Friday, June 30, 2017

Spencer Jack's Dad Asking What The Point Is In Las Vegas

When I woke up my phone this morning among the text messages were three from Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew, Jason.

The three text messages included two photos, which Jason said had been sent to him by Spencer Jack's uncle, my favorite nephew, Joey.

Jason indicated he had no memory of when these photos were taken,  but guessed that the first one you see here was taken atop the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas.

Jason wondered if, due to my youthful appearance in this photo, that he and his brother had taken me to Vegas to celebrate my 21st birthday.

Well, on my 21st birthday, if I remember right, the arrival of nephews on the planet was a few years into the future.

I do not know how Jason managed to forget  that during August of 1998, months before I moved to Texas, Jason and Joey flew me to Las Vegas for four days, staying at Excalibur.

This trip to Vegas was documented via a webpage, years ago, titled, if memory serves, Nephews in Vegas.

That webpage documentation documented, in detail, the troubling incident which found us stranded for hours atop the Stratosphere Tower, waiting for electricity to be restored. It was well over 100 degrees, which soon had the Stratosphere Tower interior heating up to an uncomfortable level. Eventually cooling libations were provided. When we finally were able to get back to ground level we were greeted by the casino's manager who comped us a buffet dinner after I told him we were starving after the lengthy ordeal.

The other photo which Joey sent Jason which Jason then sent me is that which you see below, which had Jason asking me if I remembered to what Joey and I are pointing.

Again, I am shocked Jason does not remember these type important details.

On the second day of our four days in Las Vegas we learned that on that day there was a chance that Death Valley would break its temperature record at the lowest location in the Western Hemisphere. A location in Death Valley called Badwater, a couple hundred feet below sea level.

The nephews were onboard with driving to extreme heat. We loaded up with plenty of liquid and headed west.

In Pahrump we stopped to get gas. Hovering overhead a billboard advertised Pahrump's Bordello Museum. The nephews thought going to the Pahrump Bordello Museum would be a good Nephews in Danger experience, but I nixed that idea, and so we continued west to begin the long descent into the Valley of Death.

Badwater was HOT, but several degrees short of the record. We continued on, eventually getting to that which Jason asked what Joey and I were pointing at.

It was Zabriskie Point to which we pointed.

The memory of being in Vegas with my two oldest nephews seems recent, but so much has happened, and changed since then. In 1998 I still had a house in Mount Vernon, Bill Clinton was president, 9/11 was just a date which occurred every year. Donald Trump was a sleazy philanderer.

And, apparently, I looked to be only 21....

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Mom's Missing Nephew Photo Leads To Forgotten Photo Of Dad & Me

Over a week ago, sometime during the week which followed Father's Day, my mom had one of her something is missing episodes.

With this particular episode it was a framed photo on mom and dad's bedroom wall which had allegedly gone missing.

Mom said the picture is missing and a picture "I don't recognize is in its place."

So, I said to mom, show me. And so mom did.

When I saw the "replacement" photo on the wall I told mom it is a picture of you and dad on that Royal Caribbean cruise you went on late in the last century.

I don't remember that picture, said mom. I asked what was the missing picture. Mom told me it was a long rectangular frame with your nephew's 8th grade graduation pictures.

I told mom I would go on a treasure hunt throughout the house and see if I can locate that which had gone missing.

After perusing all the walls in the main part of the house I exited into the un-air conditioned part of the house known as the Arizona Room. On a wall in the Arizona Room I found two large collages of photos my sister Jackie had long ago made for mom and dad. And next to that was hanging what I guessed was the missing photo of the nephews.

I took the photo from the wall and brought it to mom. Mom promptly identified what I found as the formerly missing photo. Where was it, mom asked. I then led mom to where the photo was located.

Mom asked if I could hang the nephew photo back where it used to be. I did so, taking down the cruise photo of mom and dad. Mom directed me as to where to put that cruise photo and it was at that point in time I saw the photo you see above, which I do not remember ever seeing before.

A photo of my dad.

And me.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mountain Biking River Legacy Park Thinking About Captain Andy's Fort Worth Bridge Revelations

Yesterday, if I remember correctly, I mentioned that if my hands were not rendered sore by yesterday's first bike ride in almost two years, that today I would likely find myself pedaling my wheels in Arlington's River Legacy Park.

And so I did.

Those are my handlebars aimed at the River Legacy Park Mountain Bike Trail Information sign. You can sort of see, via the map, the amazing maze of trails, which over time had become my favorite in the D/FW zone.

The drive from Wichita Falls to the D/FW Metro Mess seemed to go way quicker than has been the norm, what with my recent bouts of extremely long driving bouts, including Saturday's, which was somewhere around 800 miles before I decided to give it a rest somewhere west of Abilene.

Today being back in the D/FW zone after, so soon being in the Phoenix zone for a couple weeks, I was immediately struck by how incredibly shabby much of the D/FW zone looks. The lack of landscaping and sidewalks is appalling. Do not enough D/FW  locals lay their eyes on more, well, uh, modern locations in America, to realize how, well, third worldly much of their world looks?

A couple days ago I was driving Miss Daisy, also known as my mom, in a new developing area of the Phoenix suburb of Chandler. I made mention of the fact that the roads, landscaping and sidewalks were already installed, ahead of the incoming development. My mom, whose vision renders the world difficult to see, sees how things get done in her location, and said this is how they build things here.

"Infrastructure first."

My semi-blind mom sees the world more clearly than most Texans.

As witness my exit from D/FW last month when I was stuck in a traffic nightmare largely caused by the inept, incompetent, irresponsible out of control development in North Fort Worth, where malls, and housing developments have been built before adequately roads were built. Let alone sidewalks. Or landscaping.

