Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bye-Bye September

September's such a great month--we hate to see it go!  There's consolation in knowing October is at least as good and maybe even better.  What a pair of months.

OK, what about yesterday?  Here's the Top Ten highlights:
1) Played golf on the short course at Sand Creek with Terry M.  Made Par 3 on the first two holes!
2) Bought "Idiot's Guide to Geo-Caching" at Barnes & Noble.
3) Bought the Premium membership at
4) Get up an email account and 3 blogs for our upcoming geo-caching projects.
5) Scored a new pair of awesome car ramps at the Youth Ranch
6) Found a US gov't 1943 steel serving tray at Deseret Industries
7) Ordered $72 worth of steel roofing for cook shack
8) Ripped into interior of cook shack and made it 100% simpler to use.
9) Studied the "Running of The Brides."
10) Baked some potatoes

OK, what about today?  Here's the Top Five Objectives:
1) Put the roofing felt on the cook shack.
2) Frame all four cook shack gables
3) Clean up the giant mess around cook shack
4) Relocate outdoor kitchen from courtyard to cook shack
5) Attach metal roof if supplies are available.

As you can tell, it's all about the cook shack right now.  It would be nice to begin October with that project totally finished.  All kidding aside, it really did help to make that list the other day after reading the "man cave" article.  It helped me focus on what's important out there in the cook shack.

As a result, I'm getting rid of two dutch ovens, the smoker, the charcoal grill, all the charcoal briquettes, and a lot of other flotsam and jetsam.  I'm paring it down to the bare essentials--the stuff I am actually going to use on a regular basis.  All the other Pack Rat Nest stuff is G-O-N-E!  I want that place to be lean and mean and CLEAN!  If we're lucky today, we will even get a music system and some LED Christmas lights installed out there, too.  This is serious stuff, ya know!

I sure am enjoying that little six hole short course at Sand Creek.  Terry and I had a ball out there.  It's the best $3.25 entertainment available right now.  We were hootin' and hollerin' at each other and high fivein' good shots and all the rest.  We both got some mean-spirited stares from the real golfers over on the adjacent real golf course.  Those real golfers have to be quiet and act reverent like they are in church or someplace sacred.  No celebrating over there--real golfers don't do that kid stuff.  That's the one thing that makes the kiddie course such a hoot--who cares what we do?  There's nobody there but us anyway.  Heck, Terry even decided to play one hole BACKWARDS!  Try that on a real golf course and you will probably be arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.  It's hilarious fun and a genuine delight.  Imagine my surprise yesterday when I hit the first ball off the number one tee and it sailed high, straight and true and landed on the green and rolled to within a few feet of the pin!  Now that's a thrill for somebody who hadn't played golf for 45 years.  Thanks, Houn Dawg for getting back into this arcane so-called "sport."

Looks like we're ramping up the geo-cache stuff.  If I spent almost $30 on it yesterday, it must be for real.  Terry and I are looking forward to finding our first geo-cache, maybe even today.  Before heading out to play golf, I ducked into the Barnes & Noble hoping to find "Geo-Caching for Dummies."  A woman looked on their computer and said the Dummies book wasn't in stock.  I peered over her shoulder and noticed that they had the Idiot's Guide.  So I told her I wasn't smart enough to be a dummy but that I was definitely an Idiot and would prefer that title instead.  She was not amused. Ironically, it turns out the Idiot's guide was written by the editors and Staff of Geo-Cache.Com, which one needs to join to be able to begin this so-called "sport."

There's a story about those car ramps.  I'd doubt any reader of this blog is aware that car ramps have become VERY expensive.  It's probably a liability issue.  I've seen plastic ones as high as $60 a pair!  I haven't even been able to find the old metal kind at any price.  So (to use a recurrent phrase) imagine my surprise when I found a brand new, never-used-even-once pair of them for $12 at the Youth Ranch.  These puppies are HEAVY!  And big.  And bulky.  Gee, they wouldn't even fit in the Zuki Sidekick.  What to do?  How to get them home?  So, imagine my surprise when, as if by magic, in walks Miss Susun!  It's the first time our paths have ever crossed at a local t-store and the timing couldn't have been more perfect.  I was able to put the ramps in the Nissan and everything worked out well.  Ah, Serendipity!

Here's a photo of the design of the US 1943 serving tray.  This picture came from an ebay listing I found this morning.  There's six trays for $40 on ebay.  I bought ours for a buck fifty.  It's very heavy steel.  So what are we gonna use it for, huh?  A relish tray, obviously!  Imagine the green onions, carrots, celery sticks, olives, radishes and so forth all tastefully arranged in those little compartments.  And imagine a relish tray with a real backstory!  What's not to like about something stamped U.S. and dated 1943? It's a spiff artifact, that's for sure.

And, finally, what about "The Running of The Brides?"  Susun attended an evening soiree with her girl friends last night.  One of them was in New York City this year helping her daughter prepare for her (the daughter's) wedding.  Susun's friend just happened to be there in time to actually experience the Running of The Brides.  As the story goes, some young woman actually took at punch at Susun's friend and demanded to have a wedding dress that she was holding.  Well, I was TOTALLY UNAWARE of such a phenomena as "The Running of the Brides."  I guess I have been living under a rock or something.  Anyway, I started Googling it and quickly became educated about this bizarre event.  Trust me, it's bizarre.  I'm not gonna bore you with the details here but if you wanna check it out yourself, prepare to be dumbstruck by the sheer craziness of this annual ritual.

Have a great day & Cheers!  jp

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wayne's World - 1977

We were discussing Wayne R. in the blog post below.  We sent Wayne an email last night wondering about his early days (not long after covered wagons came through) with the National Park Service in Meadview, Arizona.  Meadview was MOAN Country before anyone knew what it meant.  Anyway, Wayne scanned and sent the above photo of himself "back in the day."  The Photo was taken by none other  but the one and only Bryan (AKA: BTB).  Thanks, Wayne, Central Casting couldn't have done better!

Pop top flu strikes again

Pop top is NOT a malted beverage!  No!  It's a pop top camper--the kind that fit in a pickup truck bed--not the kind families tow behind minivans. We've had 3 pop top campers and late yesterday we had ourselves convinced to buy a fourth one down near Ogden, Utah, today.  This time around, we decided to subject the idea to a "sleep test" BEFORE we told the seller that we'd buy it.  Well, I think is was a short flu and has safely passed.  Whew.  We both have a huge soft spot for pop top pickup campers.  One of these days, that bug will bite again but I think we dodged a serious case of pop top flu this time around.

Yesterday was a more than medium busy day.  We got the oil drained and refilled in four of what they call "cases" in the Zuki.  That's gearhead talk for the front and rear differentials, the transfer case and the transmission.  The four of them hold a total of 1.5 gallons of gear oil.  Most lube shops wold charge about $150 for this type of a job.  Our buddy at Clutch World did it for $38!  Then we took the Zuki out to Sears and bicycled home.  A few hours later, we biked back and drove off with four new shocks.  After the rebate, the pricetag on that job came to $106.  Heck, I couldn't possibly do that type of job myself at that price, especially with top flight Monroe gas-a-matic shocks.  You can click here to read a LOT more about it on the Zuki blog.  Monroe, by the way, is promoting teh sale of shocks with a "Saving Squirrels" campaign.  No kidding.  Click here to see it.

About lunchtime, Houn Dawg brought over photos of his weekend fishing trip at Jackson Lake.  One thing led to another and later in the afternoon, we got him set up with his very own domain name utilizing his first and last names.  It's been years since I've known anyone who's been able to snag their full name as a dot com. All those domains were spoken for during the dawn of domains in the 1990's.

DR & LBR Wayne R. posted up to his blog on Monday about his recent 10-day Grand Canyon river trip.  As I keep telling Wayne, his blog posts are getting much better as time passes.  This particular blog post is notable for the number of "face photos" he includes.  A lot of Wayne's blog material rightfully focuses on geology and rocks and so forth.  That's fitting for a geologist.  This time, Wayne took a lot of photos of the trip participants and used them in his blog post.  You will definitely enjoy this post.  Click here to read it.

