Thursday, July 6, 2017


Just one day shy of three weeks since SWMBO fell on our rear patio and broke her femur, I am happy to report that today she came home.

As she reclined on her old familiar bed this afternoon I took her photograph to verify the event.

Well, as I have often said, she's a bit shy about having her picture taken, especially if she doesn't have her "face" (make-up) properly applied.

(I remember once reading a quote from television anchor lady Connie Chung that her husband, Maury Povich, was the only person who had ever seen her without her false eyelashes on.)

After a long wait and much paperwork she finally was released to the outer world this afternoon after a heartfelt goodbye from her case manager Doreen and one of her nurses Anita.

With the aid of a walker, a wheelchair, me and her eldest daughter, the BRD, she made it into our home and the loving greetings of her cats.

Speaking of the BRD she did a truly wonderful thing when she arrived at the hospital today.

She surprised a nurse with a "bouquet" for the staff, made up entirely of candy, and a lovely thank you card for treating SWMBO with such care.

She said flowers are nice but a sugar high is even better!

Thank you from all of us to the doctors, nurses, therapists, orderlies, cleaning staff, cooks and everyone at Mountain Valley Regional Rehabilitation Hospital in Prescott Valley, Arizona.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Judy's day didn't start off well.

Sometime in the darkness hours early Monday morning she woke to a pain at the rear of her right knee joint.

It grew progressively worse until she finally got some pain medication and some ice on it.

But then this morning the pain persisted from the back of the calf, up through the knee joint and into the back of the thigh.

When she tried her physical therapy this morning she was unable to take even one step and, in addition, she'd been given a muscle relaxant that had her groggy.

When I visited her the second time this morning she was back in bed, feeling depressed, and dozing off.

But I just spoke to her on the telephone and she said the head PT guy had worked on her leg for a good five minutes and given her a lot of advice about how to avoid the contractions, what to do when they start, when to ask for pain medication and how to loosen up the muscles.

And then she walked 32 STEPS!

She also learned this afternoon that she will have her staples removed from her surgery today.

So what started out as a rotten day has turned into a much better one.

And on the Goodwin Fire the latest I heard was that it is 91 percent contained and should be totally contained by tomorrow night at the latest.

So today is a Glorious Fourth of July!

Incidentally the traditional fireworks displays have been canceled in Prescott and Chino Valley but will go off as scheduled in Prescott Valley, where I live!

Saturday, July 1, 2017


Lyndon Baines Johnson was the 36th president of the United States of America.

His history, like that of most politicians, is replete with ups and downs, both in his electoral record and his appeal.

Some loved him.  Some hated him.

But he holds an honored place in our household, regardless of some of the things he did that we didn't like.

In 1965, he signed a bill creating Medicare.

Former President Harry S Truman and his wife, Bess, were the first recipients of the program.

At a time when a Republican Washington is trying as hard as they can to ruin healthcare in this country, we (Judy and I) are benefiting from the wealth of Medicare.

Since Judy took a fall on June 16th she has been in a hospital, had surgery for a broken femur, transferred several days later to a rehabilitation hospital and had absolutely excellent care.

All of it, or most of it, paid for by Medicare.

We have a supplemental policy which we pay for and we pay every month for our Medicare coverage also.

But without that wonderful government program, we would probably be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

So thank you, Medicare.

And thank you, Lyndon.

We may not be in debt but we are in your debt.

And, by the way, Judy is doing better each day and will come home Thursday.

Friday, June 30, 2017


Good Friday morning to you, Gentle Readers, and a toast to the firefighters battling the Goodwin Fire in our area.

It is 43% contained as of this morning and State Highway 69 has once again been reopened after being shut down for a few days.

So with that and July staring us in the face, let's get right to the Friday Funnies.

(You "furriners" are welcome to celebrate our big national holiday, too, by the way.)

And with that, fellow celebrants, we bring this edition to a close.

Now whether you celebrate July 4th or not I want you to get out there and have a dandy, bang-up weekend.

Eat well, drink well and always remember to keep laughing.

Now where's that cat, anyway?

Oh, yeah . . . here, kitty-kitty . . .

Thursday, June 29, 2017


To give you Gentle Readers an idea of how much progress SWMBO/Judy has made since her accident and surgery less than two weeks ago, she visited her home this morning.

