Saturday, April 30, 2016


(My theme is places I have visited or lived)

My parents were, and are, wonderful parents. I was fortunate and blessed to come from a good, solid, loving, disciplinarian, and Christian home. They were very conscientious about making sure we kids could enjoy many things such as zoos. They took us to a number of zoos when we were growing up. Of course, I have continued that habit and even as an adult still love to go to a zoo.

I have had the good fortunate of visiting the following zoos:

Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, Pittsburgh, PA

The Pittsburgh Zoo is one of only six major zoo and aquarium combinations in the United States. It is located in Pittsburgh,  Pennsylvania's Highland Park

The zoo sits on 77 acres of park land where it exhibits more than 4,000 animals representing 475 species, including 20 threatened or endangered species.

Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA

Woodland Park Zoo is a zoological garden located in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood of SeattleWashington.

Occupying the western half of Woodland Park, the zoo began as a small menagerie on the estate of Guy C. Phinney, a Canadian-born lumber mill owner and real estate developer.

Six years after Phinney's death, on December 28, 1899, Phinney's wife sold the 188-acre (76 ha) Woodland Park to the city for $5,000 in cash and the assumption of a $95,000mortgage. The sum was so large that the Seattle mayor (W. D. Wood) vetoed the acquisition, only to be later overruled by the city council. In 1902, the Olmsted Brothers firm of Boston was hired to design the city's parks, including Woodland Park, and the next year the collection of the private Leschi Park menagerie was moved to Phinney Ridge.

As of the summer of 2010, the zoo includes 92 acres of exhibits and public spaces. It is open to the public daily.  Its collection includes:

1,090 animal specimens
300 animal species
35 endangered and 5 threatened animal species
7,000 trees
50,000+ shrubs and herbs
1,000+ plant species

The Oregon Zoo, Portland, OR

The Oregon Zoo, formerly the Washington Park Zoo, is a zoo in Portland, the largest city in the U.S. state ofOregon. Located 2 miles southwest of Downtown Portland, the zoo is inside Portland's Washington Park, and includes the 2 ft 6 in narrow gauge Washington Park & Zoo Railway that connects to the International Rose Test Garden inside the park.

 Opened in 1888 after a private animal collector donated his animals to the City of Portland, the 64-acre zoo is now owned by the regional Metro government.

A member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, it has species survival plans for twenty-one endangered/threatened species, among which are successful breeding programs for endangered California condors,Asian elephants, and in recent times, African lions too. (The latter was under recommendation by the AZA).

The zoo also boasts an extensive plant collection throughout its animal exhibits and specialized gardens. During the summer it is host to a concert series, and in the winter produces Zoo Lights, a holiday light show. The Oregon Zoo is Oregon's largest paid and arguably most popular attraction, with more than 1.6 million visitors in 2008 to 2009

Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma City, OK

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is a zoo and botanical garden located in Oklahoma City's Adventure District in northeast Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The zoo covers 119 acres and is home to more than 1,900 animals.

Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL

Lincoln Park Zoo is a free 35-acre zoo located in Lincoln Park in Chicago, Illinois. The zoo was founded in 1868, making it one of the oldest zoos in the U.S. It is also one of a few free admission zoos in the United States


Gregg Metcalf has served as the Teaching Pastor of Surprise Valley Baptist Church (Cedarville, CA) and the Mirror Lake Baptist Church (Federal Way, WA.) He graduated from Shasta Bible College in 1989. He is currently a teaching elder of the North Kelso Baptist Church of Kelso, WA. Gregg is married to Irene and the Lord has blessed them with four daughters and four grandchildren, with two more on the way. Gregg invites your comments and interaction concerning his posts and this blog! Gregg enjoys reading, boating, song-poem writing, and his family.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Yellowstone National Park

(My theme is places I have visited or lived)

Yellowstone National Park

What can I say about Yellowstone? This is probably my second or third most favorite place on this planet. God has been so good and gracious to me by allowing me to see so much of his creation. I have gloried God much by experiencing so much joy by His creation.

