Sometimes a weekend away feels like just that, a weekend away. Other times it feels like a real vacation. That's what this past weekend felt like: a real vacation.
In the continuing college tour, we headed south to Miami to visit the University of Miami. I had some apprehension about going to Miami...it's too far, it's too crowded, it's too dirty. Granted, we weren't in the heart of Miami, but boy was I wrong! It only took three hours of primo knitting drive time and we were in an urban, tropical paradise. I always forget how much Miami reminds me of home. My Panama home, that is.
Coconut trees loaded with coconuts, mango trees laden with blossoms and parakeets flitting about in the trees.
We spent Saturday afternoon wandering around Coconut Grove and returned there in the evening to have a wonderful dinner at an Argentinian Steak House. The array of meats was mind-boggling. Lizzy and I sampled the sweetbreads, blood sausage and tripe in addition to the more standard offerings of beef, pork, chicken and fish. Unfortunately, we had eaten our fill before the roast pigs were ready for carving.
Sunday morning was spent wandering through a park and then enjoying a local art show before Lizzy and I headed off to UM.
Not only is the University of Miami an incredible academic institution, the campus is beautiful. There are lakes, streams and unbelievable facilities. I want to be 17 again! I want to go to school there!
This is the Wellness Center (inside and out).
All the shuttle buses at the university are powered by bio-diesel. Be still, my heart!
While Lizzy and I toured the campus, the Michaels headed off to the Miami Seaquarium. They saw seals and otters, parrots and turtles. When I asked Michael what his favorite thing there was, he said, "The whale. It was HUGE!"
We did a lot in a mere 35 hours and to top it all off, on the way home, we had a beautiful rainbow over our heads!
You scored Alice! You are kind-hearted and curious and give yourself very good advice, but seldom follow it, which leads you into trouble. You always try to be courteous and polite, but you become cross when people speak in nonsense to you and scold them sharply.
I chaperoned a field trip today for Michael's kindergarten class. It goes without saying that TEACHERS NEED A RAISE! It was a lot like herding cats; I have no idea how his teacher does this day after day after day!
The field trip was to a helicopter pilot training school; one of the largest in the country. Very cool.
The kids saw a movie that extended beyond even my attention span. The main character was a very strange fellow named Mike who was on a mission to find out where planes slept. He toured a navy airbase and was also on the carrier Nimitz. All I could think was: 1. Was he paid in drugs or a lot of money to behave this way? and 2. Was he wearing any underwear? Yes, folks, it was really that bad. At the end of the movie when we FINALLY got to the hangars and Mike fell asleep, I burst out with "Oh Toto, there really is no place like home!"
After the movie, the kids got to sit in a helicopter. Woo hoo! Okay, I realize I'm being a cynic here, but let me say it again: woo hoo. Out on the runway was the Zero G plane. Now THERE'S a field trip I could get behind!
As a reward for being so well-behaved, the director of the school had the fuel truck brought around for the kids to be photographed with. Yes. The fuel truck. I hate being redundant, but I really have to say it again. "woo hoo." Wait! I partially take that back! Get a load of the fueler guy; the one squatting on the left! Oh baby! He can fuel my engine any time! In retrospect, maybe it was really a reward for the chaperones!
Once all the airborne hoopla was complete, we reboarded the school bus for our next destination. We went to an area park for a picnic and some playtime.
This is where things really became inappropriate!
In the ladies room, one of the stall doors had been thusly graffiti'ed:
Of course I strongly disagree with the sentiment, but I don't think my taking a picture of the door warranted the glare I got from the mother coming out of the other stall!
In the pavilion where the kids ate was the cage that would normally surround a soda machine. Actually, it took me a moment to realize what the cage was for as I noticed it only after photographing the stall door.
I laughingly told Michael's teacher about the stall door and the cage. Then I suggested that it would be a great picture if we had all the kids get into it!
"I really don't think the school board would see any humor in that picture." she said.
Hmmm. I wonder if I'll be asked to chaperone another field trip!
For Valentine's Day, young Erik gave Lizzy an enormous chocolate chip cookie that said "I Love You" in the middle with their names on either side. He also gave her a pot of lovely red tulips. (My absolute favorite flower that I can't grow here!)
Every time I see tulips, I am reminded of an occasion when Lizzy was little and in the process of potty training. I had a picture in the bathroom of pink tulips in a blue pitcher. While sitting on the toilet, Lizzy looked up at the picture and asked, "Mommy, what are those called?" "Tulips." I answered.
G-d met her at the gates and said, "You have been a good cat all these years. Anything you want is yours for the asking."
The cat thought for a minute and then said, "All my life I lived on a farm and slept on hard wooden floors. I would like a real fluffy pillow to sleep on."
G-d said, "Say no more." Instantly the cat had a huge fluffy pillow.
A few days later, six mice were killed in an accident and they all went to Heaven together. G-d met the mice at the gates with the same offer that He made to the cat
The mice said, "Well, we have had to run all of our lives: from cats, dogs, and even people with brooms! If we could just have some little roller skates, we would not have to run again."
G-d answered, "It is done." All the mice had beautiful little roller skates.
About a week later, G-d decided to check on the cat. He found her sound asleep on her fluffy pillow. G-d gently awakened the cat and asked, "Is everything okay? How have you been doing? Are you happy?"
The cat replied, "Oh, it is WONDERFUL. I have never been so happy in my life. The pillow is so fluffy, and those little Meals on Wheels you have been sending over are delicious!"