A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I'll be using a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I'll be keeping my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Zoos you have been to (#atozchallenge)

Zoo: An excellent place to study the habits of human beings.
Evan Esar

English: I took photo in Garden City, KS, with...
Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zoos you have been to...

     This is something that can certainly be metaphorical by nature, but I won't even explore those kinds of zoos.  A to Z might be viewed as a zoo as well--so many blog topics and posts brought together in the common realm of an April event.   I'll also leave out the many petting zoos, circus menageries, or other animal collections I've visited.  Instead I'll stay on the expected topic--zoos that I've visited.

       Not only have I been to many zoos in my lifetime, there are many zoos that I think I've been to but I can't exactly remember for sure.  After so many years things of this nature can run together somewhat.  For example, I'm pretty sure that I've been to the Chicago Zoo and the Toronto Zoo, but I'm not going to lay any money on those.  Maybe I was just thinking about going and ended up not going.  I'm sure those are great zoos, but frankly I can remember anything specific about them.

         My first zoos might have been the ones in Cleveland, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I would have been very young when I lived in those cities and it seems logical that any decent parent would take their small child to the local zoo.  I seem to vaguely recall going to one or both of those zoos but I can't say for sure so maybe I should move on to the ones I definitely know I visited.

        The first zoo that stands out in my memory is the world famous San Diego Zoo.  That's a world class zoo if you're not familiar with it so that's a good zoo to start out with if you go to visit a zoo.   When I first went it was in the early 1960's.  I probably went to that zoo at least three times during that period when I lived there.  Later in the 1990's when I moved to Los Angeles, I took my own children to the San Diego Zoo which by that time was even bigger and better.  If you want to see an outstanding zoo you should make a point of seeing the one in San Diego if you're anywhere near that area.  I might add here that San Diego makes for an excellent vacation destination since there is so much to see there.

        One of the oddest zoos I've visited was the one in Garden City, Kansas. Known as the Lee Richardson Zoo, this attraction has a very decent collection of animals and the best thing is that visiting this zoo is free.  Garden City is not a destination vacation spot by any means.  I was only there because we used to play the town on our road show tours and each time I was there I went to the zoo.  Not much else to do there after all and looking at the animals was an interesting way to pass time before it was time to go set up for the evening show.

         When I lived in Maryville, Tennessee I visited the nearby Knoxville Zoo.  This is another fine zoo to visit with about 800 animals on display.  I haven't been there in many years, but from what I understand many improvements have been made to make the zoo a great experience for visitors.

          The zoo that I've visited most recently is the Los Angeles Zoo.  This zoo is not as impressive as the one in San Diego, but they are making an effort to make the zoo a pleasant experience for visitors.  This zoo is owned and managed by the city of Los Angeles and is part of the vast Griffith Park complex of attractions.  It's a busy place where watching the people can be almost as interesting as watching the animals.  People watching is probably entertaining to the animals as well.

          So with zoo we come to an end of another Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  It's been fun and hope you've enjoyed learning a few more things about who I am as well as thinking about who you are.  Yes, A to Z has been like a blogging zoo for sure.   And don't forget my one last A to Z post on this site.  Next Saturday I'll present my A to Z Reflections post and then after that it's back to business as usual.  Some of it might be monkey business.  Just like a visit to the zoo.

          Do you enjoy visiting zoos?   What zoos have you visited?    What is the best zoo that you've been to or heard about?


Friday, April 29, 2016

Your favorite food (#atozchallenge)

Your favorite food...

        Sadly, I've been finding that more and more the foods that have always been my favorites don't set well with me sometimes.  I've always liked spicier flavorful foods.   Favorite foods include pizza, Mexican, or Thai food.  But I'm also mighty fond of just about all Asian food and Italian when I'm in the right mood.   When you get right down to it my favorite thing to eat is food--period.

          Oh, there are a few things that I don't like so well, but if I'm hungry I'll go for just about anything.  Sometimes it might be a mood thing.  I might crave a sub sandwich or some soup.  Turkey dinners are great anytime--especially the Thanksgiving dinner like my mother used to make.  I can duplicate those Thanksgiving style dinners like my mother made so that everyone eating it seems to think it's great, but I can tell the difference.  When I cook it, those turkey dinners don't seem quite as good as my mother's.  Maybe it's like she used to say how you spend several hours cooking and then eating it just doesn't seem as good as it might have if somebody else had done all the work.

