A bizarre year – – – and a bunch of Awesomeness.

I guess I have to make a comeback story so here it goes. I say we begin with some of the positives and hope it is yet another comeback.

Just after the holidays from New Years 2016, I began to become very interested in creating my garden. It worked. I showed pictures of that milestone in a previous story. It was one of my goals to get accomplished, yet continue to write. Just about the same time my youngest son began his stalwart pursuit of getting into the college of his dreams based on his academic standing and desire to join an ROTC program for the U.S. Navy. That mostly worked also. Perhaps in another story. What this leads to is the convenience of using a computer and having plenty of other things to do around the house, like tending to an awesome garden (it takes a lot of time and water) that has provided many tomatoes and hot chilis (the sweet bells got jacked by the mice) . . . perhaps again in another story. Now we have corn and eggplant coming out. All from containers except my parsley, which is in the ground and is solely used for this.

And why isn’t anyone buying it? Yeah, so I have a written recipe for my Chimichurri and have been giving samples away to friends and family in hopes of creating a little draw from different parts of the country . . . and Iceland.  My youngest son, now having just graduated high school and already being accepted into at least one university under grants for Mechanical Engineering, is already off to another country . . . for nearly a month. Sheesh! Paid for it himself from winter working; all while pursuing his dream and catching part of that dream, now gets accepted to join an ROTC scholarship for his desired campus . . . just a different service. Gets better yet. He gets his ROTC scholarship to be a reservist with the Army National Guard. I guess they need reservist officers. Go figure he gets the best of both worlds. He deserves it after working super hard for all those high school years. Super proud!



Still soon after the holidays are well behind us, my mother passes away after several demented years living in wonderful care facilities. Silverado in Escondido, CA was really a great experience for my mother. My Mom gets a loud holler for being truly awesome having to raise me through the years . . . and going out gracefully. But then I better give a quick shout to my wife because now she has to keep me straight. The selfless staff at Silverado were awesome as well, as they mostly all would just put whatever their personal lives had them wrapped up in aside just to take excellent care and provide love both Mom and us needed.

By this time I had begun to drift away from my writing, since my youngest was always on my main computer, and the garden was now being planted, I had plenty to keep me away . . . or just throw off my timing where I wanted to write, but no where to do it. Or, having the opportunity to write but lacked the desire. It is hard to see your audience drift away. We were all just getting started; as I have now been published a couple of times in a local printed periodical.

As many of you have already read in other stories of mine that I have two Great Danes. Well, I’m down to just one now as our beloved Julius Caesar had finally passed away, almost literally in our arms, one afternoon after living a very healthy 10 years. Julius was an awesome dog and had many friends that had visited him or followed his pictures on social media. Julius is still missed.

Julius Caesar


This is where I begin to travel quite extensively throughout Southern California as small amounts of time are consumed helping my youngest get college stuff done, so I hit the San Francisco bay area a couple times and some various restaurants. Nothing too special except we did hit Harris Ranch Resort along Interstate 5 north of the Grapevine about halfway across the San Joaquin Valley. I was immediately taken back by the Tesla charging and battery service station upon entry to the Harris Ranch grounds. tesla-logos

I kinda got bored on the way home from California Maritime Academy and asked my son out of the blue, probably saw a sign somewhere along the way, if he felt like eating a steak. Of course my son is no slouch on enjoying finer cooking (duh) and gladly agrees to the idea (I think he must’ve seen the same sign). Harris Ranch has two restaurants but, If I remember, they serve the same menus except for a couple of cuts. It’s been that long ago and since I don’t write things down, I lose things without looking things up on the internet . . . and that take more time that I still don’t have. Remember, I’m trying to make my way to the garage, now that the house is done inside and the garden is planted. You really need to go back and read my earlier stuff, please if you haven’t.

Harris Ranch is a nice mid-desert break especially if you did that drive twice in two days. The food was good, moderately expensive but with good portions which are a la carte in the fancier restaurant. Service was good and the steak and prime rib were perfect. Like I said, it’s a nice break from eating at the variety of cafes, pizza joints and secure fast foods. Harris Ranch is even just a nice place to stretch your legs while perusing the grounds or a souvenir boutique. Harris Ranch is why I then had to begin researching Tesla . . . perhaps another day.

Another trip of ours took us on a serious road trip to EL Paso, Texas. My middle son, who is in the Army just out of advanced training, had to have his truck; so off we go, round trip, two cars one way and the Touring Elite on the way back (look that one up in a previous post). It was a long drive to and from San Diego. Luckily we brought along a good friend who’s husband lives and works in Tuscan, AZ and we stayed the first night there, dividing up the drive a bit. We went out for dinner that night to “the best” Italian restaurant in Tuscan. I’m sorry I don’t have the name of the place when just now recognizing I never took a picture of the menu or the sign in front. I do have these photos that includes a back-yard picture where there are many tables. This place was cool with many little corners to look around as it had expanded over the years. Maybe you can name the place. The food was good but nothing to write home about . . . I am Italian.

The next morning we head out early to El Paso, TX. “THAT’S TEXAS LADIES AND GENTLEMEN”. Fort Bliss in El Paso is a really nice military base. They have a friggin Texas Roadhouse on the base, and just about every other name brand store inside the military Exchange AND the outside exchange/mall area. We were really impressed. I understand the RV Park is super nice as well. I heard that from a friend and another random person on base. I believe the base here to be inviting enough to keep the families and soldiers nearby from straying to Juarez, Mexico. Not a good place. We even saw a picture of, what looked like, El Chappo on the wall of this Mexican diner we ate at. I hope I don’t get any visitors after that one.


The place was busy just after the lunch hour with plenty of locals  and the adventurous from the high Yelp rating I used to select this place . . . me too. The food was really quite good for “as authentic as you’re gonna get” Mexican food in this area. I was searching for a Tex-Mex place but ended up with just Mex. Perhaps that’s why the portrait of their most famous caballero was on the wall. It was a funny picture.

Just after our return to San Diego, I had been notified of my brother’s death from a sport motorcycle accident in the hills of Malibu, CA. It was what he liked to do. My brother was an awesome rider and an awesome brother. Can we just leave it at that. He was only 2 years older than I. Tragic. I will forever treasure the shirt I wore for the delivering of his eulogy.  IMG_4613

So there-in lies the stories that have kept me busy, and away from this writing thing I do that seems to gather attention from the most unlikely places. That’s what kind of keeps me doing it. I just need to have the time and ambition. Trying to find it.






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