Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

April 15, 2019
by funny

A Touch of Heaven in a Day from Hell

OKAY, this one is as amazing as it gets…

So Apple shipped off my MacBook to its repair shop in Tennessee, where the thing has been for the better part of a week. But before very long, they finish and ship it back. Supposed to arrive between 8 and 10 a.m. today.

Sent off a chapter to one client. Read another client’s chapter and sent that off to him.

Come 11 a.m., no sign of it. I call Apple. Their rep gets ahold of Fedex, who say their guy tried to deliver it but no one was home. Of course I was home. And Gerardo was here with four of his guys, too! I expect the guy delivered it to Josie’s house: same number as my house, same street name except “Lane,” not “Way.” Apple CSR  gets the various numbers for me to try to track this down.  I call FedEx and get a robo-phone runaround, so I figure I’ll drive up to the Fedex office on Meth Lover’s Lane in person.

I’m cruising across SubFeeder Street headed for Conduit of Blight — NOT my usual route, because I hate turning left at the signal at CofB and GangBanger’s Way (because of the Fucking Train), so I normally backtrack around Robin Hood’s Barn to avoid it. The intersection of CofB & Meth Lover’s is impassible with construction, so you have to drive to 23rd on Gangbanger’s Way, go north to Meth Lover’s, then right on Meth Lover’s and left on 21st. And 21st is jammed with frustrated drivers trying to get around the roadblock at CofB and Meth Lover’s. Wheeeee!

As I cross Local Lane West, I see a Fedex Truck headed in my direction. Hot DAYUM!

I lay on the horn, jump out of the car, and flag him down.

And believe it or not, HE HAS THE COMPUTER and…another believe-it-or-not… he FORKS IT OVER.

Holy mackerel. He swears he’s been here and left a notice.

Check when I get home, and by golly, he’s right: the doorbell button on the gate doesn’t ring. Must have run out of battery juice or gotten wet in the rain and ruint.

But…can you imagine? Actually encountering the guy on the way out of the ‘hood?????? Wow!

As expected, I spent the entire afternoon wrestling with the computer, trying to get it back online. It goes, but it goes slow.

Tomorrow I’ll have to spend half a day wrestling with DropBox, which seemed to be cooperating up to the point where it supposedly synced itself with the newly refurbished (i.e., key tools erased or up-gefucked) machine. After making me jump through a thousand hoops and forcing me to dream up a new goddamn password and seemingly starting the 24-hour process to sync the zillions of gigabytes worth of files I have stored in DropBox’s precincts, hours after the process has started they send me an email with some new numeric code, which they demand that I enter to “finish signing in to DropBox.” But…they don’t tell me WHERE to enter it.

So that process, which should have been about 2/3 done by tomorrow morning, is now stopped, and now I’ll have the pleasure of trying to roust a human at DB (good luck with that!) and trying to get him to explain WTF and where the hell I’m supposed to enter this magical number, and then…yes…it will be another 24 hours before my files are synced.


Y’know what?

I. want. my. Smith-Corona. back.

April 13, 2019
by funny

Currified scallops, greens, pasta, & stuff

Okay, folks. I just dreamed this up. And is it good to eat!

Here’s what you’re gonna do…


  • Get yourself a few raw sea scallops (I doled out three large ones for myself. Probably a man or a woman with a big appetite would like four or five.) In the absence of scallops, shrimp will do. Have some sort of leafy green veggies on hand: choice of the day is a fistful of the chard growing in the back yard, but fresh or frozen spinach or kale would do the job, too.
  • Pull a can or jar of decent curry powder out of the pantry cupboard. If you can find some, also retrieve some variety of dry aromatic herbs, like basil, tarragon, herbes de Provence, fines herbes, or…whatever.
  • While you’re there, retrieve some pasta. Just about any kind will do. I found some fettucini in the cabinet. If you prefer, substitute riced butternut squash. WhatEVER. Just haul out enough to feed the number of diners lurking around.
  • Get out some olive oil and, if desired, some butter.
  • Chop up a clove of garlic.
  • Chop up several small ripe tomatoes or a couple of large tomatoes. Add a sprinkle of the dried herbs and, if desired, a little salt; toss these around and set aside.
  • Rustle up some olive oil or butter, or what the heck…maybe even some of both.
  • Get out a pan big enough to boil the pasta in.
  • Got some pine nuts? Haul out a fistful.
  • If you have a fresh lemon, cut it in half.


