Monday, February 23, 2009

A desert forsythia

Blooming forsythia were always one of the first signs of spring back in the 'burgh. The bush was so hardy even I could grow it. Every year, the forsythia that grew along the side of the house served as a bird condo as two or three different bird families made their nests in its protective branches. One of those bushes always housed a nest of cardinals, and I often wondered if it was the same family returning every year.

Forsythia doesn't grow in the desert, but desert cassia reminds me of it. It started to bloom in early February, and now it's in full bloom all over Tucson. The added bonus? Unlike forsythia which has no scent, desert cassia smells wonderful!

More spring in the desert

I first spotted a few these blooming Globemallows back in January. The mild winter rains brought them back to life. As the days and nights get warmer, more of them are springing back to life.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Galen is now afraid of my feet

I was stretching today--one of those deep stretches that pulls my leg up over my head. On the descent, I beaked Galen pretty good. He's now afraid of my feet. When he sees my socked foot, he scampers away like he's being chased by the vacuum cleaner. Psycho cat. Now I'll have to condition him not to be afraid of my feet.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Cardinal with a bit of salsa

NOTE: The video quality is not good. I have no idea how that white streak down the center of the frame got recorded. No doubt, it's some glare the camera lens picked up.

However, the sound is good and that's what I really wanted to record. I recorded this in my backyard.

I've never heard a cardinal sound quite like this before. The first part of his call sounds normal, but then there's a bit of chattering to it at the end. A cardinal with a bit of salsa?

This MIGHT be a Pyrrhuloxia --a western close relative of the cardinal. I have both in the area, but I had seen the cardinals at the feeder earlier in the day.

UPDATE 5/31/2009 - This is DEFINITELY a cardinal. I've actually seen him several times while he's been singing his unique blend of salsa. He's the only cardinal I've heard like this!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Looking for the Golden Gate Trail

I had planned to hike the Golden Gate Trail today. However, I ended up making a wrong turn which isn't hard to do with all of the bike/horse paths in the Tucson mountains. I ended up bushwhacking it quite a bit of the way. The Golden Gate Trail will have to wait for another day.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I do NOT miss the snow

I'm in Denver right now, and it's cold and gray. The Rockies are snow-capped now as they are much of the year. Although they're majestic, I prefer the mountains surrounding Tucson. Our five ranges are much closer to the city. You feel like you can almost reach out and touch them. Besides, the Rincons had snow on them too when I left.

Denver doesn't usually get a lot of snow, but it snowed a bit this evening--the first kind of snow. It was enough to realize that I do NOT miss it. Not one little bit.

Brrr, I'm be glad to be headed back to sunshine. Two days of winter this year was enough for me!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Why send sunshine?

I was looking through greeting cards today. Perusing pithy sentiments is usually a deplorable chore, but a friend had just gone through a trying 48 hours and she likes cards. So there I was plucking cards from the "Thinking of You" section. (It's always placed over the "Sympathy" cards and next to the "Get Well" cards.

My dilemma? Apparently the Greeting Card Writers' Guild requires that all "Thinking of You" cards mention sunshine, sunny skies, chasing clouds, yadda, yadda, etc., etc.

All right. I agree with the idea in principle. Sunshine = Happiness. But I couldn't bring myself to buy a card that expressed a hope for sunny days to give to someone who lives in TUCSON. It's almost ALWAYS sunny here.

I bought a little note pad instead.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Londo defying the laws of physics

LondoThis is the mail basket--the catch-all collector of invoices and statements that require attention after the dead-tree variety of junk mail is discarded.

Every couple of weeks, I make my way to the bottom of the basket filing and sorting as I go. Somehow Londo managed to cram himself into the basket no doubt defying at least one law of physics.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Steelers win the Superbowl! I win the bet!

Ty Druse, the Education Director of Pima Medical Institute is one of the only football fans in Tucson. I made a bet with him that if the Cardinals won the Superbowl, I'd wear a Cardinals jersey for a day. If the Steelers won the Superbowl, he'd have to wear a Terrible Towel.

He was a good sport about losing. Ty decided the Terrible Towel looked better over shorts. I think the dark shoes and socks really complete the outfit.

Unfortunately, this didn't pack as much punch as I'd hoped it would since I had to explain what the 'yellow and black' towel meant to most people who saw it. As I said, this is not a football town...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

6:00 AM is early - except in Tucson

A Gatorade commercial that aired in tonight's Superbowl XLIII includes the line, "It's what gets you up at 6:00 AM when no one else is awake..."

The average Tucsonan is up long before 6:00 AM, and they find it hard to believe that the rest of the country might find that time ungodly. For a night owl like me, it's hell.