Monday, July 26, 2010

Things I learned today

1. Just because you change the time on your alarm clock doesn't mean you set it.
-Okay I've known this for a while but for some reason my clock didn't go off this morning. I blame technology. And Damn kids.

2. Getting ready for work the night before is beneficial when your wake up call is your carpool arriving

2.5. My carpool is amazing people. Is. Amazing.

3. I can feasibly get ready for work in 2 minutes and a shit ton of adrenaline

4. Wearing my boots without socks doesn't result in blisters but does result in pools of sweat. GORTEX RULZZZZZZzzzz....?

5.When you have to go back to the parking lot to turn off your dome light, don't forget to lock your doors. Nothing bad happened but just a reminder IRENE

6. That sandwich you made on Saturday, took out into the field then didn't eat? Not still good on Monday.

7. A covey of quail wait until the very last second to startle and fly away. Probably out of spite so that I get startled too.

8. Ocotillo is so pretty when it is in leaf. I just want to pet it all the time.

9. Pin cushion cactus. Adorable. I feel bad for whacking it with my hammer on accident a lot.

1o. Question game. Question game FOREVER

11. Buying slurpees and doritos for carpool seems a sufficient apology for being a hot mess in the morning.

12. Put emergency socks in the office. Not on kitchen counter.

13. For having awful luck today, my luck isn't so bad

HERE'S A PICTURE OF A BOBCAT KITTEN I SAW (photo credit, my co worker)

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Almost posted a sappy thing about my feelings (aside from the sappy thing I wrote for my cousin) but then I thought twice about it. Then I thought, it's not like anyone reads this anyways, then I though but that's how you get dooced. Then I remembered I don't have feelings.



Visited the border fence yesterday. It's called a fence, you can see through it like a fence, but it feels like a wall. A wall that ends for three miles of the parks length, thereby funneling all the traffic through the park. A ranger told me that the damage to the park and the trash is unbelievable.

But I did some restoration work down there and met some interns who are working for the BLM who called us fancy because we work for a different agency. I can't disagree with that. My agency is fannnncy...for an agency.

Also, overheard:
"It's too hot! I've only lived in Arizona for three years, I'm not used to the heat!"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dear Shane

My memories of you are sparse. A rope swing in your back yard when we were young, you helping my mom with the recycling at my little brothers graduation party. It's not fair that my most vivid memory of you will always be when we found out we suddenly weren't going to be able to make any more. I'm sorry I won't be able to make it to your memorial but I can guarantee that I'll pour one out for you at every cousin fest.
Bye Cuz,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Waiting for rain

Probably what has been most incongruous about moving from Seattle to the Sonoran desert is the definition of a "nice summer day"
In Seattle, a nice summer day is defined by sunshine, blue skies and, basically, a lack of cloud cover.
In Tucson, a nice summer day, is when it's over cast, grey and hopefully(!) a little rainy.

I spend a lot of my time pulling out tiny spines (glocchids) out of me. I will think I have found them all but there is always more

I heard from Pat yesterday. He wants to come down and see me. But he says he wants to come down on his bike. Hmmm, bad plan me thinks. It will be easy to talk him out of it.

Haven't seen a roach since Saturday. Got my license plates and an awesome sweatshirt from Cassie in the mail yesterday.

Today and TOmorrow I have off, which is good because I've got me one of them summer colds. Yesterday was a post nasal drip hell and today I've been groggily dealing with the exterior painters of my building.

Also Chex Mix. I love having a kitchen.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Things I will never comprehend

1. Taking gratuitous photos of oneself when bored
2. Putting aforementioned photos on a social networking site to be viewed by everyone.
3. My lack of fear for spiders and other arachnids
4. My mild heart attack and subsequent murderous rage when confronted by a cockroach.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

First field day

Here's a run down of my first couple to field days

Holy shit balls. Is it ever hot out here.
I think I need to carry and drink my weight in water. I guess I could carry treatment tablets then treat water in the field. Oh wait. THERE IS NO MOISTURE WHAT SO EVER.

We were out from 6 to 12:30 and I was hurting HURTING at the end of it. I had a head ache, felt nauseous, wanted to die. I made it through but tried to discretely puke in the office bathroom when we got back.

As of late, meaning the past year or so don't you all get any ideas, puking has been my body's response to most things. Nervous for test? blarghhhh, Too many hot dogs? blooorrggggg, Haven't eaten anything all day? Baaarrfffff (because that makes sense?) and now, unsurprisingly, heat exaustion? BARRFFFFFF.

I wasn't all that dehydrated, I drank like 4 liters including some electrolytes (because it is what plants crave) but I think my body was just saying to me WHAT WHAT WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Are you not a temperate creature? Is your range not limited to areas of high precipitation? WHAT THE HELL ASS ARE YOU DOING IN THE DESERT WHERE IT IS 105 DEGREES EVERY DAY?!.!?1??

Sorry body, sorry to scare you like that.

I wasn't the only newbie hurting, but I was probably the only one who was honest about it. At the end of the day out boss asked how everyone felt, to which I responded.

Pull your shit together man, this is the best job you can get right now so pull. it. together.
I went at it full force, drank a shit ton of water the night before. So much so that I had to get up to pee in the night multiple times.
The morning. Drink more water! SO MUCH.
Get to work, pop some electrolyte tablets (it's easier than packing gatorade) Fill up my reservoir and pack my frozen water bottles. DESTROY THE DAY.
This day was easier, we weren't out as long, it was overcast and my section was in the shade for the most part. So, no great victory there, but I was feelin' mighty fine by the end of the day.

