Tamarac Cinema 5

The $3 movie theater down the street is a popular weekend activity.  They show older movies but hey, I'd rather wait 3 months and pay $3 then pay $12.  The only down side to the Cinema 5 theater is that I am the youngest one there by 60 years.  They all just go to go, a nice weekend jaunt down the street to see their friends.  The theater was packed when I saw Social Network.  Pretty sure none of them even knew what Facebook was.

The man who takes the tickets always thanks us for coming, telling us its nice to see young faces and that he's glad he doesn't have to explain things twice.

Today my friend Jessica and I went to see a movie.  The entire time the little old ladies around us whispered to one another, not understanding parts of the movie, or pointing out scenes they liked or disliked... mostly what they disliked.  Oh and let me clarify, whispering = talking really really loud.  Someone's cell phone went off half way during the movie, but of course the owner of the phone didn't hear it, but Jessica and I did and the lady behind us.

"Is there music playing somewhere? Do you hear that?  Where is that music coming from?  Is it in the movie?"

Leaving the theater usually takes 20 minutes.  Those with walkers and canes slowly waddle up the aisle, walking in a zig zagged line so there isn't a single chance I could slip past them.  Once I'm out of the theater I dash to my car, hoping to get out of the parking lot before everyone else starts driving 2 mi/hr.

My friend and I always laugh to each other.  Sometimes we can't believe that we actually live in Florida, a sea of gray and Oldsmobile's. $3 will get you a movie and a glimpse at your future at Cinema 5.


Brown Thumb

I have never been able to keep any plants alive when I try.  It is only when I forget about them for long periods of time do they seem to grow and turn green.  My older sister gave me a bamboo in college and it lived for 5 years until I remembered about it on my bookcase and then it died.  I've bought several beautiful house plants that have perished within weeks.  I talk to them, move them in the sunlight, water them when I'm supposed to and to no avail, the leaves start falling off one at a time in dead brown heaps.

There is a miracle happening on my T.V. stand.  Two weekends ago I had to work the South Florida Fair because my work had a booth to show off the fanciness that is archaeology.  At some point during the day a little kid left his treasures of free stuff at our booth and I found it as I was leaving to go home.  A cup with a smiley face stared back at me full of dirt.  I read the side and it said that inside were sunflower seeds to grow.  All they needed was some sun and water.  Sunflowers are my favorite flowers so I decided to take it home.

Needless to say I forgot about the little cup until last week when I saw 2 big green shoots  popping out of the dirt!  Today there are 5.  I've been fascinated by these little sunflowers, growing so fast and big.  I need to go buy a pretty pot for them and then I will casually forget about them until I have big yellow flowers sunning themselves by the window.


Outside girl

Today I went to lunch with my boss, a visiting professor, and two co-workers. We went to the Olive Garden.  Just kidding!  Sorry. It's a running joke in the office, always throwing out restaurant names when asked where people are going for lunch.  There are only 3 places to eat on the Rez, and unfortunately the Olive Garden is not one of them.

We went to Billie Swamp Safari.  As we were finishing up lunch the rain came.  Pouring from the sky, an instant storm.  I sat looking out the window, watching a giant alligator slowly shift his legs, letting the rain pound down on his back.  He then tilted his head up towards the sky and opened his mouth as wide as he could.  Everyone at the table started making up reasons for why his great big mouth was open.

"He is stretching his mouth out so he can eat you later!"
"That was a giant yawn- he must be tired!"

I personally thought it was because he was enjoying the rain.  Letting the cool water into his mouth.  Looking up into the rainy sky and thinking "yes. finally.  relief from this heat."

On our way out to the parking lot, we had to navigate through 3 inch deep puddles.  I carefully stepped around the water and then to my dismay saw a river running between me and the car.  Everyone hopped across and then they all stared waiting to see what I would do.  I jumped, of course landing on the edge of the puddle and soaking my pant leg.  My boss called out, "Great job Kate! You're ready for the field!"  I am not known around the office to be an outside girl. 

We are hosting a 20 day field school this summer at Billie Swamp Safari and I will be there the whole time teaching students in a field lab.  I will prove to everyone that I am not a wimp outside.  I will not cringe when I hear a flying insect go by my head.  I will not scream if I see a spider the size of my face.  I won't panic if I encounter a panther or other large wild animal (i.e. water buffalo, ostriches, -not all animals at Billie Swamp are native!).  I won't worry that my hair is ruined by the humidity, sweat, and dirt.  I will be the alligator, enjoying the torrential down pour.

