Friday, July 31, 2015

simple pleasures

My office phone rang yesterday afternoon.  It was the drummer's number.

I still get a little bit anxious whenever I see his number on my caller ID because he used to call so rarely.  So of course, I always worried that it would be bad news.  Not that it really ever was.

Anyway.  Yesterday.

He was calling to tell me he and his wife were going to give their new little baby a bath and he wondered if I wanted to come over and participate.

Such a sweet, thoughtful gesture.  Of course I wanted to come over and help.

If I were to make a list of my favorite things, just off the top of my head, it would look something like this:

1.  Spending time with my kids.
2.  Bathing my grandkids.
3.  Eating my homemade pie.

Just off the top of my head.

Last night, I did two of those three things.  Went to their house, filled the little tub with warm water, washed her delightfully formed head with its fine covering of dark hair, dipped her tiny body into the tub, carefully washed every bit of her delicate skin, wrapped her snugly in the hooded towel I made for her, slathered her in baby lotion, and then fastened her wee diaper around her adorable baby bottom.  I will admit to struggling a bit to get her nightgown over her head and pulled down around her feet, but only because it had a really small elastic band around the bottom and it had those little hand-covering mittens for her hands.  As soon as I unfolded those mittens, her tiny fists popped out and the gowning almost instantly was complete.  Such perfectly formed hands and fingers.  Why would we cover them up?

Next, I was ready to wrap her up in a blanket and rock her to sleep but they prefer to use one of those baby straight jackets, so I waiting while they strapped her in (they are trying to keep her from hitting herself in the face with her frequently flailing arms).  Even velcroed into her baby burrito blankety-thing, she was adorable.  We rocked together for nearly two hours, and I did my best to not eat her up, her sweet babyness so near and so total. 

Plus--good time all around, talking and catching up with the drummer and his wife. 

Somebody should have taken pictures. 

Now I need to make pie.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

the answer is d

None of the above, is the answer to the question I posed in my last post.

I did not explore the states around Oklahoma because I did not want to risk missing my flight home, so
"a" and "b" were out.  I decided to go with "c", heading directly to the airport after checking out of my hotel, but noticed signs pointing me to the Tulsa zoo. 

I know people frequently dismiss zoos as cruel, awful places for animals to live.  But honestly, I've always enjoyed going to Hogle Zoo.  I remember as a child going with my family and loving it when my mom could get the bears to sit up and beg for marshmallows.  Yes.  We were those people.  But remember, there were no signs directing us to not feed the animals.  And she was really good at getting them to sit up and wave and catch the treats she tossed their way.  Her "yoohoo" got their attention and they almost seemed to remember her.  It was pretty entertaining to a kid.

Hogle Zoo has changed so much and improved over the years.  Larger spaces for the animals, and while I know there isn't any way to make the zoo be just like Africa and the Antarctic and the Rocky Mountains really, somebody has put in a lot of effort to improve it both for the animals and for the visiting public.

The Tulsa zoo is more like what I would expect if say Ogden had a zoo.  Tulsa isn't the capital city of Oklahoma, so I probably shouldn't have expected much.  But seriously.  I'm thinking somebody bought a whole bunch of land and decided to put a zoo there.  With three elephants and a couple of giraffes and allegedly some rhinos.  Perhaps there were all of those animals and more, certainly I saw a huge desert tortoise and a whole bunch (pack? gaggle?) of turtles in a pond with fish and nearby one of those gumball machines that dispenses turtle pellet food for 25 cents.  And I think there was a train ride.  But it was so hot and so humid that I wandered around for less than 30 minutes.  I felt so sorry for the few animals I saw (other than the turtles and fish, they seemed to be in their native habitat).  The displays I saw were concrete, not much shade, and nothing like where the animals would normally live in nature.

It was awful. 

The few visitors I saw were all as miserable as the animals and me.  I got the impression the zoo builders might have grand plans, little funding, and high hopes.  I only hope my $10 admission helps somehow.  I couldn't help but think the next item they add should be a really great splash pad that could keep kids in Tulsa from experiencing heat stroke during field trips to the zoo.  And maybe large pools and shaded enclosures for the animals?

That visit was eye opening.  I will continue to support and be grateful for Hogle Zoo. 

And also be grateful for the high mountain desert dry heat of summer here.

Friday, July 24, 2015

what would you do?

Right now, I'm sitting on my hotel bed in Tulsa, OK, trying to decide whether to:

a.  head east to Arkansas, then north to Joplin, Missouri, then west to Kansas, then south back to the Tulsa airport, hoping to make a 5:30 flight home, or
b.  head north and west to Wichita, Kansas, to chance a surprise visit with my first lawyer boss and his wife, the now mission president and his wife over the Kansas, Wichita LDS church mission, or
c. head directly to the Tulsa airport to ensure I catch my flight home tonight.

A dilemma, to be sure. 

