DISCOVER TUCSON #2
 May 3, 2012


I continue to discover Tucson though, believe it or not, much of my time has been taken up lately with packing and moving. I made an offer on a 40-year old double-wide at the end of February and last week was the big move! It is in a very nice park in north Tucson and has a big pool, heated year round (actually cooled in the summer as they manage to keep it at a steady 88 degrees), and a spa. I have been enjoying both. The park also has access to the walkway along the Rillito River Wash, which seems to be my favorite place for walking.

Mobile Home in Tucson

#207 Comanche Pass

Bijou has developed what I sincerely hope is a temporary anxiety disorder, due to the move to a space that is almost triple the size of the apartment. I had her in her carrier for a few hours, though it took just 1.5 hours for Two Men and a Truck to get me out of the apartment and into my new tin house. Once I let her out she slunk down the hallway and hid under my bed for 6-8 hours, finally coming out and stealthily, belly down almost to the floor, she investigated various rooms and pieces of unfamiliar furnishings; while I concentrate on my discover Tucson activities, she's just trying to discover what's happened in her life. She doesn’t like me to be out of sight and meows plaintively if I am. She is quiet and most happy if I’m sitting in the big chair and she can be on my lap or tucked beside me, with a paw on my leg. Oddly enough, she no longer sleeps curled up next to me at night – she seems to be trying out different chairs – so many choices!

Spring Arrives as I Discover Tucson

Fountain at Tucson Botanical Gardens

Now I am in the throes of redoing some things, fixing several other things (the list is long), trying to organize my belongings in this wonderful space and get settled, so I can get back to that feeling of peace which came over me suddenly at some point in the past couple of months.

My son Jeff visited for a day and night on March 9 - he got here late morning and we did a mini discover Tucson tour; we went to the Tucson Botanical Gardens where we enjoyed the butterfly exhibit, then to see the DW, then he dragged me around to different stores and ended up buying me a huge juicer. It rested in the trunk of my car until the move as there was no room for it in the apartment. Thankfully, there's ample room in the DW (aka my “tin house”). I’ve unpacked it, but haven’t tried juicing yet – I’m somewhat in awe of this thing.

That evening he took me out to dinner at Wildflower, in Casas Adobes Plaza - delicious. It was so wonderful to see him!

Old Saguaro in Saguaro National Park


Lizards abound! These little guys scurry all over the place as I walk the Rillito Wash and discover Tucson's desert trails. There are whip tail lizards, lots of zebra-tailed lizards which curl their black & white striped tail over their back like a scorpion as they dash across the path, and a biggish lizard with dark patches on his sides that I haven't been able to identify. They are way too fast for me to get a photo.

I celebrated my 70th birthday on March 18, and enjoyed my gift of a rainy day in Tucson. Rain is always a cause for celebration in this dry state, so I greeted it with the proper amount of gratefulness and enthusiasm.

At the end of March I met AAA at the RV and got a new engine battery - this one has a 6-yr warranty and is better built for a hot climate. He told me I was lucky to get almost 5 years from the last one (which I had gotten in TN on my very first RV trip) - the ones for colder climates usually last just 2-3 years here. This past week, Gail drove me down to the storage place and I drove Mehitabel for the first time in five months, bringing her up to the storage area here in the park.

Bundle Spine Cactus, AZ cactus

Bundle-Spine Cactus at Tucson Botanical Gardens

On April 13, the discover Tucson mission took me to the big Home Show at the Tucson Convention Center. I met Gail when the show opened that morning – we had a great time and ate a lot of candy! This was the perfect place for me to spend some time as there are all these little things that need/want fixing at the tin house. I talked to people, collected business cards, made appointments; looked at low-flush (low-water?) toilets and asked them to call in a couple of weeks. I certainly won't be lacking for visitors!

I opened an account at a nearby credit union - little by little I’m becoming more official. Next I must deal with inspections and re-registering car and RV, a discover Tucson experience I'm not looking forward to.

Desert Willow in BloomDesert Willow

THE BOOK LIST:

The End of Illness, by David B. Agus, MD, "one of the world's leading cancer doctors, researchers and technology innovators." He has teamed with an engineer to study proteins, where he believes a lot of the secrets about our body's systems may lie. He says the field of engineering has evolved to the point where it can control complex systems without necessarily understanding them and he feels medicine has spent much too long focused on attempting to understand, not on controlling.

The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. I find dealing with cancer does tend to focus your mind on NOW - what can I do now, in this moment? When you first get the news about an illness, or when you suffer a loss of any kind, your mind runs crazy with questions. Why me? What did I do wrong? How did this happen? What will my life be like? But, after a while, it settles down and you have to take it just one step at a time, deal with it day by day. There's not much you can do about the future, which is where I am apt to go; the past is over and done with – I don’t tend to hang out there much unless I think I can learn something from it.

Blue Nghts, by Joan Didion. This is the first time I’ve read anything of hers, though I’ve had her on my list for ages. She is a powerful writer; this memoir is a very frank tale of losing her daughter; the questions she asks; and the fears and anxiety she has about her own advancing age. I’ll be looking for her other books.

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. An incredible account of two teenagers who meet in a cancer support group for young people – at times funny, at times heartbreaking. I’ll be looking for more books by John Green as well.

Mission San Xavier del Bac

On March 5, I started chemotherapy; as of May 1st I am half-way through my course of 18 weekly treatments. It’s not the most enjoyable way to discover Tucson, but the folks at Arizona Cancer Center are extremely nice. So far the side effects have been minimal – some nausea which I don’t like, but seem to be able to control it pretty much by drinking lots of water, tea, juice, tonic water, etc. Also, I’m definitely more tired, though the move is responsible for much of that. If I get through the second half of chemo as well as the first, I’ll have no complaints.

Flowers are in bloom everywhere. The nearby Tucson Mall has rows of palo verde trees covered with yellow blossoms which drift everywhere in the breeze, turning the pavement to gold; the blossoms on the Desert Willow look like miniature orchids; saguaros and other cacti are starting to bloom. This is a lovely time of year to discover Tucson – though you need to be prepared for the heat. Temps are regularly around 90 and we had a couple of days that broke 100 – a month earlier than normal. This is generally the time of year I flee north in the RV for higher elevations – I’ll have to tough it out and stay here this summer.

Saguaro National Park

I'm currently struggling with a painting of this scene at Saguaro NP

My painting classes are over for the time being – I’ve finished two oils and am being challenged by several others. I really enjoyed the watercolor workshop, so look forward to doing some watercolors as my discover Tucson experience continues.

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Taking a break from RV adventures 
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