Friday, December 31, 2010

Then & Now

Here's the story.  The top photo was obviously taken five years ago today.  We tried to replicate the bottom photo as close as possible right down to the same time of day.  We both think we did OK.

Now let's let the story expand a little.

Back five years ago tonight our lives were filled with uncertainty.  We had made a commitment: we were selling out to move to Idaho.  

Who would buy this place?  And Why?  And When?  We knew not.  But we huddled around our New Year's Eve Campfire and talked as if it was a done deal.  

Oh, how full of braggadocio we were.  (Some would use the letters "B" & "S" instead of that fine Italian word!)  We burned a big pile of mesquite and told grand tales of living in Idaho Falls.

But here's the bottom line:  That's the Power of Vision & Belief  & Faith  & Hope.  

Dreams CAN Come True if you BELIEVE they can.  We are all in charge of our own destiny.  As my Grade School Nuns loved to say, "It's Your Choice, Young Man."

To have come full circle between "Then & Now" is a truly inspiring story.  Heck, we are inspired by our OWN story!  It's really amazing to us that we are back here at The Straw House once again in Y2Ten looking at the same timeless vistas and savoring the same primitive joys we once knew.

 If you would have told us five years ago tonight what we would have experienced in the upcoming five years, we would have laughed you right off our property.  Hollywood fiction writers couldn't come up with a better story line than the one that unfolded between "Then & Now."

We're Grateful for our heritage and legacy here at The Straw House.  We're Grateful for the New Life we've created in Idaho. We're Grateful for Family in Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Indiana. We're Grateful for our Lifelong Dear Friends here.  We're Grateful for Our Newfound Dear Friends in Idaho.  We're Grateful for have Rivers To Run everywhere.  And, as the New Year's Sun draws to a close, We're most Grateful for being able to be back here at 2nd Chance Ranch posting up photos of "Then & Now!"




Susun & John

A door to the future

For some reason, I keep forgetting to put up a status report on the door.  Our goal was to have it finished by the end of the year.  We didn't quite get to the "finished" part.  However, the door is blocked in place and we can enjoy its primary benefit--all that great light streaming in through the large glass pane. 

It's going to take a lot of tedious shimming work to get the door finished.  Neither upright beam is plumb and the opening isn't square either.  Dex came over the other day and was as perplexed as we were about how to mount the door.  It doesn't really matter much.  We'll figure it out one way or another.  In the meantime, it's great to have that large dark area punctuated by some much appreciated light!

A Year Ago

A year ago today, we arrived back in Idaho Falls after spending nearly 2 months here at The Straw House.  It was a real whirlwind last year.  First, we shared a great Christmas Dinner at The Wheelers on Friday. Then we had two days to pack up and rig to go.  We left Monday morning after tinkering with all of our security stuff here.  We drove into the teeth of a storm north of Beaver, Utah, and somehow made it to Nephi in the night.  We have to layover in Nephi a full day before departing again on New Year's Eve.  I think we pulled into Idaho Falls about this time of day a year ago on the 31st.

Today I went back and re-read the first dozen or so blog posts.  It was very entertaining and for a few LBRs it might also be fun for you to revisit those posts.  While reviewing the blog posts I realized I never put up the photo album of our entertaining stay in Nephi.  So, here it is exactly one year late!
You can click here to see it.  It has 27 photos and they are all captioned.  There are a lot of cool historical photos of Nephi itself.

OK, if you are bored and want to read those early blog posts, here how you do it.  Scroll down the left column until you get to the Blog Archives.  Go click on "January."  That will bring up a list of all the posts of January.  Scroll down that list and click on the first one entitled "Y2Ten Blog Born."
Then simply click "Newer Post" at the bottom of that entry.  That's the easiest way to read the first few posts.  They all sure ring as true today as they did a year ago.  I got a kick out of this snippet from one of the first posts:  "I enjoy writing aimlessly.  I enjoy writing stuff that's focused, too, of course.  But writing about nothing in particular is a fat lot of fun.  It's like taking a mental hike through some pleasant landscapes.  I can go off trail any time I want without the Trail Police giving me a ticket."  You can click here to read the full post from which that quote was lifted.

It's been a fun year writing this blog--we're looking forward to more such fun and games in the year ahead.

Cheers, jp


Once upon a time, we engaged in the annual tradition of making New Year's Resolutions.  Didn't we all?  Now such resolutions have long since been relegated to the deepest recesses of the dustbin of history.  Resolutions R Not Us.

With that disclaimer done, however, we'd like to think out loud about stuff we'd like to do in the upcoming Year 2011.  These aren't resolutions, mind you, they are just things we hope happen.  Here's The Top Ten:

1) Visit more often w/Family & Dear Friends.  Keep in better touch, make more phone calls & FTF visits.
2) Organize more "get togethers" with our Dear Friends. (Eat @ Diablo Burger!)
3) Build an earth oven at The Straw House. Cook and bake more outdoors in Idaho & Arizona.
4) Spend more time in boats of all types.  Float The Snake often.  Spend more time on the Salmon between Challis & Corn Creek.
5) Explore more Idaho backroads, especially in the Beaverhead & Lemhi Ranges.  Put lots of back country miles on the Zuki.
6) Do more spur-of-the-moment camping in the new pop-top rig. Downsize tent camping rig.
7) Do more oral history interviews with Dear Friends & Family.
8) Play more cribbage & chess
9) Improve our golf game
10) Get better at darts, extreme croquet, horseshoes and hand grenades. (HA! Just kidding.)

How 'bout you?  Leave a comment, share your thoughts about the New Year.  Whazzup in 2011?

Cold Cone Coming down tonight

Here's a photo taken yesterday morning in downtown Flagstaff by The Arizona Daily Sun's Jake Bacon.  (Great name, huh?)  That's the historic Weatherford Hotel sporting its New Year's Eve 70 pound pine cone.  At the stroke of midnight tonight, the cone will drop in Times Square fashion while (presumably) huddled masses of partiers cheer and cavort in the frozen Flagstaff streetscape.  Hum...let's see now...the overnight low up there is supposed to be well below zero.  Doncha wonder just how many brave souls will actually be standing outside to watch the venerable pine cone make its annual descent? gives us the shivers just thinking about it.

Point of clarification--As you will note from the comment below, the Esteemed Cone comes down at 10 PM for anyone born before 1970.  Who thinks of these scheduling things, anyway?  Will that make 40-year-olds feel even older?  Anyway, as Wayne notes, it will only be about -1 about then.  Thanks, Wayne.  Are you & Helen going?

What's that funny thing at left?

Oddly, nobody has quizzed us about the funny black and white thingie at the top of the left hand column.  Maybe our readers assume it has a purpose and don't wonder what it is.

Well, it's time to unmask that thingie.  It's called a QR Code.  The "QR" stands for "Quick Response."  Naturally, the Japanese devised it.  It has sort of an Asian artistic look to it, doesn't it?  real Zen feng shui-like with every black dot and white space in its precise place. (Here's the Wiki.)

Believe it or not, you can actually embed over 7000 alpha-numeric characters in that funny-looking thingie.  People with Smart Phones simply point their device at a QR code and all of the embedded information shows up on their phone screen.

The Drewster's Geek Blog helped me discover and appreciate QR codes.  THANKS, Drew!  You can click here to read his blog post that spawned my interest in QR codes.  (NOTE: Beware--This is SERIOUS Geek Stuff so don't go there if you are allergic to geek pollen.)

