Monday, December 31, 2018

David, Theo & Ruby Refuse Visit To Fort Worth's Botanic Garden

A couple days ago I blogged that David, Theo & Ruby Won't Climb Or Swim In Any Fort Worth City Park.

In that blogging I made mention of the fact that Fort Worth, population over 800,000, has zero public swimming pools, while Tacoma, population a little over 200,000 has multiple public swimming pools.

Thinking about how some towns in America are modern, whilst other towns in America seem to be more what one might expect to see in a not so modern, advanced country, had me also wondering how some towns manage to have modern city parks, with running water, and no outhouses, whilst no running water and outhouses are the norm in Fort Worth's few city parks.

At some point whilst writing the blogging about Tacoma's pools I found Wikipedia has a long article about Tacoma's Point Defiance Park. In that article there is a section about the Formal Gardens in Point Defiance Park.

Point Defiance Park's Formal Gardens reminded me of Fort Worth's Botanic Garden, a location which I have long thought is the one and only thing about Fort Worth, other than the Stockyards, that is well done and tourist worthy.

So, yesterday I asked David, Theo and Ruby's mom, my little sister Michele, if at some point in time in the near future the kids might go to Point Defiance to take some photos of the park's gardens. I also asked if Tacoma charged an entry fee to the Point Defiance Park gardens.

A response arrived quickly, with photos taken over the years, when the kids were younger. Along with those photos the possibility was mentioned time might be found to take some new photos. That time was found and new photos arrived later in yesterday's afternoon. Those photos are what you are seeing first, followed by older photos when David, Theo and Ruby were younger.

At the top you are seeing David, Theo and Ruby at the gate to enter the Rose Garden part of the Point Defiance Park Formal Gardens. There is no one charging a fee to enter. You just walk on in. In the next photo the kids are inside the Gardens, with the boys traversing a small pond whilst their sister watches.

The Japanese Garden is what you are seeing here. The Pagoda in the Japanese Garden is the location where David, Theo and Ruby's parental units got married. Can you find the kids in the above photo?

Recently those in charge of badly misgoverning Fort Worth decided to start charging an admission fee to gain admittance to the Botanic Garden. Doing this appalled me. Just like years prior when I was disgusted and appalled when Fort Worth began charging an admission fee to the Fort Worth Nature Preserve.

When that entry fee was imposed the preserve was not a heavily visited location. I have seen no followup investigating in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as to what the attendance numbers are for the Nature Preserve, pre and post fee. How much money is raised. How much it costs to charge a fee, as in paying someone to collect it.

Another look at the Point Defiance Park Japanese Garden.

I have never returned to the Fort Worth Nature Preserve since an admission fee was charged. My personal protest. I probably have blogged about my disgust about this previously, but I do not remember doing so.

I remember being at the Prairie Dog Town part of the Fort Worth Nature Preserve and a family showed up, dad driving an old station wagon, six kids. I could tell they were not too prosperous. And that the kids were having themselves a mighty fine time. It was this family I thought of when I read Fort Worth was going to charge a fee to enter one of its parks.

I looked at the Fort Worth Nature Preserve website and saw it cost $5 for an adult to enter. A discount for seniors and kids. I do not know what $ figure has been arrived at to gain entry to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

Above is the last of the photos taken yesterday. What you are seeing here is the marina at the east end of Point Defiance Park. And the more interesting thing is the almost completed walkway which will connect Point Defiance Park to Point Ruston and the rest of the Tacoma waterfront. This will be a fun new addition to an already impressive development.

Point Ruston is a massive private development, well there may be some public help, what with it being the location of what at the time was the most expensive Superfund cleanup in EPA history. I do know that no local politician's unqualified son was hired to be the executive director of the Point Ruston development, hence this massive project is a growing, completed HUGE success.

Seeing this was one of the highlights of my last visit to the PNW, back in August of 2017. I blogged about my Point Ruston experience at the time in Point Ruston Ruby, Theo & David Surrey Survey Of Tacoma's New Waterfront Development.

Fort Worth's embarrassing Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, which has boondoggled along for most of this century, has not reached the point, if it ever will, where ground pollution triggers an EPA Superfund cleanup. Though there has already been a chemical leak, or two, into the Trinity River, from ground work on the Boondoggle's imaginary island.

Continuing on we get to the older photos of Ruby, Theo and David in Point Defiance Park's gardens.

In answer to my question asking of a fee is charged to enter the Point Defiance Park Formal Gardens, my sister said "The only thing that costs at Point Defiance is the zoo/aquarium." Later amended to add that a fee is charged to rent a venue for an event, such as a wedding.

In the blogging from a couple days ago about Tacoma's pools in which I mentioned Point Defiance Park I also made mention of the fact that none of Fort Worth city parks were Wikipedia article worthy. However, this morning I did discover there is a short Wikipedia article about the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

That article, in total, and please note the irony...

The Fort Worth Botanic Garden (109 acres) is a botanical garden located at 3220 Botanic Garden Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas. The garden was established in 1934 and is the oldest botanic garden in Texas, with 2,501 species of native and exotic plants in its 21 specialty gardens. It is open daily. An admission fee is charged for the Conservatory and Japanese Garden; the other gardens are free. 

