Younger son's birthday was last Wednesday, but seeing how he lives in Switzerland a cake and ice cream was more of a challenge than we could manage. An e-card had to do.
However, we had our regularly scheduled Sunday FaceTime chat at noon today, and when I picked up his call I found he and his lovely friend Nicole were at a pond near Nicole's apt.
I was able to see the beautiful yellow flag iris, lily pads, the reeds, the blue damsel flies, a red-billed duck and hear the frogs, who were in fine and very noisy voice. Zak knows that these are things that get my motor running, and the pond tour was wonderful!
Then we went on a walk along the Rhine, saw the lock system, crossed the hydro-electric power generation dam and walked some lovely paths. We figured out that the i-phone can even look through the telescope on the dam that gives viewers a look at the spire of the cathedral in downtown Basel several miles away.
One interesting concept the Swiss have is the preservation of certain areas along paths as undisturbed habitat for insects, bees, small creatures like frogs, lizards and birds. The native grasses, wildflowers and plants are left alone to grow wild.
The area we passed was very lush with grass which appeared about 30" (.76 m) high, and a wild rose by the path was at least 60" (1.5 m) tall and wide, and blooming with a lovely pink rose of the same type we have here in Alberta. It was lovely. It is forbidden to walk into these areas, or to allow your child or dog to walk into them.
Zak says there are often loose piles of stones, or large stones piled loosely between two fences of wire, with ivy or vines planted on them, to create a rock wall full of hiding places for small creatures.
Tuesday I have a doctor's appt. I did what she said, took calcium and vitamin D supplements, and my blood test came back with a high calcium reading. Her nurse called me in a bit of a panic last week. I knew what she was thinking. High serum calcium is one of the signs of a cancer that has metastasized (spread) to the bone. I told her not to worry. I have Familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia and every time I take calcium supplements or vitamin D my calcium level shows up as high. Sometimes it shows as high without calcium supplements.
I've been out plant shopping for the condo flower gardens. The spring bulbs have put on quite a show, and because our days have been relatively cool they have hung on forever.
But now it's past the official "last frost date", and safe to put in the summer annuals and replace the perennials that didn't make it through the winter. We need to do a bit of weeding. I saw a set of twin Russian thistles which have come up under one of the shrubs and are already 24" (.60 m) tall. You have to arm yourself with leather, or something similar to pull them. They are armed with venomous spikes, and are covered with hairs that blister if they get on your skin. Like Vladamir Putin, they don't play games.
Aside from the twin Vladamirs there are a few small dandelions and one or two other grubbies and we need to cut back the grass that's crept into the beds. Once that's done I have a balcony full of both perennials and annuals which will make the beds dance with colour.
I found pink Echinacea (coneflower) and bought three. I wanted to buy pink ones last year but all I could find were white, so I bought white, and now I'll have both! I got some beautiful purple salvia, begonias for the spots that don't get much sun, oh too many to list!(aren't you thrilled?).
The landscaper is supposed to send two men to do the weeding and plant the new plants on Wednesday.
And not inconsequentially Wednesday will be our 50th wedding anniversary. It's also our older son's 49th birthday. We will probably have dinner together, unless Ian has other plans. There won't be much "partying". We're not party people. If we got flowers Smokey would just eat them and make himself sick.
Good food, each others' company and some memories shared, perhaps a few tears remembering all the loved ones swept away by the River of Time in those 50 years. And that River ever flows, and it flows.