Saturday, April 30, 2011

Last Day of April

Off to a slow start this morning.  Blame it on HAM.  We spent a lot of time yesterday messing with our Yagi Project.  You can read all about it by clicking here.  It was a fun experience and so we wrote that blog post this morning.  Then we decided to use Echo Link to join the morning gab-fest down in the Verde Valley.  Well, then the computer crashed and then we had to do a full System Restore and then some programs froze up and, well, here it is almost 9:30 and it feels as if the morning has escaped us.  Oh, well, that's how it goes sometimes.

Susun had a great day yesterday.  She flitted around town doing various Susun Things and then volunteered for Habitat for Humanity for 5 hours (1-6 pm).  She was FULL of Happy Stories when she returned from that cheerful gig.  Her glass was definitely a lot more than half full yesterday and we're not talking vino here.

We did go to that rummage sale at the high school and, yes, there were three items we couldn't live without.  Honest.  One was a two dollar golf bag.  Big whoop on the golf bag.  But the other items were these:  a set of LL Bean croquet mallets and an LL Bean wire container for the mallets and end stakes.  We scored each for a whopping one dollar apiece.  We left our extreme croquet set in Arizona and figured we would get lucky and buy another one up here.  Well, we got lucky yesterday so now we are back in the extreme croquet business.  We will have to buy some used baseballs at a thrift store and fabricate some wickets but that's really no big deal.  We're going to sell the golf bag along with a lot of surplus clubs we've accumulated.  I should have taken a photo of the total chaos in the high school gym.  What a weird scene.

There were lots of other nice little vignettes yesterday that we'd normally chatter about here but we're running way too late in getting a start on this, the last day of April.  Guess all that chatter will have to wait until Sunday.

Have a great day and Many Cheers!  jp

Friday, April 29, 2011

Welcome back to Idaho

Guess there won't be much golfing today, eh?  The weather has been rather wild all over America this year so why not Idaho as well?  It's what they call a "late, cold spring" here.  As you can see, it didn't stick to the sidewalks or streets and it will probably be gone not long after lunch.  However, there might be another similar dose tomorrow morning.  We hear it's snowing pretty hard over in Wyoming and will continue to do so for a day or two.  That means it's just heaping more on top of an already bulging snowpack. As Hank The Cowdog would say, "Oh, Boy!"

We actually enjoy the dawn of days such as these.  It's calm outside and the sky is a brilliant blue color that only seems to appear after a snowstorm.  The low angle morning sun is putting a million diamonds in the trees and a carpet of sparkles across what looked like grass yesterday.  We also enjoy days such as these because it gives us an excuse to work in the basement organizing our stuff.  Ah, the joys of retired life.

Yesterday was pretty busy for both of us.  Susun ventured forth from the coziness of our house to visit with several of her friends.  We both enjoyed a great lunch with Houn Dawg at that taco joint on First Street.  It's kinda weird that we can get better tacos here in Idaho than we can in the Verde Valley, doncha think?

I messed around on all sorts of arcane, inscrutable sorts of things.  Chief on this list of arcane-ities was Echo Link.  I won't bore you with the details on this blog.  Click here to read about it on our HAM blog.
We went to Barnes & Noble to study the Nook Color.  We're still not convinced that the available e-readers are worth the asking price so we will continue to take a wait and see attitude toward them.
Our morning meeting with Carrie S. was as fun as we hoped it would be.  Late in the afternoon, we went down and met with Dave C. at Parks & Rec HQ.  He's up to his eyeballs managing that Division of the city and I fear I only heaped more onto his already overloaded plate.  Oh, well, that's why he gets the Big Bucks.

We ventured into the city's downtown coin shop--it's the only place to buy and sell silver bullion here.  Most such places are rather sedate.  So, it was rather interesting to see a heavily armed coin shop owner bristling with pistols and ammo.  Not that I mind such a display, not at all--it's just something you don't see often, even in wild and wooly Idaho.  The current buy price for 90% silver is 32.6 times face.

Get this: So far, we've visited four thrift stores and have spent a danged dime.  That may be a lifetime first.  We've had some things in our hand but wisely put them down and backed our of each store with our hands up.  Hopefully, this refreshing trend can continue but it's unlikely.  Today's the day of the Idaho Falls High School annual rummage sale.  Imagine an entire gym filled with junk.  It's almost certain we will find something there we can't live without.

Another strange development is that I am avoiding grocery stores.  I am trying to shop only every third day instead of every day.  What's come over me? 

Well, this morning is gonna be interesting.  In about 30 minutes, we're going to join in the Verde Valley Amateur Radio Association's daily 7 am "net."  Yep, that's the magic of Echo Link--it turns this very PC into the equivalent of a HAM radio and I can connect to the Mingus Mountain repeater sitting right here in snowy Idaho Falls.  No kidding.  I will be able to "ragchew" with the Good Ol' Boys just like I was sitting down in Wimwok using our 5.5 watts ICOM IC V-8 hand held transceiver.  Ah, the marvels of modern technology. (Luckily, it's 8 am up here when it's 7 am down there.)

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

Thursday, April 28, 2011


To be benched in sports is not a good thing.  It means you've been taken out of the game and "sat down" for whatever transgression you made on the field of play.  Sports photographers love capturing images of disgruntled players throwing tantrums or pouting on the bench.

Well, we're getting benched and we love it.  The second round of the Greenbelt Art Benches is coming alive in less than a month.  LBRs recall last year's long-running Art Bench Saga.  Carrie S. orginally planed 20 of the benches but the wounded economy only allowed her to find sponsors for ten at a cost of $3000 each.  Those benches were installed in September while Susun was in San Diego.

Carrie is a real dynamo of the first order so in the spirit of "Undaunted Courage," she proceeded on and found another ten people to pony up $3000 each to sponsor the remaining ten benches.  The artists have done their gig and almost all of the benches are finished and have been delivered to a city warehouse for safekeeping.  They will be installed prior to the formal dedication May 20th.  (Hopefully, they won't all be flooded away before then!)  The Art Bench project is easily one of the most fun volunteer projects I have ever been a part of.  It's exciting, entertaining and educational.

Carrie is currently the acting Executive Director of the local Symphony until the new guy comes on board.  She wants to meet with me this morning at 9 am down at Great Harvest bakery to discuss how to stage the dedication.  I chose Great Harvest because of the aromatherapy value of the place--the smells of fresh bread baking there are overwhelming and intoxicating.  I can hardly wait to hear what she has in store for this phase of the project.  You can click here to see the original blog she used as a sale tool to find sponsors.

If you ever get a chance to come and visit us here, we guarantee that we will drag you down to the Greenbelt for a variety of sensory delights there.  Besides the Star of The Show (The Snake River), the Greenbelt Art Benches now practically glow with attractiveness.  They've brought a whole new meaning to getting benched!

Cheers, jp

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Getting resettled

Note that the photo above was taken from the mid point of the bridge below.

The Art Bench Saga continues.  We will talk about it in the morning.
Below: "Ah, The Power & The Glory!"
Most everything we can think of is done--except for the unpacking, of course--why bother with that now--it's just sitting in the vehicles anyway.  Who cares?

Susun kicked back and didn't do anything today.  Well, she DID make plans to go to the last Symphony of the season Saturday night.  And she DID go to Sam's Club to buy her favorite face cream.  And she DID make a pot of chili tonight.  Well, heck, she DID go putting and she DID even go to The Falls to gander.  So, I guess I stand corrected---she did actually do some stuff today.  She herself says she didn't do anything so you be the judge.

Me?  I was all over the place running hither and yon and having a blast as usual.  I even paid to get a haircut.  Yikes!  I visited several stores but only spent money in my Mecca: Harbor Freight.  We left all our tools down in Arizona on purpose.  We decided we want to have two self-sufficient places so we don't have to lug tools back and forth twice a year.  What a pain!  So, whenever I need something, I have carte blanche to go buy a duplicate of what's already sitting in the dark down in Arizona. Cool, huh?

