Sunday, December 27, 2015


In order to pique the interest of potential readers, I have resorted to the cheap ploy of using unusual blog post titles. Hell, I've tried effusive writing techniques, music videos, secret confessions, humor, and sex. Mysterious titles are less emotionally taxing (for me).

So, what exactly does an excursion in a facsimile of spring mean, Jon?

Think, Tonto, think.
 It means that I took advantage of the springlike weather today and went on a mountain hike.

Took advantage of the weather?

Hey, weather isn't the only thing I ever took advantage of - but we don't want to go there. Respectable people read this blog. Or some of them are, anyway.

Enough preliminaries. Let's cut to the chase.
I woke up this morning in bad shape. Some sort of a stomach virus, and severe spasms in my back.

Old age??

The bad back is from when I fell on the ice down the friggin' mountainside last winter. As a permanent result, I now very often hobble around like a spastic version of Quasimodo.

This morning, it was worse. I not only hobbled, I performed unethical variations of the Turkey Trot, the Charleston, the Mambo, and the Rumba. My cats were appalled.

When I was finally able to maintain a reasonable vertical position, I noticed that the December weather was as warm as spring. I opened the windows. I ventured outside (it was a painful venture, but I ventured nevertheless).

A strong, warm wind was singing high in the trees. The temperature was in the 70's (that's Fahrenheit). The opportunity to seize the day was irresistible.

I popped a few aspirins, swigged some Pepto Bismol, put on my hiking boots, and ventured out into the mountain wilderness.

Isn't it more like a hill where you live, Jon?

One more wisecrack, Bucko, and you'll have to have my Pepto Bismol bottle extracted from your....

Whoa, Jonathan! No need to get physical.

Heck, when I lived in the Missouri Ozarks, the locals called 50 foot hills "mountains". I told them I had seen bigger nipples than their so-called mountains. They didn't laugh.


So, today I enjoyed this absolutely glorious afternoon in the wonderfully peaceful wilderness. I didn't fall and I didn't have any panic attacks. It was a momentous occasion.

 A distant view of the "mountain" on which I live. I took this pic today.

I, of course, came home covered in stickers and burrs, bitten by insects, and caked in mud. But it was a delightful excursion, nevertheless. 

I'm especially glad that I went - after seeing the extended weather forecast. Severe storms are expected tomorrow (Monday) and very cold weather is predicted by New Year's Eve.

I'll write more about New Year's Eve later....

All of my recent photos are drab and completely uninteresting, but I decided to inflict some of them on you nevertheless.

 Two views of my cat Scratch (also known as Kitzee) out in the weeds

The far side of my property, facing east. Beyond these trees is the meadow where the cows reside.
(isn't this exciting?)

The south-western part of my property
(all photos were taken today)


  1. warm and cloudy and 60s here; opened the house windows; the fucking DAFFODILS are starting to bloom!

    1. I bought a bag of potatoes and they started to go bad overnight. I had to throw half of them out.

    2. same here. my aunts flowering bulbs are all coming up and her Forsythia bushes have yellow blooms. If we do get cold and snow....spring blooms will be killed and non existent.

  2. Sorry about the back problems but good for the hike. Scratch is a beauty and so are the pictures.

    1. Paula, I'm so sorry that you had a miserable Christmas with your back problems. I hope you're doing better now. Take care.

  3. I have the worst time maintaining a reasonable vertical position also. I sure hope you will be on the mend soon. Maybe a good massage would help?? Warm here too. I absolutely love the photos of the trees, especially those last the colors. And Scratch looks very happy to be outdoors taking in the fresh air. Now do take won't be fittin if your sore for the new year. xoxo

    1. Horizontal positions are better, but once in awhile we have to stand up. I have no doubt a message would help......

  4. Huh. Well, it was -10 at 8am, and climbed timidly to 10 above by midday. Weird how the climate changes have worked across the country.....the Pacific Northwest is getting tons of snow, we're getting the norms for the time of year, the midwest is getting spring tornados magnified, and the east is spring. I guess we should get used to it.

    1. The weather is extremely bizarre everywhere this winter. I'm savoring the luxury of this unseasonably warm weather because I know it won't last.

