Thursday, April 30, 2009

A lazy day

I have been neglecting my blog of late. Sorry.

Today it's sunny, calm and near 80 degrees here. A perfect day to loaf around by a lake.

This is Willow Lake, one of several lakes in our immediate area.

There's even a fishing dock.

So where is everybody?

I saw only one woman heading out from shore in a kayak. If I had a kayak I'd be out on the water too.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Big. Bigger. Biggest!

Roberts Marketplace, out here in Prescott Valley, finally got a flag up their brand new flagpole in front of their brand new store recently.

As I gazed at it with wonder, I couldn't help thinking - - is it

a. Advertising . . a banner designed to lure folks in to the store and gas station,

b. A sign of the patriotic fervor of the store owner,


c. A stick it in your eye display that says "Mine's bigger than yours!"

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Life is curious

I talked on the telephone to my brother last night. It was because of my birthday. We talked for over an hour. It was a good conversation. But we are so different. He is a conservative, I am a liberal. He has become religious, at least church going, I am an atheist. But we still had a good conversation. Strange, how things happen.

Friday, April 24, 2009

YeGods, another birthday!

Truth be told, I have commemorated yet another year on this soil. I won't say which year it was but suffice it to say that the numbers are mounting. Nevertheless, I feel much the same as I have felt for years, nay decades. I know the years are growing and the supposed physical complaints are increasing but most of the time I don't notice them.

SWMBO and I have just returned from a wonderful Italian repast at a local dining establishment, provided in part by the generosity of a friend who supplied me with a gift card. We both dined on something called Lasagna Rollatini in a sauce . . . mine with Italian sausage, hers with chicken breast. And at my insistence, we topped off the meal with more than enough Zeppoli . . . which SWMBO describes as fried dough. Coated in sugar with a chocolate dipping sauce on the side, I found it quite salutory. My companion complained throughout (while devouring one or two of them!) A too pricey bottle of Kendall Jackson wine completed the feast. And now we're safe home to begin the search for yet another year of survival. So it goes.
I snapped a photo in our neighborhood the other day of a resident Roadrunner. He was a fair distance away so when the picture was cropped and blown up, he becomes a bit hazy. But for those of you who have never seen one of these strange creatures, here he is.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The BRD loves weird art!

I was over at the BRD's house today to feed her cats while she's away. SWMBO had been there yesterday and asked me if I'd seen the new birdhouses in the backyard. I hadn't until today but here they are.

Now I ask you, would any self-respecting bird deign to enter such a strange contraption as either of those? Although there are entry holes toward the bottom of each of these Gaudi-inspired structures, I hesitate to think a bird would trust either one of them.

But it's just the latest in a constant menagerie of rather strange objets d'art that fill and overflow her home.

This is, after all, the home of the infamous Blue Monkey.

And there's this rather dopey but lovable looking dog . . one of two.

I have ceased to put rhyme or reason to any of it but just enjoy each new item as it arrives on the scene. Actually, it's kind of nice having a step-daughter with such a whimsical sense of art.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Thought you might like to see how I spent my last week of idleness while my computer, (the dirty b--t-rd), was in the repair shop.

I read a lot, as SWMBO was delighted to show.

You will perhaps notice that I appear to be wearing two pairs of glasses. SWMBO was even more delighted to photograph that oddity.

You see, I recently had cataract surgery on my right eye. While we're waiting (and waiting) for the follow-up doctor appointment and new vision prescription, one eye works great, the other one sucks. So I am wearing my reading glasses, topped with a pair of simple magnifiers from the drug store. The combination allowed me to actually make out the words on the page.

Let me tell you, there is truth in all those bromides about "old age ain't for sissies", et al.

Well, let me tell you, there is nothing in such times of woe as the love of a good . . . . . . cat! My pal, Jazz, who cannot allow me to be seated without seeing (there's that damned word again) advantage of a warm lap. I like to say she loves me. But warmth and comfort may be the true meaning of her closeness.

But it doesn't matter to me. At my advanced age, I'll take what I can get.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Back. At last!

Sheesh! Ten entire days without a computer. Folks, let me tell you. It was painful. It was frustrating. It was nearly mind destroying.

But you know what? After the first couple of days with the knowledge that nothing was going to be done about it for awhile, I slowly adjusted to it and to a slower, quieter time in the past. Before electricity and running water. When we used to go down to the stream and fish away the days, hoping against hope that we'd get a bite. When we used to go down to the park and toss the old baseball around the field. When we used to play something involving a chant of Allee-Allee-Oxen-Free or something like that.

In short, it was ten days of stifling boredom!

But now, I'm back. Mostly. I know the more technically savvy of you, my readers, will be happy to know that I went to the store today and bought an external hard drive that reportedly will hold 500 gigabytes of information and thus back up everything I have written or stored on the various computers I've owned over the last 20 some years and will write or store until the end of time. Better to be safe than sorry. Again. Of course, it's still sitting here in an unopened box but I'll get to it.

I was just wondering one thing as I was driving home and I forgot to ask the young whelp who sold me the thing. What do I do if THAT hard drive crashes?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Further Update

Another day without a computer. The new hard drive that was supposed to arrive today . . . . didn't.

