by Lorin Michel Thursday, August 6, 2015 8:38 PM

At 2:05 a.m., my cell phone rang. I have become a cell phone fanatic, addicted to my iPhone in the way teenagers are addicted to theirs. It goes with me everywhere. I maintain text messages with a number of people; I also use it to actually talk to people, both for business purposes and family and friends. I check the weather on it several times a day; I check Facebook. It is surgically attached and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my iPhone. It is also the only phone I have. While we have a landline, it is only so that we can buzz people in when they call from the front gate. What does this have to do with anything, and especially the title of this post? I’m getting to that.

My phone rang, and I was instantly awake. I reached to the nightstand to grab it and it stopped ringing. I don’t think the two were related. I think it was probably a wrong number. The interesting thing is that, looking at the screen, which was still illuminated with Missed Call, I could swear I was looking at my own number. Which immediately led to my freshly awaked brain wondering how it was that my phone called itself and why, followed by that can’t be right, followed by snuggling back down under the covers.

It is August, as you already know and don’t need this blogger to tell you, but August everywhere in this country means one thing. Heat. And we’ve been getting a ton of it. I was out running some mid-day errands yesterday and the temperature gauge on the dashboard read 111º. I think just seeing that made me reach over and turn up the fan another notch. We are in that phase where we go from air conditioned car to air conditioned house, or we simply don’t leave the air conditioned house.

Which means that the house is always pleasant. We have two air conditioning units, one for each side of the house. We keep them both set at 78º. Not overly cool. Some probably think that’s too warm, but it’s quite pleasant for us, and keeps the electric bills more manageable. At night, I turn the west side unit, the side where the master bedroom is, down to 75º. We have a ceiling fan. The air swirls and cools, making snuggling down under the sheet and the comforter very comfortable, and very necessary.

I buy bed-in-a-bag. I started doing this years ago when we had Maguire. No matter how much we tried to keep him off, he often ended up on the bed. It was the only piece of furniture in the house that he ever seemed to care about probably because it was big enough to accommodate his rather large self. Whenever we couldn’t find him in the house, we would go to the master bedroom and there he’d be, looking at us from his perch up against the pillows, in the sun. What?

Dog hair and dog grime tend to eventually and fairly quickly destroy a comforter. Bed-in-a-bag always gives me an opportunity to refresh both the bed and the bedroom. I change the top bedding every six months or so; the sheets once a week. I always buy comforters, never bedspreads. I don’t even know if you can get bedspreads-in-a-bag. I don’t tend to like bedspreads. We’re more comforter people.

Which works perfectly for snuggling under the covers. A comforter provides comfort and warmth without ever being heavy. Again, ideal for being under the covers.

After the phone rang, and I turned my brain away from wondering how I was calling myself; after I cooled down from the initial flash of hot from waking up so alarmingly, and got myself ready to return to dreamland; after all of that, I pulled the covers up to my chin, turned to face the window and the sleeping body of my husband. The city lights were dancing in the dark, and lightning was softly flashing in the far off clouds. I was under the covers, I was safe, I was warm. I was asleep.

Tags: , , , ,

live out loud

It’s like we knew, one day, some day

by Lorin Michel Saturday, August 1, 2015 9:03 PM

A long time ago when knowing your color season was what everyone did, I found out that I was an autumn. Because of my dark hair, my brown/hazel eyes and my skin tone which has more red in it than yellow, it was decided that I looked best in the colors most associated with fall. Browns, golds, greens, oranges. Warm colors. I had always felt most comfortable in those colors anyway so I was glad I didn’t suddenly have to start wearing brilliant reds and blues.

My love of warm colors always translated to my taste in furniture and accessories. I suppose it’s also one of the reasons I’ve long loved pottery. Pottery, regardless of the glaze used, is still made from clay, by nature earthy. I used to love to visit pottery studios and galleries when I was young; I still do. I took pottery in college, and have taken two recent classes here in Tucson.

Years ago, when I was married to my first husband and the Southwestern decorating style was all the rage, I bought two big pottery type lamps. They were tall, about 5 feet each, with broad bases that were rough in texture and creamy in color. I still have those lamps. I recently put new lampshades on them, silk-screened shades with browns and greens, golds and oranges. They’re perfect in the new house.