How does one part of America become so backward when other parts of America are not?

I have been a bit overwhelmed of late. So, I have not gotten around to blogging about the latest iteration of America's Biggest Boondoggle's bridge fiasco. You know, those bridges of dubious design intended to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Part of what is known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, overseen by Congresswoman Kay Granger's inept son who has overseen an ongoing embarrassment which would be a HUGE embarrassment in a normal location in America. But is just, apparently, the Fort Worth Way of operating.

I think it was on Sunday, maybe Monday, Captain Andy sent me multiple photos documenting the current state of the TRCCUPID Vision's bridge boondoggle. Elsie  Hotpepper pointed me to an amazingly embarrassing article which contained some of the stupidest J.D. Granger quotes yet.

But, I have not found the time to blog about this and share Captain Andy's photos. Maybe I will do this tomorrow....

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Wheeling My Handlebars For A Look At Mount Wichita

It has been almost two years since I blogged about my bike's handlebars being aimed at some particular location.

I would have thought in all that time that at least one someone would have asked why I have made no mention of rolling by bike's wheels.

Such as a question asking why I've not mentioned biking the Wichita Falls Circle Trail.

Well, even though no one asked I will answer that un-asked question anyway.

About three years ago I began to have a bit of onset of arthritis woe.  This first manifested itself in my shoulders and knees. And then my hands. Eventually the shoulder and knee woe abated, helped, I think, by spending a lot of time in the pool.

And then my left hand, particularly the pointing finger on my left hand became miserably painful. Even typing was a pain. Riding the bike greatly exacerbated the hand pain. So, I decided to take a break from the biking. The hand pain quickly got better, but did not totally abate.

So, this past couple weeks in Arizona I experienced many surprises. One of those surprises was to suddenly find myself with zero allergy woes, breathing free and easy, free of needing nasal spray. And then about the second day of swimming with the Sun Lake ladies I realized my left hand was totally pain free.

On the long drive back to Texas I decided I was once again going to roll my bike's wheels. And so today I did. Pedaled the Circle Trail to the Lake Wichita Dam where I aimed my handlebars at Mount Wichita on the west side of the lake and snapped the photo you see above.

Tomorrow I am rolling my motorized vehicle's wheels to the D/FW  zone where I am planning to take my handlebars on a ride around River Legacy Park. An activity I have not indulged in for a couple years.

That is the plan, which will quickly be thwarted if I wake up tomorrow with a left hand in throbbing pain mode...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Missing Arizona Diamondback Baseball & McDonald's While Re-Adjusting To Texas

After over two weeks of being separated, yesterday I was reunited with the USB cord which connects my phone to my computer, thus allowing me to move photos from the phone to that aforementioned computer.

If I remember right I previously mentioned my sweet sister Jackie had photo documented me over indulging in McDonald's delicacies at my dad's Father's Day All You Can Eat McDonald's buffet.

This would be that previously mentioned photo you are looking at here.

That would be my little brother under that Seattle Seahawk baseball, I mean, football cap you see in the lower right of the photo.

That mug with the number 12 on it is also a Seattle Seahawk item, not a Texas A & M item. I do not know why there was Seattle Seahawks stuff at the table, what with it being baseball season,  not football.

Speaking of baseball, and adding beef to what we are speaking of. In the past couple weeks I found myself watching more baseball games than I have watched this entire century. It was a baseball team called the Arizona Diamondbacks I found myself watching. It seems an odd thing to name ones team after, a venomous snake.

Apparently the word "Diamondbacks" is too  long, so this particular baseball team seems to always be referred to as the D-Backs.

I almost forgot about the beef.  In addition to consuming more baseball than I have consumed this entire century, I also found myself consuming more beef in the past couple weeks than I have consumed this entire current century, prior to my arrival in Arizona a couple weeks ago.

Apparently consuming a lot of McDonald's products and a lot of beef is a good weight loss program, because I lost myself a few pounds that I had when I left Texas. Stress and being up and about from the crack of dawn til past the crack of sunset may have been a weight loss contributing factor.

In Arizona I found myself sleeping peacefully all through the night. And despite the outdoor temperature being well above 100 we did not run the A/C at night, and I was totally comfortable. Now I am back where people say things like  it is not the heat, it's the humidity. So, true. Even though the temperature is way below 100 I ran the A/C all night. And I did not sleep peacefully all night long. There was a two hour plus bout of tossing and turning.

In Arizona I had an allergic reaction to nothing. Now back in Texas something is once again irritating my eyes.

However, all in all, I am happy to be back in my current cloudy, green, humid location in Texas...

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Long Day's Desert Journey Sees Green Morning In Texas

Yesterday, as in Saturday morning, I left the Phoenix suburb of  Sun Lakes at some point in time before 8, after giving my dear ol' mom, also known as Miss Daisy, a couple goodbye hugs.

Most of the route back to my Texas home location I had driven before. But, not since the first year of this century. So, nothing seemed all that familiar.

I did remember the drive across southern Arizona and New Mexico to be a lot of wide open nothing. I did not remember the constant warnings about dust storm dangers.

 I also did not remember the scenic wonders of the Cochise Stronghold Dragoon Mountain zone of Arizona. By mid afternoon I was back in Texas, soon after seeing the giant roadrunner you see above at a New Mexico rest area and scenic overlook overlooking Las Cruces and the mountains which hover above that town.

El Paso appears to be a boomtown. In addition to a lot of buildings under construction there is a massive elevated freeway being built between the existing freeway and Mexico.  Passing through I could not figure out the reason for this second freeway.

I did make note of the fact that El  Paso follows the lead of cities to the west and makes El Paso's freeways look distinctive with color schemes and landscaping.

