Sunday, June 1, 2008


I was mistaken. Last night's post should have been titled "Saturday Evening" instead of Sunday evening. Lord knows I don't have to hurry things along any faster than they're already going.

But..speaking of Sunday...

...actually this goes back even further, to Saturday afternoon. I lay down for a short nap and as I was lying there I felt a tiny bit of tightness in my chest. This worried me a wee tad because, as regular readers know, I have a pacemaker in my chest. But the thought that went through my head was this:

My buddy Steve, who has season tickets to the Arizona Diamondbacks games, had invited me down to take in a game this afternoon (Sunday). So as I was lying there contemplating the tightness in my chest Saturday I wondered idly if I suddenly "ceased to exist" (to quote the Monty Python dead parrot sketch), would SWMBO call Steve and tell him I wouldn't be able to make the game.

I then further thought that if she had neglected to do so and the time reached, say 12:15 p.m. today (Sunday) when I was due to to meet Steve at his house and I wasn't there, would Steve call and ask SWMBO "Where's ***** (Catalyst)?" And would she then respond, "He can't make it. He's dead."

Well, I told Steve all of this today when I did get to his house on time to go to the game. He said if the latter case had happened, he probably would have told SWMBO that he still had the ticket and could she make it to Phoenix and go to the game with him.

Y'know, that's what friends are for.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sunday evening

Summer evening.

Whiskey and water.

Smell of grilled meat.

Diamondbacks win.

SWMBO clipping rose hips.

Smoke hanging out.

A trip to the (new) neighbor.

Her neighbor out grilling steaks on a barbecue grill.

Stop for a quick visit.

He's bare from the waist up, except for numerous tattoos. But he's a gentle man, in spite of his unmufflered car, truck and motorcycle.

A talk with the new neighbor about her love of cats, including Smoke (she already knew his name.)

Later, after TV dinners, a wonderful strawberry shortcake.

Nice evening.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Car Sale

SWMBO sold her car today, thanks to Craig's List. She got exactly what she asked for it and, considering it was 17 years old, we think she did well.

So, on this Wednesday, everything's coming up roses.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Accidental Scott

There's something you should know about SWMBO and I.

Though we've been married for 37 years, it's not our first rodeo.

I was married before and so was SWMBO.

And we both have sons named Scott! Curiously, I guess, my kids have never met her kids. And none of them are kids anymore.

This story is about SWMBO's Scott.

In this picture of him in California a year or two ago, I think of him as "Indiana Scott." Which is fitting, not just because of the hat, but because he actually lives in Indiana, where he grew up.

We had a telephone call from him about a week ago in which he told his mother "I thought I'd better call you before you find this out from somebody else."


Scott is a contractor and a remodeler and a damned good one at that. But he has a tendency to be a little stubborn. When a refrigerator was delivered to a construction site, he asked the delivery man with some help moving it into the house.

"Not my job", said the delivery man.

So Scott . . . being Scott . . . said "All right, I'll do it myself!"

Well . . . that didn't work out so well. The fridge fell over onto Scott, breaking two bones in his left leg.

He told his Mom that he had broken one of his own rules. He had employees on site who could have and would have helped him but his orneriness took over.

So, he had surgery and his left leg is now full of screws and staples and he's trying to be patient. That is not a good trait of his: patience.

But he has a sense of humor. Some years ago, some friends of his gave him a lift somewhere and as he got out of the car, he got hit by another car and broke two bones in his right leg.

As he told his Mom, "Now I've got a matched pair!"

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Weddings, anyone?

As I was contemplating our near-arch of roses this morning, the thought came to me of how to turn it green. I think I could find some place on the Web that would make me an ordained minister for a relatively small investment. With my papers in hand, I could conduct WEDDINGS!

After all, who doesn't dream of being married surrounded by roses. Just step into my bower, dear hearts, and I shall be happy to commit you to a life of (a. happiness, b. misery == pick one).

And, after the rain, a carpet of rose petals.

Sometimes, my brain just stuns me.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Me and the Times

O.K. I've been reading Mike's blog for a long time now and I've been through his problems with his job, the Mormons, Utah, his kidney cancer, his lawyer daughter, his running son and that ugly dog of his. (Man, he's gonna love that.)