      Minus ten is for penguins.

  5. There's no such thing as an 'uninteresting' photo of Scratch. Just so you know.

    Curses on your back - or is that what it's already got? No fun at all, I should imagine - though imagining what must be the excruciating pain is not something one cares to do. Bad enough to have the real thing. Sorry to read about it.

    Your freakish weather continues. Ours too. This is going to be our mildest Dec on record, though also with rain that can't be coped with, thus leading to floods in the north of Merrie England, historic York being the latest to be suffering.

    Re: titles for blogs. I've often thought of giving individual humour-ish titles to my film reviews, with the kind of cringing puns to which our tabloid press is prone. But I can rarely come up with anything memorable and witty enough in the time before I need to post it while my feelings are still fresh. If you want to title your own postings don't you want look in the direction of playing with words? Just a thought.

    1. First of all, I was never very clever at playing with words. I usually write the first thing that comes to mind - and then I regret it later.

      I've had back problems my entire life, but they greatly increased due to several serious falls that I've had. About 20 years ago I fell down a flight of stairs and injured my spine. I had a repeat performance when I fell on the ice last winter. I think I'm cursed.

      Scratch is a beautiful cat - she's even prettier in real than in photos. I got her from an animal shelter in 2005 when she was 3 months old.

      I'm thoroughly enjoying this warm December, but it won't last. Cold weather is supposed to return by the end of this week. I've heard about the terrible floods in north England. I hope the rain subsides.

    2. Jon, I can feel for you regarding your back a bit closer than I'd realised. One of my nieces had a similar experience to you, falling down stairs when she was actually only just a few years old. She's now late 40s and, like you, has had back problems ever since that unfortunate chance event. She's occasionally in tears with the pain and at such times has to take strong painkillers. It's yet another case of where we, who don't have the problem that you and she have, ought to count our blessings.

      A lot more rain forecast for us for later in the week, especially over those areas where it's already flooded. Very tough for some.

      (I've just taken in another lingering look at your lovely Scratch aka Kitzee).

  6. Sorry to hear of your back troubles. I hope you get to feeling better soon. I always enjoy the outdoor photos so I'm glad you did enjoy your excursion outside! It has been unseasonably warm here as well. I'm looking forward to some snow believe or not. And, Scratch is adorable! I just never realized how big he actually is! :)

    1. Scratch really is a big cat and she was getting somewhat overweight (she's 10 yrs. old), so I'm glad that she has been getting some exercise outdoor.
      It didn't seem like Christmas at all with the warm weather. Snow would be a nice change - but not too much of it.

  7. Beautiful photos, Jon. The way trees filter sunlight is simply magical.

    1. Autumn was very lovely here, but I really like the way the winter sun looks as a backdrop against the trees. The light is indeed magical.

  8. I never tire of your photos, Jon ... the kitties, in particular!
    The Phoenix metro's been so stinkin' cold, I was sure we'd wake to snow flurries. Then again, when the mercury drops to 60, folks round here start moaning and groaning like, "We're all going to DIE!"

    'Hope today's storm isn't near as crippling as what you experienced last year!

    1. The cold weather is headed my way, and should be here in time for New Year's Eve. It's presently raining (again) and windy, but nothing severe.

      Phoenix is similar to Los Angeles - - when the temperature drops to 60, everybody puts on their heavy winter coats.

  9. The scenery around your home is very lovely Jon - I can see why you find it so peaceful. Scratch looks delightful. I did laugh our loud at your nipples for mountains comment! Stay warm... high winds and heavy rain for us tonight for 12 hours - what joy! Still we're off to the Algarve in Portugal two weeks today for hopefully a bit of winter warmth and sunshine!

  10. The weather has been wonderful hopefully winter will be short and merciful.

  11. Jon,
    I LOVED your Excursion Into Spring"! You can do as many of these posts as you want, they never get old or boring. You do live in a beautiful part of the country. What a difference from your home in Texas. And don't you miss THAT weather? Also love seeing pictures of your cats outside. Wonderful! Keep 'em coming!

  12. Kitzee the Christmas cat
    she could star in her own book


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