Friday, October 12, 2007

Monarchs on the move

Chip of Monarch Watch is in the news again. This time National. ABC news had a spot about the Monarch's migration to Mexico. Chip was also featured.

Click this link. There is a story and link to a slide show. So far the link to the actual television spot will not come up. They keep promising to fix it.

I hope no one saw these butterflies headed south!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Growing old is not for sissies" Etta Clark


Talk of the Nation on NPR had a show entitled, “Teaching the Young to Empathize with the Old.” The guests were Jason Wilson, editor of The Smart Set, and independent magazine published at Drexel University; author of the article "Old Like Me" and Peg Gordon, intergenerational coordinator at the Macklin Intergenerational Institute and teacher of the class "Xtreme Aging."

Jason Wilson told his experiences simulating being old. This involved corn in his shoes, Vaseline on his glasses, earplugs and bandages tied tightly around knees and elbows. He almost gleefully told of his difficulties going to the bathroom and other daily activities.

Peg Gordon’s class included similar situations. I found the callers more interesting.

A caller explained she teaches a class of water aerobics. She talks to her older ladies like little girls. Neil Conan, moderator, asked if talking this way was demeaning. She assured Conan they enjoy her class.

Another lady, age 79, called to say she walks through a college campus each day. She said she feels invisible. No one smiles or speaks to her.

Gordon said she takes little kids into nursing homes. They get along famously with the residents. However, when it is time to pick the little ones up, the Baby Boomer parents send someone in after their children. They are uncomfortable being around the elderly.

Actually, Gordon said Baby Boomers are the least likely to want to participate or talk about working with the elderly. For some reason this age seems to think they will never get old.

All of the play-acting to understand aging is fine. However, pain and disabilities are not limited to elderly. We should all be sensitive to suffering.

For me, it is difficult to accept I may become unimportant to the people around me. The joy of bonding and recognition between human beings might occur less often and finally given and received only by a few dedicated caregivers and family members.

If I am fortune enough to have a long life, I hope I am able to subsist to the end gracefully and with a sense of humor.

Listen to the entire show by clicking here and then click on “Listen” at the beginning of the article.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More Missouri observations

Missouri is not a stranger to us. We have floated on the North Fork of the White River at least seven or eight times. Our kids loved to water ski on Table Rock and even parts of Lake of the Ozarks. The water is clear and there is less wind.

Wine Country is a yearly trip. We visited Branson once. Many of our friends enjoy trips there, but we bypass the crowds for more rural areas.

The road tax must be less because we nearly always find good gas prices. This time we filled up in Washington, MO, for $2.37 a gallon.

Missouri is a tourist destination. They are proud of their attractions. We know because there are billboards informing travelers. Perhaps a few too many. However, unlike Kansas, we did not see a billboard advertising false teeth or reversing a vasectomy.

Almost without fail, we find the people in the rural areas of Missouri friendly and accommodating. They are laid back and seem to enjoy slowing life down a bit.

And, slow it down we did last weekend.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Just the two of us

It's been fun over the years celebrating Oktoberfest in Missouri wine country, usually with a group. This year it was Dan and I making the adventure. (Pictures at the bottom, but they make more sense if you read first)

We started by enjoying a visit and lunch with friends near Gardner, Kansas. Cheryl recently had back surgery. She is doing amazingly well.

From southern Kansas City, we headed east. We had no schedule, only that we intended to drive the Herrman Missouri Wine Trail on Saturday. Somewhere between Blue Springs and Booneville, Dan brought up shore lunches. The more we thought about it the better it sounded. An exit off I 70 at Booneville, a visit to the local grocery store and we were ready for a shore lunch of pond fed catfish.

We ended up not bringing the bikes. However, we knew there was a picnic area down by the Katy Trail at Rocheport that would be a perfect spot for our fish fry. We had everything out to start frying, only there was one problem. The mosquitoes were relentless. We grabbed up our stuff and took off.

I remembered a well-maintained rest stop near the Herrman exit. It was nearly 8:00 pm when we arrived. As if prepared just for us, there was a well-lit picnic table. We fired up our outdoor propane burner, poured a generous amount of peanut oil in the skillet, rolled the catfish pieces in breading and fried up a shore lunch right there. Delicious.

We boondocked and arrived in Herrman yesterday morning by 9:00 am. After a stop at the candy shop (chocolate with a sweeter wine, of course) we took off south of town for the Adam Puchita vineyard. We were one of the first there. We sampled and purchased just one bottle. I think it was too early as they have excellent wines.

Back to town we drove up to Stone Hill. The view is spectacular from this winery. It is always a beautiful stop.

On the way out of town, we passed Hermannhof Winery. It was already crowded. It is a popular destination for young people—too loud for us.

By this time, it was about time for the KSU/KU game. We decided to head for our favorite, Robllers. We ended up listening to the game under a shade tree, thankful for a bottle (or two) of their good wine to ease our pain.

The entertainment for the afternoon was a musician from St. Louis named Bob. He played every song (this is Bob singing & playing) I have ever loved—at least it seemed so by that time. We decided to pass on the other vineyards on the Trail and enjoy Bob's music.

Bob packed up at 5:00 pm and so did we. Dan had taken a little rest, so he was in fine shape to drive. We headed east intending to cross the Missouri River at Washington, the next bridge after Herrman. We happened on to a very pleasant surprise there. Washington has a park with a picnic tables overlooking the river. We once again fired up our skillet, threw in a couple hamburgers. Instant mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli rounded out our throw together meal. There was no wine served.

We watched the sun set, sending its colors across the river. Local citizens gathered for this event and to watch the boats and jet skiers on the river. I am sure it is especially beautiful in the summer when the sun is further north and would set on the river.

We ate, crossed the Washington bridge and headed we did not know where. Once again things worked out as we ended up at the Graham Cave State Park. It was pitch dark when we arrived, but campers were sitting around bright campfires making it a welcome place to park the Roadtrek for the night. And, a place we plan to return to walk the trails and check out the cave at another time.

This morning, we rose early, showered and took off for Columbia First Christian Church to hear our niece, Rev. Amy Kay, conduct the morning service. Afterward, a quick lunch and visit, then Amy Kay was off to the CROP Walk and Dane to put Sebastian down for his nap.

Five o’clock found us home and unloaded. I’ll say it again, we had fun!

Missouri Wine Country 2007

Click on picture and then "slideshow."