Tuesday, October 31, 2006


We were major procrastinators on carving the pumpkins this year. Part of it is that in our variable fall weather, you don't want to carve them too soon or you will have a heap of goo by Halloween. But, we've never waited til 4pm on Halloween day to get started before.

After finishing their homework, both kids decided that it was time to carve pumpkins. Hmm, well, yes, let's get started - remembering that we needed to be done and eating dinner by 5:15, this doesn't leave much time.

A got the newspaper and started covering the front porch. I got the knives and big spoons and M got the pumpkins. While I started cutting away a top for A's pumpkin I asked both kids to get a piece of scratch paper and draw a picture of what they wanted their pumpkin to look like. I looked at A's picture - very nice but only the size of a quarter - on a full sheet of paper! I told A to draw it bigger and this time he drew a pumpkin face about the size of a silver dollar. When I saw M's face was similarly quarter sized, I drew a face about 2/3 the sheet of paper for him to fill in.

Then I got M to cut the top off his pumpkin. He did a very nice job and only needed a tiny bit of help at the end, mostly because his pumpkin had no stem. I trimmed up both lids and made a smoke vent.

Then I got a bowl and let the kids have at the pumpkin guts. Yes, I'm a mean mom and make the kids participate fully in jack-o-lantern making. They got out most of the pumpkin seeds and guts, using the spoons and their hands. While they washed up, I finished gutting the pumpkins and then it was time to carve.

Yes, I let both kids carve their own pumpkin. A has his whittling chip now and thus has learned his knife safety, so I let him start carving his own pumpkin.

A did need a bit of help in getting the pumpkin bits out after he cut them, and I helped him enlarge the features - the original eyes were nice, but too small to let any light through.

M did almost all of his pumpkin. I just widened the nose lines a bit so we could see them better.

Here are both pumpkins. I had to steady the camera to get a photo without flash (otherwise the candlelight doesn't really show up).

A's pumpkin on the left, M's on the right

Pumpkin Drop

Pictures added - finally!

D had his class of Physics students doing a pumpkin drop today. They had to protect a pumpkin (min 10" diameter) from a fall from 36 feet.

M decided he wanted to participate too. It sounded like a cool thing to me, so I said I would be willing to take him out of school to go watch his pumpkin drop.

The box size limit was 1 meter cubed. That is a BIG box. We didn't see any boxes anywhere near that size. M and I were surprised at how small some of the students boxes were. We used a carseat box that was less than half the allowed size - I think it was 28" tall x 19" x 17".

M used all sorts of interesting stuff in protecting his pumpkin -
cardboard bricks
foam seat cushions
pool noodles
inflatable pool innertube toy
tennis balls

He also had a thin board that had gotten bent into an arch - we hoped it would flex when the box hit. Maybe it did, but not enough. M's pumpkin was deemed to have a "major crack" after the fall. His pumpkin box was the first one dropped - after looking at some of the other pumpkins, M and I thought that his pumpkin was closer to minor cracks, but it doesn't really matter. M isn't getting a grade on his.

M's pumpkin after the drop

We got to see about 30 pumpkins dropped - of those we saw, only 1 survived intact. A few had minor cracks, more than half had major cracks (most worse than M's) and a handful were deemed "pulp" (broken in half or more).

like this one that was dropped "naked"

D reports that there were 4 more pumpkins that survived in the 2nd half of the drops - several people had parachutes that deployed. We would have liked to see all of them, but M didn't want to miss art class, so we left at about the halfway point.

M had a lot of fun and is already planning what he wants to do next year.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween stories

A was supposed to write sentences or a story with the following words for homework tonight:


His story.

The first thing for a costume is a mask, to have a spider costume you might want a fake web. To make a jack-o-lantern you need to carve a pumpkin.

We then had a discussion about how that really wasn't a story because they didn't go together. But they are very nice sentences - super sentences even. M said he could do better, so he sat down to write a story. Here is M's story:

50 years in the future
It’s almost time for Halloween. We watched something called a video about how our ancestors got ready. First, they bought a costume. Sometimes they even had a mask with it, but that was rare back then. Now, we can use PHD, or personal hologram devises to get a costume and mask! Next they set up fake spider webs all over, even though they claimed to hate them. Finally, they carved pumpkins to put out. Again, we can use PHD. Then it was time to go trick or treating! They walked though, instead of using hoverboards like we do now. They did things differently, but the idea was the same.

