I’m off work today – taking a comp day. (Think it has something to do with working four out of the last six weekends … AND the weeks in between.)

My day started at a very un-day-off-time of 4:50 a.m.  I had to make an airport run. That in itself was an adventure, but so as not to embarrass anyone, I will not talk about people who forget to bring their wallet along to the airport (think photo i.d.) and I will move right along with my story.

I’m sure I must’ve been VERY sleepy when I arrived back home because somehow I managed to clean off and reorganize the shelves of two bookcases in the garage (cases NOT used for books, but for everything but books) – something that has literally been on the to do list for SIX YEARS! I even managed to throw away a can of 2002 bug spray that had a broken nozzle AND an empty can of weed killer. I was truly motivated. Garages aren’t my thing.

So, since I accomplished something that lingered on my TO DO list for so long, I decided to reward myself by doing something that I said I wanted to do, but knew I would never get around to doing.

Mowing the lawn was not it.

Saturday, the 10yo and I passed an absolutely, beautiful field of flowers and I said, “I wish I could stop and take a picture.”  But state police frown on that kind of thing, especially since I would have to cross the expressway, so no pictures.

But the field wasn’t that far away – just between the first and second exit (from home) – IF I could find the field which would be the trick – because it wasn’t actually NEAR an exit. So that meant I would have to criss cross country roads on a hunt.

I got my bearings on the expressway and then actually did find the field rather easily.  My trek was affirmed when I saw a young couple parked next to the field – taking pictures. The guy even had his tripod.  I still had my telephoto lens on the camera from the zoo trip.

Anyhow – it was kind of a fun break and didn’t really take that long.

This is an example of heliotropism - where plants face toward the sun - so the field looks different depending on what time of day it is.

So, I drove around to the other side of the field.

Here the flowers are facing East.

Then I walked into the field.

The flowers were planted in perfectly straight rows.

A bee enjoys lunch.

Did you know a sunflower is not really one flower – but many florets making up the flower?  In fact, you can figure out the sequence with an algebraic formula. (Notice I said YOU could, but I sure couldn’t – I do words, not numbers – but  today I truly wished I did get it because this is fascinating.)

Ok, won’t do the formula – but I’ll attempt an explanation. The florets are in a perfect spiral formation. Each learns toward the next by the golden angle (137.5 degrees). The interconnecting spirals are successive Fibonacci numbers. So, usually there are 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the over (although in large sunflowers there are 89 in one direction and 144 in the other.) What this does is allow the most proficient seed packing possible in the sunflower head.

If you understand the number part of this, I’m impressed. On the other hand, I am truly in awe of the design in just one flower. How can anyone say this all happened by accident?

Have you ever studied the spiral pattern of a sunflower?

See the spirals?

Talk about WOW!

I’m sure chasing down sunflowers isn’t everyone’s idea of a fun thing to do – but you know something?  I’m glad I did it. I learned a lot and wandering through a field of sunflowers on an August day was a just-right break.

Psalm 96:12 - Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.

By the way, you think someone should tell these cows, they’re not getting a whole lot of shade from those trees?


WHERE: Springfield, Illinois

WHAT: The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum opened in April 2005.

WHY GO THERE: The museum is not the static room after room of traditional artifacts behind glass. Instead the use of technology makes each exhibit different from the others. When the museum was first built, the planners faced controversy as it was dubbed Lincolnland by the traditionalists.  But since that time it has won an award for : being the greatest achievement in America to encourage the study and appreciation of Abraham Lincoln and the times in which he lived.

WHAT’S THERE: Lots of different exhibits portraying Lincoln’s life, but in particular, I liked seeing an original copy of the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s stovepipe hat with his fingerprint impressions on the rim.

KID-FRIENDLY: Yes. The 10yo liked the two shows and Mary’s dresses. Not overly interested in the exhibit part. (The wall of political cartoons is fascinating. Lincoln was not only liked by many, but he was NOT like by many others. The museum also has a Mrs. Lincoln’s Attic room which is dress-up clothes (dress up like Abe and Mary), books, toys, etc. The 10yo, almost 11yo was just a little too old to really get into the things in the room, but younger kids would have a lot of fun. (And she might’ve been more willing to participate if her sister had been with her.) She did LOVE the gift shop.

ANYTHING TO EAT? Yes, there is a Subway at the museum.

WOULD I RECOMMEND YOU VISIT: This was actually my third time there. I went with Ken RIGHT after it opened in 2005. Later, my mom and I were in the area for a funeral and we went.  I would go again. They do have a great gift shop with lots of books, DVDs and other Lincoln/presidential memorabilia.


Just got back from Southern Illinois (very close to St. Louis) where I did workshops at a conference. This was especially fun because the 10yo went with me.

The church was large – but talk about the middle of nowhere!  I couldn’t even get the GPS to work.  This was the best attendance ever for this conference and I found the people in my workshop to be responsive and friendly. Several came up to talk to me afterwards, to ask questions or just to chat.

