Friday, January 24, 2014

Yoga, Hockey, Bike Rides

That about covers it. A little late with this post, but not a lot going on, just enjoying life and the good weather.

Tuesday 1/14

A bit chilly this morning but we did our morning walk anyway as the sun was warm. After breakfast I ran down to the Shell station on Aho Highway to fill a propane tank.

Went in to BK Tacos for lunch and stopped to do some shopping. That pretty much filled up the whole day!

Wednesday 1/15

Nancy had he Spanish class this AM. I went over and picked up Margo as we are puppy sitting today. Took her on a nice walk around the park and came home and did some putzing around. After lunch Nancy spent most of the afternoon on her homework.

Dinner from the Lucky Girl food truck this evening. 

Thursday 1/16

Off to Tucson Yoga this AM, good class. Stops at Food Conspiracy and Walgreens on the way home. This afternoon Nancy did some shopping and a spa visit will I sat on my butt. Otherwise a quiet day.

Friday 1/17

Hung around home all day after our regular walk in the morning. Took a stroll around the RV park in the afternoon.

Blackhawks played Anaheim tonight. We watched the beginning while we were eating dinner and then went to the rec hall for the Ellington Band performance. A lot of new faces in the group this year as they graduated quite a few of the the kids last year. The band comes from the Tucson Jazz Institute and consists of high school kids from the Tucson area, along with a couple who come from as far away as Phoenix. As usual it was a great performance, it would be hard to find any better live jazz or a better jazz/swing band anywhere. A real treat to have them here every year. We try to make a fair contribution when they pass the hat and we will probably make a donation to help with the cost of their European tour coming up next summer. A good place for a donation if you are looking for one.

Back home we watched the rest of the Hawks game on the DVR and they finally came up with a strong consistent game, although they let Anaheim get close towards the end of the second period.

Saturday 1/18

Another fairly quiet day after our morning walk. Did a few maintenance items and Nancy did some laundry. I spend a fair amount of time doing Distributed Proofreading when I can find an interesting project.  I also do some Zoouniverse projects like Operation War Diary, although the interface is clunky on that one. Old Weather is another good one, as is Family Search Indexing.

Beautiful weather continues, they do need some rain here, but it is not going to happen this month. Nights in the 30’s - with amazing starry skies - and blue skies in the 70’s during the day. We sure like Tucson!

Sunday 1/19

Sports Sunday around here. Took our usual walk, then watch CBS Sunday morning while we had breakfast. The Blackhawks game was at 10:30 AM! We recorded it and then chased it on the DVR, a good way to skip commercials. Hawks beat Boston in spite of their continuing sloppiness in their defensive zone thanks to another spectacular performance from Cory Crawford. Wins against Anaheim and Boston in one weekend, doesn’t get any better than that.

Set the DVR to record the Denver/New England game and went to BK Tacos for lunch and then some grocery shopping.

Back home we went through the AFC game by fast forwarding between plays - makes the game a lot shorter!.

Later in the afternoon I loaded the bikes onto the rack on the back of the truck (he world’s largest bike hauler) in preparation for the bike ride tomorrow.

Monday 1/20

Monday AM meeting at the rec hall, then we came home and changed into our biking garb and met the rest of the group. We went to the bike path along the Rialto River on the North side of the city. As with the Santa Cruz, the Rialto is a dry river bed most of the year. In the 19th century these were free flowing rivers, but the growing population of the area resulted in them being dry for most of the year, but when the rains come they are serious rivers  

We rode about 8 miles along the river trail, out and back with a group of 20 plus people. Then the whole group went to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch. A very enjoyable day with beautiful weather - it was 77 degrees when we got home.

Tuesday 1/21

Morning walk and then we were puppy sitting. I went over to the pool hall to get on-line and pay bills. Do not do financial stuff over the WiFi network. 

Drove into Tucson to Beyond Bread for lunch. On the way over we saw a pickup nose down in the ditch on the East side of Gates Pass. No idea how they managed to get it in that way, with the nose deep into a ravine and the back wheels off the ground! It was still there when we came back by a couple of hours later. The link above talks about the road being dangerous, this was the first accident we have seen there and we go over the pass several times a week. Yes it is steep, twisty and turny, with big drop-offs, but only "dangerous" if you do something stupid. I expect most of the accidents are at night and involve excessive speed - the limit on the whole road is 35! After all it is in Tucson Mountain Park and Saguaro National Park.