(italics are M's)

M was quite pleased with the story (and so was I). He asked me to email it to his teacher, so we did.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Daylight Savings

I remembered to set my bedside clock ahead last night, and was looking forward to an extra hours sleep today. Surprisingly, M actually slept in also. Pounce, however, did not. At 7am (the old 8am (when we normally get up on a weekend)), she jumped on the bed and proceeded to walk right over my bladder - several times, as she wandered back and forth over me. What a way to wake up!

Finally I got A to go put more food in her dish, but I couldn't manage to go back to sleep.

M thinks that the switch to daylight savings should take place on a school night, so he will get more sleep when he needs it. So, we left the clocks unchanged in most of the house today and had kids in bed by 8pm (clocks still said 9).

I still have the oddball clocks to change - the one over the mantel, any clock that may be in the basement - and the car clock.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Halloween party - photos added.

We had a Halloween party at church tonight. D made a pot of chili and M (actually all the 3rd - 5th graders) had to bring chips. The church supplied hot dogs and drinks. We had a good dinner - I got to try 3 different chilies, one on a hot dog. M was adamant that he wanted to go through the haunted house, A was equally adamant that he didn't. So, M and I did the haunted house - put on by the youth group. They do this every year and evidently have a good time doing it. I just wish they would figure out a way to take down more than one group at a time - the line gets long to go through. M was very disappointed that he didn't get to go a second time - even after he "waited through 4 times!" Interesting to think that M will be part of the haunted house next year, just when he's getting to the point where he really enjoys going through it.

The kids were both Bionicles - A was the Red Bionicle and M was the Black Bionicle. I got the costumes last year at Target after Halloween when they were 75% off.

A week or so ago, A asked what they were going to be for Halloween. Bionicles, I replied, "or anything else you we already have". Oh, yeah. Then he remembered the costumes and they had to dig them out and try them on. M wanted to know which color he could be. Well, the bigger one, the one that's your size. But what if they both fit, he persisted. Not likely, as I know I purchased distinctly different sizes last year, trying to guess what would be the right size this year. Evidently I got it right, as both costumes fit.

You would have pictures here if Blogger weren't being so stubborn about uploading my photos. I will try to add them tomorrow. - finally added pictures after much effort and crashing the computer once.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Taco soup

Almost all of my family loves Taco soup. The exception is M, who's wary of anything new.

We first had taco soup at a church dinner last year. It was really good and I got the recipe. I think I might have made it once in the spring before it seemed too warm for soup. But last week, as it cooled off, it seemed perfect for taco soup. I made it for dinner one night and A was delighted - he had seconds. D and I enjoyed it a lot also.

I offered my mom a serving, in exchange for some of her vegetable beef soup. She loved it and wanted the recipe. Then she made it and offered a bowl to another friend who wanted the recipe.

Both my mom and our friend made taco soup to take to a church dinner last night. A heard that taco soup was going to be offered and he definitely wanted to go. Luckily there were some leftovers - I had a bowl of it for lunch today with my mom.

Can you tell we like this??

I'm wondering how often I can get away with making it this winter. If it weren't for M, we'd probably have it every other week for a while. Even I might get a bit tired of it after a while, though. maybe, maybe not. It's definitely going in the rotation, though.

Taco Soup
1 onion, chopped
1 (16 oz) can chili beans
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (12 oz) bottle beer
2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained*
1 (1.25 oz) pkg taco seasoning
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

shredded Cheddar cheese
sour cream
tortilla chips

Put all ingredients (except chicken) into crock pot and stir to mix. Lay chicken breast on top of mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered. Cook on low for 5 hours, then remove chicken. Allow to cool just enough to handle. Shred chicken and put it back into crockpot. Cook for 2 more hours.

Serve topped with shredded cheese, dollop of sour cream and/or crushed tortilla chips.

*I usually use 1 14.5 oz can tomatoes with chilis and it works fine for me. My mom used 1 10oz can Rotel tomatoes and 1 addtional 8oz can Rotel tomato sauce - she said it was quite spicy, but good. Clearly you can play around with the recipe some.

