Tucson 2024 Wrap-Up

We started off our week by wrapping up our Tucson trip. Because check-out time was 10:00 on Tuesday morning, we needed to return the scooter to the rental place before 4:00 PM Monday. It was a beautiful day so we decided to give the Tucson Botanical Garden a try. An exhibit entitled Washed Ashore, Art To Save The Sea had just opened a few days prior. All of the art was made from various plastic items which were thrown into the ocean. We were greeted with this giant jellyfish sculpture when we first entered:

Here are some more of the sculptures. Kuochun sent a few photos of himself in the garden to friends in China. They were shocked to see how much weight he has gained and commented on his belly!

After a bit of an initial walk-through and a visit to the gift shop we decided to go for lunch. At this time they are offering a temporary cafe with outdoor dining called Porter's Patio Cafe by Charly's BBQ & Grill food truck. It was very casual but the food was great. I chose the mac & cheese with pulled pork and Mother and Kuochun each ordered a Sonoran BBQ Chili Dog. I got two full meals out of my serving and it was only $13. We had to order bottled water as no tap water was available but it was still a great value.

By then Mother's oxygen machine ran out so we sent her back to the car to put the scooter away and let it charge. Kuochun and I went back in and took a second tour, making sure to hit all of the sections. I really liked the sculptures in the garden:

Our final stop was the butterfly greenhouse. We were able to get in just before it closed. It was very hot in there! The greenhouse was filled with non-native plants and butterflies. As much as I love butterfly motif jewelry, the real thing was creeping me out. There were several bird baths scattered about with slices of orange on them and lots of the butterflies were drinking from them. They were slowly opening and closing their wings which I had trouble watching. I did not stay there long and although the limit was supposed to be five people inside at once it felt like there were too many people in there. When we exited the greenhouse and into the staging area, the attendant had me spin around twice to make sure there were no butterflies on me. Thankfully there were not!

The Tucson Botanical Garden was very charming and would be a great place to spend some time, relax and literally stop and smell the roses. Unfortunately we did not have time to do that this trip but I am glad we went because I always wondered about it. I was happy to see that Kuochun enjoyed it so much.

On our way out of town we stopped by Arizona Hatters. We did not really have time as the rental car needed to be returned by 1:00 PM but it was the only time we could go because the store is closed Sundays and Mondays. Mother has been dreaming about finding a hat like the one shown in her childhood photo - it had her name embroidered on the brim and she wore it all the time until she grew out of it. We were disappointed in our experience at the Phoenix hat store but even though this store was 25% the size Mother zeroed right in on her perfect hat. The staff was awesome to work with and one of the men working in the shop actually made the hat she chose. Mother asked him to sign it which he was honored to do, on the inside under the ribbon. I found an amazing sterling silver Fred Harvey-era pin in Prescott last year which I had been holding onto for a special project and it is perfect for this hat! Mother is going to get some feathers to put with the pin as well. It caused us to be 45 minutes late to drop off the car rental with all the time spent deciding if she was going to buy the hat or not but it was worth it, she was so happy! She had fun trying to duplicate her childhood photo with her new hat.

After Kuochun and I dropped off the car at a parking garage near the airport, we were hungry and decided to find a quick bite nearby. I found Outta Bronx which sounded perfect. The owner was super nice and very friendly. I chose the Long Island which was a pastrami and turkey sandwich and Kuochun went with the Empire Steak. We both really enjoyed our food and splurged on an orange soda for me and mango soda for Kuochun. The area was a little sketchy, I would definitely not go there at night but it was alright during the day.

Once we returned home, it was right back to the double therapy schedule for Mother on Wednesday and Friday. On Thursday, it was the big day for the girls to go to their first dental cleaning. We were already prepared for the worst based on the first opinion we received but it did not make things any easier. Vivi lost four teeth but they are in the back and are evenly spaced. However poor Margot had eleven teeth fall out during the cleaning and had to have eleven more teeth removed. I am so heartbroken for her. Vivi went first so she had more time to recover but Margot was not doing well her first night back. I have been diligently giving them their three medications twice a day and they are doing better now. I know in time Margot will adjust but it is so sad to see her with so many teeth missing. She is just as sweet as ever and hopefully getting out of pain. We were pleased with the process, the vet was very thorough and gave us lots of personalized information.

The girls are supposed to eat soft food for the first week after the procedure and I found one that we could purchase locally at Petco called Just Food For Dogs. The one we selected was chicken and white rice with carrots. The food came frozen and took two days to defrost so in the meantime Kuochun made them chicken, white rice and cooked carrots with red pepper soup as a gravy. The food was kind of expensive (and Mother threw a package away by mistake) but Kuochun really likes it so he decided to order more. It just takes a little planning because it is frozen but it is better than getting the bags of FreshPet which do not always stay fresh by the time we get to the bottom of the bag.

On Thursday we needed to drive out to Gilbert to switch out the defective portable oxygen machine. After that, we stopped by Flancer's for lunch. This was our second time there and it was great once again. I selected the It's About Thyme Chicken sandwich with fries and Kuochun went with the We Must Meat, I Ain't Lion Filet Mignon sandwich with coleslaw. It was great once again. If it were closer I am sure we would go more often. It's a very friendly, down-home place and the owner never stops moving to assist his guests.

I cannot pass through the area without getting the best cookies in the universe at American Way Smokehouse in Chandler. This time it was mostly fruity flavors and a few other choices. I tried one birthday cake cookie because I usually find birthday cake flavored items too sweet but this one was amazing. I also got strawberries and cream, orange dreamsicle, chocolate chip walnut and peanut butter. Two cookies are free with a dozen purchase. American Way is an awesome lunch spot as well. The photo is of my favorite, the sugar cookie. Mother is not a big dessert person but she absolutely loved these cookies! She wondered if she could order these to send to Wisconsin for her virtual birthday party. I do not think they ship but if she really wanted to I could learn how to properly ship cookies.

I was able to post a new jewelry purge for the first time in nearly three months. I did not realize that it had been that long. Unless some new items come in, I should be able to process all of the new items this month. This is a combination of some of the very amazing pieces I found at the end of the Tucson trip with some more budget-friendly pieces. The pendant near the upper left, the five-station necklace and pendant necklace and the two rings on the right have sold. The keychain is pending sale and the other items are currently available. The owl watch tips are super adorable and this is one of two sets that I purchased. The other set does not have a background. Surprisingly they did not sell. They would make the most awesome Apple Watch band!

That is all the news for this week, next step is to prepare for the garage sale which will be February 17 with my personal extension to February 18. The woman in charge of organizing the garage sale reached out to the participants asking if there was anyone who could post advertising to Craigslist, Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace. Even though I am very hesitant to put anything else on my plate right now, I knew I was the right person for the job. Kuochun offered to go around and take photos of the other participants' setups for the ads but I have not heard a response on this yet. Once the garage sale is complete, I will be able to focus more on the online store. I posted a few items including the two lariats I found in Tucson, some vintage Zuni butterfly jewelry and the rest of the items I had delisted last spring and kept here in Scottsdale. As a result, I sold several different items on eBay, Etsy and Facebook Marketplace. I love the way that works!

Until next time!