Sunday, October 28, 2012

Uniquely Carved Pumpkins

Yesterday we went to the Foothills Mall to see the Southwest Woodcarvers Association's display of carved pumpkins. .  They are amazing as you will see from Mark's photos.  As woodcarvers they pay detailed attention to their designs which take several hours to complete.  Some of the carvers paint the designs before completion.  They were doing this as a raffle/fundraiser for a local nonprofit with pumpkins donated by nearby WalMart.  Check these out and enjoy another Tucson "brightspot."

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tucson Chili Festival and Cook-Off: another BrightSpot

You still have time, if you live in Tucson, to head downtown to El Presidio Park (just west of the Downtown/Main Library) and enjoy the varieties of chili offered by Tucson Firefighters. You can listen to music, watch "Zombies" walk through the crowds, cool off you palate with Eegee's ice or frozen yogurt.  We went down for lunch today and enjoyed another "BrightSpot" in Tucson.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sawmill Run in Summerhaven

Mark and I try to do a "mountain Monday" every month and often it is to our wonderful Mt. Lemmon.  We stopped at the Sawmill Run restaurant during the summer which was our first visit to the new place that "replaced" the famous (or infamous, depending on your experience) "Pie Lady's" place which served up mostly pies all year long.  The Pie Lady died, and the new place was built with an extended patio, bar, and expanded dining area inside with a welcoming fireplace.  Our first summer visit to Sawmill Run was very good and so, even though we had only planned on sharing a piece of pie (they offer a more limited dessert menu but you can still go crazy with apple, peach cobbler, a decadant brownie or crumbly cherry pie, a la mode, of course, which is what we had)--we couldn't resist the tangy taste of a pulled pork BBQ which we also shared.

They added a side for each of us (one side, normally accompanies the sandwich and a pickle) and we relished our entree.  The BBQ was a good blend of sweet and salty and the pork was tender and came in ample chunks on the solid bun.  The veggies, a combination of red peppers, zuccini, corn, and yellow squash, were finely diced and sprinkled with carroway seeds.  Mark said he liked the "peppery flavor" that balanced with the BBQ.  I had macaroni and cheese, made with white cheddar and sprinkled with panko crumbs.  Unlike most M&C at diners, this was not salty and I could have doubled my portion I liked it so much. 

But then I wouldn't have room for dessert and the cherry pie was exactly how my mother and grandmother would have baked it.  The bottom crust was thin and buttery, the crumbles on top of brown sugar, butter and bits of flour were light.  And, ah, the filling was full of plump whole cherries, tart and sweet. 

We both will return next month and maybe the chill in the air will contribute to our first experience by the fireplace.  Check out their menu and hours of operation at .

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tucson Meet Yourself: a very bright BrightSpot

This weekend was the 38th year for the Tucson Meet Yourself Festival.  The weather yesterday was cooler than usual and so we packed in three hours with visiting Ohio-Green Valley friends.  We started off with tacos and Pico de Gallo and then visited the booths before being entertained by the Maguire Academy of Dance.  One of the dancers, second from the right in the photo, is the seven year old daughter of my physical therapist.  She's lucky to have a dad who will always be taking care of her ankles, knees and other dancing joints!!

A display of quilts, some from the Arizona Centennial Exhibit at the Arizona Historical Society, was one stop I didn't want to miss.

By the Convention Center, Kidlore had a fun corner with cardboard boxes and chalking making on the sidewalk.  Remember when kids could have fun with just boxes or chalk---well, they still do!!
Hopefully, if you are a Tucsonan, you were able to enjoy the Festival this year.  If you are an out-of-towner, plan for it next year--and there are now ongoing events you can plug into if you want to take on some of the light of this Tucson BrightSpot.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Here's another video link to a movie I want to see and which others have recommended.  There are many signs in the universe pointing to UP^.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mark Grushka writes a review

The Curry Leaf Indian Restaurant has become my favorite place to get great curry dishes. This small place has great food and reasonable prices. A lot of people have gotten use to “Buffet Style” Indian food but do not be put off. If you want variety, order your entrĂ©e “Thali” style and you will be treated to a great variety of side dishes including Tandori chicken, soup, Naan and lots of other delicacies for under 10 dollars. The quality is what makes this place so great. The owner will often come out and is very interested in answering questions you may have about the food. The Chai is also the best I have had in Tucson.

Here are pictures of two “Thali” style plates.

PALAK PANEER: Homemade cheese cooked with fresh spinach

LAMB CURRY: I always get it “medium” hot

Happy Movie

This will make you smile:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sonoran Glass School: Another BrightSpot

As my followers know (but to update newcomers to the blog), I periodically write about "BrightSpots" in the Tucson region that demonstrate the good things about living here.  This week, I want to shine the light on the Sonoran Glass School,

For three years, or so, I have wanted to go to their Open House for Pumpkin Glass-Blowing and this year, we made it.  They had a waiting list of 3 1/2 hours of folks want to "blow their own" pumpkin, acorn or ornament.  There is a nice gallery of items for sale and the prices are very reasonable.  We bought two magnets for $4.00 each (2 for $8.00 or 1 for $5.00).  There was a table of "seconds" with small flaws in the products and a very nice mark-down. 

Besides watching the glass blowers, we also watched one of their faculty making glass beads.  Both of us want to take a class sometime and hope to invite visiting relatives and friends to stop by and consider taking a class as well.  Mark, the "safety man" was very impressed by the ventilation system and overall standard of safety in the building.  To quote him:  "it's a very well designed ventilation system" and "it showed some real forethought in reducing the hazards."  That's high praise from him.

So enjoy these pics.  There are other photos we can post if you comment back and let me know you want to see more!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Grain Field in Marana, Arizona

I recall this season in the midwest: when grain stalks were tassling, the days were shortening and a full moon shone so my Grandfather could linger longer in the fields. Here is a sorghum field and cow pasture in Marana.

Late Summer Poem
Farm fields are farm fields. 
Cows are cows chewing dry grass
Flicking their tails
with the wind.