Just Another Gringo In Belize

To:  Goat and Queen
From:  S. Holmes, Chief Detective for San Pedro Investigations
Date: 15/MAR/2015
Re: Disappearance of P. Parrott

The following account is my complete investigation into, and subsequently developed timeline of, the disappearance of one Phred Parrott of Scottsdale, AZ, USA while vacationing in San Pedro, Belize. I undertook this investigation after the local authorities determined that an official Missing Persons investigation would not be made by their officers as Phred Parrott is not, in reality, an actual person.

All interviewees presented what I believe to be true testimonies and accurate as they recall them. The photographic evidence was gleaned from multiple sources, primarily Facebook as many people seem unable to do any activity without posting there.

Princess:  I was excited to take Phred back to Belize but I have to confess, I was nervous as well. Traveling with Phred makes me appreciate the work the Secret Service does. Not only is he always a target, he's flighty (no pun intended) and just goes off with anyone. Shamefully, I can't always count on my own club members to keep an eye on him either.

Also, there were going to be some Iowans on the trip and they're, well, shifty. He's disappeared more than once and found to be in their control. I also knew my backup was shaky in Crash as she had already lost Phred once. Little did I know, I was soon to be the one on shaky ground.

Crash:  Man, I just wish the Princess would give it a rest. Sure, I allowed Phred to be kidnapped by the Iowans in Key West. And, I did encourage them to take off with him when we were in Des Moines. And, yes, I did try to help Sherman abscond with him a week before we went to Belize. But, seriously!

Sherman:  Yes, I tried to take Phred with me when Crash, Thom, Phred and the Princess and I went out to dinner in Phoenix a week before the trip (Exhibit A.). But, that's just what you do, right? I didn't mean anything by it, I swear!
Exhibit A.
Sherman and Phred at Tilted Kilt in Phoenix on 08/Feb/2015.
It was confirmed that Phred did not leave with Sherman at that point in time.
Princess: Phred, Crash and I got to Houston and went out to dinner with Susan, Scott and Fictional Donald (Exhibit B.). Susan made Phred a new tie-dye t-shirt so he was ready for his tropical vacation. We made it to Belize City without a Phred related incident.
Exhibit B.
Princess, Phred Parrott and Fictional Donald - location Texas Roadhouse.

Jim:  I was so happy to see my friends from Arizona and Houston. And, it was great to share a Belikin Beer with Phred Parrott (Exhibit C.). I really had no idea things were going to get bleak as everyone was in great spirits.

Exhibit C.
Phred Parrott with Jim at the Belize City Airport.
It was confirmed that the beer was Belikin.
Princess: The week started off quite well. We met with most of the rest of our co-vacationers on Friday and went on a pub crawl on Saturday down the beach. Phred had a great time though I noticed he was drinking pretty heavily, even for him (Exhibit D.).

Sunday, we went on a Sunset Cruise and enjoyed a lovely few hours out on the water. We kept a good eye on Phred and he seemed to be relaxed and enjoying himself.

Exhibit D.
Evidence would support that the missing Parrot had a serious drinking problem.

Jim:  We went to one of our favorite places on Monday, The Palapa Bar. It's out on the water and there's a bar area on the top floor and a nice deck on the first floor. There are also inner tubes tied up in the water if you want to float. Phred did his usual thing there, making friends and entertaining the crowd (Exhibit E.).
Exhibit E.
Phred with one of the bartenders at La Palapa Bar (upstairs).
Princess:  We waited around at Palapa until they were almost closing as Sherman and Andy were supposed to meet us there. They were arriving on Monday. It was down to Jim, Jamie, Phred and me when we decided to call it a day.

Jim:  We went downstairs to wait for a cab. While the Princess was using the washroom, I had Phred pose in a few pictures.

Princess: One of the waiters from Palapa was waiting for a cab as well. We offered to share with him and ultimately headed back to the resort. Once there, we dashed over to the bar next door, Squirrel's Nest, to meet up with Sherman and Andy. Andy was napping so it was a while before she made it down to us (Exhibit F.). We all called it a relatively early night because the next day was Carnaval.

