Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Getting Hot, Heading North in Two Weeks!

Monday 3/2

Early morning walk and then the Monday morning meeting. As I expected Pericles was the there in full song, just his arm in a sling. He was also trying to sell a slightly used bike, just broken handle bars and a broken frame!

We skipped the bike ride this week as they were going to Ryan field for lunch which means riding on the shoulder of the highway - not our cup of tea! Plus it was quite windy.

Rain came in during the early afternoon. We headed into town a little after four, had dinner at Saigon Pho - quite interesting and actually pretty good.

Good Life in the Universe lecture at Centennial Hall, not quite as crowded as past weeks. The host thanked everyone for coming out in “this terrible winter weather.” It was in the 50’s with light rain, I had the wipers on intermittent all the way in!

Back home and watched the Blackhawks game on the DVR. Much better game than they have played in weeks! Maybe the addition of the new guys will give them a little more zip and get them living up to their billing as Stanley Cup favorites.

Tuesday 3/3

Pretty morning out in  the desert, with ground fog along the base of the Tucson Mountains. We slept a bit late and had a late breakfast after our walk. Early in the afternoon we went into town and had lunch (and take-home for dinner) at Beyond Bread. They are dropping the loyalty program that they have been testing. The terminals were pretty buggy, not working half the time. As compensation to those of us that had been using it regularly they sent us a text offering a half price sandwich. So we not only got lunch and dinner today, we got it for half price!

It was a beautiful clear day after yesterday’s rain cleaned all the dust and smog out of the atmosphere in the Tucson valley. Our yoga instructor’s husband calls it “smust.” Coming over Gate’s Pass the Rincons really stood out and we could see clearly all the way to the north of the valley, really pretty. A lot of people here avoid going over Gates Pass, preferring to use Ajo Highway, I guess because they do not like the twisty roads through Tucson Mountain Park and narrow road over the pass. We find it to be a convenient way to get into the city and a pretty drive.

After lunch we stopped at Royal Car Wash to get the car spiffed up; Trader Joe’s for groceries and then back home as Nancy had her Spanish study group late in the afternoon.

When we arrived home the electricity was off. This is not an unusual problem in RV Parks in general, but it turned out to be a widespread outage involving app. 7,500 customers on the Southwest side of the city. According to the radio the expectation was about 3 hours, but they had it back up in 45 minutes.

Quiet evening watching a couple of mysteries on TV.

Wednesday 3/4

Up early and out in the desert. Days are getting longer and it is a lot lighter at 6:30 AM. Nancy had her Spanish class this morning, I did my weekly house cleaning.

After Nancy’s class we went down to the Green Valley Farmer’s Market. Nancy wanted to pick up some more skin cream just in case the lady who makes it did not get to the 4th Ave spring fair in a couple of weeks.

Then a stop at Fry’s in Sahurita to stock up since it is “first Wednesday” when they give a 10% discount to seniors - geezers are us!

Stopped at BK Tacos for lunch on the way home, then a stop at Copper Crest to look for rentals for next year for Joan. Not much luck there either. Still have not tapped into the right info source to find what is for rent.

Late in the afternoon the RV Doctor came by to replace the seal in our toilet. I did it a number of years ago and the hardest part was getting my aging body twisted around enough to work in that tiny space! There was no way I wanted to do that again and when he said forty bucks plus the cost of the seal I said go for it!

Hamburgers on the grille tonight 

Thursday 3/5

Tucson Yoga first thing in the AM, then a stop at Food Conspiracy.  When we arrived here last fall I commented about how many parking spaces on 4th Ave had been lost to the streetcar stops and wondered about the impact that would have on the retail stors along there. Well now, to add insult to injury, the city has installed parking meters all along the shopping and dining stretch of 4th Ave AND the side streets in the area! One dollar an hour parking meters!

So, we put a quarter in the meter for 15 minutes, and instead of walking through Food Conspiracy to see what we found interesting, we just grabbed what we came for and left. No more stopping in to Antigone Books to browse either. Sure seems anti business to me. 

Relaxed in the afternoon and did some restaurant searches, looking for a new place to try.

Called Gary and Karen and they went to dinner with us at Gulliermo’s in South Tucson. We go by there on the way to yoga and it looked interesting so we thought we would try it. Turned out to be pretty good, service was excellent, drinks so-so (although they did have Negro Modelo on tap) and the food pretty normal. Nancy thought her seafood was excellent, Gary and Karen like their fajitas, but I though the carne asada left a lot to be desired.

Friday 3/6

Beautiful morning in the desert, but the wind came up during the day, quite windy all day. We puttered around an took it easy, both of us are anticipating a busy week next week, there will be a lot going on.

Blackhawks play tonight after a few days off, this could be the game that forecasts what the rest of the season is going to look like. And they played another mediocre game! Managed to tie late in the third and win in the shoot-out, but still disappointing.

Saturday 3/7

Up early and off to the University for Tucson Festival of Books volunteer training. THat took a couple of hours, then we made a stop at C. F. Coors for 1st Saturday. Lunch at BK Tacos and then back home. 

Sunday 3/8

The rest of the country sprung on ahead of us last night, while we remained on Mountain Standard time. Morning walk in the desert, then watched Sun Morning on CBS. Blackhawks played late this afternoon, played the Rangers to a scoreless tie then lost in OT. Another pretty mediocre game, this team just cannot put the puck in the net this season - very frustrating.