After husband number 1 and prior to current and favorite husband, I dated a guy named David. One weekend, we went up to Cambria, about 3 hours north of Los Angeles. It’s a beautiful coastal town filled with galleries. I fell in love with an amazing hand-shaped vase in a pottery studio. Rough red clay base with drips of blue, orange, red, purple glaze. He gave it to me for Christmas that year and I still have it. It looks absolutely gorgeous on our new fireplace hearth.

Kevin and I spent months trying to find a dining room set we liked when we moved into our Oak Park house. We finally settled on pieces that are sort of Scandinavian in design. The wood is a dark red. We still have the table and the hutch here and they look perfect with our tile.

Ditto the leather couches we bought several years ago as well. They’re a taupe color, overstuffed, comfortable. Perfect in the great room.

I stand and look at my new house and I realize that I’ve actually been decorating it for years, perhaps even before Kevin and I got together, but definitely since then and long before we actually built it. From the iron sleigh-type bed we bought for our bedroom along with the side tables, the bed that Kevin made for Justin that we repurposed for our guest room, the pub table and stools that were in our kitchen and are now in the breakfast nook, the antique music stand, the other eclectic pieces of furniture and accessories. Everything looks like it was bought specifically for this house and none of it was. The only exceptions: the three bar stools at the eat-at bar, and the deck furniture.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve always had similar taste, and that I tend to like furniture and things that are earthy in color, never ornate, but always interesting and hopefully comfortable. Maybe we’ve been buying everything in anticipation for building this house in the desert. Maybe we knew that one day, some day, it would all come together beautifully in a house that comes out of the desert, surrounded by greens and browns and golds. My colors. It was meant to be.

The mone is blewe

by Lorin Michel Friday, July 31, 2015 11:27 PM

Last night, the sky was blue. Navy mixed with slate. I noticed an odd cast in the western sky, a pale gray that was odd. It was clouds, obviously, but still an awkward color. As the night went on, and the darkness deepened, what is usually nearly black was instead the darkest of blues. I remarked on it to Kevin who acknowledged it only with a “hmmmmm.”

In the middle of the night, I awoke as I often do. Nothing in particular seems to wake me when this happens other than my brain spinning in too many directions. I rarely sleep through the night anymore. I’ve gotten used to it. Some nights are better than others. The worst are when I’m awake for hours at a time. Last night wasn’t one of those nights. But when I was awake, I looked out the huge windows that face south. I didn’t get out of bed. Rather I simply turned to stare out toward the city, flickering in the distance, at the various houses dotting the landscape below, at the sky. It was silky, the color of midnight lilies, of the ocean glancing off ice.

This moon, usually white, seemed tinged with blue.

Blue moon you saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own

Blue moon
You knew just what I was there for
You heard me saying a pray’r for

All I could hear was Ella Fitzgerald, crooning about a blue moon, and I wondered. I know the moon referenced in the song refers more to emotion and mood, but what about the orb in the sky?

Turns out there is such a thing as a blue moon, and it happens officially tonight. Of course, after doing a little research I found out that a blue moon rarely has anything to do with color but rather with orbits and having two full moons within a single calendar month. It was described like this in 1528:

O churche men are wyly foxes [...] Yf they say the mone is blewe / We must beleve that it is true / Admittynge their interpretacion. 

That’s quotes from an anti-clerical pamphlet titled Rede me and be nott wrothe, for I say no thynge but trothe published by William Roy and Jerome Barlow.

Supposedly its reasoning was that the priests of the time could say anything, like the moon is blue, and people were to believe it. Today, we call that Fox News.

By the 1800s, “blue moon” was being applied to a rare astronomical quirk based on the discrepancy between the lunar cycle and the calendar year. Since the lunar month averages 29.5 days—shorter than every month on the Gregorian calendar outside of February—certain years have 13 full moons instead of the typical 12. Through the 1800s and early 1900s, the Maine Farmers’ Almanac defined a “blue moon” as the third full moon in a season with four full moons instead of the typical three. It’s a rare occurrence, happening once every 2.7 years. After the one tonight, we won’t see another until January 2018.

