Sunday, March 31, 2013

Parker Canyon

March marches on

As March prepares to enter the dust bin of history, it's worth noting this has been a very good month here in Arizona.  Tomorrow we enter April at Second Chance Ranch and finish the month, cozily ensconced at our 610 12th Street bungalow.

Things are progressing quite well for the migratory transition northward.  In fact, we feel we are far better ahead of The Game this year than ever before.  Last year turned out to be a somewhat disorganized hyperventilation exercise.  We had no focus, no plan and we also had a big river trip and those weekly shooting matches and it all just was a house of cards behaving badly.  This year we have a plan and purpose.

You can take just a glance at our Northbound Departure Checklist to see it is mostly green with far more than 17 days left to go.  Each day, we chip-a-way and soon we will be card-carrying members of the Chippewa Tribe.

Tomorrow is a Big Grunt Day for both of us.  We fully expect to work 8 hours each and collapse by the campfire.  Tuesday we head down to Mesa and have two fulls days of shopping before we put Susun on the airplane to California Thursday morning.  Here time is filled with Much Grand Kid Love whiel we will be occupied with all those mundane tasks we can possibly put into the "Green" status on our spreadsheet.

Susun returns on Saturday afternoon, April 13th and we drive straight back up here that afternoon, hopefully arriving in time for the campfire.  From there through our noon departure April 18th, it's anatomy to the walls.  The Arizona Season Finale approaches rapidly.

Many Cheers, jp

Camp Rig

Wildflowers

Young, Arizona

Yeah, never say "never."  I am using Facebook once again because FB's photo album function is so much better than Google's.  Click here for the full Young, Arizona, photo album.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Dear Friend Nancy

This is DF & LBR Nancy "In Her Element."   We talk a lot about Susun being "in her element" be we haven't yet (until tonight) devoted any Blog Time to a Dear Friend being in Her Element.  We love this photo of Nancy because it captures it all from her very first Southwest Roots as a River Guide to her Mother River to Her Style to well...Everything!  Thank You, Nancy, for posting and sharing this Totally Awesome photo of YOU! Many Cheers and Much Love from John & Susun!

Three Kids

Aw...Kids!  Gage, Summer and Van enjoy being Kids!

Prelim Road Trip Report

'Twas a MUCH better Road Trip that we ever thought it would be--easil yone of the best single overnight road Trips we've ever done.

Only a few flups of forgetfulness.  Also one VERY lucky break.

The road down to Young is nice and wide but the views are few.  It's mostly forest.
Young is somewhat interesting.  It could be the Arizona Capitol of MOAN Country.
(MOAN = "Middle of Absolute Nowhere.")  There was a sign that said Young is a "UN Free Zone."
Too bad, folks, but the letters "UN" are right there in YoUNg's name!

The best part of the trip is south of Young.  It's great. The views are spectacular.  The side trips are intriguing.  We got dazzled by Parker Canyon.

One we got into the saguaro zone, the flowers were everywhere.  We can't remember a color display as dazzling as this year's edition.  We camped in a deserted campground.  Oddly, the other campground were zoo scenes.  It is Easter Weekend, afterall.

Enjoyed a visit to Tonto NM and The Roosevelt Visitor Center but our visit to see the dam and bridge were the most fun.

We were pulled over by a Gila County Sheriff's Deputy for doing 63 in a 45 mph zone but we lucked out and got a warning ticket.  Miracles do happen.

We forgot our Thermarest pads and some other minor stuff like salt & pepper and plates and bowls but, hey, we been eatin' out of our hands all our lives, so who cares?  Sleeping on the ground is a good thing to do once in awhile to remind us of why we actually own expensive sleeping pads.

We will have a much more comprehensive report later.

Many Cheers!  jp

PS_The Twitter didn't disappear, we just moved it to the bottom of the left column.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Forever Young

The whole loop from "E" to "E" is a WIFI Free Zone.
"C" is Young and "D" is Roosevelt Lake Visitor Center.
We aren't forever Young but we've been wanting forever to GO to Young.  Today's the day.  Snappy's all perky and ready to roll.  We're going to be tent camping and most all that stuff is packed.

Some of you know we once had a "Tent Obsession" and bought almost 20 tents.  Their are mostly all "past tents" now since we joined The Tent Owner's 12 Step Program.  In fact, until recently, we have had only ONE tent here in Arizona and it's a one-man little thing.

We tried to buy a tent off Craigs List but even the Old Beater tents were way to expensive.  We were able to buy a new tent at Wal-Mart for much less than a crummy used tent would have cost.  Go figure.  If we would have traveled earlier in the year, we would have gone to Globe to rent a room for the night.  Now that it's much warmer, we plan to camp at Roosevelt Lake.

We're not actually saving any money by camping. The purchase of the camping gear cost more than a cheap room in Globe would have.  However, camping anywhere down in the lower desert this time of year is a real treat and the ambiance of a campsite sure beats the inside of a cheap motel room any day.

We're not sure what we're going to find on this trip.  We know we're going to visit the Young Cemetery.  (Is that an oxymoron?)  We will also stop at the Tonto National Monument and the Roosevelt Lake Visitor Center.  This trip might finally be the one where we get to take a picture of the hundreds of bicycles at Pumpkin Center.

