Posts Tagged ‘bobcat’

More Stuff…

September 18, 2017

One of my San Diego friends, knowing that I had just read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and another of Marie Kondo’s books, Joy1, gave me a copy of The Story of Stuff, by Annie Leonard.  The subtitle (it seems you need subtitles nowadays – Tidying Up has The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing) is The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-And How We Can Make It Better.  It is way depressing.  A snippet:

In the 1950’s, the chairman of President Eisenhower’s Council of Economic Advisors stated, “The American economy’s ultimate purpose is to produce more consumer goods.”  Really?  Rather than to provide health care, safe communities, solid education for our youngsters, or a good quality of life…

So I wouldn’t recommend that you read the book, unless you’re up for a downer.  However, she has made a 20-minute online movie, which (very quickly) summarizes the book, and I do recommend that you watch it (just click here): story-of-stuff. The only thing that bothers me about the movie is that she is too perky about a depressing subject (as opposed to Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth).

And speaking of Stuff:

DETROIT — A gun was pulled after two pairs of women fought over the last notebook on a shelf at a Walmart in Michigan this week, according to police.2  (Photo from  © James Dingeldey Video footage of a woman pulling out a gun at a Walmart in Novi.)

A notebook.  Really.

The other book I’m reading now is A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There by Aldo Leopold.  Lovely charcoal drawings throughout by Charles Schwartz.

Admired by an ever-growing number of readers and imitated by hundreds of writers, A Sand County Almanac serves as one of the cornerstones of modern conservation science, policy, and ethics. First published by Oxford University Press in 1949, it has become a conservation classic.3

It is depressing in a different way.  He poetically describes all that he sees, but also writes about all of the animals and plants that have been eliminated from our planet due to “progress.”  But he isn’t strident about it.  He killed many of the animals for his own meals, but the tree that he cut up for firewood had been downed by a lightning strike.  It is quietly sad.

On April nights when it has become warm enough to sit outdoors, we love to listen to the proceedings of the convention in the marsh.  There are long periods of silence when one hears only the winnowing of snipe, the hoot of a distant owl, or the nasal clucking of some amorous coot.  Then, of a sudden, a strident honk resounds, and in an instant pandemonium echoes. There is a beating of pinions on water, a rushing of dark prows propelled by churning paddles, and a general shouting by the onlookers of a vehement controversy.  Finally some deep honker has his last word, and the noise subsides to that half-audible small-talk that seldom ceases among geese…

It is a kind providence that has withheld a sense of of history from the thousands of species of plants and animals that have exterminated each other to build the present world. The same kind providence now withholds it from us. Few grieved when the last buffalo left Wisconsin, and few will grieve when the last Silphium follows him to the lush prairies of the never-never land.

These animals have not been eliminated by Oro Valley yet:


Bobcat

First time I’ve seen one in this yard.  Was working at the computer when I saw it, ran for the camera in the bedroom and got these shots from there.  Probably should have knocked on the window so it looked at me.  The third photo is it on top of the wall before it jumped into the neighbor’s yard.  I also grabbed my cat and put her on her stool so she could see it too.  Explained to her that was why she wasn’t going out any more.  She was very attentive.  (I mentioned the bobcat to my neighbor, so she’d watch out for her small dog.  She said the couple in this rental before me had a small dog.  One night they let it out, and never saw it again.  So it could have been the bobcat.)

Roadrunner

First time I’ve seen one of these in this yard too.  (This taken from the family room.)

Doves

Each evening seven mourning doves sit on my back fence.  Tightly knit family?

Towhee

An Albert’s towhee has been attacking my office window for the past three days.  This is the wrong season.  They are usually attack their reflections in the spring, competing for mates.  Also, usually brightly colored birds do it, as they can more easily see their reflections.  Three houses ago there was a male cardinal who would attack the office window.  Was afraid he’d hurt himself, but a website said no.

Catalina Mountains

Of course, another photo of these gorgeous mountains.

1https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/stuff/
2gun-pulled-in-fight-between-back-to-school-shoppers
3https://www.aldoleopold.org/about/aldo-leopold/sand-county-almanac/

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In the Pink

April 21, 2017

Palo verdes are still flowering, but the desert ironwood (top) that I pass every day on my way to work or the Y is in gorgeous bloom.  And the almost-dead desert willow in my side yard, which I severely trimmed, with the help of my son-in-law and his chainsaw, is in bloom, although not as dramatic.

