Spooky Halloween – Doylestown, Wisconsin

Spooky grapes floating in egg whites and eyeballs
Float grapes in a bowl of egg whites. Close your eyes. Feel the slimy grapes squish through your fingers. Imagine how brave I felt in first grade as I listened to ghost stories, with visions of eyeballs dancing in my head!

My First Ever Spooky Halloween

Unaware to me as a child, I had a speech impediment.

I was clueless my speech was not stellar until my 1st-grade teacher, Mrs. Theresa Bow, enlisted Sally, a 6th-grader, to tutor me in pronunciation.

Those speech lessons turned spooky on Halloween morning, thanks to my playful tutor. She snagged my imagination and drew me into the 6th-grade plot —  scare the Jello out of  the 1st-graders.

Spooky glass eyes from antique Nippon doll
Spooky glass eyes from antique Nippon doll

Continue reading Spooky Halloween – Doylestown, Wisconsin

Johnny Morris Wonders of Wildlife Awarded Best New Attraction

America’s Best New Attraction

Blue stairs lead to Great Barrier Reef Exhibit at Wonders of Wildlife
Crowd gathers to hear announcement at the Great Barrier Reef Exhibit

USA Today readers vote WOW America’s Best New Attraction 2017 – No Surprise There!

I was on the staircase, Jan. 5, 2018, all ears when Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Parson announced USA Today readers voted Wonders of Wildlife, America’s Best New Attraction in 2017.

Quite the feat since WOW opened to the public on Sept. 22, 2017. Two months on the books, and it received more votes than any other new attraction 2017 AND in the history of USA Today in that category.

Of course, I hoped to spot Johnny Morris among the dignitaries at the announcement, but he was traveling, fishing for Goliath Groupers with pro-fisherman Bill Dance. Parsons read a letter from Johnny, who wrote of his gratitude for the award and his thanks to the public who voted for and embraced this work of conservation.

The award announcement came with a donuts-and-coffee-bar and great fanfare. A banner dropped the length of the 37-foot aquarium at the Great Barrier Reef Exhibit to announce We did it! Inside the tank, a diver held a sign, “America’s Best New Attraction,” while curious fish swam by, no doubt thinking, “We did it!” Continue reading Johnny Morris Wonders of Wildlife Awarded Best New Attraction

Johnny Morris Wonders of Wildlife for Conservation

Aquarium of Nature- Supersized

Larger than the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C., the Johnny Morris Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium opened to visitors on Sept. 22, 2017. Applause!

Nine years in the making, the aquariums and wildlife galleries at WOW are a testament to conservation.

Where in the world, other than the ocean, can you watch sharks circle a bait ball of herring … well, at Wonders of Wildlife.

Continue reading Johnny Morris Wonders of Wildlife for Conservation

Did you put a frog in the toilet? Asks Hubby

cricket frog or chorus frog that hopped onto the edge of our toilet
A cricket frog came to visit

No, I did not put a frog in the toilet!

A frog sitting comfortably on the commode caused a stir at our house. After my  hubby walked into the bathroom and saw the frog looking up at him, he asked me, “Did you put a frog in the toilet?”  I laughed, of course.

In his wildest imagination, my husband thought I put a frog on the edge of the commode to remind him to put the toilet seat down when finished!

Me placing the frog on the toilet seemed plausible to my husband. What other explanation could there be for a frog, inside our house, sitting on the edge of the toilet.

Of course, Darrell, a passionate wildlife photographer, rushed the frog upstairs to his studio and took a photo of it on his light table. However, the frog was an unwilling subject. He sat like a frozen statue and refused to hop for us.

Commando frog mystery

This cricket frog with its camouflage exterior can sail through the air with each hop. He has suction-cup feet, perfect for gripping a toilet bowl. We had seen him clamped on our windows before, peeping inside, but how did the frog enter our house?

My husband reasons the tiny, one-inch frog came in through the drain hole pipe housing between the basement crawl space and the house interior flooring in the shower. Sure!

I prefer a more glamorous,  big-bang entry: frog leaps into the house by way of the back door and the attached garage.

Darrell grocery shops late at night at Wal-Mart to avoid crowds. He brings the groceries in through the garage, with the garage door open. Frog sees bright light and opportunity.

Frog hops inside, undetected, in the middle of the night when Darrell is more interested in eating a bag of Cheetos, washed down with a can of root beer, than closing doors.

We know Mr. Frog didn’t ring the doorbell and come through the front door. And he hadn’t been leaping around our house prior because we would have noticed him, however diminutive.

I never saw the frog sitting on the commode myself, which would have been funny! Almost as funny as my husband asking, “Did you put a frog in the toilet?”

Mystery solved, in my mind


My  frog-entry theory has promise as proved days later, following another late-night grocery run, when a toad hopped in through the garage door, and I was there to greet him.

illustration of a toad
My favorite toad illustration by hubby, Darrell Wiskur

Toad illustration art by Darrell Wiskur, published in Living Things Change, Stepping Into Science; Regensteiner Publishing Enterprises, 1971; written by Lila Podendorf.