Category Archives: Activities

HOT Rally–A Cold Affair

small_imageBack in October I sent in the required information for participating in the Heart of Texas Recumbent Tricycle Rally in Austin, TX at the end of February 2015, an event sponsored by Austin’s Easy Street Recumbents. I had great anticipation of a wonderful time riding my recumbent trike and meeting other trike riders.

I’ve had the good fortune to find a great friend and travel companion who also has a recumbent trike. He and I headed to Austin earlier this week, and after two full days of driving we arrived in the Austin area with 35 degree weather that has lasted until today. No sun, drizzle, wind and icy streets – Blech!!! And therefore no riding to speak of.

021On Friday, after registering we ventured to the Veloway Park in Austin to ride the 3.13 circuit in these weather conditions. Once around the path was all that I was interested in doing, mostly because I’d come so far to ride, I just HAD to. In Tucson I ride in a group that rides together on Saturdays, led by a fellow who won’t lead a ride unless the temperature is greater than, or equal to 59 degrees. I like his style!

The rally continued on Saturday with some class time, learning about tricycle maintenance and repairs, followed by picture-taking of the group and individuals, some lunch, and a raffle (I bought $20 worth of tickets, but was unrewarded for that, except for the charity my contribution went to.) My friend won heel straps for his feet to keep them on the trike pedals. Some folks had their photos taken in this side-by-side recumbent, “Red Bull”, complete with steer-head hats. Clever and funny – we didn’t do that!

002CroppedRides that had been planned for today were re-scheduled for yesterday; however, the weather was not conducive to a safe ride, so they were cancelled. Not wishing to socialize the rest of the day, we left. Today, the trike rodeo that was planned for yesterday will take place, in hopefully better weather. We will not be participating, and will leave the area to visit some folks east of Austin for a few days before heading back to Tucson.

So much for lemons…

Now comes the lemonade part.

My friend likes to visit unusual places and some of them are found from the TV show, “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives”. One such place is the Counter Café near downtown Austin, a very small breakfast and lunch restaurant with a counter and a wall for several small tables for two. It was packed. I had a grilled pimiento cheese sandwich and my friend had scrambled eggs with crab cakes. Yum on both accounts! We spoke with the restaurant owner, Nick, who was born and raised in Tucson and who attended the University of Arizona. He was at hand when Guy Fierri, the show’s host, did a taste test of the café’s kitchen. We hope to return in a few months. (http://countercafe.com/)

As we were leaving the restaurant’s very tight parking area we discovered a retaining wall for one of the nearby residences. It was a very eclectic and humorous offering, as you can see in these photos. A nice surprise!

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counter_logoflatblack-01We also have been parked in a camping spot at McKinney Falls State Park, about 12 miles from the rally site. It’s a beautiful state park, with large trees and well-managed sites. Today we walked to the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls. I took several photos, and found a surprise in one of them! See below.

Tomorrow we head farther east to visit some of my friend’s family and maybe find some warmer weather. We’ll be back in Tucson by week’s end.

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Looking more closely into the hole…028cropped

A Gem of a Week

I’ve been busy since my last post with a ‘secret’ activity (that I’ll reveal soon) – so I haven’t had much else to write about.  But last Wednesday my sister arrived in town to visit me and experience her first Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.

After some rest on the day after her arrival, we went to the west side of town to see the offerings of the vendors open to the general public.  My sister was looking for items she could form into the silver necklaces, bracelets and earrings she creates.  She works with silver wire and chain, creating her own silver findings and stringing semi-precious stone beads into jewelry.  I work with seed beads, creating beaded bezels and bales for cabochons, beading earrings,  and stringing beads into necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.  I’m always on the lookout for unusual items, including clasps.

On Friday and Saturday we walked, and looked, and bought, and complained of sore feet and hips, while on the hunt for our ‘pretties’.   In the past I’ve gone to the shows with my friend – she always had done the driving.  This time, my sister rented a car and agreed to drive as long as the route wasn’t too complicated.  So in a way this was my first time to the show ‘on my own’, too.  We managed to get to the show locations at good times, and find a parking space without much trouble.

