Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Magpie's Fire

Yesterday we posted a picture of Stasea's ping pong table and asked readers to guess what it was.  If you looked at the net, it was pretty obvious but otherwise, who's ever seen a ping pong table like that one?  Blog Reader Magpie wins the prize--their very own campfire dedicated just for them last night.  We even called it "Magpie's Fire."  Many Cheers, jp

Cactus & Pine

Leap Day marks a big leap forward for us.  We actually found a complete free, digital version of Sharlot Hall's famous book "Cactus & Pine."  Cactus & Pine is easily Susun & John's favorite book.  A worn reprint of the book travels everywhere with us.  John bought his first copy back in 1982 at a Camp Verde used book sale.  He obtained a pristine 1910 first edition copy for ten cents!  It was love at first sight when he opened the book and began reading Sharlot's incredible poetry.  That first edition traveled many times through the bottom of the Grand Canyon and all across the far flung Southwest and beyond.  When Susun first met John, he read her poems from Sharlot Hall and it's one of the many reasons we are still together after 25+ years.  Susun loves Sharlot.  Her favorite poem is probably "A Litany for The Day."  John has three favorite poems, "A Creed, The Colorado River and The Mercy of Na-chis."  Imagine our delight and surprise to find the complete book online!  What a great gift for Leap Day.  It makes up feel like taking a Leap of Joy!

Dear Ol' Google is responsible for getting this book online.  They scanned a copy from the Harvard Library which used library fines to buy a copy in April 1913.  The scan runs to 225 pages although the book itself is only 204 pages.  The pages noted on the Table of Contents do not match the pages of the PDF scanned copy so you will have to do a little looking around to find your favorite poems.  There's bound to be at least one poem in this book that will reach out and grab your heart.

Sharlot was the Most Special Woman of Early Arizona.  Her legacy lives on in so many ways.  You can click here to read the Wiki about her.

OK, here's what we did to preserve this book for you. Click here for my archived copy of the digital version. You can go to a Google webpage and download the "eBook" for free.  Look for the download button near the upper left corner of the page.  Click here to go there.

Now, once you fall in love with Sharlot's poems, you're probably going to want your own actualy hard copy of them to carry on your Road Trips.  The easiest and best way to find an inexpensive used copy is through ABE Books.  Type in the author's name and the book title without the "&" symbol.  Note that can easily obtain a copy for under $10 including shipping.  Click here to go to ABE Books.


Have a great leap day & Many Cheers, jp

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Six Years Ago Today

As we all add more years to our age, various milestones accumulate in our life's pathway.  Specific days become memorable for some notable event.  So it is with February 27th.  This day will forever mark  major sea change in our lives.  Six years ago today, we signed the papers that sold our land and straw house to a developer.  We then embarked on an interesting sequences of experiences which eventually led us back here once again.  Ah, the Merry-Go-Round of Life! 

We spent 5 hours working on that Verde River Guide stuff yesterday and it's once again out of our hands at least for awhile.  Whew--that project has been nagging at our psyche for months.  Basically, our task-at-hand was to write 64 short narratives for "points of interest" along the river stretching from Bridgeport to Beasley Flats.  Do the math.  64 divided by 5 is almost 13, call it 12.  Sixty minutes divided by 12 is 5.  So, if we wrote one narrative every five minutes, that's five hours.  That's "hustle-hustle" writing, for sure. 

The wind finally came for a visit and we're guessing it peaked in the mid to upper 30 mph range.  That's nothing compared to what our Dear Friends in Idaho Falls have endured--gusts into the 60 mph range and days and days of steady winds in the 30 mph range.  Click here for a story about a hum-dinger blizzard last Saturday in the Grand Teton NP and Jackson, Wyoming.  Speaking of Wyoming, we'll betcha didn't know their legislature recently considered buying an aircraft carrier.  No kidding.  You can read about it by clicking here. Ah, those Cowboys, what will they think of next?

If you are looking for a blog with some REAL action, go check out Wayne Ranney's blog, "Earthly Musings."  He's over in Africa right now and put up his latest blog post just yesterday.  YOU GO, WAYNE!
Click here to travel vicariously with Wayne.

Naturally, if you want to read a heart-warming, FUN, uplifting blog full of spirit click on over to Momedy by Kirsty.  Her blog is always such a breath of fresh air (quite literally in her latest post!).  YOU GO, KIRSTY!

