Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Tucson, Mid-July

July 10, 2017

It’s 110° and the clouds are building up over the mountains for our anticipated monsoons, but the humidity is only 9%, so guess it won’t rain tonight.  Yesterday evening had eight drops of rain on my kitchen window!

For the Fourth of July we had BBQ with another family (also with a grandmother included).  The family room had an enormous television on the entire time with a miscellaneous movie.  Some of the kids watched it for ten minutes or so.  The living room was taken up by a jumping castle, kinda like this one.  Six kids, from three to eleven, make an incredible din!

Dinner.  It was much too hot to eat outside so we adults got the dining room, the kids the breakfast room.  The father smokes his own pork, and the pulled pork was incredible delicious. (I didn’t try the ribs.)  My daughter made sangria and marvelous hors d’oeuvres (prosciutto spread with boursin, wrapped around asparagus), I brought watermelon with a cute sculpture on top (which I copied from an internet video, but it’s no longer there!) all of which the kids devoured, and there was coleslaw and a potato salad and a red-white-and-blue cake which I didn’t even taste, I was so full.

Then fireworks in the street.  (In Arizona you’re only allowed fireworks that stay on the ground, so sparklers and smoke bombs are popular.)  After which we drove to a school parking lot above Naranja Park, so we didn’t have to battle for parking, and watched the fireworks with about a dozen other clever families, all with camp chairs.

The coyote wandered by my fence yesterday afternoon, which is no doubt why the ground squirrels are not agilely climbing over my fence today to dine on the wandering jew, with mint for dessert.  (Oops – until just now!)

There was a cactus  longhorn beetle at my door yesterday.  Then are very large, and eat chollas and prickly pear cacti.

Had the grandsons (six and eight) over Friday afternoon, as the rental agency had a guy fixing the leak in the drip system. (! I thought I’d have to do it, so spent two days digging a hole to the PVC pipe in this hard hard dirt.)  The boys got into my games cabinet and I taught them pente, mastermind, and backgammon.  The youngest wants to play monopoly all of the time, but I’ve gotten tired of it.  We played battleship, jenga, and Jamaican-style dominoes at their house the other day.  (You can only spend so much time in the pool!)

Reading

To get my mind off politics, and instead of streaming any more TV series in the evening (except for binging on Anne With an E, and the movie Okja), had read a few scifi.  Got an audio book from the library, an oldie, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert A. Heinlein (used to read a lot of his novels), about a lunar colony’s revolt against rule from Earth.  Interesting look at the future.  The guy who does the reading does the many accents very well.  I usually fell asleep to it, then had to figure where I left off.

Next read The Mote in God’s Eye, by Niven and Pournelle, about the first contact between humanity and an alien species.  Creative take on aliens (not limited to two arms and two legs, as the aliens in the “gateway drug”, Star Trek, which were restricted due to budget – except for the tribbles).  Heinlein described the story as “possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read.”

Then I finally got A Man Called Ove,  an international bestseller, recently translated from Swedish, from the library as CD’s, as I enjoy someone reading to me at night.  Loved it!  Laughed and cried (numerous tissues).  Highly recommend it.  It’s now a movie, nominated for two Academy Awards, streaming on Netflix.  Wonder if I’d like that as much as the book…

The New York Times had an article, Summer Reading Books: The Ties That Bind Colleges (college-summer-reading), last Sunday.  Shall put a number of the recommended books (Just Mercy, Hillbilly Elegy, and possibly Silence, which is now a movie, as well as others) on my request list at the library after I get back from my next trip, visiting cousins in Colorado.

Politics

Speaking of which, also in the Times, was a commentary, The Problem With Participatory Democracy Is the Participants.  I was insulted.  You may wish to read it and comment: participatory-democracy

Weeds

March 18, 2017

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 fooling.


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.

Backstory

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.
http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2017/01/27/ducey-depends-using-public-funds-for-private-schools/

Unfortunately,

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.