A busy week coming up: bike ride on Monday; science lecture Monday evening; visiting Escapade for one day on Tuesday and then dinner with friends; another book festival meeting one evening yet to be determined; then volunteering at the festival on Saturday and Sunday!

Monday 3/9

Early walk and then the Monday morning meeting. Went off with bike group to the Riallito River bike trail and had lunch at Sweet Tomatoes.

Back home for the afternoon and the back into town for the last of the science lecture series. Had dinner at Gentle Ben’s and then took in the best lecture of the series. An excellent presenter and fascinating subject. Worth watching the on-line podcast if you are at all interested.

Tuesday 3/10

We had planned on going to Escapade today, but after we looked over the list of seminars we did not find any “must see” ones. We had picked out a couple for this morning, but decided it was not worth the $30 daily fee (for members) for just two seminars. Decided to take it easy today and go to Escaped tomorrow just to browse through the marketplace.

Met some friend's for dinner at Cafe Poco Cosa quite an interesting place with a constantly changing menu. Nice service and excellent food, plus good conversation.

Wednesday 3/21

We made it through the day! Morning walk in the desert, then Nancy had her Spanish class and I did my weekly house cleaning - sure love that new built-in vacuum! 

After Nancy’s class we went over to Ajo Cafe for lunch, stopped at Camping World to return some cabinet supports that did not work for what I wanted, then on to Escapade.

Walked through the marketplace, said hello to Miss Terry at the Gypsy Journal booth and picked up a few things. Did not spend anywhere near as much as we did last year!

By now it’s about 2:30, so we went up to Bookman’s to browse around. In spite of our Kindles we still bought half a dozen books, but a lot less than we used to. Then we headed up to Oro Valley where we had to go to a Festival of Books training meeting for “key” volunteers.

Had dinner at the Beyond Bread on Ina, then to the meeting, which was very interesting training on how to scan the new tickets with the QR Scanner on our iPhones. This year they have decided to try free ticketing for the largest and most popular venues. We are working Saturday and Sunday morning and then we have tickets to two off the major venues Saturday afternoon.

Got back home a little after 7 PM and a couple stopped by who had been looking for us all afternoon! (we left at noon.) They were looking for info on the Book Festival and Pericles had told them we were volunteering there. Chatted with them for a while and then called it a day.

Thursday 3/12

Off to Tucson Yoga this morning for another good Gentle and Restorative class with Johanna, sure will miss these once we head back North. Quick stop at Food Conspiracy and back home. Nancy spent a lot of time studying this afternoon and the Blackhawks play tonight!

Blackhawks played a fair game, but still seem unable to score with any regularity. They did manage to beat Arizona 2-1, but it should have been a much more lopsided score!

Friday 3/13

Our busy week continues. At least we did not have to be up before dawn this morning. Took our regular walk, Nancy did some laundry and Spanish and I did some planning for our trip home. Hard to believe we will be back on the road in less than three weeks!

After lunch we headed into town to the Tucson Red Cross headquarters for a training session. Very nice facility, better than we expected.

After the three hour session was completed we stopped at Walmart to pick up some brats for dinner and a toy for Margo - Sunday is here birthday. Back home and relaxed.

Saturday 3/14

Up at 6 AM and headed into the city at 7:30 for the Tucson Festival of Books. Reported in and were assigned to the big room in the modern languages building. I worked as inside room monitor, Nancy unfortunately ended up line wrangling and did not get to hear both of the presentations. With big crowds and popular programs we were kept running all morning. Nancy did get to hear the first one which featured Deborah Harkness, Sue  Miller, and Joyce Carol Oates. The second one featured three authors we did not know, Ace Atkins, C. J. Box, and William Kent Krueger talking about family dynamics in their novels.

After our shift we went to a session in the main ballroom featuring Jean Kwok, Lisa See, and Amy Tan. Massive crowd and we got drafted into helping with seating, but since we had tickets we were able to sit down and enjoy the presentation. After that we went to a presentation on dark skies by Paul Bogard. His book is The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in a World of Artificial Light.

Stopped at Beyond Bread for a late lunch/dinner and got home about 4 PM and sat down to watch the Blackhawks game we recorded earlier in the afternoon. They finally broke out of their slump in the third period, hopefully for good! Then we watched F1 qualifying from last night and hit the sack, early morning again tomorrow.

Sunday 3/15

Back off to the Book Festival again early this morning. We had to split up as they needed people with the extra scanner training in a number of venues. Nancy ended up line wrangling at the main ball room with huge crowds - one of her presentations was Craig Johnson, the author of the Longmire series, along with the actors Lou Diamond Phillips and Rob Taylor.

I was in the Gallagher Theatre where I had inside duties as well as doing some of the ticket scanning in the lines. We also had CSpan broadcasting all the presentations live. Filled the whole room for the first session, but managed to cram in everyone standing in line. It was a fascinating presentation on the Obama Years with Ian Haney Lopez, Mark Leibovich, and David Maraniss. Second presentation was not full, so not a much of a hassle. Dan Fagin and Alexandra Witze on Reporting Disasters, Natural and Manmade.

