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This week was spring break, and mr. flea took Friday off and we went down to Mammoth Cave National Park, in KY. It's about a 3 hour drive, via Louisville. Friday we got there at about 2pm (they're on Central time) and set up camp in the very nice park campground. We headed over to the Visitors' Center and luckily got tickets to the self-guided tour of the cave from the Historic entrance right before they stopped selling them at 3pm. There would have been some unhappy kids if we had not gotten into the cave on Friday. The self-guided tour is actually rather dinky, but for the first day it was good enough. mr. flea managed to hit his head on the cave roof. Friday evening we went to a presentation by a ranger in the amphitheater after dinner, and this day's subject was animals in the cave, illustrated by a bunch of really great and often startling photos by the ranger's husband. Some actual animals helpfully showed up, including deer concealing themselves very well in the dusk, and bats flying overhead.

It was our chilliest night ever camping, probably down to about 40, but everyone was plenty warm in the tent. It was getting out of bed that was a little more problematic. But we made it out to the Cedar Sink trailhead at 8:45 for a hike with a ranger billed as Wildflowers and Water. This particular ranger was much more into the latter than the former, and mr. flea talked to him quite about about the hydrology of the region; a large area of farmland outside the park is karstic topography, dimpled like a golf ball, and it all drains into the cave. Apparently the park has had good success working with farmers to reduce water-borne pollutants. There were some wildflowers, but not as many as are usual for the date as we've had a cold spring. We saw some trillums and trout lilies, and the ranger said that in a week the sink area would be in full bloom. The sink itself is huge and an underground river surfaces in it. The kids listened well to the ranger, even Dillo who was quite serious.

We drove out of the park to a little town - really, an intersection - called Pig, KY, where the chocolate pie at the Porky Pig Diner had been recommended. Sadly for the children the pie-maker relied rather heavily on cool whip, which was not to their taste, but mr. flea was perfectly happy. We had a lazy lunch at camp and worked on the Junior Ranger booklets we'd picked up the previous evening, a great program they apparently have at 400 National Parks but don't always advertise well (we heard about it and asked here). Great age-appropriate workbook activities drawing on various displays and presentations. Then, with great excitement, off to the Visitor's Center for a 1:30 New Entrance tour. We went by bus to the New Entrance, with our headlamps at the ready. The first stage is a long descent, mostly very wet, on very narrow metal staircases (good non-slip treads, though) through vertical shafts. Then there's some slow up and downs through horizontal tubes - some eroded directly by past water flow, others with broken edges where the rock was weakened by water and broke off. The last section of this tour includes the Frozen Niagara room, the only area of the cave with stalactites, stalagmites, drapery, and flow rock. As we were about to leave we saw a single tiny bat (brown bat?) hanging near the Frozen Niagara entrance. We also saw cave crickets thoughout.

The kids loved it, and we thought it was pretty good, too. They got their Junior Ranger badges, and we did quesadillas over the fire, and the kids took up whittling in pursuit of the perfect marshmallow stick. Casper proved very good at starting fires both nights - she did Friday's nearly by herself - and Dillo was very eager to help but had a lot of trouble the whole trip with impulse control and listening to safety directions (he ran out into a road with his binoculars once, without even looking, which I'd had said was very unlike him!)

Saturday night was warmer, and Sunday we did the short ranger-led walk on Slavery at Mammoth Cave and then headed home.

Things I'd like to remember for future trips: a hatchet and a whisk broom would be useful; we need to find the sleeping mats and water bottle that are lost in our house somewhere; we should make out a Kaper chart like the Girl Scout do to make the kids help out more with camp chores.
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I browse the free romance novels for Kindle at Amazon, and download the ones that might be likely; I've found a couple of good ones, but many are examples of How Life Is So Terrible Now That Nobody Can Write Any More. One I tried last night had the advantage of some amusing word choice errors:

1. Laura shut her eyes as tightly as she could when she heard Nathaniel's admonition of love.

2. "No one wants to dance with me anymore!" Claire pouted. "How can you say no to your old friend?"

