Wednesday, December 23, 2015


In the lobby of a large hotel on the Yavapai Apache Indian Reservation a few miles from us there is a Christmas wonder.

Every year the tribe invites schools and businesses and organizations to build and display gingerbread houses.

The constructions range from the simple to the fantastic and it's always a treat of the season for youngsters and oldsters (like me) to view them.

However for me the biggest excitement comes from watching the model train that winds its way through the village and through a couple of tunnels, round and round all day.

Oldster I am but when it comes to trains I guess I'm just a kid at heart.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Back in the day when I was living in Austin, SWMBO and I took a little road trip one day and wound up down at the end of an unmarked* road in . .

At that time Luckenbach consisted of a very cluttered bar and a fair sized dance hall, as I recall.

We didn't see Hondo Crouch but we did have a beer and look around the place made famous by Waylon and Willie.

It's a good song and Luckenbach is a good place to forget about the outside world for awhile.

*"Unmarked", so the story goes, because fans keep on stealing the road signs that point to Luckenbach.

Monday, December 21, 2015


To a heathen like myself, the holiday season surrounding Christmas and New Year's Day means just one thing: food!

Particularly sweet treats like cookies and cakes and candy and such.

So, armed with a recipe I copied off the Interwebs a couple of weeks ago, to the kitchen I headed. (Is that Yoda speak?)

The cookies I built yesterday are called The Browniest Cookies by their creator, Deb Perelman of the Smitten Kitchen.

They combine a sizeable amount of butter and sugars with three kinds of chocolate to make a cookie with a fudgy interior.

As I commented to Deb's blog yesterday judging by the sounds coming from SWMBO after she had downed two of them I can only describe the cookies as "orgasmic".

I thought they were pretty darned good too.

You can try them yourselves, if you like.

Here is the recipe.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2015


It occurred between 6 and 7 this morning.

A sudden snowfall that moved quickly through our area.

As regular readers of this blog know, there is a town down there. But it's obscured in a strange weather phenomenom called snow fog this morning.

Judging from my look-see around the neighborhood I don't think I'll need to use the garden hose for awhile.

This snowfall appears to be a very wet one, piling up on shrubs and bushes.

The Russian Rocketman Sage is covered nicely.

The white sun face appears to be enjoying it. I'm not sure about the other fellow.

Since we don't have a fireplace with a tall chimney on our house, Santa will just have to walk through the snow to the back door I guess.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Muggles, our older but smaller female house cat.

SWMBO and I were watching the television news last night and I glanced over at our two cats sleeping on the other end of the couch.

"They are the laziest cats in existence," I said.

SWMBO replied "that's what cats do. They sleep."

I knew that but I went to the Mighty Google this morning to do a little research.

I learned that the sleeping habit comes from feral cats who have to hunt for their food.

That takes a lot of energy so they compensate for it by sleeping.

But Muggles and Blackwell are house cats. They don't go outside. And they certainly don't have to hunt for their food.

The MG told me the near-constant sleeping is something that has been passed along nevertheless.

And most of the time they aren't deeply asleep.

They're alert and the first indication of danger brings them instantly and fully awake.

But still.

The MG said adult housecats sleep 16 to 20 hours a day. 

And the older the cat is, the more it sleeps.

On another note, take a look at Muggles' tail.

I swear she has the longest tail of any housecat in existence.

Guess I'll have to go back to the MG to find out why.

Friday, December 18, 2015


It's that time of year again, Gentle Readers.

Yes, it's the season of . . . . Star Wars, yet again.

Actually I think I saw the first one but I've missed the other six.

But there's another season rolling around, too.

Only one week to go. Got to get busy on those Christmas cards.

By the way, if you're in a part of the country (like I am) where the weather has turned cold, ponder this: the beginning of winter is still three days away.

That's all, folks.

Well, except for the obligatory kitty picture.

This week, a quartet just trying to stay warm.

Have a splendid weekend, friends.  

Only 7 more shopping days until Christmas.

And always try to keep laughing.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


I've been a baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

It started with my love for the Brooklyn Dodgers back in the 1940's.

Then after the team moved to Los Angeles, it was the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This, I might point out, was before the Arizona Diamondbacks came into existence.

