Sunday, March 28, 2021

March 28, 2021

Friday was a hike.  Technically, it was a bike day on the schedule, but too cold, and too windy.  It was an ok hike.  Our feet are doing better with it.  My theory, unencumbered by facts and data, is that feet get out of shape just like any other unused body part.  That's Jim, wearing his Tilley hat and holding my poles.

The clouds moderated the x-ray effect of the sun. 

The ocotillos are blooming.  I was too head on to the open blossom to really see it.  I will try again next time.  The other ones have not opened yet.

This is a monster cholla.  It's old and huge.  It's interesting how new branches just sprout willy nilly on old wood.  

Yesterday was warmer with wind.  It seemed that all uphills were in to the wind.  This is the leaning agave.  It's a terrible picture because of where the sun was.  Anyway,  it's still upright.  We can not come to its aid because it's not on our property.  None of the blossoms have opened yet.  

Lemons from the neighbor's tree.  It's just about done with the fruit.  They're stacked in my vintage Corning pie plate.  It's from ebay, one of the many things I collected while living in West Seattle.  Most of it did not make the trip to Arizona.  After moving from Washington state to North Carolina, we did the mother of all down sizings prior to going full time in the RV.  Craig's list was helpful, there were many posts of  "free, come get it, owner will not help you."  Now, it would probably be Nextdoor.

We peeled 24 ounces of pearl onions for freezing.  Cut the root tips off, boil for two minutes, put in ice bath, and then pick up by the pointy end and squirt out the onion.  So much easier and better than trying to peel with a knife.  Peeling used to be Jim's job as sous chef, but no more.  They are noticeably better than buying them commercially frozen in a bag.

The ship in the Suez canal is contributing to the fraying of the global supply chain.  The talking heads are warning us about new shortages of soft drinks (aluminum shortage), furniture (foam shortage), and toilet paper (wood pulp shortage).  Oil prices are expected to surge just because they can. 

So there you go, you've been warned.

In news that is pissing me off; there is the new voter suppression law passed by the old white men in the Georgia legislature. There are the words of the Michigan head of the republican party; "Our job now is to soften up those three witches and make sure that we have good candidates to run against them, that they are ready for the burning at the stake."  Nice!  Really nice.  Those three witches are the governor, the attorney general and the secretary of state.  He says he was joking, but then he went on to talk about assasinating two republican senators who voted to impeach, so maybe not joking.  Also irritating is the Minnesota court which threw out a rape conviction because the woman was intoxicated.  Hello?  Consensual sex anyone?  There is a case in Tennessee in which the judge denied a 13 year old rape victim access to an abortion unless her rapist, her uncle, agreed to it.  I did a google search to find the state (I forgot) and was horrified at how many hits "13 year old rape victim" returns.  This is a sick planet.

We did have a slight sunset the other night.

So that is what I have to say about things.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Arizona Politics, Agaves and Vaccines

Counting Sunday, today is day 5 after my Covid vaccination.  There were a couple of days of fatigue and arm tenderness.  Then on Tuesday, my arm swelled and turned red at the injection site.  Yesterday, I noticed a swelling of a lymph node at the base of my neck on the injection side that was also red.  During all of this, the arm tenderness has decreased to the point where it's almost gone.  The lymph node was the thing that was surprising.  I always get injection site reactions.  So, that's my history with the second Covid shot. Your mileage may vary.

Yesterday we rode, and it could only be described as unpleasant.  We started out at 55 degrees with thick cloud cover and windy.  Layers were worn.  Then the sun came out, some layers were removed.  Then the clouds came back and it rained on us.  We went home, it stopped raining, so we headed out again.  The entire rest of the ride banged both sides of the course between too hot and too cold.  One climate would be plenty.  The clouds were pretty good, though.

The agave is inching ever closer to blooming.  It's also leaning precipitously.  We're under a high wind/blowing dust warning for today, so the flower spike may go over - which would be unfortunate.

The individual buds are growing, but have not yet opened.  I want to see that.

Jim is back at Lowe's, buying stuff for the upcoming exterior house maintenance project.  I can't wait.  More time on a ladder and more marine spar varnish are on tap.

The republican held AZ senate has won a lawsuit to recount 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa country in the 2020 election.  Thus far they have found no one willing to do this, and so the ballots remain where they have been.  In the meantime, Mike Lindell, Dr. Lyle Rapacki, a far-right activist who has claimed “demonic” forces are afoot in the fight over the Maricopa ballots, and Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, who has developed a couple of failed pieces of technology and went on to star as the Commander of the Treasure Hunter Force on the History Channel, have focused their attention on Arizona.  One of their theories is that the counting machines changed votes.  Another is that the ballots for the orange ectoplasm were stolen from the warehouse.  The entire article is on Daily Beast.  I did not encounter a paywall.  The article is good and really points out the degree to which these people are wing nuts.  Here is an excerpt.

