Search This Blog


Friday, October 31, 2014

Red Rocks Friday

Yes, yezzz I know — different Red Rocks but still, these tunes came to mind as we walked around and motored by these astounding formations. 

Sunday Bloody Sunday

I can't believe the news today
Oh, I can't close my eyes
And make it go away
How long
How long must we sing this song
How long, how long
Cause tonight, we can be as one

 New Year's Day
Under a blood red sky
A crowd has gathered in black and white
Arms entwined, the chosen few
The newspapers says, says
Say it's true it's true...
And we can break through
Though torn in two
We can be one

I...I will begin again
I...I will begin again

I Will Follow
I was on the inside
When they pulled the four walls down
I was looking through the window
I was lost, I am found

Walkaway, walkaway

Two Hearts Beat As One
I don't know
I don't know which side I'm on
I don't know my right from left
Or my right from wrong
They say I'm a fool
They say I'm nothing
But if I'm a fool for you
Yeah, that's something

Two hearts beat as one
Two hearts beat as one
Two hearts

I can't stop to dance
Maybe this is my last chance
Sing it, I can't stop to dance
Maybe this is my last chance

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jennie's Place

Oh to be able to time travel — to be able to visit all these crazy, alien places and times!

Jerome, Arizona (my new fav spot) — Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome was a copper mining camp, growing from a settlement of tents to a roaring mining community — sparks my imagination somethin’ fierce. Mind you, I wouldn’t have wanted to actually live back then and there. Hells, we didn’t even have the right to vote until 1920. To be an independent minded woman in the late 1800s anywhere but maybe especially in this “wickedest town in the west” would’ve been a colossal challenge to say the very least.

I want to stop in, make a wee social call, take a mini-vaca in this wild patch of history though. I want to see the unvarnished, unromanticized reality of it all. And then be able to come home to the warm, relatively evolved current world.

From a plaque on a fairly nondescript structure:
This building was originally a brothel known as Jennie’s Place. It was built in 1898 by legendary madam Jennie Bauters who came to Jerome from Belgium in 1896.

This was her third building on this site. The first burned down in 1897. Her second building, pictured at left, was destroyed in the fire of 1898.

Jennie is the woman in the black dress in the center of the balcony. The current building, which featured the first concrete sidewalk in Jerome, is one of the few in the business district that survived the fire of 1899.

When Jennie Bauters was murdered in 1905, she was reputed to be the wealthiest woman in the Arizona Territory. After her death, her son sold the building to John M. Sullivan
who converted the bordello into The Sullivan Hotel.
 From a blog entitled, simply, Jerome Arizona:
Prostitution isn’t a pretty thing, but it happens. A part of community, it was, especially in remote mining towns full of scared and estranged men.

Here, it was business as usual. Madam Jennie had the biggest establishment in town. Despite burning down three times in a row, it was always the first building to go back up – the combination of Jennie’s cash and volunteer labor always made it so.
Go read the rest — it's fascinating.

From a bit in the Arizona Republican Newspaper on September 7, 1905
News comes from Kingman of the second awful tragedy to be enacted in that vicinity within a few days.  Jennie Bauter, a woman well known in northern Arizona, was shot four times and instantly killed by a man named Leigh who was posing as her husband.  The shots were all well aimed and any one of them might have proved fatal.   Leigh then turned the gun
on himself and fired once, the bullet penetrating his lungs and it is supposed fatally injuring.

It is said the woman was employed in a saloon probably as a singer or to encourage the selling of drinks.  Leigh had approached her and asked for money which she declined to advance to him and they quarreled for sometime when he became desperate and began shooting.

His victim lived in Jerome previous to a couple of years ago and owned considerable property there when she was killed.
And then, later, after Jennie's exit and demise came the reformers and Husband’s Alley.
With Jerome’s rough and tumble early days came the red light district and prostitutes. Much of the red light district was located on Hull Avenue, the road below Main Street. In 1913, reformers helped pass an ordinance restricting houses of ill fame from being located downtown. Citizens showed their disdain for the law by naming the alleyway from Main Street to Hull Avenue “Husband’s Alley.” Red Light district buildings on Hull Avenue included The Cribs, a brick structure that no longer exists, the Ladies Jail is still currently located on Hull Avenue in the bottom floor of the new State Motor building.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jerome and The Surgeon's House

Sunrise at The Surgeon's House
When Jenny and I were first discussing where to go when Jen and I came out to visit, she’d suggested driving up to the  Grand Canyon. Spectacular as it is, we decided against, given the distance — a ten hour drive more or less.