Critters

I love the view from my computer.

A common kingsnake just glided along my fence, on the inside.  Don’t know how it got in, but it kept testing the welded wire along the fence, so I figured it wanted to get out.  Opened the gate and edged it along with a rake handle.  It then slithered away into the desert in those S-shaped curves.  By the 4½ inches  between the posts, it appeared to be three feet long.

Yesterday it was a bobcat, a wriggling quail in its mouth, which stopped at my fence to peer in.  I did not go outside to take these photos, as it would have disappeared.  (The snake just became stationary.)  I had thought a couple of quail had nested under a huge Texas ranger in the side yard a week ago, as whenever I went out the gate, in a rapid flurry, one flew out.  But the next day it didn’t happen, and there were a few feathers about.  I couldn’t figure what had gotten the bird until I saw the bobcat.  It could have easily jumped the fence.

Taxes

I got some money back on my taxes – enough to pay the accountant!

But let’s consider tax reform.  How about if we had no deductions? (This list mostly from Five Tax Deductions that Favor the Rich1.)  No charitable-giving deduction.  If you want to give your Picasso to the art museum, do it, just don’t deduct it.  Same goes for your church, or UNICEF, or your kid’s school.  If you believe in it, donate to it.  (Bill and Melinda Gates do, although they have gotten a small tax break, they could probably do find without it.  From 1994 to 2006, Bill and Melinda gave the foundation more than $26 billion. Those donations resulted in a tax savings of less than 8.3 percent of the contributions they made over that time.2) Long-term capital gains, which derive from the sale of investments such as stocks and bonds held for more than a year, are taxed at 15 percent.  They should be taxed as part of your income.  Eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, which encourages people to scrape more of our biome (a large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat) to build large houses, thus making our earth less habitable.  No deductions for children.  If people want to have children, they should pay for them.  The government already provides schools.  No deduction for yourself or whomever you care for, as head of household.

No

  • State sales taxes. …
  • Reinvested dividends. …
  • Out-of-pocket charitable contributions. …
  • Student loan interest paid by Mom and Dad. …
  • Moving expense to take first job. …
  • Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. …
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) …
  • State tax you paid last spring. …
  • Refinancing mortgage points. …
  • Jury pay paid to employer. …3

(I don’t consider tax-deferred retirement plans a deduction, as you end up having to pay tax on the money when you take it out.)

Then everyone who makes at least $31,200 (52 weeks of 40 hours at a logical minimum age of $15/ hr, married or not, old or young, dependents or not) pays 20%.

So for Trump’s 2005 return where

According to the Form 1040, Mr. Trump paid $36.6 million in federal income taxes on $152.7 million in reported income in 2005, or 24 percent…  Significantly helping matters back in 2005 was the fact he reported a $103.2 million loss that year…4

Without his deduction of losses, he’d pay on $152.7M + $103.2M = $255.9M, of which 20% is $51.18M.

Sure, that would hurt me.  I’d be paying almost 4 times what I paid, as an old person with deductions.  (But I wouldn’t have to pay an accountant.)  However, if that happened to everyone, we could take a bite out of the national debt, which is presently $20.1 trillion5.  Kay Bell in 8 tax breaks that cost Uncle Sam big money says that there’s a $4 trillion giveaway in tax breaks.6

I have a feeling that most of my friends will disagree with this proposal…

1http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2011/12/07/five-tax-deductions-that-favor-rich.html
2http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Who-We-Are/General-Information/Foundation-FAQ
3https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Tax-Deductions-and-Credits/The-10-Most-Overlooked-Tax-Deductions/INF12062.html
4http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trumps-tax-return-leaked-rachel-maddow-what-accountants-think-alternative-minimum-tax/
5https://www.google.com/search?q=national+debt+today.&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
6http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/8-tax-breaks-cost-uncle-sam-big-money-1.aspx#ixzz4eqKyTARS

October Evening

October 10, 2014

October 10, 2014

Was putting garden clippings into the compost pile about 5pm this evening when a herd of eleven javelinas moseyed down the drainage wash and stopped to eat mesquite seeds under my large mesquite tree. I started to talk to them, as usual, and most of them came over to the garden fence to smell me, their noses wrinkling up and down, not usual.  Hackles up, but friendly. Usually only the alpha male checks me out.  Most of them were small, probably young.

