Thursday, January 31, 2008
I broke my finger.
I was taking apart a table to move it from the office to my bedroom, and it got kind of violent, and I was forced to subdue it, and somehow my left index finger got involved, and I went and had it xrayed because it hurt like a ... like something that hurts really bad. And they said it was not broken. That was Sunday.
Today J. got a call from The Evil HMO Empire saying, um, the radiologist had finally had a look at the films and, um, could I come in very soon? Because, um -- and we are sure you will find this terribly, terribly funny -- it is too broken, after all. Ha! Ha! Ha!
Today, internets, is Thursday. I have been walking around with a very swollen, grotesque, gigantic, purple-and-blue, painful broken finger for four days.
W. T. H. ? ? ?
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Smoked a cigarette Not even once. Almost took it up when drunk and in a foreign country.
Drank so much you threw up Uh... yeah. A few times. Not for years though.
Crashed a friend's car No
Been in love Yes.
Been dumped Yes.
Been laid off/fired Laid off when a restaurant closed.
Quit your job Yes.
Been in a fist fight Not so much...
Snuck out of your parent's house We sneaked out of my friend's parents' house when I was in high school a couple times, to go to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. And once as an adult we left my Dad's house in the middle of the night when we were mad at him, and he didn't know we'd left until morning. We'd told him and my evil step mother that I was pregnant and their reaction was... weird.
Gone on a blind date No.
Lied to a friend Do little white lies count?
Skipped school Only once or twice.
Been to Canada Several times, and driven through it twice to get to Alaska as well.
Been to Mexico Only as far as Ensenada.
Been on a plane Too many times to list.
Been on the opposite side of the country Many times.
Gone to Washington DC? Flew there a few years ago to see the Smithsonians etc.
Swam in the ocean A few times.
Felt like dying I could see that from where I was so I understood what that was all about, but didn't really want to go there, not for reals.
Cried yourself to sleep More than once.
Recently colored with crayons Yes, I have a 3-year-old...
Sang karaoke No. Oh, God, no.
Made prank phone calls Not that I can remember.
Caught a snowflake on your tongue Yes.
Danced in the rain No.
Watched the sun rise with someone you care about No
Made a bonfire on the beach Ages ago.
Gone roller-skating Used to go a lot.
Ice-skating Hurts my feets.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Well, I'm a rank amateur at these things, in that I didn't stand in line before the store opened or anything, but I did get me a bag of books. It was pretty picked over by the time I got there but I got a bunch of books for Delia, a book-on-cd for when she's older ("Misty of Chincoteague" by Marguerite Henry, a favorite of mine as a child), and map book and fishing guide for J. For me, a Russian language course on tape for all that spare time I have. And the satisfaction of getting a bazillion books for ten bucks, of course, and supporting the library.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I was compelled upon arrival to ask the kindly, if slightly amused, nursing staff for something with which to cover my one visible tattoo. "But why?" they asked, and I explained that we were told in no uncertain terms to cover our tattoos so as not to offend the largely elderly population we will be working with. They fairly shook with laughter as they found me a gauze pad and clear sticky thingy (which has a name but I forget what it is) for the offending body art. Then I had to ask for a bandaid to cover this weird thing on my inner elbow that I am fairly sure is ringworm.
I have placed a call to my doctor about it and await further instruction.
If it is indeed ringworm, then the only really plausible explanation for "why there, in such an odd place and not on your hand or scalp or something more typical" is that perhaps I picked it up from the cat at work. She loves me. She loves to sit on me. She loves to stick her wet little nose in the crook of my elbow and try to bury her head under my arm.
Great. Now I've got mange.
At any rate, once we were thoroughly scolded by our instructor for clinicals, who is frankly a bit of a prick, for any tardiness (past present future real or imagined) we were taken to the shift change meeting where the CNA's mostly ignored us. They go through this every three months so one can hardly blame them for failing to break out the brass band, but still, I felt leprous and untouchable for most of the morning. And not just because of my ringworm.