The Snake is running over 19000 cfs right now.  The Bureau of Reclamation is paranoid about the snowpack and is trying to drain Palisades Reservoir down to 8% prior to the onset of the runoff season.  This level is about as high as they can release without flooding people down in Blackfoot.  It's touch and go with the snowpack this year.  There's huge quantities of snow up in the Snake's headwaters in Wyoming.  We're talking 10+ feet with 4+ feet of snow water equivalent.  That's huge.  The BuRec is worried that if it gets hot suddenly it will all come down in a rush.  They want to basically empty the reservoir and hope for the best.  We wish them luck.

Anyway, when the Snake is running this big through River City, it's Show Time.  Tourists and residents go down to watch The Show.  We gotta admit, it's one heck of a Show!  Something tells us it's gonna get a whole lot bigger before it's all over in July.  If the Bu Rec guessed wrong, all heck can easily break loose in a hurry.  Only time will tell.

We checked out our local neighborhood bowling lanes today.  It's kinda pricey to bowl there but at least we can walk to the joint.  We've been pricing bowling balls on Craigs List and we talked to the lane owner about getting a new custom ball today.  If we're gonna start bowling again, we might as well stack the odds in our favor.

We didn't get to play a round of $3.25 golf but we did actually go to Pinecrest to putt for awhile.  Susun likes putting around.  So do I.  As LBRs recall, I bought a kid's putter in Mesa and it rox.  Susun's has some real nice putters here in Idaho and she picked out one today that has really did improve her putting game.  It was in the low 40's when we were putting but it felt tropical.  (Yeah, sure, Yonni.)

Ok, whazzup with los huevos?  Well, we want to eat real eggs here so we checked Craigs List and somebody out in Iona (Yes, that's a real place) who sells organic eggs for two bucks a dozen.  Luckily, they take them to Idaho Falls each day and sell them in a Kirby vacuum cleaner place.  Luckily, the vacuum cleaner place is only three blocks from here.  So, we might not have urban chickens or eggs from urban chickens but we have urban eggs cheep.  You can click here to read their CL listing.

That's about all the news I can write before I snooze.  There's more to talk about but we will save it until tomorrow morning.

Have a great evening & Cheers, jp

We're LIVE again

Hey, we got our groove back--The Cable Guy showed up practically at the crack of eight o'clock and, WHAM, BAM, we're LIVE again.  Luckily, The Cable Guy picked us first out of his 7 appointments today.
Our connection speed is MUCH better than it was before we left last fall.  It's also much better than the Qwest DSL down in Arizona.

Well, there's a lot to report and write about but no time right now.  Haven't even eaten breakfast yet.  Geeze.
More later today.  No mo Tweets now that we have Da Blog back.  Tweeting on that little phone is a real pain in the anatomy and was giving me carpal thumbnull.  It's great to be able to use a real keyboard again.

Cheers, jp

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday Travel Day

Well, we're off again today.  It's been a little over 5 months here and it's been great.  We're now looking forward to getting set up back in Eye-Dee-Hoe.  But first, of course, we must meandering hither and yon for the next week.  Tonight we will be roosting near Marble Canyon and The Vermillion Cliffs at Susun Kliewer's Place.  She's going to have a hoop-dee-doo for Easter.  Several other people we know might make the trek up there, too.

With any luck at all, we will be able to get SuziQ out on some backroads up there.  Sunday or Monday we will go to Kanab and run the Skutumpah Road again.  It's a 10th Anniversary thing.  We may or may not try to do something out in the West Deserts of Utah.  If we do, it will probably be from a base in Beaver, Utah, and we'd probably go up and up Frisco Peak in Milford.  That remains to be seen.

Once we leave Kanab we might morph into the "let's go home" mode.  We have an invitation from BTB to stop by his place in Salt Lake.  If the magnetic pull of Idaho Falls isn't overpowering by then, we might take him up on that.  We pretty much have to get back to River City no later than next Friday as we need to contact the city to turn on our water and electricity and so forth.

Our blogging will be sporadic for the week--maybe non-existent.  We know there's good public internet at Kanab and, of course, at BTB's.  We doubt there's going to be accessible inet at Marble Canyon but ya never know.  This high dollar fly fishing guys may have insisted on getting access some place so they can email photos of their trophy trout to breathless fans back home.  So, we shall see.

We're going to swap Twitters with the river guide blog.  Our cell phone is set up to Tweet to that account.  So, when you see the Twitter at left, bear in mind none of the Tweets there make any sense whatsoever in the context of this blog.  They will soon, however.

Not much to say about all of our rigging and packing and so forth.  It's just like it's has always been--a typical blur.  We did get a chance to go visit with Tom B. and passed along a copy of our Dad's book.  Then we went to 35 minutes of the local HAM club meeting.  There were about 30 people there and it's a very active and engaged club.

Well, Cherrio!  For a change, we're going to wish ourselves something we normally wish upon others: Happy Trails & Many Cheers!

Have a great day, jp

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Congratulations to Joshua on his Senior Exhibition

Yesterday was a Big Day for our Buddy, Joshua W.  He had to present his red Rock High School Senior Exhibition.  Many months ago, Joshua chose the to study the impact of invasive species on river ecosystems with a special focus on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon.  As LRBs know, Joshua participated in a rafting trip there last summer.

Back in early January when we were just starting to get the Verde River Guide project up and running, Joshua contacted us to inquire as to whether he could help out on the project.  It was a perfect match.  Joshua was a very quick learner and really put his energies into understanding how tammies, reeds and all the rest of the villains mess with the native species and the entire river ecosystem.  He did an awesome job in every way.  Without his participation, the project probably still wouldn't be complete. He was a ideal canoe partner.

Meanwhile, his big Red Letter Day loomed and Joshua put just about everything he had into his Senior Exhibition.  We sure were sending him positive vibes yesterday at 5pm when he was scheduled to give his oral presentation.  It turned out great for Joshua and we are very happy for him and offer heaps of kudos and congratulations.

Here's an email we received from Joshua when the hoopla subsided :

"Hey, just got back from my (Senior) exhibition presentation. The judges told me how wonderful my subject was and your involvement helped tremendously! If you hadn't invited me along your journey, I would have learned nothing about paddling, or the ecology and river environment on our own local river. Thank you thank you thank you. I'm sorry you couldn't be there. (Attached) is a final copy of my exhibition paper.  JW

Josh sent along his 13-page paper and we don't think we or his Family would mind if we shared it here.  It's a gem of a high school project, that's for sure.  We'd like to close this blog post with Joshua's closing paragraphs from his written presentation. We think you will find these words as uplifting as we did.

“We have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknown river to explore. What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls rise over the river, we know not. Ah, well! we may conjecture many things” (Powell 156). Mr. Powell knew better than anyone to stay steadfast and strong when facing an adversary. He boated down the full 277 miles of the Grand Canyon multiple times with only one arm. It is clear he never gave up his pursuit, or his struggle for understanding the Grand Canyon and the nature of everything having to do with the Colorado and Green Rivers. Powell is not only musing about what lies down the river, but musing on a strong metaphor for life, as well as a piece of advice for how to be patient for what is ahead.

While I rafted down the Colorado River, many hours were spent among our group by the water. Not boating, not washing, not talking. Not absorbed in smaller things about the outside world, but completely absorbed in the immense sound and force of the river; and it lent to us an understanding of something larger. Something simple, yet completely overarching: the metaphors drawn from this water that apply to existing. It paints a picture of everything, and everything to come; its canvas is our lives. Yet it churns and ebbs, indifferent to our own human struggle. The river will always remain a reflection of time, every infinitesimal drop of water ceaselessly traveling its own unique path, but being one with a whole. This body is completely different every second, much as the world we inhabit continually renews itself into a different reality, until we are left with only the idea that in order to move onward and progress is to change with this deeply shifting world.

This is the only way we may look into the future at the status of the Grand Canyon river corridor. Although we may see a source for fiscal opportunity in these rock halls, this ancient entity functions best through no change whatsoever, justified by bureaucracy or not. Before we can ultimately change the canyon, we must learn everything we can about its true, unexploited identity. Through education we can understand. Through understanding, we can love."

Click here for Joshua's 13-page paper he presented today.

Way to go, Josh, what's next?

