The heat is on

by Lorin Michel Friday, May 29, 2015 9:25 PM

I love the heat which explains why I live in the desert. When I moved from the North East in 1984, it never occurred to me to go anywhere other than where it was warm, largely because I was not a big fan of long and lasting bitter cold. And since I didn't like Florida I settled on the southwest. California had everything. Heat but not too hot, cooler nights, the ocean. The longer I lived there though the stronger the heat seemed to become. In the San Fernando Valley it was often over 100 during summer days. The relentless concrete and asphalt holds the heat. Phoenix, hot to begin with, is also worse now because it's so developed.

Perhaps it has something to do with global warming.

Summer officially starts on June 21, but in the desert it can start much earlier. By the beginning of May, the daytime temps can be nearing 100. But not this May. This year May temps have stayed pleasant. High 70s/low 80s during the day, 50s at night. Sitting outside on the deck in the evenings required a jacket, at least for somebody like me who is always cold.

Last weekend, Memorial Day, when Jeff and Chris were here, we were concerned that the weather might not cooperate, that the heat might descend upon us and make it difficult to do anything outside. Since this was their first trip to this part of the world, we were hoping to show them how cool it is, literally and figuratively. The weather was wonderful. They left on Tuesday morning just as the heat began to build.

We had started to think that maybe this year would be different, that the high heat might not manifest. Cooler than usual temperatures can lull you.

Enter today. It's flirting with the high 90s. 100 tomorrow and for the next few days.

June is the hottest month in the Sonoran desert, followed closely by July. And August. The saving grace are the monsoons, the drenching storms that can happen almost daily, cooling the air and the ground. This season is forecasted to be very strong because of El Niño. Monsoon season starts on June 15 and runs through September 30. The first storm doesn't usually happen until around the 4th of July. Then the skies turn green, the wind swirls, the cactus brace themselves and the clouds relieve themselves. There is thunder and lightning. It's one of the coolest aspects of living in this kind of heat.

At night, the temps cool though not as substantially as they do in California. There is no ocean breeze here. We're hopeful for some cooler air to tumble down from Mount Lemmon but we haven’t lived here long enough to know if that happens. I do know that last year, on the 4th of July we went up to Mount Lemmon. It was 105º when we left Tucson. But the time we got up there, just 26 miles north, we needed sweatshirts. Again, hopeful.

In the mean time, we're in it, the heat. The heavy, thick, nearly able to see it heat that will undoubtedly get just a little hotter before it gets a lot cooler. It’s a sight to behold and to be seen, and for me and my boys, to be lived in. Oh, it’s not always preferable to be outside, but it sure beats the snow in the winter and the high humidity in summer.

Though I think when it comes to bugs, we’re pretty even, especially when the heat is on. 

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live out loud

So big it’s claustrophobic

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, May 20, 2015 8:56 PM

I spoke with my friend Diane today. She and Gene are up in Oregon. It’s their third or fourth trip and they’re in the process of deciding whether or not to move. It’s a big decision, but one they seem on the verge of making and I couldn’t be happier for them.

We all moved to LA at around the same time, give or take a few years. Diane moved from Detroit. I believe Gene moved from Ohio. I moved from the North East, Kevin from Chicago, Bobbi from Wisconsin. Roy is the only native amongst us. One of the lasting jokes about Los Angeles is that everyone there is from somewhere else. I’m not sure that’s as true now as it used to be but I suspect it is.

Los Angeles has long held sway over young people, especially those in entertainment. Diane moved to be closer to the music industry and for a time, worked as a recording studio manager. Gene, a musician, moved to be in the music industry. Bobbi moved to work in the music industry as well. She had actually been accepted into USC as a music major but never went. Roy was already in the music industry. He worked as an artist for United Artists Records which eventually became Capitol Records when Capitol bought them. He designed album covers.

Bobbi worked for Diane. Then Diane moved onto someplace else and Bobbi got a job at Capitol where she met Roy.

I’m not sure how I expected to meet my fame and make my fortune. I had entertained being a screenwriter, and I actually had several things that were nearly optioned. But I soon gave that up and just decided to write for me, and for anyone who wanted – wants – to pay me.

Kevin’s background is sales and marketing but he decided to also go more toward the creative in 2000 when he quit his job and started his own web development, design, and marketing company.