Spudboater's last blog post was mid-December and Goatherder's was mid-November.  They both appear to be on a permanent blog break.  Maybe we can encourage them to do at least a quarterly blog post.

Well, there's no much else to report.  We'll be heading off for the Tuesday Target Shoot this morning, bringing coffee and donuts as usual.  After the overnight storm, it's going to be damp, cold and windy but still as fun as it always is.

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Guess this--We have a Winner!

OK, LBR's here's your chance to shine.  Guess what this is in the photo.  There is one fairly obvious clue in the photo.  We will add some narrative to this post after we have received a guess or two or three.  Good Luck.  If you guess correctly, we will dedicate a campfire in your honor and send you a photo of your very own campfire.

YEA--We got a winner about 1 pm Arizona Time.  YES, Magpie is correct and it is a ping pong table.  It is located in Stasea's house on Kauai in Hawaii.  Her friends paid an artist to have the custom painting of a Koi fish placed on the table.  Apparently, the table is a sort of centerpiece to the socializing that goes on there.   It is easily the wildest ping pong table we have ever seen.  The ping pong net is a pretty obvious giveaway but it's also easy to get distracted by all the swirly colors and so forth.

OK, we will dedicate our campfire to Magpie tonight and the photo will be on the blog tomorrow morning.  Thanks for entering our contest!  Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Monday, February 27, 2012

Book 'em, Yonni

The title of this blog post is a play on words from a popular phrase in Hawaii Five-0's famous "Book 'em Danno."  Instead of booking criminals, we just booked ourselves for two nights into Yellowstone's Old Faithful Inn's Old House May 18th and 19th.

(Cue the Hawaiian wave in the opening credits of Hawaii Five-0!)

Yep, it's a you betcha-book 'em kinda night tonight.  It will have been a few days more than three years since we were there last in May 2009.  We can't remember who Susun was talking to but it sure must have been fun "back in the day." 

Yep, we're going back to the Old House.  Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, February 26, 2012


NASCAR?  No, wait, maybe it's bumpers cars.  No, wait, it's a demolition derby.  No, silly, it's Interstate 17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff.  Interstate 17 is an odd creature as far as interstate highways go.  Look at the name.  it says inter state NOT inner state.  well, I-17 only exists between South Phoenix and Flagstaff.  It doesn't go anywhere else.  For more years than I can remember, I've always believed I-17 was one of the most wildest and craziest of all interstate highways.  It may not be quite as bad as I-15 through the 100-mile Salt Lake metroplex, but it's danged close.  Lately, our local inner state highway has been really racking up the wrecks.  Those little white crosses and home made memorials are proliferating.  The pavement is marked with wild tire skid marks.  There are many more burned spots on the road shoulders where vehicles caught on fire and burned wn to the steel frame.  That half-day Friday back up didn't even make the news.  Apparently a six hour traffic backup just isn't news like it once was.  Yesterday's multi-hour back up was probably rated a "hiccup" by metro media news managers. 

I did get to see some of the wreckage from Friday's incident.  It looked like somebody put a big bomb inside a travel trailer and blew it to smithereens.  Who knows when authorities will be able to remove that mess?  People simply won't slow down on I-17.  They comes out of Phoenix with all their pent up Wild West energy in full bloom.  It is becoming a genuine adventure to travel I-17.  From this day forward, we will always carry food, water, entertainment and an overnight rig when we are traveling down to The Valley.  Methinks I-17 has reached a new level of traffic insanity and has become NASCAR, bumper cars and a demolition derby all rolled into one stretch of mayhem.  OK, we're done venting on that subject now, let's move on, shall we?

It was so great to finally be able to come home to a big hug from Sweetie Susun yesterday.  We arrived in mid-afternoon.  After unpacking a truck load of flotsam and jetsam, Gary and I took the new pistol out for a walk in the desert.  It performed flawlessly and is exactly what I was hoping it would be.  So, if I wouldn't have been marooned, I wouldn't have the pistol.  Everything happens for a porpoise. 

We did manage to get a campfire going but it was well after sunset before the first flames rose from the juniper.  Susun fixed a great dinner of eggplant and turkey meatballs in spaghetti sauce.  YUM!

