Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Sept. 10, 2001

Chasing butterflies in the cemetery


With the exception of my work, my life is fairly uninteresting - certainly nothing worth writing a regular column over.

A perfect example is last week, when I found myself chasing some uncooperative Monarch butterflies in the Howard Lake Cemetery.

They didn't want their picture taken, and moved away from me every which way; but not orderly enough to make a grand photo of the exodus.

The butterflies really liked this giant spruce tree, which was too dark underneath to take pictures using black and white film for a newspaper.

Eventually, I settled for a close-up shot of one butterfly and a poorer picture of several on a tree limb. It was all I could do.

As I always say, "another one lines the bird cage." There's always next week to improve. It's a never ending process, I guess.

I pack the newspaper with everything I think people must know, but I genuinely prefer the positive stuff, if I can avoid the negative, at all. Life isn't always that way.

Nevertheless, another testimony to the my fast-paced job is the tattered canvas shoes I wear.

I'm thinking about retiring them, because they've seen the best of two summers now.

Dirty marks on them include:

· a fire fighter hose got dragged over my right toe, which smeared black stuff over it.

· brown construction goo formed at the bottom edges from a soupy mess left after a recent hail storm on Highway 12 (I almost left my shoes behind in place because the suction was so strong).

· grass stains from taking sports pictures.

· I spilled fixer on them once (needed for developing black and white film), which doesn't leave a stain so much as stinks.

· I'm sure there are stress marks on the inside, not to mention gallons of sweat.

· and our miniature daschund chewed a hole on the corner of my left shoe, although this is not job-related.

I'll have to wait until after construction to buy a new white pair, I suppose.

Incidentally, for those who read my previous column about the garden weeds, I ended up shelling out another $10 for weeds to my daughter and her cohorts.

I pay my kids a penny each weed, which actually ended up being a costly venture.

The garden looks like it changed hands, because it looks so nice.

Speaking of gardens, have you read Doug Green's column on page 8? I laughed so hard that I cried.

Skip the first four paragraphs and get to the part about men in the garden. You will just scream.

In fact, I was in the process of doing exactly what Green suggested - parking my husband by the tulip tomb and telling him how deep I wanted the hole. I didn't plan to give him a drink, but it's a good idea.

My husband hasn't killed anything in the garden, mainly because he avoids my projects at all costs.

In fact, I am usually the one to kill things, but don't tell Doug that.

You'd think after three years that my garden would be where I want it to be. But, for some reason, I kill the easy things, such as day lilies and iris; and grow things like oriental lilies and sea holly very well.

I've gotten all kinds of advice to cure this malady - one of my neighbors even told me to use chicken poop. I said no thank you.

The first year I had the garden, my neighbor across the street watched me carry buckets of blue stuff to my garden, dumping it here and there. It didn't take long for her curiosity to surface. "What is that blue stuff?" she said. I said "Miracle Grow."

Still feeling great (one charlie horse)

It's creepy, but nearly everyone I know who had the same kind of lower back surgery that I did in July has either ruptured more disks or taken a turn for the worse.

One of them was sitting in a recliner and heard a "pop" noise.

Another helped one of his kids do something (not sure what noise it made, but his is a particularly bad situation), and did something that requires more surgery, going through both his front and back. Prayers would be welcome. His name is Troy.

I am still waltzing.

In fact, my recovery is going so well that I ran ahead of myself and have been a little frustrated at the soreness from my physical therapy.

I've been really sore, and got one charlie horse in the middle of the night a few weeks ago.

I was soliciting a little sympathy from a so-called friend over the charlie horse, and she was silent for a few seconds, waiting for me to tell her worse. "That's all?" she said.

Well . . . I guess it's not that bad.

Dr. Heeter had to remind me that I only had surgery six weeks ago.

I've been ordered to go "half throttle" by both my physical therapist at Cokato Manor, Mary Jo, and Dr. Heeter.

I hope it doesn't kill me!

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