Tuesday, December 15, 2009


As one gets older, one of the joys of Christmas is getting cards with photos enclosed. Usually, it's photos of children of your relatives. Such was the case yesterday when a card arrived from one of our granddaughters, along with photos of her two sons. Our great-grandsons. That seems amazing to say but it's true. So here are two Colorado cowboys . . . Kyle and Donovan, looking ready to rope the range.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A foggy morning

Well, look at what I was surprised with this morning.

As a Sherlock Holmes fan, all I could think of was The Hound of the Baskervilles howling across the moors.

The weather wizards say the fog will burn off this morning and our Arizona sun will return, along with high temperatures in the upper 50's, for the rest of the week.

That's good. I like a foggy day but no more than one in a row!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Most of the snow has disappeared at our elevation but it's still icy, with piles of snow alongside roads and in parking lots, in Prescott . . . only a few miles away but a few hundred feet higher. But it is COLD! The overnight low forecast for tonight is 18 degrees. Of course, up in North Dakota, where I grew up, it's supposed to be 9 degrees BELOW zero tonight with wind chills at 30 below. Arizona is still better.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

An inch or snow of snow

Prescott Valley escaped the brunt of the storm. I'd guess we got maybe an inch of snow. Here are some cat tracks out our front door.

I notice the neighbors garbage dumpster has blown over into their front yard. That probably happened last night when the wind was blowing at 50+ miles per hour. There was one wind gust clocked at 70 miles per hour just before 11 o'clock and it sounded like the roof was going to come loose.

Here's the view, with a blaze of sunlight, out the rear door.

As you can see, we were just low enough to avoid most of the snow. Higher elevations around the state, particularly up around Flagstaff, got up to 30 inches of snow and several highways are closed.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow day in Arizona

O.K. I know it won't impress most of you from northern climes but I just wanted to show you that even here in Arizona we're getting some snow today. The photos were all taken in and around Prescott so at about 5,500 feet elevation.

Also, this was toward the beginning of the storm at around high noon. If it continues as the weather wizards predict, it could be a lot heavier by tomorrow morning.

Which makes me think this SUV stopped ahead of me in traffic might just have the right name!

68 years ago

This was the scene at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7th, 1941 as the U.S.S. Arizona burned and sank after being bombed by the Japanese in a sneak attack. 1,177 men lost their lives in the cataclysm. The battleship was authorized by Congress in 1913, one year after Arizona was admitted to the Union. She was launched in 1915, sponsored by Esther Ross, daughter of a prominent Arizona pioneer, W.W. Ross of Prescott.

After her sinking, she remained (and does to this day) on the floor of the sea. While the superstructure and turrets were removed, the body of the ship lies silently underwater, now part of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Here comes winter!

When I arose from the arms of Morpheus this morning, the temperature was 14 degrees outside. 14 DEGREES Fahrenheit! Wait a minute. This is Arizona where people come to spend their balmy winter days. The home of the snowbirds from the normally colder, snowier northlands. Not only that. The weather forecast is saying rain and snow are on the way. The old Catalyst is feeling a bit chilly this morning.

Other than staying in the house with the furnace blasting warmth throughout what can one do? Ah, there's the Internets with their wealth of photographs of places warmer, balmier, sunnier than here.

I'm feeling better already. I'll have another Margarita, please.
(Click on that second photo for the full effect.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Speaking of Christmas . . .

The Jersey Lilly Saloon, on Whiskey Row in Prescott, has put up its Christmas decor for the year.

Up on their balcony, a family of carolers is holding forth.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Crazy Cat

I forgot to mention earlier that Granny J tipped me to this video. Thanks, Julie!

Um, okay . . .now where are my twinkle lights?

Looks like it's going to be a weird Christmas around these parts.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I made my first-ever risotto last night. We accompanied it with peppers, onions and mild Italian sausage. SWMBO was a bit dubious when I said I wanted to make the risotto but she stayed in the other room, offered advice when asked and heard no screaming or profanities from the kitchen. (Unlike my last adventure there when I made fried rice, overheated the sauces and managed to spill a lot of boiling soy sauce over the table, the floor and myself.) The risotto was delicious, fragrant with Parmesano Reggiano cheese from Italy. (Well, actually, from the supermarket but they claimed it came from Italy.) And I love the sausage and peppers combination.

Sorry, no photos.