We're prepared to spend two nights but chances are it will be a simple overnighter.  Our RT mileage calc's to about 300.  At our typical rate of travel, we'll be driving at least 10 hours, maybe 12.  We will probably average 25-30 miles per hour but it could be less depending on all the various potential stops along the way.
Supposedly the wildflowers are peaking right now and if we get into a profusion of blooms, well, our average speed could drop way down to around 15 mph which would mean a 20 hours Road Trip travel time.  We definitely prefer the low speed style of Road Trip.

Well, hey, we need to digress her a minute or two, OK?  So, prior to each Road Trip, we always tr to do a lot of reading about where we are going.  We all know you can't totally trust some of the stuff you read online.  This morning, we found a Real Whopper.  I mean a REAL WHOPPER.  Somebody wrote about traveling on Arizona Hwy 88 and they decided to talk about the Tonto National Monument.  Here is what they have to say.  (Fasten Your Seat Belts and wear hip waders!)


"The Tonto National Monument is connected to Tonto National Forest, Theodore Roosevelt Lake, Roosevelt Dam and Oak Creek Canyon.

Though Oak Creek Canyon is generally accessed by travelers near Sedona, it is actually so immense that part of it also runs below Tonto National Monument's upper cliff dwelling region."

WOW!  Who knew? OK, here's the link:
 http://voices.yahoo.com/historic-route-88-travel-guide-tonto-national-forest-7835278.html?cat=16

We will NOT be traveling the the Hood Camera on this trip--that is reserved for the Samurai.  We will be taking the usual 100's of photos, few of which we will use.  Heck, maybe we will Tweet This Trip.  Sure, why not?  That's always kinda fun and gives us a record of where we were when and why.

Well, that our story and we're sticking to it.  Happy Trails & Many Cheers, jp





Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Flashback

First, we will set the stage.  Susun and I were on one of the longest Road Trips of our lives.  It turned out to be close to 7,000 miles in 28 days.  It was like totally extreme and we had to do totally extreme stuff to make it all work out.  The weather was crummy and it rained most of the time but we had to keep going and going...and going.

It got so bad we'd hole up in cheap motels and we couldn't fall asleep.  I finally realized if I opened the Yellow Pages and attempted to count out loud the number of Baptist Churches, I would be asleep in seconds.  You see, we were traveling through America's Heartland.  Our Road Trip took us through New Mexico, Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, The Texas Heartland and back through New Mexico to our Arizona Home.  It was an epic Road Trip.

Well, suffice to say as we neared the end of this Road Trip we were totally burned out.  Fried.  Toasted.  Whatever word you wish to apply--it applied to us.  The trip started in mid-October 2002 and finished in mid-November that same year.  There's a whole back story as to why we did it but it's far too long to tell here.  Suffice to say, we did the trip.

Anyway, when we got into this totally gawd-forsaken area of complete BFE Texas, we camped in this ridiculous campground someplace that was filled with Goat Ropers and just total derelict various individuals. We both looked at each other and shook our heads and shared an unspoken moment along the lines of, "Can we go home now?"

But, NO!  Just outside the entrance to this campground was this un-gawdly thing identical to what you see below and it was actually IN USE!  Yes!  Mesquite smoke curled out of the front of the barrel as some unseen Texans cooked their meat inside this larger-than-life revolver.  We took some photos and stopped to stare and we looked each other and shook our heads and shared an unspoken moment along the lines of, ""Can we go home now?"

Believe it or not, these things actually exist.  We are here to tell ya they do--we saw one of them with our own eyes.  This is NOT Photoshopped!  It's Texas.  'Nuf said.

HOT SHOTS!



The internet's been around now at least 20 years...or more.  For us Rubes who "discovered" it in 1993, it's only been around 20 years.  We have been roaming El Net for 20 years.  It's not often after 20 years that we say we found a great website.  Heck, any Tom, Dick & Harry or Terri, Donna and Henrietta can say they found a so-called great website!  How many times have you received an email from TDH saying, "WOW, you MUST LOOK at this?"  I see that stuff and immediately delete it.  When someone tells me I "MUST" look at something, that's the kiss of death for their email.

And so it is that here I am tell YOU that you MUST look at something.  So, write me off or whatever.  Maybe I finally succumbed to the Dumbing Down on El Net.  (Nah, not.)

Anyway, there's this website that hosts photos from really good photographers.  I never heard of it before tonight.  I was skeptical, naturally, that's "just me."  So, I went there and started roaming the photos and I was like, "WHOA!  This is GOOD STUFF!"  Meanwhile, as far as I can see so far, there's no freaking annoying ADS to clutter up the place.  How novel is that?  VERY novel!

