Rich And Denise Heinrich’s 2018 Christmas Letter

It was a dark and winey night in Flagstaff, Arizona. The world’s first International Dark Sky City, an award designation given for “exceptional commitment to and success in implementing the ideas of dark sky preservation and/or restoration, and their promotion through quality outdoor lighting.” Perfect for exploring the universe with the SkyView Lite app

New paragraph because my Luddite brain can’t figure out how to put a period after that app link. Click on it for a demonstration. It uses your phone camera as its viewfinder with a 360 degree view to gaze at stars, planets and constellations. If you click on something, you receive information and facts on it. So back to the story. We’re sitting out in a charming little courtyard surrounded with trees, flowers and tiny white lights at an altitude of seven thousand six hundred feet. Stars that go on forever everywhere! Our very dear friend is exploring the night sky with this app when she starts jumping up and down claiming she sees the ISS! Our red wine fuzzy brains make us slow to comprehend. The International Space Station! Now the rest of us jump up excitedly to see it. That’s when we realize that her phone was pointed directly at hubby’s privates. Insane laughter takes over the universe. She is seeing the ISS but it’s on the other side of the planet from where she stood. Meanwhile, hubby is as embarrassed as if he had farted in public (don’t tell me you haven’t been there), spilled red wine on a guy’s white suit, fallen on a treadmill at the gym, farted and sneezed simultaneously in church or barfed on his best friend.

In all this chaos, our friend again erupts into hysteria shouting that she sees the Hubble Space Telescope. This causes me to start laughing and yelling Hubba Hubble as loud as I can and as much as I can. The reason? I had recently designated hubba hubba as my husband’s latest nickname (he has many). But he bashfully rejected it. What can I say? It was a very magical, winey , winey, dark sky starry, starry night!

In early summer, we had a life-changing experience. Grand Canyon river rafting in an RV. It’s a coach, it’s a boat. Ya just put the road transmission into neutral position and the marine transmission into drive position. Steering is by joystick in the cockpit with built-in navigation systems. The front wheels are used in conjunction with the rudders to improve the steering in tight maneuvering rapids. The motorhome had a three and one-half foot draft and a three zone bilge pump system. It’s not intended for ocean use, just fresh water. Average speed is 7 knots and the sonar system warns you of rocks ahead. But if we did hit them, no worries, we just drove over them using the road transmission. Surprisingly, the motorcoach is not top-heavy. Weight and balance calculations were done on everything (even the marble tiles) to ensure stability in the water. It was equipped with all the necessities: a plasma tv, entertainment theater with satellite receiver and six-channel surround stereo, DVD, MP3 and a 600-watt stereo. Needless to say, some of this was quite  distracting, especially when we were running the rapids. Turn the tv off! All eyes on deck! Granite and marble was everywhere along with an electric toilet, sixty inch jacuzzi/shower combo with eight jets. The bedroom even had a mirrored ceiling with roof lights and a picture window that doubled as an emergency exit. The padded ceiling throughout was so appreciated when we were bouncing along on rocks.

There were moments of pure thrill. Serenity. A connection to nature. Togetherness. The sounds of rushing water echoing off the canyon walls. The thrill of white water rapids followed by stretches of calm water. The canyon sunsets from the aft deck with cocktails in hand followed by the quiet of the canyon at night with a blanket of stars to entice us to sleep on the roof. Pristine waterfalls and mile high cliff walls were candy to our eyes. And the wildlife. Wow. Eagles, condors, bighorn sheep, coyotes, foxes, and mule deer. The human party dogs were the wildest!

When we came to the end of our adventure at the haul-out marina ramp, people came running up asking if we were in trouble. Did we need a tow truck? Guess it was their first coach boat. Next year, we plan to raft the canyon in a Camaro or a Ferrari, 125 mph AND 46 knots on the water!

 Here’s to the bright New Year
And a fond farewell to the old;
Here’s to the things that are yet to come
And the memories that we hold.

