Day 3: Tucson Wild West and the Desert

Gate Pass Road

Do you recall the spelling of desert and dessert? I was taught there is one “s” in desert since you only want one, however, for the Sonoran Desert there truly is only one.

Driving to Old Tucson, (Wild West), was a feat on Gate Pass, a road filled with curves and dips. The draw of the scenery while driving was mesmerizing. Stop frequently, take pictures at the pull offs, and breathe in the beauty as bicyclists abound on this road.

Grand Palace Hotel and Saloon

Old Tucson was a familiar site having been a “town” for over 400 movies, television shows, and music venues. It remains active and a recent episode of Chops is one of their latest additions.

High Chaparral was filmed here as was several episodes of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and some John Wayne movies. Three Amigos with Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Chevy Chase were also filmed here. They ran 300% over budget with their antics, but one can understand with that cast.

Movie star dynamos from Shelley Winters to Liz Taylor, to Michael Landon to 50’s teen idol Ricky Nelson shot here. Recently, Angie Dickinson, now 87, an alum from 50 plus years ago revisited the town.

Gunfight with Sheriff

There is much to see and do throughout the day with gunfights, live music venues, stage coach and train rides. Don’t miss the videos and live explanations of the saloons, mercantile stores, and sheriff law. My favorite was the stunt man show. Be camera ready for excitement at the show’s end. Surprise! Surprise! It’s Hollywood…………

Put this spot on your calendar as the venue is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All ages would enjoy. There were many seniors in rolling walkers reliving their memories. The site is flat and has several places with air conditioning for reprieve.

The Desert Museum is a neighbor to Old Tucson on Kinney Road. Here lives the animals of the desert, mountain lions, lizards, snakes, along with butterflies and hummingbirds. Many of the animals are rescued and retired which was wonderful to see recycling in action. Walk through the replica cave with its mineral exhibit and visit the aquarium.

Note bird to left

There are many docents who give free tours, guidance and work with the children. From one of the docents I learned the saguaro flowers at certain times of the year. Their flower provides nectar for birds and these flowers have a hard rim for the bird to perch on as they take in the flower’s nectar. The wonders of nature!

Take a moment..

The children seemed to enjoy the butterfly exhibit and had many questions regarding beekeeping. I enjoyed walking the Labyrinth, a meditative walk of concentric circles with a bench to rest at the end of the walk. The museum grounds have many cool spots to sit and rest.

The site opens at 7:30 am and has special evening events and talks. Check their site for specifics,

For those who wish to see more of the desert, Saguaro National Park, is a short jaunt from this Museum.

Tomorrow will continue with some history, old cars and copper mining. Stay tuned.

Day 2: Tucson Faith and Flowers

Mission San Xavier del Bac

Started my day early visiting the Mission San Xavier del Bac. This church mission began in 1692, however, the actual church was built in the 1800’s. There are free tours given which are fascinating and stop by to see the PBS documentary narrated by Linda Ronstadt explaining the church renovation.


The church is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture and on the outside there are statutes of Saint Barbara, Lucy, Cecilia, and Catherine above the front door. Inside the Marian church tributes continue to other female saints with statutes of Mary and St. Katherine Tekakwitha, the first native North American Saint. The craftsmanship of the altar will leave you in awe.

From here I journeyed to the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Here was the finest butterfly house I have ever seen. These delicate creatures are on display through the end of May. In the exhibit there was a running stream with cichlids or “rock fish” swimming among the rocks. These fish are a bit larger than goldfish and could be a wonderful way to fulfill one’s koi desire, (mine), yet lack space for a pond. 🙂

Next on the agenda was the Tohono Chul Gardens. This garden held many specialized gardens and trails. Of particular interest to me was the Saguaro Discovery Trail. Here enormous cactus loom with placards explaining how they assist the desert ecosystem. Some fun facts:

  • Saguaros at 10 years of age are only 1.5 inches in height.
  • They grow 40 to 60 feet.
  • Weight several tons.
  • Live 150-200 years or more.
  • Provide haven for many creatures of the desert.
There are yellow flowers on top of the boughs.

