Sunday, June 30, 2013

One cool cat

It's hard to believe, but even at 110 degrees, our cat seems to want to spend at least part of his life outside, either spread out on the back or front patio, depending on the time of day.  Then, when he's had enough of the heat, and perhaps also, the bird life scene has reached its point of boredom, he's ready to come in, plop his body on the cool cement floor and "chill."  He also does spend the night with us, on the bed beneath the ceiling fan and air conditioning duct.

This week, while Mark was away at a conference and Gray was my sole home companion, I slipped him a first name for the first time and it's stuck:  he is now "Charlie Gray."  It just popped out one morning as he came in and he looked up at me as if to say, "Well, finally, I have a full name.  It's about time."  Then, too, it's only been lately that he's permitted us to reach out and touch him at times other than when we feed him.  So, after life on the streets for who knows how long, and then life outside with us (or inside in the garage while Lia was still alive), and after three months of inside as well as outside living, we are a threesome.  Maybe, as Mark suggests, the Charlie-part comes from his charcoal gray color, or maybe he is just a Charlie-kind-of-guy.

So here is Charlie Gray--one cool cat.

P.S. Hey, maybe he's named for the jazz trumpeter, Charlie Parker--I read a book about him once and so there might be a subconscious connection lurking in my psyche.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Baseball Man

A few weeks ago, we went to Bookman's on Speedway which is a new and used sports equipment store.  I wrote about it and featured a few "brightspots" photos on .

But today, I am only sharing the Baseball man photo.  I have written earlier about my love for baseball and how it connects me to good memories with my dad as a White Sox fan.  I  also like that I can always learn something new about the sport. This week is was about "walkoff wins" and I revel in the new energy demonstrated by the Diamondbacks.

What do you like about baseball?  Its grace, its slow speed which matches the ideal pace of summer, the green field, the "play ball" call out, the foods you can eat at a game, the song "Take me out to the Ball Game"?  Think about why it's the all-American sport....

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Casual dining at Hacienda del Sol

One of the many things I enjoy about Tucson, even in the summer (and maybe especially so), is the way our culture blends fine dining with casualness.  Hacienda del Sol (where our son is banquet chef) is one of the most delightful places to experience this "Tucson blend."  The elder-dads were eager to go there and partake of one of the restaurant's summer specials:  sonoran hot dogs (served with beer and choice of salad or fries).  Aron told us that a great deal of tasting time by the crew and owners went into the culinary decisions of which toppings and what kind of bun would go with the offering.  Before enjoying the entree, we ordered chips with fire-roasted salsa (the best I have tasted in a long time--really thick and balanced with sweet and spice) and home-made guacamole and hummus and pita.  My dad summed up his food review with "this is one good, juicy dog!"  And that's high praise from a man who grew up with Chicago "dogs."  The combo of black beans and bacon is what makes this variation unique and I recommend others to go to Hacienda and enjoy a sunset with your entree.  Whether you are wearing flip flops and jeans or a silk black dress and heels, you will be welcomed at the door, seated with grace and served with attention to details.  And, oh yes, the food is great and this summer the price is Tucson-affordable!

Hummus and pita

Salsa, guac, and chips
Two choices with the "dogs": my dad took the fries
Mark's dad took the salad:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Saying Goodbye to good neighbors

One of the joys of last year's "sitting on the front porch with Gray" was our discovery of the abundance of good neighbors in our neighborhood.  Austin and Lynda were completing their medical residencies at the UA Med. Center when we met them, and they had adoptied Yogi, a golden retriever senior-dog who wasn't bothered by the new arrival of our cat.  Austin and Lynda took early morning and evening turns in walking Yogi and sometimes we matched steps on a walk.  I loved burrowing my hand into Yogi's soft red-gold fur and he seemed to like me for doing it, too.  After we bid adieu to Lia, our own senior-dog after 13 years, in February, Yogi became my surrogate-from-afar dog.  So, as their family departure drew near ( they now have new jobs in Seattle, Washington where Austin has family), I knew that saying good-bye to Yogi wouldn't be easy.  I am so grateful to Lynda, because, on her way to drop off keys to their landlord, she made time to come by with Yogi so we could say good-bye. 

Here we are:  smiling, but through my smile a piece of my heart is torn and going up the coast with this loving threesome.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Reflection on a Cactus

This was taken just 6 weeks ago--blooming cactus in a neighbor's front yard.  The blooms from this variety and from most of the saguaros have fallen and the fruit is swelling for picking and the Tohono O'Odham July festival to "bring down the rains".  With a very dry spring behind us and triple digits each day of June, so far, the meterologists suggest we may have an early monsoon season.  I like it when we get so much rain andthe ribs of the cactus swell.  Sometimes, a second spring arrives  in mid-late summer.  I don't know what Mother Nature has in store for us this year, but each day I try to find a way to be grateful for seen and unseen flowers.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Play Ball

Last night we watched "Trouble with the Curve" on HBO.  We had seen it in the theatres when it first came out but I liked it better the second time.  Definitely not as good a movie as "42", it still brought some nuances to the game--particularly the weird world of scouting high school players--that I haven't been exposed to.  Thus, I learned something new and was entertained.

It's Sunday afternoon and the Dbacks are playing in drizzly and cold Chicago.  We are going to the game in Phoenix next month for DBacks vs. Cubbies and we'll be going with friends who are Cubs fans, so we will have to agree to disagree for 9 innings or so.  That's a good trust of a decades-old friendship.

I love baseball because of its slow beauty, unpredicatabilty and, sometimes. the keen announcing that describes the games.  I think the Chicago announcers are better than the Arizona current team.  Here, they go into too much selling of the stadium and bits of nonsense compared to the Chicago team that actually stays focused on the game--explaining "change ups" and how trades affect game rotation and wins.  I like to learn about the game as I watch--there is always another nuance because each player is unique.

So, today, for a slow (and hot) Sunday:  "let's play ball!"