Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Cranky in Tucson

I am cranky.  Why? you ask.  Because we have no running water.  Apparently a contractor (they always blame the contractors) broke a 6 inch water main.  That happened around 2:30, it's 5:30 now.  The Tucson Water Department can't locate the proper valve with which to turn off the water that is currently running out of the break.  Fortunately, it's going into a conveniently located storm drain.  However, we rode this morning, packed all day and I would really like to take a shower!  First world problems, don't you know.  We're currently discussing how to best prepare dinner with no running water.  Since I was a pandemic hoarder, I have enough hand sanitizer for 40 people, so we don't have to worry about touching raw meat and giving ourselves food poisoning.

The bougainvillea sulked all during June.  I watered it a lot, but apparently it wasn't that water it wanted.  Since we've had rain, it has grown like crazy and bloomed a lot.

We all continue to be amazed by the slide.  We see people stopping to take photos, or just standing in their drive ways looking at it.  These are taken from different angles.

This is our neighbor's rig.  He really loves driving the tractor and towing the 5th wheel.  It's a big 5th wheel, and it's elderly so I suspect it's heavy.  His tow vehicle is more than up to the task.

For tooling about town, there is this vehicle.  One drives it off on ramps.  They are heading out fairly soon.

So, that's all I've got.  No water and no ecd for when it will be fixed.

Update to post at 6:56 pm.  "Crew on site turning multiple valves to isolate main to start repairs."  That's from the water department's outage page.  That translates as "we have no clue" where the valve to shut off the water is."

Update to post at 9:07 pm.  Still turning valves.

Update to post the next morning.  Around 9:30 pm they started repairs, water was back on at 1:00 am this morning.  At present the water department is calling Jim to see if everything is ok.


Monday, July 26, 2021

Landslides in Ye Olde Pueblo

Yesterday morning was pretty weird.  It had been raining, hard at times.  Then it let up.  Then we heard rumbling.  I asked Jim if he thought it was thunder, then we decided not.  I looked out the front window at Golden Gate and this is what I saw.  See the lower cloud-ish looking area, below the actual clouds on the top of the mountain?  That's dust, it's from a land slide.  At the top of the mountain, something fairly large let go and headed down hill.

The arrows are pointing at two of the boulders that came down.  It was surreal how much noise it made. 

A lot of dirt came down, and many saguaros lost their lives today.  It's very sad, some of them are over 100 years old, and now they are dead.

So, this was before.

And this is after.  It's a subtle change.  The next photo is better.

Look at where the white arrow is pointing.  The arrow is difficult to see because picassa would not let me bold it for some reason.  It's at the top of the photo.  Anyway, see the flat shiny surface?  That used to be a good sized rock jutting out.  Now it's gone.

Remember I mentioned that in the past Tucson had used major thoroughfares to carry water, instead of putting in storm drains?  I guess the thinking was that the major dry rivers would handle the rainfall in a bad year.  That was true until fall of 1983.  I was in school here then.  The previous winter had been wet, monsoon 1983 was very wet, so the ground was saturated.  Then tropical depression Octave came and rained from September 28 until October 3.  The airport got 6.7 inches of water in that period.  There was massive flooding and bank erosion in the river beds.  Houses fell in to the water, and I think 10 people were killed.  In today's dollars, damage was about a billion.  After that, Tucson got serious about water management.

Here you can see bridges have been removed by severe bank cutting.

This is the Santa Cruz River, which normally is dry.

More washed out bridge.

There are a couple of old articles about 1983 that are interesting.  There is one here and here.

Blogger is getting weirder on me, so I think I will publish this while I can.  Some days the software will just not cooperate, no way - no how.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Packing and Rain

Holy crapoli do my feet hurt as well as my back.  Packing is hard work.  The question still remains, after two major down sizings, and living in an RV for eleven years, how the heck do we have this much STUFF? 

