Monday, September 30, 2013

Test Post Sep 30 2013

This is a test post using Notepad rather than Microsoft Word. If it works, I will be formatting future blog posts in Notepad. Hopefully this will resolve any issues with the blog software. Thanks for your patience.

Test photo

New Family; Demo Diva; Gulfport; Pensacola; Headed Home

It’s not often you get to meet new family members as an adult, other than youngsters. I had the good fortune to meet two half-brothers and a half-sister while in New Orleans. It’s a long story, but I was able to connect with Frank, Donna and Donald. We (and Frank’s Lovely Wife Julie and My Lovely Bride Suzanne) had lunch together at Drago’s (yes, more oysters) and I learned more about my father. He had been a Golden Gloves boxer, joined the Navy in WWII and served on the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga. His mother was a Guidry from St. Martinsville, Louisiana, so it turns out that I have Cajun blood that I never knew about. The stories kept coming, and I felt a real connection to my new siblings. They are very successful business people, and run two marine management and transportation companies in Houston and New Orleans. Each of them has four children. Donna had even flown in from Houston, and they made us feel really honored and part of the family. Donna and Suzanne also got to talk about spiritual subjects. It was a very special day.

Before leaving New Orleans, we took the puppies to Lafreniere Park in Metairie to look for squirrels. They treed a few, but it was very hot, and we had to walk from shady oak to shady oak, staying out of the brutally hot sun. This sign caught Suzanne’s eye… there aren’t many places in the country where “boiling seafood” is even considered, much less prohibited. (The salt and spices would presumably draw nasty bugs and other critters.)

 
 
 
One last stop, though, before we left… back to Morning Call for beignets and café au lait! Part of the fun is shaking powdered sugar all over your beignets, the table and your table-mates!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Outside, another unique sign on the side of an industrial-sized dumpster… Only in New Orleans would they have pink dumpsters.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

On Saturday morning, we packed up our coaches and headed for Gulfport, Mississippi, where we had lunch with our good friends Joyce and Sharon from The Villages. They were working on Sharon’s aunt’s house in very quiet and quaint Gulfport, which had been hard hit by Hurricane Katrina. It was great seeing them and knowing that they too would be back in The Villages next week. I need Joyce’s photography expertise (she taught the subject) to improve my skills. Digital cameras are wonderful, but they are a lot more complex than my old Brownie…

On to Pensacola and our home state of Florida! We arrived at the Naval Air Station’s Oak Grove Campground to find two very hateful campsites within 50 yards of the beach. We use the term “hateful” to jokingly describe really beautiful places; this one is tucked away in an oak grove (gee, that was a surprise) mixed with pines. Of even greater import, the oaks were filled with…. SQUIRRELS! We stopped counting after the seventh little furry rodent, and Rudy and Gretchen were soon exhausted from chasing the critters up oak trees. We took a nice walk on the beach, which is typical of this area, very fine white sand, like sugar.  

Fort Barrancas, a Civil War brick fort, lies just offshore on a barrier island, and the historic Pensacola lighthouse is just 100 yards away from our campground. The large orange “day mark” is part of a visual range that helps mariners steer their ships into Pensacola Bay; the channel buoys are a few hundred yards off the beach.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  

On Sunday, Suzanne gave the message at Unity of Pensacola, followed by her Making the Connection talk. Two women even drove all the way from New Orleans, a four hour trip, to attend. As always, Suzanne’s presentation was very well received.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 








After the Unity events, we were able to sightsee a bit in the historic section of downtown Pensacola. We ate grouper and shrimp dinners at the annual seafood festival, and admired the lovely restored 19th Century homes that are so typical of the Gulf Coast. This would be a delightful place to live (at least during the cooler months).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

We are now only 30 hours or so from arriving home in The Villages. We will stop for the night at Suwanee River State Park, and roll back onto Little River Path on Tuesday afternoon, assuming that our neighbors Bob and Jan have moved their coach from in front of their house back into storage. We gave them a day’s head start because if we arrived together, we would completely block the street! It’s been a long, fun summer, but we will be very happy to get back home…


Friday, September 27, 2013

Blog Post Problems? Family; Copper River Salmon? New Orleans; Oak Alley; Mafia Meals

We have been experiencing posting problems on this blog over the past week. You may not have received the email blog, even though they were posted on the web site. We have not resolved the issue with Google, but I hope that this post gets sent out correctly. If not, we may have to find another host. Watch this space for more information.

