Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tagged: 8 Fascinating Facts

Ms. Chatoyance, she of the cool pictures from Texas, just tagged me. And immediately went into hiding. Hokay, I'll play. This time.

Here are the rules:

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each participant posts eight random facts about themselves.
3. Tagees should write a blogpost of eight random facts about themselves.
4. At the end of the post, eight more bloggers are tagged
5. Go to their blog, leave a comment telling them they're tagged.

OK, so: 8 facts about me...

1. My lit professor at Phoenix Junior College told me I should never, ever consider a career as a writer. (At that time, I was serious about chemistry.)

2. I'm one of those weird women that the heavy feminists should love -- I scored higher on the math section than on the verbal section of my GREs.

3. Considering #1 & #2, it follows, logically, that I spent most of my working years editing/writing for neighborhood newspapers and trade magazines in Chicago. Credit the lit prof-- journalism isn't the same as literature.

4. I have strong prejudices about certain modern, made-up words, namely, wellness, proactive and lifestyle. None too fond of facilitator either. Wellness, proactive and facilitator come out of the mouths of bureaucratically inclined folk who want to visit good upon me, without my by-your-leave. I'm quite happy with good health or healthy ... thinking ahead ... and with chairmen, leaders, and such like; it doesn't hurt my feelings to have someone in charge. As for lifestyles, they are light and fluffy, for adopting or dumping on a whim. I squirm when I hear, for instance, the term gay lifestyle; one doesn't turn gayness on or off

5. I love colors of all kinds, strong and subtle.

6. My daughter thinks that my husband and I were hippies of some sort. Not so. We preceded hippiedom by 10 years and thus were bohemians when we were in our 20s. And yes, I wore all black long before anybody had invented Goths.

7. Long ago, I produced an obscure jazz LP on an obscure label. The Yancey Special it was called. Jimmy Yancey was one of the early boogie woogie piano masters.

8. I would like to find a solution to the problem of Cat Keyboard. This is a combination of cat fur and dust that renders the space bar impotent. It's driving me crazy!

Now, I get to do the honors. I herewith pass the torch on to:

* Desert Cat
* The Demystification Guru
* Digital Karen
* k
* Avus
* Steve, just back from his vacation. Hah!
* Quilted Dogs
* She of Little Brain

Friday, June 29, 2007


Goodbye moments are not my favorite moments. Yesterday it was time for the Sson & family to take off.

Of course, a final confrontation between cats was necessary.

And packing food in the cooler for the long drive back to bayou country.

Sson puts final touches on clean stove top. BTW, how do you like that gorgeous Tshirt?

DIL, grandson start packing out.

Another load for the truck. One of a great many.

Granddaughter, complete to a medically wrapped left leg following a day at Slide Rock, holds the guest cat. He'd love to go exploring. Or stalking the Max cat.

And, just before taking off, time to outfit the pick-up with a clean bra. At which point, my guests took off. I just hope they enjoyed the visit as much as I did. But this isn't the end of the goodbyes. SIL, OmegaMom and the little one are taking off for a new job. In Alaska. On the 21st of this month. Alaska! That's 4,000 miles away. No more weekend get-togethers. No more dance recitals. No more Christmas Nutcracker.

I hate goodbyes!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Art This, Art That. Art Everything?

Those shoes above are truly kicky items for the wardrobe. Sort of similar to the wild sox I recently found at the Shoe Box over on Gurley. One big difference, however: these one-of-a-kind shoes are not to be found in a shoe store, nor even a high-end boutique. No, they are at Van Gogh's Ear, a gallery on Whiskey Row.

As are these vest and blouse outfits...

...and these hats.

Another example from the gallery: a pool table fashioned from crude but artfully selected (and finished) wood. Prices to match, of course. What we are seeing is a big blur of the line between arts/crafts and objects of everyday living. A function of affluence, of course. Strange developments: many rural (and city) third-worlders "graduate" from colorful, handmade dashikis or similar traditional clothing to much cheaper, imported ready-mades from our resale shops' cast-offs, while we (some of us) move up to ever-more- expensive handmades. Question: do those fantasy costumes from the likes of The Caspian Gate belong in a clothing store or a gallery?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Only $1Mil & You're in Business in Bumblebee!