As for the blue color, here’s what has to say: “Even rarer than a “blue moon” is a moon that actually looks blue. This unusual phenomenon can occur after volcanic eruptions, forest fires or dust storms when tiny dust particles enter the atmosphere and scatter red light while letting through the blue light.”

We haven’t had any volcanoes erupting, nor fires burning. We do get a lot of dust though, when the wind kicks up and the air becomes gritty. Tonight marks an actual blue moon. Last night was but a precursor.

Again I hear Ella:

And when I looked, the moon had turned to gold
Blue moon. Now I’m no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart

Because in Tucson, on July 31, the mone is blewe. I believe it because I’ve seen it.

Tags: , , , , ,

live out loud

The sting

by Lorin Michel Sunday, July 26, 2015 10:13 PM

When I was little and visiting my Aunt Beryl and Aunt Eleanor at their cabin in Confluence, Pennsylvania, I stepped on a bee. I’ve written about it before. I was staying with the aunts while my parents were visiting with some friends, at least that’s my recollection. I must have been very young as I don’t remember there being a Scott and definitely not a Khristan. My foot swelled up horribly. We went to the local doctor in town who instructed the aunts to apply this gooey black sap. It was like tar. I have no idea if it did anything. I suspect not. It was the early 1960s and that was probably the go-to remedy for a child having an allergic reaction to a bee sting in Confluence.

I’ve been stung other times and never had the same reaction but I’ve always been wary of bees and wasps.

Gordon Sumner, otherwise known as Sting, has long been a favorite of ours. I love his later work, the jazzy, celtic, bluesy stuff. I think his music is interesting. I even like the Christmas album he put out several years ago. Kevin, though a fan in general, doesn’t like that album so I play it either in rotation with others or in the car when I’m driving alone.

The Sting was a movie starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman. It came out in 1973, and teamed Butch and Sundance again for what was definitely an enjoyable flick. I still prefer Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, maybe because it’s a Western, even though I don’t like Westerns in general. Maybe it’s the folklore of it all. The title of The Sting refers to the moment when a con artist finishes whatever situation they’re concocted and makes off with the money without the target knowing, in this case Robert Shaw.

Police use stings in much the same way, setting up a deceptive operation in order to catch a person of interest committing a crime.

A sting is what happened to my husband last night.

It was around 8 o’clock. After a long day of working outside and then spending hours in the garage doing a bit of organizing, we had showered, relaxed on the deck with a glass of wine while the sun sank into the west, and were in the kitchen readying to cook. I had already made twice-baked potatoes, and the filet was marinating. Kevin went into his office, which is just across from the kitchen to get something and upon his return, I heard this: “Ow, shit! Dammit. Fuck!”

He had stepped on a scorpion. It was the first one we’ve had in the house. We have no doubt that it won’t be the last. Scorpions sting, much like bees and wasps. Kevin couldn’t remember ever being stung, which surprised me considering how much he likes to work outside.

Honey bees die after stinging their prey. So does a scorpion, at least in this house. Kevin, down on his knees, hissed for me to get a fly swatter. He was not taking his eyes off of the offender. I grabbed the swatter, handed it to him and he proceeded to beat the thing silly. Appropriately mashed, it was discarded into the trash along with coffee grounds and an apple core.

With this type of sting, there really isn’t much that can be done. Take some drugs, apply some ice, wait a couple of days. We’re in the waiting part now. In the interim it throbs and tingles and generally feels like some sort of electrical current is shooting through his big toe.

My husband has finally experienced the yuck of getting stung. He doesn’t like it. But as I pointed out, at least there’s no black gooey salve involved. Definitely something to celebrate.

Tags: , , , , ,

live out loud

The creature report

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, July 21, 2015 8:49 PM

I am not at all squeamish. I’m not particularly fond of bugs, but I can deal with them. I don’t like snakes but I’m not abnormally afraid of them. Quite the contrary, I think that my fear of them is quite normal. They slither, therefore they’re evil. I don’t have a problem with other reptiles. I’m actually quite fascinated by lizards of nearly all kinds.