After departing Jackson, Mississippi, we stopped in to visit my sister Karen and her partner Debbie. They have a gorgeous 4 acre estate on the Tchefuncte River in Covington, Louisiana. They are retired nurses, and their house looks like something from Southern Living magazine. Debbie made us a beautiful salmon dinner, and as we were leaving mentioned that she was giving away a lot of canned goods soon.
 
 
 
 

She pointed to a pile on the counter, and my heart raced as I saw a large cellophane-wrapped box of Alaskan Copper River smoked salmon. The conversation went like this: “Debbie, did you err and leave that smoked salmon lying around for five years until it went out of date?” “No, Ty, a friend gave it to us as a gift last week, and it’s too high in salt and sugar from the curing for us to eat.” Sure enough, the box had a 2013 label and a June 2018 expiration date. (I may have been staring and drooling heavily at this point.) “Ty, would you like that salmon?” “Debbie, I would crawl over broken glass for Copper River salmon.” (I learned early in life to never look a gift salmon in the mouth.)  And now that salmon is sitting on our countertop, awaiting our arrival home for a celebratory meal.  

Our next stop was New Orleans. Our neighbors Bob and Jan met us here in their coach for their first-ever visit to the City that Care Forgot. We are camped out in the Elks Lodge parking lot in Metairie, outside the city itself. It’s quieter here, and much less expensive than a commercial campground. It was funny though, because when we arrived, the usually empty parking lot was filled with taxi cabs. The local taxi union was having a vote, and cabs kept coming and going for hours. We briefly detoured to a K-Mart parking lot and waited for the hackneys to clear, finally getting settled in just before Jan and Bob arrived. They were slightly delayed because My Good Friend Bob decided to try a trick I used last year… locking yourself outside of the coach. His electronic door evidently is possessed by a gremlin, and when he stepped outside to hook up his toad, the door locked him out. Since this happened in the middle of the day, rather than at 10:00 PM like we did, I don’t think he gets full points for timing. On the other hand, he made up for his daylight error by leaving his coach running for two hours while he waited for a locksmith to arrive and hand cut a new key. So I guess he gets more total points than I earned, but not by much.

Part of any trip to New Orleans is enjoying the unique cuisine (Creole, Cajun and seafood) that the city offers. Our first dinner was at my sister Lynn’s house, where she made our mother’s great soup recipes and sandwiches. It was great catching up with family, because we don’t get back to New Orleans every year. We also enjoyed showing Jan and Bob around the French Quarter. We made obligatory stops at Café du Monde, praline shops, the French Market, and Jackson Square, before heading to Bourbon Street. Because we went early morning, debauchery was at a disappointingly low ebb; there were only a handful of leggy young strippers in clear Lucite 9 inch platform heels, halter tops and scanty skirts hanging out in doorways trying to entice young fellows from Iowa and Nebraska into their shows. (I told Bob that we might have to come back later for better scenery… Smack!) (Photo censored by Higher Authority.)

But as always, food is the primary reason to visit New Orleans. Many great restaurants are located in the suburbs rather than in New Orleans itself, and we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Drago’s just a few minutes from our coaches in Metairie. Their specialty is charbroiled oysters with garlic butter and French bread. (I am convinced that this is one of the top meals in Heaven.) 





