Visiting Tucson

I was born in Phoenix.  Granted, I moved around a lot.. but when I came back to go to college… I went to ASU in Phoenix- Tempe to be exact (not U of A in Tucson).  As such, I’m pretty familiar with Phoenix and it’s surrounds… but somehow I just seldom ventured south to Tucson.  I have friends that are U of A’ers, lived and loved Tucson.  I simple just don’t know it well.   For me, it’s super congested (as if you couldn’t say that about Phx).  But Tucson has no freeways to get you around.  They wanted that old-town feel… and they got it.  But meanwhile, Tucson grew up, and now it’s just hard to get around.  Admittedly, I don’t know my way around.

I don’t want my friends thinking I am nay-saying their town… much the opposite.  I was AMAZED at how charming Tucson was… and how artful.  We went primarily to visit the Titan Missile Museum for John’s birthday.  We took the Top to Bottom, 5 hour tour, that took us through the silo, the control room, and the inner guts of the only Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) museum.  It was fascinating.  I strongly recommend it.

tmm topi.JPG

tmm touri.JPG

During our visit we had the great opportunity to meet up with friends  (which we LOVED)… and wander around Tucson a bit, albeit briefly.  I was delighted to find how the downtown revival had brought great restaurants, art, and museums.  It was colorful and historic just walking around.


Even driving the single highway, I-10, or I-19 toward Nogales, Mexico (and the Titan Missile Museum) is a display of artful mosaics and cement walls lined with interesting imbedded designs.

Downtown Tucson had murals galore (over 300 of them scattered around)shootem_Ssi.JPG.  I was fascinated by the Day of the Dead-esque artist Martin Moreno which adorned the walls outside the Tucson Museum of Art.. and our own hotel, the Downtown Clifton.


room muriel_Ssi.JPG

The Downtown Clifton was a great place to stay.  It was affordable, convenient, clean, and friendly.

dc sign_Ssi.JPG

Just down the street was a very pleasant art gallery, WomanKraft, which was full of talented, affordable, interesting art.  It made me wish I lived closer to get involved in this great consortium.   Around the corner was a wonderful cocktail bar, Penca, making thoughtful original cocktails and snacks, which really made me want to come back.

j mezcal tastg.JPG


All in all it was a fabulous visit.  The only thing  that I would change would be to stay longer.

We’ll just have to come back!






Let there be flowers

So if you’ve followed this blog you might have noticed that we take on some fairly oddball and eclectic projects.  It’s not because we lie awake at night and try to think of these ‘interesting’ projects.  We actually see a need… and just aren’t scared of the work or the ‘we’ve never done that before’ or ‘we don’t know how’, or ‘we don’t have the skillset’ (my personal favorite).  Those phrases we hear from other people, just aren’t in our vocabulary.  Many of our projects, believe it or not, come about because we come up with some good idea… but we can’t buy ‘it‘ or it is too expensive to buy.

Take our concrete table for instance.  Who builds their own concrete table?  We didn’t set out to build our own concrete table… but we were just too cheap to pay the 4 figures for a seemingly simple concrete table.  We asked instead… ‘how hard could it be’?  Well… we found out!

But I digress…  We are still working on the project that just keeps giving… our pizza oven. Somehow it’s hard to work outside when the ground is covered with ice and snow.  But we are determined to find an end to this project so that we can move on to something else.  So we put in the wiring and the lights.

oven lightsi.JPG


We put lights under the eaves of the pizza oven roof, aiming down at the granite counter top.  We also hung mood lights in the trees.  We draped them across the drive way, drawing the eye to the pizza oven itself.  To do so, we erected a tall 12′ post to swag the lights between.  We found the tall silver post, at least during the daylight, to be a bit of an eyesore.

At night, you can’t really see the post, and the lights look good.



So we decided that the silver post needed something to distract from it.  Maybe it’s being in the middle of winter with snow all around, and more expected.  Maybe it’s our unconscious desire for the onslaught of Spring.   Wellll…..

When we were in New Mexico in November 2015 (just a couple months ago), we went to Ruidoso as recommended by our friend Gary. We purchased a ‘bushel’ of metal flowers and brought it home, not knowing exactly what to do with it.  It has sat in our basement ever since.  That is until we were looking for something to distract from that silver post.  So we cut the base off and the flowers apart and re-purposed them… trimming them and cutting them back, flattening their ends, and drilling holes in them.  We painted the post and mounted the flowers, carefully arranged, like a vertical flower arrangement.  Let there be color in the middle of our winter.  No more eye sore of a silver post… Let there be flowers.

post beforei.JPG Post before


new posti.JPG  New painted post with flowers


flowersi.JPG Flowers


flowers closi.JPG Flowers close


Much better!

And people ask us what we do in retirement.

Nutin’ .  Sit around and drink coffee all day. 🙂