It has been a nice visit…settling back in my Condo for a short time.  Memorial Day I was the first customer my friend Bruce’s opening day of his Blues and BBQ bar and restaurant in Wikiup Arizona.  

I was driving my friend and neighbor Jeannie to Vegas to stay with and visit a sick friend in the hospital.  I also was on a mission to visit Mike, my old Chef friend of 35 years who just retired from his catering business.  

I had some Oaxacan Mole in powdered form for him.   Oh yes…I was also going to make some money on the Poker table. Everything went as planned…except the latter. It was another long drive.
         I do not feel as if I ever unpacked and now it’s time to visit my Daughter Heather and her beautiful family.  Erik, my cousin Barbara’s son is also having the Family and Friends Opening of his newly renovated Nightspot in Oakland, California, call Eli’s Mile High Club but all that driving would be too much.  I can count on Barbara to send me photos of the event and her trip from Coxsackie, N.Y. to San Francisco.  I will join Heather and family in Lake Elsinore California for a catch up bonding and Father’s Day get together with Brian, the proud Father of their children Chas, 8 yo and Ellie 10 yo., at Brian’s Father’s new home he and his wife Lana just moved into about a year or so ago.  
      The 5-6 hour drive in 110+% heat went OK.  Heather had a nice Filipino dinner waiting for me after I unpacked and we had a glass of wine.  The meal, specially prepared by a visiting Chef and friend whose husband is from the Philippines was excellent. We did a little 
shopping, planned our day and got caught up with the last 6 months of news.

      We decided NOT to do the wineries this year as it was too hot out.    I got to pick a place for us to have lunch in LA.  It was next to Trader Joe’s , so I ran in and bought my 99 cent LA Shopping Bag to show off when I visited my local Trader Joe.  My Curried Chicken Salad was great and Heather’s Organic Tuna Sandwich was too.  

        We headed for LA County Art Museum next to the La Brea Tar Pits which is what we saw first.  The museum was on a large tract of land where a Latin Live Music Concert was getting ready to start.

 We saw a Photo exhibit and Men’s Fashions through the Years.  Some of the museum was closed for new exhibits that were being set up so after we toured the rest, we listened to some music outside then returned home…for more delicious Filipino food.

       Sunday we picked up the children at Brian’s place and because every Breakfast place was packed, we picked up some Take Away at Starbucks and moved the children back into the house.  A dead rat greeted us when we opened the garage door.  We had been trying to catch or kill it but looks like it did that for us.  I set our new trap in case there were a rat family lurking in the boxes?

       I got to visit with the children and give them some souvenirs from Oaxaca and Ellie’s Birthday present….11 next week.  We packed it up and met Brian his Dad’s home along with his brother and a couple of family friends.  Halibut Taco was just some of a wonderful feast laid out for us to dine on….along with Bill and Lana’s wonderful Wine choices to assist.

     That evening I checked into the Casino Hotel just down the street.  When the children are home it is more convenient for this old man to have a room with private bath….and Poker tables down the hall.   It was 8 pm when I sat down and 10:30 when I cashed in my $200 winnings.  I’m happy.

      Monday I was to visit my 28 yo grand Daughter Kelsey who was adopted at birth by a nice couple from San Francisco area.  It was an “Open” adoption so my oldest daughter Kim, the mother, did visit there a few years later and Kelsey visited her in Phoenix just 5 years ago, but I had never met her.  She contacted me to find out any Medical history she should be aware of in case she had children in the near future.  Kelsey was living in Del Mar, a short one hour drive and I was there….give or take a couple of “lost” calls for directions.  Her father and his lady friend joined us for a nice Cafe Lunch by the beach in downtown Del Mar.  Kelsey is attended school now and plans to get her Real Estate License when she finishes.  She certainly has her Mother’s looks.

 We had a nice time and I was very pleased to have had the opportunity to finally meet Kelsey and her family.

     I headed straight for Scottsdale and arrived 6 hours later at 8 pm that evening.  The next day I made tentative plans to meet with my Uncle Howard John Taylor, my father’s Half? brother. 
         My grandfather divorced in 1929-30 and remarried in 1941 to Bertha Christina Schmidt , living in  Bradford, Pa who was born in Buffalo N.Y in 1907 and had two children.  The oldest boy was 16 years older and the daughter was 13 years older when Howard was born in 1943.  Neither of us had met except as infants and little knowledge of John Bernard Taylor…my grandfather and his Father. His Father died when he was 7.  He discovered me through Ancestry.com so we had been in contact for about two years.  His wife Becca was attending a Conference in Scottsdale and he came along to get some work caught up, visit me and share the experience. 

     I picked him up for a day trip to the Phoenix Art Museum and lunch.  We had a wonderful visit but I never recorded our conversation to all the bits and pieces we exchanged were noted on scraps of my list of things to do…little of which I understood when I returned home. 
     The next day, Jeannie and I met Becca and Howard at the hotel and took them to the Village Tavern for dinner.

  We had another nice evening and were getting to know each other.   Howard left two days later and filled in the missing dates and info after he returned to San Angelo where he is the Curator of the San Angelo Fine Arts Museum there, next trip before Spain.  It sure has been an interesting and tiring last 10 days but Chris visited this weekend from New River so I had a chance to “mellow” out.  Next week it is off to Denver to visit my friend of 30 years…Larry Fanning and help him celebrate his 90th birthday!

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