The Goatherder's blog isn't even a week old but it's already "coming into its own," as they say.  GH put up 9 photos of what it looked like in the wine tasting tent at the Sedona Winefest this past weekend.  His comments are, as always, sharp and succinct. You can see the photos and read the comments here.

Meanwhile, Spudboater finally woke up and made a comment on this blog and then posted to her own blog, too.  I don't think she would mind me passing along her blog address since the world-at-large can't find this blog any more and its viewership is limited entirely to LBR's and their friends and associates.  You can click here to see SpudB's blog. (Note to MLB--I'll take this paragraph down if you don't want it here.)

Speaking of comments, Sarah Butterfly left one overnight about Stasea's photos.  So far, the unmoderated comments are working well.  We haven't been spammed and there are no errant messages in Google's Spam jail cell.  I am becoming slightly more optimistic that I can continue to let new comments post up immediately.  I think it really helped a lot to delist this blog from the world-at-large and also to hide it from Search Engines.

Our meeting with the Parks guy went so-so.  About the only interesting thing that happened during the one hour meeting was that the Parks guy wants Terry and me to so "something" about geo-caching.  I'm not really sure what that "something" is.  Neither is Terry.  But we both figure we might as well attempt to actually learn something useful about geo-caching and see what comes from it.  To say we are both geo-caching newbies is a massive understatement.  Terry & I will probably go play golf this morning and talk more about it.

The cook shack roof project is coming along well.  Houn Dawg donated some roofing felt.  By the end of today, the roof should be finished except for adding the metal roofing that will be fabricated in the next few days.  The metal will go on next week sometime.

Now, our attention shifts to the porch project for our west entry.  That's going to be considerably more involved.  I'd suspect that project will take at least 2 and maybe 3 weeks.

Now it's time to go read Arizona news.  Cheers!  jp

PS--So, after writing the above closing line, I merrily went on my way to the Verde Independent newspaper in Cottonwood, AZ.  The first story I chose to read was one about a new place called Harry's Hideaway in Cornville.  It got me really excited.  You can click over here to the Snowbird blog to read what I had to say about it. Really cool news item!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


WAY TO GO, Houn Dawg!

Making progress

Even though yesterday was a typical Mun-dane-ity Monday, we managed to make much progress on several fronts. Susun spent her entire day on landscape-related activities. In the morning, she helped client Joanne for a few hours of yard work. Then she toiled away in our own yard well into Happy Hour. For my part, I mowed the grass yet again. That fall fertilizer has really kicked in and the grass must think it's springtime the way it is green and growing.

The Zuki spent the entire day down at Oswald's and didn't come home to roost until almost Happy Hour, too. Yes, we spent $100 but the value and service received was worth far more than that. Oswald's is so awesome, we can't speak highly enough of that little shop. After finishing this blog post, we will go post up over on the Zuki blog. (You can click here to read it.)

While the Zuki was confined to a service bay, we dived into the Cook Shack roof project. You may recall that we were slated to begin this project precisely two weeks ago on the day we discovered the Zuki sitting down south of Provo. As you now know, most of our spare time since then has been spent on the Zuki and not the Cook Shack roof project. Yesterday was D-Day (Demolish Day) for the old roof. Susun helped by trimming out the vegetation from around the perimeter of the shack. One thing led to another and by Happy Hour, we actually had the new roof decking in place and relatively square as well. There's nothing plumb or square about the shack so getting the roof "relatively square" is probably an oxymoron or a non-sequitur or maybe even a bad pun. Who knows?

Anyway, the Cook Shack roof is now well along the way to critical mass and completion. In the meantime, we decided to sell off our unused huge smoker and completely redo the 30 square foot interior of the shack. So much floor space, so many options, eh? This morning, I have to get out well before trash pickup to bundle trimmed branches and the old rotted roofing material for the trash guys. Unless you package up stuff like a Christmas present, they won't pick it up. It has to be all tied real nice and tidy. Luckily, I don't have to put bows on each package.

Camera implosions!

Yep, we're having digital camera meltdown here. First, Susun dropped her's in San Diego and it's kaput. Then the battery door broke completely off of mine and it's DOA. We have a lot of spare digitals so Susun inherited an older 7 mega pixel Kodak and I got a 5 megapixel Samsung. Her's is holding up well. Mine? Not so much. It's trying to croak and I doubt it will last through today. We might have to break down and go buy a new one soon. We have a real nice, great big 10 megapixel Fuji but it's too big to fit in my hip pouch. It's fine for special occasions but not as a daily driver. All that's left after the Fuji is a 4 megapixel with no zoom.

Even though we turned Comment Moderation off, no one commented last night. We're in a long-term Comment Drought. There's only been a couple of comments in many a day. And even though we don't write this blog to attract comments, we will appreciate them when they actually do show up.

The Spudboater is a pretty frequent commentator but she's been gone on a long Salmon River trip and is only now getting acclimated upon her return to Boise's civilized environs. We look forward to her often pointed barbs soon.

This morning, we meet with Dave C. the City Parks Boss. Terry M. and I will let Dave know we need some new projects to tackle or we are losing interest in our participation on the Commission. Neither one of us wants to be a "yes man" who simply sits at a meeting modding in agreement. If they want placeholder people, I'm sure there are lots of them available. But it's not in either Terry's makeup or mine to fill that role. It ought to be an interesting meeting.

On another note, we received a great email from Sue K. back in Michigan. It looks like our geo-caching project is back "on." That's exciting news and comes at a near perfect time. Thanks, Sue! Meanwhile, Jeff C. up in Challis emailed to say he has funding to print the Salmon River Guide in this fiscal year that starts October 1st. YEA, Jeff!

Have a great day & Cheers! jp

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Monkee (ing)

Ya'll know how I feel 'bout Mondays. I roamed El Net this morning looking for good quotes with which to make fun of Mondays but Mondays are so lame nobody even has any good hand grenades to toss Monday's way. So, I think I am going to morph the 1960's Monkee music somehow and graft their schlock onto Mondays. I don't have a handle on this concept yet but give me time, OK? OK.

Come to think of it, maybe the main Monkees theme song would be apt for playing early Monday morning. It would help me get into the "swing" of things. (Pun intended.)

'Tis going to be a somewhat busy day. It started right off like a typical Monday morning when I forgot that I had to be someplace at 8 am. I remembered that point of fact precisely at 8 am. Soooo....that meant I had to rush around as fast as possible and zoom off to where I was supposed to be. But I got there too late to have done what was scheduled and soooo...then we zoomed off to another place that we had accidentally double booked with the first place and dropped off the Zuki and bicycled home. See? Can't you already tell this is a typical Monday?

Luckily, we had the foresight to build a bicycle rack on the Zuki late yesterday and, luckily, we actually loaded the bike on it last night. Otherwise, this morning would have been twice as hectic and 50% as productive. Higher math, ya know?

After Oswald's R&R's both front wheel bearings on the Zuki, I then have to take it out to Sears to get new shocks put on. We're getting down to the short list on this vehicle. Tomorrow morning we're getting all the gear oil replaced in four cases and then we have to do the valve cover gasket and we're gonna "call it good" at that point. I was gonna pull the radiator and replace the alternator but I'm gonna simply wait until it needs it rather than being proactive like I should be.
As usual, you can read all about our Zuki stuff over on the Zuki blog by clicking here.

The Goatherder has put up a new post on this wine blog this morning. It's a real good read. Click here to check it out.

I had a lot of fun yesterday swapping a lot of emails with Carrie over in St. Chinian, France. I roamed Google Earth and found some cool photos of their area there and learned a lot about that region in the South of France. She & Jerry will be there until October 23 and she graciously invited us to come and stay at their rented home there. Nice idea and THANKS, Carrie!