Maybe the towns of the D/FW zone could send a task force to El Paso to see how this is done, what with El Paso being much closer than Phoenix, or towns on the west coast which also have figured out how to make their highways look good, rather than littered, un-landscaped, un-attractive borderline eyesores.

Regarding eyesores, I am thinking of Fort Worth's freeway exits to the town's only real tourist attraction, the Fort Worth Stockyards. Maybe when the new version of I-35W is completed Fort Worth will finally get around to landscaping and de-littering the freeway exits to the Stockyards.

The last time I had passed past the I-10 border checkpoint which one comes to east of El Paso it was prior to 9/11. At that point in time a light thing, with mirror, was stuck under my van. The interior of the van was checked. This time, in this era when America is being flooded with so many Mexicans that insane people want to build a border wall, at the checkpoint a guy in a border patrol uniform, who spoke with a Spanish accent, asked if I was a US citizen. Si, said I, after which he waved me on.

Previous trips east on I-10 have had an overnight stay in Van Horn. On this trip it seemed too early to stop for the night in Van Horn.

So, I continued on.

Soon I found myself surprised to see how much West Texas has changed. Every little town along  the way east, be it Pecos, Monahans, Sweetwater, or other towns I can not remember, have had multi-story motels added to their landscape, along with the usual fast food suspects.

All these motels were full. I think due to it being Saturday night, and these motels having been built to help with the housing shortage caused by the West Texas oil boom. Eventually I resigned myself to continuing on to Abilene. Around eleven o'clock I had been on the road for well over 12  hours. I was not tired. But I decided to take a break in a rest area west of Abilene. I rested til about 3 in the morning, and then continued east in the darkness. I rather liked driving the empty freeway in the dark.

After about an hour I reached the outskirts of Abilene, got gas, and soon came to the exit to Highway 277, my route north to Wichita Falls. When I looked at 277 on a map I saw the road went through a lot of small towns. I was prepared for 277 to be a two lane highway on which I would be driving slow, not the 80 MPH speed limit on I-10 and 20.

Well, 277 turned out to be a four lane divided highway in excellent shape. With a speed limit of 75, except when one passed through a couple towns. I made such  good time I was back in Wichita Falls before 8 this morning, 22 hours after I left Sun Lakes, taking into account the time zone change.

As I approached Seymour, about 50 miles from Wichita Falls, the sun finally popped up. I tried to get a good picture of this. Below is the best I could do.

The biggest surprise came when full illumination arrived. I had been living in a desert for over two weeks. I had just spent a day driving through desert and desolate brown land. But, this morning, when the sun came up, I saw a lush landscape of green, beautiful green. I should have thought to take a picture of this.

So, I am happy to be back in Texas. But, I think I may be returning to Arizona some day soon....

Friday, June 23, 2017

Visiting Dad Before Driving Miss Daisy To See Penny In Maricopa McDonald's

Yesterday, after my mid-morning visit with dad, I drove Miss Daisy to sister Jackie's so I could drive both Miss Daisy and sister Jackie to Maricopa so we could find Penny at one of the Maricopa McDonald's.

The finding Penny mission was accomplished soon upon arrival at the designated McDonald's, where I soon found myself enjoying a Southwest Salad, McNuggets, a Fish Sandwich, Fries and a large Coke.

That would be Penny you see in her kitchen where she was preparing our McDonald''s vittles in non-air conditioned comfort due to a slight temporary air conditioning malfunction affecting the kitchen and the area where kids play. The area where we enjoyed our McDonald's buffet remained blessed with air conditioned comfort.

After an hour, give or take a minute or two, we left Penny, and McDonald's, to venture further south, once again, to the Ak-Chin Casino where sister Jackie and I once again negotiated the maze of trails and noisy construction zones to find our way to the spot where we come into possession of a piece of paper we take through another maze to go to the pool zone where that piece of paper, yesterday, was exchanged for a hand held kitchen mixmaster type device.

Leaving the kitchen mixmaster area we soon came upon a cactus forest.

I was informed that at night the Ak-Chin Casino cactus forest lights up to create an eye pleasing display. I found the cactus forest to be eye pleasing even without night lights.

Soon after leaving the cactus forest we returned to where we had left mom, in the 10 minute hotel check-in parking space.

Leaving Maricopa it was an exciting drive back through the desert to the Phoenix metro zone, due to the gas gauge light indicating the gas tank wanted some gas. This gas need was indicated via flashing lights and an occasional slight beep which had me driving along hoping Miss Daisy did not hear the beeping

All ended well, gas need-wise, when I sputtered into a gas station in time to fill the tank before totally running out of that vitally needed fuel. It would likely quickly turn quite unpleasant to run out of gas when the temperature is tickling into the 120 degree realm of heat.

Tomorrow, early, I begin my two day trek back to Texas. I hope all goes well this trek. I will be taking the south return route, through El Paso. Which means east of El Paso, on I-10, I will be going through the annoying area where I will be checked to make sure I am not hiding any illegal aliens onboard....

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Seeing Dad Before Heading To Maricopa Seeking McDonald's Penny

What you are looking at here is the tropical-like pool zone of the Ak-Chin Casino Resort in Maricopa.

Maricopa is a town a short distance south of the Phoenix metro zone.

Maricopa has three McDonald's, one of which is the location of Penny. On Tuesday we did not find Penny at her McDonald's location.

We did find Penny at a slot machine in the Ak Chin Casino Resort.

Today we are returning to Maricopa to try and find Penny at her McDonald's, among other reasons to be in Maricopa.