LA was very good to us all. It gave us a shot at our creative careers. Perhaps even more importantly, it introduced us to some of the best people we know. I’ve been friends with Roy and Bobbi since 1989, with Diane since shortly thereafter and with Gene since shortly thereafter that. Kevin and I got together in 1995 but he also knew Roy and Bobbi from before. We’re all just one big happy coincidence.

The ranch where Diane and Gene are staying. Gene posted this yesterday.

We’ve all decided that LA is more for younger people. I don’t consider any of us old, but we’re long past our 20s and 30s, the time when traffic isn’t as bothersome, when the outrageousness of the city doesn’t irritate. When you get to the point where every time you go somewhere it’s a major ordeal because of traffic; when you have to check the traffic reports before you leave the house; when even after doing all of that, you’re still late because of traffic, it gets frustrating. As Roy always says, it takes the fun out of the balloon.

We stopped having fun in LA a long time ago. We rarely left our house in Oak Park because it was just too painful to go anywhere. Diane and Gene are in that place now, too, and like us, they can take their careers elsewhere. Plus, should they move to Oregon, it’s not that far from LA. It’s easy to get back when you need to.

We talked about it all today. She’s ready; Gene is a little more apprehensive. But their lives in LA are now nostalgic. Gene was the lead guitarist for Joe Cocker and toured the world for years. But Joe died just before Christmas last year and none of the other band mates live in LA either.

Los Angeles is wondrous, adventurous, full of possibility. It’s also claustrophobic because it’s so big. All of the concrete and traffic and buildings and people seeking their break close down around you. You don’t really realize it until you get out. We miss the ideal of it but no longer the idea of it. I suspect Diane and Gene may be doing the same in the not too distant future, and we wish them dogspeed on their way to living it out loud.

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live out loud

I am awed and sometimes frightened by the power of nature

by Lorin Michel Saturday, May 16, 2015 7:56 PM

I’m not sure my mother has ever really understood why I choose to live in the west. Our family never strayed from the east coast until I decided that I was born to live here. I don’t know if, even now, I can articulate what drew me here but I always wanted to live in the Southwest. It had somehow always been in my soul; perhaps I was a Native American in a former life.

I’ve lived in the west since 1984, first in San Diego, then in Scottsdale, then in LA for 27 years, now Tucson, for nearly 2. One of the things I heard a lot was “aren’t you afraid of earthquakes?” I suppose I never really thought about it. I try to live in the moment and not think too much about what ifs. Like every other human being, sometimes I succumb regardless to worry and wonder, but I also actively practice the “everything happens for a reason and when it’s supposed to” mantra. Granted it can often be hard to see what the reason can possibly be. Disaster and death can be so seemingly random. Think about the person who kisses his or her loved ones goodbye in the morning with a “see you tonight” and then is killed in a car crash.

So I never worried too much about earthquakes, even after I experienced the Northridge quake in 1994. 6.8 on the Richter scale. It was terrifying but not enough to make me pack up and move. After all, every part of the country, indeed every part of the world, has their own version of disaster and most people don’t move from where they’ve made their homes. They simply clean up the mess and continue living.

I remember my dad calling me days after the quake – it took a while for phone service to resume and cell phones were not common – and saying “honey, don’t  you think it’s about time you started thinking about moving back here?” I didn’t think so and I didn’t leave, not for another 19 years and when I did it had absolutely nothing to do with earthquakes.

The awesome power of Mother Nature is always something that astounds me, something I try to respect. As human beings, we believe, foolishly, that we can somehow control our fates. That we can build towering skyscrapers near fault lines and that as long as we include the latest sway technology, those buildings will withstand a quake. Yes it will shake, sure it will sway enough to make you feel seasick, but it won’t fall.

Bullshit. We cannot build anything that truly withstands the power of nature and I am forever humbled and awed by such a fact. There is no force greater than the earth itself. We build bridges and we retro fit our homes and we believe that we are fine. And then Mother Nature clears her throat and a city is leveled in 20 seconds. Look at the poor people in Nepal, or Fukishima, or any other city that has experienced an earthquake. Look at the Midwestern towns that have been laid flat by tornados. Look at the gulf coast that has been flooded and destroyed by hurricanes. Look at avalanches and fire.

