Monday, May 21, 2018

Dead Calm Lake Wichita Bike Ride

What with the blowing as near dead calm as this windy location on the planet ever gets I decided a late morning rolling of my wheels to Lake Wichita seemed like it would be a mighty fine time, what with that zero wind blowing thing combined with a relatively cool temperature and air freshly cleaned by day after day of negative ions flashing from lightning bolts.

Due to rain falling of late the Lake Wichita reservoir is at full pool and thus spilling some water over the Lake Wichita Dam Spillway.

You can sort of see via the refection on the dam water how dead calm the air is being currently. A couple ducks were peacefully floating in front of the Lake Wichita Dam Spillway mural, likely pondering if anything on that wall was edible.

A couple miles from the above location, after crossing :Lake Wichita Dam via the Circle Trail, the trail leaves the dam to continue on towards Mount Wichita.

About a half mile after leaving the dam one comes to an overlook spur off of the Circle Trail which overlooks the Lake Wichita wetlands.


I remember years ago, after seeing some photos I took in Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area, Betty Jo Bouvier asked me if it really was as green in Texas as my photos made the landscape appear. Betty Jo lives in what is known as the Evergreen State, on the west side of the Cascade Mountains, in Western Washington.

The last couple times when I have returned to Washington I have found the west side of the Evergreen State not being all that green, with brown being the dominant color, due to not enough rain falling to maintain the dominant green color scheme.

Such is not a problem at my location in North Texas, where green is currently the dominant color.

Below the view is turned around 180 degrees on the above overlook, with the view now looking north at where the spur to the overlook meets the Circle Trail. That is another lake, well, pond, you see in the distance.


It appalls me the two bond proposals proposing to complete the Circle Trail and to revitalize Lake Wichita failed to gain sufficient support in the May 5 bond election.

So short sighted...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Saturday Night Bike Ride With Mountain Climbers Fishing Followed By Thunderstorm

An hour or so before last night's Saturday night scheduled setting of the sun, and a couple hours before last night's scheduled thunderstorm, I opted to roll my bike wheels on the Circle Trail to Lake Wichita and the mountain which hovers over Wichita Falls like a mini dormant volcano with zero chance of ever erupting.

Mount Wichita might wash away in an extremely heavy rainstorm, but erupt? Never. No chance.

Last night when Lake Wichita came into view I saw more fisher people fishing than I had ever seen previously at this location. The fishing dock was crowded with poles. A couple boats were angling in the bay. Multiple people were fishing from shore.

I have yet to see anyone catch anything at this location other than a bug bite.

When Mount Wichita came into view I saw more mountain climbers climbing the mountain than I had ever seen previously. Including the guy in blue you see closest to my handlebars. He was descending the mountain barefoot, holding his shoes.

I can not imagine why anyone would opt to go barefoot on the rough surface of Mount Wichita.

Last night's thunderstorm arrived on time. When the light of day showed up this morning I did not like looking out my bedroom window to see multiple large branches had fallen on and behind my mechanized means of motion.

Just a second while I photo document what I am seeing from my bedroom window this morning...


When, or if, the moat which currently surrounds my abode, subsides, I will likely be doing some log removal.

Anyone need some firewood? I think it's Mesquite....

Friday, May 18, 2018

In The Pink With Post Thunderstorm Early Morning Sikes Lake Bike Ride

Gradually I am recovering from a couple weeks in the desert in Arizona, with the Texas HOT humidity bothering me less and less.

This morning's early morning bike ride around Sikes Lake was cool. In more ways than one.

Last night ending around midnight my location in North Texas was once again boomed by a drippy thunderstorm.

Rain and lightning bolts seems to have a salubrious effect on air quality, washing away dust and pollen.

As you can see via the view above my bike's handlebars the wildflowers have greatly expanded their colorful display since I last saw them last month.

One does not see delicate wildflowers in the Arizona desert. One does see a lot of color, though. Color from blooming hardy desert plants. Like Saguaro cactus and these big trees called, I think I can get close to the spelling, Jackaranda trees.