About 20 minutes later I was clipping the rosemary, the cat next to me, when she looked over to the other side of the yard and jumped up a few of the spiral stairs. A bobcat was ambling past the yard on that side.

So I figured that it was time to go in.  Plus we had a full day and night of rain two days ago and the no-see-ums were out, biting my ankles.  Was surprised that we had them in Tucson.  Remembered them from New Jersey.

No-see-ums are small biting flies that appear during the summer months. These tiny biting insects are barely visible to the naked eye, but their bites can be very painful and annoying.

Literature references indicate that no-see-um species found in Arizona and the southwest are of the genus Culicoides. Adult no-see-ums are less than 1/16-inch long can easily pass through normal window screens, and resemble a smaller, more compact version of the mosquito. They are most active in early mornings and evenings of mid to late summer. Mouth parts are well developed with elongated mandibles adapted for blood sucking. Both males and females feed on flower nectar but only the female feeds on blood. She must consume blood for her eggs to mature and become viable.

No-see-um eggs are laid on moist soil. Common breeding areas include the edges of springs, streams and ponds, muddy and swampy areas, tree holes, and even water associated with air conditioning units. The eggs hatch in as little as 3 days. The wormlike larvae have short brush like breathing structures that allows them to breathe in an aquatic environment. Although larvae are not strictly aquatic or terrestrial, they cannot develop without moisture. After feeding on decomposing organic matter and pupating, adults emerge, feed, and mate.1

And a mosquito is sneaking around, biting my hands as I type.  Almost got her when she landed on the wall.  Almost.  On the news they had mentioned that we have a large crop of mosquitoes right now due to the rain.  So there are a couple of downsides to all of the precipitation we’ve had in the past two weeks.  (Plus yesterday morning after I got to work I checked the humidity – 93%!  Practically unheard of here.)

Landscape Architecture

Continuing in the reading of books on Landscape Architecture.  I had commented on The Meaning of Gardens when I was only in the Introduction2.  Now I’ve finished it.  Each essay is written by a different landscape architect.  These quotes are  not summaries, just ones that piqued my interest.

Clare Marcus, in The Garden as Metaphor, wrote that The earth began to be considered as an inertia geological object, replete with resources available for exploitation.  Since the notion of raping one’s mother was repugnant, the planet could no longer be conceived as Mother Earth.  The theme of raping the earth is repeated in a few of the essays.

Ian McHarg wrote Nature is More than A Garden, and mentions that, There is an accompanying belief that work outdoors, preferably in a garden, touching soils, plants, water, stone, confers not only physical but also mental health, a thesis that is often postulated throughout the book.

In Flowers, Power, and Sex, Robert Riley recalled …the angry reaction to Martin Krieger’s provocative, carefully reasoned question “What’s Wrong with Plastic Trees?”  That response culminated in an accusation by Hugh Iltis that anyone asking that question probably got his sexual satisfaction from water-filled, lubricated, female manikins.

Tucson was noted in Kerry Dawson’s Nature in the Urban Garden: …bird density was twenty-six times as high in urban gardens as in the surrounding desert of Tucson.  Well, we do put out water and seeds for them.  Note: my yard is a Certified Wildlife Habitat® by the National Wildlife Federation.  (I filled out a form and sent them $20.)  Kerry states that The urban garden should avoid plants with no value to wildlife, and then quotes Marangio’s list of common garden plants of the United States that have no known wildlife value.  Included are the acacia, Algerian and English ivy, blue gum (eucalyptus), French broom, ice plant, pampas grass, periwinkle, and Scotch broom.  But he doesn’t mention the desert broom, bain of my garden as my neighbor allows his to grow and the “desert snow” of seeds blow into my yard3.