Defrost the scallops or shrimp, if necessary. Dry them on paper towels.

Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil.

While the water is coming to a boil,  cut up the greens to suit your taste. Personally, I like them roughly chopped but not minced — whatever pleases you, though. Place the greens in a small sieve or colandar that will fit into the pot. When the water is boiling briskly, set the colander into the hot water for a few seconds to blanche the greens. (This should turn them bright green. Not necessary to do this if you’re using frozen vegetables, which are already blanched at the factory. Just pour water over them in the colander to defrost them.)

With a pair of tongs, carefully lift the colander out of the pot and set it in the sink to drain. Run some cold tap water over the veggies to stop the cooking process and make them cool enough for you to pick up. When the water has pretty well drained out of them, spread some paper towels on the counter. Lay the blanched veggies on them, roll up, and (over the sink) squeeze the remaining water out of them. Place the colander back in the sink.

Add a little salt to the boiling water and cook the pasta therein.

When the pasta is cooked, pour it into the colander. Pour some cold tap over that to stop the cooking process, too. Dry out the pan, without burning yourself.

Place the cooked pasta on a serving plate. Top it with about half the chopped tomatoes

Add some olive oil and the chopped garlic to the pan and return to the heat, about medium-high. Stir in the greens and add curry powder to taste.

Stir this around until the greens are sautéed to your taste. Then layer the greens over the pasta. Layer the rest of the tomatoes over the greens.

Return the pan to the medium-high heat and add a little more olive oil or some butter, as desired. When this is starting to heat up, add the scallops or shrimp. If you really like the flavor of curry, you can sprinkle a little more on them, but it’s not necessary. It’s more subtle to allow the curried veggies to flavor the shellfish. Toss in a handful of pine nuts.

Sauté the shellfish and pine nuts gently, until the scallops and shrimp are cooked but not overdone.

Arrange the cooked shellfish and pine nuts atop the second layer of tomatoes. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top.

Et voilà! An exotic and very tasty meal.

You could, in theory, add Parmesan to this, I suppose. IMHO this would not combine felicitously with curry, though. If you want cheese on it, you might try a little feta. Rice can substitute for the pasta, making it a little more “authentically” Middle Eastern. If you’re on a gluten-free or low-starch diet, pasta made from winter squash would work, as would any of the riced or spiraled vegetables you can get at Sprouts and waypoints.

April 13, 2019
by funny

Small Town/Big City: A study in contrasts

Payson ranger station

Yesterday VickyC and I finally made it up to Payson to visit our friends KJG and Mr. KJG in their beautiful, newly renovated home in the pines. It was wonderful to see them and to admire their lovely property.

KJG drove us around to some of her favorite haunts in Payson, a small ranching and tourist community perched at the top of the Mogollon Rim. The contrast between Phoenix’s toxic LA-style hectic traffic and the small-town vibe up there was amazing. Not once did anyone cut us off, park in the car’s blind spot, try to get-there-first, jerk around, or behave as though they were drunk, stoned, or demented. Nor did we, even once, run into a traffic jam occasioned by the city tearing up the roads.

We drove through a couple of districts where they’d looked at houses during their search for their dream house somewhere outside of the increasingly dystopic Valley of the Sun. There really are some lovely residential areas up there. And in some cases, the prices are not completely out of line. For about what I could get for my house, I could buy a nice place in town.

This, in sharp contrast with the experience of driving around lovely Phoenix on Wednesday:

I went up to the FedEx office, which is not very far from here. Really, if you didn’t have to traverse Gang Central, you could walk there from here.