Many Cheers!  Carry on.


Au pair ready to roll

One big thing remaining on our list was a "test tow" of SuziQ with the new fancy-schmancy hitch.  I had been rather avoiding the "test tow" in case there was something amiss.  Well, time passed and we ran out of ample time to test the tow rig.  We finally got around to the test a little before 5 pm tonight.  Thankfully, everything worked like a charm and the Samurai towed like a dream.  Susun followed behind in the Nissan and we used two-way radios to consult on how it all behaved and performed.  There was no sway in the rig whatsoever. Everything's tight and nice and fits together like a hand in glove.  We both let out a big WHEW after our test.

Now it's time to begin to pack the Skamper and the Nissan and power down 2nd Chance Ranch.  Tonight's our last campfire of the season so we will make it a medium decent white man fire.

If you are reading this post soon after it was written, think positive thoughts for Joshua W.  He was scheduled to give his Senior Exhibition at 5 pm today so he's in the thick of it as we write this.  We sure are pulling for him.

The Tuesday Target Shoot was a real hoot yet again this week.  That's a really superb bunch of guys and gals there.  It's been great going there as often as possible.  I can hardly wait to come back and join the group again in November.  Thanks to everyone who made it so enjoyable.

This afternoon I spent way too much time learning to program my HAM radio as well as loading GPS coordinates of repeaters into our Garmin.  After way too much time, we have Navajo Mtn, Blowhard Peak near Cedar City; Utah Hill at St. George, Mt. Dutton near Panguitch, Frisco Peak at Milford, Levan Peak near Levan and the Kanab repeaters all loaded and ready to go for our trip.  That will pretty well covers where we might roam on our way home this year.  It sure is comforting to know we can reach out and communicate deep in MOAN Country.

April 18 was my late Dad's birthday.  I forgot to mention that yesterday.  Ten years ago on April 18 we did a great road trip out of Kanab on the Skutumpah-Cottonwood Loop.  As we were driving back to Kanab from the Paria River on Highway 89, we crested the high rise of the North Kaibab Monocline.  I looked in the rear view mirror of our '87 Samurai and there was a B-2 Bomber fully framed in the mirror BELOW us and behind us.  It looked like it was going to go out in the passing lane to get around us.  We jammed on the brakes and jumped out of the truck just as it flew overhead perhaps 200 feet above us.  We both saw the pilot staring at us.  Susun somehow actually snapped a photo of it.  As it headed west, it dropped down below us once again, hugging the undulating slope of the juniper-studded earth up there.  We stood quivering in awe of our nation's military might and skill on my Dad's birthday ten years ago.  After we leave Marble Canyon this trip, we think we might go hang out in Kanab just so we can do the Skutumpah Loop again as a Tenth Anniversary of that trip.

Life is good!  Many Cheers, jp

All cooped up

Contrary to what you might be thinking, this is NOT a playhouse for Grand Sons Gage (left) and Van.  Nope, it's a Rancho Delux chicken coop.  The kids only THINK it's their playhouse right now.  Peter has parts of three days invested in building this Taj Mahal coop.  It should be finished just in time for the upcoming Easter weekend.  The Family already has purchased some chicks and the birds will soon be moved into the stylish roost.  The Urban Chicken Movement continues to grow.  Maybe soon it would be good for Spudboater to blog something about her Boise chickens.  Goatherder has almost two dozen chickens but I don't know if you can cal them "urban chickens."  They are Cornville fowl.

We put up a post last night about early mammoth hunters.  We took it down this morning because we realized the photo was copyrighted.  If we get permission to use the picture, we will put it back up.  The gist of the post was simply that federal scientists believe the water flowing out of Montezuma Well (and across our property) fell as rain or snow at least 10,000 years ago on the Old Mogollon Rim that we can see from our campfire area. when we look at that water, our imagination can visualize early hunters who visited the Verde Valley seeking what few giant mammoths remained here after the Ice Age.

Today's the last of my Tuesday Target Shoots until next November.  I will surely miss those weekly episodes.
Today's also just a regular go-go day getting more stuff crossed off Ye Ol' Checklists.  Checklists are a lot like weeds.  Just when you think you've pulled all your weeds, another new crop of them pop up.  So it is with lists.  When everything gets crossed one list, poof, like magic along comes 30 more things to do.  It's never ending.

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Wild West lives on

There was some excitement in our neighborhood this morning.  I was out logging my hours spraying pre-emergent.  I could see some hub-bub going on across the wash.  Something seemed odd about the activity.  Susun called Robin to find out "whazzup."  By and by, Gary and Robin came over and gave us a report.  A construction grew showed up on Bentley to begin to excavate for a new water line.  A neighbor who shall remain un-named allegedly came out of their house and threatened the crew with a shotgun.  The individual allegedly claimed they were digging inside his property line.  Well, naturally, a shotgun threat engendered a call to 911.  Meanwhile, as we were hearing this initial report, we also heard sirens screaming and getting closer.  While I continued my spraying, Gary and Robin went back across the wash.  Gary said he saw three deputies with automatic rifles at their shoulders walking toward the suspect while another deputy with a drawn pistol backed them up from a different direction. The individual who allegedly made the threat was talking on his cell phone.  One deputy told the individual to put down the phone.  Apparently, the individual didn't comply with the order.  That's when one deputy knocked the individual to the ground and then all three deputies jumped on top of the individual and applied hand cuffs.  We do not know what happened after this point.  We do know that at least one sheriff's vehicle was visible for about another hour.  We haven't had any followup reports.  Maybe something will show up on the public record and then get printed in one of our local newspapers.  If the allegations of the individual's conduct are proven to be true, one would surmise the individual would be subject to a variety of actions on the part of the criminal justice system.  It's a good thing the individual put the alleged shotgun inside before the law enforcement officers (LEOs) arrived.  LEOs have just about zero tolerance for armed individuals acting in a threatening manner.  Well, it wasn't exactly the OK Corral here near 2nd Chance Ranch but it was definitely something a little bit out of the ordinary. 

Meanwhile, we got in a good three hours of spraying before the winds picked up to a pretty stout level. It's pointless spraying in the wind so we quit.  We accomplished most of our objectives and that's all the spraying we're gonna do this season.  We're both glad our spray episodes are history until next season.

Have a great day and Many Cheers!  jp

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Headwinds ahead

The above graphic says it all.  Let 'er rip!  We will (hopefully) be getting up crack o' dawn and be spraying pre-emergent well before the sun tops the Mogollon Rim.  If the full moon "day after" affect doesn't derail our plans, we can "git 'er dun" before the Big Blow Begins.  Wind is the word of the week here in late April.

The full moon behaved as advertised.  Celestial bodies always behave properly.  When it's supposed to be the full moon, by gosh, it actually IS the full moon.  No delays.  No excuses.  No contract disputes.  No arbitration,  It just happens right when the Moon Wonks say it will.  We like that about the moon.

Tonight, Susun was a tad bit tuckered from her busy social schedule the past couple of days.  I broke out our walkie-talkies and kept her posted on the moon rise.  As a result of our radio chatter, she was able to come out before the moon peeked above The Rim.  (It glows pretty big time before you actually see the tip of the disk.)  We had a nice mesquite fueled fire tonight.  Our last juniper fire was last night.  The juniper is now under lock and key and lag screws, too.

Yesterday was quite the whirlwind.  It was one of those typical full moon cycle days where everything moves a double warp speed and unexpected things happen all day long.  As you know, Susun went off to C-wood at some un-gawdly hour and then I followed along to swap vehicles with her a little before 10 am. 

Before I took off, I spent some time messing with my Yagi.  It was quite an accomplishment.  But I digress.  Anyway, I needed to get a piece of OSB cut to 34 by 90 size in Cottowwood and run other errands as well.  One the way back I stopped off at Cornville to visit the Goatherder in action doing his wine-tasting gig.  He does it so well, he looks and acts like Robert Redford in that movie, "The Natural."  If ever there was a guy born to pour wine samples, GH is the guy. So, there were all sorts of chores and tasks to face upon our arrival home.  The late Stephen Ambrose wrote a classic book entitled "Undaunted Courage" about Lewis & Clark's 1803-1806 expedition from Missouri to the Pacific and back.  Whenever I look at my lists I segue that book title into "Undaunted Chores."  Geeze, you just have to keep butting your head into the never ending, ever-expanding list of chores.  Soon, it will end, I know it.