- - -

Sports today and a football game for the ages. Arizona lost when Tennessee's quarterback Vince Young threw a last ditch touchdown pass with no time left on the clock. But it was a terrific game and backup quarterback Matt Leinert performed admirably after learning he would start on the morning of the game. Regular quarterback Karl Warner woke up with a sore neck and concussion symptoms and pulled himself from the game. But Leinert pulled out a great performance, I think his best since he joined the team two years ago. It's just too bad the good guys couldn't hang on to win the game but Young is a terribly poised player having a great comeback from a couple of years when he didn't play.

O.K. I know a number of you could care less so I'll stop with the sports talk.

- - -

Our weather has turned. Temperatures topped out today and will for the rest of the week in the 50's (F) and there was frost in the driveway when I went out for the paper this morning. Brrr.

- - -

Thanksgiving was delicious but SWMBO reminded me today that she can barely stand turkey so the bulk of the leftovers are mine! I love it so I'm happy. There was a recipe in the New York Times Sunday magazine recently for Bobby Short's Carlyle Chicken Hash which I have my eye on. I think turkey would work as well as chicken so I may try it before the leftovers are gone.

I read somewhere in the past few days that people prefer the leftovers to the main meal by a substantial margin.

And so it goes, and so I grow. Bon Appetit!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A near thing

I heard Smoke outside the back door and figured he was calling to be let in. But when I opened the door, I found him and our newest interloper (call him Blackie) nose to nose. Smoke kept warning him away in that "we're gonna fight" sound. Which is strange because while Smoke is the biggest cat around, he's the most placid one and lets the other two run over him.

But, as I watched, Blackie kept v-e-r-y slowly inching backward while trying to keep an eye on Smoke and his intentions. If he turned and took a couple of steps, Smoke lunged at him. This went on all across the backyard as I was calling Smoke and trying to defer him. He was ignoring me. Eventually, he chased Blackie up the side of the house and under the gate. As I neared him, Smoke leaped to the top of the fence and went over.

A few minutes later, I went to the front door and Smoke placidly walked up and came in the house. Invasion altered, peace reigned again in the world. At least for the time being. Blackie, who we think belongs to our neighbor because he spends a lot of time around our house, is an unaltered male and there may be more trouble in store. Stay tuned.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving is over . . . again!

SWMBO and I hosted our Thanksgiving fete last night, with only the BRD and her beau, J'Norm, attending. Lots of good food, spirited conversation. Too spirited, it seemed, for Muggles . . . who was green with envy.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Signs of the times

In an area of north Prescott where I frequently drive, I noticed a sign added to a road sign the other day.

I had to stop and get close to read it, though. Considering that many motorists whiz by at more than the 15 mph speed limit, I wonder how many of them have had the chance to read the words.

Can't beat the neighbors for giving it a try, anyway. We all have more time than we think.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Trip

SWMBO and I made a trip to Phoenix this past weekend. Once in awhile, we decide to go to the big city and "blow it out". This was one of those trips. It will take a while for our waist lines and our budget to recover but it was worth it. A great trip.

The main reason for going was to attend a reunion party of present and former employees of KPNX-TV in Phoenix. I worked there from 1972 to 1985 so I was not expecting a lot of people from my era. What a surprise! The party drew about 275 people, including probably 20 to 30 from my days at the station. It was great fun and I had a fabulous time renewing acquaintances with many former co-employees.

But after the party, we still had things to do. Sunday we went to a very well-juried art fair at City Center North . . . in far north Phoenix. Great art.

One young lady had a great time pulling the towels off the bottom of several of these wire sculptures to see what was underneath!

Since they're pushing up to Christmas, there were even some carolers.

The day before that, we decided to ride the new Light Rail system and got on it at Central and Camelback in Phoenix and rode for nearly an hour to Mesa, then back again. The system is very smooth and convenient and travels directly through central Phoenix, with stops at museums, downtown, and sports stadiums . . both in Phoenix and on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe. It's a great addition to the city.

Here are some photos from the train. The first, a nice view of the historic Tovrea Castle.
I felt like we were in San Francisco or Seattle as several riders wheeled their bicycles on board and hung them up vertically on rails.

There were some fabulous sculptures alongside the stations.

And a great view of Tempe Town Lake as we crossed the water.

Now let me tell you about the food.

On the way down to the city, a stop at Rock Springs for huge cheeseburgers and patty melts.

Friday night a wonderful meal at Steamers' restaurant in the Biltmore Shopping Center. Just forget about the S'mores dessert. After a huge prawn appetizer and a seared Sea Bass for me and a wonderful Calamari in Thai Sauce appetizer for SWMBO topped off with Swordfish, the dessert was extremely amateurish. But the rest of the meal, the restaurant and the service was fantastic.

