Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tovrea Castle

Anyone who has driven through Phoenix has seen the wedding cake looking building that sits atop a knoll just off Washington and 52nd Streets. The place has a storied history and an amazing native plant garden. that it turns out was originally designed by a Russian and later redone by a Thai horticulturalist. Built by an Italian emigre as a hotel, in typical Arizona fashion it was soon surrounded by cattle stock yards and came to be owned by the rancher's family. There are stories of assaults and murders and such that add to the lore.

Now owned by the City of Phoenix, as restoration is underway for use as an event destination. Meanwhile tours of the grounds can be scheduled and if you are lucky you can spend that time with the head gardener Jason Johnson just like my friend Mary Hayes and I did last Saturday.

Here are some pics:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Prudent Investing

Retirement Plan Investment Tip:

If you had purchased $1000.00 of AIG stock one year ago, it
would now be worth $56.91.
With Washington Mutual, you would have $4.58 left of the
original $1000.
With 'Fannie Mae'(FNM), you would have $11.34 left.
If you had purchased $1000.00 of Lehman Bros one year ago
it would now be almost worthless; less than $0.86.

But, if you had purchased $1000.00 worth of beer one year
ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the cans for the
aluminum recycling refund you would have $214.00.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is
to drink heavily and recycle. This is called the 401-Keg

Make it a Guiness and I am in.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Obama Fortune

Seems President Barak Obama is everywhere. why, apparently he is even composing fortune cookie slogans these days:

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Gumbo for Lent

Here is a "green gumbo" recipe from NOLA.com and Jim Core, courtesy of Judy Walker who claims the book club "went nuts over it!"

Green gumbo, greens gumbo, gumbo z'herbes, greens soup: call it what you will, this is a filling and delicious Lenten dish. If you want to make it vegetarian, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

1 bunch mustard greens

1 bunch collards

1 bunch kale

1 carton (32 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth (or equivalent)

1 medium onion, chopped

½ clove garlic, minced

Salt, pepper and Creole seasoning

1 or 2 cans (16 ounces each) cream-style Blue Runner red beans

Smoked portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)

Wash greens well and chop them roughly. Put them in a large soup or gumbo pot with chicken broth, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover, and, stirring occasionally, cook to the texture you desire. (Some people like them still crunchy; lots of people, including Core, like them well done, which will take about an hour.)

When greens are cooked down, add the red beans. Stir well to combine. (If using smoked mushrooms, add them at this point.) Cook another 15 minutes.

Scenes From the Indian Market

Mary Hayes took these pics last week at the Annual Indian Market at the Heard Museum. What a treat.

Senecas from New York:

Apache from Arizona:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chandler couple bringing ''clean'' theater to Southeast Valley

Our friend Stevi Shearer is in this play:

by Srianthi Perera - Mar. 13, 2009 02:36 PM
The Arizona Republic

Kenny and Karen Jezek believe there's room for more theater in the East Valley - especially if it's not racy or risqué.

The Chandler couple has established Command Performers, a family- friendly community theater company, which debuts with "Little Women" on March 21 and 22 at Mesquite High School in Gilbert.

Command Performers aims to produce affordable theater that reflect Judeo-Christian values. They also plan to offer apprenticeships to those who would like to learn about theater.
"We're providing an environment both for the audience and casting members that's really wholesome," Kenny Jezek said.

"We're Christians, but we're not wanting to go out and produce Christian productions like a Bible story. I grew up loving musical theater. I love to do stories like that - clean and entertaining," he said.

"Little Women," considered a relatively easy starter show, features a 13-strong volunteer cast mostly from around the East Valley. The adaptation of the classic by Louisa May Alcott follows the lives of the March girls in Civil War New England as they grow, with the loving guidance of their father and mother, into virtuous young women.

Karen costumes the 22 scenes, with three to five changes for each person. Their daughter Shiloh, 13, plays Amy. Leroy Timblin designed the sets, while Isaac Lundgren wrote some original songs.

The couple decided on community theater after an entertainment career in Hollywood, Calif., where they lived for eight years prior to moving to Chandler in 1988.

Kenny Jezek, 47, played Lars Englund in NBC's "Days of Our Lives" from 1986-87 among other shows, and was a dancer in a touring company prior to that when he starred in "Cats" and "42nd Street."

Karen, an expert in Polynesian dance, has acted in two soap operas - as Brenda Clegg in CBS's "Capitol" and Noel Gallager in "Rituals."

"Hollywood became no fun any more; it became very tiresome," Kenny said.

