Monday, December 26, 2022

That Christmas Feeling…

Corona de Tucson

December 26, 2022 

Last year, we were invited to Kevin's and Stacie's home for Christmas dinner.  It was so nice being among friends at Christmas.  The 10 or 11 years before last year, Joe and I spent Christmas...just the two of us.  So, you can imagine the excitement around our house as we planned on having Jamie and Andra here for a long 3 day Christmas week-end.  Meals were planned,  groceries were bought, errands were completed, the vacuuming and mopping was done, we enjoyed a couple of  beautiful sunsets...and then it was Friday.

It was a wonderful week-end.  We enjoyed the outdoors...playing games 

And no, Andra and I didn't win the corn hole championship, but we didn't get skunked either! 

and watching a team of 5 Harris' Hawks (three in the pine tree on the right side of the yard and two in the pine on the left side)...


Jamie grilled filet mignon...cooked to perfection...for Christmas Eve dinner.

It was fun setting the big table.

And I especially enjoyed the view from the kitchen sink.


After dinner, we sat around the fire serenaded by the howling coyotes and hooting owls.  

Christmas morning, Jamie and Andra had gifts for the pups.

Jack got a crab...because he IS crabby!



Sally got a turtle...because hurry is NOT in her vocabulary!

And Dover got a hedgehog...we often find her curled up in a ball and easily startled by sudden movement.  

And meet Ozzy.  He is our 8 month old grandpuppy and just about the sweetest puppy we have ever known.  He is an Aussiedoodle...playful, protective (especially of Dover), very smart, loves to watch TV and a great addition to the family.


I spent the afternoon (today) putting away Christmas.  Everything is marked and sealed and ready for next year.  All that is left to say "it was Christmas" is a poinsettia on the kitchen table, my new red quilt, a small tub of party mix.  And, thank goodness for  the memories made.

I can hardly believe we are wishing everyone a healthy and happy New Year. 

My how time flies!


Until next time...


Monday, December 19, 2022

Merry Christmas

Corona de Tucson

December 19, 2022 

St Phillip's in the Hills

Saturday morning, Joe and I were up and out early.  Our first stop was at East Lawn Palms Cemetery in downtown Tucson. 

It was a special day to honor fallen soldiers.  Every December, Wreathes Across America coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery as well as more than 3,400 locations in all 50 states, at sea, and abroad.   
I first learned about Wreaths Across America in December 2015.  We were in San Diego and riding out to Cabrillo NM for a hike.  The photo below of the wreaths at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery made a huge impression on me. 

Our next stop Saturday morning was St Philips Plaza.  

Every Saturday and Sunday (all year long) are outdoor market days at the plaza.  I needed one more "little something" to go under the tree and knew my chances were better than good to find just what I wanted there.  

Just down the street from the plaza is St Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church.  

St Philip's was built in Spanish Colonial architecture (similar to mission churches built in California over 400 years ago) in 1936.  The very first service held there was on Christmas Eve.  Tusconians John and Helen Murphy had a plan to build a private chapel at their home.  Instead, the architect persuaded them to build a small church at the corner of two dirt roads...Campbell and River.  

Although the church has undergone several expansions, the integrity of the architect's design has been maintained in the buildings.  In 2004, St Philip's in the Hills was added to the National Register of Historic Places.  Today, it is the largest Episcopal church in Tucson.

Back at the oasis, it has definitely been sweater weather.

Sunrise and coffee had an abrupt halt outside.

We bought our first tree for the backyard.  It's for the birds!  Once again, Civano Nursery, just down the road from us, delivered, planted and staked it.   

Joe is getting his leather working tools organized for a project he wants to start.  

I made a sugar cookies forest.

The House Finches add a bit of rosy red color and chatter to the backyard.

And the Arizona skies are a nice reminder of one of the reasons why we chose to live in the desert. 

Until next time,



Tuesday, December 13, 2022

La Fiesta de Guadalupe

Corona de Tucson

December 13, 2022 

Friday morning 

This past weekend was packed full of fun.  But first I want to share good news about our oldest son James.  Last June, he made a huge move all the way from Georgia to Tucson.  

He has a job he really likes and met a very sweet "someone special".  Andra is a special ed Kindergarten teacher in Tucson.

(The photo was taken at Empire Ranch Cowboy Festival.)

We are so happy for him and way excited to have him close by.  The six months have flown by...what fun we have had sharing our neck of the woods with Jamie.  

