Thursday, December 10, 2009

December: Mele Kalikimaka

31 Dec. Thurs - Aloha (good-bye) and Mahalo (thank you) 2009! Many new friendships were birthed and rewarding visits renewed old ones. We give thanks for the beauty of creation and the good health to enjoy it. Aloha 2010!!

Yes, Ron, Hawaiian history
is full of surprises!

Ron Beatty 2009 - Gold Medalist, Hulaman Triathalon

Hawiian gods: Grr, Grrr and GRRRRR!

Gargoyles Come in All Sizes!

Can't someone please pick those coffee beans for a quick injection?

Kaileau Volcano Steam

Hiking Kaileau Volcano Crater Christmas Eve Day

The International Fireplace: Kaileua Restaurant and Lodge

Mele Kalikimaka

29 Dec. Tues - The contract for deed was signed, faxed and escrow completed late in the day. We accomplished a lot today: lots of Sudokus! Ron loves his Christmas gift from Santa: a book of the most challenging Sudokus. Little Carol Ann gave him a Borders Books Store gift certificate.

28 Dec. Mon - We met George, owner of the Kula Kai property at the Kona airport following his flight from Maui; he is a super nice fellow. After breakfast and lots of visiting we drove to the property having lots of time for discussion. On the way home we shook hands and agreed on a price for the land. How fun is this! We are proud owners of a little piece of the Big Island on the south west tip. It is in a pretty unpopulated area - but it is a nice subdivision with good paved streets.

27 Dec. Sun - We drove to Kula Kai to investigate a three acre lot near Oceanview. It does indeed have a nice view of the sea - and it is up high enough that the Tsunamis would not be problematic. The owner is a helicopter mechanic living in Maui.

25 Dec. Fri - Merry ChristmasThe promised breakfast feast was a major disappointment to two HUNGRY Smooches. Little on the breakfast menu was on our diet and la chef was too busy to do special treatment, albeit she did scramble egg whites ... but no veggies, sour dough bread or rice. YUK! Post eating (or not eating) we found it fascinating to study the International fireplace created in 1938 by the YMCA; it was fabricated with rocks, coins and artifacts from such unlikely places as the floor of the Sea of Galilee, the Acropolis, coins from the Roman empire, etc. The letters that accompanied the artifacts were copied and bound for reading pleasure in front of the glowing embers. Moving on - we hiked the undeveloped part of the Thurston lava tube; it was so dark when we turned off the flashlight we could not see the shadow of our hands. Smooch Smooch spooked and wanted to return about 3.4 of the way into that tube. We drove down Crater Chain Road to the sea before leaving Volcano National Park to the end of HWY 130 to see molten lava flow pouring out into the ocean sending billowing towers of steam into the air. Walking on the lava path required dexterity - but we were smart enough to leave before total darkness. Good job!

24 Dec. Thurs: The Smooch Smooches packed up for a two day Christmas adventure: hiking the volcano crater today and tomorrow. This is a link to Kaileau crater: Let's hope there are no eruptions. The hike to through the Kaileua crater was fascinating - about four miles RT. We made it back in time for dinner at the Kaileua Restaurant which is beautifully decorated for Christmas. After dinner we attended an inspirational Candlelight Christmas Eve Service of Carols and Scripture in the chapel of the Kaleaua military base.

20 Dec- Sun: This morning it poured, and it brought welcome relief from the smell of smoke. Lets hope it also extinguished the forest fire above us that has been burning for three days now. The rain built from drizzle at Bongo Ben's during breakfast into a blinding downpour while driving to the condo and maxed out with terrific thunder claps once we were safely inside. Wowie, zowie, ain't Mother Nature grand? Smooch Smooch is chilly and huddles under a blanket. Weather on the web showed an intense downpour over the volcano tapering to showers where we are south of Kailua-Kona and it snowed on Mauna Loa. Let's hope Pele is not angered. By mid-afternoon it cleared, the winds died, and a Vog-less sunset promises to be spectacular. Our stay here on the "Big Island" has been marvellously educational - we don't want to live here. Next time we will look for a rental near Waimea, near the town of Volcano (yes, really), or north of Hilo along the seashore. We like Kauai but it rains too much for the outdoors activities we enjoy. Oahu is too congested. We haven't tried Maui, but it is reputedly the most expensive.

We have again had a productive afternoon. Cynthia has a couple of e-mails ready to send to 675 of our closest genealogy cousins. Ron has uploaded another dozen pages to fix broken links on his web sites.

19 Dec - Sat: We heard an amusing story from the clerk in Barnes and Noble about vacation.
She told her kids they were going on vacation.
The little ones excitedly exclaimed, "Where??"
"Hawaii!" she responded.
With fallen faces the children chorused, "But we LIVE in Hawaii!"
"Well," she said, "We are going to see Hawaii like the tourists."
They stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, and the children enjoyed a marvelous vacation including boats, waterslides, and dolphins.

Hawaiian history is fascinating; King Kamehamaha, upon meeting the first missionaries, said he could accept their religion. He had never done anything he thought was wrong. He had sacrificed tens of thousands of people. He had invited his arch-rival to a temple dedication with the intention of sacrificing him. Our previous visit to Bishop Museum on Oahu had revealed a surprisingly advanced socio-economic culture.