Such as returning to the Ak-Chin Casino. On Tuesday we visited the casino to get a crock pot, along with what seemed to be hundreds of other people seeking crock pots. I have never seen so many people carrying crock pots. Or sitting at slot machines with their crock pots.

Apparently if one visits the Ak-Chin Casino frequently enough one gets to get an assortment of kitchen appliances. Like I said, we are returning to Maricopa today, including going to the casino. I think today I am going to be seeing a lot of people, if I remember right, toting an electric mixer beater type device.

On Tuesday to get the crock pot we made our way through the throng of people playing various games til we got to a location where two pieces of paper were shown to one of the ladies checking the paper pieces. Then another piece of paper was given to my sister. We then meandered a confusing maze of halls til we arrived at the cool pool you see above.

Under a shaded zone near the ;pool was the biggest collection of crock pots I have ever eye witnessed. You can see some of those crock pots below.

That would be my dear sister, Jackie, soon after taking possession of one of the crock pots. We then joined all the other people toting crock pots and gradually made our way through the confusing maze of halls til we came to the location from whence we entered. Soon we found ourselves back in air conditioned car comfort with our dear mother where we left her with the engine and air conditioning running.

On Tuesday I had one of the new McDonald's signature sandwiches. A BBQ bacon crispy chicken, with equally crispy onion on an artisan bun. Plus a fish sandwich and maybe a couple other items. Today I will go lighter with one of the McDonald's signature salads. And maybe a fish sandwich.

I am currently in the lobby of my dad's current location. Mom is in with dad. Lunch should soon arrive. Dad was not too perky this morning. I left them with mom asking dad if he wanted chocolate milk and a banana...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Following Elsie Hotpepper Technical Computer Advice Arizona Malfunction

I asked for technical advice from that well known computer whiz, Elsie Hotpepper, regarding trying to get on to my computer an infamous photo of me eating way too many McDonald's products at my dad's Happy Father's Day All You Can Eat McDonald's Buffet.

Elsie cleverly advised me to use the phone blogging Blogger app to upload the photo from my phone. I followed Elsie's precise instructions.

But, when I got my computer back online, after getting dad back to his room, after another successful exercise therapy session, I opened the blogger program and the saved from the phone blog post, but the infamous photo of me eating way too many McDonald's products at my dad's Happy Father's Day All You Can Eat McDonald's Buffet was nowhere to be seen.

I suspect it will take til I am back in Texas, reunited with the cable which connects the phone to the computer, to get that notorious photo off my phone.

Meanwhile when I looked for that photo possibly being somewhere in the Google Cloud I clicked on a photo titled Durango New Mexico and soon found myself wondering as to the when and where of the above photo.

This photo would be from sometime back in the previous decade. I believe the rock behind me is called Shipwreck Rock, or some such similar name. I do not ever remember having a blue baseball cap. Blue has never been one of my favorite colors.

Back to the present.

Arrived at dad's location around ten. Found him in the therapy room walking the parallel bars. The physical therapist told us dad is making good progress of late. I was surprised by how fast he was moving on the parallel bars.

Soon mom and I will be leaving here, going to pick up sister Jackie, and then heading south to Maricopa to see Penny at McDonald's. I suspect one of those new fangled McDonald's signature burgers is in my future for day...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Day After Father's Day Dad Takes A Long Walk

Back to the latest episode of the Days of Our Lives, also known as American Horror Story: Seinfeld.

Arrived at dad's place in time for his morning therapy session. Well, the end of the therapy session. Dad had finished 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer.

The Physical Therapist came out to see mom and me to tell us that dad would now be walking back to his room.

Huh? Mom and I sort of reacted at the same time.

Soon mom and I found ourselves following dad, walking, all the way back to his room. We went from two days ago being told dad had walked fifteen feet to this morning he walked all the way back to his room.

Back in his room I left mom and dad to return to the lobby to wait for my sister and the hearing aid expert to arrive.

When the hearing aid expert arrived he quickly determined there was nothing wrong with dad's hearing aids. Except, uh, the filter needed replacing. An extremely little filter installed from the end of an extremely small stick. My sister got the lesson on how to perform this task. I knew it was far beyond my technical expertise.

A few minutes after the hearing aid expert exited dad indicated he would not mind getting HOT. And so we exited the lobby to the courtyard, where we enjoyed the HEAT for a short duration, before crossing the courtyard to exit to the location where movies and church takes place.

Above you see sister Jackie moving dad into a HEAT absorbing position, with mom providing directional advice. Dad is in celebrity mode with the sunglasses, hiding from the paparazzi.

Tomorrow Jackie is taking mom and me to Maricopa to see Penny at McDonalds. This will take place after the noontime dad visit. I do not know why I am not exhausted. Today began with a long swim with Ann, Phyllis and the rest of the ladies, including the Grande Dame, Jacqui...

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dad's Father's Day McDonald's Buffet With Uncle Mooch & Tillie

So. My dad's Father's Day All You Can Eat McDonald's Buffet went off okay.

Opening right on schedule a half hour before noon. Well, maybe a few minutes past that half hour before noon mark.

Dad's new hearing aid was misbehaving today, so tomorrow we are bringing in the hearing aid doctor to figure out what is wrong.

In the partial picture of those attending my dad's Father's Day McDonald's Buffet that would be my little brother, Spencer Jack's grandpa, and Jason and Joey's dad, Jake, on the far left. Next to Jake you are looking at my number two sister, Jackie, who is not a grandma but is the mom of Christopher and Jeremy, who were not in attendance. In the middle, looking at me, is the aforementioned dad. Big Blue on the right is my brother-in-law, Jack, who also is the husband of my sister Jackie and the dad of Christopher and Jeremy.

Miss Daisy, also known as my mom, is partially visible under Big Blue.

