Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I made the drive down to Mesa yesterday to attend the annual Stanley picnic.  It's a reunion of people who grew up in Stanley, North Dakota.  You wouldn't think there would be that many people from a town nobody's ever heard of to hold a picnic but it is a pretty good sized gathering.  I'd guess somewhere between 50 and a hundred folk were there. I linked up with my old buddy from kid-hood, Jim Burbidge.  

Jim is a retired (I assume) dentist who celebrated his 75th birthday a short time back and I have mine in sight.  As I told several people yesterday, every time I write that I can't believe it.  What happened to the years?

I also met one of my classmates that I haven't seen since we both graduated from high school way back in 1958.  And a number of other people I hadn't seen in years, no, decades.  When I called my brother up in North Dakota last night to tell him about all of HIS classmates I had met up with yesterday . . I said these gatherings are a good thing because people are dropping off this mortal coil at an increasingly alarming rate so it's good to see them while they're still alive and kicking.  And he told me about yet another funeral he had attended recently for one of our contemporaries.

By the way, I should thank Jim.  He's become a big fan of Oddball and was promoting it to some of our fellows yesterday.  At my age I can use all the fans I can get.

So, down and back and today it's off to visit a new doctor for a first visit.  No problems, just getting established.  After all, it's a good time of year to take stock.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Today, some photos to mark a few things.

First, the Westminster Dog Show.

Oh, yeah, and all that snow back in the East.

There are some creative folks sculpting their own versions of "snow men".

But for real creativity . . in the costume department . . one has to head down South, to N'awlins, where today is Fat Tuesday.  Happy Mardi Gras, everyone.

It won't be sober but at least have a safe day, revelers.

Monday, February 16, 2015


Happy Presidents' Day!

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Some views from my trip to Jerome on Friday.  It's only about 20 miles away but worlds of difference.

Through a forest, up and over a mountain.

The narrow winding road then brings us to a legendary town perched on the other side of the mountain.

Some buildings have fared better than others.

In the restored Grand Hotel, sparkling wine glasses await new customers . . .

. . . amid stories of the past.

Outside a one-time bordello, later a reknowned restaurant and now a quirky gift shop, the House of Joy, mysteries linger.

In the post office, brass mailboxes line up on duty.

Outside a perky indication of modernity in the street.

And a stylish hat awaits its owner.

The views over the Verde Valley to the cliffs of the Red Rocks are amazing.

And heading for home, the rocky cliffs bear silent witness to all that has gone before.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Happy Valentine's Day!

Yes, we know all about that. But it is a very special day here in Arizona.  It's our birthday!

No.  Not mine.  The state of Arizona's.  The Grand Canyon State is 103 years old today.

And, yes, anyone reaching that age has a few lines in it's face.

But since it was the 48th state admitted to the Union, you can say it is still on the road to the future.

The most recent estimated population of Arizona is around 6.7 million. But roughly 4 million of those are located in the Greater Phoenix area.  So there's still plenty of room.

Happy Birthday, Arizona!

(All pictures were taken yesterday on a typically beautiful day in my state)

Friday, February 13, 2015


So it's Friday the 13th.  So what? Unless you're a fiercely true triskaidekaphobian you'll just laugh it off.  And laugh some more. Here's some help.

There!  That ought to take care of those superstitious fears.

Thanks for ALL the contributions (I still have a few to kick off next Friday) and remember this, folks: always keep laughing, no matter what the calendar tells you.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Once upon a time back in the 1980's, SWMBO and I lived in Mexico for a little over four years.  The BRD came down to visit us several times and once, in our inner courtyard in Guadalajara, I captured this picture of my two beautiful ladies in red.

It's no wonder I was smiling, as in this picture at my favorite place, the beach.  (Those aren't abs, they're ribs.  I got pretty skinny in Mexico.)

Ah the good times.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


We have always collected rocks and things left by the sea.  As I am approaching the three-quarters of a century mark on this orb, I am finding new interest in this detritus.  I have no idea where these things came from but I enjoy the shapes and patterns that have been formed by nature. There's a copper pot full of them on our back patio which my camera discovered the other day.

These artifacts have come from three seas - the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Mediterranean - over the years.  As well as various and sundry rivers, creeks, lakes and the like.  

There are a few sharp edges but the rolling of waters has smoothed the surfaces in most cases. I find pleasure in the smooth and unpredictable bends and the round shapes caused by the constantly flowing water. It is difficult to comprehend how something as soft as water can abrade the rocks into such curvaceous bodies.

And then there are signs of some forms of life which have etched the surfaces.

You can spend a long time on a warm afternoon contemplating this and trying to ascertain what came before.

It's a pleasant way to avoid the news of the world and escape into a reverie where more mundane things don't matter.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Yesterday the temperature rose to 71 here.  And we're a mile high in the foothills of Arizona. Not in the desert, where it was in the 80's. 

And this is February.  Early February.  As was easy to recognize when I watched the (Lyin' Brian-less) evening news last night which was dominated by video of huge piles of snow in Boston and warnings of another storm heading their way.

There's no snow here.  It's been 70 or above for three days or more now.

I grew up in North Dakota.  I was just having an email conversation with a friend who also grew up in that frigid snow-covered state. He remembered taking his wife "home" to meet his mother some years ago. It was at Christmas. They flew from Boston into Minneapolis, where it was 27 degrees below zero. Then they rented a car and drove to Bismarck. He said the temperature never climbed above 15 below. When they got to his mother's condo she had the thermostat on 80 degrees and a fire blazing in the fireplace. 

He and his wife now live in Southern California.

One of my first winters in Arizona I had my picture taken in a swimming pool, holding a glass of champagne and wearing a Christmas wreath on my head and a big smile. I sent it to my relatives in North Dakota. Like Queen Victoria, they were not amused.

So to you people in colder climes, I'm sorry. I know you're suffering and I know you don't appreciate hearing this type of crap from me, here in sunny and warm Arizona. 


I can't help it. 

I just can't.