Eleven has been my lucky number for a long time. Well, maybe not lucky so much as simply that number that feels... coolest. It's got symmetry, it's got double digits, and it's not the cliché that seven has become among numbers we hold dear.

Today the wife and I are celebrating our eleventh wedding anniversary and, since it's the twenty-second of the month, numerics continue to work their spooky logic. Yeehaaw, don't that just double the pleasure.

After seeing the wee one off to school this morning, we hit the trails that criss-cross the local mountains for a half-hour's worth of running. Viv took the switchbacks to the top of the mesa for an ocean view, and I stuck with my usual route down below. Since the rains, there's been a lot of rattlesnakes about. Repairs made to my trail after it was fairly obliterated by El Niño's torrents have made the paths wider, a little too wide for my tastes (though it does make it easier to see serpents with more warning instead of having to spot the rattle vibrating two steps before I'm on it). The trail used to be less than a foot wide in some places and that always made for some interesting snap judgements, i.e. "is that a stick or a viper?"

Viv took the day off from the office, so after the run we worked on landscaping for most of the day, taking a break in the middle for a feast of kung pao chicken, sweet and pungent chicken, and a tofu vegetable mix that's purdy dang tasty. A dessert of fortune cookies and the standard anniversary afternoon delight left us smiley and ready for more yardwork.

* * * * *

Several years ago, as a remedy for the inappropriate stress of finding anniversary gifts for each other, we developed a new tradition. At the outset of the marriage we followed the conventional etiquette and got each other gifts of paper, iron, etc. It was fun, though slightly pedestrian for our tastes. For several years now, however, we've been buying rocks.

Yep. Rocks.

If you've been in garden shops you've probably seen them, those river stones with words carved in them. When I first saw them I thought "Okay. Cool enough." But they were expensive, and a person with any sense at all is embarrassed to walk up to the register and slap down that kind of cash for... a rock. But what really makes the thing is the engraving. It's nice work, like what you see these days on a top-notch headstone, and who wouldn't agree that master stonecarvers need to broaden their market. The thing is solid with some serious heft, like, say, marriage. The combination of word and medium is satisfying to me. So the wife and I get to thinkin' hey, every year for our anniversary we get a rock. Eventually, if things go well, we've got a yard full of fifty or sixty rocks. We die, the rocks go on. Grandkids ask "What's with all the rocks?" Rocks get passed down for generations. Curiosity arises, "Why'd they pick that word?" "What the hell were they thinking?" Or, if youth continues its current intellectual trends, "That sucks."

You can pick whatever word you want and the stonecarvers go to it. Small rocks, medium rocks, big rocks, giant rocks. So on odd-numbered anniversaries I pick the word. Viv gets the evens.

* * * * *

I may be in my forties, but I've still got that je ne sais quoi. Dr. Love (oui, c'est moi) is still in residence. How so, you say? Lemme splain.

It's Memorial Day weekend, the traditional kick-off of summer and barbeques and parties. Big fat wild parties. And I gotta tell ya, I'm keeping up my part of the responsibilities -- tonight I'm sleeping with six chicks, baby. That's right, the first big party weekend, and tonight it's me and six, count 'em SIX different chicks. It may be my anniversary, but this does not keep me from allowing my daughter to take care of the half dozen little hatchlings from her first grade class over this long weekend. She has named them, she has given them a tour of her house, and she has let them have recess in the kitchen. They peep, they poop, and they go back Tuesday.

Six chicks, two cats, one wife, one daughter, and me.

I guess eleven is lucky after all.


Today's Music:

"Lullaby Of Birdland" -- Cal Tjader "Black Orchid"


Wisdom of the Day:

"The hen is an egg's way of producing another egg."

-- Samuel Butler