Well, we're going to walk away from this infernal machine and see what kind of trouble we can get into Monkee (ing) around on Monday.

Cheers, jp

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A note from Stasea

Sometime in the "wee hours" between Sunday and Monday, Stasea sent 57 small photos of the recent San Diego trip.  Here they are in a Picasa album.  If you can't see the album, click here. Below the album are some comments about another note on a different topic Stasea sent Sunday.

Everyone knows we don't like to receive forwarded emails.  So, there was some natural apprehension when we saw that Stasea had sent along a forwarded email.  However, she put a note in the subject line that said something like "it must be good because I don't forward emails."  So, I cautiously opened the forwarded email and really enjoyed it!  I went out to the kitchen and told Susun to read it, too.  She LOL's many times as well.  Chances are it's as old as the hills but it's the first time we've seen it and it was a welcome piece of humor today.  THANK YOU, Stasea!  Well, we don't send off forwarded emails but we wanted to share it with our blog readers.  What to do?  We copied out the text and reformatted it and made a page on our Google Sites account.  That way you know it is safe to go look at it. The page is entitled "Play on Words and You can click here to read it.

Here's a sample: "The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large."

September Sunday Sayonara

We're now on the countdown to the end of September. October's coming up to bat Friday so this is the last week of a great month. Susun was once fond of saying, "Who put the OH! in October?" Actually, October is easily one of our favorite months of every year and we're eagerly looking forward to it.

The Goatherder had his first employment test yesterday. He says be poured between one and two thousand glasses of wine at the Sedona Winefest. Can you imagine? OUCH!

Speaking of wine, Carrie sent an email during the night. She and husband Jerry are safely settled into a rental home the south of France. As she describe it, "St. Chinian is located in a gorgeous valley here in the Languedoc wine region." Tough duty, eh? C & J are Big Time wine connoisseurs. They must be in Wine Heaven right now.

Bryan (AKA: BTB) is back in Salt Lake after a mini-epic river trip on the Salmon River all the way down to the below its confluence with the Snake. We're still slated to go visit Bryan next weekend at his place in MOAN Country near Geneva.

Speaking of river runners, probably half of this blog's LBR roster are somehow connected to river running. A lot of the blog's casual visitors are also connected to river running. So, this snippet will make at least some of them turn slightly green. Yesterday, I jammed down to the Dee-Eye t-store to find and buy a thin Tupperware cake pan to use to catch oil below the Zuki oil filter. While I was there, I thought, "Gee, Johnny, you might as well check the back room, there might be something interesting there for you." Yeah, I sure got that right. I scored a 1945 ammo can the likes of which I've never seen before. It's a real beauty in near pristine condition, too. River Runners have a strange symbiotic relationship with ammo cans of all types, flavors and designs. I've never met a river runner who didn't salivate over ammo cans of any description. This one is a 12 x 15 rectangle that stands 14 inches high and weighs in at a stout 15 pounds empty! It's built like the proverbial brick (___)house. At left, our Yard Guard Gnomes check out the new acquisition.  They seem pleased.

Susun pulled off a minor miracle yesterday. No, it wasn't enough of a miracle to get her nominated for sainthood but it was a miracle nonetheless. She somehow made the old dead water heater and water softener disappear from the basement. The softener has been lurking unattached down there since April 2008. The water heater has been taking up valuable space since it was replaced in January. Each of them weighed a ton since they each were totally full of calcium-based sediments. They were so heavy, I could barely move them on the flat basement floor with an industrial dolly rated. Poof, now you see them, now you don't! Since those behemoths have been sitting there, I've toyed with the idea of paying upwards of $50 each to get them hauled out and properly disposed. There's NO WAY me, myself or I would ever dream of attempting to get them up that narrow stairways with two 90-degree turns involved. HA!

So, somehow, Susun got a duo of guys from Habitat for Humanity to drive over a large truck, go downstairs with a professional appliance dolly and grunt both of them upstairs and off to the landfill! I didn't have to do a thing except stay out of the way. Now, THAT's a miracle, folks, pure & Simple. Thanks, Susun, you really shined yesterday!

Yesterday went totally according to plan. The only thing we couldn't squeeze in was a trip out to that distant alpaca farm. Otherwise, it was a great day. About the photos below this post:  Those giant tomatoes were a mere 75 cents each yesterday.  Why grow 'em when you can buy 'em so cheap?  Two guys in a tux were giving carriage rides for three bucks a pop at the other Farmers Market out by the mall.  And then there's a set of shots from the power company's open house.  Free food and free bucket rides, what's not to like?

While we were over at the WINCO Spa, we noticed the pasilla chiles looked real good and were selling for $1.38 a pound. Also, oddly, there weren't 15 Mexicans crowding around the pepper bins. So, I nonchalantly was able to pick out six really perfect matched pasillas. I took them home and fired up the weed burned blow torch out in the alley and blackened all of them in a few minutes, along with some yellow hot peppers and 3 stray jalapenos. After they steamed for awhile and were shed of their skins, I mixed up left over chicken breast, chopped red onions and some cheddar cheese. Then I used an egg, cornmeal, flour mixture to batter them and BAKED them instead of frying them in gobs of oil. I used all the leftover ingredients to make a tamale pie (using corn tortillas, of course, not masa) in the cornbread skillet. I also threw some black olives into that mix. Both of the dishes turned out perfectly in El Turco and we ate every single speck of the food.

Well, this is how it goes when we're home being domestics and not roaming hither and yon being Happy Campers. Mundane? Yes. Fun? Definitely!

Cheers, jp

PS---Oops, I almost forgot the "Score of The Day." Are you ready? For one dollar, I got not one but TWO 1966 vinyls of The Monkees first album!!! (Cue deafening and wild cheering.) This is the album that has the famous "Last Train to Clarksville" on it. An enduring urban legend postulates that the original title was "Last Train to Clarkdale." It's an urban legend I choose to believe. Hopefully, Goatherder will be able to use his hotrod USB turntable to convert that tune into an MP3 for me, huh, Goatherder?
PS #2--Google has changed around their entire method of embedding photos in blogs.  It happened either yesterday or the day before.  The prior method worked perfectly.  The new method is terrible!  Hence, these photos look like someone threw them up at the wall.  Sorry 'bout that, I will keep trying until I master the new set up.  Google simply isn't staisfied with stuff that works well, they have to keep messing with it until it's ridiculously difficult!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Congrats to Maggie & Steve on Izzy

Way to Go, Maggie & Steve, on you new Canine--Izzy! We know you are enjoying being proud parents of your new dog. Congrats!

No Sit in Sat (urday)

We reckon to be hoppin' today--there's all kinds o' stuff a cookin' round about these parts.  We're definitely going to both Farmers Markets.  That's a given.  We're definitely doing a Greenbelt Walk.  That's a given.
The local power company is having their annual Open House.  Check, we'll be there, too. (More on that later.)  There's over 60 yard & garage sales happening today--we'll stop at a few of those, too.  It's National Alpaca Day today and there's an alpaca farm having an Open House--we hope to be there as well.  Meanwhile, we'll squeeze in our daily t-store visits.  Susun will spend time in the basement and I've got a couple of Zuki projects on tap this afternoon.  If that's not enough fun, we'll unpack and fire up our new Monster Leaf Sucker.

Hey, we got a bonus gift last night.  Yep, the publisher of our local daily newspaper gave me permission to use one of his personal photos on the Snowbird blog.  He even thanked us for using it!  It's not just ANY photo, mind you, it's a SPECIAL photo near and dear to our hearts and minds.  And not only that, it's not just a photo embedded in a blog post, it's the brand new banner heading photo that sits atop the whole shooting match.  You can click here to see it and you'll instantly know why it's such a bonus to have permission to use it.

A Tale of Two Trails

I love to get up about between 5-6 am and hang out reading various online news items from around the West.  Today, I had to chuckle at the irony of these two trails.  One trail is up in the hustle-bustle Salt Lake City area and the other one is in Prescott, Arizona. (Remember, Class, Prescott is pronounced 'PRESS-kit.'  Let no hint of a sleeping cot fall from your lips when you say that word!)