Yeah, I spelled that tree correctly. Jackaranda. Trees covered with purple flowers.

Bougainvillea is also currently in bloom mode in the Arizona desert. My mom calls these bushes "Bogeys", like Bogey and Bacall. Mom has a row of Bogeys in her backyards. I pruned mom's Bogeys when I visited in February. Bogeys have nasty prickly thorns, I soon found out.

Sister Jackie has a big tree in front of her house which blooms delicate little yellow flowers in copious amounts. So copious the yellow flowers pile up like snow, and blow into yellow flower drifts.

Sister Jackie has a flower plowing device which electronically blows her carpet of yellow flowers into big mountains of yellow prior to being bagged by a vacuuming device. These yellow flowers are a seasonal vexation, tolerated because the tree is so impressive, as is its vexing yellow coloration.

I wonder how long a Texas Evening Primrose would stay pink and proper in the Arizona desert heat? Probably less than an hour before wilting away to dust...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Miss Daisy Pocket Talking With The Arizona Sun Lakes Ladies Swim Club

When I arrived in Arizona late last month, David, Theo and Ruby had arranged to arrive at their grandma's, a product called a Pocket Talker, scheduled to arrive simultaneous with my arrival.

I opened the Pocket Talker soon upon my arrival at Miss Daisy's.

Miss Daisy is also known as David, Theo and Ruby's grandma, and my mom.

The Pocket Talker was easy to figure out, and seconds after I installed it on Miss Daisy she lit up with a big smile, hearing better, and louder, than she had for a long time.

I then texted David, Theo and Ruby's mama Michele, with a pic of Miss Daisy in Pocket Talker mode, and I said Miss Daisy was gonna go to the pool with me for my morning assignation with the Sun Lakes Laidies Swim Club.

Mama Michele was skeptical of this happening and said she would need photo documentation.

Well, that photo documentation took place two mornings later, which is what you see above. That is Miss Daisy in the foreground. You only see three of the Sun Lakes Ladies Swim Club ladies, Miss Jacqui on the left, then Phyllis, with Ann on the right.

I did not bring the cable to Arizona by which I transfer photos from phone to computer. I did not get around to doing so til this morning. I sort of forgot there were photos on my phone.

During my stay in Arizona Miss Daisy joined me and the Sun Lakes Ladies Swim Club only one more time. And that time without the Pocket Talker, true to the prediction of Sister Jackie, that after a day or two of Pocket Talking Miss Daisy would forget it was not embarrassing to have headphones on, and would revert to thinking using her not as useful, but invisible, hearing aid was good enough.

Even though on that second pool visit Miss Daisy lost the ability to hear what was being said, and thus reverted to using the word "what" frequently.

Have I mentioned how relieved I was to leave Arizona for the fourth time in less than a year?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

My Favorite Brother-In-Law Jack's Long Life With Bacon Secret

One does not need to spend much time with my Sister Jackie's first husband, my favorite brother-in-law, Jack, to notice bacon is a large part of his health food regimen.

A couple times a month, give or take a time or two, Jack is in Maricopa at the Ak-Chin Casino Resort buffet where he starts off with a salad, followed by a plate loaded with bacon, followed by another plate of palate cleansing salad, followed by another plate loaded with bacon.

Jack is a health food trailblazer. Just like how chocolate went from being something supposedly bad to consume, except in small quantities, and then was discovered to have multiple health benefits, such too is the case with bacon.

Apparently.

As witnessed by the 109 year old woman I saw yesterday on Facebook who attributes her long life to lots of bacon.

Consuming a lot of bacon has not seemed to have had any sort of adverse effect on Jack's health. He is a trophy winning athlete, winning Pickle Ball Tournaments where he regularly defeats opponents ranging in age from the 60s to the 90s.

Bacon has kept Jack young. He passes for being in his 50s in these tournaments, and due to looking so young Jack is regularly asked to prove his actual age when Pickle Balling against those 60 to 90 year old opponents.