Christopher Grampp, in Social Meanings of Residential Gardens, quoted two homeowners. Harry remarked, “I could never see passing the rewards of a garden on to a gardener.  Why would a person ever hire a gardener, unless he didn’t like to garden?” For Paul, it represents peace of mind.  “Gardening has maintained my sanity.  It’s a real therapy.  You get out and your mind goes blank.  It’s a relief, superior to tranquilizers.”  That view again.

In Garden of the World, Randolph Hester, Jr. hit hard.

ag…the lush, rectangular-patterned oasis in the otherwise-arid valleys… that have been transformed into an agribusiness artwork so large it can only be appreciated from the air.  To keep this garden green, billions of gallons of water are diverted from the network of rivers and marshes that once laced the central valleys and nearby watersheds… (it costs more than $2200 per acre for irrigation alone)…
A beautiful illustration of man’s ability to dominate and control nature, it features ecological insensitivity and disregard for place (hundred of environmental modifications somewhat less visually dramatic than a near-empty Mono Lake are its by-products.  Like other great gardens, it is manicured and parterred by the powerless to enrich the powerful, with more of both than Louis XIV likely ever imagined.

opus 40Deborah Dalton wrote of Harvey Fite’s Opus 40: From Private Garden to Public Art Work.  I would love to visit it!  (Opus 40 is open Friday through Sunday, and holiday Mondays, Memorial Day weekend to Columbus Day Weekend.)

Opus 40 is a six-acre environmental sculpture created from an abandoned bluestone quarry near Woodstock, New York.  The work is a series of terraces, pedestals, pools, steps, and ramps swirling around one another and spiraling up to the central focus, a nine-ton bluestone monolith.

The title of the quarry work, Opus 40, referred to the number of years he intended to work on the project…  Harvey Fite was killed in a fall at the quarry, just three years short of his goal.

[Ironically] he commented on Henry Moore: “…the representational object has a human value; more people can relate to it, comprehend it.  Non-objective art is merely decorative abstraction, or dehumanized art.  Moore’s work is too dehumanized, it has lost the human statement.  His abstractions of the reclining nude and family groups are so distorted that you can’t see the nude or the family.”

sf gardenGray Brechin wrote about Grace Marchant and the Global Garden.  I’m surprised that I never heard about it as I’ve been often to San Francisco.  This woman was incredible, as was the garden she created.

Grace was sixty-three then, and the trash-strewn, weed-grown right-of-way outside her window bothered her.  She set about hauling the bedsprings, tires, and lumber to the cliff and dumping them over the side.  Without asking anyone at City Hall she began conditioning the sandstone outcropping.  Over the next thirty-three year, she cultivated a garden that has attained world fame and created a community of the cottage and apartments around it.

Then he goes into a different vein (back to the rape of the earth):

The environmental and economic crises that now wrack the planet – ozone depletion, dying rivers, seas, and forests, the insidious spread of radioactivity, and the rising price of nearly everything – are the accumulated interest on 5,000 years of exploitive civilization.  Yet because civilization has many valued attributes, the costs involved in raising the facade that hides exploitation are seldom recognized.  Unable to locate the problem, we are helpless to find solution.

Another garden can represent that facade.  Famous in its time as one of the most luxuriantly landscaped estates on the San Francisco Peninsula, the garden created by William Barron at Menlo Park was modeled on those of the European nobility.  Rare specimen plants were imported from around the world to embellish the oak-dotted savannah, and the lawns were flooded throughout the summer to maintain their verdue.

The money to create the Baron garden was gathered from a much larger landscape wrecked twenty miles away and from future generations who would foot the bill for its beauty.  William Barron was principal of a syndicate that controlled the production of mercury in California, an element essential for refining gold and silver ores.  Today, the blasted cinnabar tailings of New Almaden leach mercury into the reservoirs and streams of the Santa Clara Valley and the sediments of San Francisco Bay.  Cleanup of New Almaden, if possible, is estimated to cost millions, but much of the downstream contamination is simply irremediable.

The Barron estate is typical of hundreds of other lovely gardens built from strip mining, clear-cutting, slave trading, chemicals, and munitions.  Seldom are the ugly mean and lovely end closely juxtaposed so that the observer can gauge the true costs involved.  Lacking the direct involvement of their owners, such gardens are as much expressions of conspicuous display as the other purchased accoutrements of the estate.