Someone needs to edit the Wikipedia article to add that soon the other gardens will no longer be free to visit.

Now, that is some Ruby and Theo garden cuteness above.

Among what gripes me about charging an admission fee to a city park property is someone opining that it makes sense, why those who actually use the park should be the ones paying for it. Well, simplistically that may make sense to someone simple. But, all the citizens of a town help the town raise money to pay for city services, such as parks.

Fort Worth takes a piece of every cent paid in sales tax. Then there's the various ways everyone pays property tax. Even if you are a renter you pay property tax, though not directly via property you own.

A well managed city, like Tacoma, Wichita Falls, and many others use funds raised via various methods to pay for city services which add to the city's livability. If one feels the need to take a break with the kids at a city park one should not have to feel like it's a trip to Six Flags, paying an admission fee.

In other words, in my humble opinion, a city's parks should be readily available to all of a town's citizens, no matter how much discretionary income they may have at their disposal.

I do not know by what magic Theo and Ruby are levitating in this area of the Point Defiance Park Formal Gardens.

Fort Worth already cheaps out on its few city parks, what with already minimal services, such as not providing running water and modern restroom facilities.

This scene looks a lot like one one might see in Fort Worth's Botanic Garden. I think Ruby, Theo and David are waving at us, but I am not sure about this.

Fort Worth, as represented by its elected officials and the town's newspaper, semi-regularly deludes itself that the town might somehow successfully attract a corporation to re-locate its headquarters to Fort Worth. Such as Amazon HQ2. Or like when Intel was looking for a place to build a big development.

Intel checked out Fort Worth. Fort Worth offered incentives. Intel instead chose to build its enormous new plant in Chandler, Arizona. If you have visited both Fort Worth and Chandler you have seen why Fort Worth would not be the chosen one.

Don't those who run Fort Worth so poorly, in what is known locally as the Fort Worth Way, realize how bad it looks to a business looking to locate in Fort Worth seeing the town's few city parks so lacking in basic amenities. And no public pools. And streets without sidewalks. And any park with any semblance of being a decent attraction charging a fee to enter.

Such things do not leave a good impression on a town's few tourists.

It's all way too perplexing. What I got out of thinking about all this is I am looking forward to my next visit to Tacoma...

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Checking Out Wichita Falls Lucy Park Flood

Earlier today I mentioned I was going to be going to Lucy Park today to see if the Wichita River has flooded into the park.

And that if Lucy Park was flooded I would make my way to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area's west end, because I assumed if Lucy Park was flooded, then the east entry to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area would also be flooded.


Lucy Park was flooded beyond what I thought possible. A gate blocked access to Lucy Park, with the Wichita River flooded to a point just a few feet past the gate.

The paved trail you see above leads from the currently gated entry to the now flooded Circle Trail. To the right the Circle Trail underwater leads to the manmade Wichita Falls. Likely currently not falling any water.

A look deeper into flooded Lucy Park, looking in the direction of the swimming pool and log cabin. To the left would be the duck pond we visited last Sunday. I was unable to tell if the swimming pool, log cabin and duck pond are flooded.

Leaving Lucy Park I headed west to the east access to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area, expecting the parking lot to likely be flooded.

I was wrong. The parking lot was not flooded, and the Circle Trail was not underwater for, maybe, a quarter mile, when I came to the location above, where the Circle Trail is underwater, a condition also known as flooded.

The above view looks across the flooded Circle Trail to the Wichita Bluff, where you can see a flood viewer standing on the bluff, who would have accessed the Wichita Bluff Nature Area from the far above the flooded river west parking lot.

Above, you are looking north at the Wichita River, the main channel of which is past the trees you see making the scenic shadows in the muddy water.

I have no idea if this flood is record breaking. I hope it has not damaged, or destroyed, the suspension bridge across the Wichita River. Or damaged the log cabin and duck pond. Or anything else. Like the Japanese Pagoda.

I am ready for warm air to return in the new year for some drying out action...

Santa Checking Holliday Creek Flood Before New Year's Eve Smoked Salmon

On this icy cold Sunday before the last day of 2018 I stepped outside for a minute to see if Holliday Creek was still running excess water due to last Wednesday's extreme downpours.

Yes, as you can see to the right of the extremely rare selfie of me, Holliday Creek is still running excess water.

Regarding that selfie.

As you can clearly see, I am still sporting part of my Santa Claus disguise.

Back to Wednesday's storm's aftermath.

Wichita County was declared a disaster area, following the storm, due to flood, wind, and loss of power, damage.

Near as I can tell this disaster area declaration has been a local county declaration, not the state of Texas declaring Wichita County a disaster area, or the federal government doing such.

I may be wrong about this, but I do know I've seen nothing of FEMA anywhere I have been.

In a few minutes I will exit my abode again, and this time use my mechanized motion device to drive to Lucy Park to see how high the Wichita River is, and if Lucy Park is flooded.

