Fitness Adventures

I’ve been having a rough time lately with time constraints.  I trained like crazy for the Yarnell Memorial Run, which was an amazing event on June 2nd. I ran and walked fast, placing 6th out of 14 runners in my category. Next year, my goal is to place in the top 3. But it requires much more training, which requires free time to do it – and lately, I’ve had zilch. Zero. Nada. I’ve decided to make an Anytime Resolution: my health and fitness is important, so I will get up earlier to make it a priority. Earlier is 5am, since I already rise at 5:30. This way, I can still have my coffee time and not feel time pressures getting ready for work, eating breakfast, and so on. My grant writing company is really taking off! But the temptation has been to sit at the computer with my coffee, and before I know it, the clock spins to 7am, time to hit the shower. That’s not working for me. When something’s not working, we change it! Otherwise, we fit into the definition of insanity:  doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result. It’s a rut, folks. Don’t fall for it. What’s your resolution? I wish you the best in seeing it through.

Acoustic Piano!

Hey, All! How have you been? I appreciate those of you who have reached out and asked why you haven’t heard from me in awhile. I have been busier than even I thought….So, what have you been up to? I hope you’re healthy and happy. Here’s what’s been happening:

  1. An Acoustic Piano was given to me. I am so excited! The Tuner comes this week and I can’t wait.
  2. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Northern Arizona University – Finally!
  3. I promptly incorporated my new Grants Consulting Firm, LDR ProSolutions, LLC
  4. I’ve been playing a TON of private parties lately.
  5. The Yarnell Memorial Run – that’s partly one of my “babies” with the help of several others in Yarnell. June 2nd was the BEST ever.
  6. Lou and I have been updating my website. Soon you’ll see a new look.
  7. I’ve been writing grants! In fact, yesterday for the first time ever, I received two Grant Awards in one day!

SO…I haven’t published my most recent gigs, simply because they weren’t open to the public. The next public event on my schedule is Crown King Saloon, Saturday, July 7th at 7pm. In the works is Augie’s Prescott and American Legion Post 79 in Yarnell. I’ll keep you informed! I’ll also be performing my song, “Blazing Honor” in tribute to the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30th at the Memorial Service: 4pm, Yarnell Community Presbyterian Church.


Yarnell Musings

It takes a village, they say; in Yarnell, Glen Ilah and Peeples Valley, it’s so true! It has been quite a journey since the 2013 fire. So many wonderful things have transpired in spite of the heartbreak. Homes have been rebuilt, new relationships have been solidified, new events have come to fruition; additionally, the Chamber of Commerce has become more active. The Yarnell Fire District has an administration building and is actively recruiting volunteers. New training programs are being utilized. This community is the icon of hope.

That endurance and hope does not come without the sacrifice of many. Obviously, 19 firefighters gave their lives – the ultimate sacrifice. But since then, many in Yarnell have sacrificed hours upon hours of their time and effort to aid in rebuilding, restructuring, and reassuring. That is exactly the reason Chuck Tidey, Chamber of Commerce President and Yarnell Hill Recovery Group Chair, was named Citizen of the Year by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department. It was his full time and constant overtime labor, a dedication to the people, that earned him that honor. He’s not the only one who poured himself into it, but as the leader, he truly earned that award.

There are people who are embittered, and understandably so. They’ve lost so much, and are having difficulties adjusting to the changes that have taken place since the loss. Who can blame them? People grieve in different ways and on different time frames. Loss of any kind changes the status quo. But healing will fully come to them.

When you think of Yarnell, what comes to mind? Lou and I think of the beauty. Every morning we drink our coffee and look across at the mountainous views from the kitchen window. We think of the amazing hiking trails, the change of seasons, the inordinate amount of events held here, and all the possibilities. Having come from the East Coast, and many of you as well have lived elsewhere, I can attest to the fact that no matter the troubles here, we are all blessed to reside in this area of the country and this region in Arizona.

Focus on the things you love, the friends you have made, the beauty of the nature around you and tell us (by commenting below) what this small town means to you. I’ll enjoy reading your musings!


Remembering Taz McCormick

Taz McCormickTaz McCormick, drummer for “Strings Attached” with Walt Eckes, passed away on January 21, 2015.   Taz was a key person in the organizing of last year’s “Hidden Faces Concert” with Walt and also played at Big Tom’s Party, where I also had the privilege of playing.  As a Marine he was recipient of four Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star and submitted for a Silver Star for his actions in Vietnam.  Taz was battling cancer for the last several years.

