Archive for the ‘Desert Living’ Category

Sheltered – not

KS11103-945x630.jpgMy bus stop qualifies as “partial amenities” – chair-quality bench (back and arms) and trash can – no lighting or overhead canopy for shade or cover from the elements. While waiting stopside this AM, storms visibly moving towards me, I began to wonder how much lightning protection does the typical bus shelter provide? Most shelters seem almost treelike and conventional wisdom makes trees verboten in lightning situations. However, as the bolts slam out of the sky, I feel extremely vulnerable without any cover at all.

Golf course protocol says to lie down on the ground during lightning storms. I certainly understand the logic, but fear the bus driver wouldn’t see me and stop if I chose to wait in full prone on the concrete. Or, if she did see me, might just drive by and call the police to report a drunk passed out at the stop. Then the police would come and find out I wasn’t passed out or drunk, just taking proper storm precautions and they might be angry and arrest me for wasting valuable police time. Then again, they might let me wait for the bus in the cruiser, providing much needed shelter from the storm. Probably not. Fortunately, rush hour storms in Phoenix are infrequent and the lightning-dodging dilemma rarely surfaces.

Who needs these thoughts?

Summer not gone yet

I spoke to soon when I said that summer was over and fall has arrived in my last article. This past week was very disappointing. I couldn’t go anywhere without slathering a bunch of suntan lotion on my daughter and myself. On a side note, I found out that the Banana Boat SPF 50 for babies works very well for mommy and baby.

Hopefully the weather forecast for this month will be a little bit more favorable unless I am mistaken:

Gangs of Chandler

Even the sound of the title made me question why there would be gangs anywhere in this desert landscape. I would understand South Central L.A., the rough streets of New York, and other places made popular by the stereotypical perpetuation from movies and television. But Chandler?

The article from AZCentral: just made me scoff at these so-called “gang” members. It made me question why do people need to join a gang when they could be inside air conditioned recreation centers or doing something that helps the community that they live and not hurting it. It’s already so tough living in this hot environment, why add fuel to the fire? Do you think the heat is an accessory to violence? I haven’t done any research but are there gangs in snowy environments? It makes me wonder…

So stop whining already, fall’s almost here

A recent discussion with a friend included the top five reasons we choose to live in Arizona. Almost all of them included the “sun” and none were “because we have to.” We acknowledged that it is not for everyone and wish that those who like to bash the desert would take their complaints elsewhere. I don’t care for endless days of gray skies and about to rain, raining or just rained weather. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the areas of our country (or the world, for that matter) where these conditions exist. I don’t denigrate places because of what I don’t like – I value them for what I do like and just don’t choose to live there. For people who don’t tolerate the relentless heat of an Arizona summer, please move or stop whining and get over it.

And, not speaking of the heat, I do believe Arizona’s version of fall is almost here. Natural air conditioning through open bus windows kept us delightfully cool this morning. Walking to the MU for my morning cuppa, I saw the grounds maintenance people preparing to plant pots and pots of red and white geraniums in the beds around the Cady Mall fountain. Open windows, cool evenings, annual flowers in bloom – I believe fall in the Valley is talking to us.

Pumpkin Festivals

I’ve never been to a pumpkin festival anywhere. Since there are so many farms around here, I thought I’d google pumpkin festivals and see what I’d get.

I found two very promising candidates. It’s not as green as I’d imagine a pumpkin patch to look like. Just as long as there aren’t any scary critters in there, I’m keeping these two in mind:

Schnepff Farms – This farm is in Queen Creek
Young’s Farm – This farm is near Prescott, and will be the last festival for them because they are selling their farm and moving to Oregon. Lucky…

Not the same

I’ve lived in Los Angeles most of my life and was so used to the smog and the almost 4 seasons there. Even though this will be my second year here, I have not yet gotten used to the concept of Christmas, or Halloween in the desert. The stores are filled with Halloween tricks and treats. I’ve even seen them selling Christmas gear at Costco. But without the autumn leaves, cold breezy nights, and snow during the winter time, it doesn’t feel the same.

All aboard

rail.jpgJust back from a week on Amtrak. Flew to Chicago and rode to Seattle on the Empire Builder; continued to Los Angeles on the Coast Starlight and returned to the Valley on the Texas Eagle. It was the first time doing long distance train travel since, as kids, my sister and I rode from Dayton to St. Louis for summer grandparent visits. Moving to Arizona with its proximity to the west coast, I often spoke of taking the Coast Starlight . Finally, putting words into action, Amtrak and I became one.

This trip created a love/hate relationship with the railroads including much love for Amtrak and much frustration with Union Pacific (train personnel say UP doesn’t mean Union Pacific – instead, it stands for Usually Parked). Our trip ended in Maricopa, AZ – a doublewide trailer and 50 feet of concrete comprise the full extent of the station. Informed sources tell me Phoenix used to host train travelers, but now the nearest place to hear “all aboard” is Maricopa. Sadly, the Valley’s autolovefest keeps freeway building a priority over public/mass transportation. Even LA, with its traffic-clogged highways, makes use of subways and trains. Oh well, no one around here seems to care. Even though Phoenix and UP have done their best to make it difficult, try the train sometime – you might be surprised and like it.

Fall Lineup

In addition to the great weather, Autumn brings back all my favorite shows. There are some great shows out there – Grey’s Anatomy, which I watched last year when I was in Seattle, made the city look smart and romantic, Lost, island living and surviving at its best. Six Degrees, a new show that has promise set in the big Apple. Even Gilmore Girls, Smallville, and Desperate Housewives with their idyllic picturesque fictional settings brings about a yearning to live there. Their shows are funny, witty, dramatic and entertaining. Is it mostly the writing responsible for this, or the actors? Of course, however, I do feel in my humble opinion that the setting is also very important. Except for Medium, which is set in Phoenix, I am surprised there aren’t as many good shows set in Sedona or Flagstaff, which are very attractive locales. Some of these shows are filmed in interiors anyways and mostly the exterior shots are in backlots or b unit photography. So what gives? Arizona not mysterious, dramatic, sexy, or funny enough? What if Grey’s Anatomy was set in Tucson? Would the magic be lost? They’ve got to do something better than “The Tuesday Night Book Club.”

They come out at night

Aside from the bugs, the nearby park has been swarming with parents and their children. I took my daughter there since its been so much cooler in the late evenings but kind of difficult to meet new parents and their kids through the darkness though. Is summer really over? Or has it just been a mild week? Once autumn starts, the fun begins for us – what to do with a 6 month old in this desert landscape? Strolls along parks, outdoor activities, playing in the grass and experiencing nature. Can’t wait…

Bugs in Arizona

Bugs. You can’t escape it living in the desert. Somehow, anywhere, they are able to infiltrate your home like a cat burglar. I found a sewer roach in our baby’s play room the other day. Yuck! I wiped down the entire play mat, but I wouldn’t let Katherine play there until I cleaned all of her toys – which I have yet to do. I know, I am very anal, but I can’t help it. If I were a baby, I wouldn’t want to play in that room, so why should she? Where they heck do they come from? I lined all the vents with a very fine mesh netting on the second floor. The ceilings are too high to get to on the first floor, so they are still unmeshed. Could they come out from the drain holes? I’ve been making mental notes to plug and close those after every time I finished using the tub to bathe baby or brush or wash my teeth in the sink. And yet, somehow they still get in. We were thinking about getting a bug killer to spray the exterior perimeter of our home, but would that be harmful to our child? So many unanswered questions. I wish I was living back in California. However, I heard from my family who has a house by a pasture have got mice running around their backyard. Talk about being stuck in between a rock and a hard place.

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