An incriminating photo of me was taken by sister Jackie, showing me double fisting a couple burger, with an array of McDonald's products in front of me. Unfortunately I am unable to share this photo due to it having been sent to my phone and due to the fact I left the phone connector to my computer back in Texas.

Dad's Father's Day McDonald's Buffet marks the first time I have actually heard mom refer to me as Gerry, aka Uncle Mooch. Last night, on the way home from seeing dad, mom confessed to repeatedly referring to me as Gerry.I told mom I had been told she had been doing such, but that I had not noticed.

Until today.

Continuing the theme, today, at least for awhile, dad thought sister number two, Jackie, was sister number one, Nancy. This became apparent when dad asked Jackie a dog question about sister Nancy's dog, Tillie. Something like "how's Tillie doing?"

Yesterday Spencer Jack's dad texted me he was arriving in Arizona tonight. But Spencer Jack's grandpa knew nothing of this arrival, as of when I saw Spencer Jack's grandpa this morning.

The heat has begun to get HOT. Miss Daisy sent me into Walmart this afternoon on the way to see dad. Dad had requested a chapstick lip balm type product. I do not know if the lip balm survived the bout in the heat before returning to air conditioned safety.

I guided Miss Daisy to dad's room and left as I heard mom telling dad she had something for him. I assume mom was referring to the lip balm.

I currently feel like I am living in a TV show. A sort of hybrid of Seinfeld and American Horror Story....

Happy Father's Day With Dad In Arizona & McDonald's

It is the morning of the 2017 version of Father's Day. I do not remember when last, til today, I actually saw my dad on Father's Day, but on this Father's Day I have already said Happy Father's Day to my dad and given him a Happy Father's Day hug.

And what a blessing. No hearing aid drama this morning. So far.

I went swimming this morning, all alone. Apparently all the Sun Lakes ladies, and the Grande Dame, take Sunday off.

In the view above you are outside my dad's room, in the covered patio zone. That would be the window of dad's room you see on the right.

If I remember right we are supposed to get heated to 114 today. 119 tomorrow. Yesterday early evening it was a bit brutally HOT during the dad visit, just the transit from vehicle to interior air conditioned comfort. To maximize my heat related discomfort today I am in long pants. I figured I'd try this sort of modified Arab method of dealing with HEAT. We shall see how well that works out.

Last night I reserved the special activity room for today's noontime Happy Father's Day McDonald's Buffet of all my dad's McDonald's favorites. I am hoping this includes my McDonald's favorite, that being the Fish Sandwich. I have not had a McDonald's Fish Sandwich since the last time I was in Arizona, five years ago.

I vaguely recollect my sister telling me this coming week she may take me and mom south to Maricopa to see Penny at one of that town's three McDonald's. Penny manages one of three McDonald/s and has been asking where my mom and dad have been of late. I do not think we will be bringing dad along on this McDonald's expedition.

I am currently planning on beginning my return to Texas this coming Saturday morning. Mom is planning on loading me up on frozen things, like banana bread and apple sauce, and unfrozen things like raspberry jam....

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Pre-Father's Day Banana With Dad & Miss Daisy

That is my dear ol' dad you see here, one day before Father's Day. I drove Miss Daisy to dad this morning earlier than the norm. We had grapes, a banana and a chocolate milk for dad.

I tried to snap the picture whilst dad was sipping his chocolate milk and holding the banana, but by the time the flash went off the chocolate milk had been lowered and the banana lifted into position.

This morning I learned I now know how to install hearing aids. The one marked red goes in the right ear. That really is all you need to remember. When the right one goes in it starts talking to the left one, with high pitched beeps.

Upon installation dad perks up. I got out my phone and asked dad to smile for Michele. He instantly did so, but my phone takes forever to take a picture. The photo use see above was taken via my old-fashioned digital camera. The phone version manages to do its thing without snapping a flash.

Today is Spencer Jack's dad birthday. I heard from Spencer Jack's dad that he is flying in on Father's Day for some relative experience. I do not know if Spencer Jack is also flying in.

Tomorrow, for Father's Day, sister Jackie is delivering to dad an all you can eat smorgasbord buffet of all dad's McDonald's favorites. I hope this includes multiple fish sandwiches. I know it includes sausage egg McMuffins. And maybe breakfast burritos.

Last night mom and I made lasagna. And fresh corn on the cob. Somehow in the middle of an extremely HOT desert I managed to have the tastiest, sweetest best corn on the cob ever. We will be having a corn on the cob repeat this evening.

The dire HEAT ARMAGEDDON begins tomorrow, starting at 114, going up to 119 for Monday, then 120, or maybe 121, for Tuesday, continuing on with this baking til a slight cooling arrives later in the week.

My only swimming companion this morning was Donna. The rest of the ladies take the weekend off. They may also take the HEAT wave off, or at least they were speculating such last time I pooled with them.

I am delaying my exit from the Valley of the Sun until this HEAT wave passes.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Arizona Morning Driving Miss Daisy To Pickle Ball & Dad

This morning's Arizona adventure, after a night of imaginary air-conditioner malfunctioning, was driving Miss Daisy, I mean my mom, to Dobson Ranch Park to see my sister, Jackie, playing Pickle Ball.

We managed to eventually find one of the Dobson Ranch Parks, in Dobson Ranch, somewhere in Mesa. Well, I am fairly certain it was Mesa, and that we were north of Chandler.

Eventually Miss Daisy and I found ourselves lost in a maze of cul-de-sacs.

Calling sister Jackie was our go to rescue. Jackie then directed us to the particular Dobson Park Ranch where Pickle Ball is played.