Lou and I met Taz a few times over the course of our time in Yarnell. What we remember most is his contagious smile and terrific sense of humor; he continued drumming and smiling, though he was fighting illness.

We are so grateful for his service to our country and for his contribution to Yarnell.

Fun Times in Yarnell

Check Out What’s Coming Up!

This Friday night, October 31st, we have a Costume Party – My costume’s ready! Can’t wait. Music, dancing, delicious food, great friends! Woohoo – Bring it on! I play from 5pm to 8pm. The party starts at 6pm. Looking forward to it.

Chuck Tidey is the Featured Artist of November at the Yarnell Public Library. The meet and greet is November 17th from 2pm-4pm. You can read about Chuck in Yarnell Buzz right here:

Yarnell Elementary School District is providing a Veteran’s Spaghetti Lunch, including a salad and drink on Monday, November 10th at 11:30am at Model Creek School. The Veterans eat for free, and spouses may attend for $1.65.  Please call the school with your full name, branch or service and if you served in Vietnam. They must have a count to provide the meals. RSVP by Wednesday, Nov. 5th. Phone: 928-427-3347

November 10th is a busy day! The Putt-Putt ATV group from Crown King is coming to Yarnell to socialize, eat and karaoke with us Yarnellians. They’d like to meet at the American Legion for a fun afternoon and evening. I will let you know exact times when their leader calls me to clarify their estimated time of arrival.

November 15th will be awesome too!  A Celebration for Roy Pizzirusso. Here’s the scoop: This will be a potluck event at Big Tom’s Lot. Bring your favorite dish to share. Spatz and Michael Bruce from Alice Cooper Band will be there as well! The event is from 1pm – 5pm. I just found out that Spatz would like me to play as well, so I’ll update on that this week.

Stay connected here at for all the fun!

Party at The Place

One thing about Yarnell, Arizona – no matter how many years young people are, they LOVE a good social gathering! So, here’s an opportunity to party. Many of you know Trish and Chuck Edwards of Glen Ilah. In fact, if you click here, you can read more about them in Yarnell Buzz. Trish enjoys playing Bunco. I played some Bunco in New Jersey years ago. For those of you who haven’t heard of this card game, it’s a great social event with a chance to win Moolah! Ask Trish, and she can point you in the right direction. Anyway, it is Trish’s turn to host her Bunco group, which means there will be some ladies coming up from the Valley. They want to party hearty with us! I’m stoked…

Saturday, September 13th at 8pm, after the Bunco Game, we’re jammin’ at The Place! Join us for the fun, and to welcome our out-of-town visitors.

sept 13


Weekend Events, August 15th and 16th

Birthdays! YES…In Yarnell, we make a big deal out of Birthdays. Since there’s only one YOU, we like to celebrate it. The August Birthday Bash is Friday Night, August 15th, Yarnell Family Diner, 6pm-8pm. Here’s the list as I know it:

Kim Lytle – August 3
Bev Zimmerman – August 10th
Wayne Schlegel – August 15th
Patricia Edwards – August 21st
Garnet Dupuy – August 26th
Patty Cooper – August 26th
Karen Belton – August 26th
Jeremiah McClain – August 25th

Happy Anniversary is in order too! August 15th is Wayne and Barbara Schlegel’s Special Day.

Want some Saturday plans? The weather will be perfect, and the drive to Crown King is an amazing experience. The Annual Blues & Brews Festival at the Crown King General Store begins at noon. I get to do my “Blues Jamming” for several hours, outdoors, with food and beverages, the imbibing kind and otherwise. The General Store has beautiful outdoor deck, with seating and plenty of dancing room. Join us!



Boy Have We Had Fun!

Yarnell, Arizona is SO boring….yeah, right! There’s something happening here CONSTANTLY; always fun, always an adventure, and always the right thing, at the right time! Be sure to check the gallery. There are photos of our good times together.

Gatsby Affair at the Yarnell Community Center was an amazing time! (View some pics here) And there are so many other wonderful events coming. Here are just a few:

Movie Night at the Community Center – Wednesday the 16th at 4:30pm. $1 gets you a movie, popcorn and a drink. This month’s movie is “12 Years A Slave.

