Saturday, August 31, 2013

Morning Glories

Three summers ago, a stray morning glory vine began to creep into our backyard.  I wasn't sure what it was a first--just a green vine that I welcomed to create a canopy in a space left by an oleander killed from Texas root rot.  The stumps of the oleander provided a natural trellis for the vine that, in August, began to bloom.  I learned that when the frost comes, the vine becomes a brown paper-crumply mess, but, I decided at the first year, to keep on tending it during the early summer months if it returned.  This year the vine spread beyond the back wall to the post on our porch.  Mark's photo, taken this morning after another night/early morning of light rain, shows the multiple blooms we are now enjoying at breakfast.  They don't bloom past 10 a.m. so it's a quick burst of color and I do so enjoy counting the flowers as I feed the birds.  I hope you enjoy them, too.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Keep Calm

It's been a bit of a slog this week since I came down with a respiratory virus and, besides the sneezing, stuffy nose and lingering cough, had absolutely no "zip" in my step or brain.  I notice that when I am not feeling up to par, one of the first things to go is my creativity; the second, is patience.  So I tend to just hunker down and watch t.v. and do the basics such as take care of Charlie A. Gray, water my outside plants and do laundry.

I did start reconnecting with friends toward the end of the week and found a bundle of three mini-journals I bought at B&N a few weeks ago.  I shared two with friends and kept one; all have the theme of bicycles on the covers.  While waiting for one to meet up with me yesterday, Mark took a photo of the journal cover I was giving to her.  As I began my day today, I decided its message is appropriate for me to keep in mind as I move through my day, week, life.  Maybe it will help you, too:).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Gray's Summer is Long

 I think, like us, Gray is getting tired of summer.  He is spending more "quality" time inside with us and seems content to be able to look outside rather than be outside.  We are keeping him inside at night now.  At his 2nd annual check-up, our vet advised we do so, after seeing a few scabs from bites and missing fur patches.  Apparently, he is a Beta-cat and "submits" during the cat fights rather than taking on the aggressor role.  Since he is so stoic, that didn't surprise us.  A street-survivor that came to us a year ago, we are learning his ways and adapting to cat-life.  I still miss the pounce and attentiveness of our dog, Lia, but Gray's patience and easy nature is a good presence for us right now.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summer Sunsets

We could make a photo album of the gorgeous sunsets this summer.  I know we aren't getting the monsoon rainfall and we are getting record number of triple digit days, but I cannot remember a better summer for sunsets, can you?  Here's a click from last night's walk; I would title it "sky on fire". 

We are walking earlier as the sun begins to shift, the days get shorter. So the summer season is winding down.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

At the Tucson Padres Ball Game

I try not to think about next summer when even AAA baseball will be in Tucson's past.  I don't care how the County tries to promote soccer; it will never replace the All-American past time for me.  So, with a bit of melancholy in my mood, we went to one of the last Tucson Padres games last night and took our son's partner's daughter, Izy, with us.  She had already been swimming in our neighborhood pool for an hour (after a full day of first grade), but that didn't seem to dampen her energy level much once she saw the inflatable playgrounds and, especially, the waterslide.  She was flying around that thing like a waterbird.  It didn't matter that she often went head first into the pool of water; she smiled with delight and kept going back for more. (It's blurry due to her speed and the splashing water on the phone's camera).

After about 45 minutes of playground time, I insisted we stop to eat a bite.  She and I enjoyed a delicious food truck quesadilla while Mark chomped on the hot dog (free ticket for "the kid" on kid's night which also meant Izy got in for free.  The playground wristbands cost $5.00 so it all came within budget for the afternoon/evening:).

After we ate, I was able to watch some of the game and admire the new moon in the western sky.  Izy went back to the playground for another 30 minutes before we said "enough" and packed up to go home. 

Later, watching the news, I was glad to see the Padres won the game.  Their last-ever game is August 24th with fireworks and other events planned and we hope to go to that, with or without young child.  As I watched the families in the stands, at the playground and food venues, I wonder where all these hard-working families will go for wholesome and affordable fun that doesn't involve movie screens or pizza restaurant circus play.  It's a sad day for Tucson when we bid pro baseball good-bye.  And it's a long wait for UA baseball season to start.  I guess that's where I will have to go for Tucson future baseball.  Oh, well. We have good memories of the SideWinders and spring Dbacks training.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day Tripping BrightSpot: Patagonia, Arizona

Yesterday I insisted we detached our chains to our computer desks and go for a day-trip.  We so enjoyed our six-hour venture into Santa Cruz County.  We stopped along the road to take pictures of the white poppies (we were surprised to see clusters of golden poppies in the hill's rain run-off ridges) and picked two full-sized gourds on the thick vine trailing along the grass.

We had lunch and post-lunch dessert in Patagonia.  The "over the top" oatmeal cookies by Heather Wood, the baker at The Gathering Grounds, enticed us to eat two cookies and buy a third for dinner dessert at home.  Heather is a self-taught baker (pies and other pastries included) and we'll be back in September to taste her pie and that of others' at Patagonia's Pie Party, September 14.

Walking down their linear park (the historic line for the now-departed train), we wandered through their Butterfly Garden and into their town park. 

There, lo and behold, was an anachronistic "merry-go-round" now almost totally gone in today's playgrounds due to safety regulations.  I remember how we ran and jumped on it, dragged our feet, arms, and--for really bold 8-12 year olds--lowered our torsos to hang over the edge as the speed twirled us around and around.  Mark said, as we gingerly rode a short ride ourselves, "this one has been well taken-care of--the ride is smooth and bearings are easy." 

From there we walked to the Patagonia Community Garden and met these three friendly gardeners.  I talked with them about my community happiness book and they expressed interest in having me come back to talk with others.  I do hope they invite me! 

We asked them about the location of the Patagonia Cemetary.  As we are in the process of redoing our Wills and making (we hope distant) funeral plans, we are exploring how to/where to do a "green burial."  The Patagonia Cemetary does allow this type of burial but only for residents.  So, we were interested in at least seeing this resting place.  They told us how to find it and it's a sweetly untended but charming spot with a view "to die for!" 

It was a wonderful day-trip and we are making a commitment to get back onto the path of more day-trips in our lives.  Computers, chores and other tasks won't disappear, but we can make more time for fun.  What about you?  Are you boosting up fun for your life?

Gray on the Couch

Lately, I have been feeling the angst of a new (one year this month) cat owner:  where does Charlie A. Gray go after we have fed him and he wanders throughout the day?  Why doesn't he (yet) cuddle with us?  Are we lacking cat-care in some way and he's picked another house to call his day-home?

I don't have the answers to those questions, but last night he came in and cuddled on the couch while we were watching the 2nd viewing of HBO's "Newsroom." (It takes us two viewings to catch all of the rapid-fire dialogue, nuances of meaning and finer points of acting in this great show).  It was a nice hour for the three of us.