Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cactus Flowers and Bees!

Thursday 3/20

Tucson Yoga first thing this morning and then a stop at Food Conspiracy. Puttered around in the afternoon and then over to Nimbus Brewery for dinner. One reason for going there was to pick up a six pack of Monkey Shine beer and they were out!

Friday 3/21

After our morning walk we went into town for the Spring Fourth Avenue Fair. They had great weather all weekend and huge crowds. Pulling into the parking garage we ran into Karen and Gary and shopped with them for a while. We always park in the garage on the NE corner of Fourth and Congress, easy access and only a two block walk to the street fair. We spent a couple of hours browsing the stalls and Nancy picked up a number of things including a new hat.

Stopped at BK Tacos for lunch (we've been in a bit of a rut for eating out this year, found a few favorite places), then back home I gave Reid a hand removing the rails for a fifth wheel hitch from one of our neighbor’s trucks. We had to remove the camper shell, then he crawled around underneath undoing the bolts while I laid in the bed and pulled out the occasional bolt - my kind of work!

Then I checked on our batteries, which seemed to have been failing - although they should have been good, the are AGMs and only three years old. It turned out the connections between the two batteries had loosened over time. I cleaned and tightened all the connections the connections and I think they will be OK. We ran on batteries with exhaust fans running and some lights for several hours and they seemed to stand up fine.

Blackhawks played tonight and won again, things are starting to look up.

Saturday 3/22

Slept a bit late and then took our regular walk in the desert. Nancy did some laundry, I reinstalled the battery covers and closed the battery/spare tire slide.

I received an e-mail from Verizon saying that I was eligible to upgrade to an iPhone 5c for free. Nancy wanted to upgrade her iPhone 4 to a 5 so it could be used in Europe this summer. Her phone is not eligible for an upgrade until late November, but in the past we had found that we could swap my upgrade date with hers.

So we went to the Verizon store on Speedway to get set up. We wanted to do it here as we have had very good service at this particular Verizon store and this time was no exception. However, it turns out on this offer we could not switch between accounts, it is to get non-smart phones out of service. So ... I ended up getting the 5c, along with a Mophie battery pack as part of the bundle. We will be able to use my phone in Europe next summer and Nancy can upgrade in the fall. We also changed to a better data plan shared between both phones (this is my first "smart" phone) for only about $8 more than we were paying before. We dropped our land line last summer as it was not being used for anything other than someone trying to sell something.

Lunch at Beyond Bread (yes, we are in a rut), then we stopped at Trader Joe’s and headed home.

Sunday 2/23

After our morning walk we went with Karen and Gary to Cushing Street Bar & Grille for brunch, they had a 20% off coupon to share. Had a really nice time and a great meal. Gary & I had B. L. T. O. E. - an open face BLT with caramelized onions with two eggs over easy on top and cole slaw! It was delicious. Nancy and Karen had omelets.

After breakfast Nancy & Karen headed out for an afternoon of successful shoe shopping. I spent several hours trying to download rings tones for my iPhone, then discovered instructions for creating ringtones from songs already in iTunes. Now I can create a snippet for a ringtone from ANY song in my iTunes library! Now we both have unique ring tones on our phones.

Blackhawks played tonight and played a really strong game ... except once again they could not score! They outplayed and outshot the Predators and lost 2 zip. This is getting to be a serious slump! They are still the highest scoring team in the league, but not since the first of the year. Getting scary.

Monday 2/23

Our last Monday morning meeting for the year. After the meeting we went with the bike group for the last ride of the year. Went to “The Loop” along the Rialto river. Most of the group went East again as we did last time, but Karen, Gary, Nancy & I went West as far as La Cholla Blvd. It was a nice ride and we got to see some different areas, a little over 8 miles round trip. Then we all went to Sweet Tomato’s on North Stone for lunch. 

Back home Nancy did some Spanish and I did some getting ready for the trip North next week and a couple repairs. The furnace in our bedroom has developed a strange vibrating noise on chilly mornings, so I opened up the panel next to it and hopefully found the problem - a piece of plastic sleeve that protected a sharp edge on a panel had dangled  off and was lying partially on top of the furnace, I think creating the vibration. We will see next chilly morning. I also found a couple of items - including a long missing electric toothbrush case! - that had dropped out of the vanity drawers that are right above the furnace compartment!

Tuesday 3/25

Instead of our desert walk we went over to the Desert Museum and did a brisk walk around the desert loop. On the way Nancy spotted a saguaro with a blossom, the first we have ever seen, right along Kinney Rd. We quickly pulled into the Old Tucson parking lot and walked back along the road about 200 feet so we could get a good look and take a picture. The cactus is on the right side of the road on the Northbound side, 400 feet before the entrance to Old Tucson. 

We have seen saguaros with buds on them, but they usually do not bloom until May. This one is right by the road, so it apparently gets extra water from run-off and the buds are on the south facing side of the cactus. Seeing one this early, and for the first time was a real treat.

There were lots of flowers at the Desert Museum as well, here is one on a teddy bear cholla:

and one on a regular cholla:

We also learned a bit about bees. Seems that this area of the Sonoran desert has the largest variety of bees in the world - over 700 species! Bees from the size of hummingbirds to ones as small as mites. We get bees on our hummingbird feeder here occasionally, and they have bee traps around the park, but we don't really see many. According to the docent at the museum a lot of them are solitary bees who nest in wood or in the ground. 

After a short stop at home we headed into town and stopped at Beyond Bread for lunch (yeah, I know). Nancy had a short appointment on the east side and then we came back home. Nancy went to her Spanish study group and I worked on our windmill presentation at the History Center in May.

Blackhawks played tonight and finally looked like themselves and won a good game. Back-to-back games coming up Thursday and Friday in Boston and Ottawa, so we will see. One really bright spot was the debut of Teuvo Teravainen, our 19 year-old prospect from Finland. He looked really good and won seven of seven face-offs!

Wednesday 3/26

Nancy had her last Spanish class this morning. Karen and Gary dropped Margo off for the day and I spent most of the morning working on the History Center presentation. After Nancy returned from her class I went over to the pool hall to get on-line without the WiFi and pay the months bills. Nancy did some laundry - it was quite breezy today and the laundry on our clothes rack dried in about 40 minutes!

I spent most of the afternoon on the windmill presentation and have it pretty well finished, now I just have to check the timing to see if I have enough material.

We are targeting Monday the 31st as our departure date, weather is looking good through New Mexico and over Raton Pass into Denver. 

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