Posts Tagged ‘Tucson’

Sun Warmth and Happiness!

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Wafting through the air is the fragrant smell of turkey soup, simmering on the stove. The heat is cranked to take the chill off the house, and outside lies the beauty of the first snow…diamonds laden on the trees, undisturbed. The snow plows have not yet rumbled through the neighborhood, turning the pristine precipitation to an unappealing brown mess.  I am too old for this cold, this icy season where temps go to zero, when the wind blusters through the trees, and a foot of snow needs to be shoveled from the driveway.

Escape!  Escape to Tucson is the answer!  I will join the hundreds of winter visitors escaping from the northern climes to sun, temps in the 60’s and 70’s, to being able to take a walk outside without slipping and sliding on ice covered pathways.

Tucson is a haven for those who want to escape to a warm, dry climate.  Those arthritis sufferers suddenly find relief from the pain in the dry climate, and some come on the recommendation of their physician. Others swell the Tucson population because they want to golf and enjoy the myriad of outside activities, not spending  winter cooped up inside their northern abode.

Winter rentals are abundant, and Thanksgiving marks the influx of “winter visitors”, affectionately called “snowbirds”.  The majority however arrive after the Christmas holiday.  Many have purchased winter homes, often in active adult communities where activities range the gamut from book clubs to pool tournaments, from cooking classes to exercise classes.  Golf, pickle ball, and swimming is a draw for many of these communities, as well as restaurants on premises, community dinners, and group outings to various places in Arizona.

The cultural scene in Tucson is also a draw, the city is the home of the University of Arizona, and those who desire ongoing education can attend to Olli ( ).  Broadway comes to Tucson at the many theaters, both large, and small and intimate, and the music scene encompasses all genres.

Tucson has several art museums as well as the Center for Creative Arts at the University of Arizona, home to the Ansel Adams collection. And Tucson is a gastronomical delight with the best Mexican food in the nation, as well as restaurants which represent all cultures:  Ethiopian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, plus a myriad of excellent food trucks.

How can you not want to escape cold, grey, dreary weather and exchange it for warm, bright, sunshine and a city which will welcome you with open arms?







Tucson’s Stately Saguaros Welcome You…

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

A stately saguaro in Saguaro National Momument WEst

Standing stately in Saguaro National Momument West and East are thousands of  tall heavy Saguaro cacti with their arms reaching out or towards the sky.   They are often pictured on postcards with captions like, “Welcome to Arizona” and the creamy white flowers which become a fruit are the state flower of Arizona.   The Saguaro blooms in May and June and the fruits become the basis of wine and jellies.

The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum sponsors fruit gathering outings where visitors learn how to harvest the fruit with the long and unweildy Cactus puller.  Fruit is usually harvested in the morning when it is cooler and the intensity of the desert sun is not as hot, beating down upon the workers.  The fruit can be eaten raw and is an excellent source of nutrition as are many of the cacti found in the Sonora Desert.

Birds feast on  the fruit and cactus wren, the state bird of Arizona which often nests in the Saguaro, derive much of their water source from these oblong reddish green “balls”.

The Saguaro is an amazing plant, weighing tons especially after monsoon season.   They are protected and removing them from their “home”  without proper permitting , and especially the desert is a crime.

It takes approximately 75 years for a saguaro to grow it’s first arm.   Plants like that shown are  100 years old or more.    The seeds fall or are carried by birds and bats which are abundant in the desert, and those seeds which are protected by other vegetation such as mesquite and palo verde trees are the most likely to grow and mature.  This is why one often sees a young saguaro near a willowly palo verde or lacy mesquite.

Holes and “scars” are numerous especially in an older saguaro.  These are the homes of numerous birds, bats, owls, and insects; the holes have been carved by these inhabitants to become a place to live raise their young.

It takes at least five years for a saguaro to die and the ribs of dead saguaros are used for building and for trim on furniture.   One might see part of a native home made of saguaro ribs or used as a building material, no part of the cactus is wasted.  The decaying cacti are a source of food and lodging for many beetles and insects which roam the desert.  Examination of  a decaying saguaro structure reveals an abundance of life which can only be seen close up.

The unique beauty of Saguaro National Monument is attributed in part to the regal Saguaros which dot the landscape.


The NEW IMPROVED Tucson Diet!

Friday, January 1st, 2010

My friend Jennie and I went to an early dinner last night at Texas Roadhouse to celebrate the end of 2009. By all signs, 2009 was not the best year.  We both bogged down in all the economic jargon, the poor real estate market, the March dive of the stock market, the rhetoric of another “Great Depresssion,” and the profound sadness of people losing homes while we worked harder to try and accomplish loan modifications and/or short sales. 