First, though, I went to my favorite storefront mailboxes/xerox/notary public-type place, because a) they offer just about every service having to do with shipping, mailing, and minor office services you can dream up and b) I like those folks a lot and usually will try to give my money to people who have proven they can be nice to me. To get there, I have to cross the freeway. Main Drag South and Gangbanger’s Way are both fantastically dug up, creating backups that go halfway to Reno in one direction and halfway to Santa Fe in the other. So I figure I’ll go west across the freeway on Meth Lover’s Lane, the next main drag north of Gangbanger’s. The mail store is in a strip mall facing Meth Lover’s, westward across the freeway and on the north edge of the Ghost Mall (Gangbanger’s skirts this gigantic collection of vacancies along its south side). So it’s northward up Conduit of Blight Blvd toward Meth Lover’s, there to turn left and proceed west across the freeway.

Not. So. Much.

Every effing road in this city is torn up. Wherever you’re going, you can’t get there from here…and yesterday provided no exception to that rule.

At the intersection of Conduit of Blight and Meth Lover’s Lane, they’ve got the damn road shut down to one lane. No left effing turn.

Fortunately, I spot this situation from afar, and fortunately I’ve lived in Our Fair City for so long its road map is imprinted on my brain. I cut off a poor bastard in the outside lane, swerve into the two-way left-turn lane, and jerk across oncoming traffic into a light industrial area. Proceed west as far as this little street will go, dodging an 18-wheeler who’s stuck trying to turn around (thank you, God, for sparing me from having taken up that occupation!); amble to the end of the street, turn north, and follow that road up to its intersection with Meth Lover’s, figuring it’s gonna be a real bitch to turn left onto that thing. Rev up the aggressiveness hormones (drivers in Phoenix learn to control these bodily functions by sheer effort of will….), grit my teeth and…HALLELUJAH BROTHERS AND SISTERS, there’s a freaking signal at Meth Lover’s!

So I get back on my way without having to risk my life unduly. Or anyone else’s, come to think of it.

The mail store folks say they can only do UPS but they point out that I passed a FedEx store on my way there, right on Meth Lover’s Lane. Ah! I know that industrial park!

So I turn back onto Meth Lover’s, cross the freeway eastbound, come to the FedEx store, and have to turn north (left AGAIN!!!!) onto the little street that goes into the industrial park. Traffic northbound on this tiny road is SO THICK that I cannot turn left into the parking lot near the FedEx store. I figure that’s because other folks, southbound, are detouring through the industrial park to dodge the mess at Meth Lover’s Lane and Conduit of Blight. They’re all as mad as I am, and nary a one of them is about to give another motorist a break. So I proceed down Little Street till I find another driveway in the back end of the parking lot. Dart in there and then drive all the way back up to the front of the lot and get parked near the FedEx shop. No problem sending the computer off to Apple…that’s very nice.

Now I have to get home, once again circumventing the mess at Conduit of Blight and Meth Lover’s. Holy sh!t.

Noooo way of getting out of the parking lot the way I came in: cars are now backed up to Flagstaff. However, the next road to the west of Little Street is Office Complex Drive. This proceeds past the insurance company where my son works, past the former site of the branch office that the credit union so conveniently closed, and past a grassy flood-control park where I used to run my German shepherd when she was young and fierce. AND it happens to debouche onto Gangbanger’s way, which goes right past my neighborhood.


The only problem is turning right out of the FedEx parking lot onto Meth Lover’s (circumventing the light at LIttle Street) and then darting across the fast lane (“fast” is not the operative word here…) and into the two-way left-turn lane. But thanks to the signal holding up westbound traffic at Little Street, I manage to take advantage of a Fellow Homicidal Driver’s momentary lapse in attention and dart across in front of him to turn left onto Faceless Office Building Road…only because FOB Road also has a signal.

Proceed without incident down FOB Road and reach Gangbanger’s Way. Mercifully, there’s also a signal at that intersection, allowing me to turn left onto the 7-lane main drag that is Gangbanger’s.

wooo HOOOOO! I got home alive, one more time!