We've canceled our Monday shooting match tomorrow.  Losing four full days this past week really set us behind on a lot of projects and duties--the biggest of which is the Verde River Guide project.  We know a couple of people who are getting almost testy about our lack of progress on it.  Well, what can we say?  We are a volunteer.  Perhaps they need to remind themselves of that factoid, eh?  Anyway, there's way too much other stuff on our plate right now to spend time on a pistol match tomorrow.

February will be our first full month in Arizona.  Can you believe that?  November was a few ays old when we arrived.  Half of December and most of January was spent in Indiana.  So this is a fun first full month here and a Leap Year to boot.

Well, that's about ll the trivia we can find to discuss this morning.  Have a great day & Many Cheers! jp

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Marooned Yet Again I get a whiff of a Ground Hog?  OK, so I drove all the way back to Mesa last night and stayed at Roger's Place.  The highway was still blocked last time I check about dark.  Today, I figured lightning couldn't strike twice back-to-back in the same location.  WRONG!  As I approached the Carefree Highway, the electronic sign board said, "CRASH 18.5 miles ahead--left lane blocked."  Incredible!  Can you believe it?  So, here I sit in a McDonald's once again.  I checked the ADOT website and there is not one but TWO accidents on I-17 right now.  Looks like it's going to be a very long day ahead.  We know this drill.  We went through it just yesterday.  We wasted almost five hours waiting for the highway to clear and gave up.  Today, we're driving twice as far as FOUR times longer to get home.  We WANT to be HOME!  Who cares how long it takes to go through Wickenburg, Yarnell, Wilhoit, Prescott, Prescott Valley, et al?  The drive time will be about four hours versus a normal drive time of an hour.  So, no matter whether we stay here or take the long route, it's many, many hours.  Unbelievable!

Well, there was a good thing that happened as a result of being marooned.  We have been looking for many, many weeks for a particular pistol at a specific price.  It's a pistol that doesn't come up for sale very often and hardly ever at our target price.  Well, lo and behold, at 2 am this morning, someone in Far South East Gilbert listed the exact pistol at the precise price.  Naturally, we spotted his ad at 6 am and were the first caller.  We drove over and bought the pistol and are very pleased to have what we have been looking for.

Who knows what the purpose is for being marooned today?  We believe in the positive, as you all know, so we will just visualize a very positive outcome.  As long as we get home in time for a campfire, we will be happy campers.

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Friday, February 24, 2012


It had to happen sooner or later.  We've been reading about it for many years.  Luckily, it's always been the "other guy" who's marooned and not me, not us.  Today, it's me.  I am marooned in the Anthem Sea.  Anthem, you see, is a giant Del Webb development straddling I-17 at (where else?) Anthem Way.  Somewhere 13 miles up the road is the location of a bad accident.  I got caught in the northbound gridlock shortly after noon today.  Forty five minutes later, I had progressed three whole miles to the next exit at New River and dived off to retreat to a McDonald's restaurant in Anthem.  Since then I've been running various errands but am now out of errands to run.  Imagine that.  Meanwhile, teh gridlock has grown gargantuan and traffic stretches farther than the eye can see to the south in the northbound lanes.  The closure has been going on for hours now and I am marooned here.  I am at least 30-40 miles from Roger's Place in Mesa.  I spent last night there when my trip to Phoenix ran too long.  Guess I might have to go back again tonight.  YIKES!  I've never been marooned in the Phoenix metroplex before.  It is a very claustrophobic feeling.  There are two alternate routes to the Verde Valley but, at this point in the day, both of them are out of the question.  The safety of Roger's Place makes a whole lot more sense.  The photo that accompanies this post was taken after I was able to get back into the southbound lanes to return to Anthem.  Well, as we said, it happens now and then on this highway and perhaps it was only a matter of time until it happened to us.  Perhaps we will conjure something exceptionally good out of this situation.  Who knows?  The funny thing about being marooned here is that if I head back to Roger's, I will have to slog through Friday afternoon rush hour on the 101 and 202.  Yesterday it took me one full hours to get from Scottsdale to Mesa at the same time during the afternoon.  Today would be worst.  Fridays are notorious for gridlock on the freeways here.  So, perhaps I am marooned to both the north AND the south.  Now, that's a truly odd situation.  Well, we will let you know how it works out.  Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Now Hear This

NEWS BULLETIN: We finally crossed the line and purchased hearing aids yesterday!  We happened to already in Prescott, Arizona, when the local COSTCO there called with a cancellation for hearing tests.  Normally, there's a 2-3 week wait for the tests.  We zipped right in at 2:30 and were out the door by four.
The hearing aids will arrive before our March 7th appointment for fitting and fine tuning.  They certainly aren't cheap--this pair cost $1880--but there comes a time when it's time to do the right thing.  We sure hope they work out OK.  We are very tired of struggling to hear what people are saying.  Naturally, one of the reasons we purchased them at COSTCO is a new 90-day "trial" period.  If we don't like 'em, we can return 'em for a full refund.  It's the best return policy in the hearing aid industry.