 Wildlife at Billie Swamp: Wildlife at Field School


Mac the Cat

My sister and brother-in-law took in a stray kitty awhile ago.  He followed them home one day, looking pretty scraggly and hungry.  He kept coming back day after day and soon wiggled his way into the Backos house.  I got to cat sit for him while I was home for Christmas.  He is probably the most energetic cat I've ever met and he kept me very busy.  He has some very strange play habits but he is pretty cute!  They named him Mac, short for Macrophage, a type of cell.  Yes, only two smart scientists with their PhD's would name their cat that.

Helping Auntie Kate pack her suitcase

Helping Auntie Kate brush her teeth



It all started last night while making dinner.  The chicken set off the smoke detector. Once they go off they don't stop, except after the batteries have been taken out AND the electricity to the upstairs bedroom turned off.  After several hours and after several attempts to quiet them down (sorry neighbors) we decided to leave off the breaker for the night.  This of course meant taking a shower this morning by candlelight.

Today was no less frustrating.  Our carpool car had to be taken to the car dealership because the service engine light came on.  We made it to our 7:30 appointment only to realize we were at the wrong dealership.  Then we sat on the highway for an hour because there was an accident and people were being typical mean Florida drivers.  And don't forget the super scary fog.  This all meant we were an hour and 1/2 late for work.  I hate being late. To top it off I had a 3 1/2 hour meeting where I was given even MORE work to do. 

On the way home from work driving down Snake Road I saw something in the left lane.  It was a baby doll.  The poor thing was all alone in the middle of the road, accidentally fallen out of a car window and I realized that some little girl, somewhere was having a much worse day than me.   


The Ibis came to visit us the other day in our front yard.  They are such funny birds to watch, balancing on one leg like flamingos.


Whistle While You Work

Today is cleaning day.  I have the day off from work and I am spending it on getting organized and de-cluttering.  I only have 10 more loads of laundry left,  to clean the bathrooms, sweep the floors, go through the mail pile, and then put all of the laundry away before I can finally relax and read my book on the couch.  At least its gloomy and raining outside so I don't have any distractions!

 Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!



I know I've mentioned it before, but one good thing about living in South Florida are the Sunsets.  A fiery red ball in the sky, the brightest pink and purple clouds.  I love watching the sun set in the rear view mirror on Alligator Alley. It always creates a warm glow in the car, a nice going home present.

Looking out the side mirror


Caterpillars: Friend or Foe?

Warning: Blog Contains pictures of insects :)

A few months ago I was walking the boardwalk and saw something out of the corner of my eye.  It was a caterpillar slowly inching its way on the boardwalk banister.  It was nothing like I had ever seen before.  It was tear-dropped shaped and looked like Cousin It.  Its long silky beige hair was so pretty and it looked so cute!  I poked at it with a stick and then talked myself out of actually touching it.

 blurry picture from my phone...

A better picture from the internet
I looked it up when I got back to my desk and to my horror found out what it was!  A Puss Caterpillar, one of the most toxic caterpillars in North America.  Good thing my girl scout instinct kicked in and I didn't touch it.  Underneath its fury and cute appearance are venomous spines that cause unbearable pain that generally shoot to your chest in minutes.  Awesome. You should see what it actually turns into.  A hairy brown and orange moth.

Please don't ever let me see this.

Everyone else at work has seen very dangerous animals on the boardwalk-Black Bears, Bobcats, Panthers, Snakes.  All I get to see is a dangerous caterpillar.

I also saw this lovely thing the other day.  What a crazy life, to be neon green with a red racing stripe.  I refrained from touching him too.


Dr. Elizabeth

Happy Birthday!

Its my big sister's birthday today.  I wish I could be there to eat Carbonara with you and open presents.  I hope you have a wonderful day and that this year brings you joy, courage, and contentment.  
Thanks for always being there for me and being and encourager and supporter.

Elizabeth and I at the Denver zoo, 2004

So pretty! Christmas 2010


The laws of...

The law is a funny thing.  The actual law, the interpretation of the law, the consequences of the law.  The last two days have been spent in ARPA and NAGPRA training.  For those of you unfamiliar with those laws, they were created (in a nutshell) for the protection of Archaeological Resources and Native American remains and funerary objects.  My job is strongly guided by these laws and everything I do must be in compliance with these laws.  However, I also have to be in compliance with the laws of the Tribe, which can sometimes create some very unique situations.

What we've learned over the past two days is that these laws, while in many cases have helped in the preservation of certain culturally significant objects, have also lead to terrible conflict, suffering, and ignorance.  Isn't the law supposed to help solve these issues?  Isn't it supposed to bring peace to those who have suffered the most? I like my job.  Hopefully we are making baby steps to help all involved realize what's at stake if nobody follows the law--just the heritage and identity of thousands of people--

On a more positive note, we were serenaded by my boss at lunch.  We were all treated to Osceola's Pizza during our training and got to enjoy some good ol' Everglade pies.


