Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Beer and a hike

Yesterday our big event was to use a “pay ten bucks and get $20 worth of pizza and beer" coupon at Nimbus Brewery, one of four microbreweries in Tucson.
Today we got more active and did a five mile hike in Saguaro National Park. (So I'm feeling better, Mom.)

Both days were lovely.

Action shot of Jim with a Nimbus IPA.
Bev and an oatmeal stout.
Jim at the beginning of the Cactus Forest Trail at Saguaro National Forest East, which is only about 20 minutes from where we are staying in Tucson
I like this shot of a dead Saguaro next to a living one because it shows the "ribs" that make up the inside of the plant --- and that also make great hiking sticks.
A Saguaro full of woodpecker-drilled holes that are now home to all sort of small birds.  

Bev in front of one huge Saguaro.
Wow! A double crested Saguaro.  The top split in two and each section crested -- plus arms grew up on the sides and behind it.  Two more photos are below.

Spring wildflowers are out; some are already gone.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Back in Tucson

I got back to Tucson and our rig at the Davis Monthan Air Force Base 10:30 p.m. last Wednesday -- and by 10:32 Jim had dug in to the chocolate chip cookies my Mom sent him.  Thanks, Mom!
Thursday we went to see an exhibit about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo called “Frida Kahlo:  Through the lens of Nickolas Muray.”  Kahlo is known for her vividly painted self portraits, but on display were photographs of her taken by Hungarian-born photographer Muray (who was also an Olympic fencer) and who the museum described as Kahlo's "long-time lover and friend.”  Kahlo twice married Mexican artist Diego Rivera, and besides Muray (and quite a few others), had an affair with Leon Trotsky. Besides having polio as a child, Kahlo was in a brutal bus accident when she was 18 that caused her to seek help for the pain the rest of her life.  
The next day we visited Tucson’s Mission San Xavier, the oldest  intact European structure in Arizona.  The mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692 and the church was built beginning in 1783.  Tours are offered (we took one) and mass is still held there.

After two days of education, we decided to visit the Tucson Mall where I wandered the largest mall I have ever been in.  I bought a $12 tube of lipstick (my default purchase when I feel the need to buy something, even though I rarely wear lipstick) and my mall fix was met for at least six months.  Jim also did a bit of looking around, but found a nearby pub called “Sir Vezas” which fit perfectly.  
An art lover in front of the Frida Kahlo exhibit. 
The Tucson Museum of Art.
The Museum entrance, where there is also a very nice cafe.
Bev in front of the Mission San Xavier.  The inside of the building has been renovated, but an exterior renovation ran out of money before the left side of the building was restored.
Close up of the beautiful stone work around the door to the church.
The inside of the church behind the altar.  
One of the 171 angels found in the church.
An interior restoration was begun in 1992.  Before that --- and for years -- people took refuge inside the building and often built fires.  The smoke had blackened the interior walls so completely that none of the detail in the photos above was even visible.  In this photo you can see a restored mural; a small rectangle at the upper left was left as is, so visitors could see how blacked the church interior had become.

Monday, February 20, 2012

MIA -- Again

I hadn’t seen my Mom since last September, and I decided to visit her in Ohio while Jim held down the fort with Cooper in Tucson.  So I flew to Ohio ... and then immediately got sick,  which is why I haven’t posted for a while and why I’ve had a very low-key trip.  
After I got sick, and after a a day and a half of “this does not seem to be getting any better,” Mom called my older brother, Bob, who lives about an hour away.  Since it was a Sunday and my mom lives in a small town, our idea was he could take me to an urgent care center about 20 miles away.  Bob is a veterinarian.  As soon as Bob got here he asked if we’d called my younger brother, Don, who lives further away and is an MD.  We said not yet.  Bob rolled his eyes and called Don.   Then Bob and Don did a phone consult and figured out what was wrong ... although Don did say that since I called the vet first, maybe they should just put me down.  Fortunately, Bob had not brought supplies for that, and I am on the mend.  Thank you, Bob and Don.
While most of my trip has involved me lounging on the couch and my mom forcing me to drink fluids, we have done a couple of things.  We got mom a great dress and shoes for my nephew’s/her grandson’s Fall wedding; went out to lunch with a relative I haven’t seen for 20 years; visited with cousins; had Lake Erie perch (always a must), and got to visit in person with Bob and my SIL, Suzie.
Meanwhile, in Tucson Jim did a lot of hiking -- plus Cooper got a cholla cactus in his mouth and got to go to a vet clinic.  Ouch.  But Cooper is better now, too.  And I’ll be back in Tucson Wednesday night.
Mom and Bev