Leander looked back at his sister, letting her catch the pained expression on his face. ... "Very well," he capsized. "Let's go."

The book also uses "alright" throughout. Note, this is not self-published or anything; a press put this out.

***

I've had a bad week; at home, not working, not doing anything much worthwhile and as a result very unhappy. Each day I've meant to go out and do something but I have not yet succeeded (today I will; there's a school even I am going to.) It's Memorial Day weekend, and we were going to stay here because of a Girl Scout event tomorrow, but that's been postponed, so we could go somewhere. But I want a vacation, not a "listen to the kids act up and bicker in new places" weekend. We went out to dinner last night and Dillo was a jerk. I am so ready for the kids to act more mature, but I don't seem to be able to manage to teach them to be so.
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This afternoon Dillo asked if we could go the the Alps. I asked why he wanted to, and he said so he could follow dinosaur tracks and then dig at the end of them.

So, maybe after the Badlands. (I can't think of any famous fossilized dinosaur tracks in the Alps, but he seemed very sure.)
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I managed to come to Ireland without any socks. However, I am pretty sure they have socks in Ireland. Possibly they even invented socks.

Unable to determine from the demeanor of the ubiquitous Scots in kilts whether their team won last night or not. Saw a woman fall into the ornamental pool at the Chester Beatty Museum and get fully drenched yesterday. Bought socks.

Yesterday report: National Gallery, Trinity College, plum tart and tea at Queen of Tarts. Today plan: archaeology museum, dinner with Joanne Murphy and family!

Managed not to steal gold torques from archaeology museum yesterday. Now staying at a corporate hotel in the middle of nowhere. Happily the bus to Dublin center stops right outside. Please send interview-vibes for Michael.

So, the 10-hour interview with 9 individual meetings and an hour-long seminar went well, but IBM expected Michael to pay for his own lunch. Doesn't that seem a bit off? Also, takeaway from Avoca is GOOD.

Not a cloud in the sky, and still broad daylight at 8:30pm in Dublin. Home tomorrow!

It's okay to have insane hair on a transatlantic plane flight, right?

Ah, jet lag. Waiting for it to be light enough to water the garden.

Oh god it's hot in Georgia.
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We drove down to middle GA this past weekend, and camped two nights at Roosevelt State Park, and met up with friends, and visited the Little White House in Warm Springs.  We took the rural route, driving down and back, and ate dinner in a very strange little local place in Monticello GA, and saw a bunch of tornado damage near Bainbridge.

The park is nice, but you can't swim in the lake, and it was hot.  We did two hikes - one .8 mile loop hike around the campground, and the next day a 1.5 mile hike to a CCC stone-built swimming pool that is shaped like a bell (and was closed this year due to budget issues).  There was whining on both hikes, but less on the second.  I brought our Field Guide to the Southeast and we looked up various birds and bugs we found.  we saw a bluebird, and nesting swallows, I think rough swallows, by the lake.  There were cicada wings all over the place and the kids collected them.

We stuck our heads into Warm Springs, but there's not much there.  We didn't go to Callaway Gardens, which is just adjacent, but they do have swimming there.  Mostly just camping, simple stuff.  For the first time Dillo did not basically sleep in my sleeping bag/on my head.

Now I need to get my head around a week in Dublin, Ireland, starting Saturday, where is it 59 degrees and raining (it's 95 and starting to be a drought, here.)

Charleston

Mar. 15th, 2011 03:23 pm
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I liked Charleston a lot, more than Savannah, which is similar in some ways but much more of a 19th century town, while Charleston is definitely colonial-era.  We stayed in a cottage at the James Island County Park, which is fairly awesome and has rock-climbing walls, a huge dog park with a pond, and a water park (not yet open for the season) and was hosting a remote-controlled sailboat race while we were there.  We went to Fort Sumter and saw dolphins from the boat both coming and going; played in the marsh a lot at the cottage; ate at Hominy Grill and a random place that was also pretty good, and had a conversation with an indignant Casper about whether or not children appreciate fine dining; played in the sand and a little in the surf at Folly Beach; visited the park with cannons; read gravestones in the yard of the circular UCC Church; and walked about lower Charleston long enough that Dillo asked, "are we going to WALK back to Athens Georgia today?"  I'd like to go back for a more adult- and history- friendly visit.  There are TONS more things we didn't see.  But this is travel with small children.