Friday night, the 18th, celebrate July birthdays at the Yarnell Family Diner. Entertainment by yours truly! It’s a crazy fun night. Chris (Yarnell Diner) is offering up free dessert for the birthday babies. Trivia – test your knowledge with – but not too hard – just five little questions to give you a break from dancing and catch your breath. All you can eat COD on Friday’s, always BYOB, and ALWAYS a good time with friends.
Ben’s Bells painting – for those that were at the making of Ben’s Bells last month, well, we paint our creations on Saturday, the 19th. 1pm-3pm at the Community Center. No money cost if you paid last month and if you didn’t it is only $1 for this month. If you didn’t make a bell last month, no worries, just show up and paint these and bring a friend. The Bells stay in our Community and next March 29 we hang them around town. These bells are for Yarnell specifically, and we are incorporating some generously donated bells from Vicki that actually survived the fire. And we are incorporating the hearts sent to us from the kids at Sandy Hook School. Find out more info about Ben’s Bells at

Also Saturday, July 19 at 1pm is a 75th Anniversary service at the Shrine of St. Joseph.

Also Saturday, July 19 (see what I mean about boring, haha??) is the Yarnell Community Garden Project Farmer’s Market outside the Community Center beginning at 8am. We are there until the produce runs out which is usually about 11am so don’t hesitate or you will be out of luck. We have lovely organic produce – peas, zucchini, onions, herbs, lettuce, and you just never know what each week will bring to your table as the season progresses and our Garden produces. T/Th/Sat at 8am are workdays so come join us down in the Garden. Oh, Garden Dinner coming up on the 6th of Sept so mark your calendars for that. Always an elegant and exquisite dinner. for more info on the Garden.

Saturday, July 26, 1950’s party at the American Legion here in Yarnell. It is open to the public and free. Prizes awarded for your 50’s getup. Entertainment by yours truly…this will be a GREAT time.

Last Weekend of June Events

My favorite word is “GRACE”. It’s a pure gift of undeserved favor. We experience it everyday, though we don’t always notice it. Those who live in Yarnell, Glen Ilah and Peeples Valley understand grace all too well. So much property was  destroyed last June, and yet not ONE of our residents was harmed. The past year has been filled with such bittersweet grace: homes have been rebuilt, friendships have blossomed, relationships forged, public events and parties have brought so much support to all of us, and the list goes on…

That grace was imparted to us by the sacrifice of 19 men (Granite Mountain Hotshots). Our survival was at their peril. We will never forget June 30th, 2013, and we will forever be grateful.

Yarnell is healing, remembering and celebrating all at once! From June 27th through June 30th we have events that we hope you’ll attend: we know you’ll immensely appreciate each one.

JUNE 27th, 5pm – 8pm  Yarnell Family Diner, live music by myself, dancing, all-you-can-eat Cod, BYOB. Kick off your weekend with a time of food, friends and fun!

JUNE 28th, 3pm – Whenever you leave! – Tom Cammarato is hosting a party in honor of the beautiful white Bull Dog, Payton, who turns 4 and is still ALL puppy. Music begins at 5pm, starting with Yours Truly, followed by Walt Eckes, and Spatz (and a guest appearance by Michael Bruce from the Alice Cooper Band). This could be an all-nighter, and you’re welcome to camp there. 23391 S. Hwy 89, Yarnell, near the Catholic Church. Bring your own seating and your own drinks. Burgers and dogs will be provided.  EVERYONE IS INVITED. The more, the merrier.

JUNE 29th, 1pm – A public ceremony of remembrance, honoring the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and celebrating the rising of Yarnell will be held at the new Memorial Park, corner of Shrine Rd. and Highway 89. There will be many attending from all over Yavapai County. If you cannot stand comfortably for an hour, bring your chair or lawn blanket. There will be music with a locally formed choir, drumming and speakers that inspire. Please attend!

JUNE 30th, 4pm – This is a ceremony beginning at the Yarnell Community Presbyterian Church and processing to the Memorial Park. The public is welcome to join us and remember those who lost their lives.

JUNE 30th, 6pm – Community Sharing of remembrance and hope will be held at Sickles Field, on the corner of Happy Way and Hwy 89. You may come to observe, or to share a poem, a thought, a song or your personal story.

Please pass along this information to others. And we look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Big Tom’s Party:

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Crown King Memorial Day Weekend

Join us for an amazing Memorial Day Weekend Celebration in Crown King! Here’s the details:

Saturday, May 24th – First BBQ at the General Store – Denise provides entertainment from 12 noon – 3pm

Sunday, May 25th – Annual American Legion Parade, Children’s Festival and BBQ at the General Store – Denise provides entertainment from 12:30pm – 4pm.  Then come party with us at the Crown King Saloon, and enjoy a live band and more festivities!

Monday, Memorial Day, May 26th – Crown King Saloon – Denise provides entertainment from 12 noon – 4pm.

Come join the FUN and party hearty (don’t forget your dancing shoes!)

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