To Whom It May Concern

Sometimes having a blog with your name plastered all over it can hold you back from what’s really on your mind. When personal crises hit, you desperately want to write about them, but you can’t because you feel watched, like anything you say may be used against you. The same holds true for political opinions.

I’ve been a dimsel in damstress. The curl of smoke over my head rises from an existential blast zone that craves discussion, but I stand stupidly speechless. My honesty, phrased as diplomatically as a seasoned observer of crazy can express, has cost me. When a relationship—whether it work, family, friend, or love—demands more of your soul than you are able to give, we have the right to bow out. Wouldn’t someone want to know why? Not if the parties you’re dealing with are controlling, narcissistic, or immature, and you find yourself the target of blame-laced, ego-driven invective. These true colors, in shades of infection, necrosis, and death, cannot be countered. It’s like trying to respond rationally to an internet troll. I make my choices and take my beatdowns. But I will never, ever respond—that’s exactly what they want.

But frankly, this self-imposed whining freeze is getting old.  Thought I’d start with a few minor rants and work my way up.

Clicking around the blogosphere can be painful. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at one blogger’s About page which read ‘I’m a journalist and shit.’ It hit me hard that it’s a different world now, and helps explain the following sparklers seen on my home page…

By journalist who wants to be a pulp fiction writer:
The mayor has journeyed into swamp-like depths to help people stranded in buildings overlooking the murky waters that flooded their homes and their lives.

By journalist assigned the end of the world story:
World survives Maya apocalypse

By journalist covering the NYC subway beat:
Man faints in NYC subway, not struck by train

We have these ‘After 5’ walks in my town where the shops stay open late. Here’s a press release that showed up in my inbox a few months ago:

Xxxx Originals Gallery is having a Spring Fling and tossing out artwork at incredible prices! New artwork is on the way so we’re flinging out anything that’s been just sitting around. This is a great time to pick up fabulous deals on really spectacular artwork. So come in to the gallery and catch the deals we’re flinging out the door!

So where’s the What Not to Say to Starving Artists article?

I don’t agree with people who insist that humankind doesn’t have choices. If it is the custom of a culture to beat women, and for the acceptance of this to be passed down to sons and daughters, that may make them good citizens, but not good humans. Your culture is not an excuse for your cruelty. If beating, burning, cutting, raping, or murdering your wife or daughters, or the wife or daughters of your neighbors is the custom, and people defend it as that, then we may as well throw the words good and bad right out of the dictionary.

We saw these three beautiful babies on Carr Canyon Road about two weeks ago and stopped to let them cross. The mother had already crossed—but there must be several.

My yard’s been full of cactus wrens this year. They’re not usually so gregarious. Look at this silly nest they built on the tip of a branch—it barely contained them.

I’m fascinated by what people have in their refrigerators, especially when I’m asked to clean them. I arranged this little composition that I think covers all the food groups.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen a ghost bike, on a nearby rural road.

My town recently got its first pot dispensary. Some people with medical marijuana cards are annoyed though, because they’re no longer allowed to grow a few plants in their yard, but must patronize this place and pay big bucks. If you live within 25 miles of a dispensary, you have to do business there.

Our precious hardwoods are being defoliated by caterpillars. I think they’re webworms but please correct me because it’s hard to find pictures that look exactly like this. Plus, there are about three different kinds eating the trees—green, yellow, and black.

Check out their suction-cup feet, perfectly designed to climb trees and eat them. They’re everywhere, in house, driveway, yard, laundry shed. At first I thought they were cute—until there were thousands.

Caterpillars in driveway with their scat, which is also everywhere.

This enormous western polyphemus moth was found already dead in a customer’s garage on Carr Canyon Road, a Coronado Nat’l Forest road near Sierra Vista.

This javelina came right up to our car, then stalked off when we didn’t feed it. I think javelinas are beautiful and mysterious, like all wild animals, but I just read there is an aggressive pack in Tucson that is slated to be shot. This is what happens when animals’ habitat is destroyed by humans.