Susun napped when she returned.  We're talking BIG time napping.  I mean who wouldn't nap after leaving their home at 5:15 am?  While she was napping, I finished off my shadetree Yagi and actually beamed it up to the Mingus repeater and had a good ol' hootenanny HAM radio conversation with Captain Bob.  (You can click here to read all about The Yagi Project.)  We had a great chat with Nancy McC.  She had been thinking about bring her mini-motor home down for a visit.  We told her that her Girls (Cedar and Savannah) would be totally black in a heartbeat in our black yard and she wisely made other plans.

Meanwhile, By and by, Jodi and Dex arrived on the dot of 5 pm and the Full Moon Party began.  We were out on the ramada having a proverbial good ol' time.  Susun and Jodi were chattering away as they are always wont to do.  I was preparing firewood when I turned around and nearly fell over backwards.  There stood Wayne R. and his wife, Helen! It was such a shock to see them.  Well, that "All In A Day's Karma" factor really amped up the Full Moon Party.  Wayne and Helen thought they were just dropping by to say "HI" but wound up staying for the campfire and dinner, too.  Dex and Jodi left about 11:30 pm so it was "one of those nights."  The classic "good time was had by all."  (We will post up some photos tomorrow morning.)

Today was yet another day of go, go, go.  Hey, if it's the full moon, you might as well play the hand you've been dealt.  The full moon gets blamed for a lot of stuff.  One thing we can tell ya for sure--use the full moon to put yourself into overdrive and get tons of stuff done.  It works like a charm.  Now tomorrow's gonna be a totally different thing.  We will all be at a very low energy ebb and lucky to get anything done.  But at least today we crossed off about half the things on our list.   BOOM, BOOM, we were both rocking and rolling and making things happen all day long.

By and by, camp fire time rolled around once again.  We got a nice mesquite fire up and running and then kicked back to wait full moon to show its lovely face.  For the first time we can remember, it rose precisely at the very highest point on the Rim that's visible to us.  The middle of the moon sat like a giant gem on that little "V" at the high point.  'Twas a fitting end to our sequence of full moons here since November.

We have only two campfires left here before we depart.  If the wind is blowing at 30 mph or above tomorrow night, there will be no campfire.  Thirty is our cut off wind speed.  Above that and it's just no fun.

We've changed our departure date yet again.  It's now April 21st, Thursday, instead of Wednesday.  More on that later.  Well, life is good and we are happy to be able to continue to check stuff off our lists.

Have a great evening and Many Cheers!  jp

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Black is beautiful

Most folks wouldn't think a black yard would be nice, let alone pretty.  However, to both of us, black is truly beautiful.  Seeing our black landscape makes us both beam with pride and happiness.  It takes a lot of work to create a black yard.  All-in-all yesterday's burn project spanned 7 hours, 5.5 of which was actual torch time.  I was thoroughly baked, fried, roasted and toasted by the time is was all over for yet another year.

Guess what Susun did this morning?  She got up about 4:45 and drove off at 5:15 am.  No kidding.  Is that wild or what?  Our Dear Friend Lin organized a very popular foot race in Cottonwood to honor and memorialize her late Husband, Brian Mickelsen.  The half-marathon started at 7:30 this morning so Susun needed to help woman the registration table well before 6 am.  Brian passed on suddenly while out on his morning run a few years ago.  Today's race is the 3rd annual such event and, judging from its growth, it looks to be a long-standing annual tradition.  You can click here for the City of Cottonwood's webpage on the event.  (Brian was City Manager at the time of his passing.)

It's quite a big day for Lin in addition to the race.  Her son is getting married at the finish line of the race!  He and his very soon bride-to-be are running in the race and when they reach the finish line, they will have a wedding ceremony right then and there.  No worry about having lots of people show up at their wedding--there will be hundreds of spectators.  A reception will follow at Lin's house after the hoopla subsides.  Knowing our local newspaper, the wedding ceremony will probably be on the front page of tomorrow's edition.  How could it not?  Brian is missed by many people.  He was truly a shining star in life.  The annual race is easily one of the finest memorials such a great guy could possibly have.  Susun doesn't rise and shine that early for just any old event.  But for Lin and Brian's memorial--she probably would have been outta here at midnight if Lin would have requested her that early.  THANK YOU, Susun, for being such a loyal friend to your friends!  We are very proud of you--today...and always in all ways.

Well, now that we are "back to black," we can rest relatively easy--at least as long as we keep checking chores off our lists.  We received quite a interesting email soliloquy on "listlessness" yesterday from an LBR who will remain un-named.  We hope the individual in question will see fit to publish that charming narrative on their blog soon.

That's about all The Daily News for this morning.  Have a great day and Many Cheers, jp

Friday, April 15, 2011

We're not listless here

Listless is an interesting word.  The Oxford Dictionary defines the adjective "listless" as "(of a person or their manner) lacking energy or enthusiasm:bouts of listless depression."  The word listlessly is an adverb and listlessness is a noun.  Well, we're are definitely NOT listless here.  In fact, we're wondering WTH the word is for the antonym of listless.  We have an overabundance of lists.  What would that be?  Listfull?  We can't find it online.  Any ideas?

Lists pretty much rules our lives at times like these.  As we amp our our pace to prepare to head to Idaho, we make a new list every day, actually twice a day--once each morning and evening.  We're always so happy to cross something off any given list.  It's like a game only more fun because it means there's one less thing to do.  Evrytime we think we have made the final list, something else pops up and demands to be included on the next edition of our ever-evolving list.  We've always been "listers."  (We're guessing that one who makes lists is a lister.)  Note that we are occasionally listing, too.  That usually happens during Happy Hour.  But we digress.

Lists really do make a big difference in prepping for a major change of seasons and places.  We'd be lost without lists.

What's at the top of our list today?  Well, it's pretty much the same thing that's been up top for several days--BURN WEEDS.  The regional fire dispatch people have declared the last few days and "NO BURN" days.  You can get in big trouble if you violate a no burn day.  You'd definitely wind up in court, maybe even jail.  It would be costly and embarrassing.  The clock is ticking on when we can burn.  We're now down to only two days--today and tomorrow.  There's a windy front coming in Monday and Sunday is a forbidden burn day.  The wind next week is expected to blow for a few days and will undoubtedly blow us out of here, too.

Oh, how we hope to be able to burn today!  We can't spray our pre-emergent herbicide until we've burned so it's a pretty big deal here right now.  Most of the rest of the stuff on our lists can be done on a calm day or a windy day so it's no big deal.  But burning and spraying are definitely wind-dependent.  PLEASE!  No W-I-N-D today!

Yesterday, we went off to Cottonwood and sold some silver we brought back from Indiana.  It's pretty amazing that a dime from the 1950's is worth $2.70 each.  The Morgan silver dollars were worth $28 each.  Pretty amazing.  After returning, Susun sanded and oil our windows sills, I tarred the watershed roof and we pounded in five t-posts to prevent dirt bikes from coming up out of the wash onto our land.  There were a host of other little things we did yesterday and will undoubtedly do again today.  Yes, they are all on our list--how else could we possibly keep track of them?

Well, tie for the morning HAM radio ragchew (that's their word, not mine) so I better skeedaddle along now.

Have a great day & MANY Cheers, jp

PS--Roget's Thesaurus defines the antonym of listless as "active, alert, attentive, energetic, lively, untired."  We're pretty much all of that right now except for the "untired" part. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Well, we finished the Verde River Guide project today.  All-in-all, it took 3 months.  Good thing we had three months to spare.  We started discussing this with Chip N. way back in January.  I think we laid our hands on that GPS on January 19th and did our first trip January 28.  The other trips were February 7 and 15th and then the last one on March 30.  We spent about six hours today gathering all of the digital data files together, posting photo albums, writing captions, converting Garmin GPS data to Google Earth and ArcView Gis files, and on and on and on.  Finally, we burned all the data to some CD's to give to Chip.  It's done.  Finished.
Now Chip has a grant-funded budget of a little less than $10,000 to create the final product(s).  THANKS, CHIP, for making this project happen.  Good Luck with the remainder of it. Also, THANKS, BOB R. for helping Chip get it all together and feng shui.