Once we were set free upon the unsuspecting populace, the CNA's loosened up a bit and even put us to a bit of work here and there. In my case, mostly to fetch linens or throw dirty ones in the hamper. But not icky soiled ones, so I'm fairly sure my CNA doesn't hate me. I also got to do exciting things like encourage a patient to eat and fill ice water cups for each patient. Whoopee. I'm paying big money and getting up at the butt crack of dawn for this privilege. (Not to denigrate the importance of caring for our elders, nor to look down upon the work of the CNA -- I just mean it's a bit anticlimactic when you have a shiny new important uniform and a badge that says, "Student Nurse.")
At any rate, as we get more comfortable we will be required to do more tasks, so next week my goal is to actually take the vital signs of two or more patients and perhaps even assist one or more of them out of bed, dress them, etc. Woot! Look out, here I come! I might even warm my hands up first!
Anyway, our instructor was laboring under the misconception that we had to be at library training at 12:30pm, a misconception that interestingly none of us felt the urge to correct him on, and we were out of there by noonish, at which time I sped into town to pick up the larger be-wheeled bag that my sister-in-law brought for me. She lives an hour out of town but happened to be in town for A Day of Beauty. I was also able to eat some lunch while sitting in my car listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on CD, (a pastime which I find soothing so stop calling me a dork behind my back. I'm looking at you Mel.) Then to the Euphemism College library for training by a truly marvelous reference librarian about the APA publication style which we will be using for our paper this term, and all terms henceforth forever and ever in perpetuity, and the mistakes that previous students made and which were noted in painful detail to her by the program director, that we might be instructed more carefully this term. She kept saying things like, "Why do they do it like this? Who cares. Just do it this way." I puffy hearted her by the end of the training. I wonder if there is some kind of nurse-librarian hybrid career?
After the training I and my cohort in crime, future roommate Michelle, hung about the library printing the reams and reams of stuff we need off of Blackboard. Another classmate who Michelle finds particularly irksome decided that he would print a powerpoint presentation from one of our classes, using the same shared printer as we were using. One slide per page. Forty nine slides. Oh, and here are some more powerpoints I need to print! The printer was so buggered up from this that I turned to him and said, "You can't seriously be printing these up in this format. It's like two hundred pages and each one is taking forever." At first he failed to see the error of his ways but the dirty looks that other users were giving him soon prompted him to cancel his print jobs, log off and bail from the library altogether, leaving one job still printing, which we managed to get a staff member to cancel. I'm starting to understand why he gets on Michelle's One Remaining Nerve. He's without malice, but utter clueless.
So, I got home around 4:30pm having been gone some eleven hours, and promptly fell asleep on the couch. Now I must write up the various things from today which are due tomorrow by 11:30am (necessitating a trip to campus, grr) and study for the last module test of the week which is also due tomorrow. Only to begin again next week. Yay!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Today I had class from 8:30-10:30am, then stayed after to take some module tests. I did well on two of them, a 95 and a 100, then not so good on the third one. They did tell us that we wouldn't always do well, that we should take it in stride, blah blah blah, but it is not in my nature to accept anything less than a nice, solid B. So when I got a whopping 75 percent on that module test today, well... it was like giving me a nice paper cut and pouring lemon juice in it.
I have one more to take, which I'd hoped to do today but ran out of time and/or motivation to do, after that soul-sucking, life-draining, hope-stealing 75 percent hit me upside the head like a smelly dead fish. So, I did some reading today and I'll take it on Friday.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Then I speed cleaned strategic parts of the house. My classmate/future roommate Michelle was coming over for a study session and although she will soon know exactly what kind of pigs we are, one does still like to try to make a good first impression. Actually I was more concerned about Pavel, another classmate, who was possibly also coming over. Being as we are female here, we don't often lift the toilet seat, and I know from gruesome experience that often things are just Not Right on the backside of the seat even if the rest of the toilet looks reasonably clean. So, I cleaned the hall bathroom and the bunny cage and part of the kitchen and I vacuumed and the list goes on and on. So, at least the house is kind of not oppressively horrifying.
