Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On Hiatus

Isn't that what all the really cool people do? Or maybe sabbatical? Anyway, later.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spring and ARt in in the Air!

Finally we're in to more normal spring temperatures. Although those who come here from the northern climes revel in the high 90s, it's a little scary for those of us who will still be here in June. This weekend is the University of Tucson Festival of Books and the organizers have drawn some pretty big names. If you're a writer or a reader, you should find something or someone in the lineup to suit you. My pick would be Billy Collins, former US Poet Laureate and if you're one of those people who just doesn't "get" poetry, consider this Collins poem, Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

There's too much going on there to list here but you can find it all here.

Tucson artists will be opening their studios this weekend. These are all over the greater Tucson area (a few in my neck of the woods) so your best bet would be to download the map, choose an area and hit the road or look through the listing and visit those that catch your eye. Either way you can't go wrong. Tucson Open Studio

Oro Valley on the far NW side of Tucson will be hosting the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Festival with music, food and art at the PCC Northwest Campus.

Attendees will be treated to live music and performing arts entertainment including jazz guitarist Dan Griffin, the Amelia Dahl Jazz Quartet, the Tucson Chinese Council performing the Lion Dance, American standards with Joe Bourne, bluegrass and fiddle with Peter 'Doc' Rolland, Latin and Irish music from the Street Minstrels, folk music with Amber Norgaard, flamenco guitar with Jon Banuelos and blues and boogie woogie with internationally acclaimed Mr. Boogie Woogie
Singing Winds Bookstore is having a quilt class on Sunday. Now, the quilt class is probably full or you may not be into quilts but tuck away the name Singing Winds Bookstore and visit there sometime. If you appreciate unique, this is a place for you.

Patagonia is also having an art walk this weekend. The thing about an art walk in Patagonia is, you could actually walk to most of the galleries. And if you've never visited Patagonia, this would be a good excuse and a beautiful drive.

Patagonia is one of my most favorite places in SEAZ, another is Arivaca-and this is the weekend for the Arivaca Chili Cook-Off. It's Saturday and the info is
here. Again it's a good excuse for a beautiful drive-if you need that.

Whatever you do, have a great weekend.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Wildflowers and other Beauties of Arizona

Fiesta de Saguaro is TODAY at Saguaro National Park East. It's a celebration of Hispanic culture complete with food, music and dance. Looks like a great day to get out and enjoy the park.

Another beauty of living in Tucson is our access to the University for many different opportunities. The UA operates telescopes on Mt Lemmon and this month you can take part in one of their Sky Nights. Bundle up though, cause it will be chilly up there. In Tucson with have the Sweetwater Wetlands, in Sierra Vista there's the EOP which also attracts wildlife.
The Sierra Vista Environmental Operations Park (EOP), also known as the
waste water treatment plant, is open for bird walks each Sunday morning.
The walks take about 2 hours and are led by docents from Southeastern
Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO), Huachuca Audubon Society (HAS) and the
Friends of the San Pedro River (FSPR).
Info here.

Spring training has begun. If your year starts with the sounds of "Play Ball!" this is the place for you. Cactus League information can be found

But you could just spend the next week to 10 days driving around the desert and enjoying the wildflowers. Wildflowers bloom is such a big deal here that there are wildflower watches and day to day reports. Arizona State Parks provides Ranger Cam, but I think the best reports come from DesertUSA.

Now, I'm off for a walk.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

State Park Closures

A sign of the times.

State Parks Closing

Also, the annual reenactment of the battle at Picacho Peak has been canceled.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tiger in Tucson

It's official, Tiger will come back off his knee surgery to play in Tucson next week.

So if golf is your thing, check it out.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Missed a few!

Some other folks enjoying the Baja!

Fautrever-Lance and Erin
Our Life on Wheels-Jerry, Suzy and Rocinante
Nick's Blog-Nick and Miss Terry are recovering from the Gypsy Journal Rally
2 On the Road-Hikin' and Bikin' in SoAZ
That Which Is Good-Marie and Honey making art in Arizona

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ft Lowell Update

For a little more about Ft Lowell, go to my other blog, Straw Cottage.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Who's Hanging Out in the Baja (Baja Arizona, that is)?

Check out the fun these folks are having. If you know of RVer/Bloggers who are enjoying this fine southeastern Arizona winter, leave a comment and a link.

