Belt jam

Glad to report the midnight belt jam was not on toast with an egg, sunny side up. The belt jam was on the baggage carousel at Love Field the one time checking my suitcase seemed like a good idea. Wrong-O! It was amazing how long stoic exhausted travelers stared at the pop-up chute of baggage claim where nothing, absolutely nothing happened. An overhead voice kept announcing that the last bags from the St. Louis flight #200 would be removed from the carousel, even though only three bags from the flight had ever appeared. 

On my first ever "business trip" I was sent home to Nebraska. That's way better than Gaylord, Disney, or Las Vegas, but it came with a cargo hold filled with old memories and personal baggage. By the numbers:

  • Take-offs--5
  • Landings--also 5 fortunately
  • Beverage services--5 (zero spills)
  • In the event of a water landing--5 (Why do those yellow vests look like they were designed by Dan Piraro?)
  • Shuttle rides chatting with strangers through corn and soybean fields--2 (one with adequate a/c, one without)
  • Minutes of public speaking--5 (which seemed much longer in Mrs. Walker's 9th grade speech class, and did not get me through all my slides)
  • Hours wearing wet, muddy, gravel-filled shoes--8
  • Breaths of dangerous aerosol bug spray--countless
  • Mosquito bites--2
  • Situations feeling inappropriately attired--4 
  • Participants expressing envy of my "Nebraska--the good life" t-shirt--15
  • Disorientation reading t-shirt in mirror and wondering about Aksarben racetrack--brief
  • Lost room key--1
  • Formal presentations--9
  • Group exercises and discussions--10 plus or minus
  • Informal group conversations over meals and breaks--17 plus or minus
  • Recalling childhood memories as part of program--3
  • Hours recalling memories from my life spent within sixty miles of the conference site--32-50 (obviously overlapping)
  • Hours for restoring myself alone in nature--not nearly enough, about 6, but feeling stressed that I SHOULD be mingling and SHARING and REACHING OUT.
  • Receipts saved--8
  • Weird coincidental acquaintances--2, being Janice Herbek of Hastings, and the Rose family of First Plymouth
  • Mentions of damage done to the brain by cortisol stress chemical--4 
  • Oh Wow Moments--12

The spiderwebs and damselflies were worth the whole conference, even the belt jam. Shimmering CDs were hanging in all the sun speckles in the forest, except they were not CDs. I'd never seen webs like this. What made them? Only the bountiful poison ivy kept me from going off-trail.

Damselflies, oh my!!! How did I miss these as a kid? Jewel-tone blues and turquoises with deep black wings taunted me on our NO-CAMERAS-SENSES-ONLY silent hike. The hike was an Oh Wow experience, but I was desperate to record my sightings!

Don't tell. Stealth photo on silent hike.


Not 100% sure about the ID, but the blue ones seem to be the boys and the dark winged with white spot the girls of the Ebony Jewelwing family. From Wikipedia:

Explanation of Names
CALOPTERYX: from the Greek "kalos" (beautiful) + "pteron" (wing or feather)
MACULATA: from the Latin "macula" (a spot) - a reference to the white spot near the tip of the female's wing

And the most amazing creature of the trip was this improbable spider:


 Again from Wikipedia:

Micrathena gracilis is a spider in the family Araneidae (orb-weavers), commonly known as the spined micrathena. This spider spins a moderately large (can be 30 cm (11.81 in) or more across), very tightly coiled web, often in wooded or brushy areas. Some call it the "CD spider" because its webs can make it appear as though there are compact discs hanging from the trees. It is completely harmless to humans.

© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder

1 comment:

seana graham said...

What an odd creature.

The waiting at the baggage carousel experience is such an odd one, even in the best of times. And for some reason the luggage not showing up always happens when it will be the most inconvenient for you. I've only had it happen once, but that was late at night in the South of France, so it was enough.