In 2019, may you always have:     

Friends that Care
Health to Spare
Love to Share

All the best with love,

Denise and Rich













What’s Getting Smaller And Thinner Except My Waist

You know what really grinds my beans? My expanding waistline. And greed. Which is defined as an intense desire to accumulate large amounts of something, such as food or money. Both can cause an expanding waistline. Oh boy…where am I going here? Do you understand what I’m saying? Neither do I.

It crept up slowly. At times, I doubted myself. Questioned my observations. Is this really true? Or am I just getting old and cranky? Paranoid? Demented? Mmmmmmm…it all started with the 4 X 6″ index card. I’ve used them forever for notes, grocery lists, to do lists and not to do lists. And then it happened. They became flimsy thin. Lacking in strength. Inadequate. Easily torn. A quality of life issue. Why did they do it? Just how much money are the manufacturers saving by making my life miserable? Google University could not answer that question. But my sanity was validated by Amazon’s “Super Thick” index cards! Someone else saw the problem, had a problem with it and fixed it. Yes!

Greed is causing us to get gypped left, right and center. Look around. Pay attention next time you’re at the Swindle Store. Sneaky shrinking: manufacturers are downsizing their products. They will tell you that it’s a cost element to innovation or rising input costs or a screw the consumer user tax.  Increasing the bottom line while maintaining a stable price is what they’re really up to. Grocery games. They are killing the consumers four ounces at a time. And you thought the Hunger Games were bad. We have become a Shrinkflation Nation: package looks the same, the price is the same but the weight is not the same. Neither is mine. But my count is. Theirs is not. If you are not a scrutinizing shopper, you will get short-sheeted cheated.

Here’s what the hubby has to say about a particular toilet paper that might come from the north. His bum has liked it for forty five years. The changes started early in this century.

  • they inserted a larger tube in the roll
  • then the width of the roll was cut by 1/2″
  • the diameter of the roll was reduced
  • next is the new double roll
  • the double role is the size of the original roll but short-sheeted

Hubby is passionately pissed-off about this. And so is his bum. Bum now calls THEM the ass!

Just a few of the thousands of products on the Screw the Consumer list, STC: worse than a venereal disease):

  • masking tape: (how does one even start to peel it to use it?)
  • ass wipes: (personal cleansing cloth, now it takes a wad of them.)
  • household cleaning cloths: (now unusable because they just ball up into your hand)
  • bacon: (you now pay the same price for 12 ounces that you used to for 16 ounces)
  • toilet paper: (you now have to use half a roll for one swipe…especially in public bathrooms)
  • toilet paper again: one roll less in package
  • coffee: 30 oz. down to 26.8oz (240 cups to 210 cups). Buzz off.
  • toothpaste: same size box, 10% less.
  • sugar: 5 lbs. before, now 4 lbs. How sweet it was.
  • yogert: 8 oz. down to 6 oz. (or less), check out the larger indentation/dimple in the bottom
  • beer: 16 oz. down to 14.9 oz.
  • crackers: 20 fewer crackers
  • cake mix: 18.25oz to 15.25 oz but hey, it still makes two eight inch rounds. Skinny cake.
  • mustard: 20oz to 18oz, who said you “can’t cut the mustard”?
  • bar of soap: 4.5 oz to 4oz or in a 3 pack, the look alike bars weigh in at 3.1oz. Lowering the bar.
  • first aid spray: 113g to 99g. Ouch…that hurts!
  • ice cream: 64oz to 56oz to 48oz. I scream, you scream for more ice cream.
  • chips: 16oz to 12.5oz. An air bag. Sooooo detrimental to snack attacks.
  • hair shampoo: 25oz to 22oz. Three more greasy bad hair days. They don’t put that on the label.
  • liquid laundry detergent: 50oz to 46.5oz. Wear those clothes till they stand up by themselves!