In other news of today, our friends who had just arrived in Japan for a month-long trip (with 4 and 7 year olds) decided that it was not a good time to be a tourist and arrived in Honolulu safely last night, where they will stay with people they have never met (parents of a friend) until they can get a flight back to the US mainland/home.  And a child whose birth and infancy I remember (she's 23) had a baby today, named Charles Oliver.

Texas

Feb. 28th, 2011 02:46 pm
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I spent the weekend in Texas - in Austin, which may or may not actually be part of Texas, depending on how you mentally categorize things.  But I have now eaten a taco for breakfast!  A deep-fried avocado taco, even.

States I have now visited: Maine, NH, VT, Mass, RI, CT, NY, PA, DE, MD, DC, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, TX!!, TN, KY, OH, IL, WA, OR, CA.

States if you count driving or flying through but not actually visiting: NV, IN

So if you count the last two, more than halfway!

For the record, countries I have visited: US, Canada, UK (England, Scotland), France, Italy, Belgium, Albania, Greece, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Turkey.
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For starters, this time we actually camped, so we started out ahead. We camped at Doll Mountain Campground on Lake Carter (which is a fake dam-lake), which is run by the Army Corps of Engineers and has a shiny new road thanks to stimulus dollars. It was fine; a bit of a hike to the bathroom, and we had a Valdosta State geology class field trip next to us. While they were relatively quiet and respectful, they also got in after 9:30pm both nights we were there.

We had traffic and slowness and got there late ourselves, at maybe 9pm on Friday, and had to put up the tent in the dark. The kids fell asleep right away thankfully, but then Dillo had an hour-long crying fit from 3-4am sparked by, I kid you not, the fact that his nose was stuffy. mr. flea took him to sit in the car during the phase when I was nearly homicidal (I'd been up since 5:15 with him the previous AM.)

We cowboyed up and headed out to New Echota, the Cherokee capital founded in, uh, I think 1819. Most of the buildings on the site are reconstructions or were moved from elsewhere, but it was a pretty good site I thought, and the kids liked it. We ran down to Calhoun on I-75 and had lunch (and COFFEE) and an IHOP, and then went back up to the Chief Vann House, built in 1806 by one of the richest Cherokee, who worked a plantation with 10 slaves (let it not be said that history is simple, folks). I didn't actually go in the house, thanks to Dillo, who dozed a bit in the car, but mr. flea and Casper liked it (Casper told me all about how Joseph Vann drank too much whiskey.)

We picked up some hot dogs and buns at a quickie mart, and I had a nap in the tent while mr. flea took the kids to see the dam. To bed early, but then Dillo was up twice and then spent the rest of the night trying to climb on my head. Picked up some apples in Ellijay rather than pick our own, then home in time for lunch. Which I realize now we forgot to eat, oops.

So, 4 year old continues to be difficult, fall is nice, Casper is big enough to really understand stuff (not just whiskey.)

homesick?

Jun. 30th, 2010 04:08 pm
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For some reason today I am really struck by the desire to visit Durham. Six hours is so damned far, though.
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Yesterday I was on 3 planes, a bus, an airport tram, and a subway. Plus 3 cars. The first of the planes was a Cessna Caravan 208b, which seats 8, and may I say that going through security at an airport where that is the largest plane they have going is so much nicer than going through it at the ATL.

I somehow ended up watching about 6 episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians on the flight to SLC. Now I know. SLC, I had forgotten, with the bowl of snowy mountains.

I was so happy to be traveling that I was just smiling like a mad thing at people as I boarded the plane in ATL, and I (re)discovered how infectious happiness can be - several people just beamed back at me for no reason.

