The monarch butterfly had obviously recently emerged from his chrysalis hidden somewhere in our garden when we spotted him. He clung to the thyme plant unmoving for the longest time, then opened his wings periodically and hopped from stem to stem occasionally. Then came the rain, a deluge. We were surprised to see he had held his ground, and was still on the thyme, now drying his new wings. I took picture after picture without much movement on his part. My husband decided he was sick and offered his finger to him, at which point he flapped frailly into the sky growing stronger with each pulse of the wing. It was then we smelled it, the pungent scent of thyme perfuming the air around us as it wafted from the monarch’s wings, a little surprise to puncture the ordinary on a winter’s day.

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What Winning Feels Like

The Colts won the Super Bowl — for those of you who have been lost in the jungle. You know I have been pulling for them since the first game of the season–and predicting this outcome. So, how does it feel? Surprisingly calm, one of those “all’s right with the world” feelings. Maybe I’ve seen Tony Dungy on the sidelines too much and his demeanor has rubbed off. Anyway the curtain on football pretty much shut down after Sunday along with the emotions. The long wait begins for next season.

 I may have undone a lesson I have been trying to teach my grandson, though, because of the Colts. No, because of my competitiveness. My approach when Zachary has wanted to give up on any number of pursuits was “mistakes are good because they teach you, failing this time gets you closer to a win, etc. etc.” The lesson must have been soaking in because before the game we talked and Zac said, “It’s okay if our Colts don’t win.” And I, the teacher of life situations, said, “NO! NO! WE ARE GOING TO WIN. Don’t even think otherwise.” The minute it came out my mouth I knew I’d blown what I’d been working on for months, but it was out there. I don’t remember how I glossed it over except to point out how prepared the Colts were because of prior mistakes. The truth was I couldn’t entertain the thought of losing. Maybe that was one of those mistakes I had to make on my way to being a truly wise grandma.

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Two articles almost kissing in today’s newspaper:

  • One reports that $23 billion was sent home in 2006 by (illegal) Mexicans working the U.S. (No the report didn’t say “illegal”),
  • The second reports 75,000 Mexicans are protesting tortilla prices which have reached roughly 45 cents a pound.

You know, you would think $23 billion could buy a few tortillas, but perhaps this is the problem. U.S.Treasurer Anna Escobedo Cabral said that these remittances are a driving force of Mexico’s economic growth and that the country should encourage migrants‘ families to invest their money. People, here is the root of the problem. Mexicans are investing the $23 billion sent from relatives who risk life and limb to swim the Rio Grande leaving them no pesos with which to buy tortillas. And why is the U.S.Treasurer telling Mexicans what to do with their money? That’s for another day.  I’m a U.S. citizen and assume I can give advice to Mexicans, too, so here it is. BUY SOME DAMN TORTILLAS WITH THE 23 BILLION!

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The Pretzel Chair

My grandfather crunched another pretzel as the brown, wicker chair groaned with the rocking motion,  and I, a tiny preschooler, looked up from the floor in amazement. If Papa wanted to snack on his chair until it crumbled on the floor around him, let him, but I would have no part of it. I refused his offer, yet couldn’t divert my eyes from the train wreck. Even after I learned about the pretzels I could never be sure he would not make a mistake and just gnaw off a piece of arm on that creaky old chair. Could something like this have been the genesis of Fear Factor and American Idol? What such TV shows trade in is incredulity. If they ever run out of new themes perhaps there would be worse ideas than sitting an old man in a wicker rocker eating pretzels. Well, maybe not.

What about you? Do you have any peculiar, frightening or funny incidents involving furniture? I’d like to hear them.

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This will be very short. I’m trying to find my cat who disappeared sometime at the end of the 4th quarter of the Colts game tonight. He has never seen Mommy act that way. MY COLTS ARE GOING TO THE SUPERBOWL!

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Panty Lessons

Dressing fast for work in early morning light, I slipped white pants over bright pink panties. I was good for a few laughs that day, which I spent mostly sitting behind my desk. Frankly, I had thought pink wouldn’t show so much with my pale skin, but Sadie set me straight.

“Black panties under white pants–always,” she said.

My jaw dropped. “That can’t possibly work, Sadie,” I said.

But she was adamant and very convincing, said it was some kind of fashion truth that everyone knew. Well, everyone but me obviously. She admitted it sounded counter to what you would expect, but colors were funny.

I am nothing if not trusting, so a couple of weeks later I donned my white pants over black panties and rushed off to work. Again co-workers whispered gentle notice in my ears that I had mistakenly signaled my underwear color again.

“No, you aren’t supposed to be able to see black under white pants!”

“Who told you that?” Gloria asked.

“Sadie,” I said.

