Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Post Vaccination Life

It's that time of year for the saguaro blooms

 Now that life is feeling a bit more normal, we've been busy taking care of unfinished business that was put on hold over the past year. Since we no longer had the need for a vehicle suitable for towing behind a motor home, we wanted a newer, more comfortable small SUV. Our 2014 Honda CRV was a great car, and after visiting way too many car dealers we ended up back at Honda, trading it in for a 2019 CRV. After putting in some miles on a recent trip to southern Arizona, we are very pleased with the ride and all of the safety features it's equipped with that we didn't even know existed. We're still getting used to the push button start, but we love that there is no more fumbling for keys in a pocket or purse.

Our first big trip in the new vehicle was to Green Valley, AZ, where we spent 4 nights in an Airbnb and got to visit with Alex and Ellen, who were staying on their lot in Benson. We also visited former RV friends Gary and Leslie, whom we met in Sisters, OR many years ago. They have a lovely house in Green Valley with wonderful views of the mountains, which I failed to take photos of.

Walk around the lake at Canoa Ranch in Green Valley

We hiked to Bog Springs in Madera Canyon where it was cooler among the trees.

Gary and Leslie have lived in Green Valley off and on for 10 years and they helped the Garden Club build the lovely Desert Meadows park.

Residents can get their own garden plot.

We then moved on to Sierra Vista for a few days, staying in cute little casita on a golf course. We had not been to this area since 2013 so we had to take a day trip to Bisbee, one of our favorite little towns. It hadn't changed.

Got our exercise walking around town and up and down hundreds of stairs followed by lunch at the Old Bisbee Brewing Company, our first dining out experience since Covid. What a treat!

Bisbee is such an interesting and quirky place.

Alex and Ellen came by another day and we had our second dining out experience, this time at Indochine, a very good Vietnamese restaurant in Sierra Vista. 

We also did a nice hike in nearby Coronado National Memorial. I think we hiked the same trail when we were there years before but neither of us was sure. There is definitely some benefit to losing your memory!

After returning from our trip it was time for me to have cataract surgery. I am now a week out from the second eye and doing great. Having worked in ophthalmology I was very nervous about the procedure since I knew that even though most people have no complications, for those that do it can be vision threatening. Fortunately, all went well, and in spite of the fact that I had LASIK many years ago, which makes it more challenging to calculate the correct power of the intraocular lens, I now have 20/20 vision in each eye for distance, although I still need reading/computer glasses. 

We've also been part of a research study at Arizona State University to test for COVID-19 neutralizing antibodies in the blood of fully vaccinated people. We aren't yet three months out from our second vaccine, and when we were tested last week, my neutralizing antibodies were not detectable and Jim's were just barely detectable. When tested the previous month mine were moderate and Jim's were high. Does this mean we are no longer immune? No, but it does mean that it's possible we could get infected and it would take our B-cells a few days to realize they recognize the virus before kicking in and fighting it off. The doctor who invented the test told us they don't know yet if this means you will get sick or be asymptomatic if you get exposed, and whether or not you will be contagious to others, but time will tell as the data is tracked. Made us feel a bit less safe than we thought we were, and it probably means that boosters will be necessary one of these days. 

Kitten season is here and we've been very busy working on intake requests for Fearless Kitty Rescue. Last month we got requests to take in 191 cats and kittens. Since we only have the capacity to take in around 25-30 per month, depending on how many get adopted out, I spend quite a bit of time sending out turn-down emails. We still do our once/week caregiving shift, and I am also on the Socialization Team, which consists of spending time with some of the shyer, less social cats to get them ready for adoption. It's rewarding to see the progress we make with some of the kitties who initially want nothing to do with us. 

Feather the three-legged cat gets to free-roam the building. She was very leery of people but is now buddies with some of the staff, making slow progress. 

Nugget, one of the most adorable kittens I've ever seen. She and her brother Cheeseburger were found in a box in a McDonald's parking lot. They got adopted quickly.

I have one more eye appointment in mid-June, and we both have dental issues to take care of, but after that, we hope to take a trip for a couple months this summer. Just haven't quite figured out where we're going or where we're staying but I'm sure we will work it out. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

All Vaxed Up and Nowhere to Go


Scene from Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, Cave Creek, AZ

So, we are going on almost two weeks since we got our second COVID vaccine. We had some reactions to both the first and second Moderna shots but survived the sore arm, chills, fever,            backache, and general malaise. Jim hit the jackpot and got "COVID arm", which is really a thing. We're glad it's over, but now what? 

With the assumption that we are now relatively safe, we've made several doctor/dentist/hair appointments that have been put off for far too long. It feels strange to get back out in the world and get near other people without fear of getting sick, even though we are still wearing masks. 

In the meantime we've been doing our usual hikes, bike rides, walking around town, and working with Fearless Kitty Rescue. Nothing much to say, so here are some photos.

The following are from a loop hike at Spur Cross Ranch. We've been checking out some different trails.

Looks like this saguaro is being smothered by its arms

As dry as it's been we were surprised to see any water in Cave Creek

Several years ago we saw lots of dragonflies here, but none this time

It's a lovely place for a hike

One day we hiked a new-to-us trail at Coon Bluff along the Salt River, about 25 miles from Fountain Hills. The bonus was after our hike we walked down near the river to see the wild horses that come there every afternoon.

A zoomed sneak peak at the horses from atop the bluff

We found a fairly easy way to get down off the bluff and took the low road back

It was a good hike. We'll definitely do it again.

And then the horses. There was a volunteer from the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group who told us a bit about the horses and warned about not getting too close. So of course we saw a man petting one while the woman he was with took photos. We were secretly hoping the horse would kick him, but no such luck.

It's a big herd

A little horse play. You can see how close people were getting to them.

Mark and Bobbie spent a few nights at McDowell Mountain campground on their way back north. We hiked, biked, and had a few beers with them. Always a fun time.

Resting at Jackass Junction on the Pemberton trail

Dispite the drought we found some blooming ocatillo at Adero Canyon a few days ago

And as always a few cat photos. This is the River family. Mama Ellie and her kittens Danube, Mosel, Rhone, and Rhine. She made pretty kittens, but none of them have her coloring. They are very friendly and will be adopted quickly.


We have a little road trip planned for next month so stay tuned. Really looking forward to some new scenery.