The service man said "We'll try again Friday."

So begins week two with me computerless at home.

Thanks to the town for the use of Internet computers at the public library.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Finally got word from my computer fixer this morning. Hard drive is shot. New one needed. He doesn't have them in stock so it will be at least two more days before my baby is fixed. He doesn't think he can retrieve anything from the crap hard drive.

Woe is me.

But I shall survive and hope to be back soon.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Oh sh . . . . . ucks!





Thursday, April 9, 2009

The continuing saga

It is my interest to keep you, my readers, up to date on the continuing saga of my eyesight.

For example, Miss Kitty asked today if I was using all of my eye drops. So I just wanted her to be assured that I was. SWMBO assisted by taking a picture during a brief nap.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I have survived!


I have lived on. My right eye is that of a newborn babe. I can see small objects at a great distance. I see the ancient kduru grazing on the mountainside. I see gnats around the flanks of cattle in the distance. I see naked ladies through the walls of their houses. (Well, okay, that might be a bit of a stretch.) But my ripped and torn eye is working better than ever. (It's the right eye here, slightly reddened, probably from trying to see through the walls of houses in my neighborhood.)

Here's the best part: The doctor and his nurses told me not to bend or stoop, not to lift over 20 pounds, to take care of myself. And all of this FOR A WEEK OR MORE!!!

Do you realize what that means?

No nasty duties for old Catalyst. SWMBO has been doing stuff that she hadn't even thought about for years. Because she is so caring and doesn't want poor Cat to hurt himself.


But I don't know how long I can keep this "oooooooooohhhhhhhhhh" moaning getting its money's worth.

In the meantime, here's a photo of the Rajah to tide you over.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

By the way . . .

Sheesh, I should have mentioned this before.

But I tend to spend way too much time expending crap about myself.

So, today is different.

In 1971, I was a young radio news reporter in Indianapolis. Well, not so young. I had about 11 years experience in the business. But I was pretty naive. I had dreams of being a writer. I mean, a big writer. Like Hemingway. So I answered one of those ads in magazines that said something like "Famous Writer's School" will teach you to become one of the greats!

Some time later, I got a call from a young woman who said "I'm from the Famous Writer's School and I'd like to talk to you!"

Wow! I thought.

But. I said (thinking that this woman had come all the way from Connecticut or somewhere to sign me up) where are you?

She said she was at a local hotel.

I said "that's a coincidence because a friend of mine is playing drums with his combo at that very hotel tonight and I was planning on coming there." So, uh, can we get together there?

Yes, she could. At 8:00 or there abouts.

Well, I hadn't told her that I was working something like 4 to noon at the radio station so I slept in the afternoon so I could go out at night.

I overslept.

But...I got to the hotel about 45 minutes late . . . or so.

She was wearing a black turtleneck sweater and a blue topcoat.

I was wearing a black turtleneck sweater and a blue topcoat.

We recognized each other immediately. We spent an hour or so while she pitched me. AND let me know that she hadn't come from Connecticut to recognize my talent. She was a local representative.

But I was captivated by her beauty and her intelligence and her charm.




89 days later I married her.

And she has been my love ever since.

Judy (SWMBO) . . . 38 years ago today . . . I love you.

My new look

More signs of my advancing years. Today, I went in for my first cataract surgery. SWMBO has already had it done on both eyes. Friends have had it done. One friend had to wear "coke-bottle-lens" glasses since birth. After her surgeries she suddenly had 20-20 vision without glasses and was, and is, thrilled.

I'm not so happy but then this is the first day and here is how I look.

Now if I could just get SWMBO to stop hiding my white cane . . . .

Monday, April 6, 2009

Happy Time is here!!!

Winter is over. Joyful days of baseball are here once again. And my Arizona Diamondbacks won at home on Opening Day - 9 to 8 over the Colorado Rockies. Two Diamondbacks - Felipe Lopez and Tony Clark - hit two home runs each and Chad Tracy added a fifth round-tripper to provide the winning margin.

It's a great day! Now everybody sing along!

Friday, April 3, 2009


Prescott Valley has a spring tradition. Wind! Today was one of those days as it has been windy all day.

Flags were straining at the tops of high poles and even street signs were waggling back and forth.

And when one lives in a desert environment, high winds mean clouds of dust. See if you can see this duststorm in the distance.

I tell ya - it's enough to make a person just want to . . . . . sing!

- - - - - - - -

On another subject, we have another new restaurant coming to the neighborhood. It's taking over the site formerly occupied by the Apple Pan, and before that by Uncle Sal's. We'll just have to wait and see how this one works out. It's apparently related to CB's Cowboy Bistro in nearby Chino Valley so maybe that will help.

Oh, yegods! Am I getting old or what? Tombo corrected me (see comment below) and I checked it out and I was totally off my rocker on this. The restaurant in Chino Valley is actually CD's Cattle Company, formerly the Ugly Green Restaurant, and not CB's Cowboy Bistro. Sheeeeesh!!!

On all future postings on this blog, wait a day or so for the corrections before you tell anyone else. Blast!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy 4th!