If Lucy Park is flooded I will continue on to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area where the Circle Trail from the western entry is high above the river, and thus no possibility of being flooded. If Lucy Park is flooded, the east entry to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area is likely also flooded.

Tomorrow my New Year's Eve Party begins promptly at 6 pm.

Smoked Sockeye Salmon from Anacortes will be the main protein on the buffet table. If you are planning on bringing anything to contribute to the buffet table please make sure it does not conflict, taste-wise, with Smoked Sockeye Salmon from Anacortes.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this serious taste conflict issue...

Saturday, December 29, 2018

David, Theo & Ruby Won't Climb Or Swim In Any Fort Worth City Park

Subject line this morning in incoming email from Tacoma...

No PNW pics today.

Which means no new photos of scenery of the Pacific Northwest today, featuring David, Theo and Ruby.

I recently opined that the PNW pics of David, Theo and Ruby were my new favorite thing. Except seeing such does make me a bit homesick.

So, this morning's Tacoma email did not have any photos of David, Theo and Ruby having outdoor fun, but it did include photos of David, Theo and Ruby having some indoor fun.

The explanatory text in the email explained that the kids had taken their parental units to a new Tacoma Metroparks facility, with a swimming pool, which is just part of a "giant new community center in an East Tacoma neighborhood which really needed it."

 A modern American town building a giant new community center in part of the town needing such put me in mind of another American town. More about that later in this blogging.

But first, I must point out that above that is Ruby climbing a climbing wall in this giant new community center. You can see Theo a bit higher on the wall than Ruby.

And in the above photo we see Theo and David and one of their friends up super high on the climbing wall. I have never climbed a climbing wall. Climbing walls have always looked a bit scary to me, even though one is tethered to a rope obviating the danger of falling.

And here we see the boys in something called the Vortex Pool. I am guessing due to the vortex word that the water in this pool must circulate creating a vortex whirlpool of some sort.

And here we see Ruby shooting out of a tube which apparently is part of a slide which looked weird to the parental units, but which the kids indicated was awesome.

And now back to that which I to alluded previously.

Tacoma is a modern American city. Rubes in less modern parts of America would refer to Tacoma dismissively as a liberal town, full of progressives and democrat socialist sorts.

Tacoma has multiple incredibly well done parks, including one of the biggest in the world, that being Point Defiance Park. There is a Wikipedia article about Point Defiance Park.

There is no park in Fort Worth with a Wikipedia article about it. Fort Worth has a population over 800,000 and is sadly lacking in parks and park amenities. Tacoma's population is a little over 200,000. You could fit all of Fort Worth's city parks into Tacoma's Point Defiance Park and still have a lot of land left over.

Yes, I know I am always being critical of Fort Worth. Well, I lived in the town for several years. It did not take long for multiple problems with the town to bother me. Such as the craptacular quality of Fort Worth's city parks. Each month I return to Fort Worth, and DFW, and am freshly reminded that Fort Worth is not a modern American town.

For instance, there is Fort Worth's lack of public pools. Years ago Fort Worth closed its few public pools, due to supposed budget woes.

How does a modern American town like Tacoma have multiple public pools, such as the one photo documented above, or the outdoor wave pool I had fun with David, Theo and Ruby in back in August of 2017? I blogged about this in Riding Tacoma Waves With David, Theo & Ruby. When I visit Arizona, same thing, towns with multiple public pools, some of the waterpark sort.

What do these towns know about operating like a modern American town that Fort Worth can't seem to learn?

It is not like Fort Worth does not have some nearby examples of modern American towns. A short drive to the northeast, to the suburb of Hurst, and you will find Chisholm Park. With the Chisholm Aquatic Center, which is a waterpark of the sort I see in Arizona, and Tacoma, and Wichita Falls.

Yes, the little Texas town of Wichita Falls is more of a modern American town than Fort Worth. Wichita Falls has public swimming pools, such as the one in Lucy Park. And then there is the city owned Castaway Park, which is a full size waterpark, open during the warm time of the year.

And unlike Fort Worth, the Wichita Falls city parks, and there are a lot of them, have no outhouses, but do have modern restroom facilities, and running water of the wash your hands and drinking fountain sorts.

So, I see something like this new pool complex in Tacoma, and having just been in Fort Worth yesterday, eye witnessing that town's incredibly inept urban planning, and you have the reason I feel compelled to verbalize my disdain, a disdain I would never verbalize if it were not for the town's tendency to be delusional, as represented in the town's sad excuse for a newspaper, and the utterings of many of the town's officials, hence the desire to point out, over and over again, that this emperor really has no clothes, and really needs to come to grips with that embarrassing reality and do something about it...

Friday, December 28, 2018

Flooding Return To Wichita Falls Freshly Appalled By Bad DFW Urban Planning

I headed southeast to the D/FW zone around eight this morning, via a northern route which does not give me a good look at Holliday Creek.

Returning to Wichita Falls this afternoon via a route which takes me directly over Holliday Creek I saw more water running rapid in that creek than I had ever seen previously.

I guess it takes a day or two for the downpours to drain their way into Holliday Creek and then on to the Wichita River.

