Monthly Archives: July 2007

Tucson monsoons.

The last week or so we have gotten heaps of rain in Tucson – some days with over one inch in a single downpour – and the river one block from my house gets pretty large and in charge when that happens. Here you can see the giant wave that was just at the end of my street in the wash.

The other thing that happens when it rains this much is all the garbage of the last few months that has ended up in the washes from roads, drainage, and other foul unspeakable places, is flushed down the river – or sometimes as we see here accumulated together as a wondeful reminder what a dirty wasteful society we are (brought you to by Burger King and Furr’s Family Dining). Mmmm….

And here is a mediocre 22 second video of what it looked like last evening after a pretty intense downpour. Remember, for those of you not from Tucson, there is usually only a trickle to no water at all in this wash. It is probably at least 12 feet deep in this video. The quality is only so-so as it was taken with just a regular camera, but you get the idea. (This is my first Youtube video ever. I know it is not that great, but do you think that my brother will become famous now? Man he owes me big time…)


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Unruly chickens on the homefront.

It turns out, that leaving five chickens in the care of one’s brother, is a little like sending children to stay with the Grandparents. While we were traveling in Guatemala, my brother Chris managed to teach all five of the chickens – Cracker included – to fly right over their admittedly short fence and browse through the gardening section of my backyard like it was the free library of edible books and appetizer periodicals. Everything from the black eyed peas to the purple wandering jew have been razed by a shotgun blast of hen beaks. And every morning the posse-of-five-non-egg- laying-hens ventures farther towards the front of the yard, where luckily there is little to entice them to continue on foraging. If they keep this up though, I fear they will meet a fate far worse than their dear beloved Chewbacca, what with all the stray dogs in the neighborhood…

During our time away, this five hen posse has also taken to roosting on the table, the chimenea, the fence between my house and my neighbor’s, and even the top of my neighbor’s camper. Since returning it has become an evening ritual to pickup the slumbering chickens from their roost of choice (usually the fence nowadays) and carefully plop them back onto the roof of the chicken house, where if it is late enough they will remain until the following morning.

I suppose this is mainly for my own state of mind rather than for their safety or pleasure, though I don’t for a second really believe that they have the best sense for either of those two aims. Having been slow to fully recover from the intestinal fun house I brought back from Guatemala (indeed, it is the trip that keeps on giving), I have also been a bit slow to pursue any remedy for my wandering chickens/plant life demolition crew. Having made the (I like to think of it as a moral) decision to not clip their wings as it would leave them much less able to avoid predators (which technically could include me), I am left with finding some way to either protect my plants from imminent chicken invasion or a way to keep them from leaving their more than ample allotted chicken space at the back of my yard. I am open to suggestions, so please post them in the comments section below.

All in all I am quite happy to be back in the desert in time for the spectacular display of monsoon rains, thunder and lightening. After the traveling Guatemalan fiasco, it turns out that life at home and work is much less stressful than making health related decisions on the fly in some random Guatemalan town with a whole range of ailments between the four of us.

Hayduke, the defiant chicken queen.
(Pictures courtesy my anarchy-for-chickens brother.)

Goodbye Guate – for now.

Both Mari and Tshilo arrived back from Guatemala last night after staying on for about five days longer than Brook and me. It seems that whatever bad juju we picked up before we left stayed with them as their flight out of Guatemala City was delayed five hours for lack of a working air bag for the co-pilot. So they flew a new one down from Houston before they could take off. This added to the fact that they had taken a taxi to the airport at 3am for their flight. Of course they missed their connecting flight and took the next flight out, making their trip from door to door 17.5 hours…and to top it off Mari had also come down with amoebic dysentery. So now that we are all back I am putting up a whole barrage of photos from the trip. This will be my last bit about Guatemala for awhile, as it is high time I get back to updating you about my uppity chickens that my brother so kindly took care of while we were away.

Rooftops of Guatemala City.


Brook & Tshilo – we always knew where Tshilo was when he wore this shirt.

Whichever volcano it is that is near Antigua…I want to say it is Volcan Agua, but it could just be because it was about to rain…


Brook on a boat.


Tshilo on a different boat.


The boats of Monterico – minus Brook or Tshilo.


Mari in Nebaj.


My mother would tell me to stop making faces…I never did listen all that well.


Ixil weavings.


Brook, Mari, and an unexpected wave.


Both Mari and I thought this looked like we were a bit strung out, but then someone told us it was a good picture…mostly I think it is weird and that is why it is here.


Sunset at Monterico.

San Lucas Toliman.

One of the most enjoyable and relaxing parts of the entire trip (for me) was going to the quaint little town of San Lucas Toliman on Lago Atitlan. We stayed at my friend, Caren’s house which is mostly just some rooms on the top of the roof of another house with some fabulous views of the surrounding volcanoes and even the lake. It was the four of us, as well as Caren and her partner Fili. We made wonderful meals, went dancing, did way too much shopping for the beauteous textiles that are so prolific around Atitlan, and generally relaxed a little bit. These are some of my favorite pictures…

This is Caren’s roof house.


A rose that was just opening as the sun was rising.


Volcan San Pedro.


Volcan Toliman.


Another brilliant flower.


Some kind of dried up seed head.

Our Guatemalan Index.

Here are some numbers from our few weeks in Guatemala:

Size of our group: 4
Number of us who got parasites: 3
Out of whack digestive systems before the amoebas took hold: 2
Ear drums ruptured due to (massive) ear infection: 1
Painfully swollen left cheeks after diving: 1
Mushrooms in the gastrointestinal tract: 2

Toothaches: 1
Percentage of people who got colds: 50
Percentage of us who were stressed out at some point(s): 100
Minimum number of different visits to doctors, clinics, hospitals, and laboratories: 15

Ahh, foreigners traveling abroad! If only we had been able to find the relief that this public bathroom so brilliantly advertised…

Honduran chickens.

This is what chickens look like in Honduras…I know you don’t care though – but you should.

(Mari took this picture for me while she was on the island of Utilla diving for eight days.)
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