The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Only Shadow Knows

“If animals could speak, 
the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; 
but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.” 

~ Mark Twain

Shadow sauntered in this morning. He headed straight for his food bowl, ate a bit, pawed the floor in front of the water bowl, drank, then glanced over at me.  Amazing.
He's not quite himself - the needle on his swag-o-meter is resting on zero.  He's not laying around in his usual places, instead he's favoring the bedroom closets.  I put him up on the bed for a picture to send to the kids notifying them of his reappearance.  He was there as long as I wanted to pet him, then he got up and pushed around on my robe (also on the bed), finished that and leapt down.

We thought he was a goner.  With so many deer in the area I didn't imagine his demise at the jaws of a predator.  He's "overly" friendly for a cat.  I thought someone on the walking trail had taken him to their home (and maybe someone did ... he hasn't missed many meals it seems). All in all, after many outings to find him, I had given up hope.  As a matter of fact, this morning was the first morning I didn't go to the back door to let him in ... .  One came in for dinner and opted to stay the night.  Shadow was there waiting when he opened the door to leave this morning before V was even awake.  Amazing.

The bridge was still slightly underwater yesterday.  Maybe he was just waiting to come home with dry paws.

Where he has been is a mystery. Did he think of us while he was away ... what happens when he goes outside the next time? All that.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Today I made pillow cases

Last week we walked around an antique mall
and saw a bunch of old junk.
My husband likes to look at the books.
I mostly 
wander around
at places like that.

I like blue and white plates.
I have enough of those.

I like old "hankies"'
I seem to be the only person who still likes to use those.
I keep one in my purse.
There is a small stack of them in my top drawer - 
and a pretty little box
with six, never been used ones,
waiting for a turn in the purse.

They are pretty.
I buy only white ones with white embroidery and delicate trims.

I like the handwork that seems abundantly in supply at the antique store.

Last year I bought a tablecloth, which we enjoyed recently.
Usually I don't even check the price on those pieces -
I just hold them for a minute and wonder at the time
 and attention
(the love)
 which went in to producing them.
How could anyone let such a family treasure go?

This time I bought two double size top sheets.
Obviously part of someone's trousseau.

(Again - how did they come to be where stranger's can carelessly handle them?)
(And buy them?)

I don't use double sheets.
I do always like fresh white pillow cases though.
I made pillow cases.

For the price of four TARGET pillow cases we now have 11 beauties.

The fabric is perfection.

I am a little disconcerted still.  
The sicknesses, the deaths, the move ... house selling, house buying, life changing and changing and changing.  

It seems like this should "feel" like an idyllic time ... I can pretty much do as I please.  
It actually feels like a free fall. 
(I guess - I haven't fallen very far before - not more then just from a 3 meter board).  

Tonight, at choir, a new friend said the only thing I can do "wrong" during this time of readjustment is rush a decision.  A decision about a home was the presenting idea, but she meant more then that.  I was answering her question about whether or not I've begun to flight instruct again.  I haven't.  I am still trying to decide what I want to do about that.  My "flying buddies" are saying I need to get back at it.  They know how much I love it.  My husband would like for me to get back to it (if I want to).  I think everything "feels" so unsettled still. 

So ... today I made pillowcases.

wild flowers

~ Vid credit ~ the child now known as Roman Numeral V

somewhere between Fredericksburg and Llano, Texas

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


CoE flood management increased flow on the river which borders our house.
We're coming up on two weeks worth of water flowing over the low water crossing on the trail.
My cat, Shadow, must have been caught on the other side - we've searched everywhere for him to no avail thus far.

People who don't like cats have various reasons for their aversion.  I don't like cats because they are cavalier with one's heart.  He could be "just out catting around" - cats are like that.

Sammy doesn't like to be where he can't see me.  I do dread the day that we lose Samson, but I am confident that it won't be because he just wandered off and couldn't make the trek back home.

Monday, March 21, 2016


The Douglas SBD Dauntless was manufactured from 1940 to 1944. 
It is famous for delivering the fatal blows to the Japanese carriers
at the Battle of Midway in June 1942

Scuba diver, Brandi Mueller, captures
stunning photos of aircraft 

(which were placed) on the Pacific Ocean seabed 

Apollo 11

"Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace. These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice. 
"These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding. They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.
President Nixon's prepared notes in case they didn't "make it" home.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Gruene water tower


This past Thursday we drove to visit my dad's cousin and she gave me a stack of old pictures.

This picture of Daddy taken his senior year of High School - It is a small treasure.  I see him when I look at this of course - I also see my brothers in Daddy's features ... and his grandchildren.  

I knew she was going to give me a picture of Daddy's mother.  She died at age forty-two ... several years before I was born.  I hadn't seen a picture of her.  Why my dad didn't have a picture of his mother is a mystery.  He seemed to adore her - as did all of her children.  

My dad passed in March of '80.

I need to write a bit about him for his grandchildren.  

It's sad that none of them knew him.  He was in his mid forties when he died.

I'm happy to get this picture, looking at it makes me sad too though.