So, after putting items in need of refrigeration in the refrigerator I got back in my motorized conveyance device and drove to Lake Wichita to see the water spilling over the Lake Wichita Dam spillway.

I had not heard such a cacophony of water roaring since the last time I was at Snoqualmie Falls during a flood, back in my old home state of Washington, back at some point in time late in the last century.

Unlike Snoqualmie Falls the ground was not shaking from the force of the water. However, like Snoqualmie Falls, eventually I did get hit by some misting, though not at the drenching level one experiences at Snoqualmie Falls when it is in full fall mode.

The view you see above is from atop the dam, looking over the spillway at flooded Holliday Creek.

The Holliday Creek floodway seems well designed to move a lot of flood water without creating any problems.

Good urban planning, well, actually the lack of good urban planning, came to mind today as I entered Fort Worth via 287 and saw the mess of new houses crammed together in the area I moved to when first in Texas.

That first location in Texas was the Fort Worth suburb of Haslet, on a road then called Hicks. Later changed to Bonds Ranch Road when a housing development named Bonds Ranch came to be several miles to the west. I have never known why this caused a name change, which I found inconvenient, rendering my address wrong on checks and my driver's license.

At that point in time, at the start of this century, Haslet was a remote rural zone. This vexed me upon arrival. I had never lived out in the country before. It seemed a vexing distance just to get to a grocery store. And the puny skyline of downtown Fort Worth stuck up way in the distance to the south.

The Haslet side of Hicks Road was out of the Fort Worth zone of madness. Fort Worth was on the south side of Hicks Road. Back when I lived there the Fort Worth side of Hicks Road was made up of ranches with big acreage. As far as one could see one saw fields of green, with that aforementioned pitiful Fort Worth skyline way in the distance.

And now, not that many years later, that which was open ranch land may now be the world's best example of bad, maybe non-existent, urban planning.

Before permitting the construction of what appears to be thousands of homes the roads were not upgraded, not added to. Drainage was not installed to facilitate the moving of water which now had nowhere to drain into the ground, due to the ground being covered with homes and driveways and side streets.

Ever since I have been going regularly to Arizona, to the Phoenix zone, I return freshly appalled at the bad urban planning of Fort Worth, and well, other towns in the D/FW Metroplex.

Like today, I turned from Western Center Boulevard, south on to the Denton Highway, also known as, I think, 377, in Haltom City.

For over a year now, every time I make this turn onto that Haltom City road, Arizona Avenue, Alma School Road, Dobson Road, and other roads in Arizona come to mind. Those roads in Arizona are multi-laned roads, like that road in Haltom City.

But the Arizona roads are landscaped, with wide sidewalks on both sides of the road. A landscaped median. Aesthetically pleasing lighting and signage. The roads newly paved, no potholes, no big cracks, no weeds, no feeling like one has suddenly exited America to a third world country.

That lack of good road lighting really vexed me on December 17 when I drove the Haltom City section of the Denton Highway after dark. The road poorly lit, poorly marked. Dangerous.

But, it is the bad urban planning in Fort Worth that is really appalling, and I would think may rise to the level of some sort of criminal irresponsibility. What with people drowning in Fort Worth flash floods due to un-mitigated construction messing up Mother Nature and causing flooding, sometimes in flash mode, with deadly results.

Anyway, it seems so odd how some locations in Texas seem to be modern American towns, with urban planning of the sort one associates with a modern American town. Wichita Falls falls into that modern American town category, or so it seems, in many ways, while Fort Worth is a Texas location that does not quite keep up with that modern American town concept, in so many ways.

For example, I have never seen an outhouse in a Wichita Falls city park. Are there any Fort Worth city parks which do not have at least one outhouse?

This outhouse measurement is just one example of what I mean by that modern American town concept. Modern American towns do not have outhouses in their city parks. This is sort of an easy fix, and a easy indicator of a town's level of development. Or so it would seem, and one very glaring example of very bad urban planning...

Nephew Theo Takes Over Washington Governor Seat

This morning's email brought some new photos from my old home state of Washington.

Apparently yesterday David, Theo and Ruby took their parental units to Olympia, where their mother, my little sister, Michele, helps the state investigate complaints about judges and prosecutors.

I have long wondered if Texas has someone doing similar investigating.

I suspect not.

Because of what I have seen of Texas judges, in person, the state dire needs someone doing such.

Starting with any judge stupid enough to have any sort of Tea Party association.

Regarding the photo above, can you find David, Theo and Ruby looking at you with the Washington State Capitol building behind them?

Washington's current governor, Jay Inslee, temporarily gave up his governor's seat so Theo could sit on it.

After seeing what it felt like to sit like a governor Theo determined that it was time to go to a beach so he could drive his new truck.

And so it was to north of downtown Olympia Theo directed his driver, to Priest Point Park on the Budd Inlet of Puget Sound.

In the above photo documentation Theo has remotely driven his truck to water's edge. Is his truck waterproof? I don't know.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Is Fort Worth's Panther Island One Of The Best Islands In America?

I saw this this morning on CNN online and thought to myself two things.