It was a great project.  First, we got to spend four high quality days with Joshua on the river.  He went from having no clue about what a canoe does to becoming a very proficient paddler.  He went from a Space Cadet with his stuff to a Space Commander.  He now even uses a real checklist both before and after each trip.  He was a real fast learner and a joy to paddle with.  THANKS, JOSHUA, "ya dun good."  Remember: "Read 'em and run 'em."

Suzi's Shuttle Service was outstanding.  Her willingness to drop everything on her busy schedule to help us out was truly a gift.  Without her cheerful, totally on-time shuttles, we simply couldn't have pulled off this project.  THANKS, SUSUN!  Your service with a smile was totally AWESOME!

When Susun was in Hawaii, Goatherder came through in the clutch to run a key shuttle.  Without his help, this project would have stumbled badly and probably wouldn't be complete even yet today.  THANKS, GH, that day was really fun.

Kudos also go to Arizona State Parks for letting us beat the living daylights out of their canoe.  And a Big Thanks to Jodi A. of the Verde NRCD for helping us have real life jackets, helmets and a dry bag, too.  Without Parks and the NRCD, we would have literally been up the creek without a paddle.

One related benefit of the project was getting real up close and personal with the Garmin GPS unit.  Frankly, I've had a bad attitude about Garmin because of their proprietary mapping system.  Garmin has made it near impossible to translate their data files into something usable on other people's software and platforms.  Well, luck and Hoosier hard-headed-ness turned the corner with Garmin on this project.  As you recall, I like the unit so much we went and paid $200 for one of our own.  It's a sweet unit that's going to serve us well for many years to come.  We're are delighted this river project delivered such a great spin-off gift.

It's great to wrap up this project today with no loose ends remaining.  It sure came right down to the wire.
Now it's time to move on to the next volunteer project.  Who knows what that will be?  It's gonna be fun finding out.

You can click here to review all the stuff about the project on the Verde River Guide blog.

Have a great day, Happy Trails & Cheers!  jp

802 vs 817

The "Way to Go LBRs" post was the 800th post to show up on this blog.  Actually, the internal counter shows we've written 817 blog posts since 01.01.10.  However, 15 of those posts were moved elsewhere the morning after they were written.  Our blogging pace has now slacked off to a little more than one a day.  In 2010, we averaged over 50 posts per month.  So far this year, we have 157 blog posts but March only tallied 35 and it looks like April will be in the 30's as well.

Meanwhile, our daily visitation (AKA: readership) has upticked a little bit from the low 20's to the high 20's.  Page views remain remarkably steady.  Here are stats current as of last Friday morning.  (Stats shown were recorded from June 19th last year to now.) 


            Total ........................ 6,376            
            Average per Day ................. 29            
            Average Visit Length .......... 3:18            
            This Week ...................... 203            

          Page Views

            Total ....................... 11,960            
            Average per Day ................. 50            
            Average per Visit .............. 1.7            
            This Week ...................... 347
Have a great day & Cheers, jp 

Going with the flow

 There was a wee bit of an April storm here while we were gone.  Happy Jack got 10 inches of snow on Sunday.  Well, the gubmint's SNOTEL shows all that snow there is gone now.  Gee, I wonder where it went?  Ah, shucks, it went on downstream.  Dry Beaver Creek was basically dry yesterday and now look at it.  Heck, it's running well over 200 cfs this morning and 24 hours ago it had less than ONE cfs in it!  Wet Beaver is showing signs of coming up, too.  We suspect Sycamore, Oak and West Clear Creeks will rally a little bit, too.

What does this mean?  Ah, so...simple: the Verde River from the White Bridge to Beasley will be a nice run this week and will even perhaps sustain decent flow into the weekend.  It won't be much on the grand scale of things but it will be better than the 166 cfs it's running right now.  Since the weather forecast is for clear, sunny skies with temps in the 70's and maybe low 80's, this is probably the locals' last chance to squeeze in a spring run there.  The trees are all fully leafed out and the place is glorious right now.  Enjoy & Happy Trails, jp

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Well, Howdy from 2nd Chance Ranch!  We thought we'd throw in a little something different this afternoon upon our arrival back at Straw Central.We LOVE diversity!  Back in the Midwest it's all Lilly White People who look the same and talk the same.  Seeing someone different is rather unusual.  After we deplaned and picked up the truck at the airport parking lot, we hot-footed it to the COFCO Chinese Cultural Center (44th St. & the 202)  Yes, the Chinese government actually owns this grocery store.  No kidding.  Anyway, it's so wonderful to dive into that place and breathe in the cultural diversity there.  It's SOOOO--as in AH, SO---refreshing it almost made me dizzy with glee.  I stayed inside there the better part of an hour waiting for Susun's plane to arrive.  Anyway, when you buy stuff there, they wrap up your bottle in Chinese language newspaper pages.  After what I've experienced here in the past few days, it just seemed somehow very appropriate to paste it up here above this blog post. Diversity LIVES!

If you ever have to wait for someone at Sky Harbor, I highly recommend hanging out at the Super L Ranch Market there at the COFCO Chinese Cultural Center.  You can boogie down to the Terminal 4 Cell Phone Lot in less than 10 minutes (usually about 5 minutes).  It's a straight shot to Terminal 4.  Meanwhile, there's enough stuff inside that market to keep you entertained for hours.  Plus they have a great restaurant in there and mass quantities of live fish--more fish than most small town aquariums.  Their produce section will make you dream of cooking Asian food and there's at least 50 varieties each of soy sauce, noodles and typical Asian fare.  Prices can be great if you are an astute shopper.  I got a big bottle of pure sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, low sodium soy, a fresh bottle of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce and a pound of fresh ginger for a grand total of twelve bucks.

We arrived back here at 4 pm--no stops--just BAM--outta the airport and straight home like the proverbial horses to the barn.  Everything looks great around here.  About 99+% of the weeds are totally dead and crisp brown awaiting the flame soon to come.  It's windy but that's sure not gonna stop a campfire tonight.  WHEW--it's great to be back here in Rim ROX!  Have a great evening & MANY Cheers!  jp

Monday, April 11, 2011

Way to Go, LBR's!

Thanks, Maggie, Goatherder, Wayne & Spudboater for truly giving me a gift on this trip.  Ya'll have no idea how inspiring and uplifting and energizing your comments and emails have been to me.  Whatever sparked all these great and truly memorable comments must be a pretty amazing episode of "all in a day's karma!"  THANK YOU!

Well, I took the little netbookie thingie back to Sam's.  I told them I didn't like it because it was really SLOW.  The clerk, Amanda, actually turned it on--something no one has ever done on a computer return.  Her first words were, "Wow, you're right, this thing is REALLY slow!"  She then said she hadn't worked on a computer that slow since the mid-1990's.  Whatever Dell did to that netbook sure didn't help it much.  OK, so the question is, how am I posting up to the blog?  Glad you asked.

We are sitting this evening in the "internet room" of the Tippecanoe County Library.  The computers here are easily the weirdest public computers I have ever used.  I can't even really describe them except to say they are set under some flat glass with some sort of a diagonal reflector and a hood and you really can't see the screen unless you want to lean forward and get a carpal tunnel neck.  They say you get 90 minutes but I can't imagine I could possibly last that long on this thing.  But, whatever, it's free and it's the internet so who's complaining?

I once lived directly across the street in an 1870's Victorian building.  Who could have known back in 1970 that someday a truly fine library would be right across the street?  There's lot of old stuff here.  I was musing today that Purdue was founded in 1869 about the time that what's-his-name-one-armed-guy was poking around with wooden boats on the Green River at the edge of the map that showed a flat earth.  There's lots of houses that date into the 1840's and 50's here and ones that were built in the late 19th century are so numerous as to be ho-hum common.

