Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sedona Views

Thanks to our friends Carla and Rick, our visit to Sedona included a hike around Little Bell Rock. These photos were taken along the trail, which has vistas in all directions. Above: a view of Cathedral Rock. Below: a couple of other views.

We also stopped at Chapel of the Holy Cross, which is dramatically set right into the red rocks. Click here for photos and more info. I remember visiting this church in the 1960s, when my grandparents lived in Sedona. It's still an extremely popular tourist destination. On this visit, I enjoyed the art both inside and out. Above: a statue of St. Francis. People love to throw coins all around the outside of this church.

The artwork inside includes a historic statue of the Archangel Michael from Mexico, above, and a statue of Christ from Chartres Cathedral in France, below.

From the Chapel website: "In our transient existence, in good times and bad, we are here to be united with all in faith and purpose. To live in peace and unity with all our brothers and sisters." Hear, hear!

Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sedona: Tlaquepaque

After spending Thanksgiving with family in Prescott, Arizona, we drove up to Sedona to visit friends. One of our favorite places there is Tlaquepaque (pronounced Tla-keh-pah-keh), a picturesque arts and crafts "village" whose design is reminiscent of Mexico. Above: the chapel interior; right, the chapel tower.

While there are over 40 shops and galleries, we generally don't go to Tlaquepaque to shop--just to wander around, take photos, and soak up the atmosphere. There are cobblestone walkways, arches, fountains, loads of outdoor sculpture, and flowers everywhere. For us, it's a great place to stretch our legs after the drive and surround ourselves with visual beauty.

They call it "the art and soul of Sedona." For more information, click here. Hope you enjoy the rest of the photos in this post. Happy Holidays to all!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kick-Off Reading: A Bird Black As the Sun

On Sunday, November 13, the kick-off reading for the anthology "A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens" was held at the Faulkner Gallery, Santa Barbara Public Library. We had a full house--an audience of over 120! The textile exhibit in the gallery provided a colorful backdrop.

Our host and anthology contributor, poet Paul Fericano, kept the audience entertained with running jokes about Russell Crowe. That's me cracking up on the far left, along with poets Joan Fallert and Cathryn Andresen.

Editors Enid Osborn and myself, giving our thank yous at the podium. Thirty-seven poets from the anthology attended and read their poems. We were both grateful and overwhelmed!

We had a reunion of organizers from the Santa Barbara Poetry Festival back in the early 1990s. From left: me, Katie Goodridge Ingram, Sojourner Kincaid-Rolle, and Abigail Brandt (Albrecht).

We sold 200 copies at the kick-off! The anthology, which includes over 80 California poets, is available for $15 online at and, or at Chaucer's Bookstore in Santa Barbara and Rainbow Stew in Yucca Valley (at Hwy. 62 and Inca Trail). For more information, including a complete list of contributors, click here for the Green Poet Press website.

Thanks to Werner Brandt for the photos in this post.

Friday, December 9, 2011


The area around Ridgecrest saw lots of mining activity around the turn of the last century. There are remnants of this former boom all over the surrounding desert. Randsburg serves as a "living ghost town" and a tourist draw--but in a small way. The main street is just a few blocks long, and the various emporiums are mostly open only on weekends. The locals are friendly, and the vibe is very low-key.

At "Randsburg Inn, Lodging/Antiques," we scored an original Woodstock typewriter--significant because Bill's mother once worked at that typewriter factory in Illinois. Woodstock typewriters are not that easy to find. This one was on the porch and completely rusted out, but it was ours for $5 and a warning, "Make sure there aren't any black widow spiders in there!"

The General Store is the local gathering place--if you have questions about anything, someone in there might have the answer. There's drinks, food, and memorabilia, too.

Our primary destination was the Randsburg Museum, where we were looking for items related to my relatives who lived in the area between 1898-1909. We were in luck: above, a photo of the Croesus Mine in Johannesburg, the next town over. My great-grandfather, Walter Macomber, came out to California to work as an engineer at this mine, which was owned by my great-grandmother's uncle, W. W. Godsmark.

Above: the Johannesburg Hotel, 1898. Godsmark became part owner of this hotel in 1900. It remained open for some years--Edna Brush Perkins, author of "The White Heart of Mojave," stayed there in 1920 on her Mojave adventure.

If you have any interest in these old mining towns, Randsburg and especially the Randsburg Museum are well worth a visit.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ballarat and Trona

East of Ridgecrest, in the middle of nowhere, there's a ghost town called Ballarat. We especially wanted to see it because over 100 years ago, way up in those hills in the picture above, my great-grandfather was working as an engineer at the Ratcliff Mine. Ballarat was a supply town for the mines in its heyday.

There's not much left to see in Ballarat. Above is the general store, which is run by Rocky Novak. There are a couple of broken-down buildings and a broken-down truck. Behind the truck, in the picture below, you can see some RVs--some workers at the nearby Briggs Mine live out here.

Ballarat had a legendary resident, an old prospector named Seldom Seen Slim who said, "Me lonely? Hell no! I'm half coyote and half wild burro." In the 1960s, Charles Manson and his gang lived on a nearby ranch for awhile. The movie Easy Rider has a scene filmed in Ballarat--the one where Peter Fonda's character, Wyatt, takes off his Rolex and throws it away.

We also stopped at Trona. It was the weekend of the annual gem and mineral show, and the place was hopping! We took a bus tour of the massive mineral plant above, which has its own coal-fired power plant.

The main attraction in beautiful downtown Trona is the Old Guest House Museum, which has extensive displays about the region's mining history. Well worth a visit for a look into the many-storied past! I couldn't resist buying the refrigerator magnet below, which pretty much says it all.