Well, we’ve been here a week, and are slowly learning the ways of this strange land called Arizona.

For example, “Find a parking spot in the shade, if at all possible. It is worth walking across a mile of hot blacktop not to have to sit in a car that has been baking in the desert sun.” Or “Nothing is urgent enough to go out at noon.” “Carry bottled water at all times, even down to the store to buy bottled water.” “Don’t run red lights–they have those little camera dealies EVERYWHERE.” “Turn signals are a sign of weakness.” “Heat stroke is real, and faster than you think.”

Those seem a little harsh, so I’ll also add that I’m quite enjoying it–in addition to the MUCH bigger apartment, there are a lot of perks. The plant life is really quite lush–bouganvilleas everywhere. I want one for the balcony. And birds, everywhere, many of which are strangers. I know house sparrows and doves and I vaguely recall they have juncoes down here, and even I know a crow when it grawks by, but there’s all these completely foreign little guys–things that look and act like grackles, but are matte chocolate instead of iridescent navy; woodpeckers that hang out on palm trees (how alien is THAT?!); gray birds with white patched wings that I think might be mockingbirds or catbirds or something; and one weird little visitor the other day, a nondescript little pale brown sparrowy thing with a streaky white-brown breast, but which had enormous tufted eyebrows like a Marx brother.

It’s wild stuff. I can’t wait until I get plantlife on the patio suited to the environment, and then I’ll put up a hummingbird feeder and see if I can’t attract some of those ferocious little darlings. And paint them!

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