There is also a gallery and greenhouse at this garden. The greenhouse had a fine selection of desert plants at reasonable prices.

Both gardens are a delightful visit and must see if you are a gardener visiting Tucson.

My favorite.. does anyone know it’s name? Forgot to photo the sign..

See you tomorrow when I visit the Wild West. Stay tuned…

Touch Down Tucson

After hearing all day from pilots that turbulence was expected it finally occurred on the Tucson touchdown. And what a touchdown it was with massive extra points. I even had to use the barf bag for re -breathing. This I’ve never done in my 50 years of flying.

My first layover on this trip was in LAX for 5 hours. It was wonderful to see the new airport under construction. Delta has donated 1.9 billion. Glad some of that tax break to companies we are paying for is being used to some good. Maybe they can do roads next?.

Now I am in Tucson at a ritzy spa and have to pinch myself to believe I’m here. You never know what Expedia comes up with. After a snobby greeting at the desk from a pretentious 20 year old male and his 18 year old female counterpart I paid my $230 resort fee. A supersized golf cart then took me to my room. Being left off at the elevator I realized the guy probably thought I wouldn’t tip so got rid of me quick. Later as I watched him schlep others directly to their rooms and open the door I grimaced, then laughed. Guess the Motel 6 demeanor never leaves you, however, his loss as I probably tip better than those “classy” customers he took to the door.

The pools, of which we have 7 at this “spa,” and the views are to die for. The sunrise and sunset in the desert is spectacular. Have to go as I am off to see the garden sites today and a Mission Church. Keep in touch.

AM in Tucson From the “Spa” Sliders

Thank you, Big Bang

It’s been 12 days since the Big Bang Theory went out with a bang on May 16th. Since I love happy endings I adored the finale. I still lament the uncanny ending of Seinfeld. Why couldn’t Elaine and Jerry have gotten together?

Back to Big Bang.. after debuting on September 24, 2007 and with 12 seasons completed their departure was eminent. How many children can Bernadette have? And poor Raj, will he ever find the right girl? So many unanswered questions that perhaps a reunion in 5 years will be in order? I look forward to 2024.

Thanks again, writers, cast, and yes, even crew, for giving us all the laughs.

Complaining Blog………………………2 of 2

Chubby People on Plane, Buses and Trains

I was a fat kid and mercilessly abused in school. At 63 I still have the emotional scars and insecurities from that abuse.

Now I am a “normal” weight, which in American society appears to be anything under 200 pounds. I cringe when I hear the words, “Fat Shaming.” Where was everyone for me when I was being fat shamed? Now, those former skinnies are fat and insulted.

About 4 years ago I spent 6 hours on a bus going from New York City to Montreal sitting next to a blimp of a woman. Yes, I have the right to use that phrase since I have been taunted with it. I cringed when I saw her coming down the aisle and realized the only seat on the bus was next to me. The ride was 6 hours of discomfort and oppressive as her massive body lay upon me. I felt pain when she moved. It was a scary ride.

I understand why others are concerned taking mass transit with these grossly obese folk. You could easily be injured if they fall on you. But besides that I am concerned for these folk’s health. Blood provides nourishment to our bodies. With blood redirected to fat areas the brain is compromised and starved of this vital nutrient as is other organs. This is turn causes a decrease in the brain’s ability to think and function, energy dwindles and bodily functions are impaired.

We need to take better care of our bodies. We only have one.

It’s Kathleen and if you don’t like what I say It’s still Kathleen.

I hope I’ve given you something to think about.

Please take some action. Start small, walk 20 minutes every day.

Complaining Blogs Series………….1 of 2



I hate screaming kids on airplanes. On 3 of my last several flights this occurred. I can understand a baby crying on take off and landing with the changes in ear pressure but kids that are 3 and 4 years old? Give me a break or them a lollipop.