OK, here's the funny part.

Exhibit A is from the Salt Lake paper's story:

"The ceremony marked completion of Phase 3 of the Parleys Creek Corridor Trail, a major milestone in a two-decade effort to connect the Bonneville Shoreline Trail on the east with the Provo-Jordan River Parkway on the west. The 1.3-mile segment of the trail cost $2 million."

Exhibit B is from the Prescott Daily Courier's story:

"In the current economic downturn, he said, the trail work is occurring mostly through the efforts of volunteers. The new 2.9 mile Willow Loop Trail, for instance, cost only about $40, because the labor and most of the materials were donated."

Neither dollar amount is a typo.  'Nuf said.

We got a real LOL out of another story this morning in the Salt Lake Trib.  There's this
"pole-lig" family that's supposedly airing it all out for a new TLC reality TV series.  This guy has three so-called "sister wives" and a fourth woman is being courted.  (Note, we and a lot of others we know call the polygamists "pole-ligs.")  Well, the review of the new series notes it's not real high on drama.  Apparently the most dramatic thing that happens in the premier episode reviewed is that two of their 13 kids lose a tooth on the same day and Christine burns the toast.  Meanwhile, the writer wraps up the review by observing it's really not much different than a normal monogamous marriage, "It just involves a husband who has to remember a lot more anniversaries."  Uh, huh.  You can click here to read the full monte.

Polygamy isn't exactly rife in Utah and Idaho but it's a lot more prevalent than most people realize.  Pole-lig households stand out like proverbial sore thumbs.  It's always the huge Motel 6 sized homes that are the giveaway--that and enough kids to field a football team--and the cars in the driveway--oh, so many cars.

Since we're into news this morning, we want to share a Veggie Tale.  Apparently, pepper spray isn't the only bear deterrent.  Any old garden variety zucchini will do.  That's what this sheriff's office evidence photo shows--the famous zucchini that scared off a bear.  The internet's full of it this morning--the zucchini story, I mean.  Rather than give you one link, we're recommending you use this phrase in your Google News search: "frenchtown montana zucchini"  (Without the quote marks, of course.)  Prepare to be amused.

Down in The Arizona Republic, I found an interesting feature story entitled, "10 steps to creating ultimate man cave."  Well, that caught my attention so I read the story.  One of the tips the author gave was this tidbit: "Write down everything you want to do in the room," noting that, "The better you plan, the happier you'll be with the result."

Well, naturally, that got me to thinking which can be a dangerous thing to do before sunrise.  I got to thinking how I should write down what I want to do in my cook shack (AKA: Man Cave). Hum...let's see, here goes:

A)  Grill, BBQ and smoke all sorts of pork and poultry.
B)  Play with a vast assortment of cast iron toys, esoteric kitchen utensils and arcane grill tools.
C) Stand around in unhealthful smoke swilling unhealthful beverages.
D) Listen to wind whistling through cracks and gaps in shoddy construction.
E) Hear rain pelting onto cheap metal roof.
F) Play cassettes of low rent Mexican banda music, maybe MP3's of The Monkees, too.
G) Leave cave (er, cook shack) carrying large, foil-covered tray of delicious food.

OK, now that I have a plan, does that mean I will be happier with the result?

Hey, speaking of cast iron toys--we have a closing note here.  We were roaming the aisles of Dee-Eye (AKA: The LDS Deseret Industries t-store) and our eye caught a microscopic hint of a glimpse of something special.  It was quite literally BURIED under a pile of worthless lids for various pots and pans.  Something about the coloration didn't match.  The teeny little thing I could see was black, not the color of oxidized aluminum or dirty stainless steel.  So, I pawed through the pile of lids and, LO!  A huge cast iron grill skillet appeared.  This is no ordinary cast iron skillet.  Nope, it's a made-in-America Lodge skillet and the bottom of it has all those raised ridges with which to perfectly pan fry pork chops and other similar cuts of meat.  WOW, I could hardly believe my eyes.  It's identical to this picture and it's priced online at $30.  At the local Sportman's Warehouse it's $35.  I got it for $3.  (Cue the Latin American soccer announcer shouting "GOAL" at the top of his lungs.)  If that wasn't enough, I found an antique Favorite Piqua Ware #3 cast iron skillet, too!  You can use the word "Piqua" to find a lot of antique cast iron items from this company on eBay.  Yes, it was yet another good day at the t-stores.

Well, have a Great Saturday & Cheers!  jp

Friday, September 24, 2010


Ye Ol' Y2Ten has a new follower!  Welcome, Jana!  It's great to have our neighbor as a blog follower.  Jana and Matt have been real busy since their wonderful wedding August 7.  First, they went on a long honeymoon from Eureka, California all the way up the Pacific Coast before returning to River City.  Then, they've tackled a giant garage makeover project and, in the meantime, have had time for some trips out in the nearby hinterlands.  They awesome Folks and really Great Neighbors!

We hope we're going to lunch today with Mike V.  Mike is the Bicycle Karma Man.  He's been under the weather for quite a long spell but has improved a lot lately and it getting out and about.  He and I have crossed paths at Dee-Eye a couple of times.  We're looking forward to lunch with Mike today.

There's a Game & Fish guy who writes a weekly Nature Column for the local daily newspaper.  He did a real Ode To September in yesterday's Outdoor Edition.  You can click here to read it.

The newspaper came through and gave Carrie a "thumbs up" in the weekly Friday "Cheers & Jeers" column.  Here's what they had to say:

"Cheers to Carrie G-S, who spearheaded the effort to pay for and install those cool and eminently useful new benches on the Idaho Falls greenbelt. This is, of course, an extension of a program that brought similar benches to downtown Idaho Falls. Clearly, more is better. There's nothing easy about putting together a project like this. You've got to find the money -- especially difficult in this economic climate -- and the folks capable of producing the art. The result is yet another reason for people to check out the greenbelt, and for that Carrie G-S deserves our gratitude."

My role in the bench project will be winding down now.  You can click here for all 67 photos I took at the dedication Tuesday.  So far, Carrie hasn't had time to delete the duds out of this album--I sent her the whole unedited batch of picture so beware, there are some "losers" in this batch.  

Hey, we're gonna get back into doing eBay stuff!  Yep, we slogged it out with PayPal and eBay yesterday morning and got the decks cleared and all the little online thingies to talk to each other and shake hands and be friends, too.  We're good to go for our first listing which will probably be today sometime.  We'll let you know when we cross that Rubicon.

The blog post below this one is one of those mind-numbing exercises wherein we "think out loud."  Unless you need some sleep-inducing reading, just skip it!

Well, that's about all for this morning.  Have a great TGIF and Cheers!  jp

Note added a couple of hours later:  The weekly stats came out this morning and here they are.  They reflect total numbers since June 19 (not the full year).  It's interesting to note we broke the 3,000 mark for page views this week.  Average daily viewership and time spent on the blog have held remarkably steady during the past few weeks.


            Total ........................ 1,663            
            Average per Day ................. 20            
            Average Visit Length .......... 3:21            
            This Week ...................... 140                  

          Page Views

            Total ........................ 3,038            
            Average per Day ................. 33            
            Average per Visit .............. 1.7            
            This Week ...................... 234 

Falling into place

Now that fall is finally here, we've begun chattering about our upcoming schedule.  As you know, we often turn to this blog to "think out loud" by writing about our plans and our schedule and so forth.  Somehow, when we write stuff down here is becomes a lot more likely to happen.  It's not exactly chiseled in stone but it's a whole lot better than simply "thinking about it."

