Sunday, September 30, 2012

 Mighty Monarch

This time of year reminds me of the plethora of milk weeds that grow along the Red Creek trail by the Forest Service cabin in Lanesville.  The milk weeds are an essential food source for the amazing Monarch butterflies.

A new movie is bringing to theaters the tale of the discovery of monarch butterflies' astonishing migration — a journey that remained shrouded in mystery up until the 1970s. 

Based on a true story, the 3-D film "Flight of the Butterflies," which will be shown at IMAX theaters, chronicles the groundbreaking work of scientist Fred Urquhart, a man who spent many years trying to figure out where the iconic butterflies went during the cold winter months. They simply seemed to disappear. 

Yet Urquhart's investigations — and his invention of the first butterfly-tracking tags — eventually uncovered a tale so strange it seemed more like fiction than fact. 

It turns out that the dainty insects fly thousands of miles, from Mexico to the northern United States and Canada, and then back again, all over the course of about four generations.
Their story begins in a single swath of pine forest in central Mexico,  where the butterflies spend the winter months clinging to the trees by the millions, barely moving, stuck in a sleepy torpor. 

Come springtime, the monarchs begin to stir. They mate, and then begin to fly north. Over the course of several generations they travel through Texas, the Midwest, New England and still farther, until they alight on milkweed plants growing in the farthest reaches of their northward journey. This final generation of north-flying butterflies lays eggs, and then dies. 

Then, the generation of butterflies born at these highest latitudes turns southward, and flies hundreds and hundreds of miles — retracing the paths of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents — all the way back to that patch of Mexican fir forest. 

It is still unknown how this long-lived "super-generation" of monarchs knows to make the long journey home to a land they've never seen. 

Thanks to the immersive 3-D Giant Screen environment, audiences can see intimate details of this astonishing journey. The film offers an up-close look at the metamorphosis from egg to pupa to caterpillar to butterfly, along with stunning footage captured in the butterfly forests of Mexico.

Although the film is an uplifting one, the story of the monarchs' struggle is tinctured with tragedy. 

Monarch populations have faced significant declines over the last two decades, hit hard by a steep reduction in milkweed across North America. Milkweed is the only plant upon which the butterflies lay their eggs. Due to herbicide use and farming practices in the United States, milkweed has disappeared from some 140 million acres in the last 10 years.

Box-office money from the film will help fund butterfly conservation efforts, according to a statement from the production company. 

The 3-D, big-screen film "Flight of the Butterflies" opens in select theaters in the United States and Canada on Oct. 1, and will continue to roll out at additional theaters into 2013.

Friday, September 28, 2012

  Fifty Year Reunion
 of the Class of 1962
 Parkersburg High School
September 21-22, 2012

Charlene, Linda, and I went through all twelve grades together.

I told them I could still  see them hitting softballs at Lincoln Grade School.

Shirley and Frank Davis invited us to stay at their home.

After high school, Shirley and I went on to Glenville State and were roommates for two years. Then they fell in love and got married.

We had a wonderful time visiting.  Shirley creates beautiful art with needles and threads.  Her latest wall hanging in batik fabric is going to be spectacular.  She has inspired me to clean up my sewing room (alias junk hole).  

If you haven't found Mary B's Restaurant in South Parkersburg, you need to go there and have breakfast.  We did not have tummy room for pie, but learned that they are very yummy.  Yes, pie can be eaten at breakfast.

 Shirley and I sing the Alma Mater and our class song  --  along with our classmates.  We were not "the" featured act   ---  but we could have been.  We acted up all the time.

The entertainment

Find the woman in the long black dress standing on the right. I am the second person to her right, wearing a lavender jacket. In my opinion, those people who can sit on the floor and then get UP again should have been given a free meal. 

Thank you to all who did the planning and organizing so that we could have the opportunity to fellowship and to remember.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

WVU and Marshall

I placed this photo of Sam on Facebook.  It was taken on Saturday, September 1, when Sam returned from the WVU/Marshall football game.  Yes, WVU won, but a cute story I have to relate to you all.

Sam came back to Bridgeport with Grandma Shirley.  When they left, Shirley was wearing a tie dyed shirt that she purchased when we were in the Turks and Caicos.  When she arrived I noticed she was donning a gold WVU t shirt.  What happened?  It seems Sam was a little upset with the tie dyed shirt.  WHY?  It had green among the colors.  Sam was afraid that people would think she is for Marshall.

