Saturday, March 31, 2012

Final days in Tucson

We have been enjoying the weather in Tucson so much we decided to look into real estate and get some education.  We did a couple of afternoons with realtors... and spent parts of a few more days just driving around on our own, getting a feel for the different communities.  Tucson is a huge, very spread out city.

We have not made any decisions yet, except that we came home to rain with an outlook of another week of rain.  When I Skyped Lorne in Tucson this morning and he said they have only sunshine with more of the same next week.  So where do you think we would rather be?

Our realtors Paul and Marlene DenHerder gave us a couple of complimentary passes to the Tucson Museum of Art where we spent an very enjoyable couple of hours.  

The piece above may not seem all that impressive to you, but this was done in Pointillism ... thousands of tiny small points of different colours.  

"I would thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you my heart has no bottom." -Author Unknown

We probably were not supposed to be taking any photos in the art museum, but my iPhone is small and I caught few pictures when no one else was around.  I loved the colour, contrast, highlights and shadows in this piece by Hal Empie.  

Shirley has posted a bit more on our day at the art museum... about Frida Kahlo, the famous Mexican artist... famous lover... most prolific self portrait painter.  To check out Shirley's blog click here.

Shirley joined us on our last round of golf at Quarry Pines.  We didn't see all this wildlife during our round... we tried to stay out of the rough, as the snakes are said to be out.  I think they just tell us that since they don't want us taking time to look for errant golf balls.  It didn't stop Lorne from coming home with pockets bulging with golf balls. 

Peter  Gleed, another snowbird who lives in the same community as Lorne and Gail joined us for our final round... which was my best of the six rounds I played in Tucson.  In fact we all did pretty good... all under 90.  I had 84 with two OB's.  Our group had 5 birdies.  We all had a great time.

I didn't take any photos of our hotel or the room in the Hilton... which was really nice... but I did take this one interior shot of the front window with the reflection. I took this from the fifth floor upper lobby area.  There is seven stories of glass about 40-50 feet wide... supported by this steel tube geometric pattern.  Pretty cool.

We had our breakfasts in our room... and made several trips to the nearby Sunflower Market for cereal, fresh fruit and rice milk.

The market was close enough that we usually walked... and this sunset was taken from the corner on Broadway and Pantino where we crossed the street.

It was on this corner that I was introduced to talking crossing buttons.  When you push the arrow to  get a change of light there is a voice that says, "WAIT."  The first time I heard it I wondered where that came from?  Pretty cool, eh?

This was a cute 4' x 8' mosaic piece of airport art in San Francisco.  I took this before I realized I had left my MacBook Air in the seat pouch on the plane.  

As soon as I realized my computer was missing I went to the check in counter and they phoned to confirm it had been found.  However it was a horrible 90 minutes of anxious waiting before I finally got it back. First they told me I could get it at Baggage Claim.  After hanging around there for 15-20 minutes they told me I might get it faster if I went up to Check In.  Over an anxious hour there still with nothing.  they took my address and told me to go back to check in.

When I was back with with Shirley I told her that I have never got such a run around in my life... and I was convinced that these guys were never going to give it back.  Then the man named Art showed up with my laptop!  I could hardly believe it.

"Customer Service that doesn't happen in a timely manner is not customer service... it is Customer Aggravation!" Gary Santini, CEO of Parklane Homes. 

Last Wednesday almost all the planes were delayed due to bad weather, high winds.  Our plane was about 3 hours late.  In fact, when we were supposed to be boarding, they announced that our plane had not left Palm Springs due to high winds... and then there was the problem of getting a landing time in San francisco... as so many planes were trying to land at the same time.

This made us late arriving in Victoria... but we just made it to the ferry with absolutely no time waiting... all the cars had already loaded... and when I drove on they dropped the gate.

We are glad to be home and find things much like we left them.  Only a mess of  branches down in the storms... and we cleaned them all up already... about 8 tractor loads!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fun and Games in Tucson

We were looking at real estate one afternoon.  While Paul was getting into the lock box I took this with my iPhone.... I especially liked the way the light and shadows interacted in this geometric pattern.  Cool eh?  

A family of seven javelinas came thru the Del Lago golf course at Vail... hard to get a closeup with an iPhone.  But it was really great to get as close I could.  Shirley said I was lucky...  they could have charged me... but I told her they let me take their picture for no charge.

Lorne, Dave and Ted golfed with me at Del Lago in Vail... very nice golf course.  And a brand new community here south east of Tucson.

Shirley took a few photos of me and Reilly playing pickle ball with Lorne and Lena.  I have played almost every morning for 2 hours or so.  Good exercise.

Tradition here is at the end of every game we touch our paddle handles with each other and say, "good game."

One of my most favourite golf courses is the Arizona National.   We were teamed with this couple for the round who are also wintering in Tucson.  You can click on the link to see last years flowers and birds on this great golf course.

