Squeeeee puppays!

My company gives me five paid days off each year to volunteer. I decided to use this time to help walk and socialize dogs at the local animal shelter.

This is Howie, a rambunctious and fun little Pit Bull mix.

This is Peanut, supposedly a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix.

I have to confess, though – I have an ulterior motive. I want to adopt one of the puppies here at the shelter and give it a good home. Walking and socializing them is a great opportunity to get to know them a little better first and find the right one.

Maybe someone like this guy?

Click here for larger photos.

To be continued…

More critters

Time for a couple more critter photos.

We found this desert turtle in the middle of the road near a friend’s house. It was pretty lively, full of energy, scootin’ around all over the place. The discolored face is probably from eating cactus fruit.

On weekend mornings we’re in our backyard working out. Apparently a family of javelinas have a established path they travel across our property about a hundred feet behind our house. Sometimes we see them moseying down the hill like in this photo.

Click here for more and larger critter pictures.

Back from our trip to the South

We took a trip to the South for some R&R.

Among other things, we visited friends that moved from California a few years ago and now have a nice house on a lake in North Carolina.

We spent some time near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where they have a KISS coffeehouse.

We saw some alligators at Huntington Beach State Park.

We found out that all liquor stores in South Carolina close at 7pm as this sign made very clear.

Click here for many more photos from our trip.

My new backyard CrossFit jungle gym is ready!

Check it out! Now I can do CrossFit workouts at home. I designed the setup and somebody fabricated it in my backyard. It’s got:

  • Pull-up bars 8 and 6.5 feet high
  • Ring mounts 10 feet high
  • Wall ball targets 8 and 10 feet high
  • Climbing rope mount 12 feet high
  • 15×10 concrete weight platform

We used it this morning for the first time. Sandy enjoyed the view from the rower while I did this morning’s CrossFit workout.

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Tubac, AZ

One Sunday afternoon we drove down to Tubac, a little town close to the Mexican border.

It’s mainly for tourists and weekend shoppers. There are many artists that create pottery, iron sculptures, wood furniture, etc. and sell it to the visitors. The art work ranges from traditional over kitschy to cool and just crazy.

Even though it’s a modern town, it still has an old West feel to it, including some of the buildings.

Click here for many more photos.

Ever been ostrich fishin’?

Turns out there’s an ostrich farm about half an hour from our house. There’s lots of fun stuff to do. You can feed various critters, including ostriches, deer, goats, donkeys, and lorikeets.

You can also go on a tour of the farm and surrounding desert in a tour bus turned monster truck driven by a crazy redneck chick, with a stop to do some ostrich fishin’.

Fun way to spend an afternoon.

Click here for many more larger photos.

You womenfolk might want to skip this post…

Here are a few more photos of critters encountered in Tucson, and some of them are not for the squeamish.

A millipede I found casing our garage.

A tarantula we found on the side of our house one evening when we got home. I held a ruler next to it so you can get an idea of the size of this thing.

Its leg span was at least 6 inches/15 centimeters.

My buddy Thom, a home inspector, encountered this scorpion during an inspection and sent me this photo.

His hand in the photo for scale helps demonstrate the size of this creature.

Click here to see larger versions of the photos.

Btw, if you’re wondering about the seemingly different wall colors of the first photos, they’re actually the same. One photo was taken in extremely bright daylight with an iPhone 3G, the other one was taken with a Canon SD800IS with flash while it was completely dark.

Our garage is now organized

We bought a storage system for the garage including cabinets and wall organizer system, and spent most of last weekend in the garage getting organized. We moved everything away from the walls, set up the new cabinets and carts and workbench, mounted wall panels, installed the hooks and mounts. Then we organized all our stuff and decided what to store where. It was a long, sweaty job, but it was worth it. The garage looks really nice now and everything has its place.

Click here to see larger versions of the photos.

We got music on the patio

While we didn’t get any electrical plans for the house, it appeared that the house was pre-wired for sound. With a multi-meter and some detective work, I was able to figure out that the wires that were sticking out high up on the patio wall were speaker wires and how they were routed to the living room.

Our receiver can handle multiple zones, so I mounted some outdoor speakers and connected them to Zone 2 on the receiver. The receiver also does Internet radio, which means we can now stream Pandora straight from the receiver to the patio for some background entertainment – sweet!

Patio speakers


There is a lot of natural desert where we live. This means there are tons of critters all around us.

We were told about javelinas but haven’t seen them yet.

We have seen many birds and insects, lots of rabbits, and coyotes.

One of the birds you see around here a lot are roadrunners. Contrary to popular belief, they do not go “MEEEEP! MEEEEP!”, produce dust clouds, or hunt coyotes.

There are also many lizards of all shapes and sizes. Here are two different ones we saw today:

There is a big brown lizard that lives apparently under our hot tub, but he’s photo shy.

Tonight as we were out for a walk around the neighborhood we saw our first snake.

Looks like a young rattle snake, soaking up the heat from the pavement.