One of the things we had been determined to do while down here was to again get together with Darlene from Darlene's Hodgepodge. She lives across Tucson from us, kitty cornered across almost the whole valley, and with all the things that had to be fixed, for most of our trip we had stuck to hiking places and stores that were nearby. Across Tucson is definitely not nearby. Finally as the biggest things eased up, we made arrangements to meet for lunch and maybe go for a drive where, because Darlene is also a photography fan, we would all take pictures of the desert.
Darlene is such a bright, intelligent and fun person (which you already knew if you read her insightful blog) that meeting her the first time and again this week was a pleasure. In her mid-80s, she has had her share of experiences that either toughen someone or send them to bed sucking their thumb. She's the tougher sort and is amazing for how she handles whatever comes along with a positive spirit. Of course, probably everyone has their days of bed and thumb sucking but hers must come very rarely.
Because our Tucson trip this time (astrology?) has had so many technical glitches (most recently the truck had the wheel bearings go out on the left front wheel), arranging to meet her was no exception. Because she and I don't talk except when I am down here, and we had only been at her place once, I forgot I would need instructions for getting there. No problem though. I emailed her early the day we planned to meet... and later went to check email for directions.
DSL service out.No biggie. We also have a backup system-- dial-up...
Dial tone goneThat meant the Internet was out because the phone land line was out. They are doing construction on the road below us; so it wasn't hard to imagine how this happened. It was harder to get around the problem even though Farm Boss and I have cell phones. Darlene has discussed how phones don't work well for her because she has a cochlear transplant. But I tried calling anyway. No luck. I guessed she was in the shower-- or I had the wrong number.
Dial tone gone?
Dial tone gone?
Now, I had a problem. She was looking for us to be there. She would have no way to know we couldn't find our way there. Was there any chance we could start out and find our way because we had done it once before? An exceedingly slim one but possible. We might also take the laptop and try to find a cyber cafe. I know they are around but have never had cause to use one.
Then I realized I could call Parapluie in Oregon and ask her to go to Darlene's site, find her email (which I didn't have written down anywhere), email her the need for instructions and call me back with them. Parapluie is such a great friend and was happy to do it (she likes it anytime I am not being reclusive).
There was, however, to be another technology glitch. My cell phone has been refusing to ring loud enough for anybody to hear it unless I hold it against my ear. Even though I had it in my jean pocket, on vibrate, when Parapluie tried to call with the information, it didn't vibrate enough for me to feel that. :( Technology does not seem to be my thing this month. Fortunately she also had Farm Boss's number and we got our instructions.
The rest of the day was technology glitch free. We had had one question before we began and it was whether Darlene could get into the Silverado. If you read her site, you know she had had a bad fall last year leading to a hip replacement and then more recently hurt her back. The Silverado is a big truck with a tall step up and no running boards. So we had to try it out with the help of a step stool. With her can-do attitude, she managed it well.
She had invited us out to lunch which we had at a nice Mexican restaurant. Then the three of us drove out to Saguaro Monument East. The desert in winter is less colorful than some seasons, although the lighting was interesting with the low sun.
Tucson's own climate change due to more concrete, more housing, more irrigated lawns and golf courses, has been impacting its ground water supply. Whether it's that or general climate change, there are today many less saguaros in the eastern park and below a certain elevation. It was still a picturesque, one-way loop drive where we stopped for photos, saw one deer, talked of our mutual love of the desert, and life in general. Very fun time with what feels like someone we have known for many years.
When we dropped her off back at her home, Farm Boss took these photos in front of her fireplace. Along with the ones taken on our drive, they pretty well say it all, don't they?