Why, you may ask, am I in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the 109 degree heat index of July?  Why, indeed.  Who exactly schedules paralegal conventions in Tulsa in July?  Why, of course, the paralegal organization, to which I belong, that also scheduled last year's convention in Charleston, SC, and previous conventions in Portland, OR, and Omaha, NE, and Dallas, TX, and New Orleans, LA.  Seems a bit hit or miss when it comes to location, although it seems the common theme is July, which is apparently always hot.  Or maybe obviously, always hot, sometimes with additional humidity.

I have been in search of a comments/suggestions box into which I would have dropped a note suggesting we convene only in coastal cities.  Yes, I'll admit a bias toward time spent in July at the beach.

Next year's convention is in Las Vegas.  In July.  I may need to plan a bit of a getaway of my own to the beach in July next year during convention time.  Vegas?  In July?  Please and no thank you.

But about my dilemma today.  Class gets out around noon.  My flight leaves at 5:30.  The drive to Wichita according to Google/maps, is 5 hours 24 minutes.  The drive through four states I haven't yet visited is 4 hours 49 minutes.  Neither of these options allow for stopping to visit or looking around, except for the looking around that accompanies a five-hour drive.  If only I'd thought this through a bit earlier.  I could have left class around noon yesterday, and if my timing had been right, picked up my rental car from the valet and driven off, thus avoiding the three-hour wait outside the hotel while the police checked it top to bottom in response to a bomb threat that was called in. 

Seriously.  Who does that?  Calls in a bomb scare to a hotel in Oklahoma?  In July?  I'm sure everybody takes bomb scares much more seriously than they did when I was a kid and a bomb scare call meant we all got to sit on the grass outside the school for 30 minutes.  Nowadays, in Oklahoma especially, bomb scares are understandably a big deal.  Unfortunately,  I hadn't considered going for a drive yesterday, so my rental car sat in the parking garage while my fellow paralegals and I melted away in the Oklahoma humidity.  The speaker for our planned convention luncheon (with its crisp things wilting, hot things cooling, light fluffy things gelling), was the former mayor of Tulsa, who eventually delivered an inspiring speech about the importance of volunteering even just an hour a week to help kids learn to read, and also was the first to tweet about the bomb scare, thus ensuring we made the local news.  Social media and local news.  Gotta love em, right? 
Looking out my hotel window at the lovely little downtown park where we waited for the all clear

That was pretty much the excitement for this convention.  Conventions aren't as much fun when your fellow paralegal is no longer working with you.  I find myself wondering if a five-hour solo drive around the countryside of the heartland of America is a good use of five hours, while hoping traffic doesn't keep me from making my flight home for the last of the Pioneer Day celebrations. 

And that is why I'll probably go with choice C and simply head to the airport, dawdling along, finding a spot to read more of a book, waiting for the plane to board.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

more getting outtahere

As part of my ongoing effort to maintain our sanity this summer, I'm writing this post from a beautiful spot of America known as Rockport, Maine.  Jack and I are here because, for his birthday or Father's Day, he wanted certain specific woodworking hand tools from a company called Lie-Nielsen Woodworking.  He rarely specifies gifts he'd like to receive, which is good because my memory for the names of anything certain or specific is somewhat rusty right now.  When I went to the website of the company that sells the tools, I was feeling pretty good about remembering how to spell the name of the company that sells the tools, but was completely distracted when the landing page for the company was an announcement for the annual open house, during which, all Lie-Nielsen tools are 10% off--the only time the tools are on sale, mind you. 

Well, everybody knows how much I love a sale. 

Plus, free shipping.

How could I be expected to remember specific tools with all of this sale/free shipping distraction, right?

I checked our frequent flyer/skymiles account with Delta and determined the location of the Lie-Nielsen Woodworking company and quickly realized we could fly to Bangor, Maine, just an hour or so from said woodworking company's location, for $11 each, round trip.  OMG.

It didn't take long for me to find a quaint, seaside hotel and a rental car.

And to complete the package, Lie-Nielsen was offering tickets for a lobster bake for tonight, just $25 per person, with--are you ready for this--Roy Underhill, long-time host of The Woodwright's Shop on PBS--a show Jack and I have been watching since 1979--with Roy scheduled to participate in the lobster bake event.

All of which explains how and why Jack and I came to be in Rockport, Maine.  It has been a delightful getaway, driving around Maine, staying in a quiet seaside hotel, chatting with other woodworkers, and yes, even with Roy Underhill.  Who, I'm happy to report, does not seem to be in love with himself or his celebrity status in the woodworking world.  That would have been devastating and would have almost certainly have taken the shine off of this vacation.

Yesterday, Jack chatted with people who write articles for his favorite magazines, toured the place that makes the best in the world hand tools for woodworkers, and practiced using various tools with people who know tools.  And then, over fresh lobster rolls at a tiny little roadside stand, he picked out the exact tools he wanted and we headed back to place his order.

Kid in a candy store.

And now we're headed to the ocean for my sanity and then back to Lie-Nielsen for a final look around and the lobster bake tonight.

This was such a great idea.