Two people from the hospital brought her in a wheelchair van to see where she would be once she's discharged next week and how she can get around.

In spite of the wheelchair, she had to walk down the hall (with the assistance of a walker) and get onto her bed, then get up again, then to the bathroom, into the shower, sit down on the bench seat, get up, then walk a few steps more in the hall, sit in the living room armchair, get up and finally be allowed to get back into that wheelchair again.

It was, by far, more walking than she has done in many days of therapy.

She barely lifts the foot on her bad leg but she can move along and doesn't complain much of pain, though I know she feels it at times.

The occupational therapist and the van driver and wheelchair-pusher were both very complimentary toward her progress and said she was doing great.

The therapist said she expected she'd be walking without the walker within a month.

I can't begin to express how proud I am of her.

In the meantime, the BRD brought her handyman over and he has since hung a blind on the back patio to shield the morning sun a bit, installed a grab bar in the bathroom close to the shower and is now building a wheelchair ramp in the garage.

Not to mention standing on the first step from the top of an eight-foot stepladder to change our a.c. filter for us.

He is a wunderkind and, like your scribe, is also named Bruce!

Judy called after getting back to the hospital this morning to say that the therapist today had spoken to the case manager and a meeting that had been planned for tomorrow has been canceled because she has made so much progress and so many questions were answered this morning.

Though it's a bit on the toasty side, the sun is shining brightly on us today.

As for the Goodwin Fire, which has been burning about 10 to 15 miles to the south of us, it appears that it is slowly being contained.

It has now burned just under 25,000 acres and some buildings have been lost but there are no reports of any injuries to citizens or the approximately 1,000 brave men and women who are fighting the blaze.

With lighter winds today and various lines holding, we may have finally turned a corner.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


This is forest fire season in the Southwestern United States and we here in Arizona have not been untouched by it.

This was the view from the heart of my town this afternoon.

It looks terrible but the fire is actually 15 to 20 miles south and burning away from us, in the main.

Here's a couple of more pictures taken from the end of my street, just a short distance from our new home.

It's even further north than the previous picture.

And pardon the power lines.

As I noted, it's quite a long ways away from us even though it looks like it's right on the doorstep.

Now a quick change of subject.

Judy is making fabulous progress at the Rehab Hospital.

I was able to witness some of that this morning as I watched her do exercises in the Therapy Gym and actually walk a few steps between the parallel bars.

Her departure date has been moved back one day to give her a bit more time to build up strength but I'm very proud of her.

Meanwhile at home, I'm learning to do laundry and trying to keep the cats happy.

Judy's favorite, Muggles (don't tell Blackwell), had a word for her this afternoon just before I left for the hospital.

"Where the hell are you and when are you coming home?"

Monday, June 26, 2017


We only moved about 9 miles, just across town, and downward a couple of hundred feet but we have a new bird visiting the old birdbath.

It's a mockingbird and he loves getting into the bath and cooling his feet while he takes a drink or two.

We still see some finches, maybe a warbler or two and, of course, those dopey doves and maybe even a pigeon.

When the weather gets hot, like it's been here for about a week, a fresh, cool birdbath is a very popular spot.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Yes, it has been brought home to us in the past ten days that we are, indeed, growing older.

I still hesitate to say "growing old."

As my memories of youth get further in the distant past I still hate to relent.

But in recent days, with Judy in a hospital, in surgery and in a rehabilitation hospital, I have been forced to think whenever I move about to "be careful, be aware, don't injure yourself now of all times."

It's not a bad idea to become more conscious of our aging bodies and the dangers that lurk therein.

I'm making big steps over obstacles even as I think unconsciously "but I'm not that old."

Judy is making singular progress day by day.

I watched today as a young man helped her out of her wheelchair, into a walker, then a turn and into bed.

But only one man, one person.

A day or two ago it took two people.

I am so proud of her.

I think she will once again be a new person, perhaps more careful, more judicious but beautiful with a fresh appearance.

I think, fondly, of something my good friend Tom Cochrun wrote to me recently:  "You'll never again be as young as you are today."


Friday, June 23, 2017


Oh, yes, Gentle Readers, it's here once again.

And this one is better than ever.

SWMBO continues to make progress every day at the Rehabiliation Hospital.