It's been raining.  Today it started at 2:45 am with a lot of thunder and rain.  A fair amount of debris has washed up onto the rocks that line the front yard and go up to the street.  This is the miracle of rain in the desert.  The wash had been looking black, literally.  There were few leaves, it just looked like it had been burned.  After a few days of rain we have this.

If you look mid photo you can see where one of the agave plant spikes has fallen down.  There was a lot of wind, and it's gone over.  The birds will miss sitting there.

We've had some pretty good clouds lately.  This was a pink sunset, pink every where.

This one sort of looked like the end of days.

Other than putting things in boxes, we don't have much to say for ourselves. I haven't left the house in two days.  I need to get out some!

Sunday, July 18, 2021


Holy crapoli do my feet hurt.  I have been standing on them for five hours packing up the server.  The server is chock full of pre-WWII Noritake.  Back when we lived in West Seattle, I got a wild hair that I needed more stuff.  E-bay delivered the stuff.  I jettisoned a lot of it when we moved to Bellevue, and then when we departed North Carolina, there were many listings on Craigslist for free come get it.  After Craigslist turned into a site for getting murdered, we switched to Nextdoor.  It's a smaller geographic area, but free stuff generally goes in an hour or so.

This is what left today.  It left full of half inch drive sockets and socket wrenches, and crescent wrenches.  The main reason it left is because it is so heavy.  When we didn't move around much it just lived on the work bench in the basement, but it was time.  Since we left North Carolina, Jim bought a plastic version of this that is much lighter.

Here is some of my china.  The pictures are not so good, I'm not sure if it's the overhead lighting, or if my camera is aging out.  This is a covered sugar bowl.

People in olden days had very specific china.  This is a pancake platter.  The dome has two holes in it to allow the steam to escape so they stay warm but not soggy.  Who doesn't need a pancake platter in their life?

This is some sort of sauce bowl.

In addition to these, there are berry bowls, consomme bowls, bowls for soup with stuff in it, celery dishes and etc.  There are dinner plates, dessert plates, and bread plates.  I guess if you had staff to wash all of these things it was nice to have them.  When we left NC, I kept settings for six, and the rest hit Craigslist.

So, while packing these things today, I wondered, not for the first time, why do we hang on to things that we don't use, but that we find pretty?  I guess they're little pieces of art.  That would be art that can't go through the dishwasher.

July 4 we had a pretty good sunset for summer.

Last night was ok.

The local lizard was hanging out on the sliding glass door screen.

The annoying little black bugs have reappeared, so I am hoping he will eat them all.

So far, nothing bad has happened with the buyers, so I'm moving ahead with the presumption that we'll close on time and all will be well.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Moving On

The lemon tree is blooming.  It's a wet little lemon tree.

Yesterday we went down to the Cat Mountain Station to look for an oil cloth tablecloth that would go with our newly reupholstered chairs.  There was no joy there, they're all extremely cheerful with vibrant patterns.  This is a prickly pear foreground with fruit.  This looks like a very happy cactus.

This is what it looks like when a thunderstorm is trying to form.  It reminds me of a mushroom cloud in the distance.

We received an offer on the house - we accepted it.  It looks pretty good, they're pre-qualified for a loan, and they've waived the appraisal contingency.  I feel fairly confident about it; I think it's unlikely that the inspection will turn up anything insurmountable, so hopefully this will proceed without drama.  So, there you go.  We're going north.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Smoke and Rain

Greetings Earthlings! How are things in your neck of the woods?  Our neck is full of smoke.  It's aggravating my throat somewhat. When we're out in the yard we can smell it.

So we had the exciting weather evening.  One of the local papers has put up an article with photos and a couple of gifs.  I doubt if much of the country gets this excited about rain, but here, we certainly do.  This is a haboob.  They're a wall of sand coming at you.  Tucson doesn't get them so much, mainly Phoenix.  Anyway, click on the link, there are some good pictures.

