Thursday, August 31, 2006

Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish. (Ovid)

Lucky has once again earned his name.

I can't remember if I've talked about Lucky before. Probably, since his adventures are the type of thing I would talk about. Just as a brief history: Lucky is my school's pet Beta fish. One of our students brought a fish for us, and somehow I became responsible for keeping it alive. I almost flushed it down the toilet when I found it floating at the top of the bowl. Luckily, I was in a hurry and decided to take care of the corpse "later." When I came back to the fish, he was swimming around as if nothing had happened. A few days later, the fish played dead for our program supervisor. Luckily, she decided to let me handle disposing of the body. When I got to the fish, again he was fine. It was then that the fish was officially named Lucky. Lucky has "played dead" a third time, as well.

Last week, I had to change fishbowls due to a severe algae problem in his "condo" tank. Lucky's been staying in a regular fishbowl, which we like to refer to as his FEMA trailer, until I can get to the pet store to pick up a new filter for his "condo." (Can you tell we live in South Florida?) Well, yesterday I noticed that Lucky had a mild case of Ich. I decided to take him home, since my son is very good at doctoring fish. (He's had lots of experience, unfortunately for his tank.)

On the way home, as I was turning a corner, the fishbowl fell and all of the water rushed out. I swerved up onto the grass (scaring nearby cars and an innocent pedestrian), jammed the gears into park, and scooped up as much of the water as I could before it soaked into the van's rug. Surprisingly, I managed to get about two inches of water back into the bowl. Then I frantically searched the floor for Lucky. I found him under the passenger seat. I grabbed him by his tail (not easy to do, since my arthritis is acting up and he's very slippery) and threw him into the fishbowl. I thought for sure that it was the end for Lucky, between the shock and the dirty water. Once home, I had to process the tap water before I could put Lucky into it. It was quite a while before he had a clean, roomy bowl to swim in.

But somehow he's survived. My son and I went to the pet store and found the proper medication for the ich. (They didn't have the filter I needed, by the way, so I still have another trip to the pet store before Lucky can move out of the FEMA trailer.) I'm going to keep Lucky at my house until he's better, so I guess that I'll have to make an announcement that he's been evacuated temporarily. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Work saves us from three great evils: boredom, vice and need. (Voltaire)

Tuesdays Photos - "Fruit"

So far, Southeast Florida has been very lucky. Ernesto has not only remained a tropical storm, but it hasn't brought the winds and rain that were predicted. In fact, it's been boring. The kids and I have been sitting inside, just waiting for something to happen. Everything is closed, so we can't go anywhere. I suppose we could have done some heavy housecleaning, or finished one of the many projects on my "to do" list. And there's still time this afternoon to accomplish something... Yeah, right. I'll probably just play on the computer.

I keep thinking about the next storm. I know that there's going to be another before the season ends this year, and I'm worried that the next one won't be taken seriously. Too many people lost wages because businesses closed for Ernesto when they could have been working; too many people rushed around getting supplies that weren't needed; too many wrestled with their shutters and sat in the dark while the sun shone outside; too many people sat in shelters and watched the gentle breeze and wondered "why are we here?" -- are these people are going to ignore the warnings the next time?

I also have to admire the media people. Their job is to create excitement for their round-the-clock storm coverage. Yesterday morning, the television announcers even had me worried. They kept us informed of the storm's progress, with dire warnings of wind speed and excessive rain that would cause devestating flooding. They reminded us to get gas while we still could, pointing out which stations had long lines or had run out of fuel. They made endless announcements of the closings in our area, and reminded us that we shouldn't go out unless absolutely necessary. They showed crowds of people buying water and canned items, and implied that those of us not in that crowd were too late.

Today, they're still doing their best to keep the excitement going. It's harder, though, since Ernesto has calmed down so much. Now they are are giving warnings such as "People should stay inside, unless you have a proper umbrella. Otherwise you may get wet if a rainband makes it around to your area."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

If you can't do what you want, do what you can. (Lois McMaster Bujold)

JorjDotOrg PhotoHunt
Week 2 of 4, in the short test season
1 bonus point if there is an animal with your mineral

Hooray! The hunt is back on!

I had so much fun with Brookston's Photo Hunt. When he had to stop because of other committments, I was disappointed. But I understood, since I had enough trouble just getting the one photo posted each week. The hunt was a great excuse to get at least one photo posted each week. And I loved the challenge of trying to get a picture of the often 'odd' subjects. (My favorites included ice outside, not easy to find in South Florida; a bowling pin, which ended up involving my entire school; and your own shadow, which has led me to an entire collection of shadow photos.).