After our shift we had some lunch in the Student Union and the strolled around the rest of the fair. As it was last year walking around with “Volunteer” shirts we were often approached with questions about where something was.

Back home by 2 PM today so we relaxed, watched last night’s F1 race from Australia and CBS Sunday Morning - sure love that DVR.

Monday 2/16

Supposed to get hot today so we took our morning walk and then headed out on our own bike ride rather than waiting for the bike group. They do not meet until 10:30, after the morning meeting, so they don’t get to the ride location until 11 or 11:30.

We just went over to the Santa Cruz path off Irvington. Rode North, but the new section is still closed - what the heck is taking them so long, it was fully paved over a month ago! - so we just rode the 5 mile loop and headed home.

Cranked up the AC for the first time this year as the temp hit 88 late in the afternoon!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

So once again I have been negligent, not posting in a timely manner. Time seems to just slip away here, hard enough to keep track of the day of the week! I do try to diligently keep my notes every day so I have something to post when I get here.

Wednesday 2/11

Regular walk in the desert this morning and another beautiful sunrise. Nancy had her Spanish class this morning. I checked on the FedEx tracking and saw that the part for our blender had arrived so I went over to the mailbox and picked it up, then installed the new drive wheel on the blender. Then did my Wednesday morning vacuuming.

After Nancy’s class we went into town to Beyond Bread for lunch (and dinner), then back home for a quiet afternoon. 

Blackhawks played another stinko and lethargic game tonight, just cannot figure out what is up with this team! They did snap out of it in the last few minutes of the game and scored two goals to at least salvage a tie, then lost in overtime.

Thursday 2/12

Regular yoga class this morning at Tucson Yoga, then a stop at Food Conspiracy. Discovered this  morning that the WiFi had quit working again, expected another password change like the last time, but when I went to the office I found that the system had been shut down by the provider because someone had been downloading pirated movies! So now to get back on the WiFi we have to register our devices. Also it turns out that David, who does a really nice job managing the system, will not allow routers like our WiFi Ranger - bummer! He is also going to limit access to two devices per site. Actually that should improve the performance considerably when you think about all the parasitic devices that connect besides computers: cell phones, e-readers, smart TVs, etc.

So we dug out our Bear Extenders, which are simply signal boosters that have worked for us in the past, and registered them. So far tonight the system is working great, more responsive than we have ever seen it when the park is full. I imagine registering the devices will also allow them to monitor usage, which should cut down on the people who tie up the system streaming videos - which was never allowed, but you could see it happening when the response bogged down. So we will see if this works out. So far so good.

Friday 2/13

Friday the 13th worked out pretty well for us. Nice walk in the desert this morning - slept in to after 7 AM! Today was the second park wide yard sale, so after breakfast I got all my stuff out. Last time all I sold was the $3 wash brush that Gary bought before the sale. Spent the rest of the morning sitting outside and sold several things - made $7.50! Whoo-hoo! Rest of the stuff will probably go on the free shelf in the rec hall.

Nancy spent a good part of the afternoon studying Spanish and I did not do much of anything. Blackhawks play again tonight, hopefully they can get their act together.

Well, good and bad, the Hawks played two lousy periods and then put together a credible third and won the game. Hossa scored his 7th goal in four games! Quite a way to break out of a slump!

Saturday 2/14

Took in the yoga class here in the park this morning and then took our regular walk. Headed in to town to have lunch at BK Tacos and then a stop at the grocery store. Traffic today was horrendous! Maybe due to the Gem Show. Irvington Road coming up to I-10 was particularly bad.

Back home we relaxed and had a quiet afternoon.

Sunday 2/15

Clouded over yesterday afternoon so it stayed warm all night - 60 degrees this morning. During our walk the sun was peaking under the cloud cover and lighting up the mountains to the South, I think this is the Tumacacori Mountains. Kitt Peak was also basking in the morning sun for a while.

As you can see from the foreground of this picture, the best way to describe the desert this winter is "lush". We noticed immediately the first morning we were out in November that the palo verde in particular were much taller than in previous years. Now, after the winter rains we have had, everything in the desert is greening up.

Last winter we had 0.1 inches of rain in January and February; this year we have had 2.5 inches! Much closer to normal rainfall and the plants are showing it. You cannot see it in the above pic, but much of the open ground is now covered with small green plants; the bursage,  creosote, and palo verde are leafing out; all of the cacti, from the pin cushion to the fish hook and barrel cactus are pumped up and healthy looking; the ocotillo, which just look like vertical stick most of the time are starting to produce leaves as well. A lot of these desert plants will quickly produce leaves when conditions are right, perform their photosynthesis, and then drop the leaves quickly when it gets hot and dry again. They do this to prevent losing moisture through the leaves. 

The cholla in particular are lovely: the teddy bear cholla almost fluoresce in the morning sun, and the stag horn cholla are sporting red flowers:

The chain fruit cholla seem to be producing more fruit than in past years and of course the saguaro are looking plump and happy. A beautiful time in the desert.

The Blackhawks had another morning game today and for once they played a pretty good game, even though they needed the shoot-out to win.

Monday 2/16

Early walk in the desert this morning, a bit cooler than yesterday, then the Monday morning meeting. Pericles explained the issues with the WiFI. For us  the WiFi has improved considerably, even though we are not using our WiFi Ranger anymore. 