Our last hearing aid test was in July 2010 at the Pocatello COSTCO.  Back then there was no "trial" period and the devices weren't waterproof.  The current models are waterproof and, as you might suspect, that's a real big deal for people such as ourselves.  The photo shows the thing they stuck in our ears when they filled up the outer ear shell with fast-setting silicone.  Trust me, allowing someone to stuff a glue gun in your ear is a giant leap of faith in another human being's ability to "do it right."

We were in Prescott to check our a Dillon 650 progressive reloading press with case feeder.  We spent two hours with the seller patiently going over all the details but balked at the last second.  Long story, of course.  We also managed to squeeze in a pleasant and productive visit with a county Assessor's official.

Somehow, we managed to get back to Second Chance Ranch with plenty of time to split some wood and build a nice fire.  The weather here is as perfect as it can possibly get for late February.  It supposed to take a turn for the damp, cold and windy this weekend.  After all the nice days we've been enjoying, it might actually be fun to have some normal winter weather for a change.

Today, we are heading down to North Phoenix to check out another used Dillon RL550B reloading press.  Chances are pretty good we will buy this one.  It's priced at only $350 compared to yesterday's $1000 unit.  Since we're down there, we will run all sorts of other errands as well.

We need to get our own progressive press up and running here in Arizona so the local "experts" can help us understand all the fine tuning aspects of such a piece of machinery.  They are akin to a Swiss watch in many ways.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

State Stamp Stroll

Well, it was once known as Cathedral Rock but from now on, at least for us, it's going to be called The State Stamp.  It was a fine place for a stroll Tuesday.  We walked as far as Oak Creek and then stretched out on some inviting red rocks.  The waters murmured their famous lullaby and once again cast their spell on our spirits.  The Baldwin and Templeton Trails are a delightful place to lollygag on a sunny late February day.  After soaking up a healthy dose of Chamber of Commerce Blue Bird weather, we rambled over to see Betty at the Sedona Winds facility.  Betty turned 90 last September and she's the most chipper, happy 90-year-old we've ever known.  She's always such a delight to be with.  Susun assembled a small book case for Betty and we delivered it to her.  She was so happy to get it, you would have thought she won the Powerball.  That's Betty.  She appreciates the little things in life and her wonderful positive attitude gives Betty a new lease on life every single day.  
 The remainder of the afternoon was spent at a lazy pace with little to do other than recycle and reload.  Gary and Robin joined us for the campfire.  Robin had a personal milestone yesterday--she made her very own mozzarella cheese from raw cow's milk.  She brought over some cherry tomatoes and basil she grew this winter in their greenhouse and we enjoyed some of the tastiest hors d'oeuvres ever to grace the flickering flames.  Congratulations, Robin!
Susun baked a whole chicken with a great big pile of roasted vegetables.  All-in-all, a Classic mid-winter Arizona Sunshine Day. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Summary

Greetings!  In case you haven't realized it, we've been on a Blog Break.  We probably still ARE on a Blog Break but it's time for at least a Sunday Summary.

Susun arrived back in Arizona via Southwest airlines yesterday afternoon.  We enjoyed another fine evening at her brother's house in Mesa.  We will be driving up to Second Chance Ranch later today.

The Road Trip went great.  Susun really bonded with her Grand Sons during the trip.  As she said, "When they were great, they were great and when they weren't great, they were really grouchy".  Even us adults can get grouchy on a road trip so Susun and Mom Sarah cut the boys a lot of slack and everybody returned to the coast in happy spirits.  We are very proud of Susun and her Family for venturing forth on a Road Trip of this complexity and magnitude.  Way to GO!

Wednesday afternoon, Susun took the boys and Sarah for a walk down the wash to Wet Beaver Creek.  Thanks, Sarah, for making and sending the iPhone mosaic photo above.  They are Beautiful Boys and we look forward to our times together in the future.

