Understanding )

My day was mostly taken up with pre-trip chores -- picking up prescriptions, getting Adam's braces adjusted, taking the kids to California Tortilla for lunch, shopping for necessities, packing, writing a review of "Sins of the Father". Reading in disgust about John Edwards and being so very grateful that he was out of the race before doing any damage. Watching the Olympic opening ceremonies (absolutely no comment on US outfits) while organizing toiletries. Nearly everyone I know fannishly is either at the Harry Potter convention in Chicago or the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas this weekend, so I assume few people are reading this anyway!


Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo )


[livejournal.com profile] thefridayfive: Memories )
[livejournal.com profile] fannish5: Together )

We are leaving Saturday morning for the beach in Delaware, stopping at several places on Maryland's Eastern Shore! [livejournal.com profile] perkypaduan has another date with my cats!
Confusion )

I was stuck in the house with no minivan for most of the day, so [livejournal.com profile] perkypaduan took pity on me and came to visit so I wouldn't get jealous that my cats have seen more of her this summer than I have! Rosie promptly took over her lap and Daisy showed off her tail-chasing skills, though as soon as [livejournal.com profile] apaulled came home, they snuck off feigning indifference. We watched 3:10 To Yuma which I think remains an extremely underrated film -- despite all the shooting, it's not really an action western but a philosophical one, and having recently watched American Gangster together, it was fun watching Russell Crowe on the other side of the law in a film which, like the newer one, assumes that corrupt people with legitimate power are much more villainous than outlaws. The IMDb says that 3:10 To Yuma was filmed entirely in New Mexico and Arizona, but I'd swear that bits of it were filmed in Utah, because I was sure I saw this formation:


Capitol Reef National Park )


Cool meme snicked from [livejournal.com profile] thistlerose:
Go over to Wikipedia and enter your birth date and then pick 3 events, 2 births and 1 holiday that occurred on the day of your birthday.
Mine's December 11th.

Three Events:
1792 - King Louis XVI of France is put on trial for treason by the National Convention.
1917 - British troops take Jerusalem from the troops of the Ottoman Empire.
1972 - Apollo 17 becomes the sixth mission to land on the Moon.
Two Births:
1725 - George Mason, American statesman
1803 - Hector Berlioz, French composer
One Holiday:
Argentina - Tango Day, Buenos Aires

I had a really hard time narrowing events to three. The only thing I knew happened on my birth date was that Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. in 1941; I did not know that Llywelyn, the last native Prince of Wales, was killed on the date in 1282, that Indiana became the 19th U.S. state on the date in 1816, that the British Parliament enacted the Statute of Westminster on the date in 1931, that Edward VIII's abdication became effective on the date in 1936, nor that UNICEF was established on the date in 1946. And though I knew I shared a birthday with Rita Moreno, I did not know that I also shared it with Alfred de Musset, Fiorello La Guardia, Naguib Mahfouz, Grace Paley, John Kerry, Teri Garr, Mos Def, Ben Browder, and Gary Dourdan who was born on precisely the same day that I was.
Trouble )

Not an eventful Wednesday here, as I spent much of the day doing laundry so everything will be clean for our trip to the beach next week. Also, we had to drop the minivan off at the Toyota place to get it thoroughly checked out and make sure we won't have a repeat of any of the problems we had at the end of the last trip! I wanted to stop in the mall behind the car place at Lush, which was having a summer sampler party, and because we were already in the mall, we ended up having dinner there (cheap Thai food, mmmmm).

This article about tourists who got lost in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument while driving south from Bryce Canyon National Park made me nostalgic for Utah (though I am very glad we were using maps rather than GPS). Here are some more photos of Goblin Valley State Park, called Mushroom Valley by the first entrepreneur to explore it in depth:


Goblin Valley )


Seen all over the place, swiped directly from [livejournal.com profile] celandineb with whom I will be sharing...because let's face it, as much as I love Snape, I wouldn't want to be married to him: My Harry Potter husband. )And Olympics rant. )
The Slap )

I spent the whole awesome day with [livejournal.com profile] dementordelta, who brought me a big snakey! We went to Minerva with my family for Indian food, then sent the kids to the pool and watched Dead Again (because we were in a Branagh/Thompson mood and neither of us had seen since it was new nearly 20 years ago) and Hairspray (the 1988 John Waters original with Divine, Sonny Bono and Debbie Harry). Then after [livejournal.com profile] apaulled came home we had pizza and contemplated going to see We're About 9 at the Columbia waterfront, but the weather report was iffy and it can be an hour drive from here at rush hour, so instead we went out and rented Vantage Point (the vote-winner with my kids) and watched that too. Spoilers. )


