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2007-08-25 Did a follow-up with my urologist Dr. Bruce Kletscher on Wednesday. All is well. We agreed on one more check-up in six months and then once a year. I was really surprised when he told me that he had read this entire journal recently. Apparently he had done a google search on his name for some kind of research and the journal came up. Of course I have already stated what a masterful surgeon he is. I'm going to miss seeing him less but I guess that is a good thing in the large scope.

A few weeks ago I sold a painting to Shana Crone. She asked me if I would write a small description of what inspired me. Here is what I wrote:

Dear Shana,

Thank you for purchasing one of my paintings. The following is a synopsis regarding inspiration for "Oasis":

"Oasis" is one painting in a series of abstract or semi-abstract works started after a rigorous backpacking adventure in the Grand Canyon, specifically the areas of Thunder River, Tapeats Creek, Deer Creek, the Esplanade and Surprise Valley, all on the north side. Although I have been in the Canyon previously, never for an extended stay such as this (nine days) and never in as rugged and remote an area. Most folks see the Grand Canyon as it is portrayed on and in calendars, postcards and picture books around the world or from viewing points along the south or north rims. They see a vast expanse of layered pastel purple-red-orange earth tones sloping down and around the contour of the Colorado River and tributaries. But as seen from the bottom of a tributary canyon such as Deer or Tapeats, this stereotype yields to an entirely different perspective; towering, eroded masses of rock saturated in warm hues ascending to an often times mere sliver of blue above. For days this amber and sienna strata was impaling the sky above me morning noon and night, continually changing in value, hue and contrast. Much impressed upon my psyche were those fading moments as the last light hit the uppermost regions of these geological giants with deepening shadows blending around them. In some areas along the sandstone layers were seeping springs of various sizes that would tint their proximal environment with green. I thought of them as oasises on the cliffs. That in a nutshell is my inspiration for this painting and pretty much the entire group of semi-monochromatic images and abstractions that came into being as I applied paint without any preliminary drawing or sketching. This style is a departure from my typical manner of painting specific subjects with predetermined color and compositions in mind. I believe the result is a more visual articulation of my life experience.

Blessings, Stan
2007-09-09 Briana is working for a Photo Studio now that specializes in school photography and she enjoys it a lot. The owner of the company loved her portfolio, basically hired her on the spot. She gets to travel around the state and she has free access to the studio and equipment for personal use. Plus she has a job related to her real love, photography.

Last Thursday I went to Cactus High School's Junior Varsity Football game with Sarah and Emily. Sarah's friend Scott is the only freshman on the JV team. He played very well in a loosing effort 22 to 20.

Last night I went to the Arizona State University vs Colorado football game with Candice. Her friend Jonathan Johnson is the Punter for ASU. ASU won 33 to 14. Had a real good time with Candice and her friends.

Photos by: Briana Kurth

This is how to ship a Painting!

The title of this painting:
Abstract Dog

Unpacking the shipped paintings

I'm not sure how, probably because I said yes to it, but I got appointed to co-chair the Arizona Watercolor Association's Exhibition committee. As co-chair part of my duties is to figure out the space available at the exhibition site to hang the paintings that are juried into the show. First up is the AWA Fall Show at the Fountain Hills Community Center, a very nice facility with much traffic. The show was juried by nationally acclaimed artist Dick Phillips. He chose 77 paintings submitted out of 210. I feel very good about getting into the show. The piece that he chose of mine is "Red Ascending". You can see it in my online gallery here: Gallery

A preliminary hanging on one of the walls

AWA artists bringing in their paintings

Some of the crew

Anyway all of the photos of the hanging were taken by my daughter Briana on October 1, 2007. I had quite a few helpers as you can see. The guy in the orange/yellow shirt, Harold, was most helpful by giving the broken down wall space ahead of time since he hung a show there a year ago. I just figured out the width plus space in between of all the accepted paintings a assigned them locations before the artists dropped them off. I responsible for receiving all of the shipped paintings and bringing them to the exhibition site. Two of the shipped paintings are from Greece. Entry was open to all members in good standing. My co-chair and Vice President is Mary Santos. She has done most all of the organization and administrative work. The show runs through the 15th of November then the same crew will take it down and I will repack the shipped paintings and send them back.

Me, Mary and Sandi

Another Row


Photos by: threedogz (Heidi)

Our tent

Emily relaxing

Filtering water

Andrew Skurka

Last weekend Emily and I backpacked into Reavis Ranch in the Eastern Superstitions. Friday morning we picked up Anne and arrived at the trailhead about 10:30 AM. Tom, Tracy and Heidi caught us at the saddle and Tony arrived in camp a little after sunset. The trip was full of fun and surprises. The following is threedogz (Heidi) trip report from

AZH Reavis Ranch Trip Report

Friday October 19th On Friday morning, I met up with Tracy and Tom and headed over to the trailhead on a long, rough and winding dirt road. Rumor has it that a certain AZH member likes to drive really fast on this road; the same thing was said in the other carpool trek with Stan, Emily and Anne. I think the member’s name rhymes with Fooli.

We started on the trail at 1158 and the hike up was uneventful besides having to practically step over another hiker who was lounging on the trail. Tracy did lose the tip of her trekking pole, which was later recovered on the hike down by eagle eye Stan. I got the first feel of my new backpack with more weight than I ever packed and it was a fairly comfortable hike. I used trekking poles which I usually don’t and they took more to get used to than anything. I seemed to like them better when I went downhill, but if that seems a little backwards, then it fits me well.

Resting at the saddle

When Tracy, Tom and I approached the saddle, we joined Stan, Emily and Anne who were basking in the shade of the large Alligator Juniper. We all introduced each other and I found it rather amusing to have to match our AZH username with our true identity. What a bunch of computer nerds we are. We then enjoyed snacks and some conversation and decided to get moving so we could snatch the south end of the campground.