Today we had one agent come by to make a video for a client, and another came by to preview it for a client.  So, we had to leave the house.  We violated the cardinal rule of never leave the house and drive the car on an empty stomach, so we ended up at McDonald's.  I hate when that happens.  They're next door to an old strip mall that has been evicting tenants for several years.  I'm not clear on whether they're tearing it down or doing a big remodel.  The south end of Tucson has had a huge growth spurt as of late.  More retail, but no new roads.

This will make a remodel more difficult.

 The strip mall looks really bad.

I also have random photos.  This plant belongs to our next door neighbor.  He had it brutally pruned two years ago, and it's just now recovering.  The rain we've had has been enough to make it bloom. It's some sort of sage.

The next two are liberated from the internet.  This is a roseate spoonbill in flight.  The person who posted it says it looks like the bird is wearing a ball gown.

THIS is why you should not put gold fish in rivers, lakes or ponds.  Goldfish size is governed by how much space is available to them.  They're bad fish, they nibble at plant roots and muddy the water with dirt they stir up.  They are reaching crisis proportions in Minnesota.  WAPO has an article here.

Finally, here is history you probably were not taught.  It's about Wilmington, NC.  For awhile they were an example of how the races could live and work together harmoniously.  Unfortunately, a bunch of white guys rode in to town in 1898 to "take their state back."  Black owned businesses were torched, people were killed.  Apparently politics in the last 30 years of the 19th century were brutal.  Gunshots were reported on every election day, there were riots, there were deaths.  Poll workers would stab voters in the hand with an awl if they reached for the wrong color ballot.  One wonders if that's what we will return to.  The article is by Dan Danehy, and you can find it here.

This is San Xavier del Bac, we also drove out there this morning while killing time.

So, that has been our scintillating day, along with a trip to the grocery store.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

The Weather

Last night was exciting.  We had weather alerts on the cell phones for a dust storm, massive thunderstorms, high winds, hail and a possible tornado.  We got the dust storm and the thunderstorm.  I took this out the front door, it was dark at that time, and the lightning illuminated everything.  So, that was pretty cool.

We had two showings today, so we had to be out of the house.  We drove up to La Encantada, which is a very high zoot shopping area for the high zoot people who live up in the foot hills.  You can't read the top line, which is unfortunate.  They are selling Biotechnology Infused Plant Stem Cells.  I mean, really.
I don't even want to know what microneedling is, it sounds painful.  Well actually, so does dermaplaning.  It was a good way to kill some time.  We went to West Elm, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and etc.  We didn't buy anything - we would have to pack it

So, this is our new existence - wandering the shopping areas while people look at the house.  Someone who came today got one of the doors to the laundry closet off its track, which was annoying.  Fortunately Jim is expert at putting it back. 

Other than this, I have zippity doo-dah all to say.

Friday, July 9, 2021

A Miracle is Occurring

 My laptop has been pretty functional today.  Disk usage is normal, internal memory seems a little high (47%) given that it's not doing much of anything.  Operating temperatures are good, the fan is not running - so hey!  Maybe it straightened itself out.  I did delete a bunch of stuff, ran a defrag and then got all set to do a check disk, but the laptop told me things were fine and I didn't have to do that.  So, we'll see. 

I like the idea of a Mac, and their reliability, and the fact that their user base is small and so they're not attractive to hackers, but I just don't know if I can make the leap.  I've been on Microsoft since 1984.  There is a lot of muscle memory baked in to my hands.  My first calculator was RPN, reverse Polish notation.  Instead of keying in number operator number =, you key in number number operator and that's it.  Long formulas are really easy that way.  Anyway, it rewired my brain and I can't really use a normal calculator anymore. So, there is fear of not making the leap.

But enough of that.  Today we have closed on a house in Spokane, WA.  Today, also, we had the house photographer out in Tucson to document this house, which goes up on MLS tomorrow.  We're the only house in the neighborhood currently for sale, so we're hoping it will go quickly.  We're both having simultaneous cases of  "what have we done?" but it's time.  The heat here has just gotten to be too much.  This winter will be a La Nina winter, so there will be very little rain once again.  Every time WAPO does an article about the drought in the west we flinch a little, but hopefully some people aren't well informed.