I have not yet decided if I want to hop on the bacon bandwagon. I've never been a fan of bacon, except in small doses. But, I remember when I felt the same way about carrots, broccoli and garlic, among multiple other healthy food items.

I guess I should buck up and make myself eat bacon....

Monday, May 14, 2018

Inspector Reveals Fort Worth's Panther Island Bridges Are Engineering Nightmare


The above came to me via Twitter via Mr. Galtex who was replying to a Tweet I Tweeted on Twitter, with that Twitter Tweet being a link to a recent Fort Worth Sheep Lemmings Fall For Trinity River Vision Propaganda blogging in which I made mention of the fact that the misinformation propaganda spewed during the recent Tarrant Regional Water District bond election made mention of those pitiful three bridges being built in slow motion to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

With that propaganda repeating the absurd lie that those bridges are being built in slow motion over dry land in order to save money.

Mr. Galtex's reply to my Twitter Tweet was the screen cap you see above, gleaned from a Fort Worth discussion forum about which I do not know specific details.

But, the information in this screen cap certainly warrants sharing, because the information appears to be accurate, and explains why the construction progress on those bridges has been so slow.

This is also the type information one wonders why one does not see such in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Surely that pseudo newspaper could do a temp hiring of a real investigative journalist who might investigate why and how the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision has becomes America's Biggest Boondoggle.

I will type out what this screen cap has to say to facilitate easier reading than trying to read the screen cap...

"I am currently working on this project as an inspector, and the bridges are a night mare. The V piers are so difficult to build up, they've changed plans so many times I don't even know which ones are the standards. The contractors jump from place to place because none of the engineers can agree on how to build the V piers."

Oh, and I am sure if those bridges ever do become anything anyone can see, they are going to be real easy to dig a ditch under without additional complications.

Boondoggle.

America's Biggest...

Sunday, May 13, 2018

An Ahwatukee Sweet Tomatoes Mother's Day With Miss Daisy

A couple months ago at the time I booked the flights I did not realize that I was flying away from my mom the day before Mother's Day.

With me leaving on Saturday, on Friday Miss Daisy had me drive Sister Jackie and mom to see the Eddie Basha Collection in the Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery, where all three of us greatly enjoyed the HUGE collection of Western American & American Indian Art. The most extensive, most valuable such collection in the world.

Maybe more on that later.

So, after seeing the Eddie Basha Collection we headed west to Ahwatukee, an urban village of Phoenix, located south of South Mountain. Our eventual Ahwatukee destination was Sweet Tomatoes, which is a restaurant I used to like in the D/FW zone, before it went defunct.

The Ahwatukee Sweet Tomatoes still prospers. Brother Jake was already there when we arrived. Soon my favorite brother-in-law, Sister Jackie's first husband, Jack, also arrived.

Did I already mention this Sweet Tomatoes outing was Miss Daisy's pre-Mother's Day outing, scheduled Friday, due to my leaving the next day, like I already mentioned, the day before Mother's Day.

Speaking of Mother's Day. I forgot to mention something else, that being the flowers you see photo documented above.

Around noon I returned from a walk to the Sun Lakes Community Club to find the vase of flowers you see above, sitting on mom's kitchen counter.

I located mom and asked if she knew there were flowers in the kitchen. Mom indicated she was aware of this, a man had delivered them.

I asked mom if she wanted me to put the flowers in her TV viewing room so she could view them.

Yes, was the reply. And then mom wondered who the flowers were from. Well, said I, there is a card, would you like me to read the card?

Please, said mom.

It's real long, do you want me to read the entire thing?

Please, said mom again. I can't read.

Yes, said I, think I remember hearing before that you can't read.

Since mom can't read I felt compelled to use some poetic license in the card reading...

