My grandson was helping me pull weeds. But Grandma, these have yellow flowers. Why do we have to pull them? The line between weeds and wildflowers is a wavy one, or maybe a dashed one. Had to kill all of the weeds at my last house, then move into another rental house, 4.7 miles away, only to get a note from the HOA that we have to have all of our weeds pulled by April 1. No joke.
But speaking of wildflowers – while the east coast is covered in snow there is a spectacular wildflower display here in the desert wherever the housing developments haven’t scraped the ground and replaced the natural desert with a few trees, cacti, bushes trimmed into tight balls, and lots of gravel. This photo from the Web of the flowers at Picacho Peak, where my daughter and family are camping for the weekend with the Boy Scouts, there to see the wildflowers and the reenactment of the Civil War battle at Picacho Peak. (http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/picachopeak.html) Unfortunately, the hot weather (it’s 92° right now, at 5pm) has also brought out the rattlesnakes, so she texted me that they’re leaving after the roasting of the marshmallows tonight.
My life has gotten just a tad busier the beginning of February.
Did dislike the last rental. January’s gas bill was $148!!! The insulation was terrible, and, in the winter, it was cold downstairs, with drafts, and hot upstairs. But good news – hah! So many things had gone wrong with it (such as the heat going out four times in one year!) that they decided to sell.
My lease was up end of January, then was on month-to-month, but four families had looked at it in the first week, so I figured I better find another rental as my son-in-law won’t finish his training (to be a hospital CFO) for another year, and when the hospital chain assigns him to a hospital somewhere, if it’s a nifty place, I may move there too, to be near the grandkids. Another move! Much harder than finding a place to buy, as rental agents “own” their own properties. Thank goodness for the internet!
Online, looked at 50 (!) houses near here (which means near my daughter and my grandkids), and chose five. One zapped me for having a cat, so I looked at four. Found a smaller, less expensive rental (but with a view of the desert and mountains) west of the last house. The people were moving out the middle of February, so I started packing, yet again.
Here’s a photo from my bedroom window, after I got all of the windows cleaned. (Not as good as the professional photo above, but it is 5pm, with its long shadows.)
Was chest high in boxes on that first weekend and I was sore to the bone, double-popping ibuprofen. In order to get my security deposit back, had to have the empty house clean, including the tops of the fans (ten feet up in the living room), the outdoor lights, garage, you name it. And no weeds. (This all in the lease that I had signed.) Of course, we had had our winter rain, and then the temperatures soared into the 80’s. Never saw so many weeds. Too many too small to pull, even with my grandson’s small hands, so I had to resort to the dreaded poison. (Sorry Mitch! It was that v. $2200.) My daughter, having never read Silent Spring, had a poison sprayer canister, which I borrowed.
Final inspection. A woman came to spend an hour taking photos of everything with cabinets open, lights on. Then she gave the set to the rental agent (the fourth one I’ve had, and never met) and he would decide how much of the security deposit to return in two+ weeks (per contract). The photographer called me the next day and said that they had just put a check in the mail for the entire security deposit. Guess I overdid it!
Speaking of rental agents- I mentioned to my present one that the garbage disposal was backing up and she said she’d get back to me. Four days later and no return call to my message left, so I tried it when the dishwasher had filled up the sink, and it magically fixed itself. What a way to get things done… (There’s an apocryphal story that Napoleon opened his mail about once a month. Why? Because if it was still important after a month, he attended to it; if not, one of his minions had dealt with it, or it was just junk mail.)
Too Much to Protest, Too Little Time
As I was packing, moving, unpacking, etc I was feeling very guilty about not having enough time to protest! Sure, I had emailed my senators regarding Trump’s appointments, especially of Scott Pruitt and Betsy DeVos. (See my blog from January: https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/trumps-appointees/) As if Flake and McCain care about my opinion. But my rep is Tom O’Halleran, and he’s a Democrat, so no prob. Next was the protest against Monsanto, which is building a huge greenhouse near here. https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/monsanto/
Then I sent off an email to my governor because he…
…defended state laws that let parents use public funds to send children to private and parochial schools. But he sidestepped questions of whether he would sign legislation to open up that possibility to all 1.1 million public school students statewide.
Republican lawmakers in the Arizona Legislature are attempting to fast-track a plan to eventually offer vouchers to every public-school student and, in separate legislation, privatize oversight of the public money given to parents to pay private-school tuition and other expenses.
The Legislature is training its sights on the plan to broaden eligibility for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, a school-choice program created six years ago for disabled children. Under the legislation, all of Arizona’s 1.1 million students would be eligible for the program by 2020.
Sen. Debbie Lesko, of Peoria, and Rep. John Allen, of Scottsdale, have introduced identical bills to expand the program in their chambers, a move intended to expedite passage. ESAs allow families to use public-school dollars on private-school tuition and other educational expenses.
As I had pointed out to my governor, private schools, including Catholic or Christian, are segregated – either by economic inequality (with shades of race discrimination) or by religion. As Wikipedia points out,
Separation of church and state is a phrase used by Thomas Jefferson and others expressing an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
Consequently, I believe that it is in our constitution that our taxes should not be used to fund private and parochial schools, and that includes the school tax credit, which comes out of our taxes. But Arizona is a red state, so it’ll no doubt pass.
Zero to 1.34 Million
You must read Nicholas Kristof’s column from Sunday’s New York Times from a month ago, regarding Trump’s original travel ban:
This was in my Sierra Club magazine:
Michael Brune on the People’s Climate Mobilization, Feb 24 2017
Two years ago, the first People’s Climate March took place on a crisp, blue-sky September day in Manhattan. An estimated 400,000 people, representing the full display of American diversity, were united in the same righteous purpose: to demand that our leaders act fast to address the climate crisis.
The day was filled with promise, and in the following years our enthusiasm was reciprocated with progress. The Paris Agreement. The Clean Power Plan. The rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. We could say that, powered by a movement of millions, the United States was truly leading on climate.
Now the political landscape is different. Donald Trump’s election will upend U.S. climate policy. I doubt that many citizens voted for Trump because they were enthusiastic about his views on climate change, but that’s beside the point.
The Trump-Pence administration has no mandate to roll back environmental progress. Polling before the election showed that seven in 10 Americans agreed the government should do something about global warming. Polling after the election showed that 86 percent of voters—including three out of four of those who voted for Trump—support “action to accelerate the development and use of clean energy.”
… we can’t afford to underestimate the Trump administration. Unchecked, Donald Trump and Mike Pence are a threat to our climate and the civil rights and liberties guaranteed by our Constitution. This is a dangerous moment in U.S. history.
…If the Trump-Pence administration attempts to roll back the progress we’ve made in the past 50 years, we do not have to stand for it. Instead, we will stand up against it. We will march, organize, and keep marching—and we will not give up.
The Tucson march: