Oh Joy! Oh Bliss?

Spring is finally here!  How do I know?  Besides the fact that it is April, the last snowfall occurred last week.  NO MORE SHOVELING SNOW!  Also, my doorbell has been ringing consistently, signalling visitations from lawn care services.  Uh huh!  And yes…I did hear a few lawn mowers powered up today!  Spring is finally here!  Hurrah!  Joy!  Bliss!  Bzzzzzzzz.  What?  Bzzzzzz!  My yearly dreaded visitors have arrived as well.  Oh joy…oh bliss?

Our beautiful, first warm day was 24 degrees celsius (or a balmy 75F).  The air was warm, the sun was shining, the grass was green, and the birds were singing.  Tulips and daffodils are popping up around the neighbourhood.

IMG_2838Hazzah!  We can open our windows again!  I decided that it was time for me to meander around my backyard and enjoy breathing in non-frigid air.  Spring!  A time of renewal and rebirth.  Spring is also the time that I steel myself to become a Warrior Princess!


No swords, but many a facial tissue, reliable flat shoe, or any other item that might slay my evil spring foe…the beige house spider.

Ewwww, ewwwww, ewwwwwww!  I’ll be honest, sometimes I will negotiate with the spider, “I will leave this room and come back in ten minutes.  If you are still here, then your life is over.  Your call!”  Crazy?  Maybe, but they really are good at eating little flies (which I also deplore) so it’s more like a negotiation for cohabitation.  Bugs are a fact of life, but the bane of my existence is the diminutive, annoying, buzzing, carnivore…the mosquito!

I consider myself a happy…super happy…ok, Pollyanna-happy type person.  I have consciously decided to find the good in everything; the silver lining, so to speak.  Yet, after that wonderfully, warm, spring day, I discovered something new upon my person that thwarted my normal “happy-go-lucky” days.  Bites!!!  Awful, itchy, little red welts around my ankles.  Yes, both ankles.  I showed Wiseguy my ‘skeeter’ (a.k.a. mosquito) bites and he said, “There are no mosquitos out yet.”  An easy claim for someone who NEVER, EVER, EVER, gets bit by mosquitos!  I am not only his wife, but his mosquito repellent.

My father once told me:  “Once you have been bitten by mosquitos 50 times they will stop biting you because you have so much venom in your body that your blood isn’t appealing anymore.”  Well guess what dad?  I tested that theory one year.  I had 63 bites.  You know what else?  They were still biting me!

I truly believe that I have some super sweet, absolutely amazing blood that attracts these buzzing little vixens to me.  Vixens?  Yes, only female mosquitos bite and suck blood.  You can read all about it, but I’ll summarize it for you:

  1. Females are the vampires
  2. Males prefer fruit juices
  3. Females also go for fruit juice; the blood is to feed eggs – 200 eggs!!!!!  Guess whose kids love me too?
  4. Eggs are jacuzzi-ed; drain every water puddle around you to avoid mosquitos!

Back to my original itchy horror.  Wiseguy said I didn’t get bit by mosquitos.  I have an ankle (oops…two ankles) with lumpy bite marks.  My pups don’t have ticks or fleas.  I have seen flea bites and what I have are not flea bites.  I know what a ‘squito bite looks like and feels like.  Again, I am their main blood donor.  I should just get a t-shirt that says:  Mosquito – Blood donor clinic open.  Yes, I am feeding the mosquito population; not by choice, but by popular demand.


Did I ever mention that I had this wonderful disease called “West Nile Virus“?  Oh yes, my popular buzzing friends decided that I needed to take some time off work.  So, I received a wonderful bite from my local mosquito friend and it felt different from my usual experiences.  True enough, a couple of days later I started getting a rash.  It spread from my legs to my neck within two days.  I went to one hospital and said, “I think I have West Nile virus.”  I was told (after three hours and no tests) that I probably had a reaction to a strawberry I had devoured.  Note:  I have no food allergies.  They sent me home.

The itchy red splotches did not go away.  After a week, I found that I suddenly could not walk straight.  I was leaning left.  Emergency unit again, but a different hospital.  “You have vertigo,” said the nice doctor.  “I think I have West Nile virus,” I declared when she asked about the rash.  “Probably pesticides on strawberries or blueberries,” she proclaimed.  Hmmmm….why would no one believe me?

So, after two weeks of being off work, I needed a note from my family doctor which would state I was able to return to work.  She looked at all the new notes in my file, “Wow,” she laughed, “you’ve been busy.”  “I think I had West Nile virus,” I declared.  “Did you get tested?” she inquired.  I relayed my requests to be tested and lack of action and so SHE made sure I got tested.  Guess what?  Booyah!!!!  West Nile virus!  I did have it! Okay, it wasn’t good that I had it, but I was so thankful that:

  1. Someone believed me
  2. Someone tested me
  3. I WAS RIGHT!!!  (yes, many exclamation points, but so important after nobody believed me and I had physical proof!)

