Notes from an Arizona Trip – points of interest… not!

Or what I thought was important to note. This is probably the most ridiculous travel blog ever written. I find it hilarious and terribly boring.


  • Shopping plazas
  • Saguaro cactus
  • Bougainvillea
  • Leafy spurge
  • Palm trees
  • Bottled water
  • Arizona sycamore
  • Mormons – Meacham
  • Snowbirds


  • Airplane flight
  • to house
  • Irene’s shop
  • Lunch at Mortenson’s – tuna sandwich – beers
  • Heatherbrook Square
  • Dr. office
  • ASU campus – t-shirts
  • Plaza – Chophouse – Village shops
  • Home – #10 Pasta – Italian sausage and red sauce, sharp cheese, crackers, peanuts, smoked oysters, called home, wine and beer, cannoli


  • Sweet rolls, coffee, freshly squeezed OJ
  • Borgata – galleries – cars – rich people
  • Biltmore Plaza – ate outdoors
  • Esprit, Gucci, Saks, Sharper Image, Cappricio, Williams-Sonoma, Imagin
  • Scottsdale – pepperoni cheese bread
  • Nellos
  • Larry’s job
  • walked
  • It. Nacho – Corona and lime
  • Fresh
  • Cranberry
  • Walked in drops (6)
  • Knots Landing
  • Mikki volleyball – Won


  • Toured Ghetto
  • Spaghetti Co.
  • Heard Museum
  • Chips and salsa and guacamole – margaritas
  • Ahwatukee – exclusive homes
  • Chimichanga ****


  • Fresh squeezed OJ
  • Mikki, Larry, Jack and Karen
  • Apache Junction – the mining camp
  • Superstition Mts.
  • Botanical Garden
  • Canyon Lake
  • Mikki sat on a cactus “gets cold” and sleeps in car
  • We ate gourmet lunch
    • fresh tortilla chips
    • ham and turkey and cheese – Kaiser roll
    • Tortellini salad
    • Claussen pickles
    • Pepperocini
    • Cheese bread
  • Salt River for tubing
  • Twins won
  • Hors-d’oeuvres -Jack took nap
  • American Bar and Grill – new buildings but 20’s or 30’s, live jazz, good drink
  • Bed


  • Juice and coffee – left
  • McCormick Ranch
  • Boulders
  • Coffee, sweet rolls (free) (unbelievable)
  • Montezuma Castle – scenery changes
  • Oak Creek Owl
    • fag Mexican waiter (did I really write that?)
    • Outrageous food and drinks
      • Cajun Tenderloin
      • Nova salmon
      • Beef tenderloin grill
      • Salad
      • Bread
  • Through Sedona to Oak Creek scenic drive
  • Learned Apache from Larry
  • Slide Rock – Jack does Apache elbow dance
  • Ferrari caravan (20)
  • Sedona, good ice cream, chocolate, big rattler
  • Arroyo Pollo – Canyon of the Chickens
  • Tlaquepaque – galleries, shops
  • Spanish villa
  • Pepper wreaths, pottery
  • Drive home
    • Radio stations: Utah, Wyoming, Texas, S. California, Colorado
  • Got 8:00 home
  • Hebrew National hot dogs
  • Barbecue 10:00 – 90 degrees
    • Salad
    • Pasta
  • Little Larry talked ’til 1:30 AM


  • Ate outside with mist – 91 degrees
  • Bare Covers
  • Skateboard 8 store
  • Tip Top Nursery – Eucalyptus, cactus, etc.
  • The Island – Luxury waterfront living – 2 sets – model homes
    • Val Vista Lake – Breckenridge Homes, clubhouse, lagoon, two boats, bars, racquet room, weight rooms, recreation rooms, receptionist, exclusive
    • Ahwatukee – House of our Dreams
    • Santa Fe Dreams – right on South Mts., Two pink Spanish, unbelievable house, out of sight
  • Returned – outrageous eucalyptus tree
  • Came
    • hors d’ouvres
    • shrimp croissant, yummy
    • marsala lemon
    • salad
    • Pesto fettucini
  • Fell asleep on the floor


  • Irene and I walk
  • Burger King
  • Left for Mogollon Rim
    • Bee Line Highway to Payson thru Indian Village
    • Pine forest
    • 60 degrees on Rim
    • Heard elk singing
    • We yell from Rim
    • Pine tree hit by lightning scored spirally
    • Fountain on Fountain Hills 100”
  • Ate Mediterranean chicken salad
    • Fresh French bread
    • brewed coffee
    • Too cold to drink wine
    • Kahlua and beer
  • Saw Dymaxion Automobile
  • Mikki won game


  • Larry, Irene work, and play
  • Casa Grande Indian Ruins
  • Phoenix Zoo
  • Cactus place

The End

Then we flew home.

