Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our Dear Friends from Susun & John! 
May Your Year 2013 be filled with Joy, Happiness, Success, 
Fun, Adventure, Laughter, Delight, Surprise and 
The Warmth of a Loving Family & Dear Friends. 
(The photo was taken by an unknown tourist at Firehole Falls in Yellowstone National Park 5/19/12.
This picture has turned out to be one of our favorite photos of the year.  Many Cheers!  J&S)

Spirited Reunion

We had a really fun Sunday afternoon getting together with Taffy & Peter C. in Jerome.  We haven't been together with these two  Happy Spirits for at least ten years, maybe longer.  None of could remember the exact year we last saw each other.  Taffy & Peter enjoy periodic visits to Jerome's Spirit Room and Paul & Jerry's Saloon.  Peter likes to call The Spirit Room a "Star Wars Bar" and that's actually a pretty good summation of the visual and behavioral aspects of The Spirit Room.  On any given day, all sorts of interplanetary travelers emerge from the shadows to take their places on the bar stools and benches of The Spirit Room.  There is arguably no other bar in the Verde Valley which can rival the "Star Wars Bar" ambiance of The Spirit Room.  Sunday was no exception as a dreadlock-draped band blared unintelligible music at the decibel level of departing jetliners.  Nonetheless, it's fun to peek in on the innards of The Spirit Room once in awhile.
Susun surprised Taffy & Peter by knocking on the window while I captured the moment occupying the middle of the street.
With just some casual Photoshop work, this photo could be easily doctored up to resemble a real Star Wars Bar!
Susun and Taffy are all smiles about our get together.
We've missed the company of our two Dear Friends and it was delightful to reconnect with them.  In this photo, we've shifted from The Spirit Room to the quiet confines of Paul & Jerry's Saloon where the click of pool balls is the only sound to rise about the quiet murmur of the saloon's patrons.
THANKS for a great day, Taffy & Peter!  We are looking forward to seeing you again soon.   Many Cheers, jp

Blog status

Thanks for reading our blog.  As you know, we started this project three years ago on New Year Eve 2009.  On our blog's third birthday, it's worth noting that we've published 1403 posts and as of the last couple of days, our page view total cross the 32,000 mark.

Considering this is an unlisted blog that is unavailable to search engines, that's pretty remarkable and a statistical testimony to YOU, Dear Friend and Loyal Blog Reader!!!  If not for our small group of DF & LBRs, this blog would be nothing.  Thank You for sticking with us through thick and thin.

We did manage to put up an average of 24 blog posts per month in Year 2013.  We're confident we can at least maintain a similar average in Year 2013 but will try to get it back to the "one post per day" average of yesteryear.

As we've noted often in recent months, we have a lot more competition for our time on this blog than we did three years ago.  Our newly acquired interest in Facebook eats up a lot of time, as does The Salmon Thang and a few other special interest blogs.  If you were to total the posts from all our blogs, we probably put up close to 500 posts in Year 2012.  Meanwhile, we're guessing we've put up probably another 400 posts on the two Facebooks we manage (Salmon & personal).  So, all-in-all, it's been a productive year.

This morning, we were greeted with a nice Year End Gift--a dusting of powdered sugar snow here at Second Chance Ranch.  As you know, it's rare when we get snow down to our 3500 foot level.  It typically happens once or twice a year but never more than four in our memory.  The snow will probably be gone by lunch.

Friday, December 28, 2012

I Love Susun

Sometimes My Sweetie Susun strikes such a stunning pose that it makes me want to shout out, "I LOVE SUSUN!"  This is one of those places and poses.  It's such a sweet photo, especially if you consider the circumstances.

Our day started out really slowly.  It was really, really cold here, much colder than the 16 degrees that registered on our thermometer.  It felt like BELOW zero.  I wonder sometimes if thermometers get fooled.  If they do, today could have been one of those days.  It was downright COLD!

So, naturally, being that cold and us being lizards we didn't do anything for a long time.  However, we had made this deal that we were going to do SOMETHING today.  Meanwhile, the clock ticked down on the day.  Finally, we made our way out of the house at a few minutes before 3 pm.  That's pretty late if you are remotely thinking of having a viable adventure on a Friday afternoon.

