Archive for Retirement

VernaBob Blog Now 13 Years Old

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It has been quite a long time since we first acquired the vernabob.com domain, so it’s not one of those suddenly we’re thirteen sort of days. In fact, we probably have had that domain name for nearly twenty years, but only started the Wordpress© blog thirteen years ago today. I have the archives from the old websites on some media somewhere, but don’t really intend to revive any of them anytime soon, if ever.

Now that we’re retired and living in our lovely desert casita, we don’t blog as much as in the past. Social media and smart phone messaging keep us in touch with family and friends and let them know what we’re up to and can mutually know what they’re doing as well.

We intend to keep posting here for posterity (it is an online diary, after all) when the events or whims of the day seem like something we want to share or put in the blog for storage. Some photos Verna or I take are too good to not share in a couple of places, for example. We also plan to travel some and that activity ought to be recorded.

So we will be here sporadically until next year when we will post about the fourteenth blogaversary.

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Learning the Largo

Largo Bridge Music

For the past couple of weeks, I have been studying and practicing on the keyboard a small part of the score from the Opera Xerxes by G.F. Handel. The excerpt above has been transposed to the key of C major which is easier for me and my arthritic old fingers to perform as I learn the fingering and tempo.

The piece I’m learning is the bridge music between the recitative Frondi Tenere (Branches Tender and Beautiful) and the aria Ombra Mai Fu (A Shadow There Never Was) both of which are sung by the title character Xerxes of Persia. The piece is only fifteen measures in length and can be executed in about 35 to 40 seconds but the fingering and tempo are a little challenging to me. I’m sure I will get it down soon, but in the meantime, I’m still practicing.

Handel’s Largo, as it is popularly known, is actually a Larghetto tempo, slightly faster than Largo. The opera was designed to be a comedy with Xerxes, a Persian King, falling in love with a Plane Tree. Regardless of the original intent, the interlude above along with the aria Ombra Mai Fu is not only one of the most beautiful compositions in classical music, but has also been adapted with lyrics and performed as “Holy Art Thou” in Christian Churches.

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Local Mountains Snow

Local Mountains Snow

Since last Wednesday, we have had colder temperatures in our area. Just five years ago on this date, we were wearing shorts, but not this year. Both of us got new winter jackets just to keep warm here in “Dry Heat” Arizona. LOL

I took this photo today of to Weaver mountain range just fifteen miles north of town. The mountains have a nice coat of snow, but it won’t last very long since this is Arizona and the weather will undoubtedly become more spring like over the next few days.

As I said, we have had some unusually cold (even for winter) days. Our neighbor, who teaches school in nearby Congress came home early a couple of days ago and reported a foot of snow had closed her school for the day. Her car was caked with still fresh snow when she drove into the area.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Live Tree Ornaments

Goldfinch Cardinal

We had one of our spring-like winter days today with mostly clear skies and warmish (not as warm as we like) temperatures. While eating breakfast we could see the birds frequenting the feeders on the little hill behind the RV driveway.

I speculated that some of the birds would hang around after breakfast, so I headed out there with my camera and 300mm zoom lens. I managed to get several shots of the little flying critters including the two above. On the left is a goldfinch and on the right is a cardinal, both males of their respective species. They were both briefly “decorations” on the mesquite tree up there. Click on either image to enlarge.

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Happy New Year!

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We had a pretty good day today. It started out with a little light snow, some of which stuck. Snow is unusual for us here and, coincidentally, it snowed here on New Year’s Eve in 2014, but today’s snowfall was nothing compared to that event. After it warmed up a bit, some gentle rainfall slushed all the snow away this afternoon.

2018 was good to us. Even though we had some surgery on the thyroid last march, there have been no health issues other than the usual arthritis and other aging things. We started a diet a couple of months ago and it has been working. I lost over 10 pounds so far and a couple of notches on the belt. Verna is doing as well.

In the coming year, we have springtime plans to head to Colorado. This year, we had a marker placed on an ancestor’s grave in Montrose, CO and we are planning to go view the work and to place a wreath or three. We also will be visiting in Pueblo, CO to place more wreaths and perhaps meet up with some long lost cousins.

For 2019, we wish everyone a wonderful, prosperous and happy new year!

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More Backyard Birds

Curve Billed Thrasher

Today, like many Mondays, I went up on the knoll behind the house and replenished the bird feeders. We have a Seed Block Cage, a Bell Holder, two large Nyjer Seed Finch Feeders, a smaller Finch Feeder and a Songbird Seed Feeder.

After finishing up on the knoll, the usual avian customers came out to enjoy the fruits of our labor. I got out my Canon EOS with the 300mm zoom lens and captured these three up near the feeders. Top: Curve Billed Thrasher, Bottom Left: A Male Gambel’s Quail and Bottom Right: Abert’s Towhee. The latter of the three, we don’t see very often, but it was availing itself of some of the songbird seeds after it posed in a mesquite tree. Click on any image to enlarge.

Gambel’s Quail Abert’s Towhee

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Rainbow’s End

Rainbow’s End

Yesterday, we had some badly-needed rainfall here in the desert. It didn’t reach flash flood stage, but we got a fair amount of rain.

As the main part of the rain clouds passed to the northeast, conditions were perfect for a full double rainbow, horizon to horizon. I positioned myself to capture this photo of our house with the rainbow seemingly ending on it. Click on the image to enlarge.

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