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8 more stitches for Aine by Ann Treacy
April 13, 2011, 4:13 am
Filed under: St Paul

On Monday I got a call from school. Aine had run into the corner of a wall and maybe she shouldn’t walk home from school today. Well, I hope the corner is missing a chunk – as her forehead definitely is!

We went straight to Children’s Hospital. I cannot say enough nice things about the staff there. I was a little worried when there was no one at the welcome desk – but the reason seemed to be that we could go directly to a triage nurse who was quick to wave us in. I kind of knew the drill since we’ve gone for stitches on our forehead at Children’s before. They got us all checked in – and by checked in, I don’t mean with insurance et al. I mean with description of what happened and some numbing ointment for the cut.

We sat in the waiting room for less than 10 minutes before they called us back for our own room. I knew it took 45 minutes for the numbing gel to work – so we waited. Sadly Aine got sicker. She mentioned to the doctor that her throat hurt. A few minutes later she started throwing up. I was worried about a concussion – but it turned out to be strep.

A nurse came in and described the procedure to Aine. She showed her all of the sterile equipment they would use. Then the stitcher came in to do her magic. Apparently there’s someone on staff who simply sews up kids all day long. Aine got 8 stitches; 6 external and 2 internal. Apparently they could see bone through the cut. Aine was clearly very uncomfortable through the process, but she didn’t cry.

Once the procedure was done she was back to talking a mile a minute and didn’t stop until she finally fell asleep at home around 8 pm.

Como Zoo: The Polar Bear Odyssey by Ann Treacy
April 13, 2011, 3:53 am
Filed under: St Paul

Spring sprang late last week. It was so nice and we celebrated with a trip to the Como Zoo. We had not been to the zoo in at least a year. Somehow we managed to miss the opening of the Polar Bear Odyssey last year (darned summers in Ireland). I love the Polar Bears. I could watch them in their old space for hours. One bear pacing in the corner; the other swimming tiny laps in the pool. Really he just glided into a back flip turn and back again. So I was very excited to see what the new space was like.

The space is nice. Apparently they built the space for more than four bears, although there are currently only two. There are two outdoor space for the bears. One includes the nice underwater view that we’ve always had at Como Zoo. There’s also an indoor space where they are started to do training with the bears.

But despite all of the new space – the bears are the same. One paces back and forth; the other swims his laps. It made me a little sad, until I spoke to one of the zookeepers. It turns out that the pacing (in and out of water) is not a sign of boredom or tension or insanity. It’s just a natural habit for the bears. It’s a habit that bears maintain in zoos everywhere. The Polar Bears in Como Zoo are actually twins. One (the pacer) is more dominant. And it turns out they don’t pace/swim the whole time. While we were there we saw some of the Polar Bear training. The trainers open the doors to the various segments of the exhibit and the bears roam to the training area and both outdoor spaces. The zookeeper told us that at night, the bears are able to get even more space.

So we left bigger Polar Bear fans than we arrived.

But we didn’t just see the Polar Bears. We saw Sparky the seal practicing his summer act. That was kind of a thrill. Most of the close seats are blocked off. Nothing is announced so it feel like s sneaky peek, which of course makes it much more fun. We don’t want to give away the show, but we sill say that Sparky looks prepared.

We made out way through the tropical area. We actually saw the sloth move. I’ve been there loads of times but never seen the sloth actually move – more than an inch or two. He seemed to stretch. We also saw the ugliest toad I have ever seen – the Surinam toad. It looks like a deflated whoopee cushion with tiny arms and legs.

We rounded out our trip with seeing the big cats, the giraffes and zebras (hoofed animals) and seeing some of the flowers in the Conservatory. If you want a quick blast of a springy future – breathe in deeply at the Conservatory. It smells amazing!

Who’s the girl on the motorcycle? by Ann Treacy
April 13, 2011, 3:09 am
Filed under: St Paul

I just had to share the pictures of Lily on the motorcycle – she is actually on her way to a babysitting job.

Daisies go Roller Skating by Ann Treacy
April 13, 2011, 3:06 am
Filed under: St Paul

So the time we spent earlier this year roller skating turned out to be a good use of time. Aine was invited to the same roller rink for a Girl Scout gathering and we were pretty comfortable on our roller skates!

St Paul State Capitol Tour by Ann Treacy
April 13, 2011, 2:59 am
Filed under: St Paul

Our Chicago cousins came for a visit over their spring break. It didn’t feel very spring-like because this is the year of the never-ending winter. So we thought we’d do something a little different. We went to the State Capitol. We got a private tour of the Capitol! We didn’t really intend on a private tour, but it just worked out that way.

It was fun to learn about the ins and outs of the building. It was one of the first buildings in Minnesota with electricity. We saw where the legislators vote on issues. We saw where a mouse is hidden in the paintings and we saw a few of the hidden gophers. We also got an up-close look at the big chandelier. They had taken it down to wash it; apparently that doesn’t happen just every decade. It’s kind of cool, so if you’re thinking about a tour and want to see something unique, now might be a good time to visit.

Sadly we didn’t get to climb up to the horses at the top of the Capitol. It was a rainy, yucky day so I didn’t even ask. But that leaves us something for next time.

Another Day in DC by Ann Treacy
April 13, 2011, 2:26 am
Filed under: Washington DC

I got a lucky half day in DC on top of my full day. I spent a lot of it working but I did get out. It was a nice day (by Minnesota standards) so I got a good walk in. In the morning I walked down to Georgetown, to the River, around the Lincoln Memorial and to the Jefferson Memorial – which is quite a long walk but through the Cherry Trees. My timing for that was perfect. The Cherry Blossom Festival started the day I got to DC. I bet it’s even nicer when it’s genuinely warm – but it was pretty and if you were down wind you could smell the blossoms.

I also got to walk through the Korean War Memorial. Of the war memorials I saw, I like it best. It showed the soldiers and they seem fairly realistic (from my deep knowledge of being on the frontlines). I think you have to get a glimpse of what the war must have been like to really appreciate the impact for those who made it home and those who didn’t.

In the afternoon I visited places. I went to the Portrait Gallery and saw some Warhol; I went to the Library of Congress and saw lots of cool things. Actually, you can’t really get access to the books and materials without a reader’s card.

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