This year is fascinating with all the blooming cacti and plants. This is my third spring in Arizona and it’s truly amazing. I’m sure it was the rainy winter we had that is encouraging all the plant life to come alive with flowers. Right now the saguaros are blooming, something I didn’t see much of the past two years.
We have a nature’s preserve across the street and it’s gorgeous to see saguaros topped with white flower crowns. They remind me of the floral crowns we swim moms ordered for my senior day for my daughter’s college swim team.
Saguaros topped with white crowns of flowers at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
A saguaro in bloom at a neighbor’s house.
In our back yard.
What unusual plants, flowers or wildlife have you seen this spring? Did you have more rain or snow than in the past few years?
My new view while I work. This is the courtyard at the entrance to our house.
We are having houseguests for six nights beginning this weekend. My friend who moved from my Palm Springs neighborhood to less than a mile from us in Arizona is having a birthday party. She has four children who went to the same school with my two kids — K through high school. Although none of our kids were in the same class, they were like stepping stones, my two fitting neatly between her four.
These days there are a few spouses involved and she doesn’t have room for everyone — so I offered our two empty bedrooms. She took me up on it. I decided to get started de-catifying and cleaning Wednesday and not wait until a few hours before they arrive.
My refuge and work space is in our casita. Although I set up an office for myself in what was supposed to be the formal dining room, I’ve never used it — except the bookcase and to file paperwork. I have never sat at my desk and worked.
We knew right away that we didn’t need a formal dining room. We’ve never had one. I didn’t have one growing up, either. We’ve always had a table off the kitchen. We aren’t formal dining folks.
This is our dining room table and chairs that we moved from Palm Springs. I love the tree stump base. We acquired the table in the early 1990s when we bought our Palm Springs home. The prior owners of that house left it and it’s been our dining room table ever since.
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My husband works remotely and he is on the phone all day long — and he’s LOUD. The formal dining room/office is too close to his office and I can’t focus.
I found a work around. Headphones. I’m sitting at my desk in my office with headphones on listening to music and podcasts in the background as I write. It’s working.
It felt like moving again to get all my stuff out of the casita. I can’t believe what I squirreled away including snacks, books and papers.
At first I felt out of sorts working at my real desk, but I’ve decided it gives me a new outlook. A new perspective to my day. There’s also no sofa and TV to tempt me.
What is your work space like? Where is your favorite place to write and read?
Some of the pots of flowers I planted each year at our old house.
This is the first year I didn’t send flowers to my mom for May Day. It was a touching tradition that began when I was in first grade at Emerson School a block away from our house in Snohomish, Wash. Mom died earlier this year, so May Day brought fond memories, but also regret that I wasn’t ordering a bouquet with a card that said “Happy May Day, from ???”
Mrs. Iverson, my first grade teacher, had us make construction paper baskets and color them. She’d staple on the handles before the bell rang. On our walk home, the neighborhood kids would pick wild flowers or flowers from yards to fill our little May Day baskets.
When we got home, or stop at a neighbor’s house that we’d want to “May Day,” we’d hang the basket of flowers on their doorknob, ring the bell, run for it and hide. We’d watch behind a fence or bush at the surprised mom or lucky neighbor.
When I left for college, I always sent Mom a card for May Day. Later on when we could afford it, I ordered flowers.
“I got the most beautiful bouquet of flowers,” Mom would call and say. “Thank you!”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. It wasn’t me,” I’d answer.
“I wonder who it was?” she’d reply.
When my kids were little, I showed them how to make the baskets and they’d fill them with flowers from our yard. They loved to hang them on our door knob, knock on the door and hide. After they left for college and moved on with their lives, my husband picked up the slack.
Monday was May Day and he got busy with work and forgot — in spite of my daughter texting him the night before to make sure I got flowers. He left a few minutes ago for a mysterious errand, so we shall see.
I do have one special friend who remembered. She sent me a Happy May Day text.
Did you celebrate May Day as a child?
What are family traditions that you’d like to keep alive? What ones have faded away?
P.S.. I heard the doorbell ring. Couldn’t find anything. Hubby was inside peering out the window. “Maybe it was UPS?” Later found this inside the house.
Sitting in our backyard, I’ve noticed a change. Flowers are beginning to bloom!
Leaves are beginning to sprout on once bare branches. Color catches my eye as I rest in the backyard, enjoying the sun and soft breeze.
Springs is officially here. Time to get rid of the styrofoam cups protecting our cacti from freezing.
Here are a few photos of flowers in my backyard:
I love the honeysuckle climbing our wall.
I used my plant app and it said this is an aloe vera. It’s wrong about 50% of the time, so I’m not sure.
I’m working on identifying the flowers and plants, but I had very little luck! I have a wildflower guide from the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, but I bet the plants in my yard aren’t wildflowers found in nature, but plants bought in nurseries.
If you have any idea what these plants are, please let me know!
I was surprised to see cacti in bloom in our yard. I didn’t think August would be the time for such beauty in the desert. Maybe it’s the rain we’ve had? I’m learning that in the Sonoran Desert, plants bloom throughout the year.
Yesterday, one of my neighbors went with me to a framing store. She’s a watercolor artist. One day when she was at our house, she said I needed to reframe a painting.
“But that’s the original frame,” I said.
“That’s okay. A new frame will brighten up the painting. Right now the frame cuts off the painting and makes it look dark.”
I invited her to accompany me to the framing store. She obviously has better knowledge in frames than me.
We received the painting from my husband’s grandfather before he passed away. I have treasured it and thought it would be sacrilegious to reframe it.
I did a google search of the artist Lawrence Hinckley and found out lots of interesting things. He was born in 1900 in Fillmore, California. He created a studio called “The Artists Barn” that attracted internationally renowned artists and visitors. Hinkley also worked in ceramics and made an elephant piggy bank named Fundo for a women’s Republican group in Santa Barbara.
From a news article I found online from the Fillmore Gazette:
As Mildred Hinckley in her book “The Artists Barn”, “The result was a cuddly little elephant about six inches long and half as high, with a tummy fat enough to hold a lot of dimes and quarters. His name was “Fundo”…On his white back was printed in red and blue, “Peace, Prosperity, and G.O.P.” Production of Fundo had just started then President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack. The Club requested that Fundo be sent to the President in the hospital. Lawrence personally decorated on, adding the usual inscription “For Ike” and “Get Well Soon.” I wrapped Ike’s Fundo and mailed it to the hospital.
Mildred went on to write, “On the morning of November 11, Lawrence was downtown and stopped in a café for a cup of coffee….When he opened the Los Angeles Examiner and started reading the lead story under a double column headline he nearly spilled his drink. It read in part, ” …… all during his illness, it was revealed, [President Eisenhower] has been persuading visitors to his eighth-floor hospital room to put something into his personally sponsored kitty, an elephant made of crockery with a slot for the deposit of money…..”