I won't be posting up any photos tonight--that's WAAAY beyond the capability of this public terminal.

We finished October Skies early this evening.  It is a 428 page book so it takes awhile to get through it.  It is one of the best reads I've had in quite awhile but somehow I suspect GH's book is gonna trump the Rocket Boys.  Bryson is a real hoot--I've read some of his stuff but not the book that GH sent to our gross post office box.  Anyway, finishing October Skies actually made me quite sad and put me into a genuine melancholy mood.  The ending of the book isn't supposed to do that, of course, because the Rocket Boys won the National Science Fair for Coalwood and it was a real triumph for people from BFE everywhere.  But somehow that's what happened--a funk  So, I come down here to the library in my funk and then read the blog comments and BAM, as Emeril would say, ya'll pulled me right smack dab out of Da Funk and helped get my groove back again.  Ain't that what friends is for?  THANK YOU!

Today zipped along pretty fast--three hours of house cleaning and then lunch at a Golden Corral and then a visit to a Goodwill where, remarkably, neither of us spent a danged dime and bought nary a speck of anything.  By and by, I got around to doing a load of laundry and even squeezed in a visit to a Barnes & Noble, too.  Now, it's time to wrap up our chatter and batten our hatches and get ready for a Travel Day tomorrow.  I lift out of Mom's Place at 6 am to catch a 6:30 am shuttle in order to wait 3 hours for my 10:20 AM flight out of Indianapolis.  Due to the time difference, I arrive in Phoenix at 11:30.  Susun gets in at 1:30.  We should be back at 2nd Chance Ranch no later than 5 pm after dawdling here and there at the likes of places such as In-N-Out, Harbor Freight and Ham Radio Outlet.  We will have plenty of time to get a right and proper campfire up and running and that's a good thing, as Martha Stewart once often said.

Oh, I almost forgot to report about the fracking film last night.  There were well over 100 people there--the place was packed to the gills.  I watched 90 minutes of the documentary and then split.  I figured if the kid couldn't wrap up his shtick in 90 minutes or less he was brutalizing his audience.  It was definitely a one-sided, very biased film and I found that to be very disappointing.  The film-making techniques were really bad but I guess these days nobody knows the difference.  That it could get nominated for an Oscar speaks poorly of whoever in charge of nominating things for the Academy.  Basically, the film had one line that it repeated over and over to the point where my head was battered senseless by the heavy two by four the kid tried to smack us with: fracking is bad.  Oh,. did I tell you fracking is bad.  Hey, wait, I gotta tell you fracking is bad.  Yikes, I practically sprinted out of the place after 90 minutes of incessant brainwashing. 

Not long after I left the stuffy, sardine-packed church, I knew immediately that everything was put back into order again and that life is good.  The route back from campus takes me over the Wabash River on a relatively new bridge with expansive views to the northwest.  Lo and behold, the sun was this GIANT, brilliant deep orange orb drifting slowly to touch the horizon.  It seemed to hang in space forever.  I was able to stop in the middle of the bridge can take photos and watch breathlessly as it put on a show the likes of which I haven't seen in many a year here in Indiana.  I was so totally gratified that the Gasland show stunk.  Otherwise, I would have never seen such an awesome evening solar display back here in the Hoosier Heartland.  My angst with the film turned to gratitude that it had brought me to that point at precisely the proper time and place.

  Yea, verily, Life is good.  Life may have its twists and turns and blind corners but life is good.  Let us all celebrate the goodness of life every day in every way.

Have a great evening and Many Cheers!  jp

Monday again

Today's our last day here in Good Ol' Laugh-Yet.  Lots more chores to do in Mom's house.  And lots o' chores to do for me, too.  Wasn't there a product once called "Chore Boy?"  I never did make much of a Choir Boy but I sure do make a heck of a Chore Boy. 

It's Monday morning here in McDonald's.  How do I know?  Well, there's a large clic of Oldsters enjoying their Monday Morning ragchew.  There's 8 of them and it's obvious it's a de facto "invitation only" club.  They are gumming their Egg McMuffins and sipping their Senior Coffee and laughing loud, racuous laughs about why the chicken crossed the road...or something similar.  All eight of them combined would weigh about as much as our Suzuki Samurai.  You can do the math on that one.  Good thing McDonald's supports their weight management program.

Perhaps you may have noticed DR & LBR Wayne R's comment.  Bless Wayne's Traveler Spirit.  He actually said he'd like to come back to Laugh-Yet to check it out someday.  That was Sweet, Wayne.  Thanks.  Well, it is a place that's itneresting, weird and odd all at the same time.  Let's take my first experience with golf.  It's shown in the photo above this  paragraph.  What, you say?  How could that building be connected to golf.  Well, from a very tender age as early as a child can remember stuff, my Dad would tell me that his Dad knew the janitor there.  That's back when the building was the tallest in the city.  It easily qualified as a skyscraper in this flatlander burg.  Well, the janitor would let Dad and his three mischievious brothers go up on the roof and drop golf balls down on the sidewalk.  They could only do it, of course, when they wouldn't kill a pedestrian walking below.  Oh, how my Dad loved that story.  I remember asking him what a golf ball was and he was very vague about how such balls were used.  But it perked my interest and I could hardly wait to grow up and see what golf balls were used for.  Dad once said they got a ball to bounce practically back up to the third story.  It sure must have been fun for him "back in the day."

The photo below is my grade school--St. Laurence.  Saints were like the Hall of Famers of the Catholic Faith.  They all did something so incredible that they were forever enshrined and got school named after them.  Most Saints just got killed by the murderous, barbarous heather Romans.  None of us kids wanted to be Saints because we figured we would have to die to "git 'er dun."  The only other option was causing a miracle to happen but none of us knew how to do that and teh nuns weren't about to teach us how.

I always liked Saint Laurence.  He seemed like a pretty cool guy.  Supposedly, the Romans burned him alive on a giant iron BBQ.  He was reputed to have said, "I'm done on this side, you can turn me over now."  Whether that's true or not, it resonated with us kids.  It was totally macho but also totally aware and, in its own weird way, funny in a way only kids know.  I went to kindergarten in Columbus, Georgia, and first grade in Clearwater, Florida.  I started in second grade at Saint Laurence in second grade well after the school year had begun.  My second grade nun was the SAME nun that taught second grade to my Mom back in the 1930's.  I kid you not.  Meanwhile, they made me sit in precisely and exactly the same old desk that she sat in during the second grade.  The nun hated me. Naturally, all the other kids in class shunned my like the plague because if the nun hated me, surely they didn't want to get punished simply for association with the new kid.  The nun made me sit with my face in the corner wearing the dunce hat almost every day for petty infractions like smiling or being cheerful.  She was Attilla The Nun and it's good thing she didn't rob me of a positive, cheerful attitude.  Nuns hated positive cheerful attitudes.  Somehow such non-conformity was bad for their business and it was an inherent threat to their power over us children.  We were all supposed to guilty forever against a full slate of crimes against humanity and we were all forever supposed to be begging forgiveness.  If we didn't have any real sins to confess each Saturday night, we were tacitly encouraged to make some up otherwise the priests hearing our confessions would be VERY disappointed in us morons.

Luckily, I had wonderful experiences at school in Georgia and Florida.  The Florida school was so cool and the nuns were awesome and supportive and actually encouraged us kids to smile and be cheerful.  Imagine that!  The playground went down to a swamp and they didn't mind of we caught snakes and played with them, at least as long as they weren't of the poisonious variety.  They actually taught us how to tell the difference.  Heck, if a Laugh-Yet nun saw a snake, she would have died on the spot.  Saint Laurence School was built in the 1890's...93, as I recall.  Nothing in it had been modernized when I showed up there in the 50's.  They say it's modern now but I have my doubts.  Well, enough of nun stories--everybody has nun stories.  They are less than a dime a dozen.  Nuns.

Ah, shucks, just one more nun story.  My 8th grade nun was committed to an insane asylum two months afgter finishing my last school year there.  To say she was certifiably nuts was actually a correct statement.  Yep, them wuz the daze.