This is my granddad. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Blue Moon – May 21
There are normally only three full moons in each season of the year, because this will be the third of four full moons in the season, the May 21 full moon will be a blue moon. This rare event only happens once every few years, hence the term “once in a blue moon.” The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.

Once in a blue moon.  I think of "it" as a once in a lifetime event.

It's been several years ago (can't remember how many - bunches though) that I saw a BLUEMOON.  I remember the actual day quite clearly because it was St. Patrick's Day.  I had been away or maybe just quieter than usual. My entire family and a few of the kid's friends were enjoying wings night out at Buffalo Wild Wings (three's favorite dinner treat back then).  Usually we played one of the trivia games and frequently our table won - everyone's interests are so varied that our group excelled at those trivia games.  For some reason I was way down on the end of the table and the place just seemed overbearingly loud.  I drifted away in a bubble of my own where the noise dulled, becoming indistinct.  I looked out the window, saw a BLUEMOON, and became enchanted.  

That was special.  Remembering it is going to go on my 1000 thank~fuls list.  

I need to get back on noting those small pleasures. They can be perceived as little pictures of God's love.  Little fragile joy bubbles.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Spring Break 2016 Feast with special thanks to our chef!

Yesterday Five planned, shopped for, prepared and presented a lovely meal.

I wasn't a cook at her age.  I can't say I ever really even thought about food - much less had any desire to spend time putting meals together.  Momma cooked.  Daddy cooked.  My brothers and I took turns cleaning the kitchen.

I did learn how to do a few very simple, couldn't call them meals, let's go with dishes, during my college years.  My boyfriend, from Boston, really like bacon gravy on toast.  A staple of the South, it should have been served on biscuits which I had no idea how to make then and still don't.  Flour tortillas I can make from scratch.  I still steer clear of my mother's specialties (like biscuits).  When I cooked in college it was that gravy or scrambled eggs.

I began to learn how to cook after my first child was born.  I didn't really enjoy cooking (or really anything a traditional house wife might do.  I did enjoy being a mother.)  It was probably  during my 40's that I really began to enjoy cooking.  I love to cook now.  Two of our kids really love to cook, another loves to bake.

At dinner One said he see's beautiful delicious meals as both an art form and as a means of expressing "providing for" loved ones.  His appreciation of interesting special meals spurred my desire to cook well.  His littlest sister has the same hobby - scouring cookbooks for interesting menus.  She seems t be  specializing in seafood, atleast for now.

I really had doubts about the Thai Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp (because I don't enjoy papaya - it smells like vomit to me - that bad), but it was scrumptious.  If we could have it again today I'd be thrilled.

2.5 pounds green papaya (skin julienned on the mandolin)
1 pound cooked shrimp
.5 cups roasted peanuts chopped
6 scallions, green bits shredded
cherry tomatoes, quartered
handful of freshThai basil leaves (which we omitted)

dressed with:
2 red Thai chilies seeds and all
2 large cloves garlic finely grated
1.5 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1.5 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (I heated in a skillet till it smelled great)
3 teaspoons (but I think I used tablespoons - oops) rice wine vinegar

V had me do that while she saw to the Halibut, Sambal and iced Chai tea.

The fish was marinaded in:

.33 cups Red Curry paste
.33 cups coconut cream
lime zest
.5 teaspoon salt

for two hours

The Sambal:

cubed fresh (one) pineapple
large (peeled and seeded) cucumber
2 red chilies finely diced
2 small shallots finely sliced
3 TBSP lime juice
1.5 TBSP fish sauce
.75 superfine sugar
.5 ounce chopped cilantro
1 tsp poppy seeds

baked in banana leaves until done (I saw her check it with a meat thermometer but don't know the temp).  Amazingly delicious.

I juiced 16 limes for this meal (sous chef ... ) and was put in charge of a fresh lime sorbet.  Unfortunately I forgot to freeze the ice cream mixing bowl and the dessert didn't set (it's ready now though!)  The good news is that she had a delicious iced Chai tea planned and it passed as a dessert.

Bravo V - thanks for a memorable Spring Break 2016 dining experience ... lotsa fun by candlelight on the deck!
Deep Eddy Peach infused Vodka on the rocks is the bomb.  The wine was too fizzy for me but I think the guys enjoyed it.

outside Central Market
(where she loves to shop)
I love this - looking forward to landscaping a home over here!

My Debbie texted in while I was driving - 
V handled the phone work for me -
Bluebonnets blooming!

ramp to 35N
Big open sky with lotsa green and blue
traffic bad because of SXSW event

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Monarch caterpillar turning into a chrysalis

A friend I've not seen since the mid seventies put this together and shared shared it on FB.  She said it was okay to put it with my notes here.  Another old buddy said something like this is me ... nothing nothing then poof ... a chrysalis.  That does seem a bit us, waking to feed ourselves something to fill the empty places ... then suddenly between here and eternity.  Our hope is to emerge SPLENDID.