OK, I'm exaggerating. They are only asking $975K for the former Bumblebee schoolhouse, built in the mid-30s. Right now it's a modest-size private residence down in the lonesome desert west of I-17. But it does have commercial fixtures, such as a bar. On the other hand, it is one of only four buildings in greater Bumblebee, all pictured in this post. That's it below.

Unlike most vanishing Arizona, Bumblebee was never a mining town; instead, the hamlet was a stage stop on the Old Black Canyon route between Prescott and/or various mining settlements and Phoenix. Its post office was commissioned in the 1870s and still exists, in one of the four buildings. I presume it serves the odds and ends of settlements and ranches in the basin.

After a consultation with The Google, I located pictures of the phony false front buildings erected as a tourist come-on at some point. The last time I visited Bumblebee was in the late 80s and at that time, those buildings were in pretty good shape. The pix show them as thoroughly ramshackle -- but I didn't see them at all yesterday. My hunch is that they finally fell down and were carted away.

Some years back, my boss' husband happened upon Bumblebee; the town's owner at the time tried to sell him the entire place. Perhaps there is some secret about the burg that makes the schoolhouse/residence worth all that money. After all, there is a dudish ranch nearby. And maybe we're just seeing one more remnant of the recent Arizona real estate bubble.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Target Practice

One of the great pleasures of my extended family is that they are all of the outdoor persuasion. And so today, Sson & I boarded the big white family pick-up truck for an early excursion to Crown King high in the Bradshaws. Since the schedule also called for breakfast pie at Rock Springs, our trip took us through the desert west of I-17.

Where I found this wonderful symbol of the West. It's a piece of a vehicle. It has seen better days. And it was the subject of target practice. More often than once, I'd venture to say.

Just as wonderous is the question of just how this rear half got severed from the remainder of the vehicle. Looks like it was sliced straight off! We'll never know.

There were more mundane targets, such as this tin can up at a camp ground at Pine Creek. And, of course, almost every road sign had its share of bullet holes.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Empty store fronts are 1) surprising in our boom town atmosphere and 2) usually don't last long. Of course, the prime corner of Montezuma and Gurley couldn't have stayed empty after the Christian Corner moved and, in truth, it hasn't. A real estate firm is busy remodeling the premise for its street-side office. As far as I am concerned, it might as well be empty; RE offices don't add anything to the street ambiance. Too bad the plans for a bookstore/social center/coffee house fell through!

More perplexing, we have a strip along West Gurley that is fast emptying out, with no announcements of what happens next. By me, Breunner's (above) looks to be far more suitable as a big restaurant or night spot than as the furniture store it's been all these years. I was always surprised by a retail operation with such a cave-like entrance and lack of show windows. Plenty of parking, however.

The natural foods store down the street now sits empty. Rumor has a restaurant as the likely tenant, which certainly would pick up business along the McCormick Street "art district." Too bad the old commercial, wooden refrigerators got sold along with other fixtures. The building, which I believe has been a food store for much of its history, has a splendid tin ceiling.

And, smack dab between the buildings above is the McIlvain dealership, no doubt still in probate. Another local rumor says that the building was offered to the Sharlot Hall Museum across the street at one point, but turned down. Too bad, if so. Again, plenty of parking.

But here's the granddaddy of all empty Prescott retail space -- the old Fry's shopping center. It's been vacant since Fry's bought out Smith's & moved to its present location on Fair Street how many years ago? There was a big flurry of remodelling activity last winter, yet all but one of the stores (and a theater) remain E-M-P-T-Y. Strange. We all know who belongs in that supermarket space, don't we!