Now a fellow player, Jorj, has taken on the task of keeping the hunt going with Brookston's blessing. This is actually the second week of a four-week "test" game. I missed the first week, but I plan on playing anyway. Wish me luck!
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Monday, August 28, 2006

In fair Weather prepare for foul. (Thomas Fuller)

Hurricane Ernesto is on it's way to South Florida. They're predicting that it will make landfall sometime tomorrow, and it should be in our area by late Tuesday.

I'm not really worried about this storm, although I'm starting to think that I should be. I had to stop for gas on the way to Boca this afternoon, and I ended up waiting in line for 75 minutes! It took so long, that I never did get to go to Boca. Everyone is filling up their tanks, and getting gas for their generators. There are reports of stations running out of gas already. People are crowding grocery stores and the Home Depot, trying to get supplies for the storm.

I only stopped for gas because I really did need it. (I had less than a 1/4 tank, which would not have gotten me to Boca and back.) Otherwise, the only storm supplies I've gotten specifically for Ernesto is a bag of M&M's and a 2-litre of soda*.

*We stocked up on all of the regular storm supplies (water, batteries, etc) earlier in the season.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. (Thomas Jefferson)

"True Elegance"

The Inspiration Challenge for this week is "Elegance" and I just couldn't resist using this photo. It isn't often that I catch my mom off-guard. She had spent the afternoon tubing. Crossing to the bank, she slipped. I, being the good daughter, snapped this photo just as she landed on her butt. (Don't worry. Luckily, her granddaughter was nearby. Becky helped mom get up and walked her safely to the shore.)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A mother's heart is always with her children. (Author Unknown)

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I took Cari to the airport early this morning. I thought it would be easier (if not exactly "easy") to let her go off to school this year. But I still ended up with tears in my eyes as I watched her walk away from me toward the gate.

There's so much I wanted to say to her. I wanted to have just one more hug and kiss. I wanted her to stay home a little bit longer. But suddenly there wasn't any time left.

All summer she's driven me crazy. Just as I drove her crazy all summer. She came home after a year of college, learning to survive on her own, and having become an adult. It took us a while to figure out new roles between us.

And now she's gone again. And I already miss her.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Ride softly, that you may get home the sooner. (Thomas Fuller)

Thursday Challenge - "Plants"

Once upon a time, I was a cautious driver. I always followed the speed limit, and never saw a need to pass anyone. In other words, I was the driver that everyone hated to get stuck behind. Even my kids have been known to shout out at me, "Come on, lady. Either drive or get off the road." It never bothered me, though. I always got where I was going and since I like driving, it was okay if it took me a little longer to get there.

Now that I've been driving 70 miles a day for work, I'm suddenly impatient. I pass everyone, and even caught myself hollering out at a lady because she was "only" going the speed limit. It's like I've suddenly been possessed by a speed demon!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. (Robin Williams)

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I've still got it. I played basketball against JJ today, and won!
(Then I collapsed in a sweaty, gasping heap.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

We begin as children to explore and develop our talents, often unaware that we are unique, that not everyone can do what we're doing!

(today's quote is from Lynn Johnston)

I have come to the conclusion that Becky is a changling. When she was born, the fairies took Becky from the mother she should have had, and left her me.

I should have realized this long ago. Just the way we look at shoes should have clued me in. Becky currently owns as many pairs of shoes as I’ve had in my entire lifetime. When I explain this to her as the reason why we don’t need to go into the shoe store, she just looks at me with pity.

To me, planning a party means getting the right food and inviting the people. Maybe you also need a decent gift. For instance, Thanksgiving is successful if you have the turkey, stuffing, lots of side dishes and pies, and family to share it with. Becky, of course, adds in the good china, a centerpiece, cloth napkins, etc. I feel that a birthday party is a successful celebration if you have cake and ice cream, and gifts. Becky planned PJ’s birthday dinner. And even though it was just us (the big party is this weekend), she pulled out the china dishes, wine glasses for the soda, and decorations. And she even made sure that the meatloaf he wanted was special enough for her brother’s birthday!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a parent ages as much as 20 years. (Anonymous)

My baby boy is going to be driving soon. I knew this day was coming. He’s been talking about it for the past year.

But it always seemed to be some far-off, almost imaginary thing. Like when he used to talk about wanting to be a fireman, or a policeman, or a garbage man. I could talk with pride to my friends and acquaintances (“My boy wants to drive soon.”) without ever having to think about what it really meant.

