Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Field trip.


Last week I accompanied Dots's class to The Museum of Nature and Science for a field trip. I jumped at the chance to sign up knowing that the days of a) field trips and b) children of mine willing and even desiring to be seen with me at a school function are dwindling. Quickly.

In my enthusiasm to volunteer, however, I neglected to ask what we would be DOING at the science museum. I envisioned touring exhibits and taking in an IMAX movie. We did partake of both of those activities, and they were quite fun. A large chunk of our time, however, was spent in a lab dissecting a cow's eye. Yuck. I managed to keep my distance, using the greatest possible amount of zoom to even take a picture, but just the smell of formaldehyde permeating the room set my nerves on edge. (Much as I admire nurses, especially my friends Robyn and Alexis, I am far too squeamish to last a day in their profession.)

Dots cutting fat from around the cow's eye. Who knew that cows' eyes had fat? And how does a creature who only eats grass get fat anyway?

Dots and her friend Grace exploring the parts of the cow's eye. Clearly I failed to notice how close I was to the other pair's eyeball (at the bottom of the picture)!

The hands-on exhibits at the museum were more up my alley. The kids seemed to enjoy them too.




I could have stared at this machine for hours, watching the balls roll along the tracks, up conveyor belts, down chutes, etc. I think I'm easily amused these days

The IMAX movie was great, too. It focused on coral reefs and featured music by Crosby, Stills and Nash. The underwater images were spectacular. What a great extension of our recent submarine ride!

Coral Reef

We ate lunch in this atrium overlooking Fair Park and the Cotton Bowl

Dots seemed to be pleased to have me along on the excursion. Hopefully that wasn't just because I was available to lend her some money for the gift shop...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lost and found.


While we were in Hawaii, I received this text message from Vivian's teacher, Mrs. Kemp, who was staying at our house with Vivian:

Please don't say anything to Dorothy yet, but... we cannot find Ginny anywhere. She was here yesterday morning but when we got home last night I noticed we didn't see her. We looked all over the house and outside...

My heart sank. Ginny is Dots's much-loved cat. She is an inside pet who is typically terrified of the outside (unlike her compadre Percy who dreams of the big world outside the house and plots opportunities to make his exit whenever his humans open a door).

I called Mrs. Kemp, hopeful that in the 12 hours since she'd sent the message, Ginny might have turned up. No such luck. It had now been two days since they'd seen Ginny. I reeled off a list of places in the house for Mrs. Kemp to look (cabinets, closets, dresser drawers, etc.). She had already checked each of them but said she would look again. She was concerned that Ginny might have gotten outside because she'd heard no meowing inside the house.

A vision came to me of Vivian picking up Ginny, cackling (we call it her "Evil Vivi laugh") and saying, "Ha ha ha ha ha - I will put Ginny outside." Mrs. Kemp assured me that Vivian had not been in one of those moods that week, but she couldn't be sure Vivian hadn't put Ginny somewhere.

I emailed Mrs. Kemp a picture of Ginny (Dots loves to take pictures of her cat so there are plenty of shots clogging up my camera's memory card). I suggested that Mrs. Kemp post some signs on our block the next morning. I left my cat-loving friend Elizabeth a message imploring her to go to my house the next day and help look for our sweet kitty.

That night I slept restlessly while mentally searching our house for Ginny. I texted Mrs. Kemp as places occurred to me that she might not have checked.

In the wee hours of the morning I felt my phone vibrating under my pillow.

"We found her! We found Ginny!" Mrs. Kemp exclaimed, enthusiasm mixed with relief in her voice. "She had crawled up in the box springs under Vivian's bed and gotten stuck."

Mrs. Kemp told me she had checked under the beds before but had not seen Ginny. That morning, though, after receiving my messages wondering if Vivian had put the cat outside, she asked Vivian if she knew where Ginny was.

"Ginny is under my bed," Vivian answered nonchalantly, oblivious to the fact that poor Mrs. Kemp had been frantically searching for two days.

Mrs. Kemp looked again and this time noticed a bulge in the fabric under the box springs. She called a neighbor who came over and took the mattress off and turned the box spring upside down. Ginny came tumbling out and ran under a corner cupboard.

I laugh now to imagine Vivian hearing the cat under her bed as she slept but not bothering to mention it until asked directly, even though she had walked around with Mrs. Kemp as she looked for Ginny inside the house and out.