Garrett Eckko wrote Today into Tomorrow: An Optimistic ViewWay optimistic.  He first expects all of the countries of the world to Control population growth.  Wow, would that be great.  (I do advocate ZPG – Zero Population Growth.)  Would parents allow their children to become suicide bombers if they had only two children, no spares?  Also, then parents could afford to educate both children, even if they were girls!  That would so change the world.  But the religious groups – Muslims, Catholics, Mormons, Fundamentalist Christians, Orthodox Jews, those where men only become mullas, priests, ministers, rabbis, would never go for it.  Other points, Conservation of natural resources, Ecosystem resurrection, and so on, are dwarfed by Control population growth. But I should get off my soapbox and get back to landscape architecture and the book.

Catherine Howett, in Gardens Are Good Places for Dying, mentioned Versailles (which doesn’t have anything to do with dying, but I was impressed with the statistic):

The king’s landscape genius André Le Nôtre boasted, for example, that by continually “carrying out, removing, and bringing back” more than two million potted plants, the garden surrounding the Trianon Palace was “always filled with flowers… and one never sees a dead leaf, or a shrub not in bloom.”

1https://ag.arizona.edu/yavapai/anr/hort/byg/archive/noseeums.html
2http://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/gardening/
3https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/desert-life-and-eastern-lawns/

Rattlesnake

July 5, 2014

 

July 3, 2014

rattlesnake 001

rattlesnake 006As I was having my morning coffee and newspaper, noticed that my cat’s hackles were up.  The adult bobcat on the spa deck again.  It didn’t stay too long, but later I noticed something else there.  Turns out it was a three-foot rattler.  I may start wearing cowboy boots outside to do my yardwork.

 

rattlesnake 011

Later in the day, when I was getting changed for qigong, the bobcat was back.  Sat on the spa cover, then opted for the cool ground cover.  Looked up when I took a photo from upstairs, but my flash went off in its eyes.

rattlesnake 012

rattlesnake 014rattlesnake 019

 

rattlesnake 022

WHISKER DAMReading

Continuing my reading on landscape architecture.  (Believe this was from Landscape for Living.)  Fascinated by a “whisker dam”.  This from 1937.

Twins

July 1, 2014

Sunday morning a coyote strolled by the fence, but her young twins came into the yard to explore.  Only one came to drink.  (Bad photo through screen and window reflection.)  They roamed around doing their own thing, which is why I only have a couple of poor photos to prove that there were two of them.   One of them left the yard soon and the other tried to pull the cover off the spa.

two coyotes 023two coyotes 009

 

 

 

 

 

 

two coyotes 035


two coyotes 042

two coyotes 021two coyotes 038Bobcat

This morning I opened the bedroom drapes to see a large bobcat relaxing on the spa cover.  My cat growled at it.  The bobcat was startled to see the drapes opened, but then didn’t care until I went upstairs to the deck.  Guess it didn’t want any animal above it.  It allowed one more photo, then slithered through the fence and into the underbrush.

big bobcat 007

big bobcat 016

big bobcat 021
103
°

1056The patches in the asphalt parking lot at the college are starting to melt.  But it’ll really be hot by Sunday.

Young Bobcat

June 25, 2014

young bobcat 011

young bobcat 012
young bobcat 015I walked into my bedroom to hear my cat growling, her hair on end, her tail puffed up.  A young bobcat, probably the thin one who walked across my driveway a few days ago1, was lying on the patio, panting in the afternoon heat of 101°.  It looked like it needed a good meal!  My cat finally gave up her high-pitched growling with a cough – it probably hurt her throat – and we sat down to watch the bobcat “catnap” for almost two hours! young bobcat 019 (I did read, but didn’t go out to water my newly planted golden daleas, not wanting to disturb it.)

