Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ants in the Plants

The leaf cutters came out yesterday, after near two weeks hiding underground. I guess the sugar buzz finally wore off; here's a video of them harvesting fallen Palo Verde blooms last month.
video

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Desert Millinery


Jean Power: Milliner: making hats of paper in plastic in Sabino Canyon. Not rubbish!

Jean Power is packing up her beads and heading home tomorrow to London. She's amazing, her work is undervalued, and she "taught" me how to bead a triangle, which I turned into a ring, then turned into illustrations.



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rebeaderation

Seed Bead Summit Weekend was a great success, judging by the comments and also simply by my own feelings. I feel recharged, wanting to bead again, which is great since Kate and I are making The Bead Book You Need (pre-orders keep us going: Geometrics at bigcartel). I'd like to go on about how wonderful the interactions have been but others have done it better with pictures and videos (Marcia, Kate, Beadmobile ... ) and I've got work to do. Like gnomes in pointy fez hats:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Brush-n-Bastard Cleaning


This week is Brush & Bulky pick up, meaning the neighborhood driveways are piled high with yard waste. An atypical freeze this winter resulted in a lot of damage; our own contribution contains two citrus trees, a twenty-year old cactus bush, rotten slimy aloe spears, and more leaves than you can shake a stick at (which I am still doing). It'll be interesting to see how it all is hauled away; I expect to see a lot of sweaty biceps with chainaws and feeding the chippers.

Brush piles were immediatley turned into brush bowers by opportunistic Pimp Daddy quail (partridge?).

Also hauled away this weekend was Jizz Master Jones. This feral bastard has tormented Kate and her cats for some time now, and it took me several attempts to vanquish.

I watched him for a couple weeks, learning his habits. He enters the house via cat doors at either end, usually at 3 or 5 o'clock in the morning. One day, I observed him in the kitchen minutes after Kate drove away on some errands; he was out my end of the house before I could get through the central dining room. Rule #1: a cat always has an exit strategy. Rule #2: cats don't care what time it is.

Our first lazy attempt was to secure Miss Fish and Simon up in the house one evening, placing a trap-cage loaded with Jeannete's funchovies near the cat door . Around 3 AM, Fish and Simon alerted Kate to the disturbance. She was then able to observe Jizz Master's sneer of the cage while he turned his backside to the door and sprayed (he is named Jizz Master for all the spraying he does in the house, including doorways, liquor cabinets, and ironing boards).
Rule #1 prevents a cat from walking into a wire a cage no matter how tasty the bait.

Pre-Round: We decided to trap him using the house: with Fish and Simon secure in Kate's bedroom, I flicked my cat door to one-way and closed off the bathroom so that he would be trapped in the laundry. It worked! Around 3 AM I heard him banging against the door to get out. He was persistant. Fearing that he would escape, I got up to trap him in the air-lock of my bathroom (two doors) so that I could close the catdoor both ways. I stepped into the bathroom and closed one door behind me, not knowing what to expect. I then opened the second door into the laundry; it was like I captured an eight-foot furry anocanda. My gin-adled mind could not comprehend the blurry speed of this creature seeking escape! (Imagine a feathered boa, whipped round and round). Anyway, I managed to close the second bathroom door, with him a tornado around the toilet behind me, so that I could shut off his escape through the cat door (doors have four settings). Catching my breathe, standing there in my boxers, bare feet miracalulouly blood-free on the tiled floor, I opened the door unto the hellion within. My fear of damge was moot because in an instant, the bastard made a single leap, right through the locked cat door, and to freedom. Inconceivable! It was with hate and disbelief that my retinas burned with the firweworks of his escape. I was distraught, I had had him, and knew instantly that it would be some time before he dared return.