Exhibit F.
Verified that this was taken at Squirrel's Nest on Monday evening.
No evidence was found that Phred Parrott was there at that point in time.
Jim: Carnaval is my favorite day on the island. We headed out with the group down the beach to walk to downtown.

Princess:  Someone asked me along the way where Phred was. I told them that I wouldn't bring him on this event as I didn't want to get paint all over him (Exhibit G.). I thought about it a little more and realized that I didn't know exactly where he was so I asked Crash.

Exhibit G.
Testing of leftover Carnaval paint showed that it would have been nearly impossible to remove from Phred Parrott's feathers.
Crash:  I was pretty sure Phred was sitting on the dining room table in our room so that's what I told the Princess. She wasn't sure and thought maybe Susan had him. We decided we'd check when we got back to the resort.

Princess:  Carnaval was good fun but I had an uneasy feeling as we got back to the resort. Crash was back in the room when I returned and I did a quick search of our room. No Phred. I asked Crash if she'd seen him and she said no. We decided to start quizzing people in the morning. He could easily have been with Susan, being held hostage by the Iowans or someone else or who knows where.

Crash:  I didn't sleep well worrying about Phred and I knew that the Princess didn't either. The first she thing she asked me in the morning was, "You seriously don't know where Phred is?" I told her I didn't and I wouldn't have lied at that point. I know how it feels to be the one who lost him. Oh, I admit that I had a small bit of delight that it was the Princess who lost him this time but I'm only human.

Jim:  Princess, Jamie and I retraced our last steps with Phred and the last time we remembered seeing him was Monday at Palapa. No one was 100% sure that he made it into the cab or back to the resort with us. Princess did run over to Squirrel's Nest to see if he had stayed there and they hadn't seen him.

Wednesday was the day we were going to Captain Morgan's. My parents and some friends were taking a golf cart there while the rest were going by boat. I asked my parents to stop by Palapa to see if Phred was still there. I could tell by the look on my Mom's face when she got to Captain Morgan's that Phred was not found. We clearly needed a recovery plan.

Princess: Ugh. That was all I could think for a while, ugh. My only hope at this point was the Sherman had Phred and was just playing a long joke. He and Andy weren't with us at Captain Morgan's so I couldn't interrogate him.

Jim:  When we go back to the resort, I asked one of the ladies at the front desk to make up a flyer with Phred's picture on it. We offered $100 BZ ($50 USD) for his return to the resort. She promised to have it ready for the morning.

I also confronted Sherman and asked if he had Phred and told him the Princess was losing her shit over it. He told me he would tell me if he had him but also would have asked me not to tell her.

Princess:  I wasn't losing my shit. I just didn't want to go home without Phred.

I emailed Palapa on Thursday morning and inquired if Phred had turned up yet. We picked up the flyer (Exhibit H.) then heading downtown to make copies and hand them out. We put them up on poles, near all the taxi stands, at the airport and physically handed them out to taxi drivers and hoped for the best.

Exhibit H.
This investigator confirmed that multiple copies of this flyer were distributed throughout town.
Jim: A couple of the taxi drivers said they thought they knew who picked us up at Palapa and one even said he might know who had Phred. I was so sure we would find him. Another driver suggested we put a message out on the local radio station.

Princess:  The radio station was down an alley and across from a woman's kitchen where she had laundry hanging inside. I wasn't confident but it was really a functioning station. We paid for an ad to be broadcast starting at 1 PM. Jim was really sure at this point that someone would come forward because of the reward.

In the meantime, our friends had gone back to Palapa and tracked down the waiter we cabbed with. He couldn't remember if we had Phred but he did call the taxi driver we'd ridden with who told him that he hadn't found Phred in his vehicle.

Sherman: The rest of the gang was leaving on Friday so I said I'd pay the reward if Phred showed up before we left on Monday and the Princess would repay me. While I was hoping he could be found, I was worried someone would think I took the joke too far just to get the reward.

Jim:  I still had hope someone would return Phred even as we were leaving. We'd left word all over the island and I even posted his loss on the Tourism Board website.

Princess: I knew was frakked. Losing Phred was something I would never, ever live down.

Every local interviewed in San Pedro:  Those are the craziest Americans we've ever seen.