We are small and insignificant, and I embrace my miniature status.

Remnants of the storm above and beyond the hill

Last night, sometime around 2, the wind began to howl, that bracing, low roar that alternately whistles through open windows and cactus needles. Soon, rain began to fall. Actually, fall is too soft a word. It began to pound. The skylight in the bathroom sounded like it would fracture. I got up to close the windows as the rain turned to hail and hammered the deck. The winds, I found out today, were nearly 50 miles per hour. The house stood firm but the air vents screamed in agony, the deck furniture scraped and whined. I was sure the pillows from the couches would end up down in the desert, blown over the rails. The cactus bent nearly over in two before snapping up. This went on for two hours, maybe more, and I laid awake the entire time, listening, wondering and marveling. I wasn’t worried; I was awed.

Today, the sky was still overcast. The ground was still wet, the air cool. I watched as heavy clouds oozed over the hillside above and behind us. And as I watched, blue sky opened, just enough to allow the sunshine to squeeze through and bath the hill in warmth. Mother Nature had made her point and now she was feeling better. I smiled and nodded in agreement, forever humbled by this part of the world that I choose to call my home. And as I watched, I realized why I love it so much here. It’s the mystery, and the glory, of it all.

So I have a bat

by Lorin Michel Thursday, May 14, 2015 10:13 PM

There are currently 31 states in the country that allow people to openly and blatantly carry guns in public. Arizona is one. This means that people can walk through any store that doesn’t have a sign that explicitly says no firearms. Target, Starbucks and Chipotle don’t allow guns. Most of the restaurants we frequent have signs. Places like Total Wine do not. Neither, interestingly, do banks. The first time we saw a woman walking through Total Wine with a 9 mm strapped to her hip, we both thought we were in big trouble. Then we thought it was stupid.

I’m not a big fan of guns. I’ve fired one, and I have to admit there was something very powerful about it, but not enough so that I’ve ever had the desire to get one. I don’t think all guns should be outlawed. I’m not completely anti-gun. I think people should have a right to have guns. But I don’t think it’s wrong that people go through background checks. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to keep assault weapons out of the hands of non-military people. The much touted 2nd amendment says we have a right to a well-armed militia. I don’t believe the founding fathers envisioned guns that could shoot hundreds of bullets in minutes.

Many people who are adamant about their right to carry guns believe there should be no restrictions. That is their right, literally and figuratively. I find it funny that Arizona thinks there should be unrestricted access to guns because they’re part of the wild west. Especially when Tombstone, the place of the famed shootout at the OK corral, did not allow guns in town. People had to check their guns with the sheriff when they entered the periphery. I also find it funny that Texas doesn’t have an open carry law. Maybe that’s why so many think the government is about to institute martial law.

When we moved here, I wondered about the possibility of eventually getting a gun. I didn’t really give it serious consideration, but I did think about it. When we moved up on top of the hill, where it’s a bit remote, I thought about it again. I even brought it up with Kevin. The conversation went something like this:

“Do you think we should…?”

“I don’t know. Do you?”

“I’m not really crazy about it…”

“Me, neither…”

Ultimately we opted to not get a firearm. We got an alarm instead, which has a panic feature. I’m not sure that it matters since we live a bit outside of town, and it would take a minimum of 10 minutes for the police to get here, perhaps longer. Still, at least we’ll know if something is happening.

So I don’t have a gun. In case of emergency, I do have a way to defend myself. I have a bat. Kevin gave me my very own, brand spankin’ new, aluminum bat that I can swing freely at intruders and snarling critters. So I have a bat, and I’m swinging it out loud.  


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live out loud

All by myself

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, May 13, 2015 8:55 PM

In 1975, a song by Eric Carmen reached number 2 on Billboards Hot 100, number 1 on Cash Box Top 100 Singles and number 3 in Canada. It sold more than a million copies and went gold in April of 1976. Its title, as you may have already guessed based on the title of this post, was All by myself.

It’s a sappy song. I didn’t like it then; I don’t particularly like it now. But on this Wednesday, it is just a little appropriate and here’s why: I’m currently all by myself. Unless you count Riley, but he like all of our dogs before him, is a lousy conversationalist. So I’m all alone.