 

In between tasting local cuisine, we did actually do some more sightseeing, like up to Vacherie, Louisiana, on the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Oak Alley is my favorite plantation to show visitors. The oaks are over 300 years old, and run from the big house to the levee along the river.





 

This plantation home sold for $60,000 during the Depression, and fortunately has been beautifully restored. Fire destroyed the separate kitchen building years ago, but fortunately the house was not seriously damaged. The walls are 18 inches thick; 12 foot ceilings and lots of windows helped keep the house reasonably cool considering the hot, humid climate here.




 

Our tour guide, Sarah, was eloquent and thoroughly knowledgeable about the history of the Roman family who built the plantation back in the 1840s. Here are a couple of photos of the dining room and master bedroom. Sugar cane fields still ring the house, and several rebuilt slave quarters attest to the dark side of plantation life in the 19th Century.








 

On Thursday evening, we helped Jan and Bob celebrate their 44th anniversary at Venezia’s, a neighborhood Italian restaurant in Mid-City that was a Mafia hangout in the days of Carlos Marcello (and maybe still is?). Our family went there weekly when I was a kid, because my stepfather played poker with the wise guys. (I’m not sure it was good form to beat them at cards too often.) Our next stop was at Angelo Brocatto's Spumone Shop for Italian ice cream. It's located only a few doors from Venezia's, and yes, the wise guys used to hang out there as well. 
 
 
 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Band Practice; A Broken Heart; A Dog Museum; More Hovels; Millington; Jackson; "Turn Now!!!"

While staying at CSL St. Louis, we noticed a high school just across the street. Actually, we couldn’t miss them, because soccer, track, hockey and band practices were directed over loudspeakers, and as you know, teenagers are all close to deaf when spoken to by adults. In any case, as we were driving past the school one day, My Lovely Bride started quivering. It wasn’t because she was lusting after Your Faithful Correspondent… it was because the high school band was on the field practicing, and she was having a “High School Moment”. We stopped and watched as the band director called “Right 12, Back 6” and other directions that only a marching band or a nest of ants could possibly understand. Suzanne was in Heaven…



On the way to the trailhead for our bike ride the other day, we drove through the city of Creve Coeur (French for Broken Heart). The trail markers were cleverly marked with the town’s logo to tell riders where they were…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
I think I had mentioned in a previous blog post that Creve Coeur was named for a legend about an Indian maiden who jumped to her death over an unrequited love. An alternative explanation that I have come to accept is that the city was named for the French-American philosopher Michel Guillame Jean de Crevecoeur. In 1782 he wrote a famous book of essays called Letters from an American Farmer that was the first description of America as a separate country rather than an English colony. He was also the first to describe frontier life and the concept of The American Dream, based on equal opportunity and self-determination.
 
 
 
 
 
  
Rudy and Gretchen often get votes on where we go, so it was no surprise when Rudy announced the other night, “Dog-Dad, Gretchen and I would like to go to the Dog Museum.” Well, I was very surprised… I didn’t even know that there was a Dog Museum here. I looked on the map, and sure enough, there it was, in Ballwin, a nearby suburb of West St. Louis. We packed up the pups, and a few minutes later disembarked in the beautiful Edgar M. Queeny County Park, with walking paths, lots of trees and the American Kennel Club’s Museum of the Dog. The 14,000 sq. ft. facility, even larger than Rudy and Gretchen’s traveling kennels, is the historic 1853 Jarville House, which was once Edgar M. Queeny’s residence. He was the former Chairman of Monsanto, and led that company from 1928 until 1960. (By the way, Monsanto was his middle name.)  In spite of his wealth, he served as a seaman in World War I. He was also a noted conservationist, and sponsored several nature documentaries. He sold his residence just prior to his death to raise money for a St. Louis hospital, and left no heirs.

