Yeah, and, um…bee good, OK?
All week I believed I was going to make a bulletin board featuring a picture of a date palm, but somehow when I got to school, I made a bee on an opuntia flower. Admittedly, it’s not my absolute best work. The school ran out out of black paper and it was about 100° outside and I just wanted to finish because it was 5 pm everyone had gone home and I still had 3 more engagements for the evening. But it’s not a bad bee. Or a bad flower. Still, whenever I do anything, I immediately see how I could have done it better. But this is better than not doing it.
Anyway, school’s out on Thursday, both my district and the Kids’ district, and the pool water should hit 80° this week, so it’s as summer as it can get. Summer I, I should say, since, of course, we have 2 summers in southern Arizona. But I like them both. There’s nothing like a summer sunset in the desert, especially if you observe it from your own back yard, next to your own pool.
I didn’t write a comic last night because chronic pain prevented me from feeling or expressing humor. I figured I would have better luck today, but as it worked out, chronic pain is still preventing me from feeling or expressing humor. So here’s a sad slice of life instead.
Since the artwork is so simple, I gave shading another try, and it seems to have worked out nicely in the first 2 panels. However, that technique doesn’t appear to translate to the up-close view of panel 4, which, frankly, is a bit of a failure. I’m not sure it even looks like a leg, let along a leg with a giant bee sting on it. I hope the inclusion of more grawlixes expresses the pain, at least. It’s supposed to be a picture of a leg, with a giant, swollen bee sting below the knee. Since I work from photos half the time, it’s perplexing to me when a finished drawing doesn’t resemble anything. I mean, what’s up with my toes in panel 2? Whatever, I’m done. Maybe I’ll have better luck tonight. Who knows? In addition to the usual suspects, and this gigantic bee sting, I also created the world’s largest blisters on both my heel from wearing Doc Martens without socks.
It’s a hard knock life.
She works hard for the honey, so hard for it, honey.
Here’s a crisp little honeybee for your pleasure. Captured this image near the pollination garden at ASDM, which was simply buzzing not only with her close kin, but also her cousins, the solitary carpenter bees. Despite the fact that carpenter bees are unreasonably large and fairly slow moving, I was unable to get a clear shot of one that day. This is unfortunate, because they’re shiny and astonishing and people don’t seem to be familiar with them. At my old place, there was a particular one living in a dried agave stalk who used to always hang out when I was doing yoga. They’re perfectly comfortable with humans.
I did minimal color correction on this one. It was already pretty sharp. I like the little grains of pollen on her head. I guess bees don’t suffer from allergies.
Tonight, The Man and I attended a Yelp Elite event at the Tucson Botanical Gardens in conjunction with Natures Connects, which is a traveling exhibit of giant Lego sculptures. In addition to free nighttime access to the gardens (very nice this time of year) we got tamales from the Tucson Tamale Company, small batch paletas (a kind of Mexican popsicle, if you’re not from around here), much booze (a hallmark of Yelp Elite events), a chance to play with Legos (with an Instagram contest for best Lego tree), and a scavenger hunt (tied for first, winning 2 free passes to the gardens–usually we have a membership but ours has lapsed, so this is a nice bonus). There were also gift bags with nature-themed playing cards, a jigsaw puzzle, a tie tack, a highlighter that’s also a Lego block, and a coupon to the gift shop.
Last night I wrote a sonnet. Tonight I’m playing with fonts.
Candy drops and sweet emotion
Monday was a good day! My article about Jews in comics got a good reception, and mercury got up over 102, which means a couple things: my fingers and toes and nose didn’t get frozen even when The Man blasted the cooler, zero traffic picking the kids up from the first day of camp (people flee this city when it gets hot), and the pool finally reached 80 degrees! Hooray. Now I have a compelling reason to get my butt off this couch. I will be conducting all further business from within the confines of my swimming pool.
People sometimes ask how to survive in the desert in the summer. This is how to survive in the desert in the summer. Also, we have an ice maker.
One thing I spend a lot of time doing in the pool is rescuing bees from drowning. I guess when we’re not in it it’s flat enough that they don’t break the surface tension, but the kids and I must have pulled 15 bees out of the water in 30 minutes. Well, I pulled most of them and the Boy got a couple. The Girl is still timid, even though she’s seen me do it a thousand times. Seriously, the last thing a drowning bee is thinking of is stinging you.
You can observe them very minutely when they’re all wet and out of sorts. They shake their wings vigorously, too fast for the human eye to see, and use their front legs to brush the water off their midsection. They even brush off their long tongues. If they’re still wet, they lean onto their front legs and use their back legs to dry themselves. The longer they’ve been in the water, the more time they take to combobulate themselves.
This mandala reminds me of butterscotch and toffee and caramel: all the mostly-sugar candies, and also, of course, honey.