Tuesday, May 19, 2009

lunchtime update: we'll be moving next month!

So...after the posting from a couple of days ago--YES we will be moving next month,
to a townhome at the foot of the Catalinas, practically at the entrance to Sabino Canyon!

I went yesterday afternoon to sign the lease, and here's a little cell-phone view of the walkway that leads to our soon-to-be front door:

The fountain and the red-tile-roofs under the leafy canopy (sycamore trees) feel vaguely Provençal to me...

Our friends (who will be our next-door neighors) as well as the landlord say that javelinas often come through to drink at the fountain. Javelinas are southern Arizona's 'wild pigs;' technically not pigs, but 'collared peccaries:' (above photo courtesy of this website)

(and the above photo from here)

Strange proportions, eh? but cute babies...just don't cross a mad parent javelina; their tusks can inflict some damage...we're looking forward to some javelina photos of our own; it'll be fun to watch them while having morning coffee on the patio...

Now, back to grading final exams; tomorrow is the last day of school here in Tucson...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday...this morning in Sabino Canyon...

Yesterday morning on my bike-ride through Saguaro Nat'l Park, I noticed that lots of the blooming saguaros are just past their peak...and I hadn't yet had the chance yet to take some photos of the ephemeral cactus blooms this May, what with all of the end-of-the-school-year-madness...

So this morning I got up early and went to Sabino Canyon, skipping breakfast.

This desert dove, though ('white-winged' might be part of its 'official' name?), was definitely not skipping breakfast:
I love how these guys have sky-blue 'eye-shadow:'
...and even after a couple of years here, saguaro blooms still amaze me with their waxy substantialness:

...but as beautiful as they are, the saguaros themselves take on a comical look, with the tips of their crests and arms holding these bouquets, eh?
...and this is where Sabino creek exits the canyon, through a grove of cottonwoods:during the dry season, the creek, which runs year-round in the canyon, peters out into dryness a mile or two away...

In a few minutes, my wife and I are going to go meet someone; we might be moving this summer, and this person is wanting to rent out their townhome that's located practically at Sabino Canyon's 'front door!' S. and I are already smitten with the idea of having all THIS (the scenery of the above photos) just a ten minute walk from our potential front door!
We hope it works out...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Link: The mysterious allure of the fry cook from Bikini Bottom

Yes, that's correct--that's my title line for this entry.
It's the subtitle for this article from the current issue of The Atlantic magazine:
Sponge Bob's Golden Dream
by James Parker
(click on the above to read the full article.)

Seriously, it's one of the more brilliant essays I've read in a while.
Even if you have just the slightest passing acquaintance with
the animated phenomenon, you should read this essay; I hope you like it...

Yesterday, I had a new experience--I had to go to the dentist...
...for a crown. Ay ay ay. I cracked a back tooth--an old filling from childhood...

Wow, the cost. (At least I still have insurance, which covers some of the cost.)

But hey--better than what happened to most people for most of history, eh? --you lose a tooth here and there in your 20's and 30's, and before you know it, you're a toothless, and thus malnourished, 40-year-old, at the end of the typical life expentancy.

Too bad SpongeBob's happifying inanity didn't exist in the Middle Ages.

I had a photo on TV the other night--the local news included one of my hummingbird photos on the weather segment (one of the photos from a couple of entries ago--on April 23rd.) I didn't see it, but a friend did and called me.

Another small thrill.

Seriously, hummingbird nests--so cute.
My wife and I continue on our descent down the slippery slope of

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May. Heat. Music.

May in Tucson: saguaros coming into bloom,
schoolkids giddy--only ten class-days left...

And tomorrow is supposed to be our first 100-degree day.
(Click here if you want weather trivia,
such as the average first day of
100-degree-heat in Tucson, etc. etc...)


An old friend sent me a link from NPR's daily feature "The Writer's Almanac," which features a daily poem:

Anne Porter

When I was a child
I once sat sobbing on the floor
Beside my mother's piano
As she played and sang
For there was in her singing
A shy yet solemn glory
My smallness could not hold

And when I was asked
Why I was crying
I had no words for it
I only shook my head
And went on crying

Why is it that music
At its most beautiful
Opens a wound in us
An ache a desolation
Deep as a homesickness
For some far-off
And half-forgotten country

I've never understood
Why this is so

But there's an ancient legend
From the other side of the world
That gives away the secret
Of this mysterious sorrow

For centuries on centuries
We have been wandering
But we were made for Paradise
As deer for the forest

And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country

We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams

And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows

Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander.

"Music" by Anne Porter
from Living Things: Collected Poems.
© Steerforth Press, 2006

I've just recently taken the time to (finally) do some serious listening to some Mahler.
(Gotta love the public library's cd collection...)
I'm one of those loves-Brahms-hates-Wagner people.
But I'd never really become familiar with Mahler.
Huge--Brahms' 'successor' in late 19th-century music...
Why didn't someone insist earlier that I listen to his stuff?
Then again, maybe I'm just 'ready' for it now...


...came across this photo from last summer in Québec:
...can't resist calling this public art installation "The Riding on the Wall."
(I don't know if it even had a title... And speaking of 'writing on the wall,' I'm still waiting for mine, meaning that I'm still in next-year's-job -limbo...)
Last week I finally did bike to work--light early enough to do so comfortably...but now with the sudden arrival of 100-degree afternoons, not so tempting...
But this past Saturday did resurrect last year's routine of early morning bike-rides to and through Saguaro National Park East...
And so the calendar still says 'spring,' although Tucson's thermometer is shouting 'summer.'
The nostalgia of seasonal change in places past:
Ahh, spring...such a lovely time in Seattle:
(The Japanese garden in the Washington Park Arboretum)

It's been almost two years now, that we've been living in Tucson.
Loving the nearby mountains and the Sonoran desert landscape...
but still missing the sunnier moments of the green green Northwest...