Suddenly, reality has arrived. That far-off ‘someday’ has become a real day on the calendar. My son turned 15 today, and we signed him up for the driving class and written test so that he can get his learner’s permit.

It scares me. It scares me that my son, my baby, is going to be driving out on the roads with all the crazy drivers and speeders and construction. It scares me that my son, my baby, is old enough to drive – he’s not my baby anymore, which also makes me older than I want to admit to. And it scares me that if this far-off, someday date came to be; that maybe some of the other ‘someday’s’ (like “someday he’s going to join the service,” “someday he’s going to be moving out on his own”) are also going to be “real days” soon.

Friday, August 18, 2006

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities. (Jean Houston)

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Tuesdays Photos - "Favorite"

Blowing bubbles is one of my favorite activities. It's hard to be depressed as you watch the delicate, rainbow-hued spheres float softly away. Today I found a bubble-partner, and together we filled the neighborhood park with bubbles.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. (Roger Caras)

We brought George home from the animal shelter yesterday afternoon. He's a cocker spaniel mix, about 2-3 years old.

It wasn't something I planned on doing. In fact, I've been steadily saying "NO!!!!" to the children's request for a dog for the past several months. I've managed to ignore all of the pleading, begging, promises, and even a totally awesome power point presentation my youngest had put together listing all the reasons why I should allow them to have a dog.

But yesterday a friend asked me to do her a favor. She had seen a shelter dog on the news, and wanted to find out about adopting it. She couldn't get to the shelter right away, so she asked me to run over and get the information for her. I should have realized it was a set-up.

But being a good friend, I stopped at the shelter as promised. That was my first mistake. My second was taking the children inside with me. The dog my friend wanted had already been adopted. But we were shown the other dogs available for adoption. George (or Coco as he was being called at the time*), was taken out of his cage so that the kids could play ball with him. It was only a few minutes before he was giving out slobbering kisses and I knew I had lost the battle.

I tried to resist. I did persuade the children (and the workers) that I needed to think about it before making a decision, and managed to get us out the door without a dog along. We did a few more errands, and I found myself heading back to the shelter. With a quick visit into the vet to confirm his health and update his shots, George became a member of our family.

We stopped at Petsmart on the way home, where George discovered a truth my children have known for years...I'm a pushover for an adorable pleading look. We left Petsmart with the dogfood we went in for as well as several toys, bones, rawhide treats, shampoo, a new collar and leash (the collar has EAGLES on it, which is PJ's favorite team and therefore became a must-have item), a safety gate to keep George off the rug, and a little teddy bear so he wouldn't get lonely when we go to work/school.

The shelter workers had warned us that George would probably be a little timid and insecure at first. Animals that have spent time in a shelter frequently have abandonment issues. George surprised us, immediately accepting us as HIS family and making himself right at home.

Naturally I've already taken lots of pictures, and posted them on pbase. As I type this, Becky and PJ are tossing a tennis ball back and forth, playing Monkey in the Middle with George. PJ has plans for trips to the park with George, while Becky has read most of the "Clicking With Your Dog" book and is trying to decide which tricks to teach George first.

*At the shelter, George was called either Coco or Caca, depending on which worker we asked. Personally, I thought he looked like a George. When we were getting him ready to go home with us, his original tags were found. I noticed that they said "Jorge" which is, of course, Spanish for George. So he's George as far as we are concerned. (Although Becky insists that his full name is Coco George.)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Please, mommy, please. We'll take care of him. We promise! (PJ and Becky)

Advantage Flea Control. . . . . .$48.00
Safety gate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$29.95
Training instructional. . . . . .$25.00
Bag of food. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 9.99
Assorted toys . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 7.50
New food dish . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 2.00
New member of our family. . . Priceless!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

No man needs a vacation as much as the man who has just had one. (Elbert Hubbard)

We're back from vacation, and I'm already wondering when we can go back again. It was so nice in Cherokee. I miss living in the mountains.

Of course, it didn't help to come back to a pile of data an inch thick,ten reports to update, and two scheduled meetings this afternoon (even though it was exactly what I had expected).

Friday, August 04, 2006

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. (Aristotle)

Life is good. I have my computer, beautiful scenery, family… and I just remembered there’s fudge in the cooler.

