Friday, January 8, 2016


The Weather Gods sought to amuse me this morning with a light coating of white.

As Queen Vickie is reputed to have said: "We are not amused."

Let me see if I can amuse you.

A short list today but thanks to my contributors (theft victims), have a fabulous weekend and keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


The Weather Gods have proven themselves to have feet of clay.

Rising from the Arms of Morpheus this morning I opened the blinds expecting to see a blinding white snowscape.

But what did I see?




Just a wet ground from rain during the night and a light - - very light - - dust of white on rooftops and a few places on the ground.

We had been promised 5 to 9 inches of snow!

For this disappointing Throwback Thursday, here's a photo of a place where it really snowed.

That is my mother and I in front of our house in Stanley, North Dakota, sometime probably in the 1940's.

That is snow covering the ground.

And who left the door open??!!!

Well, the insulted Weather Gods are still saying we may get snow today but I think they've pulled back to 1 to 3 inches.

Or less.

Probably less, I'll bet.

And just to warm you back up, here's a photo from the 1980's either just before or just after SWMBO and I had moved to Mexico.

Those two wild men are Big Brent Bogdanski and Terrible Terry Taylor.

And you can bet neither of them was drinking straight Pepsi.

Terry lived on his sailboat and was thus known as a "yachtie". 

(By the way he is not related to me, in spite of his last name.)

Brent lived on dry land in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico, and ran an amateur radio net.

He, thus, called himself a "terrestrial".

Good guys but hard partiers, as were most of the ex-pats we met in Mexico.

But it beat shoveling snow.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


The first of a lineup of storms has moved through California, dumping much needed rain and snow, and more is on the way.

It's been misting or raining for a couple of days here in Arizona.

Yesterday's early morning view of the fog was foreboding.

One expects to see Poe.

Or worse yet, Moriarty.

Or Sherlock and Watson striding through the streets.

"Come, Watson, the game is afoot!"

When I turned on my television set this morning a message on the screen told me service was interrupted.

Probably that means there is snow on the dish.

Sure enough, this was the view out my den window.

But the temperature is now at 34 and climbing so the snow has already begun to melt.

I see drops falling and splashing in the bird bath.

(Judy's invention is still working, by the way. Not a tad of ice in the basin.)

I've been busy in the kitchen the past couple of days, baking bread.

Actually all I do is put the ingredients in our bread machine.

It does all the work.

Nevertheless, the results are nice.

That's our standby - whole wheat studded with Craisins (cranberry & raisin).

But yesterday I tried a new one - a Parmesan pepper bread.  Tasty.

For tonight's dinner I'll prepare another Smitten Kitchen recipe - Mushroom Marsala Pasta Bake.

We'll see how that turns out.

Being retired means one can just stay inside a warm house and wait these storms out.

Having grown up in North Dakota means I can say "Oh, pshaw, you don't know what a snow storm is!"

As I told my friend, Tom, in an email this morning, my biggest irritation will be having to climb up on a ladder to sweep snow off the satellite dish so we can watch television and see how folks in truly beleagured parts of the world are doing with their ice and snow and cold and floods.

Fortunately all I have to deal with is snowfall that comes infrequently and goes just as fast.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Wow! I am so thirsty.

Can't figure out why.

Somewhere in Colorado.

Back in the day.

When my beard was still reddish-brown.

Monday, January 4, 2016


It's a Mexican hairless dog which we encountered on the beach in a village called La Manzanilla.

He was essentially hairless except for a few tufts here and there.

He seemed not to belong to anybody as he roamed and scavenged for food.

I learn upon checking The Great Google that these types of dogs are known by the rather regal name Xoloitzcuintle.

Contrary to his appearance the Mexican Hairless or Xolo, as it is more commonly known, is one of the oldest breeds in the world, dating back over 3,000 years.

And there's more:

Ancestors of the Aztec Indians brought hairless dogs called "Biche" (meaning naked) with them when they arrived in Mexico from Asia. The Aztecs enjoyed the hairless dogs as pets, but also found them useful as bed warmers, food and sacrificial offerings. The toasty warm body heat of the toy hairless dogs made them in demand as ancient hot-water bottles, relieving stomach pains and rheumatic joints, or simply for warming beds during cold nights. Extreme cold made for a "Three Dog Night." The breed's palliative qualities magnified until its "healing powers" became a cure-all. Clay figures and remains of these dogs, dating from 300 to 900 AD, have been found in burial sites, where dogs guided the souls to a happy afterlife and furnished nourishment until it was reached. The Xolo is native to Mexico and is widespread throughout South America. It is named after the ancient dog Xoloti. At the end of the nineteenth century, it became completely a companion dog. The warmth from these dogs is still enjoyed today, particularly by the elderly. The Xolo is no longer in danger of extinction and is not in danger due to lack of interest. The Xolo today is being acknowledged with increased interest for its companionship, loyalty, cleanliness and flexibility to do it all! They make great companions, show, agility, obedience, therapy and service dogs.

