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 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
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.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Visit from the Newlyweds

Can you feel it?  The minute the Thanksgiving meal is over everything goes into a time warp.  Hours speed up and days begin to gallop by.  Gotta shop, shop, shop, bake, bake, bake, wrap, wrap, wrap, stand in line--everywhere.  Bah, humbug. 

The bright spot for me in this holiday period was the visit by the newlyweds.  They drove over from San Diego for Thanksgiving weekend and it gave me a chance to spend some time with my new daughter-in-law.

The weather was so perfect Loretta and I left Ron to play with  computers while we enjoyed an afternoon at the Botanical Gardens.

                                                  The butterfly exhibit was the best....

They are so beautiful, too bad they have to start out as ugly voracious caterpillars that munch on only the most prized veggie plants.  (Am I in a foul mood or what?)

Somewhere above Loretta's head is a butterfly.

A garden is always calming and it was, and is, a good antidote for the silly season.

I love these cactus--but, boy, are they wicked.  The one in my yard has attacked me more than once.

Doesn't it look like this cactus is dancing with the mesquite tree?

Guess where we ate Thanksgiving dinner (right--I didn't cook.)  Cracker Barrel.  When we got there it was an hour and 45 minute wait! So we hung out at Starbuck's until time to go in.
(I think this fine fellow is the many-great grandfather to our Thanksgiving Turkey.)

My friend Lynda joined the three of us and dinner turned out great.  If someone is wondering what to get me for Christmas, I think some Cracker Barrel stock would be nice.  They are always full, the staff is pleasant and well-trained, and the food is reliably good.  (No, they don't pay me to praise them.)

Update on sister, Mary--That island is turning into a Spielburg movie set. The lava flow has changed course again and it now has the potential to head straight toward Jim and Mary's subdivision. Their subdivision is called Hawaiian Paradise Park if you are following the progress of the flow on the USGS website.  Pele (goddess of the volcano) is fond of gin so Mary is being proactive and asking for contributions in hopes of calming Pele's bad temper.  I don't know Pele's favorite brand but no cheap off-brands, please.  
And if Kilauea isn't scary enough, Mauna Loa is now starting to rumble and quake. Maybe Pele has indigestion and all she needs is a truckload of antacids.  Well, what's a person to do?
Jim has the right attitude,  he says he is just 'going with the flow'.  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

From One Blogger to Another

One of the truly nice features of blogging is getting to know other bloggers.  It is especially pleasant when said blogger shares many of the same interests, like living in and traveling in an RV.

Allison and her husband are spending the winter here in Tucson and I decided to take the opportunity to meet her.  We have been following each other's travels and you will find her blog over there to the right of this page...."Allison's Post Work Thinking--now that I have time to think." 

So we met for lunch and took a stroll through my very favorite little park, Tohono Chul.

It was a perfect day, warm and crystal clear,  totally unlike the raging polar vortex smacking down the northern regions at that moment.

I, once again, photographed some of my favorite pieces that are sprinkled about the park...

while we chatted about life's pleasures on the open road.   Allison and her spouse have been at it since 2008--several years longer than Sigh Me and me.  Altogether it was a wonderful and relaxing day and I hope we can do it again before they take off in the spring.

A few days later my friends Suzie and Bill left to spend Thanksgiving in Colorado...

and I have the pleasure of babysitting this handsome lad.  He is so affectionate  that he follows me even into the john.  Don't ask me why I had the camera with me at that particular moment but I am glad I did--I love the picture. 

And I can tell you about one very unhappy and upset kitty.  

One afternoon my friend, Bailey, and I decided to venture to the dog park.

Bailey found a friend right away and the two of them raced each other from one end of the park to the other for 1/2 an hour--until...

...this lovely lass appeared on the scene.  Well things got a bit testy when Bailey decided this was the love of his life (or at least the love of the day) and he would not leave her alone.  In frustration with the over abundance of displayed affection, I put Bailey's leash on him and marched him back to the RV, only to discover that he was not ready to leave  his new sweetheart.  He flat out refused to set foot in that RV, and I learned it was impossible to lift a 60 lb dog if he isn't willing.  So he sat on the ground and whined to go back to his sweetheart while I sat on the floor of the RV with a lap full of dog biscuits trying everything I could to sweet talk him into jumping in.  It was almost dark when a cute young gal walked up and asked, "Anything wrong here?"  
I explained the dilemma but was sure she couldn't help, she didn't weigh much more than Bailey.  Where upon, she reached down, wrapped her arms around his middle and heaved him up and into the van.
"How did you do that?" I gasped.
"Easy," she said, "I'm a veterinarian. I do this all day long."
Bailey munched on dog biscuits all the way home.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

One last day of Sightseeing

The day after the wedding we deposited Janice at the train station ....

...with all her luggage and a very bad cold.   

Albert came along to say  goodbye to his walking partner.

The rest of the day we took a drive to visit some of the quaint little towns within an hour or two of Santa Barbara.

Visiting the little shops and wine tasting rooms in Santa Ynez with your new in-laws seems a strange honeymoon to me but these two appeared to be enjoying themselves anyway.

Then on to the Danish town of Solvang for some pastry and more touristy things...

How many thousands of photos have been taken in front of this telephone booth? 

(Lily, Vanessa, Loretta, Ron, Jo, Albert, and John)

Friday morning we all met at the IHOP (at one time known as The Fig Tree) for breakfast then said our final goodbyes....

and finally, one more drive out onto Stearns Wharf for old times sake.

 Sigh Me and I pursued as many backroads as we could find trying to stretch this last few days out as far as possible.  The windy, twisty, narrow little road that first climbs then drops into the Ojai Valley is a hidden jewel.  This valley is the antithesis of Solvang and Santa Ynez with agriculture as its core.

The centerpiece of the valley, Lake Casitas, is showing the extreme effects of the drought.

But the valley with its many citrus, avocado and almond orchards....

...reminded me that water is everything and, somehow, we need to become better stewards.

We spent a night at a truck stop, another in Joshua Tree National Park then on to Tucson where the future is very uncertain.  But the weather is great.