Monday, February 25, 2013

Birds of all Types

On my walk the other morning, the birds were trying to tell me that Spring is on the way, so I captured them talking about it. I also played with Elements to  make them look extra special.

And now for the other kind of birds. On Saturday I visited the Pima Air and Space Museum. It was a busy place and a lot more to see than I expected. There was a forum of Viet Nam vets who were set up on a stage talking about their experiences and answering questions. All of the docents were excellent. I am assuming they were all veterans and had first hand knowledge. They had very interesting information; they knew how to deliver it in an interesting fashion, and inter-acted well with the visitors. I was really impressed.

This plane was used in a movie with John Wayne and Janet Leigh.

This is a spy plane that flew three times faster than the speed of sound. I did this in a panorama so I could get the whole thing in one picture. It ended up looking rather futuristic even though it's roughly 50 years old.

This sea plane came to the museum without any paint on it. Some vets who had flown it during their time of service to our country commented on the fact that it should be a dark blue. The museum people said they didn't have the $5,000 it would take to paint it. That group of vets raised the money and gave it to the museum. All the planes are clean and shiny. That must take some doing.

"Big Sal" is an interesting story. John Westfall from Green Valley, a small community about 15 miles south of Tucson, was on the tram tour one day, and the guide stopped in front of this plane and started talking about it. John spoke up and said that was his plane. His name is stenciled in white right below the window. So the guide asked him about the name "Big Sal". John said that he had only loved two women in his life; one was Big Sal and Little Sal is my wife sitting right here beside me. He didn't realize the plane was at the museum, so that was quite a surprise for him. The windows on all the aircraft are covered with that dull material to protect the interior from the desert sun.

Our guide on this tram tour was incredible. Above is one of the planes he flew. He served in the Navy as a pilot for 4 years, was in the Reserves, and a United pilot for 37 years. I guess you might say he knows airplanes. He talked non-stop for over an hour giving us more information than I could really digest.

My children's grandmother used to fly on a TWA plane very similar to this one when she came to spend the winter every year. At the time, the airport in Albuquerque resembled a stage coach stop complete with hitching rails that you stood behind to watch the passengers deplane and walk down the steps. On leaving, the plane would turn, and the jet engines would blow dirt and whatever on you as you stood waving madly at your departing relative.

I always take pictures of Blue Angels. My father-in-law was retired Navy, and my late husband's family still lives in Pensacola. I actually have video I took one summer of the Blue Angels practicing over us while we were at the beach.

That's a warhead of some type, but like the shot of the snow on the mountain, where all snow should stay.

This plane is experimental, and I think I took the picture, because it is so ugly. I wonder if the prop configuration is the experimental part.

I like the reflection of the background that I picked up in the nose of the plane. Like a said, most everything is neat, clean, and shiny.

I'm a sucker for colorful. I loved the orange on the Coast Guard helicopter.

This is a Skorsky helicopter like they use in SEAL missions. I believe it's the museum's newest acquisition. I'm going to be back to visit again and take the bus ride over to the Boneyard at Davis-Monthan. It's only open on weekdays.

Friday, February 22, 2013


I can't seem to stay home. Well, for what, fool? 

Here I am at Feliz Paseos Park on the west side of town, not too far from the Saguaro National Park, but that's a birding trip on March 2. Meanwhile back at Feliz... I'm looking directly east, but John Wayne is standing in my way. The park has paved paths for the handicapped, and more adventuresome treks on gravel for those so inclined. All the flora are well-marked. Tucson has its hands full, because this is a city park and well-maintained.

This is the picnic shelter complete with tables, grilles, and bathrooms. Beautifully tiled picture!

Back on Sentinel Peak, "A" Mountain to those of us who attended the University of Arizona, home of the Wildcats, it's scarey up here. The red portion of stones, which are now cemented and painted, is the bottom right of the "A". Back in the day, those were just a bunch of rocks that made an "A". The seniors I guess were in charge of going up at the end of the year and re-painting them white. So on to the cool stuff. Oh, I forgot to mention, this is another city park. While I was taking pics, I noticed two couple sitting at a folding table with a red tablecloth. Oh, duh, girl! It's Valentine's Day. I got close enough to strike up a conversation, because I noticed they had wine glasses (my kind of people). The husbands had done breakfast for them, complete with mimosas; then had them go "shopping"; met them for lunch; now on top of the mountain; and then dinner and the Wildcats game. One of the ladies sheepishly remarked, "And it all involved alcohol." Nice people enjoying Valentine's Day!

This is Tucson's equivalent of the Big I, where I-10 and I-19 meet. I-19 only goes 60 miles down to Nogales, Arizona/ Mexico, but it is an extremely well-traveled highway, and my route home. Below is a view from "A" Mountain looking toward northeast Tucson.

My new-found treasure bought from a vendor out on Silverbell Road. It matches the pots I already have, and it made me happy.

This is just me playing around with a cactus photo. I did get Elements 11 this week, and am naturally having fun tweaking my efforts.

Sunset from the street in front of my house. 

The black portion of this cactus is what happens when it's only 15 degrees on the desert. Silver Springs, Florida, looked worse four years ago. What is it with me? Do I attract the cold weather to these normally warm climes?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Just Saying

The days are going by so fast; if it weren't for my journal, I never remember where I've been or what I've done. I make a lot of lists and eventually cross things out and re-arrange more. I guess you might say I get things done when the spirit moves me. Sometimes it's the spirit wine! I've been checking places to take Norma shopping when she gets here. So I ended up at Tucson Mall and actually bought some new walking shoes that I desperately needed for my 2.5 mile jaunt every morning. That's the reason for the picture of Dillard's, one of my favorite stores.

So crazy me had to take a picture of my stuffed peppers, because they were so pretty. I got them at the Tanque Verde Flea Market on Ginny's last day. I also got a bag each of limes, tomatoes, and avocados for 99 cents each. They had some nice yard art, but I'm still shopping that project. Ginny left for Hawaii last Saturday and I really miss her.

Two weeks ago during my quilting class on a Saturday morning, it rained buckets. I mean it came down in sheets. Unfortunately, the boys were outside. Even Marshall was soaked, and his fur is hard for water to penetrate; poor Tux looked like a drowned rat. I had to get some towels from the workshop and dry them off before I could let them inside. By mid-afternoon, the sun was shining and it was beautiful, so took a walk around the park and got some pictures of drainage areas.

But then I couldn't help myself and took some more pictures. I'm always looking at my neighbor's yard decorations getting ideas for what I want to do. You really can't see the Sago palm; I should get a good picture. The froggy sits at the base looking quite happy.

We have some really tall saguaros here in the park. The birds make nests in the holes, and are always going to and fro. Some have so many holes, they're like apartment buildings. This one looks like he's trying to poke a hole in the cloud.

I love to take pictures of cactus, but I'm afraid to go near them, so I don't know how I'm going to manage the ones I already have in my yard.

So my plan is to do my colorful flowers in planters. I've already scoped out Home Depot, and I'm just waiting for this spell of cool weather to get through this coming week.