When we used to travel to Mexico on a fairly regular basis, I always loved the iguanas. They are abundant in Cabo San Lucas, and often sit unnoticed on the rocks, sunning themselves. It wasn’t uncommon to walk toward one of the villas we had rented only to startle after seeing one. They weren’t skittish, nor were they friendly. Our favorite resort was a small, 60-room place wedged onto the coast called the Hotel Twin Dolphin. It has since closed and been bull-dozed, replaced by another. It had one lovely pool with a swim-up bar where we could  order a cocktail or even some lunch. Whatever was left from the lunch, the bartender would simply toss out onto the cement and tile surrounding the pool. The iguanas would then magically and quickly appear and eat it, especially the pickles. Iguanas love pickles.

For our honeymoon, we went to a resort called La Jolla de Mismaloya. The 1964 film The Night of the Iquana, starring Richard Burton, Deborah Kerr and Ava Gardner, was filmed there. It sits on the ocean, at the edge of the rainforest. The iguanas there are nearly big enough to ride.

We don’t have iguanas here, at least none that I’ve seen. But we do have gila monsters. They’re nearly as docile, and very slow moving. They’re generally orange and black or lavender and black, probably to blend into the colors of the desert. We see them occasionally, often after Riley has spotted them, crawling along the rocks. We have had two in the portico, one fairly large that also managed to crawl out on his own, another smaller one that somehow tumbled in but needed Kevin’s help to get out. He donned a glove – they bite and don’t let go – and lifted it up and out.

We’ve also had a tortoise in the portico. Just a week or so ago, Riley was whining and crying and pawing at the glass of the front door. We went out to see what all the noise was about and there he was, at the base of the steps, right in front of the door. We have no idea how he got into the portico and figured it must have tumbled down the steps. The problem is that you’re not allowed to touch them to move them. Kevin and Justin got it to crawl onto a board that they then lifted to the pavers so it could crawl off into the desert.

Every night, we have toads. Every morning, I get this question from Bobbi: What’s the creature report? She derives great pleasure hearing about all of the things that crawl or slither or climb. Nearly every day, I have something to share. Some days it’s as innocuous as a desert rabbit, squirrel, skunk, or road runner. Other days it’s monsters. Today, we saw two deer climbing the hill behind us. Also a snake torn to pieces on the road below. Many dead grasshoppers. The other night there were javelinas down below the grill. And bats zooming about. Bugs big enough to fly passengers. There are spiders and centipedes and crickets. There are, thus far, no scorpions or tarantulas. But there are birds and owls and falcons and ravens. Bobcats, mountain lions. Supposedly there are bears.

The creature report is a daily chronicle. Sometimes it’s relatively innocuous. Sometimes it’s interesting. Occasionally, it’s frightening. On those days, the days where there are things that creep even me out, I don’t answer the question. Because if it creeps me out, it will elicit a squeal of disgust from Bobbi.

Seeing the constant flow of creatures, though, is a constant source of amusement. We had no idea some of these things existed. Sometimes, we’d like to still not know. But it makes life interesting, always, and worth celebrating, mostly.

Except for the centipedes. And the snakes.

Tags: , , , ,

live out loud


by Lorin Michel Thursday, July 16, 2015 10:39 PM

In 1862, the Civil War made its way to the Tucson territories when on February 28, a small force of Confederate soldiers arrived by way of Texas. They numbered 120 and promptly proclaimed the area a western district of the Confederate Arizona Territory. Up until that time, Tucson had pretty much been occupied by Unionists – even then we were the blue in an otherwise sea of red – all of whom were either jailed or driven out of town. Evidently, the Confederates thought that sympathetic Californians would join them but Californians had other plans. They mobilized 6,000 Union volunteers and headed toward Southern Arizona. There was a great battle on April 15, and by May, the Confederates had been driven back to Texas.

The encounter took place in Picacho Pass, along the Butterfield Overland Mail Trail, a stagecoach service that had operated until the previous year, carrying passengers and mail from Tennessee and Missouri to San Francisco by way of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Baja California and California.