Going into community theater locally is no chance experiment for the pair.

For Kenny it first meant a stint as a manger for a fast food company to learn the business side and running a martial arts school. His current "day job" is running his own pool service company.

"Coming out of Hollywood, we had to kind of grow up a bit," Kenny said. "Ee needed to learn how to deal with people."

On Tuesday , the couple is to release in local Christian bookstores a DVD of a spiritual film, "Come What May," which was filmed in Richmond, Va. by Advent Film Group and in which they play roles (comewhatmaythemovie.com).

As for Command Performers, they have plans for a full slate of shows in the future and are looking for sponsorships. Meanwhile, they have adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

"It would be a success if people said 'we enjoyed the show and we had a great time,' and we didn't lose our shirts," Kenny said.

"We're having a blast. It's bigger than I anticipated. If we're going to expend energy, why not do something we love to do?" asks Karen, 46. "I feel like it's what we were gifted with."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Functional Pet Idea

My friend Karen Longo came up with this great idea:

Dog or Pet Passports


Original K9 Kredentials™

$ 24.95
plus S & H

* Passport size booklet
* Navy blue vinyl with gold foil embossed logo
* Customized with a photo of your dog
* Long lasting
* Built for durability
* Handy for vet, pet resort or pet sitter, with everything they need to know inside

Friday, March 6, 2009


This I Believe is a feature on National Public Radio, All Things Considered. You can go on NPR.org This I Believe and get the podcast for March 5, 2009 and hear what I heard while driving home that day.

As someone who deals with criminals and victims on a regular basis this caught my ear but as a human being I realize we have much to learn about vengeance and anger. It is becoming more and more clear to me that we are responsible only for ourselves and we make our own place in the universe. We cannot be directed or affected by others unless we let them. This story shows how easy it is to fool ourselves that what we do is the result of someone else. It never is.

Finding Freedom In Forgiveness
by Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson-Cannino

Scott Witter:

In 1984, Jennifer Thompson-Cannino testified that Ronald Cotton was the man who raped her. Eleven years later, DNA evidence cleared him of the crime. The two are now frequent speakers on judicial reform. They live in North Carolina with their families.

All Things Considered, March 5, 2009 ·

Jennifer Thompson-Cannino: I believe in forgiveness — the kind that has the power to release a person from a place of anger and hate, to a place of peace.

Ronald Cotton: I also believe in the healing power of forgiveness. I had gone to prison an angry man and gotten real comfortable with it. But that kind of emotion was keeping me a prisoner in my own private jail. I had to let the hate go, and learn to live and forgive.

Jennifer: I picked Ronald out as the man who had raped me, only to learn 11 years later that I had made a mistake. That was unbearable. In my mind Ronald had been a monster. For 365 days for 11 years, I prayed for him to die. Discovering the truth filled me with overwhelming guilt and shame for mistakenly putting an innocent man in prison. Meanwhile, the guilty person was left to commit further crimes on women. I found it almost impossible to forgive myself.

Ronald: Forgiving Jennifer for picking me out of that lineup as her rapist took less time than people think. I knew she was a victim and was hurting real bad. But I was hurting, too. I missed my family, my girlfriend and my freedom. But I knew who I was, and I was not that monster. I knew who did this to Jennifer, and he would have gone to his grave leaving me to rot in prison without ever confessing to what he had done. Letting go of my anger toward him was hard, but staying free in my heart was a choice only I could make.

Jennifer: I asked Ron if he could ever forgive me. And with all the mercy in the world he took my hands and with tears in his eyes, he told me he had forgiven me a long time ago. At that moment I began to heal. Ronald taught me how to let go of all that pain; his forgiveness set me free that night. Without Ronald, I would still be shackled to that moment in time, and it would own me forever. I soon discovered that I could even forgive the man who had raped me — not because he asked me to, nor because he deserved it — but because I did not want to be a prisoner of my own hatred.

Ronald: Jennifer and I are friends. And some people don't really understand it. But we were the victims of the same injustice by the same man, and this gave us a common ground to stand on. Together we were able to help each other heal through a shared experience. I could choose to be bitter; I could hate the prison guards and the system. But I choose to forgive them all, so that I stay free and not be a prisoner for the rest of my life.

“We were the victims of the same injustice by the same man, and this gave us a common ground to stand on. Together we were able to help each other heal.”
Ronald Cotton

'Picking Cotton'
Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton have written a memoir about their experiences.

Independently produced for All Things Considered by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman with John Gregory and Viki Merrick. NPR Editor: Ellen Silva. With help from Greg Dixon