Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring...weekends with out-of-town friends...cactus blooms & wildflowers

Last weekend: friends from Florida and Phoenix.
This weekend: friends from Washington.
Next month: family from the Seattle-area...

So, this past Saturday, the wives had a spa-morning...
the guys went for a short hike in the foothills of the Catalinas near Sabino Canyon, where the ocotillo are just beginning to bloom, early:

After which, the out-of-towners were introduced to Sonoran Hot-dogs, a local fast-food specialty, unique to northwestern Mexico and southern Arizona.

(photo courtesy of this article in the Tucson paper: There's even a link to a little video clip.)

Sunday afternoon we went to the Arizona-Sonora-Desert-Museum. Desert bluebells are blooming:

...and the first cactus blooms are just beginning to open up, including barrel cacti, which have amazing, anemone-like interiors:
...a few "claret-cup" blooms are opening:
...and I think this was a "pincushion cactus;" super tiny, this photo is about 3 or 4 times larger than life:

...agave are always interesting to me, geometrically:
...and for the way that some varieties catch the sunlight on their jagged edges:

On the way back into the city, we stopped at a parking area just below Gates Pass to enjoy the view...
(I love the way cholla cactus 'glow' when backlit.)

...and a view from near Gates Pass back over to the urban side of the Tucson Mountains; here's a view off to the SE, looking over the SW part of the city:
On a sobering note...
EVERY school in Tucson, and not just Tucson, but in the state of AZ, and in many other states too, is looking at shrinking their staff due to drastic budget cuts.
So much for "spring education job fairs;" no need. Whatever happened to 'acute teacher shortages'?
Hello larger class-sizes and no new computers...
So, with every school cutting staff, where will all of these teachers go? Who's hiring?
(This possibly includes me, since most teachers in their first- and second-years of teaching in their local district are finding themselves on the chopping block)
Local budget decisions can't really be made until state legislatures communicate their final decisions...
...which they've said they'll do in mid-summer.
So nobody really knows who/what/when/where will be cut
and how/if people might be 'rehired' to their cut-and-repasted jobs.
Lovely spring in the education world...
"Recession-proof jobs"...not so much.


Back to some more spring wildflowers...
one of my favorites here is desert globemallow.
(Other names for it are "apricot globemallow" and also "sore-eye poppy,"
since the 'hairs' on the leaves and stems can be an eye-irritant.)
You'll find it blooming here and there from now through the summer,
but it's most plentiful now...

1 comment:

  1. we had such a good time with you guys - and happy to be with someone else photo happy, so I didn't have to deal with the rolling eyes when I would stop every two secs to snap something.