Reality is the leading cause of stress

I can’t believe how late we stayed at the pool, talking and drinking (my Aunt had some really nice wine). I’m a little tipsy, so I guess any further typing will have to wait.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Gather your dreams; let your spirit guide you. (unknown)

Mom and I took the kids into town. It’s a cute little tourist place, with lots of neat shops to explore. We let the kids loose, while we stocked up at the Food Lion. We also decided to eat dinner while we were there, rather than take the time to fix something at the campsite. Gramma’s here, and the family is planning on gathering this evening (as we’ve done every evening) to swap tall tales and jokes and generally catch up on the news. So we went into Paul’s, a small restaurant one of the camp workers had recommended. It was delicious! I had an Indian Taco, which is made on frybread. Frybread is kind of like a funnel cake, but not as sweet. It was very, very good. Apparently one of the waitresses scheduled that night didn’t come in, so the service was a little slow. But I would still recommend Paul’s as the place to eat in town.

(By the way, we saw today's quote while eating at Paul's. It was part of a picture of a dreamcatcher...)

Energy and persistence conquer all things. (Benjamin Franklin)

Mom climbed Mingo Falls again, this time all the way to the top. We’ve had more family come into camp, so there was a big group that wanted to go to the falls. I decided to do some more pictures, since there is no way I can make the climb. Instead, I sat on the bridge at the bottom of the falls and enjoyed talking with my Cousin-Once-Removed Yvonne and my Uncle Dale (two others who decided to stay at the bottom in order to call for help should we see any bodies tumbling down the slippery falls). It was nice, even when it started to rain. (There’s something about standing in the rain watching the water rush down the falls that is extremely soothing.)

Having so much family here is wonderful! We’re still expecting several more this afternoon, and then a few more families on Friday. I had to laugh at a woman I met at the waterfalls. We were talking, and she mentioned that they were there as a family reunion. She mentioned that the hardest thing was getting 12 people to agree on the activities. In my family, 12 people is just a regular family dinner! Our reunion is going to be about 70 members.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Family isn't about whose blood you have. It's about who you care about. (Trey Parker and Matt Stone)

We are having such a marvelous time on this vacation. Several family members have already checked into camp, and we’re having a blast catching up on news and trying to top each other’s stories of the past.

This afternoon, my Aunt Mickey, her husband (Dale), mom, PJ and I went on a train ride through the mountains. The scenery was gorgeous. I filled up the memory card in my camera taking pictures. I’m so glad that I have Daisy along so that I could download them all this evening to make room for more pictures.

Being up here reminds me how much I miss living in the mountains. I keep telling myself that I need to come back in the winter, when it snows, and maybe I won’t miss it quite so much. Our vacation is half over, and there is still so much I want to do while we’re here!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Fear does not have any special power unless you empower it by submitting to it. (Les Brown)

My son had to rescue me today.

A group of us decided to go tubing down the Raven River. The campground shuttle takes you three miles up the river, and you float gently downstream for about 1 ½ hours. Mom, Aunt Mickey, Uncle Herb, my three kids, two of my cousin Herbie’s children, agreed with me that it sounded like fun. So we rented our tubes and climbed aboard the shuttle.

I made it as far as the first fall. Actually, I got stuck on several rocks before that, but I had expected that. (The last time I went tubing -- on a much shorter trip -- my butt was bruised so badly that I couldn’t sit down the rest of the week.) The first rapid is a sudden drop of about two feet. I’d really like to claim that it was much higher than that (it certainly felt higher!), but even 2’ might be a slight exaggeration. Somehow, my tube got stuck just at the top of the rapid. I wiggled, and twisted, but couldn’t get the tube to move. Meanwhile, water is building up behind me, until there was enough to push my tube through the opening in the rocks. Unfortunately, I went face first, upside down in the water. My tube went floating off without me and I, panicked, couldn’t remember if I could swim. My shoe had somehow come off in the fall, and floated past me after the tube.

I managed to get both the shoe and the tube, and then found my way to a calmer section of the river where I proceeded to have a full blown panic attack. I couldn’t breathe. All I could think was that since I was the last one of my group to come down the river, it would be at least two hours before anyone would realize they needed to send out a rescue party to get me. It was awful!

Luckily, both my daughter and son saw me go under. While my daughter waited, my son made his way back over the rocks and the river to rescue me. Since there wasn’t a chance on this earth that I was going to try that again, he helped me up the extremely steep bank (and with more patience than even a mother has a right to expect). I sent him back to his sister to finish the trip, but instead he returned (after letting her know that we were both safe) to wait with me since it would be a couple of hours before we could get a ride back to the campground. While we waited, he kept me in the shade, and found me pretty river rocks for souvenirs. A camp van happened by and we were able to hitch a ride back to camp in time to see the others come floating into camp.

I’m really upset that I was too chicken to do the trip. Apparently, I missed a great time – beautiful scenery and lots of thrills. On the other hand, I can still sit down.