After the meeting the bike group went to the path along the Santa Cruz river just south of Irvington. There is a new section to the north, not actually open yet, but someone had opened the barricades. We rode north a far as Broadway, probably would not have been able to do it if it had not been President’s Day and they had been working. Rode nine miles.

A quick stop to pick up a new CO detector since the one in the trailer aged out last evening and started beeping. Home for a few hours and then we headed into town for the Life in the Universe lecture at the university.

Still looking for a good place nearby to have dinner before the talk. Tried Mama’s Hawaiian Barbecue which was a disappointment. The service was really slow - it is just a cafeteria where you order at the counter and they call out your name when it is ready. It took 25 minutes for a burger and salad! Nancy’s salad was OK, but my burger was a way overcooked hockey puck, basically inedible. Not time to wait for another, so I ate some and the fries. When I complained the lady at the counter just shrugged. Once we got to Centennial Hall I posted a review on Yelp.

Very interesting talk by a professor that talked really fast. Nice thing is that the talk finished at 7:50, we were in the car and out of the garage by 8:00 and home at 8:30!

Tuesday 2/17

Slept in this morning so we took our walk a little later. Then I spent the rest of the morning working on the Windmill presentation for the History Center Brown Bag in May. Nancy worked on her Spanish and did laundry. After lunch we ran through the presentation to check the timing.

Nancy had her study group late in the afternoon and I did basically nothing. Then a quiet evening.

Wednesday 2/18

Nancy had Spanish class after our morning walk. I spent close to an hour trying to uninstall and reinstall software on her laptop that was causing it to restart every time she went on line. Managed to get it working after the third go round!

Off to Beyond Bread for lunch, then some shopping, Trader Joe’s, Total Wine and More, Albertson’s. That pretty much killed the afternoon. Blackhawks played a pretty good game tonight, but lost to Detroit in a shoot-out. Chicago - Detroit games are always exciting and fun to watch and this one was no exception. Too bad they only play twice a year now.

Thursday 2/19

Tucson Yoga first thing, then straight back home as we had volunteered our truck to move a load of folding tables for the park picnic on Friday. However, by the time we got back the picnic table crew had finished their job and picked up our tables as well.

Pericles, the owner of Desert Trails had a serious biking accident yesterday, quite a few broken bones and the poor guy has surgery scheduled on his shoulder on Saturday. Fortunately all the damage is to things that will heal or can be repaired. 

Nancy spent the afternoon finishing up the income taxes, I finished cleaning up the outline of the Fabyan Windmill presentation at the Brown Bag lunch at the History Museum coming up on May 12th.

Friday 2/20

After our morning walk I spent the morning double checking the figure on the income taxes and doing the E filing while Nancy studied. Then we went to the park picnic. Not the first table to eat this year, like we were last year, but we were the 3rd or 4th one called - an advantage when there are 20+ tables! We had it coming after two consecutive years as the last table!

I had a massage from Angel this afternoon and then we walked around the park and visited with a lot of dogs - they all seemed to be out walking this afternoon!

Blackhawks got off to a good start against Colorado, then fell apart in the 3rd period. It looks like Colorado will not make the playoffs and that is a good thing as their goalie certainly has the Hawks number this year.

Saturday 2/21

Morning walk and then just hung around home most of the day. Late in the afternoon we went into town and made a top at Cosco before going to Culver’s for dinner. Had a coupon for a free Double Butter Burger - can’t pass that up and the new one on Kino Parkway is not far away. We have another coupon that expires at the end of the month.

Went a bit farther to the East to pick up a new antenna mast for the the truck CB to replace the one I bent in Phoenix. CB shop at TTT did not have any, but the Pilot had replacement whip masts. I had anticipated having to buy a new pair of antennas, but replacing just the whip was a pleasant surprise - a lot cheaper!

Sunday 2/22

Very warm overnight, 60 degrees this morning. After our walk in the desert we watched CBS Sunday Morning, then listed to A Prairie Home Companion that we missed yesterday afternoon. Interesting that they have not sold out this spring’s Caribbean cruise. This one is a bit more expensive than the last Caribbean one, but I think all of the others have sold out in just a few weeks.

Watched the first part of the Daytona 500, then the Blackhawks game. They disproved the prevailing theory that they are playing down to the caliber of the competition by getting blown out by Boston 6-2. They looked as bad as they have all season. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call.

Monday 2/23

Busy day today! Up early for our regular walk, then off to the Monday morning meeting. Elaine, one of our neighbors, did an outstanding job filling in for Pericles. Reports are that his shoulder surgery on Saturday was 100% successful.

Bike group went along the Aviation Parkway Bike Trail from the southeast up to Fourth Ave. The group stopped for lunch at Thunder Canyon Brewery, but Nancy & Karen were not real enthusiastic about eating and then getting back on the bikes for the ride back to the car, so we skipped lunch.

On the way back the chain on Karen’s bike jammed and we were unable to fix it. Nancy waited with Karen while Gary and I roade back to the parking lot. I carry my Etrex 20 GPS on a handlebar mount so I was able to mark a waypoint where they were and then find my way back there through a warren of side streets. Kind of tricky using that tiny little map as a GPS in the car, but it worked.

