of generating electricity and loud booms.

Since it is Saturday, and I am a creature of habit, I will be going to Town Talk.

Before Town Talk, just like last Saturday, I will be walking around Fosdick Lake in Oakland Lake Park.

With tomorrow being Easter I'm thinking today should be an interesting day at Town Talk. I suspect a big box of chocolate bunnies may be in the warehouse....

Friday, March 29, 2013

Marie The Missing Herb Trekker

Earlier this month I was sort of shocked to learn of the demise of the Unstoppable Woman, Dina Moor.

This shock led me to make contact where I've not made contact for a long period of time.

These contacts have brought fresh surprises. For instance, I emailed Maxine, who lives upriver in the beautiful Skagit Valley in a sprawling estate that can easily be described as idyllic. Maxine visited here way back in 2001, post 9/11. I was last at Maxine's sprawling idyllic estate in August of 2004. I last saw Maxine, in person, in April of 2006, in Tacoma.

I last heard from Maxine last September, when she was getting ready to hike over the Cascades to Stehekin. If I recollect correctly I asked Maxine to send me some pics of her Stehekin hike. No pics arrived and I forgot about it.

Well, I heard right back from Maxine, after I emailed her. She is fine, ready to start doing some mountain hiking again, prepping for this year's hike to Stehekin.

But, Maxine's email contained the surprising news of another friend's unexpected passing. A person I had not seen since that time in August of 2004 when Maxine had a group of old time friends to her sprawling idyllic estate for a Salmon BBQ.

And now I am wondering about Marie the Herb Trekker.

Marie moved to the D/FW zone from Seattle. Marie had previously lived in Texas and many other locations beside Seattle. At some point in time Marie the Herb Trekker started making comments on my blog. If I remember right Marie and I were also exchanging emails. I was sort of giving Marie pointers as to how to adjust to the culture shock of Texas. The last I heard from Marie the Herb Trekker she was heading to Houston, and then San Antonio. Marie the Herb Trekker's blog has disappeared and she has disappeared as a follower on my blog.

Very perplexing.

Below is a series of blog comments, back and forth, (edited somewhat to shorten) between me and Marie, which gives you a good idea why I'm wondering what has become of Marie the Herb Trekker...

September 1, 2012 at 12:18 AM
 Marie said...
Hey, Durango - you're killing me with Pacific Northwest memories. I too remember being grateful that traffic had stopped so that I could take in the view! The floating bridge was great - so was coming south on I-5 on a sunny day and seeing Mt. Rainier standing in front of you as big as God. Or the Alaskan Way Viaduct at sunset. And the lack of garbage - yes! What gives here? Garbage makes my forehead wrinkle. On the other hand, I do appreciate many things here. Gas is cheaper. Everything's cheaper. There is no state income tax (none in Washington either, but Californication takes a hefty bite.) And many nice folks. Like aerobic bloggers who point the way to shady paths for the topographically challenged. Loved the tree pics on River Legacy Park's site - I shall head over. Many thanks!

September 2, 2012 at 8:48 AM
 Marie said...
Durango, I just received my third electric bill since moving here. I am definitely NOT amused - Steve's point is a good one. I've already spent more for electricty (air conditioning) in three months than I spent for all year in the Evergreen state. But Rainier cherries, you say? I'll pay any price for those! Your hilly green path has me encouraged. These temps and that green water - not so much. But we take the good with bad, eh? By the way, your recent post about the Quanah Parker exhibit made me run to my bookshelf - I have a copy of "The Last Comanche Chief." His and Cynthia's story, and that of the Comanche in general, is a real gut wrencher. Not much of a living Native American legacy exists here like it does in the Northwest. I remember going to Suquamish for the canoe races this time of year. Well, thanks to our amazing distribution system, I can at least go get some cherries. Happy trails!

September 2, 2012 at 2:59 PM
 Durango said...
Howdy Marie, I have not read "The Last Comanche Chief." "Comanche Moon" is really good, covers both the Comanche history in detail, as well as Quanah's and his mom's.

The 'missing' Indians perplexed me when I was first in Texas, having come from Washington where there are so many tribes, with tribal lands. And casino resorts.

In 1999 I went to a very cool Pow Wow at the Fort Worth Stockyards. There were Tulalips there. It turned very spooky. I tell you, Native Americans have special powers. This little Indian girl sought my group out, high in the stands, came up and introduced herself, said she was with the Tulalips but that she was really a Blackfoot from Montana. Well, the visitor who was visiting me from Washington, was the recent widow of a guy who was half Blackfoot. Like I said, spooky.

September 3, 2012 at 12:59 AM
 Marie said...
Hey, Durango! I'm becoming a frequent flier here. I trekked over to the new Trader Joe's a couple weeks ago but couldn't make it past the parking lot cluster. Had to be other West Coasters jonesing for their TJ fix. How could I begrudge them? Today I found myself at Whole Foods buying cherries and then at Clear Creek Nature Preserve up in Denton County. Part of a journey to see about a slightly used kayak. Still plan to get to River Legacy per your recommendation. I'm building a list of must-sees as I meander through your bloggings. But Durango, how do you do it in this heat? I have to live life to the fullest by 9 a.m. or I'm toast. Literally.

September 3, 2012 at 3:38 PM
 Durango said...
Howdy Marie, frequent flier miles are a good thing. I made it in the FW Trader Joe's. I parked a distance away and walked back. I was very disappointed. I'd only been in the Trader Joe's that is south of Sea-Tac, can't remember the town name. The FW one was nothing like the WA one. I felt no impulse to buy anything. It was sorta like when I first moved to Texas, missed Costco, then Fort Worth got the first Texas Costco. Went to the Grand Opening. Was shocked. Costco had been Texasified. Walked in to see saddles and Remington statues for sale. No coffee roaster, no fresh sushi. Then the Southlake Costco opened and with way more transplanted Yankees living in the Southlake zone, that Costco is more like a west coast Costco. Still no sushi, as of my last visit.

I have biked that Clear Creek Nature Preserve trail. I remember the waterway looked very inviting and made me want to return with my inflatable kayak. I never did. I pedaled all the way to the dam that makes, I think the name is, Ray Hubbard Lake. Long bike ride. River Legacy Park has a kayak trail too. Can't imagine paddling it though.

As for how do I do it in the heat? That question was sort of funny, typing it out. My number one concern moving to Texas was the heat. I was never a fan of those Washington summer days when it'd get into the 80s. I did not know about acclimating. By my first summer in Texas, by being out in the heat, I got used to it. When it is HOT I do not go to the Tandy Hills unless the humidity is low and it is windy. The other places I go have enough shade that I do not over heat. On the bike the heat is not an issue, til I stop pedaling. Oh, and both hiking and biking you have to go shirtless. I could not stand it if I had a shirt on, because the shirt would get soaking wet and it'd be miserable.

After a few years of Texas heat you may experience the bizarre opposite. As in when I go back to Washington in summer, after already being used to the HEAT of Texas, I feel chilly. I remember July of 2004 with the Tacoma locals in full whine due to it being almost 80. I was shivering and in long pants. From July 20 til August 20 of 2008 I was cold pretty much the entire time I was in Washington.