Last Saturday, Tucson's winter street fair returned for the 53rd year.  

The fair hosts artists and craftsmen from all over the country, local entertainment, over 35 food vendors, and lots of fun ! Fourth Avenue is closed for several blocks as well as several side streets.  

This artists takes pictures of three different t-shirts all rolled up and spaced to make a complete picture...most college and professional teams were represented.  Jamie loves Navy (and Alabama) football.  

It was a beautiful day and we got an early start to beat the afternoon crowds.  We enjoyed lunch at Caruso' Italian restaurant that opened in the 1930s about a block from its' present location.  

The restaurant claims to have more efficient equipment than it did back in the 30s, but boasts that the techniques for making their pasta and homemade sauces are basically the same.  

I have read that Tucson has over 100 murals painted on walls all over the city.  There are several areas in town with a walking route to see some of the paintings and I keep telling myself to google them and download maps.  It is next to impossible to drive anywhere here and not see a mural.  Fourth Avenue, located near the University of Arizona, offers a variety of "hippie" and vintage shops.  There is a mural depicting Bob Marly, Jim Morrison, the Beatles and lots more music artists from the 60' high school days.  

Sunday morning dawned another beautiful day and we were up and out early again.  De Grazia's Gallery in the Sun Museum hosted La Fiesta de Guadalupe.  Both the event and the gallery were free of charge.  The historic 10 acre retreat was designed by Tucson's Ted DeGrazia beginning with the Mission in the Sun that DeGrazia dedicated to Father Kino in honor of the Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, 1953.

 There were two new to us exhibits on display in the gallery.  First, DeGrazia's Ballet created between 1950 and 1961 is a selection of drawings, watercolors and oil paintings inspired by classical and modern ballet.

Second, Rock Talk: The Prehistoric Art of Ted DeGrazia is a series of drawings, watercolors, and ceramics, inspired by ancient petroglyphs and pictographs.   Freely combining imagery from Native American petroglyphs with pictographs from European cave paintings and his own symbolic glyphs he developed a personal hybrid version of prehistoric art. 

Between 1952 and 1956, more than 20 0f DeGrazia's textual designs were printed by Fuller Fabrics of New York.  The cloth was featured in ready-to-wear apparel and distributed to fabric stores nationally.

I always enjoy our time at Gallery in the Sun and was so happy to have Jamie and Andra there.  


The Fiesta (a religious festival of celebration) was held outside.  Included in the festivities were a Student Mariachi Band, Ballet, Yaqui Deer Dance (no camera allowed) and The Domingo DeGrazia full Spanish-guitar band.  My favorite was the ballet...from the youngest to the oldest.  All were students from Ballet Folklorico in downtown Tucson. 


Afterwards, we had lunch at Guadalajara Original Grill.  

They have an "at-the-table" salsa cart.  A Salsa Maestra makes tailored to your taste  salsa with all fresh ingredients from her cart.  

Not only that, she cuts and mashes avocados for quacamole too.  The best guacamole I have had !

Back at the oasis, it was a beautiful moon rise Thursday night.  The December full moon is the Cold Moon.


It had a nice glow...

After the really nice week-end, we knew wind and rain was in the forecast with much colder temps to follow for a few days.  We enjoyed one more sunrise and coffee Monday.

 And then, the skies began to transform.


The highlight for the day was seeing this Cooper's hawk fly in and perch on the fence...

and touches of red to brighten the day.

We were happy to wake up to sunny skies this morning with temps just below 40 degrees.  Tonight it is forecast to drop into the 20s...yikes !

It's been a busy day (Tuesday).  I made cheese crisps this morning, put on a pot of potato soup, and baked cornbread.  

I also happened to be at the door at just the right time to see three Harris's Hawks.

He was quite noisy...

They were pretty far away before they flew.  Two flew to the pine tree in the field on the right side of the yard.

And the other one perched in the pine tree in the field on the left...much closer and easier to photograph.

I have never photographed a Harris's Hawk before.  He is very handsome and much bigger than the Cooper's.  He sure stands out with his dark brown, chestnut red, and white markings.  

The most social of North American raptors, these birds nest in social units that vary from a single pair to as many as seven individuals.   They also hunt together as a team and figured out that with more than two members in their group they have a higher success and survival rate.  This hawk's social nature and relative ease with humans has made it popular among falconers and in education programs.  

The pups...

Until next time,