A Beautiful Beetle

Since childhood I have been curious about creatures assigned to the insect world. I recall happy summer hours collecting bugs from Newark’s parks and backyards. Of course, our apartment attracted non-collectibles such as water bugs, flies, ants, mosquitoes, and roaches. My mother’s precious rose garden attracted Japanese beetles. A bug’s life usually ended with a squirt of Raid or the heel of a shoe.

Jumping ahead many years – Tucson has its share of insects. Two weeks ago I found a most interesting bug in the garage. Sadly, the palo verde beetle was dead. Trapped in the garage, the beetle could not escape the still, hot air. Dead on its back, almost 3″ long with a lustrous, armor-like body, the beetle became my focus. I’m finished taking pictures of Buster and wonder what to do with the him. For now, he’s on the dining room table.

Beetle Life – a rather simple first stage, egg to larvae. In the grub stage, the insect lives underground and feeds on the roots of palo verde trees. After a few years (2 – 4) in the dark and in the monsoon season, palo verde beetles surface and fly off to find a mate.  When the female deposits her fertilized eggs, she dies. (I don’t know when Buster beetle kicks off.) Life above ground lasts for perhaps a month, and the cycle begins again.

Palo Verde Beetle Images

Postscript: I wanted the images shown in slideshow format. Word Press in its infinite wisdom says I must use Java Script. Nuts to that! I’m not about to learn Java Script since I’ve used the slideshow format before.

 

Desert Nocturne

 

Sonoran desert animals are awake and busy in the dark of night. Except for an occasional coyote kill or an owl’s hoot, the cottontail rabbits, javelina, and bobcats move about ever so quietly. The animals that come for a drink take turns at the water dish. Javelina travel in packs. They will get pushy and jockey for the last drop. When that happens, the adults root into the irrigation hoses in search of more water. Life in the desert must have that precious liquid.

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As daylight fades, I take the field camera outside and wind the strap around a tree. An Ultra Plus 16 GB disc is in place. I flip the On button and cross my fingers. Some nights are really slow – typical of any watering hole.

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Sunny Puerto Rico

A week of sun and fun in Puerto Rico – when I lived in New York, I’d take 3-day weekend trips to San Juan. Lutece on the Beach, a favorite guest house in Ocean Park, is now just a picture on a postcard. Condo towers, hotels, and gated communities are the new normal. Still, the charm remains in historic Old San Juan, Luquillo, El Yunque, and La Perla. If you haven’t been to the island, I say, go and enjoy! We rented a car from Alamo and got right into stampedes of wild drivers. For all the recklessness, I never saw a collision.

Our first destination and reason to visit was the Arecibo Observatory. The internet has all the facts about the world’s second largest single-dish radio telescope. Nearby on PR-10 is Cueva Ventana with two small dry caves and guided tours. On the eastern end of the island is beautiful Luquillo Beach. We went back to El Yunque, a rain forest with hiking trails, waterfalls, and a zipline. The road down the back side of the mountain is still being repaired. Remember Hurricane Maria?

We stopped for a seafood lunch at Ernestina’s in Luquillo. Then on to lovely road that skirts the beach to Loiza. On a gorgeous Sunday people spread out on the beach, under trees, and in the water. We met a woman who after living in Miami for eight years has returned to the island. She’s happy with her decision. Life is good!

Old San Juan, another favorite place to explore. We scheduled a 2-hour walking tour with David Rodriquez (recommend). Since the Harmony of the Seas (6,000+ passengers) was docked in the harbor, streets were crowded with tourists. Ships stay for a day and sail on. Those tourist dollars sure help the economy. We had the rental car and slithered it through the narrow street of La Perla, and visited the cemetery. A 75 cent ferry drive takes passengers from the harbor over to Catano. We wanted to take a bus from Catano to Bayamon, but let that idea pass. The interior bus the windows were opaque – what was that all about? No view, no bus ride.

Explore Puerto Rico – the islands of Vieques and Culebra. So much to see and, indeed, tourist dollars will help the economy.  Enjoy the photos!

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A Few New Images

I love the juxtaposition and humor of street scenes. Anonymous, creative people make travel fun, especially as I try to figure out what’s going on. Then there are those nuanced images I see with my own eyes and record just because they are unique. A few months ago travels took me to Boston, Quebec, and Montreal. That said, here are a few new images.

Woman texting on the train from Boston to Salisbury.

On a morning walk along Newbury Street, I saw two retail stores that might attract similar customers.

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Here’s an inspirational message left in the ladies room of North Station, Boston. One anonymous woman giving encouragement to another. Thanks for the kind words, sister.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will exhibit works by Alexander Calder until February 24, 2019. Hens and roosters are favorite creatures, and here’s a Calder that makes me smile.

On to Old Town in Montreal with its cobblestone streets and plenty of restaurants. A great find was the Stash Café on St. Paul Street, W., serving Eastern European food.

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Last stop was Old Quebec. A funicular takes passengers up top of the city, then you can walk down. I did not photograph historic buildings or statues. Images of a clothing store with an audacious name and a restroom dispenser concluded my trip.

Windy Day

Tucson – November 13. All through the night an east wind battered chimes, shook the potted petunias silly, and snapped tree branches from their trunks. In early morning at Abby-walking time, I buffeted the wind with a jacket and an Annie Hall hat pulled down over my ears. A great day for sailing! Except, I don’t live anywhere near the sea. Let me share some images with you to show the beauty of wind, rain, and sky. You can almost smell the fresh, clear air.

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Robert Louis Stevenson:

O wind, a-blowing all day long. O wind, that sings so loud a song.

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New York City – Images.3

Here are a few signs that span amusing and practical to philosophical and sad. Each image is a message, a micro-story, in the big, bold City of New York. On my way by taxi from LaGuardia Airport to the city, I heeded the warning – do not assault the driver. Jorge was a lovely man who immigrated from the island of Jamaica years ago. Why would anyone want to harm him or any other driver?

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TeeShirts.2                                                         Tee Shirts – Little Italy

LittleItaly.Menu                                                                     Menu – Little Italy

RatsNYC                                                                    More Cats, Please

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Saddest of All, Asleep on 7th Avenue

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New York City – Images.2

Construction and teardowns are constant activies in the city. Sky high and stiletto thin hotels and apartment buildings welcome the wealthy.  Older neighborhoods along 14th Street and into the Meat Packing District are being dismantled brick by brick. ‘Way back when, my one-bedroom apartment on E. 18th Street between 2nd and 3rd rented for $240/month. Richard’s two bedroom, 2-bath at Quaker Ridge (21st & 3rd), now a condominium, sells for $1 million. As apartment buildings are demolished in low-income neighborhoods tenants struggle to find affordable housing. No matter its flaws, New York City is fabulous!

A friend recommended the Salisbury Hotel, an older hotel on 57th between 6th and 7th Avenues. Excellent choice as the hotel has large rooms — our room had two closets, all the amenities, including a safe that locked with a key. Great neighborhood with a Duane Reed on one corner, restaurants, and a subway entrance on 7th Avenue.

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142 W. 57th Street

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View from the High Line

WaterTower

View from the Whitney Museum of American Art

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West 14th Street & Ninth Avenue

LittleItaly

Little Italy

Molly's

Molly’s (Originally named Molly Malone’s)

 

Sailboat

WaterTaxi

Views from the Staten Island Ferry

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