Happy Mother's Day Mom, from your sons, daughters, son-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, grandchild-in-law and great-grandchild---

Much Love from Durango Dean, Jake, Jackie, Jack, Michele, Kristin, Clancy, Fancy, Jason, Joey, Monique, Christopher, Jeremy and Spencer Jack. And the grand-dogs, Tilly, Blue, Eddie and Raven.
_____________

That's nice, said mom, after I "read" the card. But, who is Monique, mom asked?

Monique is your new daughter-in-law, I reminded mom. Remember, Joey surprised us all by getting married recently in Helena, Montana? And that come October you will be seeing the arrival of your second great-grandkid?

Oh, Monique, how could I forget that?, said mom.

Anyway, I hope all you Mothers out there have yourselves a mighty fine Sweet Tomato of a Mother's Day....

Finding The Right Price With Miss Daisy & The Right DFW American Airlines Wichita Falls Gate

Well, after two weeks of being in one of the un-South regions of America, on Saturday night, the day before the latest iteration of Mother's Day I found myself back in Texas, in DFW's airport's Terminal B, Gate 17, waiting to fly out of there in about an hour.

It had been a long day. It began with my final swim of this most recent Arizona visit. Followed by my final McDonald's visit of this visit.

After McDonald's I drove Miss Daisy to Sister Jackie's where I finally got to watch the infamous episode of The Price is Right where McDonald's Jon worked with Drew Carey to try and find the right price.

I had been told few details. I did know, due to a noisy hint from Jon, a few days ago, at the Maricopa McDonald's, that one of the items he won made noise. And that all were enjoying the noisemaker much more than was anticipated.

Mom is able to see, somewhat, when the images are big and bright and the viewing angle is maximized, which is what was the case this morning at Sister Jackie's Price is Right viewing theater, which is what you see photo documented above.

The first iteration of this blogging was written last night whilst waiting to get on board a teeny plane for the short hop to Wichita Falls. The above was edited this Mother's Day morning. The following I will leave as is, telling some of the fun of flying with American Airlines....

A person who seems to have some limited English speaking ability is telling us, loudly, that boarding will soon take place.

The boarding gate has been changed twice since my arrival. I am fairly confident this is the final gate. I had yet one more bizarre DFW American Airlines landing experience today. That makes three times in a row we land, get to the gate, sit, sit some more, sit even longer, with the pilot eventually telling us the gate crew is not yet making the walkway connection by which we exit the plane.

Almost a half hour later we were finally allowed off the HOT plane. I was sitting next to a nervous older guy, well, a couple years older than me, flying from Oregon, to a class reunion in Abilene. He was afraid he would not make his connection. This was his first time flying in decades. So he had had no experience with the uncomfortable flying experience we all enjoy nowadays.

We landed in Terminal A. The Abilene connection was in Terminal D. So, we had fun riding the SkyLink, or whatever it is called. I was pleased because I had time to kill. Over three hours of time in need of killing.

Like I said, the above was written last night. Now I am back in the present, the morning of Mother's Day. So, after I wrote the above and shut down my computer, we were told to move to yet one more different gate. This time to Gate B-14. And then a few minutes later, back to Gate 17. This was a shorter move than the one from Gate 44.

And then as we sat there waiting the waiting passengers who had had bad experiences before with the last flight of the night to Wichita Falls began speculating that the flight might be getting cancelled, since they had experienced that misery before, with American Airlines only offering a hotel voucher and the first flight out in the morning. Along with the suggestion one could rent a car to drive to Wichita Falls, but, without American Airlines paying for the rental.

It was nerve wracking. I just wanted to get home.

And then when the boarding time arrived there was no move to do so, for a couple minutes. And then the boarding began, with me first onboard.

The short flight between Wichita Falls and DFW is a bit bizarre. The plane only gets to an elevation of around 16,000. It barely reaches that elevation when it seems the descent begins. And yet the solo flight attendant passes out bags of pretzels, and then goes down the aisle holding a big bottle of water in one hand and a handful of plastic cups in the other hand. The water wanting passenger pulls off a cup and holds it whilst the flight attendant fills it.

Halfway.

