Sunday, February 11, 2024

Settling into February...

Corona de Tucson

February 11, 2024

Settling in at home is a wonderful thing...putting things in their place, adjusting to space, our very own little oasis, a roomy shower, and a much larger washer and dryer are just a few things that help settling in wonderful.  There are many things we enjoy about home, but the quiet might just be my most favorite thing of all about being here.  

Monday, we were up early and headed to Lazydays KOA.  Just saying/writing Lazydays KOA floods my brain with so many great memories of days gone by.  Carol and Ronnie left SD when we did and pulled right in to the KOA for two weeks of Tucson time and Monday we had plans to hike at Catalina State Park.  Anybody that has visited this beautiful Arizona state park knows that to do most walking/hiking there one must cross the wash.  Sometimes, the wash is dry...that is always sad to me...and sometimes the wash has running water...that always makes me happy.  Memories of laughing all the way across with garbage bags wrapped around our legs come to mind...just ask Sue !  No bags this week, but there were lots of laughs heard while wading thru the better than ankle deep cold water.  

Catalina is a favorite hiking place.  Joe and I both agree that we don't get there enough as it is just shy of 45 miles from home.  Afterwards, we enjoyed a picnic before heading back to town.  

Another day this week we enjoyed perusing The Gallery in the Sun with Carol and Ronnie.  The gallery DeGrazia built is a work of art in itself and while we like some of his art...not all of his makes for a colorful morning with a little history thrown in the mix.  Carol is quite the artist herself and I enjoyed watching her stroll thru the gallery and pointing out things I would never even think about.  

There were two rotating exhibits on display until September 4th. 

"Rodeo" is a series of oil paintings DeGrazia did in 1954 that were inspired by the Tohono O'odham Nation Rodeo and Fair in the community of Sells, AZ. DeGrazia referred to these paintings as his "dramatic" that capture a decisive, dramatic moment in paint.   

Titled : Wild Horse Race
oil on canvas, 1954 
I loved the bold colors and action in this painting.

And "Master Thesis Paintings" featuring a selection of watercolors and oil paintings  from his 1945 University of Arizona Master of Arts Thesis.  

Based on movements from popular classical music, his work demonstrates his theories about the correlation between the melodies, harmonies, and rhythms of music and the shapes, colors, and rhythms of abstract paintings. 

Concerto #1 in B flat minor
oil on canvas diptych 1944
(I had to look up diptych...a painting on two hinged wooden panels which may be closed like a book.)

Throughout the gallery, are tables, benches and chairs that DeGrazia made.  I love the simplicity. 

In DeGrazi's studio, the buses caught Carols' eye.  

And in the courtyard, Carol and Ronnie paused...

to study the self image DeGrazia did in a sculpture like form that hangs in a tree.  

We also took the time to see Mission in the Sun, the first building DeGrazia built on the grounds.  

Afterwards, we enjoyed a nice lunch at Cafe a La C'Art in town.  A delightful morning, a yummy lunch, and time with friends makes for a really nice time.    
Back at the oasis, it has been a hodge podge of weather days....mild and sunny, rainy, windy, and cold.  

We only had one decent day for a walk...

No complaints...we need the rain! And a great day for being lazy!

The doves practiced their ice skating skills...quite gracefully I will add. I felt really bad when he started pecking at the ice for water. 

Yesterday (Saturday 2/10) we had plans.  Andra and Jamie and Carol and Ronnie came for lunch.  I made lasagna, salad and bread and Carol brought cherry cheesecake.  It was a wonderful time visiting.   It was also cold and snowing !  I didn't get photos of the people, but I did get some of the snow.  

Ozzie loves the snow!

The best part about snow  here is that it was gone by late afternoon.

We weren't sure how many birds we should see after having been gone for a month.  Filling the feeders was the first thing we did! No surprise that the Cactus Wren was the first to show.  We have had the pleasure to see Cardinals, Gila Woodpeckers, Curved-bill Thrashers, House Wrens and Sparrows...all the regulars!  

And we had a new bird in the yard...a Yellow-rumped Warbler.  What a nice surprise! 

The thistle feeder has been the busiest !

And this morning, this sweet little Costa's Hummingbird waited very patiently while I took his feeder inside to refill it.

Sally had her annual vet appointment this week.  All is good with her.  We think she is happy to be home too...

February is off to great start.  It is almost Valentin's Day !  Love is in the the whisper of the trees, in the thunder of the seas, in the rising of the sun, when the day is nearly done, everywhere I look around, every sight and every sound, love is in the air.  (taken from lyrics to "Love is in the Air" by John Paul Young.)  

Until next time,


Saturday, February 3, 2024

Wrapping Up San Diego

San Diego Metro KOA

Chula Vista,  CA

February 3, 2024

Friday (Jan. 26)

The Hotel del Coronado has been on my radar for some time.  We joined Carol and Ronnie for a morning on the island to take it all in.  The hotel has quite the history dating back to 1885 when two entrepreneurs bought the entire peninsular we call Coronado Island today with the idea of building a magnificent hotel that would be the talk of the western world.  This destination resort first opened it's doors in 1888.  It was indeed magnificent with electricity, telephones, private bathrooms, elevators and a state of the art fire alarm system.  It was outfitted in fine china, linen from Europe, and luxury furnishings from the east.  The Del, as locals call it today, offered a variety of activities...swimming, boating, archery croquet, golf, bicycling and fine dining with special rooms set aside for indulgences such as reading, writing, chess, cards, music and yep...smoking.  