If you look at the map on the link to Tucson Mountain Park our RV park is just to the north of San Joanquin Rd. 
After lunch we stopped at Trader Joe’s and then back home. in spite of two idiots trying to run over our apparently invisible car. Nancy took Margo for another walk. There are some wildflowers starting to bloom along Gates Pass Rd. - about a month early, apparently due to the December rain and the unseasonably warm and dry weather. We should have an inch or two of rain and mid-60's in January. Been dry and in the 70's almost all month.

Wednesday 1/22

Nancy had he Spanish class this morning. I did some cleaning and applied Liquid Gold to the wood in the bedroom - damn there’s a lot of woodwork in this sucker!

After lunch we relaxed for a while and then went up to the Desert Museum for an hour or so. Got to see the beaver and otters swimming and in their den, something we had not seen before.  We would like to volunteer there, and have looked into it, but most of the things available require a year round or September to May commitment. Guess there are enough retired year round residents and they don't need us snowbirds!

Blackhawks play Detroit tonight - fingers crossed.

Well they blew a 2 goal lead and managed to pull out a tie and lose in a shoot-out. Other than two good games last weekend they have had a lousy month!

Thursday 1/23

Tucson Yoga in the morning then back home. Reed brought over some smoked salmon and later Angel brought us a loaf of home made bread! Great to have nice friend’s!

Nancy’s sister Joan arrived this afternoon and headed right over for a hot rocks massage from Angel. Then we went to Tiny’s for burgers.

Back home to watch the Hawks stink up things in Minnesota. Been a grim January for Hawks fans. Finally scored in the last 30 seconds but lost - however, it is only their second regulation loss in the last 18 games, so I guess slumps are relative. Seems like they have been doing worse than they actually have.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Finally Out on Our Bicycles

Tuesday 1/7 

Warmer this morning, 38 degrees when we arose. Yesterday it was 32. In the short time it took us to dress and head out it had already warmed to 42 degrees. Got up above 70 in the afternoon.

Late last night we went out to see the space station pass over, and although we managed to miss it we did see several “shooting stars”, actually meteorites. Star gazing is rather amazing here do to the dark sky. The City of Tucson has been at the forefront of dark sky regulations due to the close proximity of several observatories. The sky here is more like I remember from childhood than what it looks like in the Chicago suburbs - a lot more visible stars!

We did some house cleaning and hung around home most of the day. We watch the  Chicago midday news on WGN America most days and have watched with interest the reports on the severe weather afflicting the Midwest, while thanking our lucky stars that we do not need to deal with it. Been there, done that, which is one of the reasons we spend our winters in Southern Arizona!

Wednesday 1/8

Nancy had her Spanish class this morning and I sent an hour and a half doing a thorough cleaning inside the truck, been a while since a did the total job and it looks a lot nicer now.

When  Nancy got back we took our morning mini-hike in the desert and then head off to BK Tacos for lunch. Stopped at WalMart to stock up on RV toilet paper. We had stopped at Lowe’s up on Oracle the other day as they usually carry it,  but they had none. Nancy checked and found that WalMart had it and sure enough they had a whole shelf full, which we made a pretty good dent in.

Back home and relaxed. Hawks play Rangers tonight. And the “B” team showed up again! Lost the game on defensive breakdowns in  spite of another great game from Cory Crawford. I guess it’s best they get this slump out of their system before the Olympic break and hope the 10 guys going to Sochi come back healthy.

Thursday 1/9

Tucson Yoga first thing in the AM, stop at Food Conspiracy and Antigone Books to pick up the cruise guide book we ordered last week, and home for lunch.

After lunch we went over to Saguaro National Park West - just 20 mins away from us - and went to a talk on the geology of the Tucson Mountains. The volunteer ranger who gives the talk used to be a geology professor at the State University of New York (SUNY) and he give a really interesting talk. We have heard it before but we always learn (or remember!) something new each time. The geological history of the Tucson Mountains is quite fascinating, they don’t refer to the rock types in the area as “Tucson Mountain Chaos” for nothing!

Dinner at home. Really pretty sky tonight, lots of stars and our local horned owl was hooting up a storm all evening and again early Friday morning. We were also treated to a coyote serenade during the night.

