Wednesday, November 14, 2018

It’s Cold!

Well, actually it’s not, it’s in the upper 50s, but it feels cold.  Maybe it’s just me.  The last two days have been really windy.  Hopefully what ever is causing the wind and the chilly temperatures will move on through soon.

I took this on the 11th – it was kind of cool seeing the sliver of moon over the agave flower spike.

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Tonight we had a pretty good sunset.

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Other that this I have nothing to report.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Some Pictures of the House That Aren’t Very Good

So here is a previously posted picture of the house from across the street.  It’s pretty good.  I like this picture.

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Jim was up one calm morning with a gallon of glyphosate attempting to eradicate the bunch grass growing on the side of the wash.  This is going to be an ongoing project.  After two weeks, it’s pretty much dead, but it’s still standing.

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There have been deliveries from Amazon right and left.  This is the office chair we bought for cheap at an estate sale.  They had a Sunbeam mixer I was interested in, but they wanted full boat retail for it, and would not come down very much on that price.  They’re sill available new, so if I decide I really need a mixer, I can get it on line.  The red rug is new – from Amazon.  On sale!  It makes it easier to move the chair about on the tile floor.

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I think house photography is a skill, and it’s a skill I do not have.  I’ve taken multiple photos and they’re all pretty terrible.  That window in the front is definitely not helping with the lighting.  Anyway, here is the living room.

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Looking right from the living room to the server.  I got that in North Carolina.  The reason the pictures are like that is because there is a giant nail in the wall holding up the top water color.  That server weighs about 400 pounds and we can’t move it, unfortunately when the movers placed the server, I didn’t notice that it needed to be centered under the giant nail.  This is our workaround to hide the nail and be symmetrical.

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Moving further right, looking in to the kitchen.  The piece on the left is one that we had made locally.  It provides an amazing amount of storage for light bulbs, napkins, kleenex boxes and stuff like that.  It’s also pretty.  Bookcase on the right is courtesy of Ikea.

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There is something about cabinets that don’t go to the ceiling that demands that you put stuff on them.  The flowered flour sifter was my Grandmother’s.  You can still see the 35 cents written on it in grease pencil.

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My fetishes are seeing the light of day after being packed away for 10 years.  They’re happy to be out. 

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THIS is the current bane of our decorating existence.  The TV needs to be on that angle to be visible to the two love seats.  Wouldn’t you think you could just scroll through a couple of websites and buy something to corral the cords and look better than this?  No, no you may not.  The router is 8.5 inches tall, and to get a low console, you don’t get a tall enough shelf.  We found one console that was OK, but it’s sold out.  I pretty much have the inventory of Overstocks and Wayfair memorized. 

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So, progress is being made.  We’re happy with the kitchen, nothing else is needed in there.  It’s amazing how many plates two people go through in a day when you give up the paper plate habit.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Armistice Day

In his address in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron said the following:
"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism.  Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying our interests first, who cares about the others, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values."
"I know there are old demons which are coming back to the surface. They are ready to wreak chaos and death.  History sometimes threatens to take its sinister course once again."
Meanwhile, in Poland, the nationalists were marching, chanting their wishes for a whites only Europe.

It just never ends.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Bike Hike

We’ve been outside a time or two recently that did not involve yard work.  I incorrectly equated “desert landscaping” with “low maintenance.”  That would not be the case.  Currently we are trying to kill off an invasion of bunch grass on the other side of the wall.  If it would stay over there, we’d let it be.  However, it’s invading the hop seed hedge, which is very hard to weed, so chemicals are being used.  The grass is sick, but so far it’s not dead.

This is along the Santa Cruz trail.  Everywhere we go recently, there is a significant trail closure.  This does not really impact us, as we have to drive to the trail from the house, but it’s such a bummer for the people at Rincon Country West RV Resort.  Their spur to the trail was paved late last season, which was just wonderful.  Now, the underpass at Ajo is closed until 12/2019, which means they all have to ride down Mission Road (very busy road) to Silverlake to get to the trail.

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I love the look of this rusting pole against the very blue sky.

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There has been hiking among the cacti.

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Look at the low point of the saddle, about mid picture.  That trail is accessible from the house.  We’ve been up there twice.