I’d been to Sedona once, billions of years ago, and was keen to revisit the incredible Red Rock State Park. Also too, it’s just a couple hours (versus ten) north of Phoenix. Jenny found us a place to stay in nearby, less touristy, Jerome and, man-o-man, did she hit the royal jackpot!

“America’s Most Vertical City” and “Largest Ghost Town in America”
Located high on top of Cleopatra Hill (5,200 feet) between Prescott and Flagstaff is the historic copper mining town of Jerome, Arizona. Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome was a copper mining camp, growing from a settlement of tents to a roaring mining community.
The view from our room!
Dolphin sized koi
My first impression, as we drove down the supremely twisty, windy road into town was that the place reminded me a LOT of Tuscany. Yes. There we were, perched on the side of a mountain with the most astounding views of the valley far below. Breathtaking. Completely.

The B&B where we stayed was just amazing. The Surgeon’s House had stunningly comfortable rooms, brilliantly magnificent views from the rooms and gardens, drawings, paintings and sparkly bits everywhere you looked, TWO cats, TWO koi ponds (and the fishies were the size of dolphins!) and the most awesome food ever (an interview with chef Denise Clayton to come).

Surgeon's House mosaic
I could’ve happily stayed an entire week just in Jerome. In addition to this astonishingly fab B&B there’s the town of Jerome itself. Art galleries, cool looking restaurants, artist's studios, sweet, handsome bikers (!) and, em, did I mention the great view yet?

Before we left town we stopped by the Jerome Grand Hotel. I'm def glad we didn't stay here. Mind you, it looks like a fab joint with brill views and all BUT it's rumored to be riddled with ghosts. Yes, I'm just that much of a superstitious silly that this would make me want to stay elsewhere!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bells and Lag

Cypress trees abound. Puts Tuscany in mind.

Jen and I landed at Logan at five this morning. Dunno about y'all but I just don't sleep on planes. I take that back — I doze briefly, sporadically and deeply uncomfortably.

Conspiring to really make my current killah jet lag a fierce bastard to behold and battle:
  • That three hour time difference which I never quite adjusted to until, em, maybe the last day. (DOH!)
  • The monster elevation change (we were at 7,000+ feet just north of Jerome. Here at home? Sea level — yes, OUCH). I only mention it but the stellar altitude totes wreaked havoc with my already significantly dicey sense of balance. Jen and Jenny wonderfully offered an arm, a shoulder for me to hang onto as we walked around cliff edges. I felt like a fragile 80 year old invalid BUT such brill vistas!
  • Average relative humidity levels in Phoenix — 23%, average relative humidity levels in Boston — 77%. Yes, it's that lovely dry heat remarked on so often but it seared every last picoliter of moisture clean outta me.
    Jen says the sound is deep and haunting
So then, until I've acclimated just a smidge, I give you more pics from the tremendous, inspiring, mind expanding Arcosanti.

The Soleri Windbells are made in a gorgeous open air studio here.
The beautiful Ceramics Studio is in an open, south-facing apse.  This passive solar environment enables the artists to work in the sunshine during winter and be shaded during summer. 
Proceeds from Bronze and Ceramic Windbells provide a major source of the funding for Arcosanti construction.  These pieces are sold in the Arcosanti Gallery, the Cosanti Gallery and are available online at
I wonder how much I'd get done if I was working in such a mind blowingly beautiful environment.

I imagine not too bloody much but, hey who knows!  Did this set up exist back when I was an angry young bee art student?

Working at Arcosanti would've been an astounding experience. Dunno if I had the maturity or the social skills to live and work with a small group of folks in such an alien (to this northeastern babe) environment. Actually, I'm quite sure that I most decidedly did not. The carnival trail was assuredly much more in line with my inchoate social chops.
We are always looking for self motivated, skilled, and responsible people to work with the project and participate in our unique community. To become a resident at Arcosanti you must first complete the Five-Week Workshop and submit a letter of intent to the Community Council.
Hmmm, maybe one day!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Heat Weenie

I am an astoundingly huge wimp vis a vis temperature. There's just no denying this salient tidbit any longer (though I don't recall that I ever have).

We arrived back in Phoenix yesterday afternoon where the old thermometer allowed that it was a mere 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Felt like mid 100s to me but then, once the mercury crests over 75 it's all the same level of monster unbearable to me (whine, snivel, kvetch).

Our graciously awesome hosts Jenny and John had to return to work today, poor dears. For our part, Jen and I, on this last western day, decided to bop over to the truly fabulous Botanical Gardens.