The Righteous Brothers sang about this:

You’ve got that shrinking feelin’
Whoa, that shrinking feelin’
You’ve got that shrinking feelin’
Now it’s gone, gone, gone, wooooooh….

Yes, we should downsize our stuff and our weight, but they shouldn’t. The height and width of the packaging may look the same on the shelf but check for dimples in the bottom, shrunken depth, count reduction and net weight. Conscious consumerism.

My consumer retort: less is not more…except for the waistline measurement.

Rich And Denise Heinrich’s 2017 Annual Christmas Letter

What a year! Adventures galore. Stranger things. Where do I start?

Early in the new year, Rich and I found ourselves setting up a refugee camp for excommunicated White House employees. They sought protection, a place of rest and or safety. Displaced persons who fled presidential persecution, harassment or bad treatment for secret meetings with Russians, use of private jets, being too far alt-right, an expletive-ridden phone conversation, in-fighting, the Russian probe,  and beliefs that differed from those of the orange hair persecutor. Or because they didn’t adore the Mango Mussolini with unyielding loyalty no matter what.They wanted to get as far away from Washington as possible but California was too liberal. Humanitarian aid in the urban fringe of Scottsdale, Az.. Our job is to reinforce a sense of civil society. Everyone seems to get along other than arguing with Sean as to what the news of the day really is. The neighbors hope it won’t become a permanent city camp.

It is a small camp. Twenty-two blue tarp shelters around our pool in the backyard. The maze of walkways through the tents is tight. If you spread your arms out, you touch tents on both sides. Our gas barbecue (which also has burners) became the communal kitchen with ice chests everywhere. During the winter months of December and January, hose showers (after the hose heated up in the sun) became the norm. In the warmer months, the pool became the bathhouse.

Like sentries, blue porta-potties guard the back fence. It didn’t take long for political graffiti to appear everywhere. And posters of martyrs lost in battle. Quite the diaspora! Not all refugee camps are equal.

There is high unemployment in this camp. We can only offer two jobs. That of pool boy and tree trimmer of our two palm trees and two fruit trees. Others are forced to become seasonal day laborers picking cotton and fruit. Our collective minivan is their transport. Others reluctantly become Democratic pollsters. Since we only have two Democratic families in the neighborhood, additional transport and security are required. Some of the refugees do receive money from their relatives.

Security is tight. Strict access controls included constant surveillance, required permits to enter and three guard cats. The political background of all visitors is highly scrutinized.

A few refugees have left to live with families elsewhere. Their blue tarp domains were immediately filled with others. In fact, we have a waiting list. Some seek permanent asylum.

We will keep you updated. Donations of any kind are most welcome. Tis the season!

As if the above was not enough to deal with, one of our beloved cats, Babbaluche, joined a cat cult in April! He has always been unsure of himself and has an insatiable appetite for love and attention. If he wasn’t following me around all day like a lost soul, he was sitting four feet away just staring at me. We did our best to be good parents.

Well, then the strange behavior started. He’d leave the house during the day for hours at a time. When asked where he went, he’d just mumble meow some discombobulated story that never, ever made any sense. I never pursued it. You know how teenage cats can be… Then he withdrew even more. From us and his cat brothers. He’d disappear for longer periods including the nighttime. We thought maybe he had a girlfriend. Or had taken up with some unsavory characters in the neighborhood. And then, out of concern, a friend ratted him out. The skullduggery was a cult! We were dumbfounded. A mountain of anguish buried us. Where did we go wrong?  Did we have too many houseguests? Was he not happy with the litter box? Not enough kibbles?

Proper parents would have seen the signs. Cause for concern. Babbaluche had been acting differently. He had started meditating, collected money for bogus charities, had a me-versus-them (us) attitude and displayed reprehensible behavior at times. Like pooping on the bedspread in our guestroom. He never did this before joining the cult. His conversations and mannerisms had become stilted and seemingly programmed. And he quit socializing with his friends Paco and Taco who live directly behind us.