So, I've decided to bare my soul and tell you of my problems with the Newspaper of Record, the New York Times.

For months, maybe years, now I've been taking the Sunday Times delivered to my driveway. Since I live in Lower Butf--k, Arizona, I find this amazing at best. Every Sunday morning, I open my door and there lies the Times in my driveway. Except some Sunday mornings when the delivery guy has had a meth overdose or something and my paper didn't arrive. Or some mornings when it's been lying in the rain or snow for long enough to soak it through. (Note: you can't dry it out in the microwave.)

For this great convenience (mainly for SWMBO who gets through the whole paper in one day while it takes me two, three, four or more days) I pay the New Yorkers 26 bucks a month.

Until this month. I noticed a payment deducted from my bank account on May 6th for $52. Well!!! I called the Times (very convenient: 1-800-NYTIMES) and was told I had been double-billed because I had not paid anything in April. I checked. Yes, I had. My bank account had been debited for $26 on April 8th. I told the guy on the phone about it and he said they had no record of it. I faxed them the proof. (This was on about my third conversation with a third person - - you never get the same guy or gal twice.)

Everyone I talked to said the same thing: we have no record of it but the billing department has opened an investigation and we'll get back to you. I finally asked them to tell the billing department to call me. They never did.

Somebody once told me: go to the top.

So last night, I e-mailed the Publisher (Arthur Sulzberger Jr.) and the President and General Manager (Scott H. Heekin-Canedy), told them the whole story and asked for their prompt attention.

This morning at 8:15 I received a call from someone who said her name was Tanya, who sounded cooperative, or perhaps cowed, who asked me to fax all the bank proofs of my various payments (which now are $78 more than I owe) and she would definitely take care of it. She gave me her private, direct telephone number. She was very sympathetic.

Of course, this is Friday. The beginning of the Memorial Day weekend. I am hoping that maybe, just maybe, by next Tuesday I will hear something back. If not, maybe Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Heekin-Canedy (what kind of a name is that?) will receive yet another e-mail from me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Grillin' 'n' Chillin'

Oh, yeah. It's time to fire up the grill.

What we have here is some asparagus, several boneless skinless chicken breasts and a half a hunk of Artisan bread wrapped in foil.

SWMBO fires up the gas.

This is not time-lapse photography but the first side of that chicken is done. The bread is heating on an upper rack.

The asparagus is in the grill basket. Oh, yeahhhhhh!

Can you smell that chicken?

Can you taste that asparagus and chicken?

Oh, yeah. Fill my plate. Add some brown rice. And my salad: grated carrots and apple, some poached raisins and toasted slivered almonds.

Let's see. Anything else? Oh, yeah, a glass of red wine.

I'm in heaven!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


The local newspaper was full of letters from outraged citizens for months about the damage the construction of a new Lowe's store was doing to a hillside in Prescott. Before that it was more of the same for another hillside for a Wal-Mart construction. Before that it was the "leveling" of Bullwhacker Hill as the Gateway Mall was being built.

But I haven't seen a single comment about the ugly hillside drivers are confronted with as they enter Prescott from the east. As graders and bulldozers have carved away at another hillside to make way for the long awaited highway intersection improvements, they have draped the top of the remaining dirt with some strange type of netting. This has offered (from my car) the rather odd two-toned view as one enters the town. Certainly distracting and definitely not a pretty entrance to the city.

Where are the letters? Or have their authors just given up?

Note: Clicking on the photo will make it even uglier.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More flowers - more snow!

I wonder if this is what is called a rose arbor.

Some different colored neighbors.

But . . . what's that in the distance? We had rain here last night but up on Mingus Mountain, it was what an old disc jockey friend of mine used to call Celestial Dandruff.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Flowers again

Wouldn't that beauty look good in a lapel of one of Tom Wolfe's white suits?

Smoke likes nothing better than to share the patio with us. Especially after he has taken a dirt bath!

The prince of the manor!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Through the lens, blurrily!

It's the front patio flowers bursting into bloom. That time of year. First, the pink roses.

And my favorite, the firecracker rose.

And the pinwheel.

Wait a minute . . . how did that get in here?