This is a real art museum, but instead of having paintings of boring, conniving, useless politicians (is that description redundant?), it is filled with dogs… paintings, drawings, sculptures, dog houses, and even a dog library (that means it’s filled with books about dogs, not a library where dogs go to read… that’s a separate building). This is just one example of hundreds of paintings on exhibit at the Museum of the Dog. (Lois Anne, this picture's for you.)
 

 
 
 

Rudy and Gretchen wanted to take this dog house home, but we didn’t have room in The Coach. Unfortunately, we missed the special Dachshund Exhibition by a month or two. Now you cat lovers may complain about this mid-America location glorifying our canine friends, but there is actually a Cat Museum, on the Left Coast, in San Francisco (where else would you put it?).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

While returning home, we drove through Ballwin, and then through Town and Country, an unusual name for a very distinctive suburb… here are just a couple of the more modest homes there. (The big houses are actually behind tall walls and tree lines. I think these belong to the gardeners.)




















We departed St. Louis heading south, and stayed two nights at the Naval Support Activity, Millington, Tennessee, just outside Memphis. We were too tired after a long day driving to go see Graceland or the Peabody Hotel's ducks, so we recharged our mental batteries with a double workout of running and weights at the Navy gym. Many towns have their names on water towers, and this one lets you know who lives here!
















 We have just arrived in Jackson, Mississippi, and are camped out in Le Fleur's Bluff State Park, with a water view of the Pearl River. It is a tiny gem of a campground, but subject to frequent flooding. It is named for a French Canadian trader who established a trading post here on the old Natchez Trace; it would eventually become the city of Jackson.









This was an unusual sunset scene that Suzanne caught during our after-dinner walk with the puppies looking for squirrels... there were lots around, and Rudy and Gretchen are in Squirrel Heaven!















This was the picture of our campground and state park on our GPS when we took a short drive into town. The Pearl River has several ox-bow lakes and ponds that are created when a river meanders and leaves its old channel.











Speaking of our GPS, we had a little glitch with the one in the coach the other day. The young girl who lives inside the GPS, Jill, had been set on “Verbose” for providing directions on distance to turn, which roads to follow, etc. She was getting to be too much, with “In two miles…, in half a mile…, in 600 feet…, in 300 feet…, in 100 feet…, now turn right onto Highway 182, etc.” So My Lovely Bride, never one to let another female distract me for very long, decided to put Jill on “Minimal”. We proceeded along our route, and as we were driving through town, I was watching the heavy traffic very carefully, waiting for Jill to give me a warning about when to turn. As we were entering an intersection at 25 mph, this smarty-pants female voice announces, “Turn Now!” with a very definite “nah-nah-nah-nah-nah” tone. There was no way I could brake and turn that fast, so we had to go around the block and find a suitable place to U-turn our 62 foot rig. I looked at Suzanne and said, “I guess Jill told us…” Okay, Jill’s now back to being her normal self, “Verbose…” (I guess I was pretty dumb to try to have any woman tune down her directions... Ooops... Smack!)


 
 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Band Practice; A Broken Heart; A Dog Museum; More Hovels; Millington; Jackson; “Turn Now!!!”

While staying at CSL St. Louis, we noticed a high school just across the street. Actually, we couldn’t miss them, because soccer, track, hockey and band practices were directed over loudspeakers, and as you know, teenagers are all close to deaf when spoken to by adults. In any case, as we were driving past the school one day, My Lovely Bride started quivering. It wasn’t because she was lusting after Your Faithful Correspondent… it was because the high school band was on the field practicing, and she was having a “High School Moment”. We stopped and watched as the band director called “Right 12, Back 6” and other directions that only a marching band or a nest of ants could possibly understand. Suzanne was in Heaven…



On the way to the trailhead for our bike ride the other day, we drove through the city of Creve Coeur (French for Broken Heart). The trail markers were cleverly marked with the town’s logo to tell riders where they were…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
I think I had mentioned in a previous blog post that Creve Coeur was named for a legend about an Indian maiden who jumped to her death over an unrequited love. An alternative explanation that I have come to accept is that the city was named for the French-American philosopher Michel Guillame Jean de Crevecoeur. In 1782 he wrote a famous book of essays called Letters from an American Farmer that was the first description of America as a separate country rather than an English colony. He was also the first to describe frontier life and the concept of The American Dream, based on equal opportunity and self-determination.
 