Juan and Juan Manuel and my Roof

While living in Mexico, I learned what the rainy season really is. We’re talking rain so thick, so heavy, so hard that it comes through the roof.

We’re talking thunder so loud and that lasts so long that I swore that it alone could kill me.

And the lightening. Lightening that lights up the world every bit as bright as daylight.

We’re talking the jungle itself being torn away and swept into the streets… torrents of water carrying trees, and plants that wash down from the hillsides, into the streets and into the ocean turning it into a swirling brown mass of debris.

The only thing to do was to climb onto the bed, open the balcony doors and watch the show. Sometimes the storms would last so long that my nerves would shatter.

Geckos and insects would come in to shelter on the walls and take cover in the corners of the ceiling.

And then it would be over as quickly as it started. The heat persisted because the rainy season happens in summer… 100° and 100% humidity. Was it refreshing? No.

Always sweating, always wet. It was too hot and wet for hair, for jewelry, for underwear. Earrings would heat up and burn my neck. I cut off my hair to the scalp. And underwear? What for?

My roof leaked. Not leak like I could catch water in buckets, but water that stood inches deep that I sloshed out and off the balcony and into the street with a broom.

I’d had enough: I called Juan Manuel to fix my roof.

Juan Manuel sent Juan Manuel and Manuel to fix my roof. Meanwhile, Juan came. I thought Juan was sent by Juan Manuel but he wasn’t. I had to send Juan away. So Juan Manuel and Manuel fixed my roof. Sorry Juan for the confusion.

I don’t know who sent Juan.

True story.

As Solstice Approaches

Frost covers everything this morning though it’s not cold enough to freeze the water in the watering bowls set out for those of fur and feather.

The persistent wind has calmed so the old, giant maples, chestnuts, walnuts, fir, spruce and pine are not creaking in protest and the attic doors are not threatening against the hook locks.

The tiny heater tries so hard to warm the air in my room without success. This is winter (almost) in this old house. The furnace heats the first two floors though we can feel the air seeping in through the closed windows. We are grateful for this old house that shelters us.

Solstice approaches bringing longer days but colder months. I welcome the barrenness, the shades of grey. Though Winter settles in, Spring holds promises of life just below the surface and thrusts swords of iris and sprouts of crocus out of the mud and the brave honeysuckle shows tender green buds on seemingly dead and hardened vines.

There is no guilt in rest this time of year. Follow me says the earth, follow me.

The Cat on the Doverfell

By Peter Christen Asbjörnsen and Jörgen Moe from “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”. Read by Karen Peterson.

This is a story that Jack read to the children on Christmas Eve for many years.

I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we always have. Of course, I don’t read it half as well as Jack always did.

Happy Yule Tide

The Christmas Boats Parade

Every year Mom went to see the Christmas boats parade on the Willamtte River. Lil’ Mil’, as we called Mom’s friend, Millie Sargent, owned a houseboat just north of the Sauvies Island bridge.

We went with Mom for a few years. What fun! There was spiked eggnog and clam dip and lots of other snacks and a lot of shouting and cheering and waving our arms about. We dressed in warm coats and hats, gloves and scarves and sat outside on the deck. The river there is narrow and some boats come so close it felt like we could touch them. Some would do circles and drills in front of us. We’d wave and laugh and shout just to see the revelers wave back.

Those days are gone. Lil’ Mil’ and Mom have been gone for years now but the memories are just as clear as ever. Before my sister, Kristi, passed on, Steve, Kristi and her daughter, Shauna, and I left my house to relive the joy of being at a parade with Mom one more time… the Christmas boats parade. We wanted to do this for her.

It was a dark and stormy night. The wind was howling and blowing the rain sideways but this was not going to stop us. Lil’ Mil’ had sold the houseboat so we could no longer enjoy that wonderful place and we did our eating and drinking at home.

We went to Cathedral Park in the shadow of the St.Johns bridge. There were a few other brave souls out. We walked to the river’s edge and walked the steep plank to the dock. The river was rough and the plank and dock were bucking up and down.

We shouted and waved as Mom would have and cried and held on to each other as the boats passed and circled round and round. We stayed until the last boat passed.

