Life is Sweet, For Some

Photo by: Cristina Crawford

On this morning, life is deliciously sweet (for some) and oh so symbiotic.

Take this bee. For a moment I marvel at it and, due to my current state of affairs, even wonder how lovely it must be to not have a care in the world on this hot and humid summer morning. Yes, I know. It’s quite absurd to think a bee hasn’t a care in the world. And, obviously, this bee does have a pressing issue: It is laser focused on food. But it doesn’t stop there. The bee “knows” that flowers are its life-source, in the form of the flowers’ sweet nectar and pollen. These are carried back to feed the family, or to be more specific, the entire colony of bees.

But what of flowers? What’s in it for them? Ah…yes of course! Bees are their life-source too. Without them, flowers and many plant or vegetable species wouldn’t be able to propagate.

I continue to admire the work of the bee as I snap a few photos of it with my iPhone. Sweat drips from my brow, stinging my eyes as I continue walking. I stop to wipe my eyes and catch sight of more bees. Perhaps it’s the heat taking affect but I start to wonder: Hmm… what if the bee and the flower were to have a conversation what would it be like?

“Well….hello beautiful,” the bee says buzzing with a dizzying delight. “And how are you on this fine morning? As you can see, I am dragging a bit and therefore am in need of a pick-me-up via your sweet elixir.”

“I am only too happy to oblige you my friend,” says the flower as the bee’s long proboscis sinks into it’s glorious color.

“Yippee! All is right with the world,” hums the bee. In fact, it practically does somersaults of joy as it happily flits from tree to tree before returning to the garden of flowers.

One more go of it before I leave your sweet embrace,” says the bee landing back on his chosen beauty. ‘I’ll just be topping off the tank, as it were. I hope you’ll oblige me just a wee bit more. And, you know it is not just for me. I’ve got a colony to feed after all.”

The flower is grateful beyond measure. “Thank you for spreading my pollen around Mister Bee. My numbers were starting to dwindle and I needed some help. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Perhaps life would be sweeter if more people would understand that we are all in this crazy life together. We need to work together because we need each other. Beyond that, a heavy sprinkling of gratitude would be most appreciated as the cherry on top.

Okay. So, The Poodle is over-the-moon grateful on this particular day. And why wouldn’t he be? He’s just been given his favorite treat of all time by the neighbor who loves him so. Bacon.

There is bliss in that.

Just Bee Calm


My sis–B. for short–is the creative one in the family.  She knows color, she paints, she’s always got clever ideas for everything from home decorating to her son’s school activities… and she’s got a fashion sense.  She puts energy into dressing her hubby to the nines, even for his work attire and the same effort goes into her son.  He’s perfectly attired whenever he has a function to attend.  Just the other week he looked terrific–and so adult– in coat and tie at his piano recital.

Moi?  I’m not sure what happened–perhaps an event of some such occurred in utero?  Or, more plausible, the military doc smacked me too hard as I came into the world.  I lament the dearth of creative genes.  I’m sure I’ve got one or two but not nearly enough for an aesthetic loving Libra!  And while I’m fairly adept at creating a beautiful home with what I have I cannot seem to draw a stick figure.  And don’t get me started on selecting colors (whether it’s for painting a room or putting together something decent to wear): It can be tortuous because indecision rules making it nearly impossible to “pick and stick” on a color.   And as far as attire goes, I want uncomplicated, easy… which means I do not want to think about it.  Ah…you guessed it: yoga attire and Birkenstock’s.

Okay….hmm…so where was I even going with this…..?

Ah yes.

So my sis cracks me up just the other day.  We’re outside on her screened-in deck enjoying coffee and a sweet treat.

“I’ve bought a bee house,” she says

“A bee house?” I repeat.

“Yes,” she says sweetly as she sips her coffee.  “Bees need a place to live too so I’m giving them their own Bed and Breakfast (A Bee B&B. Yep, see…I would have never thought of that.)  “Look…” she says as she points out into the yard to a tree that is just at the start of the very path we both worked on to connect our two back yards.

Ah…and there, so lovingly attached to a tree is a quaint little Bee House.  I should say that it is ever so sweet.

I wasted no time….

YIKES!” I cried out. “Really? You actually want to attract bees?!” I ask in distress.  “And, by the way, I’ll have to walk past this…um… bee hotel every time I walk over here?”

For a moment sis is clearly perplexed at my reaction so I refresh her memory.

“You’ll recall the bee incident when I was out in Arizona caring for mom two years ago.

“Oh….yes…..right,” she says.  “But these aren’t Africanized bees.”

“Still sis….you had to be there.  I still have nightmares!  And how, pray tell, do you know that one of these bees hasn’t decided to go rogue and join a TERROR CELL?  After all, Africanized bees are “killer” bees! They actually aggressively go after people!”

Sis understands my…er…concern.

“Remember…one minute mom and I are sitting on the patio enjoying our morning espresso and the next minute we hear the handyman roar “RUN…GET INDOORS NOW!”