       I love ice cream, cake, candy--any sweets.  I'm crazy about sweets and that's bad for me.  Food, food, food.   I enjoy eating.  My wife thinks I'm a great cook, but that's maybe because she doesn't cook.   I'll admit that a lot of times my meals seem better than many of the restaurant meals we get.  And when it comes to spaghetti, forget about it.  It's been rare that I've ever had a plate of restaurant spaghetti that comes even close to what I make.  It's in the sauce.  Seems like you'd get a really good spaghetti gravy when you pay top price in a restaurant, but I rarely have so I rarely order spaghetti when I eat out.  Spaghetti is something best fixed when I fix it.  Same with chili most of the time.

         My favorite food if I have to pinpoint one might be pizza.  But if I'm not in the mood for pizza then my favorite food is something else.  It comes down to mood.   When I have a serious craving for something special and if I fulfill that craving with something that I think is really outstanding, then that's my favorite food.  For the moment at least.

          What do you tend to eat more than anything else?   Is there anything that you won't order in a restaurant?   Do you think you cook better than most people?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X-Rays you have had (#atozchallenge)

X-Rays you have had...

         Not counting dental x-rays--I've had many of those since childhood--I can't recall ever having any x-rays until the past 15 years or so.   It's been since I got added to my wife's medical insurance after we got married.  Prior to that I never had medical insurance and fortunately no incident where an x-ray was required.

         Getting older often means feeling pain.  Inexplicable pain until medical examinations are done.  When I was first covered under medical insurance I was already nearing fifty which means I was heading towards getting old.  I was getting older and feeling more pain.

          During these past years of coverage I've probably had 7 or 8 x-rays.  Maybe more--who's counting really.  If I hurt and the doctors can't immediately determine why, they order x-rays.  I've had x-rays of my feet, my abdomen, my chest, my head, and my lower back.  Maybe there were more places x-rayed, but like I said--who's counting.

           They never seem to find much of consequence in those x-rays, which I suppose I should be thankful for.   There is a lower back issue--some kind of disc problem--but they said it would be better not to mess with it because surgery could cause worse problems.  The back problems have gone away for the most part.  So did everything else they x-rayed.

           I say the problems are gone, but I don't know for sure.  Right now I don't hurt and that's the main thing.   Besides, the diagnosis typically is that I'm getting old.  That's what the doctors usually end up saying, "You're getting older and sometimes you're going to feel pain."

           I guess I don't need x-rays to tell me that.  For that matter I don't really need a doctor to tell me that.  Still, sometimes an x-ray and a doctor checking me out is kind of reassuring.  I'd rather be getting older than have something really bad be wrong with me.

            How often do you go to the doctor?   Have you ever had an x-ray where something serious was discovered?   Do you think x-rays are harmful to the extent that it's better not to have them?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Worst Habit (#atozchallenge)

Worst Habit...

         I've got a few bad habits.  Sadly, most are bad habits that I've had all or most of my life.  Bad habits are often hard to break.  If breaking bad habits were easy then I'd likely not have them.  Why keep bad habits if I don't have to keep them?  

         One of my most annoying and self-defeating habits is procrastination.  I am continually getting distracted from the important life missions that face me.  Some of those things have never gotten done and faded into the realm of lost opportunities, chances I'll likely never have again.  So many times I'll find something to do other than what I should be doing.

        When I was a kid in school and later an adult in college, I'd put off doing homework, projects, or other things I was assigned.  There were books that never actually got read.  Papers done shoddily.  Tests not prepared for adequately.  Fortunately I was blessed with a certain gift of intelligence  and ability to fake my way through the things I needed to do.  I managed, but didn't excel like I might have if I had put an honest effort into my work.

          I'm not sure how the bad habit of procrastination enters into our lives.  I know I'm not the only one who does this because others have told me they do it too.  I've seen others put things off resulting in detrimental stress as they fret to finish their work or face the negative result of not finishing.  The act of waiting until the last minute can result in subpar work.   Or there can be the personal dissatisfaction of not having done the job they could have done if they had tried harder.

            I want to be better.  Maybe someday I'll try harder not to be a procrastinator.  Someday.

            Do you tend to put off starting things or finishing what you have started?   What would you say is your worst habit?   How has that bad habit affected you in your life?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Vacation Destination (#atozchallenge)

The El Garces Hotel was later on historic U.S....
The El Garces Hotel was later on historic U.S. Route 66
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vacation Destination...

        Where do I go?  Where I always go.  My typical vacation destinations are Houston, Texas; Maryville, Tennessee; and the Jersey Shore area, with all sorts of stops and side trips along the way.  For the past several years this has been my general itinerary since these are the places I must go to see my kids, my grandkids, and my other family members.