I have been to approximately 45 states. I have been to and enjoyed His mountains, rivers, oceans, deserts, valleys, beaches, lakes. I have traveled and slept in vehicles, pop-up trailers, travel, trailers, and motels across the north, south, east, and west portions of this great country. I have been to Canada, Mexico, Japan, Okinawa, and the Philippines.

God has allowed me to hunt in his mountains, fish his lakes and rivers, boat on his lakes, camp in and explore His deserts. I have seen the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, the Modoc National Park, both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Continental Divide, the Lo Lo Mountains, great parts of the Lewis and Clark trail, Death Valley, the Mojave Desert, Niagara Falls, the Appalachian Mountain Range, Custer's Battle Ground and Monument, Pompey's Pillar, Chief Seattle's grave, the OK Corral, Boot Hill in Virginia City and in Tuscon, Gettysburg, The White House (from outside) the Ponderosa, the Alamo, Ft.Clatsop, St Maarten, St Thomas, and Puerto Rico and Seattle Mariners games and the Seattle Seahawks. 

I have been so blessed and fortunate as to have had a boat, travel trailer, motorcycles, and trucks in order to enjoy God's creation by lake, river, highway, and off-road. I have enjoyed (Fishing Bridge RV Park)                            God's creation!

But there is nothing that I have seen (in my own opinion) that comes close to the Yellowstone National Park. In 2001 we took our nineteen foot (19) Aljo Travel Trailer and drove from Federal Way, WA to Yellowstone National Park. We camped in the Fishing Bridge Campground in Yellowstone for seven (7) glorious days. On three of those days Irene woke me up at 4:00 AM so we could drive to a location frequented by bears. She wanted to see a bear.

We saw ducks, geese, moose, elk, deer, buffalo, and I don't know what else. The one thing she (we) did not get to see was a bear. We did see the boiling sulfur pots, Old Faithful, wilderness, wildlife, and all the flora and fauna you can enjoy.

I am telling you, that at least once in your life time, especially if you have children between the ages of seven (7-100) to one hundred, you need, you should, and you must spend at least one (1) week at the Yellowstone National Park.

It was "discovered" by John Coulter of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. People didn't believe him when he talked about boiling water, geysers, and such. They thought he was talking "foolishness." They began calling that area of wilderness, "Coulter's Hell."

Yellowstone National Park is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone, the first National Park in the U.S. and widely held to be the first national park in the world, is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park. It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest is the most abundant. It is part of the South Central Rockies forests ecoregion.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X-Ray Department of St Johns Hospital

(My theme is places I have visited or lived)

Around four (4) AM one morning I woke up in severe pain and breathing with great difficulty. The pain increased and my breathing was becoming more labored. I moved to the couch and found a place somewhere between sitting up, slouching, and laying down that hurt the least. I stayed in that position until around 7:00 AM. I sat there and hurt and was barely able to breathe.

At eight (8) AM I had Irene call work to tell them I was sick and not coming in. I thought I might get better if I rested and kind of laid, sat, and slouched in a position that didn't hurt as bad as any other. But I wasn't getting better. I was a hurtin' unit." (Marine Corps slang)

Around 3:00 PM I told my wife I need to go to the hospital. She said, being as practical a gal as one can have, "You need a shower first." So I painfully climbed in the bathtub and dutifully passed out. Somehow she was able to get me out of tub, semi-dry me off, and into a T-Shirt and sweat pants. It was obvious I was in grave danger, so she called my daughter Stacy to drive me to the hospital. (I was not going to pay no $1,000.00 or more for an ambulance ride)

 They took me into the emergency room and began immediately to work on me. They got me in the X-Ray Department ASAP .It began to sound like I was going to be admitted into the hospital. 