All by myself
Don’t wanna be

Kevin is in Miami. He left this morning for a trade show and won’t return until Sunday morning. I’m not used to this; he’s not used to it. We spend so much time together, 24 hours a day most days, 7 days a week. We both work at home and we have our own space but we’re still together. We walk the dog in the morning, we meet for coffee during the morning hours, we have lunch together, we visit occasionally during the day, we have wine on the deck to watch the sunset, we shower together, make dinner together; we even like the same television shows. We’re perfectly content living this uneventful life. And to love it. We choose it as much as it chose us. We are each other’s best friend and companion. We fit. So when one or the other of us is gone, it’s weird. It feels as wrong as every other day feels right.

Seven weeks ago, we moved into our new home and lost Cooper. Two weeks ago we got Riley. Over the course of our nearly two months here, we’ve had a bunch of company and it’s been good. Next week, we get more when Kevin’s brother Jeff and his wife Chris come for a long weekend visit. We’ve been doing things around the house, still doing some unpacking, hanging pictures on the wall. We’ve been settling in and enjoying it. Together.

I worry sometimes, as I’ve said, that something is going to go wrong, that somehow, we made a horrible miscalculation, that we never should have done this. I think it’s just anxiety. I hope. When I’m all by myself, I think about things like that.

I still haven’t gotten used to the sounds of the house. It doesn’t creak yet, doesn’t settle. When the wine room cooler clicks on it still freaks me out a bit. The house is up on a hill, on nearly 4 acres of desert. It’s remote. There are creatures. It freaks me out.

I used to live alone and actually liked it. But I haven’t lived alone in a long time. I don’t like it anymore. I like having my husband around. I like my husband. I like being married.

For the next four days, I’m all by myself. I’m rattling around in this house all by myself. I’m taking care of the dog all by myself. I need to be an adult. I need to not be apprehensive. I need to put on my big girl pants and get through it.

Hard to be sure
Sometimes I feel so insecure
And loves so distant and obscure
Remains the cure

I miss my husband. It’s lonely here without him. But he’s coming back in a few days. I’m lucky, so lucky, in so many ways because I’m really not all by myself. That’s what I’m celebrating tonight and always.

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live out loud

A cloudy day

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, May 12, 2015 10:18 PM

When we have days like this, I can sometimes trick myself into believing that ridiculous heat will never actually arrive. It’s been cloudy all day. Not the kind of heavy clouds that will eventually have to relieve themselves through rain, but the kind that are just thick. The kind that give me a headache. I have long suffered from weather-related headaches. I think it’s pressure related.

I had my door open most of the day allowing the cool air to flood through. We had turned on the air earlier because it was supposed to be hotter, and because Mike was going to be doing some varnishing in the great room/breakfast nook. When the wind blows through, there is always dust and now dog fur that gets kicked up and swirled around. We didn’t think that would be good in the varnish. We set the AC to 78º on both sides of the house and it never got hot enough for it to kick on. We had one of the sliders open until Mike came but we just left it open and took our chances.

I find that I write about the weather a great deal perhaps because we don’t have a great deal of weather. Granted we have more weather here than we did in Southern California but it’s not like the “wait 5-minutes” weather you get in New England. Here in Tucson, they boast of having at least some sunshine some 350 days of the year. That doesn’t mean there aren’t clouds, or rain, but that the sun shines at some point during those cloudy rainy days.

I couldn’t remember it being sunny at all today though Kevin pointed out helpfully that it had been sunny this morning when we went for our walk, which was when I had my headache. The high pressure eventually gave way to full clouds. My headache went away, with some help from three Ibuprofens, and the day coasted into cool.

On cloudy days I find myself wanting to read. To curl up on the couch with the latest book by Alice Hoffman and allow my eyes to get tired by reading words that other people wrote. I also think how nice it would be to take a nap. It was a comfort day. But as it was also Tuesday and there was work to do, I opted to sit at my desk. I found my comfort by pulling up The West Wing on Netflix and just letting it play. I’ve seen every episode several times so I don’t have to pay close attention to it. It simply keeps me company.

On cloudy days I find myself drifting. I don’t know why but again I think it’s the fact that we don’t have a lot of actual weather so when it happens, I simply want to drift with the clouds, to be part of the rain, and to step away, even for a few hours, from my work life.

