[I promise that craft-related posts will return soon. I'm almost done with several things that I've been working on.]
Unfortunately, summer rains can mean hurricanes, and we all know the horrible things that can come about as a result. I've been paralyzed from reading all the news coverage. We donated money to several organizations, but it seems like so little in the face of such a huge tragedy. I'm trying to work on some other things that I can do too.
Meaning no disrespect, I thought I'd post about some of the other things that summer rains can bring. I've had these pictures in my iPhoto for several weeks now, and decided to combine them into one post with a vague connecting theme (plus a personal digression at the end). If you read through to the end, you'll probably think I should have just left them in my iPhoto library and not posted them.
So, the summer rains bring:
Beautiful flowers (an orange rose from our front yard)
A host of spiders. It's spider season here in Arizona. Aaaaaeeeeekkkkkk! Since we had a relatively wet spring, the bugs are more numerous and so the spiders are too. I know they're good, that they eat pests. Really I do. And I know that our front door is a wonderful place to hang out, as the light attracts moths. But I really wish they'd find someplace else to live. They're giving me nightmares. We went to the arboretum this weekend to see their bug exhibit, to perhaps identify this fellow (I can't look online, there are just too many and they totally freak me out). But they removed their bug exhibit and replaced it with flower paintings. Definitely prettier, but not as useful. I just want to know that he's not poisonous to humans. If anyone can tell me that, I'd be grateful.
Plus a strange fungus-y thing in our backyard, it was about 6-8 inches across. We had the tent set up in the backyard for a few days, and this sprouted underneath it, where it was shaded from the sun. One day in the sun took care of it. But man, you add a little water to the desert and all sorts of things pop up.
So, if you care to keep reading, here are my two spider stories.
(1) When I was a kid, I would play with daddy-longlegs in the yard, and stare at all sorts of other spiders. They're not the prettiest insects, and close-up views didn't help any, but I tried to view them objectively and not be afraid of them in a knee-jerk way. Until that one fateful summer. I was about 10 or so, and my family was having a picnic in the backyard. We had a pretty small picnic table, and I think there were other family members over, so we were all packed in with me in the middle of one of the sides. Suddenly, I felt something climbing up my leg. I tried to wipe it off, but we were so sardined in, I couldn't reach it. I also couldn't get out, again because of the sardining. And it kept tickling up my leg. I finally managed to shove enough people aside to get out of the picnic table, and then hopped around the yard, screaming. I'm sure that the spider (or whatever it was, I never saw it; but this has all been transferred to spiders) was long gone by that time, but I was completely freaked out. And have been since. It's now a completely knee-jerk reaction for me, and I can't help it no matter how hard I try.
(2) During grad school, as my thesis defense was coming around, shall we say that I was a little bit stressed? I kept waking up in the middle of the night with theories out of left field to explain some aspects of my data. They were always really bad theories that the awake mind would have discarded immediately. So I wasn't getting lots of sleep, I was sure I was going to fail, and also that I'd embarrass myself during the oral presentation and questioning (public speaking has always been my idea of cruel and unusual punishment). I think I had the standard pre-defense host of issues. Plus my housemates had just all gotten into a huge fight and moved out, leaving me with the entire rent. Well, the night before my defense I had a very graphic dream about a giant spider chasing me around the house. Worse than just chasing me, it was also taunting me: "You can't kill me! You can't kill me!" I remember vividly from my dream that in sheer desperation I grabbed a knife and plunged it into the spider, killing it. It wasn't a very restful night, but the next day I was so much calmer. I had managed to conquer this huge irrational fear, if only because I had no choice. I was still nervous during my defense, but not as badly as I had been. And I did pass.
Story #2 notwithstanding, I'm still irrationally afraid of spiders and public speaking, although I've developed coping techniques for both. Perhaps someday I'll tell y'all about the spider-dream equivalent of my public speaking nightmare; this one happened in public when I was (unfortunately) awake.