Monday, June 30, 2008

Aqua Benefit AKA "Are we having fun yet?"

I have been taking water aerobics for a few months through my county parks and rec department. And on Saturday, the aqua society had a benefit for The American Cancer Society. They told me that everyone was invited. That there would be a short work out, food, and play time in the outside pool. Like my children, I can sometimes have selective hearing. Kinda like how you all read my post about our visit to the Alamo. You read "blah, blah, blah...Johnny Depp...blah, blah, blah."Did we really need to go there again? Come on...back to the benefit...

So, I heard..."blah, blah, blah...bring kids...blah, blah,, blah," I even convinced the girls to give up their monthly American Girl meeting at Borders. We'd have fun at the pool. We'd donate to the American Cancer Society. We'd all be happy. Famous last words.

So, we get there...make our donation and go down to the smaller of the two indoor pools. First step is to get partners to keep track of your laps. The girls and I decide to be a team. Half of the team is supposed to get into the a little water aerobics to warm up...and then jog back and forth across the pool for ten minutes. I tell the girls to go first. And they freeze. They stand there on the steps to the pool and look at me. That deer in the head lights look. And Madalyn says "this is not fun." Katie refuses to get in the water.

What? They don't want to participate? They don't want to give of their time? Their effort? My money? So, in my best mommy fashion, I give them my own look. The look I have perfected over these 10 years of being a mommy. I smile while all the seniors "glance" at us during their warm ups at the scene we are creating on the steps. And through my fake smile and clenched teeth, I inform the girls that they will participate...and that they will do it gladly...and that they will like it.

I went to put my camera back in my bag...and got into the water with the girls. I'd missed the warm up...and now we had to keep track of our own laps...but Katie seemed to relish the idea that it was now a competition. We started to walk across the pool...just a shade over 3 feet deep...but really too deep for Madalyn to jog across. She sort of tried to swim over. And then informed me again that it was "too hard" and "not fun." So, I carried her. And now, this she thought was great fun. And great fun to let her legs drag to the left. Imagine trying to row a canoe. And someone else in the canoe is rowing in the other direction. This is not great fun.

I had a friend tell me today that jogging for one minute in water was the same thing as jogging for three miles. I don't know if it's true or not...but I like it. I ran a marathon. I kept going after I crossed the finish line. Dragging my 7 year old anchor along with me.

And Hallelujah, the ten minutes was over. The girls and I follow all the seniors over to the bigger pool for the cycling portion of our "ironman" benefit. We are all issued noodles...and we have to cycle back and forth, the length of the pool. And remember, no hands allowed. And for some strange reason, someone else decided to join us in our lane. I can't believe they didn't see the girls and just know they needed a wide berth. So the four of us and our noodles begin making our way down the length of the pool. Madalyn immediately declares it too hard and starts using her hands. Even with my cries of cheater pants encouragement, she does not relent and keeps telling me it's too hard. So, I abandon her put her in charge of keeping track of how many laps Katie and I do.

(wait...Katie got bucked by her noodle...)

The final leg was swimming. For 10 minutes. Madalyn was estatic. Finally something that she liked to do. And our senior friend abandoned our lane rather quickly after the cycling was done. So, it was just the three of us. On your mark. Get set. Go! And we were off. Until we go to the half way point. When Madalyn stopped. And informed me that this really wasn't fun. And that the deep water made her "uncomfortable." Huh?! I guess because there wasn't a dolphin there to save her, she was done. So, I appointed her to be the lap counter again while Katie and I continued our swim. And we were done.

Well, we were done...but everyone else had to start over and switch places with their partners. So, while all the seniors moved to the other pool for jogging, we stayed in the big pool to play until they all arrived for the cycling portion. And apparently swimming without rules, is great fun.

After everyone had finished their parts...we all headed to the outside pool playground for some fruit...and then playing in the water. First thing the girls had to do was to go down the slide.And somehow they managed to get some of the other ladies to join them.

And then they did it all again.

And again.I managed to drag the girls off the slides to the kids splash area so that we could channel our inner Jennifer Beals.

Just seeing if you were paying attention...

And while we are here...let's have a lesson in physics. What happens when you stand under a tipsy bucket of water?And just a few more pictures from our playing at the pool (and yes - that is Madalyn holding her sister's foot):

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Somewhere over the Rainbow

I'm sitting here at my kitchen table. Writing the blog post I have been procrastinating. Thinking about the wings that are due to be delivered any moment. Wondering how on earth a trip to see the latest Indiana Jones flick could have actually cost over $60., I wasn't really writing that blog post.

We are under thunderstorm warnings right now. We really need that rain. And I look out the window, and the sky is just strange looking. It's kind of yellow. Kind of orange. I walk out to the back yard, and it just feels strange outside. And it's way too bright to be 9pm.