This website totally R-O-X!  (link below this last photo)



The Beginning of Life

Shalene Yazzie of Flagstaff, and Gwynne Reese of Sedona, from left, plant Cushaw Squash seeds
Friday at the Montezuma Well garden.  Second Chance Ranch is located at the tip of the red arrow.
The article below by Staff Reporter Bill Helm appeared in the March 27 edition of "The Camp Verde Bugle"

RIMROCK - For the past six years, the Friends of the Well have planted a Traditional Use Garden at Montezuma Well. Partnering with Gardens for Humanity and their fifth annual Spring Planting Festival, the field south of the picnic grounds is irrigated as it had been by the Sinaguans and the Hohokam, many years ago. Which means maximizing growth with minimal water.

On March 22, members of Friends of the Well, Gardens for Humanity, and non-affiliated volunteers spent the morning planting corn, beans, squash, melons, sunflowers, cotton, and gourds. And in October, the Friends of the Well will sponsor a Traditional Use Garden Harvest, a non-profit even where they will give away the fruits of their labor. Last year, nine families were fed with food from the garden, according to Jerry Honawa, Hopi elder and farmer.

Honawa participated in the morning of gardening at the well. "This is the beginning of life," Honawa says.
Jerry Honawa of Hotevilla, Ariz.,
 has been involved with the
Traditional Use Garden
at the Montezuma Well
for the past six years.
"This field is referred to as 'the mother,' as in the Mother Earth."

"Even mythologically, we came from the Earth," says Richard Sidy, president of Gardens for Humanity, who sees the Traditional Use Garden as an agricultural renaissance of sorts. And that the garden is at Montezuma Well, Sidy says, is appropriate.

"Before it became a national monument," Sidy says of the well, "it was a sacred place. These were pilgrimaged trails. Like the womb of the cultures.

"Families used to save their seeds," Sidy says. "This project reconnects us with the heritage of our area. We're all working together, building an agricultural team in the Verde Valley.

"We want to build that sense of place," Sidy adds. "We want to build a richer, cultural identity." Sidy says that projects like the garden "serve as a unifying source."

Bob Burke, vice president for Friends of the Well, talked of the garden as an opportunity to "get out with like-minded people, putting something in the ground, and watching it grow."

Rose Marie Licher, board member with Gardens for Humanity, says the process of working this traditional use garden is a "great way to find out how Native Americans survived without water. We need to learn these traditions our ancestors used to survive."

Kayo Parsons-Korn, president of Friends of the Well, talked of cotton as the Sinaguans' primary material for clothing, saying how clothing made of cotton kept them cooler in the warm summer days in the Verde Valley.

"I live where I cannot have a garden," says Judy Barnes of Cottonwood, "so I try to seek out gardens in the area where I can work. Maybe the green thumb in me, my desire to garden, continues. This is a way of me getting close to the Earth"

Gwynne Reese of Sedona says that she has been curious about Hopi dry farming. "Now I see what I could have been doing," Reese said. "I garden at home, and now I am learning what has been working for generations."

Shalene Yazzie of Flagstaff was one of many who volunteered her time planting at the garden. "In Flagstaff, it is too early to plant our corn. So I came here to get a jump start."

Rambling Man

Maybe there should be a yellow diamond road warning sign that says, "Writer's Block Ahead."  The last couple of days, we sure haven't felt like writing much and it's been tough to type out even a few brief fishing posts on the Salmon Thang.

Anyone who writes for either or both pure fun or a living will tell you that writing ebbs and flows.  Sometimes, you're ON and sometimes you're OFF.  We've been much better so far in Year 2013 than we were in Year 2012.  The whole thing with my Mom's Estate simply flipped the OFF switch and it took forever to get ON again.

We're definitely not in that pickle this year and whatever seems like a writer's block today is more like a speedbump compared to last year this time.

Perhaps it's because we have changed our focus in recent days.  It all started when Gary and we were standing around the campfire, maybe on Saturday. We got to talking about all the stuff we have to do to get ready to head north and I complained I have ba-zillions of things to do and Gary said, "Like what?"  Well, I stammered and stuttered and I honestly couldn't rattle off all the things.

But the next morning we arose and began the semi-annual "List-O-Mania" drill and, POOF, before you could say "Jack Rabbit," we had a list as long as our arm with more items yet to be added.  We have categories, subcategories and sub-sub categories.  When we get into List-O-Mania, it's whole hog.

Suddenly then we once again became transformed into a Worker Bee dutifully droning between hum-drum tasks and chores.  It's the price we pay for being migratory creatures.  As you all well know, we simply can't wake up one day and morph ourselves into Mary Poppins and skip happily north (or south) with nary a care in our Merry Little World.

The spreadsheet is now becoming a rainbow of colors.  Green marks a completed task; yellow is something that underway and needs to be completed ASAP; blue is pending and, well, you get the picture.

So that's certainly taken away from writing here.

Meanwhile, it's time for yet another Road Trip.  The clock is ticking down on our Arizona Spring Bucket List--there's one Biggie left--the road trip to Young, Arizona.  we really want to do that trip.  We've been talking about it for more years than either of us remember.  Heck, who knows?  We might have started talking about doing that trip when we got together over 25 years ago.  Our desire to do that trip goes way back.  NOW is the time to do it and we hope to leave Friday and come back Saturday or Sunday.