So who cares about QR codes and what good are they anyway? 

Well, Class, we can safely say QR codes are coming to your neighborhood soon and will be one of Year 2011's big techno phenomena.  As more and more people begin using Smart phones, you will see more and more QR Codes.  The proliferation of QR codes this coming year will be in direct proportion to the increased sales of smart phones.  It might even be possible that QR codes could become the tail that wags the dog.  How's that?  Well, QR codes are so useful that people might want to buy a smart phone just so they can actually USE QR codes.  Honest, that could happen.  I know that Susun and I are already considering a smart phone simply to use QR codes.  That's a fact.

QR codes offer potential to truly amp up our own personal learning curve.  Let's take a real world example from Yellowstone National Park.  The park is working with a Montana university to study and interpret astrobiology.  Meanwhile, a lot of this information is now available to the visiting public via QR codes.  The academic people even made a really cool poster to explain QR codes and how they facilitate the education component of the astrobiology project.  You can click here to see the poster.

We believe QR codes are poised to go exponential.  We're seeing them sprout up in the Sedona tourism market.  We found a nice brochure at the Visitor Center the other day.  Each business advertisement has a small QR code at the bottom.  Without doubt, we know that one could instantly learn more about those motels and restaurants using a smart phone.  We fully expect to see QR codes popping up on all sorts of state and federal interpretive resources.  We're certain that the museum industry will jump on the QR code bandwagon this year.  We even suspect they will become a mainstay of municipal Parks & Recreation.  I suspect Idaho Falls will soon be at the forefront of municipal QR usage.  There's unlimited potential for this geeky stuff.  It's going to be a great phenomena to observe in the months ahead.

OK, so what information is contained in the QR code here on this blog?  Simple: It's my name, actual real mailing address, email, cell phone and personal contact information.  So far as we know, the spam robots haven't yet figured out how to harvest this information from QR codes embedded in blogs and websites.  It's a safe way to post up our contact information without giving away the farm to the spammers and the telemarketers.  If you have a smart phone, point it at our QR code and see for yourself.

That's my Year End Geek Prognostication and I'm sticking to it!  Cheers, jp

Year 2010 Statistics

Happy New Year's Eve!  Wave Bye-Bye to Y2Ten!

As you know, we finally put a counter on this blog back on June 19.  The stats below are from that date until this morning.  We won't bother interpolating them back to 01/01/10.  You can do that math if you wish.  The key thing about the stats is that they are remarkably steady and don't vary much from week-to-week.

There might be a week or two when the "total time onsite" goes way up, but it almost always soon returns to the long term average of roughly 3 minutes per visit.  We're quite happy with the base of Loyal Blog Readers we have.  It's roughly a couple dozen Family & Friends who somehow find time to check in on our daily narratives.   We sure do appreciate you!  You give us a reason to get up each morning and attempt to write something.  THANK YOU.

We started this blog a year ago tomorrow so today closes out our first full year of diligent blogging. Altogether, we've written more than 650 posts.  Some have been shuffled over to the companion website.  So there's probably about 640 that actually remain here on the blog.

Meanwhile, we've received 317 comments as of this morning.  That's a LOT of comments from a small readership.  THANK YOU for each and every one of those comments.  Both Susun and I really enjoy your comments.  Please keep them coming.

Here's an interesting statistic: We've posted 830 photos on this blog!

OK, below are this morning's stats.  Cheers!  jp

The Daily News                        

                    -- Site Summary ---                     

            Total ........................ 3,800            
            Average per Day ................. 23            
            Average Visit Length .......... 5:58            
            This Week ...................... 159            

          Page Views

            Total ........................ 7,163            
            Average per Day ................. 55            
            Average per Visit .............. 2.4            
            This Week ...................... 385

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Engine 51

OK, a couple of days ago, I promised to tell a story about this photo.  On the surface, it looks pretty typical.  Here's a bunch of Bubba Boyz.  They are National Park Service Wildland Firefighters on the Engine #51 crew based in Kings Canyon-Sequoia Nat'l Park's Grant Grove.  They look pretty much like any other Engine crew in the NPS, Forest Service, BLM or whatever.  What makes them so special as to wind up on this blog?

This story is actually about Social Media in the federal government and how it is a "game changer" and how it's restructuring the way a lot of people think, especially including me, myself and I.  That's why I decided to use this photo as a lead-in to a Social Media story.  (Quit here if Social Media bores you to tears.)

The National Park Service is embracing social media with such enthusiasm it's almost scary.  The highest level of the National Park Service--the very tippy, top highest level of this age-old bureaucracy has decided social media is totally cool.  And to prove their commitment, the Big Wigs of the NPS have a Twitter feed where they place the most unlikely of material.  Obviously, that's how I found this bunch o' Bubba Boyz.  Now in The Old Days, you would have expected the NPS to use their Twitter feed to brag about rarified bureaucrats and how the Director did this or that and how the so and so's at the highest level were God's Gift to Mankind.

Well, it ain't that way no mo.  Nope, the highest level NPS Twitter feed is using its power to showcase unusual stories of unusual rank-and-file people who toil out in the field.  We're talking a Twitter feed that COULD be talking about people in the GS-20+ pay grade instead showcasing people in the GS-5 pay grade.  This amazes me.  That's why I wanted to talk about it here.

This newfound reality is a Game Changer because it's completely restructuring how people view the NPS--both people INSIDE the system and people OUTSIDE the system.  Frankly, prior to this amazing development, I had a low opinion of the NPS that had been formed with many years of a negative feedback loop.  My experience with the NPS started in 1980 with the Grand Canyon.  Oh, the stories I could tell.  Then we became neighbors of Montezuma Well Nat'l Monument in 1984 and had nothing but angst for 18 years before a new Supt. came onboard.

Earlier this week, I was chatting with Rex V. , the local NPS Ranger here, and I shared with him how much the NPS social media strategy is working and how it has given birth in me to a whole new level of respect and admiration for the NPS.  I told him my enthusiasm for the NPS is at an all time lifetime high.  I am excited again about the NPS.  I don't see them as a bunch of bumbling, inefficient bureaucrats in self-imposed strait-jackets any more.  It's an entire life sea change for me and I am loving every minute and every Tweet of it.  Sometimes when I see the great stuff that the Top Level NPS Tweets or some of the individual units Tweet, I want to jump out of my chair and CHEER.  Gosh, I know that sounds pollyanna-ish but it's true.  I'm "all in" now as a reborn NPS Fan--Big Time!

Let's take the story behind the photo above.  Who do you suppose the NPS featured in this group?  The Engine Captain?  Nope.  The Crew Boss?  Nope.  No, the NPS featured some lowly guy from Samoa.  He's 22-year-old Charles Ve'ave'a.  He's standing in the back row of the Bubba Boyz second from the left. You can click here to read his story. It 's a great story, of course, but what are the odds that it would wind up showcased on the primary NPS Twitter feed.  Back in the old days, those odds would have been Slim and None and, as they say, Slim left town last week and None ain't nowhere to be seen.  It's a great story but it's just one of many unusual stories that have been popping up on the NPS Twitter feed.  Get this, their latest Tweet is about ASTROBIOLOGY and Yellowstone's geothermal features.  HUH?  You've got to be kidding.  Nope.  It's real.  Here's their Twitter address and you can see for yourselves:

Not long ago, the NPS Twitter feed featured the awesome blog of some obscure people up in Denali, Alaska, who run the NPS sled dog program up there.  The blog is so danged good, I get goosebumps reading it.  We're talking about real people here--not hoity-toity big wigs.  Nope, these people are down in the trenches doing stuff that normally no one on earth would know or care about.  But that's not the case now.  I am such a big fan I can hardly wait to read their next installment of a life that is basically beyond my comprehension here in relatively sunny Arizona.  Click here for the main blog address.  However, if you want to read about a typical work day in -30 to -40 F degree conditions, click here.  (Note: If that last link doesn't work, go to the main blog and find the December 18th post called "Days On The Trail."