When the bobcat got up to stretch, my cat’s growl reached a new high.  But the bobcat moved to the deck, glancing at the fence.  The same deer, its mate and young’un behind, who had interfaced with my cat yesterday (the cat hunched under the chaise, peering at the deer, the buck staring across the fence at her – did he think that she was a young bobcat?) was intent upon the bobcat.  Bobcats do attack and eat deer.

young bobcat 020young bobcat 026

young bobcat 018young bobcat 030

After I went upstairs to the deck for a cleaner photo, not through the reflections on my dirty sliding glass door, the bobcat saw me and melted into the underbrush, then the deer, the buck leading the way, combing the brush for predators.young bobcat 025

Nighthawks

common_nighthawkIn the evenings there are about half a dozen Lesser Nighthawks, which are not hawks, but nightjars, that dart about the sky.  I enjoy them from my deck, but they are much too fast and dexterous to photograph (hence this from the Web).  The Desert Museum says that the Nighthawk flies low, silently and gracefully, searching the sky for flying insects, and maneuvering quickly, almost like a bat.

Ah yes, the nightjar.  I had blogged about one in Peru2:

As I was dropping off the sleep last night I realized that I had had a beer with dinner and had neglected to use the “facilities.”  I was considering getting up, with the suggested flashlight so that I didn’t step on frogs or toads or snakes (on the raised floor?!) when I heard the flapping of wings.  A large winged creature was flying above my tent.  I envisioned a vampire bat and chose not to get up.  The next morning I found out that 1vampire bats only bleed humans when they’re sleeping, 2you can’t hear the flapping of bat wings, and 3it was a night-flying bird, flying around my tent to scoop up insects, the nightjar.

Undocumented Children, the Pope, and You

52,000 unaccompanied minors have been apprehended at our southern border just this year3.  (And who knows how many Canadian kids?)  Since they come from Catholic countries who parents probably abide by the Pope’s encyclical and don’t use birth control, I think that we ought to send them to Vatican City (plane tickets would cost less than the $9.6M to repatriate them), so that Pope Francis can figure out what to do with these waifs (convents, seminaries?)  Maybe then he’d reconsider Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae4.

In fact, I think I’ll write to him.  Why don’t you too?

His Holiness, Pope Francis PP.
00120 Via del Pellegrino
Citta del Vaticano

Most Holy Father,

Sincerely,

or use the Vatican’s website to email him: vatican.com/contact

52,000 kids being housed in Texas, California and Arizona.  Just another reason for World ZPG (Zero Population Growth)!

1https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/a-death-in-the-family/
2https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2010/05/08/animals-of-the-amazon/
3http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-20/obama-to-spend-9-6-million-on-influx-of-minors-at-border.html
4http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Paul06/p6humana.htm

A Death in the Family

June 20, 2014

My father’s cousin, Dave Blair, has just passed away at 94, the last of that generation of Blairs (unless his sister is still around in Michigan, but I only met her once).  When we were kids in Detroit and traveled to California to see our grandmother, we also visited their family (who introduced us to the skateboard and the hula hoop!)  Then, many years later after Dave and Mary Lou had retired, they would drive down to Arizona with their fifth wheel to drop in on my aunt and uncle in Leisure World, Mesa, and Mom here in Tucson.

The children and I had stayed with them when they lived among the redwoods in Watsonville, California (I’ve combed though boxes of photos, but can’t find the ones I took of the kids there – too many boxes), when they lived in Sisters, Washington (during the quilt festival1), and then in Sequim, Washington.  Marilou has been gone for almost four years2, and I’ve gone to see Dave a few times since, but my only pictures are of a waterfall and the snow-capped mountains.  (Photo here of his parents seeing my grandparents off on their honeymoon.)

grandparents

Bobcat

bobcat 002Yesterday a long-legged, thin, young bobcat walked across my driveway as I was working on my computer; didn’t get my camera fast enough, so had to go out the front door and ask it to pose as it walked across the next yard.

bobcat 003bobcat 008Today when I got home from work the cat asked to go out and, as I am now wont to do due to the last rabbit she killed, I looked over the balcony for cottontails.  Instead I say a large bobcat (the same one?) longing on the guest bedroom patio.

Ran downstairs, grabbed my camera, and pulled back the edge of the drapes (which I keep closed for the summer).  The angle was all off, and I could have opened them totally, but it saw me and slowly ambled away, stopping on the bridge over the tiny wash, changing its mind, and going back to the house to keep cool behind the Texas rangers.  (I told the cat she ought to stay indoors.)

