Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Stuff you probably won't care about....

This has been a very boring week and will continue to be so until I finish working on the house (yard, painting, cleaning carpets and tile, blah, blah).  I don't have even one good picture so I decided to take a picture of my lunch...Toni's Taco Salad Supreme (see recipe below).


Award season is upon us again.  I am far behind in watching the movies most likely to be nominees this year but I do have two movies I highly recommend:
"Boyhood"  It won the Golden Globe award last night,  will surely be nominated this year for an academy award,  and it certainly deserves to be.  It is lovely in every respect and, months after seeing it scenes continue to touch me.
"Wild"  It stars Reese Witherspoon, is a sexually explicit but true experience in the life of Cheryl Strayed, and is an accurate accounting of her book--which I highly recommend reading before seeing the movie. Actually, I enjoyed the book more than the movie but the theatre experience was worth an award as well...
Tucson has opened a Roadhouse Dinner Theatre and, last week, was the first time I was able to experience it.  I loved it.  All the old uncomfortable seats have been removed and now there are great big, plush recliners with wooden table trays that slide around over your lap.  Full meals including alcoholic beverages may be ordered right to your seat with a handy button to push if you want dessert or a drink refill.  The ticket was not much more expensive than most theaters and the food was also not too bad (really good hamburger at $9.00, a variety of gourmet popcorns, pizza, draught beer, etc). I don't expect to be eating in a theater very often but it was definitely a fun way to watch a good movie.


Toni's Taco Salad Supreme...
Start with some corn chips,
Top with any or all of the following: chopped lettuce, tomato, green peppers, black olives, some beans (any you like), corn kernels, chopped green onions, Whatever.
If I have it I like to add a cup of homemade chili at this point but it isn't necessary (most of this isn't necessary as you may have already guessed)...

  For the final lo-cal dressing (LOL) I like a mixture, 1/2  of my favorite salsa and 1/2 Greek yogurt.  Then top it off with grated Coteja cheese (or cheddar, or Jack, or whatever).  Believe me, this is better than Taco Bell.


So sorry to be so boring.  I will attempt to be a better blogger in the future but don't expect much till I am on the road again.  And who knows when that will be.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Holidays

Some of my favorite people helped me get through Christmas without the depression that kept threatening to creep in.


Friend Suzanne (standing), who is caretaker for Belle (in recliner), and Belle's daughter, Judy (on left) all put together a great meal seasoned with lots of joy and merriment.  Belle has the most delightful sense of humor that belies her age of 96--she is another inspirational nonagenarian.


In attendance were some furry, four-legged friends as well.  Sweet Angel above and...


darling Erin helped greatly in making me smile.


Then an afternoon with Belle and Suzanne at the movies followed by dinner and this mega-desert.  It seems that Belle and I share a chocolate addiction.


Thanks, friends, for a lovely Christmas before I high-tailed it out of town mere hours ahead of a week long spell of freezing weather.



I have resisted winterizing the RV because I travel in it intermittently all winter.  Winterizing means emptying all the tanks, wrapping pipes, covering stuff and then waiting for spring.  But I want to take small trips that include spending the night, when I might want to use the toilet, cook a meal, or take a mini-bath. 


Hence, the RV is at risk when a freeze comes through.  That is when I look for warmer desert.  Yuma (3 hrs away) is my best go-to place, though San Diego (6 hrs away) is a possibility if the temperature drops too far down.  This past week the nights have hovered just above freezing here in Yuma so I have been on the edge of moving into the Central Valley section of Calif.   


Yuma has two really nice libraries and I have spent most of the time going from one to the other.


For reading time and mealtimes I have been parking here on the Colorado River under the oldest bridge in Arizona.  It is picturesque and quiet enough for a nap.


 One day I drove out into the desert but it was too windy and chilly to do any walking. 


I found this little house and wondered what might be living in there.


It is a shocker to come across these fields that are unbelievably green in an otherwise stark landscape.


Anything will grow in the desert if it just has enough water.  


This made my mouth water.


I continue boondocking and prefer it over the RV parks that are filled to overflowing right now.  It seems I am not the only one looking for warmer weather.   One fellow RVer informed me that there was always plentiful free parking at the Paradise Casino on the Quechan Indian Reservation...


And he was right.  There is this enormous dirt lot that covers acres of desert and when I arrived there were only these few RVs.  By night fall there were many many more--but still more room.  I spent one night and it was very quiet--I think everyone was inside playing the slots.  All but me that is.
Yuma has a great variety of free places to stay.  There is endless BLM land that is open for parking but I thought it was just too cold and uninviting.  There are two Walmarts with huge areas for RVs plus a Sam's Club, a Cracker Barrel, and 4 or 5 truck stops--all okay for parking.  As usual I favor the Cracker Barrel and had it all to myself for most of the week.

So it has been a week of reading and trying to answer some of the correspondence that I've let lag.  Winter is not so bad when I am curled up, all toasty warm, with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book.  The only thing missing is Sigh Me to snuggle up next to me.
Two more nights and I will return to Tucson to paint the kitchen, weed the yard, and shampoo the carpet.  I sure hope another freeze comes along soon. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sigh Me says 'Goodbye'

One Week ago Sigh Me stopped eating and began to show signs of internal bleeding.  For more than a year she had been struggling with kidney problems and this time we both knew the end was near.  As I sat in the recliner all week with her in my lap, we reminisced about our time together.  These are Sigh Me's words and pictures from the last 3 years:


"Mom adopted me when I was about 5 years old. She thought I was beautiful and I think she was right.  I had very striking blue eyes and everyone I met told me I was sooooo pretty and soft to the touch.


