Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day 2009

Christmas 2009 has come and gone, and what a day it was! A beauty of a day here, though cold by Tucson standards with highs in only the 50s (F). But talking to far-flung relatives, some currently involved in ongoing blizzards, we felt lucky indeed.

We had a Christmas Eve dinner party Thursday, with 7 attending, and I spent most of the day tending the fire smoking a 20 pound turkey! After 6.5 hours and another 15 degrees to go, I moved it into the kitchen oven because I had hungry guests arriving. The turkey came out great, followed by standard Midwest holiday fare (green salad, mashed 'taters, corn, green bean casserole), and a pumpkin-chocolate cheesecake. Everyone got appropriately stuffed and we've got smoked turkey to last us into the weekend! Sorry, no photos of that event...

Our friend Donna came down from Phoenix and is staying with us for a few days, so became part of our holiday tradition this year. After staying up late after the above dinner, excited relatives phoned and woke us at the ungodly hour of 9am! Donna had brought down pumpkin bread mix, so before opening presents she and Melinda made muffins and bread - a real treat. We got piles of presents from family and friends - a pile almost big enough to hide behind - we are lucky indeed! We got a fine mix of clothes, linens, practical (rice cooker!), picture frames, and treats Donna rescued from her offices at work. After watching her try to photograph a lizard with her camera phone on a previous trip, we surprised her with a little digital camera, and we've all been learning how to use it. It has already been used to e-mail pics back to the Southeast to her family, and I think it will get a lot of use.

Of course, part of the tradition lately has been another trip up Mount Lemmon to again photograph the sunset alignment behind Kitt Peak. Even though we were successful last week, the weather was great, so went up in case others wanted to join us. We had another fellow who had joined us last week who returned, otherwise it was just our two groups. It was obvious that about half of Tucson had gone up the mountain to play in the snow. There was literally a constant stream of vehicles coming down, some sporting snowmen on hoods or roofs, some trucks shovelled full of snow. Did I mention the southernmost ski area in the country is on Mount Lemmon? Anyway, the constant stream of vehicles actually blocked one of my sunset exposures, otherwise didn't have much effect on our operations. Another beautiful sunset, though this time we weren't above the inversion layer, so the sun got quite dim as it dropped the last bit into the Observatory. It also added a more jagged edge as the image of the sun passed through the different layers of air.

We packed up more quickly than last week, and got down to the Babad Do'ag (from the Native American name "Frog Mountain") overlook in time to see the stars and lights of Tucson come out in the dusk. We even tried a self portrait that came out pretty well. Kitt Peak was still easily visible 50 miles to the southwest. Even the innermost planet Mercury, shockingly bright a week ago on our last trip, was still visible low in the sky. But as it rounds the sun more quickly than our Earth, the crescent phase it extends will make it fade quickly - we may not see it again this apparition. As we drove towards home, we had thoughts of walking through the lights of Winterhaven, but after seeing the crowds of people with similar ideas, we pressed on for home to feed the hungry herd of cats, and break into the turkey leftovers for the adults. All in all a great day spent with friends, family and a fun outing!

1 comment:

no1duzitbetta said...

Happy Holidays it's me from South Point in ya news tracker... that's a nice widget.