Ants

Back in Detroit where I grew up, the ants that invaded the kitchen my mother called “grease ants” because they went for her pastry board, which did not dry out (as my cutting boards do here in Tucson).  The ones that forage in my kitchen are “sugar ants”.  When I had cooked up a simple syrup (for drinks), I had left the spoon next to the stove.  Bad idea.  There was a trail of ants from the front door, up the wall, across to the kitchen counter, around the cabinets and the stove to that one 1″ drop of sugar syrup!

They can’t get into the corked canister of sugar, but one did squeeze into my covered sugar dish that goes with the creamer.  But there is a platoon of the tiny ants (which luckily don’t bite) scouring my entire house!  Not piles of them, but one here, one there, one checking out the dish of cat food, one hunting through my basket of fresh fruit and veggies, another ferreting about in the dirty dishes in my sink.  (Sorry, no photos of them!)

June

June is the cruelest month, breeding
Desert broom out of the dry land, mixing
Depression and aggression, stirring
Dust devils with no spring rain.

(apologies to TS Eliot, The Wasteland)

1https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2010/10/23/quilts/
2https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/cycle-of-life/

 

Seen Today

February 10, 2013

Saturday, February 9, 2013

This morning I awoke to rain.  When the sun came out a hummingbird zipped along the rosemary.  A friend called and said that there was snow on the Catalinas, but I can’t see them from my house; in the afternoon when I went out it was gone.  The clouds look foreboding; we may get more rain.

5:45 pm

A very large bobcat just walked across my bedroom patio, at least four times my cat’s size, with paws about ten times as large.  I was so engrossed in the newspaper that I only noticed the motion as he strode behind the chaise.  Of course I grabbed my camera, but he didn’t pause for a photo op, just continued through my fence to the wash.  My cat was sound asleep at my feet.

When I left the house at 6 pm the Catalinas were larger than usual, a rosy pink, with sharp shadows of dusty blue.  The grey-blue clouds above them were color-coordinated, illuminated to pink beneath by the setting sun.

Monty Python Accents

It’s not insomnia; I just often wake up in the middle of the night.  If I can’t get right back to sleep I turn on the radio, and at three in the morning NPR runs the BBC.  So the other night I heard two guys with Monty Python accents discussing Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi earning an estimated $43.5 million.  I thought that this must be some Monty Python joke, or maybe part of my dream.

But, in the light of day, I googled him and found that his wages and bonuses were “only” $15.8 million, but he also had $27.7 million in endorsements1.  Then I googled highest earning American athletes including endorsements and found The 50 highest-earning American Athletes2.  Last year, the boxer, Floyd Mayweather, who was unranked a year ago, scored two huge pay-per-view paydays to earn $85 million without a single endorsement. tiger + girl

He beat Tiger, who only got $59.4M for 2012. ($4.4M in winnings, $55M in endorsements.  Guess the wife v. girlfriend brouhaha has blown over.  Nobody’s paying attention to his latest blond, a 22-year old!)

1http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/20/report-messi-tops-money-earnings-with-435m/
2http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forbes%27_list_of_world%27s_highest-paid_athletes

Voices

December 9, 2012

terry grossterry's voiceFor years I heard Terry Gross on NPR.  She had such a lovely, youthful voice I pictured her like this young blonde (left).

Was surprised when I saw her photo in the NY Times (right).  Turns out she’s only five years younger than me.

Likewise, Diane Rehm’s voice, altered by spasmodic dysphonia under treatment, has her sounding quitediane rehm diane's voiceold.  (Assumed she looked like the woman on the left).  True, she is ten years older than me, but she looks great (right).

Bobcat
I went out to pick some arugula from my garden for dinner and coming back around the house I saw a bobcat dart away across the yard.  My cat was watching intently from the bedroom door.  Had the bobcat been on the patio checking her out?  For a friend or a meal?  Is the bobcat’s presence the reason that I haven’t seen the coyotes in a couple of weeks?  (Coyotes will stay away from bobcats.)

cardinal 004Cardinal
A beautiful male cardinal at my birdbath.