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona-education/2017/02/08/republicans-fast-track-school-voucher-bill-arizona-legislature/97572798/

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:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/11/opinion/sunday/husbands-are-deadlier-than-terrorists.html

People’s Climate Movement April 29th

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:


https://www.evensi.us/tucson-peoples-climate-march-el-presidio-plaza-park/202310124

LOL

February 10, 2017

dogWhen I think something’s funny, I don’t say LOL, I actually laugh out loud!  Here are a commercial (especially the horse watching porn and this family scene)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Kj-4F8pWfk
and an article from the New Yorker that had me laughing (especially the bathing suit):  Shouts & Murmurs, New Yorker February 6, 2017 Issue
Melania’s Diary 1/21/2017, by Paul Rudnick

…Then [Kellyanne] brought up the Tiffany gift box that I’d given Michelle Obama on Inauguration Day. “What was in that box?” Kellyanne demanded. I smiled in my alluringly mysterious way, which makes people wonder if I have wads of cash duct-taped to my body at all times, in case I need to flee the country.
“It was just a gracious parting gift,” I said. I will never reveal the box’s true contents, except in the pages of this secret diary: it was a framed photo of me modelling swimwear in a JCPenney catalogue, on which I’d written my cell-phone number and the words “Please come to visit. And never leave.”  http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/06/melanias-diary-1-21-2017

Just a Grimace

Yesterday it was 86° here in Tucson.  Today 87°,  20° above normal.  Must be the overheated political climate.

trump-vacationTrump’s Mar-a-Lago getaway could cost taxpayers more than $3 million
The president regularly hassled Obama for his travel. Now Trump is about to get a taste of his own medicine.
by Matthew Nussbaum 02/03/17

Trump’s multimillion-dollar trip, which comes just two weeks into his presidency, shows that Trump is not shy about engaging in the same type of jet-setting that he and other Republicans heavily criticized Obama for throughout his presidency…
“The habitual vacationer, @BarackObama, is now in Hawaii. This vacation is costing taxpayers $4 milion +++ while there is 20% unemployment,” Trump wrote on Twitter in December 2011 (when the unemployment rate was actually 8.5 percent).
“President @BarackObama’s vacation is costing taxpayers millions of dollars——Unbelievable!” Trump opined again on Twitter a few days later.
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-mar-lago-taxpayers-234562

hidden_figuresFriends and I went to see a movie, Hidden Figures, the true story of the women who crunched the numbers for NASA. It was great!

Much better than La La Land, which we saw last weekend, and which has 14 Academy Award nominations.  A friend commented:  “…Why not get actors who can sing and dance?  It’s not like there aren’t plenty of them in LA…”  But hey, they have to keep the “Oscars so white”.

tom-bradyThis on Sunday, instead of watching the Super Bowl.  There were the controversies of Tom Brady having a Trump Make America Great Again baseball cap in his locker, and spending his four-month suspension sunbathing nude in Italy, but he was back, and the New England Patriots won, so who cares?  (Or as the Washington Post said, Tom Brady won this Super Bowl…)

The Elephant in the Room

October 9, 2016

Debate One/Won

I figured with the Second Debate tonight, I ought to send out this email.  Enjoyed these two takes on Debate One:
>SNL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPNOmIHKYHo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPNOmIHKYHo
debate-one
>Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnkRAd9aOAY

Then there was the awful Trump Twitter rant after the debate,

After the debate, he talked at length on Fox News about how Machado allegedly gained 60 pounds, and how he tried to support her after the pageant wanted to fire her.

Then early Friday morning, Trump chose for some unknown reason to unleash a series of tweets about her allegedly unsavory past, combined with a conspiracy theory about her relationship with Clinton. He called Machado “my worst Miss Universe,” and said Clinton was duped into referring to her in the debate.  http://fortune.com/2016/09/30/trump-twitter-rant/

and so on, and now Trump’s lewd conversation (yes, a long time ago, when he was “only” 60) with the Bush cousin, Billy, which was pretty misogynistic.

Plus the battle of the ads, which is rather funny:

Hilary’s: https://digg.com/video/josh-whedon-save-day-robert-downey-hillary
Trump’s response: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5QbDk8EUWw

Overcast

img_6515img_6513Three weeks to a week ago it was still threatening rain here.  Either those lovely thunderheads or the typically-January overcast skies.  If it did “rain”, it was either countable raindrops on my windshield, or a 20-minute squall during my afternoon class.  The Texas Rangers were still blooming outside the Northwest Pima College campus, the Red Bird-of-Paradise still blooming outside the Northwest Y, where I exercise.  The owners of the house I’m renting planted neither of these beautiful, easy-to-grow plants.

Golf

Arnold Palmer just died, which reminded me of a story from my days at Michigan State.  A friend in one of my education classes had recently married a man studying Landscape Architecture with an emphasis on golf course architecture, so he was often out on golf courses.  The first part of the problem was that he looked like Jack Nicklaus, so golfers were always asking for his autograph.  The second half of the problem was that his name was Bob Hope, and people weren’t happy with what they thought was his joke signature.

Note: on their honeymoon, the hotel did not have reservations for them, as they thought that reservations for Bob Hope was a hoax.

The South

On a darker note, North Carolina has been in the news a lot regarding their law

charlotteAnd in Charlotte, North Carolina, police release video in Keith Lamont Scott’s fatal shooting.

Putney said video does not provide “definitive visual evidence” that Scott pointed a gun at police officers, including Brentley Vinson, who shot Scott. But other evidence and witness accounts support the police narrative that officers opened fire only after Scott refused to drop his weapon, he said.
The family says the video shows Scott acting calmly and non-aggressively on Tuesday. “When he was shot and killed, Mr. Scott’s hands were by his side and he was slowly walking backwards,” Bamberg said.
Scott didn’t own a gun or habitually carry a gun, the family has told their attorneys, Bamberg said. Scott’s family has said he was reading a book in his vehicle when officers approached.
tulsa
At least Tulsa, Oklahoma, Police Officer Charged in Man’s Death.  We have to hold people (and cops are people) accountable.  Well, we’ll see how the trial goes.

2 September 2016

September 2, 2016

LOL

Recent obituary in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 68…

(I verified it: http://www.snopes.com/obituary-trump-clinton/.  It also mentioned  the obituary for Katherine Michael Hinds said that “in lieu of flowers, do not vote for Donald Trump.”)

My Desert

Two days ago we had a terrific storm, lots of rain and wind.  ‘Course, this lasted maybe 20 or 30 minutes, but knocked out two of the stoplights on Oracle.  However, when I got to the college, no storm.  (When the weather person says 30% chance of rain, I figure that 30% of the city shall get rain.)

Yesterday there were myriads of clouds north of here, and two partial rainbows, one over the Catalinas, another among the clouds, which would make it hard to find that pot of gold, unless you’re a skydiver.  Unfortunately, no rain hit here.  But it was “cool” – 94°, until you read the small print – feels like 105°.  The humidity keeps your skin from feeling that every droplet of moisture is being sucked from it, but we Tucsonians aren’t used to sweating…

This morning I saw one rabbit, a few quail, some doves, and goldfinches on the birdfeeder as I had filled it again with Niger thistle seeds.  Plus a loud squawk, almost like a duck.  It was a raven on the neighbor’s roof.  (Nice video of a raven’s call, if you can get past the annoying commercial:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDv_PlrBg14.)  The right side of the screen advertised a video on the difference between crows and ravens, and it was interesting too.  (My cat watched it for a few minutes, attracted to the bird “song”.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9-wTnqIidY.)

Many years ago I had taken a (motorized) raft trip down the Grand Canyon.  Each day, for lunch, we would stop at a sandbar, guarded by a pair of ravens (who are believed to mate for life).  We made our own sandwiches, sans plates or paper napkins, and balanced the potato chips on top.  I believe that the soda or beer, which had stayed cold by being kept in a mesh bag, dragged behind the raft as water temperatures in the Colorado River average 50° year round, was in recyclable cans.  We returned the cans at the end of our lunch.  After we had boarded our rafts to continue our adventure, even before we pulled away, the ravens descended upon the sandbar to find any crumbs that we might have dropped.  Obviously, the sandbars were immaculate.  Each sandbar was “owned” by a pair of these intelligent birds, although not a one voiced Nevermore.

Last week, still August, PetSmart had their Halloween costumes out.  (Yes, costumes for your dog or cat.)  I really do dislike the holiday creep.

Insomnia 

Having trouble getting to sleep at night? I have a new sedative that a friend recommended: Middlemarch, by George Eliot.  A page and a half and I’m out.

Spike Jonze

A friend had posted this on her Facebook page:
http://nofilmschool.com/2016/08/watch-spike-jonze-kenzo-commercial and my brother mentioned: Spike Jonze is kind of well known for his ‘musicals’ — check out his Bjork video from the 90’s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEC4nZ-yga8&list=PLH3U5LaE2-0YETfe5BFkOeZCcfZeeWy-9.  Enjoy.

