Friday, July 26, 2013


Once again, I haven't posted in forever.  I thought that once baseball was over I'd have lots more free time, but then I had other obligations and then other writing obligations for work and I'm just now getting around to updating the old blog.  I've also had foot issues for the past couple of weeks and haven't felt like writing about them.

I had been feeling trapped in a rut of the usual and bummed about my foot, so last weekend Logan and I drove up to Wisconsin to bird.  My doc told me I could go as long as I limited my walking and didn't overdo it.  Our first stop was the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo.  I've been there several times and even have a family membership, but it's something I do by myself while Gene and the kids are at their favorite Wisconsin Dells amusement park, Knuckleheads.  I wasn't sure whether Logan would love it or be bored, but it's a pretty small place so I wasn't too concerned.  ICF is the only place in the world that displays all 15 crane species and we saw them all.  Some of the cranes are very territorial and run right up to the visitor pathway and call.  Logan loved it!  He was very interested in the differences between the cranes and spent longer than I would have imagined checking them out.  I bought a "Cranes of the World" t-shirt at their gift shop a couple of years ago and then proceeded to accidentally bleach it.  The bleach spots turned to bleach holes and I was hoping to replace the shirt.  Well, the shirts were on clearance and between the clearance discount and my membership discount, I was able to get two shirts originally marked $30 apiece for $20 total.  Score!  A great start to our little trip!

We then headed north to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.  It was really hot and really windy, so not really the best day to see birds.  We drove the long drive from the visitor center to the pools where I normally see dozens of sandhill cranes and have twice seen whooping cranes, but they were completely deserted.  It was so windy, even the swallows and sparrows weren't out.  We decided to check out the observation tower area before we left the park and we finally found some birds.  There were TWO PAIRS of whooping cranes and at least 100 sandhills.  We got our fill of cranes and then decided that since the weather was supposed to be the same the next day, we'd head out of Necedah and spend the night in Wisconsin Dells.  On the drive, Logan was reading about whooping cranes in my Sibley's bird guide.  He was beyond thrilled when he read that there are only ~200 whooping cranes in the wild and we just saw 4 of them!  (Seriously, I can't begin to tell you how proud and happy it makes me that he gets this.) 

We pulled into Wisconsin Dells around 5pm and realized we had made a terrible mistake.  Every hotel parking lot was packed with cars.  We checked several hotels before we found an AmericInn that had one room with ONE bed that they were willing to give us for $180.  Uh, NO!!!  We decided to leave Wisconsin Dells for a hotel room, but at that point we were still hoping to return the next day.  Before we left town, we spent some quality time at Knuckleheads riding go-carts and playing arcade games and then stopped at the Disney Store for some fairy stuff for Kaylin.  We drove south and drove some more and finally came to a little town with two large chain hotels.  Both were completely sold out.  Crap!  Our only option was to keep driving on to Madison.  We found a Super 8 right away and crashed.  The next morning, I researched where to bird in Madison and found a nice park on a lake.  It was hot and windy, but the woods kept the wind from being an issue.  They also contained millions of mosquitos.  We sprayed ourselves with repellant, and were equally excited about the cloud of mosquitos avoiding us as we were about the birds.  We stopped at the Fuddruckers in Janesville for lunch and then headed home.  We had been toying with the idea of stopping at Starved Rock, but decided to just head home instead.  It wasn't the best, most fun trip ever, but we had a good time and were glad we went.  The whole family had been trying to decide where to go for a 3 day end of summer getaway.  Logan and I were bummed about missing out on the Dells and decided we wanted to go back.  Gene and Kaylin were more than happy to go along with that idea, so I have Kalahari booked for two nights in a few weeks.  What can I say, Wisconsin Dells is always fun!

About my foot- I have a couple of different tendons that are inflamed and painful.  I don't know what I did to cause the injury, but it scares me because I tore a different tendon in this same foot and missed nearly 2 months of work.  My doc put me on a large dosage of an anti-inflammatory arthritis meds and it made me feel incredibly sick at work all week.  Yesterday he ordered me a topical cream from the compounding pharmacy (yeah!) and told me to try wearing compression hose at work.  Well, that's just super-duper. 

Other little tidbits- Newt Gingrich was at the zoo yesterday.  I didn't meet him (and didn't particularly care that I didn't) but I checked out his entourage and he was kind enough to sign a rhino poster for our Bowling for Rhinos raffle.  I was playing neverending fetch with Gage and not paying attention to where I tossed the ball.  I accidentally threw it onto the couch where Princess the cat was resting.  Gage went for his ball and there was a nasty little scuffle.  I later pulled a long cat claw out of his head.  The claw broke off cleanly because Princess was fine and there was no blood.  School starts in less than a month and there are only 2 weeks of Camp Zone left.  Bowling for Rhinos is a week from tomorrow.  I should probably get up and do something useful.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Still Not Sewing

Whoa!  The summer has flown by!  Kaylin is now a teenager.  Logan's last baseball game of the season is Wednesday night.  Sunday at Wal-Mart, the Back to School area was being set up.  July 4th is over.  It's all going too fast.

My grandma's funeral was last weekend.  As we were driving back to the church from the cemetery, I was telling the kids (my two plus my oldest niece) about how much fun my cousins and I had playing at Grandma's house.  I told them how we would run across the top of the white horse fence and then jump onto a tree limb and swing to the ground.  We climbed the apple tree and pulled apart hundreds of sycamore balls.  We played gorilla (or maybe guerilla?) in the dark and hid inside the front bushes.  We rummaged around the attic and dared each other to open the cookie tin containing the decades-old top layer of Grandma's wedding cake.  (It was totally as disgusting as it sounds.) 

Grandpa and Grandma had moved to a condo by the time the kids were old enough to remember visiting.  We drove by their old house so I could show the kids and see it for myself.  The white fence was collapsing and the apple tree and the bushes were long gone.  The sycamore was still there, but what surprised me was how big I remember the yard and how the houses seemed so much farther apart.  The wonderland I had described to the kids looked pretty much like a normal house in a normal neighborhood.  Uhhhh...  At least the kids didn't seem disappointed.

As for my memories of Grandma herself, she was always hard at work on something.  I loved helping in the garden and picking apples and plums.  I remember sneaking cookie dough and putting honey on my breakfast cereal.  Grandma read to me and played with me and tried and failed to teach me to sew.  It was probably for my 6th birthday that Grandma got me a cross-stitch? kit and attempted to help me complete it.  I don't remember the design other than it had purple flowers.  It seemed like we worked on it for years and years and never came close to finishing.  Hahaha, I imagine I frustrated her half to death, but I was completely uninterested in sewing.  Still am.  Oh, well.

Well, time to plan out the second half of the summer.  It should be a bit more relaxing without baseball games three times a week.  But I sure will miss watching my little slugger!