18 Dec- Fri: About three-thirty this morning acrid smoke from a forest fire in the mountains above us disturbed our sleep. At first we wondered if the heavy smoke was from the Mauna Kea volcano which spews a plume of sulphuric gases all the time. The trade winds blow those gases around Mauna Loa and then north. Vog is what the natives call this volcanic haze. To escape the smoke we drove into Kailua for breakfast and saw a large mountain goat on a bluff overlooking the road, but we were disappointed to learn that our favorite waiter lost his job at Bongo Ben's. We took one of the roads less traveled north
from Kailua-Kona to Waimea (Hwy 190). We had lunch at 4 minutes to 4! Our Hawaii Revealed guide book gives rave review of Daniel Thiebaut's restaurant, but our experience contradicts theirs. The strawberry salad was nice, but the portions were miniscule, and the service was definitely inferior.

The day was lovely, pleasant and relaxing. We continued further north on another less traveled road (
Highway 250) to the shore. This was a pleasantly deserted but narrow pathway that snaked uphill and provided interesting new landscapes. Soft & intermittent rain enhanced the peaceful day. Promised views of Maui from Hawi Town were hidden by overcast skies and fog. Continuing on highway 250 south along the much drier west coast was a treat with the sun dropping through clear skies towards the ocean. We passed the Blue Dragon restaurant at ?? town, but we were just too full and sleepy to think about dinner at this recommended place. The brilliant red sun flirted with the clouds finally bursting through like the drama queen that she is. Oh boy did we shop earlier today: oh my, oh my! Christmas lights and a white miniature tree with fiberoptic twigs that change colors from Target and hiking poles (on the cheap) and a nifty fanny pack with two water bottles from Walmart. We are proud new members of the Costco family; but will we recoup the $114.00 membership credit card fees? Probably not. We did buy wine, vitamins, protein powder, Christmas cards, and gas from Costco. How fun is this: sipping wine on the lanai, basking in the joy of the season, and enjoying lights all a glow and tree all a twinkle! So ends another perfect day.

17 Dec - Thurs: After hoofing it to Aloha restaurant for breakfast we worked on addresses all day and forgot about dinner. Ron's personal address book contains 350 names so far; there is yet another large box on the mainland with a gazillion more names to enter into the Excel spreadsheet. The Rambo correspondents total 675. The good news for the day: the fourth volume is ready to send to the publisher. The fifth and last volume WILL BE READY before we leave here... mebbe so an mebbe not???

16 Dec - Wed: The hike to Aloha restaurant for breakfast grows increasingly fun since the purchase of a four dollar machete to trim low-hanging branches en route. A car honked this AM but we don't know if the driver was trying to pick up Ron or perturbed that he was trimming the branches. Oh well. Our fun realtor, Cheryl, picked us up at one PM to view condos for sale. There are lots of short sales and foreclosures. Hawaii would be a good place to invest since we enjoy our time here so much.

15 Dec -Tues: With lots of shopping to do we drove into Kailua for breakfast at Bongo Ben's; the day was gorgeous; we walked for three hours before shopping until dinner at Jackie Rey's.

14 Dec - Mon: The Coffee Shack is a great alternative site for breakfast at lunch time. For two hours we walked through the artifacts at the Refuge Museum and along the beach followed by dinner at Keei's.

13 Dec - Sun: The great adventure of the day was circle driving the island with stops at the black sand beach and a late lunch at the Volcano Lodge and Restaurant. It is reputedly the best restaurant on the island. That being the case, we made reservations to spend Christmas Eve. We can hike the volcano crater floor on the 24th and the 25th - have dinner on Christmas Eve early and make the candlelight Christmas Eve outdoor service at the military base. They have a special Christmas morning brunch, too.

12 Dec - Sat: Work, Work, Work, hardly working!

9 Dec - Wed: A delightful realtor named Cheryl showed us local property for sale.

8 Dec - Tues: The internet is up and running and editing continues! We enjoyed a great dinner at Keei's about two miles south of our condo.

7 Dec - Mon: we worked in the AM, breakfasted at the Coffee Shack and hiked the Sacred Refuge Wilderness for three hours making the mistake of not carrying water. The hike was listed as two miles; that is a pizza cake in an hour but the boundaries are not marked and our hike took us far beyond the line causing dehydration. Hungry and thirsty we ordered two glasses of wine, drank four glasses of water AND and a diet coke at the Coffee Shack. Herbert joined us for dinner at HIS favorite restaurant, Jackie Rey's, where we had an educational evening learning about raising coffee. His coffee farm markets world wide. Didja know 100% Kona Coffee sells for $55.00 a pound? Ouch!

5 Dec - Sat: We did sleep and sleep and sleep late. It was off to Bongo Ben's for breakfast followed by a hike along the shore line for a couple of hours. Dinner was at the Kona Inn providing table side awesome views of a magnificent sunset. Our favorite waiter is Herbert who says he owns a coffee farm and only works for fun. After dinner we strolled along the beach wall watching the breakers hit the rocks.

