Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Hard to Believe...

December 29, 2021

Corona de Tucson

It's hard to believe Christmas 2021 has come and gone.    Another year has flown by.  

Christmas Eve morning coffee was spent on the patio as we were serenaded by a pack of coyotes.  The sounds are scary and exciting all at the same time.  We didn't see them, but had the feeling they had eyes on us.  

Dec. 24 at 7:15 am

Christmas Day sunrise was stunning.

Dec. 25 at 7:11 am


Felix, quite the little artist, was all smiles.  

And Edith gives her baby a sweet hug. 

Joe requested quiche for breakfast.  I was glad as it's one of my favorites too.  Back in the days when we were working, I always undecorated the tree on Christmas Day afternoon while everyone else was napping or watching football.  We always had a real tree...two of them and even a couple of years three.  Undecorating isn't especially a fun thing to do so instead of dreading it for days, I just got it done and enjoyed the rest of my time off before going back to school.  This year, we purchased an artificial tree...first time ever in a sticks and bricks.  It was nice decorating it on Thanksgiving which was the earliest we have ever put up a tree.  But the really nice thing is that there was no dried up mess and we didn't have a trip to the landfill.   

When we started full-time RVing years ago, the kiddos sorted through and claimed all the ornaments and decorations.   We acquired a few small things for the MH and this year added some shiny ornaments and lights.  

It was easy to pack things away in the guest room closet. 


We really enjoyed Christmas dinner at Kevin and Stacie's.  Kevin had a fire and Stacie had a beautiful and festive table setting outside.  Lots of yummy casseroles were prepared with ham and turkey.  And there was a whole table of deserts from cookies to cakes.  The best part, though, was all the laughter and conversations with sweet friends.  Shame on me for not getting any pictures !

I think every sunset this week, has been a beautiful display of colors.   

Looking out the kitchen window.

The side yard...

Rain is in the forecast for the next several days with Friday and Saturday having the most chance of downpours.  But this morning, it is still off and on sunny.  

We have also made a trip to the MH.  We pull out Friday morning for a vaca with friends.  I can hardly wait !  

So until next time, 


Thursday, December 23, 2021

Merry Christmas

Corona de Tucson

December 22, 2021

Last week Jack had his teeth x-rayed and cleaned.  It was discovered that he needed a molar pulled.  Even though he was given pain pills to take for 3-4 days, he didn't feel good and was quite clingy and even whimpered some the first couple of days.  If Joe and I were busy, he found Dover to cuddle up to...  

...or enjoyed the warm sunshine.

He has another week of antibiotics and is feeling better.  So much so that he doesn't understand why he can't play ball.  It takes about two weeks for the stitches to dissolve and the vet said no ball until then.  

Joe spent a day with Pearl.  
While he was busy changing the oil, checking tire pressures, tightening bolts, and repairing the rear swing spare tire carrier, I painted the small walk-in closet in the guest bedroom.  It didn't need painting...I just wanted it the same color as the bedroom. 

Keith (our friend and go to person for help around the oasis) came over to tear out and replace a facia board on the patio.  After the new board was measured and cut, I painted it.  When we bought the house, we didn't get any information about exterior paint colors.  We matched it as best we could to the existing paint, but the color we picked is more red like terra cotta. The old paint has more brown.  You know what that means...

now all the facia boards have to be painted !  It's OK as we really like the terra cotta shade better  and fresh paint sure livens up a place.  I can paint both sides of the house with no problem, but I don't do tall ladders. Keith said he would paint the eaves for us. Looks like next years projects are coming together. 


Right in the middle of downtown Tucson is a small and well know sub-division.  It began as a vision for a park-like neighborhood in 1949 with 257 oversized lots that sold very quickly.  

That's Santa hiding behind the entrance !

The developer included Aleppo pines (purchased from a local nursery) in the landscaping.  The pines grew into behemoths...I like that word...that have survived the years and today provide shade in the summer and an "alpine holiday" vibe this time year.  

One of my favorites...I loved the rooftop.  

More than 70 years ago, the developer donated strands of lights as a Christmas gift to the neighborhood.  For the first few years, he judged the light displays around Winterhaven and awarded a $100 prize to the best decorated house.  That spurred the competitive juices of the neighbors and the light show grew from there.  

