So I'm in Vegas for the day where I am (among other things) visiting my brother (the one who wears a dress) (see Trib column from a few weeks ago).  I took a little walk in the warm winter air and looked at the oleander shrubs, which triggered a memory.  I think I must have been about nine--at any rate, it was the first time our family drove to California.  Once we hit Vegas TRQ pointed out the oleander which was in full bloom.

"Those flowers are poisonous," she said.  "Don't eat them."

So I spent a fair amount of time in the backseat of our car, worrying about beautiful poisonous flowers.  What if I forgot my mother's warning and ate them by accident?  Or what if I didn't forget, but somebody slipped some oleander flowers in my food?   Would I even notice?  That I was eating flowers?  And why did God make poisonous flowers anyway?  Snakes and spiders were one thing.  But flowers?

Here was the scariest thought, though.  What if I WANTED to eat oleander flowers, just to see if they really WERE poisonous?  Because guess what.  I have a whole huge history of doing things specifically because people told me NOT to.   I am serious about this.  I once stopped at a grocery store and bought some grapes, which I didn't want, simply because there were people out front protesting with signs that said DON'T buy the grapes here.  (And you should know I am usually on the side of labor in these kinds of disputes.)

So far I've resisted about the flowers.

I'll keep you posted.