4 Dec - Fri: The condo was hot late afternoon; the high elevation and evening breezes bring refreshing cooler temperatures. The view is awesome when there is not a haze. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Kona Inn.

3 Dec. Thurs - Dale is weller than well and back at the omelet station. He had a virus. Whew! It wasn't a frustrated wife! Mahalo Jon, Dale, Paul G. and Aloha to Waikiki. Our 3: 40 PM flight was cancelled but re-secheduled for a later departure at five-thirty; all went well except for a rocky landing. Budget Car rental managed to hang onto our car reservation so we had wheels and enjoyed the friendly agent. After stops at Safeway, Wal-Mart and the Health Food store we were vitaminified, supplified and finally foodified following a happy chance late night restaurant. The GPS was a good purchase at $148.00 in Wal-Mart.

2 Dec. Wed - W e are finally rested after nights of being up too late and too many early morning editing sessions. Paul G. joined us for a tour of the west side of Oahu to to the north beaches. It was fascinating and heart rending to see miles of homeless living on the beaches in tents. The beaches are far superior to Waikiki so I guess if one is going to be homeless this is the place to have that happen. The surf was higher today than yesterday; we watched a little girl about four with a boogie board diving into the surf and rolling in the waves as they catapaulted her back to shore. There were lots of cute big girlies to watch, too. We had dinner at Don Ho's Restaurant in the old Honolulu shipyards now turned into a mall. The food was bad but the view from the second floor was awesome.

1 Dec. Tues - We are catching up from sleep deprivation by sleeping until 8:30 AM; with renewed energy we hiked to the Hyatt. Dale was ill. He said his wife runs the household with an iron fist. Could she have been upset he was late picking her up yesterday??? We missed Dale at the omelet stand but Emily's smile is very appealing, too. After a rough start at the first rental car dealer's (cars were junk) - we did find one across the street and headed east up to the north shore to watch surfers and tour the Temple of the Gods; Smooch Smooch took lots of pictures of the black swans and birds.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Giving Thanks: November

30 Nov. Mon - Dale (Hyatt's famous omelet chef) had breakfast with us at the IHOP! Imagine: he has always wanted to eat at that chain. He liked it! Dale and Ron spent an enjoyable day touring the island; a highlight of the tour was the Bishop's Palace. He is a most delightful fellow. Mahalo Dale! Smooch Smooch worked planning the next trip.

29 Nov. Sun - We slept and slept and slept some more.Well! The condo was cold at four AM. The Smooch Smooch calls this the perfect Gold-digger repellent. Actually this is what St. Nicholas looks like on his day off.

Mending my own business!

28 Nov: Pearl Harbor Visit was memorable; the girls were mighty somber. No time for lunch - they hit the beach. We had a yucky dinner at the Wailea Cafe. Double yuk! The girls departed for Texas A&M by seven PM. We crashed.

27 Nov.- Exhausted Ron! Woke up at 12: 30 and began edits. We had a short flight to Waikiki Beach; the girls didn't skip a beat before they donned bikinis and hit the beach. Paul G. joined us at Duke's on Waikiki for lunch. They make a great ice cream pie. Alas and Alack, poor I - could not eat a bite; but the girls ate the whole pie. Smooch Smooch and Paul G. were not to be outdone: they scarfed down one of those monsters too. CAN YOU IMAGINE ANYONE EATING THAT MUCH ICE CREAM??? In the evening we enjoyed a luau at the Hilton with the Rockin' Hulas and a later dinner at Bali By the Sea. Not to be outdone - they serve a smoking volcano made out of rich dark chocolate.

26 Nov. Thurs: Happy Thanksgiving! Thank God for Smooch Smooch; Thank God for whatever still works; Thank God Thank God! The girls enjoyed the beach, watching the dolphins and eating a LOT of desserts. The joy of the day was diminished upon learning of the death of Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig - an invaluable friend and mentor. Thanks God for Peter Craig! Dinner at the Hilton Waikoloa was a feast indeed. We celebrated Christmas, too, with early an early Christmas gift of a red shirt and bathing suit. Mahalo, girls and Jon.

25 Nov: Wed: Breakfast at Bongo Ben's in Kona was a delight followed by stops at Safeway, Wal-Mart to buy fleurs, leis, stuffs and several cycle rental shops to price a bike. By 12:30 we were at the Kona Airport to welcome Smooch Smooch's son, granddaughter and great niece. The girls (sophomores at (TX A&M) hit the sand as soon as they shed their clothes for bikinis. In the evening we had dinner at the Kamuela Provision Company on the Lanai to watch the sunset and the native Hawaiian light the torches at the sound of the horn. Lauren ate a twenty ounce steak... only a 19 year olds metabolism could handle a twenty ounce steak...! We had a very good time!