First off, I thought that looks like the San Juan Islands in my old zone of Washington CNN is using for article headline illustrative purposes.

Second off, I wondered if Fort Worth's imaginary Panther Island is on CNN's list of The best islands in America.

I jest, sarcastically.

No one in America outside the Fort Worth bubble of nonsense will ever think  Fort Worth's former industrial wasteland is an island, even if the cement lined ditch is ever dug under the three simple little bridges stuck in slow motion construction, with the imaginary island already called Panther Island by the boondogglers who have foisted the ridiculousness on the hapless town.

Such only illicit chuckles from those who know what an actual island is and have actually seen, and been on, an actual island. Sane Fort Worth natives worry this imaginary island boondoggle nonsense will turn Fort Worth into a National Joke. I fear that boat has already sailed, but not to Panther Island.

Of course the CNN article makes no mention of Fort Worth's imaginary Panther Island.

In the article's first paragraph the best island listers apologize to those well known islands which did not make the best island list...

So first, our deepest, breeziest apologies to Alcatraz, Manhattan, Molokai, Key West, Whidbey Island, Isle Royale, Gasparilla, Chincoteague, Jekyll, South Padre, northern Minnesota and dozens more escape-worthy island hubs from sea to great lake to gulf to bay to shining sea -- all of which will surely be featured in upcoming "best islands" travel sequels.

Yeah, I'm sure in a future CNN article about America's best islands, published sometime, I don't know, maybe in the next century, might include Fort Worth's Panther Island. That is, if global warming gets as bad as feared and the Gulf of Mexico grows inland far enough to create a real island inside the Fort Worth city limits.

That list CNN made of other escape worthy islands includes Whidbey Island.

When I lived in the neighborhood I probably visited Whidbey Island more than any other Washington island. Whidbey is accessed by a ferry from the west side of Puget Sound and another ferry from the Olympic Peninsula side of Puget Sound. And from the north via Deception Pass bridge. An actual signature bridge, a feat of engineering, built in about a year over swift moving, deep, tidal waters.

Unlike Fort Worth's pitiful little bridges which the town has been trying to build over dry land for over four years now, with the latest imaginary completion date at some point in 2020.

Read the The best islands in America article and the descriptions of the best islands in America, including the San Juan Islands, which were also in my neighborhood, but which I visited far less frequently than Whidbey Island. Read the CNN article's description of ORCAS ISLAND AND THE SAN JUANS and then picture a similar blurb in the future about Fort Worth's Panther Island to get yet one more sense of how absurd this Fort Worth island delusion is.

Or I can just copy the CNN article's ORCAS ISLAND AND THE SAN JUANS blurb for your reading pleasure...


Floating Near: Seattle
Famous For: Making visitors wish this was a one-way trip
Fun Times Ahead: Orcas Island Jazz Festival (August 30-September 2)

Over 170 named islands and hundreds more at low tide comprise Washington's San Juan archipelago. But, for now, a brief word on the three biggies -- all accessible by the Washington State Ferry system and hampered only by crappy car lines on summer weekends.

San Juan Island, the namesake and hub of this chain, is your best bet for shopping and paddling through killer whale country.

Lopez Island, the quietest and flattest, is a magnet for cyclists.

Orcas Island, the "Gem of the San Juans," is for wishing you could afford property here -- and for driving slowly and aimlessly with the windows down on hilly, empty, sun-dappled backroads with names like "Enchanted Forest" and "Dolphin Bay."

Then dipping through a quiet green valley dead-ending at some tiny harbor where an old man on a bicycle is walking his seven dogs along the road. Before driving up into Moran State Park and to the top of 2,409-foot Mt. Constitution for views of Mt. Rainier, British Columbia and everything in between on a clear day.

Then rolling past pottery shacks, sculpture gardens and back onto Main Street, Eastsound (a.k.a. "town") where the ferry boat awaits near those sigh-inducing realty office window posts.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

David, Theo & Ruby Christmas Trolling Gasworks In Seattle

This morning after Christmas I woke up my computer and saw more Christmas incoming photos, sent last night, after I had called it a Christmas day and had gone into horizontal mode.

The email was from one of David, Theo and Ruby's maternal parental units, my little sister, Michele.

Subject line: Merry Xmas

Text in the email...

Despite your long absence from the PNW, I feel confident that you’ll know where we played on this Xmas afternoon without me captioning the photos.

PNW means Pacific Northwest, for those who do not know this. And it has not been all that long an absence from the PNW. I was in the PNW for a week during August of 2017. Of late it has become known I am losing memory of some place names. Such as not remembering where Chambers Bay is. Or that Shelter Bay is associated with La Conner, whilst Skyline is associated with Anacortes.

Continuing on with the David, Theo and Ruby Xmas photos....

At the top I am able to determine that David, Theo and Ruby are in Seattle, at Gasworks Park at the north end of Lake Union. You are looking south across Lake Union at the skyline of downtown Seattle, with the Amazon cluster of buildings being between the tall skyscrapers and the slightly shorter Amazon skyscrapers. That skinny thing sticking up on the right is the Space Needle. I do not know why it is looking so skinny.