 
 
 
 
  
Rudy and Gretchen often get votes on where we go, so it was no surprise when Rudy announced the other night, “Dog-Dad, Gretchen and I would like to go to the Dog Museum.” Well, I was very surprised… I didn’t even know that there was a Dog Museum here. I looked on the map, and sure enough, there it was, in Ballwin, a nearby suburb of West St. Louis. We packed up the pups, and a few minutes later disembarked in the beautiful Edgar M. Queeny County Park, with walking paths, lots of trees and the American Kennel Club’s Museum of the Dog. The 14,000 sq. ft. facility, even larger than Rudy and Gretchen’s traveling kennels, is the historic 1853 Jarville House, which was once Edgar M. Queeny’s residence. He was the former Chairman of Monsanto, and led that company from 1928 until 1960. (By the way, Monsanto was his middle name.)  In spite of his wealth, he served as a seaman in World War I. He was also a noted conservationist, and sponsored several nature documentaries. He sold his residence just prior to his death to raise money for a St. Louis hospital, and left no heirs.

This is a real art museum, but instead of having paintings of boring, conniving, useless politicians (is that description redundant?), it is filled with dogs… paintings, drawings, sculptures, dog houses, and even a dog library (that means it’s filled with books about dogs, not a library where dogs go to read… that’s a separate building). This is just one example of hundreds of paintings on exhibit at the Museum of the Dog. (Lois Anne, this picture's for you.)
 

 
 
 

Rudy and Gretchen wanted to take this dog house home, but we didn’t have room in The Coach. Unfortunately, we missed the special Dachshund Exhibition by a month or two. Now you cat lovers may complain about this mid-America location glorifying our canine friends, but there is actually a Cat Museum, on the Left Coast, in San Francisco (where else would you put it?).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

While returning home, we drove through Ballwin, and then through Town and Country, an unusual name for a very distinctive suburb… here are just a couple of the more modest homes there. (The big houses are actually behind tall walls and tree lines. I think these belong to the gardeners.)




















We departed St. Louis heading south, and stayed two nights at the Naval Support Activity, Millington, Tennessee, just outside Memphis. We were too tired after a long day driving to go see Graceland or the Peabody Hotel's ducks, so we recharged our mental batteries with a double workout of running and weights at the Navy gym. Many towns have their names on water towers, and this one lets you know who lives here!
















 We have just arrived in Jackson, Mississippi, and are camped out in Le Fleur's Bluff State Park, with a water view of the Pearl River. It is a tiny gem of a campground, but subject to frequent flooding. It is named for a French Canadian trader who established a trading post here on the old Natchez Trace; it would eventually become the city of Jackson.









This was an unusual sunset scene that Suzanne caught during our after-dinner walk with the puppies looking for squirrels... there were lots around, and Rudy and Gretchen are in Squirrel Heaven!















This was the picture of our campground and state park on our GPS when we took a short drive into town. The Pearl River has several ox-bow lakes and ponds that are created when a river meanders and leaves its old channel.











Speaking of our GPS, we had a little glitch with the one in the coach the other day. The young girl who lives inside the GPS, Jill, had been set on “Verbose” for providing directions on distance to turn, which roads to follow, etc. She was getting to be too much, with “In two miles…, in half a mile…, in 600 feet…, in 300 feet…, in 100 feet…, now turn right onto Highway 182, etc.” So My Lovely Bride, never one to let another female distract me for very long, decided to put Jill on “Minimal”. We proceeded along our route, and as we were driving through town, I was watching the heavy traffic very carefully, waiting for Jill to give me a warning about when to turn. As we were entering an intersection at 25 mph, this smarty-pants female voice announces, “Turn Now!” with a very definite “nah-nah-nah-nah-nah” tone. There was no way I could brake and turn that fast, so we had to go around the block and find a suitable place to U-turn our 62 foot rig. I looked at Suzanne and said, “I guess Jill told us…” Okay, Jill’s now back to being her normal self, “Verbose…” (I guess I was pretty dumb to try to have any woman tune down her directions... Ooops... Smack!)


