2018 Winter Solstice Letter a Month Late

Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE Off The Road Again — 2018 Winter Solstice Letter a Month Late

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

2019, January — Greetings Virtual Travellers and Pen Friends:
Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Scratch Hazel behind her ears.

Lots of photos for this letter so I'm making many of them smaller. Some images may be clickable to see a larger copy.

For my “Pen Friends”: Do you get to see the original envelope your letter came in? I'm wondering if I should continue to bother with trying to entertain you with commemorative postage. And I want to take this opportunity to remind you to include your name and address on your letter. And also on any page of research requests.

2018X24, Wenzday, Faywood Hot Spring

Visitors Drop In For PieThis photo didn't catch up with me in time for Letter 18d. Snow was not the only thing falling out of the sky above Pie Town. These visitors dropped in too late for the Pie Festival and prob'ly just as well. If they don't get dug out they might be around for next year's.

Letter 18d is published and I am rereading old letters for perspective. This from letter 05e, The First of Autumn 2005 
“I say to some folks: "Take it easy--take it easy..." Others are telling me the same message. I am going too fast too furiously. There is so much to do and I have a hard time sitting still. When I do sit still my mind floods with tasks undone, with kids unloved and cats unfed. Not to mention miles not driven. So I set aside my book, wake from my nap, have a cup of tea and go do something. Matters not what so long it is something to keep my mind busy lest I have to face the reality of this ugly situation.

“The end of El Dorado as we know it is fast approaching and with it the end of this phase of my life. Interesting. Not counting the years of my flopping around before 1969: I spent 17 years of my time at the Observatory, ten years in Antarctica, and eight or nine years on this Odyssey. What will the next phase bring? Where will it take me and for how long? I need to stop thinking ahead and just go with it.”

All my erstwhile grandkids have fledged and the time is too early for their kids to be travelling companions so I have taken up corresponding with a captive audience of virtual travellers and travelling alone, naturally. Well, except for a cat. Third cat now. And less travelling for that matter.

2018X25 The Great Scott Toilet Paper Caper Reprise

Ten years ago I noted the incredible shrinking package phenomena. Do these companies belittle consumers by playing us for so stupid thinking we won't notice the hidden increase in cost? Are we really so stupid? How long will it be before eggs are sold by the deka instead of the dozen? How long before there are only sixty ounces in a gallon of petrol?
Shrinking OJ
The Great Scott Toilet Paper Caper letter was written in August 2010 at Pie Town. Today I beheld the incredible shrinking OJ. How do school teachers teach measurements when a “half gallon” is not what it used to be? In 2010 Tropicana led the way when they shrank the half gallon from 64oz to 59oz. Today I found the half gallon has further shrunk, now down to 52oz. I noted the other brands are also at 52oz. At least Ben&Jerry's is “Still A Pint”!

I have been wanting to ask you, as a professional in the grocery marketing field WTF is going on. I wrote to the Florida Orange Juice cooperative when their shrinkage of a "half gallon" caught my eye: "Seven ounces less OJ for the same price? What is this? Your latest attempt to cut costs? This means I will have to go shopping that much more often; hardly a savings on my behalf." They replied, blaming the reduction in carton size on Hurricane Irma and their competition who led the way. And they sent me three fifty-cents off coupons. Are Americans really that stupid that they don't see the hidden cost of this packaging shrinkage?

Samhain Soakings

Last week, after a short last visit with CyB, I escaped from Pie Town with the first serious snow of Winter on my tail. A few days later Tony mailed a few things I forgot in my haste to get away.
Peacock fantails
The only serious problem along the road was that one pair of the 3208's cooling fans was not working, however not all that serious since the ambient temperature was so low the other pair was adequate. I spent some time at the Wally World Caravansary in Socorro shopping for parts and effecting repairs to the wiring before heading south to Hatch and Faywood Hot Spring next morning.

Then a week at Faywood Hot Spring working on their yard lights and meeting new friends. Saturday evening I was startled out of my nap by a familiar whistle. Nita and Terri showed up a little early for Sunday Omelet Brunch. Faywood has an interesting combination of bares, peacocks and cats roaming the grounds; all are protected species there, the peacocks especially are the most showy.

Now writing from El Rancho Lobo in Deming. Capt Hook lives here and cooks up a very delicious chicken stew. More maintenance in the fan wiring and visiting and watching the weather. Snow in the forecast a little ways to the north so I want to get going to stay ahead of that.

Ride along with Me0w Hurricane Hazel at Amateur Radio Tracking Site APRS.FI.

Halloween Party?

A cabbie picks up a Nun. She gets into the cab, and notices that the VERY handsome cab driver won’t stop staring at her. She asks him why he is staring. He replies: “I have a question to ask, but I don’t want to offend you.”
She answers, “My son, you cannot offend me. When you’re as old as I am and have been a nun as long as I have, you get a chance to see and hear just about everything. I’m sure that there’s nothing you could say or ask that I would find offensive.”
“Well, I’ve always had a fantasy to have a nun kiss me.” She responds, “Well, let’s see what we can do about that…
Number 1: You have to be single and number 2: You must be Catholic.”
The cab driver is very excited and says, “Yes, I’m single and Catholic!” “OK” the nun says. “Pull into the next alley.”
The nun fulfills his fantasy with a kiss that would make a hooker blush. But when they get back on the road, the cab driver starts crying.
“My dear child,” said the nun, “why are you crying?”
“Forgive me, but I’ve sinned. I lied and I must confess, I’m married and I’m Jewish.”
The nun says, “That’s OK. My name is Kevin and I’m going to a Halloween party!”