We know one thing for sure--we're heading to Arizona sometime between now and December.  So, that's basically a max of two months away.  Whazzup for that time period?  We have only three tentative trips planned:
A) To Bryan's Place over by Geneva, Idaho October 1-3;
B) Maybe to The City of Rocks October 7-11
C) Up to Salmon on October 18-21

If all of the above come to pass, they will make for a blindingly fast October.
Meanwhile, we're biting off a long laundry list of homeowner projects that include:
A) Construction of an overhang on the west porch to shed snow and rain from the entry.
B)A new roof on the cook shack
C)A new frost free hose bib on the north side of the house
D)Rehab of the garage door
E)Total R&R the basement

And, meanwhile, of course there are The Leaves.  Ah, The Leaves!  Those beautiful fall colors eventually turn into a real grunt.  We've vowed to deal with our leaves before we head south.  What makes The Leaves so daunting is that you simply can't rake and bag them once, nor twice, nor....  Nope, ya gotta rake leaves repeatedly.  It seems to go on and on and on.  Oftentimes, your leaf raking window is very small due to fall rains and frost.  Some of you may know that wet leaves are much harder to rake and bag than dry leaves.  Also, frozen leaves are in a league of their own.  Disposing of snow covered leaves is out of the question.

So, what's a recumbant homeowner to do?  AH, we have a solution--a $500 leaf vacuum and shredder!  Yep, we're popping for the heavy artillery for our leaves this year--a Sears Craftsman gigantic leaf sucker.
We're buying it today.  By gosh, we are armed and dangerous when it comes to The Leaves this year (and for many years to come).  We will be able to jump out on a moment's notice to wipe our small yard clean in minutes.  No more angst over when and how to rally up to deal with The Leaves.  Also, we're going to be able to take the offensive in The Leaf Wars.  We're going to suck leaves off of Chuck & Lynn's yard and Kenyon's yard, too.  Why?  Well, we live downwind of them and that's really where most of our leaf problem originates.  Our own leaves leave home and cause problems to our northern neighbors who live downwind of us.  It's like leaf dominos, if you will.  Well, we're coming out swinging on The Leaves this season.  Because, pure and simple, we can't leave here (pun intended) until The Leaves are fully in remission.  The sooner The Leaves are gone, the sooner we get to go.  This giant leaf sucker is our main weapon now and the key to a smooth departure.

Why is a relatively early departure desirable?  One word: Weather.  If you looked at the 90-day forecast graphics on our weather blog, you can easily see it's going to be a wet fall here.  No doubt about it.  We've already had two snow & rain trips to and from Arizona.  We know just how "dicey" that type of travel can be.  We do not want to drive in bad weather.  The later we stay here, the higher the odds become for yet another white knuckle trip south.  Hence, the $500 leaf sucker.

Realistically, it looks like the earliest we can depart will be early to mid-November.  Meanwhile, we've sure have our work cut out for us here on the Home Front.  Well, that's enough "thinking out loud." 

Cheers, jp

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Kiss Of Q

I thought I was all said and done with Qworst after they couldn't find Idaho Falls.  Yes, I knew we had a Q account for internet access in Arizona but it was safely on "suspend" and the minimal $10 monthly payments were being automatically taken out of a checking account.


Today, I rec'd the first piece of mail I'd seen from Qworst in months.  It was a disconnect notice.  If I didn't pay $56 by today, they'd pull the plug on the Arizona dormant internet account and then have a license to charge an arm and leg to reconnect it.

What ensued was a classic tale of Man Against Qworst.  I was on the phone for well over an hour and talked with not one, but four CSR's (AKA: Customer Service Reps.).  It was wildly frustrating to the Nth degree.  I can't even begin to describe to you the Little Shop of Billing Horrors these people put me through.

The first CSR was over in Mumbai (AKA: New Delhi, India).  I wound up calling him an Idiot and hung up.
The second one was maybe on Prozac or Darvon, she was really kinda of stoned out and not much in touch with the same reality I was experiencing.  She said, "Wow, that's weird" several times.

The third CSR was a black woman and she was so intrigued by my case she said, "I've never seen anything like this, I need to talk to my Supervisor."  Mind you, it wasn't ME asking to speak to the Supervisor--it was HER!  While I was on hold with the 3rd CSR, the 4th CSR came on the line by accident.  I had to start all over again explaining what I had already explained.

Well, it turns out that they had made some crucial billing errors and also had been using the wrong zip code in mailing our bills.  That's why we never received them.  Meanwhile, they realized THEIR error in July and then charged ME (and a lot of other people) to make up for their mistakes.  The last CSR clearly emphasized this point.  It was easily one of the worst nightmarish billing problems I've had in many a year.

The 2nd CSR said I was going to have to call Mumbai back to solve the issue.  I told her that if I had to call Mumbai, I didn't care if they disconnected me and/or sued me or ruined my credit either.  I said there was no way on this earth I would ever talk to Mumbai again.  That's how I wound up talking with the black woman who had an attitude.

Meanwhile this guy I got--CSR #4, actually turned out to be a real person.  When I told him what a bunch of worthless dirt bags they had outsourced to in Mumbai, he was positively giddy.  He said, "I love it when people badmouth outsourcing!"  I kid you not.  Anyway, he did a really good job and had me laughing and even got me to ENJOY paying my $56 by clearly explaining the insanity that had taken place, even though it was not my fault.  You simply wouldn't even believe the crazy, convoluted conversation we had to endure to listen to the circuitous comedy that generated my disconnect notice.  Anyway, I told him I would happily say nice things about him to his Supervisor and, at first, he encouraged me to bad mouth outsourcing to India but then he said, "You better not do that or I will get fired."  I zipped my lip on that one.  He was a good guy and I'm fortunate to have ended this sorry episode with a good guy.

When it was all over, I was exhausted and limp as a overcooked noodle.  It was all I could do to go try to recharge at Harbor Freight and the WINCO Spa & Relaxation Center.

Luckily, all four of the CSRs knew where Idaho Falls was located and we didn't have to engage in any ludicrous charade about playing the "Where's Idaho Falls" guessing game.  I am still really feeling wrung out by this bizarre set of circumstances so I'm going to bed early tonight, probably at least 2 hours earlier than normal.  Whew, what an experience!

On one other note, I notched another project chapter with regard to the Zuki.  You can click here to read about it.


Letters from home

Anyone who knows me knows I love old manual typewriters. Always have. Always will. Typewriters are truly magnificent mechanical devices. Their utter inscrutable complexity and the sheer weight of history they carry on their broad shoulders fascinates me. Just think: somehow America not only survived but grew and totally prospered when people only had #2 pencils and typewriters. Imagine this heavy thought--we fought two World Wars and sent a man to the moon with TYPEWRITERS!

Typewriters have long since been left in the dust of computers and Blackberries. But there are Old Throwbacks like me out there who love them Dearly. Every day when I sally forth to the T-stores, I hope and pray that I will find a really good old manual typewriter. It's one of the first things my eyes scan the T-stores for. Day after day after day it's always "NO LUCK!"

Today I scored! And it was due to an ironic twist. I found a strange clay piece at the Youth Ranch. I asked Staff what it was and no one knew. So, I asked if I could take it's photo to send to Goatherder. He would know. They agreed. So, I walked the clay piece over to a nearby flat surface in the furniture section and I about fainted. Here sat a vintage Royal typewriter hiding out in the furniture section! Well, naturally, I latched onto it and made it ours. It was $4. That soft gray crinkly powder coating in in perfect, unmarred condition.  The key faces are pristine. The trim is Art Deco! The case locks and the typewriter attaches snugly with four pivoting hinge like devices. So far, all the keys have checked out. Of course, it needs adjustment and a new ribbon but it's serviceable "as is."

From the looks of it, I'm guessing it dates to the 1940's but certainly no later than the early 1950's. With the case it weighs 16.6 pounds. I love those old gray powder coated mid 20th century industrial typewriters! This one has a 10 digit property number on the inside of the case lip. I'd be willing to guess it probably started its life out on the nearby (then) top secret nuclear lab. Who knows what secrets it may have tapped out with its keys? AH, mysteries.

