This weekend we were in Chicago. I saw my first cardinal. So, with little time to draw and with minor embarrassment at my own bird-geekiness, I drew him.

During this short trip I was delighted by the springtime weather, the new birds visiting my parent’s feeder and the abundance of tulips. Really, they are EVERYWHERE. The abundance of tulips is due to the diligence of those hearty Mid-westerners planting bulbs 6 months ago. The bitter winter has passed and their long awaited bulbs have finally appeared.

On the heels of spring breaking ground those hearty folks become ravenous for gardening. On Sunday I witnessed a new kind of gardening frenzy. We went to a gardening store; it spanned two huge city blocks. People had to cross the street just to get from the shrub/tree area to the flower/vegetable area. In their frenzy, droves of customers were loading their carts with flat after flat of iris, pansy and geranium. Yes, I said geranium.  These poor people endure such deadening chill that they actually buy geraniums in the spring.  You see, geraniums grow like a damn weed here.  The neglected, rundown freeway off-ramp I take to go to work  has a patch of red geraniums that reaches 40 feet by 20.  Of course, I realized how fortunate I am to live in the land of milk and honey. But sometimes I forget. California bursts with color as though red, orange and yellow were its god-given accessories.

At a party we attended on Saturday several native and non-native Chicagoans were happy to tell us how amazing their town was. And I agreed, nodding politely, but behind my polite smile was a smirk. The knowing smirk that every Californian has, trying her hardest to not brag, lest more people would discover the Elysium fields we inhabit.

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