September 4, 2012 at 4:53 PM
 Marie said...
Durango, you will be glad to know that I got in about an hour of walking and jogging out in it today. Yes, acclimate I will. Sadly, going shirtless isn't really an option on account of my gender. But you've motivated me with your daily aerobic discipline and excellent attitude - thank you! I'll trek on to other posts now!

September 4, 2012 at 6:18 PM 
 Durango said...
Howdy Marie----You could be a trendsetter and pretend you are in Oregon or Washington or Austin and go topless whilst hiking. I know you could do this on the Tandy Hills, most days. And in an emergency, quickly coverup should you see anyone.

I've been meaning to mention Oakland Lake Park. That's were I went today. It's very close to the Tandy Hills. The breeze blowing across the lake has a nice coolness to it, even on a day like today, when it is HOT. Oakland Lake Park is easy to find. Just exit I-30 at Oakland Blvd. Head south on Oakland, take any of the next couple lefts, go a block and you'll see Oakland Lake Park and Fosdick Lake, with parking on the west and east sides of the lake. And a nice paved trail around the lake where you'll see a lot of turtles and ducks.

September 4, 2012 at 10:44 PM 
 Marie said...
Durango, I went to White Rock Lake in the early a.m. Worked up a righteous sweat. I have to travel a lot during the week, but I try to check out a new locale every weekend. I will add Oakland Lake Park to my list. I won't be setting any trends though! I am enjoying the hilarity on your blog. I think I might adjust yet...

A Neighborly Walk With A Fort Wort Police Officer Trespassing On Chesapeake Energy Property

A walk around my neighborhood was my vertical motion choice this last Good Friday of March.

Before the walk around my neighborhood I walked to Albertsons to pick up this week's FW Weekly and

Between my abode and Albertsons I came upon a Fort Worth police car parked on my neighborhood Chesapeake Energy property, parked behind the  No Trespassing/Trespassers Prosecuted sign that Chesapeake good neighborly installed at this location.

I have no way of knowing if the Fort Worth police officer was aware he was trespassing and under threat of prosecution courtesy of Chesapeake Energy.

I thought this was a very odd location for a cop to be parked. When I walked by I could not see a cop sitting inside the car. I debated with myself whether the good citizen thing to do or not was to walk over and check to make sure the cop was okay.

The debate with myself was short, with me opting to just mind my own business.

When I exited Albertsons and the cop car came back in to view I was fairly certain I could see someone inside the car, moving around. Why I was able to see this from a distance, but not when significantly closer, I do not know.

I took the picture you see above and hoped to myself that the cop did not come and arrest me for blowing his cover or some such thing.

The Fort Worth cop car being oddly located was the only odd thing I saw on my walk today. It was a warm walk, with the temperature nearing 70.

This morning when I got in the cool pool the air temperature was 61. The cool pool seemed to be about the same temperature as the air. Due to yesterday getting to be nearly 80 degrees hot, the cool pool was uncool enough that I had myself a salubrious long swim this morning. I suspect tomorrow morning will see a similar salubrious long swim in the not so cool pool..

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Baby Sister Told Me I Am Old Before I Walked With The Village Creek Indian Ghosts & Plein Air Painters

Ancient Village Creek Indian Path
Today for my daily endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation I opted for the relatively peaceful aerobicizing with the Indian Ghosts who haunt Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

A peaceful, calm before the storm type energy, seemed to be the theme for today's Ghost Walk.

The prediction for this morning was rain. I did not learn til after my blue sky early morning cool pool dip that the forecast had been changed to rain later today, rather than early today.

By noon blue had been blotted from the sky by what looked like a thick cloud cover ready to drip at any moment. Now, hours later, the sky has not yet begun any dripping.

I think we need some sky drippage, soon, to get the annual Texas Wildflower displays busy blooming. It is almost April and I have yet to see a single Bluebonnet.

Today, whilst walking with the Indian Ghosts I came upon something I have never come upon at this location, previously. That being a guy painting.

I asked the painter if I could take a picture of him painting his painting. He said sure, but then proceeded to jump out of the way. I think he may have thought I asked, "Can I take a picture of 'your' painting?" rather than what I actually asked, which was "Can I take a picture of 'you' painting?"

I asked the painter if he was one of the Plein Air Painters at the Prairie Fest. He said he was two years ago, but not last year, when the Prairie Fest temporarily morphed into 3 separate festivals over 3 months.

I told the painter that this year the Prairie Fest is back being a one day affair, this coming April 27.  He said he'd check out the Tandy Hills website to see if they are having Plein Air Painters this year. I told him I was sure they must be, that that was one of my favorite parts of the Prairie Fest.

I checked out the Prairie Fest section of the Tandy Hills website and saw no mention made of Plein Air Painters. I am sure it is a given that they will be there, with no need to mention that fact.

On my way across the Village Creek dam bridge, on my way to look at the Village Creek Blue Bayou, I saw a  couple guys fishing.

I often seen people fishing in Village Creek. I have never seen anyone catch a fish. The only fish I have ever seen in Village Creek is a Gar Fish. My one and only Gar Fish sighting. Seeing a Gar Fish, in Texas water, marked the last time I have put myself into a Texas body of water. Except for swimming pools.

When I crossed the Village Creek dam bridge again, returning from viewing the Village Creek Blue Bayou, I saw the number of fisherpeople had doubled.

When I was a kid my dad would take me and my brother fishing in the Skagit River. Salmon of various sorts is what one fishes for in the Skagit River. Salmon is a very tasty, very big, safe to eat fish.

What does one hope to catch in Village Creek and what does one do with it if one catches it?

Speaking of Skagit River salmon. My favorite nephew, Joey, continues the family fishing tradition. When the salmon return to the Skagit River Joey catches his fair share. I have no idea what that number is. Or if Joey turns any of his catch into Smoked Salmon. I do know, for certain, that Joey has never sent me any Smoked Salmon.

Speaking of my relatives. I heard from my Baby Sister this morning, informing me, among other things, that I am OLD. I was 17 when my Baby Sister was born. This morning my Baby Sister reminded me that she has a birthday upcoming, on April 13, to be precise, a day which lives on in infamy, I remember it so clearly.

My  Baby Sister mentioned how old she will be on this upcoming birthday, with the inference that adding 17 years to that age makes me very OLD.

I don't feel very OLD. I don't act very OLD. I don't look very OLD. But, I guess I need to come to grips with the fact that I am very OLD!

I Am Thinking About One Year Lived After Scratch Beginnings

This morning when I woke up my computer there were the usual several hundred emails, with most of them being spam blog comments from someone named Anonymous.

However, there was one non-Anonymous email from someone named Adam Shepard, with the subject line "one year lived."

This particular email seemed to be non-spamlike, enough so that I clicked on it.

I'm glad I did the click.

A couple paragraphs from the email, referencing Adam Shepard's Scratch Beginnings, Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream book...

My new book, One Year Lived, is coming out on April 22nd. It is the narrative of my one year trip around the world. I mustered cattle. I volunteered with children. I went scuba diving. I grew a mullet. I fought bulls. I made love on a beach. Etcetera.

A few years ago, for my first book, Scratch Beginnings, I was featured in the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, the New York Post, the Atlantic, on the Today Show, CNN, Fox News, NPR, 20/20, 147 radio programs, and blah, blah, blah. My publicist expects similar exposure with the release of this next book, and with that kind of clout coming to your blog, I’d love to work with you on its release.

