I found a most cooperative goat who liked to take selfies with me. 😀
We recently visited Nebraska and Iowa, and one of the many highlights we had was a visit to the Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari in Ashland, Nebraska. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I briefly glanced at Yelp reviews and thought we’d maybe spend a couple hours there. Well, turns out, since it was our first visit, we should have allotted an entire day for the place. Also, out there is the SAC Aerospace Museum, and that could have easily been a whole day thing, too. So, basically, our trip needed to be about 4 days (or weeks!!) longer to accommodate our exploration needs. ha
The conservation park/safari was fantastic. We saw deer, elk, bison, various birds, we did a short hike to see their bears and wolves, bald eagles, pelicans, water turtles, and even pet their goats and hear their roosters crow. And let’s not forget the surprise up-close look at a free roaming red ring snake that scared the bejesus out of William. He was walking with the ranger, chatting her ear off, and the “twig” moved in the path in front of him. Eep!
As I’m looking through the pictures from our visit to the safari, I’m truly amazed at the variety of animals they have at their facility and the layout of the land is beautiful for these animals. It really is like a throwback to another era. You’re not allowed to drive over 7 mph. Animals would randomly cross the road to chase each other (the pelicans had a bit of a conga-line going on, which caused a bit of a road block). One of the bison decided he needed to cross the road to get a drink of water. Plus, the road was quite bumpy in some areas, so most cars were hardly moving. So, people were letting their kids roam inside their cars, too.
Our rental car company upgraded us at no cost to a Dodge Durango, which has a 3rd row of seats. William got his snack bag and set himself up as far away from us as he could in the back of the vehicle and proceeded to have himself a picnic back there. He was extremely happy with himself and we were finding crumbs and wrappers for days afterward.
We took William to a magic show as a reward for finishing his school workbook. As we walked in yesterday and chose our seats, I sat down next to a woman who had two daughters. The older one looked to be around 8ish, the younger one somewhere around 16 months.
The show started and the lights dimmed and everyone was engrossed in the comedian/magician. The little girl gradually got more and more wiggly, crawling off her mom’s lap, back on her mom’s lap. I had tried to connect with the little girl earlier when I had sat down, but she just gave me a hard stare, which totally cracked me. Nothing says “you’re a goofball” quite like a child under 2 giving you the death stare. Tough customer.
Anyway, I kind of tuned her out and didn’t pay much attention to what was going on as I focused on the show, other than to notice that the little girl was quite limber and impressive in her feats as she climbed all over her mom and her mom seemed kind of defeated… like, “just do what you want, all I want to do is watch the magic show already.”
At one point, she climbed back up on her mom’s lap and curled up, her back to me. All of a sudden I felt a tickling on my hip, which kind of spider walked up my side. I wasn’t sure what exactly it was until I side-glanced and realized the little one was nursing and her hand must have gotten “lost” somehow.
Amused, I moved my hand down and captured the fluttering hand of the little girl. She grasped on and pretty soon her little thumb was stroking the back of my hand, back and forth, back and forth. She relaxed and quieted, soothed. Not even realizing whose hand she was holding. I smiled, thinking that her mom probably holds her hand in a normal nursing situation, but with her attention elsewhere and just wanting her to be quiet, she didn’t even realize it.
Her mom laughed at the show and the little girl startled and got wiggly again. But it was just a sweet moment that made me smile.
William loved the show, by the way. So did we. 🙂
A random something that I think about every time I watch a parade is how difficult it is to get a good picture of it. They never look right. There’s always too much in them, which makes them too busy, which means you just don’t know where to look.
When I’ve gone to the Rose Parade in Pasadena, the floats I photograph look flat and uninteresting, yet the reason I took the picture is the exact opposite, I thought the floats were amazing and beautiful. City parades are the same, although I’ve come to realize that city parades are really just local businesses advertising themselves while riding in the back of a pick-up truck waving flags.
Disneyland’s parades are even more busy, MORE lights, MORE people, MORE things in the picture. What were we looking at? Where did it go? And the electrical parade is at night, so even more tough to take a picture of. Plus, I think at least half of the experience at Disneyland’s parades is their music, which of course you can’t capture in a picture.
Is it just me?
Pictures are original content from the Pasadena Rose Parade, circa 1983 or 1984… a unicorn float, a smurf float and a cottage float.