On the way down, the 10yo and I stopped at the Lincoln Museum (which I’ve been to twice before), but still fun.

So, here’s my conference landscape …


Back in July when I was down in Georgia my gracious hosts helped me put together a list of TEN THINGS TO DO IN NORTHERN GEORGIA. I didn’t DO all these things – this was just their list.

I also got pictures of a few of them that I didn’t do – but we drove by in the process of creating our list.

1. Visit the Coco-Cola Headquarters in Atlanta. (Did not do this this time, but have in the past.)

2. Drink sweet tea.

3. Eat at The Boat House (right along the Tennessee River).  We did do this and it was good.

4. Attend the Easter Sunrise Service at the Chickamauga Battle Field. (I did not attend the Easter service in July 🙂 – but this field is where it is held.)

5. Rejoice in not having to pay tolls.

6. Of course, eat at Mary Mac’s (see my entire post that I did on my delightful meal here.)

7. Go to at Braves game at Turner Field. (Did not do that, but got a picture!)

8. Visit the Atlanta Aquarium.

9. Visit the State Capitol in Atlanta.

10. Swat mosquitoes.

And they actually gave me about five more which I will list another day – but that’s it for now!

I MEAN SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I read this in the latest copy of Good Housekeeping.

Some researchers (who need a life) studied 52 different paintings of the Last Supper that were drawn over the course of  a 1,000 years.

They discovered that the main course has increased 69 percent.

The plate size grew 66 percent.

The bread size increased 23 percent.

And since no one really knows what any of it looked like, why are people wasting their time on this?


1. One more picture from the zoo. I forgot the zebra, but it’s actually one of my favorite pictures!

2. Had a fun supper at IHOP with the 8yo. The whole time we were seeing how many names we could come up with – International House of Pickles, International House of Pumpkins, International House of Pizza, International House of Pecan Pie.

3. That between a discussion about what Grandpa Ken can see in heaven. (Ken and I used to take the girls to IHOP, so we often talk about him while we’re there.) The 8yo was fairly sure he was at the moment talking to Noah. But then she wanted to know if we had “free access to the whatever time of day we wanted” in heaven. So, we started talking about time and how heaven didn’t have time – so then how would you know when you were supposed to be somewhere.

4. That led to a discussion of food in heaven and I told her there would be a tree with 12 different fruit on it – one for every month (Revelation 22:2) At which point, the 8yo said, “Months? But there’s no time in heaven.”  OK, you answer that one!

5. Thanks to J. for leaving me a bag of the best Italian pastries in the world (from Francos) on my desk!  What a cool surprise!

6. I think I like Wheat Thin Sticks. I should probably not have a box right next to where I’m working here.


So, yesterday we went to the zoo. The day was hot, but not overbearingly hot. The zoo was crowded, but not overwhelmingly so.

We saw the exhibits we wanted to see and decided that was it for the day, kids’ feet were getting wobbly and the “I’m thirstys” were being heard more often. We stayed exactly long enough and had a good time of visiting with Eddie, Sue and girls.


We arrived back in Edinburgh late in the afternoon – and settled in at our original hotel.  Then we headed out to the The New Bell Restaurant (not to be confused with The Old Bell which is right below the New Bell.)  We enjoyed another delicious meal and then exchanged our tacky gifts.

The tacky gifts were something that Anne told us about the very first day – we were to find a 2 pound (as in money pound, not in weight – but I don’t have the pound symbol on my keyboard) tacky gift for our buddy.   We each had to then get up and present it in front of everyone.

I got RG a hairy coo bookmark and wrote a tacky poem about him checking to make sure I was on the bus and about him standing on his head all the time. Which he didn’t. He stood on his hands at all major stops – not his head, but hand didn’t rhyme with instead and I needed something that rhymed with instead.

Anyhow, he got me an “original picture of my family castle,” which I promised him I would hang in a prominent place on my wall when I arrived home.

So, I took down my treasured Ansel Adams print of Half Dome (which we actually bought at Yosemite) and put up the family castle – at least for the 30 seconds it took to shoot the picture.  (Notice the decorative water stains around the edges. They add a particularly elegant touch.)

But I think I got the better part of the deal – because imagine actually going into an “antique/second hand” store and paying money for this?  What do you think those clerks thought of the silly Americans?  Hmmm … talk about tacky!   🙂 Ha! Ha! Cute gift.

Anyhow Me and The Other Three, got up VERY early the next morning and took a cab to the airport. G. from Boston went with us since she was on the same plane to Dublin. We had a layover in Dublin where we actually checked into the States. (Interestingly, you go through the passport process, etc. in a special section of the Dublin airport that says “Welcome to the United States”  – and don’t have to go through anything back in the States.)  Our flight was smooth and on time (in fact, a little bit early).

I walked out of the baggage area and heard a voice call “Grandma!”

Once again, we were home.

The whole family had come to the airport and brought with them a large GLASS OF ICED TEA! We stopped at McDonald’s for supper and “debriefing” and then it was back to real life. 😦