24 Nov: Tues: The early morning drive up the north Kohala Coast held spectacular views of the Pacific sprawling on to forever to take our breath away. But the road nto Puaku was proved fruitless in the search for a recommended restaurant - albeit the small village of charming houses dotting the roadside with huge flowering shrubs was mighty nice. Driving further inland the rolling landscape inland is brown in comparison to black lava rock further south near the Hilton Waikoloa Village and King's Land. We turned eastward towards Waimea and the vibrant green of the agricultural area was a surprise; this is the home of large ranches like the famous Parker Ranch; in Waimea we did indeed discover the "Hawaiian Style Cafe" and enjoyed the humoungous portions described: pancakes and omelets the size of a dinner plate. The people from Minnesota sitting at a nearby table left mounds of bacon, pancakes and eggs half eaten. Our two hour walk following breakfast included grocery shopping and the Keck Observatory. Fascinating to learn about "newborn" stars like the LKHA - 101. And oh... how we did work today. The indexing is almost finished! ohboy ohboy ohboy! Tomorrow Smooch Smooch's son, granddaughter and great niece arrive for Thanksgiving.

23 Nov. Mon. We agreed to work following the Hilton Waikoloa Village brunch but found ourselves on the highways and by-ways late afternoon because we learned about a condo vacation rental with a very inexpensive rate and a panoramic view of the ocean. The owner works for the postal system - and travels to the mainland to visit family every summer and holiday season - at one third the cost of the resorts. Jane's recommendation of the Kona Inn was indeed a good one. We especially enjoyed Herbert, our very friendly waiter, and a cute little fella about 7 months old who wailed loudly to inform everyone of his distress: he wanted to leave and right now!

22 Nov. Sun: Gorgeous sunrise - heavenly sunset. In the meantime and in-between time the day was spent scrounging for food. We drove to the Fairmont Orchid for Sunday brunch and enjoyed lounging on the beach for awhile before returning to the hotel to take a nap because one of us got up at three-thirty AM to work. At one PM we met with two sales personnel (Johnson and Nicholas) re: the timeshare to ask questions about protocol for getting the units we wanted at the points we wanted to pay. It turned into a sales pitch to get us to buy an EVENT week without really giving us the information we needed... but it was helpful: we know we do not want to buy additional timeshares or weeks or listen to sales pitches. Just too complicated for our commitment to a flexible lifestyle. How do we know where we want to be nine months out? But we did get some idea of what to do for now: phone and do not try to do this online.

When we walked into the lobby we were delighted to see Wendy - the charming admissions desk clerk at the Hilton who smiled brightly when she spotted us. She gave us a great deal on nightly stays. Lunch at Merriman's Cafe was not nearly as good as their evening meals. And we were in bed sleeping right after sunset.

21 Nov. Sat: Hilton "Kings Land" at Waikoloa, a timeshare resort on the Kohala Coast, had not yet been constructed at the time of our purchase -we got a good price - for prime season occupancy. Prime time is now here - the resort is built with a good view of the golf course and great accomodations - except for the heat in the room last night. At two AM we awoke and phoned the front desk to complain because the auto set thermostat was on 68 with a room temp of 72-75. Groggy and out of sorts we complained; this morning they moved us without hesitation to a new unit immediately. Now to complete projects we started at two AM. She finished writing her Christmas and Class newsletters. He is editing - looking like a silly goof in a stocking cap with a jacket around his neck. The last two books have been ordered with hopes of having the submissions very very soon on this very very quiet day.

20 Nov. Fri: Here we go again... at nine-thirty AM we were on the shuttle to the airport for the flight to the Big Island. Security was hectic but the flight was good. After picking up the rental car we drove to Wal-Mart, Safeway and stopped for for lunch at Don the Beachcomber's (don't: bad service and food). We made up for the bad food with a great dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse (eating fish!).

19 Nov. Thurs: Waikiki Beach following breakfast at the Hyatt. The Doubletree's breakfast is not on our diets. We had lunch on the beach with Paul G. , a skilled stock market analyst, picking his brains about investing - and decided against dinner out. The sunset was pretty wonderful.

18 Nov. Wed. The Aloha greeting from Dale, our favorite omelet chef, was worth the flight to Hawaii. He greeted us royally with open arms following a five AM walk to the Hyatt for breakfast. We strolled the beach and then met Paul G. for lunch at Duke's again. Fabulous salad bar!

,17 Nov. Tues: Zooma Zooma! Great flight to Honolulu - Business First for TEN DOLLARS apiece... thanks to Continental Airlines One Pass Rewards. Twelve out of the first fourteen nights are free thanks to Hilton Honors Points and Priority Club Points. We are staying at the Doubletree Waikiki - which is not a fabulous hotel but heck... it is free! And how fun to have dinner at Duke's on the beach with longtime friend Paul G. from days of working at SUI Edwardsville.

Sunset on Waikiki

10 Nov. Tues: Denton, Texas - at the home of 93 year old cousin Dorothy Bertine - one of Texas' leading watercolorists... who fed us fine food and filled our hearts and minds with art and lively conversation.

7 Nov. Sat: The trailer is loaded and we are departing Marathon after a lovely visit with Kate and Clyde - owners of Eve's Garden, a PaperCrete B and B that is simply marvelous. See photos below:

Ron Crossing a Creek that Feeds into the Rio Grande

6 Nov. Fri: Rio Grande - Mexico on the left and the US on the right. We hiked the canyon after wading across the river at muddy points.