This is pretty much the story of any drive you make through this accursed city, no matter where it is that you think you want to go. Wherever you’re goin’, you can’t get there from here: EVERY road is ripped up and blocked somewhere. Unless you know how to get around virtually any intersection in town, you are going to end up sitting and sitting and sitting and sitting and sitting in stalled traffic.

Later in the day, I had to make a 40-minute drive to meet a client at a Barnes and Noble over at Arrowhead Mall, way to Hell and gone on the west side. It was pushing 4 p.m. by the time this confab broke up. Rush hour here starts at 3:00 p.m. sharp.

Homeward bound, I decided to stop by the credit union on the Great Desert University’s west campus, so I could deposit the check without having to dork with scanning it and uploading two images. This entails driving east across Bell Road — one of the main drags into White Flight Country, now situated on the far west side — then veering south on 43rd Avenue to Thunderbird, and sliding onto the campus. Not too bad: since most of the rush-hour traffic consists of whiteys headed homeward — in the opposite direction from the way I had to go — this went smoothly enough. The transaction completed, now the choices are to continue east across Thunderbird to the freeway, take the freeway to Gangbanger’s, and trudge east to the ‘Hood, or else go all the way across Thunderbird to Conduit of Blight, go south several miles, and then turn east onto Gangbanger’s.

Well. You’re crazy to get on the freeway any time after 3 in the afternoon. And the alternative would take me right back to the mess at Conduit of Blight and Meth Lover’s. Luckily, though, I have that map imprinted inside the brain. So…back eastbound on Thunderbird to 35th, south toward Gangbanger’s way, and thence to the ‘Hood.

Again because this route was east- and southbound, running in the opposite direction of the blue-collar workers and cubicle-dwelling office workers who get off around 3:00 or 4:00 and head home to their styrofoam-and-stucco boxes on the west side, I escaped a lot of rush-hour congestion. But traffic coming in the opposite direction? Holeee mackerel! At the light on the east side of the freeway, westbound traffic on Gangbanger’s was backed up almost a mile. There was no incident stopping them. It was just too damn many cars for the road to handle. That is, yes, seven lanes (if you count the two-way left-turn lane as a traffic lane).


When I got home from this junket, I called up “real estate, Prescott” and looked at the offerings in that Californicated small town. It’s a pretty area, and my house is now worth so much that I could in fact afford to live there. And I did find a couple of cute houses…but in general, I just don’t see anything there that I sincerely would wanna live in. Problem is, my house is damn nice…you’d have to go some to beat it, or even to match it.

The other options are the Oro Valley in Tucson (think I’d ’druther live in Prescott, thank you) or Sun City. The latter would be much cheaper. But my god. Living in a mausoleum ought to be cheaper!

Payson is significantly cheaper than Prescott. However, it has a few disadvantages: it has few urban amenities such as top-rated hospitals, Costco, gourmet grocery stores or even Sprouts; little choice of veterinarians, dentists, doctors, or much of anything else. Those things, of course, are readily available in Phoenix: an hour and a half down the hill.

But… Do you really want to drive an hour and a half to get to one or the other of those?

KJG does it without a blink: she said she’d driven into the Valley to see the kids twice last week. But…she’s highly motivated.

So. I don’t know. Do I want to uproot myself to get away from the traffic, the crime, the drug-addicted transients, the heat, and the overall lunacy? Maybe. But do I really want to leave my son and all my friends? Hmmm…

View from Payson. By Doug Dolde at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain.



April 8, 2019
by funny

Live-Blogging (sorta…) from Bureaucracy Hell

So…I’ve lost my Social Security card and my Medicare card was stolen. Getting these back, as you can imagine, entails an unholy amount of hassle. Which do you suppose would entail less pain?