Today, Picacho Peak is a state park in Picacho, Arizona. It’s located between Tucson and Casa Grande, and rises above the desert to some 3, 374 feet. It’s a big rock, covered in lava, tilted and eroded. It rises out of the desert like a beacon of hope.

Picacho, pronounced pee-KAH-cho, is Spanish for big peak. My husband insists on calling it peekachoo, spelled Pikachu, after the Pokemon character that is short, chubby and yellow. Its ears are pointed with black tips. It has a small mouth, small, brown eyes and two bright red circles on its cheeks. This, evidently, is where electricity is stored. I know this because of the internets. I should know it because of Justin.

When Justin was little, he was a huge fan of Pokemon. We currently have every 1st edition of the original cards ever made. He and Kevin used to shop for them on ebay, paying quite a bit of money to amass a collection that Justin decided to sell in a garage sale. Luckily, we intervened. Those cards, in a notebook, are safe in a storage facility somewhere.

Justin’s favorite character was Pikachu, the little rodent. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was because of the electrical charges the yellow one could unleash to defeat his enemies. Maybe it’s just because he was kind of cute, in a yellow rat sort of way.

One Christmas, my mother wanted to know what to buy Justin and I said anything Pikachu. She found a large Pikachu pillow somewhere and against everything she knew to be true and right with the world, bought it. She was not a fan of Pikachu and his powers, thought it was stupid. To her credit, she knew that it was important to Justin and so for Christmas, he got a big, yellow pillow with red circles on its cheeks. It was a big hit. Justin carried that thing everywhere.

Every time we drive by Picacho, Kevin says “hey, look. Pikachu.” He knows nothing of the history of the peak. I’m thinking that if he did, it wouldn’t matter a damn. Still, given its history, perhaps Picacho could have used Pikachu to help defeat the south. It would have been electrifying to see.

Tags: , , ,

live out loud

Just another day in the Old Pueblo

by Lorin Michel Saturday, July 11, 2015 10:39 PM

As happens every day, the sun gets up and so do we. We’ve become very early risers, for two reasons: the dog needs to go for a walk before it gets too hot, and we have no window coverings. We’ve gotten used to it. I fear that guests aren’t as tolerant and we may need to do something about the guest room. Witness my sister, who arrived last night, coming out of the room just before 7 am, bleary eyes, tousled hair, announcing that she couldn’t sleep anymore and that it was probably because of the time difference.

I suspect it was partly the time, and mostly the light. It’s bright, sunny, glorious. But not good sleep weather.

She was amazed at the view, as so many are. As we were moving in, the movers finished lugging furniture and then asked if it would be OK to go out onto the deck to take some pictures. Workers have been here and asked the same thing. It’s quite stunning, a visual desert smorgasbord that stretches for miles in any direction, save the north, a steep slope of cactus and Catalina gneiss. But to the south, the view is vast; to the west as well. The east runs into some mountains but still manages to provide quite the jagged sight.

Clouds hang heavy. It’s monsoon season so there are clouds every day. Not always enough to congregate and rain or storm, but enough to cast dark shadows. It’s always fascinating to me to look out and see big swaths of black in an otherwise sunny landscape.

The cactus stand majestic, especially the saguaros. The ocotillos bend and dance in the breeze. The mesquite and palo verde trees ripple slightly. When we turned off the freeway last night, just after 7, Khris said, upon seeing the first cactus, two saguaros along the road: “Oh, look. Cactus.” I chuckled. “You ain’t see nothin’ yet.”

She stood on the deck last night in the fading light and marveled at the view, the lights of the city coming up as the sun sank in the west. This morning she stood on the deck again and marveled at the cactus, the green of it all.

If you’ve never been to this part of the Sonoran desert, it’s always a bit astonishing to see how green it is. It rivals any forest; it’s just a different kind of vegetation. In the east, pine trees and more clot together. Here in the desert, the saguaros mingle closely, their spires providing perches for birds and casting a bit of shade. Some stand fairly tall.