On March 5, a handful of Trump supporters organized around activist Staci Burk visited Maricopa’s election office and claimed, without evidence, that the ballots could easily be accessed in the back of a warehouse. Then, one of Burk’s associates—an elderly man identified in right-wing blogs as “Earl S.”—was caught on security cameras heaving his body into a dumpster.

In the dumpster, they claim, they found a yellow trash bag filled with shredded ballots. Burk posted pictures of the shredded papers, including massive piles of paper spread out on a home in front of Earl S. on Facebook. 

There was video of people trying, unsuccessfully to break in to the warehouse.  These people are crazy.  The entire republican party in AZ has lost its collective mind.  It's an embarrasment to everyone who is not crazy.  They're hell bent on killing early mail in voting, cutting polling place hours, and all of the other voter suppression laws currently in work in Georgia.  AZ also wants you to send in a copy of your driver's license with your ballot.  Hopefully that will not survive a court challenge.

Aaaaaaand, our idiot governor has just banned cities and counties from imposing mask mandates.  So, bars and restaurants are open and nobody has to wear a mask in this state.  One wonders if one really wants to live here.  Fortunately, our mayor believes she has legal standing to enforce mask wearing and will continue to do so.

Angus, who writes BobandSophie, posted this video on his blog this morning.  It's an excellent tutorial on how to understand efficacy vs. over all goodness of the vaccines.  The short answer is that all vaccines are 100% able to keep you out of the hospital and out of the morgue.  It's 7 minutes, and it very informative.  Feel free to share it with people who need some education.

Other than whining about our politicians and the wind, I have zippity doo-dah all to report.

Monday, March 22, 2021

The Second Shot

 How the heck are you?  I'm a little tired.  Yesterday I got the second Pfizer shot.  I didn't feel bad, but I did fall asleep in my recliner, while desperately trying to finish a New Yorker so I could get it off my unread pile, so I took a nap.  Today I don't feel bad, but since the air is cold and the wind is really up, I'm taking one more day off.  It's sort of a bummer, tomorrow is supposed to be the really windy day, so quite likely there will be no riding then, either.  Perhaps a restorative walk in the desert will be in the works.

Apparently all of the people waving the orange flags, checking you in and running the vaccination site are volunteers.  My hat goes off to them, always cheerful, very nice, they congratulate you on the second shot and check on you in the 15 minute holding area.  Bottled water and saltines are available for those who would like some.  

We saw this car on the way to the vaccination site.  It's beautifully restored.  Jim identifies this as a 1957 Thunderbird.  It got in front of us on Ajo, reminding us once again how wonderful emission controls really are.  The older cars smell bad.

The UofA vaccine POD is growing.  There are more tents than there were last time.  They are ramping up to go 7x24 once more vaccine is available.  FEMA offered the state 250,000 doses and the state declined, not wanting interferance by the federal government.  Chuck Huckleberry said it best when he said he could not understand the logic of that.  I can, our governor is an idiot.  Anyway, now Pima country is trying to get the doses, because they have capacity to give them.  They also have a pretty good website.

This was definitely not here last time.  I would have remembered this.  Exactly what is a restroom suite?

We took 4th Avenue towards home.  Coming out of the street that goes underneath the rail line we saw this.  It's all new.  Apparently rents and home prices are skyrocketing in Tucson, which is bringing investors to the area, which in turn causes the prices to increase.

Jim just returned from Lowe's, he commented that ordering from Amazon is better than going out for stuff.

Last week there was hiking and biking.  This is a terrible picture, they were far away.  If you look carefully, there are four people on horseback on the trail.  It's a really rocky, uneven trail.  No one is wearing a helmet.  The one horse woman I know has gone to a helmet, deciding that horses have a mind of their own and they might hurt you.

The hopseeds are putting on a great bloom this year.  I had to cut some branches off to get them off the ground.  The blossoms weigh them down. 

On the 19th I cut the bougainvillea back.  I have no idea how I'm supposed to do that.  The internet is surprisingly uninformative.

There is a bee in the lemon blossom.

The orange tree has a lot of blossoms this year, compared to last year.  Both of those are next door. 

The shooting of the eight people in Georgia has been joined by a shooting in Boulder, CO.  The only data thus far is that it was done by a man.  Given the fact that he was taken alive, I'm assuming he was white.  I saw the quote below somewhere, and it reminded me of the death of Sarah Everard in the UK, and the deaths of the women in Florida, and all of the other deaths of women at the hands of men. 

Novelist Margaret Atwood writes that when she asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women, he answered, "They are afraid women will laugh at them." When she asked a group of women why they feel threatened by men, they said, "We're afraid of being killed."

