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.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Out my office window.

I peer outside the window and see the animals running around.

Ground squirrel.

The squirrels hid when the hawk showed up.


They don't seem to mind the hellish heat we are experiencing right now.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I drove south to Hereford to visit with Ray and Robert.

I brought along prickly pear syrup, which they used for a colorful drink that rapidly attracted hornets.

Cheers! Ray and Robert.

I waded about in the pool.

Always nice to be in water.

We discussed life and all of its excitements.

Gin and tonics make me buzzed.

As the sun went down we went to the viewing area for the sunsety.

I am stocky.

The sunset became pretty. 


The company was nice.

White wine does not attract wasps.

The sky changed colors.


I drove home in the dark and slept well, the insomnia of the past few weeks appears to have slid away from my brain. I guess getting the hotel project on Friday has relieved some of the worries.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Steve asked me to walk with him to the top of Tumamoc Hill. I complied and only had to stop a couple of times to catch my breath. For whatever reason, I have good visual acuity and can pick things out. Helps with putting together broken pots or spotting artifacts in the screen. As we were walking along I spotted a rattlesnake hiding in a bush next to the road.

Click on the picture and see if you can spot the rattlesnake.

I was pretty sweaty by the time we finished.


When we got back I taught Steve how to make prickly pear syrup from start to finish. This batch turned out better than the last one.

In the afternoon I made cauliflower pickles from a recipe my mother sent me.

Blanch two heads of cauliflower, broken up into small pieces.

Four cups white vinegar, four cups water, four cups sugar, a diced onion, diced red and yellow peppers, mustard seed, red pepper flakes, turmeric, and celery seed.

Boil and let simmer for a few minutes to infuse the spices.

Made seven two-pint jars.

Completed pickles.

I also had a nap and it is only 2:58 PM.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Let's harvest some prickly pears.

My prickly pear cactus made lots of fruit this year. I decided to make some syrup.
Prickly pear.

I used my hotdog tongs to twist them off the pad, careful to avoid the thorns.
Close-up of fruit.

I filled my big pot.


A website recommended burning off the thorns, which seemed like a good idea. They lit up like a firecracker.

Impossible to hold the cactus fruit and take a non-blurry picture.

I blended the fruit one at a time. I mostly avoided making a bloody mess.


I strained the pulp once, removing the seeds and shredded skin. I then strained it a second time to make sure no thorns got through.

Starting straining.

I was left with about 12.5 cups of juice. I added four cups sugar and 9 teaspoons lemon juice and starting cooking it down.


My house was already so hot I decided to make thick juice instead of syrup. I ended up 11 pints worth.

Canned. The jars are popping now.

Here is the irony. I don't really like prickly pear. These jars will be gifts to other more appreciative folks. I'll probably save one or two for All Souls Procession cocktails.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

My weekend.

On Friday night I hung out with Steve at the new World of Beer. We ran into Kameron and Hal and stood and talked. Steve and I then went off Bisonwiches for supper. I've know Steve since 1986.

Steve and Homer.

The next morning, Craig and Jesse arrived from Phoenix. Buddy did not like the wheels on Craig's chair. He was naughty and barked loudly.

We got in the car and drove to Parker Lake. A long windy road, State Route 83, stops at the lake.

Craig driving.

Lots of pretty barn swallows nesting and raising babies.


We rented a pedal/paddle boat and went out onto Parker Lake. We rapidly discovered the hell of pedal/paddle boats. Our legs were not happy.

Jesse agreed about this.


On the drive back I admired the scenery. Nasty Canadians want to destroy a huge area of the east side of the Santa Rita Mountains with an enormous pit mine, leaching the crap out of the rock with cyanide, and then shipping the ore down the winding, 2-lane road to the train tracks to ship directly to China.

Pretty scenery.

Of course, I do not know if the mine will ever happen because many, many people are lining up to sue the fuck out of these people for lots of different reasons.

The sun made a pretty pattern on my camera.

Pink and green dots.

We went to BK's for supper.

Jesse and Craig waiting for supper.

This morning I got up and made pancakes, cheesy eggs, carmelized bananas, and veggie links. We then went up to Mount Lemmon to cool off. At the top it was 65 degrees (100 at the base).

The guys at 9000+ feet.

Picnic lunch of cheese sandwiches, Cheese Nips, and blueberries. A little beetle visited with us.


Craig likes blueberries.

They headed back to Tucson and I had a little nap. When I got up it started to storm violently.

Monsoon rain.

I was in the living room when I heard a weird nose. When I walked in the kitchen I saw water exploding through the wall. SIGH.

Water damage.

Even more water was coming down in the corner of the study.

After the rain stopped I climbed up on the roof with a broom and swept water off and found the leaking area. Tomorrow I will buy a big pail of the white roof coating to slop over the area that is leaking. YEAH!

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