Pause

June 27, 2016

IMG_6468I still have four blogs from the Aegean that I need to add photos to. (My bad – I used a camera rather than my tablet or phone to take the photos, and I had not gotten a new memory stick that would have downloaded into my tablet, thinking that I may not be using the camera in a year.)  But a pause to comment on Tucson this past week.

monsoon 6-26-6I returned home a week ago to high temperatures (three hikers, one walker died on Sunday1, when it was 115°), but the monsoons really didn’t start until last night. Photo to the right from my bedroom window.  Photo below it from the news.2 The high winds and rain did not reach here, but the electricity went out at about 8:30, while I was watching a movie. Found my candles and matches by feel, but only one AAA battery (searching the house with a candle), and the book light needs two.  Nothing to do in the dark but try to sleep, but the lights came on in half an hour.

IMG_6466 Within the last week I have seen two quail with their two young chicks in my yard, a dove nesting on my patio, and a rabbit in the backyard.  Not sure how he got in, as there is a wall, but the hillside behind comes partially up the wall, so maybe he jumped in and couldn’t jump out.  I opened the gate, got behind him, and herded him out.

IMG_6478IMG_6476Unfortunately, a dove tried to fly through my office window; I found it sitting as though resting next to the front water pipe, but unfortunately dead.  Large collared lizards on the back wall and front tree, a whip-tailed lizard in the drive below.

A couple of months ago when I was in the garden watering I let my cat out.  When I turned around she was gone and didn’t come back for two hours.  I didn’t worry too much, as the desert hillside behind me is almost devoid of wildlife, only lizards, rabbits, birds, and an occasional coyote.  But when I heard her I caught something meow at the back door, there was a collared lizard, alive but slightly injured.  I picked him up and put him outside the gate.  Later I found two small dead lizards in the yard.  I have not allowed her out since.

I do miss the many animals in the wash behind my last house.  I even dreamed of bobcats last night.  This housing development was plopped down between the wash, which is now cemented, and the slight hill.  And there are vast swaths of scraped land for new developments within a few minutes of here.  There are too many people in the world.  We need ZPG! When I fly over Europe I am sad because of the lack of wild spaces.  According to Wikipedia: With the exception of Fennoscandia and northern Russia, few areas of untouched wilderness are currently found in Europe, except for various national parks.

1http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/32263660/authorities-suspect-heat-to-blame-in-another-death
2http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/32314396/storm-tears-through-winterhaven-knocks-down-countless-trees

TMA Artisans Market

November 21, 2015

If you brave driving through the Tour de Tucson bicyclists to visit the Tucson Museum of Art’s Artisans Market (November 20-22, 10-5), stop by booth #102 to peruse my neighbors’ wares – absolutely gorgeous cutting boards and knitting.

Valley Fever in the News

5648109fd7ba0.image

http://tucson.com/news/science/health-med-fit/cases-of-valley-fever-up-percent-through-october/article_36f17bc8-2cc2-558a-9612-5121aa2e3ad1.html

Pause from Politics

June 30, 2015

OK, a few notes on Tucson’s weather and wildlife.

The monsoons started a few days ago.  No deluge at my house, but, being able to see the whole basin that is Tucson, surrounded by mountains, I could see rain in the northeast corner of town at one point, the northwest corner at another.  This morning a few sprinkles as I drove to work – not enough for the windshield wipers, but enough to bring the humidity up to 57%, such a nice contrast to the desert sun baking all of the moisture out of one’s body.   Even though I am now visibly sweating when outside, veggie garden 006the cloud cover keeps the temperature down, and the sun at bay.  (It still is supposed to reach 102° today.)  The humidity has encouraged the native whitethorn acacia to produce its little yellow balls, which pass for flowers.

This morning a large roadrunner dashed across the yard.  It must have been after a lizard; they often pose for me.  Yesterday a sole javelina peeked around the wall, peering longingly at my vegetable garden when I was in the shower.  The evening before, washing dishes, I enjoyed the site of a deer posing under the mesquite tree.

