Coffee heat rising

ohhhhh-kayyyy…. Trying again…

Wrote a post.

Hit “Publish.”

WordPress disappeared it.

Jeez, thanks, WordPress!


Don’t feel like trying to resurrect it. The afternoon is still light out, but I just wanna go to bed.

Hot. Hotter than the Hubs of Hades. A-a-a-nd…overcast.

Overcast and windy.

Get home from a gallivant around the North Central section of town.

In the human’s absence, Charley has filled most of the day with determined loafing, and has been highly successful at it.  The human comes staggering in around 5 p.m. Secures the busted garage door. Sets out chow for itself and for the dogs. Charley bestirs himself to scarf down the whole dishful and lobby for more.

Good grief. This beast has not budged all day, but still is hungry enough to clean out the fridge.
Meanwhile, outside a fine windstorm is working itself up. A surly overcast is riding in from the north.
Dogs fill themselves up, then lobby to go out. And…here’s the amazing thing:
Charley roams out into the backyard, gazes skyward, and clearly understands that those clouds are bearing down on us. So…he stands there and tries to bark them away!
No kidding. He very obviously is ARFing at them in an attempt to chase them off.
It sounds weird…but not as weird as it looked.
At the human’s behest, we retreat inside the house.
Ohhhhh gawd, it is SOOO hot out there! Wunderground says it’s a mere 105 degrees (ohhh yah? on which mountaintop?), with 10- to 16-mph winds. Patio thermometer says 106…good enuf for gummint work. I guess.
M’hijito is traveling across the country, westward from Pennsylvania, with his old high school buddy.
It’s buddy’s bucket trip.
Yes. Buddy is dying of a cancer commonly brought on by exposure to asbestos. As in the type of asbestos that is used in, say, schools…
They went to the same schools. K-12.
God help them and all the rest of us. At least one of those schools was infested with asbestos and required a major, spectacularly expensive, and alarming clean-up job.
My son has not complained of any symptoms. Yet. But then….he’s not a doctor.
Buddy is an M.D. His wife is a very accomplished and experienced R.N.
And…holeee shee-ut!
Meanwhile, speaking of my son, he reports that they’re in Ogallala, Nebraska. Egad!

Who Was Joe Kelly? Can memories be inherited?

When I was a little kid, I lived about half my life in a fantasy world. Of course, I had to go to school, and so that dragged me out of Never-Never Land for seven  hours a day, maybe nine months a year. But that notwithstanding, about half to three-quarters of my waking hours were spent daydreaming and fantasizing. And no, I didn’t pay a whit of attention in school.

Because…you understand (this is not an exaggeration)…I already knew all that. What I didn’t know, I learned by reading the textbook and doing the homework. All the teachers did, academically, was rehash the information in the texts. Otherwise their job was to babysit, which they did honorably enough. Well. Except for their failure to protect the Weird Little Girl from being tormented by all the other little darlings in the classrooms.


Eventually I grew up and escaped from the mania of loneliness. This happened when we came back to the States. The kids in my new school in San Francisco had no idea I was the Odd Brat Out. They accepted me and were nice to me and made friends with me and never once tormented me with teasing and mocking and ostracizing.

The fantasy worlds in which I lived faded away. The jungle where I was a kind of female Mowgli, surrounded by solicitous large cats and a community of wolves: that went away. The alien worlds I explored in my spaceship: gone. The ancient Egyptian society where I lived as a young slave girl: buried under the pyramids.

Only one of the fantasy worlds persisted.

It was the story of Joe Kelly, an underage criminal who was busted for some vile crime, convicted, and — at the age of about 16 — sent off to San Quentin.

Quite an elaborate tale grew up around Joe, richly populated with characters ranging from prison guards to fellow convicts to the warden and the prison’s pastor. Joe was richly imagined.

I could tell you what he looked like. What he did. What he thought. How he reacted to people around him…on and on. And the world — the story — that grew up around him was also vividly, richly imagined. It was a persistent story, one that did not go away after we got back to America.