We had coffee on the deck off the master bedroom, sitting in the Adirondack chairs facing west. It was shady, a nice breeze was ruffling. We talked, then we got ready and went out to lunch, to the Hacienda del Sol, the quintessential Old Tucson resort. We gazed out onto the desert, the green of it, made even more green by the golf course in the distance. We went downtown. We went to Bookmans. We went shopping. We came home to the air-conditioned house and Riley boo.

It was hot today, but occasionally the sun ducked briefly behind the clouds, putting us under the shadow but experiencing the Old Pueblo in all of its July glory. It was just another day, made all the more special because of my sister’s presence. Living it out loud.

Tags: , , ,

With a few beeps from the microwave, time passes

by Lorin Michel Saturday, June 27, 2015 8:50 PM

The sound is almost melodically familiar. The contralto beep beep beep indicating that whatever is in the microwave is no longer cooking. Often what’s in there is nothing more than a cup of coffee being either re-heated, or heated a bit more since the coffee makers never seem to make it quite hot enough for me. This morning, as I lay in bed, I heard the telling beeps and knew that a steaming cup of coffee was on its way, to be delivered by my husband.

It got me thinking, interestingly, about time. The obvious statement, of course, is that every time you put something in the microwave, or even just set the timer, you do so by putting a specific amount of time onto the control panel. Hit start and the countdown begins as the time is ticked away.

I wonder if it’s not a metaphor for life and the passage of time.

We all live our lives according to time. Time to get up, time to walk the dog, time to shower, time to go to work, time for dinner, time for bed. In between we have to rush to be on time for a meeting, we wonder how much longer something is going to last; we encounter rush hour, an oxymoron if ever there was one. Time moves forward, never back. We move forward with it.

Each day is a new opportunity to remember that we’re living in this time, right now.

George Harrison once said: “It's being here now that's important. There's no past and there's no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one.” And Albert Einstein once famously said that “time is an illusion.” Ben Franklin: “You may delay, but time will not.” Dr. Seuss, a personal favorite, said: “How did it get so late so soon?”

I am always amazed. The beep beep beep indicating the passage of time several times a day, the clouds drifting by overhead signifying that all things move forward; the sun rising and steadily moving forward with the day, in fact dictating the day, and the time.

Beep beep beep.

Last night, we were sitting on the deck watching time pass. It’s nice to do every once in a while, to relax and just let it happen, to not continually try to control the seconds, the minutes, the hours. As the sun was falling into the west, the sky to the east was already black with clouds, a storm. And a rainbow. Thunder rolled and lightning flashed as the storm moved. Passing. Going. Time in motion.

Beep beep beep. It’s the melody of time and it is singing that we should use our time wisely, to – hopefully – live it out loud because this time will never be here again. There is only what’s to come, only the next time.

Beep beep beep.

Tags: , ,

live out loud

This is how the grand canyon got started

by Lorin Michel Thursday, June 25, 2015 10:00 PM

There was a song called “It never rains in Southern California” released in 1972 and sung by Albert Hammond. It was fairly popular, climbing the Billboard charts to number 5. The lyric that everyone knows makes no reference to “southern” and instead says: “It never rains in California, but girl don’t they warn ya. It pours, man it pours.”

It’s true. Nice, gentle, non-committal rains rarely fall in Southern California. But it’s not just Southern Cal. That fact should be extended to all of the desert Southwest. I guess It never rains in Arizona just doesn’t have the same sexy sound. But I’m here to tell you that when it rains here, man it pours.

The rain beats down on the roof of the house as well as the scorched earth on which the house sits. The roof is flat but isn’t level and is instead slightly slanted toward the front and the back. The scuppers catch the rain and torch the ground with water as if it’s coming out of a fire hose. It’s fascinating to watch. Until you realize that the high-velocity water hitting the desert is starting to erode the ground, causing rivets that grow deeper and wider with every storm.

The house is built on a hill and the hill contains a great deal of Catalina gneiss, pronounced “nice.” Rock. There is little to no danger of the ground eroding to the point where it would crumble taking the house down the hill with it. But the crevices can’t be good; they’re also a bit unsightly.