We are heading into monsoon season. According to reports, we may have a very strong one. We’ll see if it materializes. The day will start sunny and the clouds will gather quickly, ferociously. The sky will turn black and green. The winds will pick up. Weather will rain. That will come probably around July 3. It seems to be the day when it actually begins, even though the official start of monsoon is June 15.

Maybe today was just a tease. If so, it had me when the sky gathered and the breeze began. And it held me enthralled. Celebrating the little things today and always because that’s what living it out loud is all about.

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Just wondering

by Lorin Michel Saturday, May 9, 2015 7:57 PM

I was standing on my deck this morning. It was cold, just 45º and the air had just the ripple of movement. After yesterday’s wind fest, it was welcome. The desert below was bathed in sunlight that would eventually warm everything up including me. It was quiet. In the distance I heard a car but couldn’t find it. There was a single dog bark. Riley, who was next to me, quickly turned his head but didn’t get up. Nothing to be concerned about, not really.

In the house behind me, Kevin was making coffee. I wondered how I got so lucky at the same time I wondered, as I always do, if we did the right thing. And every time I wonder that I feel like I’m being ungrateful. This house, our new and forever home, is amazing. It’s a huge accomplishment. The fact that it exists is a true testament to perseverance and sheer guts. I have had many people who marvel, who think that we’re incredibly brave, courageous, for leaving our lives and our friends to start something new.

I wonder sometimes if we’re simply stupid.

I suppose it does take some guts. I also think it takes the ability to not think about it. It’s a practice I call active denial and during the entire process of packing and moving and packing and moving again I excelled in it. It can also be described as the Scarlett O’Hara way of doing things. Don’t think about it today, think about it tomorrow. And since tomorrow can’t ever really come in that scenario, you never really have to think about it.

Still, I wonder and I worry. We’re alone here. We’re not far from the people we love most in the world, never far when one has an airport nearby, but we’re far enough. We’re slowly starting to meet people; slowly starting to make some friends. I’ve never had a lot of friends. It’s not in my character to allow too many people in. I suppose I’m always a little worried that they won’t like what they see and then I’ll truly be alone. As I’ve grown older, I’ve also realized that I don’t particularly enjoy spending time with people who don’t bring me some measure of joy. I simply don’t have the bandwidth for it. Still, it’s nice to be able to have people over every once in a while, to meet someone for a glass of wine, lunch.

To have someone worry if they haven’t heard from you in a while.

It’s more important to me than to Kevin but I suppose that’s a bit of a man thing. Most of the men I know and have known don’t have a lot of friends. They have friends with their wives, couple friends. But they rarely call up a buddy and say, let’s go have a beer, let’s go shoot nine-holes. Kevin has reconnected with a good friend, finally, after years of neglect. I urged him when we were still in California to call or email. He never did. Finally, he got tired of me nagging and so he did call and now he and his friend talk every couple of weeks. They don’t get together of course, and not just because we no longer live close by. It just doesn’t occur to him, or them.

Morning sun at the house. Photo: Roy Guzman

I wonder. I worry. I convince myself that it all can’t really be this perfect and wonderful. Something has to go wrong. I will slowly start to lose all of my clients. My work and income will dry up. We will have this incredible home and we won’t be able to pay for it. Our dream will turn into a nightmare. I don’t know why I allow myself to wonder and worry about these things. I suppose it’s a remnant of something I’ve dubbed being cursed with self-awareness. I wish I was someone who could live blissfully unaware of all that is happening and could happen. But I’ve never been that person; I never will be.

As I stood on my deck this morning though, as my husband brought me a cup of coffee and I watched the steam drift up into the cool air, I wondered. And I marveled. Look at what we’ve done; look at where we are. My brother always says, sarcastically, that he’s living the dream. This is usually when he’s at the Laundromat or shoveling snow for the hundredth time. In many ways, I am living the dream. Kevin and I and now Riley are living our dream, high above the desert with the sun warming the day. I wonder why I wonder why.

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The crackle of thunder, the smell of rain

by Lorin Michel Monday, May 4, 2015 9:57 PM

It started this morning, as we were heading back from our walk. A rumble in the distance that could have been a heavy truck jostling across the road, its load almost too much to bear. It could have been an airplane, a military transport, also big and imposing, lost in the clouds with those same clouds trying to dissipate the sound but the air too thick to cooperate. Being the college graduates that we are, we quickly decided it was thunder.