Then Michelle came over, met the household, admired the bunnies, ogled the chickens, etc. We studied, after a fashion... I was interrupted literally almost every five minutes at times by one thing or another, usually child-related. Still, we slogged through the material for one of the modules in good time and will meet again on Wednesday after class, at school, with Pavel, with the objective of studying for and then taking the three (!!!) module tests that are due this week.
Today was class day, health assessment, we covered skin, hair and nails, the Braden pressure sore risk scale, that sort of carefree pursuit. I wanted very badly to nip into the testing center to knock out one of the module tests but the teacher ran overtime. She always does. And I had to leave as soon as we finally DID finish, in order to make it to the gym for a personal trainer appointment. So I was a bit cheesed about the time crunch.
Monday, January 21, 2008
These are the weird Scientology questions that have been circulating, thought I'd take a crack at 'em.
"The internal church document was developed by Scientology founder and onetime science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard for use during "auditing" sessions—you know, the ones designed to identify your trapped "thetans."
The "thetans," or alien ghosts, were implanted in Earth's volcanoes 75 million years ago by the evil intergalactic ruler Xenu, until the nasty buggers escaped and invaded the bodies of each and every one of us. New recruits like Katie Holmes, or "preclears," answer the questions while hooked up to an E-meter—a crude, polygraph-like contraption—as a Church-sanctioned auditor records the subject's responses for further expensive inquiry. Radar excerpted the best of the list's 343 questions. Here's a verbatim sampling."
• Have you ever enslaved a population?
I have a drawer full of squirrels and I make them knit me socks, because I can't stand to wear the same socks twice. There, I finally confessed. I feel so much better.
• Have you ever debased a nation's currency?
Yes, just to hear it scream.
• Have you ever killed the wrong person?
Countless times. Mom said that I am not allowed to kill the wrong person anymore.
• Have you ever torn out someone's tongue?
Wanted to? Yes. Actually did it? No, because they are so damn slippery. Next time I'm getting some tongs.
• Have you ever been a professional critic?
I was personally responsible for the downfall of New Coke. Let the truth be known.
• Have you ever wiped out a family?
Before the squirrels, I had mice, but their paws were so small that they took bloody ages to knit the socks, so I had to, er, "find them a new home" so I could move the squirrels in.
• Have you ever tried to give sanity a bad name?
Yes, first I tried "Chester," then "Melvin," and finally "Festus," but against all odds it managed to evade my efforts.
• Have you ever consistently practiced sex in some unnatural fashion?
Oh, thousands of times. And then I stopped wearing the clown shoes and the thong underpants and it was a lot better after that.
• Have you ever made a planet, or nation, radioactive?
It wasn't easy, but using only a rubber band, a microwave oven, and a spam email generator, I finally got 'er done.
• Have you ever made love to a dead body?
You'd have thought she was dead, but no. (And: eeeuw!)
• Have you ever engaged in piracy?
There were no witnesses, and you can't prove a thing. No further comment, me hearties.
• Have you ever been a pimp?
No, I've never had much interest in practicing law.
• Have you ever eaten a human body?
I can quit anytime I like. It is an acquired taste.
• Have you ever disfigured a beautiful thing?
I like to sing in the car, and each song I desecrate dies a sad and horrible death.
• Have you ever exterminated a species?
Mmmmm.... species.... *drool*
• Have you ever been a professional executioner?
No, I haven't yet managed to attain pro status, I'm still just an amateur.
• Have you given robots a bad name?
Quite the contrary. My robots are wonderfully named. Here, meet Sebastian, Leonardo, and Benedict.
• Have you ever set a booby trap?
I rarely have to trap my boobies. They are generally right where I left them.
• Have you ever failed to rescue your leader?
"Rescue," that's so codependent. I prefer to give him the tools to rescue himself.