We went early, around 10 AM in order to duck the worst heat of the day. We're SO damn smart!

Yes, just wickedly bright yet... I speak for myself alone here. The blisteringly hot sun (its was raging, in fact!) baked every ounce of energy clean outta me. I should have anticipated this before plunking down the hefty admission fee ($22 each). After all, I'm no wee bairn any longer -- I know myself. I'm quite aware of my calefaction wimp qualities or, rather, I surely should be.

Hell's bells, the weather report called for a blithe, beautiful, sunny 85 degrees. No more. Dunno. The sun was broiling, blinding and wholly unforgiving though. When we could find a patch of shade I was, more or less, fine and dandy.

Did ya know? Saguaro don't throw off a ton of sheltering shadow.

I felt terribly guilty. Jen's never been to Arizona before. This was her first time seeing this much of the wild, raw, bizarre beauty of desert flora all in one place and in its native environment (that is, not neatly shelved and potted in some New England exotic plant nursery). I made a valiant go of it. We managed to gawk our way around all but one of the trails before I collapsed on a bench, begging for shade, water and a nap. Oh and could she possibly manage to scare up an air conditioned sedan chair with a team of handsome, strong carriers to tote my carcass back to the car?

Nope, she couldn't pull off my last request but she brilliantly assuaged my mega watt guilt by pronouncing:

"Well, if you've seen one cactus, you've seem em all."

You can see, clearly, why I love her!

On the Way to Jerome

We stopped at Acrosanti.

As I understand it, the inspired, ambitious, brill architect, Paolo Soleri envisioned a city built on smart sustainable concepts AND set about making it a reality 

In his city, the need for cars would be minimized if not completely eliminated. We, the inhabitants, would live in smaller, more sensibly proportioned apartments/homes instead of the jumbo sized, mansionette dwellings in which many of us now reside. Nature, not endless strip malls, would surround our towns. 
Arcosanti is the prototype for architect Paolo Soleri's vision of an arcology
Arcology is Paolo Soleri's concept of cities which embody the fusion of architecture with ecology. The arcology concept proposes a highly integrated and compact three-dimensional urban form that is the opposite of urban sprawl with its inherently wasteful consumption of land, energy resources and time, and tendency to isolate people from each other and the community 
Not only will a town built on these concepts drastically reduce the phenomenal amount of pollution that we spew into the environment, we'd be living in closer, much more convenient proximity. 

Sure, having my very own castle with angry alligator infested moat sounds long as I believe that my fellow planet riders are all wickedly vile and depraved. Yeah yeah, some days it sure seems like that's the case BUT no. Really. Also too, generally speaking, we two leggeds are social beasties plus even hermits need a helping hand from time to time.
An arcology’s direct proximity to uninhabited wilderness would provide the city dweller with constant immediate and low-impact access to rural space as well as allowing agriculture to be situated near the city, maximizing the efficiency of a local food distribution system. Arcology would use passive solar architectural techniques such as the apse effect, greenhouse architecture and garment architecture to reduce the energy usage of the city, especially in terms of heating, lighting and cooling.
LOVE this!

Of course I do -- I'm all about getting small.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Love Stories: Brian and John

I first met John in 2006, I believe I was living in Boston.

I am a member of a chat site that I use almost exclusively for keeping in touch with friends. I spent time in California, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts again. Phone numbers change, addresses change, but profiles on this site seem to stay, and if you're looking for someone to send a message, it's pretty much guaranteed that eventually they'll get it and return it, unlike email. The website shows people who are in your state depending on what you put as your address, and you can have a friend list to keep in touch with people everywhere. Once you have looked at everyone in your state, the profiles jumble, different locations, different people. This is how I met John, or should I say I found John?

I don't have a type per se, but when I saw his face, I knew I had to look at the rest of the pictures. This being a gay site, standard protocol dictates that you say something along the lines of a pickup. You can choose standard greetings such as 'you're hot', 'woof', 'you're sexy', 'nice honker', but immediately I wanted to separate myself from the rest of the pack. I usually do this by sending something nonsexual, and wait for either question marks or 'whatever' or a pat on the head and a 'thank you'. He was Australian, he was polite and he had a very handsome face, one that made me stop, pause, and pursue.
 We started chatting in full sentences right away and it was very comfortable to meet someone who was married but wanted to talk to someone from overseas. We had similar tastes and backgrounds, and John even showed my picture to his husband out of respect. We weren't doing anything but chatting just like the site said it was good for. Since the time difference was over twelve hours, it turned into weird hours for both of us when we saw each other. I looked forward to our chats, we even got clever and would have wine or drinks while we talked. It was always odd hours for one of us — the other would be drinking during regular business hours. We carried on like this for years, we were miles and miles apart but friends. It was unlikely we'd ever meet in person but we could talk like good friends about anything, offer objective opinions when we were having problems and, I have to admit, it was nice to have someone who I could anticipate seeing online.