Big Bend and Smooch Smooch

5 Nov. Thurs: The bike was unloaded for a lovely drive to Alpine and onto Marfa. We stopped at the Marfa Bookstore and climbed the endless staircase to the tower of the courthouse to enjoy the views. Tomorrow we will head to Big Bend to tour. View of Marfa From Courthouse Tower

4 Nov. Wed: The drive to Marathon, Tx was uneventful except for seeing a large jet in the middle of a field as soon as we turned south towards the McDonald Observatory on 118. Now what was that jet doing in the middle of a field on a narrow dirt road? After a quick stop at the observatory we arrived in Alpine, Texas in search of food and found La Trattoria - a nice Italian restaurant. Six very large deer were on the road from Alpine to Marathon. We are stayiing at Eve's Garden a unique papercrete B and B. Pictures to follow. Glorious sunsets.

3 Nov. Tues: Las Cruces, NM - We were disappointed to learn that former boss Chief Justice H. Vern Payne of the Supreme Court of New Mexico is in ABQ and not here. But a phone call to his law office was fruitful - and we enjoyed a very long conversation. Justice Payne is a very remarkable man.

We hustled off after lunch to Benson, AZ and dropped the trailer at the Holiday Inn Express (a super nice hotel...) and rushed down to Hereford, AZ for a two hour visit with Cousin Jim and wife Diane. Jim, Kay and Ron were born the same year... Rambo cousins who enjoyed lots of summer play time at Grandma's house.

2 Nov. Mon: Breakfast with Cousin Kay at the Hilton Point in Tyme was so delightful it did not end until lunch time when she had to rush off to a crochet class - a crochet class for an investment broker!!!

1 Nov. Sun: Set out from Sedona for Scottsdale and another lovely visit with cousins Jewel and Kenneth (95 and 96 young uns).

Monday, October 5, 2009

October in Sedona

31 Oct-Sat: The End of the Trail! We leave Sedona tomorrow morning: the bibliographies are completed - one is inserted into its book and the other will be soon; indexing may be completed during the next two weeks of travel. The financial spreadsheet is up to date with asset allocations rebalanced. Four large address files are updated and moved into one HUGE Excel spreadsheet (not counting the 675 names and addresses of Rambo correspondents in yet another spreadsheet). A large envelope of loose addresses is now gathered from many, many crevices and corners to enter into Excel while traveling.

We hiked for an hour plus in temperatures that reached almost 80 degrees after eating lunch at Old Sedona Bar and Grill where the waitresses made us promise to return to Sedona (we will - next October). And we packed big time before having champagne on the patio watching the glorious sunset. A beard and hair cut was the only disturbance on the horizon. By the time we had dinner at Shugrue's we were exhausted but congratulating ourselves for accomplishing most of our goals this month: have fun and laugh a lot!

30 Oct-Fri: Sedona Sunset Last Night - Temp this AM was 37 degrees. Filled with zeal and enthusiasm we hiked to the end of Boynton Canyon Trail and back - about three hours for the five mile trip with steep ascent the last twenty minutes. The view from the top of the canyon was spectacular but we could not tarry long because evening promised to darken our path at five-thirty. We just made it back in time. Enchantment Fine Dining allowed us to be seated in our hiking clothes instead of a shirt with a collar.

Red Rock View From Our Patio

Smooch Amongst Fleurs (Yellow Rose Petals - and Other Bouquets Bought for Many Romantic Points (62 years it took to learn this!!!!!)

29 Oct- Thurs: More cold weather but we hiked about an hour. Work for today is compiling addresses into two lists. The correspondent list for Rambo books alone tops 675 people. Personal address books (and piles of little pieces of paper with names and addresses) are going into one other combined book that should contain about three hundred names. A test mailing will be sent to inform everyone that the aol address no longer works. Send email to Another email will be sent with links for the completed Rambo books and updated websites. Yet another mailing will be to save the date of 12 May 2011 - for our wedding at Gloria Dei (Old Swedes Church) in downtown Philadelphia and to let us know if you plan to attend. After finishing work we headed to Shagrue's for dinner.

The evening sunset was glorious - brilliant reds, glowing pinks, purples highlighting the sky for an hour or more. We endured the chilly temperatures to have dinner on the patio for the views. The serving staff deserved generous tips for their willingness to wait on us outdoors. It was chilly but well worth the exposure.

28 Oct-Wed: BRRRR! The morning temperature was 37 degrees - too cold for hiking or biking. We spent the day working inside and... ahem - someone ate a half gallon of Blue Bell Mocha Almond Fudge. Once in a while the stringent diet has to go down the wadi with the wind.

27 Oct- Tues: After enjoying our favorite egg white omelets we headed to Boynton Canyon to meet Fall; hiking about four miles RT - three hours - we were simply amazed at the magnificent fall foliage - so incredible we can only echo, "Praise God." The photos help - but like words - they cannot really convey the wonder of the woods in brilliant color. There were a lot of super nice people on today's hike - each one nicer than the last. A little fawn crossed the Arroyo - no sign of mama. After a lovely lunch at the Old Sedona Bar and Grill Smooch Smooch forced slave labor to get the last two books to the printer by Sunday. Woe is I! The afternoon turned dark and cloudy while the sunlit just the mountains. Gorgeous view from the windows of the house ...
if we hurry we can make it to the Hilton for dinner to view the spectacular sights underneath a canopy.