In the second photo Ruby is running down one of the hills of Gasworks Park.

I do not know what the trio have in their hands in the above photo. But, I do know they are inside the restored ruins of the original Gasworks, which long ago were turned into a sort of playground.

I was last inside the Gasworks back in the early 1990s. That location was the end point for a marathon in which my Aunt Mike ran. Aunt Mike was my mom's now deceased little sister. On that day a hellacious rainstorm hit the PNW. A day later this resulted in the sinking of the I-90 Lake Washington floating bridge.

Continuing on we leave Gasworks and head over to the Independent State of Fremont, which declared its independence at some point in the last century. Fremont has a few relics of the old Soviet Union. Such as a Lenin statue, if I remember correctly. And a J/P. Patches statue. J.P. had nothing to do with the old Soviet Union. Fremont is very eclectic that way.

Above David, Ruby and Theo are climbing on the Fremont Troll. The Fremont Troll lives under the Aurora Bridge.

I did not know, til I saw photo documentation of Theo doing so, that one could climb to the top of the Fremont Troll. When the Fremont Troll first appeared it had a Volkswagen bug under its thumb. I do not know if that is still the case.

The Fremont Troll is so infamous there is a Fremont Troll Wikipedia article.

Well, it looks like the twins and David had themselves a mighty fine Christmas....

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas With Spencer Jack & Henry

Well, Christmas morning started with some photos of Spencer Jack's cousin, Henry, watching TV, among other activities suitable for a boy about to turn three months old tomorrow.

Around noon more photos from Washington showed up.

And now, a few minutes ago, I checked email and saw that Spencer Jack and Henry's grandma, my favorite ex-sister-in-law, Cindy, sent me some more Christmas photos.

Including the cute one you see here of Spencer Jack holding his cousin, Henry.

Seems like only yesterday Spencer Jack was Henry's size.

Around 5 this afternoon I got a text from Spencer Jack and Henry's aunt Jackie telling me that their great grandma, my mom, had been returned to her abode in Sun Lakes.

Jackie and her first husband, Jack, had taken mom for a Christmas drive which got as far as the Maricopa Ak-Chin Casino where mom was transported to one of the casino's restaurants for a Christmas snack.

Mom said the casino was packed with Christmas celebrators. I did not think this was a Christmas option, going to a casino. And then I remembered all the Christmases I used to escape, I mean, miss, by going to Reno, back when Reno was a fun town at Christmas.

I suspect this will be my last incoming Christmas photo documentation of the day. But you never know...

Melancholy Merry Christmas From Lynden

This Christmas afternoon photos arrived via my phone which lead me to think Spencer Jack took his dad up to Lynden today. Or Spencer Jack's dad took himself to Lynden, to Lynden's Monumenta Cemetery.

First Jason sent me one photo showing a cluster of headstones. But, I could not make them out clearly, via the phone. At that point in time I figured when I got the photos off the phone and on my computer I would be able to see clearly what I was seeing.

And then a couple minutes after Jason's first photo another one arrived, this time from Jason's dad, who is also my little brother. That is that photo you see above, slightly cropped.

My brother and I discussed this headstone when I was last in Arizona, in October. I did not know the process was completed and installed.

This feels like some sorta closure, to me. It bothered me and my siblings and Jason back on August 12, 2017, when we left dad in what was then an unmarked grave.

In October my brother had about a dozen epitaph choices he had come up with. I did not know which one was the final decision, til I saw the result today. I did know that none of the more, well, humorous choices were going to be chosen.

It's a Melancholy Merry Christmas...

Merry Christmas From Henry Whilst Watching TV

Several photos from the Skagit Valley town of Clear Lake arrived this Christmas morning from FNJ2, also known as my nephew Joey, proud papa of baby Henry.

The several photos were of Henry, one of which you see here, with Joey's text accompanying this photo saying...

"Henry is enjoying his morning TV. Merry Christmas FUD."

FUD is the abbreviation of Favorite Uncle Durango.

Henry turns three months old tomorrow and even at this relatively young age is already binge watching TV and knows how to operate the remote.

This looks very much like Henry's great grandma's TV remote control, so Henry will likely be able to help his great grandma navigate her TV when he comes to visit.

Merry Christmas, Henry...

Puget Sound Island Panic Attacks With David, Theo & Ruby

Last night my favorite Tacoma nephews and niece, David, Theo and Ruby, sent me photo documentation of their Christmas Eve day in balmy, blue Western Washington.

The twins and David took their parental units to a south Puget Sound location called Chambers Bay.

I have heard the name "Chambers Bay" but I have no recollection of ever being at this particular location.

People in Fort Worth reading this. Those land areas you see rising above the bay, behind David, Theo and Ruby are called islands. Real islands. Not imaginary make believe islands. These are real islands, with real names, like Anderson Island and Ketron Island. Not chunks of landlocked land called something like Panther Island, called such way before any cement lined ditch is dug, with polluted water diverted into that ditch, creating an imaginary make believe island.

Now, back to Ruby, David and Theo...