On a late August morning, just north of Lake Huron, in Canada, a miracle of nature is about to unfold. This tiny caterpillar is destined to become a Monarch butterfly. In one of the most amazing transformations in the animal world, the caterpillar will outgrow and shed its skin four times. The fifth time, the caterpillar disappears. It's transformed into a chrysalis, a delicate case within which a completely new being takes form. (~ from the transcript noted way below)

below - my notes from March 2011

These past several days I have been streaming a NOVA special about monarch butterflies while I do other things ... like housework and playing card games with V. I like butterflies ... like everyone does probably, what's not to like. I really like to visit the butterfly house at Callaway Gardens, but it's the people looking at butterflies that I really like to see when I'm there. Butterflies seem like flying flowers to me. I have paid attention to the word for butterfly in different languages ... it always sounds like a pretty word. That's pretty much my whole file on butterflies ... Oh! Except this part, which is why I chose to view the NOVA program in the first place. I know they migrate right through Texas on their way to the same place in Mexico every year. That place in Mexico was on my to see list before traveling in Mexico became unappealing to me ... I wondered where ... if ... there was some reliable place to see them in mass in Texas. The answer to that is probably, maybe yes, maybe no. They are definitely on their way to a specific place to hibernate ... they do stop for weather and food enroute though. Weather pretty much determines where their food is too I bet.

The NOVA special isn't available on Netflix at present.

Program Description

(Program not available for streaming.) Orange-and-black wings fill the sky as NOVA charts one of nature's most remarkable phenomena: the epic migration of monarch butterflies across North America. To capture a butterfly's point of view, NOVA's filmmakers used a helicopter, ultralight, and hot-air balloon for aerial views along the transcontinental route. This wondrous annual migration, which scientists are just beginning to fathom, is an endangered phenomenon that could dwindle to insignificance if the giant firs that the butterflies cling to during the winter disappear.
I has

I hadn't realized that they rotate their documentaries ... I had not been taking notes like I like to do. So this morning I was surprised when I sat down with a fresh bouquet of gardenias, hot coffee, favorite pen and moleskin notebook, the delightful iPad2 ...all set to focus on the program ... and ... nope! It is not available! Rats!

Here are my notes culled from various sites These guys specifically asked for a citation if their info was used.

Four stages:
Larvae (caterpillar)
Pupa (chrysalis)
Adult butterfly

Four generations (per year)
The Nova program had the cycle beginning in Canada with a southwesterly migration to Mexico. I'll keep an eye out for that documentary, because it was pretty succinct. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back to this post with notes from them, but for today, I'll go with this:

Four generations:
G1 out of hibernation ... find a mate ... begin migration to the NE to lay eggs. In March and April the eggs are laid on milkweed and four days later they hatch. Caterpillars live to eat for two weeks. Nova had something about the caterpillar out growing it's skin several times during this stage ... I'm looking for some specifics on that. The chrysalis stage is a time of metamorphosis which lasts ten days. As I see it, the whole life cycle of the butterfly is pretty metamorphoriffic.
G1 lives 2-6 weeks and lays eggs
G2 hatches in May and June
G3 hatches July and August
Generations 1,2 and 3 are all meandering SWerly from Canada
G4 hatches September and October and migrates to Mexico if they begin E of the Rockies or to the Pacific Grove area of California if they bin W of the Rockies. In California they winter over in the eucalyptus trees ... Oyamel fir trees are their home in Mexico.
So three generations of southern fliers and one generation of northern fliers per year.

Two reason are given for their migration ... Which I see as really only one reason. The two cited are; can't withstand cold, and larval food plants. It seems obvious to me that both are "weather" related. Every thing I've seen or read on this migration makes a big deal out of the mystery of how these guys get from point a to point b. I must be missing the magic somewhere ... I'm certain that I must be. To me it just seems obvious they are seeking the right kind of weather/food. Nova talked about them landing and sitting during cold snaps. These guys are not IMC fliers either. A ton of people spend the winter in South Texas ... Fleeing the cold, then they return home when the weather is to their liking. Sure looks like the butterflies were ahead of the trend. Maybe they find their way back to their spot in Canada by following their food source ... The tropical heat gets pretty inhospitable ... I personally am not buying the magnetic nav system idea ... I think they are looking for their next meal ... There must be a reason when generation four has a longevity advantage. I think it's weather and weathers impact on the groceries and other life support.
There are people who are dedicated to butterfly research ... I'll be looking at this topic more. There was a group who moved a batch of butterflies from Kansas to Washington DC for a launch ... Initially, the butterflies started heading South, but after a couple of days they corrected their course for Mexico. Ummm ... I personally like Lindor Truffles ... guess what ... I know who does and who does not stock them ... I know where they are sold by the 8.5oz package and where they are sold individually wrapped. It doesn't seem miraculous to me that the DC butterflies didn't track over open water.
NOVA The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies
(DVD available for $20.00)


The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies

PBS Airdate: January 27, 2009
NARRATOR: It's one of the most profound mysteries in the natural world, an amazing transcontinental odyssey: the migration, each year, of millions of Monarch butterflies from Canada, across America, to Mexico.
CHIP TAYLOR (University of Kansas): You got a butterfly that's originating in Toronto, or it's originating in Detroit, Michigan, or it's coming down from St. Paul, maybe even Winnipeg, and it's moving south, and, somehow, it finds its way to Mexico. Could you do that?
NARRATOR: Starting from a tiny caterpillar, blossoming into a beautiful butterfly, these delicate creatures will fly thousands of miles in a feat of endurance and navigation unlike anything else in nature.
LINCOLN BROWER (Sweet Briar College): They've never taken a long flight in their lives, and they're on their way to an area that they've never seen before. Somehow they're recognizing landmarks, or following streams or following the Sun. They're following something.
NARRATOR: They're on their way to a remote area, high in the Mexican mountains. And they get there every year at exactly the same time.
BILL CALVERT (Zoologist): Butterflies have dazzled humans for millennia. It's a beautiful little creature, and on top of that, it migrates 2,000 miles, and this just staggers the mind.
LINCOLN BROWER: I think the Monarch butterfly is one of the most magnificent animals in the world. And it's unique in terms of the entire animal kingdom. There's nothing like it.
NARRATOR: On a late August morning, just north of Lake Huron, in Canada, a miracle of nature is about to unfold. This tiny caterpillar is destined to become a Monarch butterfly. In one of the most amazing transformations in the animal world, the caterpillar will outgrow and shed its skin four times. The fifth time, the caterpillar disappears. It's transformed into a chrysalis, a delicate case within which a completely new being takes form.
After about 10 days in the chrysalis, the new creature is complete. All traces of the caterpillar are gone, and in its place is a butterfly with four delicate wings.
But the newly developed Monarch butterfly must wait a few hours for its wings to harden, and then, finally, it can fly.
This particular generation of Monarch butterflies is special. Every year, about a hundred million of them begin an astonishing migration. Coming from southern Canada and the northeastern United States, each butterfly, starting on its own, flies about 2,000 miles, arriving two months later in Mexico.
Their trip is part of a carefully timed cycle that began three generations back, when a group of Monarchs left Mexico at the end of the winter. They flew as far north as the Gulf States, mated, and died.
The second generation flew to the northern United States. There, they, too, mated and died, living only about a month. Their offspring, the third generation, completed the last leg of the journey to Canada, also surviving only about a month.
But the fourth generation will live almost nine months. And they'll fly all the way back to Mexico in one epic trip. It's an amazing natural cycle that so far eludes explanation.
The mystery starts at the very beginning of the trip, because no one knows exactly what triggers the exodus from Canada.
LINCOLN BROWER: Well, when the Monarchs leave Canada, they have a 2,000 mile trek ahead of them, at least. They're freshly hatched butterflies. They've never taken a long flight in their lives, and they're on their way to an area that they've never seen before. Somehow they're recognizing landmarks, or following streams or following the Sun. They're following something. We just don't know exactly how they do it. It's really an incredible journey.
NARRATOR: A Monarch's wingspan is just under four inches, and they weigh less than one fifth of an ounce. So how they survive their marathon migration is another mystery.
They only fly when conditions are perfect. If it's too cold, they get sluggish and can't flap their wings. If it's too hot, they stop flying so they don't get overheated. They must also stop often for nectar and water. But every time they land, there can be enemies lurking. Bad weather is also the Monarch's enemy. A rainstorm can be deadly.
If it survives enemy attacks and bad weather, a Monarch that started in Canada has to fly at least 50 miles a day to get to Mexico. The physical effort this requires is remarkable for a creature so small, with such fragile wings.
DAVID GIBO (University of Toronto): Butterflies are the worst possible body form for trying to make a long distance migration. They're simply a bad design. Every time they flap their wings they're using energy at least 20 times the rate than when they're not flapping it, so they're just burning their fuel up at a great rate, much like, say, a helicopter might. And so they have to compensate for their inadequacies by soaring.
Soaring is gliding in rising air, much like I'm doing right now. The sun heats the ground, the ground heats the air above it. As the air heats, it expands and becomes lighter and begins to rise, and pretty soon you have a column of rising air. That's a thermal. Under good conditions you can maintain the altitude you're at or even gain altitude. A more helpful maneuver is to circle in it. And you see hawks doing this and vultures doing this all the time, circling the thermal, staying within it. And this seems like a wonderful free ride, and it is. Soaring is the key to them getting to Mexico.
NARRATOR: On the shores of the Great Lakes, just days into their journey, the Monarchs face their first geographic hurdle: miles of open water and constantly shifting winds.
LINCOLN BROWER: As the Monarchs are migrating out of Canada, they hit the Great Lakes, which are a barrier. They can't see across them.
NARRATOR: With no land in sight, Monarchs use their finely tuned sense of the direction of the wind to carry them across the water. If wind from the south, a headwind, threatens to blow them off course, they stop and wait. When they sense that the wind has shifted in their favor, they fly on.
NARRATOR: The ultimate destination of their incredible journey is a tiny area, about 60 square miles and 10,000 feet high, in the mountains of Mexico.
The local people, called the Mazahua, have lived here for hundreds of years. They believe Monarchs represent the spirits of their ancestors, and the arrival of the butterflies each year begins a celebration called the Day of the Dead.
ALICIA GARCIA: It's a very beautiful time when the butterflies arrive. The butterflies would come down, surround us, coming down to give the final touch to the tradition of the Day of the Dead. For those who live here, it's our belief. From when I was a child, we would say they were the souls of our departed loved ones. Every year I make an altar. We put these things here because when our ancestors were alive, this is what they liked. That's why one waits for their arrival, to give them this offering.
HOMERO ARIDJIS: The legends of the people that live near the ocean and the mountains are important to them. For us ,there is a sense of space, the freedom to fly, to fly with the imagination, to fly just like a butterfly.
NARRATOR: Homero Aridjis is one of Mexico's best-loved writers. He grew up in these hills and has fought to preserve them for Monarchs.
Every year Lincoln Brower comes here to continue his study of the Monarch migration.
LINCOLN BROWER: When you were a young boy, Homero, you used to go up to see the butterflies?
HOMERO ARIDJIS: Yes. Every year, we came with the schoolchildren. And for us it was one of the most fantastic spectacles of the year, to go to the Plain of the Mule to see the butterflies. Butterflies also came to town. They were across the street.
LINCOLN BROWER: They flew through the town?
HOMERO ARIDJIS: Exactly. They were looking for water. Sometimes they was in your house. But there were millions of butterflies, and for us, it was a spontaneous
miracle to see butterflies here in the Cerro del Campanario. But we didn't know that they were coming from Canada, across the United States. And the Canadians and Americans didn't know they were coming to these places.
NARRATOR: It was not until 1975, that scientists discovered the full extent of the North American migration, when butterflies that had been tagged in Canada were found spending the winter here.
These Monarchs return each year to 12 specific sites in these mountains. This is their only destination in the world. It's a perfect environment for the butterflies because of the unique climate.
LINCOLN BROWER: We're talking constantly about this micro-climactic envelope: about 3,100 meters, usually on southwest-facing slopes. If you imagine the forest as a blanket that protects the butterflies by keeping the heat in, and also think of it as an umbrella that keeps the rain out. And the tree is like a hot water bottle; it's radiating heat out through the bodies of the butterflies. So when the temperature drops down really low, you'll see millions of Monarchs just festooning these beautiful trunk clusters. If you think about it, the bigger the tree, the more heat it holds. So this is an argument for maintaining the forest in its native state, to let the trees get as big as they can, and the butterflies will be protected during those cold periods.
NARRATOR: Monarchs live in other parts of the world, in warm climates. But only Canadian and North American Monarchs migrate such an incredible distance to avoid the certain death of a cold winter. And exactly how they navigate from Canada to Mexico is another unsolved mystery.
Scientists only have a few clues. One theory is that the butterflies navigate by following a specific angle of the Sun in relation to the Earth.
Another theory proposes that the Earth's magnetic field may provide a subtle orientation guide. And recently, biologists discovered specific cells in the butterfly's brain that regulate their internal clock and help keep them on course.
At the University of Kansas, Chip Taylor studies the forces at work in the Monarch migration.
CHIP TAYLOR: You got a butterfly that's originating in Toronto, or it's originating in Point FilĂ©, or it's originating in Detroit, Michigan, or it's coming down from St. Paul or maybe even Winnipeg, and its moving south, and, somehow, it finds its way to Mexico. Could you do that?
NARRATOR: In 1992, Taylor started a project called Monarch Watch. Schoolchildren and teachers tag butterflies from all over the northeastern United States. The tags don't hurt the butterflies, and don't affect their ability to fly. But when tagged butterflies are recovered at various stops along the way to Mexico, tracing back the information on the tags helps reveal their flight path, and their traveling speed.
And one of Taylor's tagging experiments had a surprising outcome.
CHIP TAYLOR: We ran some experiments a few years ago. So we took butterflies, and we transferred them to Washington, D.C. And initially, when we released them in Washington, D.C., they behaved as though they were still in Kansas.
NARRATOR: The butterflies who'd been moved to Washington started out flying in the same direction they would have taken to Mexico from their original home in Kansas, almost directly south. But starting from Washington, that flight path would never get them to Mexico.
Amazingly, after a few days, the displaced Monarchs somehow reoriented themselves and changed course to a strong southwest heading. That meant that, even starting from an unfamiliar location, they still ended up in the right place in Mexico.
CHIP TAYLOR: Now, this is really exciting stuff, because what this says is that, somehow, this butterfly is acquiring celestial information, perhaps magnetic information, and it's integrating those and remodeling the physiology of the system to have a different vector, to have a different direction from where it came from. Now, that's pretty cool.
NARRATOR: By late September, about a month into the migration, the Monarchs are gathering into huge flocks. By this time, they've traveled more than halfway across America, over the industrial belt, through small Midwestern towns, across the Great Plains, and finally, approaching the Southwest.
No one knows how many Monarchs die along the way, but if they make it to Mexico, there's another threat. Their destination in the Mexican mountains, the forests that will keep them alive over the winter, is in danger.
HOMERO ARIDJIS: This, see all these trees, Lincoln? Before, there were hundreds of thousands, and now you can count them.
NARRATOR: In 1986, the Mexican government protected some sections of these mountains as official sanctuaries for the butterflies for the winter months.
But that meant some parts of the forest local people had depended on for income, through legal logging operations, were suddenly off limits.
The result was an unexpected new threat to the Monarchs: illegal logging.
BALTAZAR GUTIERREZ: We all have needs, but those that cannot meet their needs, they are the ones doing the clandestine logging.
WOMAN: They come at two or three in the morning. They go down in the night to sell the wood.
NARRATOR: Mexican police patrol the forest but have not been able to stop illegal logging.
The World Wildlife Fund pays villagers to try to stop the destruction, but they are no match for the dangerous forces at work.
EDUARDO SALINAS (World Wildlife Fund): Logging is clandestine and involves dangerous people. So you cannot go around telling the world about it. Sometimes you find yourself alone, and even with the police, you can be left alone. They will follow you to kill you. It's not that easy.
INDEPENDENT LOGGER: Who would allow their children to die of hunger? We know that it's important to preserve the forest for the butterflies, but, because of our need, we have not been able to do it.
LINCOLN BROWER: We're talking about hundreds of hectares of forest being leveled and then burned. I have been told the reason they burn them after they log them is to destroy the evidence that they cut them, which sort of eludes my thinking completely. Even this small-scale logging operation is destroying the capacity of the Monarchs to use those sites, there are so few trees left. And, even if they did sit on the ones that were left, they'd freeze to death.
NARRATOR: With the sanctuaries shrinking, an unusually cold winter in Mexico can be a disaster for the butterflies. During one storm, 80 percent of them died in a single sanctuary. If a harsh winter is followed by more bad weather in the spring, then no one knows how many butterflies will be able to breed new generations for future migrations.
LINCOLN BROWER: If the numbers are reduced to the point where the migration starts to unravel.... We don't know what the critical low number is, but I'm worried that we might just get close to it.
NARRATOR: It's the middle of October. The butterflies are almost to the Mexican border. They started the migration scattered across thousands of miles of the northeastern U.S. and Canada. But at this point, they're flying together in a huge flock, only 50 miles wide, for the final leg south.
BILL CALVERT: I just saw the shadow of it.
NARRATOR: For over 30 years, Texas zoologist Bill Calvert has conducted extensive field studies of the migration. But this year he's worried; the butterflies are late.
BILL CALVERT: Well, this is perfect, except for one thing, no butterflies here. An endangered phenomena would not be the same as an endangered species. In the case of an endangered species, of course, we worry about all the members disappearing. In the case of an endangered phenomena, we're worried that the migration would be reduced to such a state that it would be unnoticeable or maybe even the migration itself would disappear.
I mean, the predictions are that this is going to be the lowest population ever.
NARRATOR: So far, he's only seen a single Monarch.
BILL CALVERT: Well, it's in pretty good shape. It's got a couple pieces missing out of a wing over here, but otherwise it's in pretty good shape.
There he goes, off to Mexico.
NARRATOR: At the end of the day, Calvert decides to take one more look in a secluded corner of the woods.
BILL CALVERT: Let's see what we've got in there. Oh, wow. Look at them up there! My god! It's just fantastic! Wow, there are hundreds of thousands passing us right now.
Butterflies have dazzled humans for millennia. It's a beautiful little creature. And on top of that, it migrates 2,000 miles, and this just staggers the mind.
NARRATOR: The butterflies have been traveling for six weeks from Canada. But they still face the most treacherous part of the journey. They must fly over hundreds of miles of scorching desert and navigate the towering Sierra Madre Mountains.
BILL CALVERT: Something has to focus them. I think the Sierra Madre Mountains serve that purpose. The mountains stick up pretty high. The butterflies encounter them, and they turn and they follow the mountains. And they can follow the mountains for 900 miles.
NARRATOR: Late October, in Mexico: The butterflies are expected soon, and the Mazahua people prepare to welcome them.
JUAQUIN SANTANA (Sanctuary Guide): It's a privilege that god has sent us this insect. We take advantage of the months that the butterflies are here, to earn our living, because the truth is that we have a community that is quite poor. In this season, we earn enough to make a living. It's not a lot of money, but you can rely on it.
NARRATOR: As they wait for the butterflies, the Mazahua pray for their safe arrival, along with the spirits of their loved ones.
It's now the first week in November.
CHILDREN: Three, four, five, six, seven, eight. There's tons of them.
NARRATOR: After two months and thousands of miles of flight, the butterflies have finally reached safety. Millions of them arrive over the next few days, and the people rejoice.
NARRATOR: Now, with their long journey finally behind them, the Monarchs rest.
They huddle together in huge clusters and cling to the trees for warmth. They'll leave the trees occasionally, to feed on nectar and water, but they return to these clusters and stay here, for almost five months.
When spring arrives, the butterflies bloom again. They open their wings to the Sun, warming up for flight. Most of these Monarchs will travel back to Texas. There they will stop to mate. Each female will lay 300 to 400 fertilized eggs. After the eggs are laid, the parents will die.
When the new generation hatches, it will keep flying north, mating along the way. A third generation will do the same. And almost a full year since the migration began, that special fourth generation of Monarchs will be born in Canada, and the miraculous migration will begin again.
LINCOLN BROWER: I'm frequently asked, "Well, what difference would it make if we lost the Monarch migration?" And I say, "What difference would it make if we lost the Mona Lisa or if we lost Mozart's music?" It's part of our culture.
I think the Monarch butterfly is one of the most magnificent animals in the world. It will absolutely floor anybody the first time they see it, as it did me the first time I saw it. It's one of the wonderful planetary cycles on this Earth. And it's unique in terms of the entire animal kingdom. There's nothing like it. It's really an incredible journey.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


deer in the front yard at the rent house 

Forever is composed of nows.

How strange that nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude!

~ Emily Dickinson

Today we might have found "our" lot.  Maybe.  Tomorrow we're going to the courthouse to look at stuff about it, like deed restrictions in that neighborhood.  It's an interesting lot, 1.5 acres in an established neighborhood.  I would like to build rather than buy ... second choice would be a fixer-upper.  It's been pretty difficult to find "the" place.  I wouldn't mind if this was our last house.  The last move.  I like the sound of that.  
You know what's weird?  Well, this - I know I have that book but is it still in a box or is it out on a shelf somewhere?  Is it in my special book basket?  Where is that basket anyway?
It's a similar weird with kitchen things.  
Being unsettled is ... quite unsettling.  I enjoy my ruts.

Later this month my bff, really she is all the family I have left apart from what L and I have been blessed with, is coming up for the day.  She is not well.  It's one of those things that I press down.  We've been searching for the source of her illness for years - to no avail.  Anyway ... she and her husband are coming up for a small visit.  That's a highlight.  I'm looking for fun things to fix for them.  

Still not working/flying.  I am grateful that it's starting to interest me again.  I miss how much I loved it.  I think I have to give myself another chance at it.  It was too much work to casually dismiss.  Honestly, it's the only "thing" that I have ever cared about the way I cared about aviation - flying - in general.  It surprised everyone who knows me.  Not that I flew, and made such a commitment to excellence, but the passion involved was not quite like me.  I tend to be naturally reserved.  (Except with my people.) I like to do things well, but it (excelling) hasn't required "all in" until flying did.  I think flying really grabbed me and I so hope that each of my children will have something, or even many things, that grab them thus.

I am looking forward to gliding.  Just thinking about it makes me smile.

The other thing I'm interested in right now is resin painting.  Doing research on that now.

Also spending time learning as much as I want to know about the digestive system.  I remember when I first began to learn about weather, I was like ... duh, why didn't you wonder about this stuff before?!  I love weather stuff.  Anyway ... our bodies, endlessly cool as they are, so elegantly simple (and intricately complex).  I first started learning about the digestive system with Tommy as he sought to understand where the cancer was and what it was messing up.  I need to get back in to a BODIES exhibit like the one I saw in Atlanta.  Seeing stuff, how it fits and connects, is helpful to me.  Our bodies ... rock.  

So ... reading Dickinson,  starting a new book - QUIET (Susan Cain), and that wonderful book, Systematic Theology (Grudem), which I am really enjoying.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Moving day for One
Moving up (with boxes) and down ( for another load) 40 steps (3rd floor)
I remembered the days, long since past,
of running up and down the bleachers
for conditioning.

The brain recalls, these leg muscles have never been there.

Life does move along.

This morning, my body didn't feel old,
but I realized I am beginning to ... feel old.

Old, as in pointless.
I begin to understand the vacantness which often surrounds old people.

At dinner I watched a couple who appeared to be around my age on a date.
He was so earnest ... trying really hard to engage her.
She obviously wasn't feeling him.

In response to that I said to two of my children who were also there,
"If I die before Dad, y'all have to help him with stuff like that."
"C will hook him up with some old hottie, probably an old school teacher"
was my son's super sensitive response.
My husband's head bobbed while he mused,
"Hmmm, double-dipping."

Not a double entendre. His thoughts go more towards empire building.
Her assets will need to be financial in nature.


As I watched the sun come up from my bed this morning I realized that I
probably can't wait to get settled in to our "real house"
before I begin figuring out what comes next for me.
I thought retirement would feel more like the beginning of a marriage,
like a new start in an old relationship.  But it doesn't.
I actually feel more alone.

I think the truth of the matter is we are largely alone.

I think we try to fill the "alone bucket" with activities and people,
but ... (and not sadly) we are mostly ... alone.


It is a happy day for One.  His life is on the track he is choosing.
He is enjoying the outcomes from his life choices.
As a life-long friend,  I enjoy his journey and look forward to
his expanding joy.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


  • From the airport ... my phone updates me on time and conditions D-> home
  • From the house ... my phone updates me on time and conditions to various places, occasionally to the exact place where I am headed.
I think it's both somewhat helpful and a lot creepy.  My phone (and probably your phone too) stores data on exactly where I have been.  I don't go anywhere that I would want to keep secret but ... why the extra attention?  I didn't "app" for it.

My phone, and it's likely due to user error, frequently chirps up "Sorry, I did not understand you."  I've been told that "it" can turn itself on to listen and that even the camera can be remotely opened.  True or not, I do not know, sounds a bit far-fetched but then, so many things do these days.
I do know that I am far and away the least interesting person I know.  I'm a mom, a wife.  I cook clean, fold, chauffeur, repeat.

H and I were talking yesterday about her return to the workforce.  She shared her husband's comment, "You are more like the person I chose to marry then you have been in eight years."  Their daughter is about 8.  We talked a bit about how being a mother to the exclusion of other (non domestic) activities sucks the very essence of you out of you.

I do still know what I think.  It's just that if I do begin to share my thoughts I am spoken over.  I don't have a need to shape other's opinions or actions.  Mostly, I am quiet.  I do wonder why citizen's are (potentially?) monitored when our leaders seem to be ... umm, unreliable, untrustworthy.  I wonder why we "let people in" who we think may need to be monitored.  I wonder why we don't send people "home" and let them back in after they've been scutinized.  Recently saw the story about a child who was beheaded by her nanny (in Russia).  The article said parents should:

Russia's children's rights commissioner Pavel Astakhov called the killing 'Monstrous and inexplicable', urging parents to carefully check on the mental state of nannies when they are hired.

(How do I check on the mental state of my new neighbors?)

I have watched the National political maneuverings with interest these past several months.  How have we come to this ... where can we best go from here?  Things have already gone to hell in a hand basket.  I am an American.  Who are these people running the country and who are those people asking to run the country?  It seems that both the (Super Tuesday) front-runner's values don't bear any resemblance to my own or to those of anybody I actually know.  I understand Trump's popularity in that he appears to me the poster manchild for a sharp turn away from Political Correctness, a term which seems to be synonymous with wussiness, liberalism, progressivism.  I can see that he is not PC.  What he actually "is" is less easily discerned.  I don't like all the PC business. Is that the single most import issue to base my vote on?

I'm almost sixty.  I guess it's okay to refer to back in the day ... .  Back in the day when someone was obnoxious people just "didn't play with them anymore".  If you were bullied you toughened up, told your parents (who discussed it with the bully's parents), or you told your "brother" (who helped the bully understand that it was time to move on).  I didn't grow up hearing a lot of crude talk or seeing a lot of crude images.  I'm old.  I get it.

We saw DEADPOOL Friday evening past.  It seemed like a compilation of several old movies.  I've said I like Marvel movies.  Deadpool was too much for me in every aspect.  Too profane, too crude, too graphic ... his friend was too dumb, the villain was too evil, the violence was too bloody, the ... too much.  Too much everything.  I closed my eyes and wondered when was the last time I saw a good movie.  I sat through it wishing to be not there.  It is a metaphor for how things are in the world now.

Back in the day ... when a politician got caught "misbehaving",  committing treason or just snooping around, they just didn't get to play anymore, even if they were a girl.  Maybe they were pardoned before they were sent home,  maybe they were still in the mix in private ... publicly, there were
    Individuals convicted of a felony are ineligible to vote while incarcerated and on parole. Voting rights are automatically restored upon completion of parole, and people on probation can vote. Ex-offenders should re-register to vote.
    Under Article III, Section 3, of the Constitution, any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to itsenemies by giving them Aid and Comfort has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term aid andcomfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms,troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information. If a subversive act has any tendency to weaken the power of theUnited States to attack or resist its enemies, aid and comfort has been given.
    The only requirements for presidency of the U.S.: 
    1. Being a natural born citizen of the U.S.
    2. Being at least 35 years of age.
    3. Being a permanent resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years.

    Article I of the U.S. Constitution gives the Senate the power to disqualify persons who have been impeached from holding federal office. However, there is no mention of the simple state of being a "felon" disqualifying a person from being elected President.

(How do I check on the mental state of those seeking leadership roles?)

How far is too far now?  How much is too much now?  Who can guess.  We seem to have developed an insatiable appetite for "too much".

Apple vs THE FBI

"This is not about one isolated iPhone," Apple said in the 65-page document. "Rather, this case is about the Department of Justice and the FBI seeking through the courts a dangerous power that Congress and the American people have withheld: the ability to force companies like Apple to undermine the basic security and privacy interests of hundreds of millions of individuals around the globe."

What's next?
Magistrate Pym has scheduled a hearing for March 22 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Riverside.
In the meantime,  Cook asked Congress to form a commission or panel of experts to talk about intelligence, tech and civil liberties along with the implications on law enforcement, national security, privacy, and personal freedoms. "Apple would gladly participate in such an effort," he said. Cook also did an interview with the ABC News program "World News Tonight with David Muir" on Feb. 24, saying that what the government is asking "would be bad for America." ~How an iPhone became the FBI's public enemy No. 1 (FAQ)
Located in the stately 19th century building known as “Runde Ecke” — the Round Building — the museum features a powerful permanent exhibit called “Stasi – Power and Banality.” Walk through the rooms where the secret police operated a sinister network of spying and terror and it becomes clear how the Stasi infiltrated every aspect of the everyday life in the GDR. (German Democratic Republic)  ~ Stasi Museum in Leipzig: 40 Years of Spying and Terror

I'm not savvy enough to know why my phone collects and stores information about my doings. It's interesting that we readily accept the absence of privacy.  I'm not doing anything "wrong" so why would I care?  I stop at the red lights and barely notice the cameras.  Why would anyone want to check up on me?

I follow the rules.