These orange flowers... aloe saponaria are on several of the tee boxes.

This was the first cactus blossom this spring.

Last year when I play at Arizona National it was a month later... mid to end of April... and the cactus flowers were in abundance.

My good friend Lorne offered to take pictures of me several times... but when it is so bright outside one cannot see that your finger is over part of the lens.  I still love this shot!  There are lots of great valley views from Arizona National.  

On this Par Three hole we have to shoot over several cactus...

But not everyone gets their ball past this big Saguaro.

aloe saponaria 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Single Best Thing You Can Do

What is the single best thing that you can do for your health?

Is there one thing that stands out in giving you the best Return for your Time invested?

Find out why he called this short video 23 and 1/2 hours.

A wise man said many years ago...

"Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness."  -Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby (1826-1893)

Spending 9 minutes watching this animated film helped my resolve to be more faithful to take care of myself.  No one else can do it for me.

I like this guy... he makes it seem possible.

Hope you like it too.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hiking in Sabino Canyon

This morning we were happy to have a warm, sunny day to take a hike up Sabino Canyon.  There is a weather system on the way bringing wind and rain... but today it is still fantastic.

The trams were busy today taking loads of people on a narrated tour of the Canyon.... but we were there for the exercise... and my pedometer said over 12,000 steps after hiking for about two hours.

Today we are pooling our best photos to make a single post on the canyon hike.

There was a pool in the stream where some kids were trying to get up the courage to get into the cold water... which is from melting snow high in the mountains.

It was fun to watch them as they took turns dragging and throwing one another into the water.

This Saguaro cactus has seven children!  We liked her family

Gail is getting ready to take a close-up of this tree bark.

What a difficult place for this cactus to make it's home... in a crack between a couple slabs of granite.

As the seasons change so does the foliage... making this canyon always a new experience every hike.

Our Last Day in New Orleans

On our last full day we took the street car and bus to the World War II Museum.

As we waited for "the street car named Desire" I took this photo of the cheerful passenger shelter in the middle of Canal Street.  Can you find the word "Desire" in this photo?  

The Rapid Transit system in New Orleans is really great... for $3.00 you can get a day pass and go anywhere in the city at any time... getting off and on as many times you wish.  We used it a couple of times just to see the city.

Sitting on a crowded bus with my camera on my lap I clicked a few shots of this little boy so nobody knew I was taking any picture.  

My greatest take away from our visit of the WWII Museum was all the details I learned about D Day... and the magnitude of this single event.  It certainly made General Eisenhower look good for his management of forces.

I didn't realize that there were troops from 14 different countries with about 175,000 troops involved.  No small feat to organize all this and keep the event a secret from the enemy.  

This Rolls Royce airplane engine was all chromed up for display... quite a magnificent piece of art, eh?

I asked Lorne to stand by the American Flag so that I could show the size of this large flag.  An American saw me taking this photo and commented, "She's a beautiful flag, isn't she?"  I agreed without telling him I was Canadian and the man by the flag was also Canadian!

The museum was in an old renovated building that over 150 years ago was used as a distillery. When they moved out in the mid 1900's it was used as a warehouse and then a Moving & Storage company had it.  

There was a model of the expansion of the facilities for the WWII Museum... an estimated $300 million is being spent.  Much of it is already done.  For example, we went to the Tom Hanks production in the new theatre across the street.  It was an amazing 4-D production... well worth seeing.

Thousands of contributors have their names on bricks in the sidewalk leading up to the front door of the WWII Museum.

The City of New Orleans has an image building campaign to revitalize the downtown since Katrina.

It's so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas." -Paul Cezanne

There were lots of these banners all over downtown New Orleans.

We never rented a car in New Orleans... but got a chuckle out of this parking enforcement sign.

Here is my sweetheart walking in front of the New Orleans District Court of Appeals.

The fleur di leis is everywhere in the city.

Even on the garbage cans along the streets.  Pretty nice garbage receptacle, eh?

We wanted to spend a little time on Magazine Street... an eclectic kind of shopping area.  

Old houses turned into stores.

We found out what the Po-Boy sandwiches are.... no screaming hell.

A variety of sidewalk cafes flank Magazine Street... people enjoying some food and friendship.

Lots of art galleries and design studios.

Some crazy names.

Lots of original names for their business.

Shirley went into this jewelry store and came out with a fleur di leis.... got to help their economy a little.

These little poodle dogs were all custom decorated and found all around the city.  A fun project.

These colourful beads became synonymous with New Orleans.... they were hanging on trees and power lines... this bicycle basket is loaded in colours.
We went into several of these interior design shops.  We had a lot of fun just looking at the variety of things available... Shops full stuff, but nobody else in the store.  We were glad not to be them.

All too soon our time ran out and we hustled onto a bus heading back to Canal Street to meet our friends for dinner.

It was a fabulous four days.