Saturday, December 30, 2023

Not Much to Report Post Christmas

Greetings Post Christmas Earthlings!  How was your chosen observation of your chosen holiday?  Ours was successful, we bought a veeeeeeery expensive whole chicken at Sprouts, spatchcocked it, and grilled it.  It's good chicken, it has a very clean taste, unlike some supermarket chains' products.  So that made three dinners and a lunch.  Not cooking is good.

There was a ride on Christmas day.  It was a cold ride, undershirts, tights, arm warmers, jackets, head socks and glove liners were involved.  Actually, I wore my long sleeved slightly fleeced jersey because I hate arm warmers because they won't stay up, and they were a pleasant alternative.  That ride was from the house, up to Christopher Columbus park. 

Yesterday we had planned to ride from the ball fields up on Camino del Cierro.  We discovered that the road in is barricaded, and is in the process of being removed.  If you refer back to the December 18 post, and scroll down, there is a photo of the desert behind the ball fields parking lot that had recently been bladed.  Our first thought was that what we thought was new housing was going to subsume the park, but this is not the case.  They are adding new places for the playing of softball.  It's going to be big.  I'm still not clear on why they had to dig up the road in.  The restrooms are still open, accessible from the bike trail, so it's not a complete loss.  We can park a Christopher Columbus which is a mile south.  Here is the site of the new fields being built.

We rode north to check on the sewer pipe project that has closed the northern part of the trail system.  Their website says it will complete at the end of 2023.  Somehow, I do not think this will be the case.

If you're wondering about our insistence on riding bike paths, it's because we're old.  Getting hit now would be the end of us.  When you're hurt in your old age, you're never the same.  Plus, the hospitals are over run with Covid, flu and RSV and we do not want to have to be taken to one via ambulance.  The days of us riding on the road with traffic are officially over.

Today we went to Lowes to buy an inexpensive garden hose.  We need to flush the hot water heater, and a hose is required to move it out to the street.  The one left by the previous owner is rotten, which suggests that it may have been awhile since flushing happened.  On the way home we saw this car.  It's a Plymouth Barracuda.  They're pretty cars, nice lines.  Being next to one makes me grateful for emissions controls.  Their exhaust is just bad.

There were interesting clouds later on.

I will be glad when the holidays are over.  We need to go to Costco, and the grocery store, and I do not want to do these things until people go back to work.  I will also be happy when our neighbors quit firing their guns in the air and shooting off fireworks.  They're making it difficult to sleep.  See?  I am officially old.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Christmas Day

 Merry Christmas! 

Here's to a happy seasonal holiday of your choosing.   How ever you spend the day, I hope it's a good one for you and yours. 

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Rain and RSV

Today is day TWO of rain.  Yesterday it rained like heck all day, really rained, heavy crazy rain.  Today there were a few sun breaks, but looking out to the south west, one can see ominous skies.  With any luck, tomorrow will be better.  I think the days of temperatures in the 70s are over.  It is, after all, winter.  Behold, a sun break.

Thursday I did a ride alone, since Jim is beached.  It was the last good day.  It was a good day, warm and not a lot of wind.  These are new apartments being built on the other side of the Santa Cruz river.  They're in the midst of a giant retail clot.  Spectrum, with Home Depot, Target and Food City, was the first commercial clot.  Now commerce has spread to the other side of Irvington, and there is a Planet Fitness, and a Sprouts Market and other smaller businesses.

It was an interesting choice to put a Sprouts in the south end.  We're in an economically disadvantaged area.  The Food City grocery store caters to the Hispanic population, signage is in Spanish, and they sell things that anglo stores don't carry.  I will add that their stores smell wonderful.  There is also a Cardenas, which recently came here from California.  Sprouts is like Whole Foods.  Produce is organic, meat is grass fed, chickens are free range organic, and it's all priced accordingly.  This particular offering struck me as out there.

How hard is it to bake two or three sweet potatoes, peel them, and then apply a potato masher to them?  $6.99 seems awfully expensive for this, in any store, in any socio-economic strata.  I hope Sprouts can make a go of it, nothing would please me more than to quit shopping at Safeway, where prices are high and quality is low in the produce department.

Yesterday we got the RSV vaccine.  Out of all the recent immunizations (Shingrex, TDAP, Covid and Flu) we've had recently, that one hurt the most going in.  Jim had a terrible headache last night, mine was not terrible but I was aware of it.  Today it hurts to reach over our heads.  Anyway, I'm glad we did it.  Hospitalizations of the elderly due to RSV are significantly higher than in previous winters.  One of the guys I follow on Twitter was sick three weeks with it, and the pharmacist at Costco reported that he'd had it and it kicked his butt.  So, we finally did something about it.  Medicare Part D will pay for it.