And I could tell you about Mac, the big, tough prison guard who took Joe under his wing and did his best to reform the kid.

All very nice…but…


Now, fly through time some six or eight years later. I’ve grown up and gone off to college. My parents have retired to Sun City. My father, not having anticipated a major recession, has gone back to sea to try to rescue his crashed retirement investments.

It’s a holiday break, so I’m home with my mother. And somehow — I don’t recall how — the subject of my father’s upbringing and his parents arises.

He was a change-of-life baby. His father decidedly did not want another kid to raise — so my mother’s story goes — and he asked his pregnant wife to abort the pregnancy.

She refused to do so.

Distraught, he ran off into the boondocks. Some months later he was found dead by the side of a rural Texas road. His death was deemed a suicide by the local hayseed sheriff.


In the course of relating this story, she also tells me that at one point in his life he had been a prison guard.


Now you no doubt know, as I do, how brutal Southern prisons were back in the Day. If he had been a guard in one of those august institutions, he would have made a lot of enemies. And what do you suppose would have happened if one of those fellas had come across him out in the Texas boondocks?

Yeah. Would’ve been easy to shoot him in the head, put the gun in or near his hand, let his horse loose, and take off into the sunset.


Obviously, he could have shot himself in the head. Hard to know, all these years after the fact. Hard to know what some small-town Texas sheriff could have known or figured out.

But the question is…where did the “Joe Kelly” fantasy narrative come from? Why would a little girl develop a story about life in a state prison? A men’s state prison…

Is it possible — even remotely possible — that my grandfather’s memories of his time as a prison guard could have been genetically handed down through my father?


O’course, it’s an unanswerable question. But it’s interesting. Intriguing.

Out and About in Loony-Toonsville

Lordie. Just ONCE for a whole day to go by in quiet, level-headed sanity!!

LOL! Unfortunately, you do not get into a car in these precincts and expect sanity of any kind to ensue. 😀

What a place!

So…the other day we had the excellent Haddox Electric over, doing battle with the latest Adventure in Homeownership. They got everything fixed…took two guys half a day of wrestling with the infrastructure here, so I figured their $400+ bill was fair and gave them a check.

This morning Haddox calls me up and tell me the check has bounced.

What??!? That account has several thousand dollah in it.

Call the credit union; confirm that to be true. The airhead I speak with, however, hasn’t a clue as to why a perfectly valid check would have been bounced.

Call Haddox; arrange for them to charge the bill on a credit card.

Hop in the car; drive to the downtown CU office, which is much less busy than the one on campus and seems to be inhabited by pretty experienced staff.

Traffic: fukkin’ HIDEOUS! Took forever to get down there. About halfway through this be-tangled journey, I realize I should’ve just gone out to the campus branch. The drive is further but the hassle factor is milder.

Belly up to the teller’s counter.

She says nothing was wrong with my check. She says it cleared.

We are mystified by their claim that it flubbed. But she, being a bankin’ type, is suspicious. She says to be careful that it’s not a scam:

a) That the call really did come from the beloved electricians’ office; and
b) What does someone who answers the phone call from me say is going on.

Drive and drive and drive and drive and drive through slums that grow direr as the days pass. Drive through the Old Neighborhood: the beautiful historic Encanto District. Think how much I miss my splendid house there, how much I miss my neighbors. How much I don’t miss the burglars and the wannabe rapists…ohhhh well.

Drive through a couple of neighborhoods where I imagine I might like to buy a house that could get me out of the clutches of Tony the Romanian Landlord.

* Realize there really isn’t another centrally located neighborhood as good as this one; certainly not one I could afford.

* Realize I have to resign myself to a Battle of the Wills with that Romanian bastard. Dayum.

Finally get home.

It’s 109 in the shade of the back porch…and 77 in the “guest room” where Ruby & I have taken refuge.

Every other room in the house is best described as “baking.” Hovering around 90 degrees. The AC is just not up to its job.

Ruby and I have been trying to sleep in the “guest” room. Problem is, a twin bed just doesn’t do the job for a human and a bodacious little dog. We have plenty of room on the queen-size bed in the master bedroom. But it’s hotter than the hubs in there.