Other unexpected Tweets you will find on the NPS Twitter feed are all about making a New Orleans jazz gumbo or how an 1860 map depicted slavery with graphics much like a Google or GIS map could do today.

This is really rich and exciting stuff to a geek like me but somehow I feel it is only the tip of an emerging iceberg.  I feel now that we are on the cusp or many great and amazing things yet to come from the NPS and it's brethren.  I mean, gee, look at the staid ol' Forest Service posting up YouTube videos!  All these new and surprising developments remind me of that classic line of code sent by Samuel F.B. Morse on May 24, 1844, to open the first telegraph line between Baltimore and Washington, DC--"What hath God wrought?"

Who sez it don't snow here?

Been snowing real hard this morning.  Visibility not even a quarter mile.  Since Susun took this shot, the ground's all now white.  Good coverage and sticking well.  Maybe they will be right about the 1-3 inches of snow forecast for today here.

A look around our blogosphere

The Spudboater had a recent burst of blogging.  She made 5-6 new posts here in the past few days.  Susun and I are featured in some of them.  Check this great sentence she wrote: "Amongst this crowd of miscreants with qualities ranging from dubious, doubtful, double trouble, dumb and dumber, DINKS, donuts, doozies, dangerous, and downright silly is Johnny Montezuma..."  Click here to go to her blog.

The Goatherder messed with his Muse shortly after Christmas.  As usual, you will find whatever he has to say and share a real hoot to read.  Thanks, GH!  Click here to go to his blog.

As you know, we took a LOT of photos at The Goatherder's on Christmas Day.  GH even gives us credit for kind words for them in his blog post above.  Meanwhile, back in Ohio, our Virtual Dear Friend & LBR, Kirsty put together a a LOT of photos of a wonderful Christmas morning and dinner on her blog.  Kirsty's blog, as you know, is a never-ending source of inspiration of us.  Thank You, Kirsty, for going the extra mile in making your Christmas blog post so fun!  Click here to see it.

OK, meanwhile, we found a new blog to watch.  I think we found it when we were looking for the Thomas Nast drawing of Santa Claus.  The blog author is way into foodie stuff and that suits us just fine.  If you like some innovative new recipes once in awhile, we suspect you will find her blog a lot of fun.  Click here to go there.

One blog we follow is overdue for a fresh post.  It's DF& LBRs Earthly Musing blog.  His last post was December 17.  In Internet Time, that's 34 dog years ago.  The 12/17 post on hiking into the bottom of Meteor Crater is a fun read.  Click here to check it out.

We added a post to one of our long-dormant blogs.  We've lost count of the number of blogs we have.  We're guessing maybe it's getting close to 50 but we long ago stopped counting.   Obviously, we put most all of our time in here at Live Simple Care Much Headquarters. Once in awhile, something comes along that just wont really fit in here at all.  So, we scratch our head and wonder, "Where can this item go?"  Then we roam around our pile of dormant blogs and find a blog where the item might be appropriate.  With that said, we reactivated a blog this morning so we could add a post about a new video on the 1959 Hebgen Earthquake.  You can click here to find it.

Good Morning!

It's been a great morning so far.  How 'bout with you?  We awoke to some snow on the ground and some snow in the air.  it's nothing like it could have been--only a little snow--not a thumper as we feared.  It's like some Snow Fairy dusted the dirt in your so-called yard with some Holiday powdered sugar.

Flagstaff meanwhile is truly thumped.  As far as we can tell this morning it's completely isolated--all roads and the airport are shut down.  There's a Big Story there.  You can Google it up.

Meanwhile there was a 4.2 earthquake in Central Indiana.  Surely, that must mean pigs will fly soon.  I called my Mom and she didn't feel it but lots of other people nearby did. What's next today, huh?

We started today off with a genuine Trifecta--the very first three articles we read were all "keepers" and brought a LOL chuckle from both of us. (For Article #1--Click Here; For Article #2--Click Here; and for Article #3---Click Here )

We had a great time yesterday at Kristen & Bob's New Year's party.  They wisely scheduled their party well before the actual New Year and wisely decide to begin it at 3 pm.  Now that's intelligence in action!  We arrived at 3 and left at 4:15 pm, narrowly escaping a giant traffic jam on I-17.  That's another long story, too. That's Kristen & Bob at left in case you haven't already deduced as much.

Anyway, we're well prepared here--stocked up and hunkered down.  No need to go anywhere for days if we don't want to.

Cheers, jp

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ABC 15's Storm fotos

Nice foto of horizontal ice on the top of Mt. Elden in Flagstaff during one of the most recent storms.  This is foto #1 of 125 fotos on the ABC 15 album of Arizona Storm shots in 2010.  Most of them focus on the early October Epic Hail Storm in The Valley.  ALL of them are worth watching.  Click here to see them.  Enjoy!

Warning: Winter Ahead--in 38 seconds

"You're spending too long at the computer."

So, Susun shows me this cartoon and sez, "That's what it looks like when you're spending too long at the computer.  I guess that means it's time to pull myself away from my laptop and go out and do stuff in the real world.


The blog title "Snews" is a combination of two words: Snow & News.  So, here you have today's Snews.

Today's going to be a fairly normal late December day.  We might even be able to have a campfire tonight, perhaps the last campfire of this year.

On Wednesday, the weather really takes a turn for another side.  If you don't like snow, it's a turn to the bad side.  If you like snow, it's a turn to the good side.  (It's a glass half empty, half full sort of thing.)

Pretty much all of Arizona is going to be impacted by this storm including the very low of the lowest deserts.
Surface winds have potential to gust to 60 mph!  The High Country could easily get as much as a foot of snow on the plateaus.  The Snowbowl Ski Area could get a couple of feet.  We're figuring perhaps 3-6 inches even down here at our 3500 foot elevation.  The NWS is waffling at predicting how low the snow will go.  Yesterday they said "sown down to 1,000 feet."  Today it's 1500 feet.  At either elevation, that takes in a huge swath of lowlands and will likely turn The Sonoran Desert into a spectacular visual dessert topped with ample powdered sugar. (We can't even imagine what it's going to be like on the NASCAR freeways down there.)

We don't often get real snow here at Montezuma Well.  It's rare.  When we have had snow it's typically 1-3 inches and is usually gone by lunchtime.  The NWS says this story is going to be VERY cold so it's possible our snow cover will stick around a day or two or maybe more.  We're thinking this has the potential to be the most snow we've experienced at this site since we moved here in 1993.