Other than this, I have nothing else of interest to tell you.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

It Has Been a Day

Jim is very fair skinned, and develops a lot of growths that require freezing with liquid nitrogen.  Up until today, there have been two squamous cell carcinomas that required removal.  Today was number three, and was done via a Mohs procedure.  Basically, they excavate until they see clear margins with no cancer cells.   Thank the gods and goddesses there was only one excavation required, there is a lot of waiting on the part of the patient while they prepare the tissue sample and then look at it.  Worse, it was waiting in a small room, with other people, on terrible furniture, no air circulation and no HEPA filter.  We were masked, they weren't.  It was on the scalp.  Scalp wounds bleed like stuck pigs under the best of circumstances, but Jim is on blood thinners, so it bled a lot.  So, he's on house arrest for a few days to clot thoroughly and not ooze.  Next time, we're holding Plavix before doing one of these.  Please make a note of it.

This is Jim with a pressure bandage on his head.  I have decided to spare you all the picture of the later bleeding, even though it was impressive.

On the way home we saw this.  It's blurry, moving car and the phone could not decide where to focus.  The question is always, how do people get up enough speed to do this on busy streets with stop lights every block?  How does this happen?  This car is totaled.

Yesterday we rode from the house.  The weather was not all that inspiring, and so we did not load the bikes and drive them up to the ball fields.   This is the entrance to Christopher Columbus park, it's a nice looking tree.  Notice the cloud cover.

So, that's what we did today, it was exhausting.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Riding North on the Weekend

Yesterday was much better than Saturday.  It was warm, and not windy.  There aren't going to be many more of those days.  The ridge of high pressure is collapsing and a storm from California is coming up to rain on us.  The forecast is for 2.5 days of rain.  It will be interesting to see what actually happens. 

We rode north via the trail that is closed week days.  Refer to the fourth photo in the post just prior to this one.  This is the other side of Sunset.  Still closed.  I'm not sure the sign really needed to be placed there.

Based on this photo, I don't think the week day closures on the trail under the freeway are going to end anytime soon.  They're putting in an entire new bridge span due to widening the interstate.

Look at all of the new apartments.  It's not just here, they're everywhere.  We always wonder, where did these people come from, where do they work and where is the water coming from.  Tucson does not have a manufacturing based economy, it's primarily the University and tourism.

A prickly pear in a trail head along the trail.

The Catalinas were lovely, as always.

This is the Christina-Taylor Green memorial park.  Nine year old Christina was killed January 8, 2011 in a mass shooting that killed and wounded several others, including Senator Gabby Giffords.  This park was established to remember her short life.  There is a Wiki here

When we last parked at the ball fields, which was last Thursday (12/14) the area behind the parking lot was desert.  When we parked yesterday, this had happened.  There will be yet more housing.  There's no signage yet, so it's unknown if it will be multi-family or single family.

That's it!  That's all I've got.  Gotta post while the steenking internet is still up.  Today has not been a good day for it.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Windy, Closed Trails and the Cult

The skies were yellow-ish today.  It was really windy, throwing dirt and sand into the air.  Although it was a scheduled riding day, we wimped out.  Getting sand in the eyes is really painful when it's blowing that hard.  Instead we cleaned house.  The mystery of the universe is how do the floors (laminate) get so dirty, so fast?  I vacuumed, and then removed dirt with the Bona pad and cleaner.  Then everyone's indoor flip flops were washed with soap and then with clorox wipes.  We'll see if that helps with the dirt, since all surfaces are now clean.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a little calmer so riding will happen then.  Last Thursday was the first day we rode from the ball fields using the recent successful bike rack.  We were expecting to ride north and check on the construction project that had the trail closed at Cortaro when we were here last winter (which was the first three months of this year).  We got to the park where we always stop and saw this.  There was a "trail closed" sign, which we rode around to see if the trail was really closed.

Yep, I would say that this qualifies as closed.  This is the same sewer pipe project that was farther north in March.  So, there will be no riding further north than the park this winter.

So, we thought we would go check out the other route to the north.  Nope!  This trail is open only on weekends.  We don't know how much longer the during the week closures will continue.  It's related to the fact that they've dug up several miles of the freeway for widening, and are redoing a rail road grade crossing to an overpass.

