And those arms!

I left this man and this landscape for a single existence in a desperate desert.

I have responsibilities here and a firm hand on the children, though those capable arms are hard to do without.

We’ll have to call him Cowboy Captain Handsome Hubster, Ph.D. from now on. I think he even looks … happy. Don’t you think?

Unfortunately, cell service stinks there, so I can’t call him at all. A tragedy, really. I suppose I’ll just meditate on this image for a while.

When I posted the 9 YO boy’s Tucson Winter, I went on a search of Just Another Banana’s bog because I remember she ran to the bird sanctuary one snowy day to snap some photos. I couldn’t find her snowy cacti pictures, so I went to the school’s Web site to see if they had possibly loaded some. Instead I took a trip down memory lane.

That place is special and is where community for me first burst into full bloom. One person has an idea, another does research, yet another gathers the supplies, and before you know it, you’re placing the tiles for a human sundial.

I love that hat.

You can see how the project proceeded here. Follow the links for the human sundial. Maybe check out the plan identifier links too. You’ll see photos of Fungal Heart’s eldest.

We can all consider this my Thanksgiving post as it’s way full of the gratitudinal mush one wold expect this time of year.


Hey, look there. What’s that?

I see an egret! It’s as big as the 7 YO!

Look through your binoculars and you can see it too.

We got within 10 yards of the egret before it flew away…

… to perch atop this tree on the other side of the lake. I bet we could get closer.

Maybe right up in the tree, even.

Big ol’ dumb adults chased it away.

Good bye, Egret.

Meet Puffy ’cause Fluffy is too shy

Something wonderful happened on Monday – betts* returned from Mexico. Oh the glory! I straight away stole her son for swimming and hot dogs. He loves him some hot dogs because his mother is a veggie eater. I guess that makes me the awesome mom and I can’t tell you how appreciative I am that betts* gives me that.

Today we relived old times by pulling weeds under the blow-torch that is a Tucson summer sun. Pull, chat, sweat. Pull, chat, sweat. Later Mr. Mechanical, who is still single ladies, showed up to pull weeds with us. The cathartic rhythm of the task at hand and the resultant feeling of tidy accomplishment set me straight for weeding possessions at home. We do need to make space for Landlady, who I still think shouldn’t move in with us nor force us to move out.

I took some bland snapshots that I am going to force you to endure. It may appear as though we pulled everything but the two birds of paradise, but we kept other stuff according to betts*’s aesthetic. She is, after all, a professional landscaper. Even so two birds were the order of the day as we also saw two house finches about four feet away from us as we worked.

At the top of the mound is a lovely little home for ants. We weeded the crap out of their abode and they didn’t like it. Nope, they didn’t. Not one bit. I swear it was all betts*’s doing as I totally identify with being uprooted by the powers that be, but the ants didn’t see it that way. Nope, they didn’t. As I innocently bagged the weeds upon project completion, those ants came after me. I guess I had a bit of a reaction.

I added the arrows since the 9 YO indicated that the non-swollen hand looked to him as bitten because my normal arthritic (not really) knuckles are so prominent. He also said the hand that had been bitten looked younger. Perhaps ant bites can be used in place of Botox?

I also have a huge blister on my index finger from pulling weeds without using gloves. That blister irritates me most of all because it’s at that spot where I turn locks, the car ignition, and the water faucets, but more importantly because I can’t get a good photo of the blister. The children have nicknamed the blister Fluffy and later thought the swollen knuckles should be called Puffy.

Dayna is a Few of My Favorite Things

Last Friday, I got my panties tied in a knot. If this has ever happened to you, you’ll agree that it ain’t pleasant. It’s about eleventy million degrees in the desert and any business who has a customer come in the door in this weather (and economy) should fall to their knees in gratitude. Okay. Maybe my attitude was skewed, but honestly the Universe should have been on my side.