The four of us stopped at BK Tacos for lunch, then we stopped at the grocery store and then back home.

Had less than an hour before we had to leave to get over to the University for the latest Life in the Universe lecture. Tried Paradise Bakery and Cafe for dinner. A lot like a Panera, but the bread on my sandwich was only so-so, a far cry from Beyond Bread! Nancy had a nice salad though.

Back home after the lecture about 8:45. Another full house at Centenial Hall.

Tuesday 2/24

Rained fairly hard just before dawn, was partly cloudy and cool (48) when we took our walk in the desert. Relaxed in the morning. I did the repairs on the CB antenna on the truck in the afternoon. Nancy had a massage with Angel and then her Spanish study group.

We have to arrive at Centennial Hall when the doors open this year to be sure of getting seats where we want to be, much bigger crowds than in previous years. We used to be able to walk in at 6:50 with no problem, now we need to be there by 6:15 - damn geezers!

So we take our Kindles and sit and read. Tonight thay had some great clarinet music playing that I never heard before. Identified it using Shazam on my iPhone - Dr. Michael White. Never heard of him before. Checked him out on iTunes today and he has some great traditional jazz with a current twist. Guess I will need to purchase a couple of his albums.

The Blackhawks played a pretty average game tonight, I was hoping for more after the way they were blown out on Sunday. To add to the distress Patrick Kane was seriously injured by a cheap shot from a nobody player. Some goof nobody ever heard of takes out the league's leading scorer with a cheap hit and gets a two minute penalty - Kane is out for the rest of the regular season and maybe into the playoffs. The NHL needs the rule that I have advocated for years: if a player is injured when you get a penalty then you stay out as long as he does.

Wednesday 2/25

Coldest morning in quite a while, 40 degrees this morning. Nancy had her Spanish class this morning. I did some house cleaning.

After her class we took our regular walk, then went in to Beyond Bread for lunch. Then a stop at the Pima County DOT office for the Adopt A Highway training session.

That pretty much killed the day. Quiet evening watching TV.

Thursday 2/26

Tucson Yoga first thing this morning. Traffic going in was very light, the schools are closed because the Rodeo parade is today. Ajo Highway especially light since Ajo was closed at 6th St. for the parade. 

After class we planned on meeting Gary and Karen at the bank in Tucson Estates to witness his will. We called them when we were leaving downtown at 10:30 and said we would meet them at 11. Took us 18 minutes! Obviously still light traffic.

After the bank Gary bought lunch at J J Cooper’s in the little shopping center in Tucson Estates. Pretty good place with good sandwiches.

Nancy and Karen went for pedicures in the afternoon. I stayed home and paid bills, downloaded a couple of Dr. Michael White albums. 

Friday 2/27

After our morning walk Nancy did laundry and I balanced checkbooks and updated credit card expenditure records into Quicken.

We had another Culver’s coupon for a free double cheese Butterburger, so we headed into town town to Culver’s for lunch. A quick stop at Walmart and then we stopped at a couple of realtor’s offices and clubhouses in Tucson Estates to look at rental info.

Blackhawks played another disappointing game tonight, they just seem to look lethargic and a step behind the other team. Looking more and more like a short, disappointing season

Saturday 2/28

Warm and breezy this morning, in fact a fairly stiff wind all day long. Not much happening around here today. Karen and Gary dropped Margo off mid-morning and headed in to the rodeo. Actually that should be “La Fiesta de los Vaqueros” which is celebrating it’s 90th anniversary! This year’s rodeo started on Thursday with the annual rodeo parade - the world’s longest non-motorized parade. One of these times we need to go to the parade, unfortunately it conflicts with our weekly yoga class.

Karen and Gary came back in late afternoon and stayed for a few drinks and conversation. I should also mention that the park WiFi continue to operate superbly, still better than it has ever been!

Sunday 3/1

I mentioned a few days ago that the ocotillo were leafing out. They are now sporting their iconic flame red flowers. Here's one from this morning:

After our morning walk we had a quiet day at home. Blackhawks don't play until Monday evening, but they made a couple of good trades over the weekend, picking up a couple of players that will have an immediate impact without losing too much in return. They will not replace Patrick Kane, but should be a big help. They did give up one good young defenseman from Rockford, but the rest was done with draft choices. They will have to make some moves after the season to stay under the salary cap, so they should be able to recoup those lost draft choices. We'll see how it goes from here. Gotta stay positive! Been wearing my new sweater for every game. Hey! It's only weird if it doesn't work! Actually I guess that means it's weird since it has not been working to well.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Another Late Post and First Wildflowers!

Once again I have neglected to update the blog in a timely manner - sorry. I've been trying to spend less time noodling on the computer and more time reading. Been binge reading Jack Reachers novels for the last week. Anyhoo … here we go:

Monday 1/19

Instead of rushing to get to the Monday meeting we got up early and took our morning walk, going out just as the sun was rising. Another amazing morning in the desert.

Nancy went to the morning meeting while I loaded the bikes on the car. The bike group went to the bike path along the Santa Cruz river just North of Speedway. A nice pleasant day and we had a good ride. We covered 12 miles, some of the group went farther. They had lunch at Peter Piper Pizza, but we skipped that. Quick stop at Albertson’s Liquor Dept. (ran out of whiskey!) and back home for the afternoon.

