Friday, July 31, 2020


Well isn't this jolly?

Yeah, I know.

Phoenix set a new record for the date yesterday: 117 degrees!

I think it only got to 103 here in the Central Highlands.

And we still have August to live through.

Nevertheless, SWMBO decided to go out alone to a store for the first time since mid-March.

Actually she only went to the garden shop but she came home with a potted wisteria vine and a trunkload of other heavy stuff for me to cart around to the back yard.

More on that in the ensuing days.

But for now, let's look at your weekly dose of the bright side of life.

O.K. dat's enough uh-dat!

Have a spectacular, toasty, maybe watermelon-fueled weekend, everyone, and always remember to keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

Thursday, July 30, 2020


Tomatoes and Shishito Peppers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020


Our rent-a-cat, Matty, came by yesterday to inspect the new Harbor Arbor.

As he joined the Blue Cat in a brief catnap, he seemed to be giving his approval.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020


When we lost our backyard tree to high winds and Dutch Elm Disease our avian friends lost their perching site by the bird bath.

Though the birds (and the occasional cat) continued to visit the water site, the lack of foliage bothered SWMBO.

So we planted an artificial tree next to the bath.

Prescott Valley's frequent high winds soon began stripping he artificial leaves from the artificial tree.

So recently SWMBO began shopping for an arbor and she found one, bought it and it arrived a few days ago.

Yesterday evening, we "planted" it.

The boss topped it with some webbing and some of the leaves blown off that pitiful "tree".

And, like parents of the bride, we are pleased to announce that it was promptly visited by a house finch and a goldfinch.

This morning nearly as soon as I opened the window I spotted a bird at the top of the arbor surveying the scenery and shortly after another bird drinking down below.

I think Harbor Arbor is going to be a success.

Sunday, July 26, 2020


Take a look at this!

That's a brightly flowering cactus on Beau Jack's patio.

Maybe I'll have to change his name to Cactus Jack!

Saturday, July 25, 2020


Allow me to introduce you to the BRD's kid sister.

Caryn and her husband Big Russ have recently made a big move, from their home in Oregon to a new retirement home.

Now this picture, taken on the rear deck of their home, appears to show a pretty nice area, doesn't it?

There's a canal there which winds it's way right out to the Gulf.

Wait, did he say "Gulf"?

Yes, these young retirees have moved from cool, rainy and snowy Oregon to the sun-dappled shores of Padre Island, right next to Corpus Christi, Texas.

And you know what's going on there today, don't you?

Yep, the first hurricane of the season.

I spoke with Caryn this morning and she was laughing and saying it was only a Category 1 storm so they've battened down the hatches and plan to ride it out.

As the BRD said, "Welcome to the Gulf Coast!"

Friday, July 24, 2020


All right then, we've collectively nearly reached the end of another week safely.


I can speak only for myself and only hope you're all following along.

Be that as it may (whatever that means), it is time once again for your weekly dose of silliness, otherwise known as TFF.

On that (hic) note I declare an end to this frivolity.

No alliteration this week, just a heartfelt wish that you all will have a marvelous weekend.

And always remember to keep laughing!

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

( . . speaking of mindless drinking . . )

Thursday, July 23, 2020


Two reminisciences in two days: talk about living in the past.

41 years ago, in 1979, Judy and I were living in Phoenix and spent one vacation in Mazatlan, Mexico.

The following excerpts are from SWMBO's recounting of that adventure.

* * * * * * * * * * *

We drove to Nogales and across the border to the train station to unload our bags. A man in an official-type uniform promised to "watch it for us" until we got back. We were both nervous about that but decided we'd better start relaxing if we were going to make it nine days in Mexico.

While killing time in a hotel bar we had visions of our bags being gone and nobody knew of any "official".

He was not only there, he had put our bags through customs and was ready to put them on the train for us.  He escorted us to our compartment and got us settled in.

It was hot as hell (did I mention this was July?) and we went searching for the "club car".  We found that was a cooler in the corner of one of the coaches where we bought four cervezas (beers) and went out to the platform to people watch.

When it came time to pull out we found that the air conditioning in our car was not working. It was about 100 degrees in our compartment. I had packed a small cooler with our little supper: a bottle of red wine, sausage, cheese, etc., and NO water!

We had understood the train would make about three stops on our overnight trip. It made about 15. We saw a number of Mexican railyards in great detail.

We arrived in Mazatlan only an hour and a half late and were met as promised. After throwing our stuff in our room we raced to the hotel restaurant for big glasses of orange juice and lots of water.

We found out the first night that the hotel restaurant was pricey and the last place we wanted to eat. Our waiter talked us into a bottle of wine for $7.50. The next day we found an identical bottle at a liquor store across the street for $2.35. You live and learn and we learned REAL fast.

The ocean was so soothing and beautiful we could barely stand to leave it. The beach was a constant moving market. Vendors came by selling rugs, serapes, dresses, blouses, shirts, baskets, toys, jewelry. While I was waiting for Bruce to retrieve some money from our room one of the vendors told me we should definitely come back in March, when "there aren't so many Mexicans here." I told him they didn't bother me if they didn't bother him!

There were many vacationing Mexican families at our hotel and we enjoyed watching them with their small children. The kids' feet hardly touched the ground because some family member or another was always picking them up, hugging them, playing with them.