Babbaluche’s family and friends were rallied for an intervention in June. It did not go well. He’d already been brainwashed by the leaders of the cult. Our little boy had no tolerance for questions or critical inquiry. He has an unreasonable fear about the outside world. Impending CATastrophe, evil conspiracies, and persecutions. None of us can convince him to leave the cult. He is extremely obsessed with it and its leaders. Only the leader can provide truth, validation, problem-solving, and solutions. If we dare to question or criticize the leader, it’s persecution.

Rich and I are so sorry to bring this news to you in what is supposed to be a joyful Christmas letter. Right now, our efforts are at a standstill. Professional guidance is being sought to save our boy. We will keep you all posted.

Now for some exciting, good family news. Motorsports to the moon! A precursor to space tourism. Competitors in this emerging market include Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin. In September, Rich went on a road rally to the moon. A rally with no roads….just craters. An extreme offroad rally with only twelve cars. His boss sponsored him and Elon Musk sponsored the rally. The cars and drivers were transported there by Elon’s private spaceflight company Space X Rockets. Health and fitness tests along with training were required. He prepared by playing the Driver Lunar Rover 4 Offroad Game. And by driving up rocky, dry riverbeds here in his modified Bugeye Sprite Lunar Rover.

According to Rich, there were obstacles to overcome besides craters. With less gravity there, the drivers were forced to go slower as bumps in the terrain wreaked havoc. A rollover was not just a rollover. The driver rolled over and over nonstop until something brought the car to a stop. Like being in a dryer. The lack of streets and street signs made navigation a real challenge. GPS was spotty unless you faced the earth to pick up the satellites. Rich claims that toward the end of the rally, most drivers had improved their skills enough to jump over the craters. The next intergalactic rally, Cars To Mars, will be in 2022. Rich is already designing the over and over and over rover rollover rover!

Since September, things have been pretty quiet. I enjoyed some small accomplishments which included cooking thirty-minute brownies in twenty minutes, memorizing the history of man, reading Anna Karina, Moby Dick and the Bible in one day and still had time to paint the entire house that evening. I also discovered the meaning of life but I forgot to write it down.

The magic of Christmas never ends and its greatest gifts are family and friends. Much love to you all!!!

Twinkles In The Wrinkles


Ya know what really grinds my beans? Anti-aging this. Anti-aging that. A tsunami of products that promise eternal youth, sex, and a new Mercedes. The 300 billion dollar pseudoscience beauty business. Firm & lift.Tighten & tone. Rejuvenate & reactivate. Don’t talk to me about free radicals that steal my collagen. Free radicals are protesters just out of jail! You even have complexion analysis machines to give me a skin score on my dubious derma. Or to tell me how poor my pore quality is. I have Grand Canyon pores. Take a hike and take your hope in a jar with you. Gobbledygook. I’m not buying it. You’re either aging or you’re dead. So don’t make me feel bad for staying alive.

Bird poop face cream. Bee venom facial. Leech therapy: snails on your face that deposit mucus containing proteins and antioxidants. Celebrity culture capture.

You promise me less wrinkles. The wrinkles are in your mind. In your attitude. Not on my face. I have lifelines. Just like the one on your hand, curving about the base of the thumb, that reveals facts about a person’s life. Do you really think a frozen face looks better than the evolution of that history? That life. All those smiles, squints, frowns and other common facial expressions. With these lifelines, I’m someone who is called upon in time of need. A source of salvation in a crisis. Why oh why would you want to give that up by injecting poison into your face?

When I came out of the closet by going gray (actually a snowy crown), it was liberating. Nothing to hide. I no longer have to plan my life around root touchups. Or worry about the color fading if I wash my hair ten times a day. Sure, people no longer say, “you don’t look that old.” Now they call me ma’am, hun or sweetie. Forget that. Call me geezer.

