Crystal Clear

Yesterday was our 15th anniversary. Traditionalists call it the crystal anniversary. We had wanted to do something special, go someplace fun for just the two of us, but every time we made a plan it fell through. Disheartening, but not the most horrible outcome. We figured it would be better to save up for our 20th, anyway.

Still, I wanted to do something special. Nineteen years together and 15 years in marriage is a big deal. We’ve faced a lot together and stuck by each other in love and understanding.

For lack of anything imaginative, I made a very nice dinner and laid out the table with nice plates and a candle. Michael never gets home until around sunset, so the mood was just perfect.

As toddlers are wont to do, Jon decided to pitch a fit as soon as Michael walked through the door. It’s a little hard to eat dinner with a squirming baby. My oldest, Tristan, was hanging out in the backyard. This was the only thing that seemed to interest the grumpy one, so I fitted Jon into his shoes and made an executive decision. We were dining al fresco!

It couldn’t have been a better time for it. The sky was dark with rain clouds and the atmosphere was cool and calm. There wasn’t any crystal, but there was surf and turf, wine, flowers, and hummingbirds. Best of all, there were giggles and peace.

This won’t rank as our most memorable anniversary (Vegas, anyone!), but I can certainly say it reflected our relationship well. We love our children and we love each other (of course). We also try to make the best of everything we can. That, I think, is priceless.

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For the Birbs

My backyard is in a state of cacophony, but I only have myself to blame.

For the past few months, Li’l Jon has taken a deep interest in the garden. This is a source of pride for me, well, because reasons

I can’t help but be enchanted by his enthusiasm, especially when he screams out at the top of his tiny lungs “Birb! (L)ook! Birb!”

The hummingbirds are his favorite. They are mine, too; so, I bought a hummingbird feeder. Dinners by the back door have been delightful since then. We enjoy watching those buzzing jewels dance above our porch in the sunsets. Perfection!

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Of course, I thought “Why not attract the other species?” I was keen on treating the sparrows, finches, and doves too, so I set out an old bird feeder cup. This was fine for a bit, though a little messy with all of the seed remains, but I noticed a few of the birds fighting and a couple fledglings having a hard time.

Jon was in heaven, staring out the backdoor for hours.

What would it hurt to buy another feeder and give the bullies less chance to make mischief? I bought a hanging feeder and hung it beside the hummingbird feeder on the porch.

This was not well-planned.

The bully birds started really annoying the hummingbirds. Then, the larger feathered visitors invited their friends, lots of them. No joke. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and coworkers all showed up to the barbecue! The mad frenzy, while funny to watch, was leaving seed and droppings EVERYWHERE.

Then, Jon, being the helpful child he already is, took the cup feeder and tried to fill it up with seed. He broke it. Now, we are down to one feeder that the gang of birds still fight over.

Scrubbing the back porch everyday was a pain and our hummingbirds didn’t deserve harassment. So, I decided to relocate the darned thing. I finally settled on placing the feeder on a glass plant table and positioning it by the yellow lantana, a short distance from the porch. Jon can still see his lively show and the hummingbirds can sneak in from the back, unhindered.

I must admit, though, that the inconvenience of it all really hasn’t bothered me too much. I enjoy interacting with the wildlife, feathered or not, and the pure joy it brings the li’l tyke is enough to make any bother worth it.

Besides, it gives me perfect opportunities to stop, reflect, and try out my lenses.

 

River Morning

I needed a little more nature, so the babe and I went for a walk yesterday at the Salt River. We started at the Rio Salado Audubon area on 7th Ave. (east side) just north of Broadway Rd. and took a leisurely stroll to 19th Ave. and back.

The waters had been released from the dams upstream a few days before (hurrah for snow melt!). There was some muddy damage from the flooding and quite a bit of trash, but we had a wonderful time taking in the almost-spring colors and meeting the rabbits and birds (among them a curious egret).

I’m happy with the time spent and pleased with many of my photos. I am, however, looking into getting a 500 mm zoom lens for future walks.

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This Garden is No Secret

I have a little fairy garden in the backyard that my husband lovingly started for me a few years ago. The stone work was never finished, so it looks a bit dilapidated, but I like how mysterious it looks when the wildflowers spill over the edges. It’s my old cottage garden in the middle of the desert.

I mostly plant desert wildflowers and Lady Banks roses, but sometimes I allow dandelions to grow as a treat for our rabbit, Winter Moon. These dandelions are usually pulled before they go to seed.

Usually.

I got a little behind in my weeding. It grew into a dandelion fairy forest. Pretty, but a bit destructive.

Today, I pulled the lot of them, saving a flower to treat the bun with. It was cathartic and back breaking. It also broke someone’s sweet, little heart.

The back neighbor’s daughter looked out of her window and cried when she saw me rooting around in the dirt.

“Dad! Look what’s she’s doing! Look what she’s doing.”

I felt like such a jerk. I had ruined her fairy garden, not mine. This secret garden in my backyard had also been her bit of earth.

When you create something, plant something, it doesn’t just belong to you. I share this spot with the beasts, bugs, and believers in magic.

I’ll make it up to her. There’s going to be hollyhocks, lavender, roses, buttercups, alyssum, and more.

Shh, it’s our little secret.

The Spider on the Stalk in the Woods

Yesterday was my birthday—my 36th. It’s not a particularly high number, nor a rounded one, but this year will probably be one of the most memorable for me. You see, last week, I did a thing, a BIG thing. I quit my job of almost 10 years.

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