Friday, March 30, 2012

Never Let Her Go

Last night I had a dream about my mom. I was at a family reunion (no doubt brought on by all the genealogical research I have been doing lately) and suddenly there she was! I put my arms around her and I told her that I wasn't going to let her go, because I knew that once I did I would never see her again. The dream was so real that even now I can still feel her in my embrace. My mom died in a car accident in the middle of Kansas in 1989. Not a day goes by that I don't think about her and the things I wish I could share with her.

This morning as I reflected on the dream I realized how wonderful it was to be able to hold her again, if only in my dream. The old song from the group Bread popped into my mind:

Somewhere out there
Someone will care for you and then...
Never let her go

If you have a mom who is still with you, give her a hug and never let her go.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stalker Dog

Our dog has finally figured out the the mailman comes bearing more than the mail. He also (usually) has dog treats. Now whenever I take Kirby out for our after lunch walk, he scouts around for the mailman. He knows that our particular mailman parks his truck around the corner from our house. So the first thing we have to do is check it out to see if the mailman is still in the truck. Sometimes we can catch him there eating his lunch. Other times he is taking a break, perhaps listening to a little of the Cardinals game. So Kirby gets up in his hind legs and bounces along like a dancing dog to see if he can spy the mailman. If that doesn't pan out, he carefully looks up and down the street, searching for the blue uniform carrying a bag. If Kirby sees him, he pulls me down the street like a sled dog until we catch up. The gagging noise coming from his throat alerts the mailman that stalker dog is hot on his tail. It is a game we play every day. The mailman seems to get a kick out of him, maybe since Kirby never barks at him or tries to bite him, and he always takes the dog treat very politely.

Yesterday after he scored a biscuit from the mailman, we continued on our walk. As we worked our way back to the house, Kirby spotted a second mail truck. Oh how I wish I could have taken a picture to capture the look of disbelief on his face! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I got my speed walking in for a second time that day. This time he was rewarded with a beef flavored treat and he certainly savored it.

Later in the evening he found an even bigger treat in the backyard. Somehow he captured a smaller bunny, which he proudly brought up to the back door to show me. He seems somewhat like a cat that way. No amount of cajoling would convince him to drop the rabbit, which was dead fortunately. I imagine that the neighbor's cat or one of the local owls killed it because Kirby is not fast enough to catch a bunny. We had to practice our distract and ignore maneuvers until he finally let it go long enough for Jim to bag it and throw it away. You know, we are always chasing the rabbits out of our yard so that they don't destroy our gardens. Kirby probably thought he was helping us out. Yuck!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Along Came a Spider...

Katie and I were out running errands today and I noticed a spider on the windshield of the car as I was driving. At first I thought it was on the outside of the car, but no such luck. It traveled up the windshield to my sun visor. Now, if you think people who text and drive are dangerous, you haven't seen me trying to capture a spider before it lands on my lap! Fortunately the stoplight turned red, and Katie handed me a wipe to squish it. The spider was having none of that and instead dropped onto the seat beside me. As I was squealing with disgust I noticed the man in the next car smirking at me. If I could have gotten my hand on the spider, it would have ended up flying out my window and into his car.

By now the light had turned green, so I crossed the intersection into the restaurant where we had planned to eat lunch. Opening both the car doors on my side of the car, I could not spy the spider. I did see the single strand of a web in the back seat and brushed at it. All of a sudden a spider came sliding quickly down a different strand and out of the car. An escape artist! But at least he was gone.

On the drive to our next destination I saw a tiny spider crawling up my side window. I could almost hear it saying, "Momma, momma". Guess our "he" spider was probably a "she" spider. How many eggs do they lay anyhow?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Weather Outside is Delightful!

The weather has been amazing! Yesterday I decided to drop everything and head over to the Missouri Botanical Garden. This really is the time of year when you need to go every week because things are popping all over the place. But my daughter and I had just gone on Saturday, and I absolutely could not believe how much had changed in just a few short days. It was incredible. I have a hard time finding people who are interested in going with me because I love to take photographs there. Lots of photographs...and most people don't like to wait around for me to get done shooting. My husband is actually a little worse than me, but he can't go as frequently as I like to go. But I don't mind going alone - it beats having someone harp at me to hurry up.

