Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I was struck today by how many famous people are celebrating birthdays on the same day - November 19th.  These are just a few of them.

Broadcaster Larry King is 80.

Broadcaster and Writer Dick Cavett is 77.

The founder of CNN, Ted Turner, is 75.

Long-time broadcast newsman Garrick Utley is 74.

Fashion designer Calvin Klein is 71.

Actress Meg Ryan is 52.

Actress and Director Jodie Foster is 51.

All I can think is there must have been a lot of cold Februarys.

If today is your birthday, Happy Birthday!  You're in good company!

Monday, November 18, 2013


The feast began with my (un-photographed) Butternut Squash Soup.

It continued with mini-muffins.  Green chili muffins.  Apple walnut muffins.

 Then there was a fruit salad.

The Beautiful Rich Daughter and She Who Must Be Obeyed gazed at what came out of the oven.

It was a bacon-cheese-potato frittata.

After all that and multiple Bloody Mary's and Mimosas, came the crowning touch.

Lemon and chocolate macarons!

We were well fed.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


This is one our cat Muggles' favorite positions, straddling the couch cushion with a leg or two on either side as if she knows something we don't: that there might be an earthquake at any minute.  As far as we know there never has been one but she's ready, anyway.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


There are two ways to enter or leave the property which houses our residence.  One of them involves crossing 4 speed bumps, the other way involves crossing 13 speed bumps.  Quite obviously we prefer the first route even though the second takes one through the resort area of the property and is much more beautiful.  I took that route this morning on an errand run and discovered this splendiferous front yard display of bougainvillea.

Beautifully landscaped with the prickly pear and small barrel cactus. And no grass to mow!

The flowering plant is at its peak right now and can be seen all over the city in several colors.  The two plants in our back yard are the same color.

The tiny white flowers are overwhelmed by the brightly colored bracts.

But with the colors, which can range between magenta, purple, white, yellow, orange, pink, and red, it is a glorious addition to our desert winters.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Enjoy your weekend, y'all.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


In spite of much clamour and fan worship, the Arizona Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt did NOT win the National League Most Valuable Player Award today.  He WAS second but he was far behind the eventual winner, someone named Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  But he was the highest ranked Diamondback so far.  Matt Williams and Luis Gonzalez each finished third in their careers.  So it goes.

In other news, we went to Food City today and found green onions (scallions) at 3 bunches for a dollar.  Our nearest big market store sells them at about a dollar apiece.  Food City is a chain of grocery stores aimed at the Mexican community.  The announcements over the store loudspeaker are in very rapid (to my untrained ear) Spanish. The specials are Hispanic-oriented.  The selection of spices is beyond compare.  And the prices are great.  We are fortunate to have a couple of their stores nearby.

SWMBO is fixing us burgers right now as we take a break from a great movie "Ladies in Lavender", starring Judy Dench and Maggie Smith.  

This is a great Thursday night.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Now I like cheeseburgers.  No, I LOVE cheeseburgers, especially the kind SWMBO creates.  But this is ridiculous.

That sucker is 10 feet in diameter and weighs more than a ton (2,014 pounds).

It was created Sunday at the Black Bear Casino Resort near Carlton, Minnesota.

The big burger included 60 pounds of bacon, 40 pounds of cheese, 50 pounds of sliced onions, 50 pounds of lettuce and 40 pounds of pickles.

It took about four hours to cook and it was flipped with the use of a crane.

A Guinness Records representative was on hand to verify it as the biggest burger ever and said it tasted "really good."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


A small variety today.  First, SWMBO's latest batch of macarons.

She is perfecting them.  These are chocolate sandwiches with a chocolate cream filling.

Not to make too much of a jump but the BRD is with her friend Suzy, in Santa Fe.  ROAD TRIP!

And you know how road trips wind up.  This time it was Maker's Mark Manhattans at Jinja Bar and Bistro!  Girls will be girls.

And then there's the photo I sent to my friend Scott (the bacon lover) in Dallas this morning.  

As he commented back, "just a little 'L' and 'T' and I'm ready to go!"

Monday, November 11, 2013


Here are some veterans from my family.

My uncle on my father's side, Zenas Howland Taylor.  Sergeant, U.S. Army, World War II.  He served in India and Burma, that I know of. The photo was taken in 1944.

The gravestone of my uncle on my mother's side, Conrad P. Hylland, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army.  He was a veteran of the Pacific War.  He died off Leyte Island in the Phillipines in March, 1945.

The most recent member of the family to go to war.  My grandson, Sergeant Russell Milburn, U.S. Army, Retired.  He is a veteran of Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.  He's shown with his wife, Kayla.

To these men and all of the veterans, on this Veterans Day, I thank you for your service.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


One of the first things we did when we moved back to Phoenix was join the Phoenix Art Museum.  Today we took advantage of our memberships to attend a Preview Day of the new Western art exhibition.

Photography was prohibited of the displayed artworks but they didn't say I couldn't photograph the invitation they mailed me.  So I did.  