Meanwhile, we dropped a cool $843.91 into the Snappy, the white Nissan, for a long laundry list of repairs necessary to continue taking such road trips.  Why invest so much money in a 19-year-old vehicle with 246,000 miles on it?  Good question.  The short answer is that the used truck market is totally out of whack.  You can't buy anything decent for much less than $4000-$5000.  Something truly decent will set you back upwards of $10,000.  It's phenomenal what used trucks are selling for and it's all a factor of the astronomical prices for new trucks.  You can easily drop $30-$50,000 in a nice shiny new truck.

So putting $900 into an old truck makes a lot of sense in this day and age and now it is ready for both an Arizona road trip AND the typical drive back north.  If we are lucky, we will get another 50,000 miles out of the truck over the next 3-5 years and all will be well.

Now perhaps you can see why we entitled this blog post "Rambling Man."  We've been rambling all over the place in our so-called scribbling here.  Let's end this blog post with a real nice photo from Susun's Sunday Hike on the Hiline Trail.  Virginia took this fine foto of Rosa, Maria-Elena, Peggy and Susun with the State Stamp rock in the background.  Many Cheers! jp

Monday, March 25, 2013

Kids

Kids can do anything.  We all love kids.

Here are three kids projects to help you understand what kids cab do in The Age of Social Media.

The first project is called Caine's Arcade.

Here is the link:  http://cainesarcade.com/2012/04/caines-arcade-short-film/

This kid's work is impressive but you have to realize it made national news because a really great videographer happened to buy into this kid's project.

The next two projects don't have Hollywood Cool attached to them.

One is from Flagstaff and one is from Camp Verde.  Neither of these kids could give a rat's patoot if they "got cool" on YouTube!

Here is the Flagstaff kid's link:

http://m.azdailysun.com/lifestyles/sixth-grader-wants-to-buy-game-console-for-fmc/article_5f047399-e857-5270-aeeb-de2a5a11faed.html?mobile_touch=true

Next we have Chandler Plante in Camp Verde, Arizona.  Chandler is totally dialed into Reality.  He started his schtick when he was six years old.  By the time he he turned 7, he has it WIRED!  CHANDLER ROX!

This Camp Verde Kid is one of my current inspirations--here's his first gig in 2012--he was freaking super human amazing at the tender age of six last year and even more amazing this year at 7!

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_northern_az/sedona/6-year-old-organizes-N-Arizona-MLK-march

http://cvbugle.com/Main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=37074

The bottom line here, folks is this--KIDS ROCK!

All of us can remember growing up dreaming of stuff and asking permission to do stuff and being told "YOU CAN'T DO THAT!!!!!"  Kids these days don't have that negative barrier.  They are getting total positive reinforcement and being told they can DO ANYTHING!

The three case studies about are proof positive what can happen when you tell a kid they can do anything.



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Photo of The Week

We have this gig on our Salmon Thang called "Photo of The Week."  Naturally, it's a fish thang--steelhead, to be exact.  We get a lot of entries from Fish Guys.  We also spend our own time roaming around looking and looking and...well..waiting for the "Photo of the Week" to smack us upside of the head like the one below did.  You KNOW The "Photo of The Week" when you see it.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dear Mike

One of our Dear Friends....
Mike awards 1st Place to the 2012 Clayton Chili Cookoff Winner.
Well, let me try to start this blog post again--here is what his wife Cheryl has to say tonight:

"Mike was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer which spread to his spine, liver and lymph nodes 2 weeks ago. He has taken two weeks of targeted radiation aimed at decreasing the pain with some improvement. Still on lots of narcotics. Good news here is that it is small cell cancer for which Mountain states Tumor institute has a 90% success rate in extending your life up to 2yrs or more Bad news is it is very aggressive and spreads rapidly. He starts 3 mos of chemo on Monday. 4 day sessions spaced 21 days apart. Just keep praying. We thank you lots."

God Bless You, Mike.  And God Speed.



Dos Videos

We spent a couple of hours at the staging area and starting line for the Verde River Runoff today.  Naturally, we made a couple of short videos.  We are maybe, kinda getting the "hang" of using the GoPro camera for purposes other than "adventure video."  The videos below are purposely made small so they will show on an iPhone or Android.

In the first (top) video, Chip Norton starts the final group of racers from under the White Bridge.  Chip and Bob Rothrock cooked up the idea to resurrect this race during our Journey To The Center of The State river trip last year.  It was great to see the whole thing come to fruition.

In the second (bottom) video, owner Richard Lynch describes his new Verde River Adventure Center on OTCV.  OTCV is "Old Town Camp Verde."  We love that acronym.  The very bottom photo is all of us last April using our arms and bodies to spell out JTCAZ (Journey to Center of Arizona) at the end of our trip last year.  We got pretty good at spelling out OTCV like that, too, but didn't get a photo.  Dang.

Richard wasn't supposed to mention my name--the interview was supposed to be ALL about him and his new (ad)venture.  However, Richard is Richard and what you film is what you get.  It was a lot of fun and Susun and I both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Here's the link in case it won't load: http://youtu.be/lV3mMPzvRsg


The link in case it won't load is: http://youtu.be/xUP-A36eiVQ
JTCAZ

Maggies Mater Matters

DF & LBR Maggie has contracted Tomato Fever once again this year.  As you recall, Maggie grew amazing and awesome tomatoes in the harsh Flagstaff climate where producing even one edible tomato is considered a merit badge of Gardening Honor.