This typewriter will get put in tiptop shape this fall and then travel down to Arizona with us. We don't have a computer printer there at the straw house. So, this machine will be our GO TO technology for writing "letters from home." When we were out at Bowery, we re-discovered our great love of writing typewritten letters. They are as much fun to receive as they are to type. There's something about a typewritten letter that is so tactile and endearing. Anyway, chances are many of you, if not ALL of you LBR's out there are going to receive one or more typewritten "letters from home." Even the envelope will be typewritten and, hopefully, we can find some throwback postage stamps to affix to the envelopes.

It was another VERY good day at the T-Stores! Doncha think?

Cheers, jp

Wine Blog Born

Greetings this fine Thursday morning! Our headline item today is the debut of a "Verde Valley Wines" blog by none other than The Goatherder (TGH) hisself. (Cue the trumpets, drum roll and fanfare.) OK, OK, thank you for your wild applause--you can all sit down now. We are TGH's Blog Coach. Yeah, we wear a whistle around our neck and make him run into rows of old tires like he is at high school football practice. We're really proud of TGH for his untiring efforts to get this blog up and running on rather short notice. TGH is actually embarking on a new career--that of a wine expert focused entirely on Verde Valley and Arizona vintages. We will undoubtedly write a much longer narrative on the topic of TGH's blog over on our Snowbird blog. We just wanted you to be aware that the blog is a Big Deal and it's going to be fun to read and follow. You can click here to go there and read his first five posts. Congrats to TGH!!!! OK, the trumpeters and drummers can stop with the fanfare now.

I didn't get out of the house until noon yesterday. Yep, it was a slow moving morning. I did get a lot done on the Zuki yesterday and perhaps even solved one of the major issues of this "new" vehicle. You can click over to the Zuki blog to read all about it.

Susun had a great day, too, and she didn't leave the house even once. She's really happy to be back in her homestead and she busied herself with all sorts of homemaker chores.

I had a huge day at the t-stores. HUGE! I spent over $20 and brought home all manner of great stuff, including a practically new Coleman stove for $5. This is a model 425F, which means it's a little newer than our 425D. It was built in the early 1970's. The paint is basically brand new and it's as clean as a pin. The white gas tank is in perfect condition. WOW!

I also scored two new air pumps for our inflatable. One's a barrel pump and one's a foot pump. The pair would probably cost nearly $50 new and I got them both for $8.75. Gotta love them t-store scores. I even scored a nearly new Halex Minotaur dart board for $2. This model is roughly $40 on ebay right now, plus maybe $12-$15 shipping because of the weight. This thing weighs in at perhaps 15 pounds and it's the thick sisal style board. We're gonna take it to Arizona and mount in on a shed wall and have ourselfs dart tourneys. I got some other knick knacks but nothing comparable to the stove, pumps and board.

Well, there's not much else to report today. Cheers! jp

Almost forgot a couple of items: A) Yesterday I put up a post on the weather blog about what we might expect weatherwise for the next three months. You can click here to read it. B) DF & LBR Maggie sent along a link to a "lost city." Remember how Qwest denied the existence of Idaho Falls? Well, Google Maps "lost" this Florida city. The story illustrates how dependent we've become on our techno gadgetry. Click here to read the CNN story. Thanks, Maggie!

This just in! I found a great article on "The Tale of Two Cornvilles" and wrote a blog post about it this morning over on the Snowbird blog. Click here to read it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The sun is midway between the North and South Poles today.  There's a sign beside Highway 93 along the Salmon River that marks the 45th Parallel.  The sign says, "You are halfway between the North and South Poles here."  I always like to imagine that the sun is shining right down on that sign today.   Anyway, Happy Equinox--and remember--Only 94 days to Christmas!

Susun made it home in fine time--arriving 20 minutes earlier than scheduled.  Heck, I barely had time to "get it together" before she showed up.  It was great to see her and we headed directly to Hilda's Garden.  She was so delighted to see the geese and the horse.  We then visited other benches and have a wonderful Family Home Evening.  It sure is great to have her back here!  Welcome Home, Susun!

My morning got off to a real early start--I had the Zuki over to the muffler shop at 7:45 am and then spent the first part of the morning cleaning house.  I arrived at the Bench Dedication a few minutes before 10 am and stayed until most of the people were gone about 10:45 am.  Carrie made a real nice speech and she publicly recognized me for helping her.  I even got a round of applause from the 50+ people in attendance.  I think my face turned red.  I took a lot of photos and will post a link them them when they are processed today.  I have to get them processed today as Carrie is leaving tomorrow for a month in the South of France. (Carrie's on the horse bench at right above.)

The remainder of the day was all about house cleaning.  I did drive the Zuki about 20 miles to make sure it was OK and then took it to pick up Susun.  She was very happy with the new vehicle.

Another spot of interesting news surfaced yesterday.  There's a little known airline that serves Idaho Falls called Allegiant.  Anyway, they started here a few years ago selling trips back and forth to Vegas.  Ho, hum, who cares?  Then things got interesting when they decided to add service to the Long Beach airport in SOCAL.  Hum, that's going to make it a LOT more convenient for Susun to visit Sarah and the boys.  Then things got even MORE interesting yesterday when they announced yesterday Monday and Friday non-stop service from River City to Mesa, Arizona!  Is that wild or what?  Yea, verily, that's wild.  Their introductory rates are quite low--$100 round trip to the Mesa Gateway airport.  With the usual taxes and fee, it comes to $150 out the door.  That's almost like stealing!  The Mesa Airport is a nice short drive from Susun's brother's home.  it sure will make it convenient in case we need to jet up here while we are in Arizona or go down there while we are up here.

We're not sure what's in store for today--Susun show signs of jet lag this AM so "we shall see," as they say.

Cheers, jp

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Homecoming today

Susun gets home at 5:40 pm tonight.  Yippee!  It's really boring around this house when she's gone.  Have a safe and fun journey back to River City, Sweetie!

We had to make an unexpected hustle-trip over to Hilda's yesterday morning.  The pad the city poured for the horse bench proved to be too small so the city boss made a spot decision to move it to the Hilda Garden.  I was concerned about their choice of locations but it turned out great.  In the meantime, I was able to successfully lobby to get rid of the ugly white benches and replace them with a picnic table.

Meanwhile, I picked up Dina O. and we spent some quality time at Hilda's.  She was so excited to see the horse and geese.  Rhona F. the artist of the horse bench was touching up that 3,000 pound bench with her Mom and Dina enjoyed getting to meet them.

Each week our local daily newspaper does a lengthy editorial column giving various thumbs up and thumbs down icons to various people and groups.  I sent off a note yesterday morning urging Corey T., the editorialist, to give Carrie one of the thumbs up stories this week and he replied that he will.  I'll never tell Carrie I did that and I know she will be real surprised and happy to receive such public recognition.  The paper did a nice story on the benches in this morning's edition.  I will see if I can print and archive it here.

Next up was making the Zuki street legal.  It was legal to tow it home unlicensed from Utah.  I checked on that before leaving Springville last week.  I didn't want to drive the Zuki down to DMV unlicensed so I went down there yesterday and asked how to have it inspected.  I had to call Dispatch and request a Sheriff's Deputy to come to the garage.  By and by this guy came all draped with a gun, a taser and all of the rest of the cop stuff.  He was 6-6 and real gruff.  He even called in the VIN# to see if it was stolen or something.
He gave me a paper to take to DMV and imagine my surprise when the clerk told me the deputy wrote down the wrong VIN#!!!!!  HUH?  She said, "You should have had him to double check it."  I said, "I am not in the habit of telling a uniformed, armed officer that he needs to double check his work!"  Meanwhile, after much hemming and hawing, the clerk decided to simply write over the deputy's writing with her own writing.  Okie, dokie, I guess ya learn something new each day.  Our nickle-dime society has really anted up the cost of getting a vehicle registered--the total came to $90!  Ouch!

