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Tuesday, June 11, 2024: We are leaving Tucson for the summer months beginning tomorrow morning. So we took ourselves to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. This is a Molcajete with fish, Crab legs, Calamari, Octopus and Shrimp. It arrives in a very hot cast iron bowl so boiling when it arrives. The cast iron holds the heat so the meal is kept hot for a long time. Here is a short video of our meal.
 
 



Sunday, June 9, 2024: This could be a scam, if so, it got me! I followed YouTube instructions to make aluminum balls containing shredded bar soap, tooth paste and baking soda to add fragrance and cleanliness to the toilet bowl. Click these three photos for another view.
 
 

Friday, June 7, 2024: This morning, Gwen and I were treated to a town tour by our friend, Warren. Warren specifically wanted to show us Amy's Donuts which is located on the other side of Tucson. He is very impressed with the decor and selection. However, before Amy's he showed us Joe's Pancake House only two miles from home. We learned Joe's morning breakfast special is only $5 or $6, so very affordable compared to other Tucson restaurants. At Amy's, Warren picked up a donut with bacon bits while I got an Apple Fritter. Click the photos for more views.
 
 

Thursday, June 6, 2024: I organized a small group from Rincon Country East to visit the First Watch Cafe this early morning. I asked the manager, Umberto, to tell us what makes First Watch special. He welcomed us and did a good job introducing the restaurant. Everyone enjoyed their meal and the conversation. I think we made some new friends.
 
 



Wednesday, June 5, 2024: So what indoor project do you do during a "Heat Advisory"? I chose to assemble this Lego project. Fortunately the box age range was 14 and up so I fit the criteria. I've not done a Lego project before. This would have been easier with better instructions but with a powerful magnifying glass and a bright desk lamp I was able to barely make out the parts illustrated in the instruction. I thought I would begin a theme of coffee shops and cafes. I admire the guy who designed this kit. When I was 12 my favorite toy was an Erector Set. Perhaps I'll look for one. I think I like nuts/bolts better than tiny Lego pieces. Click on all three photos to see more views.
 
 
Sunday, June 2, 2024: Professional cycling season has begun again. This race is in France so it's as close to France as we will ever get. Mads Pedersen took this first round race along with a huge group in the peloton. They all got the same time. Click the photo to see Mads.
 
 

Thursday, May 30, 2024: I brought home a small wading pool for the backyard. I'm hoping the Javelina will get their water here rather than the birdbath. Then, stop tipping over the birdbath. During the night they tipped over the birdbath again but a lot of water was missing from the pool too. I don't see any evidence that the pool is leaking. This pool should make it easier for the rabbits to get water also. Why the bricks? If a small critter gets into the pool they won't be able to get back over the slick walls. The bricks give them a place to exit before drowning. It also makes it easy for me to see the water level and how much it has reduced overnight.
 
 


Wednesday, May 29, 2024: We have seen birds of all kinds at our birdbath. We have also seen rabbits standing on their hind legs to reach the birdbath. Tonight we spotted two Javelina (Piccary) drinking from our birdbath. When the larger of the two was finished it intentionally tipped it over. We are thinking of how to add a second water source.
 
 
 Monday, May 27, 2024: Memorial Day in the clubhouse. Both Gwen and I helped with the preparation. Gwen baked cookies and I grilled onions. We both had lots of help. We served potato salad made by Mary Anne, a bratwurst cooked by Donna, sour kraut warmed by Richard plus lots of clean up help. Click the photo to see our Memorial Day luncheon. Click here to see all our helpers.
 
Sunday, May 26, 2024: I have finally finished the Airport Music Box project. The wood pieces are cut from 3 ply plywood with a laser cutter. They are very accurate but because they are very small, extremely fragile. Many of the parts are duplicated to have extra pieces in the case breakage but I still needed to glue broken pieces. The whole unit, when finished, is still very fragile so not really intended for use, just display. Here is a short video of the music box working.
 
 


Tuesday, May 21, 2024: This project is almost complete. Only two more biplanes and the project is complete. This first biplane took an hour to assemble, I hope the others go faster.
 
 

Monday, May 20, 2024: I DID ride today in nearly 90 degree weather. Fortunately the clouds gave me some relief. After returning I resumed work on my current indoor project. This will eventually be a rotating airplane music box.
 
 

Sunday, May 19, 2024:  Our next door neighbors, Daryl and Mary treated us to a meal at a special restaurant downtown, The Monica. Neither of us have been there previously and it was a very pleasant experience. They did this because we never complained about the 4 months of construction on their house we endured. We have enjoyed having these as our neighbors. We look out for each other and hope we end up doing much together. Click on both photos for more views.
 