         These are all fine places to go if one plans to take a vacation trip.  Exotic places and major tourist destinations are fine for some, but for me I want to see my loved ones and spend some quality time with them.  Besides, I've been to plenty of places in my life already and though I love the travel and the thrill of discovering new adventures, I've got to stick with the places of my heart and mind.

           No theme park or far away city can give me the joy of watching my grandchildren and hearing them talk to me.   Spending quiet time with my daughters or running around with them as they go through their life routines give me new memories and allows me to relive some old ones.

           Maybe one day I'll go to Europe or Australia or do some big vacation thing that I've never done before.  Or maybe I won't and not particularly miss not having done those things.  I'll let life just come as it will.  On the way home from our visiting, my wife and I will take our time.  Maybe we'll see a national park or two, a historical site, or some kitschy roadside attraction.   We'll enjoy the journey and we'll enjoy being home.

           Every day is part of a journey to some destination which may be new or may be old or may be the one that is totally unexpected.  My life has often seemed like one long vacation with a few stops here to work or there to rest.   The journey is the best that life has to offer.  One destination leads to the next.

            What is your dream vacation destination?   Are you sometimes disappointed when you reach a destination that you've been looking forward to?   What is it that you like about the journey before you get where you are going?

Monday, April 25, 2016

U-Underwear (#atozchallenge)


       A few years ago the question was often asked of men:  "Briefs or boxers?"

       This seems like a rather odd question to ask anyone.  Why should anyone's underwear be a matter for public knowledge.  Perhaps this became more of a matter of interest when the fad of "sagging" became popular with younger guys.  In case you don't remember that or were oblivious to pop culture fashion, sagging is when a guy wears his pants hanging low so that the underwear is exposed.  In the case of sagging there is no doubt of what underwear a guy is wearing and in every case that I'm aware it's always boxers.

          From the time I was a small child my mother always bought me the traditional white briefs.  My father wore boxers.  I'd see him wearing them around the house when I was very young, but as my sister and I became older he became more modest about walking around in his underwear.  I was always a bit jealous because I wanted boxers because they just seemed more fashionable to me.  Briefs seemed dorky.  That's what I had though and I wasn't buying the underwear so the decision wasn't mine back then.

           After I became an adult buying my own underwear, I went for a trial period of wearing boxers.  Somehow they just didn't feel right after wearing the briefs all my life.  And since there was no intentional sagging style back then, wearing boxers wasn't a part of a public fashion statement.  My trial boxer period was short-lived and on my next trip to buy underwear I was stocking up on briefs again.

         Through the years I've tried some of the variations of the traditional briefs.  I tried colored briefs, bikini briefs, and whatever other briefs might be available, but invariably I would go back to the old standard tighty-whitey style that I grew up with when my mother bought my underwear for me.
           I still think the boxers look better, but I guess they're just not my style from the standpoint of comfort.  And now you have more information about me than you really needed to know.

           Which underwear style do you prefer for men?   Where do you usually purchase most of your underwear?   Do you think underwear is a weird topic for discussion? 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Time you woke up (#atozchallenge)

Time you woke up...

       On the morning of the day this was written I woke up shortly after 5 AM.  I tried to go back to sleep, but then I got up around 5:20 to get dressed and check my computer before it was time to wake up my wife at 5:30.  Tomorrow I'll get up no later than 5:30.   On weekdays when my wife is working she gets up at 5:30 and I'm there to wake her up.

        If left to my own devices I tend to get up between 6 or 7 AM if there is not a specific reason to get out of bed.  I suppose there's almost always some reason to get out of bed unless I'm real sick, but that would have to be really sick.

        I don't like to just lay in bed.  Sometimes I'll get into a phase where I'll lay in bed for awhile and read for thirty minutes or an hour perhaps and then get up again to do stuff.  I almost always take some sort of a nap in the afternoon.  It's rarely more than an hour.  Usually it's more like fifteen or twenty minutes.  I guess that's another time I woke up today.

        But thinking on a more philosophical level maybe this question has more to do with a time in my life when  I woke up in some deeper, perhaps even spiritual way.  That would be more than just one time since I've woken to many things and at times wakened to the same things more than once.

         Life is filled with awakenings and times of sleep.  If I could sleep less I'd have more time to get things done, but then again I might just have more time to waste and when I waste too much time I usually get sleepy and go to sleep.  Then I wake up and start again.

          Do you have a healthy sleep cycle?   Do you like a lot of sleep?    Do you wake up easily?