That is Jackie you see above, the Pickle Baller in blue. I watched Jackie's team win one game, 11 to 0. And then it was time to return to Miss Daisy who I had left behind in the vehicle, with no shade. And no window down. I understand this is a bad thing to do when the temperature gets into, or beyond, the 100 degree range.

Leaving Pickle Ball, Miss Daisy and I drove back home to Sun Lakes where we foraged various freezers til we found frozen lasagna. Lasagna is on tonight's dinner menu. Last night it was barbecued steak with cheesy cauliflower, jicama, pineapple, watermelon and broccoli salad.

I have consumed more beef in one week in Arizona than the past five years in Texas.

Yesterday dad had a great day, was liking his new hearing aid, was actually having a conversation with Miss Daisy without painful confusions, with the previous painful confusions often coming from the Miss Daisy vicinity.Yesterday both mom and dad had their hearing aids in working order, thus enabling the good day.

Today we arrived to find dad quickly telling us he needs his hearing aids put in. I find them in a drawer. I tell Miss Daisy I will go find someone to install them. Mom did not want me to find someone to help. Why? I do not know. So, I got a hearing aid installer who had trouble installing. Dad kept saying it hurt. Eventually the left ear was okay. But we gave up on the right ear.

These are custom made hearing aids, designed specifically for each ear, plainly differentiated. But the nurse trying to install them did not know which one was supposed to go in which ear, or that the button on the aid had three settings, easily accidentally pushed, I assume, when struggling to insert the things.

Mom insisted sister Jackie would take care of the problem. I returned to the lobby where my computer is located and called sister Jackie to inform her of the latest episode in the Days of Our Lives. I am now awaiting hearing from Jackie about when the hearing aid helper, Jennifer, will arrive, if ever.

I really never thought I would say such a thing. But, I miss Texas....

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Swimming With Arizona Grande Dames While Uncle Mooch Takes Mom To Dad

Every morning, for the past five mornings, I have found myself swimming with a growing number of local ladies.

It started with just Ann and Phyllis. And then several other ladies were added to the mix.

And then a couple days ago someone who preferred not to be referred to as a lady, but instead a Grande Dame, showed up. The Grande Dame's name is Jacqui. A fancy way of spelling my sister, Jackie's, name..

A couple hours after the regular morning swim with the coterie of ladies, and the Grande Dame, mom opted not to do the regular pester, I mean, visit with my dad. Instead I went to my aforementioned sister Jackie's place to utilize her wi-fi and do some more pooling. The pool pics did not turn out to my selfie satisfaction. But the view of the front of my sister's house, which you see above, did turn out to my satisfaction.

Being at my sister's, with a normal internet connection, I was able to see what my phone Blogger app bloggings look like.

Not good.

With one, the photo did not appear. Paragraph breaks did not exist. And the picture showed up at the bottom, with one of them sized way too big. Maybe I need to explore the 'settings' part of the phone Blogger app.

Some time after noon I returned to my mom's location. I thought mom would be all antsy to get to my dad.

Instead we dawdled.

Mom thought dad was in a bad mood yesterday. Mom can not see. Dad got new hearing aids yesterday which resulted in me having what will go down in my memory history as one of the most poignant moments I have ever experienced. I have no idea why mom thinks she can accurately perceive dad's moods.

This entire experience of being here with mom and dad has been a bit overwhelming. My siblings, well the three of the four I have seen and talked to, have helped me get through this day to day.

Eventually mom and I left Sun Lakes and headed north to dad. On the way we made our regular drive-thru McDonald's. Today it was double cheeseburgers and large Cokes. Well, I had a Coke, mom surprisingly went the diet Dr. Pepper route. Dr. Pepper is a Texas thing. I don't know where my mom picked up this bad habit.

I delivered mom to dad, who was in bed peacefully resting. I left mom there before I had to witness mom disturbing dad's restful slumber.

I am now in the lobby, with my laptop, looking at the view you see below.

Dad's room is to the left of the view you see here. It looks like I am sitting outside, but actually you are looking out a big wall of glass.

We are heading into record breaking heat here, arriving on Monday. Each day's forecast seems to increase the degree by one. Several days ago Monday was to be 119 degrees, then it went up to 120, but cooler on Tuesday. This morning Monday went up to 121, with Tuesday potentially hotter.

I have been above 120 only once, with Spencer Jack's dad and Spencer Jack's favorite Uncle Joey, way back in 1998, in Death Valley. The weather forecasters here make it sound like a weather Armageddon is coming with dire worries about the electrical grid.

I just remembered another time I have been above 120. Also in Death Valley, with Big Ed and Dale. If I remember right it was 124 at Badwater, that being the location of the lowest level below sea level in this hemisphere. I do not think the Phoenix zone is below sea level. I don't know what the Valley of the Sun's excuse is for getting so hot.

I suppose I should go check on my mom and dad. Mom likely has been pushing the red button to get someone to get dad up. When he needs to rest.

Have I mentioned my mom has forgotten who I am? She calls me Gerry. Sometime she realizes I am not Gerry. Gerry is my dad's youngest brother, known to me and my siblings as Uncle Mooch.

Mom better not start calling me Uncle Mooch. That name is reserved for only one person. And it is not me...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Lemon Tree Not So Sweet Day 8 Out Of Texas

Found a super sweet orange hanging solo on tree in mom and dad's backyard. Mom and I had it for breakfast.

Later took the picture you see here in mom and dad's front yard. I think it's a lemon tree. Surrounded by cactus.

With a flag trying to blow in the wind.

This morning mom asked me to raise the flag because she saw it was Flag Day. Mom knew this via a calendar she isn't supposed to be reading due to being sorta blind.

Driving to dad we saw a lot of flags, so once again mom is right.

