Tuesday, June 28, 2011


the squirrel who visits daily
Virginia creeper

Work stuff-
As the temperatures begin to get higher, working has become more challenging to say the least. It doesn't help when my co-worker keeps saying, "it gets worse" when it's pretty dang bad dealing with the heat and the humidity in a long dress. I'm enjoying my co-workers though. It gets better each day as people see you day after day and open up. I am still the newbie on the block and I really enjoy hearing some stories from the old timers. In fact, I have my eye on a guy as a portrait subject. I also see several kids from school working and I'm enjoying having a different sort of relationship with them (co-workers and not teacher). Maura quickly noticed my stress levels are way down compared to teaching.
There are some crazy things people do on vacation. People have really really distorted body images. For as much as our society talks about child proofing and safety issues, there are some people who haven't clued in on the basics. People cannot read maps. Apparently, there's still someone in America who thinks it's ok to leave their dog in a car at a theme park in 90 degree temps. for several hours. (honestly!)
Every morning, we have a squirrel (or two) who come for their peanut butter crackers. Occasionally, we'll also get a chipmunk, but they are very greedy, taking off with the crackers and storing them somewhere. The squirrels have been coming for years now and they will get right up in your face letting you know they want their cracker. They will take them from your hand, sometimes with their paw, but sometimes resting their paw on your hand as they take the cracker from your fingers. At first, I thought it was really freaky, but now I'm getting used to the whole thing. By the time the park opens, the squirrels have moved on with their day.
There's lots of Virginia creeper around the park. I think it looks interesting climbing on the random rustic areas and greens everything up in a random sort of way. It gives the park a more casual look- with landscaped parts and then the informal vines around. I am not as happy about it in MY yard. It's taking over my roses at the moment and I am going to attack it soon with some Roundup. I heard it would kill it. We've tried a few other things and it didn't make a dent.
I haven't figured out how to get much accomplished after working these hours. Work takes up the bigger chunk of the day (and evening) and I'm just so hot when I get home I just want to sit in the AC. I have so much I need to get done.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Larger view of the formations

Rim stone

Curtain Formations
Talking Rocks Cavern-
Today, after I mailed off my latest cave based quilt to the exhibit "Deep Spaces", I was inspired to visit a cave. There just so happens to be one very close to where I live called Talking Rocks Cavern. It's run by SDC so Delaney and I were able to visit it for free. The last time I went to this cave was when Maura was in the 2nd grade and Steve's mom was visiting for her 1st Communion. That's roughly 10 years ago.
The cave isn't that large, but it's very vertical so you spend most of your time on oddly spaced cement stairs. It is also a closed cave, meaning no entrance open to the outdoors, so there are no bats living in this cave. I thought i recalled that there were some cave pearls in the lowest level of this one, but today, it was clear that either I was mistaken or the clay wash had made them disappear. They have been doing some digging in the cave, trying to discover more spaces, but it's a slow process that hasn't progressed much at all in those 10 years. I love cave formations, but hate it when they make up names for formations like, "angel" or "dragon". Of course, some official names for formations are imaginative, like bacon, or cave pearls, flow stone or soda straws.
Photographing formations is tough. The light levels are low, yet, if you use the flash, you lose all the mystery of the formations. It's all about the shadows. I enjoyed seeing the rim stone- tiny pools in layers built upon flow stone, like small dams or miniature terraced landscapes. I also liked the angle I could get on the curtain formations, like they are coming from nowhere out of the darkness.
I thought about how to create the texture of the rim stone in stitches, how it looks like a sea of stone. I thought of the abstract designs of the curtains and how strong a design it would make.
The cave is plenty wet and it would seem like it would be growing in more places that it is. It's been open to the public since the 20's, so there's been plenty of time to make mistakes there too. You can see damage to formations done when taking a piece of the cave home with you was a common occurrence. Not to mention the touching. There's places in the cave where they just accept you HAVE to touch to keep your balance through narrow passages and thus, the formations have discolored and stopped growing. Still, all in all, a nice cave and a great way to spend an hour or so.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Playing Tourist-
Today was my day off and, after a few errands, Delaney and I decided to play tourist and see some of the smaller attractions in Branson. Because I work at SDC, I had a list of attractions I could go to for free. The purpose is that, once I see the attraction, I am more likely to talk about it to the visitors. So, today, Delaney and I went to the Butterfly Place, Titanic and The Family Fun center for a round of putt putt golf.
The Butterfly Place is a lovely building with the butterfly room in the top floor and a gently sloping circular walk leading up to it. The room has an air door and double doors to keep the butterflies in the room. It's a beautiful room, filled with lush vegetation and several different types of butterflies fluttering around. It's a relaxing atmosphere, slow down, take it easy and enjoy the chance of seeing a butterfly land on you. I was all set to enjoy taking several photos, when my camera died and I realized I didn't take the time to make sure it was charged before I went today.
Delaney had hers, but it's not as good of a camera, so the first picture was taken with mine and the second with hers. I'm just going to have to go back another time and make sure I have my camera charged.
Besides the butterfly room, they had a mini science area with other creatures, frog and lizards and such and then a mirror maze, which was kinda fun and an extensive gift shop with all sorts of things related to Butterflies.

We went to Titanic- no photos allowed so, I guess I didn't feel so bad about my camera not being charged up. This museum really tried to make the whole Titanic event very personal. At the beginning, they give you a card that has information about a passenger. At the end, you find out if you lived or died. I was the richest woman on the ship and occupied one of the two largest staterooms on the ship. I was traveling with my son, coming home to America after spending quite some time adventuring. Delaney was a teenaged girl traveling with her family who was also fairly well off. They had the only car on the ship (in the movie, that's where they made out) and also had one of the few dogs on board. The museum actually has two dogs of the breed this family had as part of the display. (live ones) There's a lot of reading, but enough interaction and a few unique displays to break it up. Still, you are confronted time after time with such personal narratives, making the whole thing overwhelmingly sad. At the end, we discovered that both Delaney and I lived, but I'm sure there are those who discover their person perished. Personally, the thing I found most interesting was a catalog of designs that were offered by a designer of the time who was on the ship. I would have bought a reproduction of that book had they had it for sale. I also liked seeing the celtic design china that was one of the official designs of the Titanic. They offered the blue and white china reproductions but not that one. It's an interesting museum.
Lastly, we went to The Family Fun Center which offers indoor blacklight minigolf and laser tag.
We just did the mini golf and it was fun. neither one of us are good at it but really, the fun part was seeing all the glowing stuff and the different themed rooms. The dragon was cool but I liked the underwater scene the best Delaney's clothes were glowing but nothing I was wearing glowed except my toenail polish! It was so crazy to see my glowing toes! There are several mini golf places in Branson, but on a hot day like today was, I think an indoor place was just perfect.
All in all, I had a great time exploring some of the smaller attractions in the area. I can't complain about a single one, especially in terms of service and friendliness. I'd recommend seeing any of these attractions.