The Bayfield Bunch-Kelly and Al Ranch Sit
Artful RV Adventures-Mark and Bobbie are still Artin' Around
Camping and Travels-Adventures with Suzanne and Brad
Are We There Yet?-Currently in the NE (can you say Brrrr?) but will be back in SEAZ
Steve's RV Travelogue-He's having way too much fun with the pics to prove it!
Semi-True Tales of Our Life on the Road-Laurie and Odel are back!
Camping With Suzi-Suzi's getting a tune-up to be ready for the summer but she's still blogging (Suzi and Laurie both give high marks to the Bisbee Breakfast Club, so it must be great)
Two Scamps-deserted Baja Arizona for the red zone of Phoenix
Cid69-He's heading this way tomorrow
Sandcreek Travel-lotta photos of a lotta fun
live.work.dream-Jim and Rene, passing through

Who else is here-please check in!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Feb 9-15 Call in the Cavalry!

If you've ever driven up Craycroft Rd, north of Grant, you may have looked to the right and seen some old adobe buildings sitting in what otherwise looks like a city park. You may have also noticed the name of the park, Fort Lowell and wondered who would put a Fort in the middle of the city? Well, Fort Lowell was not always a part of the big, bustling city but rather was miles from the village known as Tucson. They moved the soldiers out there due to the unhealthy conditions in Tucson proper. This Saturday is Ft Lowell Day and you can find out a bit what it was like to be a soldier in the US Army in the 1870s complete with cavalry drills. Another highlight is the walking tours through the surrounding neighborhood with its many preserved and restored adobe residences. More info here.

Tucson Presidio Trust is again recreating early Tucson through various activities. Join the soldiers and learn to drill. Cannon fire throughout the day. Docent tours of the Presidio. Listen to a story teller spin yarns about the Spanish West.

Visiting Patagonia is always high on my list of day trips. It's a different landscape and a much different pace. Any excuse to get down there is a good one but this one is exceptional if you are a reader. It's the
Patagonia Writer's Round-Up hosted by the Friends of the Library. There will be writers of everything from children's books, to history, to mystery to poetry. Nancy Turner the author of one of my favortie Arizona books, These is My Words will be there along with 24 other authors including Philip Caputo, J.P.S. Brown, Susan Lowell, Elizabeth Gunn- so head on down and help support the library! And you might want to try one of the fabulous pizzas at Velvet Elvis. Also, see some great photos of Patagonia here.

A new event this year is the American Indian Music Fest at the Casa Grande Ruins near Florence, AZ. This concert is featuring some great musicians such as R. Carlos Nakai, Odell Borg and Gabriel Ayala. I'm sure all the musicians are worth seeing and in the setting of the ruins it should be an amazing show. Click here for the full info.

Forence is often only thought of in terms of the prison facilities located there but it has an interesting history and downtown. This history will be showcased on Satuday with the
24th Annual Tour of Historic Florence.

On the way to Florence you can also take a short break to stop and see the Tom Mix Memorial on Hwy 79. Mix, famous as a movie cowboy was killed here in 1940 while speeding along in his 1937 yellow Cord Phaeton convertible.

Speaking of movies, the Academy Awards are coming up and if you're like me, you've watched the show and when they get to the Live Action Shorts you have to ask: Where are these ever shown? Well, this year you can see them
ALL at the Loft, both live action and animated.

And, there's still the Gem Show.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Old Pima Co Courthouse
I had Jury Duty last week. It was great! A jury was seated by 11:30, I was dismissed and had an afternoon to spend, on my own, in downtown Tucson. The Tucson Museum of Art is about a block from where I parked (discounted due to jury duty) and I knew the Maynard Dixon exhibit was there until February 15, so off I went. It was a wonderful afternoon and if you love Arizona landscapes, go see this show. As I viewed landscape after landscape the Joni Mitchell song Both Sides Now kept popping into my head: It's clouds illusions I recall, I really don't know clouds, at all. That man could surely paint a cloud. If you miss this show, Medicine Man Gallery here in Tucson has a Maynard Dixon Museum.

Yesterday I went to the Tucson Electric Park Gem Show to assist in the economic recovery. All told, I spent about $15 and $5 of that was for food. Not bad for 6 hours of entertainment! My sister-in-law and I try to go together at least one day every year. She's a bellydancer (scroll down to Chaang) and also makes jewelry so she stocks up on supplies. I just go along for the show. My observations from yesterday: it was a good crowd, prices were great and people were spending. We used the Gem Ride shuttle to get to the Tucson Expo center show and it was hassle-free, the drivers were friendly and it gave us a chance to sit and rest our feet after 4 hours of walking and standing. We had such a good time we're going back on Friday!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Interesting, Very Interesting...