Oh, yeah, pansies. That's what I meant.

A mix of geraniums and marigolds.

The marigolds of peace. (Oh, realllllyyy, Catalyst!)

The ever-present Vinca.

Now, I think you can see what I mean. Some of these pictures are a little blurry. Had nothing to do with me holding the camera in one hand and my drink in the other. Just inexperience with this damned camera. One of these days, I'm gonna read the manual. If I can find it.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I was down in Phoenix today to attend an Arizona Diamondbacks game with Steve. The D-backs took on and handily dispatched the New York Mets by a score of 10 to 4.

And as we left the stadium, every attendee was given a small paper coupon like this:
To those of you not familiar with that delicacy, it is a Chalupa. Every time the Diamondbacks score 8 or more runs in a home game, everyone in the stadium gets a coupon for a free Chalupa at any Taco Bell in the state.

I am happy to say that I have claimed several of these coupons on the occasion of games I have attended. The Chalupas are good and they usually represent a Diamondbacks victory.

Our team is now 21 and 9 for the year with the best record in the Major Leagues by nearly 100 points. Brandon Webb, who got the win today, is the top pitcher in the game with a 7 and 0 start. If you want to read more about the game and today's star - Augie Ojeda - go here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Slouching into May Day

Ah, May Day!

A day of revolution.

Of parades.

Of spring!

And of spring flowers!

Unfortunately, in Denver, Colorado, the tulips were coated with snow today as a storm moved across the state.

(Pictures courtesy . . . oh, o.k., they were swiped . . . from the KUSA-TV web site. Thanks guys.)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Out come the plants!

As the BRD says every 12 months at about this time: "This is my favorite time of the year. Greening up the patio."

She was out for 3 hours before we were aware of it this morning, planting, bringing big plants out of their winter quarters in her sun porch, watering. By the time I noticed it, she was back in her recliner, panting. So, what has she done? Well . . .

The hibiscus plants below are ours and they're showing the signs of their winter neglect. But as they were dry, they were a lot easier to bring out of the house. And with some watering, they'll soon be putting out daily red blossoms.

One of the guardians of the patio was purchased a few years ago in Mexico. He weighs a "ton".

In case he's not enough to scare away pests, there's a ferocious though colorful gila monster close at hand.

He and the turtle are pals.

While they guard our entrance, Saint Francis is nestled among the plants guarding the BRD's.
Right now. It's mostly green. But a lot more color will come in the days ahead. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A new day - a new year

The BRD took me (the birthday boy), SWMBO and the Normster out for dinner last night. Each of the couples shared a pound of mussels in a Dijon and Chardonnay sauce.


Then I had a New York strip steak and a baked potato.

The Normster and the gals all were more sensible - they had fish.

Oh, and as I told Mike over at his blog, I decided to pay tribute to him. I had several of these:

Yeah. That's a gin and tonic. Mike's favorite drink back before he became a one-kidney superstar. He does not seem to appreciate my nod to him, though. He's not only quit drinking alcohol he has kicked the cigarette habit as well. I dropped cigarettes back in 1991 when we returned from Mexico and confronted the high price of tobacco.

So, in all seriousness, I say congratulations, Mike. Eventually you will not miss either of these bad habits and you'll feel a heck of a lot better.

In the meantime, to another blogger pal . . . Tombo who likes to cook and photograph his dishes, I'll say "Look at those pictures above, Tombo, and eat your heart out!!!"

For the sake of honesty: I swiped all those pictures off the Internet but they are a good representation of what was on our table.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Neither I nor SWMBO can remember what these things are called. They look like tiny roses so this year we're calling it the rosette plant. But, with the exception of the Vinca, it's usually the first thing that shows blossoms in our front garden. And it just seems to explode from nothing to fully covered with blossoms overnight.

It makes old sunny face (on the left) smile a bit.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The end of 67!

Tomorrow will mark the end of my 67th year.

Hard to believe.

This is a picture of me from 38 or so years ago. A young stud. Cleft chin and all. I don't remember that. But the glasses on top of the head? Typical. Even now.

What have I learned in all these years?

What have we all learned?

First of all, not to eat so much. That sculptured chin looked pretty good!