The weekend before Christmas, David, Theo and Ruby took their parental units are their regularly scheduled annual pre-Christmas stay in a hotel in downtown Seattle. Part of this annual pre-Christmas Seattle stay is to go see Santa. I think the Santa they go see is in whatever is in the building the Bon Marche used to be in. I am probably remembering wrong, but I think the Bon was taken over by Macy's.

It was an annual tradition whilst I was David, Theo and Ruby's age for mom and dad to take us kids to Seattle to go to the Bon Marche's Christmas floor. We'd park high up in a parking garage. Access to the Bon Marche from the parking garage was via a sky bridge high above the street below.

I believe the above photo was taken in the pool of the hotel the twins and David were staying in. The only text with this photo was in the subject line, saying "Only funny if you know my kids".

I replied asking "Rescuing David from on of his panic attacks?"

To which their parental unit, my little sister, Michele, said "Ruby causing his panic attack by putting her arm around him for a photo".

So, I was close to getting it right. If you have ever watched the CBS sitcom Young Sheldon you have sort of met David.

My favorite David being Young Sheldon incident happened in August of 2017, at Birch Bay, when David had a panic attack in a low tide pool after his brother, Theo, and uncle Jake picked up a dungeness crab, which paralyzed David when he saw it with the instant fear that dozens of crabs were in the water waiting to claw him. David began demanding he be rescued from his impending doom, as he was paralyzed, afraid to move, lest he come upon a crab.

If I remember right I let David panic for several minutes before lifting him to safety on a sand bar....

Merry Christmas From Foggy North Texas

For Merry Christmas illustrative purposes I threw a few Christmas cards on the floor and took a photo of the result.

Merry Christmas...

That baby in red you see at the lower left is Henry. Born September 26, 2018. An easy birthday to remember because it is the same birthday as Henry's grandpa, who is also my little brother, Jake.

That is Henry's dad and mom you see below him, my favorite nephew Joey and my one and only favorite niece-in-law, Monique.

At the upper right you are looking at my favorite nephew, Christopher, also known as CJ, with Carissa, who one day may be my favorite niece-in-law Carissa. On the left side of CJ and Carissa's Merry Christmas you are seeing their baby boy, Koda.

Koda is Carissa's service dog, whose service is to help with Carissa's anxiety disorder which kicks in whenever Carissa gets on board an airplane. So, Koda joined CJ and Carissa's Happy Holiday Southwest Airline flight to Seattle. I do not know if Koda gets his own seat or stays in his container on the plane's floor.

CJ and Carissa have two other children who did not get to fly to Washington for Christmas, Bear and Munchie.

The cutest cats I have ever met.

Bear and Munchie are staying with their grandma and grandpa while their parental units are up north. Bear and Munchie's grandma and grandpa are my little sister, Jackie, and her first husband, Jack.

Christmas morning in North Texas is foggy.

Dense fog of the seriously compromised visibility type dense fog. I am hoping the fog lifts by the time the sun exits tonight so I can take a tour of the Wichita Falls Beverly Hills Christmas lights.

Merry Christmas....

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve Lucy Park Discovery Of Donald Trump Duck

Midday Christmas Eve I found myself at Lucy Park, joining others out and about in park mode enjoying the brisk breeze.

Today I decided to be brave and once again attempt to walk the paved trail which winds around the Lucy Park duck pond.

My previous experience at this location was not pleasant. The duck pond had been taken over by geese. And these were not the friendly type geese I play with at Sikes Lake.

The Lucy Park duck pond geese were an aggressive breed, honking and chasing with multiple goosing attempts. Til you have been goosed by a goose you do not know how painful those biting goose beaks can be. I was goosed decades ago in a Washington raspberry field. It was a traumatic incident which left me with a fear of geese which has only abated in recent years, thanks, mostly, to the friendly Sikes Lake geese herd, I mean flock.

In the above photo you are looking at an elderly gentleman who did not realize that bridge he was crossing moved up and down and sideways. There is a warning sign on the post on the right which says "AUTION ON SUSPENSION BRIDGE". With the warning sign missing its "C" the elderly gentleman had no useful warning that crossing the bridge was a bit challenging.

The only geese are I saw today in the Lucy Park duck pond were the pair you see above. I have never heard such loud goose honks as this pair were blaring. I don't know if the honking was directed at me for getting too close. Or directed at the flock of ducks in the pond.

Then I saw something which made me think they might be Democrat geese. Or illegal alien geese.

That something which I saw which the geese may have been honking at was the white duck you see above which appears to be sporting a duck version, in white, of Donald Trump's bizarre hairstyle. The white duck is also sporting an orange duckbill in Trump's signature color.

Above you see a scene which gives you a good idea how scenic the Lucy Park duck pond is. And what is up with all the Japanese pagoda looking structures one sees in Lucy Park, and at other locations in Wichita Falls?

A short distance from the duck pond I saw a sign of a sort I'd never seen before. So, now you know where to go to dispose of your Xmas tree....

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Sunday Pre-Christmas Deserted MSU Bike Ride

Yesterday I got myself some much needed endorphins via mild aerobic stimulation gained by visiting Lake Wichita Dam.

