Map Our Course

A couple of weeks ago when we were in Montana, Julie, Maggie Faith, and I drove into Yellowstone National Park. The forest ranger at the entrance gate gave us a map of the park and a smile. We no sooner left the gate when Maggie spoke up brightly from the back seat, “Can I have the map and be the navigator?”

She’s only 12 years old, but I have seen most of my grandkids, including Maggie, use my GPS program to locate many a geocache. So I know they are capable of reading a map. Reading cursive writing? No. But a map? Yep.

It came as no surprise to this Nana that Maggie did a pretty darn job of navigating. Oh, she had a bit of trouble remembering that north was at the top of the map. But she correctly led us to all of our chosen points of interest.

“I feel like I’m with the explorers Lewis and Clark,” I said. “Which one are you, Lewis or Clark?”

Without missing a beat or looking up from her map, she replied, “I don’t know. Which one was most important?”

Bada boom!

I don’t have the self confidence of Maggie, but I share her love for maps. I am, however, mostly unable to navigate as I have no sense of direction or distance. When Ms. Google tells me to turn left in a thousand feet, she might as well be explaining the Big Bang theory to me. I got nothin’. I have no idea how far one thousand feet is.

But I will tell you that if you put a map in my hands, you’ve lost my attention for the  foreseeable future. It’s inexplicable and inconsistent, but there you have it. I can get lost in a map. (Ha ha; get it? Lost in a map?) I think that the fact that my sense of direction is so poor contributes to my obsession with maps.

Here’s what I mean: Despite having spent three months living in Europe 10 years ago, I still will look at a map and think I didn’t know Spain and France were right next to each other, or maybe wow, you could walk from Italy to Croatia. 

If you really want to see me absorbed in something, hand me a road map of the United States. I love to see what states are neighbors; how far St. Louis is from Louisville, Kentucky; through what states the Mississippi River flows; whether North Carolina is really north of South Carolina. I try to recall my elementary school tests and name the state capitals.

And for what it’s worth, while Captain Lewis probably bragged to his buddy Second Lieutenant Clark that he was the leader of the expedition, the fact of the matter is that they would both still be wandering around if it wasn’t for Sacagawea, their 16-year-old Shoshone guide. Men never ask for directions.

What’s more, Sacagawea was only four years older than Maggie.

Thursday Thoughts

Kaiya was supposed to give her presentation for Night of the Notables at school last week, but she unfortunately got sick and missed the presentation. She got the opportunity to give a make-up performance earlier this week. Her presentation was on Sacagawea, the Shoshone woman who helped pave the way for Lewis and Clark as they made their way through Indian territory. Or at least I think that’s what she did, since I was unable to attend the make-up presentation as my eyes were being peered at by my eye doctor at the time. Kaiya makes an amazing Sacagawea, though, doesn’t she?……

I think I mentioned that Bill spent a lot of time last summer working on his Ferrari. It had been sitting in our garage like a very fancy paperweight for quite some time. Every day he would put on his grubby oil-stained clothes and tinker and prod and screw and unscrew in an attempt to get it up and running. He was underneath the car so much, in fact, that one day when Cole and I pulled into the garage and got out of my yellow bug, I told Cole, “Let’s go see Papa.” Cole immediately bent over and looked under the car. At any rate, it underwent its first test yesterday. The car started, and Bill took it over to get its emissions inspected. It failed, unfortunately, so a bit more tinkering is called for…..

Mary, Mary, Continued
In the meantime, I continued (and perhaps finished) my seasonal planting. While Kaiya had requested broccoli, I elected not to go that route as I had many people complain about broccoli drawing worms into the garden. Instead, I went with Swiss chard because it’s pretty and I like it….

In the meantime, I got a phone call from Jll telling me that the plants I had purchased from Addie back in February as part of a school fundraiser had arrived and she would deliver them. Of course, since I can barely remember yesterday, I had entirely forgotten that I had purchased a jalapeno plant and two tomato plants. In the meantime, I had purchased more plants which Emma put in the ground for me on Sunday. Since I have run out of room in my little garden, I planted them in pots. I will have plenty ‘o tomatoes and peppers provided the weather cooperates……

Long Stems
While shopping at Whole Foods the other day, I came across these artichokes with the long stems. I had never actually seen them before, though I knew about them. Allegedly, the stems continue the flavor and tenderness of the heart. While the artichokes were delicious, I was wholly unimpressed with the stems, which I found stringy…..

Pretty Girl
Following Addie’s performance in the play, I wasn’t quick enough to get her before she had changed out of her costume. But she looked so pretty that we couldn’t help but take a picture…..