This Chart Keeps Me Up at Night

A comparison of the monthly average highs and lows betwen Portland and Phoenix

This chart isn’t literally keeping me up at night but of the many unknowns in both starting a new job and moving to a new area it’s what scares me the most. It compares the average monthly high and low temperatures throughout the year, the highs and lows for Portland in blue, Phoenix in red and orange. I can’t wrap my head around how the lows in Phoenix match the highs in Portland.

I think I’ll love the winter in Arizona. I think I’ll hibernate in the summer.

We’ll have air conditioning, and the house we hope to rent has a lovely pool (as does our backup option). I love to swim but have rarely had the chance for decades so that I am very much looking forward to. And that’s not all, as there will be lizards. Oh yes, there will be lizards. I can think of only one lizard I saw in 21 years of hiking in the wet side of the Northwest. I saw them in the dry side to the east, and perhaps I’m forgetting some I saw on my side of the Cascades, but if so they were the exceptions that prove the rule: reptiles are few and far between near Portland. We met this eastern fence lizard (I think) on the Little Arsenic Trail in the high desert of New Mexico, looking forward to seeing lizards in the Sonoran Desert where we will live.

Reptiles and heat, one of them I’m going to love, hopefully I can at least tolerate the other.

An eastern fence lizard sits on a rock beside the Little Arsenic Trail in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico

And Who Might You Be?

A lesser sandhill crane stands in a meadow near the Beaver Ponds Loop Trail in Yellowstone National Park

I wasn’t sure what I was looking at when I came across this crane in Yellowstone National Park in 2004. I was only aware of two species of crane in my country, the sandhill crane and the whooping crane. It looked like a sandhill apart from the brown coloring on its body, so I wondered if it might be a juvenile. Later research showed this to be a subspecies of sandhill, the lesser sandhill crane.

We’re moving to Arizona soon (we’re in Arizona at the moment, we found a house yesterday we’d like to rent), so I’m going to have a lot to learn as I explore my desert home. No matter how long I live here I’ll still come across identification puzzles, I still do even after being in Oregon for 21 years, a combination of my lack of skills and nature not always being so easily pinned down.

Shelter Me, My Brother, and Protect Me From All Harm

Our cats Sam and Trixie sleep side-by-side atop the cat tree in my office

Trixie has been a bit on edge lately as she knows something is up from all the sorting we’ve been doing the past couple of weeks. She’s always adored our eldest cat Sam and seeks him out to snuggle with him, but never as much as now. Seeing them like this reminds me of how much comfort Sam took from Scout when he was younger.

The Ball Game

Someone from the moving company came the other day to do a walk-through of our house. Ellie was eager to greet him, as is her wont, but then she got her orange ball and starting tossing it at me. She followed us around, trying unsuccessfully to get me to play, the entire time he was there. When we were finished, the moment he was out the door I turned to Ellie to play with the ball but she wouldn’t even put it in her mouth much less play with it.

You make me laugh, my pup, my heart and my joy.

How To Make Sure They Don’t Leave You Behind

Our cat Trixie sleeps in a duffel bag in front of packed belongings in preparation for our move

Don’t worry little Squeaks, we are going to great lengths to make sure you and your siblings join us in Arizona. My wife and I fly out on Thursday so we can meet with a realtor on Friday and Saturday to look for a rental house. We know it is going to be difficult to find a place that will take 3 cats and a dog, but we’ll do our best. If we find a place then we’ll move down before I start my new job, regardless of when our stuff can follow us down. I meet with the moving company later today so I might have a better feel then for when they can pack our things and get them started on their journey.

Little, But Less So

Two black bear cubs walk single-file up a hillside

Two black bear cubs follow their mother (she’s just out of frame to the right) up a hill in Yellowstone National Park in October 2006. She was very protective of these two, when another adult bear came wandering by she sent them scurrying up a tree without waiting to see if the other bear meant trouble (it didn’t). The cubs were still quite small compared to an adult but were much heavier than they would have been in the spring, a necessity for the winter that arrives early in Yellowstone.