The Cost of Anonymity

2

July 19-21-

I am back in my salubrious Home Base, for three days, give or take.  No one knew I was back, until I announced my presence- such is the anonymous state of being that proceeds from apartment living, in a community that relishes independence.

I went down to one of the local coffee houses, on Friday morning.  For most of the time, I was the only patron sitting inside. The barrista, a recent graduate of our community’s high school, was bored out of her skull.  Too shy to talk to this old guy, she busied herself with grinding coffee beans, swiping her phone and otherwise staring into space.  I’ve learned to respect personal space, and so focused on my simple oatmeal breakfast.

Towards lunch, a visit to Ms. Natural’s, one of my favourite hangouts, revealed a different atmosphere.  The proprietor, C, was delighted that I was back, even if only for a few days.  One of the waitresses, C2, engaged me in a lengthy comparison of summer adventures:  Mine, on the road and hers. locally-based, but no less interesting.  After C2’s boyfriend showed up, they left and I talked with C and another waitress for a few more minutes, feeling that I belonged here.

Much of the modern West thrives on anonymity.  People don’t monitor a person’s actions, all that much.  Some of my contemporaries make it look as if they are watching what’s going on, but an old white guy staring at others, and not saying much, isn’t doing anything to deter either loneliness or miscreance.  I have chosen involvement in community activities, as an antidote to both.  It’s a fine line that needs to be trod-one can not force oneself on others, nor can one just turn a blind eye to incidents, large and small, that impact a community.

So, I went to a couple of meetings, Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, and joined several comrades for breakfast at the Legion Post, Sunday morning. I was apprised of all that had gone on, drama and the rest, over the last six weeks.  There was a fair amount of planning and the scene for Autumn looks to be fulfilling.  The cost of anonymity can only be paid by breaking out of the chrysalis.

Now, I look forward to a week with my Carson City family.

Home Base

7

June 12, 2019-

Tomorrow, I will head up for a few days in another of my heart homes – Dineh/Hopi.  Yes, there are many of those, and this Home Base is one.  The road will then curve eastward.

In the meantime, life goes on here in Prescott-with a vengeance.  Many of you may be taking journeys of your own, over the next few months, and I can say time spent in this area is well worth the drive, or flight (Ernest A. Love Regional Airport is expanding its own “wings”, with more destinations offered by its tenant carriers).  So, let me go all Chamber of Commerce on you.

I’d offer my own Home Base on Airbnb, but it’s a tiny place and the landlord would not be happy.  So, I recommend either of two hostels:  Prescott International, on McCormick Street. (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g31323-d4309329-Reviews-Prescott_International_Travelers_Hostel-Prescott_Arizona.html) or House in the Pines Hostel, on Virginia Street, two blocks west of my place, actually(https://www.hiphostelaz.com/).  There are a couple of great boutique hotels:  The Grand Highland, right smack downtown, on Whiskey Row (https://www.grandhighlandhotel.com) and Hotel Vendome, one block south of downtown, on Cortez Street (https://www.vendomehotel.com/).  There are two grand hotels:  Hassayampa Inn, on the corner of Gurley and Marina, is a premier spot for jazz in the courtyard (https://www.hassayampainn.com/) and Hotel St. Michael, on the north end of Whiskey Row, at the corner of Montezuma and Gurley, is a prime meeting place for locals and visitors alike. (http://www.stmichaelhotel.com/).  The chains have fine reps here, as well:  Hampton Inn, Marriott and Spring Hill Suites are either downtown, or within a short drive.  An independent hotel, Forest Hills Suites, is near the Marriott, east of town.

Now, the entertainment part:  Nature calls, pretty loudly, here, if you’ve seen my earlier posts.  The man-made lakes- Goldwater, Lynx, Watson, Willow and Granite Basin are all great for fishing, kayaking, canoeing and picnicking.  Lynx Lake has a paddle boat concession, as well.  Each of these has good trail systems, so the hiker is bound to feel happy.  Speaking of which, mountain trails abound, at all levels of difficulty, from Peavine Trail (easy) to Granite Mountain and Mt. Union (strenuous).  In between, are Thumb Butte, Prescott’s signature landmark, west of downtown and Granite Dells, a warren of trails, north of town, and mostly on private land, but generously shared with the public.  I have enjoyed most of the trails available here, over the past eight years.

Indoors?  Lots of good stuff here, too.  We have Elks Theater, in a restored grand opera house and Prescott Center for the Arts, in a restored church.  Both are downtown.  The Courthouse Plaza has many evening concerts, during the warmer months and street festivals abound, particularly on weekends.  Yavapai College, on the east side of town, and Prescott College, slightly northwest of downtown, offer many artistic events, as well.  YC hosts Prescott Farmers Market, on Saturday mornings (7:30-12).  Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, 5 miles north of downtown, has an Observatory open to the public.  Sharlot Hall Museum is a must, for anyone seeking to understand Prescott’s history.