In the beginning I was scared of my own shadow and was always looking for a good hiding place.



Mom had to be careful when she sat on the bed because I would often hide under the covers for hours and hours.


One day I hid on a shelf in the closet and stayed there for two whole days until Mom thought I had run away. 


I was afraid of people, noises, cars, and I am sure I would have run from a mouse.  So it was very stressful when Mom decided to buy Halcyon II and go traveling, with me as her companion.


I had seldom been outside and when I did venture out I stayed right with Mom...


 ...and raised Howling Hell if she went back inside without me.


So learning to adjust to a new home that bounced around, made lots of churning noises, and seemed to have a different view outside the window almost every day, took a lot of my patience.


(Why aren't there any cactus?)


To help alleviate some of my stress, Mom's son, Ron, made a little 'cat cave' for me that we dubbed the Kitty Brig.

 

I spent a lot of time in there the first few months on the road.


But as summer arrived I started looking for something cooler and softer.


The passenger seat was my favorite but Mom kept putting stuff there...


and sometimes it was just too hot to get comfortable at all.


I would often sleep with my feet up--us middle aged ladies get swollen ankles from time to time.


Soon I could sleep on the seat without running every time a truck passed by.  There were even times I began to watch the traffic out the window.


But my favorite was sharing that tiny bunk with Mom.  Somehow we would curl up together and sleep through the night like an old married couple.  She liked to hear me purring and said it put her to sleep.


The absolute worst was when she decided to put that strap on me.  I mostly refused to stand up and finally she got tired of trying and packed it away.  There was really nothing to worry about anyway.  I only escaped out of the RV twice in the 3 years we traveled and then I immediately wanted back inside.  As a rule, every time we moved back into the house I became restless for the road again.  Being a vagabond was not such a bad life after all.


I had Mom all to myself most of the time and when she was busy I would play video games.  


So it was sad to say 'Goodbye' to this most unusual life for a cat and also 'Goodbye' to the person that loved me so much.


(This was her last picture, taken on Saturday.  I spent that entire night in the recliner, with her on my lap.  At 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning my dear traveling companion looked up at me, put her paw in my hand and, sadly, stopped breathing.

Sigh Me, you will be missed.

Sigh Me,  2001--2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Rain in the Desert


A cool drink of water.  We all need water--even if it belongs to someone else.  Well, better my glass than the toilet which seems to be a point of curiosity for her lately.  And, of course, she gets several fresh bowls of water every day--but the "oh da toilet" is so much more exotic. (now I hope she never learns how to lift the toilet lid.)


It rained on the desert today.  More Beautiful Water.  It was a slow and gentle, all-day misting that washed the dust away.


I even started the fireplace for the first time this year.  And I baked an apple crisp for breakfast so the warm house and fragrant air wrapped me in nostalgic winter comfort.  That is not a common experience here in the desert.


As the afternoon cleared I went outside to enjoy the freshness....


The lemons are ripening!  The single most wonderful feat of nature is the Lemon.


I add slices to my dishpan when washing dishes--the smell is intoxicating.


I clean the iron skillet with a lemon end and salt.  And of course, I add it to my drinking water to keep Sigh Me away. She doesn't like lemon.
Now, time to get back to work.


Allison (of  http://retiredbicycle.blogspot.com/) has had a bit of trouble commenting on the blog.  It does not always go through.  If anyone else has this trouble please let me know at
toniintucson@yahoo.com
and I'll try to figure out what's wrong.  Or I will enlist Ron's help.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mission San Xavier del Bac

Just south of the Tucson city limits is the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation and this lovely mission.
Ron had never been here and it had been years since my only visit so we decided it would be a good place for Loretta to attend a mass.
                               

 That Saturday afternoon there was an indian market set up on the mission grounds so we strolled around admiring the crafts before the service started.


When I had visited here during the '90's the mission was under renovation and much of the inside was covered with tarps and scaffolding.


I must say, they did a fantastic job of restoring it to its former glory.


I admit I have trouble with the missions and the efforts made to convert the native Americans to catholicism and christianity.


But I do concede that the religious art and architecture in the US and throughout the world is something to admire, preserve and protect. 


It reflects the talent and visions of the day, and especially the history, both good and bad, of the occupation by the Europeans in this new land.


In front of the altar we spied this tablecloth that displayed some lovely Indian symbols embroidered on it.  Hmmm.  


Mission San Xavier del Bac was founded by the Jesuit missionary, Fr. Euseblo Kino in 1692.  The present church was built under the direction of the Franciscans.  Construction began in 1783 and was completed in 1797.
The church continues to serve as the parish church for the Tohono O'odham, whose reservation surrounds the mission.


While Ron and Loretta attended Mass I sat in the courtyard  and watched the Tohono O'odham families as they packed up their jewelry, fry bread, and leatherwork and  drove away.  I did not see any of them enter the church for the mass.
What a beautiful night.  It could be 1797 again as I listened to the singing from a crystal clear strong soprano voice as it drifted out of the church and into the moonlit night air.