I think my friend got this recipe off some recipe site online, but I don't know where.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Dictionary.com says it isn't a word, but M says that weasely is his favorite new word. He read in his current book that the only way to kill a basilisk is to trap it in a weasel's den and the 'weasely' smell will kill it.

How handy to know...you know, in case I'm ever confronted by a basilisk. I suggested to M that perhaps he should carry around eau de weasel just to be on the safe side. Though, perhaps a mirror would be handy too - previously I've read that if you can get a basilisk to look at itself in a mirror, that will kill it.

Here's a basilisk, in case you're curious.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pack meeting

We had our first pack meeting for Cub Scouts tonight. I had 8 of my Wolves there to get awards. I thought I was going to have 11 boys. In order to get any awards, first the boys have to earn their Bobcat badge. Mostly its memorizing 2 passages, The Cub Scout Promise and The Law of the Pack.

I had 4 boys who still needed to work on one or both passages. I talked to each of their moms in the past week and arranged that I would be there early tonight so the boys could come and recite for me and then get their awards. Well, out of the 4, only one showed up. I was rather disappointed. The boys will likely be disappointed also, as they all like getting awards and recognition. And now, I will have to plan on getting someone to take them aside and drill them on the passages the next time they show up (rather than doing whatever activity we have planned). I did this with 2 boys last week. We drilled on The Law of the Pack until they could recite it, THEN they could go and work on their whittling.

Oh, yes, they decided that this year the Wolves could earn their Whittling Chip - the right to carry a pocket knife at Scout events. My Wolves are very excited about this. I imagine many of them have ordered pocket knives as their popcorn prize.

Popcorn orders were due tonight. I'm SO glad that D isn't Popcorn Kernel anymore. He (WE) did it for 3 years and it was a pain trying to track down all the forms and get everything ordered, etc. Over the years we had problems with missing popcorn orders as well as missing prize orders. And then there was the fun of sitting in a parking lot in the COLD for 3 hours waiting for the Scouts to come pick up their orders.

A was quite the salesman this year. He sold just over $1000 of popcorn! That was his goal - a prize of a $50 gift card to Wal-Mart. He won't get the prize until the Christmas party and we've already discussed how that will be very close to Christmas and he should wait until after Christmas to see what he still wants and didn't get.

Monday, October 23, 2006

You know its time to turn on the heat when...

1. The house is 62 when you get up and that's about the high for the day.

2. The weather forecast for the rest of the week has the highest high being about 64.

3. There's a freeze warning for tonight and tomorrow night.

4. The cat decides that he wants to settle down in your lap for the duration (he's a very warm-blooded cat and usually gets too hot and leaves a lap quickly).

This also means it is time to bring out the flannel sheets - so nice and soft and warm.

So, tonight, I set the thermostat for its winter temperature range. Winter is when the programmable thermostat is really wonderful. We like it cold when we sleep, but not when we get up, so at 10pm we let the house start drifting down (to a low of 59). Then at 5:15 the heat kicks in again so it will be warmer when D gets up. While we're all moving around its ok for the house to be around 63, but not if you're sitting and reading or working on the computer.

It will probably take a couple of weeks of fiddling to get the temperatures set based on our current comfort and activity level.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Great Rejoicings

Great joy was had at the house today. Why, you ask?

1. We found the missing library book! It's been missing for probably 2 months, but I managed to get the librarians to renew it 2 extra times for me. So it is "only" about a week late - and I think I had another 4 or 5 days of lateness between one of the renewals, so I'll owe a dollar or so, but that's a LOT less than if we had really and truly lost it.

2. I finally seem to be getting over my cough. It's not completely gone, but I have been coughing a lot less - and none of it is the "I can't stop coughing" variety. Friday I couldn't walk down a flight of stairs without setting off uncontrollable coughing

3. D got the motion detector light installed on the front porch. It doesn't pick up movement from inside the house (which is good), but as soon as you step out the door the light turns on. We're still figuring out how far it "sees" down the stairs and how to make it stay on.

4. We got to watch the end of Star Wars. I warned the kids that, although it looked scary, the trash compactor scene would be OK. M says, "it wasn't scary, it was just like X" (only now we can't remember what he compared it too). But he wasn't scared.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

This day brought to you by the letter F

F is for fall festival and fish fry and flicks.

