Tucson Adventures #4
August 9, 2012

Tucson adventures this past month might be more appropriately titled “Monsoon Adventures.” We’ve had several good heavy storms, one of which hit Tucson Mall, hard, knocking down utility poles, closing a major intersection for several days, knocking out our power for a couple of hours, and breaking one of the big windows on the front of the house.

Rillito River WashRillito River - with water in it!

The Mall is directly behind the mobile home park, so we were in the thick of it, getting more than 3” of rain in a little over an hour. There were these roll-down blinds on the outside of my windows to block the heat – usually when there were signs of a storm, I’d go out and roll them up, so the wind wouldn’t whip them around. But this stormy Tucson adventure took me completely by surprise.

Agua Caliente SP, TucsonPainting of Agua Caliente

Suddenly the wind was howling, the blinds were blowing up onto the roof, then slamming back onto the windows. I went out in the rain and rolled them up, but was too late – there was a crack across the entire window near the top. The other big pane already had a crack near a bottom corner that had been taped; naturally this new crack was on the unbroken one. Apparently, the cost for repairs to the tin house was not over; I just had both panes replaced and the windows tinted to block almost half the heat. I also had the roll-up shades removed! There are vertical blinds on the inside, but before I take off next summer in the RV, I will get some dark drop-down shades for between the glass and the blinds.

This type of Tucson adventure can be dangerous. After every storm, the news is full of reports of people in cars having to be rescued after trying to drive through a flooded section. Many roads in Tucson roll up and down hills – every depression collects water amazingly fast, and there are always those who think they can muscle through the rushing water.

Courtyard at St. Phillips Episcopal ChurchCourtyard at St. Phillips Episcopal Church

My writing workshop ended, though it plans to start up again in September. However, there is talk of a writers’ group starting up here in the park.

I joined a watercolor workshop; am having fun there and struggling to develop some skill in that medium.

I haven’t gotten back to oil painting again yet, but that will happen soon. I did frame the two finished ones and have entered them in a landscape show coming up in September at The Drawing Studio; they were accepted!

My last chemo treatment was July 16, so my energy is coming back. I’ve been swimming laps in the pool for 30 minutes three times/week; have also braved the heat and humidity (yes, we have humidity this time of year) in the morning to start walking again, though have not developed a regular schedule for that yet. It’s wonderful though to feel like doing things again. On to more Tucson adventures!

One of my neighbors, Carol, is a reiki master and also has her doctorate in metaphysics, something I know very little about. We’ve been having some very interesting conversations and I’ve borrowed one of her books to learn more.

Tucson Adventures in Books

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen. Very good. A memoir, tracking the changes women and families have gone through in the last 50 years. She works out a lot!

The Road to Mount Lemmon - Mary Ellen Barnes. A history of the village of Summerhaven on Mt. Lemmon, seen through the memories of the daughter of one of the pioneers, Tony Zimmerman.

Fountain at Tucson Botanical Gardens

The Convoluted Universe, Book One - Dolores Cannon. Metaphysics – amazing stuff - it appears we are not alone.

A Strong West Wind by Gail Caldwell. Memories of coming of age in the '50s, 60s and 70s and finding refuge in books.

Pack of Two by Caroline Knapp. If you're a dog lover, don't miss this one. An instructive, enjoyable and engaging love letter to a dog.

Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp. An eloquently honest memoir of her twenty-year love affair with alcohol and her eventual triumph over the pain and deception that mark that sort of life. A journey of self-discovery.

Rose in a Storm by Jon Katz. Taking care of a farm and her master throughout an incredible blizzard - a story told from the dog's point of view. Rose is an incredible dog and Katz is a gifted story teller.
The Last Gift of Time: Life Beyond Sixty by Carolyn G. Heilbrun. A memoir of friendship, children, writing, reading, and the search for solitude.

Diary of a Dude Wrangler, by Struthers Burt, published in 1924. This was my 2nd reading of this book. Burt, with a partner, started the Bar B C Ranch, in Moose, WY, one of the first dude ranches in that area and just across the creek bottom from what was to become the Half Moon Ranch owned by my great-aunt. A wonderful look at the earliest days of dude ranching & life in the wild West.

Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony. A wonderful story of this man's experiences bonding with a herd of wild African elephants and what they taught him of life, loyalty and freedom.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. A work of narrative non-fiction based on three years of reporting on contemporary India. Beautifully written, a powerful indictment of economic inequality, it reads like a novel.

Wow! It seems I have been doing a lot of sitting still during the past month’s Tucson adventures.

Bijou's New BedBijou's New Bed

On a couple of my walks through the park, I’ve seen a pair of Gambel’s quail with 12 tiny chicks. Did they adopt another family? Twelve seems like a lot for a single hatch but, apparently, it is not uncommon. Those little guys move so fast, it’s like they are on roller skates – they’re so funny to watch. There is a family that lives somewhere around my tin house as well – I get a kick out of seeing them.

A mountain lion has been seen nearby a few times in the park – I’m hoping to get a glimpse – that would be a pretty exciting Tucson adventure.

I’ve been out with friends a couple of times, celebrating the end of chemo. I went with one of my art friends, Clare, to the Union Public House, a nearby sports bar. We sat through a wild thunderstorm on the patio and shared mussels and a salad – delicious. More recently, Carol and I went to a little vegetarian restaurant in town, The Tasteful Kitchen. Excellent food!

Stay tuned: rumor has it the monsoon madness will be winding down in the next several weeks. Once I stop hiding from the heat, I'll turn my attention to more energetic Tucson adventures.

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Moving Ahead in Tucson 
Susan, you continue to inspire me as you plunge into so many topics and experiences. I'll never read all these interesting books. Hallelujah! The …

Monsoon Adventures in Tucson 
Susan, you're lucky the rain and wind didn't do more damage. Here in Charlotte, the roof at giant, upscale Southpark Mall collapsed! What a mess, and …

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