We put up a few blog posts about Maggie's Mater Matters last year and encouraged her to do her own blog in Year 2013.  Lo and behold, Maggie really stepped up to the plate and smacked a blog post over the center field fence today.  It's a wonderful and informative, well-written and illustrated blog post.

Please cue the trumpet fanfare and drum roll.  Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, we present:

Maggies Mater Matters first blog post, "It's Planting Time!"  CONGRATULATIONS, MAGGIE!!!!

http://maggiesmatermatters.blogspot.com/2013/03/its-planting-time.html

Maggie is now awaiting the exciting arrival of the first sprouts.  Below is the first photo of here tomatoes from last season.  The first blog post we wrote last year is linked below the photo.
http://www.livesimplecaremuch.com/2012/04/tomato-tale.html

Friday, March 22, 2013

Medals for Ginny


Dear Friend Lynn donned his Angel Wings once again and 
created a super special gift for Dear Cousin Angel Ginny.

First, some background: Last year, Lynn created memorials to his Dad and Family by organizing and showcasing their Military Medals in shadow boxes. As we worked together attempting to deal with the chaos and clutter of my Mom's house, Lynn talked often about his care for displaying those medals correctly.  Lynn really went the extra mile to make sure he had every medal and really put together some knockout shadow boxes.  As a result of Lynn's genuine concern for making those presentations, we gave our Japanese battle flag to him during a special moment beside the Wea Creek.

We also found a few of my Dad's medals and gave them to Lynn as well.  We have a shadow box of my Dad's medals and knew we weren't going to be using the extra medals so we gave them to Lynn.  A few weeks ago, Lynn emailed that he didn't feel right having those medals of my Dad's and wondered if he could give them to Cousin Ginny.  After swapping a few emails, we hit upon a plan and Lynn went to work making yet another one of his awesome shadow boxes.

He presented the medals to Ginny this week at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore where Ginny is Manager.  Ginny loved my Dad very much.  In fact, I learned from her that Dad was her most trusted confidant and was like a second Father to her.  I gave Ginny many of our mutual Grand Dad's stuff for which she was very happy and thankful.  However, until Lynn offered to give the medals to Ginny, I hadn't realized I forgot to give anything of Dad's to her.  Leave it to Angel Lynn!  THANK YOU, Angel Lynn!  BLESS YOU, Angel Ginny!

If the video won't load, here is the link: http://youtu.be/SXytyA-Rfqc

Below are a whole lot of photos with captions.
Here's a close up of the shadow box Angel Lynn made to give to Ginny.
 Here are Lynn's four medal presentations he did for his Family members.
 This is a close up of Lynn's Dad's medals.  Note how Lynn and his Dad look so much alike.
 Lynn on Tippecanoe County's Wea Creek with the Japanese battle flag.
 Angel Ginny Parsons
Angel Ginny the day we found our Grand Dad's truck from his 
days as a cavalry soldier during the Pancho Villa Campaign.
Angel Ginny the day we gave her our most cherished piece of art work from our childhood days.

Here's a couple of links to blog posts from January 2012:

http://www.livesimplecaremuch.com/2012/01/touched-by-another-angel.html

http://www.livesimplecaremuch.com/2012/01/new-habitat-for-holy-family.html

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Beautiful Betty

 There's a difference that one year can make in our lives.  
Oh, yes there is.
A year ago this week, we took Dear Beloved Betty to In-N-Out in Prescott.
She was Queen For A Day there when Manager Ryan delivered her cheeseburger in person!
Betty's so Full of Life & Spirit and LOVE of In-N-Out Cheeseburgers!
Below is our report for that day last year and then more follows.

"We celebrated the first day of Spring by taking Dear Friend Betty from her Sedona assisted living facility on a 200+ mile road trip.  Betty's step-son, Bob, loaned us his plush Lexus and we traveled over to Prescott to treat Betty to an In-N-Out cheese burger and fries.  There was a lot of snow leftover from the storm and the air was pristine.  It was a perfect day for a road trip.  I sneaked off and told the Manager about Betty and Ryan came over and gave her a hat and treated her like Queen For A Day.  He even hand delivered our order and then later brought a sweet young woman over to also greet Betty.

Betty was charming and gracious as always and a delightful road trip travel companion.  There's really nothing like an In-N-Out cheeseburger and fries.  It's a transcendental experience, actually.  Anyway, Ryan gave Betty an In-N-Out sticker to put on her walker so she can really impress all the other residents of her facility.  It was a great day."

Today, almost precisely one year later, Betty is in a different place.  She told Susun today that she is preparing to go.  Susun and Betty had a heart-to-heart talk.  We will be seeing Betty each day now as she prepares for her trip ahead and will have more to say as the days ahead unfold.