CM Russell

I like western art. It's so ...romantic and possibly all those depictions of big skies and far horizons is what enticed me to make the move west. I remember as a kid going to the Whitney Gallery at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and seeing all those Remingtons and Russells. Amazing art for a kid from a little tiny town in southern Ohio.

Just east of Tucson down the Sonoita Hwy sits the Empire Ranch. The Empire was owned by Walter Vail (where Vail, AZ gets its name) and was once part of a ranching operation comprising one million acres. Today the land still supports cattle and is under the management of the BLM. More history of the Ranch is here. The Empire Ranch Foundation helps to support the preservation of the ranch buildings and every year holds a Western Art Sale. You can view the works for sale weekdays from 8:30-4:00 through March 13th at Northern Trust. For more info see the Empire Ranch Foundation website.

CM Russell

Ted DeGrazia's Gallery in the Sun is celebrating the centennial of Ted's birth with a show entitled DeGrazia: 100 Years, 100 Works. If you only know DeGrazia by his works depicting the little children in brightly colored clothing, you owe it to yourself to visit the Gallery to see his other works.

Big doin's in Cochise County this weekend. It's the 17th Annual Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering featuring lots of cowboy poetry, music and fun times. If you've never been to one of these gatherings, give it a try, especially if you're from the Roy Rogers, Lone Ranger, Gene Autry generation or you know all the words to Ghost Riders in the Sky.
An old cowboy went riding out one dark and windy day
Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way
When all at once a mighty herd of red eyed cows he saw
A-plowing through the ragged sky and up the cloudy draw

The schedule is here and all shows will be at the Buena Performing Arts Center in Sierra Vista.

Tomorrow is the first day of the Tubac Festival of the Arts. This is a big event in a little village so I would suggest if you would like to go, do it tomorrow. This is a juried show so you will see things you may not see at other Art show and it;s always fun to be in Tubac. There is more info on the Tubac Chamber site.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Are You Ready for Some Football?????

Now dated, but that just cracks me up every time I see it!

If you're into football and parties, it shouldn't be difficult to find a venue for those today in Arizona. You do know the Arizona Cardinals are in the SuperBowl and it is today? Right? And can you believe, I heard Al Roker say he'd never seen a cardinal in Arizona? What a goofball!! Anyway, football is the big story in AZ today and any bar, restaurant, activity center or appliance store with a big screen TV will draw a crowd today. Take your pick.

For the football-impaired there's always the Gem Show. For the beaders I want to highlight a couple of upcoming shows. Beads of Courage is having 2 special events during the Gem Show, more details are here. From their website,
Beads of Courage is a resilience-based intervention designed to support and strengthen the protective resources in children coping with serious illness. Through the program children tell their story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate milestones they have achieved along their unique treatment path.
The Gallery 801 event will feature glass bead artist Margaret Zinser, glass bead making demonstrations, and a silent auction featuring original artwork by Steven Derks, Carolyn Anne Anderson, Rebecca Thompson, Ann Tracy, Beth Jonquil, and Karen Sobel-Dombroski. Sounds like an opportunity to pick up some unique beads for your unique creations and help a great cause. And now, Go, Cards!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

More Gem Show

If you're planning to visit the Gem Shows over the next couple of weeks here are a few suggestions.

1) Look at a map of the shows and scope out the sites you're interested in before going. Parking will be scarce and people get pretty particular about their parking lots during the show. You may want to begin at a place that has plenty of parking, such as Tucson Electric Park. and go from there on one of the shuttles. Driving in Tucson can be a pain in the best of times but during big events, it's even worse. Taking the shuttle allows someone else to get the headache and the benefit of hand gestures. It looks as though the shuttles have everything covered and believe me, it's so much easier.

2) Remember where you park your car!

3) Wear comfortable, layered clothing and shoes made for walking.

4) Take snacks and water to drink. Food and drink will be priced as they usually are at these types of events, ridiculously high! Use the shopping bag you're bringing to carry home your treasures to carry water bottles; as you buy things you can drink the water which will decrease the weight in the bag, or not, depending on how much you buy.

5) Be aware, watch your purse or wallet. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged.

6) If you own a business, bring your business license. More info on that here.

7) If you hate crowds and/or shopping, do your partner a favor and STAY HOME!

8) Read this article: 5 Reasons to Go to Tucson

9) Have fun!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Rob Banks fo a Living. What Do You Do?

