Sunday, June 12, 2011

Puppy Love

It's true that I think the best smell in the whole 
world is puppy breath.

I go out of my way to find puppies.
Show and Tell is always good for 
a couple of pups every year.

This year was no exception.

I met this one and was a goner.

The kids had named her Vanelope, 
but we renamed her Latte.

You know the old saying, "when it
rains it pours"?

About six months ago, we had adopted Ginger,
 a Papillion-cross who had to be caught in a live trap.
She was scared to death of people and 
her first placement was upset because she 
wouldn't warm up to them.
Naturally she was house-broken, spayed and
had all her shots, but very shy.

She finally decided that Mardell was okay
but she refused to have anything to do with me.

She blessed us while I was gone ....



I am in puppy heaven!

Especially since Ginger lets me hold her pups.

I'm just sorry that I have to go to Grand Island for Math!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Southern Hospitality

We experienced true Southern hospitality all day long.

Once again we started the day with the breakfast buffet that the hotel provides.
I'm going to miss grits when I go home.

I've become rather fond of them.

After breakfast we headed down the Interstate toward Montezuma.
We filled up with gas .... ouch .... and continued 
our journey to Andersonville.

Along the way we kept seeing this soft ferny tree.

We finally figured out it was bamboo!
Did you know that there is a species of bamboo 
that will grow in Nebraska?!

Our first stop was the Visitor's Center in Andersonville.
We had hit the Visitor Center in Perry last night and they 
gave us such good information that we decided to stop.

They also had a unique tree that could make
it's way to Nebraska.

I'm sure my better half would appreciate that!

We went to the National Prisoner of War Museum first.

I thought we'd spend fifteen minutes and then move on to the Andersonville prison site.
Boy, was I ever wrong.  We spent almost two hours in the museum.

One of the first displays was designed to give you a vague idea of what it might feel like to initially be captured and taken prisoner.
You're facing a concrete embankment with rifles pointing at and around you.
The slightest movement trips a sensor that starts a recording of people yelling,
shots being fired, directions screamed at you and spotlights dancing around and in your face.
It made the hair on my arms stand up.
It was hard to stand there through the full loop of the recording.

They had information about POWs in every war from the American Revolution to the Gulf War.
I honestly hadn't thought about prisoners of war with the American Revolution nor the War of 1812.  

During the Civil War, some of the women would go to the prisons where their
husbands were being held so that they could be together.  They ended up nursing the prisoners because there was very little medical care.

It was very educational and interesting and we could have easily spent another two hours or so, but I was on overload so we journeyed outside to the site of the Civil War prison.

It was only 85 degrees so we decided to walk the trail.

Visions of Devil's Tower came back to us as we realized

what goes down must come back up!

We were rewarded with a heron or crane of some sort.

Fortunately, we didn't see any of these:

These were the stockades outside the wall of the prison.
I'm not sure what they used them for because if
a prisoner crossed the "dead line"

 with so much as a hand or foot, they were shot
by guards in the pigeon roosts.

This was all the shelter they had from the elements.

45,000 men were imprisoned there.
12,913 died from starvation, disease, and malnutrition.

Captain Henry Wirz was convicted of war crimes after the war
and hanged in Washington D.C.  

From there we went to the Andersonville National Cemetery.

During July and August, 1865, Clara Barton, a detachment of laborers and soldiers, and a former prisoner named Dorence Atwater, came to Andersonville cemetery to identify and mark the graves of the Union dead. As a prisoner, Atwater was assigned to record the names of deceased Union soldiers for the Confederates. Fearing loss of of the death record at war's end, Atwater made his own copy in hopes of notifying the relatives of some 12,000 dead interred at Andersonville. Thanks to his list and the Confederate records confiscated at the end of the war, only 460 of the Andersonville graves had to be marked " Unknown U.S. Soldier."

Every guide was helpful in answering questions.  They were all friendly and very interested in what had brought us to Georgia and where we were from.

After I get home, I'll write about the Civil War Drummer Boy Museum, the site of Charles Lindbergh's first solo flight and our invitation to meet President and Rosalyn Carter.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Howdy Y'all from the Peach State

Did you know that on a typical day in Atlanta, 280,000 people pass through the airport?