Phred:  The story really started back in 2013. We were at Fido's listening to Mark Mulligan and Kelly McGuire. I was on stage as usual, minding my own business (Exhibit I.).

The gang actually left to go back to the resort without me. My first thought, was "Damn, who's going to get me back to the room?" But, my second and third thoughts were "It actually wouldn't be so bad to stay here" and "I bet there are some hot Toucans looking for some action from a studly bird like me".

Before I could formulate a fourth thought, Goat came running back in to the bar, scooped me up then took me home in a taxi with the rest of our group. Amazingly, they only made one stop at the liquor store on the way.

Exhibit I.
Phred Parrott in front of Texas Musician Kelly McGuire's feet. Photo taken by Lewie Edwards.
Both Edwards and McGuire were eliminated as suspects nor interviewed as neither was in San Pedro at the time of the disappearance.
I continued to travel the world for the next two years but I did so with a plan. I was going to make a break for it as soon as I had the chance. Sure, it was great being a celebrity and seeing foreign countries and drinking lots of cocktails but it was time for me to retire. I thought I had a chance in Vegas but they found me before I could get away.

Belize was where the idea first occurred so I decided come hell or high water, Belize was where I was going to spend my golden years.

My first thought was to take off during the Sunset Cruise but they actually tied me to the boat (Exhibit J.). It was both insulting and frustrating.

Exhibit J.
Per testimony not documented in this report, there was no way for Phred Parrott to get out of these knots.
When we got to Palapa on Monday, I put plan B into action. First, I encouraged everyone to drink a lot of Belikins (Exhibit K.).

Exhibit K.
A review of the bar tabs from La Palapa revealed that the group did purchase a lot of Belikins.
I knew I had a good chance at escape when I saw the Princess looking pretty happy (Exhibit L).

Exhibit L.
Clearly, lots of Belikins were consumed, not just purchased.
I knew I had an even better chance when it came down to just the four of us. While Jim was taking pictures and the Princess was in the washroom, I hightailed it out of there. I felt bad because I knew they would feel guilty but a bird has to do what a bird has to do.

The next few days were glorious! I made some friends in the jungle and also found some bars where the locals hang out. That's where I heard the radio announcement of a reward for my return. I slunk off my bar stool and found a place to nest in an alley for a while. My biggest concern was getting my name tag off that had not only my name on it but the resort name as well (Exhibit M.). The jig would surely be up if I were found with that on.

Exhibit M.
It was confirmed that not only was the resort name on the back of the tag, so were the dates of the event.
Fortunately, it rained so all the flyers that had been put up were turned to mush. I knew the last of them were leaving on Monday so I thought I was safe then. Unfortunately, this group doesn't give up. I've seen more announcements on the tourism board website and even heard I was on a milk carton (Exhibit N and O.)!

Exhibit N.
Online research shows that AZPHC.org is for a Palliative care facility.
Also, Phred Parrott is not 10 1/2 years old.
Exhibit O.
Man, can't a bird just fly away in peace?

When I heard a PI was looking for me, I decided to make contact with him to get my side of the story out, apologize for leaving and ask everyone to give up the search. I'm very happily living in Central America, drinking rum every day and chasing literal tail.

It does not suck to be me.

S. Holmes:  As painful as it might be for you to read, I must inform you that Phred Parrott's account was only given to me after he received my oath that his location would not be revealed to any parties.


Since he is of legal age, I acceded to his request for privacy and will not reveal his whereabouts.

If it's any comfort, he seems quite satisfied living the life of an Ex-Patriated American though he mentioned he was going to miss seeing what Barnabas up to. Curious.

Exhibit P.
The last known photograph of Phred Parrott.

Mission Accomplished!

I was the first one to get to San Pedro when we went to Belize two years ago. I sat around and waited for the next puddle jumper that was full of my friends for what felt like ages. I did look around to see if there was a bar but I just didn't look quite far enough around the corner.

Goat was on the next plane and he spotted the bar. He and I trotted over and had our first two Belikin beers on Ambergris Caye while everyone else was milling around the tiny airport.

Dang, we were thirsty, too!
I left the island one week later with some Belize currency in hand. Currency that I carried in my wallet for two years. When I was really stressed, I'd take it out and ponder running off on a plane and going to spend the money at that same bar.