One day we were in town trying to cross a busy street when there was a screech of brakes and two cars came to a halt. One of them had apparently crowded the other a little and some words were exchanged. Then both drivers leapt from their cars and rushed at each other. Bruce and I stopped dead in our tracks, expecting a fight. Then the two men reached each other, shook hands, then embraced, then shook hands, then embraced, then shook hands, then embraced again. It was the damndest thing we had ever seen. All this time one of the vehicles was blocking traffic. Finally, laughing all the time, the two men got back in their cars and sped away.  Cousins, maybe?

In restaurants, the shrimp, the wonderful hard rolls served at every meal, the dish of cut limes on every table. Luxury and wonderful flavors.

We were determined to be better prepared for the train trip home. We had emptied a fifth of whiskey during our many cocktail hours and filled the bottle with purified water from our room. We bought some wine and other goodies, including an ample supply of those hard rolls, and a bigger styrofoam cooler to hold all that liquid.

On our way back north, in a COOL compartment this time, after several beers in the train station I was ready for the nice little private john. I opened the door and found about half an inch of questionable liquid sloshing back and forth on the floor. Holding my breath and wading in I found that after four beers in the train station, I can not hold my breath longer than I can pee.

When the porter came by to make up the beds, I used my newly acquired Spanish vocabulary to say, "Senor, esta mucha agua en el excusado," adding a pained expression. He looked into the little room and then spoke a least two full paragraphs of rapid fire Spanish that basically boiled down to "Hey, it's not my job!"

In spite of that, we slept better that night. By six the next morning we were awake for good and rummaging through the cooler for "breakfast". We were sitting on the lower berth eating hard rolls and drinking water from the whiskey bottle when there was a sharp knock on the door. A man speaking very rapid Spanish and flashing a badge came in announcing "Policia Federale. Inspeccion."

Bruce stepped into the hallway, the man climbed up to look in the bags in the upper berth, talking the entire time.  I picked up the phrase, "drugs or marihuana?" I laughed and, "No, no marihuana." He smiled and climbed down. As he backed out of the compartment, he looked at me with the liquor bottle in one hand and the hard roll in the other, did a little bow and said, "Salud!" I replied "Salud!" and kind of saluted him with the bottle.

To this day he is probably telling people about that loca gringa who drinks straight hooch for an eye opener!

That night back home in Phoenix we sent out for pizza for dinner. You have to come down from an adventure - - - - easily.

We loved Mazatlan and want to go again some day.  

But not in July.

* * * * * * * * * * *

We did go to Mazatlan many times after that, during our expatriate years in Mexico.

And we always loved it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


Normally I would have saved this post for ThrowBack Thursday.

But I'm posting it today and calling it WayBack Wednesday.

It was instigated by my friend Steve, in London, (Shadows & Light, over there in the right margin).

He wrote today about the Wayback Machine, which is an archive of stuff that may have disappeared on the Interwebs.

Like the early days of my blog.

So I looked and here's the post I found that I deemed good enough to share with y'all.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


It suddenly occurred to me . . . well, actually, it was occasioned by receiving a comment e-mail from a friend passing kudos on to those responsible for the flowers around my home . . . that because of all the pictures I have posted on my blog of the beautiful flowers and trees and such, it might occur to some of you that I, Catalyst himself, am responsible for their growth.

So, I thought I'd better explain that I don't garden. 

When SWMBO says something like "you know the plants need some watering" or "would you look at those weeds" . . . I run screaming like a whirling dervish for my car and escape. 

SWMBO does the gardening, ably assisted by the BRD.

But let me assure you, while the girls are gardening, I'm taking care of the important stuff. 

I blog. 

I worry about the war in Iraq. 

I think about who is going to run for president and who is going to win. 

I experiment and try to decide which is more important: siestas or naps.

Gardening is one thing. 

But the world and its problems are important, too. 

Someone has to take care of the tough stuff.

You may have noticed that was from June, 2007, and we and the BRD have moved a few times since then.

Thirteen years ago when I was a retiree of only about one year.

A spring chicken, so to speak.

With the same ideas.

Some things never change. 

Though I do water the plants now, from time to time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Monday, July 20, 2020


Why is this man angry?

Could it be because someone ate a big chunk of his French Apple Cake?

Sunday, July 19, 2020


The tomatoes are ripening in their pot on the patio.

You may remember our confusion because Judy had expected Cherry Tomatoes.

These are much bigger than that but whatever they are they seem happy.

Saturday, July 18, 2020


Congressman John Lewis
1940 - 2020

Friday, July 17, 2020


Oh, yes it is, it's Friday again.

Do you notice how they roll around faster these days?

That either means you're getting older or you're sleeping more.

Or both.

Never mind, let's get on with the business of the day.


Now that that's over, I'm overjoyed.

Not that it was overstimulating or that I was overcompensating to offset the overpopulation of bad news.

And I didn't mean to be ostentatious, not overly so anyway.

I just wanted to be sure that you Gentle Readers would have an oddball, well orchestrated weekend.

Enjoy it and always remember to keep laughing!

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

(I said, bowing down.)

Thursday, July 16, 2020


As an amateur photographer I've always been fascinated by hats.

Taking pictures at various festivals has given me a wide exposure to a variety of headgear.

Have you ever noticed that the prettiest girls often wear the snazziest hats?

That last one earned her monicker, the Beautiful Rich Daughter.

Sometimes the hats aren't even on real peole.

Or on people at all.

And sometimes, a hat is just a hat.