Then it was off to the insurance company.  They made me a deal and gave me 3 weeks to sell the other Zuki--the Sidekick--and said they wouldn't change me anything and they would simply substitute one Zuki for another. Now that's smart thinking.

After taking and sorting out all the recycles, I spent the evening messing with the Zuki instrument cluster and made no progress except to learn it's a far more daunting project than I imagined.

Today we're taking it to Art's Muffler at 7:50 am.  I suspect I will drop probably $200 on exhaust system work there.  Muffler and tailpipe work is something I can't do and never will be able to do.  It takes expensive, specialized equipment, the ability to weld like a pro and an eye for esoteric bends and twists and so forth.  Whatever they charge is way worth it in my book.

Ten AM is, of course, the hoop-dee-doo.  After that's over I will spend the rest of the day housecleaning, etc.  The yard and flowers are in great shape for Susun's return.  The inside of the house?  Not so much.

It's cooling off nicely now that fall is officially arriving. Right now it's 42 degrees outside.  Yesterday was almost brisk.  It feels great.  Gee, that was a short summer and a relatively cool one, too.  Susun wants me to determine how many days we had over 90 degrees.  I'm betting it was less than 15 or 20.

Here's a fun factoid--today marks the 3rd anniversary of our purchase of this house.  It was September 21, 2007, when we closed the deal and received the keys to the place.  A heck of a lot sure has happened here in three short years!

Well, there's not much else to report this morning.  Cheers!  jp

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hilda's Garden Gets Geese!

Yesterday was a pretty interesting day which we will discuss after these initial comments.  Sunday evening, I bicycled down to Hilda's Garden to see and experience the three new "Geese Seats" that were installed there last week by the Parks & Recreation workers.  That's what the slide show above is all about.  For those of you who don't have Adobe Flash on their computer(s), you can click here to see the photos one-by-one.  The seats are very beautiful and perfected placed at Hilda's.  I was overwhelmed with happiness to see them there and also to watch how evening strollers interacted with them.  It's obvious those three seats are a "people magnet!"  Seeing the seats in place really brought home the totality of this art bench project and my heart swelled with joy at the realization that this project is really done and it's really awesome.  I'm fond of saying that for this project "the total is greater than the sum of the parts."  Well, last night, I was finally able to actually experience just how powerful that "total" really is.  I sent Carrie a note this morning offering my utmost congratulations and appreciation for everything she's had to do to bring this project from concept to reality.  WAY TO GO, Carrie!

Here are my two favorite photos from this project.  We were both freezing our anatomy off that day and we really had to reach deep for some imagination to visualize where and how these (at that time) nebulous benches could be placed along the Greenbelt.  This was long before the first design submission had been received. This project is a shining testimony to what a positive attitude and a creative spirit are all about.  it speaks volumes about the idea of a single individual's effort making a major long-lasting difference in the quilt of a community's cultural fabric.  In this case, Carrie hit a bases loaded home run ball that will reverberate for years to come.  Thanks, Carrie!

Moving along, let's recap Sunday.  As noted on the Zuki blog, we spent most of the morning dinking around in the garage pondering our next project for "Zen and The Art of Samurai Maintenance."  Meanwhile, Houn Dawg called and promoted the idea of hitting a bucket of balls at the Sand Creek driving range.  I observed that the wind was supposed to come up pretty good so we decided to meet in the late morning.  It was delightful to see Houn Dawg drive up with Suzanne, too.  The three of us enjoyed hacking away at some golf balls and goofing off on the practice putting green.  We then decided to play the short course together and that turned out to be a real hoot.  It's the third time I've played those six short mini-holes.  I'm pretty consistent, shooting a 27, 30 and 29 for those three rounds in the past few weeks.  Houn Dawg hit some consistently great shots and Suzanne and I each had one or two shots to remember, too.  Meanwhile, there was nary a soul on the little course until we were walking away.  That's when a Dad and 3 kids arrived at tee number one.  What a great deal for $3.25!!!!

The golf adventure took 3 hours.  Upon arriving home, I remembered I made a tentative plan to drive down to Fort Hall to try to find an esoteric Zuki part.  So, I hotfooted it outta River City and, by and by, managed to find the seller's place.  His place was buried in a backwoods niche near the Sho-Ban Rez.  Pretty remote.
Anyway, I gave his $25 and drove off with a nice used instrument cluster.  Hopefully, it will work.  The details, of course, will be on the Zuki blog later when the project is complete.

After a few chores around the house and so forth, I sat down to check email shortly before 7 pm and that's when my little bicycle adventure over to Hilda's Garden began.

Today, I think I will call up Dina O. and offer to take her to Hilda's to see the geese before tomorrow's hoop-dee-doo.  Then maybe I will roam around and look at the other benches.  It might be kinda fun to stop in the P&R HQ and tell Dave C. just how happy I am with the benches.  Dave hasn't exactly been 100% into the benches so I enjoy passing along my glee every chance I get.

This is Susun's last day in San Diego.  I'll bet she sure wishes she could stay longer.  That's the beauty of having a non-refundable airline ticket--it makes certain she comes back here and doesn't take up residence in Vista, California!

Well, that's about it for today!  Cheers, jp

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Fall Equinox approaches

For all practical purposes, we're halfway between the longest and shortest days of each annual cycle.  Even though this year's official Autumnal equinox is at 9:09 pm (MST) September 22, the sun right now is basically half way between it's see-saw migration back and forth across earth's hemispheres.  The Idaho Falls high temperature yesterday was 83.  By comparison, Phoenix set a new all time record at 109.  The end of September always marks an end of the 80 degree days in Eastern Idaho and is always breaks the back of the 100+ degree days down in the heart of the Sonoran Desert.  We salute a summer gone bye-bye and say Hello & WELCOME! to the turning of the leaves and those first flakes of snow sure to swirl gently down soon.

There were all sorts of fun activities available yesterday but I didn't attend any of them. It's really not very fun to attend big events by myself--it's much more fun to go to them with Susun.  When she returns, we will venture forth once again to Farmers Markets, festivals and so forth.  I was totally content to spend most of the day practicing my Samurai Zen art shtick and I'm looking forward to more of the same today.  We'll spare you those esoteric details as we will regurgitate them over on the "ifyouzuki" blog.

I did talk to Maggie on the telephone yesterday.  She had surgery on her foot and ankle Wednesday and she is doing remarkably well.  Congrats, Maggie!  May your mending process proceed quickly.  We also had at least two phone chats with Goatherder--he's embarking on a whole new career--that of becoming a wine guru in the Verde Valley.  It's a long story that's just beginning to unfold (or uncork, as the "case" may be) and we're going to wait to tell this story after it gets some longer legs.  The upshot of the phone conversations, however, is that Goatherder now has two brand new internet domain names.  Congratulations, GH!

Naturally, we made the obligatory daily pilgrimage to our T-Store Trilogy, spending more than $30 total.
Gee, that's a lot of money.  What did we buy?  Well, $25 of that expenditure was for a big bunch of dinner plates, salad plates, bowls and ramekin cups.  They are all very heavy and a pleasing (and matching) slightly off white tint.  They match some coffee mugs I had previously purchased.  They will all go to Arizona where we are in the process of rebuilding our inventory of table service, pots and pans and kitchen utensils. We hope to have a lot of friends over for weekend brunches this season and, hey, we want our table to look real nice.  Last year, all we had was pretty much the flotsam and jetsam of our camp kitchen.  It did the job but sure didn't get any style points.

We baked yet another fat chicken last night as well.  Having that remote sensing thermometer really makes it so much more fun to bake a big bird.  It turned out perfectly.  Prior to buying that digital temp thingie I never really could "get it right" when baking a chicken outside.  I had a very high failure rate.

We've been watering the lawn real heavily so it can get ready for its long dormant phase this winter.  If you don't give those grass roots a good drink each fall, they really don't do well during the snow season.  Today we will mow the backyard.  It's looking much better since we heavily fertilized it last weekend.  I'm guessin the backyard will need only one more mow after today but maybe not.  The front might need two more mows.  In any event, the grass mowing season is rapidly coming to a thankful end.