“Sadie is black,” she said, “it may work for her.”

So I no longer wear white pants and if the emperor ever leads a parade downtown I’ll not say a word about his attire. For all I know Sadie gave him fashion advice.

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Imperfect Monarch

pupa4-015.jpgHis chrysalis seemed abnormally small as it clung high on the stucco wall in front of our house. But the Monarch caterpillar who had disappeared was on the small side, so maybe it was okay. It wasn’t. New Year’s Eve he left his confines and when we found him his condition was not good. His right wing was leaning all the way left and his left was ragged. Both seemed folded and unyeilding. He tried. He flapped and flapped, but got nowhere. I snapped a penta blossom and set it before him and he crawled hungrily upon it and inserted a long black straw and slurped and slurped. Then, filled with sugar, he flapped and fluttered and dragged his wings across the sidewalk to the grass and tried again and again to take off. He did accomplish getting the errant wing to its right side, but it was pleated, doubled and not aerodynamic.

For days we “fed” him penta blossoms and he feasted on them.
“You want to step on him?” my husband said. NO. He didn’t either.

But our chance came four days into the “Monarch watch.” Our lawn boy arrived. I said, “He’s going to run over the butterfly.”

“Yeah,” my husband said.

I worked in the office, through drawn to the window, and experienced relief and sadness as the lawnmower ran over our Monarch’s grassy runway. It was over. My husband came in later and I said, “I guess the lawn boy ran over him, huh?”

“No, I moved him to the penta bush,” he said.

But he wouldn’t stay. With instinct and tradition, he kept trying and trying to fly away, getting back on the driveway time after time. We moved him back.

Some time later my husband had an errand to do and drove off. After a while I checked for the Monarch in the penta, the grass, the sidewalk, the driveway—

 There he was, at the far end of the driveway. He had made his last attempt and the tire had mercifully done what we couldn’t do.

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Bling Finger

Do you ever wonder about the bridal pictures in the paper–the bride and groom usually looking all lovey and into each other? Do you ever assign chances of their making it to, say, the Super Bowl? You know you do. So do you give extra points if the couple look somewhat alike? I do. I add or subtract points for body language and appropriate dress. The beauty of this unscientific study is that you never get to find out how badly you scored. Those people go in the bird cage, litter box or recycling never to be seen again. But here’s the thing. I believe I score high marks for accuracy with one particular criteria. I call it The Bling Finger test. Every once in a while you spot a bride in an unusual, contorted position, her hand flat against her new husband’s chest. Now her concentration seems not to be on her groom, but on that hand, that finger, the one with the bling. I don’t know why, but it always takes me a while to “get it,” and when I do that marriage is given 2% chance of survival. Why? The most important day of her life so far, standing close to the man she vows to wipe drool from in the nursing home, and what is she thinking of? That piece of bling on her third finger. You just know that guy had better feather her nest in fashion for the rest of her life because her values are set. She’s looking in that camera and daring it not to pick up the reflected ray of stoney glory.

 My editor (conscience) must insert a disclaimer right here, an incident in my past which might color my opinion a bit. The day I waltzed into class with my engagement ring with my hand leading the parade that was me,  the girls in the class were clustered around Mary Lea Henry who was — showing off her engagement ring. And it gets better. Our rings were identical. So don’t try to impress me with your sparkling rock.  Mine may be hidden in the crevices of a minute, white gold setting, but it and the marriage have lasted almost fifty years, and that’s enough bling for me.

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Do you have any idea how many radio stations there are in Indianapolis? Oh no, I forgot to check Tennessee! Hand to the forehead moment! After wasting too much 4th quarter time, I went back to the primitive way of watching football. Bet you never thought you would hear anyone call the Internet primitive. Well, I assure you it seems that way when you are 17-17 in the 4th with 2 minutes to go and Tennessee pops on screen with 20. You’ve got 7 FOOTBALL seconds left to at least even the score. And you refresh, refresh, refresh. No change. A few minutes ago you were thinking about overtime and now you are trying to imagine a challenge—-anything! Refresh, refresh, refresh. FINAL Tennessee Titans 20, Indianapolis Colts 17. What a stupid game!

But the Colts and I will be back for the Superbowl–in living color, HDTV, with sound and that cute, yellow, first-down line.

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sleepygirls.jpgWe in Central Florida went to bed last night with dire warnings of a ferocious storm and lamentation from TV weather people that woe are the viewers without tornado alarms. That would be ALL of us in FL. I woke about 5:30 waiting to make a dash for the enclosed bathroom, wondering if we’d be sucked up the skylight, then stayed awake an hour or two and all we got was a pretty good rain. I’m going to do an Elvis the next time those weather people start crying wolf. Don’t mess with my sleep. I think I could show them a storm.

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