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The orange flowers are normally spring bloomers.  They’re still in flower after the rains a while ago.

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Look dead center.  There are three mule deer there.  They have a unique gift of standing so that I am forced to shoot into the sun.

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We now have sun shades for the western facing patio.  The light fixture over the table has been replaced with a smaller, simpler fixture.  I’m really happy we outsourced the activity.  We could have done it, but it would have taken all day per each.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Cheating

I did not think that things could get worse than Brian Kemp’s disenfranchising of thousands of Georgia voters, his inability to provide functioning voting machines with power cords, and his failure to recuse himself from the job which allowed him to oversee the election in which he was running.  However, I was mistaken.

The Arizona Republican Party has filed a lawsuit.
County officials were still counting more than 600,000 ballots when four local Republican parties filed the lawsuit Wednesday night. The suit challenges the way counties have allowed voters to fix problems involving signatures on some mailed-in early ballots.
The lawsuit singles out the state's two biggest urban counties, which are the base of Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema's support. She and Republican Rep. Martha McSally are separated by only a few thousand votes.
So, if we don’t think we’re winning, we file law suits and alter the results of an election.

Yesterday the president fired Attorney General Sessions, and elevated his chief of staff to acting AG.  This would be the same person who is on record calling Mueller’s investigation a witch hunt and suggesting the best way to stop it would be to cut all funding.  No conflict here!

On the bright side Dino Rossi lost to Kim Schrier in Washington.  Dr. Schrier will be going to the House of Representatives.

Tomorrow a handy man is coming to do tasks that require standing on a ladder, which is something we no longer enjoy.  Progress on the house continues.

Update to post 11/13/2018.

On November 9, the AZ Governor tweeted this:

The RNC lawsuit was denied, the votes were counted and Kyrsten Sinema won.  Yea Kyrsten Sinema!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Arizona Sunsets

Tonight was another gaudy sunset.

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The western skies have been pretty spectacular as of late.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Very Good Day

Today was an excellent day. We were up and out early to go to the Social Security Office.  I was there to file a restricted application for spousal benefits.  Were you born before January 2, 1954?  Is your spouse receiving SSN?  If so, I think you are eligible to file for spousal benefits (50% of spouse’s payment at full retirement age), and let your SSN grow until you’re 70.  This is a limited time offer that ends in 2020.  Here is a link to a fairly understandable Forbes article on the subject. 

We got there when the doors opened at nine.  Last week I waited 90 minutes on the phone to make an appointment, and thus was able to go in first.  I was directed to window number 15, and low and behold, the gentleman working that station had pulled my paperwork, knew why I was there and proceeded to process me and my documents in about 20 minutes.  The person I spoke to when I made the appointment asked many questions and generated a file on me that allowed much of the work to be done before I got there.  The visit truly exceeded expectations.

If you’re going to do this, form SSA-10 lists the documents you need to bring.  In my case, since Jim is still living, I did not need a death certificate.

On the way home, we followed signs in the neighborhood for a moving sale.  There is a business here that runs sales for people who must empty the house.  We bought an office chair – cheap!  I’m so excited after pricing them at Office Depot. 

After lunch there was hiking.  There is a trail that starts across the street from the house.  We walked up to the top of a saddle.  While we were standing there, two Blackhawk helicopters flew by.  They’re from a special operations unit at Davis-Monthan. 

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A mountain whose name I do not know.

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This is our community.  Look at the houses closest to me.  We’re around the corner in that neighborhood.

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This is amazing.  These flowers generally only bloom in the spring, and they’re pretty scarce.  At present, they’re all over the place.  It’s amazing what a little rain will do.

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Have you ever seen such a juicy ocotillo?

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When you exit the trail back into the neighborhood, this is what you see.  This is our house.

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Progress continues.  It’s starting to look and feel more like home than a collection of rooms with furniture in them.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Life in a House

I killed my first scorpion the other night.  It was in the kitchen.  It’s not uncommon around here to find them in the house.  The one I killed was little, they have the worst sting.  Fortunately the hammer was in the kitchen and I picked it up, preparing to swing away at it.  Jim reminded me he was on a tile floor and to please dial back the force.  Now we have the rubber mallet on standby for future killings.