On the east side of the house, off of the guest room deck and behind the garage, the rains have been wreaking havoc for years. Before we built, we never even paid attention. Then, as we prepared the lot to build, much was filled in as they brought truckload after truckload of dirt to level and compact. A rip-rap wall was built on the hill immediately below and leading up to the pad. The guy who did brought in truckloads of fairly good size stone, each of which was carefully placed in the dirt so as to form a cohesive piece. The wall stops before the crevices.

Kevin has been using rock from the property to create his own rip-rap as well as swails but on the west side of the house. He has them placed under the scuppers where the rocks form stone crop circles before draining off to casual swails that divert water off into the desert, far away from the house. He’s also building a short gneiss wall on the south side of the driveway. We get a lot of rain that drains off of the pavers because, like the roof, they’re slanted ever so slightly so the rain doesn’t puddle. The water races down and into the desert, washing away dirt. He wants to divert it further away from the house, and more down the road. The wall will be a miniature version of the bigger wall on the north side of the drive, one that was also constructed, using Catalina gneiss, to divert water away from the house and either off into the desert to the east or down the road to the west.

We were on the west deck this morning, looking down at his progress. It’s starting to look great. Then I asked how we were going to tackle the problem that’s developed on the east side, the problem off of the guest room deck. We trooped over to that side of the house to look.

Clouds were already starting to form in the east. Whether or not they would lead to rain remained to be seen but regardless, it’s coming, and with it, more erosion. As we looked at the deep and widening crevice, I remarked that this was how the Grand Canyon got started, with a little bit of water carving into the earth.

Kevin looked at me and cocked an eyebrow.

“Hey, I saw it on the Flintstones,” I offered.

So if we don’t build swails, and place more rip-rap, in about 20 million years or so, we might, maybe, but hopefully not lose the house.

Something to think about.

Tags: , , , ,

live out loud

Frankly, it’s interesting

by Lorin Michel Sunday, June 7, 2015 7:58 PM

I have long had a love of architecture. I am fascinated by buildings of all sorts, and especially by homes. I think the different styles that are indicative of certain parts of the country are intriguing. The colonial on the east coast, the Cape Cod in New England, Santa Fe style and desert contemporary, Mediterranean in Southern California. There are modern houses everywhere, of course, in styles that mirror their location. There are no stucco houses in New England that I know of; there are very few clapboard houses in the desert. Roofs on the east tend to be pitched and shingled while in the west they’re mostly tile, or in the case of many desert homes, flat, stuccoed and painted.

This morning, Kevin and I went to Bookman’s, a wonderfully eclectic bookstore that is all used books, musical instruments (a ton of guitars, both acoustic and electric as well as banjos and ukeles), antiques and art. We were hoping to find a New York Times. They didn’t have one but they did have several books we decided we couldn’t live without, one of which is a photography book for Kevin. As he was perusing, I happened upon the architecture section. There were a number of books on one of this country’s most famous architects, one Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright. He has a number of homes all over the country, from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, Illinois to California and many places in between.

I’ve been to Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, Kevin has been to the B. Harley Bradley House in Kankakee, Illinois, where he was born and raised. June 8 would have been Wright’s 148th birthday. It’s a testament to his vision that many of his homes are still landmarks, still known as Wright houses.

It got me thinking, though, not just about Frank Lloyd Wright but about all of the famous architects named Frank. 

Frank Lloyd Wright house, Kankakee, Illinois

Frank Clark house, Medford, Oregon

Frank Gehry, Disney Hall, Los Angeles, California

In Oregon, Diane and Gene have been looking at a house designed by Frank Clark, a famous and famously prolific architect in the Pacific Northwest. There is of course Frank Gehry who designs more commercial buildings including the famous and famously blinding Disney Hall in Los Angeles. Francis Fleetwood was a designer of the big time homes that sit on the North Shore of Long Island, in an area affectionately known as the Hamptons.

Of course there are also Frank architects of some repute who are not American, like Francis Greenway who was an architect in Australia in the latter 18th and early 19th centuries. And Francis Golding, a London architect, who was killed just two years ago while bicycling. 

Michael Bratton, Michel House, Tucson, Arizona

Our architect, Mike Bratton is an honorary Frank because he is very frank in his conversations, sometimes to the point of appearing rude. We quickly became used to it and actually embraced it because he designed and built us one hell of a house. He says what he thinks, he has an opinion and he knows what he’s talking about.