I'm slowly getting rid of the overage of "stuff" in our garage.

And the BRD returned from New Orleans last night.

What more could I ask for?

Oh, yes, the Friday Funnies!

All right, Lords and Ladies, that's it and once again thank you for all the wonderful, encouraging kind words directed toward Judy and me this week.

Now I want you to get out there, have a scrumptious weekend, always remember to keep laughing and above all . . . stay upright!

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

Thursday, June 22, 2017


My blog posts have become a bit mundane lately as I run the house while Judy is in the Rehab hospital.

But you know what tomorrow is!!!

Get your smiles engaged.

I just talked to the girl and she made more progress today.

She said she stood up several times between the parallel bars in the PT room this morning and was able to put a slight bit of weight on her leg.

And she had a shower and got her hair washed last night so she's feeling better.

After all these years she said vanity has flown out the window.

(But still no pictures.)

I've been arranging to give away several items of furniture that just won't fit into our new home and are too tattered or worn to be offered for sale.

Although I'm reminded of a story someone told me about putting an item out on the curb with a "Free" sign on it and it just sat there for a couple of days.

Then he put a sign on it with a price and that night somebody stole it.

One of the good things about the past three weeks is that I've lost about 11 pounds since the whole odyssey began.

But I don't recommend moving and then a wife with a broken leg for weight loss.

By the way, Gentle Readers, thank you all so much for your thoughtful comments and good wishes directed toward Judy and myself.

It means a lot.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


When I went to the rehab hospital today to visit Judy I found her, for the first time, sitting in a wheel chair with a smile on her face.

What a difference from yesterday.

She said she had been having Occupational Therapy today, which is designed to show you how to get around once you're home again.

Things like moving from the bed to the walker to the wheelchair and back.

She said she had much less pain during these exercises though she needed lots of help and can't put hardly any weight on her injured leg.

But she said she felt 75 percent better than yesterday.

What a relief.

So here's the first photo of the Lady.

Yeah, I know, it's not much.

But about her appearance, she's very modest.

This is the area of her forehead which hit the patio deck when she fell.

Friday night she had a huge goose-egg which has receded but the discoloration has spread out from the point of impact.

When she told the OT workers how much better she felt today they told her there would be some days where she would feel like she had backslid, to watch out for them and not to get discouraged.

The BRD returns from her vacation trip to New Orleans tomorrow.

Judy's fall occurred the day the BRD left and I had to answer her triumphant email of "We've Arrived" with the news of her mother's accident.

She wanted to immediately return to help in her mother's care but we both discouraged her from that, telling her there was nothing she could do at that point.

The women in my life are pretty remarkable.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Some of you Gentle Readers who I haven't informed may have been wondering about the absence of Oddball Observations and it's editor Catalyst since last week's Friday Funnies.

So let me tell you what's been going on.

Early Friday afternoon a man came and picked up all the empty boxes and foam and bubble wrap from our move and took it away.

We were elated to get even that much more space in our garage.

About an hour later, Judy took a step out onto our back patio where I was pulling up a sun shade, fell and broke her femur (thighbone).

I called 911 and got paramedics here, who took over, shot her full of some good drugs, loaded her onto a gurney, into an ambulance and took her to our local hospital.

Saturday morning she had surgery which resulted in what she calls a piece of rebar placed into her body.

After 3 nights in the hospital she was transferred yesterday to a rehabilitation hospital where she will reside for a week or two or three.

She is in intense pain whenever she tries to move her right side or put weight on that leg but that does not stop the medicos from putting her through PT (Physical Therapy).

I read on line today that a femur break can take 4 to 6 months or more to heal.

I am trying my best to do what I can, keeping the house running, the cats fed and watered, their litter pans emptied as well as (not a serious problem) feeding myself.

Frankly, Gentle Readers, it is all a pain in the ass.

But not as much pain as my beloved Judy is going through.

So, my friends, that's what has been going on.

Whatever you do as you age, don't fall, don't break any bones, and don't think that you may not do any of that.

I'll be here occasionally, as events allow me.

Friday, June 16, 2017


The heat is on, Gentle Readers.

The Weather Gods tell us it will be 95 today with the mercury steadily climbing day by day until topping out at 105 next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Now I know this is Arizona and we all here say "but it's a dry heat" but for my area, which is at around a 5,000 foot elevation, that is hot.