My leftover money and Goat's that he sold to me.

It was a nice fantasy but then I decided that it would become a reality. We landed again in San Pedro on February 13, 2015 and I took my plane mates right over to that same bar and ordered us all a round of beverages.

Spending money and making a dream come true.
My friends were kind enough to humor me and delay our arrival at the resort to share a drink with me. I considered this point the official start of our vacation and, man, did it feel great!

More Like Pro "Bust"

My friend Crash got offered pre-sale tickets to the Pro Bowl which was held here in Glendale this year. Since we can't afford to go to the Super Bowl and it's not like we would ever travel to the Pro Bowl somewhere else, we decided to get tickets and take our sons to the game. Her son, Matt, was celebrating his birthday on game day and I gave Steven his ticket for a Christmas present.

We met up early at McFadden's in Westgate. Spoiler alert - this was the best part of the day. Our friend, Gloria, flew out from Atlanta to go to the game with Pabla and Jello Shot Prince was there with his two Cardinal game tailgate buddies. Chris was supposed to join us as well but being late to the party (as is his wont) got him denied entrance to the bar because of alleged fire marshall concerns.

Gloria and Pabla headed out to meet up with some other folks then Crash, Matt and Steven started over to the stadium. I stayed behind with JSP and his buddies for another pregame beer(s). I still managed to make it to the seats before the rest of my gang.

Because we didn't want to spend a gazillion dollars, our seats were rather high up. Not bad but spotting my players was a little like looking for the queen in a bee hive - where's the dot? In this case, the dot was the beautiful yellow of a Green Bay helmet.

They're down there somewhere.
Here's where the bust comes in. Everyone knows this isn't that serious of a game. The players going to the Super Bowl don't play. A lot of the really good players beg off due to injuries (Aaron Rodgers, for example) and I suspect some just find an excuse to start the post season by spending time with their families.

So, it's kind of a big, albeit talented, pickup game. I'd be down with that but I need someone to root for to make it interesting.

Dear NFL - Your experiment to generate more interest in the game is a failure. I don't give a rats arse about Chris Carter or Michael Irvin and therefore care not a whit for "their" teams to win. NFC versus AFC. That, I care about.

Seriously, who am I supposed to care about more on a single play - Clay Matthews on defense or Jordy Nelson on offense? That's a complete Sophie's Choice for me and it was like that the full first half. Coupled with the lack of super sharp play and it led to the fact that we only stayed for the first half.

The four of us left and went back to McFadden's for a bite before heading home. We actually lasted longer than JSP's crew. They were out before the half.

At least we got home at a reasonable time.

Do I regret going? No. It was an overall reasonably priced experience but not one that I'll ever do again. Unless it's back in the Phoenix area and the format is changed, then maybe.

And, I got something to bitch about out of it which always makes me happy. ;)

New Frame Of Memories

I love photos. I love collage frames. I am almost out of wall space in my house for collage frames. :(

The frames that I do have up often stop me in my tracks as I pause to relive the experiences pictured. So fun to see 30 years of my life represented in my home!

My parents bought me this frame a few years ago (yes, years) and I had planned to hang it over the entertainment center but Steven surprised me with a Cubs picture that he hung where this was intended to go.

So, the frame sat unused but, as I was looking through pictures for my 2014 year in review, I was inspired to make some space and fill the frame with pictures that represent great memories.

I managed to hang it in a spot where there's glare no matter what angle you try to look at it.
Clockwise from the top left:
  • My Bestie Jim and me in Belize
  • Scott, Phred and Russ at Last Man Standing in Las Vegas
  • Jason Brown! and me (he likes it when I exclaim his name)
  • Dawnie and her daughter Shelby from Dawnie's birthday weekend in Des Moines
  • Thom and Paula from the same weekend
  • My favorite MOTM volunteers and all around great people, Lorene and Joe at PHINS to the West with me
  • Steven and me in a drunken celebration of pulling off a fantastic 50th Anniversary Party for my parents
  • Crash, Jamie and Zoey at Dawnie's birthday party
  • My favorite bass player, Hal, with Mike Nash and Mark Sacco
  • And, in the center, Thom, Tracy, Crash, me, Scott and Paula at the San Diego Anniversary Party with a bonus photo bomb by Barb
Good times, good times!