On the days we weren’t shopping (Thursday, Sunday, and Tuesday) we hung out in the sunshine and drank wine in the afternoon, and had great Greek food, Sonoran hotdogs and wicked margaritas, iced coffee, and strong morning coffee with sweetener and milk. We took a road trip to Tubac, Tumacacori and Patagonia.  Every day was filled with beautiful weather and great company.  We had the opportunity to share insights from our lives and compare notes about our experiences.

I can’t wait for when she comes back for her next visit!  And in the interim perhaps I’ll find a way to visit her side of the world again in Maryland.

2,500 Paper Bags

That’s the number of paper bags filled with sand and votive candles for the Christmas Eve 2011 Luminarias celebration at Tumacacori National Historical Park.  The bags were hand-folded by a 92 year-old volunteer over the summer.  Two piles of sand, about 20-30 staff and volunteers, two hours of filling, carting and placing the traditional nighttime lights.

Two thousand, six hundred visitors between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Loading a wagon for delivery

Lifting candle wicks and inserting into sand in bag

Placing luminarias on roof

Delivery for mission sanctuary

In the Garden

On the Garden Wall

All done!!!

Front of Mission

About 20 voices singing carols while visitors wait for the doors to open.

Hundreds of dozens of homemade cookies made by staff, volunteers, and friends of the community, and 50 gallons of Mexican hot chocolate

A beautiful sight. (Click on this photo to see larger)

A beautiful night.

Note:  The photographer (Moi) also filled bags, placed candles, sang in the choir, and served cookies…and had a great time!)

The Desert Crones of Tucson

Four and a half years ago I was living in Tucson in an RV park with my partner.  Unexpectedly he passed away, and I began making adjustments.  One of those adjustments was to wait for a year before deciding what to do about where to live.  The day before my partner died I’d planned to go to a meeting of a group I’d read about in the newspaper.  Afterward, once I’d dealt with the immediate issues, I went to a meeting of  the Desert Crones of Tucson, a group of women over 50 who meet once a week for friendship and personal growth.  I needed them.

I made some very close friendships through my attendance at these meetings.  I grew a lot, and the support of these women helped me heal from my loss.  After that first year I decided to start traveling solo, and wasn’t able to get to the meetings; however, I supported the group and attended their annual holiday luncheon in December.  Those first years on the road by myself I stayed in Deming, NM for the winter because the headquarters for the solo RV club I belong to is located there, and I could afford it.  It’s only a few hours from Tucson, so I’d drive over and stay with my friend so I could go to the luncheon.

The group supports itself with minimal annual dues, personal gifts, and the raffle that takes place at the luncheon.  Each woman brings gently used items they no longer want, or items they’ve made or purchased for the occasion, and tickets are sold.  It is great fun to see who gets what, and the trades that are made at the end of the event.  And it’s an easy way to support the group.

In addition to having guest speakers, a monthly writing day and a monthly drumming circle, these ladies support groups within the community.  Each week they bring their change to support a charity they’ve voted on.  This year they decided that their contribution would be given to the Pima Council on Aging.  This past Monday they presented a check for $500 to the representative of the Council at this year’s luncheon.  In the past they have also given large sums of money to the Community Food Bank.

I want to publicly acknowledge this group of older women, the ‘elders’ of the community, for their good work.  If you know of a woman who is 50 or over, and who lives in the area, and who is looking for a place to make friends, send them to the Desert Crones of Tucson.  They are a great group of women!

I was planning to provide a link to the Desert Crones web site; however, it is currently under construction to include updated information.  You can find a brief article about the group at http://womensplaza.arizona.edu/honor/view.php?id=132.   If you would like to receive an email about the weekly meetings, please let me know and I will pass your request to the newsletter editor.

Summer Solstice – June 22, 2010

I feel a special connection to the Summer Solstice because it’s almost always the day before my birthday.  On this particular solstice day I set my alarm for 3:00 a.m. and headed out on the highway at 3:50 a.m. for my sunrise appointment at Chimney Rock.  As I arrived at the gathering spot at ‘first light’ I saw a couple of meteors in the sky.  The place has a very special energy.