 
 

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Missouri Welcome; Back to C.S.L. St. Louis; Heart Gifts; Riding Bent; Floral Quiz Winner; &#^&% "Green" Paper Towels

We are still headed south from the land of Sven, Ole and Lena... After departing Minnesota, we entered Iowa. The highlight was a stop at this Welcome Center. What better architectural design for this corny state than an old barn?












Inside was this Coffee Shoppe, complete with homemade blueberry pie. My Lovely Bride tried unsuccessfully to steer me away from the nice farm lady behind the counter, but I was on a mission... the pie was wonderful!















After traveling miles and miles through vast Iowa cornfields, we crossed into Missouri, the Show-Me State. My mother was born in Joplin, and I always enjoy visiting here. Our first stop involved a slight detour to a small town on the Mississippi River to get in a run. Here is the tugboat James F. Neal slowly pushing 12 loaded barges up the river. Mark Twain lived in Hannibal, just an hour or so south, and would have piloted his sternwheeler past the town a hundred and fifty years ago.


La Grange (pop. 931) sits right on the river, with most of the town on high ground about 50-60 feet above the river. However, there is no levee here, and there were about 20 houses and businesses right down by the river. As we ran, we passed this sign on a commercial building along the highway, showing the high level mark in the flood of 1993. It was a 32 foot crest, 17 feet above flood stage. You would NOT have wanted to be in La Grange on July 11, 1993.








An encouraging sign was this one marking 26 years and one week without a lost time injury at this grain handling facility. That has to be near the best safety record for any port facility I've seen. Bunge is a leading exporter of grains, soybeans, canola oil, and other grain-based food products.















I have always found people here to be among the friendliest I’ve ever met. How friendly are Missourians? Well, here’s one example:  just after we stopped to take those photos a car drove up and a very nice lady got out of her car and asked if we were the people from Florida who had parked in front of City Hall. We said that we were; my first thought was “Did I park in a no parking zone?” But, no, after Bert Yarbrough welcomed us to town, introduced herself and gave us hugs, we found out that she was the unofficial town greeter. It has been a long time since someone driving by stopped to do that, and it was a delightful surprise. (Bert is a former casino dealer; I thought about asking her for some tips, but I have never been very good at cards, and decided to skip trying to win a million bucks at the blackjack tables. We thanked Bert for her kind welcome, finished our run and showered in front of City Hall… inside The Coach, of course, and for you potentially naughty voyeurs and peeping Toms, no, you can’t see in the windows…  (By the way, for the nautically inclined, you may recognize the green can behind Bert; it's actually a "can buoy" used on the Mississippi River to mark one side of the channel.)


We arrived back in St. Louis, where we parked The Coach in the parking lot of the Center for Spiritual Living (CSL). As you may recall, we had stopped here in May on our trip west, and the spiritual community here was the most enthusiastic we’ve ever encountered. Suzanne had received several emails asking her to return soon, and it didn’t take much convincing to get us back. When she spoke in May, CSL’s pastors, Rev. Dr. Marigene De Rusha and her husband Rev. Dr. Larry De Rusha, were in Italy for a wedding. On our return visit, we were fortunate to find them both here. We had lunch together, and while Suzanne and Marigene talked spirituality, Larry told me about his experiences working on nuclear fusion and other science-related projects. He is very interested in quantum physics and how it meshes with spirituality, and is a published author. We are both looking forward to reading his books. Suzanne was able to give two readings while in St. Louis, including one for Marigene. As she stated to her community before Suzanne spoke, it was an amazing reading, with six of her relatives from the other side coming through.