I saw this regal horned lizard in my yard just a few weeks ago. Kind of a rare sighting, they’re only found in southeastern AZ and Mexico.

We’ve had a incredible monsoon this year, in fact it’s not quite over. I’ve never seen this many tiny frogs, toads, snakes, lizards, bats, birds, rabbits. There was even a huge barn owl couple who sat on the street wires all summer and made these funny shrieking sounds. The hummingbirds go to bed at nightfall, then the Mexican long-tongued bats shift takes over and drains the feeder, which I refill in morning. Every night I stepped closer and closer to the bats, to where I can stand within a few feet of them. It’s awesome.

We’ve had a incredible monsoon this year. I’ve never seen this many frogs, toads, snakes, lizards, bats, birds, rabbits. There were even two huge barn owls who sat on the street wires every night all summer and made these funny shrieking sounds. The hummingbirds go to bed at nightfall, then the Mexican long-tongued bats take over and drain the feeder, which I refill in morning. Every night I stepped closer and closer to the bats, to where I can stand within a few feet of them. It’s so awesome.

27 responses to “To Whom It May Concern

  1. I so agree with your opening comment: “Sometimes having a blog with your name plastered all over it can hold you back from what’s really on your mind. When personal crises hit, you desperately want to write about them, but you can’t because you feel watched, like anything you say may be used against you.”

    There have been times when I’ve wanted to “vent” on my blog or express opinions or play with ideas; however, I have told people about my blog and therefore, it is a public extension of ME. Whatever I say or whatever picture I post is open to interpretation. Of course, I want the interpretation to be positive.

    Sometimes, I’ve toyed with the idea of a second blog, one that is truly anonymous.

    • Exactly, we can vent as long as it isn’t too personal, or involves other people to whom it would be obvious if they read it. I too have thought about an anonymous blog but for some reason I can’t exactly put into words, I can’t do it. Yes it’s a public extension of ourselves, and we have to measure our words. I see blogs with a lot of swearing and ranting, and I get kind of envious, because there are times that’s exactly what I want to do! Your photographs are awesome, and hard to believe it’s Arizona. Everybody thinks AZ is just one big barren desert. Thanks so much for writing.

  2. Staying quiet isn’t good for your blood pressure. And anyone who tries to manipulate you into staying quiet so they can carry on being a selfish clown is worthy of a good ‘blanking’ (ignore, cut out, remove from life) in my opinion. When this is a ‘loved one’ it can be hard to do, but ultimately worthwhile. I hope you are well Debra. I have really missed your posts. Amy (Gary from ‘The World According To’)

    • Mrs. Gary I’ve missed you—and your rants! I saw your old blog went private some time ago and I get intimidated by that. I just clicked on ‘let me in!’ Yeah my philosophy has been DELETE all nutbars for years now. I used to fight back, and ended up a lot more stressed out than not responding. Yeah the words can hurt for a while, especially when they’re rambling incoherent lies, but we eventually get over it. And it just kills your haters!

  3. From the “can’t talk back to mean crazy” to the “wicked tufty caterpillars” to the birds & bats, I get it and thank you very much!!!! Because, well, especially because of some of the stuff you said in the opening sentences.

    • Hi Lizzie, and thank you. Sometimes it’s easier to hang around the house in your bathrobe with a carton of white zin than to unleash your true feelings and then worry about blowback. Thankfully I no longer give a shit!

  4. I love the beauty of your creativity and your wonderful eye. I want to read whatever you want to write.

  5. I’ll join the chorus and say I’ve missed your posts. Even the rants. Especially the rants. Because when I visit Bisbee I only see the pretty touristy places, I always need to be reminded that it’s not all hearts and flowers. It’s a real place with real people living real lives for better or worse. Thank you for always sharing. I wish you could/would write more.