I emailed Adam back, telling him I'm willing. Adam proposes sending me the ebook PDF version of his new book, One Year Lived, to peruse and use however I think best.

Should be interesting. I hope......

Below is a YouTube video with Adam Shepard talking about Scratch Beginnings...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tandy Hill Hiking Unsuccessful Finding Texas Wildflowers Blooming

Yesterday I read somewhere that a couple species of Texas Wildflowers had been spotted blooming on the Tandy Hills.

So, today I went hill hiking on the Tandy Hills, covering mile after hilly mile, looking for the couple species of Texas Wildflowers that had been spotted blooming on the Tandy Hills.

To no avail.

By the time my illusive Texas Wildflower search came to the Tandy Amphitheater zone I felt the need to sit for awhile.

And so I did.

Texas Wildflower hunting is exhausting.

I wonder if reservations are going to be required to secure a seat for the Tandy Amphitheater shows during the Power to the Prairie 2013 Prairie Fest, Saturday, April 27?

Despite my Texas Wildflower finding failure, I got in some good hill hiking endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation, in perfect temperature conditions, not too hot, not too cold. A Goldilocks type day.

I had myself a good bout of cool pool hot tub cycling early this morning. I think that activity also induces some endorphins.

With the temperature currently being 67, heading to a potential high today somewhere in the 70s, tomorrow's cool pool bout may not require any hot tub interaction. I will know for sure in the morning, about one minute after getting in the cool pool.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Big Thorns Landscaping One Of The Greatest Cities In The World

The focus in the photo is not my neighborhood Jack in the Box, in the background.

What we are looking at in this photo is the biggest thorn type weed I have ever seen growing in an ostensibly landscaped venue.

I needed to find myself some vinegar if my lunch plan of Sweet and Sour Chicken Veggies was going to work. So, I walked the short distance from my abode to Albertsons to find myself some vinegar.

Leaving Albertsons, after successfully finding vinegar, I decided to take a walk around the Albertsons "strip mall" before heading back to my abode.

In front the Metro PCS part of the "strip mall" I came upon the gigantic thorn.

What you can not see, and what first caught me eye, was the astonishing amount of litter mingling with the weeds in this "landscaped" area in front of a "strip mall" in what we now know is planet-wide known as one of the World's Greatest Cities.

I guess growing gigantic weeds in a "landscaped" commercial business area is one of those things one expects to see in one of the World's Greatest Cities.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Walking With The Indian Ghosts Across Flotsam Free Village Creek In Arlington

Yesterday I took a rare day off from getting any endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation, due to the outer world being too cool and too windy.

Today, by noon, the outer world was warmed into the relatively balmy mid 40s, with only a slight breeze blowing.

So, I drove to Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area to walk with the Indian Ghosts who have haunted this zone ever since their evictions and exterminations courtesy of incoming Texans.

The last time I was in the location of the above picture, machinery was removing the flotsam that was stuck up against the dam, stopping a massive litter pile up from making its way to its Trinity River destiny.

Today I was pleased to see the dam bridge is totally flotsam free, with the pile of litter merrily on its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Today I was freshly wondering where have all the Village Creek armadillos gone? Ever since I learned armadillos are also known as Hoover Hogs, and were an edible East Texas delicacy, I've not seen a single one of these possibly tasty morsels.

Speaking of lunch, the lunch bell just rang. Chicken with oven-fried (in olive oil) spud chunks and salad with yellow pepper. And lemonade. All natural and homemade with no high fructose corn syrup.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday Windy Chill In Texas Has Me Housebound

Today, the view of my cool pool is a bit different than the rainy view from my patio I blog posted yesterday.

The cool pool was really cool this morning. At the pool point in time, soon after the sun rose, the temperature was 36, with a very strong wind making the outer world really feel like 23.

23 is cool. But I still got in the pool. Three cycles in and out of the cool pool in to the not cool hot tub.

The time is currently a couple minutes before noon. The wind is still blowing hard. The temperature has climbed to 41, but that wind blowing still has the air really feeling like it is freezing.

I thought we were done with big chills til sometime next October. I thought we were at the time of the year when I could easily have myself a reliably long endorphin inducing, aerobically stimulating swim.

I braced myself against the wind and the cold and drove up to Hurst, to ALDI, this morning. I should have worn a coat. I got gas at the Fast Trac across the street from ALDI. Seven gallons in the tank and I could not take the shivering a gallon longer, and so I stopped the pumping.

It is rare for a day to pass without me getting myself some endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation via some fast walking or hill hiking.

I am not going to bundle up and go on a walk or hike today. I would need to wear gloves, lest frostbite set in. Seems more sensible just to stay inside and throw another log in the fireplace....

If Texas Secedes From The Union Will I Be An Illegal Alien?

The graphic on the left comes from Sunday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, showing Texas slip sliding away from the Union.

The article accompanying the graphic, titled "What if Texas really did secede?" has me worried.

If Texas secedes from the Union will transplanted Yankees, like me, be deported due to being illegal aliens?

A sampling of what is in this news story that has me worried...

Some 177 years after a violent divorce from Mexico, some unhappy Texans are again touting separation from the motherland, this time after a presidential election didn't favor one of the reddest states in the country.

Perhaps it's no surprise. Texas is the only state that has twice tried breakaways, experiencing the spoils of victory in 1836 but the torment of defeat in 1865.

What if Texas really did secede?

Pros and cons
Plentiful resources could be the difference
Texas is uniquely positioned to survive because of resources and population. It has one-fourth of U.S. oil reserves and one-third of the natural gas. The state's gross domestic product was $1.2 billion* in 2011, which would make it the world's 14th-biggest economy.

The challenges would be immense

The uncertainties are overwhelming: How would Texas manage healthcare and Social Security? How would it retire its share of the national debt? How would it repay federal loan guarantees for infrastructure and transportation projects?

*$1.2 billion? I suspect the correct figure is $1.2 trillion.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

In Search Of Fosdick Lake Wildflowers While Wondering About Vegetable Fungus

Prior to my regularly scheduled Saturday visit to Town Talk I stopped at Oakland Lake Park to walk around Fosdick Lake.

The only flower type color I saw today in the Fosdick Lake zone was the pink color you see in the picture.

With the end of March rapidly approaching I grow concerned that the Texas Wildflowers might not be putting on their regular reliable colorful show this year.

My memory is not to be trusted, but I think I remember wildflowers already coloring up the outer world at this early Spring point in time, in years past.

Have we not had enough water drop from the sky to cause the sprouting of wildflowers?

This morning's storm did not drop much water at my location. All was dry by the time I walked around Fosdick Lake.

All the electrical zapping this morning seems to have had a cleansing effect on the air that I breathe. Mother Nature's negative ionizer did a good job.

My house in Mount Vernon had a negative ionizer as part of the ventilation system. This made for an extremely low level of dust in that house, unlike my current dusty abode with no negative ionizer, except for that occasionally provided by the aforementioned Mother Nature.

This morning I was in the mood to make Chinese food for lunch. My in-house vegetable supply was non-existent. I told myself if I found something at Town Talk that seemed to empower Chinese food, then I'd go with the Chinese food for lunch mood.

Well, I walked into the Town Talk warehouse and what do I find? Bok Choy, yellow peppers, onions and mushrooms.