Most of the residential landscaping down in the Phoenix area is in real danger from this storm.  It's going to be a very hard and long freeze there and could easily be accompanied by actual real snow that turns the urban area white.  How wild would that be?  Really wild!  Since it is the College Bowl Season and since three bowls are being played in the Valley, the Phoenix Chamber is probably in damage control mode.  "Ugh," they are saying, "these pictures of snow in The Valley will be beamed all over the world--how can we stop this snow from happening?"  We can only imagine the handwringing going on at Chamber Central.  Wouldn't it be hilarious if some Sky Harbor flights were canceled because of snow.  WHAT?  CNN, The Weather Channel and FOX News are going to have a field day with this snews.  Hilarious.

Well, there you have your snews.  Keep an eye on TV weather and watch it unfold between now and New Year's Eve.  You sure won't see this happen very often.  History Happens, as they say.

Cheers, jp

Alike Minds Think Great

As all LBRs well know, both of us are "way into" sunsets. Yesterday produced a Classic Sunset Moment for both of us. We're rushing to get home from a whirlwind day in the metroplex. We just topped onto the mesa at Sunset Point. We're in separate vehicles speeding about as fast as their little engines that could. The sunset is a really good one.

So what happens? We both pulled out our digital cameras and took pictures with our right hands while holding the cameras over our left shoulders out the driver's window at 65 mph. Neither of us knew the other was doing so at almost the exact same moment. It was only when we arrived back home that we shared a good laugh about "alike minds thinking great."

The top photo is Susun's. The bottom is mine. (Them's The Bradshaw Mtns. on the dark horizon.)

Cheers, jp

PS--I finally took some photos of The Stack.  Click here to see them.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Done Deal - Suzi Q & The Skamp Come Home

This was a Dear Diary Day in every way.  Sweet? Gosh!  How can we tell today's story?

Above, Don congratulates Johnny Montezuma on taking possession of The Skamper in Litchfield Park.  Below, Elmer congratulates Susun on taking possession of SuziQ in Maricopa, Arizona.

We got on I-17 at 9:17 am today and arrived home safe at 6:47.  That's 9.5 hours.  How it all happened is a real story.  We don't have time to tell it tonight.  Tomorrow morning?  Maybe.  Probably.  We'll see.

This was when the pedal hit the metal.  It was deep down in Maricopa, Arizona, well after 4 pm.  It was pushing maybe 4:15 pm.  Bear in mind it's 17 miles from Maricopa BEFORE you can get back on NASCAR I-10.  Somehow, we got from Maricopa to home in 2.5 hours DURING RUSH HOUR through the entire length of Maricopa County!!!!!  Maricopa, Arizona, is actually in Pinal County, well south of the actual Maricopa County line.  Yes, it's a misnomer to have a city named Maricopa in another County.  Hey, it's Arizona.

Somehow, we found what we are fond of calling a "seam."  We hit this incredible seam and we surfed through the Heart of Phoenix without one single hint of a delay.  We both drove at Top Zuki Speed (65 +/-) all the way home.  Susun drove the Big Green Truck with the new Skamper attached.  She was white knuckled a few times but she did an awesome job.  Even before she took the wheel of the big truck, she was at the Top of Her Game.  She simply dazzled me and anyone nearby with her brilliance today.  She was an awesome show to behold.

Me?  Well, lemme tell ya, I had my doubts about driving an unknown vehicle through Rush Hour Phoenix so I just decided to throw caution to the wind and floor it and hold the proverbial pedal to the floorboard and see what happened.  Now, looking back over those white knuckle minutes, I think I might know maybe a little bit of the same feeling those NASCAR racers say they have.  I have to admit it was a real adrenalin rush. It was an amazing ride the likes of which neither of us have ever experienced ever before in our entire life experience within The Phoenix Metroplex.  We both felt like we were in some sci-fi movie.  It was surreal.

We made it home safe and OK.  The Zuki got 27 mpg despite being revved to the maximum for 134 miles.

We made some Chicken Soup for Our Souls for din-din and celebrated a tremendous Dear Diary Day.


Cheers, J&S

PS--What sealed The Deal on naming the new Zuki "SuziQ" was that it sync'd with the Creedence Clearwater tune of the same name.  As soon as we arrived home, Susun had the CCR tune playing on our CD boombox.  It helps that SuziQ is the first tune to cue up.  Here it is on YouTube:

Travel Tweets Today

(Monday Morning we said:) As usual when we travel, we've moved our Idaho Gems Twitter Feed to the top of the left column here.  We've already tested our new cell phone with it so we're sure it works.  It's going to be an Adventure so we will post frequently today.  Stay Tuned!

(Tuesday morning we said:) Well, the Travel Tweet Plan didn't work out. Even though we tested our new cell phone PRIOR to yesterday's trip, it wouldn't work. We gave up early in the day and will troubleshoot the issue(s) later. Technology's great....when it works.

Cheers, jp

Daley Delight

Babe, Dan and Jodi share some Holiday Spirit during a Sunday Brunch at Jodi & Dex's Place on salt Mine Road in Camp Verde.  We took a lot of photos and will prep up a slideshow later today.  In the meantime, we just want to say THANKS!, Jodi and Dex, "ya dun good!"

Burst of energy

Every day lately has been fun each in its own way. Yesterday was no exception. First, in the morning we found a surprise on Craigs List. (See below.) Next, we went to Jodi and Dex's Place for an amazing Sunday Brunch. (See Post Above.) Then we returned home at 1:15. Susun was tired out and took an hour long nap. Meanwhile, I had a burst of energy and built a rack to store our camper shell.

Going into this project at 1:30 pm I had no real idea of how to proceed. All I knew was that I didn't have time to go RT to Home Depot in Cottonwood so I'd have to scrounge materials and design something safe to hold the camper in a position that wouldn't require any heavy lifting from either of us. (We don't do heavy lifting any more.)

As if by either luck or magic or both, it all came together quickly. The total project cost was $2.50. That's what I had paid for five pieces of fifty cent cull lumber. The other pieces were hiding under the ramada or were part of a derelict picnic table lying on a nearby vacant lot that had been burned over by a wild fire in June this year.

Viola, by 4:45 the entire project was finished, the camper safely off loaded and all the flotsam and jetsam and tools stowed away out of sight. Susun and I both agree it was the safest and easiest "camper offloading" we had ever experienced. There was not even a nano-moment when we thought we might have been crushed by a falling camper. Cool.

Cheers, jp

Off to Litchfield Park we go

As it our custom, we were roaming Craigs List yesterday morning. We actually watch various Craigs lists all over the Western US. Primarily, we watch all of Arizona, New Mexico, Las Vegas, St. George, SW Colorado, California's Inland Empire and Salt Lake City.

Yesterday we found one of our target species--a popup camper. It's in Litchfield Park which is a faceless chunk of urban red-tile-roof sprawl somewhere west of Phoenix. You can see two photos of it above.  The seller has taken down the original listing.  If you click here, you can eventually see a PDF print I made of the listing.  Click the "download" button and then open it with your Adobe Reader. 

We've negotiated the seller down to $1000. That's a decent deal for a mid-80's pop-up. This one is nearly identical to the second of three such pop-up campers we owned between early 1999 and late 2006. We think we liked this version the best of all three.

We're heading down this morning to look at it. If it's as good as the seller sez, we're buyin' it and bringin' it back here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Live Simple, Care Much

'Twas six years ago yesterday when those four words "Live Simple, Care Much" formally came into our lives. Yep, Christmas Day 2004 those words quite literally popped onto our mental radar. It was Christmas Morning and we were getting ready to head to (where else?) The Three Wheelers for their awesome Traditional Family Christmas Dinner. I decided to see if the internet Domain Name was available for those four words. Much to our mutual surprise, it was. We bought it on the spot that morning. It was our Christmas gift to ourselves. For many years, "" was the address of an actual website. We paid $60 a year to host the website at some place up in Springville, Utah. We put quite a lot of time and creative effort into that website.