Well, not much else to report this morning.  We will be checking back in here this afternoon before we return this computer back to Sam's.  I actually would keep the little thing if it was a tad faster.  I know it's slow by how long it takes to load one of my digital photos off the camera card.  We're talking S-L-O-W!  If it processed photos just a wee bit faster, I'd be more inclined to keep it.  That's the deal breaker.

Have a great day & Many Cheers!  jp

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Relieve Fatigue--Open Happiness!

Lafayette is kind of a living history museum.  There's all sorts of relics lying around, some living, some not so much.  I remember the sign above from very early childhood.  I took this photo standing in a vacant lot beside the building with the sign.  When I was a little kid there was an old, old fire station there where the vacant lot is now.  It still had the brass pole that the firemen slid down.  It had an ancient engine with brass headlights and a real dalmatian dog, too.  The city's fire department kept it running so they'd have a place to put the Geezer Fire Guys who simply wouldn't retire.  Some of them had worked on steam driven fire pumping equipment.  My Dad took me there all the time so I could pet the dog and look at all the gleaming brass and other fascinating things.  Well, the fire station and the dog and the brass pole are gone but the old Coke sign remains--a mute testimony to a past when Coke was THE energy drink of choice.
One of our main entertainments when I was a kid here was inside the Coke building--the very one in this photo.  They set up the bottling line so it was visible through those windows you see.  Empty bottles would come flying out of nowhere and twirl around a couple if strange looking circular things and disappear almost as fast as they appeared.  This was back in the days when each city had its own bottling plant and all Coke bottles has the city name molded into the bottle bottoms.  Each city was right proud of their own Coke.  We sure were in Lafayatte.  We thought our Coke tasted a lot better than Kokomo Coke and a LOT better than Indianapolis Coke.  We would sit in the car for an hour or more just watching the Coke bottles get filled.  it was great entertainment and made me wonder where those bottles came from.  It was all so magical back then.
Well, Coke will be with us for all time, I suppose, it's surely not going anywhere, even if high fructose corn syrup ruined it forever.  Who knows how many marketing mottos Coke has had since Day One.  Now, the city is plastered with these billboards urging you to "Open Happiness" by slurping down yet another Coke.  Somehow, seeing Coke billboards always makes me think of the old one up above and the Ghost Bottling Plant, too.  Oh, well, that's tonight's nostalgia.  Many Cheers, jp

Comment Blizzard!

Hey, THANKS for all the comments in the past 24 hours.  You have NO idea how uplifting that is for me rigfht now.  Trust me--we appreciate it a LOT at this particular time in our life.  THANKS!

Bowling and wine really hit a nerve.  Maggie emailed to say her games were two 170's and a 210!  WOW!  And Goatherder's pinball comment is pretty funny.  Thank, GH!  The wine discussion is pretty instructive.  I guess the logical question is, "If everyone else is doing it, why aren't we?"  Sounds like a real no-brainer as long as rubes continue to buy the wine.  Food for thought.  No, wine for enlightenment!

I thought I had a little breathing room this morning.  Foolishly thought we were leaving for church at 8:30 am.  So, I picked up my Subway breakfast sandwich and arrived home at 7:55.  Mom was all dressed saying we were already late for the 9 am Mass.  Huh?  Well, I learned I can change clothes and eat a sandwich and gety presentable in precisely 9 minutes.  So, we arrived nearly 40 minutes early.  So goes life.  It was a real big deal Mass this morning.  Several hundred people in attendance.  Lots of pomp and ceremony.  I got to making comparisons between a Kiva and a Cathedral.  I could go off on a long tangent on those thoughts but it wouldn't be appropriate for this blog so we'll make it campfire chatter on down the road someplace.

After Mass we went over to the West Side to the MCL cafeteria for brunch.  MCL is one of those places that looks precisely the same today as it did over 30 years ago.  No change whatsoever.  I ran into one of my high school classmates.  Lafayette is like that---all sorts of people from your past are lurking behind every bush ready to spring out when you least expect it.  My Mom was joking that she once say her friends there every Sunday but now they are all dead.  She gets a kick out of outliving them all.  Despite her challenges, she's probably gonna live to be more than 100.

Well, after chomping food at MCL we went to the West Side Goodwill and I picked up another couple of golf shirts.  I still haven't found the proper polyester pants with which to tease GH but I keep looking.  Believe it or not, garish plaid polyester pants are impossible to find.  Somebody already has a monopoly on them.

We then went back home and I went out and bought more cleaning supplies.  I then left for the winery but my intuition stopped me in mid-trip and made me return to Mom's to begin cleaning.  It's a good thing I did, otherwise, this day would have been pretty discombobulated. Maybe tomorrow, we will go out there.

I left for McDonald's about 5 pm today.  I'm thinking about heading across the river to the Unitarian Universalist Church near campus.  Why's that?  Well, they are screening "Gasland" there today at 6:30 pm.  You can click here to learn a little bit about the movie.  You can click here to learn more about the movie.  One of the producers went to high school here and two professors are going to speak about the issues raised by the movie.  I've been pretty darn curious about fracking for quite some time so maybe tonight is the night to get educated.  I already know it's not a pretty story--in fact, it's a very sad story.  Well, I am thinking about it, anyway.

That's about it for the day's wrapup report.  Maybe we will process a few photos now.  This little netbook definitely isn't a keeper.  It's simply too slow.  The keys are nice, though.  Back it goes to Sam's late tomorrow afternoon.

Many Cheers!  jp

Wacky Weather's in the mid-60's here this morning and the upper 20's in Rimrock, Arizona.  The interstate was closed last night heading up on the Rim and popcorn snow flecked the evening air.  What in the world is going on with that?  Something's haywire, that's for sure.

Here we are again this morning at the double barrel drive through--Mickey D's as The Spudboater calls it.
WOW, can you believe it?  THREE comments on the bowling blog post last night.  That's a strike for sure.  Great comments.  Maggie was the city champion, eh?  Amazing.  Congrats, Maggie, glad to know you went out on top of your game.

Not much going on today--going to church with Mom pretty early (it would be 5:30 am Arizona Time).  Then we will do some morre cleaning at her place.  And then?  Not real sure.  Read about a new winery called the Wildcat Creek Winery.  They aren't growing grapes--just importing juice and bottling it.  Apparently, that's an OK thing to do and they've won a bunch of medals for doing it.  I don't quite get how that works--Goatherder would know.  Enlighten us, GH.

My Mom spent some key years of her life on the Wildcat Creek.  We went out past her old home there yesterday.  Her Dad was a fireman on the Monon Railroad.  Firemen were those guys who shoveled coal into the boiler of the locomotive.  Anyway, he had heart trouble and had to leave the railroad in his 30's.  He eventually died the year I was born when he was a mere 47 years old.  Well, in 1936, he moved the family out onto to the river right bank of the Wildcat two or three miles above its conflluence with the storied Wabash River.  He made a big chunk of the family's annual income digging mussels from the muck of the creek.  Mussels are a kind of fresh water clam or oyster, take your pick.  My Mom thrived in her formative years out there on the Wildcat.  During the winter, she claims she even broke the ice to go swimming.  That's where she met my Dad one day before WWII.  I remember going out there to her old house as a kid when her Mom was still lucid.  Her Mom didn't like me at all and the only thing I can remember her telling me was: "You don't know s*** from shinola."  Looking back, she was probably spot on with that assessment but at least it helped me learn the definition of shinola.  I am still working on learning the meaning of the other word.

Anyway, the Wildcat Creek has become a local icon. You can click here to learn more about it.  Back in 1978, I did a hairball spring trip on that creek.  My Dad took me to the teeny, tiny smallest possible rivelute way up by Kokomo.  It was in some farmers barnyard with cows and sheep milling around.  When we put the canoe in the water there was only a few inches to spare on either side of the long boat.  I paddled several days down to the Wabash and then through an evening thunderstorm to the Purdue crew boat house for the take out.  Looking back, I can see it was my first real multi-day solo river trip.  Anyway, it will be fun to go to the winery out there a couple of miles upstream from my Mom's old house.