Last year, we had an issue with the gate at one of our pools not closing properly. I reported the issue to our HOA, and it was never fixed. It’s gotten worse, as things tend to do, and it got to the point that in order for the gate to close, it had to be manually pulled shut. No one does that except for the most conscientious of people, and let’s face it, that is NOT the majority of the population.
So, last month, my mom went up there to swim some laps. When she got there, she intended to go in the women’s bathroom and change, except she heard voices in there. One of which was manly. After a bit, the door opened, a man came out and then a woman. She asked him if there was something wrong with the men’s bathroom and he said the light didn’t work. LOL Rrright. She said they were quite cozy with each other over at the spa, but she just tried to ignore them. She noted as they left that the woman made mention of the gate being latched, because my mom had latched it when she came into the pool area. The next day when I went up there to swim, in the women’s restroom, there was an empty condom wrapper on the ground and a used condom in the open feminine hygiene disposal container. I reported all this to the HOA.
A couple weeks ago, the HOA finally fixed the gate and it latches with great authority now with no effort at all. A few times I’ve driven by and seen people sitting on the step outside waiting for someone to let them in.
Then last night, as a Valentine’s day gift to me, Tony told me to go on, go lap swimming. So, I hied myself up there, and I’m swimming laps and it’s a beautiful night under the stars. Venus is making quite a statement with her bold, bright self being visible. Orion is straight ahead of me. Many of the stars are visible and it’s just a glorious night. As I search for the north star overhead, I see a downward movement in the corner by the pool maintenance room and a man comes walking past with confidence and purpose like he’d been there all along, except I know for a fact that he hadn’t been. I check restrooms and corners before I swim as a safety precaution; I don’t like surprises. So this man, he walks over and unlocks the gate and lets his girlfriend in. She’s carrying a bedroll and a pillow and I think that maybe she’s homeless? She kind of looks homeless, with her wild, curly, unkempt hair and baggy sweats, and carrying that bedroll and pillow. Odd.
They go over to the spa and set up their “camp” and I’m keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t touch my stuff, and they don’t breach my “bubble” of safety space. He marches over to the men’s restroom, goes inside. He comes out dressed in swim trunks. She then goes into the women’s bathroom, goes inside, comes out in a one piece swimsuit, but then as she walks past I realize that 3/4 of her butt cheeks are hanging out. I mentally raise my eyebrows at this, this is a community swimming pool after all and that is definitely not a swimsuit I would wear around other people, but maybe I’m a prude after all?
So, they’re over there in the spa now. Pretty soon I see her sitting on his lap, but as best I can tell, they are just sitting. Kissing deeply, but just sitting. Then pretty soon they move over to the steps, and she’s sitting on the steps and I see the back of her head and he’s standing in front of her… and then they switch places, so he’s standing up in front of the steps and I see his back, and she’s “sitting” (kneeling??) in front of him… there’s movement now, and I’m pretty sure there was inappropriate public behavior going on for a couple of minutes.
After a few minutes, they separated and sat all cozy next to each other. Then they leisurely got out of the spa and, I was kick boarding at that point, so I had my ear plugs out of my ears, and I heard him asking her if they wanted to go somewhere else. I didn’t hear her answer, but she went into the women’s bathroom and he followed her, got within 2 steps of the women’s bathroom door, looked over his shoulder at me, and turned and went into the men’s bathroom. And I was left with the distinct impression that he was used to being in there with her.
Overall, they were there for 25 minutes or so, and I was left with the feeling that I interrupted their “star gazing” plans for the night and that they frequently do “star gazing” there and that I was “trespassing” on “their” place. (Yes, I know I’m overusing my quotes, I know.) She left with her pillow and bedroll under her arm, he followed her to her car and, after a bit, she drove off and he walked back down the street. After I was done swimming, I went out and looked around the outside of the pool maintenance room and the fence on that side, and I have no clue how he managed to get over it, but then I’m not a randy billy goat, either.
The whole thing kind of makes me wonder what their story is … I mean, why do this at a public community pool or in a community bathroom? Surely there are other places they could go and be together? Do they have a fetish for doing this stuff in public, in front of people or something? Does he live in the community? I don’t think she does, given where they went afterwards. Why doesn’t he have a pool gate key? So many questions and I still don’t know how I should have handled this awkward situation… and I feel resentful that I *have* to ponder these things. I mean, I was already there and they chose to enter illegally over the fence and be intimate publicly. Just so awkward.
