Apr 172011
 

Out in the far east valley of Mesa, Arizona following a sheep drive as a heard of 2000 sheep are taken north for the summer

This is a scene from the old west, and one that may not play much longer. The Dobson family are ranchers whose name is familiar for most everyone living in the Mesa area – think Dobson Road. Sheepherding has been going on here in the desert southwest since the 1870’s. The Dobson family arrived in the 1880’s but it wasn’t until 1929 that their sheep company would get started. The trail they are using today to drive the sheep north into the cooler high-country has been in use since 1916, it is called the Heber-Reno Sheep Trail Driveway. Dwayne Dobson, now 72 and grandson of the man who established this family tradition, will soon be retiring from organizing the sheep drive and without a family member interested in continuing the practice, this could very well have been the last of the sheep drives. A tradition is coming to an end and we had the opportunity to have witnessed it at least once in our lifetimes.

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Apr 122011
 

Cormac McCarthy and his son John sitting next to Caroline and I in Tempe, Arizona for a screening of Cave of Forgotten Dreams

First we run into Werner Herzog, then the next day we meet Hugh Downs and British philosopher AC Grayling before sitting down to listen to Jean Auel, author of The Clan of the Cave Bear. Next up, after taking our seats for a screening of Cave of Forgotten Dreams, these two gentlemen turn down our row. Had Director Werner Herzog not pointed him out the night before, I surely wouldn’t have recognized him. As they moved down our row, sure enough they stop right next to us and take the first two empty seats. I complimented him about the reading Mr. Herzog did of All The Pretty Horses on Science Friday a couple of days before and asked if it would be OK if I snapped a photo of him and his son. Obviously it was.

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Apr 112011
 

Professor Stephen Hawking at Gammage Auditorium in Tempe during the Origins Science Festival

Yesterday I posted the photo of Caroline and Werner Herzog hastily so her mom could see the photo. But the real draw of the evening was a talk given by Professor Stephen Hawking. I cannot add a word here that would convey my respect or the sense of presence felt by many of us in attendance.

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Apr 102011
 

Caroline Wise and Werner Herzog in Tempe, Arizona with Cormac McCarthy in the background following a talk by Stephen Hawking

What a day. Tonight Caroline and I went to a performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets with narration by Professor Lawrence Krauss, but the big draw was a talk following the symphony by Professor Stephen Hawking titled My Brief History. As we were walking out we spotted Werner Herzog, whose latest film Cave of Forgotten Dreams we will be watching tomorrow at Tempe Center for the Arts. After this Arizona Premiere he will be giving a talk about the movie. Behind Mr. Herzog and Caroline is Cormac McCarthy, author of All The Pretty Horses and No Country for Old Men. What a truly amazing day.

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Mar 262011
 

Jessica Aldridge, Caroline Wise, and John Wise at the Renaissance Festival outside of Phoenix, Arizona

We know who wears the pants in our household – my wife the King, that’s who. I’m just a lowly queen flittering about with my flowers and tiara dreaming of the days I was a mere princess. Better a queen than that idiot on the left. Who aspires to be a jester? Oh the pain that I must admit that this is in fact my daughter. Lucky for us that our time at the Renaissance Festival, we were allowed to walk around incognito sporting casual everyday folk garments allowing us to blend in. The trials and tribulations of being royalty.