Moral of the story:  Skeeters, ‘squitos…they are VAMPIRES!

Pollyanna version:

  1.  I did need a break from work – rashes / vertigo are a solution
  2. I have the bestest, sweetest blood around!  Why wouldn’t those blood suckers seek me out.  Oh joy!  Oh bliss?

Spring in my step

Ahhhh, smell those lilac blossoms!  Look at all the colours of the leaves on the trees.  Such variety!  Deep green and subtle purple and bright yellow and crimson red.  A dragon fly just whizzed by my head.  Little butterflies floating around too.  Seems like they were gone for a few years and now they have all come back to welcome spring.  I see birds flying in couples, building their nests.  What is there NOT to like about spring?

Ok, some may say that the rainy days of spring are a downer, but once you see all the growth and beauty around you, how can you not love the arrival of spring?  This is especially true of anyone living in Canada.  After months of cold and shoveling piles of snow, the arrival of spring finally means we can open our windows and we can wear sandals and we can wear shorts.  Yes!  As soon as it hits 10 degrees celcius (50 on the fahrenheit scale) we are out there showing off our mighty whitey legs.  Pasty?  Oh yeah, nothing like pasty white legs to repel the sunlight.

Spring really is about renewal.  There are so many sounds that have returned, that were gone for so long.  The morning chirping birds…those wake me up now because of their cacaphony every morning.  But I love hearing them chatter with each other.  The sound of lawnmowers is a daily constant in the neighbourhood.  Then there are the new sights and smells.  We can actually wake up to sunlight instead of that eternal darkness we seemed to have experienced for months.  The clouds seem whiter and brighter.  The smell of grilled fare on the BBQ wafts through the air.  Critters have come out of hibernation.  The squirrels are out and about and playing Russian roulette in traffic.  The skunks have reappeared too.  I haven’t seen them, but my nose tells me they’re back.  (Pepe le Pew for sure!)

Spring, even though it’s a noun for this season of the year, I find the verb quite appropos as well. It’s synoynous with leaping, skipping, bounding, hopping.  Yes, that’s how I feel about this time of year.  I see the smiles on peoples’ faces and believe they agree with me too.

So, don’t be surprised if you see a lot of white-legged, hopping, jumping skippers out there.  It’s SPRINGTIME after all!

Flower or Weed?

I have decided, after looking outside my window, that I like dandelions.  Yes, call me crazy, but looking at the beautiful, green grass and seeing dots of yellow just screaming out “Look at me!  Look how bright and pretty I am!  Don’t you just love spring when you see me?”  Yes, they talk to me.  Really, I do hear them.

So I started wondering, who decided that green, beautifully manicured lawns were better than the blanket of dandelions?  Does no one see the benefits of dandelions?  Who declared them to be weeds and comdemned them to death anyway?

I decided that perhaps I should research this phenomenon.  I really did not come up with much information.  Not much concerning their ultimate demise, but I did find some other really good information as to why we SHOULD let them procreate and tint our world a lively, bright, yellow.

Did you know that the English word dandelion is actually taken from the French dent de lion which translated means “lion’s tooth”?   The coarse leaves of the dandelion are jagged, like a lion’s tooth.  Hmmm, interesting.  Then I recalled my father talking to someone about dandelion wine.  These lovely buds can’t be all that bad if you can make a fermented drink out of them.  I have heard people make tea from dandelion leaves as well.  Then there are the many recipes of dandelion salad.  Personally, I think it might be a bit bitter for my taste, but to each their own right? 

For the environmentalist, I give you this little tidbit:  dandelions provide an important source of nectar and pollen early in the spring season for bees.  You recall the bee fear of 2009?  NO bees means NO pollination and eventual death to mankind.  See?  Dandelions are very important. 

Don’t you love the sky after dandelions dry out and these beautiful little white fluffs go floating around everywhere in the sky?   It looks like snow (for those who prefer snowy weather).  How beautiful!  (Unless you have allergies, then not so much.  sorry)

My dandelion sources (mainly wikipedia) also state that dandelions have medicinal properties and are used to treat infections and liver problems.  Who knew? 

For those who prefer not to mow their lawns (you know, for ecofriendly reasons) you don’t have to worry about it when there is dandelion power in your backyard.  Once those wonder flowers start spreading and sprouting, you will have a beautiful sea of yellow and subsequently…no more lawn!  No lawn means…no need to mow!

Well, I think I have made my point.  Next time you decide you want to choke out the dandelions, think about the automatic, low maintenance beauty they provide to every lawn.

But now….it’s extermination time!  Time to rip out and weed out those doggone creeping charlie plants that are suffocating my dandelions.  Drat! I can’t stand weeds!