So, it was Chinese food for lunch. A pork stir fry with the Town Talk veggies. Are mushrooms a vegetable? I guess I should ask if a fungus is a vegetable? Is it?

Wondering About Missing Popabrella During A Texas Thunderstorm

As you can see, via the view of the cool pool from my patio, this next to last Saturday of March started off dark, well after the sun arrived to try and light up the outer world.

Those white spots in the photo are big raindrops, illuminated by the camera's flash.

Before the dark break of dawn, excess electricity was in the air, causing bright flashes of light, followed by loud booms of thunder.

I like swimming in the rain, but this morning, due to that excessive electricity zapping out of the sky, I decided to opt out of getting in the cool pool, thus exercising extreme electrical caution.

Now, coming up on mid-morning, the sky has lightened, with no more lightning or thunder booming at my location.

I suspect I will go to Oakland Lake Park, today, to walk around Fosdick Lake before joining the throngs of treasure hunters at Town Talk.

Changing the subject from one thing to another.

This morning to take a photo in the rain I stuck my camera to my Popabrella. A Popabrella is this umbrella like thing that keeps one's camera dry, or blocks the sun.

The inventor of the Popabrella won many awards, over the years, for his Popabrella invention. Years ago I made a website for the inventor. That website was hosted on a server of the owner's choice, not my server, so, unless asked to make a change, I had no reason to check out the Popabrella website.

Until this morning.

The Popabrella website is no more. The domain has been taken over by some Japanese entity. After last week's shocking news about the Unstoppable Woman, I can't help wonder what's happened with Popabrella.

To find a Popabrella image I went to my Popabrella files to find, to my horror, that the Popabrella images folder has been deleted. How did that happen?

I then remembered where I've got another, undeleted, Popabrella photo.

In the slideshow, on this very blog, located on the column on the right, there is a photo of me, standing in the pool, holding my camera with Popabrella attached.

I must try and find out what's become of Popabrella. How I am going to do that I currently do not know....

Friday, March 22, 2013

Perplexed By Disenfranchised Voters In The Tarrant Regional Water District

I do not know which Saturday in May the Tarrant Regional Water Board election takes place.

I do know it is very odd that elections take place, in Fort Worth, on Saturdays, in May.

I also know it is very odd that this particular election was arbitrarily postponed a year, even though those elected are elected to four year terms.

I also know it is very odd that not all the voters who live in the Tarrant Regional Water District are allowed to vote for Water Boarders.

For instance, I am allowed to vote in this election because I live in Fort Worth. If I lived in Haltom City I would not be allowed to vote in this election, even though I live in the Tarrant Regional Water District in a town which has deadly flash floods, indicating Haltom City is direly effected by Tarrant Regional Water Board policies, but can not vote on those who make the policies.

And the locals accept this bizarre situation. Why the disenfranchised locals accept this bizarre situation is perplexingly bizarre to me.

This morning I got a blog comment from Dannyboy to a blogging yesterday where I verbalized my perplexation regarding the lack of public participation in proposed public works in Fort Worth that sheds light on the Fort Worth elections in May anomaly and a couple other things....

Dannyboy has left a new comment on your post "Wondering About The Effect Of Fort Worth's Citizen's Minimalist Public Participation In Proposed Public Works": 

There is a huge lack of public participation on any Fort Worth local government issues. Look at the city council elections this year. Everyone is unopposed. And they hold local elections on a Saturday in the spring. Because the local stuff is the only thing on the ballot, turnout is very low, rarely above even 10 percent. Many cities throughout the country put their local (council, transit, library funding, road building) on the ballot in November, and they obviously get more people engaged and a turnout that is usually over 50 percent. The reason Fort Worth does it this way is that 1) low turnout helps incumbents, and 2) Fort Worth doesn't think any public participation is good. An example: when I moved to Fort Worth from up north many years ago, I asked a neighbor why there weren't any public pools on the near west side of FW. I was told that 1) public pools draw the wrong kind of people, and 2) join a country club if I wanted a place to swim for my daughter (all this is moot now, as FW has gotten rid of its public pools). That sums up FW in a nutshell. If you tell people you would hope the mass transit system gets improved, they ask you if your car is broken down or if your lost your job. And this goes from the young trendies up to the I-hate-everything-old-people. 

UPDATE: I have been informed the Tarrant Regional Water Board Election is Saturday, May 11.

Helping Make The World A Better Place One Weed At A Time

Today I was not in the mood to drive anywhere to have myself a long walk, and so I walked around the block that surrounds the location of my abode.

A week or two ago I noticed and blogged about the weed infestation that was turning Chesapeake Energy's Welcome to Woodhaven re-installation into a bit of an eyesore.

Chesapeake Energy re-installed the Welcome to Woodhaven installation because Chesapeake removed the original so pipeline could be inserted underground to carry non-odorized natural gas to a processing location.

Today when I walked by the Chesapeake Energy Welcome to Woodhaven re-installation I noticed that a lot of the weeds had been pulled. Below is what the Welcome to Woodhaven re-installation looked like the last time I blogged about it.

Did me blogging about this eyesore cause the weeds to get pulled? I doubt it, even though I do like to think I am making the world a better place, one weed at a time.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wondering About The Effect Of Fort Worth's Citizen's Minimalist Public Participation In Proposed Public Works

Last night I was lost on the Internet, going from link to link, and at one point I ended up at Wikipedia's article about the Sound Transit Link Light Rail system. Sound Transit is a light rail mass transit system similar to the Dallas DART train system.

Sound Transit moves people in the Western Washington counties of King, Pierce and Snohomish. King County is where Seattle is located, Tacoma is in Pierce County, Everett is in Snohomish County.

Previously, on more than one occasion, when I've compared something in the D/FW zone to the Seattle zone I've heard simplistic comments, like all you need to know about me is Seattle good, Fort Worth bad. I have explained, previously, the Seattle zone and the D/FW zone are the metro areas with which I am most familiar and so when something strikes me as sort of profoundly different, I  tend to notice it and comment on it. If that makes Fort Worth sound bad and Seattle sound good, well, when one holds up a mirror one can't complain about what one sees, if one is being honest.

So, I have long noticed that when an election takes place in Texas there is very little to vote on. No initiatives, referendums, few bond issues, few issues of any sort. I think there may have been some sort of road building bond issue since I was in Texas, but I don't remember being motivated to vote on it, one way or the other.

I have also noticed that HUGE public works projects can happen in Texas with no public vote. Such as the billion dollar Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

Now, of the west coast cities Seattle was late to adding light rail to its transit mix, lagging way behind San Francisco, Portland and Vancouver. At the same point in time, in the late 1960s, (or was it early 1970s?), that San Francisco approved building the BART rail system, the Puget Sound zone rejected the light rail part of a bond issue called Forward Thrust, that being the vote that gave Seattle the now gone Kingdome, among many other things, including new water treatment installations to clean up Puget Sound and Lake Washington.

Decades later, in the 1990s, with traffic getting really bad, voters finally approved light rail, currently up and running and expanding.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, little gets voted on. How is it this town can not replace the decrepit Will Rogers Memorial Center, where rodeos are held during the Stock Show? How can the town known as Cowtown, that claims to be Where the West Begins, not figure out how to build a replacement for a seriously outdated facility?