    • Hi Josie, good to hear from you. I so envy your lifestyle! How I’d love to move on and leave it all behind–I imagine nothing takes your mind off your problems more. Yes my neighborhood has its jagged edges, like the meth dealer neighbors we had all summer. It’s another thing I would’ve loved to write about but couldn’t. But you know I could never go back to CT, where neighbors don’t know each other and the cops give you a ticket for any little thing. As so many RVers know, you get used to the freedom here. Thanks for writing.

  6. Good to see a post. Missed your unique perspective and eloquence.
    Fuck the rabble rousers and trolls!

  7. Rants are both entertaining to read, and good for the author. And yes, it can be a challenge to vent without feeling like you’re being watched. You may have to work on being more obtuse, and hope that nobody actually knows what that means.

    Kudos to you for being able to clean out some of that sh*t people keep in their fridges. I don’t think I’d have the nerve to ask our cleaning lady (I’m not crazy about that term, but that’s what she calls herself) to even go in our fridge. Having said that, we’re pretty anal and things regularly get tossed. One day past it’s due date? OUT IT GOES!
    Well, I might go TWO DAYS past, but only if my wife doesn’t find out.

    • The perfect way to vent would be though fiction, but I’m terrible at it!

      I call myself the housecleaner or just the cleaner. Yeah I’m not crazy about the ‘lady’ part either. The owner of this fridge is a sick old guy—the last time I cleaned his house was five years ago and it took a team of four people three days. This time it was just the kitchen which took me three days. I’m trying to get him on some kind of maintenance schedule, ’cause this is just unhealthy and depressing for him and gross for me. I should’ve taken pictures of what was underneath the bottom bins…whoa.

  8. I mostly don’t feel the need to vent, but I have to watch myself. One of my rules for internet living is never, EVER read the comment sections on sites like Politico or Huffpo or Breitbart. Just read the article, and move on.
    Likewise: never, EVER engage a troll. They’re easy to spot, and my blood pressure doesn’t need it.

    That bit about the gallery and its Spring Fling is priceless. I don’t know if I agree, but I did hear someone arguing the other day that the biggest disservice being done to kids in school now is not insisting they learn to write and to stand up and speak – about anything. So much of sales, marketing, etc. depends on being able to communicate. Texting doesn’t exactly encourage those skills.

    There’s much to admire in your photos, especially that lizard and the bats. It’s really strange – people all over the country are talking about suddenly abundant roses, apples, lizards, birds, sharks – whatever. Now if we just could experience an abundance of kindness and common sense, we’d be all set!

    • I try to stay away from comment sections on news sites too, but sometimes I can’t help be curious about people’s reactions. It’s a sort of sick gauge. One scroll down does it. Nobody ever acted this vicious before there was such a thing as the anonymous commenter.

      Trolls come in all flavors—sometime they can be people you know quite well. Or thought you did—nothing reveals a person’s true personality like telling them ‘this isn’t working out.’ Consider it a favor they did for you—now you know what they’re really like. Graceless, selfish, nasty. Gee, you really won me over now!

      I see a gaggle of kids get off the bus and they’re all looking down at their phones. Do they ever even have actual conversations, or have to write something coherent?

      I didn’t know that about the abundance of plants and animals. For us it has to be related to a good monsoon. We all thought it was over but it reappeared full on, even up to two nights ago! This is what they used to be like, people here tell me. Everything is so lush and full of life. I dread the barren landscape to come.

      It would take something huge and scary to unite humans. Or not, maybe they’d just loot.

  9. I thought those bats were fake, like Halloween decorations or something. That’s truly amazing how close you can get. I don’t know how bats have gotten such a bad reputation. They are the epitome of cute. How they look, how they live…they’re like creatures of fantasy novels. People in Missouri put up bat houses to keep the mosquitoes under control.

    • Glad to hear not everyone is freaked out by bats. So many people here take their hummingbird feeders down at night because they don’t want them drained. Yeah it’s another chore in the morning and I go through a lot of sugar for a couple months. Big deal. I read once that insectivorous bats eat about 600 bugs an hour, and these nectivorous ones are vital pollinators. Why don’t people get that. They’re the main pollinators of agave—without agave there would be no tequila!