As part of my efforts to clear my mother’s home and get it ready for sale I was having a ginormous fallen saguaro in the yard hauled away.  It was quite some distance from where we were sitting on the back patio. It only took an instance for the handyman doing the hauling to learn that it contained a large hive.  Before we could blink our quiet morning desert bliss was invaded by swarms of thousands of bees.  Extremely angry bees I might add!  Oh sure…I’m supposed to feel sorry for them as they are simply trying to defend their hive. Alas, On this, dear Buddha I have not evolved when it comes to Africanized bees. In any event, the handyman made a mad dash for it into the house but not before he was stung at least five different places on his face as well as multiple times on his arms.

Mom and I were in a state of terror and frenzy as I tried to move mom as fast as possible given her condition. It was barely five steps from her seat into her room that was just off the back patio but as she relied on both a wheelchair and a walker it was impossible to make a run for it.  She ended up having several sings to her face, one pretty close to an eye.  One side of her face swelled up in less than a New York minute.  Somehow I managed to escape with only one sting to my shoulder.

The handyman was a jewel, helping to calm mom down and even made her laugh as he used his credit card to scrape the stingers out.  The day proceeded with a confirmation by not one but TWO different Bee extermination companies, “You’ve got Africanized bees.”  It took all but nuking them to get the battle under control.

Thankfully mom didn’t require a hospital visit.  Applying cold compresses throughout the morning helped reduce the swelling and by later in the day there was barely a trace of the morning’s mayhem.   Moi?  Just the sound of a bee buzz made me jump and run.

…and still does today.

The memory of it all starts me down a path of anxiety.  Breathe in….breathe outJust BEE calm….

And when the calm returns I can confess…

…that yes, it really is a cute little Bee House.


B.’s bee house…

Just One Day Off….please!

It’s a damned good thing that I love the desert.  It’s truly the silver lining during this…um…oh so “interesting” time in my life.

I’ve been in Carefree approaching six weeks now and still have two months to go, (that is, if this insane plan is still on course).  Naturally under the circumstances, my time here is anything but carefree.  Each day is filled with either some sort of catastrophe or an emotional outburst.  The other morning I thought I would have a repreive from both.  No so. The roof guy happened to stop by early. I was just starting out on my morning walk. He wanted to give me an update on the roof repair to mom’s house (of paramount urgency before the house gets put on the market.).

“We should be finished by Monday,” said intensely blue-eyed Ben. “There’s just one area that we cannot address due to the bees.”

“The bees?” I ask. “I thought we had already taken care of that problem!”

Indeed, just five days before we had plunked down another $350 to get rid of a hive of epic proportions. Those particular bees were dangerously aggressive (a story for another time). They had been housed in an enormous dead saguaro on the east end of mom’s house and had already sent three bee guys running down the street, not to mention leaving 12 stingers in one of the pest control guys…and that was through his bee suit!

Blue-eyed Ben points to the west end of the house. “Looks like they are regrouping to new digs ma’am. They are swarming around one of the Vega’s that we need to caulk. I’ll show you.”

We walk to the west end of the house, carefully stepping around the numerous cacti that Kurt had planted through the years. “Shit,” I say, upon hearing the unmistakeable loud hum as we approach the end of the house.

Ben points up towards the roof.

Oh my God. There, on one of the wooden Vega’s, is a swarm of what must be thousands of bees! Naturally I unleash a few expletives ending with “Can’t you cut us a break God? Just ONE F-ing day of nothing going wrong….please!”

Ben seems quite un-ruffled by my rant. He whips out his cell phone and says he must video it for his son. “He’s in the second grade,” he explains, “and he’s studying insects. He’s really gonna love this.”

With a heavy sigh I reach for my own phone and once again call the pest control company. I leave a message and hang-up and then start venting to blue-eyed Ben….a complete stranger mind you…about everything that has hit the fan in the last three weeks. “It’s one drama after another and money is flying out the window like there is no tomorrow,” I say with tears welling-up in my eyes. “And now the stupid pest control company wants to charge $1,800 to haul off the dead saguaro that had housed those terrorists bees on the east side of the house!” Exhaustion from it all has me in full rant mode now.

Ben looks at me with disbelief. “$1,800 to haul off that saguaro? That’s ridiculous,” he says.

I try to explain: “We have to get rid of it because those terrorist bees will be back…it’s just a matter of time. My mom’s already been stung and these bees are extremely dangerous. The hive that’s housed in it is apparently the largest seen in the area in years. The pest control company said that it must be chopped up in bits because of it’s heft and then carefully extracted from the area so that honey from the hive doesn’t get onto the driveway; they say it’ll stain the cement badly and it will be a mess to get out. We wanted to burn it but it’s been too windy.”

“I can haul it off for $200. Our equipment truck will be able to handle the load. We can do it for you next week.”

I’ll be honest folks….I was a breath away from kissing blue-eyed Ben.

“Oh my God….thanks Ben….I so appreciate your help,” I said as I shake his hands with heartfelt gratitude.

It’s one day at a time to be sure. But in the meantime, I’d like just one day off from problems….

pretty please, that is.