Have you ever been into an Apple store? There is a culture there that I just cannot crack. I went to one such den of iniquity to purchase iPods for the kiddos at Christmas and, did you know you can’t just go there and buy some? Nope. You cannot. You can go there and order them online. Of course you can do that at your own damn house too and get them monogramed for free. Also, you might foolishly wait in line to buy those only to discover BUZZ wrong line. Also, there is a sign-in sheet, but you gotta know it’s there, where to find it, and what to do once you’ve approached it. I feel like a moron every time I darken their doorstep.

For these reasons, I’ve been delaying the trip to get my laptop fixed. Friday, I decided to bite the bullet, head to the hills, and get a new battery. If you think I could just go in and buy one, then you weren’t paying attention when I told you about the iPods. Nor was I.

So, it’s eleventy million degrees outside and I pack the kids up for a 16-mile trip to RichMan’s Land to get a new battery at the Apple store. I ridiculously wait in line with my MacBook before realizing that this line is a fantasy. I remember that you have to catch as catch can a, uh, what do you call them? They have a name, those applets walking around. They always send me straight home. Let’s make this long, agonizing story short to say, the kids and I embarked on our next errand – me still lugging the dead MacBook.

Next stop, the dry cleaners to retrieve the on-loan dresses belonging to my Fairy God Sister (I changed her designation as she is decades too young to be my mother). You’ll remember there were two borrowed dresses. Additionally, I dropped off a kid’s dress and a kid’s tie. The kid’s dress went in without stains and came home with rust stains. The kid’s tie went in with a chocolate stain, which I pointed out, and was returned with the same said stain. I didn’t have the guts to check Yvonne’s dresses. The bill for these four items? $47! I should have known to stay home. Nothing good happens in Hell.

I gave up on errands and retreated to sanctuary where I know loveliness awaits me. Handsome Hubster’s great grandmother Inez was a quilt maker. I washed and set out to dry four of her quilts. I thought they were in fairly good condition, but I was wrong.
Even raggedy, I love these fans both traditional and electric. That’s what I’m calling the designs. If you are a purist and want to correct me on the names, then I will require you to send me a handmade quilt, you quilt snob. I may just fill my house with handmade quilts. I’m not sure if you can see in this photo, but Inez cared enough for these beauties that she repaired them. I will find a way to honor her work.
Alas, the dry lines are near the alley by the car port. Once out of the car and en route to the back door, I ran into my pathetic garden. The death sentence of any living thing with the unfortunate luck to be planted here is why, Denveater, you haven’t had an update on my garden. The basil looks great, the hens ate the pepper pant’s leaves, the tomatoes died one at a time with this one croaking while I was in Oklahoma. Sad.
Through the house and to the street out front where we keep the mailbox. Inside, I found something that took away the sting of the Apple shunning, being taken to/at the cleaners, quilts in sad repair, and triple black-thumb death.
Dayna. Dayna. Isn’t that a lovely name? Dayna sent me a gift. It was completely unsolicited. I didn’t even pay her. Frankly, I’ve never even met her, but I love her. I love you, Dayna. Thank you for Going to Seed: Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Plants of the Southwest*and for the encouragement as well. I think I will keep writing, even if I suspect you and my dad are in cahoots.

* Did I mention I am a sell-out, er, Amazon Associate?

Denveater Blogs from Okie Noodling Tournament

Still longing for news from Oklahoma as I do? I’m hearing from all ya’ll, “More, more, more!” Well, I won’t disappoint. Or should I say my pal Denveater won’t disappoint. She’s blogging from the Okie Noodling Tournament (we will let the term “Okie” ride for just now) and I’m scraping her content — well part of her content. To understand my Oklahomies is to understand noodling, local music, and most of all people because community is king. The noodling tourney epitomizes the very sort of thing that I’ve always admired about my home state, when populist ideals seep up from the iron-rich dirt.

