Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, Alaska!

It's Alaska's birthday today. 51 years ago, on January 3rd, 1959, President Eisenhower signed papers officially making it a state.

And you can see Russia from there.

Well, not from Anchorage. Or Wasilla. Or especially not from the state capitol in Juneau. But as you can see from this map (if you expand it by clicking on it) on a clear day you can probably see Russia from the island of Little Diomede. A little bit of it anyway.

Happy birthday, Alaska. Keep your eyes on the skies.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


You may not have realized this but today's date is palindromic. Yup, that means it reads the same forward to back or backward to front. Need an explanation? Click here.

Can you believe there are people who sit around thinking these things up?

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's a new year!

2010 dawned with a bright, hopeful, sunny day here in Arizona. With it came a new idea for landscape beautification. The city has just re-paved a road across town but January 1st is no time to be growing grass alongside it. So . . . solution? Paint the dirt! Presto! A green border!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

So long, 2009 - Greetings 2010!

There is a tradition in New Orleans to have a funeral parade accompanying the casket to the graveyard. A dixieland band accompanies with a slow, sad song. But once the body is in the ground and the cortege heads back to town, the music changes. To give you an idea of how it goes, here is a famous Dixieland Band from Hungary, of all places - the Benko Dixieland Band. Say goodbye to 2009 and hello to 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Run-up to New Year's Eve

Well, there are only three days (actually about 2-1/2) left of 2009. Soon it will be New Year's Eve. I'm trying to get into the right mood.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve 2009

SWMBO and I were invited to the BRD's house last night for her traditional Christmas Eve dinner.

Beautifully decorated, as usual. And dinner was superb. Mussels in garlic butter sauce, lobster tails, twice-baked potatoes, asparagus, mini-beef Wellingtons, artisanal bread, Creme Brulee. And lots of good wine.

We came home with full tummies.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sun Day

Ah the sun is back, the skies are clear, the temperature is up, most of the snow is gone, all is right once again with the world.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The second shortest day of the year

All right. It was a day late but the snows of winter arrived today . . . first in Prescott.

Some of the houses lend themselves to Christmas card photos when the snow is falling.

As one heads down the hill, it looks slippery (and it was) but to a boy who learned to drive in North Dakota, it was no problem.

Out in Prescott Valley, it took awhile to turn from rain to snow but eventually it did, turning the countryside white.

But now that we've had our "White Christmas" . . even a few days early . . it's time to bring back the sun. And it was trying to burn through at mid-afternoon.

The weather wizards say snow will leave our area tomorrow and the high temperature on Christmas Day is forecast at 48. So by then, this will be only a memory.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The first day of Winter

No snow on our level here, though there is some on the higher peaks in the distance. But the longest day of the year was a mighty bleak one, with a possibility of rain showers tonight and tomorrow.

Oh, good grief. Friend Reed has pointed out that the first day of winter is not the longest day of the year - it's the SHORTEST! I may be getting too old for this.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Yah, well it's Christmas

After some nagging, SWMBO finally decorated for Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

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.