Sleek Swimmers

One of the many things I appreciate when walking at the Missouri Botanical Garden, is the pleasant little surprises when you take one of the less often traveled paths.

Bonus if a bench is in a strategic spot.

Playful otters, even the sculptured ones, look sleek and cool in their pool on a hot summer day.

Have you had a rough week? Plop yourself down on a bench. Close your eyes and listen to the fountain gurgle and splash. Then blink back to reality and enjoy the representation of some of nature’s playful creatures.

There — did you feel it? Tension just slipped off my shoulders. Ohh — a bird came to visit and carried away a worry. Take a nice, deep breath of garden-scented air. Nice earth undertones. Light, sweet blossoms.

I think I’m ready now. Time to pull the book from my tote bag and transport myself to another time and place while my body sheds heavy, daily burdens and selects some sweet, light hopes.

Suggestion for your tote bag — romance. A sweet read is “Morning Tryst”



Fashionable Fountain

Hot weather. Splashing water. Relief is standing near the fountain. Or on the splash pad.

One summer, not so many years ago, a glass and metal fashion show took over this space at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Sparkling in the sunshine, the models appear to be standing on the tips of the fountain.

Oooo — cool feet.

If you could dance on the tips of a fountain, what would you sing? Would you join hands and dance? What instruments do you want in the band?

In “Stare Down” a romance with a touch of suspense, the hero takes his mother to the botanical garden. Always something beautiful to see and a shady place to read a book.

Stare Down on Kindle:


Welcome to my City

Pre-pandemic (I expect many of us will divide our lives by this event), I had decided that the time was right for me to have EXPERIENCES rather than collect THINGS.

Therefore, on a spring afternoon, I boarded an airplane, crossed my fingers my luggage took the same flight, and became an international traveler. I’m not counting Canada or Mexico for the purposes of this blog — they are fine countries and I enjoyed my time in each — that’s for another day.

Culture shock — to a person raised rural, currently living in a modest size city, and never visiting anything larger than Chicago — London is huge. No matter how many history, fiction, or guidebooks you consult, the trip from airport to hotel introduced me to more of — everything — than I expected.

Trafalgar Square

On an independent adventure my first afternoon, I consulted the map, asked a few questions at hotel and underground station. Then I “followed the herd”. It’s memorable to emerge into rainy, spring air and be greeting by this fellow. “Welcome. My friends and I will guard this pillar. No funny stuff tolerated.”

Have you had a memorable sculpture encounter?


Balancing Act

How’s your hectic? Are you striving to find a balance between work and home life? Do you have conflicting (or overwhelming) responsibilities to either the younger or older generation? Squeezed between both?

During the previous year and a half — or nearly that long — stresses have changed.

While you may no longer be pulled in six different directions at once outside of the home — demands and uncertainly within your family or close community continue.

Dare I go to _____? Fill in the blank with an out of home activity.

Does _________ require a mask? I’ll follow the rules, but would like to know before I open the door.

What if it rains the day of the scheduled outdoor party? Is it safe to move inside?

Yes, life can be a balancing act between social and safety.

Expert at one type of balancing act.


Folding Fun

Fold a newspaper hat. Or is it a boat to race in the local creek?

Folding napkins into fancy shapes never worked well for me. I could admire the talent of others — but mine — best to stay with basics.

Fold towels into animals? I’d get fired from that cruise ship task.

A current art exhibit puts my fingers to shame. I suspect even the person expert shaping towels would be awed.

Did the artist fold paper? Cloth?


Metal origami floats picture perfect at the Japanese garden.

These are the simple figures. Below is more complicated.

Enjoy a walk among the unusual.


Perfect Setting

This amateur photographer snaps a shot, she does not always pay attention to items (or people) near the edge. Yes, I line things up and sometimes wait a minute or move to one side or the other to avoid including certain things. Often other amateur photographers enjoying the same sight.

Once in a while — when reviewing photos later — I find a gem. The romance writer in me found this difficult to resist.

Put on your story telling hat and make up something about the couple captured when I focused on the sculpture.

I confess — I didn’t notice them until I was editing out a pair of the aforementioned amateur photographers.

A well-dressed couple in the rose garden.

Is he photographing her? Preparing to propose marriage? Will she accept?


Life Cycle

Every child learns about the life cycle undergone by most insects — the four stages of egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

You may have gone hunting for and found all four stages on a nature hike. Looking for butterflies at the various stages is especially popular.

Artists through the ages have used them as models and incorporated them into paintings and sculpture.

Have you ever…tried to compare this to humans? Think for a moment.

Egg — before birth yet very much alive.

Larva — children are always hungry and refuse to stay in one place

Pupa — teens (have you ever tried to wake one early in the morning?)

Adult — a magical moment, or short time span, where the previous stage gives way to rational thought and dependable actions (every parent’s wish)


Child’s Play?

Who goes first?

Friends, classmates, neighbors all need a way to make a quick little decision. Because some times you just can’t break the cookie into two pieces or take turns. Through the decades, American (and other) children have used variations of a Chinese game and given it the name: rock, paper, scissors.

It works — like most games and ways to make a decision, both parties need to agree on the rules and to abide by the outcome.

Recently I saw the game symbolized in a new way.

Okay — let’s try this again. Who wants to go first?


Patriot Quartet

The first time I saw “The Faces”, I was a small child. We were on a family vacation and it was our first sightseeing destination. Was I impressed? I think so. I remember my parents gifting me (and a brother) with T-shirts displaying the sight.

My favorite thing in the Black Hills during that visit? Two things actually — the “pig tail” bridges and picking out the almost transparent mico from the gravel around our cabin.

My return as a young adult included the purchase of the mug below. Rather than go shopping within sight of the actual Mt. Rushmore — I spent my money at a different South Dakota institution — Wall Drug.

Did you realize the lives of these four US Presidents overlap?

Washington and Jefferson were contemporaries. Lincoln was born before Jefferson died, and T. Roosevelt arrived in his family two years before Lincoln was elected.

Planning a road trip? May I suggest…



Did I do it right? Is it done? Can I do it again?

Mom — watch this!   Mom — it worked!

Parents, especially mothers, should be able to relate to all of the above phrases. When we had a toddler in the house it was easy to lose count of the number of times I heard — Me do it!

And he did. Sometimes. Part-way. With odd results.

Mom. Mom! Watch this!

Why do I suspect the designer of this sculpture was a parent?

I wonder if he had “help” with this portion.