Sunday, November 20, 2016

Clouds and Rocks

One of the differences I found in the east as opposed to the west is the sky...

The sky in the west is part of the landscape, huge, often spectacular and seldom ominous.  In the east it is unusual to see the sky unless you are looking out over the ocean and when there are clouds it usually means there will be a rainy weekend.

So...while back in Arizona I have started taking more cloud pictures and I really like them--modern art on a blue canvas.

A Jellyfish?  An elephant with a bad cold? Arnold Schwartzeneggar's left arm? 

Last week I went with my friend Suzie to Nogales to check out a dentist there.  She received a root canal for $400 versus the $1400 quoted by her  U.S. dentist  Besides that,  the Nogales dentist was very nice and she thought he was quite capable.  I am looking at some dental work also and therefore, contemplating another trip to Mexico after Thanksgiving. I'm still thinking about it.

Next to clouds, I like rocks.  This is from a rest stop in eastern Arizona.  I always wonder about the turmoil of millions of years ago that spread such boulders, willy-nilly, amidst the otherwise predictable  desert-scape.

Thanksgiving is this coming week and I plan to drive to Las Vegas to celebrate it with son, Ron, and his wife, Loretta and her father who is visiting from Australia.  A Las Vegas Thanksgiving is hardly the 'normal tradition' but nothing is in my life.  
Notes:  It is now one year since I received a heart valve replacement--and a new life.  My annual checkup last week was very good.   I give thanks to my heart doctor, my good friends and family that held my hand through it all, and to Babe (my pig valve). 
To all my friends, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and take time to look at the clouds.

Finally,  a sad note.  I have been told  the tiny dog that was so badly mauled last week, did not survive.  It is so sad.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

An RV Tragedy.

It is very early in the morning here in Tucson and my hands are shaking so much I can hardly type.  I will pour myself another cup of tea and try to calm down.
I just learned for the umpteenth time why I do not like RV parks.  There are lots of silly reasons, starting with the fact that one may not open one's blinds without becoming the evening entertainment for the neighbors next door.  My daily exercise program is probably better than any TV comedy show.

 Parks are too crowded.  On a very warm night in one rv park I fell asleep serenaded by the snoring from my neighbor next door. The views are seldom worth a second glance and I am never tempted to break out my rocking lawn chair for an afternoon fresh air read.  Shade does not exist in these parks and the dustiness and noise are not conducive to relaxation.

(State park in Maine)
State parks, BLM parks, national parks and even rest stops offer better ambiance.

So, back to this morning.  While having my first cup of tea in this small but crowded rv park in the heart of Tucson, I suddenly heard the noise of snarling dogs, children screaming, and a man's voice shouting, repeatedly,  "No! Stop! No!"  Raising my blind I saw four or five dogs of varying sizes in a group, all following a larger yellow pit bull type dog that held something in his mouth.  The large yellow dog was shaking his head vigorously from side to side and that something looked like a small rag doll.  The doll turned out to be a miniature terrier type dog that I had witnessed playing with the children the night before.  The outcome of this grim event--with the children screaming while  onlooking neighbors stood passively in the doorways of their trailers and RVs--was not going to be good. The shouting man caught up with the pack, jumped on the back of the pit bull and, with great determination, pried the dog's jaws open.  At this point I had waded into the melee to grab the leash of a second small dog that I feared would be lunch for some of the other, out-of-control dogs, in the pack.  I am well-aware now that it was hardly a smart move on my part but I did not even think--I only reacted.  Moving away from the scene I turned to see the man angrily leading his dog away by the collar.  The children with (I assume) the small terrier disappeared around one of the large trailers.  In a few minutes a neighbor arrived to take the leash I had been holding, from my hand and lead her dog away.  In minutes the man appeared again in his pickup truck. He climbed out of the truck holding a small basket,  disappeared in the direction the children had taken, then reappeared to carefully lift the basket into the front seat of his pickup.  And he drove away.
The park is quiet now, the children are not around, the doors of the RVs and trailers are closed, the other dogs have dispersed back to their individual homes.  And I feel like crying.