This is where we are moving to.  It's in the north west quadrant of Spokane, we are near mountain bike trails.  We'll probably have to drive to them, but it's not insurmountable.  There is also a paved bike trail between Coeur d'Alene and Spokane.  So, there is stuff to do.

We talked to Jim's son the other night, and he did inform us that we will be needing a snow blower unless we want to shovel.  I think we will take the snow blower.  We're going to have to buy shoes.  Everything we own has a mesh top and rain goes right through them.

So, that's what we have been doing with ourselves, buying and (hopefully) selling real estate.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

My Laptop is Dying

Things are bad.  I'm doing this on my phone, which is also bad. There may be no posting for awhile.  It is so annoying. 

So - my laptop has come back to life briefly.  The primary theory here is that we're both really down level on Windows software and it's making both laptops behave in bizarre fashions.  Also, the tech guys on the phone think my hard drive is sick due to the fact that it goes to 100% utilization when it's just sitting there.

Anyway, it's always something and it's always bad and expensive.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

First World Problems

Well yesterday was the day from the 7th Circle 0f Hell.  Jim's laptop battery had entered the stage of the death spiral wherein it had to be on power all of the time.  It quit charging.  So we took it in to the computer repair place for a remove and replace of the battery.  Between the two of us, we've had a total of 5 battery replacements, yesterday was Jim's third.  Up until now, they've been non-events.  Yesterday, Microsoft decided that it needed to remove all of Jim's files, cookies and cache, and bookmarks.  The documents file was eventually found in a weird place on the hard drive.  Using mozilla help we were able to locate the file that holds the bookmarks, but we're not smart enough to get Firefox to use it.  It was a very aggravating day.  The important thing was the restoration of the giant file with all of our passwords, and the spreadsheets that record every ride since 2008.  So, now we're relogging in to the papers, Youtube, twitter and facebook.  It's just tedious.  Losing the bookmarks is extremely tedious.  So, keep those backups current!

It looks like monsoon is over for awhile.  Now we're in the low hundreds with humidity.  I don't think July is much of an improvement over June thus far.

The two days of rain we did get have convinced the ocotillo to put out leaves.  It's nice to see them green instead of looking dead.

The palo verdes are making seed pods.  The local squirrel is eating them.

We're seeing a lot of this in between the pavers and the flagstones.  It sort of looks like ants, but when you spray nothing comes running out like ants usually do.  It's a mystery.

Behold the beauty of the agave parryi.  I had him up against the wall on the west side of the house, so he was getting sun all day until about 3 pm, as well as reflected light and heat from the wall.  His leaves closed up and he started turning yellow.  Since he's been in the shade of the palm trees he is much happier.

Other than this, my friends, I have zippity doo-dah all to say.

Monday, July 5, 2021

July 5, 1852

This is an excerpt from Frederick Douglass' speech on July 5,1852.  I think this just about says it all about July 4.  The entire text can be found here.  It's long and it's totally worth reading.

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.”

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Things That Are Irritating Me

Oh happy day!  There will be even more discussion over the complete and total wingnuttery that is AZ politics as well as other stuff that is giving me agita.  

From the local news on KOLD, we learn the following.  Governor Ducey has signed a new budget which gives the wealthy Arizonans a big tax cut, and regular people get a tiny tax cut or none at all.  Proposition 208, which levied a small tax on the wealthy for schools last year, was undone by the new budget.  Never mind that the citizens voted for it overwhelmingly, the will of the people means nothing to a republican governor.  The budget also included the following items, which have nothing to do with money.

— Bans any instruction that implies that one race is inherently racist, should be discriminated against, or feel guilty because of their race. It is another in a series of measures targeting or reacting to so-called “critical race theory,” which is not currently being taught in K-12 schools. Teachers could lose their licenses and their schools fined for violations.