Winter is the Season for Taco Tuesday

Rereading some of my old letters and a squib concerning Bell Rock reminded me I should let you know I am returned to "Home Port" in Tonopah. A long list of the usual fix-its should keep my structured procrastination delayed right through to mid-january by which time I best have the bus road worthy else there will be no escape to Quartzsite.
Flasher RightFlasher Left
One thing about the onset of forgetfulness: Laughing at reruns of old jokes becomes less embarrassing. Wenzday last I was on my way through the early dawn traffic to my work at Saint Mary's Food Bank in Buckeye. A woman's car gets a flat tire on I-10 eastbound between Miller and Watson Road exits. She eases it over onto the shoulder of the road, carefully steps out of the car and opens the trunk, takes out two cardboard men, unfolds them and stands them at the rear of the vehicle facing on-coming traffic. The lifelike cardboard men are in trench coats exposing their nude bodies to approaching drivers.

Not surprisingly, the traffic became snarled and backed up. I pulled in ahead of her and walked back. It wasn't very long after a police car pulled up behind her. The Officer, clearly enraged, approaches her yelling, "What is going on here?" "My car broke down, Officer" says the woman, calmly. "Well, what the heck are these obscene cardboard pictures doing here by the road?!" asks the Officer.

"Oh, those are my emergency flashers!"

Wilson Ceramic SculptureEarly November—Paradise Lost

A few days ago I received a call from Frank—friend, artist, (here is a picture of one of Frank's ceramic sculptures; he worked with dental pics and kitchen ricers.) long ago Boy Scout in my group back in MAssachusetts, presently (formerly?) living in Paradise CAlifornia. I had initiated the contact through a mutual friend the day before so I was not surprised, but certainly relieved, when Frank called back. He and his wife Toni were visiting her parents in Reno when the Camp fire started. Their Paradise home was one of the ones spared however they don't know yet if the place will be livable with all the water and smoke damage, not to mention the reek of rotting food and moldy furnishings.
Roadrunner Patrol
More Living In The Past News: A World Scout Jamboree in the USA is a once-in-a-generation event. The 24th WSJ (to be held in 2019) will be the first held in the United States in 52 years (1967, Idaho). After Summer Camp 1967, during July and August, Tr50 Cross Country Tour took place and was the first road trip for the 1967 Chevy van I'd purchased in April of that year. Scouts from four Troops were involved including David Zemel from ChateauguayPQ whom we adopted along the way. This picture taken in front of Zemel's home, L-R: Lance Smith(90), Bob Nestor(55), Jack Sine(55), Peter Seifert(50), Dave Zemel(Chateauguay), Bob Ross(55), Ollie Fayton(50).

Notso Merry Leftover Day!

Loading Geo to Dump TruckDerecting a TowerBill Pennington, W1VBG, founder and builder of El Dorado Hot Spring in Tonopah,  passed away this morning 23 November in Springerville AridZona. No funeral. A memorial service will be held in Pie Town sometime later. Details about that when I get them. Cards may be sent to Camilla Van Sickle, pobox 633, Pie Town NM 87827. I will miss Bill, his compassionate, irascible, Self will leave a big hole in the lives of all of us. Bill was one of my greatest supporters and critics; I am going to miss his wit and savvy and occasional corrections to my grammar. Pictures here include Bill helping me derect a tower and loading Geo to dump truck for early migration to Pie Town. We need to see about installing a bronze plaque at Eldo to honour Bill.

Thank you all for reading and writing. Sisters, friends, extended family, Thank You for being and sharing and helping me along my Way. In the spirit of Boxing Day let us celebrate Leftover Day as a time to repass the excess of yesterday. To clean up the leftovers, to patch up from Homecoming, wash the dishes, and get on with spending money we don't have to buy things we don't need to impress people we dislike. Pass the PeptoBismol.

December First—Picking Up Trash, Again

 I'm still hobbling around with muscle aches. Serious pain walking. Snacking on ibuprofen. Spent most of this trash time sitting on the tailgate and making short forays to fetch a bottle or a can. Even so I did manage to accumulate ten large sacks of trash. Big heavy duty professional orange road crew size bags. Then took TinyTruck along the road picking up similar bags left by others on my team.

Winter Solstice—The Cold Moon

My extended family is shrinking and morphing. I am too for that matter. Over the past few weeks I have been to more doctors more times than over the past few years. Recovering now, but taking way more time than what getting into trouble took in the first place.

I miss being in Pie Town but Tonopah is cold enough for me for now and I need to be close to several doctors as long as my back is bent out of shape. Again. Or still. Time to make some changes in my life style. I have to trade my large coffee mug for a smaller one so I'm not lifting as much; to type slower so the spell-checker can keep up; to install better lighting and reading material at my commode. The past couple weeks of visits to the grocery I have been obliged to make use of the electric shopping carts. Given me a whole new outlook.

New Years Eve

Celebrated by my GMT clock and again by the EST clock so I didn't have to stay up so late. Snow in the north country. In Pie Town more than cars are sliding off slippery roads.

Twelfth Night

My gift to me is that I am feeling much better. Not sure yet if it is a drug induced euphoria or the healing that is taking place in the wake of all this lassitude. I suppose I will learn which of those when the prescriptions run out.

January 12, FoSM Flower HikeLevicitus

We were a little bit early, for most of the Spring blooms, however, without their beauteous profusion to distract one's attention, several less prominent and invasive perennials were in evidence, and among them a few that were totally new to this observer.

Parting comments: Discover how technology addiction damages children. And grown-ups too for that matter.

New Year's Resolutions Censored

Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.child pointing

Love, ajo

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Sir Isaac Newton

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Copyright © 2018, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.