So.  We drove ourselves out on what we call "The 618 Road."  We didn't really know where we were going and, by and by, we saw this road heading off to nowhere and we both thought it would be a good idea to follow it.  We drove through all sorts of semi-extreme terrain following this road until we both spotted this mini mesa and thought it would be a good idea to climb to the top of it.

It wasn't easy and certainly there was no clear route to the top of it but, POOF, suddenly there we were and Sweetie Susun posed on The Rimrocks that rim this mini mesa.  There's actually only one slot in the rimrocks that will let you gain access to the top.  We were lucky and found that slot both going up and coming down.  Good thing.

Anyway, when I see My Sweetie like this it makes me want to shout out, "I LOVE SUSUN!"


Thank You, Susun, for being My Sweetie!  I appreciate you in so many ways.  You make Every Year a Happy New Year!

PS--We got home by 5:05 pm.

Jolly Good Time

Thanks to The Three Wheelers, Susun and we enjoyed a Jolly Merry Christmas Dinner here at Second Chance Ranch (2CR).  Goat Herder brought over his patented and famous Christmas Roast while Joshua put his years of dough forming experience at Orion Bakery to use making divine dinner rolls.  Meanwhile, Kate supervised the assembly of some beautiful Christmas deserts.  Susun spent the better part of a couple of days putting together an array of side dishes.  We five had a great time.

While Goat Herder, Kate and Susun sat around the table talking, Joshua and I entertained ourselves playing chess, croquet and darts.  We also took time to help him create a brand new Facebook page for himself.  It was a wonderful Christmas.  THANKS, You Three Wonderful Wheelers!  Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas!

The stuff under the blue tarp was all we had left!
Meanwhile, what else has been going on around 2CR?  Not a whole heck of a lot.  The biggest news is that we finally found wood.  Not that wood's hard to find.  Wood's everywhere but usually not the wood we wish we would find.  It came right down to the wire.  When we first arrived in early November, fire wood sellers were everywhere.  However, the National Forest closed long ago to wood cutters this season and the number of truckloads of available wood rapidly dwindled.  Meanwhile, none of the trucks full of wood we saw were particularly suitable for campfire wood.  Finally, the day after Christmas we spotted one lone truck in Camp Verde and it just happened to be the wood we were looking for.  Although we paid way too much money, at least we are once again well stocked up for our campfire design & maintenance hobby.  WHEW, it came right down to the wire.  The seller told us it was his last load and he didn't know of anyone else that had wood for sale.  Close call.

It has been downright cold here lately, temps in the mid-teens.  One of our neighbors logged a 12 degree reading this morning.  It's that time of year when cold is common.  The cold season generally lasts through most of January before letting loose its grip usually sometime after January 20th.  That's one of the many reasons we have a big party on the first Saturday in February.  Here, once again are all the reasons:
1) Susun's Birthday
2) Groundhog Day
3) Candlemas (the mid-point of winter)
4) Anti Stupor Bowl Party
5) Release of grip of cold weather

Today once it warms up we hope to go hiking someplace.  Many Cheers, jp

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Weather Panorama

Here's a great weather panorama taken about 1:50 pm 12/27/12 looking north from a point on Highway 89A near Cottonwood at the Rocking Chair road intersection.  You might be able to click on the full size panorama to be able to scroll across to see it in better detail.  Below is the centerpiece of the scene--an awesome cell smack dab over Sedona.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday Family Trip

Sorry to be so long in putting up these photos from Susun's trip to Visit Daughter Sarah, Peter, and Grand Sons Gage and Van.

Ho, Ho, Ho!

'Tis The Social Season to travel to the Holiday Homes of Dear Friends near and far.  Last night we visited with Diana and Michael Boyle high atop their perch in the Sedona's Heart of Red Rock Country.  Mkke & Diana were super gracious host and hostess, serving up turkey with all the trimmings amid the twinkling lights of their sparkling home.  In the photo above (l-r) John, Mike, Diana, Henry, Susan, Jeff, Joshua, Kate & Goatherder agreed to pose for photographer Miss Susun (left).  Half the fun of getting your picture taken by Miss Susun is watching here do her little "Photo Dance" as she prepares to actually press the shutter.  That's why everyone is smiling.  THANKS, Diana & Mike--Happy Holiday & Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Coincidence or karma?

Coincidence is defined as "A remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection."  Karma is defined as "Destiny or fate, following as effect from cause."

Perhaps yesterday's event was a karmic coincidence.  What are the odds?