We were drenched and happy because we did it to remember Mom. She loved any parade, no matter how small and that wasn’t the first time that she took us out in the worst weather… remember February steelheading? The muddy, slippery, rocky riverbanks. Claming at the beach even before daylight in the pelting rain? Well, that’s a different story.

I miss you, Mom, especially this time of year. You made everything fun.

What is the Lifespan of a Bug?

Last night late, I was lying in bed watching a Turkish series that I’m into. For some reason a big black insect of some kind caught my attention. It was on the ceiling. It walked until it was almost directly over me. Suddenly it dropped onto the bed and started scurrying towards me. It was heading directly for me, probably for the light that my phone was giving off. I quickly jumped up and tried to catch it in the covers and I thought I did.

I don’t like to squash insects but I thought, I don’t want that big thing walking around on my bed, around on the floor where it can get back up on the bed or on the walls or on the ceiling and drop on me again and perhaps bite me.

I thought I captured it and squished it between two folds of the blanket. I have killed bugs like that and I hate the feeling of the crunch and then the squish and I think insects have every right to live out their lives.

When I slowly opened the fold, I expected to see a squished bug but I found nothing, not even a carcass. So do you think I could go to sleep? Of course not. I kept thinking that I was feeling something crawling on me or in my hair or coming towards me on the bed. I thought it might be on the floor and that it would eventually come for me. I couldn’t sleep until I unknowingly fell fast asleep.

When I woke up this morning the first thing I did was look for the bug and now I keep scanning my surroundings. The big question now is, what is the lifespan of a bug? I don’t hate insects I just don’t want one on me.

I’m laughing at myself but I’m dead serious.😟

This is How We Do It. ‘Tis the Season.

I guess each and every one of us has our own experience and perspective. My perspective is one of myth and fairytale. Drawing names for gift giving and putting heart and soul into creating handmade gifts of wood, clay, wax, paints and pencils and wool threads, paper and fabric, each item made with a particular person in mind.

We’re grateful for a warm place to bake and for creating special foods. We invite family and friends to sit at our table and around the cozy fire. We read books and share stories and warming drinks.

During the season we gather evergreen boughs and leaves and branches with berries from parks to make wreaths and garlands to decorate the house and to give away. We hide small gifts and candy to fill the stockings for Jul morning and pretend the elves have visited through the night.

We’ve spent hours creating our special gifts, hiding them behind our backs if someone passes by unexpectedly. We don’t even share who’s name we’ve drawn… so there’s an air of anticipation… if John drew my name, I might get a painting or something sculpted of wood. If it’s Ivan, I might get a bonsai, if it’s Laura, maybe a knitted scarf or small bottles of homemade bitters. If it’s Joannah, there’s a million possibilities, and from Jerald, handmade candles or a handbraided dog leash or something of leather. From me, someone will get something knitted or a hand-made book.

We use hand decorated brown paper for wrappings and jute ribbons or recycled papers and ribbons from last year and hand cut paper snowflakes. Cards are made from John’s lino-cut designs, or made from recycled cards I recieved last year, repurposed for this year. This year I bought some from UNICEF.

I’m an anti-theist, if a label is required. God doesn’t play into the season, for me. I love the magic of stringing lights and singing and bringing a tree in the house… a tradition that pre-dates what we now call Christmas, Xmas, etc.

I dont care what other people do. If they want to celebrate as they’re told by media advertisements and to go into debt and to get stressed during October, November and December, they can go ahead. I don’t care. We’ll be over here creating and welcoming the darker, colder days with good cheer. This is how we welcome the ending of this year and the beginning of the new with family and friends.

I understand the bah humbug spirit pervasive in society. There’s good reason, of course, but for me it’s deeper and richer and full of meaning. There is the harvest, then the darker and colder season that engulfs us all as we turn away from the sun for some months.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I also know that there are the less fortunate who don’t have the ability to create such warmth and good cheer, and for that I lament. We’ll do what we can.

In the Dark of Night She Kills


Looks can be decieving. Eres, the sweetest sleepy calico during the daylight hours.

But in the shadowy hours of night, she tangles with the dark, evil rodent forces; severing heads, leaving only hindquarters and tails, wreaking havoc and chaos and fear in her wake, leaving behind not a drop of blood.

She is a warrior, a terror, fearless and hungry always for blood and guts, bringing her spoils to us in the night, seeking the approval of her dominators and providers of shelter.

Therefore, she is one tired kitty.