The event known as Winterhaven Festival of Lights has become a Tucson tradition.  It is free to enter, but there is a donation bin to support Community Food Bank of Tucson.  We joined Randy and his daughter Stacie, her husband Kevin and their two boys for a fun evening walking, talking, laughing,  and oohing and aahing our way down Christmas Avenue and Treat Circle and lots of other streets.  In 2005, Winterhaven Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  FYI...if you arrive thirsty and/or hungry, vendors are selling hot cider and cocoa, hot dogs and kettle corn.    Pictures don't show the scope and awesomeness of the lights as it was way hard to capture everything.  And the twinkling was so incredible.  

It's hard to see in the picture, but the rabbit has a hair dryer.

Back at the oasis,  I made one last goodie.  Chocolate covered almond butter balls.  Joe and I haven't eaten peanuts in a few years so I was excited to find a substitute. 

The recipe made about 30...they didn't last very long!

The Christmas cactus I bought last year when we were in the MH is actually blooming this year...just in time for Christmas.  It wasn't doing so good on the island, so we are enjoying it on the patio where it has survived for as long as we have been here.

I added lights on the island...

...and enjoy the reflection on the fridge.  So cool !

Today it is lunch with Randy in Green Valley.  I need a fried catfish taco fix. Tomorrow Jack has a follow up vet visit.  And Christmas Day, we have a special invitation to join Stacie and Kevin for dinner at their home.  Joe and I are looking forward to spending the evening with this sweet family.  

Until next time,  

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Historic 4th Avenue and A Change in the Weather

Corona de Tucson

December 13, 2021

There doesn't seem to be much to write about for this post.  But here goes...early last week, we made the trip "to the city" to take care of a few things.  At the top of the list was gifts for the two youngest grandkids.  

Mildred and Dildred has been our go to place for finding all kinds of unique and fun gifts for any age from infant to teenage.  They wrap and ship so its a one stop shop... perfect!  It is locally owned, not a big-box store, with lots of selections that encourage imaginations and learning.  That's the Kindergarten/First Grade  teacher in me that still lingers after all these years !  

I had my heart set on sending our youngest granddaughter a doll.  Edith just turned 1 so it had to be a special that is soft and cuddly. Happy to check that off the list as the gifts have been delivered and are under the tree. 
 We don't usually do the "mall thing", but Joe needed to try on long pants.  Ordering them usually means returning them and that is such a bother.  So, we found ourselves at Tucson Mall.  It was practically empty !  And just a little depressing...

so unlike years past with he hustle and bustle of folks.  At least the Christmas music was playing.

We did spot one famous person.  What a surprise to learn after all these years that Santa likes Panda Express !

No more cookies for you!

This past Friday, we met Randy and his daughter Stacie on 4th Avenue.  

It's not just any 4th Avenue, it is Historic 4th Avenue in Tucson...home to the 51 year old tradition known as The Street Fair.  The district known as Old Pueblo hosts the fair and proceeds are used to support the avenue's infrastructure and invest in local neighborhoods.  Local artists and musicians as well as those from all over the world come to show and sell their goods.  

These natural wood (no stain) chopping boards were gorgeous.  The pieces come apart offering different sizes and configurations for cutting and dipping. Most were the lazy-susan style.  

All kinds of bird feeders, but these small hummingbird feeders caught my eye.

These solar lights age beautifully...if you like the patina look which I do.  All different shapes and heights...we stood here longer than at any other booth discussing, but in the end decided not to buy.   

Traffic is barricaded for The Street Fair and covered canopies line the middle of the street for several blocks.  The Avenue began in 1916 as a commercial district.  It has seen many changes thru the years.  As big shopping centers began to dominate,  the buildings were practically left empty in the 60s.  By the mid 70s,  small businesses and restaurants began emerging. Today, characterized "by a myriad of unique small businesses", 4th Avenue is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its history and architecture and includes 50 contributing properties that date between 1903 and 1967.  The highlight for the day for me was lunch.  Randy's daughter Stacie (whose husband is Kevin and our realtor) has lived in Tucson for most of her adult life. She suggested Caruso's Italian.  Caruso's is the oldest Italian Restaurant in started in the 1930s and has remained in the family at the same location since that time.  The original family owner who began the restaurant passed away at age 100 in February '21.  He was the one responsible for the interior layout, the patio, and most of the food prep.  The heart of the restaurant was and still is the "big copper pot" visible from the main dining room.  It has contained all of the Caruso sauce served since the first days in Tucson.  

The food was wonderful and the service was very friendly and beyond satisfactory.  