Evidently they all pass through at 4:30 ... which is precisely when we landed.

They try to make your visit more pleasant with sculptures representing Zimbabwe.

It took over an hour for our luggage to arrive at the baggage claim area.
That was okay, because it took us that long as well.

From there we took the Sky Train to the Enterprise office.

They upgraded our ride for the week.

We drove and drove and drove until we reached Perry.

Finding the Ramada Inn was surprisingly simple .... for us!

Big ass signs help.

Our room was inviting ....

... of course, after traveling all day, 

this would have been inviting!

Naturally we overslept .... but we still got ready with time for 
the breakfast buffet at the Green Derby.

It was delicious .... and even had grits!

We easily found our way to the National Fairgrounds.

I was fascinated with the trees that lined their walkways.

The day was good .... full of informative, but humorous speakers ....

Danny Brassell started and ended our day.
He's every bit as funny as Lester Laminack, so we enjoyed him a lot.

The whole reason we chose this conference was to see Regie Routman again.

She reaffirmed everything I believe about reading.
The best part is that we get to see her again tomorrow .... twice!

We are getting a new science curriculum next year so we
went to hear Dr. Malcom Butler talk about Science Notebooks.

He was very good .... but he helped write the National Geographic series
so it was essentially an hour long commercial.

The only disaster of the day was lunch ....

See all the people in line at the front of the room in this picture?

They are at the front of the lunch line ready to get their meal.
Vicki and I were number 972 and 973  in line.

Lunch was catered by Sonny's Bar-B-Q.
 Lunch started at 11:45.
The keynote speaker was to begin at 12:20.
We were served at 1:07.
The first afternoon session was at 1:15.

Because of the lunch snafu, the keynote speaker was unable to talk.
Needless to say, I doubt that Sonny's will ever be asked to cater 
any event by the Dodge Learning Company again.

Fortunately, we have speed eating down to a science.

We attended Lori Oczkus' presentation and learned a great deal.

Unfortunately, most of it involved singing, dancing and acting.
Let's just say Hell hasn't frozen over yet and leave it at that.

Then we bought 50 books.
I know.

You're shocked beyond belief.

On our way to the fairgrounds, I had noticed some trees planted in rows
(Right now Sister 3 is rolling her eyes and muttering something about mom)
and I wanted to check them out further.

My guess is that they are pecan trees, but I'm not sure.

At any rate, we then saw this sign

and that is something we want to take in later this week
so we thought we would check out the hours, what there was to see and do, etc.

Important Note:  We have discovered that in the east if there is a sign without miles, you can figure it will add several hours to your trip.

The same holds true for the south.
In Nebraska, we put the number of miles to an attraction ---
we don't just tease you with the name.

We drove forever .... only to come upon a sign that indicated
it was 22 more miles.  By that time we were committed to 
finding the #*$&#^ place, so we kept going.

In fact, after we found Andersonville, we kept on going
until we reached Plains, Georgia .... 

which is famous for ....

We didn't run into the former president, but we intend to
go back on Thursday when the museum and other attractions
are open.

It was a beautiful drive and we saw lots of interesting things ....

A fruit stand .... where we had to buy some peaches.
The gentleman there asked if we'd ever seen melons that big
and I so badly wanted to say "Yes, in Pigeon Forge," but I refrained.

 I thought of Sister Two when I saw this sign.

Yes, the Baptists

are alive and well

in Georgia!

We couldn't decide between attending the revival

or going to this hopping night spot,
 so we settled on supper instead.

After supper we entertained ourselves in the gift shop ....

where there was a parrot that imitated our laughs.
At first we thought it was  motion sensitive and that we kept causing it to laugh by our movements.

However, when we got closer we realized the damn
thing was parroting back all that we said.

If we had more room and hadn't bought 50 books, we would have
bought it.  It would be great in our staff meetings.
Or just at the lunch table.

Somehow, I don't see the others enjoying our humor.

It was a whirlwind day and we get to do it all again tomorrow!