So, it should have been Friday, but no, it was Saturday. We had a great day today. It was chilly (like 37) when we got up 8ish (very ish), so we lounged around for a while. We finally had breakfast around 10 and headed up to the fall festival in Old Town. It was very nice - lots of little booths with arts and crafts things and various goodies. We bought half a caramel cake. Yum. We got one several years ago and loved it, but then the last time we'd been to the festival we waited too late to buy one and they had sold out. So today we bought it early and had them hold it with our name on it til we were ready to leave.

We got some homemade goodies from the local high school reunion group - its from the school where D teaches, but these reunion groups were from long before he taught there (like when we were in college).

We found a friend who was selling knitted and crocheted goodies. Had a nice chat.

The kids bought some Newton's cradles really cheaply (like 50 cents and a dollar) and have been having a ball with them. I'm less enamourmed of them already, having untangled them several times each.

Then we went hunting the apple cider. Last time they didn't have it, but today, luckily for us, they did. We got a gallon and oooh, is it good! In the past they were making it right there at the festival, but this year they were making apple butter. That sounds good too, so we asked for some of it.

Booth lady (BL): Oh, its not ready yet.
me: Oh, no, how much longer?
BL: 20-30 min...well, unless you want the sugar-free.
me: is it just no sugar, or is it artificial sweetener?
BL: just no sugar
me: yes, we want sugar-free
D: I didn't know they ever made it with sugar

And sure enough, we can't imagine it made with sugar because it is already plenty sweet. And very delicious. We had to sample it when we got home. M didn't think he would like it, but he agreed it was "pretty good". And A said "Yummy".

After all those purchases and wanderings, we headed back to the car, parked at the library, to drop off goodies and then go get some new books. M took a second pass at cleaning the library out of mythology, mostly Greek. He took out 20 or so books about a month ago and at least another dozen mythology books today.

M's ranking of mythology:

In other mythology news, M has found out that he has to be Hephestus in his Greek Gods class. For those of us who have forgotten some of our Greek mythology, he's Vulcan in Roman mythology. Him I can remember. M and D were busily trying to make plans to cast something - from solder, pewter, copper - depending on what D can find.

We also got the original Star Wars video at the library. We realized when we were at Disney that the kids had never seen the movies, so we will work our way through them.

For dinner we went to a neighborhood fish fry. They had a fishing contest during the day too, but the kids weren't interested - UNTIL they handed out cash prizes at the end of the fish fry. M saw a kid his age win $5 and then wanted to know how come we hadn't entered. Maybe next time...

The fish was quite good and fresh - we saw it being gutted and cleaned and fried. And the rest of the pot luck was tasty also. I took ziti so M would be sure to have something he liked. A liked the fish and went back for seconds.

Then when we came home from the fish fry, we started our flick, Star Wars. We didn't get to finish it, but we'll get to that tomorrow.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Am I Unique?

Not unique, evidently, but close.

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

There are only 5 people in the US with my name now. I was much more common before I got married, sharing my name with 277 others.

Seemingly, I'm more unique than the rest of my family too.
D shares his name with 35 others.
M shares his name with 42 others.
A shares his name with 7 others.

Well, at least none of us are common in our whole name, though our first names may be.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jury Experience

Now that the trial is over, I can say more about it.

While we were still in the big jury pool room, they polled everyone to see if they had any connection to State Farm insurance - policyholder, employee, stockholder. One lady behind me was SO excited to be able to reply YES - she figured that meant she wouldn't be picked for a jury. Well.... they were picking for multiple juries - she got picked to be questioned for the first jury - I think that one was for the murder trial! I'm sure glad I didn't get picked for that jury. One of the dad's at Scouts did get picked and is still serving on that jury.

Anyhow, I got pulled to be questioned for the 3rd trial, a civil case in traffic court. I was sort of surprised when it came time for the lawyers to pick the jurors. I thought they went through the jurors one by one and okayed them or struck them. I figured I wouldn't get picked because I was juror 24 out of 27. But, no, the attorneys huddled and discussed us and then announced who all was on the jury. The rest of the people were sent to lunch and then had to go back to the jury room to be possibly selected for another round of jury questioning. Those of us picked got to go home, after some initial instructions.