• Have you driven anyone insane?
Why drive, when it's such a short walk? (Ba dum bum)
• Have you ever killed the wrong person?
Who wants to know? You look kind of wrong to me. Hold still, I'm just going to the wall safe to get my, uh, newspaper.
• Is anybody looking for you?
Why, who's been calling? *shifty eyes* Uh, I have to run to the store for some, uh, graham crackers. Back later. *squealling tires*
• Have you ever set a poor example?
No, except for that one time when I voted for Bush.
(...Okay, bear in mind that this is humor, I never voted for Bush. Some things are just not funny! My bad!)
• Did you come to Earth for evil purposes?
Didn't we all?
• Are you in hiding?
I told you never to call me here!
• Have you systematically set up mysteries?
Usually I'm unsystematic, which throws them off the trail. That and my tinfoil hat.
• Have you ever made a practice of confusing people?
I don't need to practice anymore, I am quite proficient.
• Have you ever philosophized when you should have acted instead?
Only a few times. It took forever to get the bloodstains out of the carpet, so I don't make that mistake anymore.
• Have you ever gone crazy?
Why, who have you been talking to? *shifty eyes again* Don't listen to the TV people, they totally lie.
• Have you ever sought to persuade someone of your insanity?
It's pretty evident to anyone who cares to look.
• Have you ever deserted, or betrayed, a great leader?
We haven't had one in a while, so no.
• Have you ever smothered a baby?
I smothered a new baby potato in gravy once. It was totally asking for it.
• Do you deserve to have any friends?
If you have to ask, then no, you cannot be my friend.
• Have you ever castrated anyone?
Actually, yes. I assisted at the castration of my cat. (True story!)
• Do you deserve to be enslaved?
Resistance is futile!
• Is there any question on this list I had better not ask you again?
Not so far. Is this the best you can do?
• Have you ever tried to make the physical universe less real?
Every time I pass a WalMart.
• Have you ever zapped anyone?
How did I know it was loaded? Sheesh.
• Have you ever had a body with a venereal disease? If so, did you spread it?
Don't ask, don't tell. :)
Friday, January 18, 2008
My goal here is not perfect scores, or even A's. As they say, "B's get degrees." Certainly I will shoot for A's, because it is in my nature to do so, but realistically, it may not happen. So I decided to really shoot for perfect attendance. Barring catastrophic illness, it should be possible.
Yesterday we toured the facility where we'll be doing our clinicals, and so we got to troop around in our lab coats feeling all student-nursey. My particular group is going to be at a skilled nursing center which is an offshoot to a Governmental Hospital (mentioned more fully in this post, which I discovered I had forgotten to post but merely saved as a draft, so there it is at last) so we'll be working with mostly men of a certain age. Next Thursday we'll have to show up there at (cringe) 5:45 IN THE MORNING, wearing our uniforms and being all eager and stuff. Gah.
The Highly Recommended Rolling Backpack has indeed been an essential part of my not becoming a hunchback, and just yesterday I got to buy a fancy clipboard for clinicals which I can keep my Important Student Nurse Papers in. Mostly just assessment forms and stuff like that, but still! A neat clipboard that opens up! And has a place for your pen! But mine's a frosty purple and white instead of boring gray like that one in the link. I took Delia with me to pick it out and she chose purple over blue.
In other news, my classmate who plays World of Warcraft (on a different server, and she plays ALLY! EEEUW!) is probably going to crash with us for a couple of months. It could be quite cool. Hopefully it will at least not suck. :)
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Our cat Ringo, the fluffy white and gray doofus cat, likes to leap up onto the bed and throw himself down in the center of it when he sees that we are about to make it up. This is what we call "being helpful." As in, "That Ringo, he sure is 'being helpful' tonight." (roll eyes)
Tonight we performed the blanket toss with him on one of the blankets on the bed. You know, where one person grabs two corners of the blanket and the other grabs the other two corners (assuming that your blanket has four corners, as most do I suppose, but one can't be specific enough in this global community), and you fling the blanket up in the air on the count of three, and whomever is on the blanket (in this case, young Ringo) is thrown up in the air in an exhilarating fashion.