What better way to drown these sorrows than in a huge baked potato swimming in sour cream and butter?  And a little steak as a side dish.  It signified the year…soft, mushy, without much substance, but full of caloric content with which to burden us further (with fat).

After that metaphor, I looked to 2010…the new year, the new decade, the new moon, the blue moon.  What could be more prophetic of a fabulous new year?  And so I count my blessings, of which there is an abundance, and write in my gratitude journal every morning, so grateful I live here.

How fortunate I am to live in beautiful Tucson, Arizona.  For anyone with resolutions, this is the place to be!  The temperature today is in the low 70’s, sunny, warm, perfect weather for a great hike into the Tucson Mountains or any surrounding trail.  Perhaps a trip to Sabino Canyon is in order, or a ride up the Catalina Highway to 8,000 feet above sea level into the pines and perhaps a bit of snow to Mount Lemmon.  Or take the children for a beautiful day at Sonora Desert Museum and marvel at all the life which abounds in the here in the desert.

Of course many people resolve during the new year to get fit, to loose weight, to become less sedentary… and if that is on your agenda, Tucson is your place!  The city has lots of walkways which are flat and many have rest benches along the pathway.  I have heard people say they were never so healthy as when they lived in Tucson! 

The vitamin D is abundant…necessary for strong bones…and Tucson is a bike friendly city.  In fact, Lance Armstrong was just here with his team practicing…and we are home to the internationally famous El Tour de Tucson.  There are lots of three wheelers out there which provide better exercise than a golf cart and recumbent bikes are becoming more popular.

So making the calculation of 3500 calories equals one pound, I figure I could loose 50 pounds this year if I use Tucson’s natural resources and walk one hour a day…up and down the Greasewood path or wherever, all while enjoying the changing scenery from winter, spring, summer, and fall. 

 I could start a new diet called “Move to Tucson and Loose 50 pounds in a year!”  Just follow these easy directions … “and wait…there’s more!  Sunshine included at no cost to you!  Beautiful mountain views and if you act now, we’ll even give you better health and flexibility!”  Now who could go wrong with that?

So long 2009!  So long baked potato swimming with sour cream and butter…Hello 2010!  I welcome you with open arms and gratitude!  And now, I bid adieu to see what’s new along the Greaswood path, soak up some Vitamin D, and get rid of at least 300 calories of that decadent baked potato!

KUDOS to Tucson from AARP…

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

AARP has named Tucson the number one place to live for the “active adult” community, alias the “mature adult”  community.  Looking to a simple life, Tucson garnered top kudos over all other places in the nation.

And indeed, Tucson is a grand place to live.  I willingly traded months of  grey, drizzly weather…and shoveling snow for a couple of months of “dry heat”.   Early mornings are perfect for a meandering walk and after dusk lends itself to upbeat outdoor concerts.

Tucson has integrated culture which makes it a vibrant community, blending it’s history as a part of Sonora Mexico prior to the Gadsden Purchase, with that of Native American culture, and Chinese culture. The white man found Tucson  with the advent of the railroads and brought with them new ideas of architecture, lumber, and eastern accountrements.

Tucson is rimmed with mountain ranges; the Catalinas to the north-northeast, home of the nation’s southermost ski area; the Rincons to the east; the Santa Ritas to the south, and the newest mountain range, the Tucson Mountains, to the west.   The topography is different in all the areas, but all provide interesting and diverse hiking paths and birding areas, one of the criteria of the AARP study.

Combine that with exceptional cultural activities, it’s own Symphony, a myriad of live theaters, the Center for Creative Photography which houses the Ansel Adams collection, the Tucson Museum of Art, DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, and excellent small galleries, Tucson is making it’s name in the art and music world.  With one of the best Jazz Societies in the United States, a vibrant Blue Grass Society, Chamber Orchestras, Pops In the Park, citizens can toe tap to any rhythmn.

As someone enthusiastically once said to me, “the healthiest I’ve ever been is when I lived in Tucson”.  There are various sports activities, Senior Olympics, city owned tennis courts, golf courses galore, an assortment of classes offered by Parks and Rec, and classes in all types of activities ranging from Pilates to Weight Training to Salsa dancing at Pima Community College. 

Combined with the bragging rights of 360 days of sun, Tucson offers its inhabitants low cost activities, the beauty of the desert, affordable housing in comfortable communities, local produce at Farmer’s Markets, a plethora of volunteer activities, and excceptional medical facilities.  (Scan previous blogs for information about the St. Philip’s Farmer’s Market, and a series about hospitals in the Tucson area.)