My cousin M lives in an interesting neighborhood south of city hall. It's very high-low; his apartment is clearly expensive (it's lovely, top floor and immense windows) and there's a yuppie grocer and fancy beer shop and such, but also halfway houses and a lot of homeless. I mentioned that we have homeless in Athens - and did in Durham - but they're both small enough towns that after a bit you feel you know the homeless, which makes for a different vibe.

I went to the Asian Art Museum (lovely building and very nice collection, though smaller than I was expecting; gift shop excellent for gifts for small children) and stopped in the public library where they have a nice little display of archaeological finds (1840s-1940s) from the construction of the new building.

After a nap, out with M. and two friends to Aziza, a fancy middle eastern place rather a long way off. Only in SF (probably? certainly not in Athens!) does the cab driver look up the address of the restaurant on his iPhone while he drives. M & friends are all sort of foodie, and discussed cocktails and bars and restaurants at great length. I managed to drop jaws by telling them that the fanciest restaurant in Athens, the one with the James Beard-nominated chef, has a prix fixe for $25.

Being here makes me remember how Georgia is so very different from the slice of the country I was raised and expected to live in. And M and his friends have such a different lifestyle from me (all childless, they go out a lot, live in the city) but in another life I could have had that life. But I didn't.
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Here are the things stressing me out today:

-my hair (still not cut, not sure what I am doing about it; worrying about a new haircutter right before an event.)
-the weather in California this coming weekend. I expect San Francisco (which my fingers obdurately refuse to spell correctly every single time) to be mid-60s and foggy. But I thought Santa Cruz was in California! Yet they are predicting partly cloudy and high of 70 for this weekend. This is completely messing with my packing plans. It is hard to travel light when you are going someplace cold. (Yes, I am from Georgia. 70 degrees is now cold, in summer. Yes, mid-May is now summer. I am from Georgia.)
-Children's birthday parties for which we receive the invitation less than a week in advance. I knew about Thomas' birthday Friday, and we got a present last weekend. But then yesterday I got an email saying don't bring a present, bring a book for a book exchange. Argh. And yesterday an invitation to Eliza's party on Saturday morning appeared in our mailbox. When are we supposed to get her a present between now and Saturday morning? Advance notice, people!

I should be stressing about the conference paper I am giving in 2 weeks which I ahave not really begun to write. I have a meeting about it in an hour. It's just at the low simmer stress level right now though; my hair and possible sweater purchases are much, much worse.
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I've got enough going on right now that I'm a little overwhelmed and paralyzed with it. I'm also really tired; I worked last night and had trouble falling asleep (was the sweet tea at lunch super-potent?)

We did get the license plates and registration transferred to the new car yesterday, so we are officially completely done with car stuff. We are still deep in the bathroom plumbing project (plumbing is done, but closing up the wall in the bedroom is next, and then we need to deal with taking down and replacing the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom), and we still need to decide what to do about the roof and porch projects we got estimates for. I have been doing more research on the house and that is interesting but also distracting me at work.

At work I am giving a presentation to a staff organization the week of May 17, and then giving a talk at a state conference May 28, and neither of those things are fully developed yet, and I'm having trouble getting them developed, due to inability to focus. Part of the problem is that I could totally wing the first, if I chose, and sections of the second (demonstrating a software which I have already trained groups on 3 times and written up a training manual). I need something to give me the urgency to nail it all down.

I am going to SF next Thursday and need to plan my packing & hem my dress, do some further planning for while I'm there, and worry about how everyone will manage without me (fine, of course, but I still need to worry!) SF-istas, my current plan is to visit the Asian Art Museum the afternoon of Thursday May 13, and would welcome a companion, and I have most of the day Friday May 14 unplanned, though I may want to sleep late. I've never been to Golden Gate Park, but wonder if that is too big a project given transport issues and my potential tiredness.
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Okay, I am thinking of going to a wedding in Santa Cruz in May. Locals, does the following seem reasonable? And, who's interested in meeting up?

Thursday May 13: Arrive OAK mid-day (this involves a 6:30 am turboprop flight, whee!)
Visit city, hang with peeps. Night TBD, probably in city.

