‘Design the nursery of baby’s dreams’

What does a baby dream of? Experts say that babies are fascinated by faces  from practically birth on. In contrast they quickly lose interest in hanging mobiles and the like.

But Target thinks that babies care about changing tables and dressers, nursery bookcases and nightstands.

See how they can help you design the “nursery of baby’s dreams.”

From my experience, the youngest want to be swaddled and held. They want full bellies, and not a whole lot more.

Target doesn’t help much except satisfying parents’ dreams. So dream on, Mom and Dad. And take good care of what your baby really wants. Please.

‘But it’s a dry heat!’

Friends from the Midwest often console me about the extreme heat of the Phoenix summer. “But it’s a dry heat!” They’re reminding me of how miserable it is in a Chicago summer heat wave with the typical high humidity.

Little do they know how brutal the summer is here.

The average high temperature now – the hottest it gets – is about 106 degrees (Fahrenheit). That’s 106 in the afternoon in the shade. So, enjoy the shade, then!

What Midwesterners don’t realize is that the brutal sun heats up pavements, sidewalks, and stones hotter than you can touch. That heat radiates up against the body. I can sit in the morning shade on my north-facing patio for the first couple of hours after sunrise. But by then, my gravel yard is radiating unwelcome heat. It’s like sitting in front of an open oven – a dry oven, it’s true.

So why do I have a gravel yard? This is a desert. It takes a lot of water and effort to maintain a lawn, so lawns are rare. People spread out decorative stones across their yards.

My shaded veranda faces a gravel yard. I use the veranda for the first three hours of the morning as a potting shed and for a collection of potted desert plants. After that, it’s like standing before an open oven.

The complex where I live maintains a lawn in the courtyard around a swimming pool. Unfortunately, there is little shade in the courtyard. Only a few apartments open onto the lawn facing north. Those residents do actually sit on their shaded patios during the day. It is, after all, a dry heat!

Otherwise, I go from an air conditioned home into an air conditioned car into an air conditioned store and back again. My car is under a shed, and many shopping plazas have sheds over their parking lots. So the cars can breathe.

I do walk in the early morning during the first hour after sunrise. The day starts at about 80 degrees after cooling down all night.

Now consider that the weather does turn humid during the summer. Cool moisture blows in from the Gulf of Mexico and the Sea of Cortez (the Gulf of California). Somehow, the clash between cool, moist air and the overheated ground breeds afternoon thunderstorms. Meteorologists call these storms monsoons, and July and August are the monsoon season in the U.S. Southwest and north-central Mexico. The rain is welcome. The heat and humidity have to be tolerated.

A dry heat? You can’t always get what you want.

Sabra hummus meets Walt Disney

Sabra markets spinach and artichoke hummus which I recently bought at my nearby grocery store. At home, I looked at the cash register receipt. Product descriptions are abbreviated into eighteen character fields. My eyes happened to catch “SPIN & ARTI HUMMUS.”

The first thing that came to mind was the Walt Disney serial called “Spin and Marty” that was featured on The Mickey Mouse Club daily TV program that aired during the 1950s.

I remember avidly watching the five-day-a-week program that aired on ABC during the children’s programming block of 3 to 6 in the afternoon. Each episode of “Spin and Marty” was about a dozen minutes long, and probably only appeared on the show once or twice a week for each season.

Spin was the coolest kid at a ranch-style overnight summer camp. Effete Marty wasn’t in tune with the atmosphere, the activities, or the social style. At first, Spin bullies Marty, but somehow something changes. Spin take Marty under his wing and begins coaching him on how to fit in. I seem to remember how Spin shows Marty how to season a baseball mitt.

So is Sabra sponsoring a new spinoff (note the pun)? Should I look forward to a serial “Spin and Arti” on the Disney Channel?

Also see the Internet Movie Data Base for “Spin and Marty” and The Mickey Mouse Club.

Trump holds aloft ‘wrong’ Bible

In a photo-op in front of a church in Washington, D.C. (Monday, June 1, 2020), U.S. President Donald Trump held aloft a Revised Standard Version of the Bible. He showed this clearly to journalists on the scene.

Trump’s ardent fundamentalist followers would have wanted him to display the King James translation of Scriptures. That’s their authoritative translation. The King James version is “their Bible.” All others are suspect in their minds.

(Based on an article in Mother Jones.)

Prickly Pear May flowers and new fruits

May 2020

A flower of the Beavertail Prickly:

A Beavertail Prickly doesn’t have spines on its pads like the Engelmann’s Prickly:

This is an Engelmann’s Prickly. Its spines are prominent. Its flowers have given way to the this season’s pears. I’ll keep my eye on these pears to see when they ripen. One purple, ripe pear remains from last season:

I harvested pears from this clump last January. I plan to enjoy these when they ripen. As I wrote, I have yet to know when these pears will ripen:

Spring Blossoms in Phoenix, Arizona, XVI

Late May 2020

I pass this Agave every day, but I first noticed the spike on last Wednesday (May 20). Buds lined the spike. When I passed by it on Thursday afternoon, the flowers were spent, and seed capsules were swelling. It probably flowered at night. It’s not unusual for desert flowers to bloom one day or night and then go to seed. In this case, the blooming was not staggered over a number of days. Instead, all the buds opened at the same time:

Close-up of the towering spike. Notice the seed capsules and spent flowers:

Another Agave. Its flowers are spent. I hadn’t walked down this street for awhile:

A Cereus cactus:

Close-up of its flowers:

I want to call this a Hedgehog cactus:

Close-up of its flowers:

Red Yucca. Many of its flowers have given way to seed capsules:

Barrel Cactus

Mid-May 2020

These are three species, A, B, and C. B goes by several names. C is a Golden Barrel cactus. I’ve posted both of these for comparison with A.

Only cactus A is flowering right now. It also resembles a barrel like B and C. Other species in the Ferocactus family flower during the summer, though. What is this cactus’s name? I haven’t found a picture of it yet, and the Desert Botanical Garden here in Phoenix is closed because of the COVID-19 virus.


B (below):

Wikipedia calls this a Fishhook Barrel cactus — species name Ferocactus wislizeni. The entry Compass Barrel cactus redirects to Ferocactus wislizeni. Its spines resemble fishhooks. The University of California at Berkley also calls this a Compass Barrel.

Other names for it are Candy Barrel, Southwestern Barrel, and Arizona Barrel cactus —

C — Golden Barrel cactus (below):

Its growth habit reminds one of a barrel. Thorns have a yellow cast, especially the new ones. The spent flowers have been on the plant since last year. Cottony clumps show where new flowers will blossom. It’s native to Mexico, but it grows well in Phoenix landscaping —