Today, the The Del is one of the last wooden Victorian beach resorts in the world.  It is also the second largest such structure in the United States. It is recognized as the first commercial building to have electricity.  Thomas Edison, himself,  came to the hotel shortly before it opened to oversee the installation of electric lighting.  And in 1904, Edison returned to debut the world's first lighted Christmas tree which stood on the hotel's lawn.  

Nearly a dozen US presidents have visited The Del along with a long list of well-known folks...both from the past and present.  

The Hotel del Coronado was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.

The beach the hotel sits on is a white sandy beach and makes for a very nice walk.  Even though it is owned by the hotel, it is open to the can even rent chairs, loungers, and umbrellas and have lunch served on the beach as a non-guest.  We just walked.  Every time we have walked on the beach, the waves have been amazing...

We stood at the jetty for a few minutes to enjoy the sound of the waves crashing into the rocks and to take photos.

Waiting was half the fun...
(Thank you for the photo Carol.)


along with the feel of the cool spray on my face and the taste of saltwater on my lips... 

and a new bird sighting for us...a Black Turnstone.

We all laughed out loud as we watched the California Gulls having their mid morning snack.  

If finding the perfect clam wasn't hard enough opening the darn thing sure is... flew up pretty high and dropped it half a dozen times or so...

working so hard to crack it open.

Finally...yum, yum!

We also saw a flock or two of Royal Terns.  They are a social species and found in large, noisy groups.

I read that a flock of Royal Terns is known as a "highness," well befitting its regal name.

They also make us laugh out loud...

Saturday (Jan. 27)
Saturday was hiking day.  The four of us chose a new to us hike...Annie's Canyon.  It was almost a bust as when we got to the trailhead...a nicely dirt, gravelly, wide trail...and looked down the very, very steep hill we all said nope.  We would have to climb back up that very, very steep hill on the return. Carol saved the day when she spotted a paved bike trail and off we went. I'm not sure how far it was from here to the trail, but all total, we logged in a healthy 4.2 miles.  There was a decent on the bikeway, but not as steep or slippery. 

Annie's Canyon is a short trail...once you get there...thru a slot canyon.  There are ladders and steps to climb at the end of the trail to an overlook.  It was a Saturday...not a good day to do this very popular hike.  Everybody and their moms, dads, grannies, grandpas, and children were there and they expected to take the four legged members of the family as well even though the signage said "No Dogs".  Little dogs, middle size dogs an big dogs were all there to join in the fun.  So, we made it to the ladder, with a very long line of folks making their way up and we was not easy as we were all squeezed into a very narrow space...turned around and went out the way we came in.  Would I go again?  Yes... but not on a weekend and hoping for less folks.  

The short trail to the canyon is well marked and easy.

The beginning...

The up shot...

The squeeze...

Annie's Canyon is nestled within the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Preserve.  I read that it was once vandalized by transients and plagued with illicit drug use.  I saw photos of those beautiful canyon walls covered in paint and graffiti.  Local residents had the area cleaned up and designated a trail there.  The canyon was named after Annie, a 30 year resident of Solana Beach who was a very active conservancy supporter.  

Sunday (Jan. 28)

The four of us enjoy market days in San Diego so we were off bright and early and headed to one of San Diego's oldest neighborhoods...Hillcrest...Sunday morning. 
Even though this urban setting is home to cafes and bakeries, galleries, and museums and exploring this area sounds yummy and fun, we have yet to meander here except on market day.  

Every Sunday (9:00-2:00) booths and tents line the street...about 175 of them...artisans, growers, and yummy things prepared on site to nibble on or drink while you peruse. 

Our bags were curly lettuce, green curly lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, sourdough bread, berries, cauliflower, broccoli, flowers and a blueberry lime scone that I wish I had gotten half a dozen of.  

The market is cheerful and colorful with live entertainment and (even though Little Italy is a cool place to be too) we all agree, Hillcrest is our favorite San Diego market.  

Monday (Jan.29)

Monday dawned a gorgeous day.  We had plans with Jeff and Fran for lunch on The Island, but an email from Jeff arrived early that morning.  Fran's brother had a fall a was hospitalized.  We were sorry we didn't get one last visit with them, and wish Bobby a speedy recovery.  Until we meet again friends...

Our last day...a gorgeous day...what to do? I know !  A beach walk and pizza and the Bledsoe's were all in !  Mission Beach and Luigi's make for a nice walk and fun lunch.  


Green at the boardwalk on Mission Beach

Beach stuff always gets my attention...

We were not sure where the surfer was...

So that is a wrap on our San Diego get away.  It was such a fun trip.  We all enjoyed ourselves.  

We left SD on Wednesday and enjoyed our first Arizona sunset for the year that night in Dateland. 

And we were up for a pretty sunrise this morning.  Adventures are fun, coming home is wonderful, and life is good !

Until next time,