Wednesday, August 31, 2016


I have spoken written here frequently about our monsoon in Arizona, that time of year when we get most of our rainfall.

This year, after a spotty start, it has been abundant.

And that produces this.

A beautiful greening of the landscape as far as the eye can see.

Normally this is dry brown brush but right now, for a little while, it makes one think of Ireland.

This (above) is the view of our savannah, so-named by SWMBO because of the golden pasture most of the year.

But right now it's all greened up, giving the rabbits and whatever else lurks there, a different sort of paradise.

Even the slopes of our (hopefully extinct) volcano(?) are swathed in green.

It is a beautiful period of the year and one can nearly forget that we live in the high desert for awhile.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Within Arizona's boundaries, that means one of two places: the mountains or the desert.

The mountains, of which we have many, are a favored location when the heat bears down on us.

The desert, of which we have a lot, is where we go in the wintertime, when it's pleasantly warm.

Back in the day, a group of us used to gather in the White Tanks, west of Phoenix.

It was raw desert and our guide and grilling master, John Alba, used to scout the area and find a prime location earlier in the week.

John was an outdoorsman and an expert at Dutch Oven cookery over coals.

A small pit would be dug in a cleared area, wood would be gathered from the desert and flamed until there was a hot bed of coals.

Then the pots would be placed and loaded with chicken and biscuits and beans and other goodies.

John would always make a big show of dumping an entire bottle (or two) of Tabasco into the chicken pots.

It somehow cooked off and the chicken was only a tad spicy.

We all wore hats and I came in a Che Guevara t-shirt just to bug John, whose politics were on the other side of the spectrum.

The cookouts were great fun, enjoyed by a wild bunch of friends.

Good times, good travels to the Great Sonoran Desert.

I would imagine that whole area has been developed now by an ever-growing Greater Phoenix.

Sunday, August 28, 2016


I am getting old.

In reality, I AM old.

From time to time I hear about someone having a birthday and it jostles me into the realization once again that I have reached the age where I can see the end of the road.

I don't mean to sound maudlin about it so let me tell you of some of the people whose increasing age has affected me.

A few days ago Sean Connery became 86.

Can that possibly be?

I still think of him as the dashing young James Bond.

But I realize that as I have watched him in a plethora of other roles over the years that he has been growing older.

Ten days ago another handsome actor, Robert Redford, turned . . . wait for it . . . 80!

No, I can't believe that.

The blonde, blue-eyed actor who played The Sundance Kid in a movie I have seen multiple times?

But I've seen him a couple of times recently, too, and that once-smooth face . . . isn't . . . anymore.

Today once again I was jolted into recognizing my advanced years when I learned that a friend of many years, who I have always thought of as kind of a young whippersnapper, recently celebrated (if that is the correct term) his 70th birthday.

And I am more than half a decade older than he is.

Recently I've been treated for an arthritic left hip (with good results I'm happy to add) though the doctor told me I'll probably have to have it replaced some day.

I joked that I was too old for such a procedure.

He responded that I was just about the right age for it.

Ah well.

One of the current candidates for President is 70, the other is 68 and tomorrow one of my U.S. Senators will mark his 80th birthday.

And he's running for another six year term.

Maybe the 70's are the new 50's.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


We had another period of thunder, lots of lightning and heavy rain at 4 o'clock this morning.

It woke us both out of a dead sleep.

We've had daily rain showers and thunderstorms for a week or two now in the midst of this monsoon.

Here's a look at one from the other day.

Addendum: Judy (SWMBO) just brought in the rain gauge she put out yesterday morning to show me that we have had two inches of rain in a 24 hour period.

That may not seem like much to many of you but it's pretty darned amazing for arid Arizona.

Friday, August 26, 2016


Yup, time marches races on.

It's Friday again.

Somebody sent me this week's Friday Funnies, I don't remember who, but they are all the product of a pretty darned funny sign poster.


Signs of the times, eh?

That last one is a hoot.

Okay, Gentle Readers, have at least a mildly amusing weekend and always remember to keep laughing.

And a special thanks to my contributor this week.

Here, kitty kitty . . .

Thursday, August 25, 2016


I don't know about you, Gentle Readers, but I do.

It was probably during World War Two and, yes, I lived through that, having been born in 1940.

I would think it was because of rationing and shortages due to foodstuffs being sent overseas to the troops.

SWMBO and I were talking about that recently and I said "But they ate C-rations and stuff out of tin cans, didn't they?"

She said the front line fighting forces probably did eat that way but those behind the lines did better, having field kitchens and the like.

So, back home: fried bologna.

And another one I remember: fried Spam.

Actually I must have developed a taste for Spam because I still buy it occasionally and enjoy slices of it in sandwiches.

It's been a long time since I tried frying any though.

From what I read, if I lived in Hawaii Spam would be a main part of my dining, in many recipes.

I don't know anyone who enjoys fried bologna these days, though.

And as for either Spam or bologna, don't bother telling me what goes into them.

I don't want to know.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Blackwell, half-awake in one of his favorite snoozing spots.

The recliner directly behind my office chair.

In case you hadn't figured it out he is "my" cat.

He follows me around the house and howls for awhile when I go outside or leave to run an errand.

He chose this chair because it's close to me and it's comfortable.

He reclines there unless I happen to be sitting in it.

Then he reclines on my lap.

He is one spoiled cat.

If you have pets do they behave in the same way?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


When I first moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1972 it was still a growing city with a pretty much sleepy downtown.

It has grown immensely since then and now downtown is nearly a mystery to me with all of the new buildings and new construction.

I was reading Sharon's blog the other day and saw this picture of the contrast in downtown.

I thought of it again today and thought I had a somewhat similar picture.

Here's mine:

The twin spires of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Basilica used to be a landmark at the intersection of 3rd Street and Van Buren near the center of the city.

Now they are dwarfed by the North Building of the Phoenix Convention Center.

Both mine and Sharon's photos show the amazing differences in a growing modern city which is still hanging onto some of its past.

Monday, August 22, 2016


We seem to be in the midst of our monsoon season.

Brief showers or (as yesterday afternoon) thunderstorms with loud, crashing thunder and semi-torrential rain.

One day I photographed some clouds in the sky before the rain arrived.

And on another day, SWMBO spotted and photographed this rather strange cloud which looked like one side had been sheared off.

Note: the last picture was taken through the windshield of a moving car which accounts for the extraneous light poles and road sign.

Clouds are always fascinating.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Curiously, today dawned overcast and has remained that way all morning so far though it appears as if it is beginning to clear up now.

Rains recently have flattened the Rocketman Sage in the back yard but once the skies stop falling it springs back up.

Apparently the fronds are full of pollen because the bees love it.

So, too, do a pair of neighborhood Goldfinches.

I know the birds are tiny but it still amazes me how they can perch on seemingly the smallest, most fragile stems without seeming to bend them at all.

Of course, once they have had their fill of pollen they stop off for a drink before going on their way.

There is a seemingly never-ending cycle of life taking place right outside my window.

I enjoy being the oddball observer.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


What do you want?

Why do you interrupt me?

Can't you see I'm takin' a bath here?


Friday, August 19, 2016


TGIF again.

Do Fridays seem to you to come around faster these days?

If so, you may be getting old.

We had rain and thunder and lightning here yesterday and I was thinking  "with all of that power how could we corral it to do some good?"

And then it came to me.

Moving right along . . .

All right, Gentle Readers, that should give you a good start to a happy, sappy weekend full of joy and laughter.

Once again, thanks to all of my contributors, I couldn't do it without you.


Here, kitty-kitty . . .