This is another casualty of the interstate project.  Sunset has been mainly closed for several years now.  The road is gone, and the trail is cut off by the pile of dirt.

Doesn't this look great?  Doesn't this make you want to leave your cold climate and come bike the 131 miles of car free trails?  What this doesn't say is that the picture is of riding up Mt. Lemmon, which the septuagenarians can't do anymore.  It also doesn't say that much of the loop is actually on the road, on lanes painted green, hence the name Greenways.  It also doesn't say that at any given time, large swaths of the trail will be closed for road construction.  It's aggravating that when they do construction, virtually zero attempt is made to provide work-arounds for the bikes.  Some people actually bike commute, so this is a bigger deal for them than for the cranky old people.  Tucson spends a lot of ad dollars based on the bike trails, at the moment it's feeling like false advertising.

Last summer was horrible.  There has been a lot of tree death in the park.  It's odd to me, because there is irrigation everywhere.

This one will need to be removed soon before it's touching the park model.

This was seen somewhere while stopped for a red light.

These people are in a cult.

That's it!  That's all I have to say.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

The End of Aquisition and the Perfidy of Some Republicans

How are things with you?  We're tired.  Since we got here there has been work, some biking, but work, as well.  The front yard needed some help.  We spread 22 bags of lava rocks over the existing gravel.  It was pretty thin, parts of it were bare dirt.  The biggest driver for the lava rock was the two wretched looking blue plastic pots that had been sunk in the yard, and filled with dirt.  There was no way we were getting the pots out, so we took hammers to the above ground pieces, removed them, and then covered the entire lot with rock.  We got the white pot out by emptying the pot of dirt into plastic bags and taking them to the dumpster.  Plastic pots don't do well in the sun here, they disintegrate so they're hard to move.

It looks good now, very zen.

There have been bike racks.  We bought a Sport Wing to bring down to Tucson in the spring of this year.  We'd had one before, and while it wasn't fabulous, it was good enough.  Unbeknownst to us, in the time between our first rack and then, Reese bought the company.  They took every opportunity to ruin the product.  After spending an afternoon assembling, and trying to make it work, it ended up in the dumpster.  Then we tried a hanging rack, with Yakima top tube extenders.  Nope!  The videos showing the rack holding three bikes, with different geometries in happy harmony must have been CGI.  It all went back.  They charged us return shipping, but not restocking.  So, most of that money will come back.  Today we assembled a Rocky Mounts platform rack.  It's not great, but it's good enough.  Bike racks have become a luxury item, I just can not believe how much they cost.  This is how we will be moving the bikes.

In Spokane we have a Thule T2 rack, which we've have for years, and it really is the pinnacle of rack technology.  Hopefully we're going to shuffle off this mortal coil before that rack wears out.  Reviews of the newer, even more expensive racks are not great.

We did come down here with the non-acquisition fatwas in place.  This was supposed to be a low cost winter.  Hah!  Double Hah Hah Hah!  That lasted for about three days.  There was kitchen furniture, the Breville oven, towels, sheets, cast iron skillets, a grill, a shop vac and a floor vacuum cleaner, and other assorted items.  Oh yes, and there was a rowing machine.  We really and truly enjoy the rowing machine.  It's also a good way to warm up for lifting weights, and the physical therapy stuff for my wretched hip.  So, we have one of these now.  It's the follow on to the one we have in Spokane.  The geometry is slightly different, the handle hits lower on the chest, but it's good enough.  I will say the seat has more cushioning, which is good.

So, after today, we are done hunting and gathering and assembling.  I am happy about that.

By now, everyone has probably heard that the Texas Supreme Court has stayed a lower court order that she could abort her fetus.  It has a fatal genetic defect and needs to be removed.  Worse, the woman has had two C-sections.  If she miscarries late in pregnancy, it likely will rupture her uterus, and if it doesn't kill her, it will remove any possibility of future pregnancy, which she wants.  A bunch of Republicans did this.  One of the Texas Supreme Court justices has a record of arrests from protesting at abortion clinics, and encouraged his wife to carry her 7th pregnancy to term, despite being told the child would die (it did), and his wife would likely die, as well (she survived).  That's who these people are.  

Anyway, lots of people, including me, keep asking why women in red states just don't go to a blue state and have the procedure.  This is why.  I had no idea things were this gruesome.  It's worth reading.

Republicans continue to show us who they are.  This is from twitter.  There is video.  CLICK HERE to play it and think about what he's saying.

In news of good government, brought to us by Democrats,  there has been tremendous price gouging for tuna, eggs and chickens.  The Washington state Attorney General, Mr. Ferguson, said his office recovered $35.5 million from resolutions with 15 of 19 broiler chicken producers named in a 2021 price-fixing lawsuit. The 19 producers account for about 95% of the broiler chickens sold in the U.S.  The money is being sent to people who don't make a lot of money.  They're not big checks, but it's a start.  KOMO had an article on the subject.  The alleged "inflation" that is running rampant is actually price gouging.  If you look at corporate profits, it's pretty dang evident.  Too bad Fox and the other right wing outlets won't talk about it.

Once again, I failed to notice that an item I was ordering from Amazon was coming from China.  Why on earth are they drop shipping single items to the US?  I do not understand the economics of this.  This just amuses me greatly.

It's coming from Shanghai!  The last time this happened, it was a measuring cup and it took three months to arrive.

There was a ride to Christopher Columbus park.  There is a very attractive lake there.  The city stocks it with fish for the citizens to catch.

Other than this, I have nothing left to say.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Hiking and Etc.

Hola!  What's happening in your neck of the woods?  This is what is happening in the Pacific Northwest.  They are having atmospheric rivers of water.  It's causing flooding, which is unfortunate.

We've had one day of consequential rain, otherwise it's been sunny and unseasonably warm.  Yesterday was downright hot.  Home Depot delivered 12 bags of lava rock while we were out violating the non-acquisition fatwa.  We had to wait for the sun to drop to deal with the rock.  We're trying to get every item we could possibly need from Target before we get too much closer to Christmas.  I am pleased to report that more people are masking, and many of them are being worn properly.  Back to Home Depot, 12 bags was not enough.  They brought another 12 very early this morning. 

This will be it for yard work.  No plants, no flowers, nothing living at all.

There have been hikes.  I have photographic evidence.

This is the 5:00 FedEx 767 freighter on final for Tucson International.  Once, with the RV, we stayed in Olive Branch, Mississippi, which was close the Memphis International which is the home of Fedex and their hub.  Not much sleep was had due to the incoming and then outgoing planes in the middle of the night.  Anyway, our freighter here arrives at a civilized hour.

I sort of wish I'd brought the camera with the long lens, but I didn't.

There was a very average sunset last night.  We're too low here to get a good shot.

This is what's happening in the shed.  There's an auxiliary freezer, since the kitchen refrigerator is so small.  Clearly it's not frost free.

That's it then, that's all I've got.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Deaths and Rain

Henry Kissinger died.  He was 100 years old.  When he was alive, pursuing his reign of terror, I was not paying attention to politics, so the width and breadth of his atrocities are new to me.  This is how Rolling Stone presented his death.

The article is here.  It's very well written and discusses how many people died because of his policies.  There is no paywall.

Anthony Bourdain spent a lot of time in Asia.  He hated Kissinger for the destruction of Cambodia with the illegal bombing carried out by this country.  This tweet is from 2001.

WAPO has an article up about why Bourdain wanted to punch Kissinger in the face.  The article is here. There is a paywall, but you get 10 free articles a month, so if you haven't used them up, this is a worthy read.  Here is an extract.

Kissinger wielded unparalleled power over U.S. foreign policy throughout the administrations of Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald Ford, and Kissinger remains the only person ever to be White House national security adviser and secretary of state at the same time. He faced relentless blowback from critics who deemed him amoral and unprincipled for his foreign policy, namely the efforts in Vietnam and Cambodia that left countless dead and maimed. Kissinger and Ford also gave Indonesia’s Suharto the go-ahead for an invasion of East Timor that resulted in about 200,000 deaths, or roughly a quarter of the Timorese population.

Sandra Day O'Connor has died, she was 93.  She was the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court.  Although she was a republican she made several good decisions; upholding a woman's right to abortion, affirmative action, and ruling against Bush's post 9/11 detainee policy.  CNN has a pretty good article up.  No paywall.  In the intervening years, the court has moved to the right and overturned much of her good work.

In news of the good, George Santos has been expelled from congress.  The vote was 311 in favor of expulsion, and 114 against.  He's been threatening to tell all about who is cheating on their spouses and other bad behavior if expelled.  It will be interesting to see if he does it.

Here in Ye Olde Pueblo it is raining.  It's a wide spread soaking rain at the moment.  This morning it rained hard for a bit.  This is all due to the fact that we washed and dried the car with our very own hands on Wednesday.  

Other than this, I have not a lot to say.

Update to post 12/4/2023:  Opinion piece on Kissinger's atrocious Cambodia policy.