Apparently John Dillinger's pickup line. While most people think of Tucson bad guys as gun-totin', Stetson wearin' desperados, one of the most famous is the 1930's gangster John Dillinger. Dillinger and his gang were captured in Tucson in 1934 after a fire at the Hotel Congress. This weekend the Hotel Congress and downtown Tucson will be celebrating the capture with a variety of events. In addition to a 1930s-themed gala, re-enactments and historical presentations, the Fox Theatre has scheduled two showings of "The Gay Desperado," a 1936 black-and-white movie filmed Tucson about a Mexican bandit who kidnaps an opera singer and an heiress. The showings will be at 2:45 and 5:45 pm.
Just to make it more interesting, Johnny Depp is starring as Dillinger in a film to be releaseed later this year. For more info on the events go here.

There's also a collector car show in Tubac on Saturday, the 15th annual show put on by the Car Nuts.

Not a lot shakin' this weekend so, go have an ale. You might want to check out Nimbus, (warning, mute your speakers) a local brewery that's been around since 1996, growing every year. You can now find it in local stores and bars but it's fun to raise a glass right there where it's brewed. Try the Dirty Guera (now, now, I mean the ale but maybe that's what brought Dillenger to Tucson). This weekend talented singer-songwriter Amber Norgaard will be performing.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hit the Dusty Trail

If you've been around Tucson much, and are in the least outdoorsy, you've probably found the Summit Hut. It's a Tucson institution for hiking, camping, climbing, biking equipment. The owner and founder of Summit Hut, Dave Baker, has started a helpful blog about Tucson outdoors and things that might improve your outdoor experience. Hey, he sells stuff so he should have a good idea of what works and what doesn't. Bookmark this blog: Trail Talk

No matter where we are, I'm always attracted to these outdoors outfitters type stores. I especially like the home grown kind because they usually have folks working there who actually know about what they're selling and it keeps local money, local. There's a Babbitt's in Flagstaff, San Juan Sports in Creede, CO, Headwaters Outdoor Equipment in Salida, CO and Manzanita Outdoors in Prescott. You can find cool stuff you didn't know you needed and you can usually pick up a copy of the Mountain Gazette which has interesting writing from those who, when in doubt, go higher. I could spend hours in those stores but then, shouldn't I really be outside, actually doing something. Anyway, I digress. Check out Dave's blog and then actually get outside and DO SOMETHING and then DO MORE!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Today was the official start of Wings Over Willcox. If you've never seen migrating birds in large numbers, check out the Sandhill Cranes on the Playa. There are tours, seminars, souvenirs and everything BIRD.

If you like quilts or fabric arts, don't miss the Quilt Fiesta at the TCC. The Tucson Quilters Gu
ild puts on this fabulous show every year and it just gets better and better. If you haven't heard, quilts have gone from just something to keep you warm at night to high art. The Fiesta runs Fri, Sat and Sun so don't dawdle.

This is also the weekend for the A
nnual Indian Arts and Crafts Festival at the TCC.

When I see an interesting home I'm try every way possible to peek in windows just to get a glimpse.
I'm not a voyeur and don't care to see the people, I just love to see the layout, the colors, the furniture, how it's all put together. If you're like me, get your self down to the Tubac Center of the Arts Home Tour. There will be 6 homes open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday.

And those of you searching for the Elegant Trogon, you're not alone. Check out this video.

Temps are supposed to hit the 70s all this week, don't tell your friends and family back east

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What is this Thing You Call the Gem Show?

This thing called The Gem Show is actually several shows. There are gems, fossils, rocks, minerals, beads, jewelry findings-if it has anything to do with gems and/or minerals, you can find it somewhere in Tucson during the weeks of The Gem Show.

This all started back in 1955 at a school where local rockhounds displayed their best finds. An immediate success due to the quality of specimens, the show has grown every year and is now held at the TCC Arena. Dealers from across the world bring their best to the show. A different mineral is showcased each year, this year being devoted to Mineral Oddities. The dates for this show are Feb 12-15. Most of the satellite show run from Jan 31-Feb 15.

Due to the success of the official Gem Show, small shows sprung up around the main show and for me that's the real fun. Driving around Tucson last weekend, I could see the tents going up and the signs of vendors coming to town. It's like a world flea market with the most interesting things at really great prices. Besides the gems, minerals and fossils, you can find rugs, furniture, clothing, jewelry, statuary, junk, junk and more junk. It's all here!

One of the most popular shows in recent years The Whole Bead Show at the Windmill Inn. This show boggles the mind at the variety of beads available. Here you will also find artists selling their wares as well as all the supplies needed to make your own art. This is a do not miss for the beading crowd.

And there are also beads available at the other shows so don't think this is the only venue with beads in town. Almost every show will have some beads; here's how to get a bead on beads during the show.