Boutiques and antiques, along with  book, candle, jewelry, and novelty stores line the streets.  One interesting store was Pop-Cycle where piggy banks, jewelry and other fun things are created from scrap metals. 
The Avenue also offers a very wide variety of restaurants and bars to choose from.

 At the oasis, we are enjoying Christmas.  It is such a special time of year with all the lights, smells and music.  I realized the other day, I can see our Christmas tree from every room in the house except our bedroom, master bath and guest bath.  

Last week I made a new to me goodie.  Joe likes peppermints and I like chocolate so I found a recipe for White Chocolate Peppermint Patties.  They are yummy and very "rich" as my mom would say. 

Friday we woke up to a chilly, rainy day.  This isn't our usual view out the patio door. The pups were in shock and didn't want to go out, but I thought it was a nice change...

...and perfect for white chili.  It's my favorite chili with lots of grated cheese, jalapeƱos and corn chips.  It is even better the next day !  I love left-overs !  Rainy days in Tucson are special and don't usually last long.

That wraps up another week.  They sure go by fast.  

As much as I love to go places and do things, I have decided that the best part of going anywhere these days is coming home.  Until next time, 


Monday, December 6, 2021

Creosote Loop, Bluff Trail, and Wrapping Up a Project

Corona de Tucson

December 6, 2021

The other day, Joe and I had morning errands...Home Depot for paint, Bed, Bath and Beyond for a rolling pin, and PetSmart for doggie treats...all on the west side of town.  It's familiar stomping grounds as the shopping is "just down the street" from Tucson/Lazydays KOA.  It was another gorgeous day so we decided to do a short trail first.  

The Robles Pass trails park, located in the southernmost part of the Tucson Mountains, has parking on Irvington Road (as well as Ajo Way). 

And it's only a few miles beyond Home Depot...perfect !  Our choice of trails for a quick desert walk was Creosote Loop. 

One would think this desert experience was miles away from traffic noise and homes, but it is actually 1,000 acres of desert beauty and quiet in suburban Tucson.  Never in my life, until now, did I dream that I could do a desert hike, run errands, and have Sonoran Dogs (yep, BKs is located just off W. Irvington on 12th St) all on the same day and be home before 1:00 pm.  

Joe and I both commented on how many young saguaros we saw along the trail.  Of course young in saguaro life is my the time they are 70 years old, they can reach 6.5 feet tall.  The saguaros in the pic below were not yet 5' tall.  By the time a saguaro cactus is 200 years old it has reached its full height at 45' tall.   

The tallest saguaro in this pic was about 4' tall.  "The children's choir"




Sabino Canyon Recreation Area has long been a favorite hiking place for us.  Another day this week we hiked the Bluff Trail.  There is something relaxing about hiking a familiar trail. We stopped to watch a hawk soaring high above... 

 ...a Black-throated Sparrow waiting patiently for insects... 

 ...and a Greater Roadrunner definitely on a mission.  That's the most birds we have seen on trail in awhile. 

The scenery on Bluff Trail changes with the seasons...

...the trail has it's ups and downs... 

...and the views are spectacular !

"The adult choir"

And did you know that each saguaro arm can  hold up to 40 gallons of water? That is 328 pounds each and why they mostly curve upward. 

And how does this delicate blossom less than an inch long survive?

And how do prickly pear make hanging on for dear life on the side of a cliff wall look so easy?

Our week at home was spent finishing up on a project we started weeks ago.  Between storage and traveling some 1,700 miles across country, some of our art pieces needed help.  

In some frames, these pins that hold the art in place had come out and were between the matte and the glass 

and in some pieces, we just wanted to change the matte all together.  It is not a job to rush and I am very happy it is mostly all done.  We found this small piece at the Cotton Exchange in Wilmington, NC. The artist, Jo Ko, lived at one of our favorite places...the Outer Banks. The picture depicts the bay and dock that was across the street from the RV park where we spent three glorious weeks.  It now has a new matte and a place in our home.  

Belle has two brand new rear jacks...yippee !   

Thank you Kenneth and Rachel !

And I made Rice Krispies Cheese Crisps. My mom always made them this time of year and I do think they are my absolute favorite.  Joe likes them too !  Of course no Christmas cooking happens in this home unless I am singing and swinging to Christmas favorites...mostly traditional songs.  I do love Christmas music ! 


That about wraps up the first week in December at our little oasis.  Our days are merry and bright.

The weather continues to be amazing with slightly above normal temps.  We're not complaining and neither is Jack. 


The skies never disappoint.

 So until next time,