26 Oct-Mon: After a #67 and #91 at the Coffee Cup we hiked the Boynton Canyon Trail for two hours and worked the remainder of the day until dinner at the Hilton. The sunset was glorious - including the stars so bright we had to stop twice to watch them twinkle.

25 Oct- Sun: We hiked the Airport Trail without a camera and had lunch at the Old Sedona Bar and Grill before Jon left to return to Texas.

24 Oct-Sat: Jon, Smooch Smooch and Ron ready to roll over Sedona by air. Jon enjoyed a great breakfast at the Coffee Pot first; after the air tour we hiked Boynton Canyon Trail for two hours and spent the afternoon viewing Sedona by car. Dinner was at Enchantment with a lovely sunset to keep us happy. We saw a coyote cross the road while driving ... lots of deer.

23 Oct - Fri: One and one half pages of reference notes to edit left in the fifth and final volume. At that point the index goes into those last two volumes and they get sent to the printer to create the galley proofs. ohboyohboyohboy! And AuthorHOUSE is finally re-cutting two royalty checks that had languished beyond ninety days allowed for deposit. More ohboys. We spent the afternoon in Jerome with an early dinner at the Asylum Restaurant watching the sun light striking the red rocks. Left photo was taken on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Arne's response read: Soooo two are "morphing" into one beautiful sphere of bliss!
Thank you...there IS hope in this world and it's gliding down the Colorado River."

22 Oct - Thurs: We hiked Boynton Pass in the AM - worked in the afternoon while Smooch Smooch had a girls day at the nail salon and enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Old Sedona Bar and Grill.

21 Oct- Wed: We met Cousin Kay and her husband Tom at the Point in Thyme for breakfast and a great time conversing and planning a reunion in Keosauqua for next Fourth of July.
Actually we enjoyed our time with them so much we did not get started east bound for the Salt River Canyon until lunch time so we had to buy food to eat en route. The drive on 88 E - and then the Apache Trail (which is a 22 mile dirt road) onto Apache Lake and Roosevelt Dam was spectacular. The dirt road was so slow going we turned towards to AZ 260 - into Cottonwood and then north on 89 A arriving home about nine thirty PM TIRED.

In case anyone wonders ... the Angel Resort (of now Sweat Lodge deaths fame) is only two miles from the house we have rented. Three people have died - 21 taken to the hospital out of 50-60 crammed into a low roofed lodge after detox - then a long fast - and finally crowded into the sweat lodge.

20 Oct- Tues: We were both awake by four AM and ready to work before we departed for Phoenix about lunch time. We did have time for an hour and thirty minute hike on Boynton Canyon Pass. By the time we checked into the Fairmont Hotel in Scottsdale and fed Smooch Smooch cousins Kenneth and Jewel had already made plans for dinner; we waited at an Italian restaurant for them to return from dinner at 6:30 PM. Smooch Smooch was very concerned because the concert tickets said starting time was 7 PM. (She has never attended a Rock Concert in her life - and had NO IDEA - that they don't really get started until about nine PM. But concert or not - the visit with Kenneth and Jewel was a must. He is 95 and she is 96 - retired school teachers - true treasures. He has macular degeneration and she has had five strokes but it is not apparent. After a most enjoyable visit we left Scottsdale for the U of Phoenix and the U2 Concert arriving at nine PM - about two minutes after they began to play. None of the songs were familiar; but they played good music (a little strong on the metal). One of the fellows in front of us was having a very good time (if he can only remember it!). He had waaaayyyy too much to drink and had to be supported by his friends. It was a good concert - enjoyed by Smooch. It took awhile to find our car when we got out of the concert (and we had only ONE glass of wine hours earlier).

19 Oct- Mon: After a thirty minute hike near the airport - we flew Sky Trek Tours to the Grand Canyon Hualapi Indian Reservation - then by helicopter down to the Colorado River in the floor of the west section of the canyon - onto a pontoon that took us up the river. Following the helicopter return we were taken by bus to the Hualapi Indian encampment for lunch overlooking the rim. Food was not good but the view was awesome.

18 Oct-Sun: It was an unusually quiet day with work scheduled after a morning hike near the airport. We had dinner at Enchantment Resort - great choice.

17 Oct-Sat: Fall in Sedona is a splash of green turning gold with some splotches of red changing daily. Fall should arrive fully this week. We were surprised to discover fallen gold leaves in abundance at Flagstaff two days ago - the color came and went from just one week ago when we drove through Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon and did not meet fall. Tourism is high for the peak fall colors. There is a Porsche convention in town, too, filling two hotels. One of the Porsche owners described owning a Porsche as a motorcycle on four wheels.

Work has commenced on the fifth and final bibliography with less than fifteen pages of footnotes to complete. Excitement is high for that conclusion. Dinner at Shugrue's Restaurant outdoor deck was excellent. They have good seafood choices and the views are magnificent.