How can I count the ways I don’t wanna buy another bed???

And what am I doing to do with the twin bed that’s in there? Which, we might add, was NOT a cheapie.

Well…how obvious is this???  Duh!

I call a couple of movers and have them move the twin bed out of the “guest” bedroom/defunct TV room into the master bedroom, and shift the queen-size bed into the “guest” bedroom.

Et voilà! Problemo solved!

Well. I’ll get on that later….



Flaming Horror in the Pacific

No doubt you’ve been following the scenes of disaster from Maui… How could you miss them? They’re all over the news.

And there but for the Grace of God…and a handy divorce court…go I.

DXH loved to travel. Every vacation, nothing would do but what we had to jump on a plane and fly someplace.

Personally, I was less of an enthusiast, having spent my entire childhood and early teens traipsing around the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. But whatEVER.

We had discovered Maui before my son was born, around the time we made our first trip to the Hawaiian Islands. We stayed in a high-rise condo on the beach, where condo owners (from what I could tell) rented out their apartments to tourists. It was gorgeous. And a lot of fun.

So a few years later…he wants to go back. At this point, our son is about three or four years old. And I’m none too enthused about spending two weeks in a hotel with an energetic kidlet.

Solution: we took my step-niece along to babysit! By that time, my widowed father had remarried, producing a fine stepsister (a Superior Court judge) for me, and she had a teen-aged daughter, very sweet, smart, and responsible.

It appears that our hangout is right where all those fires are raging, or very close too it. We roamed all over Lahaina. If we were there again now (and yea verily, it is August, the month most Phoenicians try to leave town!), we would be in the middle of all that.

Far worse, though, would be to live there. Hundreds and maybe thousands of people apparently have lost their homes and their livelihoods. Even those who have escaped that kind of loss are living through a horror show.

Well, it can only be hoped that somehow this disaster will be brought under control. It certainly is a terrible thing to contemplate, to say nothing of having to live through it.

High as a Kite? Or Crazy as a Loon?

In central Arizona’s lovely August heat, Ruby and I have to get out for the daily doggy-walk right at or even shortly before dawn. This stroll takes us around Upper Richistan, about a mile of shaded walking…two if we elect to walk up toward our friend Marge’s house, visit the cow pasture in those parts, and stroll back to the Funny Farm.

This morning was icky hot and humid, so we limited the day’s hike to the Upper Richistan loop. It’s around 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. by the time we get to those parts.

So we’re strolling along the road when along comes this couple, a youngish man and what appears to be his wife or girlfriend. And the woman…well…she’s clearly stoned out of her mind. She’s already kinda raving on, and when she sees Ruby, she goes BONKERS.

She starts carrying on with ohhhh corgi!!! it’s a CORGI. look at her cute little butt! And then on and on and on about the cute little butt.

We’re not going to get away from this nut case, so I end up deciding to make an about-face and take another route, back into our low-rent precincts of the ‘Hood .


This is Business as Usual in the ‘Hood. The pair probably came from the slum apartments that stand on the far side of Conduit of Blight Blvd. That place, which once meandered pleasantly through a rambling golf course — now a gigantic weed patch — started out as a compound of upper-middle-class rentals. But over the years they’ve gone steadily downhill, and now the golf greens are dead and the apartments are run-down dumps. A resident once shot a cop through the front door of one of those fine dwellings.

Oh well…. Derailed from our usual route through the sylvan glens of Upper Richistan, we head back into our section of the ‘Hood. Up a cross-street to the north of us…hmmmmm….  Some of the houses there are being rebuilt and upgraded. Evidently somebody thinks that, given the central location and the widespread hallucination that there’s something kewl about the lightrail, they can fancify a house and sell it for quite a bit more than it’s worth.

Oh well, indeed.

We circle back into our part of the ‘Hood, over to where the cop lives with his young family, past the home of our eccentric pal who escaped here from the Darkest West Side. And as we walk, we pass by the Old Lady’s House.