  • Call Social Security on its 800 number; jump through a thousand robotic hoops, and wait and wait and wait and wait and wait… Finally reach a person who has no clue what she’s doing. (As you might guess: been there, done that!)
  • Drive in person to the Social Security office in Scottsdale, the bureaucracy’s nearest brick-&-mortar venue. Take a number and wait and wait and wait and wait and wait… Sometime today (maybe) get to speak with a human who knows how to solve the problem.
  • Go to the Social Security Website, create a “My Social Security” account (or, if I stupidly did this some time in the past, find it and figure out how to break into it), dork around and screw around and dork around and screw around and dork around and screw around and dork around and screw around and dork around and screw around and dork around and screw around and MAYBE get the new cards ordered. Or not.

Any of those involves time-sucking frustration of the first order.

Experience shows that physically going to a Social Security office is less time-consuming (despite the drive time), less frustrating, and less outright enraging than either of the other two options. So early this afternoon, after finishing the minimum amount of work needed to make progress on the client’s huge project, I climbed in the car and started driving.

Arrived at the SS office right at 1:44 in the afternoon. They close at 4 p.m.. That left two hours and 15 minutes, sooo…there was at least a shot of getting to speak to a functionary before they threw us all out.

Drew “Welcome to Social Security” coupon number Z140. Sat and waited for them to call that number







And on. And on. And fuckin’ ON.

Meanwhile, I’d learned that to get a new Social Security card I had to apply at this office. But to get a new Medicare card, I had to go around the corner and stand in ANOTHER line to beg for that.

Finally, after about half an hour or 45 minutes of this futility, I think oh fukkit and get up and leave.

I walk around the corner to see if maybe I could at least get the Medicare card with a slightly more reasonable wait. Pass through the security guard — this one a lot more hostile than the guy in the Social Security office. Yeah: a WHOLE lot more hostile. Help a couple of terrorists in their early nineties figure out how to use the punch-a-button nuisance to generate a ticket to wait. Generate my own. Sit down.

Many fewer victims here. I figure out that actually there are only about five people ahead of me. Take a seat and…well, yeah. About ten or twelve minutes later, my number is called.

I claim that both my cards were “lost.” If you define “thieving” as a variety of “losing,” that’s probably accurate. Why do I resist admitting that the Medicare card was stolen? Because the gummint’s web page says you have to file a police report before asking for a replacement. And THAT will cause still more trouble and headaches that I DO. NOT. NEED.

To my astonishment, the doughty bureaucrat behind the desk asks me a series of rote questions, goes CLICKETY CLICKETY CLICKETY on his keyboard, and announces blithely, “The Medicare card should arrive in two weeks; the Social Security card will take about three months to show up.”


“But…,” say I, “they said I have to go to two different offices and apply for each one separately.”

“I just ordered them both.”

Oh. My. GOD! You beautiful, spectacular ebony saint of a man! Can I take you out to Ruth’s Chris Steak House and buy you a T-bone? How about an orange soufflé swimming in heavy cream for dessert? A bottle of Domaine Loubejac Pinot Noir to go with?

Stop by the Fry’s on the way home to stock up on veggies and miscellaneous junk. Stumble in the house, bolt down a box of sushi and a couple bottles of beer.

Having finished the day’s ration of the client’s index before heading off for the Adventure in American Bureaucracy, I now sit down to write this post, and….

In comes this fine message from DropBox:

Hi Victoria,

We really appreciate taking the time to write in.

For security reasons could you please confirm the restoration?

Just to summarize, we are going to undo the following event link in order to remove the selective sync conflicts from your account:

I just want to confirm that you want these events reverted in their entirety, and there are no other actions you’d like me to take on your account at this time.

Once you’ve written me back to confirm that’s the case, I’ll pass this along to our Restorations team to perform the requested operation on your account. If there are other things you’d like done, please write back with additional event links or a description of the circumstances surrounding your situation.

I look forward to hearing back from you!


I have not asked Dropbox to do anything in the past week. The last I looked — about three hours ago — all is well. I do not know what this means, but “remove” or “revert” sounds a whole lot like DELETE stuff. Random fuckin’ stuff.

This causes a complete, total, exhausted-old-lady can’t-stand-another-minute-of-bullshit-hassle MELT-DOWN!