Like a good grandma, she purchased a true WVU fan shirt and changed.  Sam was happy!!  Grandma Shirley, you are super!

Friday, September 07, 2012

Once Again - Schlabach's

On Monday, Judy and I decided to travel to Apple Creek, Ohio, located in the heart of the Ohio Amish community.  We blogged last April 24th that Schlabach's is our favorite furniture showroom.  In April we purchased an oak table for Judy.  Our goal this day was to see if we could find a chest of drawers for the back bedroom.

Handcrafted furniture at its finest is located in the huge showroom.  Oak, maple, and other varieties of wood may be found here.  I am presenting photos of a few examples of their fine craftsmanship for our friend, Dan.  Dan likes oak, but if remember correctly he loves cherry.

This checker/chess table below is so Dan.

Judy and I enjoy the quarter sawed oak pieces.

Judy quickly located 5 or 6 chest of drawers that needed to be considered.  The piece below is known as a chest on chest.  Judy examined this piece closely.

The simple mission style dresser below was certainly high on our possible selection list.

Judy liked the black roping on the front.

Sorry we could not get these kitchen cabinets in the van!

After a short discussion, we made our selection.  Daniel and Wayne Schlabach are wonderful folks that are willing to answer any question.  John wrapped the piece we selected.  Wayne helped load the piece into the van.

So which chest of drawers did we purchase?   

The mission style, quarter sawed oak chest on chest went home with us.

Here it is in our back bedroom. 

We would certainly recommend Schlabach's if you are looking for quality handcrafted furniture.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


The Zombies Will Eat YOUR Brains!

On Saturday, September 1, Sarah and her friends traveled to Pittsburgh to participate in the Run For Your Life race.  I can not explain this race.  Sarah tried to explain it to me, but I ended up asking "WHY?"  Let me lift an article from the Pittsburgh newspaper that may help us.

By Maria Sciullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

 Only runners with guts need apply.

It was probably only a matter of time before Pittsburgh landed a "zombie run," in a series of free-for-all obstacle races started a year ago by two Maryland men with a penchant for running amid the mud and the muck.

After all, we already have an annual Downtown "Zombie Walk."

"My good friend, Ryan Hogan -- we grew up together -- said, 'Do you want to throw together a small mud run?' " said Derrick Smith, managing member of an organization that created the "Run for Your Lives" series.

It's also rather a video-game experience in that each runner begins with small flags attached to the waist. In order to "live" -- and qualify for prizes after the race -- he or she must finish with at least one flag or bonus health token found along the course.

That's where the zombies come in. Instead of brains, they want your flags.

There are 12 events this year, including Sept. 1 at the Switchback Raceway in Butler. Entrants are challenged to complete a circuitous, roughly 5,000-meter course that incorporates natural obstacles such as hillsides and gullies.

There are various paths to the finish line, and they might be dotted with roadblocks such as a rope swing over a big pool of fake blood.

Indeed, there will be blood.

"The blood pit just started as a simple pool runners had to climb into. It's red, it looks like blood," Mr. Smith said, noting that obstacles might vary from city to city.

"Sometimes at different events, we have people sliding into a big pool of red, but now it's [often] climbing over monkey bars and trying not to fall in. Plus, we try to sneak in some other things."

"Mud runs" are gaining in popularity in the U.S., where athletes might start a 5K course by jumping into a pond and slogging their way through other messy challenges. They compete in timed "waves," similar to those used in triathlons.

Zombie runs add the element of a game of "capture the flag," only with many zombies of all sizes and speeds. They are not allowed to wrangle with the runners -- or vice versa -- other than attempting to remove a flag.
"We try to put a zombie twist on everything we do," Mr. Smith said.

In this case, entrants will be pursued by enthusiastic hordes of zombies that are assigned specific characteristics. Some run, some shamble, some crawl.

Only "chaser" zombies are permitted to run down prey. Others must try to surprise or freak out runners, like anglerfish in scary makeup.

The crew from Bridgeport included Krista and Zack Arnold, Mike and Natalie Mason, Darcy Thompson, and, of course, Sarah.

 The girls had their team's Zombie shirts ready to go.

 They even had messages for the zombies on the back of the shirts.

The zombies were ready to go!!


 The race was off with zombies hungry for fresh brains (flags)!

I find this photo of the conclusion of the race most interesting! Notice the facial mud on the females. Mike and Zack must have kept their faces above mud level.  Darcy, first on left, was the only team member, that kept a flag throughout the race.  Darcy is a certified trainer and Crossfit competitor and instructor.