Monthly Archives: December 2018

Out & About—The new United States Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles

Out & About The World

This morning I went out with the Pacific Photographic Society on a 3-hour walking tour of downtown Los Angeles.

I was quite surprised at how crowded it was on a Sunday morning and how few homeless people there were, and how many theaters are on Broadway.

I always thought all the theaters were in Hollywood.

Following are two pictures of the United States Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles, looking unlike any courthouse I’ve ever seen.

Los Angeles Federal Courthouse

Los Angeles Federal Courthouse

Construction on the courthouse began in August 2013 and was completed in 2016. The architect was Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, one of the world’s largest architectural firms. With 633,000 square feet of office space on ten floors, it houses 24 courtrooms.

It is a green building with a Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of just 31, four points below its design requirement of 35, and 54% below the national benchmark for similar buildings nationwide.

Read more about this interesting building at The Journal of the American Institute of Architects.

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Out & About—Amethysts

Out & About The World

Jim and I both always have liked amethysts. We have a 3-column amethyst, a pair of amethyst bookends, and several smaller amethysts.

I saw these in Kingman, Arizona, on July 24, 2018.


I would have bought one of those (one?) if I had been ending my journey instead of beginning it. I wouldn’t end my journey until nine days later.

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Halls of History—Abandoned, yet still in use

Halls of History

Cemeteries always have fascinated me. My wise old grandmother’s house in Kingsville, Texas, was just 15 blocks from the cemetery where my dad and two brothers were buried.

When I visited the California Ghost Town on July 30, 2018, one had to drive by the cemetery in order to get to the Ghost Towh. Of course, I had to stop to take pictures.

Calico Ghost Town cemetery

Calico Ghost Town cemetery

Calico Ghost Town cemetery

Calico, California, was founded as a mining town in 1881, but by 1907 it had been completely abandoned. During those 26 years, it produced $86 million in silver from over 500 mines in the area. Population peaked at 3,000.

Walter Knott, of California’s Knott’s Berry Farm fame, bought the town in 1950 or 1951—sources vary on the date—and restored it based on historical photographs.

A walk through the cemetery revealed that it still is in use:

New headstone in the Calico Ghost Town cemetery

I wonder who the cemetery caretaker is. I also wonder why Helen had the privilege of being buried there even though was born 25 years after Calico had been abandoned.

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654 South 100 West in Brigham City, Utah

Halls of History—A welcome sight for a hungry 6-year-old boy

Halls of History

I had two purposes for going to northern Utah in late July 2018.

One was to enjoy all the railroad action in the area since it’s one of the great railroad junctions in history with Promontory Point being the location where the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad met in on May 10, 1869, to complete the first transcontinental railroad. That should tell you where I will be on May 10, 2019….

The other was to visit my childhood homes after my mom moved us to norther Utah after my dad committed suicide in 1961 in Palestine, Texas.

I had no idea what the addresses of the first two homes were, only their general location and what they looked like. I did know the address of the third and final home.

It was the first home that I was really interested in, though, because that’s where my mom became an alcoholic. My dad had committed suicide over my mom’s “indiscretions,” and I truly think that alcohol was her way of comforting herself.

The only thing I knew for sure was that the home was directly behind Food Town, which later became Food King. I also knew that Food Town was on Main Street. I felt sure that something as big and as necessary as a grocery store probably would still be there. It wasn’t. I didn’t have a clue what to do.

I gave up and went to the Brigham City Courthouse and then to the library.

Brigham City, Utah, courthouse

Carnegie Library in Brigham City, Utah

I asked at both places if anyone knew where Food Town had been. Nobody did, but the librarian suggested that I stop at the Box Elder Journal offices across the street. They also didn’t know but being a newspaper, they had newspapers from the 1960s, and they set me up to browse the January 1964 papers. That was how I found the front-page newspaper item about one of my juvenile delinquency episodes (Police looking for passer of bad checks). Food Town had full-page advertisements in every paper, indicating that there had been two locations.

Food Town advertisement in the Box Elder Journal from January 1964, Brigham City, Utah

I went to 81 North Main Street since it was just a block away from the newspaper offices. There was a new Justice Center/DMV building there. Off to 870 South Main Street. There was not a Food Town or Food King there, but look what I found:

Location of old Food Town in Brigham City, Utah

It’s not a Food Town but I knew that was the location I was looking for. I parked, walked around back, looked across the street, and there it was:

654 South 100 West in Brigham City, Utah

House numbers were few and far between; the best I can determine is that the address is 654 South 100 West. The current view of the back of the strip mall from the house is quite different from what I remember.

Location of old Food Town in Brigham City, Utah

When I lived there in 1961, I could watch the food trucks arrive and the expired food being tossed out on the loading docks, a welcome sight for a hungry 6-year-old boy.

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Halls of History—Why me?

Halls of History

I attended Lake View Elementary School in Brigham City, Utah, for grades one through four, and half of grade five. There wasn’t a lake within fifty miles….

Lake View Elementary School in Brigham City, Utah

Lake View Elementary School in Brigham City, Utah

I went by the school on July 25, 2018. As I was looking through the front door, the principal came out of his office, saw me looking in, and opened the door to ask what he could do for me. I told him that I had attended Lake View from 1961 to 1965, and that I was in town exploring my childhood. Although the school was closed for the summer, he invited me in.

Lake View Elementary School in Brigham City, Utah

Lake View Elementary School in Brigham City, Utah

I didn’t remember anything about the interior of the school, probably because I spent more time skipping school than attending school….