In a couple hours dad gets a new hearing aid. One of my favorite sisters should be showing up for that.

We are heading to possibly record breaking temps in a few days.

120 degrees.

I suspect mom will finally agree to turn on the air conditioning...

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Mom Dad Sister & Grumpy Me


I am making my first attempt at blogging using my phone. The photo I hope you see here was taken this morning where my dad is currently residing without my mom for several hours every day.

I am going to hit the publish button on this to determine if I am actually able to do the blogging thing from my phone...

Add caption

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Leaving Texas Turns Into One Of My Most Adventurous Scary Days Ever


I have been currently experiencing my longest withdrawal from being connected to the online internet world since some time way back in the previous century.

Wednesday morning I left Texas, heading northwest via Highway 287, the road to Amarillo. Destination Sun Lakes, Arizona. Interim destination, on Wednesday, was a town called Albuquerque in a state called New Mexico.

I took a lot of pictures along the way, that day, intending to blog them that night when peacefully ensconced in a nice, quiet motel room.

With Wi-Fi.

However, that Albuquerque's motel's Wi-Fi was in malfunction mode.

The next day all was going well, stopping in Gallup for some McDonald's products, heading west towards Flagstaff.

As I drove along I listened to the Comey testimony til it was over.

I was somewhere in the Painted Desert Petrified Forest Meteor Crater zone of Arizona when my favorite Rabbi called. Perfect phone connection with no cell tower in view.

Soon I was gaining elevation as I got closer to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon.

A strong wind was blowing, which I was heading straight into.

And then, about ten miles east of Flagstaff, with me thinking I am only a couple hours out of Phoenix, which I should easily reach by early afternoon, suddenly my vehicle misbehaved, it was like a gust of wind had killed it. I coasted to a stop on the side of the freeway.

I do not recollect the last time I felt so panicked as I did when I came to a dead stop on a busy freeway in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere..

I called Big Ed in Texas. Then I called my sister in Chandler. Chandler is a Phoenix suburb. My sister called others, including my sister in Tacoma. And my brother. All of whom called and texted empathizing with my ordeal with good advice and offers to help.

I zoomed in on the road sign I saw ahead so as to be able to identify my location as the Winona exit 211. I called 911. That soon got me in contact with a towing company. An hour or so later the tow truck showed up. He had a passenger so I had to stay in the driver's seat while my vehicle got elevated on to the flatbed.

It was an elevated scenic ride into Flagstaff, which you can sort of see below.

About a half hour after getting delivered to the vehicle fix-it place the diagnoses was made.

Failed fuel pump.

Soon thereafter a sweet guardian angel showed up on my phone to alleviate me of most of my potential heart attack/stroke inducing stress.

About a half hour before five I was back on the road, heading south to Phoenix. I had never driven the freeway from Flagstaff to Phoenix. That road is one long loss of elevation heading into the Valley of the Sun.

My goal was no longer Sun Lakes and my previously scheduled expected arrival at my mom and dad's. My new goal was to make it to my brother's place in Scottsdale.

I figured I could easily make my way to Scottsdale due to having been there previously. When I realized I was south of the Phoenix airport I knew I was way off course. Asking Google to direct me to my brothers's proved useless.

I got northeast of the airport, parked and called my brother. I told him where I was and he recognized the road I was on and then directed me via surface streets and freeways to his abode. I do not remember the last time I felt as relieved to see someone as I did when I saw Spencer Jack's grandpa.

I had a great time at my brother's. I arrived at his place hungry, having not eaten anything since Gallup, New Mexico. My brother had a virtual buffet laid out of tasty stuff. We went swimming in the morning in his excellent pool.

Soon after swimming I called my mom. Mom thought I was still in Flagstaff. She had not been updated on the fact I had become mobile again. My favorite nephew Jeremy was scheduled to take mom to see dad. Mom said they'd wait til I got there.

My brother gave me simple directions, written down.I barely left his place before my first wrong turn. Called me brother and quickly learned I had gone right when I should have gone left. Soon I was on track. And then right when I was exiting one freeway to another, that being I-10, Jeremy called. That momentary distraction caused me to somehow get on the wrong road. After several miles I realized I was seeing South Mountain where I should not be seeing it.

About then Jeremy called to ask what was keeping me. Grandma was getting anxious. Eventually I was able to tell Jeremy I was on Pecos heading east, that I could see the Wild Horse Casino, which I knew was next to I-10.

A few minutes later I was on the freeway, heading south, and then getting to Riggs Road, which takes me to Sun Lakes and my mom and Jeremy.

A few minutes later I found myself chauferring mom to dad.

The day currently is Sunday. It was two days ago, on Friday, I first took mom to where dad is. Somehow that seems much longer ago.

The location where I finally found myself an Internet connection is my sister's, in Chandler.

It will be good to be back in Texas. I do not know, yet, when that will be happening.

One thing I have noticed and made note of, and have done so every time I am in the Phoenix metro zone, is that the towns which make up the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, particularly Fort Worth, should send a task force to Phoenix to see how nice it looks when towns pay attention to landscaping their roads. And building actual imaginative bridges one might describe as signature. Again, I am referring to Fort Worth regarding the signature bridge thing. Dallas has a couple actual signature bridges.

If Phoenix is too far to send that task force, Albuquerque also provides good examples of what can be done in the civic beautifying department...

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Spencer Jack Was Not Home Yesterday If I Knocked On His Door

Last night I had myself an extremely rare bout of insomnia. I went horizontal early due to the day having been a long one. I quickly passed out, but at some point in time in the middle of the night I began to relentlessly toss and turn. I have no idea how long the tossing and turning lasted.