Water service barely ends when the pilot informs the flight attendant it is time to prepare for landing.

Unlike the last time, last night the pilot did not get lost on the Sheppard Air Force base tarmac. He pretty much quickly found the terminal.

I guess I am glad to be back in Texas. I am running my A/C for the first time this year.

I have a backlog of blogging fodder from my two weeks in Arizona. I may get to that in the coming days. Maybe. We shall see....

Friday, May 11, 2018

Mom Watchdogs Sun Lakes Dull Episode Of Arizona Cops

One of my mom's many activities is being a volunteer neighborhood watchdog, keeping a close eye on traffic, or if a neighbor is home, or not. And if someone has not taken in their recycle and garbage bins.

Yesterday mom's watchdogging went into overdrive when a Maricopa County Sheriff parked across the street, exited his vehicle, holding some paperwork, then walking to a house two houses north, one house outside mom's watchdog zone.

The sheriff remained in that house for well over an hour. While the sheriff was in that house four other vehicles, unmarked, showed up, with one man in each vehicle. Mom deputized me to determine if the men in the four other vehicles were in uniform.

They weren't.

At some point during this ongoing pseudo episode of COPS, mom directed me to photo document the sheriff's vehicle, which he had left noisily running during the entire incident.

That is one of the surveillance photos you see above, with me hiding behind one of mom's cactuses.

After a couple hours of watching mom being the neighborhood watchdog I tired of the drama, so I went to one of my favorite swimming pools for some cool off time. Mom was not happy that I was leaving her alone when all this potential criminal activity was underway.

An hour later I returned from pooling to find calm restored to mom's neighborhood watchdog zone. The sheriff was gone, but due to mom's limited visibility ability she had not seen the cop leave, and so mom was still glued to the window doing her watchdog duty.

Mom seemed relieved this nightmare was over, but still concerned, worrying what this was all about. I then took mom on a long drive in the desert to take her mind off her neighborhood possible crime spree troubles.

I do not remember ever looking so forward to returning to Texas as I am looking forward to tomorrow...

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Sun Lakes Lady Swim Club & Sister Jackie Rescue Mom & Me From Dead Battery

Only a couple days left in my most recent Arizona visit. Not that I am counting down the days, or anything like that.

This morning's swim with the Sun Lakes Ladies Swim Club started off being mighty fine. Mom came along to supervise from her seated position on wheels.

After about an hour of mom's swimming supervision the temperature had reached a level of slight discomfort. So, it was time to wheel mom to the air-conditioned comfort of her mechanized transport device.

I got mom on board and did the turn the key to do the ignite the engine thing. But turning the key did nothing.

Dead battery.

A relatively new vehicle with a dead battery. Such calamities are common, apparently, in this HOT dry desert climate.

I left mom guarding the vehicle and went back to the Sun Lakes Ladies Swim Club, which was now mostly in the hot tub.

When the SLSC heard my tale of woe they leaped into action.

I forgot to mention that this one time only I did not bring my cell phone with me. Several of the SLSC ladies offered me the use of their phone, but I knew no number committed to memory which I could call.

Miss Jacqui offered to take mom and me home via her golf cart. Phyllis and Ann offered transit in their car. We took the car offer.

Back at my phone I called Sister Jackie, who soon met me back at the dead battery. AAA was called and about an hour later a new battery had me back rolling Miss Daisy around town again, with the first stop at Sister Jackie's so I could take a picture or two of her blooming Saguaro Cactus.

That blooming Saguaro Cactus is what you see above, looming high above Sister Jackie's house. That is the aforementioned formerly dead batteried vehicle you see looking white to the left of the cactus.

Apparently the Saguaro blooming so copiously in highly unusual, usually happening only during periods when a lot of rain has fallen on the desert. But, this desert has been unusually dry for quite some time.

Below is a closeup of the blooming buds. The blooming buds close at night, and then re-open as the sun does its daily lighting duty. Coming up on noon Sister Jackie's buds were not yet in full blooming mode.