Today, Sunday, the day before Christmas Eve, which makes today two days before Christmas, I was back in the mood to go on a roll on my bike's wheels.

So, I layered on the outerwear to roll around Sikes Lake, and then cross Midwestern Boulevard to the main campus of MSU which is currently deserted, due to that Christmas break thing currently happening.

You can see how deserted the MSU campus currently is via the photo documentation of my handlebars chasing a pair of racing bike riders frozen in time atop a slab of bricks.

I need to try to remember to try and see if I can photo document, or take video, of the Fantasy of Lights to which five trams loaded with light seekers run nightly through the Wichita Falls Beverly Hills.

I have seen many over the top displays of Holiday Lights during my time on the planet.

Christmas in Yuma, Arizona comes to mind.

And then there is the Interlochen Lights in Arlington, Texas. In Interlochen the various neighbors seem to compete to see who can be the brightest and most creative. This results in HUGE traffic jams of light seekers. I don't think anyone has thought of having people board trams to haul them to see the Interlochen Lights in Arlington.

Arlington also has no public mass transit bus system of the sort most modern towns in the world have to move people around town.

Now, Wichita Falls is a much more progressive town than Arlington, apparently, because Wichita Falls does have a public mass transit bus system. That and five big tram trains carrying people to see this town's Fantasy of Lights.

Just last night, returning from Aldi, as I waited for the light to turn green at Hempstead, that being the road at the north end of MSU, one of those five tram trains passed by on its way to see the lights. The tram appeared to be fully loaded. Mostly full size people, few kids.

The Holiday Lights which light up the Wichita Falls Beverly Hills are the most over the top I have ever eye witnessed. And while the various mansions do their own thing, there is also a sort of light cohesiveness lighting up the trees which are on both sides of the streets which make up the Fantasy of Light.

Before the New Year arrives I must see if I can do justice, photo documenting-wise, to the Wichita Falls Fantasy of Lights....

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Saturday Pre-Christmas Lake Wichita Spell Checking Coffin Inspection

On this Saturday before Christmas the weather outside was not even remotely frightful. I felt the need of some outdoor exposure, but was in no mood to roll my bike wheels anywhere. And so I used my mechanized conveyance to convey me to the base of Lake Wichita Dam so as to do some walking seafaring on the shore of Lake Wichita.

Above you are looking at a photo I took today of part of the information signage atop the dam. In this photo you are looking at the pavilion which sat atop the lake for many years, and then burned to oblivion sometime during the 1950s, with all which remains the pilings on which the pavilion sat.

Nowdays some of those remaining pavilion pilings provide a bird perch. I was told these birds are cormorants. I have no way of knowing if this is true, what with not being any sort of aviophile, to coin a word.

Since my last visit to the top of Lake Wichita Dam a new historical marker has been added, telling a brief history of how Lake Wichita came to be.

I read the history on the above historical marker and quickly noted some of the history, well, spelling was erroneous. A fact which I just confirmed via Google when I Googled "Holliday Creek", which the above sign twice spelled as "Holiday Creek", to learn, via the Wikipedia Holliday Creek article "The creek was named after early explorer, Captain John Holliday, who carved his name on a tree by the creek. The town of Holliday, Texas, was named after the creek, as was Holliday Street, a major street in Wichita Falls".

I remember way back when I first read that the creek which runs near my abode was called Holliday I thought a mistake had been made with the adding of an extra "l". I probably Googled way back then, also, to confirm the spelling. A misspelling on such a sign, as in a historical marker sign, is a bit ironic, but quite understandable how such a mistake could be made.

Continuing past the sign.

I was surprised to see water spilling over the Lake Wichita Dam Spillway, what with it having been several days since any rain has fallen, and even then the amount falling was not too copious. Sometimes it seems even after a heavy rain not enough falls to cause water to fall over this particular spillway.

Continuing past the spillway I looked to the edge of the shore and saw what looked like a wooden coffin bobbing up and down. I made my way to the water's edge to see if anything unseemly was in the "coffin" and was sort of relieved to only see that one littered fast food bag was all which was in the coffin awaiting burial.

Looking past the coffin you can see a dock floating on the lake. Let's head there.

Getting closer to the gangplank which leads to the floating dock we can see Mount Wichita on the west end of the lake, sticking up like a little pimple on the horizon.

Boarding the gangplank which leads to the floating dock. A sign warns that only four people, weighing in total, no more than 800 pounds, can safely cross the gangplank at the same time. Today there was no danger of overloading the gangplank.

Now we are on the floating dock, looking south at the aforementioned pier remains of the long gone Lake Wichita Pavilion.

And turning around, still on the floating dock, a look back at the gangplank, and the top of the dam.

A beautiful Saturday. I saw only a couple others enjoying the outdoors where I was located. I suppose most people are engaged in last minute Christmas business of the sort I mostly opt out of participating in.

Monday is the last day for the arrival of Christmas cards arriving before Christmas. Today's mail brought a couple cards. Aunt Alice had asked if hers had arrived. I can now inform Aunt Alice that her card has arrived. As did a cute one from Joey, Monique and my new little nephew, Henry...