Monsoon

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Last night was our first monsoon rain of the season.  The winds were ferocious, driving the rain at a 30° angle across my patio, drenching all of the patio furniture, breaking off huge chunks of the wandering jew (spiderwort) in the corner pot, ripping most of the cat’s claw vine from the wall.

And downing power lines on the west side.  This morning to get to work I had to drive all of the way up Anklam to Speedway, then back down to Greasewood to get to Pima College.

Travel restrictions are in place on some westside roads as crews work to repair power lines downed by Monday storms. In all, twelve poles were knocked down yesterday.

And due to those downed power lines, my power went off at 6pm when I was finishing up my second Italy blog.  Would I lose all of my work?  What to do with no electricity?  Ate my dinner of leftovers cold as the microwave was out.  Couldn’t run the dishwasher.  No computer.  Couldn’t watch the rest of the DVD on the telly.  Couldn’t finish my ironing (darn!)   So had to resort to a book and the little battery-powered light that hooks on to the top of the book.  But the AC and the ceiling fan were off, so the house started to warm up.

At 11:30pm the lights and the radio came back on.  Had to get up and turn everything off.  (Yes – would have been smarter to turn everything off before I went to bed.)

Looks like most of the blog had been automatically saved.  (Had to work all day today so will finish it up tomorrow.)  And as I had put a new battery in my drip system, that didn’t have to be reset.

The Parched Desert

Boy, did we need even that tiny bit of rain to cool off the desert.  This weekend a deer was lying under the mesquite tree, panting, a roadrunner stopped by my patio, panting, a rabbit on my patio (ok, not panting).

With their thick fur and tiny tongue, rabbits can’t pant like dogs to keep cool. Rabbits’ main cooling comes from their ears which act as radiators. Their ears have the largest amount of thin fur and exposed skin on their bodies.

The birdbath, refilled daily, is extremely popular with the doves, towhees, flycatchers, mockingbirds, cardinals, finches, cactus wrens.  (Don’t roadrunners need water?)  And some of those birds were panting!

The desert had looked parched – the creosote yellowing, the palo verdes without leaves, but covered in dry seed pods, the acacias casting branches to survive, the desert sage withering, only the mesquites covered with green leaves.  My rosemary has taken on a yellow tinge, the myosporum is killing off branches, the rain lilies just mounds of dead grass-like leaves, the wildflowers casting off seed heads and fading.

End of June

From last Saturday:

Posted 6/29/2013: Tucson records second straight high at or above 110 degrees.  The hottest June on record.  The Old Pueblo topped 112 degrees this afternoon.

The Desert Museum is open until 10 pm on Saturday nights.  Friend N and I went to see the art show at the Ironwood Gallery, hummingbirds by friend Cita Scott (see my blog https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/animals-edibles-art/ for photos), and metal hangings by Wil Lala, from Kentucky and Belize, made from square inches of soda can metal wired together, such as this one, Tears (taken by N on her iphone), which takes up a whole wall.  wil lala1Cita was having dinner, but Wil gave us a talk on his work.  He started these hangings after having seen the work of El Anatsui.  (I thought that I had mentioned the Ghanaian artist in a previous blog, but couldn’t find it.  His work is tremendous.  Here is an example, from an article in the NY Times, and it takes up a huge El ANATSUIwall.  You’ll have to check out the Times article for details.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/arts/design/a-million-pieces-of-home-el-anatsui-at-brooklyn-museum.html?pagewanted=all)  Wil’s work doesn’t hold a candle to Anatsui’s, but no chance Anatsui’s would come to Tucson.  Here is Wil’s web site: http://greenartbylala.com/

We first went to the gallery, then on to a fab dinner at the Ocotillo Café, inside as it was just “cooling down” from 112°.  Afterwards we strolled along the lighted pathways to see the docent talks.  Seemed a bit warm still; N check the app on her iphone: 108° at 8pm!

On our way to leave we stopped at the Gallery again, having missed Cita’s hummingbirds hatching.  (We had a chat with her in the restaurant.)  Note: all of these hummingbirds were in her back yard!
Now there was a docent with an aquarium of cockroaches.  (It was probably too hot outside for him.)  Found out that only the male cockroaches can fly.  (Back when I lived in Shadow Hills, whenever a new house was being started and the sewer was opened for connection, they’re be massed above the front door in the evening light.)  Anyway, the docent, before he retired, had studied mosquitoes.  Says he used to feed them from his own arm, but when he was out of town his wife wouldn’t do it for him.

Mosquito

mosquitoOne small mosquito.  Not huge like those in Alaska (the Alaska State Bird).  Two very tiny bites, barely itching.  A soft buzzing around my ear.  Then it was on the wall, and I took a swat with the newspaper.  It escaped into another time/ dimension!  Back on the skirt of my night table.  Another swat, another escape into another time/ dimension.  Two days of this, making sure every inch of my body covered by the sheet at night, but two more minuscule bites.  On the third day, working on my computer in my office, it appeared again, now full of blood and sluggish, perhaps tired from the flight upstairs.  I grabbed it in my hand and squished it!  Today son-of-mosquito lit on my bed.  Smacked it with the newspaper, causing the cat to jump in fright, but this one couldn’t teleport, and I got it.

One mosquito is no surprise.  Two is pushing it here in the desert.  When the third one showed up I figured that I was breeding them in the house.  Sure enough, my house-sitter, when I was in Italy, watered not only the small plants that I had asked her to, but also the large ones.  Three of these were in self-watering containers, but sure enough, the other pot was sitting in a larger pot with half an inch of water in the bottom, and when I took it outside to empty it, a flurry of mosquitoes flew out.  Problem solved ‘cept for the few still flying around the house, with a life span of two weeks.  I have to coat myself with deet now in my own house.

after the quake

after the quake2after the quake1Had to change my Rogue Theater ticket from Saturday night to Friday to be able to go to the Desert Museum.  I’m really sorry that Saturday was the last night for the play, ‘cause I would have highly recommended it.  after the quake is based on two short stories by Haruki Murakami , “Honey Pie” and “Superfrog Saves Tokyo” adapted for the stage by Frank Galati.  The six-year-old little girl was fabulous, as was the frog (whose only costume was green gloves).

I had read Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which is totally weird.  Here is a review of it: http://www.nytimes.com/1997/11/02/books/east-meets-west.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm  Anyway, Murakami is Japan’s best-selling novelist.

Sorry you missed the play.

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