Fort Worth built the Will Rogers Memorial Center way back in 1936. Since 1970 Seattle built the Kingdome, Safeco Field, the Kingdome replacement Seahawk football stadium, expanded Key Arena and is about to start construction on a new basketball arena for the incoming new Seattle Supersonics.

Since 1970, near as I can tell, Fort Worth has built nothing of the sort of things I've seen built in Seattle.

Oh, I forgot, Fort Worth built the now very run-down La Grave Field where Fort Worth has a professional baseball team playing in leagues with teams from towns with populations in the 20,000 range, give or take a few people.

Why such a difference between two towns, with one of them being known as one of the Greatest Cities in the World?

Well, I think I know what causes one key difference between Seattle and Fort Worth, that being public participation in proposed public works.

Read the following three paragraphs from the Wikipedia article about Sound Transit Link Light Rail and see if you can spot differences between how things are done and come to fruition in progressive, liberal, Washington, and think about how public works projects come about, or don't come about, in less progressive, less liberal Fort Worth and environs...

In November 1996, voters in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties approved increases in sales taxes and vehicle excise taxes to pay for a $3.9 billion transit package that included $1.7 billion for a light rail system, including Central Link and Tacoma Link. Over the next several years, debates raged over various issues surrounding the Central Link line.

Sound Transit's Phase 2 plan, under the name of ST2 (Sound Transit 2), is the plan for the second phase of Link Light Rail expansion. ST2 was put before voters in November 2007 as part of the "Roads and Transit" measure, which included hundreds of miles of highway expansion along with the light rail, but failed to pass. Sound Transit then put another ST2 plan on the ballot in November 2008. The measure passed by large margins. The plan will extend light rail to Lynnwood Transit Center in the north, S. 272nd St. in Federal Way to the south, and Downtown Bellevue and Overlake Transit Center to the east.

In November 2008, voters approved the construction of an East Link light rail line connecting the city of Seattle to Mercer Island and the Eastside communities of Bellevue and Redmond as part of the Proposition 1 measure. This line will split from Central Link just south of the International District/Chinatown Station in downtown Seattle, extend across the I-90 bridge express lanes through downtown Bellevue and serve the Overlake Transit Center, including Microsoft headquarters.

Voters voting on a public works project. What a concept. Debates raging over various issues. What a concept. Connecting towns by light rail. What a concept.

Trespassing On A Neglected Fort Worth Bridge Over Troubling Waters

The person, other than myself, who reads my blog, may be thinking in the picture on the left you are looking at the bridge across the Trinity River in Arlington's River Legacy Park, because it sort of looks like that bridge.

But, a person thinking that this bridge is that bridge would be erroneous.

Today I took a walk in my neighborhood, walking north under the power lines which hover above my neighborhood Green Belt.

I walked the Green Belt til it came to Randol Mill Road. Then crossed the road to get to the other side.

On the north side of Randol Mill Road one comes to the aforementioned bridge.

Due to this bridge being old, really old, there is some structural damage. Which is likely the reason for a NO TRESPASSING sign that did not seem too insistent, so I climbed over the gate upon which the NO TRESPASSING sign was attached and walked across the bridge. The above view is past the NO TRESPASSING sign.

You might think that that water you are looking at, looking east, midway across the bridge, is the Trinity River. You would be wrong to think that.

A long time ago this bridge did cross over the Trinity River. But then, in a Trinity River Vision of the last century, the Trinity River was moved to a new channel, a short distance north, in order to get rid of an oxbow bend in the river, which turned the oxbow bend into a long, narrow, small lake.

I don't know where this Trinity River remnant gets its water.

Above you are looking west, midway across the bridge. In this picture you can see some of the damage that is the reason for the NO TRESPASSING sign. The railing that keeps one from falling off the bridge is missing, eroded into oblivion by the passage of time.

Continuing on north I eventually came to the levee that keeps the Trinity River from overflowing when it goes into flood mode. Walking on that levee I eventually came to view the western termination of the cut off oxbow bend in the river, which you see above.

Walking on the levee soon brought houses into view. These houses are in a gated community called either Oxbow Estates or Riverbend Estates, or maybe something else. I've driven by the south side of this community, on Randol Mill Road, hundreds of times. One would think I would remember the precise name of the community, but I don't.

Walking the levee was interesting, getting to view the inside of one of my neighborhood's gated communities. The above was the second of two small ponds I walked by. I suspect there are more ponds that I did not see. Big homes had waterfront property due to the ponds.

Back to the subject of the bridge with the NO TRESPASSING sign. This area looked, to me, to be yet one more neglected park opportunity in Fort Worth.

Methinks Fort Worth should fix up the neglected bridge, turning it into access to the levee, which has an excellent trail on top. With just a little effort this stretch of levee trail could connect to the paved trail at Quanah Parker Park, a short distance to the west.

I make this suggestion somewhat selfishly, because today I realized how fun it would be if I could ride my bike north on my neighborhood Green Belt, then cross Randol Mill Road to cross the Neglected Bridge, to then go pedal on the Trinity River Levee.

If Fort Worth actually had a Trinity River Vision which made sense, rather than the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, that makes little sense, Fort Worth could have a lot of little projects underway, enhancing the town, all over town, like towns which wear Big City Pants manage to do, but which Fort Worth, for reasons unfathomable to me, does not manage to do, even with with Fort Worth being well known, planet-wide, as one of the Greatest Cities in the World...

An Arlington Mom Is Not Happy About XTO Energy Causing Her Yard To Bubble and Burp

Last night XanziMom Last made an interesting comment to a blog post from way back in December 18, 2009.

XanziMom Last has left a new comment on your post "A Giant New Barnett Shale Gas Drilling Rig Hovers Over Veterans Park In Arlington": 

If you would like to see the aftermath of this horrific well...check out "Paradise Diminished Arlington, Tx". You can find it on the search engine BING by searching Fracking in Arlington Tx. I ran across it trying to find out why my yard is bubbling and burping when I drain my kids swimming pool.

You can check out the horrific aftermath to which XanziMom Last refers by going to Paradise Diminished Arlington, Tx.

In addition to XanziMom Last's yard bubbling and burping the horror also has to do with damage done to Pappy Elkins Park in Dalworthington Gardens. The Barnett Shale  Natural Gas Drilling Rig you see in the picture above is the source of the horror. And the damage.

After the initial post about this drilling operation I blogged about it, in various ways in three subsequent bloggings...

Finding Wildscapes Under A Barnett Shale Drilling Operation In Pappy Elkins Park In Dalworthington Garden

Was There A Gas Leak Last Night At The XTO Energy Drilling Site In Dalworthington Gardens?

An XTO Energy Gas Site Blows Frac While I See My First Tandy Wildflower Of The Year & Contemplate Taking A Trip To TRIP

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hiking The Tandy Hills Thinking About Fuji Apples & Cool Pools

On this First Day of the Spring of 2013 I was in the cool pool swimming when the sun came up. It has been a long time since I've been in the pool when the sun comes up.

I think swimming in the cool pool helps abate my sore arthritic joints. Because the last several days my sore arthritic joints have been being much less sore.

One behavioral variable that could account for this diminished soreness is the increase in time spent in the cool pool.

With another behavior variable being I've been consuming a lot of Fuji apples.

Maybe the combo of these two variables is the magic soreness reducer.

