Friday, April 26, 2013


For the last two nights in a row, SWMBO and I have been in the back yard watching the International Space Station pass over.  The first night it was for less than a minute but last night it lasted nearly three minutes.  It looks like a very high fast-moving airplane.  The space station is about 200 miles above the earth.  It takes only about 90 minutes to circle the entire globe so you can imagine it won't be visible long in any one area.

I learned a lot about the Space Station by going to this NASA web site.  For example, I learned that the station is currently being commanded by a Canadian, Chris Hadfield.  The rest of the crew includes two United States citizens and three from Russia.  The station has been in orbit for about 12 and a half years at this point.

The space station is larger than a five bedroom house and about the size of a football field.  Compact spaces but lots of room to rove around.  There are many other interesting facts in a video tour of the station conducted by a former commander, Suni Williams, accessible from the web page.

You can schedule email alerts to let you know in advance of a passing over your area.  Just click on the link for "Spot the Station".

The BRD was with us for the first night of viewing but I guess coming from the Star Trek generation it was no big deal for her.  I, on the other hand, was thrilled to watch it, especially last night as it moved across the sky and then just winked goodbye.

Oh and by the way, for those of you who may not have seen my thank you on Facebook, thanks to all who wished me a happy birthday Wednesday.  It was a great day and I am fortunate to have so many friends.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Okay, I know this is the post you've all been waiting for.  Catalyst/Bruce celebrating his #%rd birthday.  Today was the day so here we go.

SWMBO and I were accompanied by the irrepressible BRD to a nice restaurant where we were seated far away from the other patrons. I don't know why.  Well, maybe I do.  It was because of the antics of the BRD.

Y' can't take her anywhere.  And if it's your birthday she insists on singing.  Badly.

She insists on applause.

Or, at least, dessert.

That red velvet cupcake in the center was supposed to be my birthday cake but she devoured most of it.  But never mind.  The lemon cake on the left and the "loaded" carrot cake on the right were equally delicious.

SWMBO, in the meantime, was ordering wine . . . a very good Pinot Noir by Mirassou.

And, in spite of what I said earlier about the BRD, we all had a very good time.

So, happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, I'm only seventy-three, so happy birthday to me!  

And surrounded by much younger ladies that I love dearly!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


As I said yesterday, two of my nephews and their wives were coming to visit.  Just a day after a four-day hiking and camping trek into the Grand Canyon.  The organizers were Amy and Barry from St. Paul, Minnesota.

Amy is an excellent and pretty competitive cross country skier.  Barry is the cook extraordinaire and planner.  They go somewhere nearly every weekend to hike, camp, fish, ski or whatever.  They're a very active couple.

They had gone into the Canyon a year ago.  This time they brought Barry's older brother, Larry and his wife Debbie, from Minot, North Dakota.

I was just talking with SWMBO and noted it was interesting that all three men in that family do a bulk of the cooking.  Barry, Larry and their younger brother, Tim, all cook very capably.

By the way, I found that Larry likes his white wine!

Barry and Amy had to catch a plane back for the snowy north.  Here's a picture Barry sent of what greeted them at home.

Larry and Deb stayed over a night.  Great to see them after way too many years.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Happy Earth Day!

Two of my nephews and their wives are enroute to our house for a visit.  Here's where they've been for a few days.

This year Deb and Larry joined Amy and Barry for a backpacking trek into the Grand Canyon.  After several days camping in the depths, they emerged at the top yesterday.  Brave and sturdy folks!

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Phoenix television anchor team, Lin Sue Cooney and Mark Curtis,  at Pat's Run in Tempe this morning.

Back in the day, I worked with both of these people.  What I want to know is how come Mark and I got older and grayer and plumper and Lin Sue has remained her same gorgeous self.

Maybe it's because of this.

Some other stuff I swiped from the Internets today.

And one for, like me, the gentle cat lovers among you.

Friday, April 19, 2013


HA!  I just made up a word.  To explain, here are some random shots around my neighborhood.

If you've got really good vision or a good monitor you might have seen a sliver of moon up there.  I call it a moonlet.  (WOW!  I just made up another word!)  If not, here . . I'll blow it up for you.

Have a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I had a big surprise yesterday.  I was sitting out on my patio in the morning when the phone rang.  It was my cousin, Bonnie, from Billings, Montana.  I said "where are you?"  She replied that they were about 20 miles out of Flagstaff, heading for Prescott.  She said "why don't you drive up and have lunch with us at the Palace Saloon."  

Now that's a little over a hundred miles from where I live now but, since they had come from Montana, I said "fine" and we agreed to meet at noon.

When I got there she was standing out front with a young woman I didn't recognize but was quickly introduced to Linda, her sister, another cousin of mine.

Then the doors to a car parked right in front opened and more people emerged.  This is Linda's husband, D.J.

Here is Bonnie and her husband, LaVerne.

But the biggest surprise was yet to come.  One more woman stepped out of the car and I asked Bonnie in wonder, "Is that your mother?"

It was.  Lil was married to my mother's brother.  I asked Bonnie how old she was and was told she is 91.  Now I ask you . . is this the face of a 91 year old woman?

It certainly doesn't look like it to me.  She is full of pep and ready to go.

The group had been through Wyoming and Colorado, taking in the sights, and were on their way to the Grand Canyon and then Monument Valley before going on to Bryce Canyon in Utah and then back to Montana.