Saturday early afternoon, we stopped at the Cheesecake Factory, where SWMBO dined on a pulled pork sandwich and I had a Flatiron Steak, par excellence. My steak was not thin like the Flatirons I had had in another restaurant, but more like a New York strip. Perfectly done and tender. We shared a great signature dessert which combined Red Velvet cake and cheesecake.

Sunday was careful. Just some snacking from our own hotel cooler until dinner at night. Then we went to an old favorite, Tomaso's Italian Cuisine. Owner Tommy Maggiore was in the house and I told him we had been coming there since he first opened the restaurant back in the 1970's. I had Clams Casino and SWMBO Stracciatella soup for appetizers, then she had Veal Marsala and I dined on Veal Osso Buco, which I had enjoyed there before. The risotto was marvelous and our shared Cannoli with some Lemon Gelato topped the meal, along with Tomaso's special Cappucinos.

Today was a coming-home day so we made the traditional trip to Trader Joe's market, checked out AJ's market (way too expensive for us) and went to a Miracle Mile delicatessen for Straw sandwiches before heading for home.

A quick stop when we were about 25 miles from home to finish off the trip with iced mochas.

And now the diet starts.

Well, actually, that may not be until Friday. After all, Thursday is Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

And here's one of the greatest "cats" of all time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


This cat looks like my Smoke but he isn't. Must be a distant relative. I must thank Warren from Touch the Wind for sending him and others along. I'll be sharing more of them with you in the days ahead.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Once I was blind . . .

I just had SWMBO take these photos to show how I inflicted myself on my fellow citizens today. I wasn't really seeking sympathy but I needed a long-sleeved shirt and this was the one I pulled out of my closet. I thought it went perfectly with the hat and glasses so I sallied forth.

Here's the rest . . . as Paul Harvey would say . . . of the story.

The shirt is actually some free advertising for a friend of mine who has a venetian blind company in Prescott.

You may all now release that breath you've been holding!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Lacuna

I have just finished reading a new novel by the author Barbara Kingsolver. "The Lacuna" is a marvelous tale that leads a young boy to move to Mexico at the age of 12, to eventually work as a cook and other minor jobs for Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Lev Trotsky. After Trotsky is murdered, the boy moves first to New York and then to Asheville, North Carolina. He becomes a famous author with his novels based on Mexican history before running afoul of the House Unamerican Activities Committee during the Communist scare of the late 1940's and early 1950's.

The book is a spell-binding tale that weaves in and out of Mexican and American history.

Highly recommended by this blogger.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009


Friday the 13th. One of those mythically dangerous days when one must watch out for black cats, not walk under ladders, and the like. But there's more.

There is a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Balder died and the Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned.

There is a Biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper.

A particularly bad Friday the 13th occurred in the middle ages. On a Friday the 13th in 1306, King Philip of France arrested the revered Knights Templar and began torturing them, marking the occasion as a day of evil.

In ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.

Both Friday and the number 13 were once closely associated with capital punishment. In British tradition, Friday was the conventional day for public hangings, and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose.

It is traditionally believed that Eve tempted Adam with the apple on a Friday. Tradition also has it that the Flood in the Bible, the confusion at the Tower of Babel, and the death of Jesus Christ all took place on Friday.

Numerologists consider 12 a "complete" number. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus. In exceeding 12 by 1, 13's association with bad luck has to do with just being a little beyond completeness.

And there's more.

More than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor.

Many airports skip the 13th gate.

Airplanes have no 13th aisle.

Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.

Italians omit the number 13 from their national lottery.

On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 and a half.

Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue

In France, socialites known as the quatorziens (fourteeners) once made themselves available as 14th guests to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.

Many triskaidekaphobes, as those who fear the unlucky integer are known, point to the ill-fated mission to the moon, Apollo 13.

If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck . Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names.

Here in sunny Arizona, it's a typical Friday the 13th day. I woke early and suddenly this morning with what sounded like two gunshots. When I got out of bed, both cats were acting nervous and looking toward one side of the house, where there is a sunporch with windows. I looked and looked but saw nothing. No police cars. No bodies. Nothing.

Nothing that is except a very grey day with wet streets indicating a light rain had fallen. Nothing else. One might say "a perfect Friday the 13th day."

All historical trivia courtesy of http://www.corsinet.com/trivia/scary.html#friday

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So...I'm picky!

Jazz is very particular about her water dish. She wants it freshened every day. But when it's fresh, there are a bit of foggy bits rolling around in it. So Jazz hunkers down over it and watches it until the water is clear. Then, and only then, can she drink. And drink. And drink.

Cats are so good to live with. They can teach us so much.