And even if I can no longer reproduce, I can produce. This girl is not standing still and stagnating. She’s embracing life and her age. Piano lessons, writing classes, exercise, a blog are only a few things that gobble up my day like the Pac-Man video game from the eighties. No such thing as too late or too old to pursue dreams. And they are not to be replaced by regrets. Don’t tell me you can turn back the clock. Just help me wind it up. Don’t try to prevent old age with all your silly products, help me enjoy it! Good things that are old include wine, friends, authors, cars and not having to worry that you will die young. Forget the facelift. Do a spirit lift. Make products or treatments that make us think, motivate and feel. Give us that lit-from-within glow.

Everybody has some degree of vanity and you prey upon it. Mine is more like the bathroom variety. I’m proud of its tile top appearance, abilities to store stuff and achievements of storing more stuff. The floral drawer pulls are also exceptional. You’re so vain. You probably think this blog is about you. Don’t you?

My middle age now shows around my middle. I guess that Spanx stuff is supposed to push it up to your chest, down to your feet or into your head. Good God almighty. How am I supposed to get all this in there? Having a marshmallow middle isn’t so bad. At least you can breathe.

The turkey neck is a bit distracting. Those muscles are such slackers! Turkeys might find it attractive. I wonder if they are attracted more to double chins or triple chins. I choose to keep my chin up and remain cheerful despite my difficult neck situation. I won’t give up or give in.

Jowls. The meat of the cheeks. Does that only apply to hogs? I’ve had them for a long time. They run in the family. Makes it easy to recognize relatives…that you’ve never met or didn’t know you had. Is liposuction the treatment? Or fat grafting? Is that where they reduce your bum to stuff your slacker cheeks? Voluptuous volume. Look out chipmunks. Competition!

Wrinkles, wobbles, and white hair. That’s me. Don’t try to lure me into your spider web of products with promises to transform me into a hot babe. I’m hot enough. I live in Phoenix.

The Times You Give Yourself A good Talking To

Ok, not a popular topic. But we’ve all been there, right? Those times you had intense dislike or disgust for yourself. Maybe even hatred. Where you give yourself a good talking to over and over and over again. Or you yelled F-bomb me at the top of your lungs. Maybe it was that walk of shame after a one night fling. Or never finishing college. Throwing up out the car window after drinking Boonesberry cheap-ass wine. Forgetting who you had a date with that night. Not attending someone’s wedding that you should have, no matter what. Getting caught with your pants down. No motivation to lose that twenty pounds. Or at least exercise. Going to the wrong ROTC class all semester (true story that may come to light later).

To help you start pondering your own list, here’s what I’ve heard from very reliable sources:

  • Drinking more than three glasses of wine (that decline in energy the next day sucks. Yea, you can crawl your way through the day but someone might step on your hands.
  • Not planning well enough for retirement. Sell shit or die!
  • Under loving someone who deserved a better quality of attention from me. Can’t rectify it with the same person so I will pay it forward.
  • Forgetting to take the kleenex out of pockets before doing the wash. I had a forest of snow-flocked clothes.
  • Leaving town with hubby’s car keys. Motorcycles are not fun in the rain.
  • Not ending a friendship when I should have (like before it started).
  • Letting my mojo come and go. Hang on to that magical, supernatural luck, charm or skill.
  • Not showing gratitude to everyone that I should. Musicians, friends, family, the dog, the cat, strangers. Too late comes too soon.
  • Valuing security in certainty. Uncertainty keeps spontaneity alive.
  • Not jumping at an opportunity. The traffic lights of life give us three colors but the crossing is up to us.
  • Picking my college major because it was easy, not because it was my passion, talent, or calling. Duh!
  • Letting someone make you feel stupid. Just because something is silly, mindless and fluffy-fun doesn’t mean it’s stupid. If you’re attracted to it, it makes you smile and maybe ponder or wonder or think–it’s valid!

Did you ever forgive yourself? If you can’t forgive yourself then you can’t forgive anyone. Terrible way to go through life, isn’t it?

What’s on your list?