I have NO idea what this worthy is talking about, but I can NOT afford to have some good soul delete the project that I’ve spent the last gawdAWFUL number of torturous, tedious, brain-banging, mind-numbing hours on!!!!!!! GAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!

E-mail back, also having no idea whether a reply will reach a human being, DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING DO NOT DELETE ANYTHING and frantically start copying key folders to the iMac’s desktop, not knowing whether the machine has anything like enough memory to hold that much data.

Meanwhile… The MacBook, the one whose repairs absorbed some six hours of driving time, days of down time, and hour after hour of fuckup-recovery time, is NOT fixed. Last night it started shutting down again. Same story: PLINK, out of the blue. Reboot, find there’s plenty of power on the battery, data has been lost, pages have disappeared, fuckups have been fucked up. Last night I call Apple’s 24-hour service and reach a tech in Australia. Explain that this saga is beginning to wear on me. She says with AppleCare I have two or three in-house visits coming. She tries to set this up but because of course Apple has gone to bed in this country, she can’t get through. Gives me a phone number to call.

Reach one of Apple’s accelerated AppleCare dudes here. He says well, that would be true if we were in Australia, but it doesn’t apply in the US. I complain about the interminable drive to Scottsdale, now that the bastards have closed down the central Phoenix store. He says they have a deal where they will send me a shipping box and cover the cost of FedExing it to the repair dudes and FedExing it back to me.

Well. That’s better than a hit on the head, anyway. Best of all would be if you could FIX the damn thing.

Finish copying stuff to the iMac’s desktop, including all The Copyeditor’s Desk’s present and past client data.

By now it’s getting dark.

Take the dog for a doggy walk. She lunges onto a neighbor’s lawn to have a good grass-wallow and then launches into one of the worst episodes of reverse-sneezing she’s ever had. If you’ve never seen a dog doing the reverse-sneeze thing: it’s much like a kind of seizure. Even if you know the dog will get over it, the dog doesn’t know that. And the dog tends to panic. Now Ruby is wheezing and gasping for air and shaking all over her little body in terror.

Whenever she gets to the point where she can more or less breathe again, I have to pick her up and carry her the quarter-mile back to the house. Jolly fun.

Day from Hell…

April 7, 2019
by funny

Pace Facebook, Pace Twitter!

That’s pace, as in the Latin word for peace. Lordie, can those platforms be NUISANCEY!

The constant tide of “notifications” from Facebook and Twitter has taken to filling up my email inbox. Derailing these junk messages (“Olivia Boxankle commented on your comment to her comment!” “Wish Julia Neverheardofher a happy birthday!”) has turned into a BIG, time-consuming job.

Apple’s mail program has an inscrutably complicated method (if “method” it is) of dealing with nuisance mail. Instead of consigning suspect messages and messages from senders you’ve already flagged to one junk mail folder, it has a “Junk” folder and also a “Trash” folder. Exactly why some incoming goes to “Junk” while others go to “Trash” is opaque, and as far as I can tell, there’s no consistent way to clue MacMail as to where you want which flak messages to go. You can tag certain senders or subject matter as junk or trash, but the result isn’t reliable: it doesn’t always work the way you think it’s going to.

The result is that every few days, you get hundreds of messages consigned more or less randomly to these two folders.

And, just like Gmail and Outlook, MacMail often relegates legitimate messages from real, live senders — friends and clients and vendors — to “Junk.”

This means messages that you need or want to see often get submerged in the tsunami of incoming debris. And that means you have to scroll tediously through scores and scores of meaningless emails — in not one but two mailboxes — trying to catch one or two messages that matter.

Every few days I shovel out these mailboxes, confronting something over 200 messages in one and something over 100 in the other — not counting the ones that get through to the legitimate inbox. That’s THREE TO FOUR HUNDRED messages to have to review!

You wanna talk about time sucks?

Sick and tired of combing through this monumental nuisance, I realized that about 98% of the debris comes from Facebook or Twitter in the form of “notifications” flagging incoming comments or messages.

