Sunday, April 29, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Londo wearing the Cone of Shame

Vets say cats are wizards at hiding their ailments, and Londo hid his pain well. It wasn't until his grooming started to suffer that I knew something was wrong. His back two teeth had become infected. My poor boy must have been in miserable pain, and whatever he feels now can't be anything compared to what he was feeling. :-(
Londo after dental surgery
Londo after dental surgery wearing the Cone of Shame.

Londo after dental surgery
The vet tech said he looked like a flower.

Londo after dental surgery
While he was under anesthesia, I also had them remove a small growth from his left ear.

Cats base almost all of their recognition on smell, and a trip to the vet means you come home smelling "funny." Galen thinks we've brought in a new cat, and he's not very happy about it. After the trip last week, he growled at Londo for three days!
Londo after dental surgery
Galen growling at this "unfamiliar" cat.

Copyright © Deborah A. Ayers - All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Canyon Towhee

The Canyon Towhee gets added to my life list today. Ironically, he wasn't listed in the edition of the National Audubon Society's field guide that I usually use to identify birds. Using web sites to help identify birds can be hit or miss sometimes, but did the trick this time.


Copyright © Deborah A. Ayers - All rights reserved.

White-winged doves arrive on schedule (Tax time)

Stevie Nicks, an Arizona native, crooned about the white-winged dove in her song Edge of Seventeen, the third hit from her 1981 solo debut album Bella Donna.

Although these doves were made famous by her song, they are pigs and bullies at the feeders. They usually arrive right around tax day, and this year was no different. I spotted the first one today. That gives them yet another reason to earn their "Mafia bird" standing.

White-winged Dove

Copyright © Deborah A. Ayers - All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Black-headed grosbeak

The longer days means I get home now before dark. (AZ doesn't observe daylight savings so I never have that working for me...) This evening a female black-headed grosbeak was munching at the feeder. Fun fact: This bird is one of the few birds that can safely eat the poisonous monarch butterfly. Er, but I guess if it can eat it, it's not poisonous to the bird, so would it still be considered poisonous?

Grey Fox under the feeders
I haven't seen them since 2009 when they showed up for a couple of weeks in the spring.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Grey foxes - regular visitors

I first spotted the fox foraging under the bird feeders on March 15. (Everything shows up at the bird feeders!) At that time, I only glimpsed it through the kitchen window in the dim light of dusk, and I couldn't tell if was a kit fox or a grey fox. It's definitely a grey fox!

Grey Fox under the feeders
Grey fox stopping by for his/her evening snack of bird seed.

They are skittish, but they are getting used to people, and I can watch them from about 20 feet away. The birds don't like them around. They sit up in the trees scolding them.

Grey Fox under the feeders
It now shows up regularly, and sometimes with a partner.

Copyright © Deborah A. Ayers - All rights reserved.

Gila Monster in the yard

Our neighbors had said that there were Gila Monsters in Redington Ranch, but today was the first day I'd seen one. It's the only venomous lizard in the United States, and one of only a few in the world. Fortunately, it doesn't move very fast so it's not much of a threat to people--and no one has died from a bite since the 1930s.

Gila Monster under the bird feeders
Gila monster spotted under the bird feeders.

Gila Monster under the bird feeders
He moved around in kind of a swimming motion.

Gila Monster under the bird feeders
Stopping to rest for a moment in the shade of the agave.

Copyright © Deborah A. Ayers - All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

First Saguaro blossoms of the season

Sometime this week, the first saguaro blossoms started to form and burst open. Most still don't even have buds on them yet. I was so focused on capturing the cactus in the shot, I didn't realize that the house was framed in the background.

Galen climbing high

Copyright © Deborah A. Ayers - All rights reserved.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Oriole on the East side

I saw a male Hooded Oriole on the hummingbird feeder, and flitting around in the ocotillo. With the exception of the one-offs (like the time I saw a Western Tanager), I have now seen every bird in my yard on the east side, that I saw in my yard on the west side. Actually, I've seen a LOT more birds here!

Hooded Oriole

Copyright © Deborah A. Ayers - All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mom - April 1, 1938 - March 29, 2012

My mom would have turned 74 today. She almost made it. It seems that she died so young, yet I almost can't remember a time when she wasn't tired, depressed, or hurting--either mentally, emotionally or physically. When I look at her life through that lens, perhaps 73 was a lifetime.

I've been estranged from her for almost 11 years. That's a sterile way of describing that I needed to distance myself from her for my own well-being. Shared DNA does not mandate a relationship.

By all outward measures, my mom would be declared a success. Her two children (myself included) have grown up to become fine upstanding contributors to society. When I went off to college so did she earning an associate's degree in computer science, and then a bachelor's and master's degree in psychology. She was bright with a voracious appetite to learn.

But none of this so-called success could overshadow her demons.

She professed to have a strong Christian faith, but she couldn't practice forgiveness one of its core tenets. Instead, she harbored transgressions--both real and imagined--her entire life.

She dabbled in family counseling, but she couldn't maintain a relationship with her own.

I don't mourn her passing, and when I find myself mourning the loss of the relationship we never really had, I have to stop and remind myself of my beliefs. If one is to trust that there is a master plan to the Universe, then I have to believe that things happen for a reason, and I wouldn't be the woman I am today if she had been anyone other than who she was.

Her ridicule and condemnation created my swaggering self-confidence. Her suspicions made me more trusting. Her inability to deal with confrontation and conflict forced me learn to plunge into it. Her intolerance helped me to learn acceptance and forgiveness. And her voracious appetite to learn? I picked that up from her too.

Events that happen to us become the threads of our life, and we can either leave them as a tangled mess, or we can artfully weave them into the tapestry of our life. Thank you, Roxie Mason, for being who you were. There are still some frayed edges, loose and missing strands in my tapestry, but then again, I'm not finished with it yet.
Copyright © Deborah A. Ayers - All rights reserved.