Generally, a cat who has prior experience with the blanket toss will make itself scarce if threatened with it a second time, or even with just a second toss. Not so our Ringo! We tossed him ceiling-ward several times and although he looked slightly peevish, he stayed put on the blanket despite having every opportunity to escape. He figured out how to attach himself with his claws on the first toss and thereafter used this to limit his trajectory.
Say what you will about his intelligence (or lack thereof), he is at least a good sport.
My friend Elizabeth sent me this when she was living in Nome (where we visited for New Year's 2004, when I was pregnant) and I have actually made one of the recipes, "Walrus Meat Loaf", although owing to the scarcity of walrus meat in our local supermarket I substituted the more pedestrian ground beef. It's quite good, hardly tastes like walrus at all really...
I was lunching at school today, having some leftover Walrus Loaf from last night, and a classmate passing by told me that it smelled good. I told her I'd bring her a copy of the recipe booklet so I decided to share the cover of it, at least, with you all as well. Enjoy!
I don't doubt that there are many opportunities one might enjoy in being an Army nurse, but until they start offering domestic partner benefits, I'll stay in the private sector, thank you.
At any rate, it got me to thinking about my own glory days. And so I give to you this tiny memento of my brief, yet illustrious Army career. I am all of 18 years old in this photo, and washed out of basic not too far before graduation because my feet, which are as discussed previously in this blog not actual weight bearing structures, began to trouble me. They had never before bothered me but what with the Army's delightful boots, by about week 8 I could hardly walk. I was sent home in a blaze of anonymity, never to darken the Army's doorstep again.
A while back I started using Multiply to blog. I was sucked in by a longtime blog friend and now that I'm there, I'm hooked. The problem is that when I imported my existing blog from blogger, it came in all scrambled date-wise and that really annoyed me. So I can't let go of my old blog, yet I only keep it hanging around for sentimental reasons.
So, old blog pals, come on over to my new site! I'll continue to cross-post but I notice that pictures aren't enlargeable if you click on them with cross-posting, and links don't always work. So come on down for the real deal!
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sure enough, I got home and we trooped out to the garage and there was Scritchy, very unhappily ensconced in a kitty-litter bucket. We tried to get a picture but he kept randomly leaping upward at us and going "SQUEEK!" which freaked me out so I gave it up. I'd rather we got him the heck outta my garage safely without a picture than keep trying to get the pic and end up accidentally letting him go free. Although maybe he would have been so traumatized that he would have left for good... At any rate, it's all academic now as at the very moment he is being released at a big swampy park a few blocks away, hopefully never to return.
Naturally, it started raining like mad as soon as Doug left to release the rat, so I'm sure they are both dampened. What price freedom, even for a rat!
Friday, January 11, 2008
Yesterday, though, we had a Real! Actual! Tornado! It even demolished a mobile home! In the time honored tradition of tornados worldwide! And tore the roof off a KFC, and some other stuff, but thankfully no one was injured.
I was at school and the tornado passed a bit to the north of us there, we saw the lightning and heard the thunder and the rain just dumped everywhere, but we didn't know it was a Real! Actual! Tornado! until our program director stopped by the skills lab to let us know.
Yep, we'll be talking about that Real! Actual! Mobile-Home-Destroying! Tornado! down t' the general store for a right smart time to come, by cracky!
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
This afternoon I took the small fry to the library for a bit of fun, knowing as I do that I won't have much time to do such things in the near future. I'm sad thinking about how much time I won't be spending with her in the coming months.
But! To make up for it, okay more like to have something super cool to look forward to at the end of summer, I am in the preliminary planning stages for a fabulous trip to Disneyland in September!