They are great adventurers, those Montanans, and it was wonderful to see them all again, especially my ever-young Aunt Lil.

Oh, and Bonnie brought me some of those famous chocolate frosted chocolate cookies that I remembered from my mother's oven when I was a wee tot.

Oh, yes, I was.  Once upon a time.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Some of our nearest neighbors.

The Sentinel.

Actually, it's just a bloody mourning dove . . . one of several, er, dozens, er, hundreds around us.

A honey-bunny.  One of at least two, probably many more, in our neighborhood.  This one was in our back yard this evening.

Ready for your close-up, bunny?

They may be pests but I think they're cute with their little cotton tails.  And we're not gardening so . . .

(By the way, Steve, my apologies for taking your blog title for my post title.  I promise not to do it again.)

Monday, April 15, 2013


Taken the other night from my back yard in Phoenix.  But I've doctored it a bit to darken the sky.

A smiley face moon?

An Arabian moon?

A rip in the fabric of space?


Just a new moon.

But at least one guy thinks it's important.  His name is Steve Judd and he's a self-taught astrologer living in Bath, England.

Gobbledegook, maybe, but with his delivery and accent, I could almost believe him.

Have a good month.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Our new Phoenix home is surrounded by plants.  We have big palm trees,

and smaller palm trees,

Bottlebrush shrubs,

and roses,

and mock roses,

and some I can't name yet.  Any help with the next two?

A couple of bougainvillea trees were badly burnt by a hard frost and had to be cut back this week.

But there's new growth and new color coming.

Then there are the potted plants SWMBO has planted on our patio.

A mix of petunias and cosmos.

All in all, I think Saint Frank approves.

Friday, April 12, 2013


SWMBO was complimentary about yesterday's post but said I had under-described her salad.  So she gave me the ingredients and instructions as follows:

Two Tablespoons dried cranberries (Craisins)
8 to 10 dried apricots, snipped into small pieces
2 Cutie tangerines, cut into small pieces

Mix together and add a Tablespoon of raspberry vinaigrette and let set for a half hour or more.

Slice cooked (preferably grilled) chicken breast.  (The marinating sauce and grilling was described in the previous post.)

Toss 4 cups of mixed greens with the fruit, adding more dressing if desired.

Divide onto two plates, top with sliced chicken and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.

Lick lips, eat and enjoy.

And then there is this, from her own hand:

A few days after we moved to our new house I was awakened by an irritating tap, tap, tapping outside my bedroom window.

Bruce had told me a day or two earlier that he had seen a Gila woodpecker clinging to the side of the house.  It didn't take long to put two and two together.

Day after day, at the crack of dawn, this bird pecked at the house and alternately screeched.  It sounded like frustration to me.

We investigated and found a round hole about an inch wide, high under the eaves.

I surmised that the bird was trying to widen the hole so a nest could be built inside.  If you have ever tried to drive a nail through stucco you know how hard it is.  Frustrating.  So . . . we had to plug the hole.

Bruce insisted he would be the one to climb the eight foot ladder for the operation.  I made a ball of foil, got out the Gorilla Glue and a spray bottle of water (this glue is activated by water.)

Bruce climbed the ladder and I handed him each item while steadying the ladder.  He sprayed the hole with water, sprayed the foil with water, put glue around the edge of the hole and stuffed the foil ball into the hole.  Voila!

We speculated what might happen if the woodpecker arrived before the glue had set up completely.  Picturing a bird trying to get his beak unstuck was quite an image.  It has now been 24 hours and the tapping has stopped.  Success?

Or maybe the woodpecker died laughing at two old human beings who would go to such lengths to "foil" his plans.

(Editor's note:  This is a Gila woodpecker.)

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Miss Judy of Prescott Area Daily Photo reminded me this morning that I hadn't changed my blog banner since I moved.  So I did.  I hope you all like it.  It's a painted Mexican sun face which SWMBO mounted on our back yard wall, along with several more plebian models.

Which reminds me of a story.  Once we lived briefly in an apartment community in Prescott.  As soon as we moved in Judy put up a couple of the sun faces on the outer wall.  Almost immediately we got a notice from the HOA people that Sun GODS are not permitted in view in the community.  That was the first and only time we've ever heard of them being referred to as "gods".  We've always thought they were just "sun faces."

Here's a view of the rear of the house, barbecue grill and patio table ready for action.

Judy did a great meal on the grill last night.  First she marinated some skinless, boneless chicken breasts in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, soy sauce and Mrs. Dash spices.  Then she put them over low heat on the grill and also grilled some split lemons.  Later when she checked and noticed the lemons were browning too much she moved them to the rack above the chicken.  Later still she noticed they were dripping lemon juice down onto the chicken.  Yummm!  Later still she cooled the chicken down, sliced it and served it over a mixed green salad.  Wonderful!  (And she said she didn't want to cook anymore!)

We have a number of wildlife specimens around.  We've seen a couple of small bunnies.  I saw a long-eared jackrabbit one day.  There are doves, a couple of Gila woodpeckers, and a number of Mockingbirds with their wonderful songs.  Here's one of the latter.

We can hear the traffic on Baseline Road from where we live but we're trying to convince ourselves it's just the sound of the surf in our nearby ocean.  (We wish!)  

But so far we're enjoying our new life.