— Strips Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs of the power to defend election-related lawsuits against the state, and bars Hobbs from hiring private attorneys. Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich will instead get the power to stake out the state’s position in election matters. The power transfer expires after Hobbs and Brnovich leave office in 2023.

— Gives the state police broad power to keep videos from body-worn cameras and dashboard cameras secret. Such videos are generally considered public records now, but the budget gives the Department of Public Safety the power to decide when it’s in the public’s interest to release them. It also requires people seeking copies of videos to know the time and place it was recorded and the names of people involved.

— Requires that police misconduct be investigated only by certified officers from the same jurisdiction, essentially banning civilian-controlled review boards for police misconduct.

— Blocks public health measures including vaccine or mask mandates meant to control the coronavirus in schools and universities. 

Last week the Supreme Court ruled in favor of  Arizona AG Brnovich in his suit that wanted to do away with "ballot harvesting" and discarding the federal portion of ballots that were cast in the wrong precinct.  As I have said before, on the Navajo nation, it's difficult to get a ballot to a polling place.  It involves driving very long distances on unpaved roads.  Why, you wonder, do they just not mail them in?  That would be because there is no mail service on the reservation.  The residents must go in to town to get mail from a PO box.  SCOTUS decided that since not that many people were impacted, that it would be ok to disenfranchise them.  Their ruling is going to make it more difficult to challenge the boat load of voter suppression laws currently being passed in the red states. WAPO had an excellent op-ed piece about how the court pretty much made up stuff about what Section 2 of the 1982 voting rights bill said.  Voting in the correct precinct in AZ is more difficult than you might think.  I don't know what my precinct is, I don't know how to find out.  It's not on my voter registration card, and I haven't seen a pick on the website.  They change often, so it's not surprising people go to the wrong place. I can understand tossing the local vote, since it is out of precinct, but not the federal section, which is what SCOTUS said they could do.

The Kansas legislature has been busy writing stupid voting laws.  One of their most recent efforts makes it a crime to engage in activity that “gives the appearance of being an election official.”  There are significant financial penalties for this heinous act.  The League of Women Voters has suspended all of their voter registration drives out of fear of prosecution under this new law.  Great, just great.  We won't register people to vote, they might vote for Democrats.  You can read more about this here.

From the annals of "white people suck" we have the latest indignity brought to us by the Olympics.  Swimmers are required to wear a standard tight fitting latex swim cap.  These caps do not work for Black women who have a lot of hair.  They're too tight, they hurt and sometimes come off in the water.  Different companies have developed swim caps that work for Black hair.  One of them submitted a request that they be allowed in competition.  Nope.  "The organization said the design does not fit “the natural form of the head.” To the best of their knowledge, they added, “the athletes competing at the international events never used, neither require … caps of such size and configuration.”"  Did they ask any Black swimmers?  I doubt it.  This just irritates the living snot out of me.  You can be irritated, too, by reading here.  Or you can be irritated by a WAPO op-ed on the same subject.

So, on this dark and gloomy afternoon (which is only producing light sprinkles) I have documented my current list of grievances.  Carry on.

Friday, July 2, 2021

It Rained

Welp, it rained.  It could have rained longer, but it was an active, fast moving storm.  We got wet at Safeway running to the car, and then when we headed for the house, there was lightning and thunder.  Pretty cool.  It did drop the temperature, but it's even more humid.

This was at 7 am yesterday.  There were a lot of clouds, so we did not expect rain.  There needs to be sun heating the dirt to bring up the storms.  We were mistaken!

Later there was this on the cell phones.  Floods and dust storms - it's versatile weather.

This is a good service for the citizens.  When we were in South Carolina, we got alerts for tornadoes.  News you can use.

It's really localized rain.  You can see the edge of the downpour.

So that's it!  That's all I've got. It rained some.

Update to post:  Actually it rained a LOT up north.  KOLD has an article up about what people saw, including land spouts and flying sheds.  It's worth a look (no paywall).