16 Oct. Fri: A good breakfast at 101 Omelet was a treat before a second trip to the Grand Canyon on the bike. Smooch Smooch loves her body armor and helmet: thanks Walt and Pam once again - good advice. The roads along the south rim are appalling. They have been "improved" removing many of the great overlooks; this was done to keep the road free of autos and bikes for paid tours? We traveled the south rim on the bike but it was disappointing not to have access to the overlooks more often. The little canyon road is now blocked off for all but walking traffic - which we did: we hiked to the sheer cliff and back not seeing any other hikers. In Flagstaff, the Taverna Greek restaurant is a great choice - although it is good to know that when the maitre d' tells you sit at the "Bar" it means sit only at the "round thing" where liquor is served. Smooch Smooch was told we could sit in the BAR for food because there was a thirty minute wait. She sat down at a long table in the same room as the BAR where liquor is served - only to be asked to move because the table was reserved. "But, but... she sputtered... isn't this ROOM the BAR?" We moved to THE BAR where liquor is served and we did get to eat good food, too. The Greek soup is made with a lemon base, rice and chicken. YUM.

15 Oct. Thurs: Breakfast at Enchantment on the patio proved to be warm - but the views are wonderful as was the food. We hiked for an hour - beautiful place - before we rode the bike to Jerome up the winding switchbacks with more glorious vistas. If you go to Jerome (a repopulated ghost town) you will find many working artists in studios like the old Jerome High School.. A must vist is the Jerome Grand Hotel outfitted to the ultimate as a ghost and goblin mecca. Check under the radiators for bodies. The spinach salad is terrific - with sonoran chicken. You will enjoy the views from the dining patio and the friendly, courteous staff in the Asylum Restaurant as well as the owners in the hotel lobby. VERY NICE. Even though we are not guests they let us print out our tickets for the U2 Concert on their computer without a charge.

they work! A couple of years ago upon reading some science fiction - the author said, "Ok, we have had fun and now let's be serious. Affirmations work." Life was happy; what more could it be? Yet it seemed that it would be nice to have a stronger belief in God. After being a Methodist and later a well-drenched Baptist turned agnostic it was problematic to say who,what,why, God is - (it is not my job )- only that it would be good to have a stronger belief in God. I realized that no matter what one believes (who why what God is) - what God is asking of each one of us -is to give Him thanks. Who cannot be thankful for waking up each morning and for whatever still works? Who cannot be thankful for the beauty of creation? Faithfully for a year I wrote the affirmation, "I believe in God to my great benefit." And what greater blessing should appear but a greater belief in God and Smooch Smooch?

Continuing to write that affirmation again this past year (and thanking God daily for Smooch Smooch) brought about the recognition that the affirmation should now change. This is my new affirmation (after much refining): "I love God for the benefit of all." This includes my personal benefit and also for Smooch Smooch - plus everyone else around me. Life is indeed good. This is an amazing affirmation.

Another Grand Canyon view from the South Rim

Photo left of Ron in the Grand Canyon smiling OH SO GRANDLY...

13 Oct - Tues: Smooch Smooch went house hunting in Sedona yesterday; she loves red rocks. We worked - and hardly worked and worked hard hardly working some more today. The bibliography for Vol. 4 is completed and ready for the index insertion; now to start the bibliography on Vol. 5 - hopefully we will have the last two volumes finished this winter.
Oh. We had some excitement... a bad smell was permeating the master bathroom and dressing area... Smooch Smooch declared, "Smells like a dead mouse." The realtor called the Rodent Patrol who - (after investigating on the roof of the house) announced, "Smells like a dead mouse" and he departed. DUH!
Photo of Nina's visit to Sedona - taken in the State Park. "YIPPEE!" was her response when we asked if a book of her poetry and artwork could be commissioned in honor of our forthcoming wedding 12 May 2011. Check out Nina's website:

A Side View of Our House in Sedona, AZ

11 Oct-Sun: Sedona is beautiful: red rock mountains majestically enthroned against a bright blue sky - bits of fluffy white clouds dance just beyond the mountain tops as the wind blows the variegated greens in contrast to the Red Rocks in the State Park below the patio on our house (left).

We will miss you Nina (who left this morning to return home to Santa Fe) after yet another great breakfast at the Omelet Cafe. But good byes have benefits: hugs from beautiful girlies! Nina wrote the following poem for us a few weeks ago:

I thank you again for the beauty of your love and the generosity that flows from it. You are fast in my heart -- sudden, sweet, a breath and deep -- a prism of angels. Be well and safe on this next facet of your journey together. Take this little memory of last evening with you -- what I saw and what I felt -- it purity and its attractive light. As ever, Nina.

Unto her –
his eyes –
If water
was a flame –
lift and chase
the sparkle
in her veins –
Not a rock
is he –
Or a stone –
But a canyon
with a thousand
depths –
The red core’s
heart –
The lips
that taste
the marrow
in her bones.

(and we thank you Nina!)

A pit stop at Basha's produced three more half gallons of ice cream: Blackberry Cobbler and Strawberries with Vanilla... and Southern Hospitality. Yummy! One half of the ice cream is now in the freezer. And the other half???? Look closely at the bulging tummy slid up to the table.

