Archive - 2009

December 11th


Pulled into Tucson last night. Wow, I remember when I could do the trip from home in three days. This time it took five and I was completely worn out.

The temperatures here have the locals wound up in scarves and complaining. Mid-sixties for highs in the daytime. Absolutely miserable, as you can imagine.

Awoke this morning not knowing where I was. There was some sort of scraping on the sidewalk outside which I thought sounded like somebody shoveling snow. It was fun to realize I was in Tucson and that they were probably raking gravel or something.


Thanks to Cousin Anne for updating the website so you may now order my latest book, Back on the Farm online.

December 9th

Santa Fe

Left Denver this morning. The temperature was 3 degrees, but it was sunny and still and didn't feel too bad. Lance stayed behind to spend a few days with friends from UND days, and it was a good thing. His rear-wheel drive Camaro wouldn't have fared too well on some stretches of I-25 in New Mexico.

The skies were clear, but in places there were ground blizzard conditions. Because the temperature was around freezing in New Mexico, the blowing snow stuck to the road. Several cars were in the ditch.

December 8th


It has taken three days to get to Denver. It feels like swimming in molasses. It is below zero here. Leaving early in the morning for Santa Fe. One feature of the high altitudes: The sun's rays are more intense and burn off the ice more quickly. In fact, my thermometer said it was seven degrees coming in to Denver, yet water was running down the side of the road.

So, that means that no matter how much snow they had on the mountain ranges south of here, the roads will probably be melted off tomorrow, which is slated to be sunny.

December 6th


An must-read article on the decision-making process in the White House on Afghanistan.

December 5th

Book signings

Had two book signings today. They went well. It was fun to meet some new weblog readers! You know who you are. Thanks for coming.

Was shot afterwards, and have a lot to do before leaving tomorrow noon.

Posting here will be a bit sporadic for the next two days. Lance and I are working our way down to Tucson. Not sure the route, etc., or how many days, but we're taking two cars so there won't be any break. And I don't like driving more than six hours per day, which sort of stretches things out a bit.

Current affairs

Obama supporters who are disappointed in his increase of troops in Afghanistan were, like his conservative opponents, just assuming he was a McGovernite to the core who would fold up the tents and go home. Obama is nothing of the sort. I question whether this surge, which is larger than the Bush surge into Iraq, is going to do any good, but to say that this is some surprise is nonsense: Obama proposed an increase of resources to Afghanistan during the campaign.

December 4th

Visit to the Hilton

Went in to see Aunt Olla today at the Hilton before leaving for Tucson. She was in high spirits, although her brain is going bad, her ears are giving out, her eyesight is degenerating and she's generally breaking down. "I just am thankful for all the years when I wasn't broken down!" she said.

She told stories about she and her friend Ruth. They traveled together all over the country, along with Ruth's long-suffering husband Orville, who generally disapproved of the irreverent shenanigans of his wife and Olla.

December 3rd

Day of contrast

This morning, I woke up in Tucson to a beautiful sunrise and birds chirping. Went downstairs and had some coffee with the landlords of the apartment. It was a beautiful morning, in the sixties, sunny.

Flew back to Fargo: Twelve degrees!

At least the house is cozy.

Yesterday, I performed for a retirement park in Tucson and it was great fun. They had a very nice piano and a good sound system. I was a little nervous because in talking to the people beforehand, I realized there were almost no Midwesterners in the audience. Would my schtick work?

December 2nd


It is a beautiful, if cool, morning in Tucson. In the 50s. Sort of like November was in Minnesota.

I just walked a couple of blocks to get some morning coffee and a muffin. I have a small town habit: I assume that everybody on the sidewalk is somebody I know, or at least should know. So I say "hi." Of course, I know nobody. They probably think I am the overly friendly neighborhood weirdo or something.