Here's what one looks like when it's well-cared for.

Quite a difference from that one on the beach, eh?

When we would go to the beach in the latter part of our days in Mexico, we would pass through the city of Colima.

We once went to a museum there and learned about what we called "the Colima dogs."

They were the toys of this breed and we learned that they were frequently raised as food by the indigenous tribes centuries back.

As for the clay figurines, they have been copied by modern generations and are sold widely to tourists.

As tourists, we acquired several.

Their fat little bodies make them cute (until they reach the barbecue pit!)

Some of them even dance to entertain.

The Colima Dogs adorn our bookcases today, conjuring memories of our happy days in Mexico.

Sunday, January 3, 2016


Gentle Readers, it's earworm time, courtesy of Miss Nina Simone, to mark the beginning of a new year.

You're welcome.

Saturday, January 2, 2016


The other night I didn't top off the bird bath/drinking fountain before I went to bed.

The next morning there was a fringe of very light icing on which an early morning visitor could perch to get his drink.

After I added water and the sun came up, I think he was happier.

I thought at first he was a Goldfinch, though he looks stockier than those I identified during the summer months and he doesn't appear to have as much yellow as the ones in my bird books.

This guy I spotted this morning most resembles a White-Crowned Sparrow, notable for the vertical black and white stripes atop his head, not very visible in my photo.

He's got big feet for the size of him, useful for perching.

As for the new banner photo, it seems like a good way to begin (seriously, now) a new collection of days, weeks and months.

It could be a view in a Mexican restaurant but it's actually another photo from Pappadeaux in Phoenix, a Cajun restaurant chain's house.

The last time I was there a guy in the next booth was sampling alligator for the first time. 

He enthusiastically told me it was delicious.

I may try it some time.

Friday, January 1, 2016


OMG! It's 2016. And only 312 more days of fretting over who our next President will be!

Can you believe people are actually beginning to say it could be Donald Trump?

But there are other more serious things to consider on this first day of the new year.

And there's that threat to our national security. (Don't try to deal with it if you've been drinking.)

Some people say our protection is not what it used to be.

Of course we still have our K-9 cops.

And our technology-challenged senior citizens.

If you begin to feel over-stressed in the new year there is one other solution.

But enough worrying about the new year.

Here, kitty-kitty.

I hope the year ahead is wonderful for you . . healthy, prosperous, and above all - - - full of laughs!

Thursday, December 31, 2015


After reading my post about the ice in the birdbath the other day, SWMBO said "I think I can fix that."

She said her dad had rigged up a small light bulb underneath the basin in his wife's birdbath which kept the water warm enough that it didn't freeze.

So she found a small bulb and jammed it up inside the pedestal under the water dish with some aluminum* foil.

She added some duct tape to keep everything in place, ran the wire out the bottom of the pedestal, connected it to an extension cord which was connected to another extension cord which was plugged into an outdoor socket.

The Weather Gods tell me it got down to 15.8 degrees F. (-9 C.) here last night.

So I was mightily curious when I rose early this morning.

I couldn't tell from my window spy position until a bird finally showed up and took the first sip.

Not a bit of ice!

For the first time in days!

My early morning ice-chipping days are over!

SWMBO (and her dad) are brilliant and she is reigning triumphant today.

The birds seem as grateful as I am.

They've been swarming it for a couple of hours, having their morning drinks.

*Have you noticed some of the cooks on the Food Network saying they used some "tin" foil in a recipe. I think it's all aluminum these days.


How we used to ring in the New Year.

How I ring in the New Year in more recent times.

Whichever it is for you, my Loyal Gentle Readers, may your New Year's Eve be a safe and happy one.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


It was only about 17 degrees F (-8 C) this morning as I tried to break up the ice in the bird bath/drinking fountain.

Obviously I didn't do too good of a job.

Still, the finches and their friends found dribs and drabs here and there as they arrived for their morning drinks.

Yesterday must have been warmer or at least I did a better job as the water was ice-free, much to the birdies satisfaction.

Sometimes I wish I'd never started this but having been praised for my efforts, now I figure I can't stop.

You may call me Bird Brain.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


What did I say???

Mugging in Salzburg, Austria. 1985.

Monday, December 28, 2015


SWMBO and I have toned down our Christmas celebrating over the years.