I used to know the names of all my teachers, grades 1-12, and I believe I have a list of all of them, but I can’t find it right now. I do remember my Lake View Elementary teachers:

Mrs. Larson, first grade—Mrs. Larson lived next door to us. She had a beautiful garden full of Nasturtiums, so beautiful that I destroyed it one afternoon when I skipped school. She knew exactly who had done it. To this day, I love Nasturtiums but in 42 years of gardening, I have never had any Nasturtiums in my own gardens.

Miss Richard, second grade—I was in her very first class. After she put up with me, she either quit teaching or moved to a different school.

Miss Fonnesbeck, third grade—See below, Mrs. Gilmore, fifth grade

Mr. Boyd, fourth grade—The most popular teacher in school.

Mrs. Gilmore, fifth grade—When the State of Utah took me away from my family, Mrs. Gilmore took a special interest in me, even coming down to the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital in Ogden, 19 miles, to visit me.

I kept in contact with Mrs. Gilmore through 1995, visiting her a couple of times in Case Grande, Arizona, where she had moved after retiring from teaching to be with her son. I also came out to her in late 1993, at which time she told me that Miss Fonnesbeck had been fired because she was a lesbian.

Mrs. Gilmore’s son wrote me when she died to tell me how much she loved me. I guess we each made an impression on the other, although I’m not sure why she would take such an interest in a juvenile delinquent child of ten who had no relation to her. Was it just her being a good teacher? A good person? Did I remind her of someone in her past? Were there others like me in her years of teaching?

Since that day when I read the letter from her son, I have always wondered why. Why me?

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Double R Creations—2019 Zoey the Cool Cat calendar

Double R Creations

It took me about a month to finish my first calendar, titled Cacti & Succulents. You saw it here:

2019 Cacti & Succulents Calendar

Of course, Zoey the Cool Cat is the subject of my second calendar. If you’re wondering why she wasn’t the subject of the first one, well, the first one was created for someone who paid money for it, and I shall be selling additional copies of it at online and at Cacti & Succulent shows. It always will be a 12-month calendar, when one month ends, I lop it off and add a month at the end.

That calendar now also acts as a template, which means that, once I have fourteen pictures, it only takes a couple of hours to create another calendar. Ergo, I created the 2019 Zoey the Cool Cat calendar while watching X2: X-men United this afternoon. Here it is:

2019 Zoey the Cool Cat Calendar

My next calendars, in no particular order, shall be trains, flowers, feral cats, landscapes, sunsets & sunrises, and cars, just off the top of my head. I also will be making custom calendars for YOU. All you have to do is send me 14 pictures and I’ll have fun making it, and you’ll have something unique. I haven’t sent a price yet because I’m still exploring printing options, both here locally in San Diego and online. But stay tuned if you like wall calendars!

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….stuck in the kitchen

I live in my own little world

If the weather is good in the morning, I pot or plant in the ground at least one plant. The big ones first. This morning I got quite a few planted in the ground. Here they are.





Trichocereus sp.

Mammillaria magnimamma

Mammillaria hahniana

Mammillaria pilcayensis

Oreocereus species

Notocactus leninghausii

Echinocereus reichenbachii v. albispinus

When I came in from the gardens, planning on working in the office, I found an unknown creature at the end of the hallway giving me the evil eye.

Zoey the Cool Cat

There was no way to get to the office, so I was stuck in the kitchen, but at least that’s where the margaritas were.

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Halls of History—Police looking for passer of bad checks

Halls of History

When President Carter signed the extension of the Freedom of Information Act in 1978, I went to Brigham City, Utah, looking for information of my youth in 1962-1965. I found a lot, so much so that the Courthouse officer who completed my request called me “one of Utah’s greatest juvenile delinquents.” He gave me 39 legal pages, single-space typing, documenting my juvenile life in northern Utah.

When I was in Brigham City in July 25, I went looking for my old stomping grounds, defined as places I lived and places where I practiced my juvenile delinquency. One of the places I practiced was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mormon Church in Brigham City, Utah

Mormon Church in Brigham City, Utah

I used to steal lots of food out of the kitchen, money out of the offering plates, and anything else that could feed me since I didn’t get much food at home. Checks come to mind. I stole some checks at the church out of a coat hanging in the coat closet and proceeded to write bad checks throughout the city…. at the age of nine.

I found documentation of one of my weekend check-writing escapades on the front page, albeit below the fold, of the Box Elder Journal newspaper for January 23, 1964.

Box Elder Journal newspaper, Brigham City, Utah, January 22, 1964

I firmly believe that the only reason I’m not in prison for life or dead at the hands of a Utah law enforcement officer is because the State of Utah took me away from my alcoholic mom and stepdad in August 1965, and my wise old grandmother adopted me in December 1965. She laid down the law, giving me both love AND discipline. She told me the rules, told me what would happen if I broke a rule, and kept to her word. It only took me twice to learn that she was serious.

She had me for 7½ years, and by the time I graduated from high school, she had made a fairly decent person out of me.

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Halls of History—Historic Encinitas railroad depot

Halls of History

I have always loved history and love doing “then and now” pictures.

Following is the historic re-purposed ATSF railroad depot in Encinitas, California, on January 5, 2017, and two historic pictures showing the depot in 1987 before being re-purposed, and in 1910 shortly after its grand opening.

Former ATSF railroad depot in Encinitas, California

ATSF railroad depot in Encinitas, California, in 1987

ATSF railroad depot in Encinitas, California, in 1910

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