So, I make my way to the front...and there is a huge rainbow in the sky. In the middle of the orange sky. I, naturally, grabbed my camera and called the girls out to see it. They are really excited. I don't think they've ever seen a full arc rainbow before. And then, it starts to fade...and then it's gone. And Katie remarks, "I can always remember it in the corner of my mind."

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Follies

Well, last week I started my new tradition of Friday Follies. I suppose if it's a tradition, I need to do it more than once. And I am still loving the definition of follies (things that are purely decorative, with no function or purpose)...

Here are the getting to know you questions for this week:

Mac or PC?

Pink, yellow, or blue packets - or the real thing?

Favorite reality TV show?

shoes or barefoot?

Leno or Letterman?

Favorite scent?

Favorite salad dressing?

Desktop or laptop?

How long have you been blogging?

Favorite fast food restaurant?

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday Thirteen: Oh, the Irony

My favorite kind of humor is found in the ironic. So, imagine my delight when I read this week that Atlanta was selected to be the site for the new National Health museum. Atlanta? A Health museum? Oh, the irony.

So…why is this ironic? Let me count the ways:

1. Guess where the museum will be located? It will be downtown. Right in the hub of activity by Centennial Olympic Park and the Aquarium. And what else is right there? Why the new Health museum will be right next door to the Coke Museum. You know, just in case you need to taste a variety of high fructose corn syrup from all over the world.

2. Oh, and who is funding this museum? It’s our friend Coca-Cola…providing 100 million dollars in seed money. Do you think that the museum will declare Coke healthy?

3. What is one of the healthiest and easiest activities for you to do? Walking (Well, unless you are like me and have heel spurs, then it’s not so fun). And do people in Atlanta walk? Ummm…no. This is a city of cars. Where the average household has more than two cars. Where sidewalks are not really for people to walk, but are referred to by the Department of Transportation as “vehicle recovery zones.” You know, just in case you might have to dodge someone going slowly…or a dropped ladder in the road…you might need to swerve onto that sidewalk. Pedestrians beware! Maybe the new museum will have moving sidewalks so that Atlantans will not have to do the unthinkable: walk.

4. And what does all that driving do for us? Atlanta, according to Forbes Magazine, ranks number one in the nation for the worst traffic …and quite high for road rage. That is how we increase our heart rate here in metro Atlanta…we don’t need to walk or exercise.

5. And even the state government doesn’t advocate walking or exercise – because they know that traffic will solve all your problems. So, what did they do? Why in April of 2000, the Georgia Legislature passed House Bill 1187, which removed the Physical Education requirement from Georgia's public school systems.

6. And if you insist that driving in traffic will not meet your exercise/heart rate needs, you surely don’t want to be outside. Atlanta is ranked as the worst cities for allergy and asthma sufferers. We have that trifecta of pollen, mold and pollution.

7. So all this traffic leads to yet another health issue for Atlanta – smog. Over half the days this month have smog alerts in the “red zone.” Which means that it is not healthy to breathe the outside air. For everyone…not just those asthma sufferers.

8. One of the explanations given for locating the National Health museum here in Atlanta is that Atlanta is also home to the CDC. The same CDC that made headlines this week for containing bioterror bacteria with duct tape. Yes, duct tape. Is that part of the OSHA and CDC protocol?

9. Speaking of diseases…Georgia is home of the West Nile virus and the syphilis capitol. Many people saw the documentary and Frontline special on the Atlanta suburb of Conyers – and know that they are infamous for a syphilis epidemic among teens. And even today, Atlanta is ranked number two in the nation for syphilis cases. (And a total side note – one of my college courses for my major was Physical Anthropology. We learned a lot about how you can tell gender from looking at bones; some hints that bones can give about race; and clear indicators of age. Many of the bones that we had were from people that had syphilis. You can tell because the bones have small holes that look like someone drove a nail all the way through them. Can you imagine the pain of having all those holes in your bones?)

10. Do you think the Health Museum might have a food court? With true Southern specialties of sweet tea, fried chicken, and gravy? Atlanta is home to the largest drive-in restaurant in the world – The Varsity – with its yummy, greasy, artery clogging goodness. And the best onion rings in the world.

11. New York might have the Empire State building; Seattle has the Space Needle; Chicago has the Sears Tower – and what does Atlanta have? The Big Chicken, of course.

12. No list of health ironies would be complete without the mention of a creation by Mulligan’s restaurant in Decatur: The Luther Burger. It is a half pound bacon cheese burger – with a Krispy Krème donut as the bun.

13. And that same eatery created this other chest clutching concoction: The Hamdog. Which is a hot dog, wrapped with ground beef – then deep fried – and placed in a hoagie roll – then covered with chili, onions, a fried egg, and two handfuls of French fries. In the south, it’s a rule that you criticize with love and affection. So, Atlanta, bless its heart, is getting a health museum. Ya’ll come visit!post signature

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: When have I *evah* done that?!

