Wednesday, August 27, 2014

We are having a real monsoon this year. We haven't had one in years. It thunderstorms, there is a lot of rain, it has been unusually cool.

Buddy still gets in his wading pool to cool off. He likes the patch of grass Doug planted in the backyard.


Last week because of the rain I only rode the bike once. This week, twice. On Monday as I went up Mountain Avenue I saw an antique chair poking out of the bulky trash pile. I got to work and told Val, who has an antique stall, and we went and picked it up.It turned out to be a rocking chair.

Rocking chair.

I don't know much about furniture styles. So I posted a picture on Facebook and several people identified it as Eastlake Style, circa 1870-1890. Factory made, mid-range price.

It is missing two pieces, one on the side that can be duplicated in reverse and one along the bottom front. There is also some dog chewing along the front side. But otherwise it is in pretty good shape. Doug is going to make the side missing piece for Val.

Then yesterday it rained real hard at work. I heard this strange noise outside and looked over the fence and discovered the nearby wash was overflowing into the neighbor's yard. There was about six inches by  the time I left work.


I left work at 4:20 and the Rillito was flowing pretty vigorously. Storm drains were discharging a lot of water into it. As I biked up to the Campbell Avenue underpass, water was flowing across the path. I decided to go up and over instead.


The streetcar was just starting running again. A lightning strike had set a palm tree on fire on campus, and the firetrucks had blocked the tracks. And then water washed a lot of gravel onto the tracks and they had to clean that off because they did not want the streetcar to derail.

The Fare Enforcement officer told me that 5,000 people rode the streetcar on Monday, the first day of University of Arizona classes. I hope the ridership continues to be high so we can extend the lines.

And tomorrow I am off to visit with Forrest and Travis. So excited to get away and escape Tucson. I never recline my airplane seat, in case you are wondering, and hate it when the person in front of me does.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

An Irish man selected the location of a new fort on 20 August 1775. Yesterday was the 239th anniversary of this event. I wore my new bowler. My attempts to tie my bow tie failed, but luckily I had a regular tie in my vest pocket.

A mariachi band was playing. I want a pair of mariachi pants.


The quince is almost ripe. 


A big crowd arrived for the birthday ceremony.

Flag ceremony.

I wandered into the 1860s-1870s house that contains the gift shop and museum and acted as tour guide for a handful of people. One young woman thanked me profusely, "This is so interesting!"

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I forgot to take photos last weekend but here is a delicious Indian food lunch.

I streetcarred-biked (bike=48 miles) to work four days this week. Also hiked Tumamoc Hill with Steve on Thursday morning (3.1 miles). I was so exhausted I fell asleep at 7 PM last night.

It has been rainy, on Thursday especially. But I have not gotten soaked yet.

Rillito full of water.

Also on Thursday I bought a new helmet and a smaller tire pump.

New helmet.

The monsoons finally seem to be here for real. The clouds get very dramatic in the afternoon. It rains in various places, although only once at my house in the last couple of weeks.

Catalina Mountains.

It takes me about 25 extra minutes to commute to work via the streetcar-bike. I don't really mind. I have run into people I know on the streetcar. Biking goes by fast, although the ride back up Mountain Avenue is uphill and my legs get tired.

4th Avenue Streetcar stop mosaic.

Last night the sky was very dramatic. 

To the northeast.

This morning (Saturday) I got up early and went hiking up Tumamoc with Steve. I struggled towards the top, breathing hard. I came back and developed a mean headache. It finally went away and I went over to the streetcar and down to 4th Avenue. Stopped at IBTS for a gin and tonic, then to a vintage store and bought a black bow tie (a real one, not a clip on), and then to the Bookstop, where I purchased some books with a gift certificate that I got at a charity auction. Stopped at the bakery at the Mercado and got a piece of Tres Leches Cake (caramel). YUMMM.

Now at home and what to do?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Some random things.

I rescued this little fish-hook cactus from being bull-dozed and it surprised me by blooming.

Fish hook cactus.

When I was probably 12 I got the Big Jim Camper for a Christmas present. I wonder what happened to it?


A pair of hawks hang outside my window at work. Today one chased a squirrel around until the squirrel decided to chase it around.


I rode the streetcar four times last week, biking about 42 or 43 miles to and from work. 

Commuting. Notice the red beard behind me.

I buzzed the hair off a couple of weeks ago and then decided to trim the beard. As more of it goes gray, it becomes a curly, unmanageable mess.


Went up and hung out with Craig and Jesse on Saturday, we had excellent Indian food and that night we went to Brian's 45th birthday party. Very expensive drinks with very little alcohol in them. That was a surprise.

17 days until I board the aluminum tube of death and go see Forrest and Travis in North Carolina. Can't wait to see them.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Let's play pool volleyball.