Note: If you want to get a taste of the Bluegrass Festival at the Square this weekend, click on over to Oddball Observations who took pictures at two outdoor events this weekend. Catalyst, who operates the site, even offers music to match.

Friday, June 22, 2007


I'm impressed. Not only does Sson & family travel complete with cat, but their two week Western excursion is even equipped with an industrial-strength Wild stereo microscope just in case there's any interesting pond water wildlife to observe. The water was in pretty short supply--but what there was of it contained some pretty interesting microscopic critters.

Speaking of equipped -- we spent the morning in the forest & I forgot to bring my stick. Not to worry -- a telescoping monopod was produced out of the back of the truck and it did just fine for my short walk.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Low Water, High Style Shrub

The Arizona high desert country offers some very attractive native shrubs: manzanita ... cliff rose ... Apache plume, to name a top few. Right now, the Apache plume is at or just past its prime. A good place to see the plant in plume: SR69 between the older mall and the casino hill. These pictures I captured about two weeks earlier near Willow Creek Road and the new Walgreens.

Apache plume is at its most attractive when it goes to seed. A member of the rose clan, this shrub has pretty straight forward single, white rose-like blossoms. Similar to strawberries. However, it doesn't simply make seeds -- it adds pinkish or white streamers to disperse the seeds as high-flying kites. That's what you see in these pictures -- the puffs that form the seedheads. Easy to grow. Low water useage. Spreads, but slowly. Usually available at Watters in the summer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Guest Cat

"Love us, put up with our cat." Introducing Yoda who travels as part of Sson's entourage. Yoda is one pushy cat. Turns out my Max cat is a wuss. Even though the house has been divided into two parts, one for each cat, Max hides out whenever he's inside. Poor, put upon Max!

Every Tree Should Have One

An on/off switch, of course. I would like to imagine that when you want this tree to leaf out, you turn the switch on, and when you are ready for bright red or gold leaves, you turn the tree off. There are several of these modified trees at our Courthouse Square.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Full House!

The last time you met my Sson and his family was a year ago -- perhaps you recall the episode of the spadefoot toad or the splendid toad's eye photos. Anyhow, they arrive tomorrow -- all four of them -- for a week or so, drying out after living for several months in bayou country.

Wahoo! The Merry Maids have cleaned the house and I've got a week ahead in which I won't have to touch a dish. Besides, the company is great and no doubt there will be some fine excursions in the outback. Maybe even a new critter as exciting as the toad! However, blogging time may get short shrift. We'll see.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Tsunami I -- You Can't Tell the Players without a Scorecard

So what is a Tsunami on the Square? Well, if it lasted 30 days in assorted venues, I'd call it a Fringe festival. If it occurred under a big top, it might be confused with a circus. Whatever. The day of the Tsunami is crazy. This was my first.

For instance, the crowd included people in all sorts of get-ups. Like this lady. Goodness knows what her fantasy might be. Hard to tell members of the audience from the entertainers sometimes.

This fellow is probably part of the show -- I didn't see any civilians with juggling equipment.

Nothing unusual about this chap -- except the orange lily. Maybe that was how his blind date was to ID him.

Surely part of the show? Nope, this medieval quartet was present to promote a forthcoming Renaissance Faire.

Oh, yes, I saw more than one person sporting a tail.

Spotted this pirate (or gypsy) couple crossing the street mid-afternoon.

And this rifleman appears to be patrolling the Square to protect it from good-fer-nothing varmits.

No idea who or what we have here.

Even Mr. Coyote Radio, who announced the first acts, was topped off by a faux leopard skin fez.

And look at the interesting character who gave GrannyJ a free ride in his foot-pedalled machine. Like I said, the day was crazy. More madness later.