Friday May 14: Visit city, Caltrain to San Jose to meet friend arriving in San Jose airport at 4:30 pm and picking up rental car. Caltrain looks to run a lot of trains at rush hour on a weekday, so I could be flexible, and it seems like I can BART to one of many Caltrain stations in SF pretty easily. Right? Night in Santa Cruz with wedding people.

Saturday May 15: Santa Cruz, wedding.

Sunday May 16: AM wedding stuff in Santa Cruz, get dropped off at Caltrain station in San Jose at 2pm or so as friend flies out of San Jose. Looks like Caltrain runs every hour from San Jose to SF on Sundays. Night TBD, maybe in city, maybe at OAK airport hotel, because...

Monday May 17: 6am flight out of OAK. BART starts running at 4am, they say - if I were staying, say, with my cousin who lives in SF proper, would it be at all reasonable to get to OAK in time by BART? Then home, sadly long layover in ATL airport, home to ATH at 7pm.

So, for local SF folks, I would be available Thursday afternoon and evening, Friday until midafternoon, and Sunday evening. I think all of my SFista contacts are b.org or -adjacent, except my cousin, who is pretty game for meeting strangers (and is a genius heterosexual male Microsoft research employee, and possibly single at the moment.)
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Dec. 23rd: Leave home 5pm. Minor rush hour traffic in ATL. Stop at Mickey D's for dinner and Happy Meals have no toys!! (Drive-thru, so we didn't realize.) Bypass Chattanooga, children fall asleep 8pm, drive until 9:30, 20 miles south of Knoxville, hotel room.

Dec. 24th: Leave hotel 8am. Stop so mr. flea can pee, Dillo can pee, mr. flea can get coffee and Dillo can pee. Possibly more stopping for peeing in there. Pee is going to be a theme of the trip, let me warn you now. Stop at Mickey D's for lunch and Happy Meals have toys! Ponder anatomy of Blue Cats from Avatar. Observe road cuts and explain very elementary geology. Bypass Lexington. See some horsies. Go down the hill into Cincinnati and ponder weird blue and white wing-shaped building, which we later determine is on the Covington side. Drive up 71, cut across to Washington Courthouse. Driver becomes loopy, children become bickery. On seeing old remnants of snow in field, Southern-born child exclaims, "Cotton fields!" Arrive at cousins' house. Cousinly joy ensues. Dillo is taught to Wii bowl. Adorableness ensues. Eat not very good homemade pizza with double-inlaws (15 people). Leave for hotel with Dillo at 8pm; mr. flea returns to house to settle Casper on cousin's floor. Later discover they fall asleep at 11:15.

Dec. 25th: Get to cousins' house at 7:30; stockings have been opened by kids. Presents, phase 1, ensue. Casper very chuffed with American Girl and Dillo cleans up generally; Uncle Nate has been an especially good gifter. Breakfast, 15 people. Presents, phase OMG is this still going on. Long lassitude of day and unhappiness by me; Nerf gun shooting Wii by cousin. Dinner, with 17 people including evil Uncle Bobby (double-inlaw). Finally escape by 8:30 or so to put Dillo to bed. Casper again sleeps on floor and mr. flea stays up late talking to his parents.

Dec. 26th: Run up to Columbus to COSI in caravan of 3 cars (10 people), meet old college friend and tattoo compatriot E (hi E!), her husband, her mother, and 5 year old C and 10 month old H. COSI awesome, everyone happy. E has to leave ca. 1pm, we eat lunch at COSI, Casper totally melts dpown due to exhaustion and has to be carried to car. We take off for hotel and naps (which don't happen) and baths which do. Return to cousins' at 5, make lasagna, assemble gingerbread house, surviving sugar glue failure. Frost cookies with various family, a success. Eat lasagna, moderate success; eat cookies and gingerbread house, great success. This day definitely more festive than the previous one. Leave ca. 9pm to put Dillo to bed.