 

Saturday, May 18, 2024: Gwen and I enjoyed a Summer Buddies potluck then a trivia night. I believe we had about 25 people and the potluck and all stayed for trivia. It was good food and good visiting. There were 26 trivia questions mostly dealing with the month of "May" or at least with "may" in the answer. Gwen and I got 14 right out of 26 which qualified us for one of the dollar store prizes at the left. Gwen chose a decorated mug.
 
 

Monday, May 13, 2024: Today is the day I chose to lead a tour of two bakeries in Tucson. The first is Houlden's Rise Above, a unique vegan bakery we we had an introduction and education from Michael, the owner of the bakery. I don't believe any in our tour knew of this bakery and I also believe they were blown away from all the information Michael provided. Everyone placed an order after the introduction. Here is their menu for today.

Our second bakery was Beyond Bread where we ordered breakfast. Some in our group had been here before but I'm not sure they enjoyed it as much as we did today. Click both photos for more views.

 
 
 
Sunday, May 12, 2024: Today is Mother's Day and the men were in charge of creating a celebration and meal for the mothers in the park. I assisted today. You can see there are very few Summer Buddies who have stayed through May and possibly fewer staying through the summer months. So far the temperatures have been very pleasant. Even the mid-90s do not feel like they do in Oregon because of the lower humidity. Our menu today was shrimp, pretzel finger sandwiches, regular finger sandwiches, fruit cup, vegetable tray, cheese-cracker tray and desert. There was no cooking involved with any of the items. Everything was enjoyed by all and many took items home for later in the day.
 
Saturday, May 11, 2024: I found these blooms directly behind our house.
 
 

Wednesday, May 8, 2024: My morning began with attending the "Summer Buddies" meeting to promote the bakery tour happening on Monday. We have 17 signed up which will make a nice tour group.

When I got back I decided to fill the birdbath. I noticed movement in an Aloe Vera plant about 20 feet away. I first thought it was a lizard since we have been seeing many of those. On closer inspection, it was obviously another Diamondback Rattlesnake. It was on the other side of our perimeter fence but far too close and we walk in that location often.  I took my snake grabber and bucket and quickly had this one in the bucket. It was smaller than the last one by a couple feet.

We have at least a dozen Quail chicks running around in the same area which may have attracted our Rattler.

This time, instead of walking the snake into the nearby desert we drove it ten miles away into a nice desert area I hope it enjoys. Here is a short video of the release and of the chicks it was chasing.
 
 
Sunday, May 5, 2024: I once lived in the Tahoe Basin for a total of 13 years. It was a wonderful place to live and I never found a day I didn't like. It was unusual to have a major snow storm in May but it happens. While we sit in Tucson where it is nearly 90 degrees today, Interstate 80 over Donner Summit is closed due to a spring snow storm. Although the storm causes terrible traffic problems it will help to keep the California reservoirs full this summer.
 
 



Saturday, May 4, 2024: We are both feeling well enough to drive into the Saguaro National Park East specifically looking for blooming Saguaro. There really aren't many but lots have buds so probably a better show in a week or two. Click on the photos for more views.
 
 

Friday, May 3, 2024: Still recovering from bronchitis but feeling good enough to add lettering to our trike. The trike is used to haul garbage to the dumpster bins about a quarter mile away. I always take Abby with me, hence the "Abby-Mobile". The trike has worked out really well for garbage, mail runs, and project runs to ceramics or the woodshop.
 
 
Monday, April 29, 2024:  I have volunteered to lead a group of Summer Buddies to some bakeries in Tucson. I have already sampled this bakery so I also went looking for a French bakery. Houlden's is open only on a Monday during a weekday. I soon learned that the others are closed on Monday. It is important to me, because of their reputation, to visit Houlden's. I talked with Michael, one of the owners, and arranged a private meeting time for our group where he will explain what makes his bakery different and so popular. After talking with the Summer Buddies President we decided to limit the group to 20. Hopefully that will get people signing up early. Our trip will be Monday, May 13.
 
 


Sunday, April 28, 2024: Today was our first block party right next door in front of our neighbor's house. There was lots of good food and lots of help to set up and take down what was needed. We were lucky to have little wind unlike the last two days. We were also lucky to have temperatures in the high 70s/low 80s. Some of these neighbors we hardly ever see because they don't join in many activities where we participate. But the block party had lots of good food which brought everyone out.
 
 

Saturday, April 27, 2024: Since we are season pass holders our tickets to the University of Arizona Wildcats Spring Football game were only $5 per seat. This is a game where offense (in blue) plays against defense. For the first half it was flag football. But the second half saw some real tackling. Here is a short video of the action.
 