      I see pictures online of people holding bats. I have yet to do that—you’d have to do it during the day when they’re sleepy and docile. I don’t even know where these bats roost. There are more here now than I’ve ever seen. It’s hard get a number because they sip, circle, and return hundreds of times. Could be 20 or 30, who knows. Precious, and yes, very cute.

  10. ‘I’m a journalist and shit’ seriously? Sad thing is this person will probably get hired as long as they slip in whatever spin their bosses tell them to. And shit.

    • Yeah, he should put that on his resume. Or maybe that was his resume. But I didn’t see the bulleted list that would really get him noticed: Excellent command of English and shit / Team player and shit / Detail-oriented and shit.

  11. I just commented on another site which warrants saying here, I do believe; you can tell me if wrong—“A rational argument for being irrational, more or less. To tell you the truth, I’d rather be misunderstood and labeled different, than understood and labeled akin.”

    In the long run is it not better to be bent than to bend over. Being dimsel, assumed anagram for misled, are ways in which one is forced to submit by others, by society, by ignorance, by indifference and dam distressing it is. Misled to think less is inadequate, more is righteous. That one has to be brilliant in word and cloth or one is not part of the très chic clique.

    For some reason right now I identify with the white bicycle ghost…a monument to a life lived. Strange thing to say I reckon. Hopefully it never comes to pass, a satellite image showing chunks of the earth painted in white—a painted-over section of rainforest, a village in India and so on and so on. You gotta know I did appreciate the photographs in and around your way. The pests in the forest, we have similar problems in the northern forest and on both coasts. In my general area. The tent caterpillar is culprit.

    • H, your cardboard box of enigmas never fails to evoke. I always think I’m rational. Always figured the problem was them, not me. If it’s me, I do not care to change. Not likely to start bending over at this point in life to be ‘understood.’

      Misled dimsel? Never saw that coming! Misled by More is common, but more common is those who think their life work is to exert control. I think many people like to be controlled, it’s easier and you hardly have to think at all.

      I would have stopped at the ghost bike to pay my respects even if I didn’t have my camera, so eloquent are these roadside shrines. Will white paint and a plastic flower arrangement be a suitable shrine to extinct forests, glaciers, animal species, jobs, blondes?

      The bizarre thing about these caterpillars is I don’t see any webs or tents on my mulberries, just bare branches working from the tops down. If they have their purpose then what is it? I can’t stand not knowing.

      • You have mulberries in the desert, no way!

        Dimsel caught my attention straight of, the enigmatic hound dog in me I suppose.

        Sometimes I think you and perhaps a couple more, are the only ones who attempted to sort my about page—you’re brave.

        • Chinaberries, and mulberries (both fruit-bearing and fruitless—that’s what I have but I wish they had the berries because I would get even more birds) are fairly common (in yards, not desert) because they grow easily here and are beautiful shade trees. The desert is filled mostly with cacti and mesquite and thorns—the plastic bag catchers.

          Like your other fans, fascinated by the journey of Lone Dog…

  12. Nice to see you are back in true form. I have always admired the strength of your opinions even when I do not agree with them.
    I especially enjoyed your take on the art sale. Now there’s a good way to not get repeat business!
    I wish I could help you with the caterpillar ID. Your insects are significantly different than ours in the NE. Loved the photo of the javelina! I’ve never seen one in the wild.

    Nice to have you back!

    • Thanks Bill. The gallery owner probably never thought that ad might be demeaning to the artists who show there—but I guess they’re just tryin’ to make a living. For their fall ad they could do ‘Rake in Savings at our Bonfire Sale!’

      Those bugs are getting in the house and sometimes the dogs step on them if I don’t see them in time. It’s an icky mess. The cats are not touching them, they know things. A neighbor got one on her neck and it emitted a little cloud of dust which gave her a rash. They sure do know how to protect their species.

  13. Your pictures are fascinating!

    As for what passes for good writing these days? It’s lamentable — that’s the best that can be said.

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