Tuesday 1/20

Morning walk and then we did some chores and minor maintenance items around our little house on wheels. Stopped by the park office to pay our monthly rent and put down our deposit to hold the same spot for next winter.

Blackhawks play again tonight and tomorrow night, we’ll see if they wake up a bit before the All Star break. And they blew the Coyotes away, really hard to figure this team out - why don’t they play like that every game? That question probably keeps coach Quenneville awake at night!

Wednesday 1/21

Out well before dawn this morning, the sun was just coming over the horizon as we returned. Had some clouds this morning so the sky was very pretty. Pink clouds above the a bright blue sky on the Eastern horizon and the same in the West, except the clouds to the West looked like rolls of pink cotton. We are really enjoying the dawns in the desert this year, watching each of the cactus types catch the sun at different times. The cholla, even though they are lower to the ground are the first to light up as their spines seem to concentrate and reflect the light; then the tallest saguaro light up as the sun hits them even before it clears the horizon.

Nancy had Spanish class this morning and I did some house cleaning.

Blackhawks off to good start tonight with a 2 nothing lead, then they let Pittsburgh come back and tie, but they managed to win in the shoot-out. Giving up a point to a team in the East means nothing, but getting those 2 points was a good way to go into the All Star break - no game until next Wednesday!! Boo!

Thursday 1/22

Tucson Yoga this morning, then a drive through the University campus to see if any of the streets around the Tyndal parking garage were blocked off, last year there was a lot of construction there. The UA Science Lecture series starts Monday evening and I wanted to be sure of which way we want to go in.

Then a stop at the Verizon store to turn in Nancy’s old iPhone for a credit. We did not turn it in when she bought the new iPhone 6 since we wanted to transfer pictures and ring tones from the old one.

Of course that put us at Campbell and Speedway at 11 AM - just by coincidence right down the street from Beyond Bread! So... lunch there, followed by Trader Joe’s, a stop at Total Wine and Liquor to restock our whiskey supply and home before dark. Actually by about 1 PM. (Motto at the Lucas Lamps factory: “A good day’s work and ‘ome before dark!”)

Friday 1/23

Usual morning hike, then pretty much hung around home the rest of the day. Nancy studied her Spanish while I did a few things around the trailer, washed outside windows, etc.

Saturday 1/24

Short walk this AM as we wanted to try the Saturday morning yoga class here in the park - in the gallery which is less than 100 feet from our door! Of course we went over about 10 minutes before the hour and the room was almost full already! Forgot that this is Desert Trails where everyone gets to things early!

Very nice class, a bit more strenuous than the “Gentle & Restorative” classes we do on Thursdays at Tucson Yoga, but a good class nevertheless.

Nancy’s sister Joan arrived today about noon. Once she got settled Nancy went over to meet her at Rincon West, where she rents a friend’s park model, and they did some shopping and then came back here for cocktails. Decided on a quick dinner so we went to BK Tacos to eat.

We came back home and watched the NHL All-Star skills competition, which was more interesting and enjoyable than we had anticipated.

Sunday 1/25

Regular walk in the desert and then watched Sun Morning on CBS. Joan came over mid-morning, problem with the place she is staying, there seems to be something there - cat dander or mold? - that she is violently allergic to. We worked on finding another place for her to stay. Cat Mountain Lodge, a B & B very close to here looked like a good option, they show on line that they have rooms available all week, although not the same room every day. Nancy and Joan drove over there and oddly enough they were not willing to rent room A tonight, Room B Mon., Tues., Wed., and room C Thursday! “We don’t like to split things up like that.” So they will leave the rooms empty instead of renting them and having a person move from room to room? What an amazingly stupid way to run a business!

Joan ended up finding a reasonable room at the Holiday Inn Express by the airport, a bit farther away from here, but it will work.

After that we went and picked up her things from the first place, then stopped at Beyond Bread for lunch. We stopped at H. F. Coors after lunch so they could buy some gifts, then back home in mid-afternoon and relaxed. Watched the NHL All Star game, which was good, but not actually as entertaining as the skill competition.

Monday 1/26

Met Joan at her hotel and headed up to Reid Park Zoo. Got screwed up as to which street it is on (went across Broadway instead of 22nd St.) and by the time we realized our mistake we were all the way out by See’s Candies - a happy coincidence. After stopped at See’s we backtracked to the zoo. A bit cloudy with rain predicted, so the zoo was not crowded at all. Went straight to the elephant exhibit and were rewarded with a chance to see the whole family come out with five month old Nandi bouncing around and showing off. It appeared that she had just figured out how  to walk backwards and she was doing a fair amount of that.

After a stroll through the rest of the zoo we went to try out a new place for lunch - Ajo Cafe. A tiny local place with quite good food and ecellent pies.

After lunch we made a stop at Camping World, which was just around the corner to pick up a couple staples, black tank treatment, etc.

Back home and Joan had a massage with Angel, then we headed into town for the first of the UA Science Lecture Series of the year, “What is Life.” Stopped at Gentle Ben’s for dinner before the lecture. Centennial Hall was full to bursting, probably due to the first lecturer being Brother Guy Consolmagno from the Vatican Observatory. Even though we were there 20 minutes before the start we could not find three seats together! Excellent lecture.