Go to her blog to read her full posts, because Denveater tells it best:

First she posted this:

Like megamesmerizers The Flaming Lips, like notorious Normanite & owner of great gourmet shop Forward Foods’ Wampus, like doc-directing dynamo Bradley Beesley & spell-casting yarn-spinner

Phil Henderson—

fisheries biologist & proprietor for the past 3 decades plus of the beloved 76-year-old BBQ pitstop Bob’s Pig Shop—I grew up in the Sooner State.

(So did I! Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Oklahoma!)

Then she posted this:

Horse***Over the course of the next few days I’ll spill all the half-baked beans I happily gathered at the 10th Annual Okie Noodling Tournament in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, while hanging with an array of insiders whom I’d now count among the coolest, kindest, oldest souls a person can be lucky enough to encounter all at once.***

Let’s get a few things straight:

Noodling, also called grabbling, is fishing for catfish with your hands, or, in some cases, feet—essentially grabbing hold of them from the inside by letting them clamp down on your arms & legs, risking digits in the process, & then wresting them loose from the riverbed nooks & crannies they occupy.

It’s legal in a handful of states, including Oklahoma, where flathead catfish are the favored catch (& excluding Missouri, whose die-hard noodlers do it on the down-low while grappling with local lawmakers to get the papers pushed).

The tournament is held one day every July in the parking lot of Bob’s Pig Shop, a venerable BBQ joint & de facto antique showcase of curios I’ve only begun profiling here.

(Handsome Hubster and I have logged many dinners at the Pig Shop.)

And most recently, this:

***Part 2 of a miniseries about the kaleidoscope of scoundrels, souses, smartasses, shit-kickers, schookids, septuagenarians, flathead catfish & barbecued pigs that is the Okie Noodling Tournament in Paul’s Valley, OK; see Part 1 here.***

To have even heard of noodling is to know Lee McFarlin. To look “noodling” up on Wikipedia is to see his picture. To Google “noodling” & “Gordon Ramsay” is to catch a slide show of the respective stars of Okie Noodling & “Hell’s Kitchen” gurgling à deux amid the red swirls of an Oklahoma fishing hole. To scan article after article on noodling on the New York Times & ESPN websites is to learn of his legend.(Uhm… I enjoyed the doc and could enjoy the tourney, but I have not, nor would I attempt, noodling. Just FYI.)

Thanks Ruth for the awesome posts. I wish I could be with you to be crowned queen, enjoy the exfoliating back rub, and hang out in walk-in freezers.

Fun with Google: Part 2

I caught these mourning doves doing the dirty deed. Every day they are out there. I don’t find doves to be all that bright. Rather I find haphazard nests on precarious perches with sad fallen eggs splattered nearby.

I’ve been watching a pair humming birds outside my picture window for some time. This photo wasn’t taken with some fancy zoom. These birds were about four or so feet from where I sat in my big red chair. They are anna’s hummingbirds with shiny red necks. They weren’t fighting as territorial birds often do. I wondered if perhaps they were related.

I don’t have photos of the verdin or quail as my sweet innocent Princess of a cat is very much pleased by their slaughter. That sucks really. It doesn’t suck like this:

You can ask the 9 YO boy. Nothing sucks worse than changing the oil in Mom’s car.*

In reverse: Mom. Suck. Bird. This brings me to Denveater’s Google Search Laffy Time – a roundtable examining the myriad ways in which people arrive at a blog. Yes, someone arrived at my blog with the keyword search, “Mom suck my bird.”

Rather than going to a particular post, they came to the main page based on the posts A Bird Pooped on my Head and Jesus Can Suck It. Incidentally, that bird poop post scored another interesting keyword search – “pooping into oblivion.” My heart weighs heavily for that surfer and what s/he must be suffering.

What’s fascinating about this particular searcher is his/her determination to find my blog. In conducting my own “mom suck my bird” Google keyword search, I waded through pages upon pages of results. Honestly, would you be disappointed if you were looking for “mom suck my bird” and found Mom-a-Tron instead?

* His attitude increased mightily after the car was jacked up and he got into the mechanics of things. I think the Mexican Coke did some to elevate the attitude.