Sunday, May 20, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I asked SWMBO what these blossoms were called and she told me "begonias".  That's be-GON-yas with a long O.  Whenever I hear a word like that it takes me back to a trip I took some years ago with my friend Steve.  I'll call him Baseball Steve to distinguish him from other Steves and Stephens who read this blog.  Baseball Steve is the guy who has treated me to many Diamondbacks games.

Anyway, we made a trip one Fourth of July to the tiny town of Patagonia, in southern Arizona.  Patagonia is pronounced like begonia.

And that took me further back to a song I heard decades ago.  Turn up your sound, please, and listen to the mastery of B.B. King.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I was out taking a look at what remains in the back yard last night.  Lo and behold, the much ignored honeysuckle bush just keeps right on growing.

The fragrance of a honeysuckle vine in full bloom is almost beyond compare. 

And it prompted turning to a great tune by the immortal Fats Waller.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


The BRD reports that the gekko lizards come up onto her front porch in the morning to warm up after a cool night.  She opens her inside door, leaving the screen door closed.  And all three of her cats line up side-by-side to watch the show on their very own Kitty TV!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012


We are home after a couple of days in the big city of Surprise, Arizona, a western suburb of Phoenix.  We attended a friend's retirement party, then celebrated SWMBO's (number deleted) birthday with a wonderful dinner at the Vogue Bistro.  It's a French restaurant with a celebrated female chef, Aurore . . from a variety of restaurants including the Four Seasons in Chicago.  A couple of marvelous and huge martinis preceded foie gras, Oysters Rockefeller, filets mignon, a nice bottle of red wine, and a complimentary creme brule for the birthday girl.  (She shared.)  An unforgettably good meal.

The next night's dinner, at an Italian restaurant, was forgettable.  'Nuff said.

We got home at noon today.  SWMBO is taking a much needed nap and I'm about to follow.  I may soon look like Muggles did the other day. 

As SWMBO would say, "that is a very domesticated cat!"

Friday, May 11, 2012


Among the smaller birds (as opposed to birds of prey like hawks and eagles) I don't think any is as brave as the robin.  All he needs is a little running water to practically come up and sit in your hand.

"Hmmm, are you sure this is safe?"

"Oh, that feels so nice.  My feet were getting very hot with all this hopping around."

"Okay, you got my profile.  Now how about a face-on portrait.  And while you're at it, how about my theme song!"

Thursday, May 10, 2012


This smooth lookin' car should be retired.  Why?  Because it's 65 years old!  It's a 1947 Ford.

When it was brand new, it probably sold for around $2,500.  Restored, with all original parts, it will cost a bit more.

The car is parked outside Empty Pockets Garage in Prescott Valley, Arizona, which advertises that they work on "street rods & customs."

Here's another one parked in front of the garage.

This one is a 1934 Ford.  But I wouldn't have had to tell you that.  All you'd have to do is get behind the proud owners' "set of wheels".

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Yesterday was a sad day.  First there was a crashing defeat for U.S. Senator Richard Lugar in the Indiana Republican primary.  He was defeated by a 20 percent margin by a Tea Party backed state treasurer.

When I first got to know Richard Lugar in 1969 he was the mayor of Indianapolis and he started it on a growth pattern that has made it a cosmopolitan Midwestern city.  Before Lugar's reign it used be called Indian-No-Place and the cornfield with lights.  Earlier this year it hosted a stellar celebration of the Super Bowl.

I covered Lugar for three years before leaving Indy.  I was super impressed by Lugar's intelligence and the genius that was Uni-Gov, extending the city limits to take in all of Marion County.  I can still see Lugar's wry smile and the twinkle in his eye when he was pleased by something a reporter had asked him.

Lugar went on to the U.S. Senate and has spent 36 years there.  He's white haired, 80 years old and heavier than he was in those golden days gone by.  But listening to him speak it was obvious that his health and his intelligence was just fine.  I think he could easily have done another six year term.  But the voters thought otherwise.  It was a rude way to treat a man who has done so much for Indiana, the nation and the world.

Closer to home, fire broke out in a barbecue restaurant that shared a building on Prescott's legendary Whiskey Row with a food store and with a long-time and well-loved saloon, the Bird Cage.  Firemen fought a great battle keeping the flames from spreading to the rest of the Row but when it was over the Bird Cage and the other two businesses were totally gutted.  Even at noon today, hundreds of people were standing across the street staring at the rubble.  Many seemed stunned.

Weekends used to see dozens of motorcycles coming and going and parked in front of the Bird Cage.  Many folks who didn't spend time there thought it was a biker bar.  And it was.  But there were also hippies and city leaders and businessmen.  And a lot of people who just loved good music.  A lot of bands have played at the Cage and a lot of people have danced on its miniscule dance floor.

But no more.

At least for now.

There's no good word yet on whether the building will be rebuilt though many people who have heard about the great fire of 1900, in which the entire Whiskey Row was burned to the ground and later rebuilt, are saying the Cage has to be rebuilt. 

We'll see.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


No macros today.  Just a couple of photos to show you how our roses have burst into bloom this week.  First the arbor covered with Fourth of July blossoms.