We both Love Betty So Much.  She is such a Dear, Sweet Spirit.  She has always inspired us to be better in each of our lives.  She has been such a Great Role Model.  Susun first met Betty when Betty was younger than Susun is now.  Susun was in her late 30's and Betty was in her early 60's.  They became Life Long Dear Friends and have shared so much together in the past 30+ years.

Susun for many years has called Betty her "Other Mother Sister Friend."  When she calls Betty on the phone she always says, "Hi, Betty Mom."  That's how we both feel about Betty.  She's the Loving Mom and Dear Sister of your dreams.  Neither of us know anyone else on Earth quite like Betty.  She stands alone as an icon of Love and Tenderness and Care the likes of which you only read about in fiction novels.

Betty still writes carefully cursive handwritten notes to a Dear Friend she first met in first grade.  Betty cherishes each and every one of her Friends as if they were a fine diamond sparkling in her crown of many Friends.

Betty is well aware of her circumstances.  Her mind is sharp as a tack.  Her body is saying goodbye.  She understands.  She knows.  She accepts her fate with the same class, style and dignity with which she has greeted every day.  Her Humble Heart beats as strong for today's dawn as it does for her Days of Glory Ahead in Heaven.

She is excited to see her Dear Friends who have already gone to Heaven ahead of her.  Betty knows.  Betty is at Peace with a Life Well Lived.  Betty is one Special Woman who can look back upon her life and know she has lived it just the way she wanted to, each and every step of the way.  If she had to do it again, she would do it just the same way as she did the first time around.

Beautiful, Bright Spirits like Betty are so few and far between on this Earth.  We are so Blessed to know Betty and her Beauty.  We will be with her now as she begins her transition and remain forever with Betty in her Peace ahead.

GOD BLESS YOU, BETTY!  
May Your Beauty Shine Forth Forever!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It has a Ring to it

Remember when we said we were bringing a "bit o' Facebook" to Da Blog? Well, here 'tis yet another installment of such frivolity and nonsense.  We found this story while reading about Kentucky being defeated by Robert Morris in the NIT.  Go figure.
See: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20130315/COLUMNIST/130319734/0/APS?p=1&tc=pg

Check

Chess has come alive in our life in the past week.  Last week, as you know, we found and supported a Kickstarter project for an all-girls Tucson Chess Tournament on April 13.  Anjelina Belakovskaia sought $1000 to stage the tourney but now has $1,514 pledged from 63 backers with ten days still to go.

Anjelina is a 3-Time U.S. Women╩╝s Chess Champion, Woman International Grandmaster, World Champion among students (USSR Team) and Leader of the US Olympic Chess Team and she's proven great at keeping project supporters informed.  Here's her latest message:

"I just ordered 20 chess sets - pieces, boards and quiver bags, 10 digital Saitek chess clocks, 40 scorebooks, numerous chess books for prizes, WinTD pairing software, and other stuff - worth over $1,000! Next are trophies, medals, and more... I am so grateful for all the support I got from everyone! Without you, it wouldn't be possible."

"Hopefully, we will attract more girls into chess and science and give them more opportunities in chess, academics and life. I am so excited, I can't wait to run the event! If you are in Tucson on April 13th - please mark this date on your calendar and come to the 1st Chess & Science Festival."

We are so happy we found and helped fund this worthy project.  You can click here to keep an eye on the project's progress:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/249675593/1st-chess-and-science-festival-and-all-girls-chess

Meanwhile, we opened Ye Ol' Inbox this afternoon and, LO!, what should we find?  Not one but THREE emails from Carrie Scheid in Idaho Falls.  And, gosh, you'd never guess what the emails are about--CHESS.

As most of you know, we dearly love the game of chess, even though we aren't very good at it.  We've been playing chess since we were perhaps 7 or 8 years old.  You'd think we'd get better at it in almost 60 years but, no, that's not the way it works.  A case could be made that we were actually a better player 50 years ago than we are now.  However, we digress.

Carrie, as astute Loyal Blog Readers know, is the Art Bench Woman who waved her magic wand across the Idaho Falls Greenbelt and improved an already fine amenity by facilitating the addition of many marvelous art benches overlooking The Snake River.

Now Carrie is making magic happen yet again on behalf of CHESS!

Can you believe it?  It's like a dream come true for a Old Chess Codger like me.  Now matter which of the three designs below is selected for the latest and greatest Greenbelt Art Bench, chess players rejoice!  It's so exciting!  The two artists who submitted draft deigns just happen to have designed and crafted two of our favorite Art Benches--both of which just coincidentally happen to be situated in the famous Hilda McClure Garden at The Falls.  Yep, Roy Reynolds (with Jim Colson) did the wildly popular Geese Seats and Ronda Friesen did the now world famous Horse Bench.

THANK YOU, Carrie, for sprinkling another dose of your Magic Art Bench Fairy Dust on the Greenbelt!  These are awesome and I can't hardly wait to sit and play at whatever bench design wins.  Can you possibly imagine the joy of sitting beside the mighty Snake River playing chess on a warm summer morning? Check!

WHA-WHOOO!

 Ronda Friesen Chess Bears
Below is Ronda Friesen's Alternate design.
Below is the Roy Reynolds/Jim Colson design entitled "Checkmate."







