1. The heat has arrived early in Tucson; it was over 100 degrees twice last week, and the upcoming week has more of the same. But the A/C in our little place works fine. We set the thermostat at 78 and we are fine. I'm grateful we've agreed on 78 rather than 84.
2. I go for an eight-mile e-bike ride every morning and another one most evenings in our retirement community. I ride with my friend Ellen. We maintain social distance while chatting about the news and whatever else comes up. I'm grateful for the constancy of a good friend.
3. Ellen and I started riding at 10 a.m. until a couple of weeks ago, then changed the start time to 9, then 8:30, then 8:15, then 8:00. We want to be back before it gets hot. I am not a morning person, but I am willing to become one for the next few months so we can take our morning ride. I'm grateful for the motivation to get out in the cooler morning air.
4. We ride at about 6 in the evening and some days we witness the most magnificent Arizona sunsets. Really, the sky here stretches from horizon to horizon, with few trees or hills to interrupt. Sometimes I have to stop and just watch the sunset. I'm grateful for red and orange fire in the sky.
5. This week Larisa's vet agreed to give her a haircut. Larisa is a Siberian forest cat with a triple coat, and she was moping around, looking like a hedgehog and lying on the laundry room floor to keep cool. Since she got home from the vet, her body shorn and looking more like a rodent, she has spent a lot of time curled up on my lap. Adjusting to these changes in body temperature takes time, I guess. I'm grateful that the vet deemed Larisa's comfort an essential service.
6. My husband Art does the grocery shopping and he always brings me about five pounds of grapes. I take them off their stems and put them in baggies to freeze. They make a wonderful popsicle-like snack. I'm grateful for something I like almost as much as ice cream.
7. No one in my retirement community has gotten the virus, as far as I know - and I'm pretty sure I would, the way "news" travels - and I'd say about 80 percent of us are observing social distancing and about 50 percent of us are wearing masks. We wish the pools were open, and the restaurant, and the pickleball courts, and all the other facilities, but the management decided to keep us safe instead. I can live with that, and I'm grateful that it's fairly easy for me to be a good sport.
8. Last week Ellen and I got in her car and went to a drive-through place for a Sonoran hot dog, which we were both craving. She was in the front seat on the driver's side with her mask on, and I was in the back passenger seat with my mask on. We got our food and found a shady place to eat it, still sitting in the car. Then we went to a take-out place for two scoops of ice cream (she says $17.50 was way to much to pay and we should never go there again, and maybe we won't, but BOY was that ice cream good!). Ellen said she felt like my driver and I said I'd give her a big tip, and she laughed. Ellen is the only person I have been in a car with, except for Art, since this all started. Even when she and I ride our bikes on the Tucson Loop, we take two cars with our bikes on separate racks, and meet at the trailhead. I'm grateful to have a friend who shares my thoughts about keeping safe.
9. I had an MRI last week to look at my lower back. I'm grateful that the experience is much less harrowing than the ones I had nine years ago. The tube was twice as large, I got to choose the music that came through my headphones, the technician told me what was going on the whole time. And I'd worn my mask into the facility. Once I was lying down I just moved it up from my nose and mouth to cover my eyes so I didn't have to look. It was almost - not quite, but almost - a meditative experience!
10. I don't have the virus, and neither does anyone else I know. I am grateful!