A Year In Review One Month At A Time - December 2014

Social Butterflies love parties! And, love going to lunch or dinner or breakfast or just connecting with anyone at any point. You know what December is filled with? Parties and social connection opportunities!

And, presents. December has lots of presents.

This Social Butterfly likes presents almost as much as parties.

I had a super fun filled social month in December. It started with a Festivus party at my friends the Shaws' home. Michelle puts up a crazy huge holiday village in their garage. So impressive. And, so much work but clearly a labor of love.

There were lots of wee ones at the party. Normally, their shrill little voices make me avoid children but they were cool at this gig. They had a playroom to hang out in and nicely interacted with each other. Michelle and James have two daughters, the practically perfect Kate and the, well, Southern folk might say, "Bless her heart" Claire. She's something but I think she's awesome fun.

She's a character and a ginger -what a great combination!
St. Lucy's Day has become a traditional event near Dec 13. Steven, Sonja and Katie host a wheat planting event at their home and it's always a good time. This year, the #terrors displayed some aggression against my wheat so I ended up having to put it up on a shelf about seven feet off the ground. It managed to get to a decent size but I forgot to take a picture on Christmas Day - doh!

Pre-Holiday Party Lunch - new tradition?
The Arizona Parrot Head Club had their Holiday party on Dec 14. I am in an ongoing argument about whether to call it the Christmas Party or the Holiday Party. My reasoning in that we don't have an exclusive group of Christians so Holiday is more appropriate doesn't fly with the Christians. I'll leave it with that but I will always call it Holiday.

Last Men Standing

As always, there's a competition to see who can stay up for the final photo of the evening. We whittle away at the contestants and do fake out photos until the last people declare we're all truly done. This year, Barb, Thom, Phred (he's not always up for it) Tammy and I made it. I think we are all asleep within minutes of the above picture.

My Poker Chicks and I had our annual ornament exchange on the 20th. I think it was our 16th year. Everyone brings an ornament and we randomly get one back. There have been some hilariously bad/funny ornaments and some great ones. This year, I brought a glass Wonder Woman which went over pretty well.

New to the schedule this year were a couple more events. One of my colleagues and his girlfriend (now fiancee) had an Open House on Dec 23. I thought that was a genius night to do it. Most everyone is done with their holiday shopping and are now burning their last vacation days for the year. It was a lovely evening with current and former colleagues and their spouses (and a few of the more quiet children). I've been pushing for opportunities this year for my peers to build better relationships with each other and this was a good chance to do so.

Another fun and smart idea was the Open House Breakfast my friends Maria and Jeff had on Christmas Eve morning. Again, everyone is mostly done with Holiday prep and it was nice to hang out in their back yard in the beautiful Arizona weather and relax. They had lots of activities for the well behaved bazillion kids there, too.

I left the Open House then headed to a sports bar near my parents' house where The O'Malley Babes and I met for wings and beer. We started doing this last year and I think it's going to become a mainstay.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are always spent with family and long time friends. It was an especially good year as everyone was healthy for a change.

My only December disappointment is the decreasing number of cards that I get. I know lots of people just don't do cards anymore for various reasons. I love cards and spend a lot of time on picking the right one for the right people as I always buy several different versions. I really enjoy reading everyone's letters and I put all photos I get up on my fridge where I stop and stare at them throughout the year.

While there were some challenges in 2014, December was a month of great fun and I was happy to close out the year on that high point.

A Year In Review One Month At A Time - November 2014

Looking back at November, I am reminded about how many times I got sick this past year with some sort of viral/flu infection. Dang, maybe it's true as you get older, your body has more trouble fighting off germs. I need to talk to someone about a flu shot alternative to the one with eggs in it. I'm allergic to eggs for those that don't know.

Because, oh yeah, I got sick again in November and had to miss our corporate Holiday party and an Arizona Cardinals game with my friends. Sucks.