In what has become a tradition, the Beautiful Rich Daughter (BRD) and her beau celebrated their 4th anniversary this morning. For the 4th time, the BRD and JNorm traveled by chauffered limousine to the county courthouse to take out a marriage license. As of yet, those licenses have not been acted upon. After going through the formalities (the folks at the license window now recognize them) they go to the Peacock Room at the Hassayampa Hotel for Bloody Marys, Mimosas and Eggs Benedict. It's an odd sort of ritual but they seem very happy.

This time they included She Who Must Be Obeyed (SWMBO) and I in the fun. While we didn't accompany them to the licensing, we did join them for breakfast. As the expression goes - a good time was had by all.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


All right.

Here's where I lose some of you.

Maybe all of you.


It's time to talk of politics.

I think Barack Obama is doing a pretty good job as President. Sure, he's not pleasing everyone, especially some of the people who supported him in his run for the presidency. But. But. He can not make everyone happy. When he became president, he learned many things that he didn't know as a candidate. He perhaps changed some of his positions, or some of his actions based on his views during the campaign. But a campaign is not a presidency. So things change. Live with it.

Again. The campaign is not the presidency. The candidate does not know all that he will come to know as president.

So. He is now the president. His decisions have angered some...perhaps many. But he's been president for TWO MONTHS!!!! Give the man a break!!!

And that's all I've got to say.

At present.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What a little water will do, do, do . . .

Here's a photo of the terrain around Prescott Valley. Pretty dry. But you have to remember this is the high desert so dry is in.


Let's pull that lens back a bit.

Oh! What's all this green stuff? Why it's the Stoneridge (aptly named) Golf Course. See what some water and some mowers can do . . . even here in dry, dry, dry Arizona? Did I mention money? Yeah, a lot of money helps, too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Arizona Sycamores

The part of Arizona where Montezuma's Castle is located appears to have once been covered with water. The Arizona Sycamores grow there, looking as if they have been living underwater.

Their bark appears, at a distance, to be ghostly white.

But the closer you get, the more you see the bark resembles camouflage.

It is very noticeable when you get very close.

You can learn more about these trees here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Grand Canyon

Arizona's greatest tourist attraction.

The Grand Canyon.

Or as a sardonic friend of mine once said, upon first seeing it, "Well, it's a great canyon but I'm not sure it's a grand canyon."

It's still an awe-inspiring sight.

There are those who can't seem to get close enough to the rim. (Click on these pictures for a "closer view.")

But wait! There's more! As we were heading away from the Canyon, we spotted these two cow elk. There really are two. The lighter one has her head down.

And, in spite of all those signs in Northern Arizona that say "Watch for Elk" and I had never seen one, these two and several others were peacefully wandering very close to the road. Here's the initial shot.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Montezuma's Castle

I drove over to Montezuma's Castle National Monument the other day. It was built and occupied by the Sinagua Indians around 1400 A.D. The first photo shows what was called Castle A by archaelogists.

It really is nothing more than some caves hollowed out of the cliff. Years later, a five-story masonry construction was built higher up on the cliff wall. Supposedly about 45 people lived in the "apartment house" before mysteriously fleeing the area, never to return.

The ruins are now off-limits to tourists although a park is operated at the base of the cliff and thousands of visitors come to the park annually. I've been there several times but this week was a perfect time to visit with temperatures around 70 degrees.

Incidentally, the name "Montezuma's Castle" is a misnomer. When the ruins were discovered by European Americans in the 1860's, they were believed to have been built by followers of the Aztec emperor of Mexico. In truth, he never came anywhere near this far north. But the name stuck.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Montana Girl

My cousin, Bonnie Rae, has been here for a couple of days visiting.

It's quite a trip. She lives in Billings, Montana.

Yesterday we spent all day touring Northern Arizona.

First an examination of an Arizona Sycamore tree at Montezuma Castle Park.

Then a trip to Arizona's most popular tourist destination. No - not my house. The Grand Canyon. Bonnie had visited the North Rim but this was her first trip to the South Rim.
She was amazed at the vast number of other tourists there - especially as we hunted for a parking place. We would have found parking easier had we been traveling on these.

We stopped in at a motorcycle shop the other day and Bonnie tried out a Victory bike. I was amazed at the size of the biggest bikes but was assured that while weighing about 800-plus pounds they were delicately balanced and easy to ride on the highway.

I'll take their word for that.

Anyway, it was a good visit with this adventurous Montana girl.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tokin' with Larry

I just don't know if I can believe this. But . . . you decide.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

Oh it's that day again.

As always the leprechauns have been out painting a shamrock in a P-town intersection.

Actually, the leprechauns come from this nearby establishment.

The folks at Murphy's bar and restaurant tend to celebrate St. Paddy's Day in a big way every year. But they have some competition now from another Irish pub and restaurant.

The folks here intend to get into the day early.

And after one or two of those 60 ounce pitchers of Killians, the flag out front may look more like this.

Happy St. Patrick's Day and . . . take a cab home from the pub!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring is in the air

This may be my favorite time of year here because of the flowering trees.

These purplish trees are everywhere right now.

As always the photos are even more spectacular if you click on them.