 Susun's going to return for Gage's 4th birthday in mid-April.  On that trip, she will return to Arizona April 17 and then we will head north two or three days later.

Susun came back from California infused with a new jingle in her head.  It's the lyrics from one of the iconic songs of The Lion King.  (Click here to read more about the words.) We suspect we will be hearing these words quite a few times as our future unfolds.

Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase

Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze

It means no worries for the rest of your days

It's our problem-free philosophy

Hakuna Matata!

Hakuna Matata?

Yeah. It's our motto!

Susan Kliewer is going to do another April party up in Marble Canyon so we will be leaving Rimrock to go there probably on April 19th or 20th.  As we learned last year, it's a great way to spend our last few days in Arizona soaking up the geologic splendor of the Vermilion and Echo Cliffs as well as historic Lees Ferry, et al.

This past Thursday as Susun and her entourage were driving back to the coast I spent six hours working on the Salmon River Guide Project and made a lot of progress.  Our Supervisor Jeff feels we are now back on track and have a "plan" for potential completion of this project by late spring this year. Meanwhile, it's time to get back to work on the Verde River Guide Project.  We hope to make some significant project on that project this coming week.

Friday was spent driving down to Mesa and running a bunch of errands in The Valley.  Since Susun came in after 5 pm, we also had all day Saturday to get caught up on shopping in The Really Big City.  Cottonwood is our local "Big City" but the four million people who call The Valley home qualify that place as The Really Big City.

Spring must be right around the corner here.  Why's that?  Well, it's time for baseball's Spring Training to begin.  The coaches and the players have been here for quite some time.  Actual games will begin in about two weeks.  Once baseball spring training is underway, the Arizona winter is a distant memory and people begin slathering on the sunscreen.

For all practical porpoises, we have only two months together remaining here.  A couple of months from today, we will be driving up to Susan Kliewer's Place.  Naturally, the scant eight weeks ahead will go quickly, as they always do.  There's lots of projects to complete and it always seems time runs short during the last two months.  Due mostly to being back in Indiana for what seemed like forever, this winter season has really flown by in a blink.  It's time to get busy and start working on this season's bucket list.

Tomorrow, we are staging an informal IDPA-style pistol match for some of our shooting buddies.  If time allows, we hope to stage one weekly but we suspect it will be more like every other week.  As I sit here writing this "thinking out loud" blog post, I realize we are already short-timers down here in Ol' Airy Zonie.

Well, time to rustle some breakfast and get started on our day.  Have a Happy Sunday & Many Cheers, jp

PS--We took the photo below in August 2010 on our last day on the Salmon River doing field work for the guide project.  I think we published this photo in a blog post back then but it's worth publishing it a second time.  It's our favorite photo taken during that project.  The small herd of elk was just in front of our kayak and the thundering sounds from their hoofs hitting rocks and water was really awesome.  We sure look forward to getting back on The Salmon this summer.  We miss that river....a LOT!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Great Grand Sons!

Susun doesn't have to wait long-she already has Great Grand Sons!
 well, it didn't take too long for these two kids to discover the fire.  They are Good Boys!
They didn't escape containment for too long. Mema got them back in order in short order.
At least they got their first exposure to Captain Yonni's Campfire!

Monday, February 13, 2012

To Sharlot. To The River. Flow Forever!


From the heart of the mighty mountains strong-souled for my fate I came,

My far-drawn track to a nameless sea through a land without a name ;

And the earth rose up to hold me, to bid me linger and stay ;
And the brawn and bone of my mother's race were set to bar my way.

Yet I stayed not, I could not linger; my soul was tense to the call
The wet winds sing when the long waves leap and beat on the far sea wall.

I stayed not, I could not linger; patient, resistless, alone,
I hewed the trail of my destiny deep in the hindering stone.

How narrow that first dim pathway — yet deepening hour by hour!
Years, ages, eons, spent and forgot, while I gathered me might and power

To answer the call that led me, to carve my road to the sea,
Till my flood swept out with that greater tide as tireless and tameless and free.

From the far, wild land that bore me, I drew my blood as wild —
I, born of the glacier's glory, born of the uplands piled

Like stairs to the door of heaven, that the Maker of All might go
Down from His place with honor, to look on the world and know

That the sun and the wind and the waters, and the white ice cold and still...
Were moving aright in the plan He had made, shaping His wish and will.