Setting up camp was uneventful, we were chatting around the fire, eating and eagerly waiting for Tony to arrive. That he did about 1815’ish, depending on whose watch you asked. It was rather chilly that night, eventually; we all stumbled into the tents and called it a night. Anne who was tented next to me was just as restless as I was and heard her tossing and turning all night. I kept on hearing plastic noises and thought my food bag fell off the tree and the nightly rodents were having a feast. I have come to realize that it was the tent making the noise every time a slight breeze rolled through. However, later on I heard 3 consecutive strange cries in the night, it sounded like maybe it was some kind of cat. I told a few in the morning about it and didn’t think too much about it.

Saturday, October 20th, 2007 Mule Jerky, careless campers, spurs, missing saw, raptors and a Hooli Shirt… In the morning, Tom realized one of the saws he packed in was missing. We all remember seeing it near a rock the night before, so you can’t blame his memory on this one. Everyone had stories in why the saw was missing, but as a group, we somehow kept on joking about somebody using to cut up the mule to make some jerky out of it. Well, Tom did warn us about the dead mule at the Reavis Ranch. It was there, decomposing with many stages of flies feasting on the putrid flesh. I didn’t take a picture of it. I thought it would be disrespectful and passed on the opportunity. I’m not sure of the circumstances of the death in this equine, but looking at its hooves and what was left of his coat, he/she looked well cared for.

Two other hikers alerted us about the careless hikers/campers who left two fires burning along with a bunch of food items they left behind (see the images posted). One fire they explained still had large flames and was going pretty good. They explained that they did their best to put it out and for us to check on it. And, for the “Greater Good”, AZH’ers made a difference and did their part by extinguishing the rest of the campfires left behind by inconsiderate and selfish hikers/campers/cowboyisms.

Emily very close to some grazing deer

A spur of the moment thing… I was casually following a deer trail that passed the camp into some trees, when I was headed back; I happen to come across some spurs hanging from a tree. Well, they seemed to be a big hit with Tom. He wore them proudly on his Teva’s and climbed a rock near the campfire. And, for one small moment in time, Tom was a cowboy. The images are in the gallery and this is where the saying “one picture is worth a thousand words” comes from.

Later that evening… after being amused by conversations between Stan and Emily and eating appetizers offered by Tom and Tracy , Tom’s recent b-day was resurrected at the campfire from the original leader of this outing who backed out to attend some dog show event. He received a t-shirt with Hooli’s avatar image on the front. There will be pictures in the gallery by Tony I’m sure.

This is more like Sunday morning, but I will mention briefly in Saturday nights events. That night Stan and Tom heard the same creature with the 3 cries that sounded like some kind of raptor. When they described it, it sounded like the same noise I heard the night before. Perhaps that is the creature that stole Tom’s saw and went to go use it on the dead mule to make mule jerky. Regardless with how the story goes, Reavis Ranch has some strange happenings around there.

Tom, Tracy, Emily and I heading out

Sunday, October 21, 2007 Pack, hike, and an awe inspiring encounter with Andrew Skurka Sunday was windy and cooler, much cooler. We packed and headed down the trail about 0900’ish. We took a few breaks heading down, visited the Reavis grave site and pushed on. We arrived at the vehicles about 1245. Tom and Tracy offered beers from the cooler which were quite refreshing and well needed.

Now, if cold beer wasn’t enough of a good ending to an awesome adventure, this guy who all of a sudden shows up in marathon looking attire with “Go-Lite logos” looked like he had some mishaps with cacti carrying minimal equipment arrives at the trailhead. I’m not sure who introduced conversation first, I think it was Tom who asked the guy “Where did you come from”, or something like “How did you get here”. Well, conversation led into an awe inspiring moment and we all realized this guy is “Andy”, but not just “Andy”, he is Andrew Skurka. I half hazardly listened to most of the conversation and watched Tom and Stan gather snacks to give to Andrew. He happily took a quite a few. Before we really knew who he was, I took one picture. As he started explaining more about what he was doing and what he did, I began to take a few more shots. After a few shots I felt like I was violating his privacy like the paparazzi does, but I do have some good images of him, his gear and Tom and Tracy holding his trekking pole (his other one broke). I am not going to explain what Andrew Skurka is all about here, his website will explain everything. Just keep an eye out for the next National Geographic Adventurer of the year; someone hinted it may be Andrew.

Chatting with Andy at the trailhead

Anyway, he shared with us a small video of his encounter with a rattle snake earlier that day which coiled and struck at his camera while he was shooting the footage. Andrew also recorded Tom’s name and phone number and AZH in Andrews’s personal recorder he packed. Keep tabs on his updates from his adventures, perhaps AZH will be quoted in his blogs.

Well, I'm exhausted after writing this, if I forgot to add any details, please do so....

Thanks again everyone for the good times. Heidi

The Reavis Group
Heidi, Anne, Tracy, Tony, Emily, Me and Tom


Photo by sbkelly

Tim and I on the Ridgeline
Did the Superstition Ridgeline for the 5th consecutive year. That makes Tom and I the only two remaing for doing the hike every year since it's inception as an Arizona Hikers "Epic" hike. I rode out with time early and we met up with the others at base camp near the Peralta Trailhead. We formed two groups as usual, one group going West to East and the other the opposite. In the group going West to East were Me, Tony, Todd, Diane, Tom and Tracy. The other group consisted of Tommy, Tim, Sande J (didn't do the entire length), Scott and Tanya. We all had lunch together up on the top and enjoyed a great post-hike potluck. Ambika joined us for the post-hike fire and dinner. Got home before ten and slept like a baby. The Ridgeline is a great hike, one of my favorites and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year.

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