The artists displayed a wide variety of works from watercolors to acrylics to charcoal sketches to sculpture.  Here's a photo (from the invitation, again) of a work that was tagged Museum Purchase.  I assume that means it is a permanent part of the Museum's collection.

Since SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) and I are both cat people, we heartily approved of this painting and the purchase.

There was one huge sculpture showing rattlesnakes writhing in a crevice of rock.  It was titled "Fracking" and was priced at $285,000! We didn't bring it home.

Outside on the patio tables and chairs were set up and free kettle corn and drinks (lemonade and iced tea) were being served while a quartet of musicians going by the name of "Ken Clemmer and the Back Porch Bandits" were entertaining.

I had to ask one of them to pose for a picture during a break because of his t-shirt.

Here's a tiny sample of their sound.

And here's a picture of just one of the many other listeners looking for a free handout.

Nice day at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Friday, November 8, 2013


In yesterday's post I told you about a noontime free concert my lovely spouse and I attended at the Mesa Arts Center.  But the excellent music wasn't the only thing I noticed.  There were quite a few ladies there wearing quite sporty footwear.  Like these.

But as I learned and you are soon to, the principle featured pair of shoes were these very high heels worn by Shawn Lawson.

Ms. Lawson, it turns out, is the Volunteers/Festivals Director for MCA.  And she has quite a story to tell.

These free noon concerts draw quite a crowd, you see, many of them senior gentlemen like myself.  And it turns out they have quite an eye for high heels and what it does for a lady's legs.  Shawn has an affinity for heels and soon, she told me, the men were taking notice and wondering what shoe she would wear each week.  And they gave her a nickname.  Spike!

She said now they're hurrying their wives along saying, "C'mon, let's go, we have to see what Spike is wearing this week!"

Ms. Lawson said this has given her one more thing to think about each week - which shoe to wear for the noon-time concert.  After all, there are all those Observant Old Men waiting anxiously.

That sounds a bit better than Dirty Old Men, doesn't it?

So . . . on to the Friday Funnies.

My friend, Diane, sent me a collection of photos of which I have chosen a handful of Cats That Are Not Good at Hide and Seek.

And a cartoon that may not be so funny after all.

And finally something else to ponder.

Keep smilin', folks, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 7, 2013


The Mesa Arts Center began its noontime fall concert series which it calls the Out to Lunch concerts today.  SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) and I drove over to see it.  The price was right.  It was free!

Today's entertainment was Latin jazz provided by Nuevo Nuance.

The Wells Fargo garden area provides a beautiful setting for the events.

Royal palms and mimosa trees work with the lines of the modernistic buildings and shade sails of the Arts Center.

Nuevo Nuance featured a percussionist on conga drums, an electric bass artist, a keyboard player, a man who doubled on violin (or fiddle) and also played a mean flugelhorn, and a long-time veteran of the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra who played flute and piccolo.

Here's a sample of what we heard.

Pretty neat, huh?  Or maybe muy bueno would be a better way to describe it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I went out looking for inspiration yesterday.  

I didn't really find it.  But there were some changing colors in the trees, even here in the desert.

I know.

With all of these green lawns, it doesn't look much like a desert. Many areas and developments use what is called desert landscaping. Sand and rocks and gravel and cacti.  Low water usage.  It seems more reasonable to me.  

But not here.

This is what is called a golf course community.  The homes are all situated close to the golf course that forms the center of this patch of land.

It is beautiful and I'm told the water that keeps it so green is recycled some way so as not to use up the desert's weak supply.

Whenever I meet someone here they always ask "Do you golf?" After all, why else live in such a community.  And while I grew up in a tiny town in North Dakota with a 9-hole golf course and I learned to play there, I haven't had a club in my hand for more than 40 years now. Why is too long a story.  Maybe some other time.

We just landed in this community because we liked the area and the house.  And we have a large green yard that does seem to require a lot of water.  So we live quietly and happily here.

Except for our water bill!

Monday, November 4, 2013


"The party's over, my friend."

The 2013 Luau party hosted by the BRD and her Beau Jack is over. I'm told it was attended by about 25 to 30 people and everyone had left for home by about 1 a.m.  

Here is the happy hostess with one of her friends.

Were you able to see it better you would note that the BRD is wearing a hat which features two palm trees with a hammock strung between them!  It was made by one of her guests.

The men, were attired in floral shirts for the occasion.  Here is Beau Jack (center) with two more of the guests.

I'm reminded of a trip SWMBO made back to the states from our home in Mexico back in 1988.  I was showing my brother and his family some pictures from South of the Border.  My nephew commented very seriously "It seems like there's a lot of facial hair down there!"

Yes there was.  In that, my first retirement, I think the freedom of escape from the normal work cycle in the Estado Unidos led many of we expatriates to abandon our razors.  Nowadays, beards and moustaches are more common up here.

But back to the BRD's party - their was way more than ample food and drink and everyone in her pictures has a big smile on their faces. It was pretty obvious that "a good time was had by all."