Today, I thought we would see my favorite pictures from The Alamo...the ones that sent me off into my biggest picture taking frenzy. And if you are just joining us and want to catch up on our adventures in San Antonio:
A brief explanation
Who is Cindy Sue?
Our plane adventures
What we did and didn't do; and a small misunderstanding
Remembering the Alamo with Johnny Depp
Other Texas Foliage

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Just a few more notes from a Large State

Cindy and I decided that for our field trip, we would remember the Alamo. And not remember the Blue Bell ice cream tour. When I told the kids what we were doing…Madalyn asked what it was. And I told her the Alamo is a place important to Texas history. She says “do we *have* to learn something?” We surely wouldn’t want some edumacating to mess up our vacation.

We also decided that we would go to the Alamo on Wednesday. Because it was going to be the coolest day of the week. Meaning, the high was only 96 instead of 102. Down right balmy. So, on Wednesday morning, we headed downtown…and then tried to figure out where to go. There are lots of signs…but by the time you get close enough to read what they have to say, you realize you are in the wrong lane. We did our fare share of going around the block.

We finally settled on parking in the garage for the River Walk Mall…and as we exited the elevator into the mall, Madalyn realized she was in souvenir heaven. I somehow managed to convince her that we would look on our way out…and that we might find something over at the Alamo. We ambled along (cause we are in Texas) and then had to ask how to get to the Alamo. I wonder how many times the people at the information booth are asked that question every day.

As we walked towards the exit, we had to pass the IMAX movie place. They had all kinds of cool offerings – like one about Ancient Egypt, another about Lewis and Clark, The Alamo experience, The Deep Sea, Dinosaurs, and a few others. So, what did we pick? Well, all the girls just saw the words “Johnny Depp” and that apparently sealed the deal.

Let us pause for a moment…
Okay…so we bought our tickets for the 12:30 show…and then walked across the street to see the Alamo. First of all…this place is gorgeous. The gardens and manicured lawns just sent me off into a picture taking frenzy.

(And after taking the above two pictures, Cindy says to me "did you really take pictures of those birds?! " I thought they were kinda a "Where's Waldo" way. Ahhh...the crazed mind of a blogger...)

A frenzy that was not appreciated by my group. Because they were hot. And not so into ambling. So, while I took some pictures, the girls went to the loggia for some shade and a bench. Doesn’t that sound romantic? And European? Just going to sit for a while under the loggia and admire the view... But, trust me, it was neither romantic nor European with whiny, stinky girls in the African heat. Wait…maybe it could be European…

After my frenzy came to a momentary halt, I found the girls…who discovered some sort of Animal skin thing. Not sure what it was…or what it was used for. But we decided that it must be Indian. And that we were all Big Chiefs. And then the girls found a bench…that seemed to remind them of a boat…and that it must be a row boat… When they finally pulled me away from the gardens, we approached the front of the mission. There was a sign out front reminding people of the sanctity of the inside of this building…and that we were to use quite voices…and not take pictures. So, we opened the door, and tried not to squeal with delight and get ourselves admonished by the docents…for the inside of the Alamo is blessed with…air conditioning. Wondrous cool air and small oscillating fans.

We walked into the small rooms to see the items on display…and then Madalyn had to tell anyone who would listen that we are related to Davy Crockett. It’s a good thing we had that hook, or I think she would have professed boredom for the whole thing.

We left the building and walked across the courtyard to the gift shop. Another air conditioned haven. We wandered about…and got t-shirts for the girls and one to bring home for daddy. And Ashley found something she could not live without. A giant pencil. (And a few days later when her grandparents asked what we did this week – she didn’t recall the swimming, playing, field trips, Johnny Depp…- nope, none of those could compare to the joy of getting a giant pencil.)

After making our purchases, we headed back over to the mall to have lunch before our Johnny Depp encounter. Did we need another pause? Naturally they had to drag me along as I snapped some more pictures.

When we got to the Food court…Cindy immediately found her boy friend.You should have seen the look on the guy’s face that was working the Cinnabon. He just did not get why we were in hysterics. And then the girls did not get why we *had* to get a picture. Hallelujah for over their heads…

We finished our scrumptious feast from the “here you try sample” eatery and went up the escalator to the IMAX. On our tickets for the show, we actually had assigned seats. I have never been to a movie theatre that did that. We got our 3-D glasses and found our seats so that we could watch “The Deep Sea” with narrations by Johnny Depp. No visuals of him at all. And can you imagine Johnny Depp in 3-D? Yeah, I thought you needed another pause there. Cindy and I think that they should have had a small picture of him in the corner of the screen for the duration of the show. Hell, forget a small picture, that IMAX screen is huge…they could have reserved half the screen so that we could watch him read his lines. In 3-D.

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