And so it was that we had a very fine, if rainy, day Saturday.  A Cottonwood trip took seven hours off the day's game clock and we returned weary in the late afternoon's gray cloudiness and persistent drizzle.

We opened up our email and, lo and behold, there sat the final draft of the long-in-the-making Verde Paddle Guide (VPG).  We downloaded the five megabyte file and opened it up and about fell out of our chair.  VPG coordinators Chip Norton and Bob Rothrock decided to put a photo of Joshua and me on the cover of this 26-page publication.  Zounds!

After writing up the previous 'High to Low' blog post earlier in the day, to have this document show up on the same day was an astounding karmic coincidence for us.  Somehow it completed a huge circle spanning major Life Events during the past year, coming precisely on the only day where and when it could make such an impact on our Heart & Spirit.  What are the odds?  That's what we kept asking ourselves last night: "What are the odds?"

Frankly, the events of a year ago have been weighing rather heavily on our heart & spirit.  Practically the second we looked at the cover of the Verde Paddle Guide, that weight lifted and we once again felt a decidedly enjoyable spring in our step and spirit and a happy glow once again returned to our heart.

THANKS, Chip & Bob!  Life is Good!  Many Cheers, jp

Saturday, December 15, 2012

From High To Low A Year Ago

Mai G. Parsons January 30, 1924 - December 15, 2011
As we all know, Life ebbs and flows and moves from highs to lows.  So it was a year ago today, December 15th, the day we learned my Mother was dead.

Most all DF & LBRs know the saga of our Indiana Journey.  Today we will tell the story once again of going from one of our highest highs to our lowest low.  Ace Reporter Steve Ayers interviewed us about our multi-year battle to get the sand and gravel operators out of The Verde River.  Steve did a great article and it appeared in the Camp Verde Bugle and Verde Independent newspapers on December 14th.  Oh, my, how the allocades rolled in via email, telephone and in person.  We were so high on the buzz from that article, we felt like we were walking on air that day.  In a nutshell, it was awesome and easily one of our highest highs in our life.  After more than 20 years we were finally getting some recognition for that pivotal phase of our life and, of course, a turning point in Verde River history.  Most of you have read the article but here it is again:

Not long before the article was published, Steve Ayers wanted to take our photo to include in the article.  It was a cold, rainy day and we went down beside the Verde River at Rezzonnico Park.  I took off my rain jacket and acted as if there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  Steve took a really nice photo and I told him I wanted to send the picture to my Mom because she would love it.  Steve dutifully emailed the photo.

The morning following the publication of the article, I was preparing to go to the Rimrock Post Office to mail out a copy of the article to my Mom.  The article was already in its addressed envelope when the call from the Lafayette Police Officer came.

There's something about receiving news of the death of a Beloved Parent that makes time seem to stop and stand still.  All those of us who have experienced that moment in our Lives know well of the impact of such news.  It's hard for me to imagine being as high one one day and then as low the next day, barely 24 hours later.  The back-to-back juxtaposition of those two events will forever redefine my concept and idea of "going from high to low."  Naturally, Mom never got to see the article or Steve's photograph.  She would have been so happy and proud.  Knowing Mom, she would have framed them both and put them near her roost in front of the TV.

As you know, we arrived back on the banks of the Wabash River December 17th and buried Mom just before Christmas on the Winter Solstice.  We went on to spend six strenuous weeks there before returning to Sweetie Susun and our Dear Friends. Even though there's a sea of memories from that trying time, it's the ballistic shift from high to low in a single day that will forever stand foremost in our memory.

I Love You, Mom.  Rest In Peace in God's Glory Forever.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Report

Our overnight rain totaled three-quarters of an inch, pretty much what "they" said it would be.  We doubt the Rim Country got all that much snow because the temps look to be at or above freezing.

As you can tell by the blog post below, Susun is feeling the glow of love from her Family in San Diego.  Very Special Times for them.

We have the typical whirlwind trip earlier this week.  We were away from Second Chance Ranch a grand total of 54 hours and somehow managed to squeeze in 33 retail stops during that time period.  Whew.  We were very tired upon our return here but rallied up to spend seven hours hunting yesterday with our Dear Friend Tom B.  Neither of us fired a single shot or even saw anything with four legs but we have a really great time together.  You know, wearing camo and male bonding and all that stuff.