The cicadas were trilling like crazy when I left work yesterday, but only crickets chirped in my yard.  I noticed that cicadas get louder when you approach – since there are so many of them you can’t find an individual one by noise.  Crickets, by contrast, stop chirping as you move towards them.  I read the description of cicadas in Wikipedia1, and found out that they create their “song” differently than crickets.  (Read up on it if you’re interested.)

garden
Speaking of my vegetable garden, I had a couple of Japanese eggplants and miniature red bells from the garden for dinner last night (barbequed with Italian peppers and red LaSoda potatoes from the CSA).  The green bell pepper and full-sized tomato that are not covered by leaves have sunburn.  The cherry tomatoes are halfway to ripe.  Finished the spinach the other night.  It had bolted.

Because I had planted sage (the culinary herb, not the desert variety, bursage, which is not edible and has nasty burrs) in my vegetable garden this year instead of in my herbal pot on the deck by the kitchen, it is deliriously happy with all of the root room, so I guess I need to deep-fry a bunch of leaves, as I learned in my cooking class it Italy many years ago.

Salvia Fritta ~ Choose large, very fresh leaves for this recipe. Either offer them along with a nice glass of red wine, or use as a garnish for grilled meats or seafood.meats or seafood.meats or seafood.2

This just in (June 30, 5:45 pm): Just as I was pulling into my garage I heard crashes.  Then I saw the hailstones, 1″ in diameter, bouncing into my garage, pelting the front of my house at a 45° angle, and the assault started – I thought they’d break a window!  It was over in 10 minutes, and the hailstones melted fast on the hot driveway.  Luckily my potted plants are in the back of the house, so they didn’t get ripped to shreds.  But the fig vine climbing up veggie garden 010the front of the house, and the agapanthus took it badly.

In the vegetable garden the peppers, eggplant, and sage were close enough to the wall to be sheltered, but my volunteer sunflowers and tomatoes, which I had photographed just hours earlier, were partially shredded, and two sunflower heads and three cherry tomatoes on the ground.

Watching

Because my TV is broken (the cable connection), I watch a lot of DVD’s.

CumberbatchI was watching an old PBS, To the Ends of the Earth, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.  I remembered him as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, but forgot the others, so googled.  He is so versatile!  He’s played a good guy, a bad guy, a dragon.  He played Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness3:

Khan in 2259
Gender:           Male
Species:          Human Augment
Affiliation:        Section 31
Rank:              Commander
Occupation:     Agent
Status:            In Stasis (2259)
Born:               mid-20th century
Marital Status:  Single

smaugand of course, Sherlock.  But Smaug!  How could he play Smaug, a dragon from Lord of the Rings.  Googled and found these two great video.  You must see!  (This first is one of many.)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1  Then this one is just funny – watch it through to the end (and ignore the annoying commercial at the beginning).  http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/509747/smaug

The captain of the ship in To the Ends of the Earth looked familiar, so I googled Jared Harris.  Ah yes, has been Lane Pryce in Mad Men.

And To the Ends of the Earth was based on William Golding’s trilogy.  He was…

…best known for his novel Lord of the Flies, he won a Nobel Prize in Literature, and was also awarded the Booker Prize for literature in 1980 for his novel Rites of Passage, the first book in what became his sea trilogy, To the Ends of the Earth.

1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicada
2http://www.italianfoodforever.com/2008/11/fried-sage-leaves/
3http://en.memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/John_Harrison

Tucson Art

June 10, 2015

Last Saturday went to two art events.  First, to the Davis Dominguez Gallery1 for a reception for Small Things Considered.  Great show – you must see it (May 7-June 27)!  These are just a few of the over 80 artists represented.

Below, a cunningly framed photographic print by Regina Heitzer-Momaday and the next by Carrie Seid,  silk stretched over copper, which she bends into curves. Her description (emphasis mine) follows:

The pieces are constructed using a hardwood base, cut and formed sheet metals (copper, brass and aluminum), and silk. The metal forms an understructure which supports a stretched layer of silk. Modulated color (in the form of under-painting or dyed silk) is sometimes used to enhance depth, structure and dimension. The additional step of oiling the fabric “skin” creates various degrees of translucence, allowing the outer layer to be visually penetrable – a watercolor rendered in three dimensions.

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art & birds 011A marvelous dish of clay by Gary Benna.  (You must click on it to see the detail of the bodies in the center.)  Oil on paper by Danielle Neibling.