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Our neighbors have suffered the loss of two gigantic agave plants.  They were just huge.

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They were collapsed like this when we returned to Tucson.  At first we though it was lack of water, but one out of the three was fine.  Turns out they were done in by the agave snout weevil.  It’s an evil bug that attacks old or sick agaves and lays their eggs in the center.  Then the eggs hatch and proceed to eat the core of the plant.  This is really a problem for people raising agave for tequila.  It took no effort to tip the center of the plant over, it had been hollowed out.

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Here is a picture of the bougainvillea.  Every time I use that word I have to look it up.  Do you think I could learn out to spell that?

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A cloudy day gave us a stupendous sunset.  We did not see so many from the RV park. 

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This guy flew in this morning and perched on the wall for a bit.  Then he flew off, looking for lunch.  I wish he would eat the Gila woodpecker who spends much of the day screaming like a crazy thing.  He’s very annoying.

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Well, it’s time to go out and prune the lemon tree.  It’s developed an odd growth pattern that I would like to discourage.  The deer have pruned the orange trees for us, so they don’t need any attention. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

News From Brazil

Does this sound familiar?  From the WAPO.
Meanwhile, mainstream media is losing its influence. Society has lost its former cohesion. Political parties and trade unions, which once gave meaning to political projects and ideologies, no longer draw support and solidarity. As a result, people’s political choices are often guided by messages generated by their social networks. And when the corruption of political parties, statesmen and leaders is exposed, anger against politicians overshadows all other concerns. That is exactly what happened here in Brazil.
Yesterday, Brazil elected a leader, Jair Bolsonaro, who out trumps our current president.  He’s openly misogynistic, homophobic and has a stated opinion that minorities must bow to the majorities.  He wants to seize land set aside for indigenous people.  This land would be in the Amazon rain forest.  He has announced his desire for increased mining, drilling and agriculture in the forest, as well as putting a paved road through it.  He also has plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accords.

All of the above is not good for the planet.  The UN report on climate change said we have twelve years to do change our emissions to keep temperatures from rising two degrees.  That’s pretty much the cut off for catastrophic changes to the planet.

So, it’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sunday at a New House

We’ve reached the stage where the bulk of the big things are done with the house.  We’ve entered the stage of the small irritating tasks.  It seems like everything just takes forever.  Monday I have to find a handy person who will come out and hang sun shades outside and a new light over the dining table and make the pipe under the kitchen sink stop dribbling.  Sometime this week the local gardener is coming back to take away the ugly chiminea and dig up some ugly plants.  I’m also hoping he’ll take the corpse of the tree we cut down yesterday.  That sucker grew about 12 feet in 5 months.

It was funny, we were out in the yard yesterday morning, and heard someone saying “good morning.”  After a couple of repetitions we realized it was directed to us.  We said hi, and the neighbor asked us what were our plans for that tree.  As it turns out she and her husband have been cutting it to the ground for the last three years.  We went to Home Depot and got a saw and dispatched it.

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Eventually we hope to get the roots dug out so it will stop growing.

In the 1970s my Dad was Special Agent in Charge of the Arizona FBI office.  Part of his job was to liaise with the Native Americans on the reservations.  The reservations are sovereign nations, and deal with the US Federal Government.  Anyway, during his time here he acquired several beautiful Navajo weavings.  Today’s project was to get one of them up on the wall. 

I resurrected my sewing machine.  It’s a metal Bernina, it’s amazingly heavy.  When we had houses, I sewed a lot, mainly quilts.  The machine has been in storage since 2007, and I’ve lost all my muscle memory on how to use it.  Took a few minutes to remember how to do anything.

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Anyway, I made a sleeve for a dowel.  Then I sewed it to the weaving by hand.  Several finger stabbings later, it was attached.

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The half inch dowel fit and we got it hung.  It’s centered and level.  We’re happy.

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In news of the sporting world, Lewis Hamilton has won his fifth F1 world championship.  Good show Lewis!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Outside

We hiked today.  The desert is eerily green.

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That’s it, that’s all I’ve got!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

And So It Begins

It was (again) off to Home Depot this morning.  Buying a house means multiple trips to the big box hardware stores.  Today’s mission was the acquisition of a blower.  We really did not want to do it, they’re noisy and annoying but it became clear over the past few days that it would be inevitable.  A low voltage lights timer/transformer, 100 feet of power cord and a blower came home with us.

