Desert in bloom

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spring is here! Spring is here! Never mind the fact that we have already said farewell to 2-digit temperatures, look at the flowers!

This isn't going to be a wordy post, so enjoy the pictures and feel free to steal a new desktop background picture if you'd like.

Ok... maybe just a few words, but this is interesting!

Did you know that some stores will glue fake flowers to their cacti in order to entice you to buy them? There is such a thing as a "strawflower," which grows on a different plant entirely. When properly dried, it maintains its color and continues to open and close for up to a month...even when glued to a cactus! See, interesting, right?


Friday, April 13, 2012

Life lately. What to say?

It is spring and I like spring. I like it a lot. Especially in Arizona.

Spring: all that stuff about life beginning anew and hope for the future and such. It feels especially good this year. Plus, the weather is amazing and the flowers are beautiful.

So what have I been up to this spring?

This smashing young fellow (aka my "little" brother) drove over to visit me from Cali. He couldn't stay long, but we did manage to get in some good beer and better food at my favorite local burger joint. It was nice to catch up and laugh...a lot. Few people are funnier than this kid. Having someone else around the house for a few days wasn't so bad either, especially since I could task him with man chores, like fixing the TV and squishing bugs (thanks, brother!)

I am also happy to report that spring in Arizona means temperatures in the 80s and 90s.That's right, pool days are becoming a regular event and I couldn't be happier about it! (Well, ok, I guess maybe if Paul were sitting in a lawn chair behind me, but it's still pretty darn good).

One downside to the (very) warm spring, though, is that by the time summer--and my time off--roll around , it is too hot to do anything outside. Hiking when it is 115 degrees is not an option. Case in point: I heard on the news last night that they find between 60 and 100 dead bodies every day here during the hot summer months, almost exclusively those of people crossing the border illegally. (Another random fact: they have caught 64,300 illegal immigrants in the desert around Tucson in the last three months. Yikes.)

That means that this is the time to get outside. I have been going for lots of walks (stay tuned for some cool pics of blooming cacti), and a few weekends ago finally grabbed a friend and went to Sabino Canyon, a state park just 7 miles from our house. It's one of my favorite places in Tucson, but I hadn't been since our annual pass expired in December.

My favorite thing about Sabino? The water! There are two creeks, several waterfalls, a pond, and...fresh water!! There is nothing so nice as getting wet after hiking in the heat, and most of the trails follow the creeks so you can re-wet your clothes as you go. You can also take a hike to Seven Falls, which is amazing. Each fall has its own pool at the bottom, several of which are deep enough to swim in. It's hard to beat that in the desert!

I have also been battling my allergies. Fun stuff. Nothing like trying to teach when you lose your voice, can't stop sneezing, and have bright red blood-shot eyes that itch like crazy. The palo verde and mesquite trees are killing me... and, unfortunately, both grow in our yard. And all over the city. And in the courtyard at my school. Onto which my classroom opens directly. It's not very awesome.

At least the stupid things are pretty, right? (Answer: Nope. I prefer breathing.)

Speaking of school...only 5 full weeks left!! Two of those weeks will be spent administering standardized tests, and we all know the last week doesn't really count, so I am on the downhill slope and gathering momentum rapidly. I LOVE it. These are the weeks that make me like teaching the most. Well, ok, no, those would be the weeks of summer, winter, and spring break, but you get the point.

Other than that...nothing too exciting. Laundry, cooking, errands, work, and girls movie-and-wine nights. I know I have been saying this every year since I turned 5 and started kindergarten, but: I can't wait for summer!!

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