Sunday, April 29, 2012

back from Phoenix

When I first came to Arizona (1971), Phoenix was my landing spot since a college roomate's grandparents lived there.  I didn't like it much and bought a roundtrip ticket to Tucson.  After a week, I cashed in the return and stayed, with the exception of 15 months of grad school back in Illinois.

The cities are so different.  One is a city with grey-pink hills they call mountains; the other is still a town with purple-grey mountains rimming our landscape.  As times would have it, we now have the opportunity to occasionally, more regularly visit and pretend to live in Phoenix.  I admit, I like some parts of it very much.  Not the landscape which is open and full of trunkated freeways, but the liveliness of where we are now staying--downtown Phoenix--is fun and easy.

Coming back in to Tucson tonight, the Catalinas are like shoulders of earth, carrying four decades of my life.  But I am beginning to wonder if I will remain here beyond the next couple of years.  So much of Tucson seems to be feeling loss and fear--unlike Phoenix our economy continues to sputter.  There are hidden gems of bioscience and artists in colored glass workshops or havens of spun textiles, poets who linger over their pages of words and gather at Cafes and/or the Poetry Center.  There are "bright spots" but my offer to others to shine the light on these bright spots has not generated enthusiasm.

So, I ponder, on this return...beyond the mountains, where might I fly?  Do you have these ponderings where you currently live, or are you settled in?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

April's summer Sunday

Well, here is it is, Earth Day 2012, and Tucson may have broken a heat record for the hottest day this early in the year.  Is there really any question that global warming is happening?  Look to the odd sight of Spring flowers, still resplendent in their colors, struggling to bob upright as the heat bears them down.  Or the gentle cascade of yellow Palo Verde trees falling like snowflakes on the sidewalk--instead of remaining on the green branches until May (or beyond).  Or the blooming of saguaro flowers a month before their normal rising.

And how about us desert dwellers--cranking up the AC (or swamp coolers) and the only folks ho-ho-ho-ing about next month's electricity bill is TEP?  Yes, here we are, trying to make the best of this season and being cheery about (maybe) a drop to more normal mid-80s temps by late week and a 10% possibility of rain!

Yes, one of our survival characteristics must be hoping for less sunshine while knowing that, no matter what our hopes, summer will return and we will cocoon inside during the daylight, venturing for walks or a swim before 9 a.m. and after 7 p.m.  Okay, bring it on, global warming--we'll somehow endure.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

looking upward

This image, taken by Mark on our trip last month to NYC, shows the two towers skyline, taken from the 9/11 Memorial Site. My cousin, who works for Goldman-Sachs, was working on the 5th floor of their building when the 9/11attack took place. He sheparded his IT staff down the stairs to safety. When we were visiting with him, he shared that, according to the head of the construction team working on the construction of these towers, the construction crew celebrates each time they complete a floor. That kind of celebration underscores, to me, how important it is for us to find ways to celebrate our significant steps as we rebuild our own lives.

What kind of rebuilding or recovery are you experiencing and how are you celebrating your steps toward healing?

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I am always surprised and then wonder why I am surprised by unexpected life changes. Our family is facing several right now--mostly around our careers and work challenges and opportunities. For me those challenges take me to my core personal values and I ruminate on the direction of my daily life. My dreams, too, have been overlapping with those questions as the clock ticks on my life calendar.
We are getting our house roof redone and outside painted. We put up new inside shades and curtains two weeks ago to begin to prepare for the summer sun slant and heat. The three young bunnies we met on our pre-Easter walk ten days ago have almost doubled in size. Yesterday, we took a spontaneous walk in Sabino Canyon and I was surprised to see the month-early flower buds on a saguaro opening in the early sunset.
Yet some elements of life are steadying--masterpieces of art, for example. When we were in New York a month ago, we visited the steadfast St. Paul's Chapel. Somehow it was spared in the 9/11 attacks and served as a feeding station for the first responders. The graves in its exterior are marked by weathered tombstones that--over the years and through wind, rain and snow--have bent down toward the ground but still stand. Down the street a few blocks is Trinity Church and inside its walls hangs this lovely Della Robia. Looking at it, I was transported back to Florence, Italy where, in 2006, I saw several on the exterior walls of a plaza structure that used to be an orphanage, patroned by the Medicis.
So, amidst changes in your life--what reminds you of strength, love, endurance, as this image does for me?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

so cute

This is not our new dog, but a borrowed pup from a guest at a friend's birthday party last night. But my hubby thinks this is a cute picture (of the pup) and so I am sharing it. It was a lovely night for a patio party and the planter's moon was just coming up over the Easter skies. The stars were so clear in this rural part of souther Pima County we could have lapped them with our tongues--or so it seemed.
The night before, Mark and I had a "passover for two" (plus the expected guest of Elijah who didn't come for dinner but I suspect he was present earlier in the day in the embodiment of Gray, a yard man we hired to pull weeds and fed with a stuffed ham sandwich before he took his solitary walk to the bus stop--which we paid for along with a tip to go with his hourly wages from Primavera). The retelling of the Passover story in the Fonte-Grushka abbreviated Haggadah, brought us both to tears as we recalled the memories of past Passovers.
As we get ready to go to church (around Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Methodist molecules start bubbling in my soul and I need to appease them with music) on this Easter Sunday--followed by lunch at Cascades with both of our dads and then a walk in Mt. Lemmon--we are adjusting to our new work/semi-retirement schedules, grateful for my recent mammogram results ("no evidence of cancer" which reminds this reader of the mailed report of mortality and randomness, sometimes, of disease), friends, family, the beauty of our simple morning walks which I am able to do two years after my triple ankle break which launched this blogsite.
So, with all that as the background of this picture, I am a pretty happy lady today. Are you happy at this moment? And if not, what kind of cuddly creature could you hold, if you could, that would make you smile?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Central Park

Mostly here's the view of Park Avenue on the side of Central Park. You can get a glimmer of green by the road side where bicyclists zipped past, alongside of the cars. My hubby and I were sitting on a bench just to the right of the road. On this particularly warm (for March) Tuesday, nannies were pushing babies in their stroller or playing in the playground between this edge of Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
We had taken the subway and walked quite a few blocks to get here, so the respite of the bench, bicyclists and babies were welcome entertainment for me. It's not a life I would want to live, even given the second chance to go for a "do over", but I can't deny the constant energy of NYC, colorful street characters, and merchandising, merchandising, merchandising from shops along the sidewalks.
What a contrast to Tucson today, eating lunch at Baggins, buying used magazines at Bookman's and picking up a roasted chicken for dinner tonight when all our chores are done. We've put up new Ikea curtains in prep for new window shades (from Lowe's) going up Tuesday--hoping that with more "R" and "UV" factor, the coming summer sunshine will be diffused and our west-facing home offices won't become ovens by July.
Maybe, by then, other travel options for summer getaways will have emerged. We can hope for that.
And, at the beginning of this Easter week--on our early morning one mile walk, we saw Flopsy, Mopsy and Peter Cottentail hop across the road. What a treat! Happy Spring, whether you are in NYC, NJ, Tucson, NM, or even B.C.