Bookstores
A previous NY Times Travel Issue of its Style Magazine said of Cologne, “It’s pleasing to be in a city where book stores are common.”  Not easy to find one in Tucson.  A month ago I wanted to buy a book for my grandson.  Tucson Mall no longer has a bookstore.  I stopped in Target to get something else and voilà! They had a book section with the one that I wanted.

The First Debate

October 5, 2012

Bumblebee

I saw a large creature fly to the sunflowers, but not having my glasses on in the shower thought that it may be a hummingbird.  Hurried for the glasses and camera.  No, this humongous bee on the sunflower (taking the photo from the bathroom – reflections in the glass) seems to be a bumblebee.  I looked up the difference between honey bee and bumblebee:

Bumblebees

  • Thick and furry body, fat all around with yellow, orange, and or black coloring
  • Queens are the only bee to overwinter; they hibernate at the nesting site
  • Bumblebees are natives, with over 25 species specializing on the Rocky Mountain Regions
  • Thick wings visible when landed
  • Various sizes from 2-5cm
  • Live in poorly drained soils. Small nests of 5-50 members
  • Can sting multiple times, but only the females can sting
  • Do not produce a honey surplus like honeybees

Honeybees

  • -Small body, fuzzy torso, sleek abdomen, and thin wings.
  • 2.5cm in length
  • Colonies of 1000-25000
  • Large portion of the colony overwinters with the queen
  • Can sting only once, but only the females can sting
  • Produce a honey comb and honey surplus
  • Honeybees are not natives, bur brought over by Europeans during settlement

Bobcat

Wednesday evening I was on the computer before The Debate was on.  A thin young bobcat walked across my driveway to the stone steps I put in to the drainage swale.  (This is common among all of the animals, using the pavement to ease their perambulations.)  I quickly ran out back to get the cat in.  (She was lazily stalking a lizard.)  Then I ran for the camera.  Too late.  The bobcat had passed my fence to the animal trail to the wash out back.  It looked so tired!  It didn’t seem to have the energy to turn its head or alter its slow gait when I called to it.  From its slim physique I guess it’s not eating well.  Or maybe it was just too hot!  (Temps still in the high 90’s.)

This just in!  As I was inputting this blog, the bobcat walked down the driveway again.  My camera was right here, as I had just downloaded the bee pictures.  The first photo from window.  Then I went out the front door and asked it to pose.  It lay down for a minute.

 

The First Debate

The analysts have been combing over the first Presidential Debate, and General Opinion has it that Romney won, because he was more “feisty”, but that all of the statistics went over the heads of most voters (too “wonky”).  I liked the Rolling Stone’s analysis the best:

Presidential Debate Aftermath: Mitt Romney Wins All-Important BS Contest

I didn’t watch the debate – I just couldn’t. I read it in transcript form afterwards. I know it is widely believed that Mitt Romney won, but I don’t agree. I think both candidates lost. I think they both sucked. Romney told a series of outright lies – the bit about the pre-existing conditions was incredible – while Barack Obama seemed unaccountably disinterested in the intellectual challenge of the exercise, repeatedly leaving the gross absurdities hurled his way by Romney unchallenged.1

Because I was listening to the debate on the radio, I did not see the President continually checking his notes (which the commentators noted).  Obama seemed tired, but professorial (as the analysts always note), and Romney was on a power high (as potent as crack) for being on the same stage as the President, and very aggressive, and that bothered me.  For just a moment, I thought that yes, Romney should be President, to see how intransigent the Tea Party is.  But when I thought of him as President, I thought of the “great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. Something terrible had happened.”   (Obi-Wan Kenobi sensed Alderaan’s destruction by the Death Star.)

I did think it was rather unfair for Romney to complain that Obama hadn’t worked with the other party, when Mitch McConnell promised to do whatever it takes to keep Obama from earning a second term.

10.3 million tweets were sent out over the 90 minute debate.  I was surprised at the results2:

Finally, I hate to even think about the film Dreams from my Father, but it is out there, and Mitt has not denounced it.  Just read the blog:  http://dagblog.com/politics/after-all-i-can-still-be-shocked-thats-shocking-15006

1http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/presidential-debate-aftermath-mitt-romney-wins-all-important-bs-contest-20121005

2http://www.crowdsourcing.org/editorial/facebook-and-twitters-response-to-the-first-presidential-debate/19942