Pre-Round Dos: Oh, but he was cocky. It wasn't two nights (Kate was off to England now), before he strutted back into the house. I was watching disc 27 of Monty Python when I heard the skirmish from the the west end of the house. Damn! I was unprepared, yet I marched briskly down the hallway. When I reached the end, the tumbleweed of fur split in two: one half shooting back down the way I came, and the other ducking into the next room. My hand found a door knob and used it. I stood there and caught my breath (it's amazing what being on safari does to one's adrenaline, and I din't even know that room had a door). Surely Jizz Bastard ran down the hallway and not into a closed room (Rule #1). Yet, after awhile, I found Miss Fish resting under a table in the living room (all three cats look alike, Jizz having white socks). Hu-rah! Still, I couldn't contemplate till next morning...
Round 1: I brought the trap into the bedroom and hid it behind the bathroom door, which is next to the entry door. Using a coat hanger, I was bale to chase him out from under the bed. He flew up, and thus tore down, the curtained door up to the top of a bookshelf. I swatted at him and he came back down, spun under the bed, and then shot for the bathroom. Snap! He was in the cage. I approached cautiously, not willing to believe that he was really inside the trap. I saw that he was, and as I reached down toward the handle, he shot back out of it, between my legs, and into the safe uderbelly of the bed. Yes, he launched out of the spring-loaded door designed to catch skunks and possum. Inconceivable! He must have the strength of a kangaroo; I gave it a rest.
Round 2: Hours later (or minutes, hard to tell adrenaline-time), I re-entered, foolishly unprepared. I thought I might by chance get him into that cage again (but remember rule #1). Using the fallen curtain rod as a switch, I managed to coax him out from under the bed. And up the bookshelf. And over to the second bookshelf. Standing there, with this useless piece of brass tubing, I realized my head was the only next logical jump from the 7-foot shelf and was regretting my lack of welders' mits and fireman helmet. Jabbing him in the right flank, he decided instead to take the 6-foot plunge into the mirror of the opposite wall, hoping I guess to travel through the looking glass (he was sneering, not grinning). He knocked the glass out of the frame and rolled under the bed and up into the boxspring. Huffing for breath myself, we called it a night.
Round 3: The next morning I wasted a few Tabs of cat downers in some juicy food that he did not eat despite an hour of temptation. (Rule #3: Cats can go for days when they are chowing on hate.) I half-heartedly thought that a drugged kitty would be more docile, but I really didn't have much faith in that theory. Instead, I placed the trap at the enterance of my room, draped with yet another curtain, and closed off the real exit through the laundry just in case. I locked Fish and Simon in their room, blocked all hallway passages, and proceeded to rock the bed that Jizz was hiding in. He thought he could just hang out there for ever? I had to shake it like Hercules before he was dislodged, and then, when it finally happened, I heard the snap of the cage from the other end of the house before I even set the bed down. Knowing he coud break it, I sprinted down and put my foot on that door. Bastard. And then, with a couple little wire trash-ties, bound his fate.
Termination: The Pima County Animal Shelter is busy; no wonder they can't help ditraught citizens capture feral beasts. I arrived among a crowd. Sitting opposite me were a couple old-timers with a feral cat of their own. They had a certain Brokeback quality to them, which I surmised to be more father-and-son than rancher-and-farmer, still, they were very nice and obviously familiar with the task. Also in front of me in line was a woman next to a minivan, which housed her husband and aged dog. I learned that they adopted this yellow lab after finding him, and then claiming him after the original owners decided that they "didn't want him anymore." Next came a youg woman in a Carolla with Chihuahua and Wolf Pup, which she found wandering thorugh her yard on their way to the busy street; she was like a bright-eyed mulatto Disney fairy to the animals ("yo quiero rolled tacos!" and "I want some seal pup"). Next to arrive was a student with beautiful feet in flip-flops and a boxer/ridgeback sort of dog that acted like he was on spring break. The young man brought him in to see if he was micro-tagged; if not, he planned to take him home. ThePima Man in Charge was in his late twenties, bearded and sharp-eyed with hairy forearms (his scrub pants likely covered goat legs); when he came out to retrieve the dog in the van, he placed his hand on the obviously distraught older man and said "I'm sorry for your loss" then helped to load the poor dog into a cage. What a shitty job. To compound this aspect was a train of women from the Arizona Judical System at some point; I made quilts for my community service, but these women were obviously terminating unwanted, dangerous, and feral pets for their service. Ugh.

Afterward, I met Laurel at the Starr MAriott so that I could give her the Rocky Mountain Bead Society laptop that I didn't get to return before I left. Free shots at 5 there. Gosh.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Shedding, to Shine

It's difficult giving up the past, but Nature does it all the time. Lit by the sun at the top of the Robert Plant Thinking Spot, this golden cicada shell is a reminder that it is okay to get rid of the past, to shine anew.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Skarkly

Isn't it fun to make up new words? What do you get when you add sparkly sequins to Andrew's skanky threadbare hot pants? I'm not sure, but it would sure be skarkly!
As a point of reference, here's my Go-Go Boy Jockstrap (the one and only piece of bead knitting I've so far accomplished:

Apparently Seattle is where it's at for tons of sequins

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Atomic Tuesday II

So far, so good, with the once-a-week posting, now named Atomic Tuesdays in honor of Kate's (and mine too i suppose) Atomic Ranch where a house full of people may stay connected through the power of Blog, whether on the grounds or without.
This week, Kate's Krafty Kompound saw the start of my wire-welding skills. After tearing off my shirt for an afternoon of banging, I managed to create these two dangles. A ways to go before I have a necklace for the Glitterganza, but really just happy that I didn't bang a finger on the anvil (the slight sunburn was to be expected).

Today I finished reading The Annotated Dracula (kinda slow towards the climatic ending); the same day that Kate posted Wyatt's toothy grin and Lair of the White Worm (also writen by Stoker).

A post about helmut hair led to a discussion on acceptance. What jumped out at me was the remarks remembered that were made by mothers. Nothing lifts us up like a mother's love, and so nothing can tear us down like her scorn. It is easy (eventually) to ignore stranger's/peer's comments, but when your own mother cuts you down it feels you have nowhere to go. In their defence, I must say that mothers are people too, with just as much weakness of humanity, however difficult to understand or accept. I'm posting this old photo for Andrew hoping it will make him laugh cause I love to see his smile; also to thank him for reminding me to mind what I say: just because I've gotten through some shit (more to go!), I can't assume that everyone else is there.