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The driveway is stamped concrete.  It would not have been my first choice, but it came with the house.  The orange and purple flowers from the neighbor’s yard blow into our yard and get stuck in the grooves.  Using a broom is just wasted effort.

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Jim has chased the debris off the drive way and down the street and blown it into the wash. 

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This is a terrible picture of a Northern Cardinal.  He was out in the wash this morning flitting around.  The camera had a split second to see him and didn’t finish the focus.  Better pictures are on the web.  Until today, I didn’t know they were in the south west – now I do.

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I pulled weeds today, part of which was about 20 feet of a vine with stickers.  It’s amazing how all of the plants have stickers, they are well protected.  We also have this volunteer in the hop seed hedge.  Look at the plants to the left and right, and then look at that tall ferny looking thing in the middle.  That was not there when we left in May.  What ever it is, it’s a fast grower.  We’re going to out source its removal, it has a substantial base.

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Tomorrow we’re hoping for the beginning of hiking season.  Enough dealing with the house!  I need to go outside.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The RV Goes to Storage

Today was exhausting!  I believe the bulk of my neuro transmitters have been depleted due to stress.  It was stupid stress, it all worked out, but until it’s over, you don’t know how things will go.

We took the RV up to Marana to storage.  I really hate doing this, I keep reading that it’s not good for a diesel to sit, but then again we’ve been staying in Tucson for months at a whack without moving and it’s always been ok.  The difference is that the RV is off power this time.  We’re thinking maybe solar panels would be good, except for that we have no clue as to how to attach them to the batteries. 
Here is Jim, turning the battery disconnect switches.  We’re going to go up to the RV at least once a month to run the generator and the engine which will top off the batteries. 

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Jim did an excellent job of getting her between the poles and the 5th wheel next door.  You can’t see it in this picture, but that 5th wheel is the same length (41 feet) that we are.  I am always boggled at how much people are willing to tow.

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One side of the storage place.  It’s really huge.  The manager lives on site and it’s surrounded by fences with razor wire.

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So, we’re out of the RV, the RV is in storage and now we wonder what will happen.  Will we take up traveling again or will we not?  We honestly have no clue.

This happened later.....

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Rain is Still Here

The schedule called for us to take the RV into storage today.  Unfortunately, the thunderstorms started early.  The thunder and lightning was very impressive.  We decided that we didn’t want to drive in that much rain, and that I did not want to stand out in it while directing Jim into the parking place we’ve rented.  It’s 12 feet wide, but directions will need to be provided.  So, we paid for another day in the RV park and we’re hoping tomorrow will be better.

Look in the middle of the photo where the buildings are.  That’s a heavy dump of rain on downtown Tucson.

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While we were living full time in the RV, the furniture industry underwent a sea change.  One now assembles one’s own furniture.  This is not just IKEA, but higher quality items as well.  We’re on the hunt for a TV stand that will corral the wires associated with the cable box and the modem, and so far it’s all DIY.  Same with bedroom dressers.  One makes one’s own drawers.  I really don’t want to do that.

We drove up to a furniture consignment place to see what we would see.  Their prices were just laughable.  I thought the idea behind consignment was saving some money.  Ugly lamps – $105!  It’s crazy.  But this was the best.

It’s a custom lodge bedroom set.  For $8,000, one receives the bed, dresser, giant chest of drawers, two end tables, a floor lamp, and two lamps made of of tree stumps.

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This is a close up of the foot of the bed.  Sorry for the blur, I must have moved.

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This is the piece de resistance.  Have you ever seen anything like this?  I just don’t know what to think about it.  If you look closely to the right of it, you can see the floor lamp. 

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It rained pretty much all day.  We got pretty wet coming out of Home Depot. 

This was about 30 minutes ago.  The sun is breaking through out to the west.  Unfortunately the storms come from the east.

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This is sort of east-ish.  The sky is still dark, I think there may be more rain.  The temperature has dropped a bunch.

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We did get a 5 gallon propane tank for the grill and made a Target run, so the day was not a complete loss.