Anyone who's been to an event like this knows you must have a strategy or you will be easily overwhelmed. Let's face facts, this is major sensory overload. Study a map of the venues-here's one that may help. Some shows are only open to wholesale buyers and require credentials in order to enter. Registration for these shows can usually be done before or at the shows, but needs to be done separately with each show promoter. Bring your business license and some business cards.

Most of the gem and mineral shows around Tucson are free and hours vary. Google Tucson gem show or go to your favorite vendor's web site and you will get lots of info.

Parking can be a problem, so again know where you are going and where to park. In the downtown area there is a Gem Show Shuttle which is handy.

Take snacks, lots of water, maybe even pack a lunch but remember to pace yourself. Wear comfortable shoes and layer you clothing, it can be 35 degrees in the morning and 70 at 2pm; it could even rain. Bring a collapsible bag to carry your treasures home. Be careful with your money/purse, this is a perfect opportunity for opportunists.

Above all, have fun!

Volunteer Camp Host, Anyone??

Suzi at Camping With Suzi has a post about volunteer positions in the National Forests of Arizona. If you think you might like to spend more time in our lovely and diverse state and get a free site in exchange for some work, check it out.
Volunteer Campground Hosts Needed
That post will link you to their other site with great information on National Forest Campgrounds.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jan 5-Jan12 2009 Tucson Gem Show is Coming!

OK, it's the after-holiday lull... but there's still plenty to do. On January 10th you can find out what it might have been like to live in Tucson in the 1700s at Presidio San Augustin de Tucson. There will be cannons firing-how can you resist? This is a free event and gets you into downtown Tucson, take one of the walking tours while you're there.

Both units (Rincon-east and Tucson Mtn-west) of Saguaro National Park are taking advantage of the full moon this week and leading evening walks. The desert looks much different in the dark and you can see animals and insects that only come out at night. And a brisk evening is always a good excuse to stop for coffee and pie on the way home (on the east side check out TTT Truck Stop). It looks like reservations are required for the walks, so get more information at the web sites: Rincon Tucson Mtn

If indoor evening activities are more to your liking, there are a couple of movie events coming up.
The 18th Annual Tucson Jewish Film Festival begins Jan 10th. This has grown to be a huge event screening films from around the world. See the schedule here.
The Loft will present, Gentlemen Prefer Marilyn. As the add says, unbottle your inner blonde and speak to me Harry Winston!

Rincon Valley Farmer's Market happens every Saturday. Here you can find arts, crafts, dog food, produce, beef, coffee, plants. It makes for a fun morning with a drive through beautiful (but disappearing) desert.

Don't forget this is prime Sandhill crane and snow geese veiwing time. Get out to Whitewater Draw or check with Wings Over Willcox to find the best viewing areas. Also, check out the Sweetwater Wetlands, constructed from effluent from a wastewater treatment plant (gotta love the name). This is a place that you would never know was there but is worth the drive. Here's a flikr photo set by Lance and Erin (fulltime RVers), just to prove it. Also see their post about the Sweetwater Preserve and hiking there.

Wow, from Marilyn to effluent, to Jewish films to TTT Truck stop, now that's variety. I'm going to run a few posts on the upcoming Gem and Mineral Show from a Tucsonan perspective. In the meantime, have a great week.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Picacho Peak

We attended our first camping rally! We have a 1987 23' Airstream Sovereign and belong to the WBCCI, (Wally Byam yadda-yadda). The rally was organized by the 4 Corners Unit. The event was fun and we met great people, but the real star was the campground at Picacho Peak State Park.

We've lived in Tucson over 20 years and have visited the park on day trips several times. We even drove through the campground one time and thought we'd be back, we just didn't know it would take so long. The Park has been undergoing improvements and currently a new visitor center is being built. The camper restrooms are large and very clean. The showers are huge with plenty of room for all the shower necessities and to keep your clothes dry. There was also plenty of hot water. Sites are large with both back-in and pull-through sites. Electric sites are $20/night, no h/u, $12. There is a pull-through dump station with water.

The beautiful views are the best thing about the park but there are also hiking trails and plenty of opportunity to just sit in your chair and watch the changing light on the volcanic rock that is Picacho.

The most unfortunate thing about the Park: I-10 is just a couple of miles away so there is freeway noise but not so much that it marred our stay. The railroad also runs along I-10 so occasionally the you can hear the train horns but I kinda like that.

Picacho Peak was the site of the most significant Civil War battle to take place in Arizona. This is re-enacted annually in March. Picacho is also one of the best places to see our beautiful wildflowers in the spring.