Life in the East Valley

desert sunsetIt is approaching the ten month mark that I have been in Arizona. The mountains still fill me with awe, the heat hasn’t beaten me yet, and I am amazed at how congenial most people are.

We moved here in the fall, when the temperatures were in the high 90’s with negligible humidity. The temperatures dipped into the high 40’s on the coldest of winter days, there were days I actually had to wear a long sleeve shirt. This past winter was wetter than normal, which while providing needed water for the aquifer, also caused excessive growth of the desert vegetation which died and dried out come spring, adding fuel to the wild fires that are a constant threat.

The wild fires bypassed the East Valley, and now with torrential downpours on a regular schedule, along with brilliant light-shows of electrical storms, we are now in monsoon season. Two inches in a couple hours might not seem like a lot to those living in wetter climes – but the desert floor is as hard as concrete, and rainfall does not soak in. Two inches of rain over a square mile can turn a culvert into a white-water rapid that will drag your car 300 yards downstream until a boulder or Palo Verde tree stops it.

Along with monsoon season comes the haboobs – desert sand storms. Imagine the scene in “The Mummy” on a smaller scale – walls of brown that blast through the valley. Cars that are not parked in car ports have to have their windshields replaced because they have been sandblasted into a white glaze. You can tell the natives, because the lenses on the headlights of their vehicles are frosted white.

On a more personal note, the Independent Artist Studios studio is complete. It is almost 400 square feet, with sheet-rocked walls, insulated from the intense desert heat, with two windows and a 13,000 BTU air conditioning unit. I installed a circuit breaker box with four circuits, one dedicated to the AC, one dedicated to the lighting, and two for electrical outlets – the studio has more power outlets than our house!

The studio is a nice reprieve from the confines of the house on hot summer days. I have to date completed seventeen paintings, with one more on the easel. I have completed two found object sculptures, and seventeen Superstition Sawblades, of which four have been converted into wall clocks.

In short, I have been finding plenty to do to keep me occupied while searching diligently for employment. It looks like I will have to sweat out the summer (pun intended) and wait for the Snowbirds to return this fall. The local college kids will be returning to school, and places will be on their annual hiring spree.

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