Tuesday, we showed up and heard testimony all day. Just before lunch they warned us to load up on caffeine at lunch because there would be a 2+ hour video deposition after lunch. I don't normally drink much caffeine, but I made sure to have a large Diet Coke with lunch, or I knew I would never be able to stay awake. It's a good thing I did, since the lawyers were VERY thorough. They would ask the same question in several different ways. Or they showed some pain charts and they pointed out on each and every one of them how the patient's description of where the pain was, was different from where her surgery was. OK, we get the point already!

Wednesday, we came in after lunch since traffic court is held every Wed morning. That was nice, as I wasn't feeling so great. I was able to go back to bed after the kids left and get another couple hours sleep. That and some naproxen allowed me to get through the rest of the trial. First thing up when we got there was another video deposition, from a different Dr who reviews records. They said, don't worry this one is shorter. Well, yes, technically it WAS shorter, but it was still almost 2 hours! He was a bit more entertaining than the first Dr. and it was amusing to see him getting frustrated with the questions too: "I believe I've already answered that several times" came out more than once. But he would proceed to answer it again. I realize that this is probably a very effective technique, to show that its not just a one time occurrence, but to me, it feels like the jury is being treated like rather dim-witted children.

By the time the lawyers finished up with their closing arguments and the judge read us all of her instructions on the law and how to deliberate, it was about quarter til 5. We were sent to the jury room to pick a fore-person and decide if we were going to deliberate then or come back the next day.

We picked our foreman (not surprisingly, no one volunteered) and decided we would at least start deliberating. The defense basically admitted that the missed day of work following the accident and the immediate and short-term follow-up medical care was related to the accident. The plaintiff, however, was also trying to claim that medical care that BEGAN 2 YEARS after the accident was also related. We, the jury, did not buy that argument. We were able to decide on an amount for medical bills and lost wages fairly quickly (we even put in some money for partial missed days of work that the plaintiff hadn't kept track of, and therefore weren't itemized), but pain and suffering was difficult. The judge had told us that pain and suffering was up to the "enlightened conscience" of the jury. Well the jury's conscience wasn't very enlightened - we had a very difficult time deciding on an amount - or even on a method to come up with an amount. The judge came in around 6pm and asked if we were going to keep deliberating or if we were going to go home and come back in the morning. We were fairly close to a decision and told her so. Finally around 6:15, we had our number and were ready to return to the courtroom with our verdict. I'm not sure either side was particularly happy or unhappy with our verdict.

When you hear about big cases, they often report that the jury awarded $X in damages and $Y for pain and suffering. So we were surprised that we were asked to come up with a single dollar figure inclusive of:
medical bills
lost wages
pain and suffering.

All in all, it was an interesting experience, though not one I'm eager to repeat anytime soon. When I get my pay, I'll be putting that $75 (I think its $25/day) into a slush fund for some fun activity. I've already earmarked $20 for a gift card to a fabric store.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

See-saw weather

It's that time of year, when you never know what temp it will be. I told the kids that it would be warm today and that they would probably want short sleeves. First thing they want to know - warm enough for shorts? Well, probably not, at least not in the morning.

Then tonight, A took off his shirt at some point in the afternoon. I told him he needed a shirt for dinner (Why?, he asks. To be civilized), so he went to get a shirt and came back in long sleeves. Why he didn't put back on the short sleeved shirt he'd been in earlier - that was RIGHT NEXT to him, I don't know. The house is 74, he had just been shirtless, he obviously didn't need the long sleeves, but .... he did.

Then when they went to bed, M put on his blanket sleeper (the fleecy, feet attached pj's). When I went to kiss him goodnight, he was complaining about being hot. Well, yes, I know it was cold enough to want the blanket sleeper just a few days ago, but its not cold TONIGHT. So, he ended up taking it off - I'm sure he's much more comfortable.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My civic duty

I've been off doing my civic duty today - jury duty. There was a lot of sitting around and waiting, but I was mostly prepared for it (mentally, not physically - I'm not used to "sitting" most of the day). There were 56 "no-shows" today, which is evidently many more than usual, so they warned us that most excuses would not be honored and that if you were sent for jury selection and were not empaneled, you would have to go back to the main jury pool (usually you are released at that point).

I asked how long most trials lasted and they said one to two days, usually - BUT, they had some bigger cases this week. Uh-oh. I don't want a long case. I only have kid care arranged through Wed afternoon, then I would have to scramble for Thur.