The elusive Ginny was quite skittish for several days after we got home. She seems to have recovered, but she noticeably avoids going under Vivian's bed now.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Please pray.

Wendy and Katie

My cousin Wendy's nine-year-old daughter, Katie, has been diagnosed with a diffusely infiltrative brain stem glioma. Wendy's family lives in Tallulah Falls in North Georgia, and she and Katie are staying with my Aunt Paula and Uncle Terry in Atlanta while Katie receives daily radiation treatments at Piedmont Hospital.

When we were growing up, Wendy and I lived behind each other - we shared a pool between our two houses. Our dads are brothers, and she is very dear to me.


Wendy has a page on CaringBridge where you can follow Katie's story: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/katieseaman/

There is also a group on Facebook called "Praying for Katie Seaman" that you can join if you have a Facebook account.

Katie is a precious little girl with a sweet, gentle spirit. I would truly appreciate your prayers for her.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Snapshots from Hawaii, Part II.

The beach

My favorite time of day: late afternoon Happy Hour in the Concierge Tower lobby

The kids' table at Happy Hour

Sunset from our balcony

Robert and me

With our sweet friend Zenith - she staffs the Happy Hour and makes our favorite drink, the "Zenith Special" (some sort of fabulous combination of rum and cranberry and guava juices)

Dots with her Tiki cup - nothing beats a frozen drink with a little umbrella!

Will and Jeffrey catching up on a little March Madness in our room

Dots in the pool with her friends Katie and Catherine

Hockey Boy with some friends in the hot tub (the two girls go to his high school)

The kids with our favorite hotel staff members, Zenith and Faye

Dots with her daddy in the pool

My favorite Hawaiian drink: the Lava Flow (pina colada with pureed strawberries - yum!)

Hockey Boy doing a flip with a twist off the Tarzan rope swing

My other favorite time of day: lunch at the Volcano Bar by the pool

My standard Volcano Bar lunch order: tuna salad sandwich. I love tuna and this is the BEST! I'm sure the atmosphere doesn't hurt either - LOL

The girls enjoying lunch at the Volcano Bar

Heading to dinner with the family (Hockey Boy is wishing he were back in the hot tub, I think)

View from our table - wow!

Look who was dining at the same restaurant! Hockey Boy is smiling again. One of the girls was celebrating her 16th birthday.



Preparing to leave (waiting for Dad to pull up in the embarrassing rent-a-car so they can pretend they don't know him)

Time to go home - boo hoo!

As you can tell we had a wonderful time in Hawaii. Aloha!

Here's a link to our hotel: The Grand Wailea

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Under the sea.


One of the days we were in Hawaii we drove to the town of Lahaina and took a submarine ride with Atlantis Adventures. What a great excursion! We saw many beautiful fish and learned a lot about the fascinating and fragile ecosystem of a coral reef. Our guide was very entertaining, keeping a nice balance between factual information and humor.

Riding a boat out to the submarine

Waiting for the sub to surface. Can you spot it under the water?

Here she comes!


There she is!

Preparing to go down the hatch


On board the
Atlantis. Everyone has his own window for viewing

As we approached the ocean floor we saw many large and small fish

The colors were more vivid than my camera was able to capture

A shark! Notice that the little fish aren't afraid of him. But when another kind of fish approached, the school turned very quickly and swam the other way

We passed by this shipwreck. Our guide told us this was
Atlantis I but that the company had made some design changes for the Atlantis sub we were on! In reality this was a very old ship whose hull had rusted through.

The ship now serves as a makeshift reef for many fish

After surfacing we boarded the boat again and headed for shore. We saw several signs of humpback whales: spray from blowholes and tails slapping the water, but I wasn't fast enough to get a picture of any of them.

Upon disembarking we walked around the historical town of Lahaina. We enjoyed a fun and delicious lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise and then stopped to admire the magnificent Banyan tree near the old courthouse.

The Pioneer Inn - hosted such famous guests as Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Frank Sinatra in its prime

Lahaina is a charming little oceanfront town

Enjoying lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise. The open-air restaurant overlooks the ocean on Lahaina's Front Street

This beautiful Banyan tree was planted in 1873 by Christian missionaries. Standing more than 60 feet high, it stretches over a 200-foot area and shades two-thirds of an acre. The tree has twelve major trunks in addition to its huge core

Hockey Boy and Dots with the Banyan Tree