Friday 1/10 

Cold this AM, 34 degrees, so we skipped our desert walk. Headed into town and stopped at the Fox Theatre to purchase tickets for the Paula Poundstone show in February. Saved $11 by picking them up at the box office instead of purchasing on-line!

Of course then we had to stop at Beyond Bread for lunch, then Trader Joe’s for a few things. Then we ran by Tucson Mall to get a new battery for my watch and a new screen protector for my iPod.

Back home Nancy did her Spanish homework and later Karen and Gary stopped by for  cocktails.

Saturday 1/11

Quiet day at home today, took a n ice hike in the desert mid-afternoon and Nancy did some laundry.

Watched the Blackhawks lose again this evening at least it was overtime. Defensive breakdowns in their own end of the ice once again and once again Cory Crawford was spectacular in preventing a blowout. At the end in overtime Patrick Kane took the puck at their own blue line and instead of heading down the ice he lazily turned back into the defensive zone which create the turnover that resulted in the winning goal! What the heck was he thinking?

Sunday 1/12

Leisurely breakfast and then I went for a hot rocks massage from Angel. Nancy took a walk around the park. After lunch we took a short bike ride around the park and the park next door just to make sure everything was working OK if we decide to go on the group bike ride Monday morning.

Monday 1/13

Monday AM meeting and then we joined the bike group for the weekly ride. Bummed a ride with one of the guys that was going alone in his pickup, so he put Nancy’s bike on the rack with his and mine and another fellows in the bed and we went off to the Santa Cruise River Park off Irvington Road.

The park, which will eventually become part of a loop around the metro area, has a bike path that runs along both sides of the Santa Cruz, which is dry this time of year, for two miles between Valencia and Ajo. We rode a total of seven miles, some did more, some less. There were 22 of us altogether.

We then went across to The Olive Garden for lunch. Only fly in the ointment was that we had a group reservation for 1 PM, arrived about 12:40 and they did not have our tables ready until 12:20! Otherwise it was a good lunch with good company. We had a good time and back home about 3:30.

This evening a park resident who is a volunteer ranger at Saguaro National Park gave a talk on National Parks and cacti of area. Interesting, but we slipped out before he was done - an hour and fifteen minutes is about all the butt can take on those folding chairs (unless it is good music!)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back in Arizona and Late with a Post (Hi Joan)

Thursday 12/26

Man it was cold in Chicago! Four below the morning of the 24th. Also had snow, but not a lot, just a dusting every couple of days. Good thing since we determined that the Z rated tired on the BMW are absolutely worthless in snow!

Took our time closing up the house as our flight was not until late in evening. Took the train into the city and spent a couple of hours at the Art Institute (that's when our membership pays off, since we get in free and can check our bags for free) and then took the L to Midway Airport. Flight left 45 minutes late but arrived in Tucson on time - 11:45 PM.

Friday 12/27

Did some grocery shopping in the AM and then stopped at Beyond Bread for lunch (and dinner!). On the way home we stopped at Central Pet and picked up Margo. Karen and Gary are in Minnesota until the 30th, so we will take care of Margo over the weekend.

Good victory from the Blackhawks to night.

Saturday 12/28

Not a lot going on today, took a walk with Margo and pretty  much relaxed. Late in the afternoon we drove up to Oro Valley north of Tucson to meet friend’s for dinner. A fellow I used to work with and his wife who recently moved to Mirana from the Chicago area. Had dinner at Harvest in Oro Valley, pretty good place, but a bit far away for us.

Sunday 12/29

Finally got out for a short hike in the desert this AM, first since December 14th! Did not get a lot of walking in Geneva due to the cold and ice. Took Margo with us this morning.

Watched last night’s Hawks game on the DVR this morning, good game but they lost in a shoot-out after having 3-0 and 5-3 leads. Going to be pretty tough to get past the Blues in the playoffs, the Hawks are 0-3 against them so far this season.

Another quiet day at home, a couple of walks with the dog. Pizza for dinner and watching TV.

Monday 12/30

Morning meeting in the RV park and then I took a propane tank into Tucson to the Barnett's Propane to have the jammed valve replaced (see 11/27 in Albuquerque for details).

Karen and Gary got back this afternoon and Margo was really happy to see them. We really enjoyed have Margo here, she is such a nice, gentle dog.

After they picked her up we went into town to do some grocery shopping and then stopped at Taco Giro for dinner. Pericles (owner of Desert Trails) had recommended it and he was right, another very good Mexican restaurant, and not too far away.