The highlight of November, 2014, was the start of the holiday season in my mind. My friend Lori hosts a party for her birthday every year and she makes it a collection for Home Base Youth Services. We all clean out our closets then we drink a lot of wine at Lori's. Or, maybe I'm just the one who drinks a lot of wine.

SmartPractice colleagues (Please note I didn't have a visible beverage)
It's a lovely evening. There are lots of current and former co-workers there and Lori's non-work friends have been very welcoming. I've spent several evenings with her "girls". I feel lucky to be included.

There was also a great party at the end of November for my friend Kathy's birthday. It managed to be a complete surprise to her. For those that don't know, Kathy is one of the O'Malley Babes that I hang out with and Kathy, her sister Mary and I have had many adventures dating back to our days at Coronado High School.

Mary got it set up at a nearby bar and brought in a band, The Bank, that we've been following around the Valley for 30 years. (Yes, since I was 4 or so.) There were friends from high school, the Parrot Head Club, their work, family friends and kids that our no longer legally kids. We had a blast catching up and playing electronic Beer Pong.

So fun and so great knowing I have such great long-time friends!

A Year In Review One Month At A Time - October 2014

October is consistently two things - Jimmy Buffett in Vegas and the beginning of Meeting Of The Minds in Key West, Florida. Anything else is gravy.

I was privileged this year to be allowed to ride up to Vegas on Thursday with the Jello Shot Prince and Scooter. The caveat was that I had to follow their traveling rules and traditions and laugh at all of their jokes. Parts of that was easier than the other. ;)

Taking the traditional coming in to Vegas picture.
I already knew the tradition from above because I've been the recipient of that picture for years via text message. It's not so fun to get when you're still stuck in the office. It was much better being on this end of the shot.

We had dinner at Margaritaville on Thursday then JSP and I worked on our attempt to maximize our weekend Blackjack playing time. The guys went golfing on Friday morning and I ended up back at the Blackjack table but joined by Tracy and Scott as they had arrived from California. So fun!

Friday night was the Last Man Standing Party hosted by the Phin City PHC at Tommy Rocker's. No Jimmy and the Parrots this year, dang it. However, lots of friends from all over were at the party and we went home with lots of prizes.

Not our prizes, mind you, we end up being the sherpas for everyone else since Scooter drives his truck to the party. I've been assured this is not going to happen again this year a my friends are going to control themselves at the auction.

I don't believe it.

Saturday night found us at Buffett at MGM. My cocnert tradition is to take a picture of the set for each song. They do a good job with the images. Tracy and I made a beer and washroom run because of necessity (our beers had been empty for a while!) when I heard Margaritaville and took this picture.

So going to get me into trouble
This is the PERFECT picture to represent Margaritaville for me. I could get drummed out of the whole Parrot Head organization because it's considered the national anthem. It's the song that everyone bar band knows and plays when someone requests Buffett and it's the song that I alway choose to go to the washroom during. I just think I've heard it enough. 

Vegas was great but it was soon time for my favorite event of every year, Meeting Of The Minds. MOTM is the biggest family reunion as up to 3,500 Parrot Heads descend upon Key West, FL for a week of fun, music and day drinking.

It's also time I get to spend with my bestie, Jim. He lives in Minnesota so it's not like we can randomly meet up during the year. 

We roam the island together and drag friends along in our wake. Every year, we try to find a new bar to go to in addition to hitting every one of our "favorites".  We're running out of time to do it all. Maybe we need to add some extra days.

Peppers of Key West is a must-stop
This year, we roomed with a group from Minnesota and it was fun showing them the ropes. We took them to Peppers, convention Goody Bag Stuffing, Rum Barrel and Schooner Wharf Bar. We also pointed them in the direction of our other faves and they found a few new ones all on their own.

Hal and Phred - two of my favorite guys
We also spent time with my favorite band, Jimmy and the Parrots. We first ran in to the gang at Margaritaville on Thursday then caught their show at the Casa Marina (from the front of the stage, of course). Then, it was off to Louie's Backyard and a final late night stop at Mr Z's. That was the night that Jim and I had considered going to bed a little early but, oh well. Where the band goes, I go, so it was also off to the Rum Barrel on Friday afternoon for their show there. 

Man, I love that band.