Now for the  brew.  I don’t imbibe alcohol, but there are more places to sit and hoist a few than this post has space.  A  few, for which I can vouch:  Matt’s, The Bird Cage, Rickety Cricket and Lil’s are all on Whiskey Row.  The Raven Cafe, one of my favourite restaurants and music venues, also has a full bar.  Brewery/Restaurants also are in no short supply:  Prescott Brewing Company, Granite Mountain Brewing, Coppertop Alehouse, Barley Hound-you get the picture.  Coffee is also in plethora:  Wild Iris, Ms. Natural’s (my absolute fave restaurant, as well), The Porch, Frannie’s (also has great frozen yogurt and pastries), Cupper’s, Firehouse Coffee, McQueen/Rustic Pie (also a  food fave), Method (on the north side of town) and Third Shot (in Gateway Mall, three miles east of town) are a few who come to mind.

Prescott’s Eats?- I mentioned Ms. Natural’s (The owner and a couple of the servers are personal friends and the name says it all, with regard to the fare).  Rustic Pie, Shannon’s Gourmet Deli, Dinner Bell Cafe, El Gato Azul, Rosati’s, Two Mamas Pizzeria, Chi’s Cuisine and Bill’s Pizza are all relatively small venues, but well worth a try.  So, too, are the larger places- Murphy’s, Gurley Street Grill, The Office, Rosa’s Pizzeria, Lone Spur, Bill’s Grill, Zeke’s Eatin’ Place (in Frontier Village, east of town), Park Plaza Liquor/Deli.  Other spots abound, so have fun exploring.

Finally, a few words about the periphery.  Prescott Valley, our sister town, is worthy of a day or two of exploration all its own.  It’s a lot of strip malls to take in, but they have a warm feel about them.  Rafter Eleven is a superb place for wine, coffee and dipping oils, located a block north of Highway 69, off Glassford Hill Road.  Backburner Cafe is on the north side of town, at the corner of Robert Road and Spouse.  Further east are:  Dewey-Humboldt, with Leff-T’s Steak House and Casa Perez Family Restaurant, plus a cute “Main Street”, at Humboldt; Mayer, with Flourstone Bakery and Arcosanti, a fascinating eco-architectural establishment.  Northwards is Chino Valley, with Danny B’s Seafood Cafe and the fascinating  Garchen Buddhist Institute, about seven miles east on Perkinsville Road (The access road is narrow, windy and steep in places).  Westward lie Kirkland, with its own steakhouse, replete with sawdust on the floor and bowls of unshelled peanuts on the table and Yarnell, with some interesting antique shops, Shrine of St. Joseph and, south of town, Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park, where one may hike five miles or so, to the site of the tragic 2013 fire, which claimed the lives of 19 Wildland Fire Fighters, paying respects along the way. Nichols West Restaurant, in Congress, at the base of Yarnell Hill, is a fine place to replenish oneself, after such an outing.  Finally, fifteen miles northeast, on Highway 89A, is the mountain town of Jerome, with Haunted Hamburger, Mile Hi Grill, Bobby D’s BBQ, Flatiron Coffee House, Jerome State Park and an inn that was once a brothel. The road, both east and west of town, is not for the faint of heart-yet the streets are routinely packed with visitors from Phoenix, Scottsdale and all over.  Get there early.

This is my longest post ever, I know, but Home Base is worth every word.

 

Sacrifice

18

May 31, 2019-

I was mildly upbraided for my summer plans, with the person exhorting me to consider “sacrifice”, for the sake of those who might need me to be here.  Sacrifice does mean giving up something, for a larger good.  So, let me look at that.

I live in one of the most desirable communities I’ve ever known.  It would, actually, be the easiest thing in the world, to stay here through the summer, and be at the beck and call of a relative handful of people.  Summers in Prescott are laid back. I could walk down to Courthouse Square or over to one of the colleges that are within walking distance.  I could hang out at Ms. Natural’s or The Raven Cafe, in the morning hours, then get together with friends in the evening, for regular spiritual study or other elevated conversations.

I live, however, for the wider world-as well as for my Home Base.   My journeys are NOT “taking a break from routine”, as was suggested.  Perhaps the person making that statement sees self, and some others up here, as feeling trapped- perhaps.  In truth, none of us here are trapped, in the literal sense.  I use time that is not devoted to work, to connect with other friends and family- not to hang out in luxury accommodations or visit theme parks.

There have been several years in my life, when the wider world had to wait, precisely because responsibilities did occupy my life, 24/7.  Such circumstances could find me again.  In any of these cases, it is a labour of love.  I do not view time spent here as a sacrifice, in any way, shape or form.  Nor do I view time spent on the road as an extravagance.