Back home the Blackhawks played a great game against LA and got Anti Rantta his first NHL shut-out.

Tuesday 12/31

Quick trip up to the Desert Museum this morning. Renewed our membership and spent some time in the hummingbird house and the gift shop. Back home Nancy did laundry and I went across the mountains to pick up the repaired and refilled propane tank. Also stopped at BK and picked up lunch to bring back home.

Nancy spent the afternoon baking a cake and cooking a bag of baked potatoes for the group dinner this evening.

Wednesday 1/1/14

Wow! 2014 already, seems like only yesterday we had our shorts in a knot about Y2K!  

Had a nice dinner in the rec hall last night, enjoyed meeting some new folks here for their first winter.

Year end climatic data for Tucson shows we are still in a drought here: 8.5” of rain compared to the normal amount of just under 12”. The cacti out in the desert around here seem to have appreciated the rain in November though, the saguaros in particular are swollen with water.

Nice walk in the desert this AM, another morning with a cloudless blue sky. Watched the Rose Bowl parade while we were eating breakfast. 

Our friend’s Reed and Angel arrived this morning. They had left their fifth wheel here last spring, but then had it sent out for a new paint job. It was delivered back a few days ago and I could see that he was going to want to  move it closer to the building beside their spot when they got here so I had the truck ready to go. Another slick parking job! Put it right where he wanted it first try.

Watched the first half of the Winter classic hockey game from Ann Arbor and then set the DVR for the rest and went down to the Fry’s grocery in Sahuarita for the 10% first day of the month geezer discount. There are closer Fry’s, but the one there is the nicest in the area. It’s 25 miles away, mostly expressway. Since I had the truck running already we took that to give it some exercise - more comfortable than the smart at 75 MPH anyway!

Dinner at home and relaxed.

Thursday 1/2

Off to Tucson Yoga first thing this morning, then a stop at Food Conspiracy and Antigone Books. Ordered Rick Steve's Northern European Cruise Ports book. It was cheaper on Amazon even with shipping, but we like to do our part to keep independent book sellers in business!  Quiet afternoon at home, Blackhawks lost tonight - good game against the Islanders, but not enough enthusiasm in the second period!

Friday 1/3

Morning walk in the desert. Nancy went to the soup and salad luncheon for December & January birthdays. I cleaned out our main storage compartment, took everything out and sorted through it, swept it out and repacked everything. Still looking for the spare brackets for our ceiling fan that broke on the way down here from rough roads. We had picked up some spare blades from an RV scrap yard last year and have not been able to find the brackets! Thought they might be at home, but they were not. not in the main storage either.

Later in the afternoon I cleaned out the overhead cabinets at the back inside and - eureka! - they they were! Knew I had them somewhere, so we have our ceiling fan back in operation.

Dinner at home and the Blackhawks played a much better game tonight ad won.

Saturday 1/4

Morning walk in desert, a bit overcast today. Nancy did some laundry and that was about the extent of what we accomplished today! Watched some football and a movie. We really need to get going and do something to make this blog more interesting!

Sunday 1/5

A bit chilly out in the desert this AM, about 37 degrees, not bad compared to home though! Watched CBS Sunday Morning as usual, then some football. Had dinner from the Serial Grillers food truck right here in the park, and then watched the Blackhawks lose in a shoot-out, which is more than they deserved considering had poorly they played defense! Cory Crawford gets 100% of the credit for the one point they earned.

Hawks game was interrupted by Downton Abby of course and we watched the last period on the DVR.

Monday 1/6

Monday Am meeting, they had a drawing for a meal from Rolling Wok, the food truck coming on Wednesday and Nancy won a combo plate.

We received a Beyond Bread gift card from Margo (actually I think it came from Karen and Gary since I do not think Margo’s hand writing is that good) as a thank you for picking her up from the kennel and dog sitting the weekend between Christmas and New Years. So we headed over there at lunchtime and had a free lunch, stopped at Trader Joe’s and then Penzy’s Spices, and Pep Boys to pick up a new Kozak  for the car since I had left my old ones at home. Probably time for a new one anyway. I have used these since the 60's and they are great for keeping your car clean, especially in a dusty environment like it is around here.

Back home and relaxed the rest of the day, Nancy studied some Spanish for Wednesday’s class.