AARP really nailed it correctly!  Tucson is the place to live!


Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau:

Tucson Chamber of Commerce:

The Welcome Tucson Winter Monsoons…

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

   The tiny beads of water dance on the orange plastic wrap which encloses the morning paper.  Although it is nearly 9 am, the dark grey skies look like Connecticut (from where I migrated) on a day which bodes snow.  A gentle rain, actually what I would call a sprinkle, dampens the earth. 

   This is a day to stay home and do paperwork, catch up on phone calls, and not drive around town for whatever reasons.  These days are like  snow days back in Connecticut when the glistening snow and ice weighs down the tree branches and sparkles like a million diamonds.

    This lovely and welcome greyness is part of the Tucson winter monsoon season.  The surrounding mountain ranges are covered by low lying clouds and I suspect there is snow on top of the Catalinas.   When this storm clears out, we will have snow capped mountains for a short period of time contrasting against the Arizona sunshine.

    The leaves from the Arizona Ash, a deciduous tree in the back yard, will shed even more green turned yellow leaves and fall into the pool, rippling  with tiny raindrops.  The pomegranates, nearly bare, have an abundance of fruit filled with holes, thanks to birds seeking the sweet juices.  And the citrus trees, always green, are slurping up the rain as the branches of the oranges and grapefruits sway somewhat in the wind. 

   We need this slow, gentle rain.   The water has time to seep into the ground and is not violent or rapacious like the heavy rains which pelt the earth and run off without percolating and benefiting the vegetation.

     We Tucsonans love this weather.  It is infrequent and needed.  This is “dancing in the street” weather.  Out of towners, who are accustomed to rain are puzzled by our excitement and gratitude for these beads of moisture.  Certainly the winter monsoons are not like the summer monsoons which often present dazzling lightning shows with the rays of rain. 

     I hear the trickle of the raindrops flowing down the gutters…oh what a beautiful day…the white grey of the sky obscures even the houses in the distance and my mind is playing the refrain, “let it rain, let it rain, let it rain!”.


Weather and Monsoons


Tucson Medical Scene…University Medical Center

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

   University Medical Center, or UMC as it is called in Tucson, is the teaching hospital for the University of Arizona.  It is also home to one of the best nursing colleges in the nation, University of Arizona School of Nursing as well as the School of Pharmacy.   It is the largest research hospital in Arizona for the School of Nursing, the School of Medicine, and the School of Pharmacy.

      UMC is the major Level 1 trauma hospital for southern Arizona and  takes patients from all of Southern Arizona, western New Mexico, and Northern Mexico.  It ranks as a top hospital for patient survival and shortness of stay.  It also participates in the Southern Arizona telemedicine program which helps to save lives daily.

     Home of Cardio-West, UMC is the site of the first FDA approved artificial heart.  The cardiology department houses the Sarver Heart Center which is involved in research designed to pinpoint stroke and heart attack causes and prevention.  UMC has been named one of the top 100 hospitals in the United States for cardiovascular care.

    Transplant surgery is a speciality of UMC and includes simultaneous heart and lung transplants as well as heart transplants and lung transplants.  Liver transplants, kindney and pancreas transplants as well as intestine transplants and islet cell transplants for diabetic patients are among the procedures offered at UMC.

  Currently under construction is the Diamond Children’s Medical Center which will be a model for pediatric care.  The Steele Children’s Research Center currently has more than 100 research projects in progress which benefit the pediatric patient.

    UMC also has a variety of community outreach programs as well as health and wellness programs.  Programs can be accessed at

   UMC is a 355 bed facility located at 1501 North Cambell Avenue in the center of the city between Grant and Speedway.  It is a non profit hosptial and also supports the Cancer Center which will be discussed tomorrow. 

    For addiitional information about University Medical Center including job opportunities, check the resources listed below.

Unversity Medical Center:


Desert Health tips – Information about living in the desert:


Nursing, Medical School, and Pharmacology Research:


University Medical Center Job Opportunities:


Tucson Medical Scene…Carondelet Hospitals – St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

      Carondelet has three hospitals within Tucson and one in Nogales, Arizona;  St. Mary’s, St. Joseph’s, and Tucson Heart Hospital and in Nogales, Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital.