When the spirit of worship was on me, turning alone, apart, I stayed
And carved me temples deep in the mountain's heart.

Wide-domed and vast and silent, meet for the God I knew,
With shrines that were shadowed and solemn and altars of richest hue;

And out of my ceaseless striving I wrought a victor's hymn,
Flung up to the stars in greeting from my far track deep and dim.

For the earth was put behind me; I reckoned no more with them
That come or go at her bidding, and cling to her garment's hem.

Apart in my rock-hewn pathway, where the great cliffs shut me in,
The storm-swept clouds were my brethren, and the stars were my kind and kin.

Tireless, alone, unstaying, I went as one who goes
On some high and strong adventure that only his own heart knows.

Tireless, alone, unstaying, I went in my chosen road —
I trafficked with no man's burden — I bent me to no man's load.

On my tawny, sinuous shoulders no salt-gray ships swung in ;
I washed no feet of cities, like a slave whipped out and in ;

My will was the law of my moving in the land that my strife had made —
As a man in the house he has builded, master and unafraid.

O ye that would hedge and bind me —
remember whence I came !

I, that was, and was mighty,
ere your race had breath or name !

Play with your dreams in the sunshine —
delve and toil and plot —

Yet I keep the way of my will to the sea,
when ye and your race are not !

By Sharlot Hall 1906. Written while aboard a steamer on the Colorado River.
Excerpted from "Cactus & Pine," Copyright 1911.

Saddle 'Em Up

Susun, Van, Gage and Sarah went to visit Aunt Nancy's horses today.  Looks like they are having fun now.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy Hundred

Most all our Arizona LBRs know that the Grand Canyon State is riding a wave of hoopla and hyperbole over one hundred years of statehood.  You can click here for the official centennial website.

We suspect our other far flung LBRs are totally unaware (and probably uninterested) in the events leading up to Valentine's Day.  You see, Arizona was declared a state on Valentine's day in 1912.

Celebrating our centennial has been an interesting process and as the days tick down the V-Day, the brouhaha is building to a fever pitch.  All kinds of stories are flooding forth, practically anyone who was ever anything has something to say to someone regarding a range of topics that could fill the Grand Canyon brim full with bull you-know-what. It's very enjoyable and very much fun to be here during this historical moment.  There's going to be so much going on Tuesday it's hard to pick a spot from which to enjoy it all.  Our Ace Reporter Steve Ayers is going to be doing a presentation at Montezuma Castle so that's probably where we will go.  Susun, Sarah, Gage and Van will be arriving here that day, too, so it will be even more special.

The Arizona Republic newspaper today devoted almost all of its entire front page to the equivalent of a sea of mini-Tweets and they are treats indeed.  The paper asked its readers to say in six words or less their hopes and dreams for the state's next 100 years.  We're certain you will find some of those one-liners to be real zingers and a hoot to read. 

Meanwhile, deep in the bowels of this morning's newspaper are printed a bunch of comments from Arizona icons--people such as Bruce Babbitt or Sandra Day O'Conner.  We think that Lisa Schnebly Heidinger's speaks best to our own heart and the Spirit we love about this state.  She said:

As a descendent of pioneers T.C. and Sedona Schnebly, I maintain that Arizona has a long legacy of being settled by people who perhaps did not play well with others or fit in back East.

We are an iconoclastic bunch. We defy a stereotype, as some might see existing in Maine, Texas or California. We do not march in lockstep; rather, we are like a loose gathering of varied animals.

For every three people who move here, two move on. Wherever you go, there you are ... some don't find what they want in Arizona.

But those who do are true Arizonans. It's not about where you are born; Sedona and T.C. came from Missouri.

Being an Arizonan is feeling the sense of space, of option, a bone-deep resonance to the landscape and the spirit that recognizes home.

Lisa Schnebly Heidinger is the author of six books on Arizona, including "Arizona: 100 Years Grand," the official centennial book.

All-in-all, it's a great time to be back in Ol' Airy Zonie.  In spite of this state's often petty politics, we feel a special sense of unity during these days.  People seems to be putting aside their normal bickering to take a moment to affirm that, yes, we are all very proud to be Arizonans and that no matter where we came from, we can proudly call this state home.