Dec. 27th: Final photos and goodbyes with cousins, leave 10am for Cincinnati. Meet old grad school friends for brunch and marvel at the awesomeness of Joseph-Beth bookstore in Rookwood. Go to father's at 2pm, play a little Wii with brother and his wife, kids open more nice presents (books/puzzles/Magic schoolbus and movies). It starts to snow and kids spend several stints outside very excited. mr. flea has nap. Dinner & we leave ca. 7:30 into blowing snow. Stop and get windshield wiper fluid (and for Dillo to pee, natch) and drive until 11:30pm. by which time we are south of snow. Dillo has peed in car seat in sleep. Joy. Hotel room.

Dec. 28th: leave hotel room by 9am, avoid traffic, good weather, much bickering and crankiness especially caused by bored Dillo making fights, under-caffeinated and under-fed me yelling a lot, and GIS unit lying and telling us there was a Starbucks where there was most definitely not (on a residential street in rural KY). Get home at 2pm. Sedate children with television.

The end. Dillo has been so backslidey on the potty that I am seriously considering returning him to diapers for a punishment.
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My elaborate plans for last night (I would be dropped at the bookstore, finish shopping, while mr. flea and the children would go to Target and procure light bulbs and juice boxes) were dashed by the invitation from our neighbors to come roast marshmallows in their chiminea and drink cocoa and peppermint schnapps. How could we say no?

Happily this morning I was WIDE awake at 4:30 am, so finished up most of my wrapping, did dishes, did laundry, made speculaas dough, and fished out Casper's swimsuit for the YMCA.

Today I finish work, leave at 3 and take Dillo to his first ever dentist appointment (THAT should be fun - he is still very shy with strangers), then reassemble with the whole family and get us all H1N1 vaccinated before the clinic closes at 6 (mr. flea missed his work vaccination; he was in the field that day.) Then we need to eat dinner (do I have a plan? nope!). Then maybe we'll do the bookstore-and-Target plan.

Tomorrow:
pack
bake
watch Prep and Landing another 6 times
maybe leave and spend the night in, like Tennessee?

scheduling

Dec. 7th, 2009 09:27 am
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So I don't forget! I've been making mad plans for our Xmas visit to OH.

12/24: drive to Chillicothe.
12/25: Xmas in Chillicothe.
12/26 AM: run up to Columbus, meet college friend at COSI. Back to Chillicothe.
12/27: drive to Cincinnati, lunch with friends, go to father's house midafternoon. Night in Cinti (hotel?)
12/28: drive home.

Well, we're unlikely to be bored! Except on the 10-hour-drive portions of the trip.

Following a recent NYT article, I am again thinking about Christmas 2011 in St. John's, USVI, at the National Park. Dillo would be 5. There are direct flights from ATL (currently looking like about $370) and accommodations (being basically tents) are pretty cheap...
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in bullet points.

-Leave Athens 9am. Flea manages not to kill husband when he comes out to the car, fully packed and with family buckled in, to say, "What time is it? Do I have a few more minutes before the 9am deadline?"
-Stop at Starbucks in Commerce GA for caffeine. Observe tiny feral kitten in parking lot. Flea and mr. flea chase kitten around the building for some minutes, finally cornering it. Kitten bites the heck out of flea. Wrap kitten in towel; obtain telephone directory. Call local vet. Man selling schnauzer puppy out of back of truck stops by and says he will find the kitten a good home, as local animal shelter is not that good. With some reservations, hand kitten off to man.
-Arrive at Sky Top Orchards in Flat Rock NC. Pick a bushel of apples, half Staymen's Winesap and half Golden Delicious. Eat six hot cider donuts. Casper is stung by a yellowjacket, although she does not notice this until parents point out the welt.
-Arrive at Powhatan Lake campground in Pisgah National Forest. Converse with very muddy mountain bikers while filling out paperwork. Pitch tent.
-Observe street scene in Asheville. Note that it is leftier than I had expected (head shop, tattoos & piercings, gay couples holding hands); wonder if we are still in NC; wonder if it is a good fit for father and stepmother who are contemplating retiring here.
-Eat (good but overpriced) dinner in Middle Eastern restaurant seated on cushions on the floor, while Casper is captivated by the bellydancer (who has tricks but no technique.)
-Watch first half of Totoro in tent. Sleep. Dillo climbs into my sleeping bag 3 times in the night.

