Monday, March 31, 2008


It was our first trip on Amtrak, I told the man behind the counter. Was there anything in particular we ought to know?

Well, he said, the Nile is 4184 miles long.

And so began our irreverent sojourn by rail through Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico, ending up in Flagstaff, Arizona, where we left the train to go onward to Phoenix, then turned around nine days later to do the whole thing in reverse.

Commentary will follow in a day or two. For now: a bit of scenery to ease me back into posting.

Colorado, with the Rockies in the background and red dirt throughout:

The Grand Canyon:
Dragonstar and Mom at the Mormon Temple Gardens in Phoenix. Brigham Young vowed to bring flowers to the desert. Here they are.

Below is one of the stone chimneys at Mystery Castle in Phoenix. The builder came to the desert to heal his tuberculosis and built a curious stone home. His daughter now lives there, and offers tours several times a week. Downtown Phoenix is nicely framed when you look through the small arch , center left.

Painted critters on stone surround one of the Mystery Castle's 13 fireplaces. Below that, a stone armadillo comes for lunch.

For those who are wondering, our vacation is the only "vacating" we will be doing this spring. Instead of moving out of our rental house, we made the owner a purchase offer. It was accepted. We close this week. That sound you hear is my family's collective sigh of relief.

Happy Spring.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Well, I guess he meant it this time. My landlord let me know this past week he will be moving into my house, and Dragonstar, the BBPiT and I have to vacate. He's giving us an extra month to pack our stuff and go. Am I feeling good about this? Let's just say I'm working on it.

So we're hunting for a new home, something decent and affordable on the combined income of an artist and a musician. (I heard that.) For some crazy reason the bank has decided I'm a good enough risk, and is willing to loan me a small sum for a mortgage (from the French: death pledge, o my). So we're scouring neighborhoods from east to west, looking for something that will suit both our family and the bank. We shall see.

As luck -- or whatever you want to call it -- would have it, Dragonstar and I are leaving next week on our train trip to Arizona, right in the midst of this housing upheaval. I have to believe it will all play out as it should, and that our ten-day absence will not doom our search. Surely the universe is not so cruel.

It does enjoy a good laugh, tho, doesn't it. Me and my plans.

So if you don't hear from me for awhile, it's because I'm traveling, or moving my family's belongings to better quarters, or pitching a tent somewhere, waiting on a miracle. I'll be back soon. Keep the faith.