Also, we off trailed rock scrambled up a wash to get to our site with our clumsy gear on out backs. FINALLY, my childhood training of jumping over boulders has become useful.

This day we were doing some analysis on another groups plots alllllll dayyyyyy. No clouds, 1,000,000 degrees, from 6-2:30.
Following much the same plan as day two.
I DESTROYED. WOOOOO. Felt fine all day, got stuff done.
Nailed it! Out lived out played and outlasted and made sure we got the plots done that day. Yussssss

IN CONCLUSION: I feel good about how far I've come in being able to deal with the heat. Take that desert. This amphibian will not be killed by you yet

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hands Feet Seat

I took Wilderness First Aid on Wednesday and Thursday of this week and what I learned is, everything in this state wants to kill me.

There is pretty much nothing in Western Washington that can hurt you. We hunted out most of the major predators over 100 years ago and the ones that are left are rarely, if ever, seen.

MEANWHILE in Arizona

Everything wants to kill you, from the bugs to the animals to the sun its very self. These are the notes I took on the Critters talk we got in this Aid class. Yes I took notes. I cannot help myself.

“Bites Stings and Critters” AKA Things that want to kill Irene in AZ

Watch your hands, feet and seat and you’ll be okay. Don’t put anything where you can’t see it


Black Widows: Unlikely to kill you with a bite. If bitten, wash it and cool it. Monitor.

Brown Spider: Not the same as Brown recluse spider, but related. The best part is, you don’t know you’ve been bitten! The bite will manifest to look like a bullseye. Causes skin necrosis that can go all the way to the bone. Get to a hospital or you might lose a limb.

Tarantula: No venom, but have irritating fiber glass loosely attached hairs. Just don’t touch them. They don’t want anything to do with you.


Centipedes: Don’t go after them, they live in crevices and rocks (Which is the ENTIRE FREAKING DESERT)

Scorpions: (all scorpions glow under a black light Oonse oonse oonse let’s go raving scorps!)

Bark: Smallest. Most venomous

Stripe: Venomous

Giant Hairy: Venomous, least venomous of the three. Wussy looking pinchers, tail still HUGE

Scorpions are not all that dangerous to adults but super dangerous for small kids and the elderly/frail


These are honey bees, all the bees in AZ are Africanized and super aggressive. You get near their hives and thousands will come at you focusing their stings on your eyes ears and mouth. Will not stop stinging you until you are dead. You can’t out run them, you can’t jump in water to avoid them. You need to get inside a house or a car.

They are harmless when they are foraging or when they are “swarming” which means traveling in packs (just like in cartoons!). When they do this they get tired and clump up on a branch. It looks like a black hive that is actually just a football sized wad o’ bees.

One of these landed in a tree right outside my apartment door! Holy cucumbers Batman! They were gone in the morning. Ain’t no thang.

Remember when this scare became a thing in the 90’s, well they never reached WA State, but I was terrified of them as a kid. Now they are literally my neighbors. Circle of life

P.S. What does Africianized mean? Were they not african before? We're these European Honey Bees that decided that africa was the mother land so they started affecting what they think are the behaviors of african bees while the african bees are all, dude, stop co-opting my culture, you're doin' it wrong.


Gila Monster: One of the most painful bites you can get because

1: they don’t let go

2: they are venomous

3: they gnash their teeth while biting

The good news is, they are slow as syrup. Just don’t freakin’ touch them you nerd wads. They won’t bite you unless you try to pick them up. They are rare and it is thought to be a luck thing to see one. I really want to see one. They look prehistoric. What a cutie


Western Coral snake: Elapid snake, venom is a neurotoxin. Get to a hospital!

These aren’t as bad as the E. coral snake, but still, hospital. Red touches yellow, you’re a dead fellow

Rattle snakes: Their bites are defensive, but they are a little more bitey than say, the gila monster, faster too. Their venom is a hemotoxin but some have neurotoxins. Get ye to a hospital, monitor the swelling, take of any rings or anything else that will constrict you. The anti venom is the same for all sps of rattle snake so don’t bother trying to figure out what kind of snake it is.

This is a red diamond back rattler


· The average rattle snake victim, according to the poison control board, are males age 18-35ish who have tattoos and drink. Hmmmmm

Men are usually bitten on the hands/forearms, women on the ankles/calves.

Moral: Don’t pick up the snake dumbass

· Rattle snakes shake their rattles 500 times per minute. Shake it girl!

· Rattler venom travels through the lymph system, so your heart rate or using a constricting band isn’t gonna do you any good.

Not to mention the plants

Cholla (Choy-yah) which comes apart and whole pads stick to you)

Prickly pears (I got mashed by one of these when I was heat delirious, wicked hurtey. My coworker pulled out all the thorns for me. Thanks good buddy.)

I have about a million more things to write about including my first day of extended periods of extreme temps. It was X TREME.

I'm gonna go finish the Ale infused caramels with pretzel bits. I love new kitchen. Love. Even if I did find and kill a FAT COCKROACH in it today. Holt balls roaches are way worse than spiders.

Tomorrow I'm probably going to Pheonix with some friends. Guys! I made friends! More on that later.

(all these photos are from wiki commons)