 
Suzanne’s two events, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, were very well attended by CSL’s fantastic community and many first timers. Her first talk was Meaning in the Messages, in which she described many of the highly evidential readings she has given this year and what they mean for us.

 

Suzanne's books were very popular among the St. Louis CSL community, and we were able to reduce the weight we are carrying inside the coach's storage compartments significantly with their help.
 
In between readings and evening talks, we got a workout in before a broad band of thunderstorms rolled in. We rode our mountain bikes on the Katy Trail, which runs along the Missouri River across the state. We met these two couples (from left to right, O.K. and Tallulah from Columbus, Mississippi, and Connie and Ed from Independence, Missouri) riding their recumbent cycles on a 40 miler that day. I particularly liked their flag shirts and US and Don't Tread on Me flags! They were going to stay at a B&B that night instead of in tents. (Wusses...) Seriously, well done to all of you, particularly to O.K., who is retired Air Force, and probably not used to much serious P.T. That's an inside the military joke, because until recently Air Force personnel could skip the run in their PT test and use a stationary bike instead, like on days when it was (a) cold, (b) hot, (c) rainy, (d) dry, or (e) when they had a golf tee time they didn't want to miss...   ;-)  
 
On Friday morning we got together with Pooki and Bob for breakfast at First Watch. Pooki is one of the most lively and energy-filled people either of us have ever met. She does healing, leads a choir called “Gateway to Agape”, and plans to start touring herself next year. Bob is an author, professional musician and music marketing consultant. (Bob, when you get your coach, give me a call and I’ll share some lessons learned and hints about avoiding some of the frustrations inherent in owning one of these rigs.)
 
 

On Friday evening, just 30 minutes before Suzanne's presentation, our little Dachshund Gretchen snapped at a bee that had gotten into the coach unobserved and was stung on the mouth. Suzanne called her good friend Beth, a veterinarian, who told us to give Gretchen some Benadryl. I drove out quickly to a pharmacy with our little baby and administered her medicine, and she has displayed no ill effects other than hiding under the bed for an hour.
 
 
 
 
But Beth was also important to Suzanne’s new presentation, Heart Gifts. Suzanne had met Beth and her husband Mike when Suzanne spoke at a conference at Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) in Virginia Beach back in May. Like our daughter Susan, their son Wolf had been killed by lightning. Heart Gifts is based on information brought through from Wolf that Suzanne received over several days. She has been working on this presentation for two months, and it was one of the most stunning and inspirational talks I’ve ever heard. (It was the first time I had heard much of this information as well.)  She will give the presentation again in Crete in October and at Unity Village and in The Villages in November.

 

We have a winner in our floral quiz: Terri (of the Frozen North) was the first to correctly identify the Zinnia in Tuesday’s blog post, and wins an ice cream surprise. Terri asked if the award came with a round trip airline ticket from Minneapolis to The Villages. Yes, Terri, I will book you on the next non-stop flight on TWA from MSP to The Villages… but if you can’t make that schedule, I will be happy to deliver your ice cream to you in Coon Rapids, MN, next summer when we return…

Finally, a few words on one of my Pet Peeves… “green” paper towels. I am talking about the very expensive, thin, non-absorbent towels made from recycled paper that are supposed to make you feel virtuous when you buy them. I think that is their only redeeming value, a temporary “feel good” that is dashed when you first tear one off the roll, and instead of tearing neatly at the seam, breaks off in a jagged edge… more often than not. Then you have to use two of them to clean up the same amount of mess that one piece of Bounty would do. They remind me of French toilet paper from the 60s… cheap, non-absorbent, next to useless. Call me “reactionary”, “conservative” or even “Republican”, but I’ll follow Paul Bunyan’s lead and take good old real American sustainable forestry product paper towels every time.