On my horrific plane ride to Jordan the kid not only cried on take off and landing but sporadically throughout the red-eye flight. Then when the kid was quiet the stewardess decided to chat with the mom. I wanted to sleep however they were giggling about God knows what in what language. While I considered this rude I kept my mouth shut as I was in the Middle East.

Finally, after an ear deafening death wail curdle of the umpteen time I said something. While everyone looked at me like I was the bad guy I didn’t care. The cries ceased.

On the next flight the kid started early on. I turned to the mom and told her of my Jordan flight. Apparently she was so intimidated by me she said something to the kid and he was quiet the rest of the flight. Maybe she told him Santa wasn’t coming this year if he cried but who cared as long as he shut up. This was another 3 year old and upon departure I thanked the mom for controlling the kid.

The crying on the third flight caused me to have a migraine headache. Once the kid was switched to dad he was silent the rest of the flight. At one point mom wanted the kid back and I politely but resolutely told her he’s happy with his dad and please consider the other passengers. That and a bit of a glare made her return to her seat childless. Mission accomplished and I didn’t even need Tom Cruise’s help for that.

I know what you re thinking, “Wait till you are a grandmother?” Well, between you and I, I may be the only woman on the face of the Earth who has no aspirations for that role, and if it happens the kid won’t fly till he’s 18.

Oh, gosh, there goes another screamer. Can you tell I’m on a plane??

Next time I’ll discuss sitting next to the “chubby” passenger. Another friendly topic.

It’s Kathleen and if you don’t like what I say it’s still Kathleen.

Mother Daughter Relationships

I think one of the hardest things in the world is mother-daughter relationships. Whenever I think of these critters I recall the grandmother in the Parenthood movie talking about the roller coaster of life and these relationships sure are that.

My daughter is now 36 and I believe and am hopeful we are finally on the right track. With the tempestuous teen years behind us, and the early to mid 20’s into the 30’s a blur, I took a year break from this relationship catastrophe.

On the night of Hillary Clinton’s political demise she emailed me stating, “Hey, mom, she won!” At that moment I knew she cared even though wrong. I was in the midst of hysteria, tear filled for Hill and our country as I felt Hillary’s pain, and growing up a New Yorker knew what was to come.

After that fitful night we began some minor texts and even got together for 2.5 days at Thanksgiving. I flew out to Salt Lake City and we toured the town then drove through Idaho and Wyoming. T Day dinner was at a pricey movie star condo place with a restaurant overlooking the Tetons and impressive.

Staying overnight at The Spud Drive-In was a hoot. Here we sat in winter regalia watching Mrs. Doubtfire on the big screen from our cabin porch drinking wine. A priceless moment. Google the place if you don’t believe me. You’ll want to make a reservation.

Now 6 months later I’m driving out for an Austin visit as that is where she lives. I’m practicing how to keep my mouth shut and bringing duct tape just in case with hopes for a wonderful visit. Since she never reads my blog I’m okay.

So, for all those going through this kind of stuff with your adult children, have faith and don’t forget the…

Limelight Glows Again

I attended the premier of the play Calendar Girls at the Limelight Theater in St. Augustine, Florida. It was nearly a packed house. Once again the Limelight actors knocked it out of the park with lines on cue delivered with precision.

Calendar Girls is a British comedy and the true story of a group of Yorkshire women who produce a nude calendar to raise money to replace the dilapidated couch in the local hospital cancer ward visitor room. Their efforts go on to raise much more.

Keep glowing Limelight. Look forward to your next play!

Reflections on Brugge

Belgian Doll in Native Costume

As my suitcase trailed behind me through the streets of Brugge at 4 am the city stood still. The only sound in the marketplace was the rolling wheels of my suitcase as I journeyed to the train station. Stopping I observed this peace and wondered what to share with readers to make their stay even more memorable. Listed below are a few items to help with your time in Brugge.