      St. Mary’s Hospital is located on the west side of town, west of I-10 at 1601 St. Mary’s Road.  The 402 bed hospital is at the intersection of Silverbell and St. Mary’s Road.  It’s origins were as a tuberculosis hospital established in 1880, but now the hospital  focuses on heart and vascular care, orthopedics and rehabilitation and general surgery.  It is a non profit hospital as is all of the Carondelet facilities, and employs in excess of 1500 people.

      The newly renovated emergency room has been expanded to care for more patients. St. Mary’s  is a certified Diabetes Care Center, provides Dialysis, Hemodialysis, and Lithotripsy.  St.  Mary’s is also part of the LIfeline Emergency Response Helicopter Program and patients are flown in from all of Southern Arizona.

     St. Mary’s works with the University of Arizona Nursing School and the accelerated BSN Program.  The hospital has been the recipient of several awards including:

  • “2007 Gold Medal “Sustained Performance Award” for excellence in the delivery of cardiovascular care to our patients awarded by the American Heart Association
  • 2005 Top Performer for care of stroke patients by American Heart Association
  • Named by Solucient Institute as one of 100 Top Hospitals in the nation (2003, 2004)
  • Recognized as “Well Workplace” by the Wellness Council of Arizona
  • Diabetes Center accredited by the American Diabetes Association
  • Fabulous 50 Nurses of Tucson (approximately 40-50% of the 50 are Carondelet Nurses)
  • Hospice – leader in national Compassionate Care of Dying consortium “

according to the website which is cited below.


       Across town on the East Side is St. Joseph’s Hospital, located at 350 North Wilmot, between Broadway and Speedway.  This 374 bed hospital has a new Neurological Center which is state of the art.  It includes a brain and spine tumor center, facilities for seizure disorder, and an aphasia program.  Rooms are available for family members and the Center is drawing national attention.

    St. Joseph’s, founded in 1961,  also has an extensive neonatal unit as well as a Women’s Pavilion.  The hospital is also recognized for it’s Regional  Eye Center.  Like it’s sister hospital, St. Joseph’s has also been the recipient of many awards including:

         ‘Named by Solucient as one of 100 Top Hospitals in the nation (2002, 2003)

  • Recognized and honored as “Well Workplace” by the Wellness Council of Arizona
  • Diabetes Center accredited by the American Diabetes Association
  • Sole accredited Cardiac/Pulmonary Rehab Program in Arizona
  • Fabulous 50 Nurses of Tucson (approximately 40-50% of the 50 are CHN Nurses)
  • 2005 Arizona Nurses Association Employer Excellence Award
  • 2005 Corporate “Champion of Heart” Award from American Heart Association ‘

according to the website.


       Both hospitals are continuouly seeking qualified candidates for career opportunities.   A link to application forms for all of Carondelet facilities is listed in the resources below.

St. Mary’s Hosptial Website:

St. Mary’s Hospital Job Opportunities:

St. Joseph’s Hospital Website:

St. Joseph’s Hospital Job Opportunities:

St. Joseph’s Neurological Unit:

The Tucson Arizona Medical Scene…

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008


    Some of the discovery of Tucson by people from throughout the United States is tied to Tucson’s medical history.  With it’s clean air and dry climate which bodes wells for “outdoor” living, Tucson was an ideal location for tuberculosis recovery facilities.  

    In the early 1900’s, people came to Tucson to experience the fresh air which aided in healing respiratory illnesses, especially tuberculosis.  These facilities, some of which were the foundation of today’s hospitals, at the time were situated on the outskirts of town.  Today they are in the center of the hub-bub of activity.  

    As a retirement destination, medical facilities are an important consideration for people thinking about relocating.  And for people working within the medical profession, job opportunities abound.  The Tucson area has ten acute care hospitals and plans are on the books for several more facilities:   one in Rita Ranch, one at Passages of Tucson,  and one in Sahuarita. 

   Tucson is  home to the University of Arizona’s School of Medicine which has extensive research facilities including world class cancer research.  U of A also boasts one of the best Schools of Nursing in the United States as well as a School of Pharmacology.   Because of the medical facilities, Tucson is the choice for many biomedical start up firms.

     Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine is situated in Tucson.  “The mission of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine is to lead the transformation of healthcare by creating, educating & actively supporting a community of professionals who embody the philosophy & practice of Integrative Medicine,” according to the website.  Spurred by Dr. Andrew Weil, the Center combines the best of western medicine with eastern medicine and concentrates on healing rather than treating disease.