10 Oct-Sat: A late night means we slept late. It is a gorgeous day - 70 degrees. We hiked for two hours in the Red Rock State Park and saw some spectacular views before going to dinner at Enchantment with Nina. We saw a deer en route - and drove back towards Sedona just to try to catch the first rays of the sunset from a lower elevation but the sun was behind the clouds. Once we were seated on the patio at Enchantment (a high elevation) The sunset was magnificent... brilliant light illuminating the red rocks and turning the clouds all shades of pinks and reds. Later, The night sky was bright with stars and the stargazing telescopes were set up once again. Oh... a funny note: Two guys dressed in white tie and tuxedos arrived on motorcycles who said they are part of a trio of musicians - and to watch for the drummer to arrive on his motorcycle. When Ron went into the restroom he saw a guy dressed similarly and asked him if he was the drummer... and he was indeed.

9 Oct. Fri: We followed a great breakfast at 101 Omelette... with a hike at the Sliding Rock State Park and a late lunch at the Old Sedona Bar and Grill - just in time for Smooch Smooch to get their nails done and RACE home to clean up for dinner at Enchantment. The wait staff is quite good and make the meal very special. We saw several deer. The stars are really bright. Nina is missing her glasses!

8 Oct. Thurs: We arose early for a drive to the south rim of the Grand Canyon --- a 2.5 hour trip that was pleasant and scenic up to 8000 foot elevation and down again to the 7000 foot elevation to see the glorious canyon and be somewhat dismayed that it has become so developed. The shuttle was fine - but hiking along the rim was really good until getting back on the shuttle for the sunset ride that we could not see through dirty shuttle windows. We saw a moose and some deer as we left the area. Dinner was at a Greek restaurant highly recommended to us: Taverna on Woodlands Valley Road. It was OK.

7 Oct. Wed: A Praying Mantis visited the east window of the house this morning. We both woke early for project work - 30 per cent rain forecast but the sun is shining brightly - and decided to take a driving tour to show Nina the country side after an hour hike and tour of some of the Sedona galleries. The drive through winding switchbacks up to Jerome was wonderful. Lunch at the Grand Hotel was fun; it is decorated "Ghost Town" for Halloween. Blue Bell Ice Cream is on sale two for seven dollars. Now that is the perfect reason to break the diet for three or four days, right????????? Chocolate Chip and Blackberry Cobbler. Oh. Southern Hospitality, too!

6 Oct: Tues: Nina joined us for white egg omelets at 101 Omelets before we hiked for an hour Old Sedona. Nina visited galleries and a cute shoe shop encouraging Smooch Smooch to be CERTAIN to go shopping. We had a nice experience at the Sedona Art Center and a watercolor exhibit before we met for lunch at the Old Sedona Bar and Grill.

5 Oct- Mon: The hotel Sedona Rouge offers a nice white egg omelet. And for those who might want to know the diet for reversing coronary artery disease - it is simple: 20 fat grams a day meaning protein comes from fish, chicken or turkey. No white flour, sugar or animal products like cheese or butter. Add 1 tablespoon of essential oils per day: avacado, walnut oil, or extra virgin cold pressed olive oil or nuts. Sourdough bread is a good choice.

Smooch Smooch had errands to run - Ron worked hard hardly working: the next galley proof was approved and should be in print in a week or ten days. And Nina arrived (with homemeade sour dough bread) about 1:30 in the afternoon for a visit in the guesthouse. We had dinner on the patio at Shoguns: watching the moon rise over the mountains made for some memorable moments.

4 Oct - Sun: We waited a VERY long time for breakfast- but it was worth the wait. Enjoyed a walk of sorts because of the rain. Met a delightful gallery owner/photographer Leo De Salvio; we had a great conversation. Rain continued in the afternoon until clearing early evening allowing time for a good hour's walk into the next mountain homesites. We watched a beautiful sunset and saw five deer.

3 Oct - Sat: Breakfast at the 101 Omelette Coffee Cup restaurant proved to be a delicious delight. Later we walked for about two hours in Sedona enjoying a late lunch at the Old Sedona Bar and Grill visiting with four girlie motorcyclists. The afternoon was spent enjoying the vacation rental patio with a short bike ride before dinner at the Enchantment again. After dinner we particpated briefly in a star-gazing event. It was interesting to see the laser point out the stars. Jupiter was very bright through the telescope. The vacation rental was in the Edsel Ford family and refurbished by his granson, Benson Ford. It is built of the red rock from the mountains, with five thousand feet of patio space - southwestern style with three bedrooms - lots of wonderful art work and filled with light. The views of Red Rock State Park are magnificent. The compound has a guest house, gate house and stables for eight horses. Friends from Santa Fe will ve visiting as early as Monday.

2 Oct. - Fri: We drove directly to Prescott with the car - leaving the trailer and motorcycle in Flagstaff; Smooch Smooch had a routine medical appt... after getting the keys for the vacation rental in Sedona we took 89A to Flagstaff to retrieve the trailer. The ride was beautiful and uneventful. Dinner was on the patio at the Enchantment Resort; even though the sun was long gome it was quite beautiful. The red rocks are magnificent. We saw two deer.

1 Oct: - Thurs: We headed west on I-40 to Sedona with a stop at the Acoma Pueblo. The guide was quite delightful with a jolly sense of humor. The paintings in the chapel are quite splendid. Arrived in Flagstaff about 11:30 PM.