Category Archives: Travel

Learning Curve

Yesterday I had to stop while a small flock of turkeys took their time crossing the road. Then today it was a fairly large gaggle of geese that slowed me up; I’ll admit I gave my horn a couple of quick toots to hurry them along.

It made me think about the animal crossing system that they have in Canada along Banff National Park. All along the Trans Canada Highway through the park, they built overpasses and underpasses for the animals to use.  According to Parks Canada, they have documented hundreds of thousands of animal crossings and saved thousands of animals from becoming roadkill.

Apparently coyotes, cougars and black bears figured out the crossings the fastest. Grizzly bears and wolves took the longest.  But no one answers my question.  Did they just open them up and wait for the animals to give them a try or did they try to “train” wildlife, perhaps using bait? Maybe it was it just a “build it and they will come” kind of thing?

It occurs to me that I’ve had animals in my life that would learn something like this quickly, like the black bears and I’ve also had animals that would be trailing behind the grizzlies.

Have you had a particularly smart (or not) animal in your life?

The Odd Couple

Today’s post comes to us from Jacque.

Sometime this last summer I saw the strangest thing—a male peacock crossed the road in front of my car in hot pursuit of a turkey hen.   They disappeared into the woods at top speed.

“HMMM, I thought. Did I really see that?”

When I got home I told Lou about it and we had a good laugh, labeling the pair “The Odd Couple.” They were kind of the Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett of the bird world.  Remember that one?  Two mismatched, high profile celebrities that impulsively got married then inevitably they divorced.

In September before I left for Ireland, I saw a blurb about a similar thing somewhere else on the news or on the internet. I searched YouTube, that faithful documenter of daily life, for similar henomena and came up with an impressive visual library of involvement between peacocks and other fowl.  It turns out that peacocks “sleep” with anybody.  Apparently, peacocks and peahens are the sluts of the fowl world.  I suppose if you have all that impressive featherage, it cannot be wasted.

Here is a YouTube of a news report of a peacock in Victoria, Canada and a domestic turkey .

What sight causes you to say, “Did I see that?”

Free Time

Husband loaded his pickup on Monday of this week and headed to Denver to see his dad and stepmom. His dad is in an assisted living facility due to Alzheimer’s Disease, and he hasn’t seen him for a year. Husband returns home  later today.

I am accustomed to Husband spending time away from home during the week when he works on the Reservation.  He is usually home on Friday, and it was strange not having him here yesterday.  Strange, yet somewhat restful,  since yesterday was the first Friday for eons that it was the end of the week, I was at home, and we were not planning what to cook for the weekend.

Husband is a compulsive cook, grocery list maker, and menu planner. I can tell when he is thinking about cooking something.  He has this broody look on his face and gets real quiet. If I ask him what is going on he says “Just a minute”, and, many, many minutes later, he tells me what foods  he wants to prepare.  This only happens when we are at home. He recognizes how odd this is and confesses that he can’t stop thinking about cooking when he is at home.

I got off work early yesterday. I was content to eat ham sandwiches and breakfast cereal. The free time was nice, and I had had a restful afternoon playing with the cats.

What do you like to do in your free time?  What do you find relaxing?

Airplane Adventures

Many years ago a client and I had a challenge to each read Hawaii by James Michener before a trip to Maui.  The description of the ship voyage from Boston around the tip of South America to Maui and the space that passengers were allotted made me vow to never complain about air travel.  So the following is not complaining, just a detailing of our adventure.

We left the house at 5:15 a.m. so that we would be at the airport 3 hours ahead. All the industry talk for the last couple of months has been about how long the security lines at MSP have been due to re-vamping of the system.  Well, I’m here to tell you that they are now re-vamped and 3 hours is about 2 hours too long.  Thank goodness for solitaire on my laptop and Candy Crush on YA’s phone.

Discount ticketing meant we had 3 flights and I was on edge a little about flights departing late. Luckily our first flight went off without a hitch.  When we got to Dallas our connecting gate was the farthest gate from our arrival gate.  We had carry-on luggage so it was a long haul.  But that flight was on time as well.  So far so good.

Then we got to Miami, where things started to get interesting. Again our two gates were really far apart (no moving sidewalks in Miami).  Then a few minutes before boarding came the announcement about maintenance.  Then came the announcement that they were taking our plane out of service and were looking for a new plane.  Then came the announcement that they found a plane but it was at a different gate – the one we had originally arrived at earlier in the afternoon – on the other side of the airport!  Carry-on luggage was getting really heavy at this point.

The thing that kept us going was that this was our last flight of the day so we didn’t have to worry about missing a connecting flight. It was a bumpy ride and about 2/3 through the flight, a woman got sick and they asked for medical assistance.  YA thinks the woman was having a panic attack – they brought on a paramedic when we arrived, but didn’t ask us to stay seated while she was taken off the plane (yes, I’ve had that happen).

We landed in Aruba at 10:15 p.m. making a 17-hour travel day. But compared to 6 weeks in a cramped, damp space on a rocking ship – NO PROBLEM!

Tell me one of your travel adventure stories!

Bonnets

Today’s post comes from Jacque.

The trip to Ireland is a week and a half behind me now, which allows the fog to clear as routine life, my real life, resumes.  As I reflect on the trip the highlights are emerging from the distance of time and place.  One of the highlights is the County Down Museum for which there was no admission fee, a small facility located in the building that lodged the county gaol and gallows during the 19th Century.  Two wings of it display artifacts of the area reaching back to pre-Christian times.

The part that interested me, though,  was the exhibit about the gaol, especially the display about the women, arrested for “crimes,” then sentenced to life in Australia.  I have included the pictures of the narratives, telling of the women, children, and families transported for crimes. You will see that their crimes were crimes of poverty and survival, often preceded by the husbands and fathers of a family being arrested and sent off to Australia.  That left a desperate family with no financial support.

 

Down a narrow hall from the main exhibits was a reproduced gaol cell holding women and children, including the one pallet to be used as a bed and shared by all in the cell.  It was cold and dank and surely cleaner than the ones used 200 years ago.  I looked at it and shuddered.  I have seen exhibits similar to this before.  What made this one so meaningful to me, what set this apart significantly, was the display of nineteenth century bonnets re-created in the styles of the time.

 

 

The arrays of bonnets, embellished and decorated with scraps of fabric, embroidered hearts, lace, and ribbons were so lovely.  Representing these women without being creepy, I found the bonnets to be the perfect symbol of the lives of these women.   The beauty of this has stayed with me.  I keep returning to the picture of the bonnets to show others, to look at and study, to savor.    I find it a pleasing, perfect memory.  Ideal.

 

What ideal symbol have you encountered?