Websites are a lot of hassle to maintain and our interest waned. By 2008, we'd been messing with websites for 13 years (Since Spring of 1995) and they more or less lost their luster for me, the Maintenance Man. (Web Master is SUCH a goofy name. I've always refused to use that title.) So, late in '08, we stopped paying our sixty bucks and shifted the domain name to "free parking" at Go Daddy.

Time passed.

After the "Y2Ten" blog took off this year, I learned that it is possible to link a custom domain name to a blog. Hum...I did some checking and--sure enough--our "" domain name could be linked. The key word is "could."

Beginning about June, I started trying to jump the technical hoops to do the linkage. No luck. I tried about 3 times and failed each time.

Yesterday, the light bulb went off. Maybe I could accomplish this technical voodoo on Christmas Day! Afterall, those geeks at Go Daddy work 24/7/365 and they answer the phone even on Christmas Day. Amazing but true. I correctly guessed that no one would be using Go Daddy Tech Support on Christmas Morning. Sure enough, my "wait time" was zero. I was patched right through to a real American human down in Scottsdale--somebody whose voice I could understand.

According to my cell phone's call timer, we spent 29 minutes working on the technical issues involved. It was neither simple nor easy. It was downright difficult. Luckily, the huddled brains of Go Daddy's on duty techie geeks helped get us over the hump. Right about 12:15 pm yesterday we "got 'er dun."

The official name of this blog changed six years to the day after we created the Domain Name. This blog is now "The Live Simple Care Much" blog. Yes, you can still type in the old address. The Y2Ten address will work indefinitely. However, it simply goes (or redirects, as they say) to "" From now into the forever future, the easiest way to find the blog is to pass along the address by simply saying, "Yep, just go to live simple care much dot com."

Piece o' cake.

It was six years in the making but our sentimental favorite Domain Name has finally found a permanent home. When we picked the name Y2Ten on 01/01/10 we thought it was a fun play on words for a few blog posts we anticipated writing during the Year 2010. Little did we know we would put up 625 posts so far this year. That would have been truly incomprehensible for us to imagine back on New Year's Day. Within less than a week, as we approach 01/01/11, the name Y2Ten would be obsolete--SOOO yesterday! Luckily, we now have an enduring, appealing name that will stand the test of time in the years ahead.

Many Cheers! 25

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to each of you Dear Friends & Loyal Blog Readers.  Each and every one of you are our Christmas gifts--each and every day!  We appreciate the gifts of your comments, your emails, your phone calls and just knowing that you are "out there" somewhere with Your Great Spirits and Happy Smiles. 

We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Dinner with The Three Wheelers and their Family & Friends.
Christmas Dinner at The Wheeler's is a Treasured Tradition!
Thanks, Kate, Brad & Joshua for your gracious Hospitality and Friendship.
(We'll caption the photos tomorrow.
We started with 107 pictures and pared them down to 68.
Click here if the slideshow won't load for you.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Montezuma Well this morning

It was a splendid morning.  We came upon The Well via The Outlet.  The morning sun was awesome.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday wrapup

It's been awhile since we've had time to write about "this & that."  We're all caught up on posting photos so now we can write about whatever we want.  Yippee, skippee!

Topic #1 is (naturally) The Storm.  This particular storm doesn't yet have a historical moniker.  It's just "The Storm."  We will be chattering about it for quite some time yet.

In honor of The Storm, we're working on a collection of images.  It's not ready for prime time but will be posted soon.  I'm sure we will have a lot more images collected in the next couple of days.  (Obviously, one of my faves is at right.)

Today we are facing what we like to call The Crescendo of The Storm.  It will be one last giant HURRAH from El Pacifico.  Even Ol' Airy Zonie looks in line to get a decent dose o' snow and rain from today's Grand Finale. 

Methinks this is just the mere beginning of much more mayhem to wash ashore in the next 6-8 weeks ahead.

At left is a thumbnail of people I don't know and will never know.  They are all strangers in a land far, far away.  Well then, what the heck are they doing here, John?  Good question.  The group is posed in Mayalsia.  They are all workers on a Habitat for Humanity(HFH) project there.  Ah, now you know the connection--HFH!  Susun, as you recall, is a most dedicated volunteer for HFH in Idaho Falls.  For my part, I like to pay attention to various HFH projects here and there.  I stumbled on this one via a long and winding online road courtesy of Twitter.  It all started by reading a random entry on a blog by Madelyn A. that appeared on a Twitter aggregate for Millennials.  If you don't know about Millenials, click here.  Anyway, while serving as RSVP Director, I gained a huge amount of admiration and respect for Gen Y and The Millennials. They are the future of our country and they will be national level leaders even yet in my lifetime.  Anyway, some of you who are of the curious sort will enjoy reading Madelyn's blog about her HFH experience in Malaysia.  It's very refreshing and inspiring to read this kind of material--it gives me hope of a greater good and a kinder future for all.  During this "Peace & Joy Season," I enjoy reading about the bright hope embodied in this group's activities.  Maybe you will, too.  You can click here to read Madelyn's latest blog post--it's a classic.

And, finally,  as a result of a really, really long story that would bore you into a coma, I found this photo on the Library of Congress website.  The people at NARA told me about it.  It's Theodore Roosevelt arriving to dedicate Roosevelt Dam in 1911.  What does it have to do with this blog?  Nothing.  I just like the picture, that's all!
Cheers, jp

Photos from Susun's visit to see Sarah, Peter & The Boys

The Holiday Spirit was Alive & Well during Susun's visit to see Sarah, Peter and The Boys December 9-14.  We've been very remiss in our tardiness about getting her photos posted online for Stasea to see.  This morning we finally put up over 40 of her photos on her own blog.  (Yes, Virginia, Susun actually has a blog.)
You can click here to see the blog post where the photos are embedded.  After watching Peggy's hotrod little Kodak video camera in action yesterday (see Blog Post "Solstice Celebration" below) we're going to get one for Susun to take on her next trip to Vista, California.  THANKS, Sarah, Peter and The Boys for showing Grand Ma such a Good Time.  Happy Holidays and Much Cheer!  jp

Lora & Deano Visit

Dear Friends Lora & Deano came to visit last Saturday.  They spent two nights and then departed on another adventure to Mogollon, New Mexico.  It was great to visit with them.  We sure have a lot of history with their Happy Hearts and Always Soaring Spirits.  In the historical photo at left, that's Lora & Deano on the left side of the picture.  Dex & Jodi are standing at right and Susun and I are on the bottom.  The picture was taken in 1994 when Deano was plastering the inside of The Straw House.

Dexter's been on the river for what seems like forever so he couldn't come to visit.  Luckily, Jodi was able to break free from her hectic schedule and visited for a few hours during the Saturday evening campfire time.  yea, verily, it was like Old Times once again. Tales (some tall, some true) were told, stories swapped and lots of laughter sifted through the drifting smoke and flickering flames. I'm sure we all have folks like these in our lives.  No matter how long we may have been apart from each other, it always feels like there was never a moment's absence when we get together once again.