Chimney Rock is a protected pre-Puebloan site under the supervision of the U.S. Forest Service, located between Pagosa Springs and Bayfield, CO.  In addition to viewing the sunrise, the group of 31 individuals attending also were given a tour of the site, including archaeological remains of housing and a ceremonial kiva.  The tour also included a presentation of how these ancient people might have determined the points of the cardinal directions and the placements of the sun at any given time.

I give my attention to the changing of the seasons and the monthly moon cycle, especially the new moon, as I was born on a new moon.  I plan to attend at least one of the full moon walks at Chimney Rock this summer.  Later in July there is going to be a Native American celebration at the kiva with ceremony and dancing.  And I plan to be there, too!

1,000 Words

These photos tell the story of  “bath time for Midnight”, the 20-year old gelding living where I’m staying.  A couple of days ago Midnight’s owners put Midnight with their recently acquired three-year old gelding Cochise to get them used to pasturing together.  Both horses freaked out, with Midnight chasing Cochise to the point of jumping the enclosure and injuring his leg.

Both horses were upset, and Cochise especially appeared traumatized.  Of course, Midnight is the ‘senior’ horse, so did not like the idea of sharing with this newcomer.  To help ease these horses’ temperaments, the next day Midnight was given special attention.  Just like in the human family, the ladies gave this male special attention – a bath, with shampoo and conditioner, and brushing and combing.  And a treat of cut-up apples.


Yesterday Cochise and Midnight managed to stay within the bounds of their pasture together – at opposite ends, but at least no aggressive behaviors and chasing.

That’s Dakota, an eight-month old female pup getting into the act…like I said all the females!!!  And while I was the photographer, I took my turn brushing Midnight and feeding him the apples.  I’ve loved horses, but have never been around them much.  This is a wonderful experience for me!

Anna Marie “Patty” Duke Pearce

The San Luis Valley Mental Health Center sponsored an evening last Saturday to support mental health issues in the community, and to hear the story of one celebrity’s struggle with mental illness.  Patty Duke, as she was known when starring in films and stage productions as a child, presented to a large audience her story about her life with bipolar disorder.

My friend and I bought tickets on Saturday afternoon, and unbelievably, they were only $10.  When the time came to go, we were running late, so when we arrived at the theater, the program had already begun.  The only seats left for us were way down front, on the third row (oh, darn!!!)

We arrived when Patty was speaking about how, at the age of 18, she was finally able to get away from the ‘guardians’/agents who had mistreated her as she grew up.   Unfortunately, as she began life on her own,  she took with her a mysterious, unknown ‘demon’ that would plague her until she was 35 years old.  In 1982, after several attempts at suicide and many hospitalizations, she was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder (also known as manic/depressive illness.)  She began treatment with lithium, and she stated that to this day she has not missed one day of her medication.

With her was her husband of 25 years, Mike Pearce, with whom she had several children.  She met him on location for a movie she was filming.  He was a drill sergeant at the time.  The family lives in Idaho.

Following the presentation of her life story she answered questions from the audience.  There was a very poignant moment when a woman on the front row told her that her mother had known Patty’s mother, and they had played bingo together.  Patty had been estranged from her mother, and after some time they were  reunited, and her mother lived with her until her death.  The woman in the audience had a copy of Patty’s autobiography, Call Me Anna, that Patty’s mother had written in.  Patty said she recognized her mother’s handwriting.

Afterward, out in the lobby, Patty had a book-signing for her book, A Brilliant Madness. My friend and I hung around until the very end.  Another of my friend’s friends, who also has bipolar disorder, and who had written a book, spent a few moments with Patty, and we were there to take her picture with Patty.

As the book-signing wound down, and only a few others waited for their turn to have their books signed, I sat nearby on a bench.  Patty looked over at me and said, “Hello.  I love your hair.”  (I have VERY short hair!)  I said to her, because I very much admire her courage for speaking about her mental illness, and her acting ability, “Thank you, and I love you.”

It was only a few moments later, as my friend and I began to leave, that I very gently touched Patty on the shoulder.  She turned to me and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek.  I blessed her and told her how much I appreciated her.  I was so moved, and chills ran through me as I left the theater.

Thank you, Patty Duke!  You are a blessing!