This morning I decided to walk up to the recreation center where I work out. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But I ran into my neighbor ladies who have the most beautiful garden on the block. They were out working in their yard - hence the most beautiful garden on the block. So of course we had to catch up on the neighborhood gossip. By the time I arrived at the center I was already hot and sweaty. The walk back home was less fun. Now I know why I always drive there. But I got my exercise in and have some new stories to tell my husband at supper tonight. All in all, a good trade-off!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Morpho Mania

Even though I am a long time member of the Missouri Botanical Garden, I have never gone to the Butterfly House in March for Morpho Mania. The Butterfly House floods their conservatory with thousands of Blue Morpho butterflies for this event in an effort to educate visitors about the important role butterflies play in nature. Jim and I visited there today, and I have to say it was an amazing sight. This type of butterfly is brown when the wings are closed and you only see the blue when it is flying or has its wings open. It was very difficult to try and capture them with a still camera as they are mostly in flight. I was happy that I brought my pocket camcorder along as I was able to videotape them more successfully than photograph them.

Unlike the Orchid Show yesterday at the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Butterfly House was not overly crowded. We were able to take our time going through and photograph to our hearts content without being in the way of other people. (Or having them get in our way.) I always forget how hot and humid it gets inside the conservatory. It took quite a while before my camera lens would quit fogging up from the change in temperature.

I did not realize that the Butterfly House was the recipient of one of the butterfly sculptures from the Wings in the City fundraiser that was held a couple of years ago in St. Louis. This is probably one of the prettiest sculptures, and I love how the artist reproduced the Butterfly House on the sculpture.
I'll leave you with one of the Blue Morphos sounding the alarm at the Butterfly House.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Jim, Katie and I just returned from a week in Mexico, specifically an all-inclusive resort near Playa del Carmen. This is an early graduation celebration for Katie, who is now done with college in less than three years. Though she doesn't receive her diploma until the spring, she is technically done with her classes. She does not like it when I write about her, so I have tried not to do it very often. But just this once I am going to say how proud we are of her for setting her goals and meeting them. She even received all A's in college and will graduate summa cum laude.

So before she heads back to Los Angeles and a new career, we wanted to take a family vacation with her. We chose Mexico because she and Jim are both interested in the Mayan ruins, and then I located an adults only resort so we didn't have to deal with any kids. The Ocean Maya Royale is a smaller resort, which we like, yet it has four restaurants including Japanese and Italian dining. It also has two swimming pools. Its main detraction is the fact that the beach got taken out by the last hurricane, so swimming in the ocean is not as great as it has been at the other resorts we have been to in the past. But we knew that going in, so no biggie.

Katie and Jim decided to try their hand at scuba diving, so they took a beginner class that starts in the pool before heading out into the ocean. They both enjoyed it, but Jim had some problems with his ears so he ended it there. Katie went on to become PADI certified, so she went out on an additional dive. More power to her. I have phobias about diving, so I stuck to snorkeling. It was the best snorkeling I have ever done! It seemed as though I was swimming in an aquarium. Awesome!

Down the beach about a 20 minute walk or so was a lagoon that we went to see. It reminded me of the movie "Blue Lagoon", and I was wondering where Brooke Shields was. It also made me think of a woman from my writing class a few years ago, as she was writing about estuaries. A river meets the ocean at this lagoon, so I visited my first estuary.

One of the other things we did was visit the Mayan ruins which are located about 2 1/2 hours away from our resort. At the suggestion of the concierge, we hired a taxi and driver for the day as it was less expensive than the three of us taking the bus tour to Chichen Itza. Plus we would be able to go at our own pace instead of the pace of a tour. What a great decision! The Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza are one of the World Heritage sites, and they are truly amazing. The only down side was all the vendors inside the site who were hawking their wares. What a distraction and annoyance, and they didn't want to take no for an answer.

We were ready for lunch after seeing these ruins, so our driver took us to a little restaurant on the way to Tulum that serves traditional Mayan dishes. Oh, was it ever good! Then he took us to the Tulum ruins so that we could visit that site. It is not as large as Chichen Itza, but it is perched on a cliff overlooking the the Caribbean, so it was wonderful in its own right. I wish that we would have had a bit more time there, but the bottom line is that we got to see both ruins in one day, which would not have happened on the bus tour.

One thing that is kind of weird in Mexico is that you are not allowed to flush any toilet paper down the toilets. They have little trash cans by all the toilets instead. I know that we are very spoiled in America, but this is one thing that would be a deal breaker for me if I was looking for a sunny, sandy retirement area. Especially once I came across something in Mexico that did not agree with my stomach. Ick!

Besides that, we had a really nice time and I am so glad we took the opportunity to make this last trip together. Having Andy and Megan on the east coast and working full time, I know how little we get to see the kids once they move away and get settled in their jobs. So I'm grateful we got to spend this time with Katie before she too flies the coop and the sun sets on this chapter of our lives.