 


Wednesday, April 24, 2024:  I attended the "Summer Buddies" morning meeting where I volunteered to organize a tour of a selection of the many bakeries in this town. Once I got home I decided to take a quick look at a couple which I have never visited. I chose the Locale first, the photo on the left. It is more of an Italian Restaurant than a bakery so it won't be on my tour list. My neighbor, Daryl recommended the Ghina French Bakery, on the right. It is at least 30 minutes away but has a good selection of bread, cookies, pies and pastry. For that reason it may be on my tour list but I found it to be very expensive. Fortunately there is a Webpage which has already done the work for me. I'm looking forward to visiting all then selecting four or five for the tour.
 
 



Sunday, April 21, 2024: Last year we learned of the largest Farmer's Market in Tucson at the Rillito Park. It's only 12 miles by bicycle but 17 miles by car. This was our first visit to the fair this year. It was very busy and I hope the shoppers were buying lots of stuff. We bought nothing except a pound of coffee for me. The photos above show a variety of vendors. Plus I made a short video of an entertainer. Click the photos for more views.
 
 

Friday, April 19, 2024: With the arrival of hot weather I am finally having time to work on the projects I've been saving for indoor, air conditioned work. This little robot toy seemed like a good start since they claim an eight year old can do it. Click on the left photo to see the sheets of plastic pieces which must be separated and bagged. It took me about 3 hours. I can't believe an 8 year old could do this. Following instructions, I carefully assembled the main body at the right. All robots are built around this little cube. Time for a nap!
 
 
Wednesday, April 17, 2024: Today was the first Wednesday morning meeting after the Activity office closed. The season is over. Now it is the "Summer Buddies" in charge of the activities and Wednesday morning meeting. Volunteers bring in the treats. During the season the treats are always donuts provided by a Tucson business. That business then gets a display table during the meeting to describe their product or service. It has been an RV Dealer several times, Medical services several times, Dental services and our resort several times. I went this morning wondering what they would have to say since I knew of no activities coming up. I was actually surprised with several of the planned activities and actually signed up for one and volunteered to help with a second. There is always a 50/50 raffle at the Wednesday meeting usually benefiting one of the resort clubs. In today's raffle, I won twice ($10) after buying $5 worth of tickets. Click the photo to see my choice of the treats.
 
 

Tuesday, April 16, 2024:  Normally our Palo Verde tree is just green branches with tiny leaves occasionally. I've never seen one in bloom but here it is. Right behind our unit.
 
 
Saturday, April 13, 2024: About a month ago I got a Facebook message advertising the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (TSO). I've seen the advertising before but this one really caught my eye because they were to play the Gustav Holst Suite, The Planets. I have been a fan of The Planets since my college days. I learned the tickets were advertised at only $14, $28 for two. Actually, after adding taxes, ticket fees and parking, the event cost $50. I have listened to the Suite probably a hundred times at no cost so I had to decide if I wanted to pay the $50 to hear it again. I decided the venue (Linda Ronstadt Music Hall) and the ability to SEE the music as well as HEAR it would be worth the $50. I remember going to a concert when I lived at Lake Tahoe, California where the orchestra played Beethoven's Sixth Symphony. I listened to the music multiple times before the concert so I could recognize the themes as I listened to and watched the music. I did the same with this concert. I listened to The Planets multiple times, watched YouTube videos of other orchestras and read what Wikipedia had to say about the Suite. Finally, I took binoculars so I could see which instruments were developing the themes which I knew so well. 
 
 

Monday, April 8, 2024: The big news today was the viewing of the solar eclipse from our park observatory. We used the Stellina telescope with solar filters for the observation. Click the left photo to see the group which had gathered just outside the observatory to watch the eclipse. The Stellina object are viewed on the phone of each individual logged into the Stellina. That makes it easy to take photos and view the image for yourself. Tucson was not in the path for full eclipse, we got about 70% coverage. Click the right photo to see what we saw at the maximum coverage which occurred at 11:19 am.
 
 



Sunday, April 7, 2024:  I spent nearly the entire day, planning then arranging our family room/bedroom.  It is the largest room in our park model so much be a multi-purpose room. After that project I decided to take Abby on a hike into the Pantano Wash right out our back door. A strong hiker to go for miles. Abby and I went for 1.5 miles which was plenty for both of us. Click these three photos for more view. Behind the center photo is a view across the wash. Look for the furthest Palm Tree to the left of the photo, that's our Palm Tree.
 