I could expound further on the dangers of a pit bull in a small crowded area, about the negatives of RV parks, about the neighbors that let their dogs run free then 'choose not to get involved', about the fact that Thanksgiving is almost here and the temperature is still in the 80s, about the absurd election, and more.  But I won't.
That is not why I live in an RV!

(my dear friend, Bailey)

Until this morning my return to Tucson has been only positive.  I parked at friends, Suzie and Bill's house, so I could dog-sit their wonderful Bailey while they went to Colorado.  

I spent a blissful night at Cracker Barrel then drove, in the morning, to my favorite parking place on the edge of the desert and watched the hot air balloons skirt along the mountains.

 There have been lunches with good friends and more to come.  And best of all, a visit to the cardiologist affirmed that Babe (my new heart valve) is performing as she should and  I am in good health.  I only wish the same for that tiny terrier.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Fort Worth to Tucson

It was the end of October and the days were still extremely warm but, like the geese that were flying overhead, I knew it was time to migrate back to Tucson.

Aunt Louise, Suzanne and I  had one last adventure and returned to Chandor Gardens in Weatherford for the day.

It was a lovely day and somewhat of a reprieve for Aunt Louise as her beloved house appeared to be sold.  There was a good offer on it and it looked like the deal would go through.  For me, shedding a house is as easy as tossing out last season's wardrobe.   I admit to being attached to houses and 'things' over the years but the lure of a new adventure salves any emotional loss I might feel when I walk away.
But for her it was radically different. The house was built to her specifications in 1965 and she had lived in it for nearly 50 years before moving to Hill Villa 3 years ago.  The house was her mark of achievement as an unmarried career woman who was successful enough that she did not require the signature of a husband to realize her dreams.  It was at a time in history when that was almost unheard of.  
I do not know what it is like to have most of my memories neatly packaged up into one solitary location.  My memories flow from coast to coast, border to border, and even into a few other countries.  Home today is Spirit--and I love her but I will walk away someday with lots of memories and little regret.  

I traveled west and took a side leg to Santa Fe to spend a night with my dear friend, Alexandra.  She owns the Alexandra Stevens Art Gallery on Canyon Rd in Santa Fe.  The next time you (my readers) are there, stop in and tell her, "Toni sent you."

Alexandra collects art, I collect friends like her.  Someday she will chuck it all, buy an RV and join me on the road...I hope.

Gary is her son and he claims I inspired him to buy an RV.  (I am so sorry I did not get a picture of it).  He is now talking of the open road and living the nomad's life.  

That little black thing draped over his arm is...Tah Dah...

Lady Dog Ga

...his traveling companion.


Gary has a great talent--he creates unique cars from odds and ends of other cars.  The one above is a Lincoln in front and a Mustang in back.  Creativity abounds in this family.

I admit to feeling good about getting back to the desert.  Tucson looks and feels the same after 6 months of travel.  I love the low humidity (17%) after coming through Louisiana and east Texas. My life will now be a whirlwind of minor chores, doctor's check ups to make sure that Babe is still functioning as needed (BTW, I feel great!), and visiting with friends.  

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Happy Birthday, Aunt Louise

I could hear the revelry as I came down the long hall at Hill Villa.  It was a celebration...Aunt Louise's 96th birthday party!

The residents were assembled in the dining room... the local country and western heartthrob was crooning the words to a Willie Nelson favorite.

Aunt Louise passed on the dance request but enjoyed the well-wishing.

Some of the older codgers could not see the reason for the singer's popularity...

...but a few of the others thought he could sing 'fair enough for dancin'.

And a few of the old-timers showed us all how it is done. 

Not one set of toes was stepped on.

There were more than a few jealous stares as the handsome young singer fed Aunt Louise a bite of cake while singing "Happy Birthday to You".

Aunt Louise had a wonderful time thanks to Suzanne's efforts and planning.  Thank you so much, Suzanne for making this happen.