Zoo Boise )


While I'm talking about animals, I was thrilled to read that over 100,000 lowland gorillas have been found living in the Congo, nearly doubling the number estimated to survive in the wild. Let's hope they stay protected! Also, much to my surprise, Paris Hilton has delighted me!
The Idea of Ancestry )

Adam has braces back on his upper teeth. Needless to say, he is not pleased about this development (and has a headache). I took the kids out to lunch since he was required to have mushy food and voted for sushi and udon noodles, then sent them to the pool for a couple of hours while I fought off my monthly migraine and tried to figure out what Facebook had done to its organization. I had ordered a book of Josephine Wall art, and studying fantasy goddesses is always relaxing for me.


H.M.S. Surprise )


You get Master and Commander-related photos tonight because the kids made me watch Robot Chicken and one of the skits was about a woman who won Russell Crowe's trash in a contest and was wearing his unwashed underwear on her head. (The episode was "Atta Toy" since I am sure someone will ask!) Our other evening TV was The X-Files' "Little Green Men" and "The Host" -- we have a box set with those episodes through "One Breath" on VHS, and since we have none on DVD, we figured the second season was as good a place to watch as any. I didn't even realize how much I was missing the show till the movie...
Chair (A Dream) )

Not a very eventful Lughnasadh, though I did spend some time reading about the descent of the Goddess. Took the kids to the pool, kicked around some numbers for Adam's Bar Mitzvah next spring and stressed out about it, finally finished putting away my jewelry and little things from the trip (silly, since I have to pack a week from tonight for the trip to the beach), wrote a review of "The Offspring" (and speaking of Star Trek, [livejournal.com profile] perkypaduan sent me reasons to be worried about Abrams' upcoming reboot, which made me smile as I completely agree).

Watched Doctor Who's "Journey's End" on the widescreen TV -- the things I loathed about it the first time around still make me very unhappy, but I still adore Catherine Tate's performance and David Tennant is compulsively watchable too, and really, how many shows are there where there are five female characters I adore, even if I'm aggravated with things about how they're written in any given episode? Then watched Stargate Atlantis and realized I really must see the first few episodes of the season to follow what's been going on, though it was worth seeing just for this tiny spoiler. ) And we received in the mail today something that I first saw when we were in a market across the country, then wrote when we got home to the woman who ran the stall to ask if she still had it and if she would ship it to me. It's a present for both Adam and the cats:


Penguin Fishie Cat Bed )


Friday Fiver Catch-up:
[livejournal.com profile] thefridayfive August 1: Name One )
[livejournal.com profile] thefridayfive July 25: Hair! )
[livejournal.com profile] thefridayfive July 17: Philosophical Stuff )
[livejournal.com profile] thefridayfive July 11: Charity )
[livejournal.com profile] thefridayfive July 4: Drinks )
[livejournal.com profile] fannish5 July 25: Plot Points )
[livejournal.com profile] fannish5 July 11: Best Pilots )
[livejournal.com profile] fannish5 July 4: Crossover Relationships )
Lament Fragment )

My children were not happy about getting up this morning to go to the orthodontist, but they recovered when we walked through the mall in which the dental office is located and learned that the GameStop had just received a new shipment of the Wii Fit. More than $100 poorer (because I'm told you have to get the balance board cover, the battery charger, etc.), we came home with it and two happy kids, though I insisted that they eat lunch and go to the pool before playing it because a thunderstorm was forecast for the afternoon and swimming counts more to me as "real exercise" than Wii Fit, though now that I have tried the aerobics for two minutes I may revise that opinion. The good news is that I have a Wii age of 33; the bad news is that the Wii says I need to lose 30 pounds to get my BMI to where it should be. Not that this is news to me.

While the kids were at the pool, I stopped at CVS to get a DVD case, then came home and recorded a whole bunch of movies to send with my parents to my uncle who is going to be in rehab for several months. Most of them I burned without watching beyond the first few seconds, but I sat down and watched Eastern Promises and then 'Becoming Jane,' no real spoilers for either but cut for people who aren't interested in criticism of either. ) Any bad news for Karl Rove tends to make me happy, so although it's largely token at this point, thank you, House Judiciary Committee, for finding him contemptible...that is, in contempt. I also wave a fond *cough* farewell to Ted Stevens -- another pro-life politician down on corruption charges, darn. As for Ehud Olmert, I don't know enough about the charges against him to have an opinion on their validity but I hope his successor intends to put a stop to new settlements in the West Bank.