I continued to follow the Dodgers even after we moved south of the border to Mexico.

I was able to follow the team there on television and a bookstore in Guadalajara even sold the Los Angeles Times.

So in 1988 when the team won the World Series I was following every play while wearing my Dodgers tee shirt.

And I sent this picture back to my friends in Phoenix who were supporting different teams.

That is the face of a happy baseball fan.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


We have the house decorated for Christmas.


The front door, anyway.

The BRD presented the wreath to us when she came over for Thanksgiving.

Fortunately there was a nail in the front door.




How's that for the old holiday spirit?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


As goofy as this picture is, on a day when the temperature here in Arizona is hovering at 19 degrees F. as I'm writing this . . . it feels good to look back to a time when I was in a t-shirt and shorts at an outside restaurant table in Puerto Vallarta.

And that bearded gent in the blue shirt in the background?

That's Baseball Steve, come down to pay me a visit.

Viva Mexico!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Winter Wonderland

The snow got a little lower during the night.

This is what I awoke to.

I took the picture through my den window and the glass reflected my lamp a bit.

Meanwhile, in front.

It's early but the dog-walkers and the car drivers have already been out messing with the street snowscape.

I love this view with the early morning sun casting a pinkish, orange-ish glow over the town.

Meantime, the Weather Gods say the temperature will only rise to 36 degrees here today.

In Arizona?

They've got to be kidding!

Sunday, December 13, 2015


I had expected the ground to be white when I rose from the arms of Morpheus yesterday.

The Weather Gods had predicted snowfall during the night.

But lo and behold there was nought to be seen.

Until later, when I drove to the grocery store.

Against a murky gray sky, I noted the tops of the Bradshaw foothills just south of where I live were dusted with white.

Prescott, just about 8 miles away from Prescott Valley (where I live) is a couple of hundred feet higher in elevation.

And an old friend from my home town in North Dakota who lives there, Corky Jackson Hintz, posted this delightful picture on Facebook.

The beautiful photo from the Christmas-lit Courthouse Square shows that the increase in elevation was enough to create a bed of white.

Saturday, December 12, 2015


It doesn't really make sense to me.

You would think as the weather gets colder the trees would want all of their leaves to surround them.

But instead they remove all of their protection from icy temperatures and snow.

For example, you remember that big red maple in our front yard?

Here's how it looked this morning.

I suppose the one advantage is it gives us a little easier view out toward the town and the mountains in the distance.

The sycamore with its huge leaves is nearly as equally bereft of foliage.

The ash tree is the last to release it's clutter.

And clutter it is.

In spite of raking up four big bags of leaves only a week ago it looks like another day of yard labor awaits us.

So it goes.

Friday, December 11, 2015


You've done it!

You've struggled through another week!


Here's your reward.

Feeling better?

Yeah. Lots of luck with that one.

And, of course, the cat.

Looks like kitty turned it into a Festivus holiday.

Hey, have a great weekend, friends, and always keep a grin on your kisser*.

*In honor of Mistletoe season.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Smack that fish!

That Walleyed Pike was as big as I was.

My dad is showing off his prize catch from a fishing trip, probably to Carlyle Lake in Saskatchewan.

It was about 100 miles north of where we lived in North Dakota and was a favorite vacation spot during my childhood.

Pretty good fishing, too.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Blackwell always find the sunbeam.

And the Arizona Diamondbacks face the 2016 season with a sunnier outlook, thanks to their new pitching ace.

216.5 million dollars brought Mr. Greinke to Arizona from the Los Angeles Dodgers for six years.

Now we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


How can thirty years have gone by so quickly?

April, 1985. 

Hangin' with the rich folks.

Lots of nice "boats" here in the marina of Monte Carlo.

We also walked up to the casino and wasted a few francs trying to "break the bank".

Needless to say we didn't come close.

This was also where we had lunch and the first (and last) escargot of our month-long tour of Europe in 1985.

Before the trip, SWMBO had said she was going to have it every day of our four days in France.

We never found it on the menu there but we enjoyed it at a sidewalk bistro here in Monaco.

For those of you who don't like snails, it's the garlic butter, the garlic butter!

The snails are only the carrier!

Monday, December 7, 2015


Are we "cat people"?

Why yes.

I believe we are.