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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rain, blessed rain

Yes, there was rain in those clouds. And it's been falling steadily but lightly now for a day or more.


(Click on photos to enlarge)

Most of the time, it's just a light sprinkle . . a mist, actually. But sometimes the moisture builds up in the clouds and it comes down in a torrent.


However - - it is a blessing for our parched, dry Arizona. Yes, there is occasional flooding but if people are careful that usually doesn't cause problems.

The plants are thriving and pleased at their long-awaited drink.
P.S. - In case you come under the same confusion as SWMBO, that second photo is NOT of a marijuana crop in our backyard. It's bamboo!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Arizona monsoon clouds




Mag 25


An old lock
protects nearly forgotten
secrets.
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Willow of Willow Manor challenges writers each week with a photo-prompt.
You may read what much more talented writers have come up with at Magpie Tales.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Old Friends

We had a visit from friends of more than 40 years this week. Tom and I worked together in Indianapolis those many years ago. They retired to California three years ago and came to see us for a couple of days.

As is frequently our wont, we traveled to Jerome yesterday to view a few shops. Tom, in particular, loves the store that sells multitudes of kaleidoscopes.

In the upper left of the photo above you can see the Jerome Grand Hotel where we had lunch in the Asylum restaurant with its amazing views of the Verde Valley.

All in all, a great day with much talk of old memories, dear and some now gone friends and past adventures. Though I have changed some of my less healthy habits, Lana says I am "still crazy after all these years."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Monsoon skies

The monsoon has finally arrived over the past week in Arizona. These pictures don't give you a real good idea of the way the storms fill the skies but you can see some thunderhead activity here.




Friday, July 23, 2010

Blackie Detroit video!

My pal, Blackie Detroit, makes his video debut. He kept wanting to rub against my leg but who wants a wet cat to brush up on you!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gmTq0naD8c

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mag 24



"Sergeant, what do you suppose happened here?"

"G-g-g-god only knows, sir. The house was locked with a deadbolt. We had to b-b-b-break a bay window downstairs to get in."

"Sergeant, will you try to get yourself under control and stop shaking!"

"Y-y-y-yes s-s-s-sir."

The detective stared at the bed, rumpled with sheets and blankets tossed about, the impression of two heads still imposed on the pillows. There was no blood, no signs of any violence at all. But the occupants of the room, of the home, were missing.

He stared at the window above the bed, locked shut . . as were the windows along the wall. The house seemed to be an impenetrable fortress but Mr. and Mrs. ___________ were nowhere to be found. His men had searched from this room on the upper floor throughout the house, down to the basement. He, himself, had explored the walls, knocking to see if a hidden compartment existed. But there was nothing. No sign of the couple at all.

They were known throughout the village but no one knew them well. They had kept to themselves, made no friends. No one knew the source of their income or where they had come from before moving to the house barely seven months before. They had come in the night, at first creating gossip that they might be vampires. But when they were seen outside in the daylight, that rumor died.

Now they had disappeared.

The alarm had been sounded by a gardener at a nearby home, who had seen no sign of their existence for several days and notified the police. And now, having entered the home by force when no response came to the bell or to repeated knocks on the doors, the detective stood alone in the room, staring at the bed.

The only clue came from a night watchman at a nearby factory, who claimed he had seen a bright light in the sky, hovering over the house, a few nights previous. But he was the only one who had noticed anything at all out of the ordinary.

Now it was up to the detective to solve the mystery of the disappearance and, quite frankly, he didn’t have the vaguest idea about it.

Do you?

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Mysterious Willow has posted the photo prompt and invited others to write from their memories or their imaginations about it. My tale is totally imaginary. You can read others by clicking on Magpie Tales.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Jewels


Our strange cats

Jazz found a comfortable (?) place for a nap this morning, entwined with the vertical blinds. It's like she was intently going some place and suddenly dropped with exhaustion.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The poseur

Call me "Blackie Detroit"

Monday, July 19, 2010

A ghostly night

It is a night like tonight that makes a chill come over me. The sky mainly obscured by clouds, the moon sneaking some light through at times.

It makes me think of Sherlock Holmes adventures on the moors of the British Isles. For instance, in "The Hound of the Baskervilles". One expects to hear the mournful howl of a great hound echoing though the night and sending a tremor of fear through my body.

It is a night made for murder most foul. I can nearly feel the cold dampness penetrating my body under my greatcoat.

But then suddenly I realize I'm dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and a pair of shorts and it's nearly 80 degrees outside. So I give it up and go inside to the ballgame on t.v. and later to bed.

Blackie and the birds

I was sitting at my computer this morning when I heard a terrible racket outside being made by what sounded like a Hitchcock movie: The Birds.


In truth it was some apparently very angry birds. I had seen mockingbirds in this type of mood before and glanced around.

Aha! Sure enough. It was my friendly neighborhood cat - Blackie Detroit. (Explanation: When he first showed up, frightened and wary of me, I slowly befriended him and named him Blackie. Later one of our neighbors and I had a conversation about him and she said she called him "Detroit". Hence his strange compound name.)

At any rate, he was just making a slow reconnoiter of our backyard, seemingly unconcerned about the noisy birds who would occasionally dive-bomb him. But I suspect he was more cunning than he appeared.