On Sunday, we went off to Sedona to do a hike.  The impending storm was huffing and puffing and threatening to blow hike down but we proceeded on.  We enjoyed a glorious day on the slick rock and steep chutes of Cathedral Rock near "Back O' Beyond."  Lora & Deano hammed it up there in the saddle of that magnificent red rock landmark.  We had a great time and, as usual, wished they could stay.  However, they are like us, "Out on The Highway, Looking for Adventure" and hit the road for a Solstice Celebration of their own in Old Mogollon.  Here's a collage of their visit.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Solstice Celebration

On the Solstice of 2005, Marsha and Hugh were married while Out Standing in Their Field near The Straw House. They are the only couple we know whose wedding site is known only by its longitude-latitude coordinates.  Yesterday, we reconvened for a dual deal: a Happy 5th Anniversary and a Solstice Celebration all shaked and baked into one fine time.  Ten folks attended.  Of course, the Guests of Honor, Marsha & Hugh, brought their usual levity and spirit to the occasion. The revelers also included, Phyllis, Peggy, Susun, Kristen, Rex, Bob, Hank and John.  We enjoyed a nice campfire.  It tried to spit some faint rain but failed.  We dined on ham, some scalloped potatoes and various finger food.  Hank & Peggy brought a sinfully rich Harry & David candied cheesecake for dessert to accompany a pumpkin pie and apple crisp.  Some of us played mildly extreme croquet and threw some darts, too.  Peggy livened up the assemblage with her mini-Kodak video camera.  It's not much bigger than a credit card.  It's fun and easy to use and we captured some golden moments with it.  The video performance above was but one of many highlights of the brunch. (Thanks, Peggy, for letting us your video toy.)  As we said to each Dear Friend as they departed, "We always make some special memories when all go out of our way to get together."  Thanks for the Memories & Many Happy Trails. Cheers, j&s.

Happy Winter Solstice

May your Winter Solstice be The Best ever! May the official beginning of Winter bring much Cheer! May the shortest day be filled with Holiday Joy!

Above is today's Solstice Sunrise here at Straw House Central.  We "captured" this photo at 7:10 am about 40 minutes before the sun actually peeks above The Mogollon Rim over yonder.  Sunrises like this are one of many reasons why we love this place in Winter. (Click on the small photo for a bigger version.)

We've been very busy since we last posted here Saturday morning.  We're going to continue to be very busy today, too.  Consequently, this post is very short.  We won't be able to spew forth bushel baskets of words until perhaps tomorrow when things calm back down to normal.

DFs & LBRs Deano & Lora arrived mid-day Saturday and spent two nights with us.  We had a great time.
Jodi A. came to visit for Saturday night's campfire.  Gary W. has visited each of the past two evenings, too.  We squeezed in a quick trip to Cottonwood late yesterday to resupply fresh drinking water, etc.  Today we're hosting a 5th Anniversary brunch for Marsha & Hugh.  Numerous of our Dear Friends from Cottonwood will also be in attendance.

Yes, we have a big blog backlog right now and we hope to get caught up before Christmas Day.  Thank You for the great comments left on the post about the slides.  The university began digitizing them Friday but it will be many weeks before they are all scanned and posted online.  We will, of course, publish them here when they are available.

In case you haven't been watching the Great California Deluge, it's been an epic and will continue to be even more epic in the next couple of days.  Rainfall totals in some areas are nearly 13 inches and Mammoth Mountain has anywhere from NINE to FIFTEEN feet of new snow since Friday.  A third party ski website says Mammoth Mtn. now has the most snow of any ski area in the world at this time.  The peak wind gust recorded so far during the storm was 152 mph (not a typo) at Alpine Meadows summit in Northern California.  You can click here to see the SOCAL rainfall total logged since the storm began on Friday.
Downtown Los Angeles has received five inches of rain and looks poised to break the all-time December rainfall total of 8.77 inches when the next round of precip begins later today.  Even the NWS itself stated that the water vapor hose for this storm is 2,800 miles long.  It's an amazing storm.

Well, we promise to get all caught up with photos and narratives soon.  Thanks for your patience.  As we said above, have a great day and Many Cheers!  jp

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Glimpse of Glacier

David Restivo shot this 55 second video yesterday from the shores of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. One of the really cool things about the NPS use of social media is that it helps connect us in new and different ways with our National Parks. David is way out on the cutting edge of social media stuff and we look forward to each of his various endeavors. Thanks, David, for making this possible! Cheers,jp

Twenty Four Years Ago

Twenty four years ago, I donated hundreds of 35 mm slides to the Northern Arizona University (NAU) Special Collections.  They gave the donation a name: "The John Parsons Collection."  Well, time passed and those slides long ago dropped out of my memory banks and into the proverbial dust bin of history.

Until yesterday.

It was just another mundane morning until an unknown email popped up in Ye Ol' Inbox.  It bore the name of a stranger and appeared to be from NAU.  Huh?  Imagine my surprise when I realized the email was all about those slides donated in 1986.  I received two emails from the Special Collections Staff member.  There was a long time lag between the emails because of the bank robbery yesterday in Flagstaff and because the SWAT Team pretty much disrupted the library there.  But that's another story.

Anyway, the gist of the situation was that they want me to change the restrictions and copyright clauses of the original Deed of Gift.  Excerpts from the two emails are below separated by a dashed line. I added the BOLD here and there to highlight some memorable snippets.

 ----------------Begin Email #1 Excerpts----------------

I am writing in regards to your fine slide collection that has been housed at the Cline Library since December 1986.

As you know, your slide collection exquisitely documents several northern Arizona communities as well as the Phoenix area.

I see so much potential academic and scholarly use of these images; it is shame that they are not being accessed and used as much as they could be. 

-------End Email #1 Excerpts------------
(NOTE: I wrote back and agreed to make the changes in the Deed of Gift.)
-------Begin Email #2 Excerpts------------

I can’t tell you how excited we are that we are now able to provide access to your collection.

I will be sure to pass along the good news that we can use and will be digitizing images from your collection to our colleagues across the campus.

Another very impressive component of your collection is the hierarchical intellectual order and descriptive information associated with the images. You have organized the images to a level we could only hope to achieve. Your collection is one of the few that we will not have to touch in order to organize it. You have really done an amazing and impressive job! We plan on transcribing your thoughtful and informative contextual and biographical information in the finding guide that we will create for the collection.

Your collection of images is amazing.

-----------------------End of Email #2 Excerpts---------------

Well, suffice to say those developments yesterday were extraordinarily gratifying.  A quarter of a century is a LOOONG time to wait to hear anything about something.  Back in late 1986, I put huge amounts of time into selecting and documenting all those hundreds of slides.  I had to put a serial number on each of them and then provide "time-date-place" and write a narrative describing each one.  It was beyond tedious to say the least.
Many of my friends thought I was crazy for bothering to do all that stuff.  Only DF & LBR Wayne R. encouraged me to "carry on." (THANKS, Wayne!)

Back in 1986, the photos depicted things and places that were all too common and "taken for granted" then.  The passage of time has a way of bringing back a certain fondness for the "good old days."  Flagstaff, Phoenix and nearby communities have undergone epic change in the past 24 years.  My photos have finally been deemed "amazing" simply because I had the awareness that what we took for granted back then was soon going to disappear forever in the onslaught of Arizona's perpetual motion development juggernaut.