Camping at Devil's Tower )
Tales of Odysseus )

After being rudely dragged out of bed by the gas company, which decided it needed to check our meter TODAY even though we had an appointment for a couple of weeks from now, I mostly spent my day taking things out of bags, cleaning, sorting, putting things back into different bags, and transferring things between one computer and the other, with breaks to take the kids places. We went to Bagel City for lunch because we had neither bagels nor lox spread and were missing both. Then I took the kids to the pool, along with younger son's best friend, and went to work updating Picasa and burning photos to disc (and burning Doctor Who's "The Invasion" arc, while I was feeling industrious, since we all liked "The Mind Robber" so much). Also, I spent a lot of time with a cat kneading my thighs and demanding attention. I suppose I will get back into her good graces just in time to leave for the beach!


Sea World Shows )


Paul made bacon cheeseburgers for dinner while I was out chatting with Adam's best friend's mother, then Paul made cookies because apparently he's missed baking or something that never happens to me. *g* After the kids' showers, we all watched Robot Chicken which makes me laugh far more than it should, even though they say "douchebag" far more often than I can forgive. I mean, the mythical animals missing Noah's Ark! And the CHiPs guys getting beheaded in a race! ...yes, I am twelve. Our other evening excitement was a little tiny adorable mouse on the deck that got Daisy very distressed, which alerted us!
The Piano Player Explains Himself )

We are home! Somewhat blearily, as we had to drive more than 500 miles on this last leg, which required getting up very early this morning in case we hit traffic, which for the most part we did not -- we were incredibly lucky this trip both in terms of the driving conditions and in terms of the weather -- we're now seeing news about both the fires near Yosemite and the flooding in Missouri where we were earlier in the month. We had thought about stopping in Columbus for lunch, but we got such an early start and made such good time that we were long past it by the time we found a Quizno's further on in Ohio. We took I-70 to I-79 to I-68, which took us through a bit of Pennsylvania and a longer stretch of West Virginia. Once we got into Maryland, we made two stops: Noah's Ark in Frostburg, which is very obviously the inspiration for the ark in Evan Almighty, and Sideling Hill, a vertical cut to make way for a road that reveals the geological history of the Appalachian Mountains.


Creation and Maryland )


We got home around 5 p.m., took half an hour to unload the van and I immediately started the first of what will probably end up being eight laundries. [livejournal.com profile] perkypaduan took excellent care of our house and pets! The cats appear to have taken our absence in stride, as they tried to get us to feed them, then promptly decided that our plastic bags were more exciting than we were, We took a break to go out for deli with my parents, then came back to sort and hang clean clothes, go through piles of souvenirs bought for ourselves and others, shift files from the laptops to the desktops, and start going through a month's worth of mail. Rosie is helpfully lying on top of the pile of bills, while Cinnamon is upstairs trying to get someone to turn on a sink so she can drink from it and Daisy is getting into every plastic bag, pillowcase or clothes pile she can find. Life as usual!
In Italy )

Saturday morning we got up early to go to the St Louis Zoo when it opened at 8. On a nearly 100-degree day, this was the perfect time to arrive, before it got beastly hot and the animals started drooping -- we had the bird house and flight cage pretty much to ourselves and many of the birds were singing, and in the herpetarium, the snakes and lizards were wriggling in their enclosures. We had been told that this was a must-visit zoo for the penguin habitat, and it did not disappoint: Humboldts outside in a rocky enclosure with stone tunnels for nesting, where they swam and brayed and paraded around for us, plus Kings, Gentoos, and Rockhoppers inside in 45-degree air conditioning with an open enclosure above the waterline, meaning there was no condensation-heavy glass between us and the birds!

The St. Louis Zoo is free and large enough that it's impossible to cover in half a day, but we managed to see a lot: the amphibians and insects (including a butterfly garden); the big African mammals like elephants, hippos, giraffes (who had a baby), and zebras (who were expecting); the bears and great cats; the sea lions, prairie dogs and warthogs; and the 1904 World's Fair flight cage, as well as the puffins and polar bear housed near the penguins. We had lunch at one of the zoo's air conditioned sandwich shops and left around 2 p.m. when it was getting beastly hot!


St. Louis Zoo )


After several hours of driving and an hour lost crossing the timeline, we had dinner in Terre Haute, Indiana with [livejournal.com profile] mamadracula at an Applebee's where we all got the three-course meal deals so we could have dessert. Then we drove another few hours to Richmond, Indiana so the final leg of our trip would be less than ten hours. There's a Model T 100th anniversary festival going on at the fairgrounds here this week, so the hotel parking lot is full of magnificent old cars. Hopefully I'll be home by this time Sunday night!
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