I said earlier today that I thought I would be celebrating the arrival of Spring by getting in some salubrious endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation via hill hiking on the Tandy Hills.

And so I did. The hills were particularly pleasant today. In the picture you are looking towards the top of the trail that leads to the View Street Trail from Tandy Falls. My photography skills never do justice to how steep a hill actually looks. Or how cute an armadillo looks.

This Tandy Hills should be becoming alive with color soon. The 2013 Power to the Prairie Festival is just one week and one month from now, happening on the Tandy Hills the last Saturday of next month, in other words, on April 27.

I found out last night that Spencer Jack, his dad and his girl friend, Brittney, are going to be in the Phoenix zone the first week of April. I did not learn this directly from Spencer Jack, his dad or girl friend, but instead learned this from Spencer Jack's glamorous grandma, she being my favorite ex-sister-in-law.

My mom and dad have not mentioned, to me, that Spencer Jack is coming to town. Maybe the visit is supposed to be a surprise and mom and dad have not been informed that their one and only great grandson is heading their way. No danger of the Internet spoiling that surprise. My mom and dad killed the Internet in their house since my last visit.

I do not believe the killing of my mom and dad's Internet connection is related to my visit.....

The First Day Of Spring On The Tandy Hills With The Green Source DFW Sustainable Leadership Award For Grass Roots Non-Profit Organization

Late last night I learned from future Marfians, Don & Debra Young, that the Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area were celebrating the arrival of the Vernal Equinox a day early due to having been awarded the coveted Green Source DFW Sustainable Leadership Award for Grass Roots Non-Profit Organization.

The award appears to be a rather impressive trophy.

I do not know if the Green Source DFW Sustainable Leadership Award for Grass Roots Non-Profit Organization award trophy will be on display at the Tandy Hills Prairie Fest on Saturday, April 27.

I suspect it will.

I do know that I am likely going to be doing some hill hiking today on the Tandy Hills for my own personal celebration of the First Day of Spring.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

At Village Creek Watching Litter Be Freed To Continue Its Journey To The Gulf Of Mexico

On Sunday I mentioned that when I was walking with the Indian Ghosts who haunt Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area that there was a huge mass of flotsam floated up against the Village Creek bridge dam you see in the picture.

All that flotsam was slowing up the flow of water through the tubes that run under the bridge.

Today an Arlington Parks & Recreation crew was using a mechanical device to move the flotsam from one side of the dam bridge to the other.

Removing the flotsam will allow the huge back up of floating litter to continue on its journey to the Trinity River where it will eventually float to the Gulf of Mexico.

Or are there litter nets that trap the flow of Trinity River litter before it gets to the Gulf of Mexico?

I would not think the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle was a boondoggle if the Vision was looking to see a cleaned up Trinity River, instead of building an un-needed flood diversion channel, which will be an eyesore, to replace levees that have prevented flooding for over a half a century. And to build a little pond so that downtown Fort Worth has a better water feature than the current confluence of the Clear and West Forks of the Trinity River.

Whatever Texas government entity it is that looks after water quality should send a task force to Western Washington to try and learn how it is that the Western Washington rivers, most of which are bigger rivers than the Trinity, manage to float very little litter.

Or just take a drive south to the Guadalupe River and figure out how it is that that river does not float Trinity River levels of litter.

Is It Not About Time Someone Sues The Tarrant Regional Water District Over Texas Open Meetings Violations?

Apparently it is about time someone brings a lawsuit against the Tarrant Regional Water District regarding that agency's violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act, because, according to a reliable source, someone has filed a lawsuit.

I have seen a copy of the suit that was filed on Monday, March 18 in Tarrant County District Court.

The plaintiff in the suit, Monty Bennett is petitioning for declaratory and injunctive relief concerning violations by the TRWD of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

The TRWD Open Meetings Violations are detailed in the lawsuit.

The first paragraph of the Preliminary Statement in the lawsuit document sums up the issue....

It has become well recognized in this state that Texas government is to act in a manner that is transparent as possible. To that end, the Texas Open Meetings Act ("TOMA") was enacted to honor the principle that government at all levels in this state should operate in a way that is open and accessible to the people. TRWD is a governmental body bound directly by the requirements of TOMA. Its Board of Directors is composed of elected officials, each of whom is charged with acting as a judicious steward over public affairs with transparency and openness. Regrettable, TRWD and its Board have ignored that obligation and deliberately chosen to conduct the District's affairs in a manner shielded from public view. Bennett, therefore, brings this action to remedy TRWD's continuous and systematic violations of TOMA.

All I can say, is it is about time. And I can not help but wonder if the TRWD's step-child, that being the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, is included in this attempt to get relief from violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act?

Has Anyone Seen Spencer Jack's Missing Tooth?

Spencer Jack's Letter to the Tooth Fairy
Disturbing news from Spencer Jack's dad this morning.

Spencer Jack has lost a tooth.

Literally lost a tooth.

Below is the redacted version of the email from Spencer Jack's dad, with gory details omitted...

Spencer Jack had a loose tooth for a week. I dropped him off at school this morning.  At that time he had 20 teeth.  Upon the 3 p.m. pick-up, he had 19.  He was proud to show me that his tooth was missing.  Naturally, I was wondering what he did with his tooth. And I obviously quizzed him on the whereabouts of his missing tooth. He was confused. He said he ate lunch and after lunch, the tooth was missing. Spencer Jack rarely has hot lunch. Today he did. During lunch, which consisted of 5 chicken nuggets, brown rice and a trip to the salad bar, he ended up toothless. Lucky for us, his dentist is across the street.  Spencer Jack and I stopped by in hopes of seeking medical advice on a 6 year old swallowing a tooth. The dentist politely explained that swallowing a loose tooth is no big deal...(gory details redacted)...We are hoping the tooth fairy will stop by.  But currently there is no tooth under the pillow---only a letter----hand written  by Spencer Jack, explaining today's ordeal. 

Below is what Spencer Jack had to say to the Tooth Fairy...

Dear Tooth Fairy,

I lost my first tooth today but I'm sorry I don't know where it is. Please still come tonight.

Love, Spencer

Below is photo confirmation, for the Tooth Fairy, that Spencer Jack has lost a tooth...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Getting Books Via My Fort Worth Greenbelt With Blue & My Bird Watching Nephews & Niece

In the picture you are looking at my East Fort Worth Neighborhood's Greenbelt.

As you can see, the Greenbelt is getting very green. Almost Emerald.

I wonder if all the negative ions buzzing overheard somehow help amp up the ultra greening?

I was in need of books, so today I took the Greenbelt route to my nearby East Regional Fort Worth Library. This seemed like a very time efficient thing to be doing, combining my daily endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation with a trip to the library.

I was about to walk into the library when I got a call from Miss Puerto Rico.

Miss Puerto Rico was hoping I could get her a bottle of her non-prescription nerve calming medicine. I told Miss Puerto Rico I was not in a motorized conveyance and was no where near her medicine supplier.

Two days til Spring springs. The Vernal Equinox is still on schedule to arrive March 20. I think about the only thing that could stop this from happening would be a big meteorite striking the planet causing an axis wobble.

Speaking of wobbling axis. This morning was the second day in a row I was able to stay in my cool pool as long as I wanted without getting too cool. I think we may have reached that time of the year where I can rely on going swimming for a good early morning dose of endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation.