Time Lapse Treat

As you know, we are smitten with "all things aurora."  The link above will take you to a great 1:06 time lapse video of the most recent Northern Light's Dazzling Display.  We've only seen the aurora once in our life.  It was in late 1992.  Gregg W. asked us to help him pack and move a truckload of stuff from his  Mother's house in Galveston, Texas, to Gregg's home in Flagstaff.  Our drive back from Texas was a classic Hunter Thompson road trip.  As we were heading north out of Phoenix on "the home stretch" we couldn't believe our eyes.  We had just topped out at Sunset Point and were approaching the Dugas Road exit when the entire northern sky turned totally neon and began pulsing with lights the likes of which neither of us had ever imagined possible.  We quickly exited at Dugas and jumped out of the rental truck and started hootin' and hollerin' and celebratin' this rare occurance.  Lots of other like-minded folks also pulled pell mell off I-17 to do the same thing as us.  For a brief time none of us were strangers but simply a pulsing party of people united by the joy of seeing the Northern Lights in Central Arizona.  To be able to see something such as shown in the video above would just be totally "over the top!"  Maybe someday once again....

Sweet Suite

Dear Friends Maria Elena and Tim have jumped into the vacation rental business.  They are offering a sweet suite in their home they call "Solaris."  We thought their suite was a sweet deal at their initial price of $80 a night but now we learn they've reduced the daily fare to a mere $70 a night.  This is an amazing deal for what's included: "Your spacious (820 sq. ft) ground floor private access apartment includes a large bedroom with queen size bed, a love seat (child hide-a-bed) and walk-in closet, a full bath; a well-equipped kitchenette; private front courtyard with BBQ grill; free WIFI; off street parking, hot tub and Breakfast, too!"

You can check out their full listing and see all their many fine fotos here:  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/984896

 The Solaris Suite is perhaps a half mile from Second Chance Ranch.  Idaho Dear Friends Kenyon, Julie and Karen stayed with Maria Elena and Tim in February.  As soon as the Air BNB listing went up, people started calling and booking the place. Congratulations to Maria Elena and Tim for taking the Big Leap and enjoying immediate success.

Winter's Last Day

Old Man Winter has packed his bags and he's waiting to depart on a night train tomorrow.  Today's his last day.  Nobody cares about Old Man Winter and he's standing all alone there at the train station, shivering with his own fading memories of swirling snow, howling wind chills and deep freeze frights.

Old Man Winter gets his marching orders on this day every year.  Whether he likes it or not, he's gotta go because Spring's gonna kick him out in the dark night at 4:02 am tomorrow (Arizona Time).  The Equinox comes a little early this year and that's a good thing. Click here to read about what makes the Equinox The Equinox. It seems so long ago that we stood 'round our Winter Solstice campfire December 21st wondering what the next three months would bring.  Bye, Bye Old Man Winter--Hello Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Queen of Green

Who sez we don't celebrate St. Paddy's Day, eh?
Better not say that to The Queen of Green!
Not only did she get her "git up" on,
she even cooked eggs on in green spinach, too!

Kickstarter


We've posted up on Facebook about Kickstarter but haven't said much about it here.  Obviously, that's about to change.  This week, we found a cute little project on Kickstarter Wednesday evening.  At the time, it has $781 in pledges and hoped to get $1,000.  We chipped in a few bucks and encouraged our Friends to help support the project.  In less than 24 hours it was fully funded and the Good News continues.  It's now 37% overfunded!  Kickstarter is all about FUN and SUCCESS and it's great.  If you haven't spent time roaming 'round Kickstarter, we highly recommend it.  Even if you don't chip in funds for a project, just reading about everyone's creative ideas and dreams is a very positive experience.  One of our most fun places to hang out on Kickstarter is the "Small Projects" area.  A small project is anything seeking $1000 or less.  Here's the link to that sector of Kickstarter:  http://www.kickstarter.com/discover/small-projects

The documentary film category is one of our favorites to roam.  Here's a project we've been promoting on with our Salmon River online resources:  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/backpackinglight/packrafting-documentary-learn-to-packraft-video-se


Northern Lights

You've probably read about the sun kicking up its heels for St. Paddy's Day weekend.  The sun pulled off what's called a "Coronal Mass Ejection."  No, that doesn't mean the sun threw away all of its empty Corona beer bottles--it means there was a giant gob of solar goo that got spit toward earth speeding faster than a Spring Breaker on the way to the liquor store...or the beach.

Anyway, oddly enough, the mainstream online media has dropped the ball when it comes to showing just what this Coronal Mass Ejection created in the skies about our lovely planet.  Not to worry, Trusty Spacewater Dot Com saved the day.  You can click the link below to see photos from around the globe taken within the few hours showing what brilliant aurora displays took place.  In the contiguous United States, auroras also appeared above New York, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Michigan and the Dakotas.

http://spaceweather.com/gallery/index.php?title=aurora&title2=lights

(BLOG NOTE:  DF & LBRs will see more of this type of blog post in the future.  It's one thing we actually enjoyed about using Facebook--the ability to post up stuff like this for the pure pleasure of posting it.  It's one of the things we're bringing over here to the blog after your five-month Facebook experiment--stuff we post for the "fun of it.")