Receiving those emails yesterday was delicious vindication for all that time and effort invested 24 years ago this month.  When I emailed back to agree to the changes, I asked the Staff person if he would write a hard copy letter including his glowing comments.  I told him that it would be a lifelong memento that I would cherish forever.  He agreed.

As Napoleon Dynamite would say, "SWEET!"

Cheers, jp

Friday, December 17, 2010

Just Plain Rain

Yea, verily, it hath been raining righteously upon The Plain--copiously and mostly without let up.  We have well over an inch with more pitter patter on the way today and tomorrow.  The temps have remained continuously in the 40's and are likely to stay pegged there possibly for another 48 hours.

Meanwhile, our cool, wet news is not really news.  Take a look at California's 5-day QPF above.  WOW!
(QPF=Quantitative Precipitation Forecast)  There are some eye-popping numbers in the graphic shown here.  If the computer models are correct, the Sierra Crest could be looking at upwards of TWELVE FEET of snow!  Meanwhile, those fire-ravaged SOCAL hills could easily get enough water to break loose another round of Headline News mudslides.  Generally speaking the NWS folks who do the QPF's are a pretty accurate group of forecasters.  They usually aren't off by much.  Let's put it this way, even if they are off by 100%, it's still going to be one hum-dinger five day period coming up.

We don't talk politics here as everyone well knows.  It's strictly forbidden.  However, we must admit that it was great to wake up this morning and see that the tax cuts have been extended for another couple of years.  Since we're fixed income seniors now, our budget is pretty piano wire tight and the prospect of having to pay a lot more federal tax was a great concern.  So, without making a political comment, we're thankful to whomever wishes to take responsibility for this welcome news--it certainly will  make Years 2011-2012 a lot more "liveable." (We can exhale now.)

Dear Friends & Neighbors Gary & Robin (or should that be Robin and Lizard?) came for dinner last night. We appreciate their company so very much!

Susun went off visiting some of her Sedona friends.  I staid home and spent a lot of time researching the historic photos of the National Archives (NARA).  The NARA folks are having what's called an "Augmented Reality Photo Contest."  Even though I figure my own reality is pretty well augmented, especially during Happy Hour, I am intrigued enough to want to play by the rules and try to put together a credible entry into this contest.  You can click here to read all about the Augmented Reality gig.  (NOTE: The way they explain it is pretty esoteric so be sure to check the Flickr album to see examples of how it works.)  I must have looked at perhaps 1,500 photos, maybe closer to 2,000.  It was a perfect Rainy Day activity.  Below are my five candidates to use in Augmenting Reality.  Brief notes appear below each photo.
NARA titled this one "Cotton Pickers Improving Their Home."  The NARA archives had scores of photos taken of Arizona cotton pickers during the Depression.  The photos were haunting and very sad.  This one is so bleak it tugs at my heartstrings.  The picture was taken in an area that's a seemingly unending sea of red tile roofs stretching to the distant horizon in a nameless, faceless region of sprawling suburban subdivisions south of Phoenix.  I would like to hold this photo up with those ticky tacky houses spread out in the background. (You can get a really LARGE version of this photo by clicking on the one above.)
This is a true Photo for The Ages. It's really just about as good as it gets.  Numerous LBRs will instantly recognize this photo.  For all other LBRs, here's the story.  None other than Major John Wesley Powell sat in that flimsy chair.  That's how the fearless. one-armed hero of Colorado River runners actually ran both of his epic trips through Grand Canyon: in a ten cent kitchen chair!  If only I could teleport myself down to that very spot and hold this photo up against today's timeless background in the bottom of The Big Ditch. (Note: John K. Hillers took this famous picture during the 1871-72 second expedition.)
Ladies & Gentlemen, Welcome to Flagstaff!  This wonderful photo was taken in perhaps 1881-1882 when the photographer perched himself on an Atlantic & Pacific Railroad water tower looking north into what is now thoroughly urban and perhaps even sophisticated Flagstaff.  I'm guessing this would be located about where today's intersection of Old Route 66 and Leroux Street is located but it cold be a block farther east.
What a hoot it would be to use this photo in the contest!

Speaking of hoots--this one would be a huge hoot, too.  That's Col. Theodore Roosevelt (Teddy) standing atop Roosevelt Dam prior to his dedication speech in 1911.  By 1911, Teddy was a true grit hero to every Arizonan of the male persuasion.  He had their undying love and devotion for his role in organizing the Rough Riders and many other legendary exploits.  The dam has undergone significant changes since then but with the help of Salt River Project, I'm sure we could interpolate the long-lats of where the photog stood and it would be Total Hoot to augment some reality at this specific location!

No, this is NOT the Three Stooges in high school automotive class.  This is a WPA class helping young guys learn auto mechanics back in the Depression.  (WPA= Works Progress Administration).  I absolutely LOVE this photo.  It would be so fun to take it to the highest tech High Tech automotive technology repair shop and augment some reality with a background of computers, wires and NOTHING that remotely resembles an actual engine!  Meanwhile, everyone would be in spotless coveralls and uniforms and carrying bar code scanners and using smartphones to talk to their Tech Support Specialists.  AH, The Good Ol' Daze!

Cheers, jp

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Not much blogging going on

We haven't been blogging much lately.  Why?  Well, there's two reasons: A) There's not much going on and B) We're not too motivated.  We've been working on the door project every day and how much can we really write about something some incredibly mundane as that?  Meanwhile, we have a campfire and a Happy Hour.  I guess I really should put up some photos of Susun's San Diego trip.  Maybe we will do that this morning.

Actually, we did do something at the campfire last night worth blogging about.  The photo is below.  We'd planned on baked potatoes but our pantry stash had sprouted.  After we used a vegetable peeler to remove the sprouts, the taters were in no mood to be baked. We cut them in big chunks and added some oil, salt and pepper and decided to roast them under mesquite and juniper coals.  It's been forever since we roasted cut tater chunks.  It's SOOOO easy to destroy them this way.  If you're not careful, they will burn to a crisp on the bottom and not even be done on the top.  The key is watching the steam that forces its way out between the bottom and the lid.  There's a peculiar aspect to the steam that lets you know it's either too hot or not hot enough.  It's impossible to describe and I doubt it could even be captured in a YouTube video.  It's just something you learn after much trial and error.  You simply can't shovel on some coals and fuggetaboutit.  Anyway, Susun claimed they were the best potatoes I ever cooked.  That's high praise I'm not so sure I deserve, especially since I felt clueless as to trying to remember how to watch the steam and calculate the roasting time and the smell when they are done and so forth.

Our idyllic weather finally took a turn to the typical.  It's mid-40's outside now and raining.  It has to be snowing in Flagstaff.  It feels like we've had at least a quarter-inch of water fall from the sky and it's once again muddy outside.  Our last (and only) rain since we arrived was on my birthday November 21.  Frankly, it's great to have some cooler weather.  The hot spell that lasted seemingly forever was wearing thin.

Susun's going to visit her Sisters in Sedona today.  They are Beth, Gert and Rosa and they are all members of the so-called Swartwout Clan.  Susun's pretty much been adopted by this Family.  We will be seeing the entire Family Clan sometime near Christmas.  Susun will visit her other Sister Friend Betty at Sedona Winds today, too.  Me?  Well Mister Mundane had planned to buy and load some more campfire wood.  However, that's not gonna happen in the rain.  Sooo....who knows?