It's almost a non-event anymore.

This year it involved a visit to the BRD's house for a couple of Bloody Mary's and a champagne brunch.

Only a few hours and then we were back home for naps and resting.

With a tiny exception for the BRD, we don't gift anymore.

We have decided we have everything we need. More than, actually, as we've begun divesting ourselves of old photographs and letters and other family documents that we've held onto and moved and moved and moved over the years.

We have become Senior Citizens.

How did that happen?

Back in a previous century when we lived in Mexico we would get together with our friends on the holiday for way too many drinks and a feast.

One year I wrote limericks for each of the participants. I think I still have copies of them around somewhere.

A number of those friends have died since that great party.

This is a picture taken at our going away party when we had decided to return to the United States, back in 1991.

Three nations are represented there: Germany, the U.S., and Mexico. Our ex-pat friends were an international group.

This is also a time for traveling among some of our blogger friends.

Tom and Lucy (who live in Brittany) made a several day trip to Iceland for the steaming pools and the Northern Lights and a ride on and a visit with some beautiful horses.

Dr. M and Dana Bug have just returned from a Caribbean cruise that took them to tours on several islands.

We don't do that kind of traveling any more although SWMBO has just left for a two-day visit with our friend, Diane, in the Big Valley.

(As I was writing this, I just had a telephone call from her. The car's tire pressure was low and I had told her to stop and have them pumped up. She called to tell me she now had the tires filled and to ask if I knew the horn honked when the proper pressure was reached. I did not and said "I'll bet you scared the hell out of the guy filling the tires."

She said he was startled and she told him "I'll bet you thought I did that," but another worker said that this car horn honks automatically when the proper pressure is attained.

You learn something every day.)

So I am batching with the cats for a couple of days.

Since I don't have a car I will probably stay in my snuggy new reindeer pants that I got for Christmas for the duration.

I know, I know, TMI.

Sunday, December 27, 2015


My new banner photo is in honor of the next holiday we're all facing: New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

The picture was taken in a tiki bar in Phoenix a couple of years ago when we lived down there, once again.

I've been tending to our bird bath and drinking fountain this morning as the temperature hovers in the teens and twenties.

It was frozen solid when I first went out, a little before eight this morning, and I couldn't budge or crack the ice.

I poured some warm water in and a bit later it too was frozen.

So I've repeated this exercise several times, each time banging a bit of the ice loose.

The finches and their friends (whom I haven't identified as to species yet) seem to realize when the fresh water is there and how fast it's freezing over as they flock to the moisture.

I've seen as many as six birds at one time at the dish where under normal conditions only one or two will be there at once.

The mercury only rose to 37 F. (3 C.) here yesterday but it's supposed to be about 10 degrees warmer today.

I can barely wait.

Speaking of rushing the season, I saw this on the street recently.

That's a sweet old vintage Corvette convertible.

It reminded me (once again - I think I've told this story before) of springtime in North Dakota.

When the temperature would get up to the 30's anyone who had a convertible would put the top down and cruise proudly around town.

With the heater running full blast.

But no convertible in my family so I didn't partake of the springtime ritual.

As Val Kilmer playing Doc Holliday in "Tombstone" says, "My hypocrisy only goes so far."

Saturday, December 26, 2015


I know Christmas 2015 is now in the past but some review of it is in order.

This is the Christmas tree in the showroom at Lamb Nissan in nearby Prescott.

I left the chair in the photo to give you an idea of the size of the tree.

The warranty on my Altima ended on December 5th.

16 days later the inside door handle on the driver's side broke.

It cost $75 to repair it.

As I said to the service advisor,  "Isn't that always the way?"

The elf seemed quietly pleased.

We went to the BRD's house for a Christmas brunch.

She's very artistic and always does a nice job with decorations.

The chandelier over the dining table was draped with holiday decor.

But it was what was ON the table that interested me.

Crab cakes Benedict adapted from a Bobby Flay recipe. Yum!

Meantime back at the manse, in spite of cold weather and occasional snow, one of our backyard shrubs was showing it's holiday color.

A generally happy Christmas season.

Friday, December 25, 2015


Did Bad Santa come to your house last night?

Were there any cookies left for him? Or did your dogs get them?

This next one is especially for Lori Down the Street.

I'm embarassed to tell you how long it took me to figure out the next one.

That's all I've got, Gentle Readers.

Weather Report: it's cold and windy here in the Arizona Central Highlands today. There was some rain again during the night and there's just the tiniest trace of snow here and there. But a white Christmas we shall not have.

I hope your holiday is filled with joy and the year ahead finds a lot of mirth. And not just in the Friday Funnies.

Merry Christmas!