I use Facebook and Twitter primarily to publicize my blogs and try to peddle my books. Some years ago, a very clever Web guru — since retired — set up Facebook so that posts at Funny about Money (which was monetized at the time) would automatically post to Facebook. FB figured this out and brought a stop to it, so you can no longer do that — you have to jump through a series of third-party hoops, a process that’s rather too ditzily techie and annoying for me to be bothered with. So these days I manually link to FaM at Facebook.

Physically going there for that purpose leads me to browse through friends’ and enemies’ posts — amusing enough, but still: a time suck of the first water.

The appeal of Twitter escapes me. I cannot think of anything more boring or stupid than Twaddle posts. So it wastes less of my time…but still, it does take time to go there, post a link, find and post an image, and dream up a “tweet” to try to lure readers over…probably fruitlessly, if they find the platform as meaningful as I do.

It’s pretty easy to turn off “notifications” from Facebook and from Twitter. In both cases, it involves hoop-jumps. And in neither case is the “off” function 100% effective. But it cuts off most of the flow of electronic chatter the two platforms dump into your in-box. Facebook’s “off” function seems to be a little more effective than Twitter’s — I’m still getting some trash from Twaddle, but effectively none from FB.

So. At this point I’ve made myself kind of semi-demi-off those two platforms. To some degree, I’ll be able to view friends’ posts and comments at my convenience, not at some machine’s.

And one aspect of the intrusive dystopia we occupy these days is rendered partially under control.

April 5, 2019
by funny

Flutterbyes and Flowers and Springtime

What a gorgeous morning! Cool but not crisp, birds flying around building nests, honeybees darting about the citrus blossoms, which perfume the air like some kind of exotic tropical flowers. Over coffee this morning I spotted a dainty little white butterfly competing with the apis species. Looked very much like this little guy…

Most low desert urbanites hate the citrus flowering season, because they wrongly imagine the highly perfumed blossoms aggravate their allergies. And if you didn’t already have respiratory allergies before you came to Arizona, you soon get them. 😀 But the truth is, plants that attract pollinators by scent are not especially allergenic. What stuffs up your nose and makes you wheeze are blossoms that are pollinated by wind, whose pollen wafts aloft and floats into your schnozz. The worst offender in these parts, believe it or not, is the ponderosa pine, which covers the Mogollon Rim. Despite the depredations of pine bark beetles and drought, Arizona has the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world. And its pollen soars down off the rim and settles into the Valley each spring, where it wreaks havoc with the flatlanders’ noses.

Ruby the Corgi is having a sh!tfit. Someone must be walking their dog past the house. Either that or another bum is stumbling by.

Yesterday she had a merry ride out to Sun City, where we were invited to dinner with SDXB and NG. Normally, when schlepping dogs around, I lay the back seats down flat and, in the present annoying Venza, stuff old bed pillows into the gap between the half-a$$ed cargo compartment and the back seat, so a sudden brake doesn’t fling the dog down in there and break the beast’s leg. Or neck. Normally, Ruby huddles in terror by the back gate, hoping to get out at the earliest possible moment. This is a behavior she learned from Cassie, the Late Queen of the Universe. Cassie truly hated riding in cars.

Running late, though, yesterday afternoon I decided to leave the seat-backs up and just lift her onto the seats. The menacing well between the front and back seats was already crammed with pillows, so…why bother with pointlessly heaving the backs down and then back up?

Well. It took her a little while to realize that — mirabilis! — from the vantage point of the seats she could see out the windows!

This was quite the little revelation. In evident doggy delight, she spent a fair amount of the ride migrating back and forth between the left side and the right side, gazing out at the sights and then switching to the new exotica on the other side. Very cute.

Possibly after this she’ll be less averse to riding in the car. She’s not phobic, the way M’hijito’s dog Charley is. But she hasn’t been fond of auto travel. It would be neat if she would come to like riding around.


Desert white butterfly: Sarefo [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]. Wikipedia