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.



“Waiting for the bus.”

It’s a rather apt description for the demeanor of these zoo animals. They often stand in one position, move only their head, as if watching the world go by.

Are they taking mental notes? Making up silly stories about the people that come to visit? Saying prayers for someone to toss a fish their direction?

Extra lights and figures come out of the boxes at holiday time. This charming fellow (in blue) is definitely inspired by the real life gentleman (or lady) in black.

Am I being watched?


Priceless Work

Times were difficult and jobs were scarce.  Owners of farms and homes became renters when bank payments fell behind.  The country, the entire world, was in the middle of a difficult transition.

Young men moved to the city — seeking work. Some ended up in bread lines, sleeping in hobo jungles, or drifting from one place to another.

The lucky ones found a government job — especially the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The work was difficult – pick and shovel, bucket and wheelbarrow — as they cleared roads and build bridges and shelters and retaining walls on public land. They built to last. They learned discipline and teamwork along with new skills. A few years later, many of these young men would use these skills as they fought to preserve our freedom.

Honoring the CCC worker at Babler State Park near St. Louis, MO

You will see their work in many state and national parks in the bridges, roads, trails, and stone buildings.



They never miss a day. Every visitor who enters the St. Louis Zoo via the south entrance catches at least a glimpse of them. Many stop to admire, snap a photo, or designate as a meeting place.

Welcome. See how sleek we are. Want to see our living, breathing, swimming, playful relatives? We’re on the map. We love to put on a seasonal show. Prepare to be splashed.

Live or sculpture — in or out of water — seal or sea lion — these greeters take their job as good-will ambassadors seriously.