Then the pink roses against one of the walls.

The Fourth of July roses are the ones I had been calling Firecracker Roses ever since they had first been planted several years ago.  But Keith, aka Bricky from way down in southern New Zealand corrected me recently and the Google confirmed it.  So from now on, they are Fourth of July roses.

Now, as to the patio.  Let me thank all of you who responded to my plea for help and advice as to what to do with it.  While several of you suggested the multi-colored abstract SWMBO had thought of, in the finality of it we had to consider that we just live here.  The duplex belongs to the BRD and she wasn't keen on the idea of the reddish-brown being mixed up with green and blue and white.  So the artist, Stephen aka the Chubby Chatterbox, had the best suggestion and we are going to go with another coat of a similar color to what's already there.  It should give it the look we'll enjoy without becoming too much for future tenants, should we decide to move some day. 

One other thing: While I have used the word "we" generously, I can assure you (much to the continued laughter of Dana, the Bug) that I shall avoid at all costs being involved in anything other than possibly driving the gals to and from the paint store.

Monday, May 7, 2012


When we moved in here, the front patio was bare, grey concrete.  Neither SWMBO nor the BRD liked that so they tinted it with a sort of reddish-brown stain.  After a year or two it started looking kind of ugly.  So they bought some paint of the same shade and they painted it.  Voila!  A nice new patio.

That was some time ago and it's started looking bad again.  After some discussion the gals decided to take the paint off right down to the bare concrete.  So Judy has worked on it for 7 or 8 hours with a power washer.  The paint comes off . . . mostly.  But the stain is another matter.  So here's the current result.

Now most people would probably say (as I did), "Man, that looks terrible."  But then it started to grow on me.  I think it kind of looks like a patio in one of those old homes in Italy or Mexico.

SWMBO, being of an artistic nature, said she was thinking about getting some blue and green pigments and doing a sort of abstract earth-as-scene-from-outer-space patch job on it.  I think that's a pretty good idea but nothing has been decided yet.

What do you think?

(By the way, you will notice that this has been from the start and continues to be the gals' project.  I have studiously avoided getting anywhere near any manual labor on it.  But I'm always eager to give my opinion on their work.)

Sunday, May 6, 2012


These were the best I could do with my little point-and-shoot camera.  They're blurry but . . .

The next one was taken the night before last.

Nothing there that's going to appear in any photography magazines.  But, as you can tell, I have no shame.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


First, Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) is not Mexican independence day.  That is September 16th.

Cinco de Mayo marks a battle near Puebla in which a 4,000 man Mexican army defeated an 8,000 man French army.  The French army at the time was considered the best in the world.  Big day for Mexicans.  But a year later the French conquered the Mexicans and established Maximilian as the emperor of Mexico.

However, he didn't last long either.  Three years later the Mexicans, with increased support from the United States, overthrew and executed Maximilian and drove the French out of Mexico.

For some reason, Cinco de Mayo caught on as a day of celebration.  But except for the area around Puebla and beach resorts that cater to Americans, not in Mexico.  No, the holiday is celebrated widely in the United States, predominately by non-Mexicans.  Go figure.

So . . . what to do?  That's easy.  Margaritas, Dos Equis cerveza (beer), tacos, enchiladas, and perhaps some mariachi music!  Viva Mexico!

Friday, May 4, 2012


"Are you pointing that damnable camera at me again?"

"Oh great.  Then you have to hit me with that blinding light.  If I knew how, I'd growl!"


Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I was looking for something special to post for this May Day.  I couldn't find anything in my own life that seemed worthy.  I had a doctor appointment, I went to the library, I took a nap.  Not much there.

So I started looking around You Tube for a suitable video.  Nothing relating to May Day really got to me.  Then I thought of a video my (new) friend Ronaldo Stainforth had posted one day on Facebook.  I searched for awhile and finally found it so here it is.  The amazing Joss Stone.  Thanks again, Ronaldo.

(Oh, and turn up your sound.  Way up.)

Monday, April 30, 2012


SWMBO got this picture of Blackwell, peering out the back window this morning.

Jazz would jump clear up on the window sill to perch.

Muggles couldn't care less.

But Blackwell got past me yesterday evening, in spite of a glancing kick to his head.  He came to us from the outer world but after being neutered and, on more than one occasion, taking advantage of being let out with us by going over a six foot fence to "explore" . . we have successfully kept him in the house.  But last night, he escaped.  Spring hormones, maybe.  Well, he spent about an hour outside before he came home and was coaxed in the front door, partially by Jazz whining and snarling at him.

He wants to go out.  But we don't trust him.  He got horribly hurt when he was a kitten and lived outdoors and I (and my bank account) just don't want that again.  Granted, he is a much bigger cat now and probably could handle himself.  But, there are cars and occasionally coyotes and javelinas and skunks and so . . . he stays inside.

But we let him look.  And dream.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


That's how it looked a few days ago as rain showers moved in for a day.

Here's what it produced.

Those are called mock roses and they are the first to bloom.

The last three are called Firecracker Roses.

I think you can see why.

Saturday, April 28, 2012