  • Visit the tourism center at the train station or market early in your visit. Their maps are the best, get several as they tear easily.
  • There are many free places to visit. Take advantage of them. Walk to the windmills, see the many beautiful churches, investigate the canals with houseboats, explore the markets.
  • Ask directions of the seniors who live there. They know the best. Thank them for their help.
  • Keep smiling and if folks appear harsh in tone, remember it is the dialect.
  • Dress in layers. Bring a coat, scarf and light gloves despite the season. This tip from a native.
  • Have two pair of sneakers with thick soles, switch every day. Watch your step.
  • Bring muscle analgesic cream and anti-inflammatory pills to relieve aches from long walks. A back and foot massage with a dose of anti-inflammatory pills at night will ready you for the next day. If you have a hotel room with a bath, soak.
  • Hotel rooms with a refrigerator in your room are ideal. A glass of wine or beer can be enjoyed in a comfortable hotel room as well as in the marketplace. Restaurant meals start at 17 Euros.
  • Visit grocery stores for food. Pano is a reasonable deli chain with delicious food. Make a picnic in the park. Besides the romance it is fun filled and you will meet interesting natives, tourists and dogs.
  • Buy train tickets at the station. On line services incur unnecessary fees. Tip from the conductor.

Brugge is a fantasy land and a delightful escape from the real world. As you walk the streets couples hold hands, kiss and appear in love. Visit, forget about your life at home, and rekindle the sparks of your love.

Good bye Brugge

Brugge: Day 5

There are more than 10 Catholic churches in the city of Brugge and I attempted to visit as many as possible. Most are open daily till 6 pm and each have their own unique style and grace. If on a short visit see the Church of Our Lady, an immense cathedral, and the Basilica of the Holy Blood in the main square. The Basilica is known to house a relic of the holy blood of Jesus brought from the Holy Lands by the Count of Flanders who received it from Joseph of Arimathea. Each are easy to find and centrally located near the square.

Altar at St. Elisabeth Church

I attended 9:30 mass in the Beguinage at St. Elisabeth’s Church. The mass was conducted in native tongue with the angelic voices of the Benedictine sisters singing hymns. Masses are throughout the week and posted on the outside of the church.

St. Saviors Cathedral dates back to the 10th century and achieved cathedral status in the 19th century. It has survived through the ages and houses well maintained Flemish paintings and Brussels tapestries. Don’t miss the medieval tombs near the church entrance and the exquisite pipe organ.

Altar – Note Brussel Tapestry on right. They surround the altar.

Strolling to the west of the Cathedral I stumbled across a small, intimate chapel known as Our Lady of the Blinds. It was a bit of a challenge to find, however, look to the sky for her steeple and wend your way through the cross street gardens to her side door. Whether you are a person of prayer or not this small, simple chapel in its quiet setting will calm and relieve your woes.

Traveling on I visited the Church of St. Jacob, (or St. James as it is sometimes called), with its rich art collection. It hails from the 13th century beginning as a small house of prayer. The hand crafted wooden pulpit is a work of art beyond compare.

The Church of St. Walburgha has an interesting history. The docent stated this Jesuit church was renamed when Jesuit’s lost favor with local aristocracy. St. Walburgha was a female Anglo-Saxon missionary to the Frankish empire. The first picture below depicts the church exterior. In the second we see the Jesuit statute above the church entry. The third picture displays the altar and the final picture is a statute of Mary. Since this church no longer has a congregation it would be an amazing venue for classical concerts. Don’t you agree?

Journeying further east is St. Anne’s Church. It is off the beaten track but a must see. Built in the 17th century this church is of the Baroque style. As you open her doors you are filled with awe as sculpted marble arches are viewed. Walk through the central arch and paintings as well as rich wood carvings are found surrounding the inner altar.

I hope you have enjoyed our journey and will some day have the good fortune to see these churches.