It's always with a little melancholy that I leave Key West. It's still warm in Phoenix when I get on the plane at Sky Harbor but it's winter when I get back. MOTM week is the transition to our cold weather and I hate cold weather even when it's still 50 degrees and the rest of the country is below freezing. If I have to wear shoes other than sandals, it's too cold. 

Overall, October is a really good month.

A Year In Review One Month At A Time - September 2014

September summary - work, work, work, flu, work, work, PLAY! Guess which part I'm going to focus on?

It had been many years since I'd been to a San Diego Parrot Head Club Anniversary Party. They host a heck of a good time at Campland On The Bay. Everyone brings in their motorhomes and tents and settles in for a weekend of fun, food, drink, music and no driving. Well, no driving of cars. There were some golf carts and bikes going around.

Tracy got us hooked up with a motorhome service that drives the trailer in, parks it then comes to pick it up. Two of our AZ people had to work so they flew in but the rest of us drove. Thom and I went over in my bitchen' car and somehow ended up pulling into Campland within mere minutes of Tracy and Scott on Friday afternoon. Already there were a couple other groups from Arizona.

So many great things about this event! It attracts friends from all over so it's always a great reunion. They have a beer garden - unlimited beer and margaritas while you stay in the garden so we pretty much didn't leave for hours. There's a great musical lineup from Thursday night through Saturday night. They also raise a ton of cash for charity.

There's also an unofficial event - the Trailer Pub Crawl. A fairly large contingent roamed the campgrounds and descended upon different people's sites where they were served a signature drink after the site host gave a toast.

Too much fun! No, really. I tried to get out of it but got swept along. After a day in the beer garden and then the crawl, I was forced to take a nap. Man, I hate taking naps when there's stuff going on. I rallied, though.

We were both drunk and awesome but at various levels.
The party didn't end after the music stopped. We floated between two of our gang's trailers and then it was down to the Last Men Standing. Someone decided we needed to be drinking Moscow Mules and Crash ended up being the mixologist. 

Then you pour in the ginger beer, the ginger, the ginger!
She remembered the recipe by reciting it aloud as she worked. Something that our trailer mates who were trying to sleep didn't find especially delightful but they did find it humorous. 

We perhaps should have retired before 4:30 AM but we didn't. It was a slow moving morning on Sunday but after a very quiet breakfast at Cafe Coyote (where we learned my bitchen' car is too low to the ground for the parking garage we usually use) it was time to head home. A quick stop was made by Thom, Crash and me to check out the new Elk's Lodge in Yuma then we were back at home, sweet, home.

I suspect this is going to become an annual must-do event. 

I really need to win the lottery.

A Year In Review One Month At A Time - August 2014

Unless I do something stupid like scheduling a trip the weekend before (which I've done, a lot), August is almost always just about Parrot Grande. Parrot Grande is the Arizona Parrot Head Club's main weekend event and fundraiser.

The weeks leading up to Parrot Grande are intense and busy and I feel like I can't be away from my email for more than an hour at a time. This may be surprising unless you know us, but Parrot Heads aren't so good with RSVPs and advance planning and then sticking with actual plans. Lots of changes up to and going into the weekend. Add in to that chaos, the hotel had to take a building of rooms out of service the day before we got there meant a scramble to reassign everyone.

Ultimately, all the stress is worth it because the payoff of fun and charity ($10K to ChildHelp AZ) is great.

This year, I don't know why but I regressed to my old Bob Karwin stalker ways. So far, none of the video I've seen is too embarrassing. It's just the internal shame that I have to worry about.

Just like old times!
I think I was inspired by his declaration that this was the last official 8th Floor Party and, man, it was one for the ages! For the few that don't actually remember the evening, it was a great time!

A Year In Review One Month At A Time - July 2014

July is always a special month and, an especially busy one. My son and my parents' birthdays and my parents' anniversary provide the basis for a lot of family time. It also seems to be the summer vacation month.

This year, it started out on a very high note. I completed my indentured service in Germany and got home on the 5th. I was on the road on the 6th to go get my new babies. Steven and I drove down to Tucson and the poor little ones cried most of the drive home. They appeared to settle in quickly which was good because I was back on the road again on the 10th.