As I was driving around the city Friday, I noticed at least some of the Greenbelt Art Benches are already installed.  Hopefully, today I can bicycle down there and take pictures of all of them.  he formal dedication is at 10 am Tuesday in Hilda's Garden.  I will pick up Dina O. and take her down to participate in the festivities.

Well, that's about it for now.

Cheers, jp

PS--the ifyouzuki blog was updated about 10:30 am

Friday Fotos

Here's a couple of photos of The Boys at a waterpark near Sarah & Peter's Place.  After enjoying the park, Susun used our two coupons at a Chick-fill-A. You'll remember we got the coupons when we went to a franchise seminar here at the Idaho Falls Hilton a few weeks back.  I'm not sure when we'll receive more photos from Stasea as she and Sarah attended a big hoop-dee-doo wedding last night and I think she won't be up and moving around anytime soon today.  Time is winding down on Susun's SoCal Sojourn.  She'll have to be up and at 'em early Tuesday for the long ride home.  She gets in to Idaho Falls at 5:40 pm Tuesday.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Zen & The Art of Samurai Maintenance

A famous book from a past life is entitled "Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."  I never read the whole book, only parts of it.  It was a heavy book for me to read back when it was first published so I "blew it off."  I'd peek at it once in awhile but I didn't want to get very involved with that book, if you know what I mean.  I knew darned well the author wasn't really talking about motorcycles and, besides, I didn't give a tinker's diddly about motorcycles then...and still don't now.  (Just because I bought golf clubs--DON'T look for me to buy a motorcycle--it ain't never gonna happen!)

Anyway, though, I got to thinking about the whole "zen" thing and I realized it might be apt to coin a new phrase, to wit: "Zen & The Art of Samurai Maintenance."  It has a real Japanese ring to it, don't ya think?  No, this isn't a Bruce Lee Thing--this is a Samurai Thing!

Anyway, you can be the judge yourself as I have begun a chronicle of my misadventures with the New Zuki by activating a long dormant blog entitled "ifyouzuki."  You can click here to go there, in a roundabout zen sort of way.

Beware--the aforementioned blog is totally arcane and filled with mind-numbing, esoteric technical details.  NOBODY in their right mind will read it--except, of course, for other Zuki owners!

Bless his Heart, Goatherder actually went there and, believe it or not, actually left a comment!  Here is what he said:

"I look forward to following this blog about these infernal kidney pounders. A zuki owner myself (although it's one of the more civilized varieties) I know how endearing they can be. My sidekick refuses to die. The damned thing always starts. It's so ugly and full of goat poo and empty 45 Long colt cartridges the family is instructed to bury me in it, cause I could never sell it to anyone with a lick of sense. Nobody even wants to steal it. Ask me how I know....Congrats on the new purchase! Am I the first commenter? Where's my prize? What do I get?"

From that profound beginning, surely we have reached Zen, don't you think?  Well, maybe not.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Emotion Bowl

Oh, MY!

Yes, it's truly The Emotion Bowl!  Who knew?  Right here a short 5 block bike ride away: The Emotion Bowl.

It was emotional and totally awesome football the way football was intended to be played.  The Idaho Falls Tigers versus the Skyline Grizzlies.  The stands were packed beyond capacity.  Security guards were every where.  You couldn't buy a ticket because they were sold out.  TV trucks were lined up like flies to honey.  The roar of the opposing crowds was amazing.  The dueling high school bands brought their best and it, too, was awesome.  Both sides had an army of cheerleaders.  No kidding, I've never seen as many cheerleaders as I saw tonight--not even for a college or pro team.  There was genuine electricity in the air.

When I showed up shortly after halftime Skyline was leading 23-20 and playing to win.  The ball changed hands a few times and in the early 4th quarter, the Tigers got it back.  I was in the perfect position to see the QB fade back and loft a perfect spiral downfield to his streaking wide receiver who caught it in stride and ran untouched for a 80 yard TD.  WOW, you should have seen the orange side of the stadium come unglued.  That put the Tigers on top 26-23 and therein began the duel right down to the last 4 seconds of playing time.  It was awesome and emotional and it had every single fan strung out.  This is football!

I hung on the outside fence rapt.  This game had it all--it had everything.  It had huge amounts of raw emotion.  It had the fans standing on their feet and cheering their brains out--it had the players giving everything they had and it finally had a field goal attempt with 4 seconds left sailing wide right to preserve the Tigers Win.

After the Tiger QB put down a knee to run out the clock the team swarmed the field.  You would have thought it was the Super Bowl.  The stadium rocked with the passionate roar from the Tigers Fans.  I looked on enchanted by it all.  Oh, the things I saw and the thoughts I had.  How I wish I could express them here.
Suffice to say it was truly The Emotion Bowl!

Cheers, jp
 Viva Friday Night Lights!
The photo at the top of this blog post is by Monte LaOrange, Copyright 2010 by The Post-Register.

Be The Hat

"Be The Hat" is one of the most classic lines in Ground Hog Day. It's actually one of my own favorite lines, too. BE THE HAT!

Well, today I was roaming DEE-EYE (AKA: Deseret Industries) and here was this hat--gee, it was only five bucks. I woulda, coulda, shoulda, maybe probably oughta done bought it but, NAH, I couldn't pull the pocket wallet trigger for five bucks. I mean five bucks? Heck, it buys a LOT more than a Sombrerero. Well, maybe not. Anyway, this is the way we were.

Cheers, jp

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Girls & Boys Have Fun On Train & At Beach

Sorry I wasn't able to post up these wonderful photos earlier--as you can tell from the post below, it's been a high speed, non-stop day.  Thanks for your patience, Stasea!  Please send more photos soon.  Cheers, jp

A Busy Day

Seems like each day since Susun departed has been extraordinarily busy.  Hum....why is that?  Oh, well, we will leave it to the Karmic Prognosticators to read their tea leaves and discern a reasonable answer.

Meanwhile, I am busier than the proverbial one-armed paper hanger.  Today was a Gang-Busters Day!  WOW!

Anyone who knows what our garage looks like during the summer will be able to immediately tell a Hurricane Swept through the garage and whooshed all our camping gear down to the basement where it will reside in Peace (and pieces) all winter long.  WOW!

When the cat dragged the Suzuki home, one domino led to another domino and, well, you know how that goes.  I had to be able to get the Zuki inside the garage to work on it.  But I couldn't download the Camp Warehouse to the basement unless I rearranged our whole storage plan there.  That meant converting the Old Coal Room Workshop to a Boat Room.  But before I could do that, I had to pull everything off the east wall and paint it white.  Then I had to rip into the whole storage arrangement and just totally roto root everything.  Well, that's taken two days.

Meanwhile, I had to totally rearrange the cook shack to absorb tons of stuff and then rearrange the workshop to absorb MORE tons of stuff and, finally, haul everything every which way including LOOSE!  It took forever to empty the Camp Warehouse.  I thought it was never going to end.  I lost track of how many hours I spent on it.  Finally, I was able to pull the new Zuki into the garage sometime this evening, I didn't even glance at my watch.

Everything's real stable here now--there's no flotsam or jetsam showing outside the house or the cook shack.  Nobody would know what mayhem took place here today.  Whew.

Meanwhile, I had to mow the yard because it was long in the tooth and then water all of Susun's flowers and then set a sprinkler for the front yard and then change the goldfish water and then put on a pork roast in El Turco and, well, what can I say, it's been a wild and crazy day and that's after playing a round of golf and visiting three local thrift stores!

I'm sure looking forward to a peaceful slumber this evening.  How 'bout you?

Have a great night & Cheers, jp

PS--Before I "retire" for the evening (Gee, I thought retired March 5th!) I PROMISE to post Stasea's photos that she sent yesterday.  PROMISE!