Changing the subject from swimming to German Blitzkriegs.

I have had an inquiry, or two, asking how my poodle nephew, Blue is doing. A couple weeks ago I blogged about Blue being the victim of a savage German Shepherd attack.

This morning I asked one of Blue's parental units how he is doing. Max & Blue had not been blogging lately so I was a bit concerned. Well, Blue is doing well. The wounds have scabbed over. Blue is no longer wearing the Cone of Shame.

Changing the subject from Blue to my niece and nephews who Blue  & Max look after.

In the picture that is nephew David on the left, niece Ruby in the middle, with nephew Theo on the right.

No, the kids are not looking out the window at Blue. They are looking out the window at their bird feeder. Apparently the kids spend a lot of time monitoring their bird feeder, even when there are no birds feeding.

This particular bird feeder is in Blue & Max's backyard. A second bird feeder has been added to the front yard. I suspect there is a lot of running back and forth between the backyard and frontyard views.

Changing the subject from bird feeders to me going to the Pacific Northwest for a visit.

This afternoon I heard from my favorite ex-sister-in-law regarding me making a visit to the Skagit Valley. A hike in Anacortes was mentioned, among other things.

You who live in the D/FW zone and have never hiked in a scenic location, well, just the mention of hiking in Anacortes got me feeling homesick.

On the subject of flying out of here. Christmas before last I acquired a Southwest Airlines gift card. A couple days ago I was in the hot tub and suddenly I thought to myself I had not seen that gift card in a long time and did not know where it was. Two days later I still have not found it. I suspect I had a sleepwalking incident and hid it somewhere. Or threw it away.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Flotsam & Flowers With Sunday's Indian Ghosts In The Village Creek Natural Historical Area

Today I walked again with the Indian Ghosts who haunt Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area, for my regular Sunday commune with nature.

As you can see, in the picture, a lot of flotsam has floated up against this particular dam bridge which spans Village Creek. The flotsam appears to be greatly impeding the water flow.

The next time we go into flash flood mode, this location might create some interesting water action.

You can also see, in the picture, some of the return of green. Along with some tree color visible in the upper left.

In only 3 days the Vernal Equinox arrives, which is usually followed by the Texas wildflowers springing into action.

Due to the temperature going over 80 on Saturday the pool was not too cool this morning. So, I had myself the longest swim I've had since early February when we had a short hot bout that heated up the cool pool water.

In what seems to be becoming the norm, there were a lot of people, besides myself, walking with the Indian Ghosts today. I remember back years ago when this particular park always seemed to be a Ghost Park, with very very few people ever seen.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tandy Falls With Fuji Apples & Spencer Jack Serving Ivar's Clam Chowder Since 1967

No. That is not a Boondoggle Designer's model of what Pond Granger will look like if the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle ever becomes anything anyone can see.

What you are looking at is Lake Tandy. That is not a boat floating in Lake Tandy. It is a Coleman Cooler.

Water was flowing over Tandy Falls today. This means somewhere in East Fort Worth there is a water leak, because we have not had rain since the last time I walked past Tandy Falls and at that point in time the falls was bone dry.

Hiking today was in near perfect conditions, with the pleasant temperature, near 80, requiring minimalist outerwear.

Though the conditions were perfect I saw only two other hikers, sitting together atop a Tandy Hill. We exchanged waves. A few days ago I learned why I see few hikers on the Tandy Hills. That being that the people who live in the Dallas/Fort Worth zone are America's least active.

Changing the subject to something else, that being Town Talk.

Last Saturday Town Talk was the busiest I've ever seen it. This Saturday the parking lot was only half full and there were no lines at the checkout counters. Today I got myself three 5 pound bags of Fuji apples from Washington, for only $1.99 a bag. Fujis are my favorite apple. The most unusual thing I got today was fig flavored Greek yogurt. I  learned not to pre-judge yogurt flavors after finding myself liking chocolate yogurt.

Continuing on with the subject being food.

This morning I got email from Spencer Jack's dad, with the message being, "Your latest blog post hinted that you missed both Spencer Jack and fast food. I will attach this month's money saving coupon should your 2013 Spring travel plans include a stop in our neck of the woods."

It is a year ago, almost to the hour, that I sat outside Spencer Jack's Great Aunt Jackie's house in Chandler, Arizona, awaiting the arrival of Spencer Jack, his dad and his girl friend, Brittney.

I have heard rumors that I will be in the Pacific Northwest zone soon. Having a fish burger with Spencer Jack at his dad's Fidalgo Drive-In would be a really good thing.

There is something about his ad that I am not understanding. If I remember right the year Spencer Jack's dad was born was 1979. So, how has he been "Serving the same great taste since 1967!"?

I am also not understanding why Spencer Jack's dad has Ivar's Clam Chowder on the menu, rather than using his grandma's (my mom's) clam chowder recipe?

Mom's Clam Chowder is the best. I've not had Mom's Clam Chowder this century.....

Friday, March 15, 2013

Unstoppable Woman Dina Moor Stopped

I have made a few websites for a few people over the years. The Unstoppable Woman website is one of those websites.

The Unstoppable Woman was Dina Moor. Over her long career, as a model, Dina lived in many locations, including Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle.

But Dallas was where Dina's roots were and it is in Texas I met Dina Moor.

Of all the people for whom I've made a website, Dina Moor was my favorite to work with. The Unstoppable Woman website is fairly simple. During the week I uploaded my initial version of her website Dina would send me PDF screen caps with circles around items she wanted changed, plus a lot of notes.

Dina knowing what she wanted and being able to so well articulate it is what made her fun to work with. Working with Dina Moor was the total opposite experience to one I was having at the same time with an Elderly Geezer in Tacoma who was totally non-tech savvy and unable to articulate what he wanted, just that he did not like what he saw.

Last March I heard from Dina's sister when Dina's web hosting annual payment to me came back to her. Dina's email was not working at the time and she'd lost my phone number. I called, we chatted. Dina Moor was very amusing to talk to. I remember the re-mailed check arrived the day before I flew to Phoenix last year. I don't think I deposited it til I returned.

Then in mid-April I got a desperate call from Dina. Her Unstoppable Woman website was down. It took me a few minutes to figure out what had happened. Dina had forgotten to renew her domain. I called the place where she registered the domain and got it back up, telling Dina she could pay me for renewing the domain when I billed for the next year's web hosting.

I sent the aforementioned bill for next year's web hosting to Dina several weeks ago. It came back with a Return to Sender Undeliverable type message. I then emailed the bill to Dina's email address. That also bounced back as undeliverable.

I began to be concerned.

I then called Dina and the phone just rang and rang, with no answer, and without going to voice mail.

Then this morning I emailed Dina's sister, who had emailed me last year, to tell her I was concerned about Dina.

Dina's sister quickly replied, letting me now I had reason to be concerned, that Dina had become ill last Fall and passed away in late November.

Last year when Dina's website went down due to the domain not being renewed we talked a long time, at various times, over several days.

Dina was excited about a possible new modeling job. And a couple new Unstoppable Woman books, one based in Northern California with the other in the Austin, Texas zone, if I remember right.

I remember telling Dina to get the books to me when they're ready and I'd put them on the website. I recollect also talking about adding a monthly "What's Up With Dina" type thing to the website. Dina was going to call me back about that, but never did, with me sort of forgetting that Dina was going to call me back.