Reignition

5

April 13, 2019-

I cam close to making what would have been a pre-mature, and perhaps reckless, decision.  It basically would have meant leaving my Home Base, earlier than expected.  It became unnecessary.

Although, I have felt a good deal less welcome here, since the events of April 3- and yes, people in this growing town still do talk and pass judgement- there are still a few pockets in Prescott where I can go and feel safe.  I spent an hour or so at such a place, Ms. Natural’s, where the owner is relatively friendly and glad for my business-even if her helpers are a bit on the hostile side.   I also went to Farmers’ Market, where a few of the vendors remain friendly.

The Arizona Department of Education has decided to renew my substitute teaching certificate.  This at least will give me the opportunity to maintain a flexible work schedule, bounce back from the most recent assaults on my reputation and show, yet again, that I am basically a loving and competent educator.  So, the notion to retire early, leave this area and re-establish myself, somewhere else, is not something I need to pursue for the time being.  I will be safe enough, among the Baha’is and a few other friends.  Hopefully, things will even out and I can follow my game plan until December, 2020.

 

Back On Track

2

February 25, 2019-

Today is the first day of Ayyam-i-Ha, the Baha’i Intercalary Days, which belong to none of our nineteen spiritual calendar months , of nineteen days.  It is a time of  special service activities, some gift giving and group celebrations.  In regular Gregorian years, like this one, the period consists of four days, and in Leap Years, five days.

Today also found us back at work, continuing on with the revised program.  Things went smoothly.  The weather is improving, again, and our little team is getting stronger, as small problems get resolved, in a congenial manner, before they become big issues.

Yesterday, part of my time was spent dealing with individual snow-disposal issues,  This evening found another matter with which to assist:  A returning traveler needed to have her car cleared, before she got back on the shuttle from Phoenix-so, Ayyam-i-Ha service activity # 1 was accomplished.

I stopped by Ms. Natural’s, and finally met the owner’s husband-on his own way back to work.  The establishment will be a key part of my own Healthy Spring-in essence, a continuation of the regimen I am promised when I visit Korea.

Re-emergence

6

February 23, 2019-

The day broke,

bright and sunny again.

The driveway and roads

are clear.

No sidewalks available, yet.

So, I drove downtown.

Visited two, very different,

favourite haunts.

Outlaw Donuts had re-opened,

just this morning.

The place was wonderfully packed.

Ms. Natural’s had also re-opened,

after a two-day hiatus.

I was glad,

very glad,

to see a long-absent friend.

The place was quiet,

but for my chatter with

the congenial owner,

about the events of the past few days.

Dear friend was quiet,

ensconced in research,

which looked daunting.

I know she can handle it,

and told her as much,

which brought a smile,

to her earnest, intense countenance.

Returning to Home Base,

I found two snow men in the yard.

Photos will be taken tomorrow.

After a bit more tidying up,

outside,

widening my turn-around area,

and scattering bread crumbs

for forlorn little birds,

then clearing a channel,

for run-off in the front,

I enjoyed a nice, long hydromassage.

Re-emergence is a sweet thing.

Acker Night

9

December 7, 2018, Prescott-

Every strong community has its special day of community gathering-whether it be a Founders Day or Day of Incorporation.  Prescott has several days of community celebration, including Frontier Days, in July, and Tsunami on the Square, in September. Acker Night, in honour of local arts patron James Acker, is celebrated on the first Friday night in December, and features a variety of musicians, holding court in over 130 downtown businesses.  The aim is to raise money for arts scholarships, and the donations are usually copious.

I’ve gone down there, for 6 of the seven years I’ve lived here continuously and for both Decembers that Penny, Aram and I lived here, previously.  It’s always a incredibly joyful time, regardless of weather or temperature.  I end up taking in at least three performances, usually more.

Tonight, the American Legion post had its annual Christmas Dinner, which took up most of the time allotted to Acker Night.  I still managed to run into a trio of friends, in the heart of the Square.  A couple of visits to performances in the Shops at Hotel  St.Michael followed.  I ended up at the shop of a friend:  Ms. Natural’s and caught their guest guitarist winding up his act.  Claudia’s apple cinnamon cake and a robust coffee  topped off the evening, and I slipped out quietly, so the ladies could finish their closing activities.

On the way back to my apartment, these scenes caught my eye.

Over two thousand people, many from the Phoenix area,  as well us locals, attended this evening’s festivities.  It’s events like this which help give Prescott the moniker, “Everybody’s Hometown”.

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch…

11

May 26, 2018, Prescott-

There’s a whole lot to see and do here in Home Base.  Next weekend, for example, a fundraiser for a twelve-year-old boy who was struck by a car, whilst crossing the street to go to a library, will be held, June 3, 1-5 pm, at Prescott Valley’s Anytime Fitness, 6715 E. 2nd St., Suite A.

