Category Archives: Arizona

Disjointed Thoughts on a Winter Desert Hike

Ventana Canyon
January in the Sonoran Desert – time to explore what becomes off limits as the mercury rises in the summer.

A little desert hike for the family this MLK weekend.

Fox’s first hike into the desert canyons, creeks and among the cacti.

Bean’s first hike where she isn’t carried at any point.

Ventana Canyon, Green’s favorite Tucson canyon.

Water and green among the scrub.

I fantasize about being in good enough shape to make it back up to the window arch by the end of this year. Like I did 15 years ago.

Bean just enjoys.

Ventana Canyon



Filed under Arizona, Treasures of Tucson and Southern Arizona


All that worrying about the junto was for naught. It went off without hitch. A fine group of people gathered and we have a plan in the making that engages us more readily in our community, a plan to share, to learn, to act. I’m excited. Thanks to those who were able to make it, I can’t wait for next time. Until then, I have an appeal late this Monday evening to any Arizonan who may be reading.

Please contact your state house representative. You can find their information here, there is a link to figure out what district you’re in if you’re not sure. Tomorrow in the full house, the vote will be on HB 2416 (Rural women will lose access to abortion entirely, as abortion-by-pill is the only form of care outside Phoenix and Tucson. The proposal aims to reduce abortion early in pregnancy, since abortion-by-pill is used by women in the 6th to the 9th week of pregnancy.) and HB2443 (requiring women to state why they are obtaining an abortion.) I urge you to call your representative and tell them to vote no on both cases.

If they truly want to reduce the number of abortions in this country rather than driving women to back street abortions they will say no to copays on birth control* and make it so that the women of Arizona have easy, consistent access to birth control. If they truly want to reduce the number of abortions in this country they will invest in fact-based and proven sex education program that doesn’t rely upon the proven failure of abstinence only education. If they truly want the best for Arizonans they will make sure that when a woman has to make what is an incredibly hard and painful decision to end a pregnancy, they do not make it more painful under the assumption that this is some flippant decision. Jackie Speier put this best on the federal House of Representatives when she shared her personal experience having to end a wanted pregnancy.

I think there is middle ground here. We can find it and do the best for Arizona.

*When I was teaching, my ‘good’ insurance didn’t cover the pill which I was prescribed for another medical reason other than birth control. I went to Planned Parenthood because I couldn’t afford my medicine otherwise.


Filed under Acting Up, Arizona

Tucson-Bike Vigil

We were all set to join the Bike Vigil for the victims of Saturday’s shooting last night. Bean was all bundled up against the cold night air and then we couldn’t find the plate that locks her bike seat to Green’s bike. Aghhhhh! Not to be thwarted Bean and I went down by car to the U of A mall to watch the vigil. I know it runs contrary to the whole Tuesday Night Community Bike Ride, but still we went, and I’m pleased we did. As the mass of bikes traveled down the UofA mall, headlamps twinkling, riders speaking in hushed tones, it was another reminder of the beauty that does exist within our community and the shared hope for peace, solace and healing. This is Tucson Velo’s video.


Filed under Acting Up, Treasures of Tucson and Southern Arizona, Tucson

BlogLove VIII

This is my first week I’m not working. At least, not working outside the home. I feel a few years younger I swear. I don’t seem to have got much done this week, but I’m still looking for my pace in this new environment.

Without further ado, BlogLove VIII

Local Arizona BlogThe Burrow by Ashleigh Burrow. I admit that I spend a not insignificant part of my time reading Ashleigh’s Blog wondering just what age she is. Yes, she has grown children, but I’m old enough to have grown kids too. It is just given the nature of human biology I can say for a fact that I don’t. Wow, no idea where that came from. Mostly, I read The Burrow for Ashleigh’s insight on everything from matters of the heart, parenting and family, explorations of intellect pursuits , local and national politics and of course Tucson. As with the Arizona Writer (who needs to post more) Ashleigh can turn a phrase beautifully and I long to be able to write which such grace and, of course, grammatical correctness.

Adoption Blog – Parenthood Path

Yes, we’re still talking about adoption and I’m still reading about experiences of adoption from the adoptee, first mother and adoptive parent perspective. Kristin of Parenthood Path, along with Bobby and the Mama have given me incredible support and I am very grateful. Kristin’s most recent post touches on one of the egregious aspects of adoption in this country, the birth certificate. Did you know that about adoption? How does your state handle the birth certificates of adopted children?

Miscellaneous Blog Love – Civil Eats
I discovered this blog recently and it is a wealth of information about where and how are food comes to us. They address issues that might be a little uncomfortable for us as we complain about the price of hand-picked fruit; opportunities to be local and sustainable and food politics. Read it. Tell me what you think.