So, I'm feeling a bit melancholy this afternoon.

And thinking.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls....

A Melancholy Walk With Indian Ghosts A Year Since My Last McDonald's Double Fish Sandwich

Shortly before noon, before leaving for my daily scheduled bout of endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation, I got email with news that made it seem like today was a good day to go for a walk with the Indian Ghosts who haunt the Village Creek Natural Historical Area in Arlington.

As you can see in the picture of the VCNHA paved trail, green is starting to appear in the outer world at my location. Spring is less than a week away, with the Vernal Equinox currently scheduled for next Wednesday, March 20.

Soon green and other colors will be sprouting in jungle abundance in North Texas.

Speaking of jungles. Since Monday I have been tasked with checking in on Miss Puerto Rico's elderly cat, Tasha, whilst Miss Puerto Rico is on her home island. Miss Puerto Rico is scheduled to arrive back in D/FW tonight at midnight, at which point my cat-sitting duty comes to an end.

I have been unable to get a clear explanation as to why Miss Puerto Rico flew to Puerto Rico for what amounts to 3 days, what with Monday and Friday being spent in the air. Miss Puerto Rico booked this flight herself, with no help from me, or a travel agent, for the first time. This may explain how she managed to fly out at 3 in the morning and is arriving back at midnight, after a two hour layover in Philadelphia.

A year ago today I was in the air, no actually, by now, I was on the ground, in Phoenix. I think, to be even more exact, at this precise point in time, a year ago, I was in a Phoenix McDonald's having myself a Double Fish Sandwich, with my mom and dad and sister.

My Arizona sister used to be my Middle Sister, with my Little Sister being the sister in Tacoma. I used to have a Big Sister, who some of my siblings, and myself, now refer to as BS, or Sister Non Grata. Well, actually it is just me, as far as I know, who refer to BS as Sister Non Grata.

If it was a year ago today that I flew to Phoenix, that means tomorrow it will be a year since I saw Spencer Jack, his dad and girl friend Brittney.

Time flies.

I've heard time flies particularly fast when one is having fun. I guess I must have way too much fun....

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Walking A Fort Worth Greenbelt With The Fruits Of My Seeds

This morning I had to be up in Hurst. Going to Hurst, from my location, I drive through the 820/121 freeway construction zone. Back at the start of my exile in Texas I soon came upon 2 big freeway exchange construction projects.

One was the downtown Fort Worth Mixmaster. I remember being appalled when I learned that this had been being constructed for many years. The first year or two I did not see much progress. And then, it seemed sort of suddenly, the Mixmaster was open.

The other big freeway exchange construction I saw soon upon arrival in Texas was the original 820/121 complex of overpasses. This was a nuisance to drive through whilst being constructed, but was quickly completed. And now, a decade later, give or take a year, that same freeway exchange is back being a big construction mess. To be completed when? I don't know.

I got back from Hurst in time for my regularly scheduled daily walk. I opted to take a hike in my neighborhood, again. Walking the new, to me, Fort Worth Greenbelt. That's the Greenbelt you see in the picture.

I remember a few years back being appalled to discover the Tandy Hills. With the appalling part being that I lived so close to these hills, for years, and did not know it. I'd drive many miles to Cedar Hills State Park or Rockledge Park in Grapevine or Dinosaur Valley State Park, just to find myself some hills to hike on.

And now in the past month I've learned there are multiple decent walking venues right in my neighborhood.

I wonder how many gallons of gas I've burned over the years driving to find myself a hill to hike on?

The end of my walk today took me to Albertsons to get this week's FW Weekly. Near a couple fast food joints that are next to Albertsons I saw the sign you see below.

I've noticed this sign for what seems years, but I've never bothered to actually read it til today.

Apparently "COMING SOON" my neighborhood will have a Divine Touch Lounge & Grill, along with Lv's Barber & Beauty Salon. And my favorite, Fruits Of My Seeds 24 HR CHILDCARE CENTER.

That is a really interesting mix of businesses. I wonder how soon coming soon is? Sooner than the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle? I expect I will see Fruits Of My Seeds before I ever see the Granger Pond.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Combined With Dallas Fort Worth Is One Of America's Least Favorite Cities

Last week I was really surprised when I learned that Fort Worth is known world-wide as one of the Greatest Cities in the World.

I am a fairly ignorant guy, so me not knowing that Fort Worth is known world-wide as one of the Greatest Cities in the World is not too surprising.

But, now that I know that Fort Worth is one of the Greatest Cities in the World I can't help but wonder how this fact is determined and by what criteria such a claim is made.

A survey in Travel Leisure Magazine online about America's Most Favorite Cities only made me more confused about how it is that Fort Worth is considered, world-wide, to be one of the Greatest Cities in the World.

The survey ranks the Top 35 American Cities by its reputation regarding certain criteria, with the categories labeled Intelligent, Attractive, Tech Savvy, Sports Crazed, Diverse, Stylish, Proud of Their City, Athletic/Active, Driving Ability, Offbeat.

I am most familiar with two of the urban zones on these lists, that being Seattle and Dallas/Fort Worth.  Let's mix another Texas town with the two I'm most familiar with and see how the towns do on some of these lists.

America's Most Intelligent City is Seattle. Austin comes in at #10. Dallas/Fort Worth is dead last at #35. I"m shocked.

America's 13th Most Diverse City is Seattle. Austin is #18. Dallas/Fort Worth did a little better with diversity than in the Intelligence department, coming in at #34.

America's 9th Most Sports Crazed City is Dallas/Fort Worth. Austin is #12. Seattle is #20.

America's 3rd Most Athletic/Active City is Seattle. Austin is almost as Athletic and Active as Seattle, at #4. Dallas/Fort Worth is dead last again, at #35.

I think I've mentioned previously that it is really amazing how many more plus-sized people there are in the D/FW zone than in the Seattle zone. Every time I'm back in the Pacific Northwest it takes me awhile to get used to most of the people looking like they've had the air let out of them. Then I fly back to Texas and its over supply of pumped up balloon people.

The town that came in at #11 with Most Attractive People is Austin. Seattle is #20.  Dallas/Fort Worth is #32.

America's #1 Tech Savvy City is Seattle. Austin is #3. And once again, Dallas/Fort Worth is dead last at #35.

I thought for sure that D/FW would do well in the Friendly category. I thought wrong. Austin is America's 12th Most Friendly town, with Seattle #19. And Dallas/Fort Worth #30.

Austin is the 3rd Most Offbeat City in America. Seattle is #9. And once again Dallas/Fort Worth is dead last at #35.

Combining all the categories for an Overall Ranking has Austin at #5. Seattle at #7. And once again, Dallas/Fort Worth is dead last at #35.

Well, enough of that, you can click on the links and see the lists and all the categories.

So, now I am faced with even more of a conundrum of a mystery. As in by what criteria can Fort Worth possibly be considered one of the World's Greatest Cities?

In this Travel and Leisure survey I think it must be Dallas that brings Fort Worth down to the bottom. I'm almost certain if Fort Worth were judged without having that Dallas noose around its neck that Fort Worth would be at the top, or near it, on all these lists, because, like everyone knows, Fort Worth is one of the Greatest Cities in the World....