I find it all incredible, the ability to design a building from nothing. It’s like creating a piece of art on a piece of canvas or a story on a blank page. Frankly, the ability to create anything from nothing is interesting. And if it lasts through the ages, like Frank Lloyd Wright or Frank Clark or Frank Gehry, it’s definitely something to celebrate.

Tags: , , , , ,

live out loud

christian louboutin online discount christian louboutin wholesale jerseys from china replica oakleys wholesale jerseys cheap michael kors cheap replica oakleys oakley sunglasses sales cheap jerseys free shopping michael kors handbags nike nhl jerseys cheap nhl jerseys cheap replica oakleys oakleys sale cheap jerseys from china christian louboutin outlet 2016 cheap fake oakleys WHOLESALE AUTHENTIC JERSEYS fake ray bans fake cheap oakleys cheap christian louboutin cheap christian louboutin online cheap jerseys cheap oakleys cheap jerseys from china cheap michael kors wholesale mlb jerseys replica oakleys store cheap jerseys china fake oakleys authentic nhl jerseys cheap wholesale nfl jerseys discount oakleys cheap oakleys fake oakley sunglasses replica christian louboutin cheap oakley sunglasses authentic jerseys cheap cheap oakleys outlet wholesale oakleys christian louboutin online wholesale cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys fake cheap oakleys discount jerseys sale cheap ray bans fake cheap oakleys michael kors outlet cheap wholesale jerseys replica ray bans wholesale jerseys outlet wholesale nba jerseys fake cheap oakleys fake cheap oakleys outlet ray bans sale christian louboutin outlet oakleys sunglasses wholesale authentic jerseys discount ray bans fake cheap oakleys cheap christian louboutin online nhl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys discount ray bans wholesale jerseys cheap ray bans michael kors handbags outlet replica michael kors wholesale oakley sunglasses ray bans outlet cheap jerseys china cheap nba jerseys fake cheap oakleys cheap oakleys cheap ray bans cheap christian louboutin discount oakleys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap michael kors handbags fake cheap oakleys discount christian louboutin wholesale nhl jerseys michael kors on sale discount ray bans cheap jerseys wholesale cheap michael kors cheap replica oakleys cheap michael kors bags replica ray bans cheap sunglasses ray bans authentic jerseys authentic jerseys from china cheap oakleys outlet replica oakley sale red bottoms shoes on sale wholesale oakleys cheap nfl jerseys cheap replica oakleys wholesale oakleys cheap christian louboutin outlet cheap oakleys store cheap michael kors cheap ray bans cheap authentic nfl jerseys paypal cheap fake oakleys cheap oakleys cheap michael kors outlet fake ray bans fake ray bans cheap authentic nike jerseys cheap authentic jerseys fake cheap oakleys fake oakleys store replica oakleys cheap christian louboutin fake oakley cheap cheap jerseys wholesale cheap replica oakleys cheap michael kors outlet wholesale jerseys china cheap oakleys online replica michael kors cheap ray bans jerseys wholesale cheap fake oakleys discount ray bans cheap michael kors store cheap ray bans ray bans sunglasses jerseys wholesale wholesale china jerseys cheap mlb jerseys oakley sunglasses wholesale nba jerseys christian louboutin outlet wholesale oakleys wholesale authentic jerseys wholesale mlb jerseys cheap michael kors outlet cheap jerseys online shopping cheap ncaa jerseys michael kors bags cheap fake oakleys cheap jerseys wholesale cheap fake oakleys cheap replica oakleys cheap michael kors cheap discount ray bans ray bans sunglasses cheap jerseys free shopping cheap nba wholesale jerseys fake oakleys replica oakleys cheap nhl jerseys cheap christian louboutin cheap oakleys official jerseys replica ray bans cheap michael kors outlet wholesale jerseys cheap cheap authentic ncaa jerseys michael kors on sale cheap fake oakleys cheap elite jerseys discount oakleys cheap replica oakleys cheap michael kors online wholesale and retail oakleys fake ray bans cheap wholesale jerseys
Filter by APML