I mentioned to my brother and sister-in-law that I would like to take Delia there soon, despite my better half's objections that it would be better to wait until she's 6 or 7. I say, take her now and then take her again when she's 6 or 7 or whatever. She'll have a ball no matter what. So anyway when I mentioned that, my SIL said, we're overdue for a trip to Disneyland, let me know when you're thinking of doing it and we can all do it together. I made that call yesterday, out of nowhere I just decided to do it, and today we started discussing various game plans and preferences. So far it looks as if we will drive down, soon after Labor Day most likely, and there is a possibility that we might stay at BetterHotelChain because my nephew works there and can get us cheap rooms. We will stay for five full days, if not longer.
I have not been to Disneyland in over ten years, J has not been since she was about Delia's age (3ish), and of course Delia has never been. I'm terribly excited. :)
So, now to hit the books. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Anyway, yesterday morning I headed up to Euphemism College's building on the campus of Hyperbole University, a shiny new campus with shiny new buildings and shiny new Extremely Cold Weather up there on its little hill above Bedroom Community. I parked using my spanky parking pass, hiked across campus pulling my Highly Recommended Rolling Backpack, and settled into a spot outside the classroom to read a bit before going in at the appointed hour. Around me I recognized several other students from the orientation (or, as I like to think of it, The Butt-Numbing Marathon of Confusion) last month, all trying to read our incomprehensible text, and all struggling along at roughly the same page I had given up on myself. This made me feel much better.
Class was more like another orientation, this time introducing us to The Module System of Learning, by which they mean things like Now That You are Adult College Students You Must Be Self Directed, and Here is the Testing Center Where You Are Forbidden To Speak Or Ingest Anything, and If You Cheat We Will Banish You to a Special Circle of Hell in Which You Will Flip Burgers For All Eternity And So Will Your Children, Forever And Ever Amen. Then we were made to review endless reams of Course Outlines, Syllabi, and Modules. Oh my. We are very nearly assimilated, I think. Resistance is futile.
We then had an hour off to get some dinner, the very limited cafe having closed inexplicably at 3pm, after which we had to come back for another class. I spent my break eating Drive-Thru Crap In A Sack and listening to a Harry Potter book-on-cd in the car. Once again we were further Oriented, more documents were reviewed in extreme detail, and the instructor very kindly let us out a bit early after telling us we all were "looking a bit crispy."
I went home, avoided anything that smacked of schoolwork, and again could not sleep.
Today I went to the first session of yet another class, became yet further Oriented, and made the acquaintance of a classmate whom I witnessed playing World of Warcraft on her laptop on the break the night before. Hallelujah. Let there be gaming.
After a bit of a nap today, I trotted on down to the Euphemism College Seriously Overpriced Campus Monopoly Bookstore and purchased what surely must be the world's ugliest tote bag, which comes filled with supplies for use in the Skills Lab and therefore costs ninety bucks. We have been warned time and again that we are NOT to open any of the supplies until bidden to do so in class, and furthermore that Supplies Are Not For Use On Any Living Human, and are for Practice Use on Manikins Only. Therefore, I merely fondled the packaging and did not open my Foley Catheter Tray or any of my various and sundry Syringes.
Tomorrow we learn how to draw up medications from ampules and vials, which we must do with at least 80 percent accuracy. (Does anybody else find that a bit scary?) Thursday we will orient further, I imagine with three more hours of informative presentations about our clinical placements (where we will trail along after others trying not to look like student nurses) and then we will spend the afternoon practicing our CNA skills on the hapless manikins in the skills lab. Good times!
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
First we went to Delia's favorite restaurant, Red Womster. We went there last Mother's Day with J's family and Delia became enamored of the big tank of doomed lobsters in the lobby, and since then it has been the watermark for fine dining. "We're going to a restaurant for dinner tonight," we'd tell her. "Is it RED WOMSTER?!" she'd yell with the type of enthusiasm most people reserve for topics such as DISNEYLAND or maybe MILLION DOLLAR LOTTERY PRIZE. "No," we'd say, "it's the Mexican one with the big bell." (This is a local place located in an old church, not Taco Bell, though we do go there from time to time. Okay, a lot. It's cheap and she likes burritos! Gah!) "Oh," she'd say, somewhat crestfallen. She couldn't be completely bummed since she does love the Mexican place too, but RED WOMSTER is clearly the paragon of restauranty perfection in her book. Such is her deep, enduring love for it that my mother made her some flannel pajamas with lobsters all over them for her birthday. (Who makes lobster print flannel, and why? Lordy.)
