It's probably a coincidence that Vladimir Putin hasn't been seen for days, and then just as he reappears, I start blogging again.
In my last post, we were in Tucson. The day before we were scheduled to leave, Karen's brother called to offer her a chance to talk to her mother. A few minutes later he called to say that she had died. It's comforting that practically the last thing she heard was Karen telling her she loved her. We changed our plans and our flights; instead of going home we came to Iowa for the funeral. At the visitation, Geraldine looked beautiful and at peace. Seeing her so, along with the dignified funeral provided some comfort.
Now we are in Northeast Iowa getting ready to go back to Anchorage at the end of the week. A few years ago, agronomists, maybe, or lunatics, introduced Asian beetles to America as a way to control aphids. They have been very successful at surviving (with a lifespan of two to three years) reproducing and colonizing new areas, planting their little flags in bathrooms and living rooms throughout the Midwest. Rash ecologists, using the there-was-an-old-lady-who-swallowed-a-fly pest management philosophy have suggested importing Asian predators to control the beetles, but we all know how these things end; with schoolchildren fleeing Bengal tigers to get to T-ball practice.
Other things I've learned here in Iowa: one benefit of drinking coffee late at night is that when you have to get up to go to the bathroom, you'll already be awake and St Patrick's Day Parades are truly John Deere's hour come at last.