OK, whazzup with the Santa photo above?  Well, just prior to Susun setting forth for San Diego, we noticed a tiny blurb about Santa being in the Southwest Airlines boarding gates on the very day of her departure.  Sure enough, Susun got to talk to The Big Man himself and he even emailed her the nice photo.  It came via Microsoft's Silverlight, a program that insists on leaving its fingerprints on everything.  Anyway, Susun convinced Santa that she had been a Good Girl all year long and Santa told her she could have anything her heart desires.  Lucky Girl!

Cheers, jp

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This Just In From Kauai, Hawaii

Not all of us (maybe not NONE of us) can be in Hawaii tonight.  But Daughter Stasea lives on Kauai and she sent this photo tonight.  It doesn't matter where you are--this photo will bring a smile to Your Place tonight.  Thanks, Stasea for sending this.  It is much appreciated.  Just an FYI---That's a Banana Plant she's holding.

PS--Speaking of The Banana Belt, it was above 60 degrees here from noon to 7 pm!

Travel Tuesday

Time to head south once again to pick up Miss Susun from Sky Harbor.  Her flight comes in at 2:30 pm.  I'll be meeting with her brother in Mesa about 1:30 so I guess that means I have to skeedaddle out of here no later than 11:30.  (Thinking out loud again here at the keyboard.)  That gives us plenty of time for morning chores, housekeeping and goof-off time online.

We haven't done much of anything in the last couple of days.  The bulk of Sunday and Monday were taken up with the security portion of the door project.  It's coming along nicely.  The NRCD meeting yesterday lasted almost 3 hours.  I left after 2.5 hours.  Due to an agenda snag, no action was possible on the "Advisor idea."  We moved the blog post about it over to the companion website.  Ironically, if this idea proceeds, it really WILL be ten years nearly to the day at next month's meeting.  Strange, indeed.

Yesterday morning before sunrise there were three deer in front of the house.  Two does and a 2010 fawn.  By this time of year, a fawn born last spring look pretty large but you can tell they are fawns because they are smaller than Mom Bambi and still keep real close to the Mother Ship.  It was fun to see deer here once again.

Lizard came over the last couple of nights to enjoy the warmth of the campfire. He's always such a welcome sight appearing out of the shadows from deep in our arroyo.  There's obviously not much to talk about.  However, we all know things will liven up considerably when Miss Susun returns to 2CR (Second Chance Ranch).

Cheers, jp

PS--Thanks for your great comment, Spudboater.  I had no idea you spent 10 yrs. w/the NRCS. Small world, eh?

PS #2--Forgot to mention--it's been up to 74 here two days in a row.  Phoenix hit 82 yesterday, shattering a 1938 record by four degrees.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Doors

NO!  Not THOSE Doors!  These doors.

Our door project is complicated by numerous factors.  As you recall, the vandals broke out the old door--totally obliterated it to smithereens and broke the frame for good measure, too.  It long ago went bye-bye to the landfill.  To be safe, we added several layers of sheathing to fit into the old door opening.  Believe it or not, there's three layers!  We figured if someone wanted to use a battering ram to get in they'd still have a big problem getting through all three layers.

We've purchased a nice pre-hung door.  It's been delivered and is sitting at the Rimrock Merc waiting for us to pick it up.  The catch here is that we can't even begin on fitting the new door into the old door frame until we have some sort of a security door in place.  The easiest thing would have been to buy a metal security door.  The trouble with them is they don't fold all the way back and also they cut way down on the winter sunlight that gets through the glass door inside.  So, that option was a no-no from the start.  The only practical soution was to fabricate a red-neck security door out of OSB sheathing.  What you see here is V.1.1.2 (in geek lingo).  In ordinary language that translates to "first draft."  I'm very satisfied with the way the hinges are mounted and how their backing board will be secured.  I'm not so satisfied with the way the sheathing fits.  Plus, I messed up with the circular saw and dropped a line and, well, you know how those things bother a Type A Dude.  So, it's back to Home Depot tomorrow to get another 4x8 piece ripped into the right two pieces.  Then we will start the tedious fitting process all over again.  I used to say it was Deja Vu.  Roger taught me it's probably Vuja De!  Where's The Ground Hog?   
Have a great evening & Cheers, jp

Snow in Hawaii

Yea, verily.  Here's the View from the USGS webcam atop Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii at 6:50am this morning.

Nuf said

The Light Show Continues

I keep forgetting to put up at least one shot of the previous evening's last light.  The past few days, we've been treated to a real spectacular light show each night.  Each day it just seems to get a wee bit better.  Ya just never know when the light will hit is peak of haunting pastels.  The sun does special stuff here in Arizona.  That's why the State's forefathers enshrined it on our flag! 

Near Record Temps Ahead

The Tale of The Two Cities is told above.  Some forecasts have us hitting 75 tomorrow.  If so, that would be a new record for our area.  The South Deserts will definitely be in the 80's tomorrow.  La Nina is working her magic once again.  It continues to look like a warm, dry winter here.  Down in Phoenix Thursday it felt danged HOT when we returned to the locked truck.  Everybody there is still in skimpy shorts and flimsy t-shirts.

Yesterday I had a raging case of the equivalent of jet lag from the Big Day Thursday.  It took forever to get my act together.  About the only productive thing I could conjure up was grocery shopping in Camp Verde and Cottonwood.  After getting everything put away, we barely had time to get a fire up and running before sundown.  Dear Friend Gary W. appeared out of the looming darkness and we spent some real quality time discussing his successful elk hunt and various other guy stuff.  We are so fortunate to have Robin and Gary for Friends and neighbors.

DF & LBR The Spudboater fired off some high quality emails in our direction last night.  Seems Spudboater is picking up her pace on her long-dormant blog.  She's actually ripped off four blog posts in recent days.  That's a veritable tornado of blogging for the Spudboater.  You can click here to read Spudboater's blog.
It's been nearly two weeks since Goatherder freshened his blog.  We hope he gets his blog groove back soon.  Maggie J. has been a great communicator lately.  She sent some poignant fotos of their bog, Izzy, yesterday.  Thanks, Maggie.  Drew & Lisa's blog has been down due to technical issues but it's up and running again.  We're looking forward to more up close and personal shots of Baby Ella Jane.  We rec'd a couple of fun emails from Deano yesterday.  Susun called bright and early yesterday morning.  As we all might expect, she is having a great time with Mom Sarah and the Grandsons.  No campfire tonight and Happy Hour has been relocated to Jodi and Dex's Place at river right on the Pleistocene edge of the Old Verde River.

Our new pre-hung door showed up at the Rimrock Merc. and we'll take delivery on it when Susun returns.  Meanwhile, things are moving along as far as fabricating the security shutters for it.  The door project will take up most of our time today.  Not much else is happening.

Have a Great Day & Many Cheers, jp

PS:  It's likely our LBRs roll their eyes every time we use the word "Twitter."  Sorry, we can't help ourselves.
As those who visit our Twitter feed know, we look for almost anything relating to Route 66.  Last night, we found some real fun Rt. 66 fotos.  While we were viewing those great shots, we stumbled onto another project by the same photographer called "Oh, Patches."  It's hilarious frivolity.  It's a series of fotos that show some young guy wearing a costume horsehead while posing in various spoof contexts.  It's pretty clear the young guy is real physically fit as one of the pix shows him summitting a Colorado Fourteener.  You can click here to see our hands down favorite foto of the "Oh, Patches" series.  For some reason, this picture totally cracks us up.  Enjoy!