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mema & Grand Sons

Miss Susun is now "Mema" and she's in her element once again.  Thanks, Mom Sarah, for sending such a sweet photo of the trio.  Susun arrived at the Phoenix airport about 7:15 and was in San Diego just after 10 am California Time.  She and The Boys and Sarah will be back in Phoenix tomorrow night.  It's quite the schedule.  It's always so great to see Sweetie Susun with her Grand Kids.  You Glow, Girl!

We are back at Second Chance Ranch, unpacked and getting ready to rustle up the obligatory campfire--even if the wind is blowing.  Who cares?  We shot in the ICORE match this morning and did OK.  We'll talk more about it tomorrow morning.  We just wanted to get this photo up and running of Mema.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Deal Done

Mom's Indiana home closed today.  The closing began at high noon Arizona Time and it was completely finished at 12:25 pm.  The deal was all cash and the money has been deposited in the Estate account.  It's a done deal.  We can exhale now.  My Mom probably died two months ago to the day of today's closing.  What a couple of months this has been.  With the closing today comes a closure that's hard for me to describe. I feel a sense of relief which cannot be put into words.  Remember those old ads for the Nestea Plunge where some guy fell backward into a swimming pool?  Well, that's kind of how I feel, kind like I am walking on air right now.  It feels great.

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp


It's time once again for one of those blog posts that meander here and there and really don't go anywhere at all.

We will be leaving sometime today to head down to Mesa.  Miss Susun flies out to San Diego on Saturday.  Then she boomerangs right back on Sunday.  Huh?  Say What?  OK, well, you know how much Miss Susun loves to travel.  She is all excited to take her Grand Sons on their very first Road Trip.  She, Gage, Van and Mom Sarah will pack up late Saturday and then head out Sunday morning to drive the kids back to Mesa.  It's going to be a multi-day Road Trip.  After visiting Family in Mesa, the kids will come up to Second Chance Ranch and might even get their very first camping experience.  They will visit Sedona, too, before heading back across the desert to Southern California.  Miss Susun is so happy she is going to get to lead the kids on their very first Official Road Trip.  She will return to Mesa on February 18th.  Hopefully, we will be able to get her back to San Diego for a week in March.  She will also be spending a week there for Gage's 4th birthday on April 10.

For some reason, it's has seemed to be very busy around here the past few days.  The day after the mid-winter party was pretty lazy but the pace picked up Monday and hasn't slacked off ever since.  We set up a shooting match for Gary, Goatherder and Tony on Monday morning.  As soon as we returned from the 4 hour informal match, we received an email containing the closing papers for the sale of the Indiana house.  The typical whirlwind commenced upon receipt of those papers and we barely were able to get them out by the deadline for overnight UPS.  The papers arrived safely back in Lafayette at 9 am the next morning.

Tuesday we were off like a shot to the Tuesday Target Shoot and didn't get back from that until lunch.  Miss Susun spent the bulk of her Tuesday centered around a hike along Oak Creek on the Baldwin Trail.  Little Yonni went back and forth into the desert three times testing some reloads for his "new" pistol.

We planned to have a leisure day yesterday but it sure didn't turn out that way.  Emails started coming in from the Indiana attorney's office about how several accounts we thought we had closed were still open.  Thus commenced a pitched half-day battle with ATT, Comcast cable, Sam's Club and the natural gas company.  In the most ridiculous of the cases, ATT people told me that had received her death certificate on December 30 but made a mistake and didn't close the account and, even though it was their mistake, they now couldn't close the account unless it was effective yesterday and that I had to pay $217 for their error.  No kidding.  Incredible.  The rest of the details are not suitable for a family blog.

Miss Susun went off to do laundry in Cottonwood while Yonni unstressed by reloading a few hundred rounds of ammo in preparation for an ICORE pistol match Saturday morning at the Phoenix Rod & Gun Club. I also listed six pistols for sale online and spent the remainder of the day booking various firearms transactions to do while down in The Valley. 

Last night's campfire was great.  Gary & Robin visited and it's always so much fun when they do.  We've had great campfires each night this week.  There's been nary a breath of wind and the full moon has been spectacular.  There haven't been any righteous sunsets to speak of but with a full moon, who cares?

The clock is ticking down on the real estate closing.  It is scheduled to take place today.  We are waiting to exhale when it is finally done.

