Thursday, June 30, 2016

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

Yesterday we ventured out from our friends' home to explore the botanical garden. It was suitably hot and humid to keep us reminded that we were, indeed, in the South in the summer. Sitting on this cattle ranch in the northwest corner of Arkansas, 30 minutes south of Missouri and 20 minutes east of Oklahoma, puts us in a beautiful neck of the woods.

I have a few images for you to enjoy today, but, alas, I failed to pay attention to all the plant names so you only get half of a presentation - all the pretty with none of the education - kind of like it felt some of you lectures used to be (maybe that was really none of the pretty and none of the education?!).

Cat Torture

It seems that sometimes we are simply meant to harass cats and wake them up.

All it takes the click of the camera shutter to ruin what was a great nap. Easy-peasy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

St Louis

When we visit a city, one of the first things we look for are the old, large cemeteries. We love seeing dead people. Since we only spent one evening in St. Louis, we planned to spend the following morning briefing exploring  the large Bellefontaine and Calvary Cemeteries in town. These are adjacent to one another: Calvary is for the Catholics and Bellefontaine is for protestants.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Moving West

The first day of retirement was spent driving to Louisville. The second day was spent wandering about Louisville with family to see a few things we've never seen. Near the Muhammad Ali Center is the back of some historic storefronts seen above.

The Ali Center is a really nice space, not so much a museum as a discussion of that make him a great man. It was very impressive.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Leaving Home 6.23.16

Yesterday, I planned to make a picture of us leaving the house while standing on the back porch, but the rain ruled that out. So we headed for the library where I could put the camera on the wet bar for support. And here we are, saying goodby to the house, collecting the sprits of our kitties to take with us, then hitting the road in the sometimes blinding rain.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pretty Much Read to Go

Today I visited the office for the last time. I gave Kim my JAC Card and my keys. We transferred signature authority from me to Chris and Ioana. I'm done.

We've made our last trip to the storage facility to put aways the bits we want to keep. We've made the last trip to our security box at the bank to put away important papers for safekeeping.

Today I made a (nearly) last pass at packing. We bought two luggage sets of three bags. These are nice polycarbonate spinners that nest inside one another. We only need five of the bags to hold all our stuff so one of the medium-sized bags is nested inside the matching large one. This will give us room to expand as we travel with souvenirs. All that is left to pack are the cords and chargers for our electronics. This will happen in Arkansas when we are ready to fly. All our clothes for the trip between here and Tontitown are packed separately and will not make the trip any farther.

We have rented a car for the trip to Arkansaa since the big red Caravan has died. It is a bright red Jeep Compass. Plenty of room for us and our stuff. I gassed it up this morning.

All that is missing is the sale of the house. We have a nibble and are hopeful that this will come to fruition (an offer) soon, perhaps in the next week or so.

So with a few speed bumps, we are on track for fun and adventure. Tomorrow we pack the car and make a final cleaning of everything.

Thursday, we hit the road.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Amazing Photo

Cindy Goeddel's image Peter Pan and His Shadow is one of nine photos featured on from the 2016 NANPA Showcase competition highlighting Nature Photography Day. See more at:
I try to only upload photos that I've taken, but sometimes I see things that are really too good to pass up. The photo above is one of those images. What I see in an image like this is not only good technical skills but a really cold person, perhaps hungry person, sitting in the snow for hours, waiting patiently for the just the right moment to press the shutter button. Not sure I can do this myself, but I sure admire it.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Some Things You've Just Got to Do
About three years ago I gave up mowing the yard. The mower died one last time, and we hired a landscaping service to do it for us. I've enjoyed the leisure since then. Today, while pet-sitting, we needed to mow the lawn at our host house. The yard here is very small and it didn't take long, but the memories of all those years came flooding back.

I used to see good things about the effort of mowing. The engine noise creates a sonic envelope around you that gives you isolation from the world to think. The effort and attention to the task keep you from drifting too far afield. Not a bad way to spend a few hours on a Saturday (or Monday). But, like many other tasks in life, I've reached the point where this is less fun that it used to be. Nowadays, the work feels like it out weighs the good. I don't know. Perhaps the next time will be more fun.

Sadness, Horror, and Hatred

John Birmingham writes regular columns for Fairfax Media in Australia. In a column published in the Brisbane Times today, he puts the blame for the Orlando massacre squarely where it belongs...

We can see the evidence of the hatred boiling away inside the shooter's heart and mind, but we cannot now clinically dissect it. We can only ponder the consequences of hatred. It always ends in blood, in horror. Always.
 and on who is responsible

Some of you might consider the effect you have on weaker, smaller, more unstable minds when you point your crooked staff at a reviled minority and pronounce your very own fatwa upon them.
There will be blood and a few inconvenient drops of it might just splatter on you as they fly. 
We all bear the responsibility of this terrible shooting and we all must stand together to stop it from happening again.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Recent Activities

We are pet sitting in Staunton while friends do some pet sitting of their on in London. Between petting and feeding, we are still trying to finalize our travel preparations. We made a visit back to the house to make another pass at packing and I think we have now packed all that we can before really are ready to pull out of the drive way.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Time Travel

As all of you know, the seasons are generally delineated by the relation of the sun to equator. When the sun is crossing the equator headed north in March, we call this the Vernal Equinox and it marks the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere and fall in the southern. Correspondingly, as the sun later crosses the equator headed south in September, we have the Autumnal Equinox.

The word equinox come from the latin for equal night. In March equal night happens, depending on the year, on March 20 or 21 and in September it is on the 22nd or 23rd.

When the sun reaches its northernmost excursion, we have the Summer Solstice on June 20 or 21 marking the beginning of summer in the north and winter in the south. Similarly, northern winter and souther summer begins when the sun is at the southern extreme, the Winter Solstice on December 21 or 22. The word solstice is from the latin for sun stands still.

Easy peasy, right? Just what we all were taught in grade school. Well, it seems not everyone views the seasons this way. In Australia, all the dates are moved back to the beginning of the respective months. Thus, spring there begins on September 1, Summer on December 1, Fall on March 1 and Winter on June1.

Here I've been trained to see the start of a season as being tied to this astronomical stuff and not open to discussion. Now I realize that a season begins when you say it does and is just as manmade as daylight savings time, peak commute times, prime time for television, and business hours. Learn something every day!

We tie our season shifts to astronomy, the Australians connect theirs to the weather. Now is the beginning of 'summer weather' so now is the beginning of summer. Simple as that.

Besides, who can ever keep track of what day the equinox or solstice really happens on? Clearly the Aussies are on to something.