Butterflies are free to fly, but to purchase them costs American dollars

Boy, oh boy, I’m telling you the kids these days sure do live large. It is Saturday afternoon and once again I’ve set up shop at a local Starbucks, all the while my mountain of ironing and a monstrous mound of laundry is bursting through the doors of my laundry shoot, beckoning me to come home (stacked so high that when the kids slide the next pile through the hole upstairs they are greeted with the top of the pile; of course, if they ever wore anything for more than five seconds and realized that a towel can be used more than once, if hung up to dry, rather than discarded on the floor to grow mold and mildew, there might not be quite so much laundry. Also, you may be wondering what’s up with me and the ironing?  I love the peaceful process of ironing and the sense of accomplishment. And I like all things to be neat and orderly. You know me, more of everything, including issues with OCD.).

So, for today’s quota of pleasure and entertainment, Amanda and her gal pals are celebrating a friend’s birthday by enjoying spa services and lunch; very lovely and generous of the birthday girls family, and quite civilized. When I was a girl, on the birthday party circuit, things were much different. I’m racking my brain trying to remember if I ever attended a party that wasn’t in someone’s home where we didn’t eat boiled hot dogs or sandwiches, play pin the tail on the donkey and eat home made cake? Nothing comes to mind, so my version of the story is going to be: no, I did not. I also walked to school up hill, both ways, in the snow without boots. Waa, waa, waa.

While I sit and wait, rather than troll the mall, I can’t wait to tell you all about my special find. I have an affinity for just about everything, but I am particularly drawn to insects (the decorative kind, not the creepy crawlers), and especially butterflies. I have loved them ever since I was in grammar school when Sister Jo Anne, a very hip and groovy nun that did not where a habit, but funk-adelic polyester as it was the 70’s, read to my class, “If you know a Vanessa….(everyone turned to stare at me, and I was terribly and painfully shy, so by then I was sliding under my desk to hide. I always hated my name and desperately wanted to be named something normal like Mary or Kathy), her name means butterfly.” Butterflies are beautiful, and colorful, and graceful and lovely. Yay me. I have been collecting butterfly themed items for years. I have a lovely collection of framed antique butterfly, dragonfly and insect prints that float up the wall of the stairs going to our second floor. There are about 47 of them so far, and it’s a nightmare to dust them and keep the frames all straight, rather than slightly askew (Wrigley and the children are forever running in to them as they fly down the stairs), but I just don’t care. They make me happy.

Well, this Christmas my friend and neighbor Missy was with her family doing a little shopping downtown Chicago, and stumbled across a special treasure; butterfly ornaments! Not just a butterfly, but a butterfly that is an enormous 10” square with a textured tiger print pattern on its wing span. How awesome! When she saw it, she said she knew she had to get it for me just for fun. If there’s something I love almost as much as butterflies it’s a saucy animal print, and it was perfect because I have a tiger print runner going up our staircase along side my floating butterfly collection! Needless to say I loved it! Thanks Miss!

Also needless to say is that after Christmas I high tailed it over to Marshall Field’s (though I guess they still insist on calling it Macy’s) to track down more butterflies. It only took stalking the Oak Brook store and the flag ship State Street store to amass a collection of 16 of these beauties. Now I have a flock (or is that just for sheep?).

The question then becomes: What exactly does one do with 16, 10”, tiger print butterflies? I don’t know yet. For now they are carefully and safely tucked away in their very own Rubbermaid box in the attic while I thoughtfully consider that dilemma. Maybe on a tree, maybe intertwined in garland draped along the banister. So many butterflies, so many possibilities……..


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