Anyway, after a fine meal, and some obligatory lobster-gazing, we headed off to the zoo, which features a sort of festival of lights this time of year. We had bundled up fairly well and were prepared for the sticker shock of spending probably twenty five bucks to walk around looking at essentially a bazillion LED lights strung all over. However once we got to the zoo we discovered a couple of surprises: first, that we'd each neglected a crucial area of bundling, (more on that in a moment) and second, that entry to the zoo was completely free! We had only to pay for the train ride, a total of $4.50 for all three of us. Now, if there is anything that I do love, it is an unexpected bargain, or as we call it (loving it as we do, we have a name for it) the secret sale. Having paid our tiny train fare, we bounded joyously into the park, prepared to enjoy every cent of our good fortune. Okay, most it was just me that bounded. Okay, I walked, but with a bounce in my step and a wiggle in my walk. Or something.
Once inside, we strolled around with reckless abandon. My, it was chilly. Oh dear, and a bit breezy. Glad I brought gloves.
Sadly, I do not have photos of what to me was one of the two surprise highlights of the trip (besides the secret sale!). While much of the park was off-limits, entry was permitted to a few of the animal exhibits, among them the penguin house. The viewing area was dimly lit so that we could see our way around, but the actual penguin living space was not, so it was quite dark in there. When we entered, I saw people holding their cellphones up to the glass, which attracted the penguins. Lucky for me, while my cellphone is quite antiquated and hardly has a lighted display of any kind, I do have a tiny keychain LED light, which I then shined up against the glass, and huge numbers of penguins, (okay, maybe four or five), immediately swam up to the light. And followed it when I moved it around, like goldfish in a tank at the pet store when they think you're going to feed them. It was extremely cool and I wanted to stay there all night, but eventually I had to bid them a fond adieu and move on.
We ambled around, shared an elephant ear, that sort of thing, then headed over to the train just in time to meet up with our good friends Karen and John, and their offspring Baby Katie, which was Surprise No. 2. I mean meeting up with them. (Baby Katie was indeed a lovely surprise, but that was over a year ago.) There are two trains that run the loop, one a tiny diesel engine and one a miniature steam engine, and we were fortunate enough to get on the steam engine one. (But not fortunate to get into a car with solid sides. More on that in a moment.) By now it was fully dark, and it was pure fun to chuff-chuff-chuff around the the park looking at the multitudes of lights and waving to the other park-goers.
About the solid-side vs. non-solid-side issue: the doors on our tiny train car were slatted, permitting the icy wind to frolic hither and yon through and among our collected buttcheeks, plastered as they were onto hard uninsulated fiberglass seats, revealing the crucial area of bundling neglect. Note to self: next year wear some long-johns. Delia and Katie were spared as they sat in our laps, but I know I wasn't the only adult that walked away with an ass like a solid block of bifurcated ice.
Once we wrapped up the train ride, we were sufficiently chilled to want to go home, so we said our goodbyes and Happy-New-Years and off we went. Once Delia was in bed, we fired up "Pirates of the Caribbean 3" and I shivered on the couch under two blankets. We turned on the gas fireplace and before too long, J's brother was sitting at the opposite end of the dining room, barely able to see the TV, unable to take the heat. I was still cold but consented to turning off the fireplace and opening the door for a minute or two to bring the temperature back to merely tropical.
At midnight we toasted one another, watched a few fireworks out the windows, and shuffled off to bed.
Here's to 2008. Happiness and prosperity to you all, and especially good health and well being. :)