San Rafael Valley, AZ ~~ Photo by Bill Haas

Monday, February 20, 2012


...especially when it hosts the annual Chowder Cook Off, when the eatin's good, and the local characters come out to play!  And eat.

You definitely won't have a problem spotting the "character" in this beach scene!

Boys to men?  Nah -- still just boys...

...starting earlier and earlier it seems.

Doesn't matter how many quarters I deposit here, the cards' message never seems to vary:   "You will meet a handsome, single brain surgeon from Beverly Hills who LOVES zaftig women in their seventies."  Well OK then ...  soon, I hope!
When you hit one of these targets...

...this guy comes to life.  One of my favorites!
These two are still smiling -- must have just started dating!
A Santa Cruz icon... is Mariani's Sweet Shop

Tasting booths are invitingly decorated...
...some staffed with colorful characters in costume.
My son the flirt -- costumed as himself!
At day's end, culinary artisans hope their clammy concoction will be voted a winner.

The view from up there.

And did you know that one of the Boardwalk's two roller coasters, the all-wooden thrill-ride, is a National Monument?  Honest and truly!
Next up...the Chili Cook Off.  Count me in!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012


This is the first in a series of photographs taken before I started blogging and right after I started using my first digital camera.
First Stop:  Playa Coyote (a little south of Muleje):

These are Mobula Rays (or Devil Rays or flapjacks or little black kites!).  These rays are  breathtaking to watch when dozens of them at a time fling themselves out of the water to flip and flop and splash then settle down again.

There are differing opinions for this behavior, but some romantic locals believe it's part of a mating ritual.  This pair glided right past me, in calf-deep water, not a care in the world, and slowly enough for me to capture them "on film"!
No self respecting Baja beach would be without its share of Pelicans.  Watching them dive for food was the daily entertainment.  And this one was a little more colorful than the California Brown Pelicans I'm used to seeing.  Note the mohawk styling!
Still ensconced at Playa Coyote, one Springy night the beach community was treated to a lovely eclipse of the moon.

The shy creature down in the hole has no idea what remarkable, abstract beach art it has created.  A monochrome Jackson Pollock wannabe!

In spite of the smooth skin, those prickly spines don't invite touching!

This is one of several marvelous geologic formations imaginative guides like to show off during visits to Isla Espiritu Santo, off the coast of La Paz.  Pretty scary, eh?
Todos Santos Big Foot Pepper Tree
Although way off the beaten track, Bajia de los Suenos (Bay of Dreams), formerly a quiet,  hidden fishing village, has been discovered.   When we visited, however, the area was still quite rustic, and despite signs of construction for another Baja mega resort, no-frills, beachside parking was available.
Guerrero Negro, on Baja's West coast is one of two large Gray Whale nurseries.  Re-finding this photo, gave me goosebumps all over again.  What a thrill to see this mom nudge right up to our boat to catch a warm shower from the outboard motor's spray!
Scammon's Lagoon is also the location of Guerrero Negros's salt mines (visible on the horizon...

...and home to dozens of Osprey nests elevated on specially-built mounts along the roads throughout the town.  Look closely at this nest to see the junk this mother scarfed up to provide homey comforts for her little one.  OK, not so little!  Good mom bird!
Stay tuned for more Baja magical discoveries.

Friday, February 3, 2012


You know I don't take to my soapbox too often.  Not often enough, actually.  Yet here I am.  And for starters, you are "listening" to a woman who is Pro Life AND Pro Choice.

I have been appalled at efforts of male-dominated legislative bodies to formulate laws that would return women's rights to the dark ages:  barefoot, pregnant and tied to the bedstead; to formulate draconian laws that intrude on female reproductive rights, to limit access to birth control, to defund Planned Parenthood, and the craziest of crazy, to establish personhood rights for a fertilized egg.   2011 was an exciting year indeed!  And it's not over yet.

For me, the most galling, deceptive piece of fiction in today's media is the campaign by uber-right wing activists to deny Planned Parenthood any federal money because performing abortions is one of the many services it offers.  They have attempted to paint  Planned Parenthood as an abortion factory and, therefore, none of your tax dollars should be available to that organization.

HELLOOOOO...NO federal money has been used by Planned Parenthood for abortions.  EVER.  NONE.  ZILCH.  NADA!  Use of federal funds in the performance of abortions by ANY person or organization has been illegal since the establishment of the Hyde Amendment in 19SEVENTY-SIX for dog's sake!
Whew!  I'm getting really steamed.  A rational summary of these issues can be found in's article "Susan G. Komen's Priceless Gift," "a radical decision woke the country up ... and gave new life to women's health advocacy."

Spread the word.  Please.’s_priceless_gift/
Thanks for listening.