Note: My computer is located so that I am forced to look at great tho reasonably tidy stacks of magazines. Imagine my delight -- and amazement -- when I discovered that, like museums, the New Yorker has established its own on-line store. One remarkable product: an 80 gig hard drive with the complete NYer from February 1927 thru April 2006; beats stacks all hollow! The other: a DVD containing the complete NYer cartoons on sale at $14.95! And, over at eBay, you can bid on several 32-CD-rom sets of all the National Geographics up to 2000 -- 112 years of the magazine.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Well Exercised Climber

My camera held 175 images when I arrived home from the Square for a desperately needed nap this hot afternoon. The Tsunami on the Square. A display of Classic Cruisers (old autos.) Not to mention the usual interesting odds and ends. When I collect that many pictures, I am incapable of sitting down immediately and writing about any of the event(s), much less selecting the right pictures. It takes a little time, a little reminiscing, a little pondering to bring a new post into focus. Instead, I'm dedicating today's briefing to my dotter (OmegaMom, who's secretly been on an exercise program) and to Rich over at Gadget's Airstream Chronicles, who's been doing (and photographing) a lot of rock climbing over at the Dells.

The subject is exercise. And the American penchant for the Gizmo. I happened into the Granite Mountain Outfitter, where Laura was demonstrating a device for exercising the wrist. Looks easy -- all you have to do is whirl this brightly lit ball. However. Said ball contains gyroscopes, creating a real resistance work-out if you can get it spinning. I flunked out.

Twasn't the only exercise gizmo for the climber. Here's another workout. But then, I'm not a climber these days. Never was that kind of climber. Ever.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Merchants of Caspian Gate Folding Retail Tent

If you walked from Montezuma down Gurley to, say, the Grill, you may have noticed this exotic gent in the window of the Peace of My Heart Shop. Sadly, he may soon be history. He's part of the promo for The Caspian Gate, which has occupied the rear room of the Fair Trade shop of late.

So what type of merchandise would you find in a place called The Caspian Gate? Basically, costumes. But not your everyday clown or top hat or cowboy dress-up outfit. Not even a Victorian tea party frock.

No, these costumes are from far and from fanciful places. Bangles for the likes of the belly dancers of Troupe Salamant, for example. Elaborate medieval finery for Renaissance Fairs. Beaded caftans, kimonos and robes from the Far East. That sort of thing. Wonderful, luxurious stuff to look at and wist for. Hand crafted.

Not exactly what you would call walk-in merchandise. Especially for a smallish city in the mountains of Arizona that brags about its rodeo. So the retail tents of The Caspian Gate are folding at the end of the month; just incidentally, there is a discount being offered. But if you don't get a chance to look in at the store before it closes, don't fret -- the Merchants have a presence on the internet.

Yes, I wondered about the background of the name and did consult The Google to find out more. Livius had this to say:

The Caspian Gate is mentioned in several ancient sources as a mountain pass on the road between Rhagae (more or less identical to modern Tehran) and Hecatompylos, the capital of Parthia, south of modern Damghan. The Caspian Gate is almost certainly identical with the pass between modern Eyvanakey and Aradan. The road is very ancient indeed: this is the course of the Silk road. Today, there is a highway that connects Tehran with Mashad. The Caspian Gate was once the border between Media and Parthia. During the war against the Macedonian invader Alexander the Great, the last Achaemenid king Darius III Codomannus selected this place as his final stand (summer 330).

Dressing up in costume can be great fun, tho the more splendid the get-up, usually the heavier it is -- a big consideration at my age! Imagine one's clothing wearing one out. And costumes can be quite pricey, too. My granddaughter's outfit for her ballet debut cost $85, for a one-time use! On the other hand, her mom bought her several secondhand ballet confections for dress-up play on eBay for $10-15.

So... enjoy the costumes; imagine a caravan passing through the actual Caspian Gate as it travels the Silk Road to bring remarkable goods from exotic lands... an on-line merchant with headquarters in Prescott, Arizona, of all places.

Notes: On the subject of faraway places, I found an interesting blog by an American woman in Saudi Arabia, Sand Gets in My Eyes. And I discovered that there's such a thing as an aloe tree, if you can imagine; My Aloe Garden has pictures.
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