Anyway, I got called to be questioned for a civil case. The lawyers asked a bunch of questions, including does anyone in our sub-jury pool know each other. 2 people raised their hands. It seems she teaches an aerobics class he takes.

Fine, says the lawyer, do you see each other outside of aerobics?
Yes, school
Oh, you go to school together?
No, our kids do

It doesn't seem so funny writing it out, but in the courtroom, it certainly sounded like they had kids together and the whole place cracked up. Maybe it just doesn't take much to break the tension in a courtroom.

End result, I got picked for the jury and have to report back tomorrow morning. Hopeful thought - the judge mentioned that she might see some of the same jurors this afternoon as they would be picking another jury - hopefully for this same judge to hear the case later this week. I SO hope that the case is short!

A and squares

My mom was volunteering in A's class today and she relayed some tidbits of A's math knowledge.

The teacher, Mrs. B, asks: what is 3+3+3.
A: that's the same as 3 squared.
Mrs. B: how do you know about squares?
A: I know what a square root is too!

I think Mrs. B. left well enough alone after that. I asked A about what a square root is this afternoon and he said "its what you have to multiply by itself to get the number". Well, yes, it is. I'm pretty sure that squares and square roots aren't in the 5th grade curriculum and I'm sure they're not in the 2nd grade curriculum, but yes, I've discussed them at home before - mostly with M, but A has big ears and picks up on a bunch.

I really need to talk to A's teacher again about math enrichment. She had mentioned (several times) that if we were interested, we could have A join a 3rd grade class for math. Well, when I said that we were interested, she checked with the administration, who said A would have to be 2 grade levels ahead to do that. Huh? He has to be doing 4th grade math to go sit in a 3rd grade math class??? Then he could be out of place and still bored. Mrs. B asked if I was ok with her providing more challenging math in the classroom - yes, as long as it was being provided.

Let's see what he brought home today:
cut out and paste pictures of unit blocks to illustrate 3 digit numbers
how many problems done in a minute (single digit sums, 10 or more)*
Chapter test - skip counting, > and <, even/odd, single digit + and -
what number comes before or after
fact families (addition and subtraction)
place value (ones and tens only)

He finally had one page that asked about place values into the thousands (something I saw some of M's 4th grade classmates struggle with last year). But all the rest of it looks incredibly simple for A. He missed a problem here and there, but mostly from working too fast - (he skipped a few where he didn't see part 2 of the problem).

*I'll admit that working sums quickly is probably a skill he could use also - for speed of writing if nothing else.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Nip in the Air

It got a bit cool this past week. Not so cold as Buffalo (snow, snow and more snow), nor even as cold as D's parents in Ohio (first frost which shut down their market gardening), but chilly - upper 30's at night kind of cold. We've had a few days of cold-weather food too. Chili, taco soup, chicken soup (from my mom). Yum. Too bad M doesn't like soups and stews, because the rest of us love them.

It's supposed to warm back up a little bit this week, lows getting back into the 50's and highs into the 70's. Guess we don't need to turn on the heat just yet... The kids broke out their blanket sleepers this weekend, though.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fishing with the Scouts

Today was the day to go fishing with the Cub Scouts. One of our leaders had arranged that we could go fish at a kids only fishing pond, starting at 9 am.

Evidently we weren't the only ones who couldn't manage 9am, though. Especially since the place is almost an hour (well, maybe 50 min) from our house. We got there a little after 10 and found that there were 2 other families from our pack who had been there 15 minutes or less (and one family came 15 minutes after us). 4 families (5 Scouts) is not very many considering how many kids said they "loved fishing". Maybe the chill in the air this morning scared them off?

There was another pack of Cub Scouts there also this morning. It made parts of the lake rather crowded, as it was a rather small lake. One of the adults, when casting, almost got his line tangled with someone else's - from across the lake. He cast to within about 20 feet of the opposite shoreline.

Here's M fishing right near one of A's buddies:

And here'e A, having finally mastered the intricacies of casting with his rod (I kept forgetting what to do when too).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Running into people at Disney

We knew 3 other familes who were going to be at Disney the same week we were there (thanks to Fall Break at school). We had wondered whether we would run into anyone.