I'm just glad I moved back from Phoenix, where it is forecast to reach 121 by Tuesday.

And this is only June!

So with all that in mind let us start this week's edition of the Friday Funnies with this public service announcement from a cooler time.

So, with detente in the picture, we bid adieu to you.

Have an excruciatingly fine and cool weekend and always remember to keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

(Oh, come on, willya . . .)

Thursday, June 15, 2017


Earlier this week the prime time Tony Awards show was held and a long-time-ago acquaintance was an honoree and winner.

Television, stage and movie actor Cynthia Nixon won the Tony for Best Featured Actress in a play for her work in Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes.

Frankly until the category came up I didn't even know she'd been nominated.

She's a much-honored performer.

This was her second Tony Award to go along with a couple of Emmy's and a Grammy.

She only has the Oscar yet remaining to give her the coveted EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony).

Judy and I are always happy when we read something about Cynthia because we knew her many years ago.

It was during our 4-year sojourn in Mexico when I had met a man who became my best friend down there, the late Walter Nixon.

Walter was Cynthia's father and she used to come to visit him every year or so.

Here's Walter, Judy, Cynthia and I (behind the camera) having lunch one day on one of her visits.

She must have been in her early 20's in those days.

While she had been acting in New York City since she was 12 years old, Sex and the City was far in the future.

She was a quiet girl in those days and very kind to allow a photo with this presumptious friend of her father's.

Walter was very proud of her and so are we.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


"An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us."
--U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan

In the confusion of our move our flag has gone missing, packed away in one box or another.

If you can find yours, fly it proudly today and forget about political animosity.

At least for one day.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Yes, once again the ol' Rock Springs Cafe has beckoned to some long-time-ago Channel 12-ers for a reunion lunch.

Seems like each time a get-together is held the crowd varies by one or another of the faces.

Today's gathering included two photographers and two producers.

The organizer of today's fĂȘte was the youngest and most recently retired of the group, Steve Torbeck, known to the Gentle Readers of this blog as Baseball Steve; known to others as a hard-working videographer.

On the other end of the age spectrum was a cowboy, rodeo performer, actor, golfer and television producer, the illustrious Karl Kindberg.

A newcomer to this group was another hard-working videographer (I know, we used to call them photographers), as well as holder of a number of other television jobs, Wally Athey.

And then, with apologies for the work behind the camera today, a producer who certainly will not be known as a photographer, your very own Catalyst.

(So enthralled with his companions that he forgot to take his own picture and thus had to snap one once he got home.)

All of us worked at KPNX in Phoenix, at times all at the same time.

All retired now.

All older, grayer, heavier, more wrinkled.

There were many stories of many others we worked with and a number of whom are no longer with us.

Good times.

Good guys.

Good lunch.

Let's do her again.

Monday, June 12, 2017


We had a plumber here yesterday to fix the last of a handful of problems (that should have been taken care of before we moved in) and Judy finally got the dining table cleared off.

I got my bedroom/den a little more organized.

We have started an area in the garage to place items that will eventually be sold.

Judy has re-arranged the bookcases in the living room, repaired a broken hand that one of our Aztec gods suffered in the move and emptied yet another big box.

The pile of empty boxes and bags of bubble wrap and piles of foam padding is mounting in the garage.

Someone will reap one of these days.

Finally, last night as the Tony broadcast was on the t.v. we enjoyed our first real made-from-scratch meal in our new home.

Tangerine-topped pork chops.

French-cut green beans.

Sauteed apple slices.

All of that and some mashed potatoes and gravy made a meal to bring a smile to the face of a German.

I couldn't eat it all . . . for the first time in memory!

Sunday, June 11, 2017


I was watching an interview with Bette Midler yesterday and she said she never, never, never looks back because it prevents her from looking to the future.

I agree with that philosophy though I cannot stop myself from looking back to happier times in the past and wondering what gloom my future will hold.

Bad Catalyst!

So if we can ever get our boxes unpacked or sorted out and the excess sold or donated or junked, maybe I can get on to the present and then the future.

In the meantime, we were sitting out on our patio last night, enjoying a cocktail, when we noticed this sky overhead.

As Judy and I and Hoagy Carmichael have always called it . . .