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

St. Patrick's Day

Greetings Earthlings.  How are you in this time of republican perfidy and malfeasance?  The voter suppression force is strong in them.  They should all catch some dread disease.  Did you know that 25% of  the members of the House are not vaccinated?  One wonders if stupid is self-limiting.  Anyway, enough of that.  In sporting news, the Kiwis beat the Italians in the America's Cup.  The New Zealand boat was just wicked fast.

There has been hiking and biking.  Here, once again, is my favorite church.

Cacti are amazing.  These three are growing up out of the rocks.  How do they force their way up through the rubble?

This is a different type of cactus also growing up out of the rock pile.

Tucson is in a caldera.  There are a lot of rocks in the area.  These are the flat rocks that someone has used to make this structure.  It's not on a trail, so it's not actually a cairn.

A Palo Verde tree.

The last time we were at Costco we bought a pack of pork chops.  The two on the top were really good looking, with a nicely developed tenderloin.  The rest can only be described as mystery cuts.  Since pork is so lean, it doesn't grill well anymore.  We've given up on that.  The other thing we got at Costco was a 35 ounce can of peeled tomatoes.  So, we mushed the tomatoes into mush, cut up some vegetables, and then simmered the pork chops in tomato sauce for three hours.  It was actually pretty good.  Put enough garlic in it, and just about anything will be good.  That was our adventure in off-recipe cooking for the week.

We were looking at old photos this past week.  When we first moved here there was a thought of putting them in photo albums, but after two years it's pretty obvious  they're going to live in the storage box.  Here are three of them.  This two are from WWII.  Jim's Dad was in Europe.  I don't know if he took these or not.  There's no history attached to the images.  The slanting light is what catches my eye in this one.

Not sure where this was taken, other than near water.

Jim's long ago relatives who we can not identify.  The dresses look so dang uncomfortable.

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

Saturday, March 13, 2021


For those of you who are no doubt curious about the fate of the outdoor thermometer (see last post) - she is gone.  Something bad happened to the outdoor sensor and so, it has gone to the great landfill in the sky.  We got a new one, which I actually like better.  It's easier to read, and thus far has not indicated that we're having a heat wave of epic proportions.  It took over night for the base unit and the sensor to pair (sitting close together), but they did. 

Things are pretty slow here.  Still waiting to be immunized, waiting for the two weeks to be up, just waiting.  The closer we get to the end of this, the more cranky I am getting.  

We saw this coming down Ajo.  It's a giant digging tool of some sort.  The bucket has its own flat bed pulled by the tractor trailer at the back of the line of traffic.  There are mines around here that are still being worked.

We're had systems moving through, bringing wind but no rain.  The skies have been fairly interesting.

Finally, last night it rained most of the night.  Today it's cold (52 and windy).  We're supposed to be hiking but so far no one has shown much interest in getting dressed and going out.  This morning there was a light dusting of snow on Golden Gate and Bren.  That's Bren, below.

It would appear that it's the season of  love for the rabbits.  These two were across the street.

I think the one on the right is the pursuer.

The sky at noon today.  There is still a lot of unsettled air.

One of the things that gave us pause about buying a house in Arizona was the wing-nut politics.  It's a red state, but it was trending purple.  The AZ state house has their hair on fire about this and it must be stopped. They have about two dozen voter suppression bills in work.  They are targeting mail in and early voting, which the state has been doing for ten years and is very popular with both parties.

...the state Senate approved a bill that would require voters to submit identification paperwork with their mailed-in ballots. Instead of the state's current system of matching signatures on ballot envelopes with voters' signatures on file, those voting by mail would need to provide affidavits with their date of birth and driver's license, state ID or tribal ID card number -- or would need to include their voter registration number and a copy of a utility bill. The same forms of identification are already required for in-person votes in Arizona. That bill hasn't yet been scheduled for a House committee vote.

Did I miss something?  Isn't the ballot supposed to be secret?  If I have to send in a utility bill (which I don't have, due to on-line bill pay) it has my name and address on it, and they'll be keeping those pieces of paper.  If you vote in person, the identification documents are returned to you.  No I don't feel good about this!  Any of those identification methods reveal the identity of the voter. 

The following is from Joe Kavanaugh, a republican from Fountain Hills.

"There's a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans," Kavanagh said. "Democrats value as many people as possible voting, and they're willing to risk fraud. Republicans are more concerned about fraud, so we don't mind putting security measures in that won't let everybody vote -- but everybody shouldn't be voting."
He pointed to Democrats' emphasis on registering voters and pursuing those who have not returned ballots -- tactics that Republicans have successfully implemented in other swing states -- and said doing so means that "you can greatly influence the outcome of the election if one side pays people to actively and aggressively go out and retrieve those ballots."
"Not everybody wants to vote, and if somebody is uninterested in voting, that probably means that they're totally uninformed on the issues," Kavanagh said. "Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well."