We were both experiencing problems that we didn't address. John's partner was sick but they'd been together for over twenty years, and believe it or not, I was homeless for a good portion of our getting-to-know-you banter. If either had talked about these issues, we would have known exactly where we stood, but fear of the unknown made us keep our peace. Better to have what we had than rock the boat with hardcore life issues. We both say now that it was odd that we didn't discuss these things. I don't know about John's problems, but I can tell you the least attractive thing you can probably disclose to someone is that you're homeless and live in a shelter. Who needs or wants elaboration on that? Let's face it, it's ugly.

After John's partner passed on, he developed a traveling bone, and visited different continents, countries, and locations. It was only a matter of time before he came to the States from Australia. Unfortunately, I was also unsettled, and moved around from state to state, working, not working. We nearly missed each other one year when he visited Las Vegas, I was in Wisconsin. We laughed about that. He said he was visiting New York City, in nearly ten months, and we planned for a maybe meeting.

I counted the days, really hoping that I wouldn't have to leave, and believed him when he said he'd travel the additional four hours to meet in Boston. I showed his picture off, I talked to my friends about him. We had friends that couldn't believe we were planning something ten months in advance. It seemed as though something would screw us up. It didn't, we made our plans online to kiss as soon as we saw each other on the train platform. The Amtrak came and, through the glass, facing the opposite way I knew it was John. He grabbed his bag and came through the door and indeed two bearded guys shared a kiss in South Station. John will tell you he fell in love with me on the train to my house and I'm telling you when I saw his hat and how tall he was, with the face I'd imagined animated and not a snapshot, I knew I loved him before he even came into the station.

We were only supposed to be together two days, but that turned into five chaotic, spontaneous, dreadfully romantic days. The powers that be were working hard to dissuade us — we were oblivious. Once he'd left and returned to NYC, we chatted and it was different. It didn't take long for both of us to know that something wonderful had happened.

We had a real connection. He asked me to visit him for a month, I accepted. Before I left, we decided we couldn't be apart that long and he came to the States to stay with me. September sixth he came and within a few weeks we planned our wedding. We postponed the date til Halloween and each would ask "Are we really going to do this?" We were married in my sister's living room before the eyes of God October 28th. It wasn't a hasty decision if you consider how many years we'd been talking back and forth and imagining that we knew each other. Unbelievable is the fact that our imaginations were accurate. The man of my dreams and the sweetest human I know wasn't a myth at all, he was even better in person. As an added bonus, he seemed to have the same inclination towards me.

How I could be so blessed I'll never know, but it must be because here we are.
John shuffled off this painfully fragile mortal coil in late September. He is deeply missed.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Love Stories: Rick and Julie

Julie and I met at a dance class. Nothing fancy, a drop-in ballroom dance class in what had been a high school gym. We had both gone there before, but hadn’t been lucky enough to come on the same night. There were perhaps a hundred people there, in two concentric circles, men on the outside and women on the inside. You would rotate to the next partner after they taught you a few steps of the waltz, so you could get experience dancing with different people. Well, that was how it was supposed to work, anyway.

When I got paired up with Julie, we had a great time. She was beautiful and had a great laugh. We also had the same idea about dancing, namely to have fun. So if we screwed up our steps at times, we laughed it off and tried again. This girl, I thought, was too much fun to wait for 50 turns to reach again. So I began slipping around from just after Julie to just before her in the circle, much to the confusion of other dancers. Luckily, she wasn’t a stickler for the rules either, and we got to enjoy each other’s company quite a lot during the lesson.

Then came the free dance after the lesson, where we could try out all sorts of dances with anyone we wanted. Julie and I spent most of that together as well, lucky me, laughing and talking as we, um, tried out our dance moves. They say that dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal urge, and let’s just say all signs were favorable. Also at the dance was Julie’s former roommate, who was visiting from out of town. After the dance, we all went out for coffee. I guess I passed muster and got a favorable review from the ex-roommate, because we got together for dinner a couple days later. One thing led to another, and twenty years later, we’re married and still sappy.
Rick and I've known each other for a thousand years, more or less. He's a tremendous, dear friend and I'm happy as a sneaker full of clams at high tide to say that Julie is too.