Where are you?

This morning we woke up to terrible fog.  That's a wintry thing that happens here.  And because the Everglades are made up of 99.9% water, the fog gets pretty dense on the highway to work.  There were times that the visibility was 20 feet and you couldn't see any cars around you.  I feel very claustrophobic in the fog.  It is lonely and quiet.  I secretly wonder if it will ever lift or if I will be stuck in this misty white cloud forever.  All of the birds were very active, but I only saw one alligator slowly drifting down the canal.


Summer is calling

As I walked from my car to the house tonight I heard something I haven't heard since summer. Cicadas.  Their buzzing is like a crescendo.  I noticed the slight humidity in the air too.  What is this?  There are winter blizzards across the country, ice storms, and whole cities shutting down.  Hopefully winter will tell summer to go away.  Not yet summer.  I'm not quite ready for the blistering heat and sweat.  You too Cicadas.  Feel free to quiet down and hibernate.  There is still a few more months left of lovely 70 degree days. 


January Weekend

Back in Colorado, my sister is moving (only for the 3rd time in 2 years) and it is snowing.  I am upstairs on the computer looking out at the bright blue skies and the fat palm tree outside the window.  Its cooler out today, in the low 70s.  Bobby is on his way home from work and then back to work this evening.
Its been a nice weekend.  Cleaned, grocery shopped, yahtzeed, read, and laundered.  I wish I could be back in Colorado, helping relieve some of the stress of my sister's move and her recently chaotic life, but I guess I'll just have to send stress-relief vibes from South Florida. 

January is always a busy month.  Work has been more than busy, but I am liking the new pace and trying to get a lot done.  So far so good new year.  

P.S. Bought Andrea Bocelli tickets.  So Excited!


Am I old?

You know you live in Florida when you receive your first American Association for Retired People letter.  I was even offered a membership. oohh

Dear AARP,

I wish I could retire tomorrow, but unfortunately I still have 35 more years left to work.  I think you must have confused my mailbox with the 1 million old people who live down the street.  

Hope to hear back from you in a few years.



Colorado Part II

 We spent the second part of our trip in Denver, seeing friends, seeing my sisters, seeing my brother-in-laws, playing with my kitty nephews and niece, and watching it snow!

I didn't do anything.  Just relaxed.  Caught up on t.v. shows, slept in late, snuggled with my sister, ate Mexican food, and sadly said good-bye on New Year's Eve.  

Our flight was delayed so we were on the shuttle to economy parking at midnight.  Happy New Year!  We did get to see fireworks from the highway, shooting off from the beaches. Next year I think I would like to spend New Years Eve on the beach with a bottle of wine. 

I hope everyone has a prosperous and wonderful year!  
My New Year's Resolutions:

1. Be more positive
2.  Be nice
3.  Love a lot
4.  And pick up my dishes

 my best friend Caitlin
Downtown Denver

Enjoying the winter glow


Later Gater

Alligator Count Today:

(no joke)

I am missing Colorado.  3 whole days since I've been back, getting used to the humid and warm air.  I have been MIA on my blog, but my excuse is that I was spending every waking minute with my wonderful family and friends.  

Here's a recap of my Colorado Christmas:

The first part of the week was spent catching up with my mom and dad and Jessica (lucky her for being a teacher and having a real Christmas break)

We watched movies, did puzzles (hey we love them!) put up the Christmas tree and went shopping at consignment stores where we amazingly found some pretty cool things.  2$ dress anyone?

Christmas Eve my dad made yummy risotto with mushrooms and we watched the candles flicker during the candle light service.  I always tear up when I see the room glow.

Christmas Day we anxiously awaited the arrival of Elizabeth and Don and we enjoyed fried dough and grapefruit for breakfast.  Stockings were next and then we excitedly opened our gifts.  

My aunt (aka auntie) came over and it was so good to catch up and just sit around and enjoy each other.  We played games, ate my dad's delicious lasagna and then Bobby and I spent the evening at his sister's.  My friend Makenzie came through town and I was so happy to see her and her husband.  Makenzie is the one who introduced me to bobby and has been my kindred spirit since freshman year.  

Jackass..a very fun game!

I was so thankful to be able to come home for the holidays.  Every year it gets a little bit different.  Sometimes its easier to not do all of the 1,000 traditions.  Sometimes I get whiny and tell my family we HAVE to make sure everything is the same.  But secretly I don't really care.  I'm just glad to have spent Christmas as one big happy family.

The Redente Clan/Wolfe Clan/Backos Clan

I will have to post Part II tomorrow.  For now its time for me to pack my lunch and tuck myself in and watch some Dexter (my new favorite show!).