We managed our time well on 12-12 so that we could wind up completing a pilgrimage to WINCO at 12 seconds after 12 minutes after 12 noon on 12-12-12.  Nothing out of the ordinary happened.  Customers came and went and no one even noticed me taking a photo of my watch at that precise moment. The photo is blurry but you can clearly see the second hand where it belonged at the appointed time.

This morning, I have to beat feet out of here in under an hour for my first Verde NRCD meeting since last April.  We are promoting the idea of the NRCD becoming a co-sponsor of the March 23rd Verde Riverfest so, naturally, we have to be there to help the idea along.  Dear Friend Jodi is Chairwoman of the NRCD and she has learned to run a much better meeting than she did in her early days when meetings often last four hours or more.  This one will probably only last 2-3 hours.  YIKES!  That's makes the Idaho Falls P&R meeting look like a blur.

The overnight rain finally coagulated the deep dust here so perhaps our allergies will go into remission during the Holidays ahead.  It's been a tough four weeks as far as allergies are concerned.  We are grateful for the rain and more is supposedly on the way after being gift wrapped by El Pacifico.

Not much else to report here--better get going if we're going to make the meeting on time.  Many Cheers, jp

Much Love from Susun & Sarah

Dear Sweetie Susun sent a Super Sweet email last night.  Here's the complete email in italic:

I  Hope I can share a little bit of, "a whole Lotta Love goin on here
" with Sarah, Pete and especially Gage and Van.  So, I will only share a few
of the most touching and beautiful quotes,

I left the light on for you Mema...Van
At 1:00 am to Sarah from Gage and Van...Where is Mema?
At 7:30 am, Gage to me... You are not getting on the plane today are
You? I miss you so much when you do.
Mema you are my friend, I like your blue eyes....Van
Mema, you are fun and silly.  Gage and Van
You smell good, I like your ear rings....Van
You smell good like a flower...Gage
Mema, you are the best...Gage
Mema, I love you....Van me..Van
Mema, where are you?  Gage and Van several times thru out the day.
Mema , I  am so sited you are here...Gage
Where is John?..Gage
I love you Mema...Gage

There is no way i can describe the way they look so close at me, in to
my eyes and into my heart and spirit. There is no way i can express the joy of holding them in my arms and folding them into the love I have for them.

I am so wonderfully blessed and grateful for this beautiful family.

John, Stasea, Sarah...Brothers and Sisters..Friends
I Love You

Aw...Now that's one Sweet Email! Thanks, Susun, you really summed up a slice of your joy about being with Family during the Holiday Season!  After reading Susun's email above, her Daughter Sarah sent Susun this equally Sweet Email in italic:

Ok mom made me cry!!! We are all so lucky to have so much LOVE in our family!! No matter how often we see each other or not,  or far away or close we are from each other the love never changes!!! I am ( we are) so blessed to have two beautiful boys to remind us how precious we ALL are to each other!!!  I love you both as much as Gage and Van show you and tell you today and forever!!!

It really brings a glow to our heart and spirit to read such touching emails.  Many Cheers!  jp

Monday, December 10, 2012

DR & LBR Maggie Visits

Saturday was a Great Day!  Dear Friend and our very first Loyal Blog Reader Maggie came down from Flagstaff to spend two very fun hours with us.  We enjoyed a great eclectic breakfast by Susun.  What's an eclectic breakfast?  Kale and eggs.  As odd as it sounds, it's good.  We swapped a lot of stories and took a spin around the Old Field.  Maggie is Happy and it was super fun to be together.  We're planning on going up to see her and Steve on December 22nd. THANKS, Maggie!

Susun rallied up some of her Sedona-area girlfriends for a Sunday morning hike.  She was out of here shortly after 8 am.  Below (l-r) Kate, Susan, Marilyn, Diana, and Laura are all smiles for this outing!

We're packing up this Monday morning to head down to Mesa.  Susun flies out on Wednesday morning.  We want to spend some Holiday Time with her brother & Family.  Plus, we have a big backlog of errands to run in the Really Big City. Plus, there's a Deseret Industries thrift store to visit...and a WINCO, too!  We do go into withdrawal without some quality time in a Dee-Eye and a WINCO.  We will get our DI/Winco fix and all will be well.

We will be returning on 12-12-12.  Turns out that 12:12 on 12-12-12 is going to be a big day for people who pay attention to that sort of stuff.  Maybe we will time our return for that minute.