A nice cloudy day, a few beers, a buttermilk yellow cake with chocolate fudge frosting (that got eaten up really quickly).

Lots of jumping.

I use my long arms.

Patrick plays really well.

No swimming suits were hurt.

We had a good time. Thanks Richard and Roger!

Hello Mark!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I vowed to climb on Flash and take the streetcar and bike to work.

For a long time Flash has primarily served as a clothes rack. I thought up lots of reasons why I couldn't ride Flash, all of them pretty stupid. So I oiled the places that needed to oiled, pumped up the tires, put my helmet on, and took a spin around the block to make sure I could actually ride. It was just like getting on a bicycle, I remembered.

I need a new helmet.

Flash is a very cute bicycle.


All-day pass is $4.00. I need to find out the price of a monthly pass. It took 23 minutes to take the streetcar to Helen/Warren (the end of the line) and then 24 minutes to bike to work. In my trusty Ford Focus it takes about 20 to 25 minutes and sometimes longer.

Warren Avenue/Helen Street. 

On the way back it took 23 minutes to bike. Uphill, my legs were not happy. Then I had to wait for over 20 minutes for the streetcar to show up (they are supposed to be every 10 minutes). 



In the morning at 7:30 there were about 7 or 8 other riders. This afternoon at 4:30ish the streetcar gradually filled up until there were probably 30 to 40 people on at any one time.

Starting out, before it got crowded.

I'm going to see about riding a couple of times a week. Good exercise. Also save about 20 miles a day on my car. Wish me luck! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Let's make eggplant sloppy joes!

Put some olive oil in a fry pan. Slice up a large onion. I like the pieces to be fairly large so they don't slide out of the sandwich. Also slice up some red pepper, or in this case, small red, orange, and yellow pepper.

Slice up the large eggplant you bought at the farmer's market. Again, leave in fairly big strips. Cover with a lid to let the vegetables steam a while.

I use one can of fire-roasted dice tomatoes, one can of sauce, a sprinkle of sea salt, about 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce, and a teaspoon of fajita spice that I got for free at Penzey's.

Add these ingredients, stir, and cover again.

Remove lid and cook down so that most of the liquid has either evaporated or been absorbed into the eggplant.

Serve on a bun or in this case, nutty wheat bread. Add some spring mix lettuce and spinach to make everyone think you like salad more than you actually do.

You can also add a cheese slice to get some more protein. Either way, this is a tasty recipe.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

It is always an adventure to go to Phoenix. Jesse, Craig, and I went to an Ethiopian restaurant in Tempe and I enjoyed the food a lot.



 Later we went to a pool party and I had some beers and a shot of cinnamon-flavored whiskey.
I'm  a little tipsy.

Back at the residence, we watched a Spanish film, Los Dias Ultimas. Agoraphobia is dangerous.

At home tonight I am watching a Beatles film, Magical Mystery Tour. I guess I am missing the humor.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sun Link, Tucson's modern streetcar, began operations yesterday. I got on at about 6 PM and rode the entire route. Picture taking ensued:

The west end of the system is three blocks from my house, takes about 10 minutes to walk there with the street light.

The overall system cost about $197 million which included eight cars built in Portland, Oregon, stations, relocating utilities, and laying track. $73 million was from a federal grant and most of the rest was bond money.

The cars are wheelchair accessible and I saw how that worked. The conductor has to come out and operate a small ramp.

An individual day pass is $4.00, not sure what a monthly pass will cost.

Opening weekend was free. People were lined up to ride.

I got on and found a seat, but a large sticker obstructed my view so I stood most of the way.

Of course I ran into people I knew. Tucson is a big small town.

Marcus, Brandon, and Homer.

We had to switch trains at one point, on 4th Avenue. 

At times the cars became very, very crowded.

On the return trip I got off at 4th Avenue and had Brooklyn Pizza (green olives, onions, and artichoke hearts.

All along the route people were celebrating- mariachi bands were playing, people were selling things in booths. It was a very party-like atmosphere. People waved at us as we rode by. 

So the system runs from close to my house, through downtown, up 4th Avenue, to the University, to the University Hospital. I imagine a lot of students will be taking it in the fall. 

There are a lot of people who hate the idea of public transportation. The comments on the Arizona Daily Star website are mostly people whining and bitching about how expensive it is, why don't they just buy busses, etc., etc. The City of Tucson will have to start raising money for additional routes- east on Broadway, north on Campbell, south to the airport, for the modern street car to be successful. I hope they do so.

Tucson is a relatively small town. But getting on the street car, hearing the hum of the electric motor, seeing the joy of the other people- it was like being in a big city. I'm so glad the leaders in our community are looking forward.


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