Filed under Adoption, Arizona, Blogging, BlogLove

Tucson Treasure – All Souls Procession

asp lantern
I remember seeing the rag-tag group moving down Fourth Avenue in the early 90’s and then in the mid 90’s sitting in O’Malley’s with Julie, I think, watching it again, still small. Today, the All Souls Procession, is truly a sacred Tucson Treasure. It represents something so magical, so community-based, and so healing that it should be nurtured, protected, revered. If you’re in Tucson and you haven’t been, mark the second Sunday in November 2011 now. You should go.
asp skull
What is it?
The All Souls Procession is a time to celebrate the lives and mourn the death of loved ones and ideas. Echoing the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico, face paint, homemade costume and creative lanterns bring a sense of ritual to the event.
asp guitar
Why go?
The culture I belong to, (perhaps you do too?) has such issues with death. We have lost the ritual and tradition of wakes. The above all things work culture demands that death of loved ones be quickly addressed and not interfere with work production. How wonderful is this then? A time to celebrate, to laugh and love and cry. A time to remember. Death meets us all, but before that we get to live. We shouldn’t try to pretend that death isn’t part of the deal.
asp mama1

Do you take your child with you?

For a humanist/atheist, the death of a loved one provided me with a real parenting test. How do you explain death to a small child? Oh, how easy it would be to say the dead loved one is in heaven, or in the case of our sweet pups in doggy heaven chasing trains and rabbits. Easy to say we would see them again, but the truth, the truth is harder. We told Bean that death means the person is no longer living, we can no longer see them, or touch them, all the energy has left them, but that we still have love for them in our hearts, and sweet memories in our minds. That we always have them with us in a way as long as we have that love and those memories. *
Altdot Fall Exchange
Bean’s First All Souls Procession in 2007.
Sometimes, Bean says she is keeping Huxley in her stomach. Heart, stomach I get them confused too. Sometimes, like tonight she corrects me when I tell her that we’re celebrating the lives of those that have passed, “No Mummy, they haven’t passed. They’re dead. But we can remember them, and we can think about them, and we keep it here in our hearts.” As someone who spends too much time worrying that my child will be left motherless, it is important that she has a framework for understanding death. To understand the sorrow, but also how important memory and celebration of life is.
asp whitemask

The All Souls Procession draws upon Día de los Muertos and traditional rituals that include Catholicism, but the procession is for all walks of life and does not have to be religious. Whether you are religious or not, the procession is for all ages.

*remind me to tell you about a really lovely childrens book we found that deals with death without religion.


Filed under Arizona, Celebrations, Community, Family, Humanism/Atheism, Navigation of Dangerous Water (Parenting), Treasures of Tucson and Southern Arizona

BlogLove VII

I’m really loving the shortening of daylight right now. Actually, that isn’t quite accurate, what I’m really loving is that the later sunrise means that Bean is waking at a semi-decent time, 6:45am Wahoooooooooo! The temperatures have just dipped in Tucson in the past week or so, and if I was elsewhere in the country I’d be sharing pictures of pretty red leaves, children wrapped up in lovingly homemade sweaters, or a bowl of steaming soup. Alright, in my fantasy life I would be anyway. I’m here though, and so I’m going to share a picture of what I won’t be knitting for Green this year.
I can just see my better half leaping at the chance to bundle up in something like this.
My mother-in-law picked up these three Make-It-Yourself books at the thrift store she volunteers at up in Northern NE. There are some cool things in it, but this man cardi isn’t one of them.
Awesome find from my MIL

Okay BlogLove VII.
This week I am not short of local blogs to share, but I have to pick just one. Today’s local Arizona blog to send some love to: The Sweetness of Doing Nothing from Leah.

Part of what I love about local blogs is seeing the area from another’s perspective. In Leah’s case she is a transplant from Oregon, a state I dream about moving to. She has the whole Etsy thing going on too. Check out this great post about the history of aprons. I’d be all over her aprons if it wasn’t for the obscene amount of fabric in our home, some of which was bought specifically for the purpose of making aprons. Leah, how about selling that pattern on Etsy as a downloadable PDF? I’d be all over that.

Adoption BlogRage Against the Minivan
Today I can’t find the ‘about’ page for this blog, but what I roughly remember is, that she was an agnostic/republican that is now a christian/democrat. I’ve just found this blog, but I’m kind a digging it.

Miscellaneous Blog – Okay this is a bit of a different choice, ACAA Food Stamp Challenge Blog. I stumbled upon this while reading the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona’s new Facebook page

The Arizona Community Action Association are just wrapping up a challenge where participants limit their total food budget to the weekly budget of a typical food stamp participant, $30. The participants get to share their experience on the blog.

We’re going to have to cut back once my income disappears, but eek! This would be tough. I admit I’m happy that the week challenge is over just as I’m finding the blog, I’m not sure I have the gumption for such a challenge. The information on the site though is fabulous, and watching the experience of the participants enlightening. Then, I think about how on earth actual families using Food Stamps would even begin to pay for diapers and my head just begins to hurt. Some of the personal accounts on the homepage are rather amusing, but a quick look over at the facts about SNAP & Hunger in AZ page are sobering. One in five Arizonan children live in poverty. So wrong.


Filed under Arizona, Blogging, BlogLove

One of the most important votes this election in AZ

Superintendent of Public Instruction.
I can’t believe anyone would consider voting for Huppenthal, but just in case:

You have a choice.
1. An individual who has dedicated her life to educating Arizona’s children and who by all accounts has been a strong and ardent voice for our children and our state for many years.

2. An individual who seeks to undermine the public education in Arizona and so further undermine our state economy. (You want higher paying jobs in AZ, invest in our children and their teachers);whose professional experience with schools is as a career politician.

Guess which one I’m voting for.


Filed under Arizona, Attempts at mind expansion, Politics