Tuesday 1/27

Joan came over here in the Morning and we headed off to The Desert Museum. Spent the morning there, a beautiful day in the low 70’s. Stopped at Coyote Pause for lunch and then back home. Nancy & Joan went into town to do some grocery shopping, I made a quick run to the hardware store. Made dinner at home on the grille tonight.

Wednesday 1/28

Walk in the desert before dawn this morning, a really pretty dawn. Nancy had her Spanish class, Joan went over to Angel for a massage, I did some house cleaning.

Met Joan’s friends Debbie and Charlie at Barrio Brewing for lunch, then we went with them over to Voyager RV Resort where they are staying for a tour of the facilities. Very nice place with lots of activities and what appears to be a very active group of residents. Joan is looking for a place to stay next year. Voyager is on the far SE side, but just off the expressway, so only 35 or 40 minutes to get back here. It is taking her about 30 minutes to get here from her hotel near the airport.

Blackhawks back from All Star break tonight, LA tonight then Anaheim and San Jose on Friday and Saturday - a tough road trip to open up the second half! And the Kings won on a fluky deflected goal, much like last year’s playoff win!

Thursday 1/29

Off to Tucson Yoga first thing this morning, stopped at Antigone Books and Food Conspiracy after yoga. Joan is headed to Phoenix along with Debbie for a get together with some other friends in the area.

Nancy did laundry and studied this afternoon, I pretty much just relaxed. After Joan got back we met at her hotel and then met Karen and Gary at Cushing Street Bar & Grille for a nice dinner.

Friday 1/30

Met Joan at her hotel this morning and went up to Tucson Mall, light rain this AM and it rained off and on all day. Quite a heavy rain around 3-3:30. Nancy & Joan went through the mall looking for an iPhone case and page-of-the-day calendar, no luck with either one. A quick stop at Nordstrom Rack and then we hit Beyond Bread for lunch (and dinner!)

Then back home since Joan had a massage appointment with Angel on her last afternoon here. Still raining steady in the early evening. We had left our car at Joan’s hotel, so I went back with her to pick it up.

Rush hour traffic headed West on Ajo and Valencia as we were headed East looked nasty, so on the way back I went North to Drexel, then across to 12th Ave, back down to Valencia, then North on Mark/Joseph to Irvington. The Kinney to Ajo to San Joaquin. Made it home in fairly good time and avoided the worst of the traffic. A fair number of places where there was standing water or water actually running across the road though.

Blackhawks won tonight, played a better game tonight, although Wednesday was not a bad effort. Much better result tonight.

Saturday 1/21

Steady rain most of the night. We had made plans to meet Joan at Beyond Bread for breakfast, lying in bed at 6:15 and listening to the rain (which always sounds heavier than it actually is in the trailer) I’m thinking, “Wish I had one of those 4 wheel drive pickups with the big tires for getting through the water on the road.” Then I thought, “Wait! I have a truck with bigger tires and more graound clearance than any of those!”

So we fired up the Volvo and headed into town, actually less water on the roads this morning than there was last night. Had a nice breakfast at Beyond Bread and Joan headed for the airport. We stopped at Rodriguez Seafood for some shrimp and they were not open! No sign of life.

Then a stop at Walmart to pick up Nancy’s prescription and a few groceries; I checked the web and Rodriguez opens at 11:00; so  we stopped at Bed Bath & Beyond to look for lampshades, nothing there: tried Home Depot, no luck; tried Marshall’s & a store next door, nope; one clerk suggested Kirkland’s, still nothing. So we headed back north up 12th Ave to Rodriguez, 11 AM and still no sign of life!

Did a bit of web searching and found another seafood market, JRS back south on 12th Ave. So back south we went and found the shrimp we wanted. Finally got home about 11:45, still raining - harder out here west of the Tucson Mountains.

No walk this morning but we got plenty of exercise climbing in and out of the truck at each stop!

Watched a couple of movies this afternoon while Nancy did some baking and got some things ready for tomorrow.

Blackhawks reverted to their old ways again, playing down to their opponents level, and lost 1-0 to San Jose in a lethargic effort.

Sunday 1/22

Quiet day. Quite foggy this morning when we took our walk, unable to see any of the mountains, but it was amazingly quiet out in the desert. 

Many of the plants are showing more life due to the rain over the last few days - we received more than 3” of rain over the last 3 days! Pretty amazing for a place that averages less than 12” per YEAR and has been below 9” for the last several years.

Odd to see the desert looking this wet! This is water droplets on a palo verde:

We were watching an old movie yesterday afternoon missing the Prairie Home Companion broadcast, so we caught the replay on Sirius this morning. We subscribe to Sirius primarily for NPR broadcasts in the trailer and in the truck. We have been disappointed with the program selection this winter, a number of program we enjoyed have been dropped and they are running more and more re-broadcasts. Some morning we switch over to BBC radio as the show on NPR is the same one we listened to the day before.

Nancy studied Spanish this afternoon, then we went over to Gary and Karen’s for dinner and to watch the Super Bowl, disappointing as Gary is from Seattle.