   Over the next few days, I will highlight the various medical facilities which include the Carondolet network of hospitals:  St. Mary’s, St. Joseph’s, and Tucson Heart Hospital;  University Medical Center; Northwest Hospital Oro Valley and  Northwest Hospital Tucson; Tucson Medical Center;  Southern Arizona VA Health Care System; and University Physicians Healthcare at Kino.    There will be links to job opportunities also for readers in the medical field considering relocation to Tucson.

Resources:  History 

University of Arizona School of Nursing, School of Medicine, and School of Pharmacology

Unversity of Arizona School of Integrative Medicine

Check out the Tucson, Arizona Home Market From Your Desktop

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

     For all of you who are thinking about purchasing a home or second home in Tucson, Arizona , read on!

     Tucson is a very large geographic area and when people talk about Tucson they often also think about the Green Valley, Sahuarita areas which are to the south of Tucson off of I-19; Marana, to the north, off of I-10,  and Oro Valley which is also to the north off of Oracle Road. 

    Marana and Oro Valley are relatively new communities with many homes built in the 1980’s through the present.  Green Valley is best known as a retirement community with an abundance of nice older townhomes.    The newest community is Sahuarita which lies between Tucson and Green Valley and encompasses a master planned community with thousands of newer homes.  Building is still going on there.

    Many people do not realize how large the Tucson area is – extending almost 40 miles by 40 miles.  To get an idea, look at the map of Tucson which is divided into various segments for real estate purposes.

     Where you live will be determined by your lifestyle including your place of work and types of recreation you enjoy.   For instance, a person working at Raytheon should probably not live in the Northwest section of town since they will be working in the Southeast area.  A person who wants to travel to the University of Arizona in the central part of town, perhaps should not live in the extreme northwest (XNW).  If you are an avid hiker, biker, the central area of town may not be a good choice.

    Once you consider your lifestyle, then consider the ammenties you want in a home.  Most of the newer homes in tract developments have five to ten feet setbacks on each side and are on smaller lots ranging from 4,000 to 7500 square feet.  Newer custom and semi custom homes are on larger tracts of land, and in the areas of the northwest and west as well as the east, some are in SR zoning areas which require 3.3 acre building lots.

     The older homes generally are on larger lots where the front footage to the street may be as much as 80 feet.  On some of the newer homes, the front footage is 30 feet so the houses are long and linear.  With an older home, you may have some renovation to do, but usually you will have a larger yard. 



Town of Marana

Town of Oro Valley

Town of Sahaurrita

Town of Green Valley

City of Tucson

Tomorrow:   Using the Search at

Weekend Wanderings…Happy Birthday Tucson!

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

     Tucson continues to celebrate it’s 233rd birthday with festivities throughout town.   The official birthday of the 48th state is August 20, and throughout the month, various celebrations including a huge birthday cake for the public are taking place.

    Continuously inhabited since 900 BC, Tucson is a wealth of colorful history and has had the mark of various indiigenous peoples which is reflected in its unique culture.  The flags of five countries have flown over the once territorial capital of Arizona including the Spanish, the Mexican, the Confederate, the United States and the Arizona Flags.  

     Look at the truly historical buildings built before the railroad – which incidentially was build in part by the “slave labor” of the Chinese imported expressedly for that purpose.  The historical long houses, built of adobe mud, were long and low and thick, architectually designed to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and also designed so that as the family increased in size, more rooms could be added conveniently.    Good examples are on Meyer and Convent Streets.   People are now returning to building adobe homes because of the energy efficiencies.

      Listen to the music of Tucson and the strong Mexican beat, or the haunting flute played by  R. Carlos Nakii, a Native American.   View the Southwestern Art which encompasses the traditional cowboy -western tradition as well as the mural art of people such as David Tineo, or the work of Ted DeGrazia.

      Look at the colors which abound in Tucson – a reflection of the vibrancy of the city.  The intricate mosaic dome in blues and turquoise and yellows of the Old Courthouse Building, itself a beautiful display of territorial architecture.  

     The history of Tucson is a tapestry of cross culturaliam.  Once a part of Sonora, Mexico, Tucson only became a part of the Gadsden purchase because it was the flattest route to the California gold mines.  And prior to the Mexican and Spanish occupation of Tucson, it was home to the Apaches, the the Yaquis, the Tohono O’odham, the Yumas, and the Pimas.   It was a thriving agricultural community with trade routes to what is now Northern Arizona as well as south into Mexico.

   Although we are officially celebrating 233 years, Tucson’s history is nearly 3,000 years old.  Happy Birthday Tucson!


Tucson History     

DeGrazia Gallery      

Chicano Murals      

Historical Walking Tours:

Tucson Birthday:   

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