We have a couple of top priority projects pending right now and both involve river guides.  One is for the Verde here in Arizona and one is for the Salmon up in Idaho.  We emailed ans spoke with our volunteer Supervisor in Challis, Idaho yesterday and will jump back into that long-delayed project on Monday.  As some may recall, we did the field work for that river guide in July and August of 2010.  That sure seems like a long time ago.  Well, gee, it IS a long time ago!  I have no clue how we are going to recall all the details of that field work and find all our photos.  So, it seems we will have to go back up on the Salmon almost as soon as we return to Idaho.  Luckily, the river follows the highway most of the way so we ought to be able to "remember" simply by driving alongside the river.  Undoubtedly, it will make for an unusual and interesting road trip.

Meanwhile, the Verde guide seems to move along very slowly.  Hopefully, we are going to collectively jump start that project next week, too.  Busy times lie ahead.

Drum roll please....Guess What?  We're going to get hearing aids tomorrow.  Yep, we've finally decided to cross the Rubicon and stuff hundreds of dollars in our ears.  When we first started pricing hearing aids many years ago, we routinely received estimates ranging between $5000-$6000 for a pair of hearing aids.  We actually know people who actually spent that kind of money on hearing aids.  Well, we simply can't see stuffing two Suzuki Samurais in our ears so we refused to pay that kind of extortionary rates.  Tomorrow, we're going to get a pair of hot rod digital hearing aids with remote controls for a mere $1400 for the pair.  That's a decent price and one we are willing to pay.  We are finally actually excited about the prospect of getting those much needed devices.

Well, there's not much else to report and so it's time for this meandering to come to an end.  Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Happy Super Sunday!  Every Sunday ought to be a Super Sunday, wouldn't you agree?  Today dawned bright and blue and is the official middle of the winter--being half way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.  Yesterday's party was really fun.  The weather was perfect and everyone had a great time.  Including ourselves, there were 30 of us Mid-Winter party people.  All sort of fine foods flowed from the happy hands of our guests.  Thanks to Roger, Nancy, Steve, Jim, Sally, Hank, Peggy, Marsha, Bob, Kristin, Wes, Nancy, Tony, Chip, Brad, Kate, Joshua, Susan, Jeff, Michael, Connie, Wayne, Helen, Linn, Bonnie, Bob, Gary and Robin for helping create a new tradition.  Last year's Mid-Winter party was the beginning.  This year's puts it a step toward tradition.  Next year--the third-in-a-row--will make it a tradition for sure.  Here's just a couple of photos of the general party scene as well as a couple of goofy party pictures, too. 
 Lots of Fine Friends enjoy lots of Fine Food
 Nothing like a campfire to bring people together.
 Joshua did a great job tending the campfire
Susun and Peggy bring their best Mid-Winter cheerleading.

Friday, February 3, 2012

What a Day!

Ground Hog Day 2012 was incredible.  First and foremost, it was a milestone birthday for Sweetie Susun.  She dutifully cast her shadow as the sun went down in the Cherry Notch.  She enjoyed a truly memorable and special day.  We took a long drive in the Samurai up Wikiup Draw to the very base of the Mogollon Rim and enjoyed a lunch of oysters and crackers.  The evening campfire was just right and followed by a dinner of fresh asparagus, shrimp, boneless pork and all the trimmings.  Read on below the Birthday Girl photo to learn what really made the say Super Special.
Well, this is pretty incredible.  We sold Mom's house yesterday on Ground Hog Day.  What are the odds?  It was a wild morning, that's for sure.  The emails were flying back and forth.  We had to print documents, sign documents and then scan documents and re-send them back to the Realtor in Indiana.  It's done and it's amazing.  It's an all cash deal $4,200 ABOVE appraisal with closing in a week and NO inspections required or requested!  The buyer is very eager to get the house as soon as possible so closing will be next Thursday afternoon.  And, wouldn't you know it, the Arizona Republic newspaper put in a half page photo of Bill Murray with the ground hog in his lap.  How incredibly amazing is that?  Anyway, we were both a bit happily dazed by it all.  The house was only on the market for five days and showings didn't even begin until Monday.   It all happened so fast it's almost like a dream.  But it's done and next week it will be really done.  It will take a few more months to let the dust settle on her estate but, in the meantime, there won't be anything for me to do.  As Bill Murray said in one of his last lines in the movie, "It's a new day!"

For those with a high speed internet connection and Adobe Flash player installed, you can click here for a 60-photo album that the Realtor made to show the house.  Many Cheers!  jp