Campfire

Our fondness for fire fotos will never cease.  It is only through the exercise of great personal discipline that we refrain from inundating our DF & LBRs with an incessant barrage of campfire fotos.  However, that said, we still will occasionally post up some fire fotos here.  We can't help ourself.  This video is only 14 seconds. Each of the 7 photos gets two seconds.  Many Cheers, jp



Here's the link in case the video above won't load:  http://youtu.be/8Klru2vwmnQ

The Techies who read this may be wondering why we bother making a video slideshow when a Google Picasa photo album would be just as well or better suited for this task.  Here are the reasons:
1) We use these little exercises to help remember how to make a video slideshow.
It's a learned skill that is easily forgotten if it isn't used fairly often.
2) Lots of extraneous stuff shows up on a Picasa slide show.
3) It's difficult to control whether the slide show truly autoplays or simply sits on one picture.
4) Making it a video slide show sets it in stone and the 2 second variable is not viewer-changeable.

Happy Family

Susun took some really fine fotos on her early March California Family Trip.  One of these days we're going to get those photos up and running.  In the meantime, here's three sweet photos copied off of Sarah's Facebook.  THANKS, Sarah, for posting these great photos.
 This is Sarah's Facebook profile photo showing a Happy Dad and Mom enjoying Family Life.
 Sarah entitled this one "My Li'l Heartbreaker"
Gage's is looking very mature far past his almost five years of actual age.


Happy St. Patrick's Day

Saint Paddy's Day is never much of a holiday for us. Some people, as you know, go corned beef bonkers over Green Beer Day.  Locally, today marks the annual Return of The Turkey Vultures (AKA: Buzzards.)  There are a lot of Old Buzzards in this locality but the Turkey Vultures actually fly in the sky.  They are fun to watch and it's great to have them back.

Looks like the river peaked March 13th.
Spring Runoff is underway.  Spring Break, too.  Some Spring Breakers Run Off to far away places.  Snow, on the other hand, simply heads obediently downstream sometimes to the delight and merriment of river runners.  Yesterday was a very crowded day on The Verde River.  River Runners flocked in  much like Turkey Vultures.

We spent the evening at Jodi & Dexter's Place enjoying dinner and tall tales with Chip, Kathy, Brock, Kate and Jean.  Oh, how the river stories flowed as the evening progressed.  Whenever you get river runners together, river stories "do occur."  No matter what or where the river, each river creates its own plethora of river stories and they run off the tongue much like snowmelt runoff from higher elevations.

Speaking of The Verde River, it was 30 years ago today when I wrecked my right shoulder kayaking at a rapid known as White Flash.  The Doctor told me to hang up my paddle and forget boating so I traded off my kayak for an early version of what's now known as a Mountain Bicycle and began a new outdoor career attempting to build a business called "The Arizona Rough Riders."  One of these days, we're going to count the number of businesses we've tried to start over our lifetime.  It's been a bunch of them.

Back in the day we were actually a mountain bicycle racer, if you can imagine that.  Yes, we know it's hard to visualize a short, fat old guy being a bicycle racer but it's true.  We'll take more about that in the days ahead.

This week has been quite warm.  Thursday actually felt hot.  Thursday's high here reached 85 degrees but our "feels like" thermometer said it felt like 95.  Essentially, it felt like a typical mid-summer day in Idaho Falls.  Here's last week's temperature chart for Rimrock.

We're debating whether to do a road trip this coming week to Young via Payson.  Only two more weekends before Susun heads over to Grand Son Central in early April.  Our Arizona Season is fast coming to an end.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Horseshoe Ranch

This could be a long story but it won't be.  Promise.  We've wanted to visit the Horseshoe ranch for nearly 30 years.  Today we finally got to walk around the place and learn its history as well as a lot of other stuff.
This event was the major Arizona statewide highlight of the annual Archaeology Month.  Each year, one location is picked to be the focal point of the month-long calendar of statewide cultural, heritage and historical events.  The Horseshoe Ranch is essentially joined at the hip with the prehistoric treasure troves of the Agua Fria National Monument and made a naturally perfect location to celebrate Archaeology Month.
"Hazards Do Occur, eh?"  Wonder how many attorneys it took to think up that phrase?
Maybe it could have been better stated a la the old bumper sticker: "Hazards Happen."

 All of the visitors had to enter the ranch via this really funky suspension bridge.  I almost got seasick on it.
 There was a great array of educational displays.  All the archaeology organizations had great exhibits.
 We were finally able to have all our questions answered about both the Ranch and the adjacent Monument.
 Frankly, I really didn't look forward to walking back on the bridge.  I almost waded the creek instead.
 The National Monument has a robust and very active Friends group.
 One reason the event was super well attended was that it was set up as a Merit Badge gig for both Girl and Boy Scouts.  Here some Girl Scouts get their Merit Badge certification from Kaibab Archaeologist Neil Weintraub.
It was a great day down along the Agua Fria.