They're saying the quiet part out loud again.  They've said it in front of the Supreme Court and now they're saying it again.  They only want white republicans to vote, and the rest of us can just stay home.  We're as bad as Georgia when it comes to voter suppression. 

The above is from a CNN article.  It's been well reported in the last couple of days.

There has still been no condemnation of Paul Gosar, noted white supremacist by anyone in the GOP.  His siblings are calling for him to be expelled from the House of Representatives because of his heinous beliefs.

Other than that, we're in wait state.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Remember the Heat Forecast?

 It was really hot today.

It has become almost impossible to buy a decent remote thermometer.  Oregon Scientific used to make a really good outdoor sensor with data that would show up in the main unit.  For reasons I don't understand, they went out of business, despite having a superior product.  Accu-rite is much cheaper, but doesn't work all that well.  The exterior humidity is always wrong.

Jim was a little rocky this morning, but currently he's on the rowing machine, so things appear to be looking up.

That's it - I have zippity doo-dah all to say.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

The Second Shot

Today is the warmest day of the year so far in Tucson.  The national weather service is predicting that March through May will be warmer and dryer than normal.  Oh yay!  Hot and dry.  The desert is just perishing for rain.  We were up and out for Jim's second Pfizer vaccine this morning.  We saw this on Speedway on the way there.  Look at that paint, it's just gorgeous.  They did a really nice restoration on it; a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air hard top.  Jim does not care for the exhaust extensions, which is not actually something I would ever notice.

This was our person to check us in.  These people have been unfailingly polite and pleasant.  We wonder if they are volunteers, or if they're paid.  Regardless, they've been great.  I love the hair.

After we left, we started home the way we always go, not realizing the significance of the "6th Avenue closed sign."  In this picture we're in the old, funky part of Tucson where all of the bars, restaurants and galleries used to be.  They're being subsumed by the UofA for yet more housing.  The character of the area is being destroyed.

Yep, they really meant it, 6th Avenue is indeed, closed.  We made a U turn here and then headed into the downtown core.  Notice on the far right is a mural I posted about a year ago.  I guess we will not being seeing that anymore once whatever they're building in this area goes up.

Notice there is a train going across the bridge.  Also notice the yellow 10 foot height sign on the bridge.  Thou shalt not bring an RV this way.  The red and which stripes center photo are there to indicate how much water has collected in the underpass.  If the water is deep, one should not go in there, but every year people do.  They're then ticketed under the auspices of the stupid motorist law.

Here is a lovely mural downtown.

It must be spring, the Hopseeds are blooming in the back yard.

So, you wonder, how is Jim doing after the second shot.  So far, so good.  Here he is in the front yard herding the plant debris that has accumulated after the recent howling winds.  I've read several accounts that the bad side effects occur later, we're hoping that doesn't happen.  No matter what, it's still better than getting Covid in your old age.

 That's it!  That's all I've got.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

March 3, 2021

Refer back to my last post, if you would, and notice the dirt left at the bottom of the wall at the new home site.  We went by today, and there is even less dirt than before.  I can't believe how close to the bottom of the wall the grading is.  We will stand by to be amazed if it remains standing.  There were many people working on the lot so we gawked but did not photograph.  Forms for the slabs are now in.  Concrete is next.

It is windy today.  It's been building all day.  There were a couple of gusts that pushed the very heavy mountain bikes to the side when we were riding.  It's comforting being on a heavy bike, they generally go in a straight line, even in the gusts.  It's a beautiful day, despite the howling wind.  Blue skies and white puffy clouds are on order.

Soon it will be time to prune the bougainvillea.  He hasn't suffered any frost damage this winter, which was good.  We didn't have temperatures in the teens, so he was a happy plant.

This is a grey fox next to the back of the house.  Unfortunately, he's dead.  We suspect he was poisoned, or ate a rodent that had been poisoned.  It was sad, they're such pretty animals.  Until today, I didn't know they lived in the area.  We carried him in a bucket and put him under a tree in the wash.  Burial really isn't an option since we don't own a jack hammer, and the ground is too hard due to the drought.

Yesterday the lawyer for the AZ GOP was asked by one of the supreme court justices what was wrong with providing a method of returning ballots that made it convenient for voters.  AZ is trying to ban the practice of "ballot harvesting" which means that people can take their neighbors' ballots in when they go into the city.  For people living on the reservations, this is a very big deal because so many of them do not own cars and it's a long way to just about everywhere.  Anyway, the lawyer answered that the practice rendered the republicans "less competitive" and that politics is "a zero sum game."  They're saying the quiet part out loud and in front of the Supreme Court.  The First People were instrumental in electing Biden, the republicans will do anything to suppress their vote.

Jim gets shot number two this Saturday, we're pretty excited about that.  Other than this, I have zippity doo dah all to report.