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My absolute favorite, Golden Doves on Cholla Ribs by Thomas Kerrigan, done in clay!  And this bronze jackrabbit by Mark Rossi. You may have seen his javelina in the entry to the Desert Museum.

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One of my favorite artists, Gail Marcus Orlen, has done this oil (which includes the bird), and one of our CAS members, Barbara Jo, has created More Filipinos Than Fish (photographed in front of handwoven linen by another CAS member, Claire Campbell Park; both women taught at Pima).

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An oil by another CAS member, Moira Geoffrion, from a photo which she took when we were in Venice, and cast glass by Katja Fritzsche, whose studio we (CAS) had recently visited2.

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Another piece of art that I wish I could afford, this Nest by Phil Lichtenhan in metal with ceramic eggs.

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After that reception a few of us went to the Raices Taller 222 dance 011gallery for a dance performance by ZUZI! Dance4 to conclude the Mujeres, Mujeres, Mujeres exhibit. A snippet from their website:

The Guerrilla Girls5, a women’s artist coalition, has discovered that only 3% of the artists in the Metropolitan Museum’s modern art sections are women and that 90% of the solo exhibitions were of work by white male artists.3

dance 056dance 007The gallery was small, so we squished against the walls to allow the dancers room.  This woman’s tats were distinctive.

Crazy Weather

Tucson has had unusual weather this June.  May was beautiful, with high temperatures 78°-83°, then you blinked, and while your eyes were closed, it was 93°, and when the blink was finished, in June, it was 103°.  Reminded me a a young child playing hopscotch, jumping over the squares with stones in them.  Last week we got a bit of rain and the temperatures abated slightly (to the 90’s).  Night before last another splatter of rain (if you scratch the dirt, you can see the dampness is flycatcher 009only 1/8” thick) and it has “cooled” to the high 80’s.

A month and a half ago the palo verdes had bloomed6.  With this unusual rain they’re blooming again.  And my agapanthus look great.

agapanthus
flycatcher 001Mating Season

Birds crash into my windows at this time of the year because their brains aren’t fully functional during mating season.  And I have a flycatcher who has been attacking his reflection in the window for a few days.  Same reason.

 

1http://davisdominguez.com/
2https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/art-and-the-desert/
3www.raicestaller222.org/CurrentExhibition.htm
4http://www.zuzimoveit.org/dancecompany/upcomingshows.html
5http://www.guerrillagirls.com/
6https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/earth-day/

Texas Storms

June 5, 2015

Texas_Flooding

Those Texas Republicans refused federal dollars for health care for the poor, but when over a thousand of the not-poor have their homes damaged or washed away (photo from the Web1), then they want the feds to intervene.  Here are a few snippets from Newsweek, but read the whole article2:

As extreme weather marked by tornadoes and flooding continues to sweep across Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has requested—and President Obama has granted—federal help…

…just over a month ago, hundreds of Texans decided that a pending Navy Seal and Green Beret joint training exercise was really an excuse to take over the state and impose martial law. And they claimed the Federal Emergency Management Agency was erecting prison camps, readying Wal-Mart stores as processing centers for political prisoners…

Texas dislikes the federal government so much that eight of its congressional representatives, along with Senator Ted Cruz, opposed disaster relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy—adding to the awkwardness of their lobbying for the federal relief now heading Texas’s way…

Texas officials continue to turn down federal funds to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, thereby denying insurance to more than 1 million people and preventing the state from receiving an estimated $100 billion in federal cash over the next decade.

Storms-Blast-NW-Texas

These storms3 look scary.  I have cousins in Texas, outside of Fort Worth, so I emailed them, Have you been going through the storms and tornadoes? 

We are fine. We are high and no flooding at our house, just in areas around lakes and rivers. I always cringe when there are tornadoes nearby or hail, but so far we are lucky.  The lakes here are all over 100 percent. Our sailboat lake is 13 feet over capacity. All boat launches are closed. I would think our drought is over.

Texas continues to rain us out of a drought. It feels like a jungle here. I picked up a bag in the kitchen and there was a baby snake. So not only are the ants moving indoors, but so are the reptiles! I need to tighten up the seal on that back door. The ants moved into our house while in Colorado, but the resident spider population did a pretty good job as evidenced by the piles of ant bodies under each little spider web. No poison for our home! We might get desperate and use Amdro outside if it ever stops raining.

