Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Congrats to our grandson!

1995 was not a great year in our family history.  Thanksgiving was celebrated with my heart attack and triple by-pass surgery.  Then in December our first grandson  was born with a condition that deprived him of some critical oxygen at a crucial moment. It left him with a learning disability that has needed special efforts from him, his mother, and the school systems he attended.  I am pleased to announce that I am still going strong in 2014 and that our grandson TJ has graduated from high school and will enter a collegiate Fire Science program this fall. 

The rocky start that kept him in neo-natal intensive care is nowhere evident now. He has outstripped Jim and Jan in the size category by at least a foot.  Must be something in the Iowa water.  

Both sets of grandparents gathered with TJ's parents, his brother, and their dog Max for this picture just before setting off for his commencement ceremony.


     We salute him!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Southwest Indian Art Fair 2014

It was another pleasant sunny day in Arizona and my wife and I headed downtown to attend the Southwest Indian Art Fair on the grounds of the Arizona State Museum. 

Tent after tent sported Native American art from carvings and jewelry to paintings and golf ball markers.

One booth featured a demonstration by a mask carver and another by a flint chipper..

Weavers of all ages showed off their skills.

In another corner of the grounds was a stage for hourly performances of native dances.

 The singers were joyful.


The rhythm section jammed.
Young and old performed together and
the balance in the basket dance was impeccable.

  Thanks again to all the artists and performers who made our day a delight.  With a little bit of luck we will be able to return again next year.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sabino Canyon Stroll

We have visited Sabino Canyon a number of times during the last ten years. It is always a pleasure.  We arrived around 10:30 last week.  It was a cloudy late winter day. The light was soft and diffuse producing photo images with minimal contrast but still interesting. 

The drill at Sabino, in case you have not been there, is planned to be great for families with kids and seniors.  A shuttle runs up and down a 3.7 mile road approximately every half hour. 

There are nine stops along the way.  You can ride both directions into and out of the canyon or you can get out at any of the stops and walk.

 You can re-board the shuttle at any stop and ride back down to the visitor center.  The most often used option is to ride to the top and then walk back all the way or as far as you wish.  Enthusiasts can of course run both directions.

There weren't many flowers blooming yet, but we did catch this one.

Otherwise it is the rock formations and the occasional areas where some water remains in the stream.

 Some green still appears against the gray canyon walls.



Parking is $5.00 for day visitors.  The shuttle is currently $8.00 for adults.   There are lots of special rates and passes for frequent visitors.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tucson Jazz Institute Rocks

Our musical tastes these days runs to Classical, but a recommendation from my cousin and a longtime fondness for Big Band Jazz took us to a concert by the fantastic young players of the Tucson Jazz Institute last week and boy do they rock. 

The venue was the Episcopal Church of the Apostles and while they set up we had a chance to soak up the view of the Santa Catalina mountains afforded by their large windows.

The institute has a number of bands for the multiple ages and skill levels in their programs. Many of the players overlap and can interchange in more than one group. Sometimes you have  students as young as 4th grade playing right along with high school students. All the ensembles are led by Doug Tidabeck who is clearly the glue that holds the enterprise together.  He makes sure that each player is recognized and fills in the gaps between numbers with convivial humor and lots of information about the institute. 

The players are drawn from a wide area around Tucson with some coming from as far away as Phoenix.  They are all participating in addition to fulfilling all of their normal studies and school activities. The only commonality was dedication and dynamite talent.

We even had Robbie Lee who plays a mean piano and croons with the best of them.

Unfortunately you can't hear any of them here, but the bands do have CD's of some of their award winning performances.  You can get all the details on their web site.  Just click.

They are also looking for more support for their upcoming European trip.  Again the web site is the place to go.