Perhaps it was the fact that the sky was almost entirely obscured by dark gray clouds. Perhaps it was that we could see weather moving toward us from the south, a sheet of moisture steadily gathering momentum. Perhaps we had both seen the lightning flashes overnight.

Then the sky began to cackle and crackle, a giant piece of cellophane repeatedly allowed to unbunch only to be bunched again.

Under a veil of impending doom, we trekked up the hill and across the drive. It was starting to sprinkle a bit. I fed the dog while Kevin took the Porsche down the road to the dumpster to dump the trash. As I came across the great room and gazed outside, the veil of moisture was nearly over us. The sliding doors were both open and I could feel the temperature, not especially hot to begin with, dropping. It felt good especially since I was still warm from the walk.

Riley came bounding out of the laundry room, where his food and water bowls are kept, and slid to a stop next to me. I opened the door so we could step out onto the deck and watch Kevin at the dumpster. The dog stood at the rail, ears perked, head cocked, watching, watching.

I could smell the rain before I felt it. Rain on a dry earth is like wet dust. It smells hot, almost rank and yet sweet. It rises quickly and as the ground becomes wet, the smell changes to something mossy, damp and yet fresh. The drops hit the deck, popping, one at a time. Soon there was a soft and steady fall. The sky crackled again.

This was unexpected, this little burst of weather. The desert doesn’t tend to have much more than sun and wind at this time of the year. The monsoons are still several months off, starting with a vengeance in early July. Those rains are rarely soft and seductive like today’s. Those rains are usually violent and torrential. Then the sky rumbles and roars instead of crackles. Often and usually there are rainbows.

I am enamored of the weather here in the desert. I am especially enamored of the fact that we can stand on the deck and watch as it approaches. On a clear day, our visibility is probably close to 50 miles. When the clouds dot the sky in the south and begin making their journey to the north, we can track their sometimes painfully slow progress. Other times, when it’s windy, they fly, almost as if viewed through time-lapse photography.

Lightning strikes can split the sky, and the clouds. We see them in the distance. When thunder sounds, we can tell how close the impending rain is. When thunder crackles, like today, we can prepare ourselves for the gentle rain about to fall, and the smell of renewal it will bring.

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An art gallery in a living environment

by Lorin Michel Saturday, May 2, 2015 8:54 PM

This weekend marks the end of Roy’s first solo gallery show. It’s hard to believe that a month has gone by already. It seems like it was just the end of March, the 24th to be exact, when we were moving in and when Roy and Bobbi arrived for the install to take place on that Friday, with the opening on Saturday, March 28. Over the course of the next month, they were back and forth, driving each time. Roy would spend time at the gallery. He sold at least six pieces if not more.

Over the course of this past month, he also had occasion to create some additional small abstract pieces. Some with metallic copper paint and splashes of other color, others a mosaic of colors. Pieces that never made it to the gallery. They’re all framed in black 12 X 12 frames, with double white mattes.

I remarked that I loved them, and started talking about where I could use them. For instance, in our powder room, which is a funky, artistic, eclectic little room. I wanted to hang three. He left me three and they’re all in place.

Then I thought how cool it would be to have them in other places, with other pieces of art. To balance some of our bigger pieces. He was more than kind enough to oblige. I now have three hanging in the breakfast nook, in a vertical row. I have one on the south side of the fireplace in the great room, two others, hung together horizontally on the north side.

When they first arrived, one of the paintings they brought was one called Mind’s Eye. It’s a fairly good size piece, in modern cubist Roy style. It’s very existential, contemplative. They weren’t sure they were going to hang it in the gallery because they worried it was too dark in terms of subject matter, of its feel. I didn’t know any of this when I first saw it and exclaimed “I love this one!” It was probably my favorite in the show. It’s now hanging in the great room. We had the house photographed last Wednesday night and Roy thought it would look good as the house got ready for its close-up. He was right. I attempted to give it back today; he wouldn’t take it.

In the dining room, outside the wine room, we have a painting he did for me for my 50th birthday. It’s a montage of faces, with books and glasses of red wine. It’s an abstract me. We also have the pen and ink he did of our precious Maguire after he died. It hangs in the corner, between the great room and the breakfast nook, above the antique music cabinet.

