2017 International Conference on Maria Sybilla Merian

I attended this conference in Amsterdam this summer! And while the organizers did say the conference was for everybody, not just scholarly, I’m convinced that their “everybody” and my “everybody” is totally different. However, I am very glad I went.

I did learn a few things at this conference, nothing new about Maria Merian, however.

I learned more about the dangers in the rain forests of the world through an entertaining, though very serious, presentation by Redmond O’Hanlon who has actually trekked through rain forests throughout the world.

I learned that university professors apparently view things through a very narrow focus, so that if that focus was from a different field, they do not have that knowledge. Some of the questions asked clearly showed this.

I discovered that while their research was quite narrow, mine was very broad, encompassing everything I could find.

And finally, I reached the conclusion that based on the many years I have researched this amazing woman…I am an EXPERT on Maria Sybilla Merian!


I was flat out amazed at how many buildings were built in the 1600s and are still there and still being used. Their use today may be different than in times past, but they are still in use. 

This building, for instance, is now a royal palace. When Maria Sybilla Merian lived in Amsterdam it was the City Hall! Very impressive. 


While I’ve been geocaching for years both all over the US and in other countries, I have just recently discovered earchcaching. An earthcache is a natural geologic formation, so nothing is hidden at these sites. Instead, to get credit for finding one of these, you must answer some questions about it. I have now reached the Bronze level in finding earthcaches, which means I have found a total of three, but found in at least two states. A mere neophyte!

Small spring babbling its way out of the cave.

Small spring babbling its way out of the cave.

Cave at Sequiota Park, Springfield, MO.

Cave at Sequiota Park, Springfield, MO.

The tallest sand dune in Florida is on an island.

The tallest sand dune in Florida is on an island.

Priyaa: Another Great Little Restaurant in St. Louis

Priyaa Indian Cuisine at 1910 McKelvey Road, Maryland Heights, MO. If you like Indian food, this is a MUST. I ordered Masala Dosa with no idea of what it was. The waitress’ comment was “Wow!” My reaction was uh oh, what’s wrong? Nothing wrong, it was just the most authentic Indian dish ordered at our table and it surprised her! It was absolutely scrumptious!

large crepe is bigger than the plate

Masala Dosa — Nearly three times longer than the plate!

Hidden Gem Vegan Cafe in St. Louis

Sweetart at 2203 South 39th Street is a great place to stop and spend awhile. It is a cafe, bakeshop, and art studio. cbabibayoc is the artist whose work is displayed on the walls. And 8×10 prints of his work are also for sale. Once discovered, you will want to go back! (www.cbabibayoc.com) (www.sweetartstl.com)

Image of cafe storefront

Vegan food and great art.

Large painting in the cafe.

I really like this painting in the cafe.

Paintings hung on one wall of cafe.

Paintings to enjoy while eating.

Dispatch from Suriname: Paramaribo Likes You, Too

Paramaribo Architecture

Image via: Oskari Kettunen aka "aokettun" on Flickr

Picture wooden buildings with red tin roofs, many buildings with peeling paint, interesting architecture…that’s a start. People are very friendly here, and ask me how I like Paramaribo. And when I say I do, some say, “Paramaribo likes you, too.”


Dispatch from Suriname: Fresh Papaya!


Image via Janine aka "janineomg" on Flickr

Got up this morning when I heard the birds singing and people talking out on the porch downstairs. My first order of business, after breakfast (discovered I absolutely LOVE fresh papaya!), was to find the bookstore and buy a map… Next on my list was to book a trip into the rain forest (Monday).

Wandered around a bit; found the Palm Garden and the Presidential Palace…and the big wooden church of Sts. Peter and Paul… If I get a little used to the layout of the city and where things are today, then I can zero in on something tomorrow.

Today it rained — a SUDDEN shower that lasted maybe two minutes. I happened to be enjoying a cold drink out on the porch of TwenTy4 at the time.