 



Saturday, April 6, 2024: Our photo club chose to visit Patagonia, a tiny village south of Tucson nearly to the Mexican border. It is at 4055 foot elevation and claims to be cooler that Tucson during the summer months. The photo club wanted to visit the Hummingbird sanctuary owned by the Tucson Audubon Society. This turned out to be a popular location especially since it is a weekend day. We were able to see many Humming birds but they were so busy very difficult to get any good photos of them. We did walk a scenic trail with Abby to a view point. Our leader, Warren, showed us a unique cafe with some lovely bakery items and we caught the owner of the "Four Little Birds" delivering Sourdough bread so we bought a loaf. There were several gift shops along Main Street which we had to visit but purchased nothing. The hour drive to Patagonia was very scenic, especially this time of year. Click all three photos for more views.
 
 
Monday, April 1, 2024: This is April Fools day so nature has played a trick on us in Tucson. She brought rain all day. Fortunately I had prepared for such a day with a couple of covered projects. The first is LED lighting on the deck. I chose blue lights tonight but there are an infinite number of colors I could choose from. The lights can be controlled by Blue Tooth and I have programmed an internal timer to turn them on at 7 pm then off at 11 pm. I might choose green tomorrow. They can also be programmed to multi-color patterns. The second project is a Galaxy Projector which projects stars and a galaxy pattern onto the ceiling. Here is a short video of what that looks like.
 
 

Friday, March 29, 2024: We finally get a view of Mt Lemmon after several days of weather. It seems strange that Mt Lemmon would get more snow this time of year but there it is. We are expecting more rain on Sunday and Monday so maybe even more snow for the mountains.
 
 
Thursday, March 28, 2024: Abby is sharing her fur with our bird friends for their nests. I just refilled the basket. Notice how the fur is sticking our of the basket? I didn't do that.
 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024: We often get an unusual bird at the Hummingbird feeder. This is a male Gila Woodpecker who visits the feeder quite often. I'm not sure it comes for the sweet liquid or just an easy source of water. Look of the length of that tongue. This is a beautiful bird and we are glad to have him around. Click this photo for another view.
 
 
Monday, March 25, 2024: We get bird visitors everyday. Mostly Quail but occasionally the Gila Woodpecker and in this case the female Cardinal. The male Cardinal is not far behind.

We had some very special visitors today. My friend Erik and his Son, Andrew from Roseburg, Oregon visited for a short time while on their drive from Roseburg to Albuquerque, New Mexico. They took an hour out of their whirlwind trip to stop and see how we are living now. Andrew is graduating from high school this year with a 4.0 GPA plus the first place trombone player in all of Oregon. He has been accepted into four universities, Reno, Nevada; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Arizona State University and University of New Mexico. He and his dad are touring each of the four universities in five days before flying home from Albuquerque. Of course, I suggested the University of Arizona, Wildcats but it is too late this year to apply. Andrew is interested in nuclear science which may not be offered here. I feel very special that they took the time to stop.

 
 

Saturday, March 23, 2024:Our one concert per month took us to see "Short Notice", Hits from the Brits.  They played 26 tunes (they announced the number at the beginning of the concert) and gave a bit of history with each tune. The history made the music more interesting. The park supported the group well. We heard tunes from The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Elton John, Queen, Fleetwood Mac and more.
 
 

Friday, March 22, 2024: I drove to the west side of Tucson this afternoon to watch my friend, Wes, attempt to qualify for the level 1 Certification in model rockets. Wes spent this last week building his rocket and getting it ready for the launch. His rocket shot 1300 feet then deployed the parachute for a soft landing. Unfortunately it landed in a tree. It came against a large branch which knocked a hole into the body. The rocket must land unharmed for certification. Here is a short video of Wes' launch. After a repair, Wes will try again.
 
 
Thursday, March 21, 2024: Our last view from our own observatory here at Rincon Country East was of the Andromeda Galaxy. It is our closest galaxy to the Milky Way. It is 2.5 million light years distant. It is a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way growing closer to us. It will collide with the Milky Way in a couple billion years. This photo came directly from my phone as observed from our telescope.
 

 Wednesday, March 20, 2024: Welcome to the first day of spring at Rincon Country East Resort in Tucson, Arizona. We have been here nearly six months and aren't tired of it yet. These last few days have been filled with fair-weather cumulus clouds which has provided tonight's sunset. In another two weeks most of the RVs you see will be headed to their home states and the park will be much less crowded. Although we haven't been bothered by the number of visitors since we are on the only cul-de-sac in the resort. Click on this photo to view a visitor we invite to our back yard every day.   

 

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