And the answer was - yes. We ran into 2 families, 2 times each - one family at 2 different parks on 2 different days. We also ran into another family that we didn't realize would be there.

Kind of "it's a small world" feeling. Speaking of which, we managed to avoid that particular ride. None of the adults were particularly interested and M was vehemently NOT interested. A didn't seem to care one way or the other, so we gave it a pass.

The kids and I tried to convince one family that they really should ride Splash Mountain, but we haven't found out yet if they did end up riding it. We all enjoyed it and even convinced my mom to ride it (the second time we rode it). She found the drop a bit much, but the rest of the ride was quite tame and pleasant.

I had warned my mom that she should read the books and see which rides she wanted to give a miss. Her reply was - oh, I'm not there for the rides, but to see the kids have fun. Well.... she let M talk her into some rides that she wished she hadn't. Basically she rode anything A did (and vice-versa). I'm not sure who was doing the deciding among the two of them.

Monday, October 09, 2006

First day at Disney

The trip down was relatively uneventful - it took about 8 hours including stops. But when we got to our hotel to check in, the computer system was down. This made it take much longer to check in - and even then, it was only a temporary check in. They let us into our room, but after dinner we had to go back and finish the process and get our room keys.

The room was very nice. We had a suite at All Star Music, with a separate bedroom, a kitchenette and a living room and 2 bathrooms. They had even made a Mickey silhoutte on our bed with towels.

Sunday morning, we headed off to MGM. I had gotten M to make up a list of what he wanted to see/do at each park and we used that as a guide.
M's list for MGM:
Honey, I shrunk the audience
Rock n' Roller coaster
Star Tours Tower of Terror
Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater Restaurant

He also wanted to do Who wants to be a Millionaire, but we didn't see that - maybe they've closed it?

D and I added to that the 2 stunt shows - Indiana Jones and the Lights, Motors, Action. They were both great. I had some great pictures, even, but they are still lost in the depths of my camera. I haven't located M's camera since we got home, though I have seen it. I downloaded pictures from my mom's camera only to discover that most of the pictures are of animals that M took - (some good ones, better than some of mine - but many of my animal pictures also survived) or video where the last 1/2 to 2/3 of the video consists of floor and feet. No wonder the memory filled up.

After we had "done" MGM, we headed back to the room, where we had dinner. All of us but D had leftovers from the night before. D enjoyed some snippets of leftovers and ham (which we ate off of for the whole week).

Then we decided to go back out and hit Magic Kingdom to see the fireworks. We also managed to ride a couple of rides. We were amazed to see that the lines for Buzz Lightyear and Space Mountain were 10 minutes or less! M was dismayed to discover that his mom is a "Space Ace", while he was a lowly ensign or somesuch. I managed to hit something that scored BIG. Of course, I have absolutely no idea what it was, and was unable to replicate it when we rode Buzz Lightyear later in the week, but my score towered at over 300,000!

The other ride we rode that night was Stitch. We all agreed - its a worthless ride. There is nothing good about it according to our focus group of 7 - 70 year olds. He spat at us multiple times, there's nasty smells, squishes on your shoulders and absolutely no redeeming value. Tear it down, we say!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

$1.95 !

Amazing. We filled up D's car on the way home from church today and gas was only $1.95. It's only been about a month since I was excited to see gas fall below $2.50. Last year I never would have thought I'd be excited by $2.49 gas - and now under $2. Just goes to show how your perspective can change.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

We're back... and frustrations

We're home from Disney. We had a great time. We're also rather tired.

Right now I'm very frustrated because I went to download my pictures and a bunch of them seem to be corrupted. In some cases the thumbnail picture looks fine, but when I look at it full screen, half the picture is black.

The kids got to see some various characters. They liked seeing the characters, but weren't willing to stand in much of a line to do so. Here's A with Rafiki.

and M with Jiminy Cricket.

M even got a few autographs, though he didn't have any sort of autograph book.

We got to see lots of animals, mostly at Animal Kingdom - this bird was lovely and very calm - stood about a foot off the path and let us take several photos.

I even got picked to be in a street theatre show - Romeo and Edna. Here I am being Edna (aka Juliet).

I'll have to download pictures from my mom's camera and M's camera tomorrow. I'm sure I will have many more pictures and details to follow...