So, what’s the solution to this? I debated hopping out of the pool and going all perky-like up to them and start talking about the amazing visibility of Orion’s belt and Venus, but I really didn’t want to see this guy’s junk being all out there. I also thought about getting out and calling our security company or the sheriff, but I know that by the time they got there, these people would likely be done and gone. And if they did show up while they were there, these people would know it was me who called them and … well, they wouldn’t be arrested, they know that I swim there, what if they come back the next night or next week and retaliate against me? Obviously the fencing around the pool is a non-issue to them and is no protection.
Last night at Awana Club they had a talent show. Last year, the Cubbies (William’s group) did not participate beyond watching from the audience. This year, they let them sing as a group. William told me early on that he wanted to sing a song all by himself. I told him that was called a solo. Yes, he said, that’s what he wanted to do. This was about 2 months ago.
The teachers have been getting them to practice at every meeting, and at every meeting William proclaims practice to be boring. If it’s insisted that he practice, he makes a big show of it and sings faster and louder than the other kids. Except… a couple weeks ago there was some sort of turning point for him and he started accepting that practice is necessary.
Last night was the big night and he was, literally, beside himself with excitement. The practice time was perfect… I wish I had recorded that. Alas, I did not. But the actual performance ended up being pretty hilarious and cute. He did great! But it looked more like William and the Cubbettes as backup dancers. But who cares? Everyone was happy. Oh, and you get to see a cameo of my backside… I’m the one in a blue shirt. ha
(Video credit goes to Tony)
Earlier this evening, as I stood facing the pool, on my right there was a sunset visible between the branches of a tree laden with so many white blossoms that it looked like a popcorn tree.
On the other side of the pool, the moon was already in the sky behind a veil of fog. Sky friends that bring light and get glimpses of each other sometimes. I wonder if they’ll see each other again in the morning? 🙂
Leaving for work this morning, William clings to my hand and says, “I’m never letting you go, mommy. You’re my mommy forever!”
I stroke his arm that is attached to the hand that is holding me. In response he says, “If you leave, I will cry!”
I see the sadness in his eyes and so I stroke his forehead and say, “Why don’t you come out to the garage and hug me goodbye after I get in my car?”
He tentatively smiles and says, “OK!” So we hold hands and head into the garage. He stands on the step and waits for me to get in my car, buckle my seatbelt, open the garage, start up my car and pull it partially out of the garage. Then I open my door and he runs to me, crawls in my lap and holds on tight to my neck. He kisses me on my cheeks and my chin. I feel his hands tangle gently into my hair.
I remind him, “I’ve got to get on the road now.”
He looks sad for a second and then says, “Can you call me on your phone? When you close the garage door, can you call me on your phone?”
“Yes, I sure can! What a great idea!”
He gives me one last kiss, hops out of the car and runs back inside to wait for my call.
I love how his brain works.
Yesterday I had a “William Day.” He had a field trip with his preschool, a morning thing, and after it was done, we headed over to our little local zoo. He was off in the playground and I was observing him play while eating my lunch. The weather was chilly, and there weren’t that many people about. And then I heard a noise behind me, but I hadn’t sensed a presence. At least of the human persuasion. I turned to see what it was and … I guess this little fellow wanted to share in my lunch.
Apparently, I’m not allowed to be without a critter nearby anywhere?
This morning I decided to attend service at Saddleback Church. I’ve never been to a Christmas service there, and it did not disappoint. I enjoyed the message, and the carols their worship team sang accompanied by their orchestra (they don’t always have the orchestra, so that was a treat), and the candlelight portion of it while singing Silent Night was just lovely. For me, it was also a treat that the early service today was not packed with people like the rest of the services this week have been. (Most likely because there was not childcare offered at that service.)
This has been an odd Christmas so far for us, as William came down with a fever Thursday, but it disappeared the next day, and then other symptoms showed up last night. Everything we’d planned has been dumped and we’ve had to figure out new plans, but still make it special.
I am blessed to have quiet time with our family. We are blessed to have presents to give each other. Chicken pot pies make a great Christmas Eve dinner. A movie (Moana) makes a wonderful “out of the house” treat on a chilly day.
Consciously choosing joy… as the quote in my sidebar says (that I’ve had there for years now because I can’t seem to find something I like better) says, “You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.”