Monday 2/2

Monday AM meeting and then off on the weekly bike ride. We went to the new Julian Wash bike path. Only did about 7 miles, but it was a beautiful, sunny day. After the ride some folks went to Nimbus, some to the gem show, but we went to Ajo Cafe with Karen and Gary.

Back home Nancy did some wash and I replaced our outdoor patio light with a new one that I got from Newmar, the old lens had yellowed and was looking a bit tacky.

Headed into town late for the second of the UA Science Lecture Series on “Planet Formation and the Origin of Life” at the U of A, full house again tonight and we barely got seats as we got there a bit late. Started over Gates Pass and the road was blocked for some “Special Event” - who knows what! So we had to go back and down Ajo Hwy. Got there in the nick of time and got one of the last pairs of seats! Another full house, something we have never seen in previous years.

Tuesday 2/3

Another day doing a few maintenance items, a couple more things that I received from Newmar Monday. Nancy did some studying and went to her study group in the afternoon. I made a quick trip to get a propane tank filled.

Blackhawks played their worst game of the season tonight, shut out in Minnesota, that’s two shut-outs in a row!

Wednesday 2/4

Early walk in the desert, very foggy this morning! Quite unusual for Tucson. As the sun came up we were enveloped in the fog, unable to see any of the mountains!

Nancy had he Spanish class this AM and I did my weekly cleaning. We were thinking of going to the Fry’s in Green Valley for the senior discount day, but decided that we really did not need enough groceries to make it worth the drive.

Had lunch at BK Tacos and then stopped at Walmart and Lowes - still looking for lampshades. A stop at Walmart Neighborhood Market for a prescription and the few groceries we did need and then back home.

Quiet evening.

Thursday 2/5

Tucson Yoga first thing this morning and when we got home we took a late walk in the desert. Starting to get warm and we saw the first flower of spring in the desert. Took a look at the small saguaro that we found two years ago - it has almost doubled in size!

In January of 2013 it looked like this:

Now it looks like this:

Spent the afternoon just relaxing and hanging out.

Friday 2/6

Walk in the desert this AM and then we went to the County Highway Department to pick up the safety vests for next Monday’s road clean-up. Not sure how much there would be so we took the truck - turns out that 40 vests and 40 trash bags fit in one bankers box!

Nancy spent the afternoon studying here Spanish and I finished up a Jack Reacher book that I picked up a couple of days ago.

Blackhawks won in overtime tonight, played a little bit better game, but it was Crawford’s goal tending that kept them in the game to the end. Hope they do not run into Winnipeg in the playoffs, the Jets are 3-1 against the Hawks so far this season.

Saturday 2/7

Nancy headed out first thing this morning headed to the H. F. Coors first Saturday sale with Angel. She picked up several more bargain pieces. I cleaned up the truck a bit. We decided to hit Beyond Bread for lunch (and dinner!), then a quick stop at Trader Joe’s and then Albertson’s and back home.

Nancy studied and I finished cleaning up the truck, then we just relaxed.

 Sunday 2/8

Back to cool nights and beautiful sunny days again, 45 this morning and mid 70s during the day. A delightful morning out in the desert, then our usual Sunday fare of CBS Sunday Morning. This time though it was followed by a Blackhawks game at 10:30 AM! Actually we delayed it on the DVR and did not start watching until 11:30 - that way we can skip the commercials and zip through the between period talking heads. Blackhawks had the best game of their long road trip and beat St. Louis 4-2. The last 10 minutes of the game with a 1 goal lead (fourth goal was open net) was probably the best they have played with a late lead this season.

Nancy spent most of the afternoon working on income taxes and I helped with digging out the numbers from Quicken. Pizza and Downton Abby this evening!

Monday 2/9

Road clean-up day! Nancy has been working hard getting things organized and it went off without  hitch! We had 41 people volunteer to help and everyone pitched in to get it done safely and quickly. We started at 10 AM and the mile to the East of San Joaquin Rd was done by 11:30 and the mile West (where we had fewer people) was done by Noon.

I used the truck as something of a protection for the workers, sitting on the shoulder between them and the oncoming traffic, with eight LED tailights I can set up a fair warning to traffic. Along with a couple of volunteers in pick-up I drove up and down the stretch picking up full bags and distributing water.

After the clem up was done Nancy and I went to BK Tacos for lunch and stopped at the DOT to drop off the safety vests. Then we relaxed the rest of the afternoon.

Late in the afternoon we went in to the city for the UA Science Lecture Series. Stopped at a place called The Fix that features various Mac n' Cheese dishes beforehand, OK and interesting, but nothing to write home about. Tonight's lecture was "Life on Earth: By Chance or by Law?" Turns out the answer is "Yes?."  Verey interesting presentation and one that we could actually get our head around! Once again a fukk house.

Blackhawks played tonight, watched on the DVR after we got home, a pretty good game - Marion Hossa scored twice for the second game in a row - but they lost in a shoot-out.

Tuesday 2/10

Out in the desert this morning we found our first blooming flowers! These are really tiny. This is a close-up at full zoom:

This is actual size, with Nancy's finger tips in the frame:

Stuck around home today, just relaxing. Replaced a Pressure Pro sensor on the truck, the last of our original set with are close to 10 years old. Closed the cab curtains and covered the tires.

Nancy met with her Spanish study group while I just relaxed. Nice to have a day without running around.