I want to give  a shout-out also, to the unique and fine places that make my life here so blessed:  Ms. Natural’s, 318 West Gurley Street, is Prescott’s newest organic restaurant, open every day except Wednesday. Claudia offers fine coffees, smoothies and both vegetarian and cold cut sandwiches.  Right down the street is Shannon’s Deli, with a “hot dogs” sign on the door.  Shannon’s has lots more than hot dogs- her soups and cheesecake are the signature fare.  Right across from the Courthouse are Frozen Frannie’s, with delectable frozen yogurt, ice cream and a variety of baked items, as well as coffees. Next door is Lone Spur, one of several local establishments offering hearty, spill-over-the-plate breakfasts.

Go down Cortez, and you’ll find Chi’s, with what I regard as the best Chinese food in town.  At Cortez and Willis is Raven Cafe, my favourite place to go for great music and more organic meals.  They have a wide selection of imbiber’s delights, as well. Catty-corner, across Cortez and Willis, is Peregrine Books, Prescott’s largest bookstore, and another venture by the family who own the Raven. Next door to Peregrine is Two Mamas, one of eight Mom and Pop pizzerias in town.  T.M. has several signature pizzas, my personal fave being the Pot Roast and Gorgonzola variety.

Now,go back up Cortez, cross the street, and you’ll find Dancing Skeleton, with its large selection of condiments and unique craft items.  Further up are Bill’s Pizza, a good thin-crust pizzeria, and the favourite of many locals; Mob Burger, with excellent burgers and welcoming to couples and groups, but not those dining alone; Lifeways, a spiritual-themed bookstore, with a small espresso counter in the back.

The Courthouse lawn is a key gathering spot, especially on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during the summer, with live music and dancing.  Signs around the outside of the Courthouse detail weekend festivals, of which the largest summer event is Prescott’s Rodeo, one of the country’s oldest, held just before, and during. July 4.

On the west side of the Courthouse is Montezuma Street, also called Whiskey Row.  There are plenty of bars there, for those so inclined.  Hotel St. Michaels is one of two large Victorian hotels in town, and has a variety of shops on its ground floor, including a lovely bistro.  South of Whiskey Row, there are more bars and restaurants, including Far From Folsom, a Johnny Cash-themed establishment, with many of the same musicians appearing, as in the Raven.  Bill’s Grill, owned by the same family as Bill’s Pizza, is a popular place for a wide variety of comfort foods.

Going back to Goodwin Street, and heading west, one finds El Gato Azul, a tapas restaurant and also one of Prescott’s most popular gathering spots, of a weekday evening.  Park Avenue Deli, inside a liquor store, offers surprisingly good comfort cuisine, though here, too, groups are preferred over single customers.  Ditto for Rosa’s Pizzeria, an excellent place for Italian fare, and west of Ms. Natural’s, on Gurley.  Rosa’s is always packed with visitors, so call ahead for your table.

Heading out of town, eastward, check out Zeke’s Eatin’ Place, akin to Lone Spur, for belly-bustin’ breakfasts and lunches, in Frontier Village, on the Prescott- Yavapai Indian Nation.  Planet Fitness is also there, for an after-meal workout (monthly memberships, from $10.)  Picture Show Cinema, up the hill, would round out a Frontier Village excursion.

Finally, in Prescott Valley, north and east of Home Base, find Rafter Eleven, a wine and condiments shop, owned by one of the area’s oldest families.  It is at 2985 Centre Court, left on Glassford Hill Rd, then right on Centre Court.  Gabby’s Grill, a bit north of Rafter, is my favourite dining spot in downtown Prescott Valley.

That’s it, in a Brazil nut-shell.  Hope you can find your way here, some day or another.

The Fast: Day 9- Contemplation

11

March 10, 2018, Prescott-

My second Fasting Saturday featured the usual early big breakfast, and later in the morning, a visit to Farmer’s Market- important, since I missed last weekend, due to my tax return preparation.  That gave me enough food for the next three fasting meals.  I went to Ms. Natural’s, in early evening, and bought the last of Claudia’s Hungarian mushroom soup, to take home of course.  Wild Iris did not have a paint night, this evening, but I did break the Fast there, then headed back to Home Base.

Living alone gives me a lot of time to spend in either contemplation or in fantasizing.  I much prefer the former.  There is simply too much to be done, and a lot of it is in specialized, precise activities.  I need to know how to meet each challenge, head-on.  Fantasy entertained me, in my loneliness, but never got me far.

So, with the aid of various fasting meditations and reading so much that is inspiring, here and elsewhere, I enjoy this time of looking at matters from several angles.