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cracks me up

This may be one of those "you have to be there" things, but here is a short video of a dog we see nearly every morning when we walk on a path near Air Force Base housing.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Them Bones

Jim and I went to a place I’ve wanted to see since I knew it existed: The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base's  "Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group," also called the “Boneyard.”

The Boneyard is a four-square-mile parking lot of planes that will be restored, planes being used for parts, and planes waiting to be melted down and recycled.  It also stores vehicles confiscated in drug raids.  Tucson was selected as the site of the Boneyard because the climate (dry air and sparse rain) helps keep the planes/vehicles from deteriorating, the soil (it’s hard packed and planes can be moved around without miles of concrete), and because of its proximity to an Air Force base.
Planes lined up in military precision. Also at the Boneyard are the facilities needed to help repair and/or recycle the planes.
Engines waiting for something.
We can see this plane parked across the fence from our campsite.  It looks like Air Force One, but was actually a commander’s airborne base of operations.
Helicopters.  Windows and any openings that let in light or allow quicker deterioration are sprayed with three coats of plastic sealant.
All you can see of this stealth bomber are the wheels.  (Even the military has a sense of humor.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hoss, Little Joe and the Three Amigos

Monday we visited Old Tucson, where over 300 Old West movies and TV series have been made, including “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” “Three Amigos,”   “Tombstone,” “Rio Bravo” and “Bonanza.”
Old Tucson is about 15 minutes west of downtown Tucson.  Besides the buildings -- most of which look vaguely familiar to me because I'm sure I've seen them in TV shows -- Old Tucson has a small amusement-type area with trail, stagecoach and train rides, some restaurants and shopping.  It also has living history presentations where, for example, a dance hall girl will tell you about the first frontier saloons, a sheriff will tell you what it was like to keep the peace, and you can learn about early Arizona history. 

Plus, they have performances.  We saw a shootout scene from the 1995 film “The Quick and the Dead" in which  “a ruthless land owner and gunslinger hold a quick draw competition to see who is the fastest in the territory.”  The good guy (actually gal) won.

The view as you enter Old Tucson.
High Chaparral chronicled a families struggles as cattle ranchers in early Arizona.
I’m thinking the cattle are regularly fed by visitors, because as soon as this cow saw us she ambled over. 
Another cow photo because I thought she was really pretty and I wanted to get her horns in the shot.  Her coat looks like our dog Cooper’s.

“The Reno”  locomotive was built in 1872, and was originally used in Nevada before appearing in over 100 films including Twilight Zone, Rawhide and Wild, Wild West.    It’s said to be the most photographed locomotive in the world.  How would anyone know that?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I was under the weather.  Nothing serious, but from last Sunday night through Thursday I was on the couch reading, listening to the radio, watching TV, and not doing much else other than eating chicken noodle soup and drinking diet Vernors ginger ale.   So I’m behind on my blogging.  But we are way caught up on our DVD watching and my Kindle is even more well used.  I need to do a great DVDs/books posting.
But first:  Several weeks ago a friend of mine from high school, April Harmon Paramore, sent me an email via Facebook.  April moved to the Phoenix area from our hometown of Wellington, Ohio, about ten years ago.  Today Jim and I had a long lunch with April and her Mom, Marge, near Casa Grande, Arizona.  Thanks for getting in touch with me, April.  It was fun. 
April, Marge and Bev