I thought, "Dude, that ain't gonna work!" I was in the middle of closing three (3) mortgage transactions. I had clients depending on me to get escrow closed so they could get their keys and move into their new houses. I had loan officers depending on me to get escrow closed so that they could get paid. I had the office counting on me to get those deals done so that the office got paid.

So, through labored breathing, huffing and gasping for breath, I said to the ER Doc, "Let me have a couple of hours to close these deals and I will come back and you can do whatever you want." He took my wife aside and said, "If we let him go, and if we don't operate now, he may not have the next ten (10) minutes. He is not going anywhere."

Operate they did. Immediately. I had severe pneumonia and a collapsed lung. The staff had to do an emergency thoracotomy. They had to scrape "gunk" out of my lungs and re-inflate my lung. I spent eight (8) days in the hospital and a number of more days on my back recovering. St Johns and the excellent X-Ray department saved my life. Here is a description of a thoracotomy:

Image result for thoracotomythoracotomy is an incision into the pleural space of the chest. It is performed by surgeons (or emergency physicians under certain circumstances) to gain access to the thoracic organs, most commonly the heart, the lungs, or the esophagus, or for access to the thoracic aorta or the anterior spine (the latter may be necessary to access tumors in the spine).
Thoracotomy is a major surgical maneuver—it is the first step in many thoracic surgeries including lobectomy or pneumonectomy for lung cancer—and as such requires general anesthesia with endotracheal tube insertion and mechanical ventilation.
Thoracotomies are thought to be one of the most difficult surgical incisions to deal with post-operatively, because they are extremely painful and the pain can prevent the patient from breathing effectively, leading to atelectasis or pneumonia.

I was told by my doctors that it is more invasive and dangerous than open heart surgery. It was painful! But, alas, for good or bad, I am still here - praise God our gracious Father!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

West Covina (CA)

Image result for west covina

(My theme is places I have visited or lived)

In 1978 we moved from San Jose, CA to Pomona, CA in order to attend Bible College in San Dimas, Ca. That was in August 1978. Some time in 1980-1981 we moved to West Covina. 

Our two younger daughters were born a few blocks from our apartment on Cameron Avenue at the Queen of the Valley Hospital. Sharon and Stacy were born there in 1981 and 1982.

Stacy was almost born in the apartments! From the time that Irene woke me up at around 3:00 AMish in the morning and I was holding my new baby girl was about 45 minutes. 

West Covina is a city in Los Angeles County, California, located 19 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles in the eastern San Gabriel Valley and is part of Greater Los Angeles. The population for the city was 106,098 at the 2010 census. Wikipedia

West Covina was incorporated as an independent city in 1923 to prevent the city of Covina from building a sewage farm in the area. Walnut groves and orange groves continued to flourish during the subsequent decades. The population in 1930 was 769 and blossomed to 1,549 in 1940.

 As a result of remarkable expansion during the post World War II building boom, West Covina became one of the fastest-growing U.S. cities between 1950 and 1960, with the population increasing 1,000 per cent from less than 5,000 to more than 50,000 citizens. The decades between 1960 and 2000 demonstrated steady growth, which slowed significantly by the time of the 2010 census.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Virginia City (NV)

(My theme is places I have visited or lived)

We lived outside and inside Reno, NV for approximately 5 or 6 years, We were able to tour around the great state of Nevada. We visited as many historical sights of the old west as we could. 

I don't remember when the first time we went to Virginia City or how many times we visited it any more, but I loved it every time.

Virginia City is a census-designated place that is the county seat of Storey County, Nevada. It is part of theRenoSparks Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Virginia City sprang up as a boomtown with the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode, the first major silver deposit discovery in the United States, and numerous mines were opened. At the city's peak of population in the mid-1870s, it had an estimated 25,000 residents. The mines' output declined after 1878, and the city declined. As of the 2010 Census the population of Virginia City was about 855, with 4,000 living in Storey County.