The great room. Mind's Eye is on the left, along with a small abstract.
On the right, two other small abstracts. All with metallic copper paint.

In total, we currently have 12 Roy Guzman originals hanging in our house. It occurred to me today that what we have is an art gallery in a living environment. I said as much as Roy and Bobbi were packing their car and preparing to leave, having had the tear down on Thursday. Everyone laughed. Kevin immediately thought about how cool it would be to put small cards next to each painting, like you’d see in a gallery, with the painting name and the cost. Make it literally a gallery in a house where people live and work and love, where a new puppy runs through, from one end to the other, where people visit and congregate and have wine and good food.

I can imagine it now. The invitations go out. There is a reception where people nosh on a lovely assortment of cheese, crackers and French bread. There are mini quiches and crab cakes, stuffed mushrooms. The wine pours freely. And all through the house, people walk and gaze and stare and contemplate. Hmmm. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that hanging in our home?

We have “that” hanging in ours and it’s a wonderful thing. I think this art gallery in a living environment has potential. It’s a chance to see how art actually looks in a home, on a wall, with couches and lamps and flat screen TVs and plants and windows and antiques. How art looks at home. We could be on to something.

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Jave a nice day

by Lorin Michel Sunday, April 26, 2015 10:46 PM

After my javelina incident the other night, I’ve been especially sensitive – perhaps overly so – to things that go pitter patter and snort in the night. Kevin and I have been under the house to see if the little devils have returned; they don’t appear to have, but who knows?

Yesterday was terribly windy, almost violently so. On these days, just like on Thursday when I experienced the javelina incident, I close the windows in the master bedroom. I did the same yesterday. We like to sleep with fresh air spinning around the room, so after watching the last half hour of Gone with the Wind on PBS, I opened one of the windows. A blast of cool air pushed into the room, quickly swirling, looking for a place to land. It was still windy but I thought having just one window open and not necessarily all the way would be fine.

When it’s windy and the windows and screen doors are open, things move. The rocking chair in the great room rocks all by itself. It’s a horror movie in the making. We have double doors into the bedroom and even though they have stoppers, the wind can be strong enough to pull the stoppers and the door closed. The stoppers help keep said doors from slamming but that’s about it.

This is why I close the windows when I’m here alone. It’s disconcerting in this big house to hear a door close.

The wind continued to howl last night as we went to sleep. Ghosts rushing by in the night, catching on the cactus, the mesquite and palo verde trees. It’s an eerie sound, worthy of Edgar Allen Poe and the spooky marshes of Victorian England or current day New Orleans.

At about 12:30, I heard what I was sure were hoof beats, scrambling and galloping underneath the deck. Kevin was snoring and had been since before the movie ended. I reached over and grabbed his arm.

“What?” he grunted still mostly asleep.

“I think the javelinas are under the deck again,” I whispered with great concern as I got out of bed and moved toward the open window. I could hear what I was sure was the snorting conversation of these wild beasts that populate the Sonoran desert.

Kevin got out of bed begrudgingly and as he stumbled to meet me at the window, it occurred to me that it wasn’t anything on the ground at all but rather something on the patio. The pitter patter and hoof beats … of rain.

Yes, I was embarrassed to wake my husband up to investigate phantom javelinas. Yes, I appear to have javelinas on the brain. But it was raining. A delicious phenomenon that happens rather infrequently here in the desert southwest.

It did more than rain; it poured all night long. It raged. It stormed. There was thunder and lightning and wind. It was glorious. I doubt that the javelinas were anywhere even close. Or maybe they were and because of the pounding of the rain on the deck, I couldn’t hear them snorting and pawing at the ground.

This morning, it was still raining but gradually it dissipated and the clouds parted to reveal the bluest of skies. Glorious. Not hot. The desert even greener than it was yesterday which I know isn’t possible but it sure seemed to be the case.

Lisa and Bobbi went out shopping today and Lisa came back with a t-shirt for me. Jave a nice day. As long as the javelinas stay far away, I will. And I will wear my new shirt and smile as I live it out loud in the bloom of the desert with the sound of snorting a distant memory.

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live out loud

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