Well, the sun's up and I gotta grab some grub and boogie back to Mom's Place to get ready for church.  I will post up a bunch of photos during this evening session here at a McDonald's with a double barrel drive through.

Have a great Sunday & Cheers.

PS--Susun and Family had a wonderful 3rd birthday party for Gage yesterday.  Thirty people attended and the boy was showered with toys.  That's Mom Sarah showing off all the b-day "loot," as she calls it.  They didn't run out of food but they ran out of beer.  Sounds like a pretty good party.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Blame it on The Big Lebowski--I bowled a 162!

You read that right.  Cue The Dude's favorite word!  Man, it was awesome.  I bowled 12 games.  That's 120 frames. Since I got a lot of strikes today, the total was less than 240 balls.  I probably rolled 200-210.  Since I hadn't bowled in at least 45 years, I was justifiably apprehensive about "outing" myself in public at a real bowling alley populated by real bowlers.  I didn't even know how to pick out a ball or what size shoes to ask for.  The bowler guy behind the counter took pity om me and helped me find a ball that fit my stubby fingers.  It was a green ball.  For "go" maybe?  Naturally, I didn't remember much to begin with and I struggled in my first game to reach 80.  Gee, 80, how embarrassing.  I could feel the smirks of my neighboring bowlers on my blistered red neck.  Well, by Gosh, I decided to buckle 'er down and BOWLER UP!  Game #2 was a 94 and in Game #3 I cracked 100 with a 104.  It kept getting better and I rolled a 118 on teh next game.  This really made me feel great and Game five knocked my socks off with a 153.  Naturally, I became overconfident and sunk back to 112 and 117 on the next two games.  There were other factors, too.  First, they dropped down a HUGE movie screen on my lane and starting showing the Master Golf Tournament. OUCH.  That made it really difficult to concentrate on bowling.  Then, to make matter even worse, the turned off the lights and brought out the psyedelic "cosmic bowling" laser gig and then they double the volume of the hard rock music in the bowling alley. 

Well, it turns out these Saturday $7, two-hour bowl-a-thons are wildly popular with the Millenials and they were all whooping and hollering like it was overtime in the Super Bowl.  Meanwhile, the young couple took the lane next to me and they were HOT--their bowling balls were on fire.  The foursome on the lane to the right were all rollling games just shy of 200 each.  Well, by Golly and By Gosh, something click off in my brain and I decided to see if I could Bowl HOT, too.  I gave up thinking about things and amped up my ball speed and let 'er rip. (I was first rollilng 10-11 mph balls but amped them to nearly 14 mph before settled into a groove about 12.8-13.2 mph.)  Bowlers on both sides were hooting and hollering for me now. "GREAT STRIKE, GUY," they called out! Strikes and spares starting flying left and right.  I was destroying those pins.  I rolled a 143 followed by a 123-118-128.  My consistency level really inhaled.  I would roll a gutter ball on Ball #1 and then take out all ten pins for a spare on Ball #2.  it was wild.  I was spiking out single pins like I was a professional bowler.  I wasn't going to call it a day until I topped my score of 153.  That HOT hard rock music is the way to bowl.  Those laser lights and that dim alley really rock to the subwoofers of that music.  It's infectious.  I really knew I was going to do well in my last game and started right off with two strikes back-to-back.  I struggled a little in the middle frames but came on real strong down the stretch.  I should have had a 180 on the final game but settled for a 163.  And, on that note, my two hours were expired so I turned in my balls and shoes and left the indoor light show for the one outside.  WOW--That was serious F-U-N!  I can hardly wait to go bowling again SOON!  My overall average for the 12 games was 121.  If you drop the first two sub 100 games the average rises to 128.  The average of the final five games was 135.  That ain't bad for an old guy!

Herding Geese

Leave it to my alma mater to concoct a way to keep "goose grease" off of the golf course.  As we now know from our time on the Idaho Falls Greenbelt, goose dropping create a veritable minefield of slippery, smelly obstacles when walking beside the river.  In places, it's so thick, you can't avoid it.  Imagine how the hoity-toity golf crowd feels about slipping up their swing while sliding around on the goose poo.  Well, Good Ol' Purdue simply wouldn't let THAT happen, would they?  Nope, no way.  They have a border collie "on staff" that keeps the geese off the courses.  What a novel and endearing idea.  The local newspaper did a great story on the dog and its human managers yesterday.  You can click here to read it.  If the link doesn't work, just google this phrase "Lafayette Journal Courier Pooch On Patrol" and then select the print link.

Gonna be a busy day today--we'll chatter about it on the other side this evening when we are back here again at McDonald's.  Have a great day and Many Cheers!  jp

Friday, April 8, 2011

In the dungeon

I have been sentenced to 10 years hard labor with ankle and wrist irons for confusing Joni Mitchell with Carly Simon.  OUCH!  Those lashed on my back sting!!!!  The verbal abuse rings in my ears as the dungeon guards and dragons howl with dirisive laughter!  OUCH!  My coffee got a LOT cloudier after than bonehead move.  Where's our dunce picture when we need it?

Well, the photo above is NOT from Indiana--it's courtesy of Terry M. in Idaho Falls.  It is a scene from his yard this morning.  Meanwhile, back here in Indiana, iut's been cold and raining off and on.  I had to buy a jacket this morning.  Visibility has been less than a mile all day...not that there's anything to see anyway...the high fructose corn syrup plant is still visible when you're withing a mile...that's the major landmark here.  So pretty. 

It's been a long and trying trip so far and the story is far too long and complex to EVER tell here on this blog.  Some of you will undoubtedly hear about it in person but it sure won't show up here.  It's too long and far too complex.  Due to a variety of circumstances, I decided to buy a netbook at Sam's today.  it only set me back $318 with tax.  It's a nice Dell unit and the keys are bigger than most mini-tops.  I will be checking in online each morning and evening, not so much during the day--probably not at all during the day--too much coimplex stuff going on.  Susun is having a wonderful time.  Sarah said yesterday, "Mom's in her element and happy as a clam."  Whenever you hear those words, you know Susun's Smilin' & Stylin'.

I learned a couple of new phrases already today.  Their anti-drug billboards here are all about marijuana, not meth.  Anyway, the giant headline of all those billboards sez, "Got, Baked?"  I guess that's what they called "stoned" here.  Meanwhile, I've seen a LOT of used car dealer signs touting some used car that says the year, make, model, price and then the words "Fully Loaded."  Somehow, it clicked with me today and I realized that's car dealer code for "fully loaded with problems."  Fully Loaded will never quite seem the same to me after today.  Maybe you could get baked and fully loaded here in more ways than one.

Indiana is, yes, still Indiana.  For some reason, people here always look the same.  They look like, well...Hoosiers.  Hoosiers all ahve this distinctive posture and appearance to them.  Their eyes all look the same, too, kind of like cow eyes.  Somehow they all remind me of cows standing in a pasture waiting for something (ANYTHING) to happen.  A barking dog would be a good deal for most of these cows.  A snake?  Now THAT would really excite those cows.  But I digress, I guess because it's been a day of disgressions and so forth.  At least I can still have clouds in my coffee even if I don't have a clue who wrote it or sung it.

Hey, Silver Fans, did you notice the shiny metal went to $41 today?  Yee--HAAW!  Only The Dear Lord and The Lone Ranger know whence and how high silver will go.  HI, HO, SILVER!

Have a great evening & Many Cheers!  jp

Thursday, April 7, 2011

For the camp cook who has everything

Well, here they are: two irresistible gee-gaws from Cabela's.  There's a Cabela's down here in the Valley so the daily newspaper carries an advertising insert.  We couldn't help but notice these two interesting objects.  The one above hold 49 jalapeƱo peppers.  The one below is what we would call a two-fisted burger press for the Muy Macho He Man Bubba Boyz.  No wimpy burgers for them Dudes.  Nope, with that press, you could go through a side of beef purty dern pronto.  We're fixing to drive off to the airport here real soon and just wanted to leave ya'll with fond thought of the camp cook who has everything and not this just in.  (And the answer is: "NO, we are NOT buying these.  Honest.")  And the other answer for The Goatherder is: Arundo Donax.  Have a great day and Cheers, jp