Eventually, he went under the fence and disappeared. But still I heard the birds in "high dudgeon". I later looked over the fence and found Blackie Detroit casually reclining on another neighbor's picnic table, just waiting for one of those noisy birds to get within claws reach, I suspect.

At this point, he has moved on again, as have the birds. The outcome is yet to be decided.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mag 23



The flames! All around me. The heat! Becoming more and more intense. Then the smoke! Choking me. I began to cough and the coughing woke me from this terrible nightmare.

I lay in the bed, drenched with sweat, trying to reason it out. Why, why, had I suffered this agony in a dream? As I lay there, I realized I had not opened the window when I took to my bed. I rose and opened it now and a cooling breeze entered the room.

I sat on the edge of the bed, holding my head in my hands, still thinking about what had caused this terrible inferno in my dreams, nearly taking my life.

I got up, went to the kitchen for a drink of water. I left the lights off and simply felt my way.


Absent-mindedly I walked as if still in a dream into the hallway. Wham! What the hell was that? My toes had slammed into something hard and the pain was now real and intense. I cursed at whatever object I had struck.

I backed a short distance away and reached for the light switch on the wall. The glare was intense at first and then, as my eyes adjusted, I saw what I had walked into.

A fire extinguisher! A huge, old, heavy fire extinguisher. I had purchased the antique the day before at a garage sale. Undecided where to place it, I had left it in the hallway the previous evening. Then I had forgotten it until I walked into it in the dark.

Damnable old life saver.

I thought to myself, "they sure made them heavy in those days."

***************************

The lovely Willow has instigated writers . . and people like myself who think they're writers . . to try their hand at a visual prompt each week. If you'd like to read others go to Magpie Tales and enjoy some more.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tlaloc toys with us

Tlaloc has been lurking in our area, playing with our hopes and emotions. But, so far, he has not lingered long. Here for a couple of instants, then gone in a mist.

We await.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mag 22 explanation

This, my friends, is a red herring.

A red herring is defined as "a deliberate attempt to divert attention."

And that's what this sentence is: "The old magus actually timed out everyone's summer."

In fact . . . it doesn't mean anything. However, if you extract the first letter of each word in the sentence, you will see what the devious author was up to: T O M A T O E S

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mag 22

The old magus actually timed out everyone's summer.
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If you figure this one out, other offerings can be found in Willow's garden at Magpie Tales.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A new intersection

The new Side Road intersection has been under construction for months. But progress is finally being seen.


The highlight, of course, is a new overpass crossing Highway 89-A.

It finally is spanning the highway though much finish work is still to be done.

I wonder, by the way, who came up with the scintillating name of "Side Road" for . . . a side road.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mag 21

This one is a little different. It's actually a true story.

I lived in Mexico for nearly five years back in the late 1980’s. It was a great half a decade. Lots of parties, lots of new experiences, lots of new friends.

One of my best friends during those days was a guy from Harlingen, Texas, who spent probably 30 years before retiring to Mexico living in New York City. He’s gone now but he was the father of someone you may have heard about. My friend’s name was Walter Nixon and his daughter was Cynthia Nixon. If you don’t know the name, you’ve been off the planet for awhile. Cynthia is a New York actress who currently is best known for playing Miranda in the "Sex and the City" television series and movies.

But back to Walter. He had a love for language and loved nothing better than discovering a new word or phrase in Spanish. One day he was delighted to tell me he had discovered the Spanish word for firecrackers. It was, he said with a grin, triquitraque . . . pronounced tree-key-trah-kay. As Walter pointed out the word was perfect because it sounded just like the firecrackers exploding.

As I prepared to write this, I dug out my Larousse English-Spanish dictionary to verify the story. Firecracker, it said, could be translated as cohete or petardo. So then I went the other way and looked up triquitraque. Sure enough, along with "clickety-clack, bang, and boom" was the word "firecracker."

So thanks, Walter. Firecrackers will always be triquitraques to me.
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You can read more writers' stories by going to Magpie Tales.


Political Pornography

Argggghhh! It's that time again.

The primary election is a month away. The general election is 4 months away. The cluttering of the landscape is well underway.

This is just a small sample of the hundreds of signs trying to convince the ignorant (?) voters to cast their ballots for this candidate or that candidate.

But pity poor Rusty Bowers. His signs just can't seem to stand up to the job.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A happy birthday song for everyone

Today is my country's birthday. What better day to re-play this great video.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

Green Victorian

Prescott, Arizona is known for its Victorian houses. Most of them are located along both sides of Mount Vernon street. But I found this two-story green beauty a street or two away the other day.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

O Canada

On Canada Day, Canadians celebrate the day the British North America Act created the Canadian federal government on July 1, 1867. This date was originally celebrated as Dominion Day up until the year 1982, when an Act of Parliament changed it to Canada Day.

I grew up in North Dakota, only about 50 miles from the border with Saskatchewan, Canada. I remember many happy trips as a boy to Lake Carlyle, where my dad would enjoy pulling big "northerns" (Northern Pike) and Walleyes out. Frequently evening meals would be fresh fried fish with lots of butter and lemon.

I always enjoyed adventures in the woods, sliding down the cliffs to the beaches and above all the candy. Maple sugar candy in the shape of maple leaves that could make your teeth start aching just by looking at it in the stores. And best of all those delicious Cadbury chocolates. It's been over 20 years since I last visited Canada and many decades longer than that since I was last at Lake Carlyle. But I still miss it. Great memories of a great place.