Oh, dear.

This woman, a long-time resident of the ‘Hood — quite possibly an original owner! — was widowed and apparently left with exactly nothing. She simply didn’t have the funds to maintain a house, whether or not she owned it free and clear. And one of the things she skimped on to get by was…oh, yes: homeowner’s insurance.

Sooo… When the wild, hurricane-like storms we had a few years ago came through and tore a hole in her roof, she couldn’t afford to get the roof fixed!

This apparently didn’t much matter most of the time: she couldn’t afford air conditioning, either, so it was gonna be hotter than the hubs in there all summer and colder than a bygod all winter. But the big problem was, whenever it rains, water pours into the house like a cascade.

That’s what the wretched woman was having to live in.

Finally, the house was removed from her possession… Unclear whether she died, whether she moved in with someone and just abandoned the place, or whether it was taken for taxes. Most of us think the latter, but who knows? She was moved out of there, and the place stood vacant for awhile.

Now apparently someone has bought it. Whether as an investment or to live in it is unclear. WhatEVER: they just finished installing a whole new roof! And now they’re over there fixing up the walls and presumably repairing and spiffing up throughout.

It’ll be interesting to see whether the present owners move into it, or whether they’ll sell it for a handsome profit.

A place around the corner that was basically rebuilt from a few surviving walls recently sold for something over a million bucks. To give you an idea: my first house in the ‘Hood was a block up the street: I paid $125,000 for it and felt that was too much….  Zillow thinks my present house — same builder, same model, a block & a half further from Conduit of Blight’s noise and crime — is worth $535,000 and change.

Can you imagine?

I sure can’t!!


Whatever you want, whatever you need, whatever you have to do, it HAS to be the hard way!


This morning I wanted to run by the grocery store to pick up an extension cord for the laptop and, while I was at it, replenish the pantry a bit. Visits to two huge supermarkets yielded NO extension cord. But I did find one at the neighborhood Albertson’s, my very least favorite place to shop because of the shady adventures in the parking lot. I head for the check-out with that and a bottle of cheap white…and am told…


No. No, I cannot buy a bottle of wine.

Why? Because it’s Sunday morning. In Arizona, it’s illegal to sell alcoholic beverages of any kind before noon on Sunday. Holy holy holeeeeee….

Shee-ut!!! I’d forgotten about that!

Furious, I walked out and left the other stuff I’d intended to buy — admittedly not much, but if I have to go to some other store or shop at some other time, why should I stand in line at a cash register twice?

Aren’t you happy, don’t you feel privileged to have sanctimonious Kris-tee-anns looking out for your morals?

It’s 11:34 now. In another 20 minutes, I’ll set out for AJ’s, where I’druther fork over my money, if fork over I must. The only reason I didn’t drive down there this morning was that I do not feel like shopping and I just wanted to get the damned errand-running over with.

In another fine snafu, apparently American Express never received this month’s payment. Got a threatening collection letter from them.

Called. They have THE best customer service people! Talked at length with a sweetie-pie who has an exotic accent. Got that straightened out. They’re forgiving the late charge; first thing tomorrow morning I will head over to the credit union and get that bill paid electronically.

I still haven’t seen the bill. Don’t see it anywhere around the Funny Farm. Probably it got delivered to the neighbor who got SDXB’s house when the City bought it and gave to them (yes: FREE!) after the new airport runway displaced them. That address has the same street number, but a one-word difference in the streets’ name — like Neighborhood Lane vs. Neighborhood Road. Stuff is misdelivered all the time. I have to mark on orders from Amazon “ROAD, please, not Lane!” Otherwise, they take stuff to her and I never see it.

Bein’ from a totally different socioeconomic world, she and her family don’t forward misdelivered packages or mail. If it’s mail, they just throw it in the trash. If it’s a package, they apparently keep it for themselves.

Interesting how customs differ, even within a given country.

Welp…in another 20 minutes, God will allow me to buy a bottle of dinner wine. So I might as well get started traipsing down to AJ’s.