I think the insomnia may have been caused by yesterday's warning signs that I may be heading west into a maelstrom of madness from which I will quickly seek relief.

On that note this morning's email found one from Spencer Jack and his dad, my favorite nephew Jason....


We heard a rumor that you were traveling thousands of miles to visit relatives. If you knocked on our door today to visit, we weren't home.

Spencer Jack took me sailing this afternoon. He chose Friday Harbor to escape the extreme PNW heat wave.The air was pleasantly air conditioned there.

Anyway, if we missed you, try again some other time. Your dad always use to tell me, "Stop by anytime, 'we are always home,' unless we are gone!" 

Hope to see you soon!

A heat wave in the PNW? The temperature much have reached a high in the 70s for a couple days in a row. Friday Harbor, to which Jason refers, is the big city on San Juan Island. Friday Harbor is the last destination one comes to when one takes one of the Anacortes ferries to the San Juan Islands.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Visiting My Neighborhood Caribbean Libertines Before Playing A Hot Arizona Pickle Ball

Due to too many days lately of precipitation precipitating precipitously I had not had myself much outdoor endorphin inducing aerobic activity.

Til today.

I opted to push my way through the wet wool blanket of hot humidity and make my way to my cool Caribbean neighborhood.

I entered the Caribbean today via Haiti. Soon I headed south via Barbados, where I have frequently admired the artwork you see here, at the southeast intersection of Haiti and Barbados.

Those Haitian Barbados natives are quite the free spirited libertines.

Soon I decided the Caribbean was providing me way too much aerobic stimulation so I head back to the Circle Trail where I soon saw the big lonely tree you see here.

I doubt you can see the one big white bloom on the above tree. It is blooming on the upper right part of the tree, with its whiteness blotted out by a cloud. That one big white bloom indicated to me that this is a Magnolia tree. My mom used to call these Tulip trees. We had a Tulip tree in our backyard in Burlington, Washington, til one day it died due to a failed plumbing pipeline.

I should be seeing my mom in a couple days, sometime late Thursday afternoon. I may remember to ask about that long ago backyard Tulip tree. But my mom tends to forget stuff. I do absolutely need to ask my mom about something which has long vexed me, which I always forget to ask about. As in how did mom make her way across the country, all the way to New York City, to meet my dad who was returning from France, where he'd been stationed whilst in the Army. I know my mom did not fly to NYC. I can't picture my mom traveling alone across the country via bus or train.

After mom met dad in NYC they toured the town, then bought a car, which they then used to take a long tour of the country on a slow trip back to Washington. Mom and dad sort of repeated that trek the year my dad retired.

Continuing on on the Circle Trail I soon saw a result of the past few day's deluges.

Holliday Creek in Holliday Gorge turned into a roaring rapids, with an egret hoping to do some successful fishing.

Holliday Creek is the creek which got dammed long ago to create Lake Wichita.

I am bringing my laptop along with me to see my mom and dad. I do not know how much Internet connectivity I will be having. So, I may be not quite as connected, as is my norm, for the next couple weeks. I also learned today that I will likely be engaging in something called Pickle Ball. An activity conducted outdoors in the extreme Arizona heat.

It is probably healthy to get disconnected every once in awhile, but maybe not whilst one is extremely hot...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

First Sunday Of June Drenching Downpour

Heading home from an early Sunday jaunt to Walmart I suddenly found myself driving slow through a downpour.

The windshield wipers were taxed to the max trying to clear the window.

I soon got ahead of the downpour, heading west on Southwest Boulevard. Took a dry right on Taft Boulevard, then another dry right to my covered parking zone.

Just as I turned the engine off the downpour caught up with me. I waited ten or fifteen minutes til the downpour seemed to be pouring down less and then I made a run for it. Through what amounts to a flooded moat.

This week I am heading west on the longest roadtrip I have tripped on since 2001. I am a bit apprehensive about this. I would prefer the driving to not involve any calamitous weather of any sort...

Friday, June 2, 2017

A Dark Stormy 2nd Day Of June In Wichita Falls

The photo documentation which you see here does not adequately document the fact that this second day of June of 2017, so far, is a rip roaring boomer, with rain in downpour mode.

Currently there is no wind blowing and no tornado sirens screaming.

In the view you see here you are looking north through downpouring raindrops, with the swimming pool visible through the jungle of foliage.

The lightning strikes are getting closer and the followup booms are getting louder. I probably should shut my windows, but I rather like the sound, and with no wind blowing the rain is not able to make its way to my interior space.

I just texted Miss Puerto Rico to ask if she is booming and flooding in the D/FW zone. So far no reply.

Earlier today I heard from another D/FW resident, whom I shall not name, for obvious reasons. Suffice to say this resident's initials are EH. Apparently EH has a new goal of becoming independently wealthy. Finding someone like Trump, who is in need of a new trophy wife, was discussed, with the idea discounted. Well, the Trump-like part of the idea.

Unless I want to risk getting struck by a lightning strike I don't think I will be going singing in the rain today. Not even under a bumbershoot.

Bumbershoots are lightning attractants when one is out in the open in a flat zone.

Maybe if the booming stops I will go on an under bumbershoot cover walk in the rain. This would be doable as long as the electrical activity ceases and the wind does not begin to blow....

Thursday, June 1, 2017

First Day Of 2017's June Possibly Thunderstorming

The first day of June of the year 2017 looks to be potentially stormy, in more ways than one, at my current North Texas location in Wichita Falls.

Thunderstorms, possibly severe, are on the weather menu for today.

Whilst walking on the Circle Trail, from whence I took the photo you see here, I thought I detected an incoming drop or two.

I shall shut up now. Basically this particularly blogging effort is a test testing if my new computer is going to continue vexing me.