Saturday, June 14, 2008

Last Day of School....

To celebrate J's birthday and our last school day, we took a trip to the justly-famous San Diego Zoo. First of all, we met up with Keith's sister who drives the tour buses; unfortunately, she was dealing with the smaller buses this day and was not giving tours.

The zoo was very crowded, resulting partly from the vast number of summer camp groups of kids and also partly from the huge new construction of what used to be Horn and Hoof Mesa but will be transformed over the next year into a "bioclimatic zone" for the elephants and other animals who live together peaceably in the same area of the world. But with such a large area of the zoo closed off, the remainder of the park felt much more crowded than usual, and the boys found that negotiating my wheelchair through so many people and groups of kids to be difficult at best and downright frustrating at worst. First, we toured the Children's Zoo as it holds our kids' two favorite exhibits: meerkats and river otters. Afterwards, we continued to stay at the top part of the zoo so that the boys didn't have to push me up too many hills (the zoo is basically on the side of a hill) with the exception of taking a bus tour, compliments of Karen even though she wasn't driving. The bus tour covers 70% of the zoo in 40 minutes, so it's a good way to see a great deal in a very small amount of time.

Taking photos from the bus was challenging because even when I stood up to take photos of the different exhibits and animals, the walking patrons' heads were right on level with the animals I was trying to photograph. Several of mt best photos were ruined by people's head sticking up right in the middle of the photograph. Plus, the opportunity to take photos is very limited; although the bus stopped from time to time while the driver informed us about the animals, quite often we were trying to photograph animals while the bus was moving and with little time to think before shooting.

We enjoyed a picnic lunch in a shady area after the bus tour, and after a tour of the reptile house, soft serve ice cream cones were in order. J also got to choose his stuffed animal: each birthday the kids get to choose a small stuffed animal ($10 or less) as part of their birthday celebration, so J found a chipmunk he really liked -- and named him "Chip," of course.

We left the zoo rather earlier than usual because of the crowds and then drove by our old home in the North Park/Golden Hill area. For the ten years we lived there, the 1914 Craftsman home was white with a dark green porch. Before we sold it, we painted it pale grey with burgundy and white trim and a charcoal-grey porch and roof. Then those people sold the house five years later, and the newest owners painted it bright lime green trimmed with lemon yellow, white, and a brick red-orange. At first we didn't like the rather flamboyant combo, but it's grown on us and we rather like it now. The new ownders also pulled down the new two-car garage we built (a rarity in an old area of town with single-car garages) and have now taken up the entire back yard with another house for their family. I hated the idea of losing the entire back yard as the house used to be the only one on the block without a second home in back, but they did a lovely job on it and the landscaping. The kids give a mixed review on the changes, but I think it looks rather cool. They have obviously had some professional help with landscaping, something I always wanted to do but wasn't able to swing financially.

Old House

New Addition

So then we drove on to Keith's office and went computer-shopping with my BraveWriter funds. My laptop is coming up to its seventh birthday and it definitely reaching the end of its life. We're debating the Mac vs. PC issue first, and then will decide which way to go. We were out so late at BestBuy and WalMart that we stopped by Taco Bell for a quick dinner on the way home.

So this was our last day of school -- 178 days of home education since last August. A break is well in order, and we take it joyfully!

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