#terrors from day one
The Parrot Head of Puget Sound have an annual event called Laid Back Attack. My intended traveling companion couldn't make it so I went solo. Fortunately, I knew a lot of people there and the ones I didn't know were very welcoming. It was a quick day tour of Seattle then a lot of time listening to some great Trop Rock music. They also raised $27K for the USO.

Julie and Mike
As an added bonus, I was able to hook up with a friend I've known since high school and his wife for lunch on the water. We haven't seen each other in too many years to count and it was delightful being able to catch up. BTW, Julie's license plate spells Hermione so I feel like we're the same person. :)

My Dad hit a milestone this year with his birthday - 80. How can that even be possible? Steven and I hosted a party and three of his siblings flew in from Wisconsin for the festivities.

Joan, Chuck (my Dad), Bill and Mary
The party was super fun but spending time with everyone was priceless. I consider myself very fortunate that the family I was "given" is made up of a lot of very cool people that I would choose to hang out with even if we weren't related.

July was a good month filled with great memories.

A Year In Review One Month At A Time - June 2014

This was a rough month and I'm drained just remembering it.

It started with some fun in Amsterdam. That was certainly cool.

Anne Frank House
You MUST tour the Anne Frank house. It's such an important story. Go early, though, as the lines become ginormous as the day goes on.

Amsterdam Canal
Also, do a boat tour. The city is beautiful and they do a good job of giving you a history lesson while you're lounging about. You can bring adult beverages on board, too!

Van Gogh Museum
And, do some of the museums. I had a fantastic three hours at the Van Gogh Museum. But tickets online and reserve your time because the line gets long for that, too. I had an especially proud moment because I navigated a few buses on my own to get there!

None of the switches, knobs or wheels did a darn thing.
Skip the Heineken Experience. They don't actually make beer there anymore and it was just a huge commercial for the brand.Yes, you got some "free" beer at the end but it was Heineken.

After the weekend in Amsterdam, it was back to Hamburg for the go-live of our project. I've tried to black out the ensuing 23 days of soul sucking, physical and mental crushing experiences and focus on the one tiny moment of happiness:

We completed every page of software validation in this binder.
Man, that was a tough project. I was never so happy to get home.

A Year In Review One Month At A Time - May 2014

May rocked it. So busy and so fun!

OK, there was one day that I try to avoid every year. My birthday. Seriously, the calendar and math are not my friends. There's just no way that calculation gives my age correctly. It's all I can do to force myself to go out for dinner with the family which is what we did the night before the "big" day.

Family - some by birth and some by choice!
However, this year the actual day was awesome. My friend, Sonja, put together a wine tasting trip to Southern Arizona and members from both the Phoenix and Tucson Parrot Head Club went on it. I even got Steve Pfister to go.

We all met at a hotel and took a chartered bus to the wineries then on to a party that the Tucson club was having that night. I really should have not felt committed to emptying out the bottle of Slivo...

Sonja, Birthday Princess and Steven
Despite the fact that Sonja insisted on mentioning my age all over the place before, during and even after, it was a great celebration. And, hey, presents! I likes me the presents!

Then, it was back to Germany. This was a time where our travel schedule made us stay over a weekend so we went to Berlin. Berlin in a one day whirlwind is exhausting! I would go back and spend a few days on museums alone.

I got to touch the actual Berlin Wall -
without being shot at!
Literally, 12 hours after I got back from Germany I was on the road to PHINS to The West (PTTW) in Laughlin, NV. It's one of my favorite events and pretty much a huge social butterfly reunion.

Shirt has not been completely retired yet.
One of the activities at PTTW was an Ugly Shirt Contest. Jeff, Jello Shot Prince, bribed me into working my mojo to get him to win with the promised reward that he would stop wearing this shirt to every Buffett concert we go to.  I can't remember if he wore it to the October Vegas show or not. :(

The Proroks!
PTTW is really a Parrot Head family reunion. I love seeing people from all across the country and getting to spend time, albeit it briefly, with them. Two of my favorites are Joe and Lorene Prorok from Nebraska. They are truly delightful!

One final highlight for May - I got my Global Express approval! No more waiting in the long customs and TSA lines like the common folk do. Suckas!