A Move

My daughter and her family are moving again (as with the last move, for a better position for her husband).  Surprise, surprise, this time it’s to Tucson!  (Admittedly, the first choice had been Tacoma, but that didn’t pan out.)  They should only be here for two years, as he’ll be a hospital CFO in training; then the hospital chain shall move them somewhere else where he’ll be a CFO.  But for this short time they’ll be close to family again.  (Not only me here, but his parents, grandparents (!!), and sister’s family all live north of Phoenix.)

topangaSo last week they flew in for two intense days with a real estate agent, trying to decide between buying  (in which case they’d have to worry about resale in two years) or renting.  I joined them for the afternoons, as my summer schedule has me working mornings. They made an offer on the perfect house, only to be overbid.  Really, two offers in the same day!  (To the right is the lovely backyard of that house.)

So I was asked to spend Wednesday afternoon with the agent, theoretically to find the perfect rental.  zorella3As if.  (The agent said a few times that she had a nice house near xyz, if we weren’t so picky about the schools…) There was one in our old neighborhood, but my daughter didn’t like the kitchen’s tile and dark cabinets and old appliances (see right).

I had taken copious notes, and the agent had taken photos to supplement the listings’,  but I wasn’t about to make a choice, have it be wrong, and hear about it for the next two years.  So… they’re flying in again on Sunday for three days to find another perfect one.  Luckily the hospital pays for two trips, and they have friends to take in the kids, as they’re still in school.

More to come.

blue 003CSA

Sometimes they give us flowers as well as veggies, but of course the flowers come from vegetables, as these artichokes.  (They were prettier yesterday but I forgot to take the photo then.)  I am happy to have the flowers (you can only eat so much kale), but many people are disappointed to get non-edibles.

Minutiae

Filled in the Census online.  Had to look up a bunch of answers like what was your water bill for the year.  Bet lots of people just make up a number, but as a math instructor, I’m precise.

Wanted to know if my Japanese car had to get its airbags replaced.  Called my car repair shop.  They had me call the dealer, who, after getting my VIN number, said no.  But also found this online: http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchSafetyIssues

My old dentist has retired and I’ve been putting off my six-month checkup when I got a coupon in the mail, complete X-rays and cleaning for only  $59. Deal.  The dentist (mea culpa, I hadn’t had X-rays in a while) said that I had two cavities, but one was in a wisdom tooth, so I ought just to have those two out before they caused more problems.  Plus I need four sessions of periodontal scaling, where they clean beneath the gum line. (I do not have gingivitis, so this is just prevention.)  Then she gave me a tri-fold brochure for a discount dental program. They claim it’s not insurance, and you pay just $99 a year (plus $19 processing fee), but insurance companies just give you a discount, so the distinction is minute.

Having turned into a suspicious person, as everyone seems to have their hand out, I figured that she needed work in a new practice. Really, I had the other two wisdom teeth out 35 years ago, and when that dentist (or maybe it was the oral surgeon) suggested that I get all four out, since I would already be under anesthesia, I suspected him of needing to pay off a new Mercedes. If that tooth has only had one cavity in 50 years, if filled, why shouldn’t it go another 50?

Still looking over different insurance policies.

Vacations

You may have seen this before:

These are actual complaints received from dissatisfied customers by Thomas Cook Vacations (based on a Thomas Cook/ABTA survey)4:
1. “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”
2. “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time — this should be banned.”
3. “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”
4. “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price.”
5. “The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room.”
6. “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow.”
7. “They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax.”
8. “No one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”
9. “Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers.”
10. “We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.”
11. “The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun.”
12. “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.”
13. “I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends’ three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller.”
14. “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the resort’. We’re trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service.”
15. “There were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners.”
16. “We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning.”
17. “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”
18. “I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes.”
19. “My fiance and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”

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1http://hardnoxandfriends.com/2015/05/26/texas-floods-claimed-over-350-homes-damaged-thousands-more/
2http://www.newsweek.com/does-texas-deserve-federal-aid-texas-storms-338297
3http://www.imagekb.com/storms
4http://www.huffingtonpost.com/blogdramedy/idiotic-travel-complaints_b_4073107.html