Day 2
-Wake, boil water on stove, try new Starbucks Via product which is yucky, take down tent as rain begins.
-Drive to Cherokee NC, partly along the Blue Ridge Parkway in glorious sunshine.
-Visit Oconoluftee visitor's center, eat lunch, buy fridge magnet, pitch wet tent in Smokemont campground to dry.
-Drive up to Clingman's dome, which is mobbed, and coax children up the hill. Dillo very slow because of wanting to pick up every rock he sees and then stashing them in his pockets. Pants falling down makes it hard to walk. Casper just whiny. Very multicultural crowd - South Asians and Asians, especially. Tennessee side is very cloudy, NC side perfectly clear.
-Return to campsite, build fire, cook dinner, roast marshmallows, Dillo generally running amok and somewhat of a danger to self and others. Watch other half of Totoro and to bed. Dillo mostly stays in own sleeping bag.

Day 3:
-Wake, breakfast, flea packs up tent as mr. flea takes wild children on nature walk, miraculously nobody ends up wet.
-It begins to pour rain. Drive down 441 all the way to Athens, where it is also pouring rain.
-Male members of family nap while watching TV. Eat apple pie and ice cream and Jiffy Pop for dinner.
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Last week at some point I found a tiny little note in Casper's book bag. It had a list of "best friends" and included Ali Cat (Allison), Siena, Katie Sue, Mrs. C, and Mrs. B. Both of the latter (Casper's teacher and the aide) had the word "love" written next to them. I think it's cute that Casper loves her teacher, but I was a little concerned about this process of writing notes about who is one's best friend and who is not.

Yesterday she brought home another list in Siena's handwriting. It was divided in two and labeled "good friends" and "bad friends." Casper was on the good side, as were Katie Sue, Allison, and Dynasty, a couple of other people I don't know, and Mommy and Daddy (hee!). On the "bad" side were a girl I know from after school, a boy in Casper and Siena's class, and a couple of other names I don't know. Notably absent from the entire list was Siena's twin brother!

I know kids do stuff like this; I probably did it myself when I was a little girl, though I don't really remember it. We've not made a big deal about it, but mentioned to Casper that it's important to treat everyone well even though there are some people we get along with better than others.

What do y'all think? Is it worth taking any further? I know Siena's mother well and could bring it up as a "common problem of 6 year old girls" thing (as opposed to a "your kid sucks" thing.) Should I mention it to the after school people (which is where I think it is happening), or Mrs. C the teacher?

Ugh.

ION I think I am getting my act together to take us to NC this weekend (western). Anyone want to join us? The weather looks a tad iffy, but that actually might make it easier to find last-minute camping spaces.

IOON I need to buy a Daisy Girl Scout uniform. Yoicks!

planning

Aug. 19th, 2009 07:39 pm
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Days Casper has no school that I am pretty sure both of us work, between now and Christmas:
Oct 9
Oct 12 (may be a holiday for mr. flea)
Oct 30 (possible furlough day 1 for me)
Nov 25 (possible furlough day 2 for me)
Dec 21, 22, 23, 24 (24 is possible furlough day 3 for me, and I am pretty sure is a holiday for mr. flea)

I am working 3 weekends this semester, so I'll have 3 days of flex time. The YMCA may cover the October dates - I know they do spring break. We find out about the furloughs tomorrow. Advance leakage has given me a pretty good guess as to when they are.

Times we might take family trips this fall:
Sept. 5-7
Oct 10-12
Oct 30-Nov 1
Nov 25-29
Dec 23-Jan 1 (to Ohio)

Possible destinations (probably in order of the above):
Hendersonville NC
Asheville NC/Smokies Park (to meet up with old friends from Cinti)
Chattanooga TN (Why? Because it's there, and close? I have no idea if it's worth visiting.)
Charleston SC
plus day trips to Atlanta, weekend runs to Auburn AL.

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