Not much else to report.  Life is good.  Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, December 9, 2012


First Description of photos below:

What you see below are two Redneck Architects using the tools of their trade--wood blocks and some glue.  Why, that's how Goatherder and Little Yonni designed themselfs a straw shed in 1993.  Yep, they didn't need no stinking pencils and rulers and, geeze Louise, Paper?  Ya gotta be kidding.  Why, you never seen such share tree architect dudes!  They whipped that there straw shed into a right nice little ol' model and when all their Big City Friends came to help build it, why they were mighty impressed.

Second Description of photos below:

Dumb and Dumber design a shed.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


MIC = Made In Clarkdale.  MIC is one of the highlights of the Verde Valley's annual social calendar.  It's a shake-and-bake hybrid Family/High School Reunion all rolled into a premier debut of the latest and greatest original creations from the artists of Clarkdale, Arizona.  Way back in the Way Back Time Machine in 1986, a few MIC Mamas and Papas got together and decided that Clarkdale artists ought to have their own showcase.  Back in those days, only Jerome and Sedona were thought to have any "real" artists.  So, MIC was born to showcase ONLY Clarkdale artists.  No one else need apply.

(Editor's Note:  We did actually did attend the first MIC in 1986--that was a year before we got together with Sweetie Susun.  That was when we made the connection that got Richard Thompson (1986) involved in Verde River stuff.  We've attended "most" of the MIC's since but, to be brutally honest, when the belly dancers start swinging their stuff, we're outta there!)

Well, it turns out that Clarkdale harbors quite the eclectic crew of "real" artists and there's never been nary a single schlocky craft item to ever be seen in the annual art debut.  The Good Ladies of Clarkdale also use MIC as a reason to cook up all manner of home made goodies to serve free to attendees.  Meanwhile, MIC pops for free cardbordeaux wine for anyone who cares to imbibe.  Music and belly dancers provide entertainment.

However, beyond the art, food, music, belly dancers and ambiance of the historic Clark Memorial Hall. the true main reason we go is to reunite with many of our Dear Friends that we often see only once each year at MIC.  Hugs, smiles and handshakes abound.

We wanted to take many more photos than the dozen we put up on Facebook but it's tough to talk to Dear Friends and take pictures at the same time.  Next year, maybe we will wear a disguise so we can take photos all night long and no one will know it's us.  Maybe we could go as The Big Lewbowski. for thought.  Anyway, here's some photos.  If you have Facebook you can see others there.

 Dear Friend Marsha Foutz is one of only two MIC Mamas remaining from 1986.  Here she greets incoming attendees.
 Susun ponders Ellie Bauer's use of old piano innards in her latest esoteric artwork.
 Adventurer Stephan Block and Reporter Lu Stitt ponder a light-hearted moment.
 MIC is a one-of-a-kind slice of genuine rural Americana.
 Susun loved this painting of the water of The Verde River.
Susun with two honest-to-gosh, official, certified "Friends of MIC," Chip Norton & Kathy Davis.

Beautiful Sight & Site

 The Clarkdale Gazebo sits smack in the middle of the 100-year-old mining company town's central park square.  It's a Great Site and a Great Sight throughout the year.  However, during the Holidays, it goes from Great to Beautiful.  It's so charming and endearing and all those other Holiday words.  It really warms our Hearts to see it sitting so proud and wonderful in its place of Honor in historic Clarkdale.  Below is a closer view of the tree inside the Gazebo.  There's nary a single industrial Christmas ornament to be seen--everything (except the lights) is hand made.  SWEET!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Haunted Hamburger & Jerome

We went up to Jerome Thursday to chow down on two Haunted Hamburgers.  YIKES!  Those burgers are The Best we've ever had, bar none, without exception.  Period.  They retail anywhere from $9-$14 but this time of year they always run a "buy on, get one free" coupon so the free burger paid for our gas for the long trip from 2nd Chance Ranch.  It's probably 30-35 miles from here to Jerome and it takes a long time.  In Idaho, it would be roughly the equivalent of driving to St. Anthony or even Ashton, as far as driving time goes.  But it's worth it.  Jerome is a fun old ghost town full of strange characters and old buildings--or maybe that's strange buildings and old characters--whatever.  The view from Table 14 at the Haunted Hamburger is the Best Lunch View in all of Arizona.  We put up 24 photos on Facebook.  Here are a few for the blog: