Archive for August, 2016

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It was a rainy day and I had big plans to wash the floors.  Yep, those are the perks to retirement life – plenty of time to wash floors and no excuse not to.  Before I began my task I stood at the patio doors and took in the gloomy, rainy day.

Something caught my attention in the pergola above the deck.  Withered leaves hanging from small twigs of a vine, ready to fall after a hot summer.  Except wait a minute.  That’s a leaf, but that other thing isn’t.  I stepped out into the light rain to get a closer look.

ACK!  There, hanging from one of those spindly vine twigs, was the biggest, grossest caterpillar I’d ever seen.  It was about as thick as a cigar and at least three inches long, probably more.  There was a fleshy quality to its body that made me think it was some kind of alien.  I called Husby out to look at it.  He seemed nonplussed at first, but eventually took as much interest in this giant, crawly thing as I.

The part closest to the leaf is the alien’s head. It protrudes and retracts into its fleshy body like a turtle’s would.

It took me forever to wash the floors because I kept looking out the window to see if my alien invader was still there, hanging in the rain.  He didn’t move much, but now I could see he was eating one of the leaves on the vine.  Great, not only do we have Japanese beetles tearing into our flora but also a big, globular, creepy worm.  Plus, Husby saw it exude poop!  The excrement was as big as a rabbit pellet!

That’s way too much information, but needless to say I was sufficiently creeped out by this thing but equally, if not more so, fascinated by it.  Husby did some research and found out it’s a Brown Caterpillar and will eventually turn into something like this:

Our creepy alien friend invader decided to turn around and find some other delicious leaves to devour and eventually I lost track of it.  He’s up there though, slowly wriggling between the leaves and twigs, I just know it.  When I see a moth with a four-foot wing span clinging to our patio window I’ll know where it came from.  Until then, I’ll only see this monster in my nightmares.

What’s crawling around in your yard?

*Questions?  Go ask Alice…in Wonderland.

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Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction is holding me fast,
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?

Can’t keep my eyes from the circling sky
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit, I

Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought, I thought of everything
No navigator to find my way home
Unladen, empty and turned to stone
A soul in tension that’s learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try

Can’t keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

Friction lock – set. Mixture – rich. Propellers – fully forward. Flaps – set – 10 degree. Engine gauges and suction – check
Mixture set to maximum percent – recheck
Flight instruments…
Altimeters – check both
(garbled word) – on
Navigation lights – on
Strobes – on
(to tower): Confirm 3-8-Echo ready for departure
(tower): Hello again, this is now 129.4
(to tower): 129.4. It’s to go.
(tower): You may commence your takeoff, winds over 10 knots.
(to tower): 3-8-Echo
Easy on the brakes. Take it easy. Its gonna roll this time.
Just hand the power gradually, and it…

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

There’s no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, a state of bliss

Can’t keep my mind from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

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Speaking Of Birthdays…

Yesterday I reminisced about my birthday a year ago.  Today I’m going to reminisce about my birthday a day ago.  It wasn’t quite as elaborate as flying home after a week on the Rhine River, but still it was a ton of fun.

When I realized the toys I played with as a kid are now for sale in antique stores I decided to do something nostalgic for my birthday, and what’s more nostalgic than…BOWLING?!

Oh, I know, bowling is still a current activity, sport, social-gathering-fun-time-thing these days, but neither Husby nor I had been bowling in over a decade, maybe two.  I decided it was high time we tried it out again.

In case you aren’t familiar with bowling, it entails rolling a very heavy ball down a very long, slippery floor and knocking down the white pins at the end of that long, slippery floor.  If you’re really, really good you’ll knock down all ten pins every time you roll the ball.  If you’re really, really bad your ball will end up in the gutter every time and you’ll knock down no pins.  Husby and I fell between being really, really good and really, really bad, leaning toward the bad end of the spectrum.  But we had a blast!  The best thing about modern day bowling is automatic scoring – no need to have any knowledge of special symbols and who gets to roll the ball when.  Computers are awesome!

I mentioned nostalgia before, and this place delivers.

The place is Elsie’s in Northeast Minneapolis.  Yes, bowling alley and restaurant, and a very good restaurant at that.  In fact, it was a previous Dive Night destination. Husby and I had a very delicious and satisfying meal after our rigorous competition against each other.

You’re wondering who was the superior bowler.  I’m happy to say that I won two out of three lines, but I’m pretty sure Husby let me win because it was my birthday.  He didn’t let me win by much though.

Happy Birthday to me!

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It’s not often I can remember what I was doing exactly one year ago to the day.  Today is different.  I remember exactly what I was doing.  In fact, for the past week I’ve been remembering exactly what I was doing exactly one year ago to the day.  How could I ever forget?

The Kvasir on the Rhine


Kinderdijk, Holland


Rudesheim, Germany


Cologne, Germany


Cathedral, Cologne, Germany


Heidelberg, Germany


Sunset on the Rhine


Strasbourg, France


Breisach, Germany

So many wonderful memories, visions, lessons, and inspirations given to me in one week.  Of course I’ll never forget the friends I made during that week of a lifetime…

Vlado and Miglena


The Boys


The Girls

One year ago today Charlotte treated me to a muffin and a Coke in bed for breakfast in our state room (what could be better!) because it was my birthday.  She also gave me a card and a pretty decoration, both of which I still cherish today, as a happy birthday wish.  After a week of dreams come true we flew back to Minnesota.  From now until forever I’ll remember that birthday, that vacation, those people, the continent.  Forever I’ll dream of a day when I can return to a place filled with castles and vineyards, cathedrals and sweet shops.

One year ago today, flying home, and flying high.

The airplane tray on the way home.

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